Frightening. David Neiwert
has the story.
...and if you didn't hear about the Colorado lady with the "FUCK BUSH!" bumper-sticker who was threatened with arrest (in Denver
), you might want to click here
...ooh ooh. Jesus' General has the right idea
MORE ON NPR
I was enraged on Inaug Day by a ludicrously malevolent right-winger who called and offered to embrace "the libruls" if we just went to church a bit more often and shared his values. The program was Talk of the Nation, which I hate. I also hate its milquetoast host, the odiously, blandly ur
-fey Neil Conan.
That said, I was reminded yesterday and today of just how much I love certain NPR shows, how incredibly good they are, how critical and right-on and entertaining NPR can be. Those shows? This American Life
, natch, and On the Media
, which is sharp and curious and snarky in all the right ways.
But the bad and mediocre shows outnumber the good shows, in my view. Which are bad?
Talk of the Nation
, but hope springs eternal that someone like Ray Suarez will take over and remove Conan's adenoidal voice from my memory forever.
Wait Wait--Don't Tell Me!
, with its helplessly overscripted feel, it's comic clumsiness, and the similarly odious host. It's like an unfunny, ultra-lowbrow Week In Review. Compare, for example, to Jon Stewart's show, which is incredibly sharp incredibly consistently. The Daily Show on its very worst day is exponentially more funny than this drivel. Somebody put them out of their misery.
. Where is Bob Edwards? Who is this lightweight? (Edwards has his own satellite show now. Someone buy Salto a receiver.)
The Motley Fool Radio Show
. So unflinchingly, uncritically capitalist. So chipper! So irritating.
. See, they're clever! It's a radio show about your finances? Which are hopefully "sound?" Right? Too bad it's about as clever as the show gets. So earnest and helpful, and dull, it's like an instant audio Valium.
The Splendid Table
. The host is the single most irritating radio personality I have ever heard. Her faked laughter is fingernails-on-chalkboard. Avoid.
I realize that not everyone has been exposed to all of these shows. Count yourself lucky.
Which shows are merely mediocre?
A Prairie Home Companion
. Practically treason to say this when I was living in Minneapolis. The show is pretty great when it's just Garrison and/or the others acting, but the music? Ech. It almost makes the shows unlistenable for me. A version of the show that's a quarter as long and excludes the Kings of Bluegrass or Sally the Famous Opera Singer would be must-listen.
and The World
. Repetitive. Genuinely good only rarely. I can get the news done by the pros at All Things, guys. So shut up. The World needs new intro music. Marketplace has pretty superb music for a pretty boring show, weirdly enough.
I don't watch much TV, so bear with me here.
I've just started Infinite Jest
. My review will follow, when I finish. Should be next week or so.
METALLICA ON NPR
It's a bit of an understatement to say that I'm not really into the metal. Anything harder than Appetite for Destruction
launches me toward the stereo in a frantic, wild-eyed lunge to just - turn - it - off
That said, listening to Terry Gross interview Metallica guitarist and screamer James Hetfield yesterday on NPR's Fresh Air was a sublime pleasure. He was pleasantly articulate, self-effacing, and honest, and I found myself far more entertained that I thought I would be.
Also, Hetfield being interviewed on NPR -- with attendant bursts of Metallica during the show's breaks -- is Just Another Sign of the Apocalypse, innit.
So check it out
. You'll be surprised.
seems to be Metallica-related and worth a peep. [Via Maura
Thirteen measly votes against Rice being confirmed in the Senate. Even Salto's Favorite Senator, Russ Feingold (D-WI), voted for her. Here are the heroes who had big enough balls
to vote the right way:
And where's my Feinstein? On the wrong side.
...also MIA? The great black hope, landslide-winner Barack Obama (D-IL). Very disappointing.
God I hate Joe Lieberman.
OUR CLASSY VEEP
Dick Cheney goes to Auschwitz for the memorial ceremonies there and looks a bit out of place, to say the least.
Nice outfit, Dick
At yesterday's gathering of world leaders in southern Poland to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the United States was represented by Vice President Cheney. The ceremony at the Nazi death camp was outdoors, so those in attendance, such as French President Jacques Chirac and Russian President Vladimir Putin, were wearing dark, formal overcoats and dress shoes or boots. Because it was cold and snowing, they were also wearing gentlemen's hats. In short, they were dressed for the inclement weather as well as the sobriety and dignity of the event.
The vice president, however, was dressed in the kind of attire one typically wears to operate a snow blower.
Cheney stood out in a sea of black-coated world leaders because he was wearing an olive drab parka with a fur-trimmed hood. It is embroidered with his name. It reminded one of the way in which children's clothes are inscribed with their names before they are sent away to camp. And indeed, the vice president looked like an awkward boy amid the well-dressed adults.
Like other attendees, the vice president was wearing a hat. But it was not a fedora or a Stetson or a fur hat or any kind of hat that one might wear to a memorial service as the representative of one's country. Instead, it was a knit ski cap, embroidered with the words "Staff 2001." It was the kind of hat a conventioneer might find in a goodie bag.
It is also worth mentioning that Cheney was wearing hiking boots -- thick, brown, lace-up ones. Did he think he was going to have to hike the 44 miles from Krakow -- where he had made remarks earlier in the day -- to Auschwitz? . . .
Just last week, in a frigid, snow-dusted Washington, Cheney sat outside through the entire inauguration without so much as a hat and without suffering frostbite. And clearly, Cheney owns a proper overcoat. The world saw it during his swearing-in as vice president. Cheney treated that ceremony with the dignity it deserved -- not simply through his demeanor, but also through his attire. Would he have dared to take the oath of office with a ski cap on? People would have justifiably considered that an insult to the office, the day, the country.
There is little doubt that intellectually Cheney approached the Auschwitz ceremony with thoughtfulness and respect. But symbolism is powerful. That's why the piercing cry of a train whistle marked the beginning of the ceremony and the glare of searchlights signaled its end. The vice president might have been warm in his parka, ski cap and hiking boots. But they had the unfortunate effect of suggesting that he was more concerned with his own comfort than the reason for braving the cold at all.
Thanks for showing up. Dick.
SALTO CREATIVE CAPTION CONTEST! WINNER!
Stalwart readers will recall SALTO'S CREATIVE CAPTION CONTEST!
. Not-so-stalwart readers can travel here
to get the lowdown.
And the winner is...
"My clit is this long--suck it, America!"
by Mark. Congratulations!
Mark, send Salto your address for tasty gum goodness! As the winner of SALTO'S CREATIVE CAPTION CONTEST!
Mark will receive, in the mail, an unopened
pack of Clove Chewing Gum!
Hey Mark! Don't chew it all in one place!
TOP 10 WORST CORPORATIONS OF THE YEAR
Over at Alternet
Lots of pharmaceutical companies, surprise surprise.
THE SADDEST SEARCH
To hit my page:
"holy hunter nude
(I assume they meant Holly Hunter.)
WRITING STANDARDIZED TESTS
If you must take a standardized test that involves a significant amount of writing (like, for example, the California Bar
), and you are thirty-and-under, you'd better have an option to type. This is why
[Via collision detection
NO ON GONZALES FOR AG
Kos is getting organized
, as are the Senate Dems
Mr. Gonzales, whose nomination could be put to a vote in the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, is another nominee encountering sharper-than-expected opposition. A number of committee Democrats - including Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, Dianne Feinstein of California and Charles E. Schumer of New York -say they are leaning against voting for him or rethinking their support. As a result, Mr. Gonzales could face "no" votes from six or more of the committee's eight Democrats.
Democrats continue to seek more documents and more precise answers from Mr. Gonzales regarding his role in formulating policies on the treatment of foreign prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Drawing particular scrutiny has been Mr. Gonzales's role in the writing of a 2002 Justice Department legal opinion - since disavowed - that provided a narrow definition of torture.
Salto stands with the bloggers. No on Gonzales. For what it's worth.
This anecdote is also from the Tynan New Yorker profile
. I remember liking it a lot.
Example of Carson when the spirit of pure, eccentric play descends upon him and he obeys its bidding, wherever it may lead: During the monologue on May 11, 1977, he finds, as sometimes happens, that certain words are emerging from his mouth in slightly garbled form. He wrinkles his brow in mock alarm, shrugs, and presses on to the next sentence: “Yetserday, U.S. Steel announced. . .” He pauses, realizing what he has said, turns quizzically to McMahon, and observes, “‘Yesterday’ is not a hard word to say.” Facing the camera again, he goes on, “Yesterday—all my troubles seemed so far away . . .” Only now he is singing—singing, unaccompanied, the celebrated standard by John Lennon and Paul McCartney: “Now it looks as though they’re here to stay. Oh, I believe in yesterday.” By this time, the band, which was clearly taken by surprise, has begun to join in, at first raggedly but soon improvising a respectable accompaniment. Warming to his berserk task, Carson does not stop until he has reached the end of the chorus. He resumes the monologue: “Now, what was I talking about? Oh, yes. Yesterday . . .” But no sooner has the word passed his lips than Doc’s combo, determined not to let him off the hook, strikes up the melody again. Undaunted, Carson plunges into the second chorus. Having completed it, he silences the musicians with a karate chop. There is loud applause, followed by an extended pause. Where can he go from here? Cautiously feeling his way, he continues, “about twelve hours ago, U.S. Steel announced . . .” And successfully finishes the gag. Everyone in the studio is laughing, not so much at the joke as at the sight of Carson on the wing. Grinning, he addresses McMahon.
Carson: That’s what makes this job what it is.
McMahon: What is it?
Carson: (frowning, genuinely puzzled): I don’t know.
I think that this New Yorker profile of Carson
may be the origin of this blog's name (I have a compilation of New Yorker biopieces and Carson's is included):
Characteristically, although he is surrounded by the likes of Jack Lemmon, Roger Vadim, Michael Caine, James Stewart, and Gene Kelly, he spends most of the evening locked in NBC shoptalk with Fred de Cordova. De Cordova has just returned from his European safari, which has taken him through four countries in half as many weeks. The high point of the trip, de Cordova tells me, was a visit to Munich, where his old friend Billy Wilder was making a film. This brings to mind a recent conversation I had with Wilder in this very living room. He is a master of acerbic put-downs who has little time for TV pseudostars, and when I mentioned the name of Carson I expected Wilder to dismiss him with a mordant one-liner. What he actually said surprised me. It evolved in the form of a speech. “By the simple law of survival, Carson is the best,” he said. “He enchants the invalids and the insomniacs as well as the people who have to get up at dawn. He is the Valium and the Nembutal of a nation. No matter what kind of dead-asses are on the show, he has to make them funny and exciting. He has to be their nurse and their surgeon. He has no conceit. He does his work and he comes prepared. If he’s talking to an author, he has read the book. Even his rehearsed routines sound improvised. He’s the cream of middle-class elegance, yet he’s not a mannequin. He has captivated the American bourgeoisie without ever offending the highbrows, and he has never said anything that wasn’t liberal or progressive. Every night, in front of millions of people, he has to do the salto mortale”—circus parlance for an aerial somersault performed on the tightrope. “What’s more”—and here Wilder leaned forward, tapping my knee for emphasis—”he does it without a net. No rewrites. No retakes. The jokes must work tonight.”
...I'm sure I've seen the term elsewhere. It takes a few iterations for something to lodge firmly in my head. This was definitely one of the iterations. It's rare for me to (re-)find them.
What a giant.
Fuck Jay Leno and what he's done to the Tonight Show. That Letterman didn't get it was an unbelievable error by NBC. Just want to make that perfectly clear.
Not that I watch Letterman anymore. But I'm just sayin'.
I'll certainly be watching tonight.
Dave's on hiatus this week. Damn.
...but here's some real news - and proof that Johnny knew that Leno fuckin' blew. Johnny was writing jokes for Dave
after he retired.
Still, there was one part of his former life he simply could not leave behind entirely. Having spent 30 years reading and watching the news every day and instantly conjuring the events into monologue jokes, jokes that provided a running commentary on the political and cultural scene, Mr. Carson found he simply could not give up the routine.
"He really missed doing the monologue," Mr. Lassally said. "So he started doing them for me."
Sometimes once a week, sometimes more often, Mr. Carson would call Mr. Lassally and, over the phone, perform his little monologues - for an audience of one. "They were always funny," Mr. Lassally said, and one day about a year ago the jokes struck him as so funny that he had a suggestion.
"I told Johnny he should call Dave and give them to him," said Mr. Lassally, who, after Mr. Carson retired, went to work as executive producer for David Letterman.
Thus began a quiet collaboration, which delighted Mr. Carson in his final months. "He was like a little kid when Dave would do one of his jokes," Mr. Lassally said. "He was not blasé about any of it."
Of course, one reason Mr. Carson would never want to be public about the collaboration was that he never wanted to be seen taking sides in the enduring conflict between Mr. Letterman and Jay Leno, who succeeded him as host of "Tonight," over who was his rightful heir in late-night comedy.
...and read Wolcott on Carson
...Salto's Own Mom wants me to write that she believes that Johnny made more people laugh than anyone in history. And, furthermore, will hold that record forever. Salto agrees.
Check out Mark Dery's blog
, which is now daily required reading for Salto. Good stuff.
ARRESTED AT THE AIRPORT
Noted civil libertarian and cyber-raconteur John Perry Barlow was arrested in September 2003 at the airport in San Francisco after a federal employee found quantities of drugs in his checked baggage (he was returning from Burning Man).
Barlow called his buds at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and decided to fight the charges. In the process he's attempting to bring to light some of the practices of the federal Transportation Security Administration. If you're demented enough to be interested in reading a bunch of legal briefs, they're even more interesting
The US military, planned to use stink bombs, chemicals that cause bad breath, and a so-called "gay-bomb" that would make enemy soldiers irresistible to one another as part of a range of non-lethal, but disruptive and morale-damaging weapons.
An Air Force laboratory in Ohio applied for $7.5m funding to develop these, and other similar ideas described as "harassing, annoying and 'bad guy'-identifying chemicals". The 1994 proposal was uncovered by The Sunshine Project, a chemical weapons watchdog group.
In the hunt for "Chemicals that influence human behaviour so that discipline and morale in enemy units is adversely affected", the researchers proposed that strong aphrodisiacs be dropped on enemy troops. The idea was that the deliriously loved-up men would unable to resist one another, but would be suffused with regret once the potion wore off.
In all seriousness, the military may have been testing this fabulous weapon in San Francisco. I think somebody gay-bombed this one neighborhood south of here.
[Via Andy P]
Don't forget the SALTO CREATIVE CAPTION CONTEST
! It's so on!
Check the comments!
WELCOME TO TODAY'S MAINSTREAM MEDIA
Media Matters for America inventoried
the coronation guests on Fox, CNN, and MSNBC and found -- surprise, surprise --
Republican and conservative guests and commentators outnumbered Democrats and progressives 17 to 6 on FOX, 10 to 1 on CNN (not including a Republican-skewed panel featuring Ohio voters), and 13 to 2 on MSNBC. Moreover, the rare Democrat or progressive guest usually appeared opposite conservatives, whereas most Republican and conservative guests and commentators appeared solo or alongside fellow conservatives.
But check out their graph
. It's illuminating.
Maybe you should take some of your hard-earned dollars and donate
to Media Matters. I'm considering it, as I'm considering yanking my membership to KQED, the local NPR station.
ALTERMAN ON THE INAUG
is about all that needs to be said.
What is one to say about today? To the horror of its well-wishers across the world, the United States—once the “last, best hope of mankind”- is re-inaugurating the worst president in its history; one who has exploited an attack, the success of which its own incompetence helped enable, in order to execute an extremist agenda that is killing thousands, costing trillions and leaving all of us far more insecure than when it began. Before November 2, we could argue it was all a mistake; the guy ran as a “compassionate conservative,” misrepresented his record, Nader screwed everything up, and we actually voted for Gore anyway. It took the Republicans on the Supreme Court—two of whom were appointed by the guy’s dad—to stick the country with this regime filled with ideological fanatics and corrupt incompetents. Now, what are we to say? Fifty-nine million members of our nation do not mind that we were deliberately misled into a war that has drained our blood and treasure to create nothing but hatred and chaos; and that the very people who were at fault have been rewarded and promoted, encouraged to look for new targets to spread their hubristic malevolence. It defies all logic and truthfully, my ability to explain or even fully understand it. One thing is for certain: Based on an virtually unanimous unwillingness to consider its past mistakes and learn from them, things are going to get far, far worse before they get better. Thousands more will die. (Twenty six yesterday.) Trillions more will be squandered. Millions more will grow to hate and revile the name of the United States of America and prepare to attack us in ways for which our government is resolutely unwilling to prepare. Avoidable catastrophe awaits this nation and its victims during the next four years as we will undoubtedly reap what we have sown.
One thing’s for certain, none of this would have been possible without the enthusiastic cooperation—if not cheerleading—of the nation’s mainstream media. Thomas Friedman, considered a liberal opponent of the Bush administration who nevertheless advocated for its mendacious arguments vis-à-vis Iraq and then explicitly excused its willingness to lie because, after all, Hussein was a vicious dictator, cannot help but recognize the damage the administration has done to the nation’s good name the world over. Still, he once again chooses to empower its worst instincts vis-à-vis yet another abominable adventure in Iran by finding what? A single Oxford student in Paris. And pronouncing on the basis of this intrepid bit of investigative reporting that Iran is a “Red state” by extension, would welcome an American invasion of the type outlined by Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker. Four years from now we will be assessing the fallout from that catastrophe undoubtedly in dead Americans, Iranians and additional hatred—and terrorists—bred the world over. God Bless America. We are going to need all the help we can get.
I'm just numb and disbelieving. Still. Two point five months after the election.
...okay, I guess there's more to say. Gilliard
Nope, don't mourn, organize.
Bush is a gambler, placing higher stakes as he loses. The house extends his marker again and again. But at some point, he has to pay. He acts as if he's a low-rent monarch and not responsible to a Congress and a public.
Bush is the least popular president since Nixon and we need to use that against him every day. He lied about Iraq, why would he tell the truth about Social Security?
...and have you been listening to inaug coverage on NPR? It is unbelievably bad. Witness the NPR lurch to the right and
tune in to Air America
THE SUBLIME GENIUS OF JAMES WOLCOTT
I just hope I won't be stuck in the jury box and miss the president's stirring inaugural address, in which he will ask Americans to pay any price and bear any burden to make this a better world for his campaign donors and their demon spawn. Afterwards, Chris Matthews will call the speech Kennedyesque in its cadences, Michael Bechloss will remind us that Andrew Jackson carried a wooden comb in his vest pocket during his inaugural address in 18 oh who the hell cares. and David Frum will be carried out on a stretcher, overcome with Vicks VapoRub. I just hope too many car bombs don't go off in Iraq to mar the festive mood.
I'm just sayin'. Whoa.
SANTA MADE OF COKE
French police arrested four men in southern France after a search of their vehicle revealed a statue of Father Christmas made of pure cocaine, seen here (AFP/Boris Horvat)
[Via Miss T
SALTO CREATIVE CAPTION CONTEST!
Fame and fortune! Worldwide recognition! The approbation of your friends and neighbors!
SALTO'S CREATIVE CAPTION CONTEST!
The rules are simple. Just apply, in comments, your creative caption to the photograph below! The contest closes at Noon PST one week from today -- on January 26, 2005. One lucky winner receives ... an unopened pack of Clove Chewing Gum
ARE YOU READY FOR THE SALTO'S CREATIVE CAPTION PHOTO?
HERE IT IS!
Go to it!
is also worth a look. Maybe next week... [Via PEG]
Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker
on the ratcheting up of covert action within Iran, and the Bushies' plans for the next four years. An excerpt:
The Administration has been conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran at least since last summer. Much of the focus is on the accumulation of intelligence and targeting information on Iranian nuclear, chemical, and missile sites, both declared and suspected. The goal is to identify and isolate three dozen, and perhaps more, such targets that could be destroyed by precision strikes and short-term commando raids. “The civilians in the Pentagon want to go into Iran and destroy as much of the military infrastructure as possible,” the government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon told me.
Some of the missions involve extraordinary coöperation. For example, the former high-level intelligence official told me that an American commando task force has been set up in South Asia and is now working closely with a group of Pakistani scientists and technicians who had dealt with Iranian counterparts. (In 2003, the I.A.E.A. disclosed that Iran had been secretly receiving nuclear technology from Pakistan for more than a decade, and had withheld that information from inspectors.) The American task force, aided by the information from Pakistan, has been penetrating eastern Iran from Afghanistan in a hunt for underground installations. The task-force members, or their locally recruited agents, secreted remote detection devices—known as sniffers—capable of sampling the atmosphere for radioactive emissions and other evidence of nuclear-enrichment programs.
There's much more of interest. Read it.
THE RUDE PUNDIT
Like James Wolcott
, Salto heartily approves of the Rude Pundit
"Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of this world a neighborhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make of it a brotherhood. But somehow, and in some way, we have got to do this. We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be."
Martin Luther King, Jr., Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution
, 31 March 1968
"We must meet hate with love. We must meet physical force with soul force. There is still a voice crying out through the vista of time, saying: Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you. Then, and only then, can you matriculate into the university of eternal life. That same voice cries out in terms lifted to cosmic proportions: He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword. And history is replete with the bleached bones of nations that failed to follow this command. We must follow nonviolence and love."
Martin Luther King, Jr., Give Us the Ballot
, 17 May 1957
SALTO'S TOP TEN RECORDS OF 2004
Better late than never, right? At least this was finished before February 2005. Ten gorgeous selections for you and yours, links aplenty, purty record covers, the works! Salto's about the children, after all.
(Salto reviews records occasionally, label peeps! Send him free copies and he promises to review your jonks with gusto! Send him an email using the handy link on the right!)
...Note that the record covers pictured below are linked to the artists' webpages, where you can likely download some tracks.
, Your Blues
[Merge] [Buy it!
Gorgeous, messy operatic pop with shades of Bowie and Pulp. Spare arrangements blossom, two minutes in, to something completely different. The kind of record where the drums come in three-quarters of the way through a song ... and you notice
9. The Album Leaf
, In a Safe Place
[Sub Pop] [Buy it!
Soothing space-pop that reminds me of Mum (that's Mum the band, not my
Mum, dear). For good reason, too, since one of those hottie twins from Mum plays on the record, along with a bunch of other Icelandic folx, including that dude from Sigur Ros who sings in a language he made up. The guy in charge of this action is actually from San Diego, though. Lots of synths in front of peppy, happy drums. Gorgeous melodies.
Don't hate them (that much) for doing a commercial for Hummer. But hate them a little.
8. Architecture in Helsinki
, Fingers Crossed
[Bar None] [Buy it!
Pretty, blippy electro-indiepop from an Australian band with great songwriting recalling Bacharach and David. Thirty-one instruments used on this record, including, to great effect, a bevy of analog synths. Highly tasty.
[XL] [Buy it!
Air (or Daft Punk), but not French, not so into synths and more into guitars and guitar effects, and slightly grungier. A remarkable instrumental album with surprising twists and turns.
6. A.C. Newman
, The Slow Wonder
[Matador] [Buy it!
Powerpop reminiscent of the Shins or Spoon, but I like this album more. Newman, that New Pornographers guy, is a great songwriter, and this album is pretty in lots of ways. He wuz good in concert, too.
This is his first solo record and it delivers all the things one has come to expect and rejoice in from Newman. Things like witty, engaging songcraft that is full of surprises and exciting twists and turns, expertly produced and arranged songs, his perfect rock & roll voice, songs with big, fat hooks that call to mind power pop legends like the Raspberries, Redd Kross, and the Kinks, or plain old legends like Elton John, Harry Nilsson, or Todd Rundgren; songs that make you want to hit repeat as soon as the disc is over.Pitchfork
Taken as a single document, The Slow Wonder fits together for a taut 34 minutes without lags or rough spots; viewed as collection of singles, all but a couple tracks would justifiably fill the A-side of a seven-inch. From the catchy drum-fill intro of "Miracle Drug" to "35 in the Shade"'s soaring exit guitar, there's not a misfire to be found. Time and time again, Newman showcases a quaint nostalgia and a layered sense of production that often feels similar to the inventive beauty that made The Shins' Chutes Too Narrow such a whopper of a sophomore release. Like the exquisite chamber pop that Richard Davies and Eric Matthews showcased as Cardinal, these songs have a comfortable Kinks-like feel while still sporting their own unique, keenly crafted hooks.
5. The Owls
, Our Hopes and Dreams
[Magic Marker] [Buy it!
Devastatingly pretty and twee with some shockingly good songs.
The Owls' debut "mini LP," Our Hopes and Dreams, gracefully explores the vacuum left behind when they escape, like helium from a popped balloon afloat somewhere between Sarah Records and Past Masters Volume Two.
Opening track "Air" provides the pin. After an incantatory verse and skidding bass fill, multi-instrumentalist Maria May introduces the disc's koan-like vision with a deceptively simple couplet: "There is only air/ Where I used to care." A few tracks later she will be "looking down over everything" but for now, her breathy vocals are just beginning to flutter in the breeze, held aloft by acoustic guitars, piano, scattershot drums and-- nope, I don't even inhale-- a heavenly duet with The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group's Allison LaBonne.
Allison LaBonne drops her song in the second slot and the record begins to sound like a singles collection. She plays big bad wolf in a slurry patch of harmonizing with Maria May on "Do Ya?", a love song filtered through Little Red Hiding Hood metaphors. LaBonne's voice has a much thicker, huskier pull to it, like Laetitia Sadier from Stereolab. On "Luck", the Owls give themselves more fully to lament and yet it's the track where they hit some of the starkest, most achingly pretty notes, like a Sundays song drowning in a reflecting pool. "Baby Boy" could be a Belle & Sebastian duet with Peggy Lee; it's baroque pop with a bit of torched out drama. I kept expecting the timpani drums to roll in over crashing string swells from the orchestra pit. This song sounds literally like chamber pop, as in chamber music, not just songs with roomy interiors and stuck-up bombast for mood. The guitar work on Our Hopes and Dreams does much to fashion a muddy, ornate feel, because notes frequently sound like gently disturbed water surfaces, distorted enough to bleed but not enough to sound like feedback squawk.
4. Of Montreal
, Satanic Panic in the Attic
[Polyvinyl] [Buy it!
I've listened to all of the Elephant 6 bands and I could never get into Of Montreal, because their twee psych-pop was just too psychedelic for me. And when I say that, I mean it was unbelievably weird.
This album changed everything. Perhaps Of Montreal had to "get through" their unreachable phase like the Beatles had to "get through" playing in Hamburg -- a different band emerged both times. That's obviously just speculation, but the songs on this record are jaw-dropping. The LSD is still in their system, but instead of chaos, they're doing nine-part overdubbed harmonies (in "Lysergic Bliss") and wistful confessions with bouncy McCartneyesque basslines ("Eros' Entropic Tundra").
allmusic's Dean of Pop Tim Sendra (and former Salto bandmate) elaborates
From the opening synth handclaps and dual lead guitar harmonies of "Disconnect the Dots," the first song on Satanic Panic in the Attic, you know you are in for a different Of Montreal. Working on his own, save for a few helping hands on occasional strings and vocals, Kevin Barnes has crafted Of Montreal's most focused and powerful sounding record yet. Fans of the bursting-to-the-seams arrangements of the past may feel a bit let down by the stripped-down sound at first, but once you get past that feeling, the beautiful melodies and thrilling, immediate sound of the record are sure to reel you in. Besides, it isn't like this is a Matchbox Twenty record. Barnes is still as surreal lyrically and musically inventive as ever. Instead of treading closely to the conventions of the Elephant 6 chamber psych sound, Barnes expands his musical reach quite impressively to encompass disco-funk ("My British Tour Diary," which comes replete with drum breaks and cowbell; the lovely "Spike the Senses"), hard rock (the driving "How Lester Lost His Wife"), Beachwood Sparks-style cosmic country ("Erroneous Escape Into Erik Eckles"), power pop of the East Coast dB's variety (the gushing and surprisingly personal love song "Your Magic Is Working"), well-done Beach Boys homage ("Climb the Ladder"), and acoustic balladry (the wonderful "City Bird," which has one of the band's sweetest melodies and strips the sound all the way down to acoustic guitar and multitracked vocal harmonies). The last song on the record ("Vegan in Furs") even manages a breathtaking fusion of Afro-pop, disco, and freakbeat.
Get it. Now.
3. The Unicorns
, Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?
[Alien8 2003] [Buy it!
This is a 2003 record; I first heard it in 2004. The Unicorns are a couple of young guys from Canada who make scatterbrained, shambolic pop with an attitude reminiscent of mid-90s Pavement (before Malkmus got "really skinny"). They're ambitious, though, with nothing resembling a traditional verse-chorus-verse song structure. But the songs work
Delusions of Adequacy
The Unicorns, a three-piece from Montreal, are notable for more than their unique take on their subject matter. They happen to be, in fact, one of the most outstanding, inventive, unique pop bands playing music today. Indeed, Canada scores another coup in a war that has already included the victories of Broken Social Scene, Stars, and the Dears. Sounding like an unholy mix of the Flaming Lips and the entire K Records catalog. Utilizing whizzing keyboards and scratchy guitars, the Unicorns inhabit a sonic space that is by no means uncharted, but is still wholly their own.Dusted
The Unicorns manage to polish an array of pawn shop instruments into miniature masterpieces. From their signature I Was Born (to Be a Unicorn) to the trilogy of Tuff Ghost, Ghost Mountain and Sea Ghost (linked in title only), theyre never afraid to investigate new angles, even if the end result sometimes sounds like your baby sister banging on a Casio keyboard.
Drowned in Sound
Like an unstable isotope, The Unicorns could very well have disintegrated from their collective creative tension, by the time you read this but in the meantime, theyve at least managed a minor miracle with Who Will Cut Our Hair When Were Gone?.
Coming on like the Hewey and Dewey to Stephen Malkmus' Uncle Scrooge, the Unicorns' sophomore offering Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone? (getting a release on Rough Trade almost a year after it was unleashed in the US) is a rare lo-fi indie-pop masterpiece that tackles death head on with humour, humility and penny whistles. Your Gimmick-o-meter may already be off the scale, especially if you've heard that live shows can often include puppet shows and finger buffets, but a couple listens to the mix of morbid humour and fundamental pop sensibilities rife through "Who Will Cut..." may well be enough to change your mind.
, Oh, Honey, We're Ridiculous
EP [Le Grand Magistery] [Buy it!
The most important group in the United States
. That's what I told Casimir Pascal, and I still think it's true. I know that PAS/CAL won't be for everyone. PAS/CAL is precisely, impeccably crafted pop music recorded with the type of obsessive intensity that reminds me of the La's Lee Mavers. In other words, it may not be healthy how seriously PAS/CAL take themselves, but the finished product is -- natch -- more than worth it.
Not that there's much of it. In four years, PAS/CAL has just two EPs out. Two. Each of them is breathtaking.
The songwriting on these two EPs is magical. Caz's voice is angelic. The band is ruthlessly tight.
I couldn't love them more than I do, and I can't wait for their LP to come out sometime in 2005.
Lots of reviews here
1. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
, The Doldrums
[Paw Tracks] [Buy it!
You're stuck in some remote town in the northernmost reaches of Canada, or somewhere, and you're snowed in. Exhausted, you pull over at a ramshackle motel to spend the night. It's late, past midnight, and before you sleep, you fiddle with the radio on your bedside table, expecting to pick up nothing so far away from civilization.
But you do pick up something, though it's terribly fuzzy. Something gorgeous. Probably some local nutjob, but the pure pop he's playing is unbelievably beautiful, even through the fuzz. You wonder if he's playing live -- it's certainly lo-fi enough.
Ariel Pink sounds like a million things that you adore -- as this review
aptly puts it, "reminiscent of early Beck with the slight dementia of Gary Wilson or Scott Walker." I'd only suggest adding the Beach Boys, C86
, Beat Happening, Syd Barrett, the Bee Gees, and Motown.
The defining characteristic of The Doldrums is the fidelity of the recording, which is very low ambience shrouds the actual songs and becomes the most prominent player. The flatness, along with constant tape hiss and warble, create a landscape that is appealing and monotonous in the same way as Hockney's hilltop poolside scene. The intentional low fidelity, which might be an example from an audio engineering title entitled "How Not to Record Your Own Music," overshadows the songwriting, which may or may not be to Ariel Pink's advantage. It creates a hauntingly beautiful aural tableau, an environment of sameness that pushes the actual songs to the periphery some of these songs lack the panache to be heard above the white noise.Sponic Zine
The first time I listened to this release I was completely stoned out of my mind; I mean I was fucked up (yes, everyone always stresses that point, that they were so incredibly stoned like no one in life has ever achieved such a hierarchy of stoneddom [ok, that isnt a word] but trust me, I was fucked up). For the next 62 minutes it was, Holy Hunter S. Thompson!! I had never heard colours like this before, so many hues and tints it was stupefyingly awesome. Being coherent enough to realize I shouldnt take any mental or written notes the first time around, I waited a couple of days until I was in a more professional reviewers state and hit play for the second time. Wouldnt you fucking believe it, this sonbitch was practically taking me on the same trip!junkmedia
Like transmissions from another galaxy, the music of Ariel Pink is touched by an otherworldly beauty. Distant echoes of the Moody Blues, Hall and Oates, the Residents, and R. Stevie Moore all waft through the crooked corridors of Pink's songs, which sound as if they've been collecting dust for twenty years.
In "For Kate I Wait," falsetto vocals and '70s Muzak strings glide atop a clip-clopping beat, which like all the drum sounds, are made entirely by Pink's voice. It's a strange concoction to be sure, but even stranger is the song's unmistakably commercial core, at least in a drugged out, soft rock kind of way.
Seemingly content with obscurity, Pink recorded the two albums compiled here on handmade CD-Rs from 1999 to 2003. Luckily, one copy found its way into the hands of the Animal Collective, who have reissued these works in hopes of exposing Ariel Pink to a wider audience. Whether or not people will get it is hard to say. But beneath these fractured gems lies a genuine talent and unique voice unlike any other in recent memory. In a word, baffling.
Buy the record.
: Saturday Looks Good to Me
, Every Night
(Polyvinyl), The Hidden Cameras
, Mississauga Goddam
(Rough Trade), Air
, Talkie Walkie
(Astralwerks), Animal Collective
, Sung Tongs
(Paw Tracks), Blonde Redhead
, Misery is a Butterfly
(4AD), Brian Wilson
(Stones Throw), All Night Radio
, Spirit Stereo Frequency
(Sub Pop), Susanna And The Magical Orchestra
, List Of Lights And Buoys
(Rune Grammofon), Camera Obscura
, Underachievers Please Try Harder
(Merge), TV on the Radio
, Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes
(Touch & Go)
IN MORE NATURAL DISASTER NEWS
Though obviously not even remotely approaching the same scale...
an incredible photo of the La Conchita, CA mudslide
for the full-sized version.
TSUNAMI BEFORE AND AFTER SHOTS
From satellite, apparently. Click here
. Highly sobering.
Give 'em another fifty bucks here
Also, remember that trip to Southeast Asia you've been planning? Maybe it's finally time to take it in the next months. They desperately need your tourist dollars.
ALI G SPARKS RIOT
Did I mention I loves the Ali G
Comedian Sasha Baron Cohen has escaped a near-riot at an American rodeo while filming his satirical Da Ali G Show.
According to a report in the Roanoke (Virginia) Times, a man who was introduced as Boraq Sagdiyev from Kazakhstan - in reality a Cohen character named Borat - appeared at the rodeo over the weekend after organisers agreed to have him sing the national anthem.
After telling the crowd he supported America's war on terrorism, he said, "I hope you kill every man, woman and child in Iraq, down to the lizards ... And may George W Bush drink the blood of every man, woman and child in Iraq." He then sang a garbled version of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
The Roanoke Times reported that the crowd turned "downright nasty." One observer said "If he had been out there a minute longer, I think somebody would have shot him."
Cohen and his film crew were escorted out of the Salem Civic Center and told to leave the premises.
"Had we not gotten them out of there, there would have been a riot," rodeo producer Bobby Rowe told the paper. "They loaded up the van and they screeched out of there."
It is not the first time Cohen has wooed controversy with his show, which airs on Channel 4 in the UK and on HBO in the United States. In one episode last year, Borat sang an anti-Semitic song called "Throw the Jew Down the Well" at a US country music bar, prompting protests from the US-based Anti-Defamation League.
I strongly condemn this effort to fuck with rodeo-goin' hicks.
I wonder if the guy has bodyguards with him. Just in case.
I AM THE PROUD OWNER OF AN IRIVER
An iRiver is an .mp3 player, akin to an iPod, but it's cheaper and has longer battery life, an FM radio, and a recording function that allows you to record directly to .mp3, which is pretty cool. It's also reputed to have better sound quality
than an iPod.
That said, I'm awfully tired of Apple snobs and their wheezy, pathetic adulation of all things Apple.*
*I concede that the iPod is very well-designed.
NAIROBI (Reuters) - A 120-year-old giant tortoise living in a Kenyan sanctuary has become inseparable from a baby hippo rescued by game wardens, officials said on Thursday.
The year-old hippo calf christened Owen was rescued last month, suffering from dehydration after being separated from his herd in a river that drains into the Indian Ocean.
"When we released Owen into the enclosure, he lumbered to the tortoise which has a dark gray color similar to grown up hippos," Sabine Baer, rehabilitation and ecosystems manager at the park, told Reuters.
She said the hippo's chances of survival in another herd were very slim, predicting that a dominant male would have killed him.
However, Owen's relationship with the Aldabran tortoise named Mzee, Swahili for old man, may end soon. The sanctuary plans to place Owen with Cleo, a lonely female hippo.
MORE PRESENTS FOR SALTO
Buy them here
...and just after this post, Salto received an unsolicited gift!
, Generation of Vipers
Perhaps the most vitriolic attack ever launched on the American way of living--from politicians to professors to businessmen to Mom to sexual mores to religion. Generation of Vipers ranks with the works of De Tocqueville and Emerson in defining the American character and malaise. Wylie's classic, written with devastating wit and a pen as sharp as a barber's razor, wages war on all forms of American hypocrisy. Remarkably, or perhaps not so, what Philip Wylie has to say rings as true today as when he first wrote Vipers in 1942, and no doubt it will continue to offend and outrage both the Left and Right. Harsh, bitter, and filled with venom toward those who have corrupted the America that "could have been," Generation of Vipers will be read with pleasure and indignation a century from now.
OLD OPTICAL TOYS
links to totally rad pre-20th-century optical toys
, like the Phenakistoscope above. Hot.
ALI G OUT OF CHARACTER
I received the first season of Da Ali G show on DVD from fabulous roommate Jen for Christmas. It completely rules. My favorite is Borat
, the faux-Kazakhstani journalist given to making bewilderingly inappropriate comments whenever he opens his mouth.
When I watch this show, I tend to laugh like a hyena until my tummy hurts.
Check out this NPR interview
with an out-of-character Sasha Baron Cohen.
Wondering what's really going on in Iraq and what it all means? Check out the transcript
from a talk given by former National Security Advisors Brent Scowcroft [Ford/Bush I] and Zbigniew Brzezinski [Carter]. Here are some tasty morsels.
Just a word about Iraq. With Iraq, we clearly have a tiger by the tail. And the elections are turning out to be less about a promising transformation, and it has great potential for deepening the conflict. Indeed we may be seeing an incipient civil war at the present time.
A great deal of what is happening thus far in American Foreign Policy has been influenced by the ongoing conflict in Iraq. Now I would like to say very briefly that in my view, that war which was a war of choice is already a serious moral setback to the United States. A moral setback both in how we start, how it was justified, and because of some of the egregious incidents that have accompanied this proceeding. The moral costs to the United States are high. It’s a political setback,
The United States has never been involved in an intervention in its entire history like it is today. It is also a military set back. “Mission Accomplished” are words that many in this administration want to forget.
While our ultimate objectives are very ambitious we will never achieve democracy and stability without being willing to commit 500,000 troops, spend $200 billion a year, probably have a draft, and have some form of war compensation.
TRAFFIC MIMES IN BOGOTA
A former mathematician and philosopher runs for mayor of Bogota, Columbia, and wins. He's a little wacky, but in a serious way -- he applies the theories of Nobel-winning economist Douglass North
and philosopher Jurgen Habermas
to the problems that he saw around him.
The fact that he was seen as an unusual leader gave the new mayor the opportunity to try extraordinary things, such as hiring 420 mimes to control traffic in Bogotá's chaotic and dangerous streets. He launched a "Night for Women" and asked the city's men to stay home in the evening and care for the children; 700,000 women went out on the first of three nights that Mockus dedicated to them.
When there was a water shortage, Mockus appeared on TV programs taking a shower and turning off the water as he soaped, asking his fellow citizens to do the same. In just two months people were using 14 percent less water, a savings that increased when people realized how much money they were also saving because of economic incentives approved by Mockus; water use is now 40 percent less than before the shortage.
"The distribution of knowledge is the key contemporary task," Mockus said. "Knowledge empowers people. If people know the rules, and are sensitized by art, humor, and creativity, they are much more likely to accept change."
Mockus taught vivid lessons with these tools. One time, he asked citizens to put their power to use with 350,000 "thumbs-up" and "thumbs-down" cards that his office distributed to the populace. The cards were meant to approve or disapprove of other citizens' behavior; it was a device that many people actively - and peacefully - used in the streets.
He also asked people to pay 10 percent extra in voluntary taxes. To the surprise of many, 63,000 people voluntarily paid the extra taxes. A dramatic indicator of the shift in the attitude of "Bogotanos" during Mockus' tenure is that, in 2002, the city collected more than three times the revenues it had garnered in 1990.
Another Mockus inspiration was to ask people to call his office if they found a kind and honest taxi driver; 150 people called and the mayor organized a meeting with all those good taxi drivers, who advised him about how to improve the behavior of mean taxi drivers. The good taxi drivers were named "Knights of the Zebra," a club supported by the mayor's office.
Yet Mockus doesn't like to be called a leader. "There is a tendency to be dependent on individual leaders," he said. "To me, it is important to develop collective leadership. I don't like to get credit for all that we achieved. Millions of people contributed to the results that we achieved ... I like more egalitarian relationships. I especially like to orient people to learn."
It was a gigantic success.
These were the dreams of some on the left when we pushed Matt Gonzalez for Mayor of San Francisco.
It's an absolutely fascinating article
I won't complain about the weather in San Francisco after a taste of the ugly holiday cold in Wisconsin. Take a look at this forecast, though (the last column is chance of precip):
Fri Jan 07
Rain 55°/49° 80 %
Sat Jan 08
Rain 54°/50° 90 %
Sun Jan 09
Rain 56°/51° 90 %
Mon Jan 10
Rain 55°/45° 70 %
Yuck. On that note, I would like to push my favorite record to listen to during rainy days and quiet Sunday mornings.
, Suburban Light
Gorgeous songs that recall the quieter moments of the Velvet Underground and Felt. A must-have.
Even as the Clientele's hazy, soft-focus pop suggests the influence of virtually every musical ancestor worth acknowledging, the band's pastoral beauty nevertheless conjures a dreamscape entirely its own; fusing the heady otherness of psychedelia with the gentle caress of folk, Suburban Light swirls and settles like gold dust. Like the artist Joseph Cornell, the titular subject of one of the disc's most memorable songs, the Clientele assemble and juxtapose found fragments (collected from forebears like Love, Nick Drake, and Donovan) and transform their source materials into something magical and new; although the record's 13 cuts assemble various singles and scattered recordings, the finished product hangs together with a clear sense of purpose and scope. Over repeated listens, the songs grow both more distinctive and more interconnected, boasting a richly nuanced intricacy as intoxicating as it is elusive.
And maybe you should read this Boston Globe piece
, which begins:
It always seems to be raining softly inside a song by the Clientele. A shaft or two of amber light may slant across a verse or a melody and linger for a moment, but what scant sun peeks through the British band's melancholic skies usually precedes the next inevitable poetic downpour. The cumulative sensory effect -- a sort of saturnine, wistful ache that suffuses the music -- makes the Clientele singer-guitarist Alasdair MacLean very happy. He enjoys, he says, capturing "that feeling of things slipping past."Buy it
The Nelson Report is a sort of insider's-insider tipsheet on what's really going on in Washington. It's available only to subscribers, though bits and pieces leak out. Like, for example, this big piece, which is so unpleasantly believable that I shuddered reading it:
There is rising concern amongst senior officials that President Bush does not grasp the increasingly grim reality of the security situation in Iraq because he refuses to listen to that type of information. Our sources say that attempts to brief Bush on various grim realities have been personally rebuffed by the President, who actually says that he does not want to hear "bad news."
Rather, Bush makes clear that all he wants are progress reports, where they exist, and those facts which seem to support his declared mission in Iraq...building democracy. "That's all he wants to hear about," we have been told. So "in" are the latest totals on school openings, and "out" are reports from senior US military commanders (and those intelligence experts still on the job) that they see an insurgency becoming increasingly effective, and their projection that "it will just get worse."
Our sources are firm in that they conclude this "good news only" directive comes from Bush himself; that is, it is not a trap or cocoon thrown around the President by National Security Advisor Rice, Vice President Cheney, and DOD Secretary Rumsfeld. In any event, whether self-imposed, or due to manipulation by irresponsible subordinates, the information/intelligence vacuum at the highest levels of the White House increasingly frightens those officials interested in objective assessment, and not just selling a political message.
JON STEWART? GIANTKILLER
. CNN kills Crossfire and declines to renew Tucker Carlson's contract.
The bow-tied wearing conservative pundit got into a public tussle last fall with comic Jon Stewart, who has been critical of cable political programs that devolve into shoutfests.
"I guess I come down more firmly in the Jon Stewart camp," [CNN Chief Executive Jonathan] Klein told The Associated Press.
He said all of the cable networks, including CNN, have overdosed on programming devoted to arguing over issues. Klein said he wants more substantive programming that is still compelling.
"I doubt that when the president sits down with his advisers they scream at him to bring him up to date on all of the issues," he said. "I don't know why we don't treat the audience with the same respect.
You can still get your dose of Tucker on "lefty" PBS, ladies. Check your local listings.
I hate that pompous little fuck.
Next on Salto:
A prankster finds a new low-level hire at Starbucks Corporate and proceeds to impersonate the Starbucks CEO by email. The prankster issues commands to the new hire, beginning with a command for the new hire to shave his goatee. The guy does it. Emboldened, the prankster gets ... creative.
The whole thing is here
, including full texts of emails. It's astonishing.
Here's an outstanding example:
Date: Weds, 27 Oct 2004 10:47:28 -0700 (PDT)
Read all of them
From: "Orin C. Smith" |
Subject: Re: Welcome to Starbucks
I understand how difficult moving is. As for what I told you to do earlier, we'll try it again shortly. I don't want to raise suspicions so let's give it a few days.
There is something else you could do for me. There is a Starbucks on 5th and King that I sometimes go to on the weekend since it's near my house. The service is usually really good but last time I was there I noticed this very, very heavyset girl behind the counter. I don't know the girl's name but she was quite repulsive to the eye. Obviously, as CEO I can't just walk into a Starbucks and start firing baristas and service people because I don't like the way they look, but this girl should not be allowed near scones, if you know what I mean.
I don't know if you want to earn a little extra money this weekend but I'd like you to go there, have a look around and see if you can find out which girl it is. She needs to be terminated. I want the fat girl gone. Let me know when this is completed.
Orin C. Smith
President, Chief Executive Officer
IN LOCAL NEWS...
The effort to name the Bay Bridge after famous 19th century lunatic Emperor Norton (background here
) moves right along
More than a century after a quirky San Francisco character who called himself Emperor Norton I ordered a bridge be built spanning the bay, a move is under way to name the later-day Bay Bridge in his honor.
The drive was publicized by Chronicle cartoonist Phil Frank in his strip "Farley" -- perhaps a fitting forum for a man who walked the streets of San Francisco in the late 1800s with a plume in his hat and a sword in his hand, issued his own currency and declared that calling the city "Frisco" was a High Misdemeanor.
High marks from Salto for even considering
THE PARIS REVIEW
Even a gossip columnist [Lloyd Grove. -ed] has limits.
Paris Hilton has finally abused mine.
Over the past five years - without any discernible talent, education, scruples, manners, modesty or underpants - the pretty blond great-granddaughter of hotel magnate Conrad Hilton has waged a terrifying campaign for world domination.
The arc of Paris' "career" - from rich, witless party girl to rich, witless party girl with a hit television show - is an insult to the American sense of fairness: the idea that you get ahead by working hard, playing by the rules and acquiring a skill of some sort.
Paris has bothered with none of the above, and yet society continues to reward her with money and fame.
The British actor Stephen Fry put it best when he observed recently to Lowdown that being Paris "takes a startling vanity, an enormous lack of selfknowledge and a huge amount of greed and desire."
What is it about this otherwise unremarkable 23-year-old that can provoke such seething outrage?
Read the Paris Hilton Year In Review
You know you want to.
[Via Andy P.]
I've got a couple of Google Gmail accounts to give away to regular readers who would like one. Email me privately.
CAMPAIGN OF DECEPTION
No, probably not the first one that would come to mind. Probably not the second or third one, either. This campaign of deception
has to do with the country-music charts
Country singer Chely Wright said yesterday she was dismissing the head of her fan club and shutting down a team of volunteers after The Tennessean learned that some of them posed as members of the military or their families to promote her latest song.
Seventeen members of a handpicked team of fans contacted radio stations around the country asking for more airplay for Wright's pro-military ballad, The Bumper of My SUV. It was all part of an organized campaign by leaders of the fan club who encouraged the team to do such things as ''tell 'em your husband is a marine — whatever it takes.''
If you're like me, you're just, like, confused by this, right? How can country-music lovin' red-staters pushin' pro-military jonks be ... lying pieces of shit? Aren't they by nature ethically advanced beyond the ken of coastal elites?
Tards bilking tards. Think I'm being harsh? The song itself is pure demagoguery
The Bumper of My SUV, which was written by Wright, tells how she was driving down West End Avenue in Nashville in her SUV when someone saw her bumper sticker supporting the troops and made an obscene gesture. The song calls for support of the troops no matter what a person thinks of the war in Iraq.
Wright said she sang it when she entertained U.S. troops in Iraq. The song received such a positive response that she thought people back in the United States ought to hear it.
Yeah, yeah. It's all about the troops. Die a fiery death, bitch.
[Via Andy P.]
SPECIAL U2 VS. NEGATIVLAND IPOD
Here's the eBay listing
Here's the inevitable outcome
Down with IP fascism.
DEPT. OF EXCEPTIONALLY BAD TASTE
I'm so sorry
But it's funny.
Probably not safe for work.
WHAT MY CAT DID WHILE I WAS AWAY
She traumatized a dog ten times her size and took a piece out of our landlord, both requiring medical attention.
And she weighs less than five pounds.
The full story here
Wolcott's eulogy here
...read Sontag on photography, war, and death in this superb New Yorker article
...note a mini-scandal brewing
re: the Sontag obit in the Times
. Why? Omission of Sontag's long-term lesbian relationship with Annie Leibovitz...
AS A DOG
Salto is sick in bed recovering from the stress of his trip, New Year's Eve, and the many, many alcoholic beverages he's consumed over the last five days.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
APS and I made it back to SF safely yesterday. We wuz slapped up quite a bit on this trip by WY, UT, and NV, though -- a red-state triumvirate of snowy evil.