Archive for the ‘Michele Obama’ Category


I was anticipating watching Forsyth at the end of last year but the show sold out on me.  (Note: he is playing nearby this Friday).

I heard about him from a stellar Tiny Desk Concert and was totally psyched to hear this four-song full length album.

The disc opens with the 11 minute History & Science-Fiction that starts with a slow bass line and lots of percussion.  After a short intro the guitar comes in with whammy bar’d chords.  It resolves into a really catchy “chorus” and then a slow down that reminds me of a softer “Marquee Moon.”  But instead of turning into a rocking solo section, it totally mellows out, with keyboards and cymbals and a pretty guitar melody.  It slowly builds out of that by switching from organ to sax.

“Have We Mistaken the Bottle for the Whiskey Inside” is the only song with words.  Of the four it’s my least favorite, but that’s only because I like his guitar playing better than his singing.  It’s a fairly simple riff–kind of Crazy Horse-ish with Forsyth’s deep spoken-singing asking the title question.  After about 3 and a half minutes, the song starts to pick up speed and turns into a huge freak out of noise and chaos. 
“Dreaming in the Non-Dream” begins as a simple picked guitar line repeating.  Throw in some a steady drum beat and some buzzy synths and the song starts to build. And then Forsyth’s soloing makes an appearance.  At first he is just playing harmony notes alongside the lower notes but at the 2 minute mark, the full throttle wah-wah guitar soloing takes off (the backing guitar also throws in some cool wah-wah, too).  And the song runs as a full instrumental for over 15 glorious minutes.  But it is not just a 15 minute guitar solo.  The whole band gets involved–the rest of the band is fully present and there’s a synth solo.  But it’s all within that catchy melody line.  Fifteen minutes never went by so fast.
 “Two Minutes Love” is a beautiful two-minute song.  Gentle guitars interweaving over lush bass lines and twining with the other guitar.  It’s a nice delicate end to that spiraling CD.

[READ: December 27, 2017] Obama: An Intimate Portrait

Sarah got me this book for Christmas and it is awesome.  I wanted to spend 2018 looking forward, getting past the dumpster fire of 2017 and hoping we can move past what we are bogged down with.  #ITMFA #RESIST

But this book was just an amazing look back and something that gives me hope that we can move forward past what we have now.

Pete Souza is a tremendous photographer and this collection offers amazing access to a President who was full of gravitas and thoughtfulness.

We were concerned that reading this would be too depressing given the State of our country and the Embarrassment in Chief.  And in some ways it was depressing.  But in many ways it was what it was intended to be: inspirational.

It’s hard to believe that before our Chief Idiot was bumbling his way through life and giving literally zero thought to anything except his own ego, we as a country had 8 years of a leader who, these pictures show, put serious thought and concern into (almost) everything he did.  Obama was never quick to do anything–he was often mocked for his slow speech patterns–but this is a job where rushing to judgment never does anyone any good.  And you can see the pressures of the world weighing on him.

But this book is not all about pressure.  There are delightful moments of joy–with his daughters, with delightful citizens, with staff and of course with Michele. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: SHARON VAN ETTEN-Tiny Desk Concert #91 (November 14, 2010).

I was introduced to Sharon Van Etten via NPR’s All Songs Considered, so it’s no surprise that they would have her on a Tiny Desk Concert as well.  I loved her song, “Save Yourself” more than I could imagine.  There was something about the way the intensity built and built that really blew me away.  The rest of her album is really enjoyable, but it has less intensity. It’s almost like an acoustic album.

So it’s funny that I find her Tiny Desk show mildly disappointing because it is also an acoustic set. In fact, it is just her and her guitar (and her singing partner who sings wonderful harmonies).

Okay, I shouldn’t really say disappointed because the set is quote good.  Her guitar laying is fine and her voice, he unique and slightly unsettling voice is in fine form here.  There’s just something about the stripped down nature that takes away that extra sparkle that I really love about the disc.  I imagine that if I hadn’t heard the whole CD first, I would have been blown away by this live recording.

The four songs (“Peace Signs,” “Save Yourself,” “One Day,” “For You”) are all from Epic, and they’re all really good.  It’s a nice accompaniment to the album, but I think the album is a bit better.

[READ: December 13, 2010] I Live Real Close to Where You Used to Live

Back in early 2009, McSweeney’s published Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country: Kids’ Letters to President Obama as a friendly kick off to the President’s new term. We’re now at the end of the second year of that term and the “Have Fun” part seems to be rather unlikely.  But just in time for the rise of Boehner, McSweeney’s has published this companion piece, letters to the rest of the Obama family.  And it is just as sweet, clever and at times odd as the first.

The kids from 826 National in several cities were asked to write letters to the first family.  It’s interesting to see how the different regions ask different questions, but perhaps more interesting is how some things seem to resonate no matter where the kids are from.  Two kids ask about Pokémon Black and White (this must be the hot new game).  Several kids ask how many rooms there are in the White House.  Naturally, several ask about her garden (what she has in it or what kind of fruits and veggies she likes).

But the most fun is the advice the kids give.  My favorite is the girl who says that her aunt thinks Mrs Obama should have one more child (but only if she wants to).

Sadder are the children who are clearly having a rough time.  One child talks about her parents’ separation, and another’s entire letter is: “Can you help my family? We’re about to lose our house. Make the world a better place. What is your favorite food?”  It must be tough to be a prominent person who clearly wants to help yet who is for the most part, impotent to do anything.

And for me that has to be the hardest part about writing to the first lady.  She has no clear “role.”  She’s a public figure and she advocates for good, but she can’t really “do” anything.  And that has to be hard to grasp.  Although judging by what the kids say, maybe they have no problem with it. (more…)

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