I finally got around to downloading Radiohead's new album, "In Rainbows". Radiohead made news with it more in its marketing than in its musical qualities; under a "pay what you want" structure to download, the vast majority opted to pay the princely sum of $0.00, as did I. They think they are smarter than capitalism; I'll grant, they might be richer than capitalism, so to speak, and have precious little need for actual profits from their latest release. A stunt like this only works when your band is filthy rich and can effortlessly restock its coffers by a quick tour at will.
I may try that next time I sell a car in the newspaper; using the Radiohead model, I will say, the car will be sold to the first person that offers me a price, from zero dollars on up.
Anyway, putting aside their infantile attempts to make political statements via really abysmal mathematics, the music is what I would call the best Radiohead since the 90s. Now, don't take that to mean more than it does. With Kid A, I was an enthusiastic fan and I tried to like it more than I probably did. With Amnesiac, I was a sympathetic listener, again trying to like it, but not trying so hard...it didn't meet me half way. With Hail to the Thief, which was painfully comic in its unironic, uninspired, and deadeningly flat title, I washed my hands of them...the band was descending into unmusical mediocrity.
This one seems to be significantly better...as if the band remembered it was a band and not a bunch of guys who stand around while Thom Yorke squeals out shallow poetry over his beatbox. One of the songs, forgive me I don't know which one, struck me as having a surprising amount of chordal complexity, with a wash of discordant piano layered over the main riff, very similar to a couple songs on Chris Squire's "Fish Out of Water". It still is much simpler than a true progressive rock sound, but there is more meat to dig into, as a musician, than the previously mentioned sparse moonscapes of third rate half-spoken, half-squealed verses about the Evil Don Rumsfeld or whatnot. I haven't really listened to the lyrics on this one, and honestly I don't really need to because there is actual MUSIC to pay attention to.
Anyway, I smoked a meatloaf (no, not the Meat Loaf, a meatloaf) on Monday night, as the freezing rain was coming down. I can't remember all the components, but it was basically a pound of beef and a pound of Italian sausage, with a good deal of seasonings and the usual components (eggs, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper). I smoked it for 2 1/2 hours, and then let it finish in the oven til well over the safe internal temperature. I've never been a big fan of meatloaf, but sandwiches made with this and a bit of BBQ sauce are very good. The hickory smoke adds quite a bit to it, I think.
Lastly, a hats-off, kudos, and all around standing ovation for Jeanne Assam. She was the church volunteer security worker in Colorado that stopped Matthew Murray from using more than a fraction of a percent of the ammunition he was hoping to expend killing innocents (he had a rifle, two handguns, and 1000 rds of ammunition). It is tragic that he was able to kill as many as he did, but with him walking into a church of 7000, she prevented the loss of many, many more lives. It was interesting that after he was shot six times by Assam, he chose to off himself. I suppose the humiliation of being thwarted (by a civilian woman, at that) was too much and he wanted to use what little control he had left to take his own life. Also interesting that in his writings he stated that Christians are responsible for most of the wrongs of the world. Sounds peculiarly similar to the position of half of my liberal arts professors at UMKC. Of course, that doesn't mean any further similarity, any more than Bin Laden's copious use of Democrat talking points during the 2004 election means that the Democrats are terrorists.
I'm getting off track; just wanted to send out a cheer for the sheepdog that protected the sheep from the wolves. Many times sheep can't see any difference between wolves and sheepdogs, as they both have sharp teeth, but times like this the difference is immensely clear. And thank God the sheepdog in this case was not muzzled, so to speak. And I seem to have fallen into a huge vat of unexplained metaphors; they are not my own, if you need clarification, read this excellent piece by Dave Grossman: