Friday, September 23, 2005

The Wonder Years

Man, I am absolutely obsessing over Stevie Wonder. I'm not talking about the 80's Stevie-- the cheesy Ebony-and-Ivory, I-Just-Called-to-Say-Love-You, make-you-throw up-in-your-mouth-a-little Stevie. I'm talking about the stone-cold Superfunk Master Stevie from the 1970s. The Innervisions, Talking Book, Songs in the Key of Life Stevie, the one-man band who ruled the Funk, Pop and R&B landscapes simultaneously. No one could plug into the Primal Groove like Stevie in his prime. I've been playing the shit out of Stevie recently, and I'm finding shades and emotion and connection in his music like I never have. I've always been a marginal fan; I can't hear "Signed Sealed Delivered" without bursting into a chaotic flurry of white-man dance fever. But I'm grooving to his stuff in an entirely new way. I don't know if it's a lifestage thing or what the fuck is going on, but I love his stuff so much that I get verklempt just thinking about it.

Even back in the day, Stevie could sometimes overdo it. All of the classic albums have at least one cut on them that makes you cringe. But when Stevie erred, he erred by aiming too high. And when he channels the groove in "Sir Duke" or "HIgher Ground" or "Superstition," man, he will knock you on your ass.

You whippersnappers who are too young to have ever actually placed a record on a turntable will have no idea what I'm talking about. Your only connection to Stevie is that Pat Boone funk served up by wankers like Maroon 5. Do yourself a favor and connect with this shit immediately. I know I sound like a WWII-generation old coot arguing that none of this rock 'n roll hooey can touch Glenn Miller or Sinatra. But honestly, no popular music being made today can touch Stevie. You young cats are living through the musical Dark Ages.

If you want to experience the joy that is Stevie, put on the headphones and stream some of this shit:

Songs in the Key of Life
Talking Book

Mr. Fabulous says it'll blow your mind.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Movie review: Junebug

Ten years ago, I went to my grandmother’s funeral in Southwestern Ohio. My father was the youngest of nine children, which means that both he and I have cousins old enough to be our parents, and that I’m part of an extended family of which I have met maybe 10 percent. During the final service at the gravesite, I remember looking around at the motley collection of mouth-breathers, rednecks, slack-jaws and hill-williams that made up my family. Being of Scotch-Irish descent, I thought to myself, “You know, if we were back in the old country centuries ago, these people would be my clan.” The thought gave me the shivers.

Read the full review.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Update from Baton Rouge

Here's an e-mail we received from Mrs. Fabulous's brother, who lives in Baton Rouge. It may not surprise you to learn that Baton Rouge has overnight become the largest city in Louisiana.

I think Alan's house was spared from the storm, but who knows what the looters are doing. There could be some guys riding around in a one-mile-square area driving his mint condition 356. His camp is probably toast, because the eye went right over Lake Borgne. I had a lot of good memories there.

In all the doomsday scenarios I've heard, I never thought about where do 1.4 million people go when their homes are destroyed? Well, 100,000 take up residence in the next biggest city, which happens to be Baton Rouge.

Living a half mile from the interstate doesn't help either. They have people parking their cars in the middle of O'Neal Lane to get something at the Burger King. Guess the rest of us in cars have nothing better to do than wait on someone getting a burger. Gas lines are blocks long and the Wal-Mart looks like a store in the former Soviet Union,--not much on the shelves. The kids are off for a week, and they're talking about putting all the displaced kids from New Orleans into our school system. It was already overcrowded and in bad shape.

I work downtown, and they're housing 5,000 refugees at the Centroplex. Since last night the Chevron and Frost Top were robbed and today there was a carjacking at the courthouse and someone got shot. New Orleans had the highest per capita murder rate in the country. My building is currently in a lockdown where no non-state employees are allowed in the building. I guess Katrina will spread the wealth.

My friend Barry's nephew brought his boat down to the flooded area to pull people from the rooftops. He came across one group asking if they had a camera in the boat. They decided to wait on the boat with the camera crew to come by so they'd be on TV. They had been on the rooftop for two days. Glad to see someone has their priorities.

Hopefully I'll be getting back to trivial movie stuff soon. But right now my heart just isn't in it.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The downward spiral

This is one of the latest reports from

'A scene of anarchy'
Editor's Note: CNN correspondents report back on what they are seeing in New Orleans and other Gulf Coast communities hit by Hurricane Katrina.

Posted: 10:02 a.m. ETCNN's Jim Spellman in New Orleans, Louisiana

I don't think I really have the vocabulary for this situation.

We just heard a couple of gunshots go off. There's a building smoldering a block away. People are picking through whatever is left in the stores right now. They are walking the streets because they have nowhere else to go.

Right now, I'm a few blocks away from the New Orleans Convention Center area. We drove through there earlier, and it was unbelievable. Thousands and thousands and thousands of people spent the night sleeping on the street, on the sidewalk, on the median.
The Convention Center is a place that people were told to go to because it would be safe. In fact, it is a scene of anarchy.

There is absolutely nobody in control. There is no National Guard, no police, no information to be had.

The Convention Center is next to the Mississippi River. Many people who are sleeping there feel that a boat is going to come and get them. Or they think a bus is going to come. But no buses have come. No boats have come. They think water is going come. No water has come. And they have no food.

As we drove by, people screamed out to us -- "Do you have water? Do you have food? Do you have any information for us?"

We had none of those.

Probably the most disturbing thing is that people at the Convention Center are starting to pass away and there is simply nothing to do with their bodies. There is nowhere to put them. There is no one who can do anything with them. This is making everybody very, very upset.
Meanwhile, this is what our President was doing yesterday, as the situation in New Orleans was rapidly devolving into murderous chaos:

Draw your own conclusions.