Wednesday, February 23, 2005

and what that means, I don't know

Just listened to some of the new Doves album... my reaction was a decided meh. Deflating, because there was a time when their Lost Souls album was playing from start to finish on my stereo, constantly. Every once in a while, you find a perfectly crafted album, not necessarily filled with radio-friendly hits, but just so well put together that it truly flows. Lost Souls is like that, so fluid that I've often thought to myself, shouldn't I be in a drunken or drug-induced stupor to get the full experience of listening to this?.

McSweeney's has a great little essay about U2's One Tree Hill. I like what it gets at, the experience of listening to a song, and momentarily feeling as though it completely encapsulates your life and has been written specifically for you. My most vivid recollection of such a song, such a moment, goes back to my teens, listening to The Replacements I'll be you. Man, that song still brings about all the ennui of my youth, of growing up in suburbia, the memory of feeling displaced in a place where I was born and raised. Feeling simultaneously a sense of urgency that things had to change and a sense that I was too young, too dumb, too naive to really change anything. Immaturity contributing to the discomfort of my own skin, yearning to be someone else, if only for a minute. It was all there in that song, in Westerberg's voice grinding like a blender filled with anger and weariness. He was my partner in crime, the one that understood, the one elbowing me in the ribs, saying:
If it's a temporary lull
Why'm I bored right out of my skull?
If only someone had grabbed my hand then and said hurry up, we're running in our last race. As it turned out, Westerberg just gave me a soundtrack, and I did it by myself, but in the way I do things. Running without looking towards the horizon. Running smack into walls.

But hey, I don't live in the boondocks anymore, so if I'm going to brood about something, this should not be the topic du jour.

I know I should probably leave this to people who understand the technical aspects of this better than I do, but I just can't help myself. The NYT had an absolutely beautifully written piece yesterday on a star that decided to get the f*** out of dodge. The piece is teeming with metaphors designed to make the story more digestible to your average moron like me. Usually, I find this condescending, but I couldn't begrudge the writer in this case, because it reminded me of one of my eccentric science professors in college trying to explain something truly abstract. This is the first star that's ever been detected leaving our galaxy, supposedly. But then Overbye starts writing about a hypothesis regarding a black hole, and it's the kind of thing that makes a nerd like me giddy:
"The outcast star's trail, the astronomers say, leads straight back to the center of the galaxy, where, astronomers have long suspected, there dwells a giant black hole, several million solar masses worth of gravitational oblivion, gobbling all that comes its way.

In the fullness of cosmic time, if the universe keeps expanding, many of the stars in the Milky Way, or their burned-out cinders, will eventually feed this beast, cosmologists say. But under certain circumstances a star can be diverted at high speed from a close miss with a black hole, like a stone in a slingshot, according to a calculation by Dr. Jack Hills of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1988.

If a pair of stars orbiting each other pass close to a black hole, enormous tidal forces could rip the two apart, sending one into the maw and the other out into space with renewed vigor."
Ever since I read that, I started to feel a little sorry for the poor star, the poor widower. The star lost its partner and was banished from the Milky Way all at once, the poor dude. And yes, I call everything and everyone dude. Blame it on California, DUDE.

In other news, I'd just like to voice my support for Maddox's attack on the drones who have contributed to the increase in Pinot Noir sales. Thanks, jerks, you've ruined a perfectly decent wine for the rest of us. Why do I suspect I won't be able to order a glass or bottle of pinot for here on out without someone asking "Have you seen Sideways?" And for the record- there's nothing wrong with a good merlot.

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