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2007
A quiet year, yet bringing you: the world's best Pet Shop Boys site, how to make a mix tape digitally, "Dick Warns America," Devo-lution, the Church of Stop Shopping. All this and my friend Dan's new CD.

Pet Shop Boys, song by song
I've had some time lately to revamp this site, so look around, you'll find everything's been made snappier. Also, a word to anyone who might have e-mailed me from here in the last year, sorry: your e-mails were efficiently dumped into my spam box, but I've fixed the problem now (Yahoo! mail filters). During the revamp of my tunes page, I came across Wayne's truly amazing Pet Shop Boys site, a library of album-by-album, song-by-song commentaries on the entire output of one of the world's greatest contemporary musicians. Contemplate the Pet Shop Boys, who have yet to make an album I haven't liked, on the Back To Mine disk series here, see their "I'm With Stupid" (the song is about Tony Blair, and "Stupid" is, of course, George W. Bush): video here, and above all, visit Wayne's site here.
posted November 18, 2007, 11:18 am

Digital mix tapes
Irritated by the multiple failures of an in-computer tape deck and the unreliability of CD burning, I have devised a better way to enjoy music: with digitally made mix tapes. Using an inexpensive audio cable and Audacity, a wonderful free, open-source audio software application, you can extract, mix, record, and store sound back and forth between your computer, TV, and tape deck, sidestepping the hassle of CD burners, which skip and hiccup, the cost of additional mp3 players, which you don't need, and the horror of the Plusdeck, about which the less said, the better. When I found out the data on burned CDs can fail after only two years—while magnetic tape can last as long as thirty—so I felt compelled to write a short guide to digitally mixing tape, which I've posted here.
posted September 17, 2007, 11:04 pm

Nine music videos
Watch 9 music videos by clicking on its square at right. The nine videos, from the 80's and 90's, mostly, made by Malcolm McLaren ("Madam Butterfly"), David & David ("Boomtown"), Laurie Anderson ("Language Is A Virus"), Mono ("Life In Mono"), The Bingo Boys ("How To Dance"), Peter Murphy ("Cuts You Up"), The Clash ("Rocking The Casbah"), Joan Osborne ("St. Theresa"), and a student covering Sufjan Stevens' "Chicago," are nice by themselves, but say much, I think, juxtaposed together.

Addendum: Bask further in 80's nostalgia with a high-quality, painterly still from the 2nd video, "Welcome to the Boomtown" here.
posted September 14, 2007, 1:38 pm

Dan's new CD rocks
Sometime thattherepaul visitor and band frontman Dan Sheehan releases his new CD, "The Dan Sheehan Conspiracy," sometime soon. Described as "folky, jazzy, hip-hoppy, worldy, funky, alty, and grungy" by Dan himself in a recent e-mail somewhat immodestly titled "My New CD Destroys All Other 2007 Releases!!!," his music relies heavily on guitars and thoughtful lyrics but lightly on the artifices of production, and will bring relief to those weary of the insincere mechanical gyrations of acts with names like Botoxia or Cleváge. Musicians lead complicated lives, but ordering Dan's CD is relatively simple and easily accomplished by clicking here.
posted August 13, 2007, 11:04 am

Dick warns America
Vice President, expert marksman, and five-time-draft-deferment recepient Dick Cheney warns us that Americans "may not have the stomach" for continuing to send soldiers to the ongoing debacle in Iraq. (He shouldn't worry because Americans now have more stomach than ever: 6% more since Bush took office in 2000.) But this isn't the first time Shrub has sent out the Vice to warn America. A look back:

Dick Warns America

October 30, 2006: warns if Democrats win in November, the economy will "take a hit" - Fox News

result:
Since the Democrats' win in November, the stock market, as measured by the S&P 500, has
surged nearly 20%

April 18, 2004: warns if Kerry gets elected, guns might become more tightly regulated - Spokesman Review

result:
Kerry didn't get elected, and
gun problems continue

March 16, 2003: warns that Iraq is building a nuclear weapon - Slate

result:
A pointless and stupid war that has yet to unearth any W.M.D. and is projected by Dick himself, in
yet another one of his warnings, to last 20 years

posted July 9, 2007, 8:15 am

Devo-lution
Thankfully, the Internet helps us understand the roots of Devo, the willfully obscure art-kitsch-retro-New-wave band of the early eighties that gave us mordantly discordant synth pop hits like "Smart Patrol" and left a legacy to be appropriated by the Swiffer Mom, who can be seen maniacally cleaning her floor with the Swiffer WetJet while her anachronistically Valley Girl daughters look on skeptically. Even better, a highly informative Devo article now exists on Wikipedia here. See Devo perform "Smart Patrol" here and relive their breakthrough Letterman appearance here.
posted July 3, 2007, 5:42 pm

Romney's dog's summer vacation
Word has it that presidential hopeful Mitt Romney tied his dog to the roof of his car for a 12-hour drive to Ontario. The Boston Globe goes on to report that "several hours into the ride the dog apparently suffered diarrhea, which ran down the back window of the car." With his sons "howling in disgust," Romney pulled into a service station, hosed off the back of the car, calmly got back in, and continued the drive to Canada—leaving his dog still tied to the roof. Even conservative pundit Tucker Carlson asked, "Do you need to be a PETA member to be disturbed by the fact that this guy put a dog on the roof of his car? Does that bother you?" In reply to accusations of animal cruelty, Romney says his dog "enjoyed" riding on the roof. Read more here.


posted July 1, 2007, 2:31 pm

The Church of Stop Shopping
Backed by a portable gospel choir, the Reverend Billy and his Church of Stop Shopping have been traveling around New York and across the nation with a message: abandon the attempt to fabricate happiness with manufactured products and seek instead real experience. Reverend Billy and other Church members were arrested at Disneyland on December 25, 2005 for singing anti-shopping songs with lyrics like "Transnationals have their targets/ The working poor and the artists," and preaching sermons with passages like "Buying is not nearly as interesting as not-buying. The product needs you more than you need it—remember that." Stop shopping. Start saving. Find out more on revbilly.com and here.


Photo by
Yola Monakhov
posted June 29, 2007, 7:18 am

Recent activity
In the long-standing tradition of nonessential web authorship, I explain that I've been busy lately, extend my apologies for not updating, and offer a view of my latest Internet activity, as pictured below. which shows, in somewhat bizarre cross-section, how I've:

  • posted a review on Amazon of my friend Cedric's album of Piazzolla's Libertango;

As a much-heralded invited guest on Dame Edna Everage's talk show "The Dame Edna Experience," a dignified "Kurt Waldheim" began a grand entrance, except that halfway down the staircase he abruptly fell through a hidden chute and disappeared: the band's fanfare stopped as Dame Edna explained she had decided at the last minute to "abort" Dr. Waldheim's appearance because it would have been "too political." The episode aired 12 September 1987.

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