Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Week

Willie Geist

Liz Winstead


Editor/Author Jon Meacham discussed the future of print media as the Washington Post put Newsweek up for sale.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Jon Meacham
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After his Jon on Jon experience, Meacham took on Morning Joe Friday, promoting his new show with co-host Alison Stewart.

Need To Know debuted on PBS Friday 5/7/10.

SNL Guest Host

This is the night for Betty White!

I'll pass on "Mongolian Death Worm" on SyFy at 9.

Stole My Heart

In a continuation of an ad campaign built on a contest winning submission, there's now a second stop motion commercial for the Amazon Kindle starring Ryan Curry and the arresting Annie Little, who soloed on both visuals and music for "Fly Me Away" last year.

Curry is only in the still photos assembled into the visuals. The TV ad's soundtrack is a collaboration between LA musician Marcus Ashley and model/actress Annie Little who joined in songwriting & singing.

Find the Alien

Can You Find the Mexican Criminal?

How difficult will it be to enforce Arizona's new anti-immigration law, which gives law enforcement the right to stop and detain anyone whom they "reasonably suspect" is an illegal immigrant?

Take this quick test and to see if you can spot the alien.

Journalist Bill Lichtenstein is a contributor to the Huffington Post. He is working on a documentary about the early years of a now-defunct radio station which was part of our mutual past.

More FM Stereo-types

Audio: Berger & Prescott publish podcasts on Facebook. Although Arizona farts southward, towards Sonora, sometimes California catches the blowback.

Sounds from the Ground

Refugees from Britain's techno/rave scene, Nick Wolfson & Elliot Jones forsook the relentless beat of "four to the floor" dance music in favor of a more organic approach to electronica. As Sounds from the Ground, the duo now creates a mix of samples and chilled sounds.
Audio: PRI's Echoes, an ambient music program on public radio with an extensive archive of audio for download via subscription.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Don't Make It Worse

Attacks Damage People & Property...
Unwise Overreaction Damages Democracy

I suspect Joe Lieberman has lost his towel, in his panic.

Flash Crash

A 1000 point drop in the Dow,
Wall Street panics, has a cow!

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy itself has outsold the Encyclopedia Galactica because it is slightly cheaper, and because it has the words 'Don't Panic' in large, friendly letters on the cover."

Cold Play - Don't Panic
from the album: Parachutes (2000)
(written 1998, UK single release 2001)

UK'd Up

Their elections work better...

Unless nobody wins...

Segway City

What's The Problem?

Is it the Segway scooters themselves, or the somewhat abrasive owner of Boston Gliders, that makes his riding tours unwelcome in Boston's North End... A bustling mixed use neighborhood full of history, and local politicians proposing an ironic ban of Segways along the Freedom Trail.
Audio: WBUR FM, Boston 5/5/10, Reporter: Sonari Glinton.

The Once And Future Fred

No doubt the Presidency ages officeholders, but a montage showing before and after shots of the six most recent first couples jumped the gun and jumped the shark by including an after picture of the current occupants, Barack & Michelle Obama.

If you can't see it clearly, here's a better version of the way Long Island's Smithtown Messenger, a weekly from Suffolk County New York, depicted the post White House Obamas:

NY weekly shows Obamas as 'Sanford and Son' actors
By FRANK ELTMAN (AP via Google News) 5/6/10

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. — A weekly newspaper photo depicting President Barack Obama and his wife as characters from the TV sitcom "Sanford and Son" was intended as political satire and not a racist commentary, the publisher said Wednesday.

Phillip Sciarello, publisher and part owner of the Smithtown Messenger on New York's Long Island, defended the decision to publish the photo, but added the newspaper would run a retraction in its next edition for anyone who might have been offended.

The photo spread features "before and after" shots of the last six presidents and their wives, starting with Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter and ending with the Obamas. The "after" photo of the Obamas is a shot from the 1970s show, with Redd Foxx as Fred Sanford and LaWanda Page as Sanford's sister-in-law, Aunt Esther. She is seen standing ready to box Sanford; the characters often verbally jousted as part of the show's story line.
The photo has had an immediate political and economic impact as local governments removed the Messenger and its sister publications as official newspapers, meaning they will no longer publish paid town government legal notices.

"The reference to racial stereotypes is where the line was crossed," Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko told Newsday (Long Island's giant daily paper). While Tracey Edwards, the NAACP's Long Island regional director, described the portrayal of the Obamas as "despicable and disrespectful. If this was intended as satire, it misses the mark."

It's not the first time:

This picture covered comedian Red Foxx with controversial preacher Jeremiah Wright, and Obama's face was pasted over Sanford & Son co-star Demond Wilson. This is labeled as coming from a conservative blog that largely specializes in derisive "humor".

CD of the Month

Nashville-based guitarists Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson have been a team for a long time. Known as Hammock since 2005, their CD "Chasing After Shadows… Living With Ghosts" is the Echoes CD of the Month for May 2010... Host John Diliberto offers a review.

Audio: PRI's Echoes, an ambient music program on public radio with an extensive archive of audio for download via subscription.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Backtrack, Baby, Backtrack

Election Day: UK

Emerging Liberal Democrats Confuse The Choice

The Bomber Factory

When he went to live & study in Connecticut, relatives left behind near the hotbed of terrorist training thought Faisal had gone secular, material and western... He wasn't a likely recruit for radical Islam.

A donkey cart drives past a house owned by the family of Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad, in Peshawar, Pakistan. (AP)

Is there a link between personal depression, recession repossession & reversal of financial fortune and Shahzad's bombing attempt?

Afghanistan & Pakistan both have factions called Taliban, mostly ethnic Pastun tribesmen, many within the lawless Pakistani frontier provinces of North & South Waziristan. BBC correspondent Owen Bennett-Jones is in Pakistan investigating their appeal and popular support, along with the roots of radicalization.

There are elements of economics and class struggle underlying religious radicalization in South Asia, and among Pakistani émigrés.
Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now 5/5/10, Host: Robin Young.

Immigration Inconsistency

Private Profit, Public Problems

All over the country, company executives are hooked. In business the imperatives include trying to reduce costs of production, particularly labor costs. It sends jobs to the third world, or imports it to here.

It's what fueled an exodus of industry from the unionized North to the minimum wage Confederacy, then with more reliable air conditioning, expanded into the remainder of the Sunbelt, where the border states of Mex-America could offer endless exploitable sub-minimum wage labor in Mexico's greatest export: Mexicans!

Of course Hispanics don't like the new Arizona law put forward by right-wing nationalists, but what truly makes it awkward among those attracted to a typically Republican position, is that the business interests that fund the party are against all options.

Business doesn't want a harder line, nor do they want legalization... Both make their lives and their drug dependency more expensive.

Yes, I said drug.

Cheap labor is crack for the owners of Arizona.

Fizz Fuss

One Nasty Nationwide Coke Habit

For decades, Americans' weight and waistlines have grown in trends that have run parallel to their consumption of soda. But increasing attention to health and wellness, including rates of childhood obesity and early-onset diabetes, have forced a second look at soda.

In segments from Tuesday and Wednesday, NPR's Jeff Brady looks at efforts to tax soda. And Michele Norris gets two different views of the health effects of soda: from Gail Woodward-Lopez of the Center for Weight and Health; and from Maureen Storey, senior vice president for science policy at the American Beverage Association... Then Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack discusses goals for nutrition standards in schools, about the choices he hopes young people and their families will learn to make, and about his own soda habits... Plus community health activist Nura Green of the Aban Institute speaks about the challenges children and families face in urban environments, where there are few healthy choices.

Audio: NPR's All Things Considered 5/4 & 5/10, Interviewer: Michele Norris.
Jill Castle is a Licensed and Registered Dietitian from Nashville TN specializing in Pediatric Nutrition. Her site called Just The Right Byte took a critical look at children as carbonated soda consumers.

Bone Dog Blues

Put on headphones for Carl Weingarten’s Dobro Dream... You'll hear an extremely rare use of dual bass lines mixed to opposite tracks.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

53, Not 24

Real life investigation doesn't fit neatly into the format of one hour TV drama. Nor does it proceed based on a single hero. The teamwork of NYPD and the FBI did result in an arrest in 53:20 from a t-shirt vendor alerting a mounted cop to a squad of Feds apprehending the suspect aboard an international flight about to depart JFK.

53, Not 24... Both Jack Bauer and his show are fiction.

Times Square Terror Scare

Beside the question of whether it was really a laughing matter, authorities had apprehended suspect Faisal Shahzad before Colbert had finished airing on the East Coast... Taping 6 hours ahead of air time allows you to bleep the host or trim down a long-winded guest, but your best bits can also be overtaken by breaking news.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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Times Square Terrorism
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Make War, Not Love

Occupy a country half-way round the world?

No problem!

The War Lovers by Evan Thomas looks at a key moment in military adventurism, and how the war-mongering that drove the largely forgotten Spanish American War resonates with the war in Iraq.
Audio: PRI & WNYC's program Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, 5/1/10.
Painting: The Rough Riders by Mort Kunstler
(Kettle Hill, Santiago, Cuba -- July 1, 1898)

Can You Hold It

For 17 Seconds?

The "Top Thrill Dragster" is one of 13 roller coasters at Ohio's Cedar Point Park... Built in 2003, and the subject of this emailed photostrip.

The verdict at The coaster is real, the last photo isn't.

Differences in lighting suggest it's a composite... And neither person with wet jeans can be tied to an image of the alleged culprit coaster.

But rocketing to 120 mph & heights of over 40 stories, it's plausible.

5 other US Roller Coasters That Will Make You Wet Your Pants

Evolved Malware

Maybe this has happened to you: you’re online and you get a little pop-up window saying that a virus has been detected on your computer and you need to download a patch or an application to get rid of it. The pop-up certainly looks official. So what do you do? Turns out more and more people go along with it and in so doing they open the door to their computer to something that is certainly not there to help.

Andrew Brandt of internet security company Webroot tells how the battle between computer users & malware producers is evolving.

Audio: APM's Future Tense 5/4/10, Host: John Moe.

Orange Sky

AT&T has a commercial which portrays buildings, beaches, landmarks & Las Vegas draped in rolls of orange fabric that suggest cellular bars for 97% of the population.

The ad's images reminded me of visual artists Christo (born Christo Vladimirov Javacheff) and Jeanne-Claude (born Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon) who created an "installation" called "The Gates" in New York's Central Park, from February 12, through February 27, 2005. They hung panels of deep saffron-colored nylon fabric from each of 7,503 vinyl "gates" along 23 miles of pathways.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

E-Ticket Ride

An Energironmentonomic Emergency!

Oil dependency is the problem, no matter where the oil comes from.

Once drilled, oil becomes a commodity in the global marketplace. It doesn't automatically fuel the country where it was produced. Iran says it wants nukes as power not weapons, so its oil can be an export, not the source of its own electricity.

Likewise, what spilled into Prince William Sound in '89 or the Gulf now, wasn't destined to help America; only big oil's bottom line.

Small Scale Solution

Solar Suitcases For The Powerless

When huge earthquakes hit Haiti and Chile recently, teams of doctors from California flew there to help. But physicians in disaster zones are often hampered by the critical lack of something often taken for granted: reliable power. Now, a California couple's handmade solar power kits are filling that need.
Audio: NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday 5/2/10, Host: Liane Hansen,
Reporter: Rachel Dornhelm, KQED/San Francisco.
Investigate for yourself, or support the project, at We Care Solar.

Four Dead in Ohio

Kent State Mystery Continues

The anti-war movement (then it was Vietnam) was never the same after the deadly National Guard shooting of 13 Kent State students, four of whom died. Chaos spread to college campuses nationwide, and after 40 years, unanswered questions remain.

40 years ago, on May 4, 1970, I was in Federal custody... For my pre-induction draft physical at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis.

Crosby, Stills,
Nash & Young
Ohio (1970)

Although a live version of Ohio was included on the group's 1971 double album Four Way Street, studio versions of Ohio and flip-side track "Find The Cost Of Freedom" did not appear on an album until the group's compilation So Far, released in 1974.

Flash Clash

Steve Jobs & Company aren't fans, so none of Apple's mobile devices support (i.e. work with) Adobe Systems' Flash. So there are large chunks of empty space on iPads or iPhones where a video or an interactive game should appear, because it's Flash that powers those parts of the Web... And most streaming media here.
Audio: NPR's All Things Considered 5/1/10, host: Guy Raz.

One more thing that wasn't mentioned by the guest... Apple makes a competing product: Quicktime. Googling "flash vs quicktime" yields a rich argument about the relative merits and competition between market leading flash video & windows media vs also rans quicktime & realmedia.

Comedian In Chief

The annual White House correspondents dinner is an event where the working press invites people from showbiz to mingle with people from politics... Which they call "show biz for the ugly."

Everyone wants to go. And then, everyone wants to talk about it.

Roy Orbison

A Great Voice, A Lonely Sound

My friend Mike said, "The vocalist who did the best job of preserving his pipes was the late Roy Orbison. He was just as clean and sweet up top as the day he recorded his hits... Amazing!!! This one from a Black & White Night friggin' drops me every time... The performance gets me teary eyed!"

I know where Mike's reaction comes from. In addition to preserving his pipes, Roy was the master of emotion that would sound maudlin coming from anyone else. I will sit riveted to PBS throughout the pledge drive breaks so as not to miss a note.

Among the founding fathers of rock 'n' roll, Roy Orbison looked like a geek before it was chic, but his distinctive melancholy vocal and songwriting style made him a natural for NPR's 50 Great Voices series.
Audio: NPR's All Things Considered 5/3/10, Reporter: Eric Westervelt.
Hear 3 more complete songs at NPR.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Conan O'Brien

The terms of his separation agreement kept Conan O'Brien off TV until May 2, 2010. Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes snagged Conan's first interview since having to give back his spot on the "Tonight Show" to Jay Leno... But don't expect any bombshells.

Murky Waters

Tons of crude spewing from an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico has given some reason to reconsider expanded oil and gas exploration off the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The St. Petersburg Times' Craig Pittman reports opposition to more offshore oil is growing.
Audio: PRI's Living On Earth 5/1/10, Host: Jeff Young. Photo: The Deepwater Horizon Platform fire April 20th (Courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard).

See a satellite photo slideshow from

Lessons For Louisiana

The state made a Faustian bargain with the petro-chemical industry.

Joe Scarborough represented the Florida panhandle in Congress before MSNBC. The slick will soon reach his hometown; Pensacola.

This NASA satellite photo from Thursday, April 29, 2010 shows the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico as it closed in on the Pass a Loutre area of Plaquemines Parish at the tip of Louisiana's Mississippi River delta.

As oil oozed into fragile wetlands, and bad weather hampered efforts to protect the coast line, military assets like Air Force spray planes to drop oil dispersing chemicals into the spill and Navy inflatable boom and skimming systems are were deployed in the region.

Alaskan Mark Jones helped direct the U.S. Navy’s clean up effort in Prince William Sound after the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster. Now he’s brought his experience to Louisiana to consult fellow fishermen.
Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now, 4/30/10. Host: Robin Young.

Killing In DC, Bombing In NY

Comedians call it "killing" when they have a good night and win over the crowd... And "bombing" when they don't.

Authorities want to capture whoever's responsible for the bomb scare. Hollywood wants to hire the President's joke writer.

Goldman Sachs Probed

Damn... Not A Procto

Powerful Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs is facing a criminal investigation. About time? Federal prosecutors have been looking into charges against the bank for some time. Only the news is new.
Audio: NPR's Morning Edition 4/30/10.

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal's Paul Gigot provided an insight into why the SEC's initial action was a civil suit rather than criminal charges... It's a corporate death sentence. In history, no major Wall Street firm has ever survived a criminal indictment. They get wiped out by the mere fact of formal charges, let alone a conviction.

It's all about confidence.

Business Week has excerpted Roger Lowenstein's book: "The End of Wall Street" and Gloria McDonough-Taub of CNBC offer a brief review and video of his appearance on the channel.

Big Ass Nachos

Marketing Appeal or Cause & Effect?

A restaurant with marketing bravado and a sign of the times. They're more clear about portions than how solid their wi-fi signal is. But it's now at least theoretically possible to update your Facebook status to expanding while chowing down on a platter of cheese-covered chips.

From Next Round.

The food, beachfront near Witch's Rock Surf Camp, fit the taste of Californian Lindsay Fincher, who snapped this pic at Eat @ Joe's, catering to vacationing Americans in Tamarindo, Costa Rica.

Photo: narmour on Trav Buddy

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Scene Of The Crime

A year after a live episode of the radio program was transmitted to theaters, This American Life rebroadcast episode #379; including stories told on stage by Dan Savage and Mike Birbiglia... Plus filmmaker Joss Whedon's live performance of a song he composed for the DVD commentary for "Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog.

Tom Lehrer

'60s Satirist Still Strikes A Chord

In 1959 The New York Times wrote Tom Lehrer's music "is not fettered by such inhibiting factors as taste."

It was, however, a brilliantly inspired exercise in making hamburger out of sacred cows, by a college professor (whose name means teacher in German) and "shy but shining pop-culture figure."
Audio: Reviewer David Bianculli as introduced by Dave Davies on NPR's Fresh Air.
Photo: Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Hear three Tom Lehrer classics in full at NPR.


Aphrodite's Child: Evangelis Papathananssiou

To mark 20 years of being on the air, Echoes is running a series paying tribute to icons of the ambient music the show chronicles.

Now known as Vangelis, the gifted Greek electronic keyboardist and neo-classical composer of complexly layered albums and film scores can perform his inner visions live in a stunning single take.

Audio: PRI's Echoes, an ambient music program on public radio with an extensive archive of audio for download via subscription.