Saturday, January 30, 2010

Week, Weaker, Wow!

Cue Willie

Haggis the Horrible

Congress, Inc.

Into The Lion's Den

Fox news bailed on live TV coverage after the opening remarks and posted an online criticism counting the number of times Obama said "I" in defending himself, while MSNBC devoted a full two hours of prObama primetime to a replay the unusal political theatre with analysis of the event in a special called President's Qestion Time.

Question Time Redux

In Parliament, the British Prime Minister routinely faces hostile questions from political opponents in Commons. So in a way former PM Tony Blair was well practiced in oral argument... He had to use those skills in appearing before an inquiry investigating the Iraq war.

The BBC’s Rob Watson was there as well.

Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now. Host: Meghna Chakrabarti.

Economic Warfare?

Weapons of Mass Debt

Dare To Be Different

One of these figs is not like the other

So much for that cookie cutter existence!
via Sad and Useless

Vitamin E Blues

Fingerstyle guitar with walking bass & percussion.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Heroes and Villans

Miss Him Already?

Check out Kay Petal's gallery of celebrities crafted in felt.

Or change the channel...

Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn was an author of more than 20 books, but is probably best known for his book A People's History of the United States, a decidedly leftist alternative view of the nation to date and runner up for the National Book Award in 1980. It charts the struggles of people from the Native Americans resisting European invasion and conquest to the struggle against slavery and the civil war up to the sixties and seventies and Civil Rights and women’s liberation.

He wasn't just an academic historian, but a active participant in progressive movements he chronicled... Fired from his tenured professorship at Spelman College in Georgia in 1963 for Civil Rights activities, he found a home at Boston University for the next 24 years during which time he became involved in anti-Vietnam War movement and along with Noam Chomsky was entrusted with a copy of the Pentagon Papers by Daniel Ellsberg.

The historian, activist and author died Wednesday at 87.
Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now. Host: Meghna Chakrabarti
Interview: Robin Young.

J.D. Salinger

Reclusive writer J.D. Salinger died Wednesday at age 91.

His most-famous work, The Catcher in the Rye, with its angst-filled protagonist, Holden Caulfield, inspired generations of teenagers. Later in his life, Salinger become famous for refusing interviews, so while there's no tape of the author to include in an obit, there are plenty of people willing to speak of his work.
Audio: NPR's All Things Considered, Reporter: Neda Ulaby.

News Dissector Danny Schechter, whose journalistic perspective closely aligns with Zinn's world view, asked his brother Bill, a high school teacher with an ongoing appreciation of both Zinn and Salinger, to comment on his blog.

Pimp My Phone

A closer look at the New Orleans 4 may not reveal a Watergate 2, but it does uncover interesting and possibly conspiratorial conservative contacts in their friends & family calling circles.

Pearl Gem

Eddie Vedder likes to imitate Bono's improvizational style with this, singing slightly different lyrics almost every time they perform it live. The music was co-written by bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Mike McCready, who channels fellow Seattleite Jimi Hendrix by mimicking of "May This Be Love" from Are You Experienced, and "Little Wing" from Axis: Bold as Love.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Challenger Remembered


A Tribute To The Challenger Astronauts

Francis Richard Scobee: Commander, STS 51-L
Michael Smith: Shuttle Pilot
Judith Resnick: Mission Specialist, Robot Arm Operator
Ronald Mc Nair: Payload Specialist, Satellite Launcher
Gregory Jarvis: Mission Specialist, Satellite Design Study
Ellison Onizuka: Mission Specialist, Comet Photography
Sharon Christa Mc Auliffe: Mission Specialist, Teacher In Space

For Those Who Dare
Steve Crowley, KIIS-FM/AM, Los Angeles (1/28/86)

President Ronald Reagan:
It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery.

Dick Scobee, Challenger Mission Commander:
Space is in their future.

President Reagan:
It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons.

Astronaut Scobee:
And if it's good for the country, then they ought to be flying.

Vice President George Bush:
The great adventure of space travel requires
 men and women of spirit and bravery.

Senator / Astronaut John Glenn:
We've had fifty-six manned missions so far.

Christa Mc Auliffe, Teacher in Space:
When that shuttle goes there might be one body,
but there's gonna be ten souls that I'm taking with me.

President Reagan:
The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted.
It belongs to the brave.

Greg Lake:
Freedom held as a standard for those who dare
In a world full of madness are those who care
Silence draws no applause for the blood that stains their causes
But there's freedom for those who dare

Vilified by opponents in times of need
Those without true commitment will not succeed
Those who strive for an aim must beware the way is painful
Liberation for those who dare

Hugh Harris, Launch Control, Cape Canaveral:
T-minus 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 ... We have main engine start… 4, 3, 2, 1,
and lift off. Lift off of the 25th Space Shuttle mission...
And it has cleared the tower.

Steve Nesbitt, Mission Control, Houston:
Mid-roll program confirmed… Challenger now heading down range…
Engines at 65%… Three engines running normally…
Three good fuel cells… Three good A.P.U.s…
Engines throttling up… Three engines now at 104%.

Richard Covey: Capsule Communicator, Mission Control, Houston:
Challenger… "Go" at throttle up.

Mission Commander Scobee, aboard Challenger:
Roger… "Go" at throttle up.


Senator Glenn:
These seven carried the hopes and the dreams of all of us. What we can do now is to make sure we carry their memories in carrying on.

Vice President Bush:
Danger awaits all those who push back the frontier of space.
It reminds us that the great adventure of space travel requires men and women of spirit and bravery. You must try to understand that spirit, bravery and commitment are what make not only the space program, but all of life worthwhile.

Greg Lake:
Hooded eyed, underground from the blades of light
Can't be found, not a sound in the dead of night
Panic grips whitened lips, fortune smiles and fortune trips them
Liberation for those who dare

Those with nerve torn by tension can't hesitate
Eyes ablaze with perfection must cool to slate
Hands are damp, muscles cramp, skill explodes with practiced timing
And there's freedom for those who dare
Liberation for those who care
Victory for those who dare

President Reagan:
The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us
by the manner in which they lived their lives.
We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them,
as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye...
Then slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.

FOR THOSE WHO DARE is derived from the regimental motto of Britain's Special Air Service: "Who dares, wins."

The original song comes from Greg Lake's 1981 self-titled solo album on Chrysalis Records.

Voices of the crew, launch controllers and public officials were videotaped from live news coverage.
This tribute was produced and first broadcast the day of the event, January 28, 1986.

At the time Steve Crowley worked as Director of Creative Services at KIIS-FM/AM, Los Angeles... It was the public pinnacle of his career.

Since he had previously met President Reagan's speechwriter, Peggy Noonan, he sent her a copy... Her boss replied with a hand-written note. But it was the follow-up phone call from Astronaut Gary Payton saying "Thank you for a tribute worthy of my friends," a few weeks later, which Steve recalls as the best private moment in his career.

Take Two Tablets

"Not since Moses came down from on high with those commandments has a tablet generated so much interest."
-- Jim Goldman, CNBC dude on Apple's iPad computer which debuted January 27th... On the 50th anniversary of bubble wrap.

Many Feast Destiny

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Manifest Density 1/25/10
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorEconomy

Rinse And Spit

Movie still: Sir Laurence Olivier as Dr. Szell from 'Marathon Man' (1976)
When I met Jeff Prescott, more than 30 years ago, I'd already had 5 of my 6 mutant wisdom teeth removed in a series of scenes that seemed like outtakes from the Nazi dentistry of "Marathon Man." Now Jeff recounts his belated experience in the chair.

Mike and Jeff publish podcasts on Facebook.
Not all of them involve cringe-worthy medical procedures.

Cross Dressed Room

Cross Dressed Room
Cruel and unusual humor from Funny Promos.

Who Needs Horns

Adam nails Stevie Wonder's tribute to Duke Ellington including the massive horn section's syncopated riff.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Turning Seven

How Many Birthdays Do You Have?

Not mono, but a real 7 yr old named Hayden.
Some people celebrate for themselves more than once a year.

It might be on the anniversary of a profound religious experience which causes them to feel "born again."

It might be a remembrance of the day they put a physical addiction or obsessive behavior away to begin their sobriety or abstinence.

Or it could be any other experience that moves you into an entirely different life... In my case, a stroke.

At first doctors wouldn't talk about surviving 7 days, and probably most still wouldn't foresee a lifespan of 7 months, but I'm still here.

Any day I can get up and move around is ok with me. Today I turn 7.

A Wizard, A True Star

Pain & Triumph

Melody Gardot (pronounced like Bardot) is a one woman case for music therapy, battling back from physical disability and traumatic brain injury to become an international chart topper.

Ah, Foo


SI cover: January 21, 2005/Photographed by: Damian StrohmeyerHe retired August 31 after 13 years in the NFL... All of them for New England. But despite calling the defensive signals throughout 8 Pro Bowl seasons, including three Super Bowl victories, his most remarkable season was 2005... The year in which Tedy Bruschi suffered a stroke following a Pro Bowl appearance, battled back within 8 months to retake the field & achieve "Comeback Player of the Year." And established a team of his own:

Lots of people order #12, Tom Brady's Patriot jersey. Mine's 54.

The Fighter Still Remains

Hiroshi Masuda from Japan. His YouTube channel is peacejoytown.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

United Steaks of America

Photo from the portfolio of Philadelphia's Dominic Episcopo, a versatile pro whose site includes slideshows displaying a range of fashion, lifestyle, food, people, music, corporate and still life.

To see more work go to

This image appeared in 2009's "Art of the State” exhibit at the The Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg. Individual states have been featured at the Huffington Post. Or check out a 2007 short video of Dominic's home, an 1860 vintage church in Philly's "Fish Town."

Confederate Snakes

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Thank You, South Carolina - Andre Bauer 1/25/10
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Cold Warriors

You'd think he went to Frostbite Falls, but Bill Geist filed this from Embarrass MN, where citizens compete to see how low they can go.

More Than McJobs

Some older job seekers forced to hit the reset button in their 40's, 50's or 60's wind up working in low level service jobs without any illusion of advancement.

Beth Kobliner, author of "Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance In Your Twenties and Thirties," says others go back to the kind of gig that lauches careers for many from younger generations: being an intern.

Audio: PRI & WNYC's program The Takeaway,
Hosts John Hockenberry & Celeste Headlee.

Pooper Scooper

A Real Zoology Student Internship

But symbolic of so much more...

via mostfunnypictures

Tears Unplugged

EC: Madison Square Garden, 1999.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sonos 6 - Jackson 5

Los Angeles based "Sonos": Rachel Bearer (left), Paul Peglar, Jessica Freedman and Ben McLain (right from top), plus lead vocalist + arrainger Chris Harrison (2nd from left below) & brunette alto Katharine Hoye (2nd from right below.)

Hear interview at NPR Music.
(NPR Photo: Beth Herzhaft)

Relationship Decoder

Ken didn't think all women were bitches, but he used the word freely in one circumstance: when a good male friend was trying to either establish or maintain a relationship he thought was doomed... And his judgment was not easy to hear, but it was always right.

The women who were overly passive and unresponsive to his friends became "coma bitches." Hysterical overreaction would draw the label of "psycho bitch," at the opposite end of his scale. The bitches' behavior and display of either tendency would move them away from a central balancing point toward an extreme, where they'd draw an additional "from hell" at the end of the label.

He may not have originated the following glossary, but the fact that he forwarded it speaks for itself.

(1) Fine: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

(2) Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means a half hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

(3) Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine.

(4) Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

(5) Loud Sigh: This isn't actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to # 3 for the meaning of nothing.)

(6) That's Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That's okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

(7) Thanks: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or faint. Just say you're welcome. (I want to add in a clause here - This is true, unless she says 'Thanks a lot' - that is PURE sarcasm and she is not thanking you at all. DO NOT say 'you're welcome' . that will bring on a 'whatever').

(8) Whatever: Is a woman's way of saying F-- YOU!

(9) Don't worry about it, I got it: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking 'What's wrong?' For the woman's response refer to # 3.

Reprinted in the original "it's already hit the fan" brown.

Unreality Show


Bitter Sweet

Japanese-American Tune

Hiroshi Masuda, an amatuer acoustic guitar player living in Japan, plays mostly fingerstyle solo guitar arrangements and a few original compositions. On YouTube his channel is called peacejoytown.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pump Pimps

As oil prices peaked in 2008, billionaire oil baron T. Boone Pickens hit the airwaves with the "Pickens Plan," a simultaneously altruistic and self-enriching (think "Chinatown") proposal to switch America's energy consumption to a combination of domestic natural gas for vehicles and wind power for electricity...

In January 2010 prices are high again and Boone is back.

Even though there’s a glut of oil on the market, seeming to defy the law of supply and demand, overnight machine trading on behalf of speculators who never intend to take delivery pushes prices up even while their commodity is not being consumed. Driving mileage is down. Tankers sit offshore without room to unload.

Lisa Margonelli, author of “Oil on the Brain: Adventures from the Pump to the Pipelines,” takes a crack at explaining.

Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now. Host: Robin Young.

Do The Hustle

From the 1974 album "Sheet Music."

And In This Corner

Dream Machine

It's a classic Chevy convertible. Or Is it?

n2a Motors (for No 2 Alike) is a Corona, California custom car maker who took a (2005-2009) C6 Corvette chassis and styled a '57 front, '58 sides and '59 rear end into a "789," a hybrid in body design but not under the hood... Power plants run from 440 to 800 hp.

The company planned a production run of about 100 vehicles, but insisted that each have a distinctive combination of features because of their company name: No 2 Alike.

Diplomacy For Dummies

Done. On To The Next