"Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)
Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)
It’s proven with science: Measured by its average age, this is the oldest Congress ever.
Tucker Carlson’s Internet Tendency has a story on how the advanced age of our lawmakers is hurting our nation. (They also have a slide show of “Geeky guys who landed hot women.”) It’s not pretty.
Robert Byrd is this Congress’ Strom Thurmond: Everyone knows he is just not there. He’s a decrepit old body wheeled in to make votes only when he’s needed. (He’s missed 42 percent of them during this Congress.) This is ridiculous. It makes the Senate even more a joke — that everyone pretends that increasingly incoherent hundred-year-old men are legislators instead of just names on ballots and collections of longtime staffers.
Congress is already disproportionately white, male and rich — the fact that power is then apportioned according to seniority is a fantastic reason for widespread cynicism about whether government even cares about issues facing people under 65. (It also doesn’t help when the Medicare crowd is whipped up into a hateful frenzy over the myth that someone might touch their socialist government benefits in the name of slightly aiding the younger and less fortunate.)
Here’s one of those stories about our old and incompetent legislators that no one hears until the man in question finally retires or dies:
Sen. Jim Jeffords, 72 when he retired, admitted to memory loss and was widely suspected on Capitol Hill to be suffering from Alzheimer’s. He once wandered over to the House of Representatives where, after several minutes, lawmakers told him: wrong chamber.
Oh, he was widely suspected of being incapable of doing his job, huh? It’s a good thing no one reported this!
To be fair to our ancient rulers, Frank Lautenberg still seems sharp. And while it’s an open secret that South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson is not all there since his brain injury, he’s only 63.
Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @pareeneMore Alex Pareene.
Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
"Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987
Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)