Breaking News: JesusH, Resurrected (However Briefly)!

OK, calm down everybody. I know longtime JesusH fans have been on tenterhooks wondering where I’ve been. To make a long story short, I’ve been busy making this:

hilda's fashion parade 5of5, handspun handknit with ❤️ cardi by mom 💕🎉😻 !

A photo posted by 👊🏽💥 (@vaquera) on

give or take a few years.

So I was looking around for some good, solid, reliable kid-rearing resources to ensure I don’t accidentally raise a complete moron when I stumbled upon the JesusH Book Reviews! What a treasure trove of information I can trust! Callooh! Callay!

A thought occurred to me as I was perusing these reviews: JesusH is absolutely *loaded* with smart people with lots of experience and who write interesting things–albeit not at JesusH lately.  And why not at JesusH?  Oh, I imagine you are all so super busy with your engaging work and your child-rearing and your family nurturing and all.  Or maybe you’re like me and in this text- and chat- heavy world you haven’t managed to construct a grammatically cogent and acronym-free sentence in ages.  But I’d like to coax you back into visiting JesusH from time to time.  Read a little, post a little.  I know it can be a challenge to fit one more thing into your day or week.  In fact, I know I find the prospect daunting.  But what I lack in confidence I have in hope; whereas once upon a time I might’ve tossed a disdainful gauntlet, now I just entreat you to a modest enterprise: post occasionally.  Something amazing might happen!

And I know that I’m late to the reproduction circus but I know you all are loaded with interesting kid things that, frankly, I think would be a shame not to share.  I know because I’ve already seen a glimpse of it (have I mentioned those awesome book reviews?) already.

I give JesusH the rare and coveted five Pochaccos 

Let’s keep the flame alive!

“In closing, I ask: Noble Graduates, is it not of the utmost possibility that you may go forth now and seek a future of battling injustice, immorality, deception, and the Zionist regime? Preferably with nukes?”

a recent conversation (roughly paraphrased):

v: Do you think this is just his way of exhibiting some sort of lame machismo? You know–invite a mainstream international pariah to speak on your turf and then publicly school him? Or is he just trying to weather the fallout of a controversial decision by abandoning his faith in public discourse and uniting with the taunting masses? Pointless, either way.

goofball: Yeah.

(pause)

goofball: Why did they invite him to do the commencement speech anyway?

Fame at Last!

I know I haven’t posted in a gazillion years so when the conjoined twin opportunities for celebrating a year (sorta) of blogging and for general self-aggrandizement poked their collective unruly head outta nowhere I had to whac that mole (sic) clear across JesusH.

So without further ado…check it: I can’t believe it—I made the local rag! Read on, read on, and bask in my glory (scroll down to “bearded bandit”)!

A note before you go, though: in some cases, names gender and/or temperament have been altered to assure the privacy of the allegedly complacent music listener through obfuscation. Also, some artistic license has clearly been taken, presumably for the benefit of the older and/or weak-hearted readership.

I have to say that this is definitely a step up from the last time I was in the Planet; I believe the adjective used then was ‘execrable’. But that is neither here nor there (no, for reals: I searched for the review but it’s not up anymore). No, what concerns me is that there is a certain je nais c’est quoi missing from the Planet‘s take. Or maybe it’s all the action. Or the facts, goddamnit. I think a rewrite is in order.

Continue reading “Fame at Last!”

Andrew Martinez (1973-2006)

the naked guy
The Naked Guy
apprehended

Those of you who had the good fortune to be in the Berkeley area in the early 90s may remember Andrew Martinez; those of you who did not have that fortune might remember him better as The Naked Guy, the moniker by which he was known in the papers and in news broadcasts.

I didn’t know him personally, but I did see him out and about (very out and very about) on occasion during my first year at Cal. And I met him once at a party–I believe he was living or crashing at Le Chateau*, or maybe he attended a party at my co-op. In any case, the meeting was fleeting, but the impression lasted. Take some super-nice-but-not-a-pushover person you know. Add some sparkling irreverence and intelligence. Now throw in a generous handful of charisma, and you’ve got an inkling of what he was like. It’s not every day that you meet someone who seems unquestionably like a winner. And a civilly disobedient one is even rarer.

I was sorry to read this morning that he had suffered from undiagnosed mental illness for the last ten years. He committed suicide last Wednesday while in solitary at a jail in San Jose. I didn’t even know the guy, but I can tell the world is a poorer place for it.

~~~
* — Wow, it looks like Chateau’s temporarily closed! Anyway, it’s one of the USCA co-ops.

Season’s Greetings

big, badass bun

“Oh man, Peter better
not give me any shit about
this photo or i’m gonna
have to kick his ass!”

I looked out the window today and found that I could pretend no longer; the evidence was incontrovertible. The sun has returned to warm this part of the Earth, and I thought–with the seasonal change and all–it was high time to end the cold freeze of the short hiatus that followed my (sorta) successful experiment in posting a ton, rapid-fire. And–what the hell. I’d do it with long, clause-crazy, meandering sentences. And questionable punctuation.

So, goodbye sweetly interminable rainstorms! Hello blue skies and high pollen counts! Spring is come, love is in the air, the puddles are drying up, blooms of all colors and mushrooms of varying pliability are sprouting, and–wtf?! Is that a Radioactive, D. Carota-Mauling, Juggernaut Bunny??! Run for your lives!!

Maybe I’ll reconsider emerging from hibernation…just until it’s safe.

~~~

  • @ the BBC: Bounty Hunters Hired to Dispatch Beast From Hell
  • National Geographic furnishes a nearly identical article with a photo of a spectacular (but innocent) specimen of Oryctolagus cuniculus.
  • Breaking News: A Willie Nelson Valentine

    cowboy love
    out of the closet
    and into the hay!

    Everyone’s favorite Farm Aid co-founder and farm fresh BioWillie diesel-using troubadour Willie Nelson released a new single today called “Cowboys Are Secretly, Frequently (Fond of Each Other)”. Val Day will never be the same.

    I don’t know about you, but I am going to iTunes pronto to snap that baby up. Oh Willie, you are *so* heroic.

    [via Reuters]

    ~~~
    edited at 1936: this song has the classic Willie sound. Yeay, Willie!

    Musical Feet

    genius feet
    Guess who.

    If you’ve ever been to a show at which you were smashed up against the stage and the mere act of looking up at the band was an undertaking of epic proportions–or perhaps you were too short to see properly, and you could only manage to sneak peeks *through* the crowd–you might be intimately familiar with the feet of your favorite performer. Some of these are featured here.

    Weird, huh? And I know the question on everyone’s mind is: why do Jon Bon Jovi and Celine Dion look so similar from the calf down?

    Highlights:

  • Bjork
  • David Bowie
  • PJ Harvey
  • Bill Withers
  • Ornette Coleman
  • Nick Cave
  • David Byrne
  • The Onion Calls It

    questionable onionIn a stunning revelation, NPR reports that The Onion is either doing legitimate news these days or they’ve become oracularly gifted. Prior to this, The Onion was considered a satirical publication. Whether or not these new allegations will have an adverse effect on The Onion’s credibility remains to be seen; subscriber numbers have remained constant throughout the day.

  • Gillette’s Latest Gambit at The Onion, 021804
  • Gillette Fusion, complete with lady model sporting lab coat, 020906
  • [via Atrios]

    Save the Fairies!

    sedate penguins
    sedate, cozy penguins

    This is actually old news, but until now I hadn’t seen any photographic record of this. Yes, those are fairy penguins, and yes, they are rather nattily attired in knit woolen sweaters.

    Although these penguins live in a somewhat remote area of Australia, they are subject to the same environmental hazards that other seabirds must contend with–namely oil spills. Rehabilitation efforts for these hapless, oil-jacked penguins start with keeping them warm and preventing them from preening and further poisoning themselves. Take those requirements, add the insulating qualities of wool (even when wet), and you’ve got the makings of a great online campaign to knit sweaters for the small birds.

    penguins amok!
    Penguins amok!

    Before you pick up those needles, though, remember that this is old news. I imagine that, by now, they’ve probably got a surfeit of sweaters.

    Exploratory Post: JesusH Compila-rama!

    I’ve been restless for some good, old-fashioned, friendly competition lately. And while the latest opportunity that’s come up here isn’t up my alley, I can tell JesusH is where it’s at. I don’t know…I can just *feel* it.

    Another thing I feel, though, is that anything too ambitious will kill off the delicate white blood cells of interest that fend off the dread ailment of apathy here at JesusH. To ease JesusH into the wide world of the Three Noble Endeavors–Discourse, Community, and Action–we need something inspiring, not too difficult, and possibly fun.

    Continue reading “Exploratory Post: JesusH Compila-rama!”

    The Chronicles of Narnia: LWW

    narnia
    Lucy at the Lamp-Post

    I visited the Dream World of Magic last night and was little disappointed. A sort of LOTR-lite for the kiddies, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is an extravagant fantasy that hits nary a false note. CS Lewis, author of the Narnia books, did not approve of a live-action version of the books. He thought such a movie would inevitably fail to capture the fantastic elements of the story. I would venture to say that, had Mr Lewis lived to see this version of LWW, his fears would surely be allayed. A mostly faithful rendition of the book, the movie makes use of a nearly perfectly cast ensemble of actors: the four children credibly portray the remnants of a family sundered by the war, by turns bickering, playing, comforting each other, and struggling with boredom. Tilda Swinton is excellent as the White Witch–even improving upon the original character by giving her a shading of an alien, glacial soullessness. The movie has the sweeping aerial shots of the aforementioned LOTR, and some of the battle recalls that movie–though with no blood and less mayhem.

    Continue readingThe Chronicles of Narnia: LWW

    Coraline

    Coraline
    Coraline

    No, not the book by Neil Gaiman, though that was the inspiration for the band’s name. Coraline (kor’ ə leen) is an up and coming band from San Francisco fronted by the vivacious and winning Arwen Anderson. Their sound is folk-rock (emphasis on rock) with a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Their songs are dynamic, and, though many of their songs feature shafts, hosings, and death, the occasional flashes of humor are reassuring counterpoints to their darker songs.

    Continue reading “Coraline”

    Review: The Clean House

    “I didn’t go to medical school just so I could clean my own house.”
    –Lane, The Clean House

    What happens when the maid stops cleaning because she’s depressed, your husband discovered his Basherte in the examination room, and your elder sister’s resentment towards you fills the air with the spite of a nine-year-old? Well, if your story is being penned by the very witty and compassionate Sarah Ruhl, the unthinkable and the absurd might come into your life, but chances are you’ll come out ahead in the end, less entrenched in your idea of how things are, and more understanding of the human condition. In the depths of your despair you might find yourself demanding that shitty pigs eating shitty cow shit-manure invade your house; perhaps you might encounter the most perfect joke ever along the way. At any rate you’re in for a seriously fun romp that makes the most of the theatrical medium.

    Continue reading “Review: The Clean House

    Crap Travel Haiku

    Please enjoy the following crap haiku—a bonus addendum to Travel Stats.

    haiku montage

    ~~~

    Composed after visiting the Rijksmuseum:

      A most violent
      people, these Dutch. Muskets and
      halberds; partisans!

    On walking about Amsterdam:

      It is just like home
      but for the chatter which makes
      aliensmore so.

      Cheerful graffiti:
      while it’s lacking in ‘fuck yeah!’,
      it has joie in spades.

    And upon visiting Belgium:

      Belgian chocolate,
      I confess skepticism,
      but you sure showed me.

    ~~~
    (Haiku montage at right, t to b: street graffiti, tree decorated with animal heads, daytime pub, chocos)

    Travel Stats

    A bit of Europe, 120905-121805

    snaps 1
    l to r: canal with step-gabled buildings, paintings in Rembrandt’s collection, on the way to Dam

    Netherlands:

  • arguments between locals on the street: 2
  • arguments between locals inside the Vincent van Gogh Museum: 1
  • stroopwafels consumed as of 120905.0931: 1
  • total warme chocolades consumed: 2 (one in Amsterdam, one in Haarlem)
  • pannekoeke consumed: 1 (appel)
  • dogs who eyed me wistfully as they passed by while I sat on the ground knitting at Centraal Station in Amsterdam: 4
  • children I made steady eye contact with who I got to smile or wave while I sat on the ground knitting at Centraal Station in Amsterdam: 2
  • dogs encountered who were my hip height at the shoulder: 1 (Grote Markt in Amsterdam)
  • pairs of legwarmers on passersby (not counting my own): 1 (woman in Amsterdam)
  • live sex acts unintentionally happened upon: 2 (same couple)
  • snaps 2
    l to r: bakery cat, miscellany in Rembrandt’s collection, girl outside cafe

    Belgium:

  • amused couples who applauded when I finally caught up to j on my bike: .5 (Brugge)
  • men who helped me figure out my bicycle light: 1 (Brugge)
  • adults shorter than me: 2 (Antwerp)
  • Michelangelos that I saw in real life: 1 (though it was hard to see)
  • pairs of legwarmers on passersby (not counting my own): 1 (woman in Brugge)
  • pairs of legwarmers on mannequins (in windows): 3
  • snaps 3
    l to r: Tio (half of the amorous couple), windmill, v looking at etchings

    Miscellaneous stats:

  • total stroopwafels consumed as of 121705.1357: 3
  • whistling passersby: 6
  • ratio of Smart Cars to Mini Coopers: 2:3
  • anti-Bush propaganda: 2 (Amsterdam and Brugge, one a piece)
  • cities visited: 5 (Amsterdam, Brugge, Dam, Antwerp, Haarlem [yes, the one the real Harlem is named after])

    sheep!
    l to r: sheep
  • Breaking News: Fantastic Mr. Fox

    It took every kilo/cm^2 of self-control I could muster to repress this news during Dave Month, but muster I did because I, for one, respect the sanctity of that occasion and didn’t want to corrupt it with my willful, intrusive posts. But now it’s *February*, month of hearts, presidents, groundhogs, birthdays…and now, for the first time ever, my willful, possibly intrusive posts! Yeay, February!

    Depending on how you look at it, everyone’s favorite (not so favorite) meticulous (excessively exacting), pathos-evoking (bathetic barf-inducing), wry (smugly witty), self-conscious (self-satisfied) director, promoter of Bill Murray and the Owen Bros, and rad soundtrack-compiling extraordinare, Wes Anderson, is taking on the film adaptation of one of Roald Dahl’s best books, Fantastic Mr. Fox. IMDB says it’s in pre-production so there’s always the chance that it could be abandoned, but here’s hoping it’s not.

    On a personal level, I am generally ambivalent about the wholesale trend of adapting *everything* to every other medium. Careful cross-contamination is great and reinterpretations can be interesting. But, for the most part, rampant adaptations of old works strikes me as lazy–the bottom line being one of commercial exploitation. But Fantastic Mr. Fox is sorely underrated, and I hope a new generation of potential Dahl fans will get a chance to meet this most wily hero. I must, however, put my foot down on the matter of Mr. Fox: Fantastic Tenor.

    For those of you Philistines who eschewed reading the great books of childhood, I highly recommend the Donald Chaffin-illustrated first edition. Not that Quentin Blake is a bad illustrator, per se; just…you know. There’s a time and place…and I’m afraid, Mr. Blake, Mr. Fox benefits from the sure hand of Mr. Chaffin c1970.

    Hey All You Procrastinators!

    It’s that time of year again—the leaves of non-native maples have fallen, high winds of disturbing warmth are flying, and the inspiration (and for some, the duty) to give gifts to our loved ones begins to overwhelm us. After all, isn’t Christmas, like, tomorrow or something? If you’re anything like me, thinking up presents for the younger generation is one of the harder tasks of this special time. Don’t get me wrong–obviously there are many, many (too many!) options to choose from. What’s tough are the myriad considerations you’ve got to take into account: is it useful? Is it fun? What is its physical volume-to-average rate of attention engagement ratio, and is it sufficiently inappreciable to merit serious consideration?

    But perhaps more importantly—is it something they want? Is it something that reflects my character and values (so I won’t feel guilty about giving it to them)? Am I becoming the sort of aunt from whom you really don’t want to receive presents?

    “Thank goodness for the government in times like this!” I always say. Because in this, my time of need, the federal frickin’ government has stepped in to save the day. And as a bonus I won’t even have to spend a penny.

    The DOE has gotten a whole gang of miscellaneous state and federal energy groups, the Ad Council, and a host of corporate sponsors partners to come together in the name of necessary virtue in order to spread the gospel of energy conservation to the next generation of American consumers. “Sounds remarkablyboring,” I can imagine you thinking right now. “How can they possibly be effective?” Why, if there’s one thing this administration knows, it’s how to make the medicine go down. And for this season’s gift-giving-made-easy, it comes in the form of the cleverly packaged guise of a specially-designed, mega-fun, completely free online video game: Energy Hog!

    An Undelible Classic
    Zork: An Indelible Classic

    Energy Hog starts off as all good video games do: by completely immersing the player in a new, fantastical world. It takes the tried and true mechanism for entering a new environment via a crack in the window from the illustrious video game forefather Zork and *turns it on its head*. Instead of entering a building unawares through a crack, your video game persona tries to *prevent* the villainous, stupendously mohawked Energy Hog from using the crack to waste precious energy.

    But let’s get to the good stuff; what kind of weapons are we talking about, here? Hold your horses—Energy Hog will *not* disappoint. But first, let’s have a look at what’s come before.

    The Pixel Shooter of
    Space Invaders (1978)


    A classic—influencing ballistics from Centipede to Gauntlet to The Legend of Zelda.

    The Vector Gun of
    Asteroids (1979)


    An innovation in slightly more versatile missile-projection.

    The Fireballs of
    Super Mario Bros (1985)


    Ricocheting projectiles with Bowser’s name written all over them.

    The Crowbar of
    Half-Life (1998)


    After an onslaught of FPS guns, a refreshing return to low-tech weaponry.

    The Redeemer of
    Unreal Tournament 2004


    A return to ridiculous weaponry.

    Energy Hog adds new technology to this arsenal of storied video game weapons. Behold:

    The Caulk Gun
    of Energy Hog (2005)

    Don't be on the receiving end of this baby!
    You don’t want to be on the receiving end of this baby!

    As the press release states:

    At [energyhog.org], where the game is available, a player, whether young or old, has to work fast to electronically caulk a window to keep the Energy Hog out.

    But that’s not the extent of it. There are five different nefarious Hogs who are trying to waste your energy, doing everything from using non-Energy Star-certified appliances to refusing to substitute compact fluorescents for standard incandescents (dastardly, dastardly Hogs!). These bad boys are aching to be taken down, and the little budding conservationist of your acquaintance is just the one to do it.

    In the spirit of general conservation, consider making your own gift certificates (complete with Energy Hog URL) for the kiddies this year and bask in the fervent esteem with which they repay you. Because it’s only a matter of time before Energy Hog is installed in the Pantheon of Greatest Video Games of All Time, and the lucky scamps who know you will cherish the opportunity you gave ’em to be ahead of the game.

    And, BTW

    I don’t know if the streets in Rome are so very different than those in the Belgian countryside, or if the nuns have a particular *technique*, or if they have special Pope-sanctioned, Sinless Euphoria WonderBikes with patented Vibrorama Adjust-a-Shocks (“Just the Right Bounce!”), or what, but in my very recent experience,

    cobblestones + bicycle == yowch!
    

    I mean, it’s charming and all, but painful. Yow.

    Preparing for the Holidays in the Third Person

    It’s no secret that la Vaquera has hit a bit of a rough spot; what with the miserable excuse for aggressive political conviction that was California’s recent special election, a temporary lapse in the integrity of her health, Don Klaiber ignoring her needy entreaties for knitting solidarity at JesusH*, and assorted work woes, it has been long since she has been in good humor, let alone in fine writing form.

    However, she has managed to get some holiday knitting done:

    cardigan for emi

    So, all in all, she considers November (so far) a


    kind of month.

    *UPDATE: My goodness, things are looking up already! I was remiss in noticing that Don Klaiber has, indeed, come through on the knitting front! Rah, rah, rah! I therefore upgrade November’s rating to

    !

    Thanks, Don! And, wowzers, in my excitement I seem to have slipped back into the first person! I’ve been revived!

    Happy Halloween Week!

    It’s autumn; there’s a nip in the air, the sky is grey every day, and the spiders are now out in full force. Soon the neighborhood kids will be at the door, imploring for yet more candy. And we will give it to them, yes we will.

    At times like this my thoughts inevitably turn to JesusH’s very own patron saint of chaos. Won’t you join me in paying homage?

    oh so diabolical!
    1997 EMW Corp., All Rights Reserved.

    A Ten-Gallon Hat, Some Needles, Some Wool–And You’re Set!

    *sniff*
    Oh, please excuse me for a moment.
    *honk!*

    It has certainly been a tough week here at JesusH, but I, for one, am amply gratified by the suggestion that, while we may pause to pay our respects to those who are no longer with us, we must also soldier on–keeping the flame alive, as it were and so to speak. So, in accordance with this renewed esprit de vivre I join my fellow JesusH-ers in sending a “fare thee well” in poor, bedeviled Charles Rocket’s direction (though I confess I am at most passingly familiar with his work; but as he shares his first name with three gentlemen of varying fineness of my acquaintance, and his surname, of course, needs no further explication of its coolness, I can’t but help feeling a measure of sentimental pathos to accompany the compassion i feel in hearing his story) and resolving to move on to new things, to cultivate my life’s passions, and to encourage those around me to do so as well.

    el vaquero con la lana
    el vaquero con la lana — !Ay!

    To the ends of these three matters I would like to direct your attention, if you please, to this most dramatic, pointed, and concise image. Consider: the lone, industrious cowboy astride his gallant pony, performing a most absorbing–yet in essence, simple–craft. His gaze steady, his fingers nimblefew things are as beautiful as a man in his element, doing what he loves. You can imagine him returning to the ranch, dusty and parched from the day’s work. His fatigue cannot disguise his pride, though, when he reaches into his saddlebag and gently lifts out the beautiful shawl he’s toiled over for his sweetheart, who gets chilled while she telecommutes from her drafty office.

    The things we do every day–the very little choices we make from moment to moment–can be things of joy. And to act purposefully is rewarding in itself, no matter how humble the purpose is–it clears the mind and readies one for conviction. Riding animals of the equine persuasion can be mighty fun, even for those who do it daily. But can you imagine riding and creating something new with your own two hands?

    Review: The Original Cel-Ray™

    The other day I decided to travel to the exotic and vastly misunderstood land of Temescal. Temescal–with its rich heritage of blacksmiths, fruit and vegetable packers, men and women! Temescal–with one of the best transfer stations in the BART system, a cleverly named yarn store, and its own creek! Since Temescal is an Oaktown neighborhood, it isn’t unusual to run into people who blanch at the idea of visiting. Those people are fools.

    But this review is not about those people, nor is it about Temescal (because, clearly, Temescal is where it’s at).

    I secretly wanted to visit a bakery I’d never been to, but having skipped breakfast and not yet having had lunch, I thought it’d be a little naughty to eat fun baked goods without having consumed a real meal all day. What to do, what to do? Ah, yes! Across the street–the beloved Genova Delicatessen, a Temescal staple! My companion and I hastily crossed over to get sandwiches.

    Once the sandwich master had my order, I wandered over to the refrigerator that held various drinks. And there it was–the first and last thing that caught my eye. Before I knew it I’d opened the glass-paned door and snatched it up.

    Continue reading “Review: The Original Cel-Ray™”

    Mad Hot Ballroom

    If the serial monogamist, elder-abandoning, take-care-of-your-own (and your own only) mindset of the penguins in March of the Penguins is the hallmark of the perfect documentary for conservatives, then the heady exuberance of youth exposed to the arts, the dedication of public school teachers, and the triumph of compassion and discipline combined featured in Mad Hot Ballroom are likewise irresistibly attractive to movie-going progressives.

    Mad Hot Ballroom: not for sucks
    Mad Hot Ballroom: Not For Sucks

    Filmmakers Amy Sewell and Marilyn Agrelo filmed and interviewed participants of American Ballet Theater’s Dancing Classrooms program–a program developed over the last ten years to give New York City’s fifth-grade public school students a taste of the genteel art form. The program–and the movie–conclude with representatives of each school entering a competition which comes across less Cutthroat Melodrama and more Showcase of Excellence. Sewell and Agrelo used that footage to put together an entirely entertaining, heartbreaking, inspiring drama about these ten-year-olds, who range, at the beginning of the program, from open-minded good sports to coolly disaffected scrubs. Just a few classes with the energetic and charming ballroom dance teachers, and the kids lose any ambivalence or reticence toward their partners and the dances themselves. The ever-constant, never-flagging enthusiasm and support of the classroom teachers visibly bolster the kids’ growing confidence, and you find yourself witnessing their transformations into hard-working, determined dancers.

    Continue reading “Mad Hot Ballroom”

    Ladies and Gentlemen, We Have a Winner!

    For my inaugural post I thought I’d make a big splash by hijacking the esteemed good name of JesusH to promote a cause neither officially endorsed by the rest of my colleagues here nor authorized by said colleagues. And, while I confess that I have not researched whether they have registered JesusH with the USPTO, I am confident that, if they have, they will certainly be too lazy to enforce the legitimate use of it.

    the shiny, coveted JHMABNA
    The shiny, coveted JHMABNA

    So, without further ado, I am pleased to announce this year’s JesusH Music Award for Best New Artist: Thao Nguyen (not to be confused with the unfortunate but enterprising Thao Nguyen of 101 Ways to Humiliate Public Wankers fame)!

    Thao Nguyen (the former, not the latter) released her debut album Like the Linen this summer to critical acclaim. And what a debut! Like the Linen includes the most satisfying synthesis of guitar work and melody I’ve heard in ages. An excellent guitarist herself, Nguyen chose accompanists who serve to lightly embroider her songs with just enough detail to highlight her playing and singing while exercising enough restraint to keep from overwhelming the hearts of the songs. At times poignant but never saccharine, Nguyen’s writing is wholly evocative without being unnecessarily explicit. I’d recommend particular tracks but there is nary a one to which I am indifferent. You’re just gonna have to listen to each and every one.

    Included in my copy of the album was a note from Nguyen herself, which just goes to show that she’s a Grade-A Class Act too. Not that any of the runners-up for the JHMABNA lost points for failing to include personal correspondence–no, not at all. But ya gotta admit, it’s a nice touch.

    friendly note
    friendly note

    One last observation (which is, perhaps, irrelevant to the quality of her music but I’m sure is of interest to the JesusH readership): she is totally, totally fine.

    brilliant thao
    Thao Nguyen: badass, classy
    singer/songwriter/musician,
    and easy on the eyes to boot!

    So go check her out (mp3 downloads available), buy her album, and eagerly await the day when she tours the West Coast.