Wednesday, March 28, 2007


I have four somewhat strange predilections relevant this morning.

One is for mopey alternative music. I tend lately to rely on the very unevenly reliable All Music Guide to connect with music I haven't knowingly heard before. Following links from a band I like, say, Wilco, I end up finding bands somebody responsible for content on AMG thinks is "similar" or "influenced by," follow those links, and follow the links from there, until I end up with somebody really quite unlike the original band in most respects, say, [smog]. It's a game we could call Six Degrees of Michael Stipe if we were in a particularly jaunty mood, which, this morning, we're not.

Anyway, I found Grogshow through this method. I love me some Grogshow, I do. And through Grogshow to Winterpills, who are also pretty cool.

This music is not only a basic element to the soundtrack of my misspent youth, but also still musically potent to me, inasmuch as what I'm playing these days is often like acoustic 12-string folkized mopey alternative. I think so, at least. Finally, a label for my stuff!

Two is for conflict, especially of the fighting-the-good-fight variety. The CSU agreed to use the Fact-Finders Report as a "template" for 10 further days of bargaining to try to reach agreement with CFA on a new contract. Now, what could they do in 10 days that they couldn't have done in the last 23 months is not clear. And the Fact Finders Report includes not only the statement by the neutral third-party fact finder, but also CFA and CSU representatives. So agreeing to use the report as a template could mean that CSU is willing to continue to make their same tired baseless arguments as to why the $1.2 billion reserve they've built up can't be diminished by $100 million over 4 years to reach a settlement on faculty salaries.

This is a conflict I can feel really good about, because I have tremendous faith that CFA is right and CSU is wrong. In that respect, this conflict is rather like how I feel when the Pittsburgh Penguins play the Philadelphia Flyers. Whatever else I may or may not know about the world, I can say with certainty that the Flyers are wrong.

Which brings us to the third predilection, which is for playoff hockey. The NHL playoffs begin in two weeks, and for the first time since 2001, my beloved Penguins are going to be in them. They clinched last night by beating the Washington Capitals 4-3. Since January, no team has been better than the Pens, and their best players remain a core group that are all 24 or younger, which suggests that they're going to be at least this good for a long time.

The fourth? Extremely long road trips.

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