Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hudson's Holiday Shopping Tips

I know y’all are expecting one of my patented anti-KELO rants this morning after their shameless marathon coverage of the so-called blizzard. It would certainly be an easy task, especially after three days of tips on how to drive, shovel, eat, sleep, and breath. Oh yeah, and don’t bring your gas grill into your house if your power goes out…like anybody would do that.
Well, these are complaints that I have every winter, particularly after our first spurt of snow. Everybody knows where I stand on those ass clowns. Cable-boy summed up the attitude of that station Monday morning when he said right before a break, “we’ll be back with more weather…and a look at the news”.
Yet today’s rant is also a rerun of sorts. What you’re about to hear has been said before. Here’s the deal, though. Sometime in the next 25 days I must venture out to do some Christmas shopping. To ensure that I don’t make a stop at the gun department of Scheel’s, I have the following rules:
1. To steal from one of our state’s more ridiculous slogans, “drive to arrive”. Use some common sense. If you’re in the left lane and suddenly realize that Wal-Mart’s on the right, don’t hold up three lanes of traffic while you force your way into the turn lane.
2. Along those same lines, if you’re stopped at a traffic light in the left lane of a multi-lane road, do not try to be a good Samaritan and let somebody turn in front of you. You’re asking for an accident. You have no clue what’s happening in the right lane, and neither does that vehicle that’s coming along at 35 mph. I’ve seen more than my share of accidents caused by this scenario.
3. Don’t be that person begging to turn left. It makes no sense to attempt to turn left onto a side street when you’re on streets such as 41st, Minnesota, Louise, and 12th. You’re asking for trouble, and I guarantee that it will be much quicker to just proceed to the next stoplight.
4. For some reason, parking lots are especially tough for out-of-towners to navigate. There’s a reason that parking spots are angled in one direction; don’t go against the flow. If you also think that your car is so valuable that you need two or three spots, give us all a break and take those spots as far away as possible from the entrance of the store. And you morons with those giant trucks – pull all the way into the spot. Parking lots shouldn’t become giant mazes.
5. We move on now to the final, and most important, topic of this lecture – instore etiquette. Your heavyweight family of ten does not need to move side-by-side at a snail’s pace. You don’t need to squeeze those shopping carts in the Best Buy DVD aisles. You definitely don’t need to suddenly freeze and plot your route when you walk into the store. Most importantly, drop your screaming, drooling little bastards with their baby-daddies. I definitely don’t need to endure their bitching and moaning!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Missed Opportunity

This morning, I screwed up. I had the opportunity of the lifetime and I passed, punted, chickened out, or whatever other term you'd like to fill in that spot.

A little background - since I installed a satellite radio in my car I've been a fan of Opie and Anthony. One of their more infamous stunts is called "Assault of the Media". You see, they have the same disdain for their local news and weather as I do with the ass clowns that run our three affiliates.

"Assault of the Media" is a monthly contest where their fans (or "pests", as they call them) do whatever they can to interrupt live remote broadcasts. Generally, one or two people burst into the background of a shot with a banner promoting O&A, yelling something inane such as "Opie and Anthony, party rock, XM radio". Their only rule is that nobody is to touch the on-air talent. Each month a prize is handed out to the best "assault".

On my way to Black Sheep Coffee this morning, I was waiting at the 14th and Phillips stoplight when I noticed Scot Mundt doing one of those inane remotes just a few feet away from the "storm center". He wasn't even really standing in the overhyped "storm", which at this point was still just a healthy, non-freezing rain. He was just a couple of feet from the front door, covered by KELO's cement overhang.

For 30 seconds or so, I contemplated some sort of plan. Should I turn right and slowly drive by honking my horn? Or maybe I should jump out of my truck and yell "KELO sucks" at the top of my lungs.

Finally, I just drove on when the light changed. At the time, my reasoning was that Mr. Mundt was the least objectionable meteorologist-practitioner. The reality is that I'm a chicken shit.

I'd write some more on KELO's embarassing marathon coverage, but my buddy Todd Epp has a much better summary here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

My son, the stylish rock star!

Believe it or not, there are special occasions where I put aside my sarcastic attitude and think nothing but positive thoughts. Ok, maybe that only happens once or twice a year.
Guess what? This is one of those weeks. Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I thought it would be a great opportunity to give thanks to those who inspire me to give my all week after week.
To begin, I’d like to thank my family, including my mother, father, sisters, nephew, niece, my sister’s baby-daddy and his crazy family, and all of my uncles, aunts, and cousins. Obviously, I must give special props to my future rock star son Alec for giving me a reason to live. But I refuse to give any thanks to my ex-wife. (Quit booing; I’m kidding.)
And I also need to give it up to the few friends that I have, particularly Pat, who provides me with quite a few of the one-liners that some of you laugh at every week, and the beautiful and talented Traci and Deanna. There’s also my good buddies at Black Sheep Coffee, Ernie November’s, Best Buy, Top Hat, Barnes and Noble, Zandbroz, and every other place that I stumble in and out of.
There’s also the people that I have met through my association with this radio station. Mad props go out to Cade, Kris, Jen, Holly, and all of the hot ad reps that I see wandering the halls every week. I also should acknowledge the listeners who have come up to me at various events such as the bikini contest two weeks ago. All of them, even the ones who disagree with my rants, have been nothing but nice.
I should probably also include a few of my music heroes – the Beatles, Stones, Who, Kinks, Chuck Berry, Dylan, Otis, Neil, Clash, Pistols, Iggy, Ramones, R.E.M., Wilco, Pixies, and, of course, Paul Westerberg and the Replacements. And there’s my favorite movie stars – Scarlett Johanson, Charlize Theron, Jenna Jameson, Tera Patrick, Teagan Presley, Taylor Rain, Janine, Ginger Lynn, and whichever other babe helps me fall asleep at night.
More heroes – Stern, Imus, Opie & Anthony, Franken, Larry, Moe, Curly (but not Shemp), Springer, Maury, Earl, Larry David, Jon Stewart, Tony Kornheiser, Seymore Butts, Ron Jeremy, Beavis, Butthead, the casts of the WWE, Family Guy, and Arrested Development, George Carlin, Jimmy Norton, and Lewis Black.
Most of all, however, I must thank the people who week after week provide me with the material for this little segment. Obviously, I must single out KELO, whose daily operations are ripe for satire and criticism. Seriously, I could come up with material on a weekly basis that go after Kennecke, Jorgenson, Cable-boy, Jodi Schwann’s unmovable mouth, the west river “Gay-tive American” reporter, and the dozens of interns who are moved in and out of here every few weeks.
Yet there are so many more victims out there that I must thank. Where would I be without “Golden Boy” Thune, “W” and his entire family of war criminals, “Go ‘f’ yourself” Cheney, their pals at facts-challenged Fox News, Mayor Dave (budget, what budget?) Munson, Dan Nelson (both of them), most of our city council, our city’s traffic lights, the Abstinence Clearinghouse people, Iowa and Lincoln County drivers, and, of course, the fine folks that make out our school board.
I realize that I’ve left out quite a few important inspirations, but they can all be acknowledged at another time. For now, I would just like to say “Happy Thanksgiving” to everybody, including not only my friends but my foes. Pig out, friends, and have a drink (or ten) on me this weekend.

Pavillion Incident Makes International News

A teenager has been charged with indecent exposure after he was caught trying to have sex with a female mannequin on display at an arts centre.

Security guards found Michael Plentyhorse, 18, sprawled with the dummy on the floor with his trousers and pants down.

Police spokesman Loren McManus said: “There was inappropriate activity between him and the mannequin.

Read more here.

Another Tragic Passing

Chris Whitley Dead at 45

From Billboard.com

November 22, 2005, 10:45 AM ET

Katie Hasty, N.Y.
Singer/songwriter Chris Whitley died Sunday (Nov. 20) at the age of 45 after battling lung cancer. The veteran Texas-reared artist recorded for Columbia, ATO and, most recently, Messenger Records, which released his eleventh album, "Soft Dangerous Shores," in July. A new release, "Reiter In," is due in mid-December on vinyl and will appear on CD sometime next year.

Whitley is survived by his daughter Trixie, his brother Dan and his girlfriend Susanne, whom he was planning to marry. "I hope you all will mourn my brother's death but more important celebrate his life as Chris was all about life and living," Dan wrote on Chris' official Web site. "I started the celebration by cranking up [the 1998 album] 'Dirt Floor' in his honor ... crying still."

"Chris is an example of one of those things that appalls me about the record industry - ATO co-founder Dave Matthews told Billboard in 2001. "That is, how could a talent like his go relatively unnoticed? So few singers have their own personality, and Chris is his own man to the bone. Honestly, I feel more passion for his music than I do for my own. My music I'm critical of. But I have a fervent, religious devotion to the magic that Chris makes."

"What I came to terms with by making some small indie records and meeting other people who work in that way is that, hey, if a record doesn't do blockbuster numbers, then that's OK," Whitley told Billboard in 2001. "I feel more comfortable with my place in the culture now and the fact that I don't have to fear the cool police or this cult of youth."

Monday, November 21, 2005

Link Wray Dead

Legendary Guitarist Dead at 76

From Worldofwonder.net

"I was looking for something that Chet Atkins wasn't doing, that all the jazz kings wasn't doing, that all the country pickers wasn't doing. I was looking for my own sound," Link Wray told the AP in 2002, about his highly inspirational musical inventions – the power chord and the fuzz tone. Wray was 76 when he died of unspecified causes at his home in Copenhagen in early November. He is credited with pioneering heavy metal and punk with his seminal late '50s- early '60s instrumentals, "Rumble," "Rawhide," and "Jack the Ripper." "if it hadn't been for Link Wray and 'Rumble,'" said Pete Townshend in liner notes on a Link Wray album, "I would have never picked up a guitar."' Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and a slew of other musicians, admit to having been inspired by Wray. The power chord is a thundering sound created by playing fifths – two notes five notes apart, often with the lower note doubled an octave above.

When recording "Rumble," he created the fuzz tone by punching holes in his amplifiers to produce a dark, grumbling sound. It took off instantly, but it was banned by some deejays in big cities for seeming to suggest teen violence.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Football and Blogs

As most regular visitors to this site probably know, I'm a huge fan of the honorable Tony Kornheiser. PTI is appointment viewing for me, and his daily radio show is the only sports talk show I can handle.

Throughout this football season I've heard him complain about a new assignment thrust onto him by his third employer, the Washington Post. He's now being paid to sit at home and watch the Redskins game, and periodically post comments about said game to a blog operated by his newspaper.

I had yet to check this out, mainly because we rarely get Redskins games in this market. The Vikings, Packers, Chiefs, and Broncos seem to be the only teams that are aired (don't get me started on why we were forced to watch the Jets/Broncos game when the Colts were playing the Bengals). So about halfway through the Redskins game I logged onto Mr. Tony's blog. Here's some of his insights:

Posted at 01:31 PM ET, 11/20/2005
Don't they have cameras that filter out the shadow on the field? Watching this game is like watching hockey on TV and losing the puck when it leaves your line of vision. The players go in and out of the shadows and you lose them! We can master the gastric bypass and we can't get the shadows out of a football game? By the way, my set just flipped out of HD and into regular TV, so something is wrong with the telecast.

Posted at 01:37 PM ET, 11/20/2005
Maybe Clinton Portis should less time worrying about his new stupid costume every Thursday and spend more time practicing onto the football.

Posted at 01:45 PM ET, 11/20/2005
I know Norv is a genius with playcalling, but he didn't look like a genius there, did he? He had LaMont Jordan gain 14 yards on four runs to the 1 and, for reasons known only to Norv, the Raiders then passed twice. One incomplete, one pass interference on Randy Moss and they were left with one more stupid incompletion and a field goal. That's terrible playcalling. He should have handed it to LaMont Jordan.

Posted at 02:25 PM ET, 11/20/2005
Kerry Collins is terrible. No....let me amend that. Kerry Collins is REALLY terrible. Does this guy have any idea how to throw a short pass? Does everything have to go 35 yards through the air, and end up nowhere close to a receiver? This is a really bad game, isn't it?

Posted at 02:39 PM ET, 11/20/2005
Do you want to know how stupid the Raiders are? They declined a penalty that would have pushed John Hall's kick back five yards. They declined it, in order to not give the Redskins another third-down opportunity. Without any timeouts, the Redskins probably wouldn't have run another third-down play. So they let Hall kick from 45 and he made it. How do they defend that call???

Posted at 03:05 PM ET, 11/20/2005
Talk about poetry. The Raiders get totally hosed on a third-down long pass-interference call on this guy Schweigert. It was a terrible call because Schweigert was going for the ball and did not even make contact with the receiver. So here is the poetry: on the next play, Clinton Portis fumbles the ball away. This is his second fumble today and, for all the yards he gains, they are negated by his inability to hold onto the ball. Again, stop spending so much time worrying about your costume. As someone who wears costumes, let me tell you, it's easier to wear the same costumes week after week than always look for new ones.

Posted at 03:20 PM ET, 11/20/2005
Again, this is how stupid the Raiders are: They have a sure field goal in front of them when, on second down, they get a personal foul penalty for 15 yards, taking them out of field-goal range. Then, on third down, their quarterback gets sacked, so they face fourth and 28 and they have to punt. There's nothing really worse than a bad team that's also a stupid team. Oakland should be no worse than tied right now and they probably -- going back to the failure to use LaMont Jordan in the first quarter -- should be ahead. Instead, they're behind. Because they're stupid.

Posted at 03:53 PM ET, 11/20/2005
This guy Joe Avezzano, the special teams coach for Oakland, has the look of the crazy old man in the New England lighthouse who comes out to warn the town that monsters are coming.

Posted at 04:24 PM ET, 11/20/2005
This is TERRIBLE loss. A TERRIBLE loss for the Redskins. They lose to an inferior team. They lose late. And they lost to Norv Turner, who probably is having the greatest day of his life. At 5-5, the Redskins may be out of the playoff hunt right now.

Ok, so there's nothing really groundbreaking here...but it's better than what we had to deal with from the real announcers. And I think this is a great idea...if you're publication has a witty, sarcastic writer with nothing to do, force them to publish their thoughts in real-time.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Hi-Def Help Needed

Last week, I bought a hi-def TV, and those geniuses at the cable company didn't do a good job setting it up for me. Despite the fact that I was told that the best quality picture came with the use of a DVI cable, I paid the cable morons $25 to basically tell me that the S-cable I already had hooked up was good enough.

So today I bought a DVI cable and hooked it up myself. But I need some help with the advanced user settings. "TV Type" I realize must be set to 16:9 but what about the "DVI/YPvPr Output? Is the higher the number the better the quality? And should the "4:3 Override" be set to off? Please, please, please help me out with these questions.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Vatican Official Refutes Intelligent Design

From http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051118/ap_on_re_eu/vatican_evolution

By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer
Fri Nov 18, 5:04 PM ET

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican's chief astronomer said Friday that "intelligent design" isn't science and doesn't belong in science classrooms, the latest high-ranking Roman Catholic official to enter the evolution debate in the United States.

The Rev. George Coyne, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, said placing intelligent design theory alongside that of evolution in school programs was "wrong" and was akin to mixing apples with oranges.

"Intelligent design isn't science even though it pretends to be," the ANSA news agency quoted Coyne as saying on the sidelines of a conference in Florence. "If you want to teach it in schools, intelligent design should be taught when religion or cultural history is taught, not science."

His comments were in line with his previous statements on "intelligent design" — whose supporters hold that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power.

Proponents of intelligent design are seeking to get public schools in the United States to teach it as part of the science curriculum. Critics say intelligent design is merely creationism — a literal reading of the Bible's story of creation — camouflaged in scientific language, and they say it does not belong in science curriculum.

In a June article in the British Catholic magazine The Tablet, Coyne reaffirmed God's role in creation, but said science explains the history of the universe.

"If they respect the results of modern science, and indeed the best of modern biblical research, religious believers must move away from the notion of a dictator God or a designer God, a Newtonian God who made the universe as a watch that ticks along regularly."

Rather, he argued, God should be seen more as an encouraging parent.

"God in his infinite freedom continuously creates a world that reflects that freedom at all levels of the evolutionary process to greater and greater complexity," he wrote. "He is not continually intervening, but rather allows, participates, loves."

The Vatican Observatory, which Coyne heads, is one of the oldest astronomical research institutions in the world. It is based in the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome.

Last week, Pope Benedict XVI waded indirectly into the evolution debate by saying the universe was made by an "intelligent project" and criticizing those who in the name of science say its creation was without direction or order.

Questions about the Vatican's position on evolution were raised in July by Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn.

In a New York Times column, Schoenborn seemed to back intelligent design and dismissed a 1996 statement by Pope John Paul II that evolution was "more than just a hypothesis." Schoenborn said the late pope's statement was "rather vague and unimportant."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Hudson's Guide To the Clash

From the premiere issue of Prime:

Few bands could ever possibly get away with calling themselves “The Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Band That Matters.” Then again, (very) few bands were as great as the Clash. If Elvis Costello was the Bob Dylan of the first wave of British punk, and the Jam were that era’s Who, then the Clash were the Beatles and the Stones of this exciting era of music.
Like the Beatles, the Clash combined great songwriting and a never-quenched thirst for new sounds. Yet their approach to different genres and techniques echoed the Stones in that they never wavered from their true roots. “Clash City Rockers”, “Train In Vain”, and “This Is the Radio Clash” couldn’t be farther apart musically, but all three songs were clearly by the same band.
Besides the music, the Clash changed the way a rock band could possibly operate. Their goals were lofty – they wanted to “reform” the music biz and redefine the rock ‘n’ roll experience. They issued double and triple albums at single record prices; they took on social causes that went against the grain of common wisdom. They also invited musically disparate heroes such as Bo Diddley and Joe Ely on lengthy, high-profile tours. And they never wavered when “experts” criticized them for taking on non-rock genres such as reggae, dub, and hip-hop.
Despite all of their accomplishments, however, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that this band crashed and burned so quickly. Financial problems and musical differences led to a widening rift within the band. But what a wild ride it was – five albums, including a double and triple disc set, plus numerous singles and EP’s in a six year period…and not one album not worth owning (outside of a final release that was a Clash album in name only). As the Trouser Press Record Guide proudly describes, their catalog contains “some of the most brilliant, absorbing, potent, and staggering rock ‘n’ roll of all time.”

The Clash.
Quite possibly the greatest debut album in history, The Clash wasn’t released in America until import sales had topped 100,000 copies. When Epic finally put it out in 1979 (months after Give ‘Em Enough Rope), they added a few subsequent singles and deleted four original tunes. In a move that can only be explained by a record company weasel, when the Clash’s catalog was remastered a few years ago somebody decided that both versions should be marketed as separate albums instead of a definitive full-length version.
Both versions are essential. The original form explodes in what the Trouser Press Record Guide describes as a “scathing frenzy of venom and sardonic humor”, while the inclusion of “Complete Control”, “I Fought the Law,” and “White Man in Hammersmith Palais” make the American version slightly more accessible to those a bit unnerved by Strummer’s seemingly incomprehensible bellows.

London Calling. If The Clash is the greatest debut album of all-time, then London Calling is quite possibly the greatest everything else. Some call it the best of the 80’s (although it was actually released the last week of 1979; others call it the greatest double album of all-time (contending with the Beatles’ White Album and the Stones’ Exile on Main Street).
I’ll go one step further – London Calling is the greatest rock ‘n’ roll album of all time. No longer just a punk rock band, the Clash’s third album cements their place in rock ‘n’ roll history. Unlike most double albums, there’s no filler as each of the four sides is essential. Released around the same time as Martin Scorsese’s classic film, Raging Bull, many critics noted that these two works of art were “an expansive portrait of doomed wiseguys, working-class anger, and American mythology”. Besides straight-out rock, the album sees the band dabbling in a seemingly unlimited variety of styles, including rockabilly, ska, bebop, and reggae. They even introduced the now-cliched art of the bonus track with the unlisted pure pop of “Train in Vain”.


Give ‘Em Enough Rope. Although hard-core British punkers were shocked with the decision that brought Blue Oyster Cult producer Sandy Pearlman behind the board for the second Clash album, the
results were a sonic upgrade from the muddy sound that was the only negative aspect of their debut. Yet although a number of Jones and Strummer’s greatest songs appear on this album (“Stay Free,” “English Civil War”), there are some lesser tracks that suggest the band wasn’t quite ready to record a full album.


What do you do after releasing one of the most acclaimed double albums of all time? I guess you try to top yourself with a triple album that adds dub, hip-hop, and funk to the ever-growing list of Clash genres. Even the biggest fan of the band will listen to some of the more experimental tracks more than a few times, but one cannot deny the quality of the rest of the album. Editing down to fourteen or fifteen songs, though, results in an album that stands proudly next to their debut or London Calling.

Combat Rock. It’s not the first time that a band’s biggest success is also their most mediocre release. Surely, the album’s hits (“Should I Stay or Should I Go” and “Rock the Casbah”) were deserved smashes, but the majority of the album sounded forced and Glyn John’s slick production overshadowed the band’s musical prowess.


From Here to Eternity.
Like the Stones, fans of the Clash had always proclaimed that the true power of the band was on the stage. Unfortunately, when Epic finally released a live album in 1999 they primarily relied on recordings from the Combat Rock tour that saw the band disintegrating. The performances are fine, but the piece-meal method of recreating a concert from multiple shows, lineups, and tours doesn’t result in an album that feels like a live show. One would be better-suited to search the internet for illicit recordings of individual late 70’s shows.


Cut the Crap!
Don’t bother with this album as it’s a Clash album only in name. Tensions from the Combat Rock tour resulted in the dismissal of guitarist Mick Jones. Three no-names were recruited to join the band, and in another strange twist Strummer co-wrote the album’s material with manager Bernie Rhodes (a sure sign of a bad decision). There are reports that only Strummer actually appears on the album, with the backing tracks created by Rhodes and a bank of computers. As Rolling Stone reported, “six people bought it, (and only) five played it all the way through.”

Must-Have Compilation:
The Essential Clash. There have been a number of greatest hits collections over the years. The double disc Story of the Clash! (1988) was the first, and served fans reasonably well. As with all “best of” sets, one could quibble with the choices, but for the most part all of their most well-known tracks were included…although there was no rhyme or reason for the track order.
Three years later, Epic/Legacy Records released Clash on Broadway, a three disc box set that included a handful of admittedly non-essential outtakes. Disc one is noteworthy for finally combining the two versions of The Clash, along with a handful of singles, b-sides, and a previously unreleased live version of “I Fought the Law”.
Super Black Market Clash was the next Christmas product/treat for Clash fans, but surprisingly it is possibly the perfect companion piece to those who own all of their regular albums. Originally a 1980 mini-album of b-sides and obscurities, the 1993 re-release was expanded into a near-complete collection of non-album curiosities.
Even with all of these compilations on the market, it wasn’t until 2003 that Epic Records did the band justice. The Essential Clash is exactly what the title implies – two full discs of almost every key track the band released. It’s also the first compilation to acknowledge the post-Mick Jones era, as it includes “This Is England”, the only memorable tune on Cut the Crap.

The Solo Years

Joe Strummer:
Disillusioned by the business side of the record industry (namely, the fact that the Clash’s record deal kept him personally tied to Epic Records), Joe Strummer took most of the 80’s off. Besides a few soundtrack appearances (most notably on Sid and Nancy, Walker, and Permanent Record), his first “real” solo album, 1989’s Earthquake Weather, reeked of contractual obligation. Strummer also spent a couple of years touring as an unofficial member of the Pogues, even subbing as lead singer for a few memorable shows when the unreliable Shane MacGowan would periodically disappear.
Ten years later, an obviously rejuvenated Strummer returned with a vengeance. While Rock Art and the X-Ray Style and Global a Go-Go certainly don’t rank up there with the Clash’s greatest moments, neither album undercuts his former band’s legacy. In fact, one could argue it’s a natural progression from those final years, as Strummer continues to mix world-beat influences with energetic power pop.
After his shocking death in 2002, members of Strummer’s backing band the Mescaleros completed Streetcore using his extensive notes as a guide. The resulting album is better than can be expected, particularly on the cover of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song”, but much of the album feels unfinished.
Before forming the Clash, Strummer was the leader of the 101’ers, a pub-rock band that had a minor hit with “Keys to Your Heart”. Earlier this year, all of the known live and studio recordings of the 101’ers were compiled on Elgin Avenue Breakdown Revisited, a revelatory rush of tracks that reveal not only Strummer’s fascination with early rock ‘n’ roll and R&B but musical blueprints for later Clash tracks such as “Jail Guitar Doors”. The live tracks in particular are noteworthy, particularly blistering covers of “Shake Your Hips,” “Maybelline.” and “Gloria.”

Mick Jones
Kicked out of the Clash by Strummer, guitarist Mick Jones immediately formed Big Audio Dynamite, and completely abandoned punk in favor of a more modern sound that combined rock with electronic beats, samples, and sound effects. B.A.D.’s first three albums (This Is Big Audio Dynamite, No. 10 Upping Street and Tighten Up, Vol. 88) are all must-haves for any Clash fans, but subsequent albums (Megatop Phoenix, The Globe, Higher Power) are mired in mediocrity.

Paul Simonon
An art student before joining the Clash, Simonon gave up on music for a couple of years after the end of the Clash. A growing love for rockabilly, Tex-Mex, and other forms of Latin American music led him to forming Havana 3 a.m. with guitarist Gary Myrick and singer Nigel Dixon. Although Myrick continues to release albums under the band’s moniker, Simonon only appears on their 1991 self-titled debut. Not surprisingly, it’s also the only album worth owning.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Sioux Falls School Board - Get the "Hell" Out of Town!!!

While it didn’t receive near the notoriety it deserved, last week saw a landmark election. The school district of Dover, Pennsylvania had recently included the controversial “intelligent design” program into their ninth-grade biology classes. Now the city is embroiled in a lawsuit that has brought great embarrassment to the city.
Last Tuesday, the voters of Dover told the extremists in their city that they had had enough, and voted out the entire school board. That’s right, eight school board members were handed their walking papers.
Of course, supporters of intelligent design like to claim that the issue has nothing to do with religion. Yeah, right. If that’s true, why did Pat Robertson recently proclaim that the city had rejected God. “If there is a disaster in your area”, he said on “The 700 Club, “don’t turn to God, you just ejected Him from your city.” What a moron.
Well, we better watch out because we could see this same scenario strike our town. The extremists have their foot in the door, and trust me they’ll never be satisfied.
Just a few weeks ago I complained about the controversy surrounding the middle school sex education curriculum, where a handful of complaints had affected the education of thousands of area students. These morons, who now supposedly number 29, have officially won after the school board unanimously voted this past Monday to get rid of the curriculum.
This was obviously an organized effort by fanatics who will never be happy until our school system becomes a daily version of Sunday school. They were able to manipulate the hearings to ensure that little to no opposition would be heard, and played the local media perfectly. (Speaking of the local media, a big thumbs down to my enemies at KELO for their daily cheerleading stories that never really gave us any information.)
To clarify one more time, the school system was not going to utilize the more controversial aspects of this curriculum, including areas that involved oral and anal sex. But the real issue to the moral minority? There wasn’t enough emphasis on abstinence, and the quizzes didn’t make enough references that people in the situations described were over 21 and married.
I just would like to ask these people a few questions. Would you rather your children be taught these subjects in a classroom setting with a licensed instructor, or would they rather the children just use google to find information. Trust me, you don’t want your kid to use a search engine on “anal sex”. And what about the surveys that show that children who are only taught abstinence have a much higher probability of pregnancy and sexual diseases? Where do they think the term “technical virgin” come from?
So the moral minority won this round, but don’t believe for a second they’re finished. They’ll come out and protest whatever replacement curriculum the school board purchases, and I’m convinced that there is an underground movement to try to push intelligent design on us. This is why it’s time for a pre-emptive strike. I’m proposing today that we copy a page from the Dover, Pennsylvania elections and vote out our current school board. I’m promising that I will never vote for any of these people who caved in to the fundamentalists, and I hope that everybody else does the same.

Some Girls Will Do Anything For a Thousand Bucks...

...and a certain dude will do anything for a little publicity and notoriety.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Friday, November 11, 2005

Update on Sony's Spyware

WASHINGTON - Stung by continuing criticism, the world's second-largest
music label, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, promised Friday to
temporarily suspend making music CDs with antipiracy technology that can
leave computers vulnerable to hackers.
Sony defended its right to prevent customers from illegally copying
music but said it will halt manufacturing CDs with the "XCP'' technology
as a precautionary measure. "We also intend to re-examine all aspects of
our content protection initiative to be sure that it continues to meet
our goals of security and ease of consumer use,'' the company said in a
The antipiracy technology, which works only on Windows computers,
prevents customers from making more than a few copies of the CD and
prevents them from loading the CD's songs onto Apple Computer's popular
iPod portable music players. Some other music players, which recognize
Microsoft's proprietary music format, would work.
Sony's announcement came one day after leading security companies
disclosed that hackers were distributing malicious programs over the
Internet that exploited the antipiracy technology's ability to avoid
detection. Hackers discovered they can effectively render their programs
invisible by using names for computer files similar to ones cloaked by
the Sony technology.
A senior Homeland Security official cautioned entertainment companies
against discouraging piracy in ways that also make computers vulnerable.
Stewart Baker, assistant secretary for policy at DHS, did not cite Sony
by name in his remarks Thursday but described industry efforts to
install hidden files on consumers' computers.
"It's very important to remember that it's your intellectual property,
it's not your computer,'' Baker said at a trade conference on piracy.
"And in the pursuit of protection of intellectual property, it's
important not to defeat or undermine the security measures that people
need to adopt in these days.''
Sony's program is included on about 20 popular music titles, including
releases by Van Zant and The Bad Plus.
"This is a step they should have taken immediately,'' said Mark
Russinovich, chief software architect at Winternals Software who
discovered the hidden copy-protection technology Oct. 31 and posted his
findings on his Web log. He said Sony did not admit any wrongdoing, nor
did it promise not to use similar techniques in the future.
Security researchers have described Sony's technology as "spyware,''
saying it is difficult to remove, transmits without warning details
about what music is playing, and that Sony's notice to consumers about
the technology was inadequate. Sony executives have rejected the
description of their technology as spyware.
Some leading antivirus companies updated their protective software this
week to detect Sony's antipiracy program, disable it and prevent it from
After Russinovich criticized Sony, it made available a software patch
that removed the technology's ability to avoid detection. It also made
more broadly available its instructions on how to remove the software
permanently. Customers who remove the software are unable to listen to
the music CD on their computer.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

This Week's Rant - Goddamn Record Companies!!!

Regular readers of this blog may recall that around a year or so ago I was upset when I discovered that the latest release by Sahara Hotnights, an all-female Swedish punk rock band, was encoded with a special program that would not allow for copying onto my computer.
Being as this was months before I purchased an Ipod, my desire to copy a track or two was for inclusion in my monthly CDR compilation. Once or twice a month, I would grab all of my new purchases and pull out the standout tracks to listen to in my car.
While this annoyance was a rare occurrence at the time, just a year later almost every single release by Sony/BMG, the world’s largest record company, has “features” that not only limits your ability to use songs on compilation CD’s, but attempts to eliminate your ability to transfer the contents of the disc that you own onto the world’s biggest portable music player, the Ipod.
As Rolling Stone and many other publications have pointed out, these security measures are more of a slap against Apple than those that want to place some tunes on Kazaa or Soulseek. After single-handedly making digital media a winning business venture, Apple now has to deal with a non-appreciative industry. Record labels want to dictate not only different pricing structures, but they also want to force the company to accept the audio formats of their competitors.
It now turns out that the software used in this childish game not only can stop you from placing your music onto your Ipod, but can also completely screw up your computer by placing hidden files that only the most knowledgeable computer geek can find…and even they can do nothing to get rid of it.
A couple of weeks ago a computer security analyst was testing a new program that scans for the sorts of hidden files that results in adware and viruses. He discovered a handful of files that should not have been present, and after long hours or research traced these back to the company that created the anti-copy program for Sony. The program in question is known in software circles as a “rootkit”, a set of tools attackers can use to maintain control over a computer system once they have broken in.
Here’s what really sucks about this program and their associated files. Not only do you not know they’re present, but there is no way to get rid of it. There’s no “uninstall” feature; it doesn’t show up in your “add or remove programs” control panel. And if you somehow do figure out how to eliminate the files, you stand a good chance of losing either the use of your CD-Rom drive or Windows itself.
And it’s poorly written code. According to a number of sources I discovered, any hacker can take advantage of this software to hide their own files just by making sure that their files start with a certain combination of letters and figures…and your antivirus program will never discover them.
So here’s what the record industry thinks about their customers – we’re thieves if we use downloading programs but we’re also thieves if we just stick a CD into our computer to play. “Stealing” is now safer than buying!
What can a person do to protect themselves? So far, not much. Sony initially shrugged their shoulders. Thomas Hesse, the Presdient of Global Digital Business for the conglomerate, was quoted as saying “most people I think don’t even know what a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?” As the publicity surrounding the controversy grew, they eventually attempted to create some positive PR by releasing a “patch”. Unfortunately, this fix doesn’t actually eliminate the files; it just looks to see if they’re present. Furthermore, you must contact the label by phone and answer a series of questions about your planned uses of the involved discs. Like that’s any of their business. Oh, and there are reports that this patch can also cause your computer to crash.
So if you have stuck a recent Sony or RCA disc into your computer, you’re probably screwed for the time being. If not, the best thing that you can do is disable the autoplay function in your CD-Rom. If you don’t know how to do that, just hold the shift button down when you load any disc from these labels. This will stop any embedded programs from running without your knowledge.
If I wasn’t such a music addict, I would advise everybody to just boycott any label that utilizes these kinds of dirty tricks. But since I can’t live up to such a high standard, I can’t expect anybody else to do the same. Plus, these stupid labels would just use the resulting loss in sales as further proof that piracy is killing their business.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Two Cow Garage Documentary

This Saturday evening, Chicago's Two Cow Garage will headline the second annual Jakob L. Beier Benefit Concert at the El Riad Shrine Center. Also appearing are the Hopefuls (formerly Olympic Hopefuls) and the All Get Outs, featuring Violet leader Rich Show. Here's a recent interview with the director of The Long Way Around: One Badass Year With Two Cow Garage, a new documentary of the band.

By Derek Phillips, November 7, 2005
Glorious Noise has been a longtime supporter of the Columbus, Ohio band Two Cow Garage. They represent everything right about independent music—from their incredible energy on stage and development as musicians and performers, to their Do It Yourself attitude, dedication to the road, and genuine appreciation of each and every fan. They are proof of GLONO's motto: rock and roll can change your life. Rock and roll took these three guys together and transported them out of Smalltown, Ohio into the wide open spaces of this great country. But GLONO is just one signal in a cacophony of noise devoted to great music, so it's heartwarming to find another voice trumpeting Two Cow's greatness.

Read the rest of this interview
on Glorious Noise.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Five Sportscasters Who Need to Disappear

The beginning of November is a perfect time to take a look at sportscasters. Baseball has finally ended, basketball and hockey has just begun, and the NFL is halfway through their regular season.
With that in mind, I have come up with a short list of sports personalities who need to walk away from the game. Some of them were once great and are just past their prime; others have always been awful.
1. John Madden fits the once-great category. These days he just rambles on and on, rarely giving any of the insight that made him famous. If I have to once again hear him explain how the two-minute warning is like a fourth timeout, my television may end up in my front yard. And his slurping of Brett Favre is way out of hand. The guy could be five touchdowns behind with a minute left to play (a common occurrence these days) and Madden will still say “you can never count this man out”.
2. Tim McCarver fits into this same category. Although he’s obviously an intelligent man, his mantra seems to be “why explain a point in ten words when you can do it in 10,000?” A simple ground ball double play ends up being a ten-minute lesson on baseball fundamentals.
3. Joe Theismann easily possesses the biggest ego on television. It’s all about him. He’s famous for bragging that a successful play is exactly what he’d call or a he’d never call a play that didn’t work so well. You know, that’s pretty easy to say after the fact.
4. Michael Irvin’s ego isn’t too far behind Theismann’s. In his mind, a wide receiver is always right…particularly when they share his race. Coaches know nothing because they aren’t on the field, and he never lets pesky little things better known as facts get in the way of his misguided opinions.
5. Irvin’s radio partner, Dan Patrick is actually pretty good when he’s reading the teleprompter on Sportscenter. On his daily radio show, though, he’s insufferable. He’s the sports version of Pat O’Brien, name dropping has-been celebrities such as Hootie and “Fiddy” while refusing to let go of pseudo-controversies such as last summer’s Kenny Rogers incident. We get it, Dan, you think that Rogers should be banned from baseball. Please move on.
Finally, special mention must be made of the C-level John Madden wannabes that always are assigned Vikings games. I guess it’s where they belong, though, as the Vikings are certainly a C-level team…on their best weeks. But haven’t we all had enough of these clowns waxing poetic on how real football players have dirty uniforms.
This is another one of those lists that could go on forever, but at least I’ve discovered how to eliminate these people from my lives. All anybody has to do is turn on the closed captioning and crank some tunes on their stereo. Even Jock Jams is more entertaining than these morons!

Good Luck, Traci!!!

It's a sad day in Hudsonland as my favorite person in the world moved to the big city of Minneapolis.
I can't put into words how great of a friend this beautiful woman has been over the past few years. She has a smile that can light up any room; a laugh that can cause entire rooms to turn their heads. She was encouraging when my mood was down (a common occurrence), and she'd gladly bust my balls when I'd get too big for my britches. When I was ill she'd bring me care packages; her birthday and Christmas gifts were always touching and surprising (particularly a framed poster-sized blowup of a Westerberg photo she gave me last year). I could rant to her about work and family; she loved my stories about my employees and my sister's babby/daddy's family.
Most importantly, she was able to do the impossible - dragging me out of my guarded fortress to socialize. Sometimes it was just a drink at the Top Hat; other times it was trips to see concerts in Sioux City, Minneapolis, and Kansas City. Even a blow-out Vikiings game surrounded by morons was a good time with this buddy.
Keep in mind that I'm admittedly not the easiest friend in the world. I'm moody, paranoid, guarded...the list could go on and on. Most people eventually give up on me. Not Traci. She was always just a text message or phone call away. I guess technically she still is, but my quality of life has definitely dropped a notch knowing that I won't be seeing her as often.

I Love Halloween!!!

Let me set the record straight. I love the traditional side of Halloween - children wandering the neighborhoods attempting new records of candy poundage.

On the other hand, I hate the way that adults have hijacked this holiday. It wasn't that many years ago that only kids dressed up for the night. Besides the occassional costume party, adults just didn't participate.

No more. Fewer kids are trick-or-treating, but seemingly every adult now thinks it's cool to wear masks, makeup, and goofy clothing.

For the most part, it's harmless...until the bars are involved. Most bars have little elbow room on a normal night. Adding the bulk of costumes makes for an uncomfortable night.

Case in point - around ten years ago Janitor Bob played the Pomp Room on Halloween. This was at the height of their popularity, when any local performance resulted in an oversold bar full of people that liked to drink (and partake in other not-so-legal activities) beyond their limits. When half of that crowd decided to wear costumes, those of us who didn't partake (in either costumes or liquor/drugs) were knocked around all night long.

So let's return Halloween to the kids...if they want it. Judging from last evening, I'm not sure they care anymore.

Weather-wise, it was a perfect night. Even after dark, it was around sixty degrees. Surely there would be a crowd of kids. As usual, I had gone all out in the candy department, with over six huge bags of various kinds of candy plus a box of normal-sized bars for "special" kids (relatives, friends, awards for best costumes).

Around six o'clock, the first kid showed up. The next didn't knock on the door until 6:15. After that, it was generally a five minute delay between knocks. Despite giving out full handfuls of candy, I still have three bags of candy.

Still, it was fun. For some reason the Scream character is still popular, as were Vikings and Packers. I had a lot of fun giving these kids grief. Unfortunately, when I greeted a Cornhusker costume with a "finally, a team I like" the father wanted to talk football for ten minutes. I tried to ignore the Nascar drivers, but there were too many of them.

Two kids were my favorite:

1. The biker girl, about ten, who responded to the Replacements music in the background with "cool rocking music, dude!"

2. The three year old who excitedly ran back to his mother, shouting "he had all the kinds of candy I like!"

Oh, and there were a couple of baby/mama's that were hot, and my neice and nephew (pictured) looked great.