Repeat after me...

Five hundred. As in POINT 500:


The Cardinals will try to reach that magical, mythical level tonight against the Stros. For those keeping score at home, STL hasn't been at (or above) .500 since April 16. It's hard to believe that we're still in this crawl to the finish in the N.L. Central, that we've still got meaningful work to do as we near September. Much like last year, the credit goes to the young'uns for keeping us going when it matters most. Here's to you, Ryan Ludwick (above), Yadi Molina, Brendan Ryan, Rick Ankiel, and ye who possesses a truly nasty knee buckler, Adam Wainwright.


10 random thoughts on a boring Friday afternoon

1) It's really difficult to stay awake post-lunch when you're working on a spreadsheet. Try it sometime.

2) Research is well underway on my new mix, HORNS!, which I hope to have completed before the end of September. You will want to own this mix. It will be guaranteed to fill the dance floor every time you put it on.

3) For the longest time I've been looking for something representative of Sweden's psych scene circa the early 1970s. I've heard International Harvester/Parsson Sound, but they are too proggy. I've been searching for something more song-oriented, and I've found it in Pugh Rogefeldt. I've got his first two records now, and they're fucking tops. It's easy to see how Dungen was influenced by this dude. Unfortunately, he will not be featured on HORNS!.

4) I still like tennis, but my twisted ankle has prohibited me from playing for a couple weeks. I think that's going to change this weekend.

5) HBO has canceled John From Cincinnati. After sticking with it for the entire first season -- I'm one of the few to have done so -- I have to say I won't miss it one bit.

6) Flight of the Concords, however, is another story. HBO better keep it on for a second season. There's not much reason to watch HBO other than it, and Big Love, which has avoided the dreaded sophomore slump. Nothing tops AMC's Mad Men, though. It's spectacular.

7) The Cards could actually be in first place after this weekend if everything breaks their way. How fucking weird would that be, considering that this team has been littered with walking dead for weeks now.

8) The Illini are supposedly making a decision on Jamar Smith by the start of the semester. Reporters are saying he will either be suspended for a handful of games and then allowed to play this year, or he will be asked to redshirt this season (which sucks, I suppose, but allows him to maintain an additional year's worth of eligibility). Being booted from school/the team is apparently not an option. I'm still a bit baffled by the school's handling of this entire situation, but I'll reserve further comment until the verdict is made public.

9) I briefly got my hopes up for a Jens Lekman show at The Highdive, which I had heard was "in the works." Ain't gonna happen. It's sad when the last show I was excited about in this town was Jose Gonzalez (that's not the bad part) at the Courtyard Cafe (that is) almost three months ago. Whatever happened to the mildly intriguing stream of concerts we used to get in Champaign-Urbana? Why have the priorities of our local promoters shifted to bringing in run-of-the-mill indie crap and repeat performances from shit bands? No one gives a fuck about raising the standard if it doesn't have an immediate impact on the bottom line. I seriously wonder how much the lack of good concerts in this town has contributed to my lazy music-mindedness over the past year or so.

10) M and I are planning a trip to NYC in October. If it goes through, it will be my first time spending significant time in the Big Apple ... ever. How the hell did I make it to 30 years old (fuck, almost 31) and never really visit NYC?


Welcome back, kid

It's been too long.


His boots were made for walking...

Lee Hazlewood

He is known to some -- if at all -- as the man who penned Nancy Sinatra's smash hit "These Boots Are Made for Walking". But Hazlewood is so much more than that minor entry in pop country's history. First of all, he also penned and sang "Some Velvet Morning" with Sinatra. Second, his pegging as a country artist is at times unfair. His roots are there, but he was always more a fringe artist, one of the first alt-country acts, if you will. He first broke Duane Eddy and his twangy guitar, then launched a lengthy career in the '60s as an iconic producer/songwriter. It's his own catalogue of albums, however, that garnered my interest a few years ago when Smells Like Records reissued several of his 1960s and '70s releases. Hazlewood's lyrical Americana pastiche and dry baritone voice make for quite a pairing. Plus, the man simply knows how to write a memorable hook, whether he's dabbling in roots country, AM pop-rock, or swinging horns-drenched pseudo-lounge. Your record collection will be better off with at least a couple of his albums included. Unfortunately, there is no career-spanning "best of" album for Hazlewood, something that hopefully will happen in death. So many of his best albums were long out of print, and sadly are close to returning to that state. Hopefully, Smells Like will re-release A Cowboy in Sweeden, as that's the one record I didn't get (and can not afford to drop $75 on).For more on Lee, read this.

I'll close with a suitable tribute in song.

Lee Hazlewood – "I'll Live Yesterdays"