Friday, August 29, 2008

The Obama Acceptance Speech

I listened with interest to Barack Obama's acceptance speech last night in Denver. When he finally said he was going to enumerate what change meant to him I started jotting notes. This was what was on the pad when I was done:

- Tax breaks for job creation - not shipping jobs overseas
- Promotion of startup companies
- A tax cut for 95% of Americans
- A tax increase on the top 5%
- Energy independence by 2010
- Investment in American Teachers
- Service based scholarships for College bound poor.
- Tackling Healthcare, guaranteeing Americans the same level of healthcare that Congress recieves.
- Equal pay for men and women.
- Within policy disputes focus on areas of agreement rather than an all or nothing approach to legislating. (Abortion was an example cited where both sides of the aisle could cooperate on pregnancy prevention programs.)
- Renew the Military, but pursue policy as the big stick primarily.
- Action not talk on Afghanistan
- A timeline for pullout from Iraq (Iraq is creating a deficit for the US where the Iraq government has a large surplus).
- End Bush Policies:
Attacking Iraq won't stop terrorism.
Supporting Georgia is straining old alliances

Catch-phrases that stayed with me were "Change doesn't come from Washington, it comes to Washington" and "This election isn't about me, its about you"

A good speech. I still want more specifics. On to the debates to focus the differences.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Hold Steady at the Cats Cradle - August 12, 2008

Ok so this was my first THS show ever as I missed them last year and I was going to be damned sure I didn't miss them again after the buzz they generated. I love the album "Boys and Girls in America" and am pretty high on "Stay Positive" AND it was the day before my birthday, so no excuses this time, except I didn't have a ticket AND it was sold out. I had an unexplainable weird feeling of uber-confidence about getting into this show. So I just went with it. Sure enough I managed to get into the show (Thanks Billy, and yes I do owe you one.) just as THS were starting their set. Shoulder to shoulder with everyone else we were sweatily catapulted to some kind of rock nirvana. The energy of the crowd really got the band pumped up.
Craig Finn (who is the unlikeliest looking frontman ever) brought an amazing intensity and ,dare we say?, showmanship to the set as well as his trademark vocal/verbal irony. Tad Kubler supplied the rock on the lead guitar. His tone was stunning and his playing even better. Galen Polivka on bass certainly held it all together with Bobby Drake, these two are definitely the bedrock under THS's trademark throb. I love it when a band sounds better than their record and you know their recordings were not augmented by the studio but potentially limited by what can go through a wire. Definitely the case here. I'd list particular favorites but it was all good. (really). Although this stretch of back to back "Party Pit", "Navy Sheets", "Chips Ahoy", "Stuck Between Stations" was very satisfying indeed.

Here is the set list:

Ask For Aderall
Constructive Summer
Yeah Sapphire
Sequestered in Memphis
The Swish
U Can Make Him Like You
Party Pit
Navy Sheets
Chips Ahoy
Stuck Between Stations
Cheyenne Sunrise
One For the Cutters
Lord I'm Discouraged
Your Little Hoodrat Friend
How A Resurrection Really Feels
Slapped Actress
Both Crosses
Stay Positive
Most People are DJs
Killer Parties

Monday, August 11, 2008

Don Dixon and the Jump Rabbits

On August 2, 2008 Don Dixon and his band the Jump Rabbits (Jamie Hoover and Jim Brock) plugged their new album of covers called "Nu Look" with a performance at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro. The album is a gathering of songs from southern 80's pop history reincarnated by this no-nonsense rock trio. Featuring songs from Parthenon Huxley (rick rock), the dBs, Matt Barrett and others this 10 song CD bristles with muscular grooves and nostalgia. The opener was Jeffrey Dean Foster and it started so early I unfortunately missed it. The Jump Rabbits set began with selections from more recent Dixon albums and then they preceeded on to play the whole "Nu Look" album. Hightlights include a very agressively rhythmed "Amplifier" by the dBs, a suitibly peppy "Sputnik" (HEY!), Told You So (a Dixon chestnut) and capped the set with a euphoric "Six Pack" (Matt Barrett). Ironic that such a depressing lyric could rock so hard. Regardless it was masters of R&B and Rock hard at work. The encore included a terrific funky version of "Calling out for Love" which Don co-wrote with Marshall Crenshaw.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Compound Images Without Photoshop

Yes you can make a complex image within an image without Photoshopping it to death. I decided to try out a technique of photographing an image in combination with a reflection made by a pane of glass. The result was really nice.

No-Photoshop Compound Image Hydrangea

Arranging the framed glass on a tripod and angling it to create the reflection at sunset and photographing straight into it. One complex image, no photoshop required.