1. My friends Matt and Emmanuelle depart on the morrow for Washington, DC, where he will take over the editorship of the cool libertarian rag Reason, and she will no doubt seize control of the Beltway media social circle. LA will be the poorer without them, while conscientious political reporters in the Capital shall greet them as liberators. And by all means, purchase Mr. Welch's political biography of John McCain, since it's unlikely the national media's love affair with the "straight-talking" Arizona Senator will distract them into doing anything as banal as analyzing where he actually stands on the issues. Neither a hatchet job nor a hagiography, the book is perfectly timed for the first primaries, where its subject may possibly emerge as the front-runner while the campaigns of Giuliani and Romney implode before our very eyes.
2. At last week's farewell for the couple, I ran into Ken Layne, Welch's former bandmate and partner in crime (as well as the distinguished ex-editor of Sploid, Wonkette, and his own eponymous blog back in the day). Sadly, because he feels that the collection of songs on the second Ken Layne & the Corvids album did not reach his high standards, we should not expect a release date anytime soon. Pity, that; just as any music fan would kill to hear Smile in its original form, warts and all, Transcontinental is a fine, original work, with several songs ("Happy MacKaye" is almost a Peckinpah western set to music, and "Mama Now Don't You Cry" is a truly haunting ballad) already valued members of my IPod fraternity. Hopefully, he'll return to these compositions in the future. [link via, natch, Mr. Welch]