Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day 

Bust out the white pants—it's summer.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Tangled Up In Blue 

Bob Dylan turned 64 years old this past Tuesday, and I celebrated by listening to Highway 61 Revisited (his best album, if anyone's asking my opinion), New Morning, and a few other Bobby tracks on the Rock City iPod.

I also read a few more pages of his 2004 autobiography Chronicles, Volume One, which I finally got around to cracking open recently. I've been slowly savoring every page—the events, people, and places he chooses to describe often seem like odd choices, but they never fail to be interesting. His prose is infused with as much humor and wit as you could imagine. A thoroughly enjoyable reading experience.

In the chapter where he details the writing of the songs for his 1989 album Oh Mercy—a key CD of my senior year of high school, and my favorite post-Blood On The Tracks Bob record—he explains that he wrote additional verses for many of those songs, with lyrics that were never recorded. Had to smile when I read this unused verse from "Everything Is Broken": "Broken strands of prairie grass/Broken magnifying glass/I visited the orphanage and rode upon the broken bridge/I'm crossin' the river goin' to Hoboken/Maybe over there, things ain't broken." He notes that this was an attempt at adding some optimism to an otherwise bleak, if somewhat humorous song. In the end, that verse just didn't work in the song, I guess. Nice to know he thinks of our town in a positive light.

A cool way to wish the man a Happy Bobday would be to head just north of the border (that's the Jersey border, of course) and catch the Warwick Valley Winery's Dylan Tribute this weekend. A plethora of folk or folk-leaning artists are performing there Saturday, Sunday, and Monday between noon and 6 p.m. Plus, this: wine. And no, I am not drinkin' any Merlot!

Apparently it's all-Dylan, all-day, so those who love Bob but tend to be bored by the legions of sensitive singer/songwriters he "inspired" over the years don't have to suffer through set after set of well-intentioned but ultimately unimpressive originals. Sunday's lineup includes some folk faves whose original material is inspiring, which is nice to know even if they won't be playing any of it that day: John Gorka of "I'm From New Jersey" fame, as well as my friends Dave's True Story. Seeing DTS unleash their special all-Bob set is a unique opportunity, and one I wouldn't miss if I only had a car.

Friday, May 13, 2005

My 6th Anniversary Of Rock & Roll - Saturday 

This Saturday night marks six years to the day since my first DJ gig. It's also my last gig in Hoboken before those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. Come on down to The Goldhawk from 10 p.m. on to satisfy that rock & roll jones. It'll be the usual show, but I plan to sprinkle in some of the most-played songs from my first half-dozen years of spinning. Truly a night when we're gonna party like it's 1999.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Runoff Redux 

In further proof that I have no idea what I'm talking about, it turns out there is a runoff election in the council race. It'll be a direct match-up of Roberts' and Marsh's slates for the three at-large seats.

I'm listening to Bruce's "Downbound Train" and it seems eerily apropos somehow. There's a joke here somewhere and it's on me.

It's A Runoff 

As expected, it's Roberts vs. Marsh.

Not that you should necessarily believe me, but the percentile breakdowns were almost exactly what I thought they would be. With 30 of 36 precincts reporting (wtf is going on in the missing six?), it's Roberts 37%, Marsh 29%, Raia 19%, Russo 11%, Smith 3%. When I handicapped the race in my head the night before, I actually had Roberts at 40, Marsh 29 (I swear), Raia 16, Russo 13, Smith 2. Maybe I'm more plugged in than I realize.

Now we get to do this all over again on Flag Day. Super.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Carol Marsh For Mayor 

Four years ago, David Roberts was the obvious choice against the egregiously corrupt two-term Mayor Anthony Russo, but what a difference four years makes. I voted for Roberts last time, and he hasn't been a disaster as mayor, but I do think his opposition to last year's anti-pay-to-play ballot initiative that limits the ability of local lawmakers to award valuable contracts to their political contributors, as well as his campaign's reliance on enormous donations from developers, call his motives into question.

Frank "Pupie" Raia had the best TV commercials, but he never presented any convincing reason as to why anyone should vote for him. Sure, he talked a lot about how bad the parking situation is in town, but we all know how bad the parking situation is. His nickname a child's word for a bowel movement—I know that's not where the nickname comes from, but you know what, it doesn't matter. Plus, his election would mean a local pronunciation disaster: do you want to live in a town presided over by a Mayuh Rayuh? I don't.

Evelyn Smith has been active in the community for some time, and she gets credit for being the first African-American to run for mayor of this town, but her pit bull once bit and severely injured a Weehawken woman, and Smith's fight to save the guilty dog was awfully offensive. Under most circumstances, I think you should be able to have whatever pet you want to have, but you lose that right when your pet mauls someone. Sorry, you just do.

You can't tell me Mike Russo's candidacy is anything but a stick in Roberts' eye. The 29-year-old councilman and son of the convicted former mayor can't seriously think he has any chance of winning, but he will get enough support from "old Hoboken" to make things interesting.

Which brings us to Carol Marsh, a councilwoman who previously ran on Roberts' ticket here in Hoboken, where municipal elections are ostensibly non-partisan. (In other words, you can't call yourself a Democrat, Republican, Green, Libertarian, etc.) I'm not sure if she's been the strongest voice on the council—I'm not saying she hasn't been, I'm saying I don't know, because I'm too busy with my non-stop rock & roll jet set lifestyle to go to the damn meetings. Bid-ump-bump. But she took the right stances on development, the town's master plan, the out-of-control city budget, and pay-to-play. Some try to paint her as a newcomer in this town where "born and raised" means a lot, but she's been here for 20 years, and that's plenty long enough to know what's going on. I'm troubled by her attempted outreach to Christie Whitman, but despite that transgression, Marsh seems like the most sensible and progressive candidate in the race.

Of course, all this is probably academic, since city law dictates that if no candidate gets 50 percent or more of the vote in the mayoral election, the top two vote-getters compete in a one-on-one June runoff election. With five horses in the race, I doubt very much that we'll see a new mayor of Hoboken elected tonight. So it's all about getting out the vote today—you don't have to win, you just have to not come in lower than second.

There are also approximately 461 candidates running for three at-large spots on the council, and there's no runoff election in that race—the top three get in, plain and simple. It's too confusing a race for me to handicap or endorse, but each of the mayoral hopefuls has a slate, and there are some independents vying for those spots as well.

So, get out there and vote. Here's The Times' slightly patronizing take on it all. If you're not sure where to go, find yer polling place here. The joints are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. I doubt Roberts will pull the old Russo trick and block off Washington Street at random intervals during the evening rush in an attempt to prevent busloads of commuters from making it to the voting booths—but you never know, so I'd get there early if I were you. This is Hudson County, after all. But that's why we love it.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

You Take It On Faith, You Take It To The Heart 

Sorry to announce that the show/podcast/whatever is on hiatus. It's not that after nine straight weeks of having a new show up every Wednesday I'm not still having a blast with it—I am. I'm simply too busy. Work has been busier than usual, I have some exciting freelance writing projects which I'm excited to tell you all about but I need to finish first, and life in general has just been bananas.

All nine shows are still here online, at least for now. Download them from the home page, check out the set lists on the playlists page, and listen. With a little luck and more time, I hope to start doing new shows again in June.

Now is also probably as good a time as any to mention that I clearly was delusional when I posted recently that I would be dissecting the issues facing Hoboken in next Tuesday's mayor and council election. That's something I'd love to be able to do but, again, time won't let me. It feels like such a missed opportunity for me, but I haven't had time to go to council meetings or debates. I haven't examined the issues with the kind of detail I'd want to in order to talk about them without sounding like a jackass.

I've kept up with what passes for the local media, and the mountain of campaign "literature" that arrives in the mail literally every day, and I will probably chime in before Tuesday with a quick and poorly explained endorsement, but I'm just not up to offering a comprehensive analysis of our town's political situation. Which is a damn shame, because it's important. I wish I could do for Hoboken what Tris McCall is doing for Jersey City. I'm sorry, but there just aren't enough hours in my day right now.

This has been a wild year so far, and we're only a third of the way in. I've accomplished a lot and done some things I never thought I'd get to do, but there have been valleys along with the peaks. My attitude is positive, but the old curse applies: "May you live in interesting times." Stay tuned.

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