Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Two years...

Two years and a few days ago, a bright new face in blogging burst on the scene.
Even from his first tentative posts, it was evident that Catfish Vegas was a singular talent, ready to turn the blogging world on its ear.
Vegas' strengths were in his voracious posting, usually several a day, and his keen eye for new details in the latest political scandals of our land, or the latest in cinema and popular music.
Vegas' popularity grew and grew, with thousands of new readers pouring in day by day like pilgrims to soak up his poetic wisdom.
It's safe to say the world would be a frightfully different place without the measured wit and soothing observations Vegas brings to his blog.
If he accomplishes little else over the course of his long life, Catfish Vegas will be remembered as an American hero for even his first two years on the blog. Vegas has profound insights and a deep connection to the shared human experience. His words ring out as if from mountaintops, and soothe as if from the very springs that have eternally kept man alive.
Check out a review of his first year.
For the sake of his millions of fans, here's a prayer for Vegas to continue his amazing blog, less we all suffer as life dims. Rejoice in the Vegas!

Catfish at the record shop

I started blogging just 'cause I wanted my own place to write about the top albums of the year. Go check out 2003 and 2004. And without futher ado, Catfish Vegas Presents... the 20 best albums of 2005:

1. Okkervil River – Black Sheep Boy / Black Sheep Boy Appendix.
2. Calexico and Iron & Wine – In the Reins
3. New Pornographers – Twin Cinema
4. Crooked Fingers – Dignity and Shame
5. Sufjan Stevens – Illinois
White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan
7. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
8. Bruce Springsteen – Devils and Dust
9. Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning
10. Mike Doughty – Haughty Melodic
11. Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary
12. Rogue Wave – Descended Like Vultures
13. Broken Social Scene – Broken Social Scene
14. Death Cab for Cutie – Plans
15. Decemberists – Picaresque
16. Beck – Guero
My Morning Jacket – Z
And a live album, a collection of outtakes and demos and a reissue:
18. Wilco - Kicking Television
19. Bob Dylan - No Direction Home
20. Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run 30th Anniversary

As usual, I ought to mention that I'm neither filthy rich nor an actual music critic with access to free records. So I miss some stuff. Here's a list of 'honorable mentions,' albums I really feel I ought to catch up to, and ones that based on what else I've read could very well be among the top: Sleater-Kinney - The Woods; Andrew Bird - The Mysterious Production of Eggs; Son Volt - Okemah and the Melody of Riot; Mountain Goats - The Sunset Tree

Thanks for visiting and have a kick-ass 2006! - Catfish

Catfish on 2005

I decided I'd take 2005 a little bit further and start 2006 today. Never mind the New Year's Celebration, I just didn't want to go through the whole internal reflective stuff whiles out of town.

On the personal/friends front, it was an entirely absurd year. People lost their minds, their homes, their jobs, their pancreases... Good, bad or otherwise, the word of the year was FLUX.
People found and lost love and just simply moved, moved, moved and moved.

I kicked into a few new gears, switched from working nights to days, joined the world of the Property Owners, saw about as much damn live music as I possibly could, wrote weird cryptic things about months, hit the road a hell of a lot, spun myself in circles on a few issues and generally absorbed an awful lot of FLUX. It's out there; it'll catch you.

The world was in many ways a terrible, terrible place in 2005. We found out our president is a criminal, and an unrepentant one at that. Our societies racial divide was shown so clearly in the mishandled response to an actual whole (black) city being destroyed. The War of Stupidity chugs along. The dominant party of Congress is collecting scandals faster than I can count. What a political mess.

The entertainment world was dominated by batshit crazy, talentless people: Tom Cruise, Paris Hilton, Trump... Most movies sucked, record sales tanked (not for lack of good music, but for major labels being blind to what's great out there).

Anyway, thanks for sticking around. Music deserves its own post, but here's Catfish Vegas' rundown of some of his favorite shite from 2005.

1. Sin City
2. History of Violence
3. The Aristocrats
4. Crash
5. King Kong
6. Batman Begins
7. Land of the Dead
8. Forty-Year-Old Virgin
9. A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
10. Star Wars - Revenge of the Sith

(And that's all I even saw, so no complaining.)

Television - I usually try to stay away, but here's a thin list:
1. Arrested Development - quite simply the funniest show ever.
2. Grey's Anatomy - Tremendous cast lifts hospital drams from cliche land.
3. My Name is Earl - Jason Lee plays the funniest sit-com character around.
4. The Office - Strange and snappy humor borrowed from the British.
5. Craig Ferguson - Now the funniest man on late night television.

Stay tuned...


December is the star at the top of the Christmas tree of the whole damn year, the ham at the fulcrum of the Feast of 12 Months, the beautiful wrapping and gorgeous bow on the biggest present in sight, the long and low belch as a gluttonous day fades into an afternoon nap.

When it comes down to it, December really is the Godfather, the patriarch who’s earned all of the feasts and grandchildren's smiles out there. December will eat until he’s full.

On one side of December is a warm nest, comfortable like your youngest days, fitting just right. On the other is a steep cliff, a dizzying drop-off into the uncertain but deadly ether.

December is a vice, 31 turns that’ll squeeze your mind out your ears.

December overflowed a long time ago, and you’re left slurping at the edge of the mug, trying to catch more of the steaming tea. Scald your tongue or scald you toes; that’s how it goes.

December’s a mug of hot chocolate – sweet but fattening, a treat that’ll cost you, rich but deadly.

They put December at the end of the year because nobody could take another month.

December brings the house down, smashing guitars and hurling drumsticks at the crowd. Not another note out of this year’s band.

December’s motto: Saddle up and get spit out. He’s better than you.

December’s like Manhattan stretching across all of West Texas. Jesus F’ing Cristo…

December is when you realize you’re not young anymore, when the excitement of innocence seems quaint rather than urgent. If only December would pull the wool over your eyes like it used to.

I went home, saw 1,000 people per hour, celebrated quickly and left even quicker. December is a hit-and-fade attack, everybody’s last damn chance to do something before the year rolls over zeroes again.

But in the end December is merciful, an opponent who knocked you down on the way to glorious victory, but before settling into the post-game celebration and interviews, walks back and gives you a hand up. “Don’t worry about it, chief,” December says. “January’s coming soon and you can take it easy.” Then he winks and trots off.