The Veritable Smorgasbord

"I'm just preparing my impromptu remarks."- Sir Winston Curchill

My Photo
Location: San Francisco, California, United States

I'm a 30 year old San Francisco resident by way of Virginia, currently working as an alumni affairs officer at a major research university in the Bay Area. I mainly write about politics, sports, music, and culture. I am a 1999 graduate of the University of Virginia with a degree in Foreign Affairs. I am hoping to begin a master's degree program in Journalism in the next few years.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Drive Time

With the official start of summer just a few days away, wanderlust is high. A timeless ritual presents itself to the adventurous…it’s road trip season. With that in mind, here’s some tunes for cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway from San Fran to L.A.; for burning up the road in Big Sky country; or for just sitting in traffic wherever you may be.

Now, it must be noted that everyone has their own method for compiling mixes, and “road song” collections tend to produce a fair amount of heated debate for a variety of reasons. For example, one might say, “What is a road song”? It is a song explicitly about driving? Is it a song that’s just good to rock out to while doing 80 down the freeway? Far be it for me to say I have the answers to those questions, but I tend to indulge both the mellow and the loud when I approach mixes of this nature. For that reason, I have created two lists…one of a more relaxed (some might even say, contemplative) nature, and the other for simply getting out to enjoy the primal release when you’re behind the wheel of a car and there’s miles of open road between you and anything that matter. The “Mello” mix tends to contain songs that mention driving specifically or at least refer to it (be it in the title or in a particular verse); the “Open Highway” is more of a jumble, but to my mind, they both have their merits. Enjoy. (Artist listed alphabetically)

“Mello Mix”:
“Drive” The Cars
“Fast Car” Tracy Chapman
“200 More Miles” Cowboy Junkies
“Don’t Dream It’s Over” Crowded House
“It’s Summertime” The Flaming Lips
“In Your Eyes” Peter Gabriel
“Graduation Day” Chris Isaak
“Going to California” Led Zeppelin
“Why Georgia” John Mayer
“Learning to Fly” Tom Petty
“There is a Light That Never Goes Out” The Smiths
“Racing in the Streets” Bruce Springsteen (live version)
“Thunder Road” Bruce Springsteen (acoustic version)
“Old ‘55er” Tom Waits
“Far Far Away” Wilco
“Unknown Legend” Neil Young

“Open Highway Mix”:
“Statesboro Blues” Allman Brothers Band
“Up on Cripple Creek” The Band
“Down on the Corner” Creedence Clearwater Revival
“Layla” Derek & The Dominoes
“L.A. Woman” The Doors
“Over the Hills and Far Away” Led Zeppelin
“Crosstown Traffic” Jimi Hendrix
“Small Town” John Cougar Mellencamp
“Cissy Strut” The Meters
“The Joker” Steve Miller Band
“Crusin” The Rascals
“Torn and Frayed” Rolling Stones
“Bobby Jean” Bruce Springsteen
“Magic Carpet Ride” Steppenwolf
“Interstate Love Song” Stone Temple Pilots
“Baba O’ Riley” The Who

It should be noted that both the Allman Brothers and Bruce Springsteen have a multitude of songs that could be used on a driving mix. Investigate their catalogues if you’re unfamiliar with either acts music…you won’t be disappointed.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Deeper in the Chalabi back story; the passing of the Cold Warrior

The June 7 issue of The New Yorkercontains an article by Jane Mayer that builds on the picture of Ahmad Chalabi presented in the May 31 issue of Newsweek and the findings present an even more murky portrait of Mr. Chalabi and his political dealings, both in Washington and abroad. It's worth the read. You can find the article here.

Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)

"I only mention it 'cause sometimes there's a man--I won't say a hero, 'cause what's a hero?--but sometimes there's a man...sometimes there's a man who, well, he's the man for his time and place, he fits right in there..."

It might seem odd to open a passage about Ronald Reagan with a quote from the offbeat (and underrated) "Big Lebowski", but I feel the quote is an apt one to describe the Reagan era. Much can and will be made of what many feel is a somewhat mixed legacy, especially on the domestic policy front, but Reagan was undoubtedly the right man at the right time to restore American pride when it was at a dangerous low and to lead America (and the world) out of the shadow of Communism. The Gipper, who had the gift of gab (he is known as The Great Communicator), was unabashedly anti-Communist, and was able to bring the Soviet Union to the brink of its eventual collapse without one shot being fired. To that, we must tip our caps. R.I.P. RWR.