Friday, January 28, 2005


January is a long month.
The winter slows everything and whether it’s sniffles or something severe, everybody’s health stumbles a bit.
I can’t hide in books and movies, as much as I’ve tried. There needs to be friends; there needs to be the General and Freaktown.
There’s basketball, and football playoffs, but they’re frantic, fleeting matches. There’s not the steady march of summer’s sentinel, the great blue-sky game of baseball.
Even in the great desert Southwest, it’s hard to barbeque.
I’ve been writing, and dreaming. I’ve been drinking more tea than coffee, more whiskey than beer.
December’s flow of out-of-state pals has dried up. And what’s more, since I’ve seen ‘em all so recently, I ain’t got much to say, so there’s little phone or email communication.
January is a long month, with little redemption.
I’ve been playing basketball, driving and throwing creative and wildly imaginative passes that sail out of bounds, or coming off a pick for a three-pointer. Then, after my legs die, I got nothing.
It’s a month of distraction and wheel-spinning. But none of it unpleasant. There’s no rush. Cabin fever is still a month off and here it’s short and unbelievably mild.
I’ll be relaxing under a beautiful blue sky with a bratwurst and monster beer soon, sunburned probably by the seventh inning, sometime the first week of March.
January is a long month, with little redemption, but also little pressure and few worries. It’s an even-keel month, mostly, but maybe leaning just a bit to stir-crazy.
I went to the mountain last week and walked my old favorite trail. I missed a crucial turn - it was either buried by snow or destroyed by fire. So I just turned back, really on a slow saunter more than a hike. The air was cold but full of life. The snow was old, but still six or eight inches deep in places and had turned crunchy. I tried walking like I did as a kid, careful not to break through that top crust, as if tip-toe turned me weightless. There was a girl and a dog, neither one mine.
January is a long month, with little redemption but even keel, a pause as much as a start.

This guy is my hero

Man peed way out of avalanche

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Catfish at the record shop

I started off blogging last year with an impulse to make my own statement on the music of 2003. And so you're stuck with me. To continue, here's what struck me in 2004, simply the best:

1. Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Love Bad News
2. Wilco - A Ghost is Born
3. Green Day - American Idiot
4. Elliott Smith - From A Basement On The Hill
5. Arcade Fire - Funeral
6. Social Distortion - Sex, Love and Rock ‘n’ Roll
7. Steve Earle - The Revolution Starts Now
8. Walkmen - Bows + Arrows
9. Ted Leo/Pharmacists - Shaking the Sheets
10. Killers - Hot Fuss
11. Rilo Kiley - More Adventurous
12. Old 97s - Drag it Up
13. Giant Sand - Is All Over the Map
14. Loretta Lynn - Van Lear Rose
15. Interpol - Antics
16. U2- How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
17. Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers - Americano!
and a tribute, EP and live collection:
18. Por Vida - A Tribute To The Songs Of Alejandro Escovedo
19. Calexico - Convict Pool
20. Bob Dylan - Live 1964, Bootleg Series 6: Concert at Philharmonic Hall

Not being rich or a professional music critic, it’s hard to get to some albums in good time even when there’s tremendous reason to do so. And so the honorable mentions, the would-probably-be-on-the-list-but-I-haven’t-heard-them set:
Drive-by Truckers - Dirty South, Neko Case - The Tigers Have Spoken, Iron & Wine - Our Endless Numbered Days, Fiery Furnaces - Blueberry Boat, A.C. Newman - The Slow Wonder, Brian Wilson - Smile, Streets - A Grand Don't Come For Free, Tom Waits - Real Gone, Flatlanders - Wheels of Fortune, TV on the Radio - Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, Pinback - Summer in Abaddon, Mason Jennings - Use Your Voice, Marah -20,000 Streets Under the Sk, Dave Alvin - Ashgrove, Richard Buckner - Dents and Shells

Research help: The Onion and Rolling Stone.
Check out Catfish Vegas presents... review of 2003

Catfish at the cinema

As promised, here's the my list for the top flicks I caught this year:
1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2. Fahrenheit 9/11
3. Hero
4. Kill Bill 2
5. Shaun of the Dead
6. Incredibles
7. Dodgeball
8. Garden State
9. Door in the Floor
10. (tie) Spider-Man 2 and Shrek 2

Then I ‘spose there are the “honorable mentions,” or more precisely movies I didn’t catch but probably should (or should have). They could make a whole new list: Sideways, I Heart Huckabees, The Life Aquatic, Before Sunset, House of Flying Daggers, Closer, Ray, Dig, Aviator and Finding Neverland.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The year in politics

I'm sick of what goes on behind the curtains of this here democratic process, but for a fun take on the previous year, check out The Carpetbagger Report's year in review.

Monday, January 03, 2005

One Year...

It was one year ago today that Sgt. Pepper taught the Catfish Vegas to blog.
And what a remarkable year it has been.
For starters, I have to say my detective fiction serial was pretty
And remember November, when I blogged in nothing but haiku, execpt for
Sundays, when blogging was done in only sonnets?
And once I finally got a keyboard with the proper capabilities, I reproduced
my very first writings - kindergarten letters to Santa Claus - in sanscrit.
That screenplay collaboration with Charlie Kaufman was pretty cool too.
And who could forget that wicked back and forth with that son-of-a-bitch
Paul Wolfowitz? Oh, the things comment threads can do.
If only I'd have thought of that million-dollar trivia sweepstakes
And weren't the Cambodian leaders nice to let me post the new constitution I
wrote for them, even before it was submitted to Parliament?
Gosh golly what a year...

Stay tuned all week as the staff here at Catfish Vegas presents... rolls out our picks for the best of 2004.