Thursday, December 27, 2007
I'm working on a piece about Billy Joel's The Stranger (yes, I'm still obsessed with this record). In the course of researching Mr. Joel I came across an interesting tidbit on Wikipedia. Apprently, after his parents divorced in 1960, his father moved back to Vienna, Austria. First of all, I can't think of anything more sad than a parent moving away from his child. But more importantly, it's given me new insight on the first song on Side B "Vienna". OMG! "Vienna waits for you" he talks about some ambitious kid who doesn't seem to know how to relax and enjoy life. Is he talking to his father? That's deep.
Check out this a cappella version by these kids. (They are good!)
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
This is an amusing, challenging vocabulary test to waste some time with.
Words are neat, after all.
It's also, weirdly but happily, a mechanism for raising money for the UN to fight hunger. (Every word you identify correctly = 20 grains of rice contributed.)
I know some super-geeks who have scored as high as 50. That's way outta my league.
Shall we have a little contest, Lake Effecters?
I'll get us started: 42.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
My journey began on craigslist, as so many journeys do. With this ad:
Do you LOVE Harry Potter & rock music?
No, I can't say that I do, but I know David and Ella do, probably Nick, Mike, Alice, Eva, Liza, Jimmy, Tony, Paul, Brendan (!) too, so I kept going. Which led me to this:
Yes. Wizardrock. With their very own .org domain and whatnot, like they were actual people who had something important enough to say that it was worth $30 to say it. Unbelievable. (Example - Here you'll find a song clip from the "first known" wizardrock band, Harry and the Potters, called "This Book Is So Awesome"). Am I the last person to hear about these freaks and geeks?
But it did get me thinking. (or maybe it was the coffee.) Simo, it's time for you to lay claim to the Adventurerock idiom, and tell the budding little adventurerockers that it's ok to rock like you're going somewhere, in a hurry or majestically, and that it's fine to be inspired by Journey, Queen, Rush, Kansas, Loverboy, et adventurum. Seems like the perfect thing to start on while you lounge poolside or roofside or wherevah.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
“I was aware that the loosening of mortgage credit terms for subprime borrowers increased financial risk,” Mr. Greenspan wrote in his recent memoir, “The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World.” “But I believed then, as now, that the benefits of broadened home ownership are worth the risk.”
But so much so that it required zero regulation? You couldn't have dialed it back a little tiny bit?
An examination of regulatory decisions shows that the Federal Reserve and other agencies waited until it was too late before trying to tame the industry’s excesses. Both the Fed and the Bush administration placed a higher priority on promoting “financial innovation” and what President Bush has called the “ownership society.”nytimes: Fed Shrugged as Subprime Crisis Spread
I'm sorry, that was awful and boring, I know.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Paul called me with a dead Gordo message instead of Fogelberg. I googled it immediately to see if by some macabre cosmic coincidence both minor talents had expired on the same day, at which point I discovered that today is, in fact, Gordo's birthday, and that he is indeed still among the living!
In celebration I offer you, wait for it...an SCTV spoof!
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Before last night's Shellac show, Tony and I got to see this terrific band called The Bitter Tears. They were funny and kind of Tom Waits-ish, ad here's their song "Murdered At The Bar".
The Bitter Tears - "Murdered At The Bar"
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
In Utah. In me.
I have decided to take the mantle thrust upon me by the drivers of Utah. Though I did not seek this nomination, I will accept it.
For the second time in 6 weeks, a truck attacked me on I-80. This time, my improved stunt-driving skills came in handy, as I avoided contact with any objects, through ice and snow, successfully avoided heading into oncoming traffic (though I did make half way onto the shoulder of said approaching vehicles before the wheels grabbed), and landed safely in the salty, half-frozen Utah mud at the bottom of the divided highway. No one was injured, and I am very excited by the chance to deal with insurance companies again.
If I could only get a couple ramps set up at the edge of all these highways out here; I could catch some righteous air!
Hope you're all well; I am! Can't wait to see you all and get back to the safety of Chicago streets during the holydaze!!
Somewhere, Buzz Lightyear is reveling in his victory over Charlton Heston.
Monday, December 10, 2007
This mostly just makes me sad, but The Hitmaker's favorite Republican spokesmodel, Dana Perino, had the classiness / humility to appear on NPR's "Wait, Wait, Don't tell me ..." and admit she didn't 'really' know what the Cuban Missile Crisis was about ... beyond, you know, Cuba and missiles.
Appearing on NPR's "Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me" over the weekend, Perino said she "panicked" when she got the Cuban missile crisis question because she wasn't exactly sure what the Cuban missile crisis was. "I really know nothing about the Cuban missile crisis," Perino said. "It had to do with Cuba and missiles, I'm pretty sure."
Perino said she went home that night and asked her husband, "'Wasn't that, like, the Bay of Pigs thing?' And he said, 'Oh, Dana.'"
Next time the movie Thirteen Days comes on cable, she should really watch it.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
Thursday, December 06, 2007
NEW YORK — This was REALLY not kosher. A grocery store in Manhattan made a food faux pas, advertising hams as "Delicious for Chanukah."
Chanukah -- an alternate spelling for Hanukkah -- is the eight-day Jewish holiday that began Tuesday evening, and hams -- as well as pork and other products from pigs -- can't be eaten under Jewish dietary laws.
A woman who saw the mistake over the weekend at the Balducci's store in Greenwich Village took pictures of the signs and posted them on her blog.
Jennifer Barton, director of marketing, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the signs were changed as soon as the error was noted.
She issued an apology on the company Web site, saying the company would be reviewing its employee training.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
And no, David, it ain't fake. Everyone knows that the Kaohsiung Zoo doesn't have Photoshop. And even if he did, that's the zookeepers mouse-hand (lefty!).
(props to Brooke Myers for this; woot woot!!)
Communism isn't just over. It's capitalism's pimp now.
Witness this print ad featuring Gorbachev and his large, luxurious Louis Vitton duffel bag.
It'd be funny if it weren't so depressing.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
Clearly life is a little less entertaining with the Singers on their Grand Tour. So how about we pass the time with a lake effects presidential poll? Ok, good.
If you lived in Iowa - and it were January - besides being really depressed, and possibly more polite, you'd have the chance to vote in some crazy caucus thing for president ... and thus exercise inordinate influence over who our next Supreme Leader will be.
and if that were all true: Who would you vote for today?
Kucinich, Gravel and even Ron Paul are acceptable (if pointless) choices.
Al Gore is not, dammit. He's not on the ballot.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
It's chilly but beautiful here and we're seen some incredible Parisian sites - Eiffel Tour, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, the Louve, and more. It's overwhelming but really fun. Prices are high but our love is strong. Example, we had falafel sandwiches in Le Marais and the bill was 25 Euro!
Tomorrow we're off to Venice!
Friday, November 23, 2007
Here's what she reports:
"...my ship indeed! remind me to tell you the stories of waking up in the middle of the night hearing the boat rip through giant chunks of ice and being told "oh, that happens all the time" the next day by the crew!!"The Explorer in happier days, photo by Amber:
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
It took me a long while to warm up to the Band of Horses, but this is great live version of this song ... which I can't seem to stop listening to.
Band of Horses, Great Salt Lake, Live on KEXP, Seattle.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Pa. Hunter Bags an Albino Black Bear
Nov 20th, 2007 | SPRING MILLS, Pa. -- A Westmoreland County man is having a memorable 2007 bear season. Tom Wisniowski bagged a rare albino black bear Monday on the season's opening day. The female cub weighed 47 pounds.
Wisniowski told The Sentinel in Lewistown that conditions were difficult and at first he thought he was looking at a coyote. But when the bear got a bit closer, he could tell it was an unusual bear.
Way to go asshole. You really looked danger in the eye by killing A BABY BEAR. As a point of reference, Malik weighs 18 pounds - so the bear was less than three times his size. And not bothering anyone.
I mean, it makes me dance in my mind all day long. I love it!!! Listen to it now!!!
(Right now they're playing that Okkervil River song I hate, but I like it now because it's on THE CURRENT!!)
Did you that there's a movie version of Where The Wild Things Are coming out in 2008? It's directed by Spike Jonze, with a script co-written by Jonze and Dave Eggers! And Maurice Sendak, after years of turning down offer after offer, has given it his full approval. And the soundtrack, at least in part, is by Jonze's ex-girlfriend Karen O!
I mean, how sweet is this going to be? Look at this production still!
Karen O - Pumpkin
'Sweet Caroline' Was Caroline Kennedy
By SANDY COHEN Associated Press Writer
Nov 20th, 2007 | LOS ANGELES -- Neil Diamond held onto the secret for decades, but he has finally revealed that President Kennedy's daughter was the inspiration for his smash hit "Sweet Caroline."
"I've never discussed it with anybody before — intentionally," the 66-year-old singer-songwriter told The Associated Press on Monday during a break from recording. "I thought maybe I would tell it to Caroline when I met her someday."
He got his chance last week when he performed the song via satellite at Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg's 50th birthday party.
Diamond was a "young, broke songwriter" when a photo of the president's daughter in a news magazine caught his eye.
"It was a picture of a little girl dressed to the nines in her riding gear, next to her pony," Diamond recalled. "It was such an innocent, wonderful picture, I immediately felt there was a song in there."
Years later, holed up in a hotel in Memphis, he would write the words and music in less an hour.
"It was a No. 1 record and probably is the biggest, most important song of my career, and I have to thank her for the inspiration," he said. "I'm happy to have gotten it off my chest and to have expressed it to Caroline. I thought she might be embarrassed, but she seemed to be struck by it and really, really happy."
Monday, November 19, 2007
So, I was actually working as a musician last week, playing on a record for a chick singer in Minneapolis, and the drummer on the gig was a nice dude who plays with the BoDeans, Peter Frampton, etc. What did not get discussed, and what I later found by Googling, is that he played on Mandy Moore's Coverage album. MANDY MOORE, I SAID! If he played on "The Whole of the Moon," I might not be able to prevent my brain from exploding.
Download Mandy Moore's cover of The Waterboys' "The Whole of the Moon"
Red Hot Chili Peppers Sue Showtime
3 hours ago
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Red Hot Chili Peppers on Monday sued Showtime Networks over the name of the television series "Californication," which is also the name of the band's 1999 album and a single on it.
The lawsuit alleges unfair competition, dilution of the value of the name and unjust enrichment, claiming the title is "inherently distinctive, famous ... and immediately associated in the mind of the consumer" with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
"Californication is the signature CD, video and song of the band's career, and for some TV show to come along and steal our identity is not right," said the band's lead singer, Anthony Kiedis, in a statement.
The television series stars David Duchovny as a novelist suffering from writers' block and a mid-life crisis.
The show features a character named "Dani California," which is also the title of a Red Hot Chili Peppers song released in 2006, according to the lawsuit.
The suit also names the show's creator and executive producer, Tom Kapinos, and two production companies, Twilight Time Films and Aggressive Mediocrity, Inc.
A call Monday to an attorney for Showtime was not immediately returned. Attempts to find a listing for Kapinos were not successful.
The suit seeks a permanent injunction barring Showtime and the other defendants from using the title "Californication" for the show, damages and restitution and disgorgement of all profits derived by the defendants.
In July 2007, Kapinos, told reporters at a Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills that he first heard the term in Oregon.
"Apparently in the '70s there were bumper stickers that said 'Don't Californicate Oregon,' because Californians were coming up there, and I just through it was a great, great title for this show," said Kapinos.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
If there is one song that most accurately describes my worldview, it's this one. It was written by the great songwriting team of Leiber & Stoller, who also wrote "Hound Dog", "Stand By Me", "Jailhouse Rock", "Poison Ivy", "Yakety Yak", and literally 8 billion other songs that make up the canon of 20th century popular music. This song came a little after their heyday, and was obviously a big departure.
"Is That All There Is" is apparently based on a short story by Thomas Mann called "Disillusionment". It is funny and dark and an unmitigated masterpiece. It features the voice of the incomparable Peggy Lee, who is probably most famous for "Fever", although she also voiced four characters in Lady and the Tramp, wrote dozens of her own songs, and got nominated for an Oscar.
It was a hit upon its initial release in 1969, making it up to #11 on the charts (and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart). Can you imagine a world in which this song was a hit? Think about it next time that Beyonce "Upgrade" commercial comes on.
The song was such a hit that they made a record of (ahem) "art songs" with Ms. Lee called "Mirrors" in 1975. I am searching everywhere for it.
Peggy Lee - "Is That All There Is?"
Friday, November 16, 2007
I don't know how to post things to make them look good, or possibly even so that the link works, but if you can get to aforementioned site, please do. There is a very funny, clever essay to be had.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
You know how sometimes you like a song more than everyone else in the world? Like, totally out of proportion to the amount it registers on anyone else's radar? That's how I feel about this song by A Girl Called Eddy, which came out on her s/t LP in 2004. Not only is it a perfectly written pop song, but the "Viva Hate"-era Morrisey orchestration is fantastic, and the vocal performance is nonpareil.
Eva has always hated it for some reason.
I've probably made each of you listen to it at one time or another, but give it another shot.
A Girl Called Eddy - "Golden"
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
The first picture under my name, with quotes, is a car. A hotrod, with its hood up. Apropos, I realize. It would make sense if it were a wreck, but this is obviously in one piece.
The second is a guy even older than me hangin out with the rest of the greatest generation.
That's right -- the third one is David Anthony Singer.
Fuck the web.
Click the photo to watch the video ...
Aaron Koblin - Flight Patterns Web Site
By WASBIR HUSSAIN Associated Press Writer
Nov 13th, 2007 | GAUHATI, India -- Paris Hilton is being praised by conservationists for highlighting the problem of binge-drinking elephants in northeastern India.
Activists said a celebrity endorsement such as Hilton's was sure to raise awareness of the plight of the pachyderms that get drunk on farmers' homemade rice beer and then go on a rampage.
"The elephants get drunk all the time. It is becoming really dangerous. We need to stop making alcohol available to them," the 26-year-old socialite said in a report posted on World Entertainment News Network's Web site. Her comments were picked up by other Web sites and newspapers around the globe.
Last month, six wild elephants that broke into a farm in the state of Meghalaya were electrocuted after drinking the potent brew and then uprooting an electricity pole.
"There would have been more casualties if the villagers hadn't chased them away. And four elephants died in a similar way three years ago. It is just so sad," Hilton was quoted as saying in Tokyo last week. She was in Tokyo to judge a beauty contest.
Her publicist couldn't immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.
Hilton promised to improve her bad-girl image after she completed a jail term in June for violating probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case.
She announced plans to do charity work in Rwanda, but the trip was postponed until next year.
Sangeeta Goswami, head of animal rights group People for Animals, told The Associated Press: "I am indeed happy Hilton has taken note of recent incidents of wild elephants in northeast India going berserk after drinking homemade rice beer and getting killed."
"As part of her global elephant campaign, Hilton should, in fact, think of visiting this region literally infested with elephants," Goswami said.
Another conservationist said elephant alcohol abuse was just a symptom of the real problem.
"Elephants appear on human settlements ... because they have no habitat left due to wanton destruction of forests," said Soumyadeep Dutta, who heads Nature's Beckon, a leading regional conservation group.
"A celebrity like Hilton must focus her attention on this fact," Dutta said.
Monday, November 12, 2007
This is amazing. Click on it to enlarge, or see it in all its glory here. (Near the bottom of the page, lots of other good stuff).