Dental emergency

I was rudely shocked out of my shower reverie last evening by a sharp rapping on my bedroom door.

“Hang on!” I shouted above the noise of water and steam.

Stepping out into the living hall, I see my sister resting her head on one hand and very green around the gills.

“I need to get to a dentist. My tooth is killing me,” she managed in between bouts of stabbing pain.

I could hardly get into my clothes quick enough. Locking the doors at breakneck speed, I drove her recklessly around our the neighborhood looking for a dentist that was still open on a Saturday evening.

Thankfully there was one. No if’s or but’s. She would have paid a king’s ransom to get rid of the pain and she did. We will probably look back on this in a couple of weeks and laugh.    

Buffalo Tom – redux

Some people do not know when to stop. Endowed with a seemingly endless reserve of shamelessness, they trudge out the same crap year in year out, saggy asses in tow and a truckload of botox to show for their efforts. Yes. Rolling Stones, I am talking about you. Give it up Dinosaurs!

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Formed in the mid 80’s Bostonians melodic rockers, Buffalo Tom, made 6 critically acclaimed albums before putting the band into cold storage. There was never any official word on the fate of the band and the name slipped through the cracks of our collective musical memory. At the tail end of their tenure 2 compilations of A-sides and B-sides respectively served as footnotes to a career marred by lukewarm public interest.

But the general music-appreciating public is moronic. How do you explain the exorbitant price of a Rolling Stones concert ticket and their fans’ willingness to part with hard-earned cash for said ticket? The same people also exalt the vocal capabilities of Mariah Carey who, to these ears, sounds like a banshee slowly being strangled.

Being revered by a small group of pop-geeks have never translated into any sustainable income for anybody no matter how great they are. And Buffalo Tom is great. Bringing together raunchy, guitar-propelled rock with an uncanny ear for sumptuously skeletal melodic hooks, they are a cross between the Replacements and Husker Du, the veritable twin prongs of 80’s American indie rock. In Bill Janovitz, the band has a hopeless romantic of a song writer who never shies away from wearing his fragile heart on his sleeves.

I’ve hit the wall
I’m about to fall
But I’m closing in on it
I feel so weak
On a losing streak
Watch my taillights fade to black

In lesser hands all this crying-into-beer stuff would sound stupid but with Janovitz’s cracking voice, the words take on an added dimension of pathos. Ably supported by bassist Chris Colbourn and drummer Tom Maginnis, they created some heart-felt and ultimately life-reaffirming power rock in their heydays.

After 9 years, they are back and the world is a better place for it. l_c552b03bb2baf60744d880347f22aaf7“Three Easy Pieces” is the name of a collection of 13 new Buffalo Tom songs and more often than not, they hit the spot and then some. I would hazard a guess that they have finally created their masterpiece and you can sing and play air guitar to it too. I guess they had all the time on their hands to write these gems and that’s just what they are, no more no less. In a few tracks they have anthems fit for some smallish nations (take a bow, ‘Three Easy Pieces’, ‘CC & Callas’, and ‘September Shirt’). The sound has not dated an iota and in the current atmosphere of A & R-manufactured pap panned off as alternative music, a much needed breathe of fresh air akin to opening a window in a roomful of rotting vegetables.

Rolling Stones could learn a thing or two from these guys.

Pussy of death

Figure 1
From this artsy rendition you would never guess anything out of the ordinary about this kitty. However Oscar the cat would beg to differ. Residents at a nursing home in Rhode Island would probably tremble at the sight of the cat curling up anywhere near them, as the little fellow seems to have an unerring ability to pick up on the scent of death. Whoever he cuddles up to will end up being worm food within a few hours. After each visitation, he would slink off with a self-satisfied air, leaving families to grieve over their dearly departed. His judgment is so accurate that the staff has taken to informing immediate family about the imminent loss as soon as Oscar makes an appearance beside any patient. Another reason why I hate cats.

Stumbleupon limits number of blog entries

A lot of well-known bloggers will suggest submitting your posts to social content websites like digg, reddit and stumbleupon in a bid to increase traffic to your blog. However they never mention that there is a limit that these sites will take from a single source. After hammering my head against the wall for the past 2 days trying to submit one of my post to stumbleupon, I finally decided to ask about it in the help forum there.

We have a limit in place that prevents multiple posting from a single source. Having reviewed your pages, I consider it likely that you are encountering this limit.

One link to your blog, with a really great review, is what you need to get people to go visit it. Fill your pages with mirrored posts from your blog and you’ll actually find that it is more likely to work against you.

The most established, most visited pages here tend to be those which present variety to their visitors, and that is precisely what this limit is designed to encourage: variety. It also acts, incidentally, as a deterrent to spammers and commercial sites who might otherwise replicate their blogs (or business catalogs) on to the pages of SU.

So now I know.

Travels in the Scriptorium – Paul Auster

n191564 Laboring under an unwieldy title, the latest book from Paul Auster plods along aimlessly with a listless and muddled plotline. Basically it concerns itself with one Mr. Blank who mysteriously finds himself in a room and without any knowledge of how he got there. During his entire stay there, we are informed that he is being observed 24/7 by a camera taking still photos of him every few seconds. To what end this endeavor serves is never made clear.

Various characters are trudged onto the scene ostensibly to interact with the main protagonist but their backgrounds are equally mysterious. All of them are supposedly people from Mr. Blank’s past and who have somehow been wronged by him. Under what circumstances these crimes were committed are anyone’s guess.

Clocking in at 130 pages, this is a slim undertaking by Mr. Auster. Sadly the end does not arrive soon enough. Tight story telling has always been this author’s forte judging from his previous outings. In a misguided attempt to push the literary envelope, Auster stumbles and ultimately irks the reader into fits of abject frustration. Consider this a miss.

Potter mania in the tropics

Despite 4 major retail outlets’ decision not to stock “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, fans came out in droves to get their hands on the boy-wizard’s swansong elsewhere. Many expressed dismay over the big retailers’ apparent lack of concern for the common-man’s perpetual strapped-for-cash plight. When hypermarkets Tesco and Carrefour decided to bring some welcome relief by slashing the price by almost half, the big boys pouted and stamped their feet.

When I walked into one such outlet yesterday morning, things were extremely quiet with a touch of unease amongst the employees. The Harry Potter cardboard rack looked on accusingly sans the offending tome though it was well stocked with older books in the saga.

I have never read a single Potter book and don’t plan to in the near future. Be that as it may, I dare say that this price war episode may be infintely more interesting than anything originating from JK Rowling’s fevered imagination.

More coverage here.

Update : Read views from various people on the topic.

Harry Potter and the deadly price war

What a farce! Woke up this morning to the news that the much anticipated final book in the Harry Potter series will not be on sale after all in the outlets of the local major book franchises of MPH, Popular, Times and Harris. The reason is purely monetary. Putting aside their rivalry for once, they have banded together against hypermarkets Tesco and Carrefour, who decided to cash in on the Potter madness by slashing the price of the book by half at their respective outlets.

This begs the question; how much does it really cost to glue together a whole bunch of paper, some cardboard and then to print some ink on the resultant product? Probably a lot less than the asking price of what stands as the final book. Sure J K Rowling has to be paid and so do her editor and publisher. The guys manning the printing machines have to feed their families. Even then I find the price exorbitant and where the hell is the paper back edition? Why do you think the soft cover versions of most books usually takes about a year to appear after their hard cover counterparts?

For once let the common man (or children) enjoy some relief from the shearing heat of greed emanating from the corporate ivory towers. More power to the hypermarkets!