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A penny for your thoughts indeed. Around here that would be a raise.

What makes a good blog? I think thematic consistency, a little exhibitionism, and honest writing. I can promise you the last one.

Most of my posts seem to be about music or politics. Some of them are funny. But all of them would love to hear a comment from you.

Oh-- and please welcome God to the APW team. We're thrilled and humbled to serve as His earthly vessel.

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Location: NYC

I was born at a relatively young age. Growing up consumed the better part of my childhood. As a young man I chased a lot of girls. But they kept getting away. Then I got older and even slower, so I got married. I've lived in New York City almost since before I moved here. I summer in Manhattan, which is like New York City, but with more humidity.

Here's me, without baby, thinking big thoughts. (Actually, what I'm thinking is, "Hey, these aren't Pringles!") I think I look better with baby.

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Paris Hilton for President?
Friday, June 29, 2007
Larry King got the big "get" this week, dedicating the entire hour Wednesday night to Paris Hilton (On the Daily Show, Michael Moore reported that he was bumped for Paris.) Sadly, I missed the show. But according to Nielsen Media Research, 3.2 million other Americans did not. That's three times King's usual audience. Better still, It exceeds the audiences for the last two CNN presidential debates (2.78 million and 2.05 million respectively.)

What does that say about us as a people-- that we are more interested in this modern-day but way-skankier Gabor sister than we are in who we elect for President? I don't know. But it makes me wonder iff Hillary should consider flashing a little crotch the next time she shimmies out of a limo.

Posted by: --josh-- @ 11:55 AM  3 comments

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

According to the Nielsen TV ratings, 11.9 million people watched the Sopranos last Sunday night.

Does that seem like a lot or a little to you?

There are about 300 million people in the US, so that means about 4% of us were watching. That probably makes it seem liike a small number.

On the other hand, it was the top-rated TV show in its time slot (easily trouncing, among other things, the Tonys and an NBA finals game), and the top-rated show for the week ending June 10th. Which is unusual for a program on HBO, which is only available in about 30 million households, as opposed to, say, NBC, whhich is available in 112 million households.

So now it seems like a lot.

Remember the final episode of M*A*S*H? Viewed in 50 million households, which probably translates to over 100 million persons. Remember Luke and Laura's wedding on General Hospital? About 30 million viewers.

Almost three times as many people watched Luke and Laura as watched Phil Leotardo et what was coming.

Now, to be fair, certainly more of us who havent done so will still watch the Sopranos final episode on Tivo or HBO On Demand, or any one of the dozens of times it reruns this month. But still... pretty much everyone I know watched the episode live. Does that mean pretty much everyone I know falls into the same 4% slice of Americans?

I assume you watched it...

Posted by: --josh-- @ 1:41 PM  1 comments

Heavy Traffic
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Apparently we're getting about 100 visits a day here at APW.

Who the dickens are all you people, anyway? I mean, besides the 8 of you we know... Why not leave a comment some time and introduce yourselves?

I'm especially anxious to hear from whoever it is that visits from Serbia and Montenegro.

Posted by: --josh-- @ 10:21 AM  2 comments

When He's 64
Saturday, June 09, 2007

You'll forgive me the post title; he turns 65 this month and I had so little time left to make the pun...

One of you recently asked where our review was of the new Paul McCartney record. (Yes, we're very hip, but we always have liked, and still like, Paul McCartney. We also have songs by the Archies and Josie and the Pussycats (the new ones, the ones played by Rachel Cook and company) on our various and sundry iPods.)

We've listened to the thing twice, not counting the exposures at Starbucks, who (I kid you not) are Macca's new label.

Providing my general impression requires that I take a step back. To me, his work took a dramatic and apparently irrevocable turn when his wife Linda passed away. Since then all of his records (the popular music; I don't consume the classical or experimental stuff) has sounded distinctly different and of a piece. Compare his last record while Linda was alive (the underrated Flaming Pie) to any of the ones since. He sounds old, weary, vulnerable, brittle, alone. WHen Linda died, something in Paul died too; I feel like his musical voice has been profoundly altered, and I'm still getting used to hearing him through this new voice.

For some artists, the results of such passages-- signs of aging and vulnerability and mortality-- wear extremely well; Lou Reed and Neil Young come immediately to mind (e.g., Young's Prairie Wind.) But on McCartney, whose best work always scored high on the whimsy quotient, who wrote a self-aware #1 hit called "Silly Love Songs," this new, mature voice strikes me as dissonant with his natural talents. He certainly can't get younger or less mortal, and he certainly can't return to his marriage (and ouch, he did try.) So what I hear, four albums on (Run Devil Run, Driving Rain, Chaos and Creation, and now Memory Almost Full) is an artist with a gift for melody and puffery (meant in the best possible way) and always a great player, struggling to adapt his God-given toolkit to a new life stage. And.. it isn't really working.

Not that I hold any of this against him; if all goes well I personally plan to get as old as he is, and older still. But I'm not sure that Peter Pan can ever age gracefully.

All that preamble out of the way, I like this record better than I liked Chaos, and don't think it can touch either Flowers in the Dirt (1989) or Tug of War (1982), the two high points of his post-70s output. As on Chaos, I'm getting a very lonely vibe; this, from a guy whose early recordings were quintessentially band records (I mean the Beatles canon), and which generally thereafter reflected (often to a fault, some would say) his membership in a pretty closely-knit marriage.

McCartney took a lot of heat for "Silly Love Songs" in particular and silly love songs in general, but hell, that's why I listened. I for one don't think the world has had enough of silly love songs. And if Macca is out of the whimsy business, out of the silly love song business, I for one mourn the loss.


Posted by: --josh-- @ 11:08 PM  8 comments

The Republicans in Debate
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Well sir, I did watch the Republican debate. An excruciating experience, peppered by an interesting blend of fear mongering (Giulliani, I'm looking at you!) yet distancing from the president.

I won't go candidate by candidate, because who can rmember them all?

Interesting too was the spectre cast over the event by Fred Thompson, the guy who is not running (if he were, no doubt he'd be the "Law & Order candidate.") The appeal of Thompson is based on 2 things: (1) He isn't one of these 10 White Guys; and, (2) he's an actor, JUST LIKE RONALD REAGAN. In a party torn asunder by the willful incompetence of the Bush administration, heavy with nostalgia for the Gipper, anyone who shares any trait at all with Reagan is going to seem appealing.

Anyway, our take on the debate:

What a genuinely creepy bunch, nasty and dangerous. Romney is a cyborg, programmed to run for president; total disingenuous show pony who will adopt any position that is politically expedient. Watch as he reverses every social position 180 degrees in moving from Governor of the most liberal state to would-be presidential nominee from a conservative party... Giulliani is as snarky and nasty as ever. I remember the first time he ran against David Dinkins for mayor (and lost) in 1989, there was some controversy about Dinkins paying his taxes. No matter what anyone asked Giulliani, his answer would include the phrase, "David Dinkinth didn't pay hith tak-theth." Now its the same thing all over again; no matter what you ask him-- "did you want potato or vegatable with that?"-- the answer will include the phrase, "9/11." What a smarmy dick... McCain hits me as the most likable of the top-3, but I'm sorry, he's aged past his prime, and there is just too much "dodder" in his demeanor. Oddly, the guy I like among the second tier candidates is Mike Huckabee, who gave a killer explanation for why he raised his hand as not believing in evolution (basically that he didn't know how things were created, he wasn't there, but that he took the question to be about belief in God, and make no mistake, he believes in God.) I'm not doing it justice, but the answer took him from crazy religious nut to thoughtful, sincere regular guy. They asked Brownback (totally in the pocket of the Religious Right, by the way) the same question next, and he was screwed because Huckabee has just totally aced the question and left no other room to answer, save for "What he said."... and of course the fringe lunatic candidate, Ron Paul, makes the most sense of any of them, and I pray to God that he scores well in New Hampshire, only because he deserves to. (Bill Maher has had him on twice already.) Its funny that Paul sounds so out of step on this dias, but really, he is probably the closest to what might have passed for traditional conservative values to, say, Barry Goldwater. Then again, Hillary worked for Goldwater... Also I enjoyed nut job Tommy Tancredo's answer about what role Bush would play in his administration; basically, "Karl Rove told me never to darken the White House doors again... that would have to be my answer to president Bush."

Duncan Hunter, Jim Gilmore, and Tommy Thompson also attended.


Posted by: --josh-- @ 5:07 PM  3 comments

Cute Kid Picture of the Day
Wednesday, June 06, 2007

That little peanut from my photo in the sidebar, three years on... she's on the left, with her cousin, in matching bikinis.

Posted by: --josh-- @ 11:55 PM  2 comments

Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Turns out I was wrong. You CAN download porn over the company network!

Posted by: --josh-- @ 3:00 PM  1 comments

Welcome to the Working Week

Today is sort of the first day of my new job.

I have pretty much been sans job since 1999, working out of the home on my own. This has afforded me certain luxuries-- being there for the first 3 years of my daghter's life (priceless!), not having to shave very often, and being able to work in whatever outfit I choose (generally, the Spiderman pajamas and fuzzy pink slippers.)

But here I am, at an office, with a card key and a telephone extension and everything. And I'll tell you what... this working outside the home stuff? Strictly for the birds, I tell you. Although my new boss (Boss! Sheesh. I'd gotten used to just having "clients") assured me that here at my new company, they have no policy requiring a daily shave.

I expect to push the limits on that.

Also, I assume you can't download porn over the company network...

Posted by: --josh-- @ 2:36 PM  1 comments

The Democrats in Debate
Monday, June 04, 2007
Thanks to TiVo, I watched the CNN Dems debate last night (and this morning.) Here's my rundown of the candidates. I plan to do the Reps on Tuesday, but I'm not making any promises...

Candidates listed in alphabetical order.

Joe Biden: Our guy did well, although if we were calling a winner we’d probably call Edwards. Biden got angry once, which was good; and as usual he demonstrated his command of the topics, looked presidential, and took no real hits. He scored points in defending his “yes” vote for the recent war funding bill, while Edwards took a shot at Hillary and Obama for voting “no” only after the vote outcome was moot, and not engaging in dialogue. More than once, as Biden spoke, you saw the others—notably Hillary—looking at him, as if they were thinking, “Hmm, he’s good… maybe he could be my running mate.”

Hillary Clinton: I didn't really get any kind of impression from her... she did have one funny line, saying of Cheney meeting with foreign officials, "That doesn't strike me as too diplomatic." I don’t know… I just don’t know. She remains the worst nightmare of the Right, which I can’t really fathom, because she is clearly the most conservative candidate among the Dems. (Really she's the worst nightmare of the left...) “Anybody but Hillary” from the right has to be based more on personality than on policy. Her main attribute still seems to be the air of inevitability her campaign has cultivated, and she runs not to screw that up, as opposed to running to win. I think it is going to backfire on her, but maybe I’m wrong. If she wins, she will have pulled a hell of a fast one; claiming frontrunner status without actually earning it, then riding it out to self-fulfilling prophecy. Perhaps only Al Gore can save us.

Chris Dodd: I am becoming more and more convinced that, if this guy could get the nomination, he would totally carry Connecticut.

John Edwards: In a “who won?” sort of analysis, I think Edwards did the best, taking his seemingly-polite-but-really-a-little-bit-smarmy shots at the two in front of him, Hillary and Obama. I get the feeling that this guy has waltzed through life on the basis of his smile and hair (indeed I don’t hold the $400 haircut against him; it was savvy to invest in what is clearly one of his best assets.) But the more I see of him, the more I start to see this little bit of smug smarm, a lot like the stuff Bush oozes. With Edwards it isn’t coated over with hubris and arrogance; rather he couches it in fake humility. But still. On the other hand, Clinton the husband had a ton of it, and it served him well.

Mike Gravel: Glad he’s around. Unlike the Reps, this field isn’t loaded with comic relief. Gravel seems like a sincere and decent guy, but he’s so far out of the mainstream that he couldn’t win even if he could somehow raise enough money and get his name out there to the point where even people who don’t watch the debates know who he is. (Tell the truth: did YOU know who he was before reading this post?)

Dennis Kucinich: Nice earnest guy, passionate in his positions, and apparently well-liked by the others. But he’s too short and too far to the left for the country, and besides we’ll never elect a vegetarian. He’s the peace, love and understanding candidate, 35 years too late. Ani DiFranco likes him, but then she’s pretty short too.

Barak Obama: I think he has a problem. In the debate format, he comes off seeming very much like the other candidates. Only with a lot less experience. Whereas his appeal on the campaign trail is all rock star buzz, charisma, and differentiation. This is a guy who comes off way better in rolled-up shirtsleeves, working a room with a hand-held mic, than he does sitting still in suit and tie, next to 6 other suits and one pants suit. I suspect that the rock star appeal will wear off, and he’s going to have a hard time staying ahead of Edwards.

Bill Richardson: Making the fundamental mistake of believing that a great resume is sufficient to put him into serious consideration. And like it or not he’s going to get stuck as the immigration candidate, because he’s Mexican and governor of a border state.

Posted by: --josh-- @ 10:50 AM  2 comments

Its June!
Saturday, June 02, 2007
I appear to have missed May altogether. How scandalous!

Keep those cards and letters coming.

How about them national politica, huh? Could you imagine if Hillary ran against Rudy G? To quote Davis Letterman the first time Rudy ran for mayor, "Its a shame they both can't lose."

See you all soon.

Posted by: --josh-- @ 10:01 PM  0 comments

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