The Captain Says Ach, Ja and Nicht Nicht: Part Fünf

Spring is in the air, and I’m ready to be done with the winter blahs.  And what better way to catch a little spring fever than with another edition of Ach, Ja and Nicht Nicht!

St. Patrick’s Day – Ach, Ja

Normally I would give this worthless holiday a Nicht Nicht.  Why would I want to celebrate the Irish, especially when I don’t even like the things Ireland is known for?1

This year the fates aligned and decided to make the 17th an unusually nice day in St. Louis.  80 degree weather brought the whole town out of hibernation and led them straight to bars, myself included.  I met my Sister, D and Tim at Jack Patrick’s after work and enjoyed a few beers outside on a beautiful afternoon.

It was so nice in fact that I am ready to declare that St. Patty’s Day was the First Nice Day of 2009.  It was nice while it lasted.

Music in 2009 – Nicht Nicht

This time last year I was overwhelmed with the amount of great tunes that were released early in the year.  2009?  Not so much.  Most of the music in 2009 has been mediocre thus far.  What happened?

I was excited for the release of Nikolai Fraiture’s, the bass player from the Strokes, first album The Time Of The Assassins.  I tried to like it, but it was really bland.  It’s time for the Strokes to get back together, dammit!

I gave the new U2 album a try, but it sounds just like the other albums they released this decade.  Plus, what’s with Bono going Emo all of the sudden?

Past Modern Rock stars like Franz Ferdinand, the Von Bondies and M Ward have been disappointing as well this year.  There have been some notable exceptions, namely the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s It’s Blitz.  Holy shit is this album good; it was the soundtrack to my recent trip to Chicago.  I’m not quite sure how a band on the verge of breaking-up managed to get back together and make a dance album, but I’m glad they did.2

Besides The YYYs, Norman Cook of Fatboy Slim put out a collaboration album as BPA that is worth a listen.  Especially the track featuring David Byrne and Dizzee Rascal.  Also, local band Living Things are taking a shot at the big time with their new album Habeas Corpus.  It’s uneven at times but there are some great tracks here, especially their first single “Let It Rain.”

And while technically more of a comedy album, The Lonely Island’s Incredibad has some exceedingly funny songs.  And the video for “Jizz In My Pants” is hilarious.

Still, it’s been a pretty weak start musically this year.  Hopefully the upcoming release of the second album by Silversun Pickups will change that a bit.

Crystal Meth – Ach, Ja

Geez, that sounds bad.  Let me clarify; Methamphetamine is a terribly destructive drug that is destroying large portions of our Country.  But while meth is horrible for society, it’s great for television.  Some of my favorite shows on television are about Meth.  For example, Intervention on A&E.

Meg and I have been hooked on this show about addicts for quite some time.  And while nothing can beat the episode with Allison on Duster, most of the good ones lately have centered on Meth users.  Like this one.

Meth also makes for a good documentary.  The National Geographic in depth special on Meth was pretty amazing, especially when the interviewed some of the people involved in the infamous Faces of Meth campaign.

But the Frontline special that traced the origins and growth of the drug was probably the most informative hour of television I’ve seen in quite a while.  This should be required viewing in every prison and rehabilitation facility in the country.

Besides reality, Meth also makes for some pretty amazing drama.  Breaking Bad on AMC is without a doubt the most original show on television right now.  The second season just started and it’s already incredible.  The story of an chemistry teacher with cancer who takes to cooking Meth may not sound like essential viewing, but trust me it’s so worth watching.  Walter the meth cook beat out Don Draper the Ad Exec for Best Actor at the Emmys last year.  That’s impressive!

So to recap:  Meth is bad; shows about Meth are bad-ass.

The Return of Chris Carpenter – Ach, Ja

Chris Carpenter is a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals and also my favorite pro-athlete.  I’m not sure what it is about him, but I can’t get enough of the guy.  Maybe it’s his athleticism, or his talent on the mound, or maybe it’s the fact that he’s the only guy I’ve ever seen who can pull off the soul patch without looking like an ex-con.

The last two years of baseball in St. Louis have sucked in part because he’s been on the disabled list for most of that time.  In fact, for the last five seasons the Cardinals have only made the playoffs when he was he healthy.  Chris is scheduled to return this year, and I’m trying really hard not to get my hopes up.  He’s looked great so far in Spring Training and looks to be on course for another good year.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Missouri Voters – Nicht Nicht

This is a repeat of a Nicht Nicht I issued last November.  At the time I expressed frustration at County voters for turning down Proposition M, which would have helped fund public transportation in St. Louis.  As a result of this not passing, public transportation has necessarily reduced service across the area.  I found out recently that at the end of the month, this decision will cost me 35 minutes of sleep a week!

Allow me to explain.  My preferred mode of transportation to work, the Metrolink, will be soon be reducing train service weekdays from every 10 minutes to every 15 minutes.  This means that I will now have to catch a train seven minutes earlier in the morning if I want to arrive at work on time.  That adds up to 35 less minutes of sleep a week.  Curses!  Still, it could be worse.  Public bus riders in St. Louis got hit with much worse cutbacks both in schedules and routes due to Prop M failing.

I just don’t understand why people in St. Louis continue to vote down public transportation.  In my view it’s one of the main reasons that St. Louis has not sustained any real growth in the past few decades.  Public transportation provides the density that urban centers need to survive.  It’s time for St. Louis voters to embrace the future, man!

Propecia – Ach, Ja

I know that it’s probably still too early to tell, but I think my hair pills are starting to work!

I’m not sure if you can see it from this picture, but in person the effects are noticeable.  Meg is constantly remarking that my hair is starting to look fuller, and it actually feels a bit fuller to me.  One thing that I’ve definitely noticed, and that didn’t really occur to me before I started this process, is that my hair is growing faster.

I guess I just kinda thought that the missing hair would start slowly growing back.  Instead, the Propeica has accelerated the growth of all the hair on my head.  I’ve already had to increase the frequency of getting my hair cut to once a month, and I might need to start going every three weeks soon.  Not that I’m complaining.  Far from it.  I’ll get my hair cut once a week if that’s what it takes.

Online Ticket Presales – Ach, Ja

I’ve tried several times previously to get concert tickets online using a pre-sale promotion and it has never worked.  Inevitably the pre-sale tickets website gets flooded and crashes, or the pre-sale tickets sell out in less than a minute.  Well I’m happy to report that it finally worked at the perfect time, for the NIN/JA tour.  That’s right, I got some sweet seats for the Nine Inch Nails/Jane’s Addiction tour in Tampa!  I booked my whole trip earlier this week and I can’t wait!!!

I’m flying into Sarasota the second weekend in May, and heading up to Tampa that Saturday nite with my buddy Rob for the show.  Besides that I’ll be busy hitting the beach and causing some mischief with Amir.  The perfect weekend getaway and just in time!  This week marks one year since I’ve seen a beach, and I am missing the ocean terribly.  The NIN/JA tour and the beaches of Sarasota are the perfect combo of two of my favorite things.  I imagine it’s gonna be something like this

Crazy St. Louis Spring Weather– Nicht Nicht

I forgot how unreasonable spring is in St. Louis.  I’ve had to switch from air conditioning to heat and then back to air-conditioning every day this week.  It’s absurd; it’s spring in St. Louis.

Resident Evil 5 – Ach, Ja

This glorious game was released this past weekend, and I’m already hooked.  Resident Evil 4 ate up a good portion of my summer in 2005, and RE5 is looking to consume my spring 2009.  I’m not gonna geek-out here, but damn I love the Resident Evil franchise.  The only thing better than blowing the head off of a zombie is blowing the head off of a super-fast zombie wielding a chain saw.

The Filet-O-Fish – Nicht Nicht

I completely forgot that this sandwich even exists.  People in Florida tend to go for fresh fish, not deep fried cod chunks.  Can you blame them? Look at it.

Right after Mardi Gras, billboards popped up all over town advertising this monstrosity.  I know that this is supposed to be an option for meatless Fridays during lent, but I can’t imagine a world where eating this sandwich demonstrates any kind of self-denial or discipline.

Even worse, McDonalds has started airing a commercial that features a singing fish requesting a Filet-O-Fish.

I’ve always despised any advertising that prominently features the animal that I am about to eat.  I don’t want to think about it; nobody does.

Television sweeps – Ach, Ja

This time last year the writers’ strike decimated some of my favorite shows.  In 2009 these writers seemed determined to prove their worth because shows this year have been outstanding.  I mentioned earlier that Breaking Bad has been cranking up the drama on Sunday nites.  The same can be said for Big Love, a show that has really hit its stride in season three.

Comedy has been strong as well with two standouts on HBO, Flight of the Conchords and Eastbound and Down.  Is Sunday now the best nite of television?

Thursdays are giving Sunday a run for the money with more killer episodes of The Office and 30 Rock.  But nothing compares to Lost Wednesdays.  Season 5 of this show singlehandedly makes Wednesday the best nite for television.  I mean, the cast joined the Dharma Initiative!  Unfuckingbelievable!

Addition of a Fellow Captain – Ach, Ja

Finally, I want to give a big shout-out to my good buddy Mike.  After what seems like forever he is finally ready to graduate from his Doctorate program in counseling.  Congrats on finally being done with school!

What’s even more amazing is that he just accepted a fantastic job with the U.S. Air Force and is finally gonna put all that learnin’ to good use.  In a strange turn of events, Mike will be enlisting as an officer in the Air Force and will officially be a Captain.  I finally have another Captain to hang out with!

Congratulations on your pending graduation and enlistment.  And from one Captain to another, welcome to the club.

artist’s approximation of Captain Mike

Ciao,

The Captain

1  I prefer American whiskey, German beer, and Italian women.

2  Apparently Karen O decided that Nick Zinner, one of the great young guitar players, should put down his axe and learn to play a synthesizer and he went along with the idea.  Regardless of the reason, the result is chocked full of ass-shakin’ righteousness.

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