16 April 2007

Love You 42 Times

Monday means it's time to play ball. While it's still in play, I would like to extend my hand to any living relative of Jackie Robinson and offer you the opportunity to bat one through nine in the Cubs lineup this spring. Make sure you bring a glove.

The story du jour is everybody's favorite tabloid topic -- school shootings. The Va Tech shooting left 33 dead in a tragic event that raised the casualty bar from previous shootings in Colorado and Texas. This storyline surfaces once every few years, and people blame gun control, religion, video games and/or any other blame peg to hang their pseudo-psychological arguments on. When the report was Virginia Tech, the only broken figure that would be capable of such a thing that easily came to mind was Marcus Vick based upon his previous record in Blacksburg, but those reports were not the case.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is expected to admit that he screwed up in the firing of U.S. attorneys in front of an attentive Congressional audience. He is also expected to tow the party line and explain that the firings were NOT politically motivated but the orders did come from the White House. It doesn't take a pencil to connect the dots, and even if you connected the dots, the outline would be a giant, steaming pile of horse manure.

Jose Padilla goes on trial this week after five years in solitary confinement without charges being filed. After all of the torture and Constitutional tango described in an L.A. Times article, the former Chicago gang member will face reduced charges. This is the smoke-and-mirrors proof that USAPATRIOT Act is working for...somebody other than Jose, apparently.

The NY Times features a story on illegal immigrants filing tax returns before the impending deadline, which should be helpful information for Roger Federer and Zinedine Zidane if they forgot their green cards. It should be on Bill O'Reilly's talking points like yesterday.

Sports Sunday celebrated Jackie Robinson's breaking of the color barrier with memorials around the country and 14 hours of prerecorded features that covered up for the dearth of footage based on multiple rain outs. Chicago also won the competition to be the American bid for the 2016, proving for the fiftieth time why Chicago is great and Los Angeles is a pit.

In another tragic loss to the creative community, New York free jazz spot Tonic closed its doors for good Friday after a pile of musicians including John Zorn, Marc Ribot, DJ Spinoza and Matthew Shipp were among the many played through the wreckers coming in to tear the club down. Places like this need to exist so that real art can be produced, the kind that isn't designed by boardrooms full of M.B.A.s, lawyers and pimps but rather by dynamic, organically realized music that is new and stretches your imagination to places that it couldn't conceptualize over and over, finding music that speaks to you without words. Great music so rarely happens in Madison Square Garden but is always happening in little out of the way places like the Hideout (great shows this Tuesday, Friday and Saturday)and Elastic (great shows this Tuesday and Thursday), and these shows require support from crowds more so than do the big venues and the A&R man driving the Mercedes S-Class. (I'm jumping down from the soap box now, but please please support independent music. Ornette Coleman just won a Pulitzer for music, so I do have some hope.)

Finally, Hawaiian music legend Don Ho died over the weekend. Put on your favorite loud shirt and sing along to some of the favorites in memoriam.

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