October 13, 2002

Hello from Nashville! We’re about halfway through recording our new album. Check out the photos of scenes from our action-packed sessions. We are once again aided by tall producer Roger Moutenot, and working at the Alex The Great. It’s nice to be back, actually. The weather has been nice, dear friends are taking good care of us, and it seems like all our favorite restaurants are still open.

Our Nuclear War EP will be released on November 19th, on the Matador label. You heard it here first, or possibly second.

We are very happy to announce that we will be playing all 8 nights of Hanukkah again this year, at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ. Last year was the first time we did this, and it went so well we decided to do it again. The 2001 shows each featured a special opening act (Yung Wu, Lambchop, +/-, Antietam, Hypnolovewheel, Zusaan Kali Fasteau, Annie Hayden, Consonant), a special comedy act (David Greenberger, Todd Barry, Janeane Garofalo, David Cross, Jon Benjamin, Jon Glaser, The Upright Citizens Brigade, Penn Jillette w/ Gilbert Gottfried and Paul Provenza), and special guests sitting in with us during our sets (Terry Adams from NRBQ played our whole set with us opening night, Jon Spencer played guitar & sang with us for our whole set closing night; in between, Kurt Wagner sang "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" and "Jeepster" by two of the many great Jewish songwriters we spotlighted, and Todd Barry rocked the house on drums, to name but a few). We calculate that we played close to 900 different songs over the course of those gigs. All the proceeds from each show went to a different charity, as did the money from the 2 special t-shirt designs (by Steven Hunking of Hypnolovewheel) we had made for the occasion.

This year we will be including a brand new 3-song Christmas CDEP in the ticket price. That’s right, Christmas. Where are the good Hanukkah songs? For crying out loud. Anyways, we’ll be at Maxwell’s from Friday, November 29-Saturday, December 6. Tickets are officially on sale as of now (stay tuned for the full schedule of charities, opening acts, comics, and special guests, to be updated as soon as we know, ourselves). Maxwell’s only holds about 200 people, so act fast. We hope to see you there. (Tickets are on sale at Other Music in NYC, Tunes in Hoboken, at Ticketmaster elsewhere, and if you’re from overseas, but planning on Hanukkahing in these parts, we recommend contacting Maxwell’s at www.maxwellsnj.com.)

You people seriously overestimate the number of times James goes to the movies. He saw two movies this summer, "Men In Black 2" and "24 Hour Party People." Nobody guessed he only saw 2 movies, but only one person correctly included these two titles in their lists of way too many ("My Big Fat Greek Wedding"? Come on, people), and that lucky winner, Ms. Janice Headley of Seattle, will be contacted shortly, once travel arrangements are sorted out. That’s right, James will be coming to your house. Hope you have cable.

Back to work,

Over the years, there have been occasional questions about Ira’s pre-Yo La Tengo days as a journalist. With that in mind, we offer an example from 1985 of his writing:


To the Sports Editor:

Gary Savnyu not only finds nothing wrong with the designated hitter, but suggests that it would be in baseball’s best interests to adopt a system of separate offensive and defensive platoons (”Mailbox: Pros and Cons on Rule Changes,” The New York Times, March 31). The only flaw I can find with his plan is that it’s not carried to its logical conclusion. If baseball is to use football as a model, why not also incorporate free substitution?

I say, let the team at bat send up their most selective hitter, their keenest judge of the strike zone, any time they want. He’ll try to force the pitcher to fall behind on the count, at which point he’ll be quickly replaced by a power hitter particularly adept at handling the fastball called for in this situation. Should the slugger reach two strikes, he’ll return to the bench in favor of a contact specialist, who’ll settle for putting the ball in play. Designated runners will naturally take over whenever a hitter reaches base.

Needless to say, this will eliminate the necessity of a batting order. And just as some football coaches rely on a durable running back to carry the ball 30 times a game, so too will a shrewd manager be able to send his best hitters to the plate over and over again, resting them perhaps after an especially grueling sprint along the base paths.

Take it away, Commissioner Ueberroth!

Hoboken, N.J.

(April 7, 1985, Sunday, Late City Final Edition Section 5; Page 2, Column 1)