Someone tell me I am just being paranoid

Am I just being paranoid?

Someone tell me I am.

Six minutes and ten seconds into this interview with David Frost, Benazir Bhutto refers to Omar Sheikh as the man who “murdered Osama bin Ladin”. The interview was about who she thought was behind the first attempt on her life back in the autumn.

Mike Malloy noticed as well. So did a bunch of people. Did she misspeak?

I have spent a day or so rolling this around in my head. Did she mean “the man who murdered Daniel Pearl”?

so… y’know, it doesn’t do my paranoid mind any good that RIGHT ON CUE, another Bin Laden tape turns up from the usual sources yesterday.

If you, like me, are struggling to make sense of what is happening in Pakistan, you could do a lot worse than going and reading this article, and hunting down any information you can find from Tariq Ali. You can also get a great rundown on what is happening inside Pakistan by listening to this broadcast of Democracy Now! featuring Ali and also Manan Ahmed, historian of Pakistan and South Asian Islam.

See also:Juan Cole, particularly this and this and this as well.

Also, Robert Fisk has some interesting things to say about the view from inside Pakistan. Not surprisingly, he mentions Tariq Ali as a good source to seek out for more information.

Alright, folks. You have your reading assignments. I’ll be back to talking about music here shortly….

Things are better this week.

from the Athens Banner Herald:

Athens-Clarke police Sgt. Courtney Gale continues to recover from near fatal stab wounds, unaware of how friends, fellow officers and even strangers have poured out support for her this week.

Gale almost died from massive blood loss after a man with a history of mental illness stabbed her 10 times the night of Dec. 11 in the Alps Road Kroger, where she was working a side security job.

She’s had several surgeries and remains in a “light coma,” according to relatives.

Gale doesn’t know that a fellow officer set up a bank account in her name and that last weekend more than 100 bicyclists pedaled to the hospital in a show of support and to raise more money to help her through coming challenges.

Other fundraisers continue, with even more in the works.

On Tuesday, Kroger started a “round-up” campaign at all three Athens stores and one in Jefferson, where customers can donate money at the checkout line for Gale’s benefit.

A whole town holds its breath

A brief update on the condition of Officer Courtney Gale

Though Gale’s condition has improved, she has a long way to go, Police Chief Jack Lumpkin said Thursday.

Gale lost a massive amount of blood, and doctors probably saved her leg through several surgeries on damaged arteries, according to Lumpkin, who said Gale’s condition had “improved.”

“There remains some serious concerns regarding the immense blood loss that Courtney experienced, but we have tremendous faith that she will also conquer that hurdle,” the police chief said in an e-mail to county employees. “She is slowly responding to physical stimulus. This could improve in the next hour, day, week or month. Keep her in your prayers.”

County employees and residents showed their support to the wounded officer by coming out in droves to donate blood, according to a representative of the American Red Cross Southern Region.

Blood drives are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 8 and 9 at the Athens-Clarke County Police Department on Lexington Road.

Anyone wanting to help defray the officer’s medical expenses can donate at any SunTrust Bank branch or send donations to the Courtney Gale Assistance Fund, SunTrust Bank, 1022 Prince Ave., Athens, GA 30606.



I was talking about this earlier via IM with my friend Vicky, who is from the UK.


you’d be hard pressed to meet a sweeter person in the world

which is probably how a psychotic with a butcher knife happened to get the drop on her








You’ve never seen a whole town hold it’s breath like this




Hope it’s all OK for her.




I haven’t bent a knee since I was a child, y’know




I’ll bend a knee as well, for all the good it may do.




you can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket



this is true 



have a fantastic weekend 

do something so fabulous and awesome that when you finally meet courtney, you can tell her about it




good plan. 

my heart is a little broken today

The smallish blonde person in the following photos is Courtney Gale.


I bought my house from Courtney and her friend Lisa.  She’s a very sweet woman and I like her very much. 

Unfortunately, this is what happened to her: 

Officer stabbed while working off duty at supermarket

An Athens-Clarke police officer remained in critical condition at St. Mary’s Hospital on Wednesday night after a man attacked her at Kroger on Alps Road Tuesday, repeatedly stabbing the officer with a kitchen knife until customers intervened.

Sgt. Courtney Gale lost a massive amount of blood, and surgeons operated Tuesday night and three more times Wednesday, according to police.

The 9:30 p.m. attack started when the off-duty officer confronted a suspicious man while working security at the West Athens supermarket, Athens-Clarke police said.

An officer tackled the knife-wielding assailant as he ran through a West Broad Street parking lot about a half mile from the crime scene, according to police.

Steven Anthony Eberhart, 44, of 78 Parkview Homes, was charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault and felony obstruction of a law enforcement officer, police said. He is held without bond at the Clarke County Jail.

Officers converged on the hospital and kept vigil.

“Courtney is highly respected and loved very much – she’s family,” Athens-Clarke police Detective Kim Johnson said as she left the hospital Wednesday.

Gale graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in animal science, but joined the Athens-Clarke County Police Department in 1998. She was promoted to sergeant in 2005, and is a supervisor with the Criminal Investigation Division’s robbery/homicide squad.

She was working a side job at Kroger when an employee told her about a man who was acting strangely, pushing a shopping cart filled with suitcases and opening packages of meat, according to police.

Gale was walking toward Eberhart when he lunged, knocked her down, pinned her to the ground and started to stab her, witnesses said.

“It looked like he was trying to keep her from going for her gun or mace,” said one witness, Jeffrey Stovall, a UGA student.

Stovall and his roommate, Andrew Stipe, were about 15 feet away, standing in a checkout line. They thought they were witnessing a murder.

“She turned real pale and there was so much blood, it looked like she was about to die,” Stipe said. “I had to turn away.”

Other customers kicked at Eberhart to make him stop, but Eberhart didn’t run from the store until the manager intervened.

“As soon as I put my hand on him. he turned around and tried to stab me,” manager John Mobley said. “I ran to tell someone to call 911 to report an officer’s down and she’s hurt real bad, and as I came right back, he got off her and ran out the door.”

Even before 911 calls came in, police dispatchers knew an officer was in trouble because Gale managed to push an emergency button on her radio, police said.

A nurse who was shopping at the time probably saved Gale’s life by providing immediate aid, according to police.

“That, and the fact she was so close to the hospital,” Athens-Clarke police Maj. Carter Green said, referring to St. Mary’s Hospital, which is only a few hundred yards away.

The nurse took charge, telling shoppers and employees what first aid supplies to get from store shelves and asking Mobley to use his belt as a tourniquet for Gale, Mobley said.

“She was keeping pressure on to slow the bleeding and telling us to get gauze and other supplies,” the manager said. “To me, there were four to five people who really were the heroes of this whole thing.”

The weapon was a kitchen knife Eberhart stole from Kroger, police said.

“It was a major knife,” said Stipe, who attends Gainesville State College.

Stovall called 911 from his car and helped police follow the attacker as he ran, crossing Alps Road and into the Colonial Promenade Beechwood shopping center then toward an adjoining apartment complex.

An officer tackled Eberhart as he ran in the parking lot of The Omni Club nearby, police said.

Dozens of people concerned about Gale’s condition – from detectives and uniformed officers to Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents and Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney Ken Mauldin – visited the hospital Tuesday and Wednesday.

“We just want to be here for her and give her whatever she needs,” Johnson said. “It’s a sad, sad day, but Courtney’s a real fighter and we know she’s going to pull through.”

The wounded officer’s mother and sister flew from their home in Maryland to be at Gale’s bedside.

Police Chief Jack Lumpkin said the assault shows how officers put their lives on the line each day.

“Sgt. Gale is an outstanding police officer and has a record of accomplishments with the police department,” Lumpkin said. “The attack on her is a demonstration of the complexities and dangers that are associated with a police officer’s job in Athens-Clarke County where, unfortunately, wanton and vicious attacks occur on our officers too frequently.”

Anyone wanting to help defray Gale’s medical expenses can donate at any SunTrust Bank branch or send donations to SunTrust Bank, Attention: Heidi Spratlin, 1022 Prince Ave., Athens, GA 30606.


Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on 121307 

Sebastien Grainger may be alright after all.

I actually really enjoyed Death from Above 1979, but the Pitchfork-axis jungle telegraph was all het up about whether or not Sebastien was a colossal prick or not.   

I stumbled across Sebastien’s solo MySpace page today.   I have always thought he was a fantastic drummer, and I tried to model my duo group (with Zaxx from Music Hates You, alternately called Inkfist, James Dean Death Guitar, or something else) as a cross between DfA1979 and Emotional Legs era Leaving Trains.  

I am particularly feeling the symphonic Cheap-Trick-meets-Built-to-Spill pop of “American Names” and the Big Star/Sparks stomp of “I’m All Rage.”  Check out the naked telecaster sting of the intro contrasted with the sweet string section in the chorus.  Really lovely.  

The solo album comes out in early 2008.  I’ll snag a copy as soon as I can and let you know what I think.  

In the meantime, I hope to see more pictures of his dog. 

Sebastien's dog. 

How to get some of the music I’ve been raving about….

You can get the startlingly subtle and gorgeous ohbijou record here

Shannon Wright’s new record is called “Let in the Light.”  

Five-Eight’s only record available online is here.   

Dead Confederate have an EP in the iTunes store here.   

Band of Horses “Cease to Begin.”   

Pylon has just re-released their classic album “Gyrate.”  

You can walk into your local record store and buy Gang of Four, I feel fairly confident.  If not, you should check on them in the iTunes music store

 Baroness is a Relapse Records band.  Relapse has a ton of bands I love, and hopefully ONE DAY they’ll sign Music Hates You.  You can get the Baroness record through their (exceptionally well done) online store.   

Christmas is coming- give music to your nieces and nephews… how hip would you suddenly become in their eyes? 

The Indestructible Beat of Soweto

Today I am revisiting the “Indestructible Beat of Soweto, Vol. 1” that I got in the mail last year.  Released in 1986, it was a document of the vibrant and rocking music scene from the shanty clubs and party spots in the black villages and “homelands” of Apartheid-era South Africa.   As I have said here before, I believe that the Civil Rights Movement in the US is one of the greatest struggles for human justice and dignity in the history of the Western World.  The soul and R&B of the late ’50s and the ’60s is the soundtrack of this amazing story.   The same goes for this music and its relationship to the struggle for justice in South Africa.  Looking back, I remember that there was a time when I found it difficult to imagine a world without Apartheid in South Africa.I boycotted acts who played Sun City, wrote letters of support for Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu on behalf of Amnesty International, and I bought ALL of these records when I could find them.  The music, like the music of the American Civil Rights movement, was amazingly positive, almost giddy with its skittering guitars, sinewy basslines and pounding acoustic disco drums.  It was the vocal harmonies that lifted this music into the sublime, though.  Not being any more of a musicologist than the average record buying nerd, I can only guess that this is a logical extension of the strong vocal music tradition of South Africa.  All of the demonstrations I saw on television and read about in the copies of the Manchester Guardian I found at the library seemed to be accompanied by unison dancing and chanting, often with songs sung in these amazing harmonies.  This flawless vocal stratification comes through loud and clear in the pop music of the era.   Speaking of record nerds, here is our king, Robert Christgau, reviewing this same record

At once more hectically urban-upbeat and more respectfully tribal-melodic than its jazzy and folky predecessors, marabi and kwela, the mbaqanga this compilation celebrates is an awesome cultural achievement. It confronts rural-urban contradictions far more painful and politically fraught than any Memphis or Chicago migration, and thwarts apartheid’s determination to deny blacks not just a reasonable living but a meaningful identity. Like all South African music it emphasizes voices, notably that of the seminal “goat-voiced” “groaner” Mahlathini, who in 1983 took his deep, penetrating sung roar, which seems to filter sound that begins in his diaphragm through a special resonator in his larynx, back to the studio with the original Mahotella Queens and the reconstituted Makgona Tsohle Band. But with Marks Mankwane’s sourcebook of guitar riffs hooking each number and Joseph Makwela’s unshakable bass leading the groove rather than stirring it up reggae-style, it’s also about a beat forthright enough to grab Americans yet more elaborate than the r&b it evokes. The defiantly resilient and unsentimental exuberance of these musicians has to be fully absorbed before it can be believed, much less understood. They couldn’t be more into it if they were inventing rock and roll. And as a final benison, there’s a hymn from Ladysmith Black Mambazo. A+

 This is not just one of those “important” records, it’s a FUN record.  See if you don’t find yourself dancing around the living room if you put it on.

Also, as Christgau mentions, Ladysmith Black Mambazo have a song on this compilation.  They inspired Township Vocal Band tradition which later flourished in the culture of the South African workcamps.  Men in these camps toiled ten or more hours a day, often working in the horrible conditions of the South African diamond mines.  They had been bused hundreds of miles from their families and they largely lived in barracks.  When they weren’t working they grouped together by township and had contests to pass their off-time to see which band could sing most sweetly.   Imagining music this entrancing and gorgeous being created by people living such desperate and hardbitten lives often brings me to tears.   This is the music of the waters being parted so that people could come up out of slavery and degradation. 

You really should own this record

This is where metal is going

You should check out the live footage of the Baroness show from the Bowery Ballroom.  I dig these guys.  Their idea of metal is much closer, I think, to Can than it is to someone like, say, Megadeath.  I think it’s a lot more interesting, this sort of improvisational metal.  However, it can get a little too proggy for me at times, and I get Black Flag cravings. I definitely think it’s sort of a ‘metal-fans-only’ genre, this weird new byzantine jammy metal, but it’s a nice break…     

Other folks are talking…

My wife’s theatre company is putting on a fantastic play, the second act of which is pretty amazing, and heartbreaking. I dunno… something about Truman Capote’s take on the holidays appeals to me.  Gordon Lamb does a nice write up and includes .mp3s of Capote reading “A Thanksgiving Visitor.”  Good stuff.  No, amazing stuff.