Saturday, February 28, 2004

Equal parts funny and lame

Kip showed me this Maxim article.
Hoax away.


I wish I knew how to credit this, but it's the text of an email forward I got a couple years ago.
Regardless, it's good for a laugh:

1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.
2. The New York Times is read by people who think they run the country.
3. The Washington Post is read by people who think they should run the country.
4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don't really understand the Washington Post. They do, however, like their smog statistics shown in pie charts.
5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country, if they could spare the time, and if they didn't have to leave L.A. to do it.
6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and they did a far superior job of it, thank you very much.
7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who's running the country, and don't really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.
8. The New York Post is read by people who don't care who's running the country either, as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.
9. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure there is a country, or that anyone is running it; but whoever it is, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are handicapped, minority, feministic, atheist dwarfs, who also happen to be illegal aliens from ANY country or galaxy as long as they are Democrats.
10. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country, but need the baseball scores.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Antitrust litigation

I got a check in the mail today - $13.86 - payment for buying cds at an illegaly fixed (high) price. Attorney General Goddard noted that it is "a pleasure to bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion and to return value to consumers who purchases cds while the challenged pricing policies were in effect."

The lawsuit alleged that record companies and retailers "conspired to illegally raise the prices of prerecorded Music Products by implementing Minimum Advertised Price policies, in violation of State and Federal laws." This, of course, is a charge the defendents - Capitol, Virgin, Time Warner, Universal, Bertelsmann and Sony and retailers Tower Records, Musicland and Trans World Entertainment - all denied.

Sadly, screwing nearly all music consumers between 1995 and 2000 cost the companies just $67 million and $75 million in compact discs. Apparently the settlement is figured into the cost of doing business and I doubt these companies are hurt at all.

The fact that a polyopoly of five huge international corporations dictates nearly everything that happens in the entire recording industry is absolutely wrong at face value. These companies aren't the leaset bit concerned with music, artists and fans - they're driven by profit alone. While pushing mediocre crap at $18 a cd, they suddenly start a crusade against file sharing, blaming downloaders for dropping sales. I wish this made sense outside of pure greed.

Executives of these companies average more than $5 million a year in salary: Robert Ames of Warner - $5 million, Jason Flom of Atlantic - $3 million to $5 million, Antonio "L.A." Reid of Island Def Jam - $5 million, Clive Davis of BMG - $10 million, Lyor Cohen of Warner - $10 million and Sylvia Rhone of Elektra - $10 million, according to Rolling Stone.

Does anybody wonder why top-companies engage in price fixing? Or marketing drivel by beautiful people while screwing actually talented artists?

Thursday, February 26, 2004

just pathetic

Swept by Washington? Losing to the Beavers? Leading scorer suspended?
This all just hurts. Bad. It's not time to give up yet, but it's worth mentioning that the D'Backs will start full squad drills Friday.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

The DNA theory of American political parties

Nobody invited Ralph, but here he is again. And surprise, surprise, he wants to be president because there's no difference between Democrats and Republicans. He's trotting out the same arguments: They're two sides of the same coin. They both bow to corporate interests at the expense of common citizens.
For the most part he's right. And yet it doesn't matter.
Look at the political donations, look at the supporters, look at the suits making power deals in Washington. They are the same. Mostly.
Which brings us to the chimps. Pay attention.
You may recall from some high school biology course that scientists estimate that the DNA in humans and chimps are remarkably similar - between 95 and 98 percent. But that small difference gives amazing results. Chimps haven't been to the moon, or invented computers, or put tiny cameras into cell phones. Chimps haven't produced Hamlet, or Apocolypse Now (hell, they didn't even wage a war in Vietnam - or any war for that matter), or even one symphony of note. They're in zoos, we're not.
Accept for a moment that Ralph may be on the right track - Democrats and Republicans are remarkably similar. But it doesn't take a genius to understand that - as in the DNA of chimps and humans - small differences yield huge results.
A Democratic president wouldn't have sacrificed the necks of more than 500 soldiers to a vanity crusade in Iraq. A Democratic president wouldn't gleefully watch jobs sail overseas. A Democratic president wouldn't clear cut every forest he could.
If Nader could honestly tell me that he expects a Democratic president to match Bush blow for blow, policy for policy, accross the board, I'd be convinced he's deluded to the point of insanity rather than a hardliner, egomaniac who blinks way too much on camera.
I voted for Nader in 2000 not because I for a second wanted him as president but out of a pragmatic desire to give the Greens just enough support to start having a voice in the two-party mess. Oops. Anybody making the same mistake this year doesn't deserve his or her job, safety or environment.
The only way to defend those - and truthfully any liberal cause - in 2004 is to suck it up and step it up: vote Democrat and make damn sure everybody else you know does as well. Save idealism for 2008. Now isn't the time. Let's put a human back in the White House, rather than this chimp.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

What scene?

Sometimes tooling around Pollstar is good for little more than letting friends in other cities know when bands are coming their way. I sent Kip an email today listing about 12 top notch acts heading to his corner of the Northwest in just the next two months.
Still, I'm actually impressed with the shows heading to the Old Pueblo this season. I'll miss X this weekend - Vegas Baby! - but there's plenty more: Supersuckers, Mason Jennings, Neko Case, Okkervil River, the Decemberists... and best of all, Wilco on April 29.
If the anectodal doesn't convince you that for what it is the Ol' Pueblo pulls more than its share of fine national acts, today comes official news that at least some people in Phoenix envy the scene south of the Gila. Now that's a shock - not the fact, but the admission. Rest assured though, Phoenix, you can cram all the Britney Spears and Metallicas you want into the soul-less dens that are sporting arenas. I'll stick with my near turn-of-the-century hotel turned club, railroad district warehouse gallery and Vaudeville theatre. And the faith that it's getting better all the time.

Friday, February 13, 2004

That's what I like to see

This doesn't erase the pain of the Bay sweep and the strange UW mess, but a nice spanking is great to see. On-ball defense and half-court alley oops combined for a thrill. Why can't the 'Cats do this more often?
Winning out for the season - no guarantee - and taking the Pac 10 tournament - very tough - would put Arizona right back in a 2 or 3 seed come March. And the momentum might make this a team that can intimidate people again. If not, welcome back Mr. Fox and hello to Jawann, Daniel and Mohamed.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Hey there thunderhead

I'm headed shortly to see the Richard Buckner show at Congress. I've been listening to Buckner for about five years and he never fails to impress. One of the best songwriters around these days, Buckner writes tales of people weary of travel, or life, and captures the down-and-out mentality as good as anyone. He's vague at times, veiled even. He's a storyteller, but the stories are loose, more grounded in emotion than narrative. They have holes - big, mysterious holes that lend more to the song's essence because they're there. Where Buckner drops off a tale is rarely where he picks it up again. And that divide is a powerful, evocative statement - and where his words are at their best. Comparisons to Townes Van Zandt are mostly appropriate, but I wouldn't put Buckner in the legends realm quite yet. His voice can both float and dig. In a way, he sounds similar to Jay Farrar, but his guitar work also stands out.
His earlier work leans toward folk for the most part, and Bloomed is absolutely stunning. If you were to spread out the mood of his records over the course of a day, Bloomed is the late afternoon. "Put your arms up dear and we'll keep the casket open," he sings on Surprise, Arizona, one of many standouts.
Devotion + Doubt could well be his top album. Recorded with Calexico's Joey Burns and John Convertino. They're not merely session players, their sound goes a long way in defining the album (and their work is as stunning as it is on Neko Case's Blacklisted). Late, late night. Too late for companionship with anything but your own thoughts.
On Since, Buckner makes a turn to more of a straight ahead rock sound, where some say he suffers and some say he excells. Regardless, it's probably the least "Buckner" of his proper albums (I'm not even going to touch The Hill, a curious and ill-advised tangent in an otherwise stellar catalogue). This was the first album of his I got, so tunes like "Jewelbomb" are near and dear ("Did you let your angel burn out, like a pipeload under a flame" - an odd, odd simile that sounds like it would fit in a Tom Robbins book). Since kinda strains my day analogy, but we'll call it the drunken energetic part of the night.
Impasse is mostly a return to form and if any of his albums approach happiness or contentment, it may be this one. It's not his best, not his worst. It may simply suffer the set-back of being a mid-career album that falls away, mostly unnoticed, simply because it doesn't strike familiar listeners as stunning or immediate as the first songs they hears. Relaxing midday, on a porch, with a slight breeze.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Pay close attention

He has the potential to be a columnist on par with Jim Anchower, so it's a sad fate that Ronwell Q. Dobbs has produced but one work. Still, as advice columns go, it's a winner. If only one day The Cruise and The Run could join forces, we'd all live in a much better world. Ronnie Dobbs and Jim Anchower hanging out, imagine the possibilities...