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Links: 5-4-3-2-1 edition   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, March 03, 2005 - 06:00 PM
Posted by: kbade



Not the Proclaimers, not even half

FRIDAY TIME-WASTER: 238 Miles follows the journey of o­ne man listening to o­ne song -- ABBA's "Dancing Queen" -- all the way from Chicago to Iowa City. In Quicktime.

FRIDAY TIME-WASTER II: It's a non-English site, but you will intuitively understand how to play the game from experience.

WILCO'S JEFF TWEEDY and Stanford Law Professor-cyberguru Larry Lessig will discuss "Who Owns Culture?" The duo will "explore the artistic, commercial and legal issues that surround the Internet-enabled freeing of culture" April 7th at the New York Public Library. Sounds very Royal Tenenbaums, doesn't it?

WEEZER shot their forthcoming video for "Beverly Hills" at the Playboy Mansion. The band's web site claims that "[t]he idea of juxtaposing real Weezer fans with such an unlikely fantasy environment came from "Beverly Hills" basically being about the sense of alienation that many people get when they don't feel like they belong." Hanging out with Playmates had nothing to do with it.

EX-PISTOL GLEN MATLOCK does not want his kids exposed to profanities o­n television.

CATS AND DOGS can now get prescription eyewear.

MOVEON is profiled in a Rolling Stone article titled "The o­nline Insurgency." "Insurgents" is not really the label I would want stuck to me at this moment in history, but maybe the MoveOn folk will see it differently.

NANOTECH: The Center for Responsible Technology argues that nanobots are not needed for manufacturing, but continued misunderstanding may hinder research into highly beneficial technologies and discussion of the real dangers. Meanwhile, scientists have attached nanoparticles to DNA and then cut these "DNA wires" into pieces, offering the promise of creating low-cost, self-assembling devices for future computers.

GEENA DAVIS FOR PRESIDENT: On television, maybe. Better looking than Martin Sheen, definitely.

THE HEIMLICH MANEUVER turns into a drug bust.

THE BEST PART OF BREAKING UP is when you're publicizing it. Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen? Done. Katie Holmes and Chris Klein? Done. J-Lo? Not done attacking Ben Affleck.

EDUCATION BLOGGING: The fourth Carnival of Education is o­nline.

SYRIA UNDER PRESSURE to leave Lebanon from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Russia.

BUILD YOUR OWN STALKER'S SHRINE with a little help from the Google Image Montage Maker!

AS BASEBALL AND BASKETBALL OVERLAP right now, The New York Times looks at the influence of "Moneyball" o­n the NBA.

CULT OF THE iPod: accessTunes is shareware that allows people to make their iTunes library accessible over the web. Seems like a security hole to me! Drexel University will hand out free iPod Photo players to between 30 and 50 students entering its School of Education this September. Perhaps they can dress their devices to look like Chewbacca. Finally, fishbowl LA speculates that God probably has an iPod.

THE FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION AND BLOGS may collide in the near future. I think this story is a little overblown, though it's an example of the danger posed when the government gets to define who the "media" is for an exemption from the regulation of political speech.

DEMOCRATIC DIAGNOSIS: Matt Yglesias, blogging at The American Prospect argues that Bush's weaknesses in polls should cause Democrats to take a look in the mirror.

KUDOS TO WARNER BROS. from Slate over the excellent job the studio is doing in restoring and remastering their classics for DVD.

PORTIA de ROSSI, whose very mention drives traffic to our site, is interviewed by PAPER magazine: "I was an alt-rock kid. My roots are in the Pixies, PJ Harvey, Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth. The o­nly time I've been starstruck is when I met Kim Gordon last year. I could barely speak. She was kind of a hero to me growing up -- a talented, ballsy chick."

JOHNNY DEPP: Golden Fiddle has figured out the quirky actor's Oscars garb. PLUS: GF is also offering a download of John Logan's "New Used Car and a Plate of Bar-B-Que," which is charming, for those of you who haven't heard it.

LINDSAY LOHAN lashes out at her creepy dad in a forthcoming interview with W magazine. But she doesn't rule out doing a reality show with him.

CNN: Its ratings are tanking.

JACKO JUSTICE: It was o­nly a matter of time before we heard allegations of monkey business with Bubbles the Chimp.

BLOCKING JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS: It's a hot-button issue, so I'll limit my comments to a piece of practical advice for the Democrats. If you want to preserve the filibuster for President Bush's judicial nominees, do not make Sen. Robert Byrd your point man. People are bound to point out that Byrd set the Senate record for filibuster, speaking for 14 straight hours against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That's not a good ad for filibusters. Plus, he's already attracted the criticism of the Anti-Defamation League by comparing the Republicans to Nazis o­n this issue, resulting in o­ne of those too-typical political non-apologies. There are other Democratic Senators who could better work this issue than Byrd; indeed, there are over 40 of them.

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Thursday, March 03, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


GOD SAVE THE QUEEN: Elizabeth II (a/k/a "The Deuce") will be handing out a medal to musicians. It seems likely to be given to classical musicians, as the Queen is a pretty nice girl, but doesn't have much to say about even classic rock. After meeting (ironically) Queen guitarist Brian May, the Queen asked Jimmy Page, "Are you a guitarist too?" You will not want to miss her exchange with Eric Clapton, either.

ON THE PITCHFORK: Good buzz about the forthcoming disc from Thunderbirds Are Now.

THE BEATLES' REVOLVER has been mashed-up with everything from Portishead to Glenn Miller. It won't be long (yeah) until this site suffers the fate of Beatallica.

WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS... Mayor Oscar Goodman endorsed gin to fourth graders, saying that if he was marooned on a desert island the one thing he would want to have with him is a bottle of gin. "I'm the George Washington of mayors. I can't tell a lie. If they didn't want the answer the kid shouldn't have asked the question," Goodman said.

JADA PINKETT SMITH: Too hetero for Harvard? Aapparently, JPS gave a speech after being honored as the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relation’s “Artist of the Year,” at a "Cultural Rhythms" festival in which she made remarks that offended the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Supporters Alliance, according to the Harvard Crimson. Interestingly, the Crimson story does not reveal which comments were deemed insensitive. An earlier Crimson article, however, quoted her as follows:
"Women, you can have it all—a loving man, devoted husband, loving children, a fabulous career," she said. "They say you gotta choose. Nah, nah, nah. We are a new generation of women. We got to set a new standard of rules around here. You can do whatever it is you want. All you have to do is want it."

STAR JONES REYNOLDS is worried that the public won't be able to tell the difference between her and drag queen Flotilla DeBarge.

JACKO JUSTICE: British journalist Martin Bashir could be held in contempt of court after refusing to say how many hours of videotape were recorded in the making of his controversial documentary about Michael Jackson.

BLOGGERS WRITE THE DARNEDEST THINGS about Lindsay Lohan and a drummer and some shelving. But when I look at the face of the blogger, I have my doubts.

NEWSWEEK photoshopped its Martha Stewart cover. You would think that News week would have learned from the flap after Time darkened O.J. Simpson.

CULT OF THE iPod: People have purchased and downloaded over 300 million songs from the iTunes Music Store. ALSO: a teeneager reverse-engineered the iPod by listening to its clicks.

PODCASTING: Our own Sylvia Hauser notes that KCRW provides an easy-to-read primer o­n podcasting, complete with RSS links to podcasts of its own eclectic programming.

THE SLASHDOT EFFECT, referring to traffic spikes at sites mentioned by the popular tech news site, has dropped off, even though Slashdot itself may be more popular than ever.

SIRIUS TROUBLE? Investigators examining insider-trading allegations in the blockbuster deal between Howard Stern and Sirius Radio are checking out claims that Stern's limo driver profited from the deal, according to the New York Post.

GANG OF FOUR COMING to the U.S., including Chicago, DC, Minneapolis and Seattle.

WORSE THAN "WE BUILT THIS CITY:" What could be worse than the song that topped Blender magazine's "The 50 Worst Songs Ever?" The Stranger for February 24th (you have to scroll down) provides the answer: "We Built This Starbucks." And yes, there's a MP3 download available.

WHY DO SO MANY HAVE RELIGIOUS FAITH? Some scientists think it's evolution.

"THE WHORE LIVED LIKE A GERMAN:" Der Spiegel looks at a rash of muders in Berlin that appear to be Islamic "honor killings."

NANOTUBES could provide more efficient solar power for soldiers and others.

HUNTER S. THOMPSON TRIBUTE: fishbowl NY's prediction of a special Rolling Stone issue makes the fishbowl seem like a barrel.

WAS ABE LINCOLN GAY? Paul Rudnick lays out evidence in The New Yorker. And if you know who Paul Rudnick is, you know how serious it is.

SYNAESTHESIA: A 27 year old Swiss musician "tastes" combinations of notes as distinct flavors, according to a report in the science journal Nature. Let's hope she's never heard Ashlee Simpson.

TERROR CAMP IN ARIZONA? A British computer specialist tried to set up a terrorist training camp in Arizona, where he met with Islamic radicals who claimed ties to Osama bin Laden, according to a British lawyer representing the U.S. government. Babar Ahmad is facing extradition from the U.K. to face charges in Connecticut that he ran terrorist fund-raising Web sites.

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Wednesday, March 02, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


BONO'S FUNERAL: "I would like lots of weeping and wailing," he says. I know people like that. I'm not real big o­n it, but have been known to agree to do it.

LOU BARLOW is interviewed by Gothamist. My favorite question might be the last o­ne:
"And finally...If Josh Schwartz, creator of the OC, asked you to perform o­n his tv show (as Modest Mouse, the Killers and the Walkmen recently have) would you?
i would do nearly anything for money at this point..we didn't have health insurance. i have no shame."

LUNA CORRECTION: The band did not play its last show in Chicago, o­nly its its last show in Chicago. It turns out that a group blog, Luna's Last Waltz, covererd their last show, o­n Feb. 28th in NYC. Plenty of photos and memories there.

RINGTONES: Sasha Frere-Jones looks into the multi-billion dollar business and what it tells us about songs.

SOMETIMES, IT'S ALL ABOUT THE "O:" Slate reviews the ad for Overstock.com as an excuse to find out more about model Sabine Ehrenfeld.

PORN STAR RON JEREMY will address the prestigious Oxford Union debating society. "Ron is the biggest and apparently the best in the business, so I'm sure he'll have some fascinating stories to tell," said Oxford Union librarian Vladimir Bermant.

THE EAR WAX VACUUM: Jeff Jarvis traces it back to Japan.

LEGAL MUSIC DOWNLOADS: A price increase in the works? Coolfer says, "Nah."

CLOAKING DEVICES are on the drawing board at the Univeristy of Pennsylvania. Apparently, it's more Star Trek than Harry Potter.

THE PUTIN YOUTH: Seems like bad news in Russia.

LARRY SUMMERS UPDATE: This piece at Blogcritics is a joke... at least I hope so.

CULT OF THE iPod: Here's someone using an iPod to help cure their insomnia.

GWYNETH PALTROW is denying rumors that her marriage to Coldplay's Chris Martin is in trouble.

HACK YOUR CREDIT CARD with Stripe Snoop!

NANOTECH NEWS: The UK government has responded to o­ne major report into nanotechnologies by... ordering another review. Scroll to the bottom of the story for a look at the real world uses of nanotech (remember o­ne of Jon Pratt's areas of expertise is thin film coatings).

BRAD BIRD dishes about The Incredibles DVD coming out o­n March 15th, as well as chances for a sequel.

LORD OF THE RINGS Director Peter Jackson is suing New Line for an accounting of profits. When you go to file such a suit, do you regret naming your company Wingnut Films?

RICHARD LAWRENCE COHEN exposes his secret vice of reading conservative blogs.

DAN RATHER will not respond to the criticisms of Mike wallace and Walter Cronkite in his broadcast signoff. Plus, two of the CBS Newspeople asked to resign after the 60 Minutes Wednesday Bush memo scandal have finally resigned.

POST-OSCARS PARTIES: The Vanity Fair post-Oscar party at Mortons featured Ron Howard and George Lucas offered consoling words to Martin Scorsese, who lost out o­n Best Director to Clint Eastwood. For his part, Clint was going to Dani Janssen's Century City apartment to eat fresh-baked "monkey bread" with Jack Nicholson.


VICE PAYS: the underground skateboard culture mag has become a 40 million dollar empire.

STUDENT BLOGGERS are being encouraged by colleges for marketing purposes.

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Tuesday, March 01, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


ROBERT POLLARD has demos posted for free download.

NORAH JONES AND JOHN PAUL JONES JOIN THE FOO FIGHTERS, as guests o­n the band's forthcoming double-disc.

KINGS OF LEON is profiled in the Chicago Sun-Times.

ORIGINAL DINOSAUR JR. REUNION: J. Mascis and Lou Barlow will strap o­n the tools of ignorance together for the first time in 15 years. The hitch: they're doing it in Japan, which is almost Spinal Tap, ain't it?

ALSO ON THE PITCHFORK: The making of a compilation disc can be a very tricky thing...

LATE OSCARS TIDBIT: Oscar presenter Tim Robbins makes a gesture toward host Chris Rock, after Rock's comments about his politics during the 77th Academy Awards.

BRAD AND JEN UPDATE: The allegedly estranged couple made the post-Oscars rounds together.

OSCARS RATINGS DOWN: Although the early Nielsens had the Academy Awards scoring their best ratings since 2000, the final numbers showed a loss of 2 two million viewers from last year. The gap between the early and final numbers is the gap between the big cities and more rural areas. I guess Hollywood's self-congratulation is not as big a draw in the "red states."

THE INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS were held the Saturday before the Oscars, but I held them for now to give them their own space. As you might expect (and may have heard), it was a big night for Sideways, which swept all six of the categories where the movie or its stars were nominated. The Oscar-snubbed Paul Giamatti took home an award! Zach Braff accepted an award for Garden State as the best movie by a first-time director. And Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster was awarded best documentary.

THE PRO-SYRIAN LEBANESE GOVERNMENT abruptly resigned Monday during a stormy parliamentary debate, prompting a tremendous roar from tens of thousands of anti-government protesters in central Beirut. The Bush Administration is demanding that Syria comply with UN resolution 1559, which calls for the withdrawal of its troops from Lebanon, and wants to see free and fair elections take place this spring.

AND THE COWS STARE UNAMAZED: The London Sunday Times reports that "cows have a secret mental life in which they bear grudges, nurture friendships and become excited over intellectual challenges, scientists have found. Cows are also capable of feeling strong emotions such as pain, fear and even anxiety — they worry about the future. But if farmers provide the right conditions, they can also feel great happiness." Presumably, that bit about "great happiness" does not refer to stories like this o­ne from Neillsville, Wisconsin.

DAVID BYRNE is having his new book, New Sins, placed in hotel and motel bedside drawers next to Gideon's Bible.

PHOTO GALLERIES OF CLASSIC L.A. PUNKS: You can start at the photoblog of Theresa Kereakes, then follow the links in the sidebar.

BONO FOR PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD BANK: That's the opinion of the editors of The Los Angeles Times.

FILESHARING is starting to bother the television industry.

BLOGGERS FRIGHTEN Jon Friedman at CBS MarketWatch. He should chill out. The overwhelming number of blogs are probably crap, much like the overwhelming majority of most everything. Some will build a reputation over time, the way newspapers did in centuries past. o­nly it won't take as long, as hyperlinking to source materials and competition from other blogs will allow people to judge the credibility and fairness of a blog much quicker than they could a newspaper.

VANISHING AMERICANA: Terry Teachout calls for an update of the book about items becoming obsolete in America to include things like "black discs and cassettes." Jeff Jarvis picks up o­n the idea, adding more items to the list.

CULT OF THE iPod: Duke University's student paper reviews Duke's year-long experiment of providing 20-gigabyte Apple iPods to all freshmen. The Boston Globe gets around to doing the now-obligatory podcasting article.

ARE THE NATIONAL DEBT AND DEFICIT OVERSTRETCHING AMERICA? A new article in Foreign Affairs (which is published by the Council o­n Foreign Relations, for all you John Birchers out there) argues the answer is, "No."

DOLLS FOR THE LONELY ELDERLY is a trend in Japan that I hope never takes hold in the U.S.

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Monday, February 28, 2005 - 04:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


In the French version, do they surrender?OKAY, SO ALL THE OSCAR STUFF FIRST: As you probably heard already, it was a big night for Million Dollar Baby, its director and its cast. Marty Scorsese remains the Susan Lucci of the motion picture industry. Clint Eastwood is The Man, in a good way; his speech was charming and funny. You can find the full list of winners at the Oscars site, which is funny because they make a big point of not saying, "And the winner is..." o­n television. Anyway, here were the parts I liked:

Charlie Chaplin and Shrek strolling off into the distance. The Albert Brooks cameo declaring White Chicks the "Best Movie of the Year!" Edna Mode (The Incredibles) joining Pierce Brosnan in announcing the Costuming award.

Best Original Song: I found myself asking,"Was the Counting Crows guitarist wearing the 'I Heart Scarlett' shirt trying to score a date with Scarlett Johannsen?" But Defamer's live blog topped me: "6:36: An entire roomful of people breaks into hysterical laughter at the very sight of Counting Crows singer Adam Duritz. It appears that just before the Crows took the stage, Sideshow Bob successfully attacked Duritz’s head and is sodomizing his scalp."

John Dykstra, accepts Best Visual Effects for Spidey 2 - the man also won for the original Star Wars, and should have won for Caddyshack.

Jeremy Irons, introducing live-action short films, is interrupted by a loud "bang." He pauses, then deadpans, "I hope they missed." Screenwriter (and Academy member) Roger L. Simon checks in: "Jeremy Irons is acutally funnier than Rock, never thought I'd say that."

nominated for best visual presentersThe gorgeous, but heavily accented Penelope Cruz and Selma Hayek presenting awards for Sound Mixing and Sound Editing without a trace of irony. Defamer's live-blogging pointed us to a previous Hayek-Cruz moment. Prof. Ann Althouse had the television talk back to her: "What the hell's the difference between that and Sound Mixing? No o­ne knows or cares. Why isn't this grouped with the technical awards that are done in a separate ceremony? The coma continues... Okay, it's The Incredibles. Here's where I miss using the TiVo assist. The acceptor says these aren't 'technical' awards, these are for 'artistic decisions.' It's as if he heard my bitching."

Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, winning Best Music Score for Finding Neverland, unintentionally gets a laugh noting he's the first person to thank Miramax mogul Harvey Weinstein. Prince actually taking his announcement of the Best Original Song award (to The Motorcycle Diaries) seriously; even his wardrobe was subdued. Sean Penn sticking up for Jude Law, who had been the butt of o­ne of the bits in Chris Rock's opening monolgue.

I think she mentioned the trailer again because of her roleHilary Swank wins Best Actress; Defamer was not impressed: "Tragically, she wasn’t able to find a stylist to dress her o­n her big night, and had to settle for slipping into a three-dollar navy blue stocking from JC Penney cut down to reveal her toned ass-crack. She goes to the 'girl from a trailer park' thing, which is obscene for someone who’s just won their SECOND Oscar. Um, you’ve already overcome the Cheez Wiz sandwiches and GTOs o­n blocks in the driveway years ago? White trash cred expires after the first award, Hils. She saves thanking Clint Eastwood to the end…then, as the music blares, erases any genuine Clint sentiment by loudly thanking 'her best friend and publicist.' This will go down as o­ne of the worst speeches in the history of spoken language. Can they get that statue back and hand it to the Botox-paralyzed Annette Bening, who won’t know she’s lost until the middle of the Vanity Fair party?"

Gwyneth Paltrow looking much better in her gown than in the o­ne she wore the night she won. The Screenplay awards went to Sideways and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, as they should have, though it was cool that The Incredibles was also nominated. Charlie Kauffman, as his time was running out accepting for Eternal Sunshine: "No, I don't want to take my time -- I want to get offstage."

Jamie Foxx "keeping it real" during his acceptance speech -- a nice change from the hotdogging he'd been doing ever since the Golden Globes. Finally, as mentioned above, Clint. He thanks his mother for her genes, as she is there with him at 96 years old.


I'm hoping Tweedy is still o­n the wagonWILCO ON ICE! Laugh, but Jeff Tweedy hasn't ruled it out.

RYAN ADAMS is now Mechrobioticon. No, really.

THE LONESOME DEATH OF HATTIE CARROLL: It looks like The Guardian has the sequel ready for Bob Dylan.

LYNN SWANN: The former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver has formed a campaign committee to explore a run for governor of Pennsylvania in 2006.

MAN CAN SUE OVER SURPRISE PREGNANCY: A man who says his former lover deceived him by getting pregnant using semen obtained through oral sex can sue for emotional distress — but not theft, an appeals court has ruled. That court would be my day job, so I'm loathe to comment, other than to say that I think my judge was not involved in the decision.

I CONSIDERED QUITTING MY JOB for the six-figure salaried position of Vice President, CMT Dukes of Hazzard Institute. However, it looks like there should be a few surplus General Lees coming to the market soon, so I stayed put.

Can't Hardly Let It BeTHE REPLACEMENTS' CATALOG will be reissued in expanded form this year, though it will take two record companies to do it. Plus, Paul Weterberg will have a "best of" collection issued. And who wouldn't have wanted to see Lucinda Williams joined Westerberg for a cover of the Kitty Wells-popularized "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels?"

BRITNEY SPEARS is imitating The Simpsons.

BAND OF THE LOHAN: After Lindsay Lohan's mother failed to win a gag order, her creepy father's interview o­n ABC's PrimeTime Live aired, in which he claimed that he doesn't think his behavior -- including charges of assault, drunken driving and fraud -- has hurt his daughter's career. For some reason, the ABC News web version makes no reference to the allegation that he threatened to kill his family, twice invoking the name of O.J. Simpson. Some are speculating that the family stress is causing the teen queen to become a shadow of her former self.

THE FOOD POLICE WANTS YOUR SALT: The Center for Science in the Public Interest (which has complained about everything from canola oil to to fettuccini alfredo to Hardee's Thickburger) has renewed a lawsuit first filed in 1983 to force the Food and Drug Administration to declare sodium a food additive, which would give the FDA authority to set limits for salt in foods.

Tonic for the troops...CONDI RICE: After casting a thumbs-down o­n the jacket Vice-President Cheney wore to Auschwitz, the fashion folks at the Washington Post are giving a thumbs up to the Secretary of State's Eurowear:"Rice boldly eschewed the typical fare chosen by powerful American women o­n the world stage. She was not wearing a bland suit with a loose-fitting skirt and short boxy jacket with a pair of sensible pumps. She did not cloak her power in photogenic hues, a feminine brooch and a non-threatening aesthetic. Rice looked as though she was prepared to talk tough, knock heads and do a freeze-frame Matrix jump kick if necessary. Who wouldn't give her ensemble a double take -- all the while hoping not to rub her the wrong way?But the main thing is the picture, for which I'm sure you can come up with your own caption...

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: I made a note of it at the beginning of the month, but procrastinated in posting about it until now. I was tempted to put up links to sites celebrating the Negro Baseball League, as I know a few of you are baseball fans. I also considered linking to the heroism of the Tuskeegee Airmen, because the contributions of African-Americans to our history go far beyond the field of entertainment. Indeed, the bit about Secretary of State Rice so testifies.

But ultimately, this site is o­ne devoted to a rock band, so there may be no more appropriate links than to pages at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, OH. After all, where would Rock been without Chuck Berry? Where would Chuck Berry have been without Robert Johnson? Claude Pate could always tear up a room with "Rock And Roll," "For Your Love," or even "Tush," but where would Led Zeppelin, The Yardbirds, or ZZ Top have been without Robert Johnson, Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker and many other blues greats? Would "She's So Special" been as special without Bo Diddley? And who didn't enjoy the Mike Kelly-sung rendition of Fats Domino's "I'm Walkin'?" So o­n the last day of Black History Month, take a moment to remember that any enjoyment you got from Claude Pate is in no small part due to contributions blacks made to American culture -- particularly during an era when they were largely shut out of white society. [And top it off with jamie Foxx and Morgan Freeman taking Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars -- not bad at all.]

HOWARD DEAN: I'm o­n record opining that Dean is smart to be looking to Democrats who have succeeded in "red states." However, those Democrats don't want to be seen with him. In the short-run, it may be a "win-win" proposition, as those Democrats look more moderate for snubbing Dean, while boosting Dean's edgy image. But in the long-run, I suspect those Democrats might suggest to Dean that calling Republicans evil is not a straegy that wins votes in red states.

DEMOCRACY SPREADING TO EGYPT? In a surprise and dramatic reversal, President Hosni Mubarak has ordered that the Egyptian constitution be changed to allow presidential challengers o­n the ballot this fall. However, Mubarak's order to parliament declared the amendment must state that any potential candidate be a member of an official political party and win the endorsement of parliament, which is dominated by Mubarak's party. Most opposition parties and reform activists said the initiative was welcome, but did not go far enough and feared it was o­nly cosmetic. Jeff Jarvis has rounded up some reactions from Egyptian bloggers.

PRESSURE o­n SYRIA? Iraqi officials said Sunday that Syrian authorities had captured Saddam Hussein's half-brother and 29 other officials of the deposed dictator's Ba'ath Party in Syria and handed them over to Iraq in an apparent goodwill gesture.

ON THE PITCHFORK: A feature o­n "The Current," the seemingly cool new Twin Cities radio station noted here previously.

JACKO JUSTICE: No Rock 'n' Roll Fun manages to simultaneously criticize and more cleverly snark o­n UK tabloid coverage of the Michael Jackson trial And there's cheesecake.

LUNA plays its last gig (for now, anyway) in Chicago. After the Replacements and Guided by Voices, I'm not sure how I feel about getting a rep as a good place to die.

OUTLAW COUNTRY: "Little Steven" Van Zandt was behind the launch of the Sirius satellite radio channel that connects the dots among Texas swing, rockabilly, country that twangs, country rock, alternative country and three generations of Hank Williamses.

ISLAM IN EUROPE: Though Muslims make up o­nly 3 percent of the British population, more people attend Friday prayers than go to Sunday church, a recent survey found.

ISLAMIC EXTREMISM IN THE U.S.: Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, the man accused of plotting with Al-Qaeda to assassinate President Bush, was the 1999 valedictorian of the Islamic Saudi Academy in Alexandria, Virginia. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), has called for renewed checks into the school’s finances and its possible ties to extremism. By which I guess he means checking whether the 11th-grade textbook still says one sign of the Day of Judgment will be that Muslims will fight and kill Jews, who will hide behind trees that say: "Oh Muslim, Oh servant of God, here is a Jew hiding behind me. Come here and kill him." The Saudis don't do much better with the material they supply to American mosques, either.

LARRY SUMMERS MUST BE KICKING HIMSELF: The Harvard University president is still weathering the firestorm of criticism ignited after his remarks at a Jan. 14th conference regarding the relative abilities of men and women in math and science. However, according to researchers from the University of California, Irvine and the University of New Mexico, when given intelligence tests, men used 6.5 times more gray matter than women, while women used nine times as much white matter. Gray matter is central to processing information and plays a vital role in aiding skills such as mathematics, map-reading, and intellectual thought. White matter connects the brain's processing centers and is central to emotional thinking, use of language, and multi-tasking. Another study suggests that homosexual men share the same relatively poor map reading skills as heterosexual women. For all the grief he took, poor Lar might wish Harvard was in Sweden, where the government bans science o­n gender differences. At least he would have known not to "go there."

WONDER WOMAN may be played by Kim Basinger or Jessica Biel. Either one works for me.

CULT OF THE iPod: I previously noted that a bar in Des Moines was hosting an iPod night; it's happening in Washington, DC, too.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The Guardian runs a profile of the troubled singer in which it's revealed that he has a posh background. Kick a man when he's down!

HUNTER S. THOMPSON had his wife o­n the phone when he shot himself. Plus, his son, daughter-in-law and 6-year-old grandson were in the house when the shooting occurred. Bad form, Hunter.

QUENTIN TARANTINO will script and direct the season finale of 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation I dunno... he'll have a hard time topping his cameos o­n Alias and American Idol.

UNITED NATIONS SEX SCANDALS may be more widespread that previously known.

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