Monday, May 30, 2005

Music Monday #6


I hope I haven't disappointed the teeming millions who wait so anxiously each week for Music Monday, but I haven't yet gotten around to writing it up. My excuse? Mrs. Muzzy was working all weekend, and I was feeling a bit punk, but I do have some things which I'll try to apend to this post, sometime during the day on Tuesday.

Until then: I took the girls to the Minnesota Historical Society History Center on Sunday - which now charges for admission, BTW - and took a photo of a copy of a calendar from 1981 for Sam's - now known as First Avenue, on display at the Center's Minnesota music exhibit. Note that U2, Flytetyme, Husker Du and the Replacements - as well as many others - played that great venue during the month. Click on the photo below for a larger view, and enjoy your stroll down memory lane.


1stave


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UPDATED 05-31-2005:

Past Music Mondays:

Music Monday - #1
Music Monday - #2
Music Monday - #3
Music Monday - #4
Music Monday - #5

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The November 2004, Wired Magazine was delivered with what they called The Wired CD, liscensed under something called Creative Commons. As Wired puts it: "Rip, mix, burn. Swap till you drop. The music cops can't do a thing - it's 100 percent legal, licensed by the bands. The Wired CD, copyrighted for the 21st century."

All tracks available here, or just download the links, below:


The Wired CD

:01 Beastie Boys/ Now Get Busy
:02 David Byrne/ My Fair Lady
:03 Zap Mama/ Wadidyusay?
:04 My Morning Jacket/ One Big Holiday
:05 Spoon/ Revenge!
:06 Gilberto Gil/ Oslodum
:07 Dan the Automator/ Relaxation Spa Treatment
:08 Thievery Corporation/ DC 3000
:09 Le Tigre/ Fake French
:10 Paul Westerberg/ Looking Up in Heaven
:11 Chuck D with Fine Arts Militia/ No Meaning No
:12 The Rapture/ Sister Saviour (Blackstrobe Remix)
:13 Cornelius/ Wataridori 2
:14 Danger Mouse & Jemini/ What U Sittin' On? (starring Cee Lo and Tha Alkaholiks)
:15 DJ Dolores/ Oslodum 2004
:16 Matmos/ Action at a Distance


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Have some fun with Mashups, at MashUptown. And if you want your Mashups streaming, 24/7, MashUptownRadio is the one for you.

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Lyric of the Week:

The Decomposing Composers - from Monty Python's Contractual Obligations Album

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Memorial Day


05.05.29.MemorialDay05-X

Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F


Sunday, May 29, 2005

It's For You


Phone Ring Tone Set to Top U.K. Charts.

Weekend Survey #13


Right Thinking Girl posted her Weekend survey #13, which I decided to try on for size this week. I read her blog on a regular basis, but she's such a great writer that the idea of actually getting in the ring with her watching is a wee bit intimidating. Anyway, here's my attempt at completing her survey.

(And please take the time to read her post of the 100 Things To Do Before I Die. Really.)

Weekend Survey 13

1. Legend has it that you made out with a (female) Brazillian supermodel at SkyBar and then checked into the Chateau Marmont for a four day bender that included strippers, a senator from a Midwest state, some kind of fight with Paris Hilton, a tub of jellybeans and Crisco, a dozen spatulas and at least one midget. Is this true? If not, please set the record straight.


Not at all. It was a long time ago, in another life, really, and I barely remember it but I actually met a rather pretty Brazilian checkout girl from Walmart named Doralice. I asked her out, we went for breakfast at the International House of Pancakes and then went to Church, all in time for her to start her shift at noon. We ended up dating for three years. I'm not sure how that story got so twisted around. The press just makes this stuff up.

2. Make up at least three Dr. Phil sayings.

Well, slap my thigh.
How does that work for your welfare check?
Are you freakin' nuts?

3. Fill in the blank: _____ makes it hot.

Fire. I'd say Fire most definitely makes it hot.

4. Should Z suck my toes? Defend your answer.

Well, yes. Yes, he should. Whatever makes you happy. Right Thinking Girls deserve to be happy.

5. Tell me a rumor (true or false, doesn't matter) about any person or persons who posts here. (While I want this to be funny, please do not insult anyone or use this as an opportunity to be cruel. We're aiming for gentle mocking here, at the very worst.)

Um, rather not.

6. Fill in the blank: _____ is my anti-drug.

Blogging.

7. Free associate these phrases:

a. Celebrity Clothing Lines.

Fitty-inch waste.

b. Prison library.

Scott Peterson's bestseller

c. Clean underwear.

Not for long.

8. What is the worst job you ever had?

Working a Fotomat booth for a summer

9. Which clique did you most closely identify with in high school?

Summer school.

10. Z is to toe-sucking as RTG is to _______.

Air America Radio

11. Offer up an RTG slogan.

I command, You obey. If you want to. Whatever.

12. Tell me something you will not do.

I would do anything for love, but I won't do that.

13. What is your best beauty/health tip?

Better a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy

14. Make a prediction about what a regular poster on RTG is doing this weekend (remember: no meanness!)

Dreaming of winning the Powerball Lottery, each and every one.

15. Fill in the blanks: Parker Grace's first words will be _____ and _____.

Mama, and Blog


Saturday, May 28, 2005

Rock Me Amadeus


As I type this, I'm listening to the Choer Regional Nord-Pas-de-Calais's wonderful performance of the lovely and tragic Requiem (K. 626) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. As moved as I am by the music, I am humbled and amazed by the fact that Mozart wrote his entire canon in 32 short years, between ages 5 and 37. And what glorious music it is! There have been many other classical composers of great talent music whose music has moved me: Bach, Beethoven, Vivaldi, Handel, Chopin, Boccherini, Tchaikovsky, Scarlatti - musical genius, all. But who else besides Mozart wrote so much music, in such a short period of time, in such a variety of styles, for such a range of instruments? I'm reminded of a cartoon in the New Yorker, years ago: a desolate landscape, barren but for a few bits of trash, bearing the simple caption: "Life without Mozart."

Indeed.

It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Bling


Get your Bling Teeth now - don't miss The Spinners - and you'll be ready to play the Fifty Cent Game when it's available, later this year. And speaking of Fitty, with Father's Day just around the corner, remember that nothing says "I Love You, Dad" like the gift of a Fitty Chain.

Psycho Ex


If you missed it the first time through, Psycho Ex Girlfriend has been stored in the Wayback Machine, with all but one of the Infamous Voice Mails available. Caution: strong language.

(Also mirrored here.)

Friday, May 27, 2005

Whiplash!


Can't get enough of that Cowboy Monkey? Watch his Quesedilla ad here.

(Visit 4 Info has thousands more ads from across the globe, for online viewing.)

Laura Bush: Your Country Calls


Anyone But Hillary 2008.

Could Be Bad News For Bob Dole


Australia checks on Viagra blindness claims.

To Have And To Hold


Yikes! I'm thinking the gentleman from Frankfurt didn't quite understand the meaning of 'till death do us part.'

I Wanna Know


Who links to me?

AI Finale


Well. Carrie is this year's American Idol, and she will do very well for herself in the music business. She's good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like her. But I was rooting for Bo. So, am I dissapointed? Not really. I actually liked both of them. They are both talented, and they both seem like good and decent folks. Actually, I think Bo and Carrie should get married and have babies - just in case they are reading this. But, whatever happens from here on out, Bo will be just fine, thank you. His performance of Sweet Home Alabama with the Skynard Boys kicked some serious donkey. Like Paula said a couple of weeks ago, from here out, America will be paying to hear him sing. Both Carrie and Bo have solid careers ahead of them in the music industry.

As for the actual show itself, I thought having Bo and Carrie sing together was a stroke of genius, but most of the rest was just silly. The producers managed to cram an hour's worth of show into two, and the whole mess was weaker for it. And bringing the runners-up - ahem, I mean losers - onstage to sing one more time was just rubbish. Having to sit through Mikalah's schtick was almost enough to make me shut the TV off, but at least Vonzell injected some life into the proceedings by way of her piano-top crooning with Billy Preston.

If you want to read some of the best writing around on the Big Event, read Idol Habit's recap of the final show, and the post-portem on the season past.

Muzzy out.

(Sorry, but I had to do that. It was in the contract.)


All New And Much Improved


The Hipster PDA.

Pointless Post


No reason for this, other than sheer laziness: Blogizdat stats.



On Blogger Since September 2004
Recent Posts 189
Avg Posts Per Week 34
Posts Written 715
Words Written 77,919
Outbound Links 1,483
Profile Views 264



Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Wanna Bet?


Bookies like Bice.

(But the best indicator? Fantasia is rooting for Bo.)

Incoherant Ramblings


Should have been posted for Music Monday, but I'll link it here, instead:

Sgt. Erickson gets Lit.

(Hats off to the band - and thank you for your service, Sarge.)

Let It Be


Phil Spector and the Wall Of Hair.

Smokin' Dope


The Straight Dope serves up the planet's Most Obnoxious Terms Of Endearment.

(And for lots more fun, check out the Dope Archives - scroll down to review.)

When I'm 64


Kat reminds that today is Zimmy's B-Day.

Saint Nick


I made the mistake of listening to Nick Coleman's Airhead America show yesterday morning in the car - man, they are hard up for on-air non-talent - and had to shake my head when the knucklehead actually referred to the Minnesota Legislature's Special Session as the Special Olympics. Yup, that's our Saint Nick, always the compassionate one.

And The Frist Shall Be Last


Mitch Berg extends his appreciation to Senator Bill "Neville" Frist, on the occasion of the Senator's trip to Munich.


CARI.Frist

Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum


Monday, May 23, 2005

If You Can Read This, You're Too Close


Readability Report for Blogizdat.

(From Readability.info.)

What Makes You Cringe?


From 43 Folders: Cringe-Busting your TODO list.

(This one's for you, Jez.)

What's My Age (And Weight) Again?


Want to melt those years away? Travel to an outer planet!

And ever wonder what you might weigh on Mars or The Moon? Here's your chance to find out.

Music Monday - #5


Past Music Mondays:


Music Monday - #1
Music Monday - #2
Music Monday - #3
Music Monday - #4


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I spent much of the weekend sick (Saturday and Sunday) suffering an attack of some kind of intestinal virus, so I wasn't able to spend as much time as usual putting this together. I'll just pitch out some stuff that I've had lying around. I hope somebody finds it useful and/or enjoyable.

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MPR's (Minnesota Public Radio) own The Current plays lotsa cool stuff. Check out the playlist and FAQ.

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Oasis' official website has something they call Radio Supernnova, where you can listen to streaming audio of a number of your Oasis favorites, and even some you hate. (Check the link on the left side of the page.)

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NPR's fine music show All Tunes Considered has a link to the audio and video of the Flaming Lips, Do You Realize?, in all its glory.

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The Innocence Mission makes quiet music that speaks to the heart, the head and soul. All Tunes Considered has the streaming audio of one of the group's best tunes: The Lakes Of Canada.

(Also check out free mp3 downloads of Tomorrow On The Runway from the lovely album Befriended, and the cover version of What A Wonderful World, from the latest album of lullabies, Now The Day Is Over.

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*Sixeyes: an mp3 blog.

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Brazilian superstar Caetano Veloso has streaming audio of all of his albums available online. If you are unfamiliar with his music, you may wish to start with his most recent release, A Foreign Sound, recorded in English, and then sample his 1986 mostly-Portuguese acoustic masterpiece, Trilhos Urbanos.

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Lyric of the week:

Pie Hole, by Daniel Amos frontman Terry Scott Taylor.

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Saturday, May 21, 2005

Light Blogging Excuse Number 10


It's the weekend, and I will not be posting much today. Mrs. Muzzy and I are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary today, and we will be out and about for a rare day together, just us and no kids. (My baby brother has graciously agreed to watch the girls for the afternoon and evening.)

We don't have a set itinerary, but we may stop off for a quick visit to the NW College Chapel, where it all started, and then head out to the nearby town of Hastings, for a little sightseeing. (I've been there, but have never walked around the historic downtown area.) My best friend's daughter turns 15 today, and we may swing by Burnsville to wish her a Happy Birthday. And if we have time, we might even try to head over to Shakopee for a brief try at the slots, at what some around here call Mistake Lake. And, even though we are very much not looking for a new house, we might go view a few of the brand new houses on the Parade of Homes. (We used to go alot when we were first dating. We would always try to stick to the houses completely out of our price range, since it's unlikely we will ever set foot in them again, in real life. It's fun to see how the other 1% lives.)

So, anyway, I've got a full day ahead, and I hope you enjoy yours, wherever you may be.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Cool New Blog


It's not just sightseeing, it's Google Sightseeing.

Order In the House


Like alot of bloggers, I'm fascinated with my blog's stats, particularly when readers land here via Google and Yahoo searches.

I've reproduced below one such Google search, from just a few minutes ago: someone in the US House of Representatives domain landed on my blog after Googling the words "niko," "greek," and "today show."

And, although I am pretty well certain they didn't find exactly what they were looking for, I do hope they stop back.




Domain Name house.gov ? (United States Government)
IP Address 137.18.###.### (Various Registries)
Language Setting English
Operating System Microsoft WinXP
Browser Internet Explorer 6.0
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1)
Time of Visit May 19 2005 2:27:42 pm
Last Page View May 19 2005 2:27:42 pm
Visit Length 0 seconds
Page Views 1
Referring URL http://www.google.co...eek+%22TODAY+show%22
Search Engine: google.com
Search Words: niko greek "today show"

Visit Entry Page http://blogizdat.blo...ogizdat_archive.html
Visit Exit Page
Time Zone UTC-5:00
EST - Eastern Standard
EDT - Eastern Daylight Saving Time
Visitor's Time May 19 2005 3:27:42 pm
Visit Number 9,439



Like a box of chocolates: you just never know...

Right On Target


Mitch takes a shot, and misses his couch.

MAWBlogging The Reuben


With a fast-food right, Sandy beats the Fraters gang to the punch.

Saint Cloud MOB Event - May 21, 2005


I lifted the following from King's post, from SCSU Scholars. Although it sounds like grand fun and hilarity, I cannot be there. Mrs. Muzzy and I are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary that day, and - as for me taking off to quaff ale with the MOB Band of Brothers and Sisters - let's just say, a ala Bush 41: wouldn't be prudent. But I do hope the event is well-attended, and that a splendid time is had by all.



Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A star shone over St. Cloud

Be sure you're on board for the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers Road Show, coming up this Saturday, May 21 at Granite City Food and Brewery in St. Cloud. Travel directions available from that link, and here's your Mapquest. I have fairly firm commitments from Mitch and Saint Paul (Elder is about 50-50), my neighboring friends like Cathy, Shawn not Sean, and Psycmeister. Several others are driving up from the Cities -- we're hoping for a two-wheeled appearance by Swiftee, owner of the original Fiskwanator. Feel free to use the comment boxes to coordinate travel if you want to share a ride, though I bet Swiftee rides alone.

Festivities should start around 5:30. We'll have the patio if the weather actually acts like it should.

Remember, this is an official MOB event, and attendance at one is required for permanent membership. You won't want to miss this opportunity. Please RSVP in comments or to comments-AT-scsuscholars-daht-com so I can warn GCFB how many heathens will descend.



For those of you about to MOB, we salute you. Please know when to say when, and drive carefully.

Interview With Bram Cohen


Wrong Planet, an excellent online resource for people with Asperger's Syndrome, has a short interview with Aspie Bram Cohen, creator of the BitTorrent file sharing technology.

AI Results


Idolhabit blogs the American Idol Results Show from last night.

Airheads


I had the day off from work yesterday, and as is often the case on Wednesdays, I took my Aspie daughter number two to her therapy session in the northeastern metro. While we were driving en route, I decided to do something I'd never done before: I spent a few minutes in the company of Al Franken and Katherine Lanpher, as heard on the not-so-mighty Air America Radio. (They have a blog, too.)

Aside from the fact that he wasn't funny - a bad thing, for a man who has made his living as a rather talented comic and humorist for the past three decades - and was wrong concerning nearly everything on which he pontificated, Franken was actually nearly tolerable. He has a nice speaking voice, and is quite nearly mentally nimble enough to do the job. It's sad to see him be so terribly wrong in his thinking, and it's unfortunate to see such a great talent as his go to waste, but hey, such is life.

But Franken isn't apparently allowed to do the show alone. It seems someone has decided he needs a sidekick, a Laurel to his Hardy, a Teller to his Penn. Or, in Al Franken's case, Ms. Katherine Lanpher. Sadly for Mr. Franken, Ms. Lanpher is every bit as bad as I remember from her short-lived local radio shows, on KSTP AM and MPR, back-in-the-day. She has a horrid radio voice, comes off dumb as a post, and makes the most insipid comments, always at the most innapropriate times. She is a bad columnist, and makes as even more wretched radio host. Having Lampher as Franken's co-host on the air makes as much sense as, oh, I dunno, me attaching barbells to my feet and going for a swim in the ocean. It's bizarre, almost as if the suits in charge decided to do whatever they could to make sure the flagship program of the network fails miserably.

Lefties seem to think that somehow the wingnuts got control of talkshow airwaves by subterfuge, and if only the so-called progressives just turn on the transmitters and whine, they will win the day. After all, progressives rule, right? Well, no. They can't even get elected. Their failed socialist experiments have been steadily repudiated at the ballot box over the past two decades, and no poorly-programmed lefty radio network is going to reverse that receeding tide.

It isn't just that they are wrong on nearly everything - which they are - but in the end, Air America Radio Radio is doomed to failure because they aren't entertaining. Rush Limbaugh is the media mogul he is because he makes people laugh. I doubt that anyone was laughing at Al Franken yesterday, except maybe me. In the end, their target market - lefties - aren't going to give up NPR, or the hundreds of small urban ethnic radio stations for AAR's Days of Whine And Neuroses. So, I raise a glass to them, and bid them well. Rush and Hewitt and Medved and Prager have nothing to fear.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

AI


Idolhabit blogs last night's American Idol performance show, and says everything I would have said, if I were only smarter, a better writer, younger and better-looking. So go read it, now.

Bottom line: who cares if Carrie or Vonzel goes home tonight? It doesn't matter. This thing is Bo's to win - or his to lose. Either way, his a capella version of "In A Dream" last night was this year's "Summertime." And, like in Fantasia's case last year, with that one song, it was over. Even if Bo is not crowned American Idol by some fluke, he will surely eclipse any and all others, like Clay Aiken did after his own second-place showing, two years ago. Bo Bice is the real deal. Like Paula Abdul said: enjoy it now because after next week, we're all going to have to pay to hear Bo sing. And what's more, we're going to like it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Still Time To Get Them Something Nice


Jennifer Wilbanks and the runaway Macy's Gift Registry.

Driving Them Crazy


They're mad as heck and, doggone it, they're doing something about it:

- FUH2

- WWJD?

- Gaspig

- Earth On Empty

- HummerDinger

For Relaxing Times, Make It Beer Dude Time


Beer Dude 1 - and Beer Dude 2

Magnet School


For the kid in you: not only make your own words, but mess with other peoples', in real time.

(Nees Flash7.)

Don't Know Much About History


Actually, I do, but I certainly don't know this much: WWW-VL HISTORY CENTRAL CATALOGUE.

Cuba Libre


Fascinating set of photos of ancient 1950's Chevy's in current circulation in the People's Paradise of Cuba. (The page is hosted in Brazil, with text in Portuguese.)

And, if you are interested in such things, Dan Heller has a website with hundreds of handsome photos of his travels in the Island Nation.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow


With the backing of Archbishop Harry Flynn, Saint Paul's own Rev. Michael Sklucazek makes news by denying the Eucharist to those wearing the Rainbow Sash.

The National Catholic Register has this to say on the story, and the Rainbow Sash Movement has predictably offered a very different take.

He's Still Not Rick James


On the Beach With Dave Chappelle.

What's Important


Stacy reflects on what's important, and honors her number one son.

Monday, May 16, 2005

TTLB


Apropos of nothing, Blogizdat is currently rated an Adorable Little Rodent - number 2808 - in The Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem: here are the current numbers 2807 and 2809.

Music Monday - #4


OK, class, in case you missed them, first a recap:


Music Monday - #1
Music Monday - #2
Music Monday - #3


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After a series of brilliant recordings, The House Of Love broke up over a dozen years ago, never to return. Well, it appears that never is now.

THOL reformed this past year, and just last month released a gorgeous new album, "Days Run Away," to the UK-only, although it can be ordered via Amazon or downloaded from iTunes.

I maintain it's one of the best albums released so far this year, but if you don't believe me, listen for yourself. Go to the band's website and click on 'audio' in the lower left-hand side of the screen to hear to the first four tracks, in streaming audio.

The entire new CD is very good, but the second track, the single "Gotta Be That Way," is as fine a slice of pop-rock heaven as you'll hear all this year, absolutely ready for Top Ten rotation.

Enjoy.

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Lyric And Download Of The Week:

Although I never considered Mark Heard a close friend, I did have the pleasure and priviledge of speaking with him on occasion, and when I took him up on his album-cover requests to "please write," he was gracious enough to reply. He died much too soon, in his very early forties, nearly 15 years ago but his musical legacy lives on.

I'm including here the lyric of a song of Mark's that I've always liked, "Strong Hand Of Love," and a link to a free and legal mp3 download of a cover version of the song, by Canadian Folk-Rock troubador Bruce Cockburn, courtesy Paste Music.

STRONG HAND OF LOVE

by Mark Heard.

Down peppers the rain from a clear blue sky
Down trickles a tear on a youthful face
Feeling in haste and wondering why
Up struggles the sun from a wounded night
Out venture our hearts from their silent shrouds
Trying to ignite but wondering how

We can laugh and we can cry
And never see the strong hand of love hidden in the shadows
We can dance and we can sigh
And never see the strong hand of love hidden in the shadows

Young dreamers explode like popped balloons
Some kind of emotional rodeo
Learning too slow and acting too soon
Time marches away like a lost platoon
We gracefully age as we feel the weight
Of loving too late and leaving too soon

We can laugh and we can cry
And never see the strong hand of love hidden in the shadows
We can dance and we can sigh
And never see the strong hand of love hidden in the shadows

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A few CCM-related links follow, for the old-timers:

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Terry Scott Taylor, of Daniel Amos, chronicles his trip to the American Music Awards.

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Randy Stonehill has three tunes in mp3 format available for download from his website, off his "Edge Of The World" album.

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I interviewed Derri Daugherty, of The Choir, for a small zine, back in the late 1980's. This interview ran in the zine's last issue, and has never - to my knowledge - been published before on the net.

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A couple more interviews: Steve Taylor speaks with Christianity Today (2005), and with The Phantom Tollbooth (2003). And, if you are interested in Steve's music and career, you'll want to take a peek at Sock Heaven.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Ours Vs. Theirs


Or Why The Left Is So Angry


caseclosed

(OK, it's a little cruel, but you gotta admit: it either made you mad, or made you laugh, didn't it.)

HT2: Darn Floor, What Attitude Problem and Moonbattery.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Goodbye Kitty


In an interview done sometime during the last year of his life, Warren Zevon was quoted regarding one of the lessons he'd learned battling cancer: "Enjoy every sandwich." That's good advice, methinks.

I had the day off from work today. I had just been home a short while - after running my daughters around to various functions - when I noticed that Shad, one of the family cats, appeared to be in some kind of respiratory distress. I called the Veteranarian, and was instructed to bring him in promptly for an evaluation. After a cursory exam and a couple of x-rays, it was determined that he had fluid in and around both lungs, and that he was likely suffering Congestive Heart Failure. (He'd been diagnosed with a heart murmur a number of years ago.)

Mrs. Muzzy was at work, but we conferred by phone and she decided to take a couple of hours off to come over to the animal hospital. After discussing the matter with the Vet, it was decided that the best course of action would be to euthanize the kitty. The procedure was quick and relatively painless for the animal, but it was heartbreaking for us. We got him and his brother as kittens shortly after we got married in 1995, and they've been part of our household since.

Shortly earlier, I had made it over to six year-old AE's choir practice at church, to explain what was happening, and to give her the option of coming to the hospital, to say goodbye to her favorite pet. She cried - and I cried - but she decided that she really didn't wish to go.

(AE was very sweet: she told me that she was going to have start showing alot more love and consideration to Meesh, the other kitty, since he would miss his brother very much.)

During the time I was at the Vet's, I took several pictures - two of which are reproduced below, one before and one after - which I offered to show AE later. I was a bit surprised when she said yes, that she did wish to view them. She then told me, rather matter-of-factly, that the whole thing didn't look so horrid, really, and she wished she had gone to say goodbye, after all, but that she was glad I had at least taken some photos. I was glad I had done so, too. I told AE that I would dig through my photos and find pics of him when he was a kitten. She said she would like that, and told me how much she will miss him. I will miss him, too.

Start to finish, from the time I noticed Shad's breathing problem, to the time of death: less than three hours. It wasn't instantaneous, but it was very fast. I barely had time to say goodbye. I'm glad I at least got that chance.

Remember, life is unpredictable. You don't know what turn yours will take on a given day. Appreciate what you have. Tell those who mean something to you that you care. And enjoy every sandwich.




before after


Monday, May 09, 2005

More Photos Of My Hometown


I just stumbled on two nice collections of photos of my hometowns on the Skyscraper Page website, one of Minneapolis, and one of Saint Paul. (Although purists will protest that Edina has been lumped in with Minneapolis, I still think there's some nice stuff.)

And, even though each image carries their watermark, there are still some very nice pictures of the Twin Cites on the Lexpix website.

Grand Re-Opening Today


The Twin Cities' own Museum Of Russian Art.

Jennifer Wilbanks Is A Runaway Hit


I just pulled the following links, at random, off eBay - and there's lots more Jennifer Stuff up for auction where these came from, for the Runaway Bride bargain hunter in all of us. Go forth and bid.

(UPDATE: If you like this stuff, I posted more of the same here.)

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Jennifer Wilbanks Runaway Bride Toast Sketch

Jennifer Wilbanks Runaway Bride Fashion Doll

JENNIJennifer Wilbanks Runaway Bride W/ Crocheted Gown

Jennifer Wilbanks Runaway Bride Eye Opening EYE CREAM!

Jennifer Wilbanks/The Smelly Rotten Egg

Jennifer Wilbanks - The Cartoon Strip!!

Jennifer Wilbanks & Bin Laden Found In Honeymoon Cave!!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Music Monday - #3


New Feature: Song Quotes

I am inaugurating a new feature for Music Monday. Each week I will post a snippet of a song lyric or two that has connected with me in some way, for one of any number of reasons, at some point in my life.

Like most young people, I used to pore over the lyrics of songs by bands and artists that meant something to me. I still do. I would seek out songs that spoke to me, that articulated things I couldn't say, with my limited emotional vocabulary.

This week, I'm offering up a bit of Paul Simon's 1975 classic "My Little Town, as recorded by Simon and Garfunkel on their last studio album. I found the notion of imagination being that which colored the world quite compelling at the time. Then again, I was all of eighteen:



And after it rains
There's a rainbow
And all of the colors are black
It's not that the colors aren't there
It's just imagination they lack
Everything's the same
Back in my little town

Nothing but the dead and dying
Back in my little town
Nothing but the dead and dying
Back in my little town



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As for downloads, I wanted to do something a little different today.

I have uploaded four tunes I assembled in Garageband over the past few months and wish to share them with you gentle blog readers. They are my creations, although I didn't play any instruments in them, and if you like them, feel free to pass them on to whomever you wish. As always, right-click to download, and feel free to give me your feedback and critique.

The first track was something that I put together last December, as a gift for my blog readers. I know that a number of you have doubtless heard it, but I'm uploading it again, as there are a few regulars who started reading this blog since then.

It was assembled from about a dozen different loops, including the snippet of voice that you hear at the beginning, from several different collections of loops. The synth is a classic Arp from a free Virus loop sample that I got off a CD that came with a magazine, the voice was from another, the truck and crash from yet another, and most the other loops came with Garageband. The whole thing just grew and ended up as you hear it. I didn't intend to end with a crash, but it seemed appropriate, even if a wee bit cliched.

1 - Crash On You


The second track was actually started on Father's Day, 2004. AE helped me pick out different loops, but the idea was mine. I used several Middle Eastern and Indian string loops, some banjo and a few African drum loops. I think there ended up being about a dozen or more loops used. It was mostly finished last summer, but I didn't like the way things ended up, so I removed a couple things, added a couple things and remixed the whole mess from the raw tracks this weekend, and I'm much more pleased with how this mix turned out.

2 - Exotic Beats


The third track was thrown together on Sunday afternoon, in about an hour or two, from about fifteen guitar, bass, drum and percussion loops. I call it a jam because it sounds like that to me. It has a bit of a new rock feel with some twists. If I ever decide to re-work it, I will probably change the drum and percussion to make it a bit more interesting. There are a couple of places where I'd like to at least just remix certain elements - bury them in the mix a little, increase or decrease volume, reposition for stereo - but I kind of liked how it ended up.

3 - Mothers Day Jam


The last piece was assembled from about six different string loops (cello and viola, I believe) and a sythesized guitar loop, with a bit of echo and delay thrown in for efffect. There are only a few dozen orchestral loops available in the origianl Garageband loop package, but there are now four more packs out, with one exclusively of strings, horns and woodwinds and the like. I'll probably put the pack on my birthday wish list. Then again, I will probably also get a MIDI based keyboard so I can play around with inputing stuff of my own.

4 - String Riptide


I hope you all find something you can enjoy.

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Jezzy blogs her Tori Amos Collection, and the Tori Amos Concert she attended this last weekend in her hometown of Sydney, Australia.

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Drew, of Darn Floor, has a link for his MP3 Of The Week to the complete, out-of-print Ashley Cleveland album Big Town.

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Some 77's rare demo and practice stuff, available for download on their website. Click one 'Media' and the click on the tape reel from here.

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Mother's Day


Happy Mother's Day to all the Mommies who read this blog, and a special Mother's Day Greeting to Mrs. Muzzy, who became a Mommy the day our first daughter was born on April 13, 1999, and who has dedicated so much of herself to helping raise two of the loveliest girls a Mom (or Dad) could ever hope for.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Remembering The Fair


I dropped off the LK at Grandma and Grandpa's this AM and took six year-old AE out On Adventures. Every year I try to take in the Bryn Mawr Festival of Garage Sales, and this year I was not to be denied, even though it was sprinkling rain on and off, the whole morning. We picked up a few odds and ends and had a fine father-daughter outing.

On the way home, I picked up two year-old LK and then drove through the Minnesota State Fair grounds. Although the Fair is only held once each year, in late August and early September, the grounds are used year-round for various functions, and the streets are open to traffic.

As I drove through, listening to today's NARN show on the car radio, I drove past the empty DFL (Democratic-Farmer Labor) Party booth, and was reminded of one of the more disturbing things I'm seen in politics in a long time. I blogged the event at the time, and - since I am extremely lazy - I reproduce my post of October 8 last in its entirity, below.

Read my account first, and then peruse the photos linked below of the Post It notes in question, lovingly reproduced here, for the first time ever. Those notes contain - in slogan form - the creed(s) of the modern Liberal Democrat, and go a long way in explaining why they lost the last Presidential election.



Reasons to vote for Kerry - #1Reasons to vote for Kerry - #2
Reasons to vote for Kerry - #3Reasons to vote for Kerry - #4


I went to the Minnesota State Fair in early September with The Buds this year, as I have for many a year. It's become a ritual for me over the past 30 years, to walk the grounds, eat greasy food and people-watch. Of course this year, being an election cycle, brought political activity to the Fair, as well.

Both the Democrat and Republican Party buildings were packed beyond what I have ever remembered seeing in a past election year. In fact, when I came up to the Republican Party building, I thought perhaps Senator Coleman might have been inside, so great was the crush of people in and out of the structure. Most were buying Bush/Cheney buttons and/or putting their names down for lawn signs.

There was a similar crush of people at the Democrat Party building, although I didn't go inside during the heat of the day. But on the way home, we were walking past the Democrat structure (not so much a building as a patio-like area with a roof over it) and as it was after 10 pm and was nearly abandoned, we decided to go in.

The area was bare, except for the back wall. Stuck to it were hundreds of post-it notes, on which Kerry/Edwards supporters had written what were ostensibly the reasons they would be voting for the Demo ticket in November.

There were dozens of references to Paul and Sheila Wellstone, and there were references to the need for a Compassionate America, and Health Care, and Jobs, and Iraq, and the UN. Several of notes proclaimed the pithy line, "When Clinton Lied, No One Died." Many made veiled (and not-so-veiled) references to the Bush administration as Nazi Germany. There was even an occurrence or two of the "If You Are Not Outraged, You Aren't Paying Attention." Every conceivable cliche, lie and slander against Bush that has ever been uttered by the likes of Michael Moore, Eleanor Clift or James Carville was on that wall.

Some of the notes were interesting, some were amusing. Mostly I found them simply bizarre. The writers of the notes were possessed of a psychic rage requiring the kind of emotional catharsis that can only come from writing a post-it note and placing it on a wall, for all to see. It seemed a sort of Political Wailing Wall, at which the mourning masses could place petitions to their once-and-future-messiah, for speedy deliverance.

(I saw nothing of the sort at the Republican booth. There wasn't the slightest reference to John Kerry, by staff or public. There was merely a flurry of well-coordinated activity to distribute literature and sell buttons and recruit homes for lawn signs. I take that back. There was one negative political message, from a ragged-looking grey-haired woman outside on the sidewalk, holding up a handmade sign stating that Bush, Cheney and Rumfeld are criminals. Yeah, whatever.)

As I stood there, reading the litany of rage, I decided to document what I was reading, so I pulled out my digital camera and began to take photos of portions of the wall. It was while I was doing so that I witnessed something chilling, something both fascinating and deeply disturbing.

A family group had wandered into the Kerry shrine and were reading the notes, as were the rest of us: a father, mother and a boy about four and a girl about seven. As they discussed what they were reading, the father proceeded to calmly explain to his seven year-old daughter how it was that the Nazi's - he called them that - had taken over the White House by subterfuge, that they'd stolen the election, that Bush was first a draft-dodger and had later gone AWOL from the National Guard, that he was unfit to command the Armed Forces, that Bush had presided over the worst economy in modern times, that under his watch the nation had lost 3,000,000 jobs. In short, he was reciting the the usual left-wing shibboleth talking-points. And of course, during all this he mentioned no positive attributes of John Kerry's; he merely listed the Evils Of Bush.

Then, in a slow but determined manner that emphasized his resolve, the father proceeded to tell his little girl that he hated Bush; he hated Bush; he hated Bush. When questioned by his daughter as to whether it was OK to hate, he replied that it certainly was OK to hate Bush, because the president was evil and deserved to be hated.

I glanced over at this very average-looking guy and his average-looking family and realized that I was standing next to a sad and pathetic man, a man possessed of a spirit of meanness that was precisely that which he had projected onto those he believed to be his enemies: Bush, and by extension, those who would support the president (me). And I realized in a flash what has been borne out since, that the Modern Democratic party is a party of hate, and not much else.

I was angry, not that he was maligning President Bush, or me, but that he was passing on to his precious little daughter all of the bigotry and rage and ugliness that fills his shabby heart, and his feeble brain. This man, most likely an otherwise good citizen, who probably holds down a job, mows his lawn and takes his daughter to the Urgent Care in the middle of the night when she gets hurt, was was telling this little girl that it is OK to hate the president because he is the moral equivalent of a Nazi. How pathetic and shallow. How ugly. And sad. May God have mercy on his soul.

As my Buds and I were walking home that night, we discussed what we had witnessed. I was both saddened and encouraged.

I was saddened by the reminder that there really are those who believe the foolishness that Michael Moore and his ilk spew forth, who are filled with an irrational and visceral hatred of President Bush. I don't object to their dissent, and I can understand disagreeing with the president on all manner of issues. But the kind of vitriol I witnessed that night goes far beyond disagreement; it wanders into the territory of psychosis.

If Bush wins - as I predict he will - what will happen to the poor man I saw at the Kerry booth at the Fair? Will he crack up? Will he hurt someone else, or himself? What harm will people like that do themselves or others if they feel all hope is truly lost? I've seen how a wounded animal behaves when cornered; it is dangerous thing to confront. (In fact, we've seen the thuggery of the AFL-CIO the past week, displaying exactly the kind of animalistic behavior I fear we will see more of, as the election day draws near.)

But I was encouraged, as well. The kind of nastiness I saw that night at the State Fair will not play well with undecided voters this November. It seems that the Kerry campaign - and Kerry supporters - managed to convince themselves that the rest of the country hates Bush as much as they do, that all Kerry needed to do was to step up to the podium at their convention in uniform and report for duty, and that he would be welcomed as a liberator. They seem to have honestly believed that the election would be all over but the inauguration. How wrong they were - and how wrong they are.

The Kerry supporters simply cannot understand how anyone could refuse to view the world as they do. In their blind hatred and rage, they are incapable of behaving rationally. Of course, the more irrationally they behave, the less likely they will be to draw undecideds to their side. And that can only bode well for our side.

So, in closing, I wish to begin the Long Goodbye: I bid the retiring Junior Senator from Massachussets farewell and good riddance. And, as he goes, may he - like some latter-day Pied Piper - lead his army of scaries back to the wildnerness from whence they came.


Friday, May 06, 2005

Interesting Concept


Online Social Community For Adults With Mental Illness: No Longer Lonely.

For The Children


Mitch's list of Ten Things for his kids.

(It's some extremely good advice. I think I'll appropriate the list for my girls, and for myself.)

Hat Tip


Doug discovers the beauty and wonder of the Tip Jar.

(But hey, dude, why stop at 10%? Why not 50%? Why not 90%? After all, it's like the lefties promise: free money, right?)

Silly Quiz Thingy - AKA Lazy Blogging


- 01: Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18, find line 4. Write down what it says:

"looks. Also, in a way, she handled herself well with people."

- 02: Stretch your left arm out as far as you can. What do you touch first?

My laptop screen

- 03: What is the last thing you watched on TV?

The news, last night

- 04: WITHOUT LOOKING, guess what the time is:

11:30 AM

- 05: Now look at the clock; what is the actual time?

11:34 AM

- 06: With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?

My daughter playing with her Leap Pad

- 07: When did you last step outside? What were you doing?

I took the 2 year old out to the bus this AM to take her to her Autism classes

- 08: Before you came to this website, what did you look at?

Um, you mean on the net or in real life? I was looking at a magazine, if you must know

- 09: What are you wearing?

Blue jeans, black t-shirt, tennies

- 10: Did you dream last night?

Didn't sleep much, didn't dream much. Had one scary dream but I don't recall the details at all, just that I woke up spooked

- 11: When did you last laugh?

Just now. My six year-old daughter said something pretty funny

- 12: What is on the walls of the room you are in?

Flowered slightly-dingy wallpaper, to be replaced soon - and a couple of paintings

- 13: Seen anything weird lately?

A woman on my bus the other day: about mid to late fifties, with bottle-orange hair, and excessively heavy makeup, about 50 pounds over-weight, wearing costume jewelry and an industrial-looking suit, with a huge brooch on the lapel and a skirt that only came down to her large thighs, with huge vericose veins on her legs that stood out in high-relief in the sunshine, wearing sandals. Every so often she'd glance at her reflection in the window and smile, approvingly

- 14: What do you think of this quiz?

Pointless but harmless

- 15: What is the last film you saw?

Lost In Translation

- 16: If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy first?

A glass-bottomed boat, so as to better see all the fishies in the lagoon. Why? Just because I could

- 17: Tell me something about you that I don't know.

I'm not really from outer space

- 18: If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?

I'd build a better blog, so as to better help the hoi polloi find meaning in their lives

- 19: Do you like to dance?

No. I'm lousy at it and I look stupid doing it. So, no

- 20: George Bush: is he a power-crazy nutcase or some one who is finally doing something that has needed to be done for years?

Why, yes, he is

- 21: Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her?

I have a first-born who is a girl, but I won't give out her first name here. Sorry.

But, since you asked, I'll bore you with a list of the girl and boy names that I liked - with variant spellings - when we were picking the child's name. As you may have gathered, I was kinda hoping for a girl. I wasn't disappointed - either time.

Alison/Allison/Allisen
Amber
Amanda
Anne
Ashley
Caitlin
Catherine/Katherine
Christine/Christina/Kristine/Kirsten/Kristen
Danielle Eileen/Aileen Elizabeth
Hannah
Jasmine
Leigh
Leah
Laetitia
Lindsey/Lindsay
Lorelei
Lydia
Lynne
Megan/Meagan/Meaghan/Meghan
Melinda
Michelle
Naomi
Natalie
Natasha
Nicole
Pamela
Rachel/Rachelle/Rochelle
Rebecca/Rebeccah/Rebekkah/Rebekka
Rosalie/Rosali
Sara
Sonya/Sonja
Susan/Susanne
Vanessa
Valerie

Alan/Allen
Alastair/Alistair
Albert
Alexander
Andrew
Bryan
Calvin
Charles
Christopher
Daniel
Douglas
James
Joel
Jonathan
Madison
Mark/Marc
Matthew
Michael
Nathan/Nathaniel
Paul
Richard
Robert
William

- 22: Imagine your first child is a boy, what do you call him?

See above, you goof

- 23: Would you ever consider living abroad?

I grew up abroad, well, not in the US. I would probably not live abroad again. I like it here. But life is full of surprises. Who knows?




HT2Jezzy.

What Gender Is Your Brain?





Your Brain is 46.67% Female, 53.33% Male



Your brain is a healthy mix of male and female

You are both sensitive and savvy

Rational and reasonable, you tend to keep level headed

But you also tend to wear your heart on your sleeve





HT2Stacy.

Autism Study News


From Medical News Today: Strong evidence of alterations in blood samples of children with autism.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The More You Drive


There's a great line in the movie Repoman: "The More You Drive, The Less Intelligent You Are." There is much truth to it, methinks. And the drivers in these great and patriotic Twin Cities where I reside must drive alot, because they seem to have become increasingly stupid over the past few years. They drive faster and more aggressively than ever, tailgating and weaving in and out of lanes, endangering themselves and others.

Why?

The easy answer would be to blame it all on the tens of thousands of immigrants who've come to the area in the past decade or two. They come from countries where lousy and aggressive driving is the norm, right?

But, for the most part, as best I can tell, it isn't the immigrant driver who's the problem. It's usually some suburban native-born dude in his SUV, who thinks he's really something because he can drive a vehicle bigger than yours.

Or it's Sorority Sue (or Frathouse Freddy), who drank too much at the kegger and thinks it's a good idea to drive really fast and recklessly, in a vain attempt to make inebriation less conspicuous. Or it's some Stacey's Mom, yapping it up on her cellphone, oblivious to everything around her.

What really frosts my cake is the goofball who thinks it's smart to drive, oh say, less than a car length's distance from my rear bumper. I can see him a quarter mile off, closing in on me. I'm driving at least 55 (and usually 60) mph but the goofball thinks 75 mph+ ought to be the law of the land, and by God he's going to be heard. So he swoops right up behind me, gesticulating and screaming for me to get the H*** out of his way, so he can close the 30-yard gap between me and the car in front of me, and thereby harass the next driver down the road. And, unless I get out of his way fast enough, he jerks his car into the next lane to pass me, flips me the bird, and bellows and curses at me, as he goes on to do the same to the next unfortunate driver who happens to be in his path.

I know there are many who honestly believe that they have the right to drive whatever speed they wish, and that it is the duty of all drivers who wish to drive more slowly than they to get out of their way. I've heard this argument from men and women, lefties and conservatives, across all lines. They call in regularly to talk-radio shows, complaining of the rude drivers in front of them, who choose to drive the speed limit and wouldn't move over to let the speeder (them) pass. I even heard one caller the other night argue to the host that the only reason there even ARE speed limits is because people like the idiot in front of him didn't have the knowledge, skill or ability - as he does, apparently - to drive in the first place. He stated that life on American roads would be better if only there were autobahans here.

Sigh.

And the odd thing is that I know that there have been stupid drivers like this for decades, but it just seems that there are more of them now. Part of it may be due to what can only be called the coarsening of society. We live in a world where vulgar language is the norm, and where violent TV and video games are ubiquitous.

There seems to be a significant number of our fellow-citizens who, when safely ensconsed behind the wheel of a vehicle, turn into major-league a-holes. People who still cling to the vestiges of courtesy in real life morph into consummate jerks and morons when they drive.

Perhaps it's the only place in their misreable and wretched lives where they feel they have any real sense of control. And to be sure, momentarily, they do. At least until they pile their vehicle into a bridge abutment, or run over a small child, or get nailed by the cops. Then they hire a lawyer to get them out of the ticket and/or jail, well, because it's Just Not Fair.

I suspect that part of my righteous indignation is fueled by the fact that my best friend was killed by an intoxicated motorist. And, additionally, I am now the father of two lovely little girls who are often riding in the car with me. I can only hope and pray for safety on the roads, and try to drive responsibly and defensively. I'm not Roman Catholic, but perhaps I should get a little statue of St. Christopher for my car.

Perhaps, indeed.

Monday, May 02, 2005

The Museum Of Obsolete Disks


Or why CNet's Rafe Needleman hates Iomega.

Music Monday - #2


Continuing the tradition: Music Monday #2.

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I first heard of Hem when I spotted their freshman album Rabbit Songs in a used CD bin and thought it looked intriguing. I listened, fell in love, bought it and took it home. I was pleased this past week to find that the best track of the album is available online, for free, on NPR's fine show All Songs Considered.

"When I Was Drinking" is a lovely song of love-gone-wrong, a haunting folk-country tune, with a lush and gorgeous vocal. You will need Real Player or Windows Media Player to listen to the streaming media, but do give a listen. It's worth it, even on a dialup connection. I promise.

(The Washington Times has more recent Hem news, and the band's website has free mp3 downloads and streaming media from their latest album.)

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The world's only death metal band fronted by a parrot: Hatebeak, with a free mp3 download available of God Of Empty Nest (as in, God Of Emptiness, get it?) from their EP, Beak Of Putrefication. Must be heard to be believed.

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43 Folders has a post up with links to good public and non-commercial podcast sources.

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I haven't listened to them yet, but there are a bunch of free mp3 downloads available at Teenage Fanclub's website.

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How to snag a free and legal mp3 remix of "Fairwell Ride," off Beck's new CD Guero, with music videos here.

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As I linked to here last week, the word on the Net is that rapper Tupac Shakur is back from the dead (or from the hiding, at least) and is ready to take on the world again.

Of course, this isn't news to the faithful. I had a long conversation with a young woman a couple of years ago who sincerely believed that Tupac was alive, that he was holed up in a studio, recording albums. The fact that the latest sighting is clearly a hoax will mean nothing to the millions who hold out hope that he's still alive.

(This article gives a good overview of the life and death of the most-assuredly-still-very-dead Mr. Shakur.)

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As I come with more stuff, I'll update throughout the day. As always, I am always willing to consider submissions.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Gmail Invites


Looking for a Gmail invite? Don't have any friends? Try isnoop. They have 1,027,844 available.