Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Bono Knows Helms Ain't Dead

As reported here earlier
Jesse Helms is not dead despite what Spin magazine and Bill O'Reilly say. I wonder if Jesse has listened to the new U2 Cd that Bono sent him? Fascinating. | B City & State: "Reports of his death might be a tad exaggerated


Does 'Spin,' the monthly music magazine, know something the rest of us don't?

In its December issue, Spin has a cover story about the rock band U2 and its star Bono.

It notes that Bono has been active in the war against AIDS and has teamed up with some famous people including 'the late ultra-right wing North Carolina senator Jesse Helms.'

Asked about the report Monday, Helms quipped: 'I agree with Mark Twain. Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.'

The mistake was certainly not Bono's.

The rocker recently sent Helms a note and a copy of his new CD, 'How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.'"

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


editDSC07348, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

Dang electrical plug in the background...I'll have to fix this one...


editDSC07309, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

I'm not sure about this guy....

Snow White

editDSC07352, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

Mirror mirror, on the wall...


editDSC07339, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

I'm so happy, my face is a blur!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Heated Race

Heated Race, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

Did you see what they did to my face?
And you thought we had a difficult presidential race.
Poison was the case.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Slowed to a crawl

Blogger is still slower than all get out, will try to get more posts on the way soon. I have a lot of new stuff to share, including those U2 tunes you can only get from iTunes. I love the internet, and dedicated U2 fans in particular.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The whole Blogger system has slowed to a crawl. Edits need to be made. ..


Tuesday, November 23, 2004

First Bomb Review by Watts

I have a 2 1/2 year old daughter, and I get that line in Miracle Drug, but it's just another of Bono's many twisted cliches that sometimes make me cringe. This album seems particularly loaded with them...
I'm a fan since Spring of '83, bought every album and CD on the day of release, so I couldn't help but download it as soon as I found it. It's the first time to listen without a CD booklet (or album cover!), but I think that helps me concentrate on the music more. In any case, I've listened to it 5-6 times and it is a good album, very much in the "All That"/"Electrical Storm" mode as opposed to the garage band "Vertigo" sound.
I like the hard-rocking U2, I just think they haven't mined this part of their sound as much as other parts (slow, driving, anthemic, bolero), so "Vertigo" really hit the spot for me. The rest of the album is still growing on me..."All Because of You" is rockin' and Bono gives a great Joan Jett-like "Yeeeeeah!!!" right before the guitar solo. Sweet! "Love and Peace or Else" is fantastic. There are great parts in just about every song, but there are also many cringe moments, times when I think "this sounds like a new Sting record". That is not good. But just when I think it sounds like Sting, or even Abba, the Edge sails in with some classic, unique guitar work and makes me happy again. Bono has many strong moments, although the new lyrics are more direct that I prefer, and other lyric ideas are all too familiar to U2 fanatics. It may yet be a classic, it needs more time to cook in my head, and that's a good thing.
The good: Many (3-4) top tier U2 songs, brilliant guitar, bass & drums, Bono's vocals soar at times, Edge-driven guitar parts
The bad: At times Bono is preachy and too full of himself (who...Bono? ;-), Not the rock album I've always wanted, your Mom will like many of these songs
I know you didn't want to hear from fans who prefer U2 in full rock mode, but I would prefer to hear U2 music less slickly produced, guitar bass & drums, ya know? I don't think U2 need all the bells & whistles (& strings & synth. etc.), I'd prefer a more raw sound (hard rockin' or not). But I've been saying that since Unforgettable Fire, so take that for what it's worth. Many tracks have a slightly more raw sound than anything in a long time...."Vertigo" rocks, I love it!! The rest of the album is deeper and will take time to grow. Right now I like it, still to early to place among my favorites but I imagine it will end up in my Top 5 U2 albums. That said, 4 years is too long guys...

blog:How to Dismantle an Album Review


Let me begin by admitting that I have lost any ability to hear U2 music with an open mind. I lost perspective from the "outside world" as U2 have been my favorite band for over 20 years. The internet has only made my U2 fascination deeper. That said, as a "big fan", I have expectations for what I would like to hear from U2, and through the years they have disarmed me many a time with sounds and songs I didn't expect. That's part of the appeal.
On this new album, as opposed to the 90's records, U2 sound like they are trying to get to the core of their sound. Tired of running from the old U2, this album marks the second step of U2 reclaiming their heritage. All That You Can't Leave Behind was the start, and the new album has more "body", more rockin' out and yes, more cringe-worthy Bono lyrics.
"All That" made me cry the first time I heard it (In a Little While), Atomic Bomb did not, so at first glance "All That" seemed superior. But that album wore a bit thin over time. I think HTDAAB may be more of a grower than "All That", and it has more full-on rockers. These two albums do sound like a set together. Part 3 surely awaits, hopefully sooner than later!
After listening to HTDAAB for a couple of weeks, it has really grown on me and it's certainly one of their best albums. Only time will tell, but I am sure that many songs on here are classics, and the rockin' nature of these songs is grounds for celebration in my part of the U2 fan-camp. Here's a song-by-song review:

Vertigo: Already reviewed on this site, a fantastic rocker, the "iPod song"? Yeah, well, at least it rocks!
Miracle Drug: Gets better with each listen, hopefully a single if just to get the ending guitar parts on the air. Bono really wants to get rid of his "romantic love" on this album, and listen for Edge singing a verse in the middle of the song...I like the talk of reason, science and heart repeated on other tracks as well...

Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own: Not your average tune, Bono goes from head in hands to arms wide open when he asks "Can you hear me when I sing?"

Love and Peace or Else-One of my very favorites, this song is like Depeche Mode meets Zeppelin, U2 does break new ground with this one, in a heavy zone that appeals to my inner rocker.

City of Blinding Lights- I have a love/hate relationship with this song. One of two songs on here that really have sub-par lyrics. The music in the intro and chorus is great but the verses are not the kind of music that attracts me to U2.

All Because of You- The Vertigo-like rocker is garage-band rock at its finest. Looks like the next single. Ahhhh, give me more like this!

A Man and A Woman- This one's for the ladies. Most out of place tune on here, it's really a jazz tune, well-done by U2, but would be better covered by Sade. Some questionable lyrics, but really a good tune if out of place here.

Crumbs From Your Table- Another great tune, classic Edge riff, sounds like it came from part of "Walk On", but hey, that's a good place to find a tune like this one.
One Step Closer- Harkens back to "Running to Stand Still" vibe, not one of the best songs on here, but fits the album well.

Original of the Species- OK track, some bad lyrics here, this and City of Blinding Lights seem like they developed down the wrong road.

Yahweh- Great Edge-guitar work, Bono as you expect him, calling on God. Take this heart..

It will take months to fully digest, and that's a good thing. It has the potential to be one of their top 5 records, and put U2 firmly in place as the Greatest Band on Earth, once again. The record will appeal to a wide audience, from 13 year olds to grandmothers. U2 aimed high and you can tell. I think they did try to make a mass appeal record, and this is it, a future classic. Not everyone will like every part, but overall it is a great record though not perfect by any means. Standouts for me are Vertigo, Love and Peace or Else and All Because of You (the rockers), second-tier are Miracle Drug, Crumbs From Your Table and Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own.
Overproduced? In my opinion, yes, but that's been the case for years and the live versions are usually stripped down a bit, and that's where these songs will really come to life. City of Blinding Lights will even be good live.

Great effort, thanks for the rockers and record a new one, the sooner the better!


A Deeper Review Than Mine

U2 news article - from @U2:

"The abandonment of romance for a truer love (of the 'tougher,' more resilient, eternal, variety) is a common theme on Atomic Bomb, and though it might strike contemporary ears as paradoxical and uncool (is this rock & roll?)..." (snip)
"Another day with the record will banish any doubt that Atomic Bomb is, song for song, a work of art: complex, gutsy, intimate, demanding, eloquent, and ravishing."

Friday, November 19, 2004

The Condi Department

Well, that was quick. Mr. Powell, we miss you already. I know it must have been difficult to work with a majority of people who disagree with you, to have the president say "I hear you Colin, but I'm not taking your suggestion, I'm going with Rummy". Loyal to a fault, you took the presidents orders and mislead the UN on WMD in Iraq. You knew the evidence was flimsy, yet you did your best to filter the truth from the exaggerations before the speech. But the intelligence was wrong. You took the punch for the administration. I hope W can find a way to make his presidency worthwhile for all the sacrifices you have made.
Ms. Rice has big shoes to fill, and I have hope that she will impress us all.

U2//Atomic Bomb Review Brewing

I've been listening to the new U2, the new U2 release, via the Clie for almost two weeks now. It's taking a good while to sink in and I'll have a full review in the coming days, before the official release. Wow, getting the tunes early really makes me feel like a rock critic, and I admit that I feel extra-special carrying around the MP3's in my pocket.
I'll post my Day 1 review and write up a proper one after living with it for a while. Here's a preview:
You're gonna wanna buy this CD.

Da Phone Blog

I really like that "audio blog" by phone thing, but it does take a while to log on and I haven't seen the phone bill yet. I'll try to think of more clever things to with that someday....for now, just enjoy the southern accent and warm wishes.


I gotta find a better way to drive home. There is just no good way to get from Morrisville to Wilmington...some agents from Beaufort, SC had a shorter drive than we Wilmingtonians. The Matthews/Monroe corridor is a fiasco. I'm gonna find some backroads around that beast, because I don't want to risk hitting Raleigh at 5:30 on I-40. I'll let you know if I get lost...



EXiT Training

I'm in Morrisville, NC, home of NASCAR and Lake Norman, taking a training course for EXiT Realty. I'll be posting from here and uploading when I get home later this week.
Look for some new photos, I have a great view of Wal-Mart from my hotel room...

Friday, November 12, 2004

W, the Clintons, and Bono (pdf link)

U2....They're like the First Band. Rock Star laureate?

"It won't be the first time George W. Bush has commemorated Clinton's presidency. The Republican president praised Clinton this summer at a White House ceremony to unveil the Democrat's official portrait. Clinton did the same for the elder Bush's portrait ceremony and library opening in College Station, Texas.
After the presidential speeches, the politically outspoken Bono and guitarist The Edge will perform. They are two of the four members of the Irish band U2, which has sold more than 120 million albums worldwide and won 14 Grammys. Like Clinton in his post-presidential foundation work, Bono is a champion for fighting AIDS and poverty in Africa and has been since he helped start Band Aid in the early 1980s."

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

We're Safe Now!

Guardian Unlimited | World Latest | Text of Ashcroft's Letter to Bush:

"The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved." -John Ashcroft

Well, that's good to know. I feel better about Bush being elected, I would have voted for him too, had I known we were all now safe from crime and terror. That's fantastic! Bush should have run his campaign on this message, what great news for us!

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Y W?

Why did the American voter choose Bush over Kerry? Or, did they?
Numerous "sour grapes" reports from lefty-conspiratoriasts cite the early exit polls as evidence that the electronic voting machines were rigged before the election. How else can we explain the discrepancy between the exit polls and the final outcome? I don't (necessarily) believe this hype, but the fact remains that there is no way to prove it's false. There are no hard copies we can look back to for verification, it's all just 1's and 0's on somebody's machine. It seems to me that the paper ballot with a pencil is the best way to cast a vote and it's simple...we should have figured this out by now. We need a federal standard for the ballots, and we should have figured that out four years ago.
But since we probably can't accurately blame the voting machines, what explains Bush's big win? All the pundits agreed that the more voters who turned out, the better it would be for Kerry, but it didn't work out like that. 120 Million voters, the high end of early estimates, turned out and over 51% of them voted for Bush. Was Kerry that bad? I don't think Kerry's completely at fault here. Unexciting he may be, but he was certainly a credible candidate.
Given the voter turnout, credit for the win must be given to Karl Rove and the Republican party machine. Rove did his best "throw mud at him till he's unrecognizable" routine on Kerry and it worked, at least until the debates where Kerry won back a few. But that was a big hole to dig out of, and it cost Kerry in the long run. And playing on fear of a Kerry presidency, that it would be a victory for the terrorists, that ultimately kept many Americans from voting Kerry.
But the main reason W won is because the Republican party got up off their duffs and brought supporters to the polls. Not content with just big checks, the Repubs did what Dems have been doing for ages, reaching out to their base to turn out on election day. 120 million voters and Bush wins? There can be no other conclusion, the Republicans turned out in droves.
I guess I should have seen it coming, what with all the "W" bumper stickers that have replaced the American flag on many SUV's. "W" is a brand now....Bush could start selling shirts, luggage and perfume with that "W" logo on it and make a fortune. He IS a brand.
And the American people just bought it, even though there was a better, similar product right next to it. Advertisers take note...

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Misunderestimated Again

Simple but Effective - Why you keep losing to this idiot. By William Saletan: "12:01 a.m. PT: Sigh. I really didn't want to have to write this."

I didn't want to have to read it. Those exit polls had me thinking Kerry looked like he was in good shape, so it's just more salt in the wound. Congrats Karl Rove, you've done PT Barnum proud.

Saletan thinks Bush won with "simplicity", and he's mostly right, but I think he pulled off the marketing trick called "branding". He repeats the same things and creates his brand: steadfast, strong, flag-draped, in a ray of light from God, he's like the Marlboro Man. Even for people who know that Marlboros are bad for your health, there's just something about that Marlboro Man that you trust, he seems to be the essence of "America". People don't want to vote against "America", and a lot of Bush support comes from this kind of view. I don't agree, in fact, I am more concerned for the future of our country than I've ever been.

Saletan thinks Dems should rally around Edwards in '08, but if McCain runs, nobody can beat him. And if the Dems couldn't beat this president, with his 4 year track record, I don't have much hope that the Democrats can ever get back in the White House. I'll take McCain over most any Democrat, I just wish we'd elected McCain last night or 4 years ago.

Almost everybody I voted for lost, including all of my endorsements. It's a sad day for me...

Saturday, October 30, 2004

watts4u2 endorsements

Well, the time has come, we're down to the wire and decisions must be made. Here are the candidates I suggest voting for and a brief reason or two why:

President: John Kerry
If you've been reading my blog, you understand that this is an easy one for me. I am a fan of Reagan, respect Bush I, voted for Perot in '92 and Nader twice. I think the two parties are too close on too many issues thanks to their contributors. But this time, it's different. It is so vitally important to dismiss George W. Bush, that I am willing to cast off my disdain for the two-party system for the first time in my presidential voting career. I'm voting for John Kerry.

Governor (NC): Patrick Ballantine
Easley created his image funded with tax dollars and his slimy attorney general ads. He's awash in money from special interests, and he submitted a budget with lottery earnings in it when we don't have a lottery. Ballantine worries me a bit, but he has shown, at times, the ability to look beyond party politics for the greater good, such as when he submitted to having his district redrawn in a manner which made it tougher for him to keep his seat. Of course, he's not running for that seat anymore, is he?

State Senate: Woody White
Ballantine's seat up for grabs. This one has gotten ugly and I'm going to hold my nose hard when I vote. I liked Julia Boseman, at least I thought she was a breath of fresh air when she started her term as New Hanover County Commissioner. But soon it became clear that she was willing to stab people in the back and make 'behind the scenes' political deals to benefit herself, by say, getting appointed to the hospital board. The way she treated Ted Davis is abominable, and I lost all respect for her when she made a deal with the...I mean, Bobby Greer. Woody White, handpicked by his law partner Patrick Ballantine to fill his vacancy while he ran for governor, has not distinguished himself much beyond his Republican stalwarts, but he seems like he could carry on Ballantine's good work. Then his party starts attacking Boseman for being/taking money from lesbians. Well,I follow politics fairly closely in the paper, and I didn't have a clue she was gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I consider myself an informed voter and I would not have know if Woody hadn't brought it up, so I think it's fair game....especially considering that she's taking money from a gay/lesbian/transexual PAC that requires her to sign some kind of pledge. This ain't pretty folks, but we deserve to know the facts.

Senator: Erskine Bowles
This is the man responsible for balancing the federal budget and giving our country a great run in the 90's....Clinton was a nobody without Bowles. He's a get the job done guy and we need him up there.

Update 8/08: Of course all these candidates lost. The people who won all suck. I can back this up with facts. For example, Julia Boseman? Split with her gay lover and now they are having a custody battle over their adopted child. I was right. Again.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Neuromarketing Candidate

"Already, some companies are dabbling in neuromarketing.
DaimlerChrysler used MRIs to gauge interest in different makes of cars. Researchers at the California Institute of Technology are scanning brains for reaction to movie trailers. Baylor University scientists just published brain scans suggesting preference for Coke or Pepsi is culturally influenced, and not just a matter of taste. "

Very interesting read. Who is Tom Freedman? Not the guy from The Times right?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Slate Votes - At this magazine, it's Kerry by a landslide!

Slate Votes - At this magazine, it's Kerry by a landslide!: "Phillip Carter, Military and Legal Affairs Writer: Kerry

I'm casting my vote as a referendum on the Bush national security policies since January 2001. When you pour billions into homeland security without achieving a significant net gain in security, I think there's a problem. When you mislead the country about our reasons for war in Iraq, and then fail to plan effectively for military and strategic victory, you simply don't get to keep your job. When you employ lawyers to eviscerate the rule of law and make America into the world's brigand instead of the world's leader, I don't think you should be allowed to keep your office. When you allow al-Qaida to mutate and evolve into a more lethal and survivable global terror network on your watch, you haven't done your job. Sen. Kerry hasn't fully shown that he will improve on all these fronts, but I do believe he will do better than President Bush."

I hear ya! If you were for the war (even without WMD/911 ties), you should vote against Bush for bungling the war. If you were against the war, well, turns out you were right, and you know what to do...

Monday, October 25, 2004

Driver 8

Driver 8, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

Driver 8 Take A Break

DSC06932editdalejr, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

So it wasn't Dale Jr's day, it was still a fun race. These fences reeked havoc with my photos, but hope to upload some PhotoShopped photos later.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Thursday, October 21, 2004

How to Carry An Atomic Bomb

briefcase, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

Island UK's international marketing manager Chris Dwyer has U2's new album under lock & key.

U2 Bests CIA in Security

U2 news article - from @U2: "
A single copy of the album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, one of three in existence, is on a global tour for preview sessions.

Chris Dwyer, of the band's record company Island, arrived yesterday with the disc in a briefcase handcuffed to her arm. (Edit) exclusive listening party. As a red light flashed outside the boardroom, mobile phones were confiscated as one of the company's staff half-jokingly patted us down for recording devices.

The CD was theatrically brought to the boardroom by another staffer dressed in a radiation suit, the message being that U2 have delivered their most explosive album in years. The fake bombs and missiles positioned around the room drove home the point."

Vertigo on a banjo?

U2 news article - from @U2: "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (Universal) out Nov 22.

FANS should keep an eye out for a limited-edition Atomic Bomb box set, which comes with a 48-page book full of Bono's drawings, a bonus track (Fast Cars), and a DVD with documentary footage plus live acoustic performances of Sometimes You Can't Make it on Your Own and the Edge and Bono playing Vertigo on a banjo."

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

WMV//AGC Vertigo Video

Now with more editing!
I fee-e-eel like I've done this catorce times.

(link removed due to space restrictions)

Pelican in Flight

Pelican in Flight, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

Shot this one on Bald Head Island (with the camera...)

Continuing to work on the Anna Grace "Vertigo" video linked below. Tracey didn't like the 2 U2 images in there (and I agree, it just doesn't fit as anyone who remembers my "Electrical Storm" video can attest), so now it's all from the cameras....mine and Anna Grace's. She's able to play with my old Agfa camera and lots of those shots are in the video. Look for an update later tonight.

Monday, October 18, 2004

WMV//Intro to Vertigo

With video by Watts, take 1...

Check that, take 2, almost half the song

It has it's moments, but eh...I'm learnin'

(link removed due to space restrictions)

Sunset at Sailboat

Sunset at Sailboat, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

I'm a sucker for sunset shots, what can I say?

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Audioblogger: Turn it up loud (Captain!)

Audioblogger: Speak Up!

Wow. Technology never stops, this will be great when U2 is on tour....blogging the concert to the web via a cell phone. The sound quality is phone-like, but each audio post can be up to 5 minutes! Plus, audioBlogger sent me this e-mail that made me feel good:

"Alright, thanks for signing up for audioBLOGGER.
You are now revolutionizing the revolution!


My voice in the audio post (click on link below) sounds computer-like until the southern drawl kicks in at the end, but that's really me.

And, it's free! JOY

Welcome to the...

this is an audio post - click to play

'89 300CE

'97 S320

'97 S320, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

'97 S320 vs '89 300CE

Had the 300CE in the shop for a new wheel bearing yesterday, the first necessary repair in quite a while, but there are many other things I could spend money on to make it "just right" (like a new evaporator core...A/C just won't keep up). While my car was under repair I had the pleasure to drive a '97 S320 sedan.
The S320 is gorgeous, black with tinted windows and every creature comfort you could imagine. The seats. Oh my, those seats are heavenly, and the adjustment range is limitless. You can move the seat forward while the back stays in place. It's a little touch that makes a real difference.
The interior is massive, and quite caccoon-like. You are set apart from the outside world, in a plush manner that is limousine-like. The sunroof is gigantic, probably wider than some small cars. This particular model suffered from deep, set in-cigarette smoke, and under that I could smell what I'll call "Grandpa Poot Remnants".
This old-man smell may have added to the boat-like sensation driving the S320. Make no mistake, this car is solid as a tank, but with the inline-6 it doesn't have the necessary grunt to give the car a strong feel, it's just not enough engine for the heaviest car around. And it's big. I mean massive, and it had more of a Buick feel than a BMW feel, it was more of a boat than I expected.
Maybe I'm just used to the feel of my '89 300CE. It drives better than the S320, more feel and firmness in the steering and suspension, so much lighter it felt like a jackrabbit after the S320. The 300CE is much more raw than the S320, not so many bells & whistles, less emphasis on plush and more emphasis on driving.
The S320 would be the car of choice for long road trips, but the 300CE wins out in the fun factor. While the S320 is perfect for isolating you from the outside world, the 300CE with the b-pillarless windows is at home with the windows down and sunroof back, taking in the environment while speeding through it. Nothing like hearing the crickets on both sides of a tree-lines road like NC 133 in Brunswick County.
It was fun to drive the S320, and now that I have, I'm over it and love my 300CE all the more. With a few repairs and some TLC I think I'll keep her around.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Sailboat, Oak Island Lighthouse

SAVE0093edit, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

Ship Homecoming

SAVE0091edit, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

Barge at Sunset

SAVE0090edit, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

Old Baldy

SAVE0023edit, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

This picture is a few years old, scanned. I have a few more oldies to post later, stay tuned!

Monday, October 11, 2004

Scott Ritter Speaks

The Inspection Process was Rigged to Create Uncertainty Over WMD to Bolster the US and UK's Case for War:

"Since the inspection process was pre-programmed to fail, there would be no way the US or the UK would accept any finding of compliance from the UN weapons inspectors. The inspection process was rigged to create uncertainty regarding Iraq's WMD, which was used by the US and the UK to bolster their case for war."

I thought the Bush regeime had smeared Ritter out of existence, but maybe that's just from the big media outlets we're all used to here. Ritter was right before the war. Not about the sex with minors thing, but the wrongness of the war.

White Flower Closer

White Flower Closer

White Flower

White Flower

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Blogging from the Volvo

On the way to Goldsboro, and this is my first attempt at typing in the car. It could be better, but it isa marvel of technology nonetheless.

I'd really like to write an in-depth analysis of the debates, but I fell asleep before the first one ended and Anna Grace kept my attention for a lot of the VP debate. Last night's debate was such a heated affair, with the candidates practically yelling at the small audience. I thought Kerry was more convincing than Bush last night, though he could have made Bush look like more of an idiot with more well-placed jabs. It was the strongest debate I've seen, ever, but still no big line that will stand up like "You're no Jack Kennedy" or "There you go again." Maybe next time....
How anyone could be undecided at this point boggles my mind. Either you've fallen under the Bush/Cheney spell or you still have a grip on reality. Our President mislead us into an unjust war under false pretenses and has not been able to win that war and secure the peace. Do we reject him for the former, or the latter? That's the choice to me.

New Kid in Town

New Kid in Town



Monday, October 04, 2004

Friedman's Back

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Iraq: Politics or Policy?:

"Being away has not changed my belief one iota in the importance of producing a decent outcome in Iraq, to help move the Arab-Muslim world off its steady slide toward increased authoritarianism, unemployment, overpopulation, suicidal terrorism and religious obscurantism. But my time off has clarified for me, even more, that this Bush team can't get us there, and may have so messed things up that no one can. Why? Because each time the Bush team had to choose between doing the right thing in the war on terrorism or siding with its political base and ideology, it chose its base and ideology. More troops or radically lower taxes? Lower taxes. Fire an evangelical Christian U.S. general who smears Islam in a speech while wearing the uniform of the U.S. Army or not fire him so as not to anger the Christian right? Don't fire him. Apologize to the U.N. for not finding the W.M.D., and then make the case for why our allies should still join us in Iraq to establish a decent government there? Don't apologize - for anything - because Karl Rove says the 'base' won't like it. Impose a 'Patriot Tax' of 50 cents a gallon on gasoline to help pay for the war, shrink the deficit and reduce the amount of oil we consume so we send less money to Saudi Arabia? Never. Just tell Americans to go on guzzling. Fire the secretary of defense for the abuses at Abu Ghraib, to show the world how seriously we take this outrage - or do nothing? Do nothing. Firing Mr. Rumsfeld might upset conservatives. Listen to the C.I.A.? Only when it can confirm your ideology. When it disagrees - impugn it or ignore it."

Click the link for the full article, you may need a subscription for NYT.

Friedman is calling for a Bush apology....well, I think Friedman and the NYTimes owe us an apology as well, since they pretty much helped Bush pull the wool over our eyes. Despite this, he proves here that he's still one of the best MidEast analysts, and Bush/Kerry et al would be wise to read this column.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Certainly Wrong

Yes, the intelligence we had before the Iraq invasion was wrong. In hindsight, it is plain to see that the two main reasons for attacking Iraq have been proven false (WMD, link to terrorists/911). There are still good things that can come from the invasion...certainly removing Saddam was a good thing for millions of Iraquis. But for Bush to press that we were right in hindsight....well, that just defies reason. And the other excuses for the invasion are equally if not more dubious:
Enforce the UN Mandate and 15+ resoultions: Well, we did get the inspectors back in there and in hindsight, it is clear they were effective. Also, the strongest resolution called for "serious consequences", and specifically did not include the threat of military force. Sure the UN has a weak backbone and there are times we may need to take the lead, but to say that we exhausted every option with the international community is patently false.
We can create a model democracy in the heart of the MidEast, and like the domino theory, other states will follow their lead. Well, Friedman et al, it ain't workin' out quite like that. No, we've created a new terrorist state inside Iraq. Bush would have you believe this was a good thing...."we're killing them over there instead of them killing us over here". But the good Iraqui people now blame us for the terrorists, and resent our occupation as well. And I don't see how we've really secured our own country, the borders are as porous as ever, we scan only 4% of containers coming in our ports....there is much more we could have done for security at home, things that would actually make us safer in the USA....things that would not have endangered our fine soldiers who have been placed in this terrible quagmire.
But we are where we are. At this point, what are our goals? What is our exit strategy? When 1/3 of the troops decide not to re-enlist in a year, what are we going to do? I don't think there's a chance Germany or France will help us now. Maybe the Russians will help? Putin's got his hands full....
Now that we've reached this point in the war, I must reflect on what has been missing from the whole war plan: The Powell Doctrine. Remember? Overwhelming force for a quick and decisive victory, with a clear plan and exit strategy from the start. Bush listened to the wrong advisors. I think about that...and I think about how this war was going to "pay for itself". Sure, there was bad intelligence, but we were also mislead by Bush/Cheney for political reasons as well.
When you look back at the coalition that his father nurtured, the deadline he set, the UN Resolution, and his decision not to forge on to Bagdad for all the right reasons....George Sr. was a saint compared to W, a true steward of US leadership. By contrast, W has largely ignored the international community on Iraq, placing criticism on them, practically calling them pussies...."you're with us or against us".
Looking back, it is clear that the reasons for going to war were false. The desired results are further from reach each day. Who is best to lead us out of this terrible blunder, the guy who got us into this mess,or the man who fought in a wrong war and came home to get us out of it?

Riverfest in Wilmington

Riverfest in Wilmington

Racin' at Riverfest

Racin' at Riverfest

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

VERTIGO//watts4u2 review

After almost a full week of listening to U2's new single, "Vertigo", I'm still hooked. I loved it on the first listen and I think it is U2's most rockin' song EVER. Straight ahead U2 rock, in full flight. It's condensed U2. It begs to be turned up loud. The asthetic facade has been lifted and we're left with the real U2: Guitar, Bass, Drums and Bono.
Full disclosure here: I've been begging for a less produced/more rockin' U2 project since Unforgettable Fire. There have been bright spots along the way (Desire, The Fly, Holy Joe live), but as great as these and other rockin' U2 songs were, "Vertigo" takes it to another level with it's no-holds-barred rock/punk sensibility. Edge's riffs are simple, classic and loud, and the chorus is catchy and uplifting. It's not U2's most innovative song, it's more of a collection of the great things they've done compacted and turned up to....catorce!
U2 have never really done a song like is more straightforward than anything I can recall. The influences on "Vertigo" are innumerable and I'm making a mix tape of those tunes now. Non-U2 influence includes the Who, the Ramones, the Clash, and I hear some Lenny Kravitz (You Got Me Runnin') and Stone Temple Pilots (Vaseline)in there too. A few saavy U2 fans think they hear the Supremes' "You Keep Me Hangin' On" in there. Another fan says All That You Can't Leave Behind is to Motown what Vertigo is to Stax. I prefer Stax, and if "Vertigo" is a good indicator, "How to Dismantle and Atomic Bomb" will be U2's best album ever, and that's really saying something.
The beginning of "Vertigo" may make you wince at first with the "catorce" thing, but it gets better with each listen. To add to the "catorce" talk, I think that in the part right before the guitar solo, Bono shouts "Just 4" in Bongolese, but that's open for interpretation.
If you'd told me the new U2 song would start out with a heavy/fast guitar riff and the declaration "Turn it up loud, Captain!" I wouldn't have believed it. It's too good to be true!
"Vertigo" hits the bone for me, it's one of those songs you can get excited about and listen to again and again, it leaves you wanting more.
The lyrics are all themes U2 have touched on before, and many of the guitar licks sound familiar, but "Vertigo" brings them together in a new, fresh and exciting way. There is still some overdubbing in parts with a cell phone? ring in the second chorus.
The clip of the 10" Jacknife Lee mix doesn't sound too promising, but I think we'll get a few remixes....hopefully one by David Holmes, whose instrumental "Beautiful Day" mix was a big hit with me.
The time is right for this song, "Vertigo", and it flat out rocks.
Turn it up loud, Captain!





Monday, September 27, 2004

"Get Me a Doctor" Says Pepper

THM: Pepper Writes Another Carolina Comeback Story :: Mick Mixon looks at the former Tar Heel who has survived an aneurysm.

Great survival story about one of my childhood heroes...


4moreyears, originally uploaded by watts4u2.



resoluteman, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

Bono Brings Forth New Music

Bono Brings Forth New Music, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

"Vertigo" now available on iTunes