Musical Recommendations

Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago
This may be the sad-bastard-music record of the year. It’s fantastic.

The Wailin’ Jennys: Firecracker
I’ve developed a soft spot for bluegrassy, harmonizing chicks. Lots of good stuff here, if you’re into that.

Old Crow Medicine Show: O.C.M.S.
More country/bluegrass. This album includes “Wagon Wheel,” which I first heard (and immediately loved) performed in concert by Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers. So thanks for that, Eric.

Stars: “Your Ex-Lover is Dead”
I’m not sure yet if I like the band, or even the album, but this song is terrific. Check it out, especially if you’re a Death Cab for Cutie fan.

Chris O’Brien: Lighthouse
Pretty straightforward songs in a singer-songwriter style, with clean, crisp mixes. Highly recommended for fans of Joe Purdy or maybe Paul Simon.

Redbird: “Buckets of Rain”
This is a Dylan cover. I haven’t heard the original, but I like this one. There’s a pretty cool cover of R.E.M.’s “You Are the Everything” on the same album.

Starring Jimmy Smits as Barack Obama

Fans of The West Wing should appreciate this article, which describes how Smits’s character from the show was based on none other than the Barackster hisself.

(I’m guessing fans of the show tend to be fans of Obama.)

The discussion of McCain toward the end reminds me of I was kind of hoping for from an Obama/McCain general election, but it sounds like the real-life version of that won’t hold a candle to what the show did.

Ah, well.

Why Leno Still Wins

This post presents an answer to the question of why, even during the writers’ strike, Jay Leno has consistently beaten David Letterman in the ratings, and, in so doing, it summarizes the difference between those two hosts.

I’ve always preferred David Letterman, and seen Dave as sort of a kindred spirit. I certainly won’t defend his ability to deliver a monologue (which, the post suggests, he appears to consider beneath him), but he’s a better interviewer, and projects an intelligence that Jay never has (at least when I’ve watched him).

It has me thinking about how Conan O’Brien compares, and about whether Johnny Carson, whose monologues were apparently phenomenal (but unfortunately before my time), was as good as they say.

(Off to YouTube, I suppose.)

Obama’s and Clinton’s Weak Points

This post by Slate’s Timothy Noah gets close to describing why I still feel anxious about Obama.

With McCain having all but tied up the Republican nomination, though, I think it’ll take an Obama nomination for the Democrats to take the White House. And I’d really look forward to a general election with those two candidates. I have a ton of respect for each.

The Four Horsemen

Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, and Hitchens in the same room.

I think Hitchens may be drunk. If not (and if so, I guess), he’s kind of an ass.