From Anna Nicole’s dream ride to Britney’s skin head to Tom Brady’s love child, 2007 was quite “amazing.” Or, at least, that is how it has been described. Never one to put hyperbole on the backburner, Hollywood elite, political effete and the vapid-minded everywhere chose one word over every other as the go-to adjective to describe their meals, their children, their visits to Darfur and, especially, their “journeys” – be they of self-discovery or otherwise. “Amazing.” Once a word used to describe grace, has now bounced into the lexicon of impact catch-all. How can one sum up the totality of feelings, thoughts and spirit that goes into living each and every moment? “Amazing.”

When asked to comment about being named lephilistine Word of the Year, Amazing said, “Phenomenal.” Uh-oh.

Neko CaseSpeaking of amazing, look who almost accepted my proposal of marriage: Neko Case. Wowwee! Actually, I was, to the mortification of her Mims, starstruck. I couldn’t speak. Only one other time was I such a bumbling fool in front of a celebrity. I met the late, great short story writer Raymond Carver after a lecture and could only say, “me. like. words.” I even offered him some Johnny Walker Red if he would just join me at my Chevette. Which was a classy move because he was a recovering alcoholic at the time. In my defense, I was only 19 and offering writers scotch seemed like the right thing to do.

But back to Neko. There comes a time in the life of every stalker when the synergy of obsessed fan and well-meaning celebrity come together to form the perfect cheer. She certainly put on one of the great shows of 2007. With backing band the Sadies and best friend/ back-up singer Kelly Hogan (and wanna stand-up) she did a 2-hour set at a refurbished old-timey theatre that was a delight from beginning to why-did-it-have-to end. Ah, at least I got a clump of her auburn locks before security tazed me, bro.

Of course, 2007 will most certainly be remembered for producing 20 presidential candidates all of whom spent much of the year underwhelming the electorate. Well, 19 of them. Ron Paul actually picked up a large swath of the lunatic fringe who seemed to be enthralled by his crazy old man theatrics. “Get off my lawn.” I have been seeing Ron Paul bumper stickers and yard signs all over my city for nearly a year, and our primary isn’t until the end of April. What gives? I know pot-heads support anyone who claims to be a Libertarian, but come on. How can Paul be a Libertarian when he doesn’t support women’s reproductive rights? Plus, he doesn’t accept Evolution as fact. So he bitches about Iraq. So what. So does Ben Affleck but nobody is voting him. They aren’t, are they?

We are not quite at the half way mark yet, but I’m starting to look like quite the genius for predicting a President McCain last May. Of course, lost in the all of the hoopla of America voting for a woman, an African-American or someone with mental illness, is the fact that yet again no one is voting for an Italian-American. What gives? Italian-Americans have given so much to this country: Jersey, Vegas, the best parts of the Rat Pack, concrete, organized labor, quality knock-off designer clothes and accessories. Why no votes for compadre Rudy?LePhilistine

Sure, a lot can be said about Rudy only campaigning in Florida and ignoring every other state, but I say “fungol!” This prince, who stood up to the terrorists on 9/11 by holding up a bullhorn at ground zero earned our respect. And if we’re not going to elect someone whom we respect, then who the hell are we going to elect? Capeche?

Which brings us to Barack Hussein Al Jazeera Sultan Sinbad Obama. What a wind bag! And I mean that in the best possible sense. “We are the Change!” Which is so much better than “We are the World.” “We are the Change We can be.” Says it all, folks. Well, we can’t be some other kind of change, can we? That’s just stupid. “Can you make Change for a twenty?” Oh, I know that trick. I live in an urban neighborhood.

But if you’re like me, rich and handsome and sick of politics (ask me about my grandkids!), then a diversion is in order. No, I’m not talking about a heroin addiction. It’s white water rafting down the Rio Grande! That’s her Mims and me traveling through New Mexico with a boat load of Old Mexicans. Damn, those border guards are right. You can just fish them right out of the river.

Funny thing about our rafting adventure. Our guide told us that she’s never “crashed” into the obstacle in the river known as “Big Rock.” Appropriately named because it is a huge, friggin’ rock right in the middle of a particularly tricky rapid. As they say, there’s always a first for everything. We hit it with such a concussive force that I dropped my martini. Fortunately, like a St. Bernard, I always keep a keg tied to my neck. Soon, cocktails were poured for all.

Of course, another tried and true diversion is picking on aging punk rockers. Here I am holding John Doe’s feet to the fire. I know, it looks like Ettouffee took the picture as he was falling down. Point is, Doe had a lot to answer for. I asked why he “trashed” Kathleen Edwards, who sings back up on his latest CD “A Year in the Wilderness.” Doe said he didn’t, but that some members of his touring bands didn’t like her first record. So he literally through his tour bus under the bus.

I also repeated a question that I’d asked him years earlier about which X album was his favorite. He started to say “Los Angeles” and then switched to “Under the Big Black Sun,” when I reminded him that he’d previously said “See How We Are.” He said, “Yeah, that’s good too,” or some such nonsense. Anyway, he still puts on a great live show if you’re in to those sorts of things.

But you know who does not put on good live shows? Critics’ darlings Feist and Ryan Adams, that’s who. The Fiest show was particularly disappointing because opening band Rogue Wave actually had the crowd at the fancy schmancy music hall revved up. Feist, however, seemed contented to lullaby everyone to sleepy time. Ryan Adams, on the other hand, seemed hell bent on annoying his fans with strange Allman Brothers like arrangements of his songs and Grateful Dead guitar jams that would have made the late Michael O’Donoghue want to drive 10” spikes into his eyes.

Oh, well. At least Wilco still knows how to put on a great live show. And now that the line up sometimes boast 4 guitarists including guitar god, Nels Cline, it’s like watching the alt-country version of Deep Purple. Because they tour endlessly, you have no reason not to see them soon.

Unfortunately, someone you will no longer be able to see perform is Drew Glackin, bass player for the Silos and multi-instrumentalist for other bands. Drew had an undiagnosed thyroid condition that lead to severe heart disease which eventually lead to death at the untimely age of 43. I saw him playing with the in alt-country band Tandy a few years back and then introduced myself at a Silos show. He was a genuinely nice guy and great musician. If you’re going to be in Austin, Texas in mid-March, please attend the 2 scheduled tribute shows planned or go to Silos.com and make a contribution to his memorial fund.

Heath Ledger also died and I’m going to go out on a phantom limb and predict that he’ll win a posthumous Best Supporting Actor Award at the 2009 Academy Awards for his portrayal of the Joker in Chris Nolan’s “Batman Returns.” Yes, you can wager on it via paypal.

SpidermanSince I haven’t written anything in so long for lePhilistine, as you’ve no doubt noticed, what could I possibly have been doing with my time, besides running for President? Well, I started reading comic books again. Yeah, I know. Save all the middle-aged nerd jokes. I seem to recall Lord of the Rings: Return of the King winning a Best Picture Oscar. Plus, I am doing research for a graphic novel that I’m writing. At least, that’s what I told my accountant.

Anyway, I bought this copy of Marvel Teams Up featuring Spiderman and Deathlok at Eide’s Records and Comics store. The funny thing is that I’m pretty sure that it’s the same copy I sold to Eide’s over 20 years ago. The other funny slash stupid thing is that I think I paid the same amount for which I sold it to them. Hey, I don’t go around telling everyone how to run their business, but how about at least a storage fee?

My sister (gabbonesso.com) has sort-of resurrected Ha Ha! At the Club Café on Friday nights occasionally. My contribution was The Rantings of a Repeat Offender, which can be read somewhere on this site. Let’s just say the audience held back their laughter enough to make me rethink making this a steady feature.

Speaking of audiences, Her Mims just rapped up a production of “Amadeus” at the Public. Here she is playing Mrs. Salieri along with Tony Abatemarco as Salieri. Kudos and Huzzahs to all involved. What a delight! If ever a play should have a sequel, this has to be the one. Think about it: what other trouble could that crazy Italian composer get into? Rich with possibilities.

Well, that’s enough for now. Please visit the music page to become outraged with my Top 20 choices for 2007. Sorry, but I call ‘em like I hears ‘em. Maroon 5 was clearly CD of the Year. In a parallel universe, that is.

Live Free or Don’t!