"The only blog we have to fear is blog itself."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Meet The Beatles' confusing catalogue 

I just read an odd news retraction:
In a story Sept. 12 about the Royal Mail's plan to issue six stamps honoring The Beatles, The Associated Press erroneously said "Meet The Beatles" was the group's first album released in the United States. Instead. "Introducing The Beatles" on the Vee-Jay label appeared in the U.S. before "Meet The Beatles," according to Bruce Spizer, author of the book "The Beatles are Coming!"

The story also said incorrectly that the U.S.-released "Meet The Beatles" was identical to the British 1963 album "With The Beatles." Nine of the 12 tracks on the British album were on the American one, according to The Beatles' official Web site.
Hey, everyone makes mistakes. I happen to be a Beatles nut, though, so I really notice such mistakes.

Until 1967's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles' catalogue in the U.S. was so thoroughly butchered by Capitol Records that it almost makes no sense to describe their "first album," "second album," and so on.

The Beatles themselves made twisted commentary on this state of affairs when they made the cover photo for the album made for the U.S. market comprised entirely of trimmed songs from previous British albums, Yesterday...and Today:

Introducing The Beatles, on the Vee-Jay label, was the first album under The Beatles' name in America, but it wasn't really "their" album in a sense. It featured material from the band's first album, Please Please Me, released in England only, but it wasn't the same album.

So the first Capitol album, Meet the Beatles, may be technically the band's second U.S. album, but it not strictly correct to call it their second album--in the same way that sections one through three of an abridged five-part novel serialization IS that author's novel.

Thank goodness Capitol had the sense to issue only the British catalogue for the CD reissues--even in the U.S.--to make this confusion remain only for collectors and music historians....and journalists writing about postage stamps.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Socially Awkward Media Headlines 

Today's winner:
TurboNick's Mr. Meaty Graduates

Friday, September 22, 2006

"Cocaine," Candy Cigs, & The Beatles 

What I love about the WWW, part 341: you see one thing, which leads you to further research, which leads you to something wholly unexpected.

Starting Point. I saw this news item about a new super-caffeinated beverage charmingly named "Cocaine":
Las Vegas-based drinks company Redux Beverages is producing the drink which contains 280 milligrams of caffeine. According to the company's website, the only way to get more caffeine per ounce is with an espresso.... Dr Charles O'Brien, a professor and vice chairman of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, said: "It's just a bad idea and has all the same downsides of too much caffeine plus a very bad name."
Next Step. This led me to think about those bizarre candy cigarettes many of us used to enjoy as children. Remember how some of them added a layer of powdered sugar to the outside of the candy stick so that you could blow on them and produce "smoke"? So I found this entertaining website by a collector of candy cigarettes (which are, amazingly, still in production):
For some reason, a lot of people believe candy cigarettes were "totally outlawed" in the United States sometime in the past, when in actuality, the major players have remained one step ahead of governmental regulation via sluggish self-policing and a strong commitment to what ESPN would call "Extreme Hiding." The links below will take you on a magical tour through the world of the only candy product that sells so much more than itself.
Ending Place. And this site led me to The Beatles Yeah Yeah Candy, probably the world's only known source for a plastic "Ringo hand puppet":

Ain't it fun?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

One angry, angry constituent 

Via the New York Times, here's a photo of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signing into law a raise to the state's minimum wage.

Check out the woman to the right of Schwarzenegger.

Man, is she not happy with the guv:

Whew. Daggers!

More blog crossover 

This post is like when Mrs. Garrett brought The Facts of Life gang to the big city to visit the Diff'rent Strokes family. You know, network sitcom crossover.

Over at my sporadic mp3 blog, Musical Spelunking, I've got a new post up on the late Scott Goddard's "Cowpunk".

Now that's just silly 

X-rated font used on third-grade handout:
School officials apologized after an X-rated font was used on a third-grade spelling packet handed out to parents. The font showed male and female stick figures in provocative poses to form the letters of the alphabet.
Titillating fonts? Who uses those? Mustachioed '70s swinging bachelors transplanted to the 21st century?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Peter Sellers 

By the way, the 81st anniversary of Peter Sellers' birth was just over a week ago (on September 8th). Here's some interesting tidbits:

"Peter's not a genius," said [Goon Show colleague Spike] Milligan, who knew him well and appraised him frankly. "He's something more. He's a freak." (link)

Sellers was the first man to appear on the cover of Playboy — he appeared on the April (1964) cover with Karen Lynn. (link)

Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr became close friends during the making of the film [The Magic Christian] and used to play practical jokes such as knotting together the belts of coats belonging to the film crew. When one of Ringo’s friends visited the set he couldn’t figure out why there were so many sniggers, until he discovered that a variety of objects, including match boxes and empty cigarettes packets, had been taped to his back. (link)

At Sellers' request, the song "In The Mood" was played at his funeral, a tune that he hated. According to biographer Roger Lewis, Sellers had told his son Michael that the song was "wonderfully inappropriate - hence, wonderfully appropriate - for solemn occasions." (link)

FYI. These are not this author: 


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Hatin' on Bloggin' 

It's fashionable in some circles to dis blogging and bloggers (as in this humor piece, How to Dissuade Yourself from Becoming a Blogger).

Among the points made in the above-linked snark is (a) there are so many blogs that one blogwriter will never gain a significant audience, (b) that most blogs are of limited interest, and (c) most bloggers are written by poor or uninteresting writers.

However, these criticisms miss the point in one important area. It's the need to feed Google with data (really the entire internet, but since Google is the way most people access the internet's data let's just call it "feeding Google").

For example, I recently wrote about "Chatter By Charlie." There is no other current net source in Google's database even mentioning Chatter By Charlie. The same goes for a search of a former radio station and one of the DJs there at the same time I was.

You might say these searches are of extremely limited interest. Sure, no question. But please wait until the next time you search for some obscurata and come up empty in Google, and then argue against the usefulness of limited-appeal data on the web. It's only "useless information" when it's someone else's search, not yours.

And yes, traditional websites and wikis and all sorts of methods of internet publishing will do the same job as feeding Google as blogs. But, sorry--blogs are one of the frankly easiest ways to publish quickly and frequently on the net.

Poor writing about an otherwise unavailable subject (assuming it's not simply disinformation) is preferable to no information at all.

Pointless Nostalgia - Part V.A.01: What was being being played the week I started working full-time in radio. 

FM 106.3, WHTG
weekly chart for week of January 28, 1991

Program Director: Michael Butscher.
Music Director: Matt Pinfield.

1. Jesus Jones, "Right Here, Right Now" (SBK)
2. Sting, "All This Time" (A&M)
3. Chris Isaak, "Wicked Game" (REPRISE)
4. Living Colour, "Love Rears Its Ugly Head" (EPIC)
5. Mission U.K., "Hands Across The Ocean" (MERCURY)

1. Pop Will Eat Itself, "X, Y, Zee" (BMG)
2. Daniel Ash, "This Love" (BMG)
3. Prefab Sprout, "Machine Gun Ibiza" (EPIC)
4. Sisters Of Mercy, "Detonation Blvd/More" (ELEKTRA)
5. Red Kross, "1976" (ATLANTIC)
6. Happy Mondays, "Kinky Afro" (ELEKTRA)
7. INXS, "Bitter Tears" (ATLANTIC)
8. Charlatans U.K., "White Shirt" (BMG)
9. Replacements, "When It Began" (REPRISE)
10. Echo & The Bunnymen, "Gone, Gone, Gone" (WB/SIRE)
11. Lush, "Sweetness & Light" (REPRISE/4AD)
12. Jane's Addiction, "Classic Girl" (WB)
13. Connells, "Get A Gun" (TVT)
14. Butthole Surfers, "Hurdy Gurdy Man" (ROUGH TRADE)
15. Peter Gabriel, "Shaking The Tree" (GEFFEN)
16. The High, "Box Set Go/Up & Down" (POLYGRAM)
17. Ride, "Taste" (REPRISE/SIRE)
18. Parachute Men, "Every Other Thursday" (FIRE)
19. Drivin' And Cryin', "Fly Me Courageous" (ISLAND)
20. Darling Buds, "End Of The Beginning" (COLUMBIA)
21. An Emotional Fish, "Grey Matter" (ATLANTIC)
22. Trash Can Sinatras, "Obscurity Knocks" (POLYGRAM)
23. Cause And Effect, "You Think You Know Her" (EXILE)
24. Goo Goo Dolls, "Just The Way You Are" (METAL BLADE)

1. Inspiral Carpets, "This Is How It Feels" (ELEKTRA)
2. various artists, "Red, Hot & Blue" (CHRYSALIS)
3. Pet Shop Boys, "How Do You Expect To Be..." (EMI)
4. Primal Scream, "Come Together" (WB/SIRE)
5. Fishbone, "In The Name Of Swing" (COLUMBIA)
6. Soup Dragons, "Lovegod" (MERCURY)
7. Sonic Youth, "Dirty Boots" (DGC)
8. Nine Inch Nails, "Get Down, Make Love" (TVT)
9. Enigma, "Sadeness" (CHARISMA)
10. Hex, "Shelter" (RYKODISC)
11. Susanna Hoffs, "My Side Of The Bed" (COLUMBIA)
12. Chagall Guevara, "Violent Blue" (MCA)
13. King's X, "We Are Finding Who We Are" (MEGAFORCE)
14. The Box, "Temptation" (CAPITOL)
15. Blue Rodeo, "'Til I Am Myself Again" (EASTWEST)
16. Harbour Kings, "Tattoo" (FIRE)
17. Posies, "Suddenly Mary" (DGC)
18. Soho, "Out Of My Mind" (ATCO)
19. Eno/Cale, "One Word" (WB/OPAL)
20. Rembrandts, "Burning Timber" (ATCO)
21. 29 Palms, "Fatal Joy" (IRS)
22. Todd Rundgren, "Public Servant" (WB)
23. Dream Academy, "12-8 Girl" (REPRISE)
24. Edie Brickell, "Black & Blue" (GEFFEN)

1. Falling Joys, "You're In A Mess" (IRS)
2. Buffalo Tom, "Fortune Teller" (BMG)
3. Front 242, "Gripped By Fear" (EPIC)
4. Kitchens Of Distinction, "Drive That Fast" (A&M)
5. Hollow Men, "November Comes" (ARISTA)
6. Book Of Love, "Alice Everyday" (WB/SIRE)
7. Material Issue, "Valerrie Loves Me" (MERCURY)
8. Beautiful South, "My Book" (ELEKTRA)
9. The Children, "If I Gave U My Heart" (SKY)
10. Screaming Trees, "Bed Of Roses" (EPIC)
11. Exene, "Missing Nature" (RHINO)
12. Chickasaw Mud Puppies, "Do You Remember?" (MERCURY)
13. Havana 3 A.M., "Reach The Rock" (IRS)
14. Eleventh Dream Day, "Rose Of Jericho" (ATLANTIC)
15. Divinyls, "I Touch Myself" (VIRGIN)
16. Soul Asylum, "Something Out Of Nothing" (A&M)
17. Spooner, "Tomorrow Never Comes" (DALI)
18. Danielle Dax, "The Id Parade" (WB)
19. Bootsauce, "Let's Eat Out" (NEXT PLATEAU)
20. Cocteau Twins, "I Wear Your Ring" (CAPITOL)
21. Graham Parker, "Weeping Statues" (BMG)
22. Roger McGuinn, "You Bowed Down" (ARISTA)
23. Killing Joke, "Money Is Not Our God" (NOISE)
24. Stranglmartin, "Bury The Thunder" (DRAGON STREET)
25. Meat Beat Manifesto, "Psych Out" (ELEKTRA)
26. Nirvana, "Sliver" (SUB POP)
27. Alice In Chains, "Man In The Box" (COLUMBIA)
28. Paris, "The Devil Made Me Do It" (TOMMY BOY)
29. Brian Ritchie, "Religion Ruined My Life" (DALI)
30. A Tribe Called Quest, "Can I Kick It?" (JIVE/BMG)
31. Lonesome Rodeo, "Blind Streets" (CURB)
32. KMFDM, "Naive" (WAX TRAX)



Friday, September 15, 2006

Like the man said, "Scotty, bringin' the power! " 


Plagarists, And the People Who Love Them 

College friend Affinity8 is now teaching and offers tales from the trenches:
Caught a second student plagiarizing in my college class. First she turned in her mid-term essay 4 days late, meaning the best she could get was a D. Then I googled part of it and found it had been lifted from Wikipedia. I referred her to the Dean and she brought her boyfriend to the meeting. He had written the paper for her. He argued that Wikipedia entries aren't copyrighted, so it wasn't plagiarism. The Dean asked him to leave and he refused, and the police were almost called. The boyfriend left, shouting that if a record of the incident is placed in the student's file (it was), the school will be hearing from his lawyer!!!! So there.

New Feature 

I added something new to the bottom of this blog's right column (what some bloggers refer to as the "blogroll," although many links showcased therein are not to other blogs and very little linked there actually "rolls").

It's a set of links to find "Music From People I Know." These lead to websites or MySpace pages by individuals (or bands featuring individuals) who I either know in college or worked with.

The caveat "inclusion here is not necessarily an endorsement" is necessary, since some music linked to is quite praiseworthy and one or two is absolutely the opposite. Your mileage may vary, however, so I refrain from individual commentary.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Images in the News 

1. From the New York Times: "Pope Benedict distributing communion Tuesday to some of the 250,000 people who attended the Mass he celebrated in Regensburg, Germany."

2. From Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal: Death leading a dance into the beyond.

This is the oddest news photo evocation I've seen since "the name of this summit is the talking heads."

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five Years 

"Pushing thru the market square
So many mothers sighing
News had just come over
We had five years left to cry in
News guy wept and told us
Earth was really dying
Cried so much his face was wet
Then I knew he was not lying..."

~~David Bowie, "Five Years"

"Pictures of the missing
Soon lined every New York block
Some turned up in hospitals
Most did not

People who would never
Have flown the flag before
Proudly hung the stars and stripes
Over their front door

People they lit candles
And said what can we do
They went and prayed in churches
And in the subway too

The President he seemed to grow up
Right before our eyes
Said we'd find out who did this
And they'd pay with their lives

Mayors, Governors, Senators
Foes the day before
All joined hands as comrades
As the country edged toward war

But what kind of war can this be
When the foe don't show his face
When his own life ain't worth nothing
And fear's his only ace

I can't say what will happen
How ends this deathly game
One thing I know for certain
We'll never be the same

We'll look over our shoulder
Pause when we hear a plane
We'll search the face of strangers
And wear the scars of pain

I pray we'll find who thought this up
No matter who or where
And that we'll string them up and
Leave 'em hanging in Times Square

I pray we'll try to understand
The anger behind the deed
I pray we'll know all people are
The same color when they bleed.

I pray we aren't so frightened
To let freedom find its end
The freedom that we desire
So much to defend ..."

~~Dan Bern, "New York 911"

Saturday, September 09, 2006

O, the vitality! 

Baby-Faced Mayor Takes Over an Aging Pittsburgh:
At 26, many people haven’t even decided on a career. Luke Ravenstahl is already the mayor of Pittsburgh.

In the four short years since he left college, Mr. Ravenstahl has mastered the art of being at the right place at the right time, and last week he became the youngest mayor of any major city in the country, after the previous mayor, Bob O’Connor, died of a brain tumor.
The article also addresses a question I've been wondering about all week.
According to the United States Conference of Mayors, Tallahassee, Fla., is the only other city with a population over 100,000 that has had a mayor as young as Mr. Ravenstahl — Scott Maddox, who was 26 when he was elected in 1995. Detroit, Cleveland and Dearborn, Mich., have had mayors who were 31, the conference said.
But according to Arbitron's metro rankings, Tallahassee is ranked market #163 while Pittsburgh is #23. Ravenstahl, therefore, is clearly the first mayor in his 20s of a major U.S. city.

So, Pittsburgh: now featuring the youngest major U.S. mayor ever and the youngest Super Bowl winning QB.

Now let's hope that both perform well in the months ahead.

Friday, September 08, 2006


My favorite headline on the 28-17 Steelers victory over the Dolphins in the NFL season opener? It's from The Australian:
Steelers flatten fish in opener

Monday, September 04, 2006

Steve Irwin, 1962–2006 

'Crocodile hunter' killed by stingray:
Steve Irwin, the passionate conservationist who shot to international fame as the Crocodile Hunter, was killed today in a freak accident while diving off the north Queensland coast.

In a bitter irony, the man who risked his life handling one of the world's most dangerous reptiles was mortally wounded by a stingray, a usually passive sea creature which attacks only if threatened. Irwin, 44, was stung in the chest by the stingray's barbed tail, which whips up in a reflex action. The accident happened while he was filming a TV documentary called Oceans' Deadliest at Batt Reef, near Port Douglas.
And, in what's becoming an increasingly common scenario, Irwin's Wikipedia page defaced:
Within minutes of the news of Irwin's death breaking this afternoon, someone had written: "Steve Irwin's dead! LOLOLOLOLOL!" on the biography of the Australian icon.

The entry was quickly spotted and removed from the page.
Here's the Wikipedia link.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Musical Spelunking 

As part of my ongoing yet extremely sporadic attempts to mp3 blog, here's The 25th of May, "What's Going On."

Enjoy. Or not. Whatever.

Marketing copy gone horribly awry 

When twilight falls, prowl the night with the mysterious Nokia 7280 phone. Shrouded in the mystery is a passion that will only reveal itself as you slide it open. Its sublime form is exquisitely crafted, leaving you with a slim, sleek object of beauty, unmatched by any other. You and the Nokia 7280 phone, a combination that's as compelling as the night.
Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Chatter By Charlie 

Years ago, I used to co-write a video review newspaper column (along with Steven Lance). It was mildly syndicated in under a dozen or so New Jersey weekly newspapers, including the Atlanticville based in Long Branch.

At the time, there was a weekly column called "Chatter By Charlie." I think that Charlie was the son of someone at the paper, and he wrote about whatever popped into his head. Often, it was merely recounting visiting a friend or his grandmother. That's it. And food--always a description of what he ate, wherever his travels took him. He sure liked to talk about his food.

I sure wish I knew what Charlie was doing right now. I miss "Chatter By Charlie."

I was still doing the morning show at WHTG at that time, and Chris Mailley was the overnight DJ. I used to bring in the paper when it came out each week, and we used to both devour the latest "Chatter By Charlie." We would discuss Charlie's chatter amongst ourselves.

Occasionally, we would talk about Charlie's column on the air, and I always thought about inviting Charlie to be my guest on the radio sometime. He could talk about who's house he visited the previous day and what food he ate.

I never did contact Charlie, though.

I sure wish I knew what Charlie was doing right now. I wish there was a web archive of "Chatter By Charlie" columns somewhere. There wasn't even a Google link anywhere to be found, so I had to quickly write this post and let the world know about "Chatter By Charlie."

Google doesn't know what it missed, never having the pleasure of indexing "Chatter By Charlie."

I miss "Chatter By Charlie."

Now that's faith! 

Evangelist drowns trying to walk on water:
An evangelist who tried replicating Jesus' miracle of walking on water has reportedly drowned off the western coast of Africa.

Pastor Franck Kabele, 35, told his congregation he could repeat the biblical miracle, and he attempted it from a beach in Gabon's capital of Libreville.

"He told churchgoers he'd had a revelation that if he had enough faith, he could walk on water like Jesus," an eyewitness told the Glasgow Daily Record.

"He took his congregation to the beach saying he would walk across the Komo estuary, which takes 20 minutes by boat. He walked into the water, which soon passed over his head and he never came back."
I'm sure he began to doubt his revelation when the water closed in over him, but he simply pushed that stinkin' thinkin' out of his mind and forged ahead.

Feel free to extract from this tale some sort of metaphor.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The return of the pocket watch...sort of. 

Cell phones taking over as timepieces:
The proliferation of cell phones, with their list of extra features, has had the knock-on effect of eliminating the need to wear a wristwatch unless it is to make a fashion statement.... U.S. watch sales, which have been on the decline since 2001, fell 4.9 percent in 2005, according to a new market research study.
How soon is it before Dick Tracy's "2-way wrist radio" becomes full-fledged reality?

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