I’ll Know My Song Well Before I Start Singin’

There were two new Dylan albums released today. The soundtrack for the upcoming Scorsese documentary (on DVD Sept. 20th, on PBS the week after that). “No Direction Home” and a Starbucks CD “Live At The Gaslight 1962”. On first listen, both are worth picking up for Dylanphiles (if you aren’t one, you should be).

No Direction Home is the 7th Bootleg Series, the first 5 of which are essential for any Dylan fan. It’s 2 discs cover 1959-1966, just like the movie will. Disc 1 highlights include fantastic covers of This Land Is Your Land and Dink’s Song, very good live versions of A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, When The Ship Comes In, Blowin’ In The Wind and It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.

Disc 2 is mostly alternate version of songs from Highway 61 Revisted and Blonde On Blonde, some of which are substantially different than the album versions. Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues, She Belongs To Me, Desolation Row, Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat and Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again are the highlights. The album closes with Like A Rolling Stone from the ‘Royal Albert Hall’ concert, previously available in its entirety as Bootleg Series Volume 4. If you don’t already have it, you need to: probably my favorite live performance by anyone, ever.

The Live at the Gaslight album is actually 2 concerts spliced together. Only 3 of the songs are Dylan originals (Hard Rain, Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright, and the previously unreleased Rocks and Gravel). The last 7 are all covers of folk songs. All are interesting, but the best are John Brown (previously available only on the Dylan Unplugged album), Cocaine and Barbara Allen. definitely worth going into Starbucks to buy it.

New Age Girl

On Air America this week, Al Franken is on vacation. Filling in for him is Rachel Maddow, the best news broadcaster I’ve seen or heard in a long time. I’ve been addicted to her daily one hour show (5 – 6 AM eastern) for months now. It’s informative and entertaining and very efficient. Should be an interesting week on AA as Maddow’s backup does her show, she does Franken’s show, and interns or something do Morning Sedition while Mark and Marc are on vacation. All these shows can either be podcast through iTunes or downloaded from http://www.airamericaplace.com. Highly recommended.

Sunday Olio (Not Oleo, That’s A Butter Substitute)

Watched Brothers Grimm last night. I was disappointed. It’s well down. The actors are good. The story is fairly interesting. There just isn’t anything more there. It reminded me quite a bit of Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow, another well-made, good-looking movie that I felt just didn’t have any reason to exist. It feels like important parts of this film are missing, which is very possible. Terry Gilliam’s set a very high standard for his films, and this is easily the worst one I’ve seen.

A couple days ago, I watched Spider-Man 2. It was good, but not as good as the first one. Just about what you’d expect I guess. I’m annoyed that they basically just recycled the conflicts of the first movie. Peter has issues with the responsibility of being a superhero, and committing to the hot girl. A scientist he likes and admires is twisted into a supervillain against his will. If they make a third one, it could potentially be the best of the three, what with a villain with a different motive (Peter’s friend chooses to become the Hobgoblin in order to get revenge), and with (hopefully) the resolution of the inane Mary Jane-Peter conflict.

Felix Herndandez finally gave up an extra-base hit. Three of them in fact. But 8 Ks and 1 walk over seven innings, with only 3 runs allowed is nothing to sneeze at.

36 IP 23 H 8 R 7 ER 2 HR 5 BB 38 K 1.75 ERA

Wednesday night, The King takes on The Big Unit at Safeco. If you watch one Mariner games this year, this should be it.

And this is hilarious.

When Someone Asks You If You Are A God, You Say "Yes!"

Watched that Ghostbusters DVD tonight. Haven’t seen the movie in years, because I’ve only been able to get it panned-and-scanned. That didn’t bother me when I was a kid and didn’t know what it was, I must have watched it dozens of times on VHS (it pretty much defines the way I remember the 1980s). But now, thanks to the miracle of DVD, I’m able to watch it widescreen for the first time since seeing it in the theatre when I was eight years old.

I can’t imagine a person not liking Ghostbusters, I bet even Pat Robertson likes it. It’s pretty much a perfect movie comedy. Murray, Ackroyd and Ramis at their peak. A great supporting cast (Rick Moranis, Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts, William Atherton). Tremendously quotable movie (the biggest ‘Memorable Quotes’ page I’ve ever seen at IMDB is in the link in the title).

The odd thing about it, seeing it now, is that there’s absolutely no cynicism in it. Not that its sappy or cheesy, because it isn’t at all. But there’s a kind of wide-eyed optimism to the film. Maybe that’s just a residue of my having watched it so much as a kid, but I really think that’s why it was such the hit that it was. These guys have done funnier movies (Stripes, Vacation) and better movies (Trading Places, The Blues Brothers, Animal House, Groundhog Day) but I don’t think they’ve ever done anything that is so appealing to so many people.

Chavez And Castro Offer Welfare To Poor Americans

HAVANA, Cuba (Reuters) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, popular with the poor at home, offered on Tuesday to help needy Americans with cheap supplies of gasoline.

“We want to sell gasoline and heating fuel directly to poor communities in the United States,” the populist leader told reporters at the end of a visit to Communist-run Cuba.

. . . .

Chavez said Venezuela could supply gasoline to Americans at half the price they now pay if intermediaries who “speculated … and exploited consumers” were cut out.

Venezuela supplies Cuba with generously financed oil and plans to help Caribbean nations foot their oil bills.

Chavez, in Cuba to attend the graduation of Cuban-trained doctors from 28 countries, was seen off at the airport by Cuban President Fidel Castro. Washington has accused the two leaders of being a destabilizing influence in South America.

Chavez and Castro offered to give poor Americans free health care and train doctors free of charge.

Masters Of War

American Legion Declares War on Protestors — Media Next?

By E&P Staff

Published: August 24, 2005 4:20 PM ET
NEW YORK The American Legion, which has 2.7 million members, has declared war on antiwar protestors, and the media could be next. Speaking at its national convention in Honolulu, the group’s national commander called for an end to all “public protests” and “media events” against the war, even though they are protected by the Bill of Rights.

“The American Legion will stand against anyone and any group that would demoralize our troops, or worse, endanger their lives by encouraging terrorists to continue their cowardly attacks against freedom-loving peoples,” Thomas Cadmus, national commander, told delegates at the group’s national convention in Honolulu.

The delegates voted to use whatever means necessary to “ensure the united backing of the American people to support our troops and the global war on terrorism.”

In his speech, Cadmus declared: “It would be tragic if the freedoms our veterans fought so valiantly to protect would be used against their successors today as they battle terrorists bent on our destruction.”

He explained, “No one respects the right to protest more than one who has fought for it, but we hope that Americans will present their views in correspondence to their elected officials rather than by public media events guaranteed to be picked up and used as tools of encouragement by our enemies.” This might suggest to some, however, that American freedoms are worth dying for but not exercising.

Without mentioning any current protestor, such as Cindy Sheehan, by name, Cadmus recalled: “For many of us, the visions of Jane Fonda glibly spouting anti-American messages with the North Vietnamese and protestors denouncing our own forces four decades ago is forever etched in our memories. We must never let that happen again….

“We had hoped that the lessons learned from the Vietnam War would be clear to our fellow citizens. Public protests against the war here at home while our young men and women are in harm’s way on the other side of the globe only provide aid and comfort to our enemies.”

Resolution 3, which was passed unanimously by 4,000 delegates to the annual event, states: “The American Legion fully supports the president of the United States, the United States Congress and the men, women and leadership of our armed forces as they are engaged in the global war on terrorism and the troops who are engaged in protecting our values and way of life.”

Cadmus advised: “Let’s not repeat the mistakes of our past. I urge all Americans to rally around our armed forces and remember our fellow Americans who were viciously murdered on Sept. 11, 2001.”

Pat Apologizes, Says Chavez = Hitler

(CNN) — After two days of criticism, Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson apologized for his controversial suggestion that the United States should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

“Is it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologize for that statement,” Robertson said. “I spoke in frustration that we should accommodate the man who thinks the U.S. is out to kill him.”

But he compared Chavez to Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Adolph Hitler and quoted German Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “[That if a madman were] driving a car into a group of innocent bystanders, then I can’t, as a Christian, simply wait for the catastrophe and then comfort the wounded and bury the dead. I must try to wrestle the steering wheel out of the hands of the driver.”

Bonhoeffer was hanged by the Nazis for his involvement in a 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler.

Robertson’s rationale for his statement remained unchanged.

“I said before the war in Iraq began that the wisest course would be to wage war against Saddam Hussein, not the whole nation of Iraq,” Robertson said. “When faced with the threat of a comparable dictator in our own hemisphere, would it not be wiser to wage war against one person rather than finding ourselves down the road locked in a bitter struggle with a whole nation?”

So far there has been no reaction from Venezuela to Robertson’s apology.

Earlier Wednesday, on his “The 700 Club” program, Robertson said the media had taken his remarks out of context.

“I didn’t say ‘assassination.’ I said our special forces should ‘take him out.’ And ‘take him out’ can be a number of things, including kidnapping; there are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted by the AP [Associated Press], but that happens all the time,” Robertson said on “The 700 Club.” (Watch video)

The controversy began Monday when Robertson called Chavez “a terrific danger” bent on exporting Communism and Islamic extremism across the Americas. (Full story)

“If he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think we really ought to go ahead and do it,” said Robertson Monday. “It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war.” (Watch Robertson’s comments)

“We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability,” he said. “We don’t need another $200 billion war to get rid of one strong-arm dictator. It’s a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.”

Chavez, a close ally of Cuban President Fidel Castro, has said in the past he believes the United States is trying to kill him and vowed that Venezuela, which accounts for more than 10 percent of U.S. oil imports, would shut off the flow of oil if that happened.

Tuesday, the Venezuelan leader shrugged off Robertson’s comments during a trip to Cuba.

“I don’t know who that person is,” he said. “I don’t know him, and as far as his opinion of me goes, I couldn’t care less.”

. . . . .

His opponents, largely drawn from the country’s middle and upper classes, accuse him of undermining democratic institutions.

Chavez was re-elected under a new constitution in 2000. In 2004, he won a recall referendum with the support of 58 percent of voters.

He has become an increasingly outspoken critic of the United States, which he accuses of having been behind a 2002 coup attempt that forced him from office for two days.

The Bush administration denied involvement but refused to condemn the attempted coup.

. . . . .

Controversial statements are not new to the 75-year-old Robertson.

He has suggested in the past that a meteor could strike Florida because of unofficial “Gay Days” at Disney World and that feminism caused women to kill their children, practice witchcraft and become lesbians.