Sunday, December 25

Wednesday, December 21

Nellie McKay leaves Sony in album dispute

Well, she got her wish. McKay battled with Sony execs about the length of her album. I hate to say it, but given the uneveness of her last record, I can imagine the suits at Sony had some valid points about trimming the fat on the record, but.... Whatever.

New York Police - Helping Protect Our Civil Liberties

In much the same way the Bush regime is -- by taking them away from us, for safekeeping. NYC police have attending rallies under cover, posing as protesters, since 2004.

Monday, December 19

Cheney finds skeptical U.S. forces

Am I the only one who sees the ironic symbolism here?
U.S. forces guarded Cheney with weapons at the ready while Iraqi soldiers, who had no weapons, held their arms out as if they were carrying imaginary guns.

'The Syrian border is back under Iraq control now,' U.S. Lt. Gen. Marty Dempsey told the vice president, pointing to a map of Iraqi troop locations. 'When people say, 'When will Iraq take control of its own security?' the answer truly is it already has.'"

David Sirota on the domestic spying scandal

Sirota raises a good point: why would the President even need to tap the phones of citizens without getting a warrant, unless no good reason could be shown for obtaining a warrant for those wiretaps.

LISTS: Favorite whole numbers between 1 and 10, inclusive

10. 10
9. 8
8. 6
7. 5
6. 7
5. 4
4. 9
3. 2
2. 1
1. 3

Wildflowers for Nicole and the resurrection of El Ron

The LAT takes us inside a $cientology stronghold in the California hills. It's where Tom Cruise (real name: Thomas Mapother IV) and "church" leader David Miscavige, seen here, have had meetings of the mind. It's where Cruise used to take former wife Nicole Kidman. And it's where a mansion on the hill has been built for the possible return of $cientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, who died in 1986.

Sunday, December 18

Dullard holiday setlist

This site has a fairly comprehensive list of modern Christmas-oriented music, categorized by genre and era. Here's my top 5 list:

5. "2000 Miles," the Pretenders. More sentimental than you might expect from Chrissie Hynde, but never sappy.

4. "Little Drummer Boy," David Bowie/Bing Crosby. A spooky and cool duet.

3. "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)," John Lennon. If only this were the dominant spirit of the season.

2. "Do They Know It's Christmas," Band-Aid. Still the most influential charity record. The A-side is fine, but I actually prefer the spoken-word B-side. Many of the contributors ("This is Midge Ure from Ultravox") have faded into obscurity, but the sign-off from Bob Geldof still rings true, especially in the year of Live 8.

1. "Father Christmas," The Kinks. Leave it to Ray Davies to add issues of class and economics to the mix — perfectly iconoclastic.

Saturday, December 17

The Rock Star's Burden

Paul Theroux gets his panties in a twist about Bono and aid to Africa.

Friday, December 16

Yet another use of Google maps

This one lets you see who your neighbors are supporting with campaign contributions. Just type in the ZIP code and wait a few seconds for the results.

Spies like U.S.

The NYT reports that the federal government has secretly been monitoring phone calls and e-mails of perhaps thousands of people since 2002 — without warrants.

A Stephen King Xmas

Not as scary as you'd think.

Thursday, December 15

Bono and Jesse

Yes, that is U2 frontman Bono and former senator Jesse Helms. The two men — who at least agree that AIDS in Africa is a major problem — shared a few minutes backstage before a recent U2 show in Charlotte, N.C.

Wednesday, December 14



Are You There Santa? It's Me, Margret.

From the USPS directions on addressing letters to Santa, this seems about right: "Letters to God can be addressed in the same way replacing 'Santa Claus' with 'God'."

Lists: The 10 Most Puzzling Ancient Artifacts


Showtime may get "Arrested"

Speculation has it that the movie channel may rescue "Arrested Development."

Speaking of Showtime, "Sleeper Cell," a 10-episode miniseries about terrorism in L.A., is worth watching there.

"War on Christmas" lampooned

Over at The Onion.

Tuesday, December 13

Borat squelched

Kazakhstan's government has shut down Borat's site, which it apparently can do because of the ".kz" domain name.

Sunday, December 11

Save New Orleans

An editorial in the NYT suggests that it's do-or-die time for the post-Katrina rebuilding.

Resolution in Wiki-gate

The guy who posted the nasty, inaccurate stuff about noted editor John Seigenthaler Sr. has come clean. It was all just a joke that got out of hand. You know how it is.

Meanwhile, this column from the San Jose paper has some reasonable advice for Wikipedia users and contributors.

Saturday, December 10

Richard Pryor is no longer with us

The famed comedian/free-baser is dead at age 65.

Portraits in courageous bartending

The NYT checks in on the world of alcohol and the holidays:

I give more buybacks. I give out more shots. That's my gift to you, I get you drunk.

"Koyaanisqatsi" reconsidered

"Koyaanisqatsi," Godfrey Reggio's meditation on the intersection of nature and civilization, is showing up on TV these days. Despite some dating (an ad for Betamax in NYC; the obvious differences in cars and hair styles), the movie — essentially an 80-minute music video scored by Philip Glass — holds up better than I thought it might.

As pointed out by critics such as Roger Ebert, the film's supposed "nature good, cities bad" message is undermined by the odd beauty of freeways, skycrapers and foundries. The comparision of Grand Central Station commuters on an escalator and Twinkies on the assembly line — both in fast motion — is a bit over the top.

But I'm not sure the theme is as simple as that. "Koyaanisqatsi" isn't attacking civilization, just asking that it work in concert with the rest of the world. Is that wrong?

DULLARD RATING: Still rocks.

FOOTNOTE: My on-screen cable guide indicated that the movie is rated TV-PG. I am trying to figure out why. Maybe it's the stock footage of atomic testing or various military equipment? (No actual blood is spilled.) Or perhaps the urban blight? It certainly isn't the dialog, because there is none.

Friday, December 9

Winnie the Pooh Goes Hollywood

On advice of Disney branding consultants, he is abandoning his 80-year friendship with Christopher Robin in favor of some redhaired young strumpet.

Thursday, December 8


Check out the Bird's Eye View feature. It's like a photorealistic version of the Sims. You hate to say kudos to Microsoft, but this is impressive -- I can tell they took the photo of my house when I was home because my car is in the driveway.

Freaky deaky.

Gotta <3 Mike Wallace

At 87, still has testicular elephantitis:

Q. President George W. Bush has declined to be interviewed by you. What would you ask him if you had the chance?
A. What in the world prepared you to be the commander in chief of the largest superpower in the world? In your background, Mr. President, you apparently were incurious. You didn't want to travel. You knew very little about the military. . . . The governor of Texas doesn't have the kind of power that some governors have. . . . Why do you think they nominated you? . . . Do you think that has anything to do with the fact that the country is so [expletive] up?"

Who Would Jesus Beat?

Professor beaten; attackers cite University of Kansas anti-creationism class.

Mmmmm, Cheese.

Eighteen year old model apparently not clear on what cocaine looks like. Also not entirely clear on what a model looks like.

Sasquatch on the march!

Join the Bigfoot militia today!

October 9, 1940-December 8, 1980

Yes, we're at the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's death, and various ruminations, many well done and others perfunctory, are floating around. Many remember Lennon's post-Beatle career mostly for "Imagine." Nothing against that song, but I prefer "God" from the Plastic Ono Band album as the quintessential Lennon. When he sings "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me," Lennon blends the philosophical and the personal in a way that the utopian "Imagine" doesn't. "God" also has one of the most committed vocal performances captured on vinyl.

Here are the lyrics:

God is a concept
By which we measure
Our pain
I'll say it again
God is a concept
By which we measure
Our pain

I don't believe in magic
I don't believe in I-ching
I don't believe in Bible
I don't believe in tarot
I don't believe in Hitler
I don't believe in Jesus
I don't believe in Kennedy
I don't believe in Buddha
I don't believe in Mantra
I don't believe in Gita
I don't believe in Yoga
I don't believe in kings
I don't believe in Elvis
I don't believe in Zimmerman
I don't believe in Beatles
I just believe in me
Yoko and me
And that's reality

The dream is over
What can I say?
The dream is over
I was the Dreamweaver
But now I'm reborn
I was the Walrus
But now I'm John
And so dear friends
You'll just have to carry on
The dream is over

Wednesday, December 7

Klosterman goes jock

Chuck Klosterman of "Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs" fame is writing for on occasion. This column on Phil Jackson and the Lakers has a few good lines but finds Chuck a bit out of his element. He still writes about music, too.

Pulitzers broaden online categories

Journalism's highest honors will consider more online material. Will the Gazette finally gets its due?

Tuesday, December 6

Department of Redundancy and Obviousness Department

Ho ho ho!

A local porn shop in my town has put up Christmas lights. And a newspaper advertisement for a strip club wishes its possible patrons a "Merry Christmas."

Good to see the sex industry joining the fray in the so-called War on Christmas.

Happy Holidays, Dullards!

Sunday, December 4

Passage through India

The NYT has a fascinating (and lengthy) article on India's efforts to build and improve what we Americans would call interstate highways. Like our own roads, India's paths are making it easier to get from place to place, although at a price, both culturally and financially.

Having taken a 20-hour bus ride from the Hubli area to Mumbai, I will vouch for the need for better roads. But I did see a lot on that trip on two-lane roads that I might not have seen on a four-lane, controlled-access highway.

Be sure to check out the cool multimedia with the Times piece. (Registration may be required.)

The $10 million bat mitvah

A girl comes of age as the likes of Tom Petty, Joe Walsh and Aerosmith rock the house at New York's Rainbow Room. Even Kenny G was there, if the tabloid press is to be believed.

Friday, December 2

Update on the so-called "War on Christmas"

In case you missed it, the Christmas crusaders fell on their own swords this week when it was disclosed that Fox News has been selling "holiday" ornaments for "holiday" trees on its site. They've since changed the references to "Christmas," but you can still see how it looked.

Happy Holidays!

Update by Frank: Keith Olbermann did a funny bit about this -- you can watch the video here.

Nervous Nellie

Defamer posts a review of a Nellie McKay gig that's pretty consistent with the one reviewed here in March.

Still, I look forward to her next record. If there's one thing I've learned from being in bands, you can't really hold psychosis against a singer. It's part of the job description.

One Red Paper Clip -> House

Kyle MacDonald is a man with a dream. And a paper clip. Except he doesn't have the paper clip anymore. Less than five months ago he started a series of trade-ups from the paper clip, with his ultimate goal being a trade for a house.

He is currently at snowmobile.

Kyle MacDonald is the sort of reason I once fell in love with the internets.

"Lost" and maybe drunk

Two stars of TV's "Lost" — including Michelle Rodriguez, who plays trigger-happy Ana Lucia — have been booked on DUI charges.

That's not the bad news. This is: No new episode until January. Bastards.

Thursday, December 1

Oh, the Horror!

The Cure, Avril Lavigne, and Black Eyed Peas to cover Lennon songs in Amnesty International fundraiser.

I'm confused. Aren't they supposed to oppose human rights abuses like this?

Shut up and sell yer guitar

Forget about spending all your money on Jerry Garcia's toilets. Dweezil Zappa is selling a guitar that Jimi Hendix gave his dad. The good son (and former flame of songstress Lisa Loeb) is asking the sum of one million dollars — or best offer.


John Seigenthaler Sr., noted journalist, takes issue with Wikipedia. Apparently, the bio there that was up for several months erroneously tagged him as possible conspirator in the assassinations of John and Bobby Kennedy. D'oh!

UPDATE: The Wiki-people will no longer take anonymous contributions. As for the Seigenthlater entry, Wiki founder Jimmy Wales says: "It slipped through the cracks is basically what happened."