Some interesting reading here about China’s energy use. It’s a short article, so don’t cop out. Read it, and when you do, keep in the back of your mind that China is the world’s fastest growing economy and that their energy use is projected to increase by 10x its current amount, largely driven by one of the worst agents of pollution, coal. They don’t necessarily want to use coal, they just have to for now. They want large-scale energy alternatives, though. That’s right – the driving reason they’re using coal is that they simply cannot afford anything else. Sad.

I swear this is not turning into an energy blog (really, I promise), but you might also be interested to read about how our current politicans are purposefully downplaying reports of the effects of carbon on our enviroment or how Exxon has played a role in influencing U.S. decision-making on the Kyoto Treaty.

And about that pesky Kyoto Treaty: for now, I’m actually finding myself marginally supporting Bush on his decision about Kyoto – Paul Roberts’ book devotes and entire chapter to this – and the details of the treaty, while unquestionably packed with good intentions, do seem to support the theory that the treaty, as is, could seriously harm the U.S. economy in ways you probably can’t imagine. Do I think Bush is influenced by the oil companies? You bet I do. That the administration is actually trying to dispute scientific fact about the consequences of carbon is puzzling, to put it mildly.

So their solution is to open up the Alaskan Reserves and drill for more oil? This solution would actually make sense and I would support it if it were going to move the needle in terms of seriously decreasing our need for foreign oil. But even if we squeeze every drop possible out of Alaska, our dependance on foreign oil is still projected to rise and don’t let anyone tell you differently. Production of oil from our own sands is going nowhere but down, Alaska or no Alaska.

OK, off my soapbox. I only wanted to write one paragraph about energy for today and look what happened. What else is up? There seem to be an abundance of really good albums being released lately. Of all the things I’ve been digging lately, I’m sure most of the people who know me would not guess that I’ve been all over the new Aimee Mann album, The Forgotten Arm. To say that I disliked most of her past work would be glossing it over. But there’s something about this one that I’ve taken quite a liking to. I can’t explain it.

I might have already mentioned Gimme Fiction here before, but Spoon’s new album is really doing it for me. Ever since the disbanding of Pavement, I’ve been looking for a band to hang my indie rock hat on and this is the closest I’ve come. It could be on the verge of borderline obsessive soon. These guys are a great band. Their new single “I Turn My Camera On” would make the “Miss You” era Mick Jagger blush with envy.

You will find it very difficult to convince me that Scotland’s Teenage Fanclub wasn’t one of the top 3 bands of the 1990s. Their new album, Man-Made was just released and while it doesn’t approach the rock peaks they hit back then, it’s still a supremely crafted set of pop songs, just a little more wimpy. Wimpy is ok in the right setting, though, and this album is well worth having if you like the band. Bonus: they’ll be making the rounds in the U.S. for the first time in a while this summer. Can you say “I’m not missing A THING for that?”

I had also resigned myself to the fact that I would pretty much hate everything Ryan Adams ever did again. Heartbreaker was such a great album, but when he followed it up with Gold, I threw up. Hard. Everything since then has been, to me, like jumping into a pool of rubbing alcohol with cuts all over my body. Cold Roses, however, has turned my head. A little. Lots of critics are comparing this to the Grateful Dead’s peak era (Workingman’s Dead, American Beauty, etc). While I can’t agree with that just yet, the output on Cold Roses is encouraging. Now let’s watch him ruin it as he releases like 86 more albums this year. Ick.

Recently podded:
Spoon: Jonathon Fisk
Dramarama: Memo From Turner
Uncle Tupelo: I Wanna Be Your Dog
Linda Thompson: Dear Mary
Bob Dylan: It Takes A Lot To Laugh….
Nick Lowe: American Squirm
Jimi Hendrix: Hey Joe
Sir Douglas Quintet: Texas Me
The Marathons: Peanut Butter
The Soft Boys: Kingdom Of Love
Johnny Cash: I’ve Been Everywhere