Big moment in Belo journalism history today: On the front page of today’s Al Dia (our Spanish-language daily), the words “fuck you” appear in a photo caption, uncensored and unashamed.
Of course, the words are in English. I wonder if the DMN can publish swear words, but only in Spanish.
20 July 2005 |
Search terms used in the last 24 hours to find crabwalk.com: “drum bass mc fries burger let me repeat your order”; “Anastasia Myskina naked”; “jamie sale naked”; “venus williams naked”; “kim clijsters nude”; “fantasy football draft topless”; “can you find me any mp3 downloads of alien ant farm for free”; “underage girl pics (16 years old).jpg”; “who is paying money for tupacs autopsy photos”; “lyrics love is like the border between greece and albania”; “hooters toledo ohio 2001.”
19 July 2005 |
Best-selling music artists of all time. The list starts out normally enough (The Beatles, Elvis, Abba, Led Zeppelin). But at No. 5 comes…Alla Pugacheva?
Alla was/is apparently the biggest pop star in Russian history. Although it’s rarely a good thing to have this in your bio: “Although hugely popular in Russia and other former Soviet republics among older generations, she is also widely disliked by many, not least for the amount of airtime given to her by the Federal channels and the continual gossip about her life in popular tabloids. For many she epitomizes the stale, repetitive, state-endorsed pop-culture fed to the population through the media.”
Or: “Pugacheva is also credited (and blamed too) for helping many young and unknown artists to rise to fame. Although most of them have become pop stars of often dubious talents, some of them later became such rock legends as Slava Butusov of Nautilus Pompilius.”
Of note is the fact she was named the “National Artist of the Soviet Union” in 1991, which of course led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union later that year.
And this priceless line, which actually makes me applaud her cheekiness: “While never directly opposing the Soviet regime, her outspoken and unrestrained manner of behaviour, such as saying ‘Cheer up! Ho Chi Minh may be dead, but I’m still alive!’ at a concert held on the day of Ho Chi Minh’s death, would have constituted grounds for regulatory action or even arrest.”
19 July 2005 |
One of the nice things about my new car is the six-CD changer. So — you guessed it! — it’s time for the first installment of “What’s in Josh’s CD changer?”
Disc 1: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Yeah, they’re kinda overly hyped — in the sense that any band 99.9% of America has never heard of can be said to be “overly hyped” — but they’re also really good. Lots of Talking Heads, a smidge of Smiths.
By the way, that last link starts to get into the strange, overwhelming (although largely healthy) influence Pitchfork has on contemporary indie music. Saved somewhere on this site is a never-published, 1,500-word-plus post on the subject. It was prompted by this post on someone else’s blog (6/14 entry), which I thought was really smart. Unlike my post, which got so damned muddled it’s best left in the vapor of crabwalk’s unpublished archives.
Disc 2: Various artists, Samba Soul 70! From the very reliable Ziriguiboom label, this is a compilation of Brazilian black-power music from the late ’60s and early ’70s. “Samba was in search of new forms, claiming more space for the electric guitar and incorporating the beat on the first tempo and harmonies from the blues. People like James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, O.C. Smith and the whole Motown cast were extremely popular. Samba soul aggregated the most diverse styles of funk and R&B.”
Disc 3: Various artists, The Funky 16 Corners. In the people-I’d-like-to-be category falls Egon, a skinny white kid from Connecticut who reinvented himself as perhaps our fine nation’s top funk archivist. (He also runs Stones Throw, which as any careful crabwalk.com reader knows is one of my very favorite record labels.)
This compilation is the result of Egon and fellow white-guy-turned-funkateer Peanut Butter Wolf roaming the country for two weeks, trying to unearth 7-inches from old regional funk bands from the early 1970s. (The liner notes point out that Wolf insisted on bowling in every city they stopped in.) The result is some awesome damn funk.
One clear highlight is the strange self-help spoken-word funk of Co Real Artists. Of note to Dallasites is the Soul Seven track (a band based at Bishop College, where Paul Quinn College is today). And cratediggers will love the song by the Kashmere Stage Band, the legendary band at Houston’s Kashmere High. (Kashmere is the source of parts of “Schoolhouse Funk,” the DJ Shadow-produced compilation of funky ’70s high school marching bands.)
Disc 4: Luna, Rendezvous. Luna’s had a place in my heart since about 1997 (“Pup Tent”). Their last few records were hit-and-miss; they sounded kinda lazy. Which is why I was surprised their final album, “Rendezvous,” was so invigorating. It’s really a step back up in quality — up there with their classics, largely because they shifted back from aping the Velvet Underground’s fourth album to aping the Velvet Underground’s third album.
And the two songs from guitarist Sean Eden are really good too. I always thought that, when I finally started my indie rock band, I’d want to play guitar like Sean Eden.
Disc 5: The Long Winters, When I Pretend To Fall. For some reason, I associate this band with Columbus, Ohio — in particular, the Applebee’s next to the Red Roof Inn, on Olentangy River Road. I used to stay at that Red Roof when I lived in Toledo and had to go cover some story at the capitol, circa 1998. I remember the Applebee’s had cute Ohio-State-coed waitresses, and I remember the Red Roof Inn never had shampoo in its rooms. B.Y.O.Shampoo, I guess. I don’t know if that’s a chain-wide policy, but I always thought it was a bit shortsighted, because I never stay at Red Roofs any more because of it.
Of course, it’s absurd that I think of Columbus circa 1998 when I think of the Long Winters, since their first album didn’t come out until 2002. And I hadn’t heard of John Roderick’s previous band, the Western State Hurricanes, until circa 2000. It’s weird.
Wait a minute, I figured it out. I was listening to a ton of Harvey Danger when I was in Columbus. And Harvey Danger’s lead singer, Sean Nelson, was keyboardist in the Long Winters for a while. It all makes sense.
Anyway, both Long Winters albums are good. Their new one is due out early next year, with an EP coming this fall, allegedly. If their post-Sean sound is anything like the show I saw of theirs last year, it’ll be more guitar-y.
Disc 6: Radiohead, OK Computer. Hadn’t listened to it in years until Spin’s rankings called it the best album of the last two decades. (I have fond memories of June 1997, particularly the two weeks after college graduation and before my first job started. Lounging around Seattle with then-girlfriend Fiona, watching “Law & Order” reruns on A&E all day — and seeing the “Paranoid Android” video over and over again on MTV. Man, those were good times — all optimism and possibility, nary a responsibility in the world.) The album’s held up nicely, I think; the first half in particular.
18 July 2005 |
If my eyes look droopy today, it’s because I spent the weekend moving. Jesus H., I had no idea I had so much stuff. Thankfully, there’s less of it than there used to be, since I’ve been trimming — sold about 150 books to Half Price, threw out 500-plus magazines, tossed about 400 old newspapers, and preparing to throw out countless clothes. (I still have clothes in my closet I haven’t worn since high school.)
My new address is on the Contact page, if you need it. Not too far from my old place.
Finally, a deal for all crabwalk.com readers!
Two items — my living room couch and my upstairs desk — could not make it into the apartment, despite valient efforts from the movers. I thus have no use for them. Either is free for the taking for any crabwalk.com reader who can cart them away. Just drop me a line or give me a call. Anyone who’s been to my place can vouch for the fact my couch is extremely comfy.
18 July 2005 |
I’m all over the damned paper today:
- This front-pager, which I actually recommend you read — one of my favorite stories of recent months;
- This Metro-cover story on Wilmer-Hutchins, which has made some folks mad; and
- This shorter piece on Wilmer-Hutchins, also on the Metro cover.
15 July 2005 |
“The likelihood that a 20-year-old these days will have a living grandmother (91 percent) is higher than the likelihood that a 20-year-old in 1900 had a living mother (83 percent), according to an analysis by Peter R. Uhlenberg, a professor at the University of North Carolina.”
14 July 2005 |
“Destiny’s Child singer Beyonce Knowles is reportedly recording an album of Cajun music, after falling in love with France while shooting her new movie Pink Panther there. However, instead of recording it in a traditional French style, she has decided to use the Cajun style developed by French settlers in New Orleans.”
I have no indications this is a joke. And if it’s true, I can say, completely irony-free, that it’s awesome.
My secret plan for small-scale rock stardom is to merge Cajun music with indie rock. I’m telling you, it could be huge.
13 July 2005 |
Best obit ever. “She was born the second child of six in 1919 as Frances Dorothy Gibson, daughter to Kathleen Heard Gibson and Calvin Hooper Gibson, an inventor best known as the first person since the Middle Ages to calculate the arcane lead-to-gold formula. Unable to actually prove this complex theory scientifically, and frustrated by the cruel conspiracy of the so-called “scientific community” working against his efforts, he ultimately stuck his head in a heated gas oven with a golden delicious apple propped in his mouth. Miraculously, the apple was saved for the evening dessert. Calvin was not.”
12 July 2005 |
Best reason ever for an alteration to the route of the Tour de France: “a protest at the start by farmers angry over wolf attacks on sheep and cows.”
12 July 2005 |
Some guy named Paul visits my hometown on a bike ride across America. He finds Rayne “full of good people” — even the felons.
“I asked at the police station about a spot to put up the tent, and the police chief spoke to me…He decided I should sleep on the bench in the police station and I thought he was kidding but he wasn’t and then he left for the night without telling any of the other employees why I was there, but it worked out alright. There were some inmates who were on some kind of a work release deal so they had the right to walk around the police station and did janitorial work. They were interested in my trip, especially Hubert who was a big black guy and very cool…They hung out with me for a while and got me food, prison food, for dinner and breakfast the next morning.
“As I said goodbye, Hubert said some thoughtful things. ‘What you’re doing is free, it’s what being free is all about. If I could, if I were younger and had my finances in order and weren’t in here [jail], I’d be doing something like what you’re doing. It’s free.’”
11 July 2005 |
In Love In War, the tale of two reporters’ finding love on assignment in Baghdad. (Anne used to work for my old college paper.)
11 July 2005 |
I’m moving to a new apartment next weekend (boring story, don’t ask), so I’m in the midst of a pre-move life cleansing. Selling old books to Half Price Books. Throwing out ancient clothes. Just generally trying to trim my personal bundle of belongings.
The true beneficiary of all this may be you, The Reader, since I have tentative plans to post photos of, among other things, my past fashion mistakes. (For example, there was a period when I wore green pants almost every day. With sweater vests. Yes.)
As a taste: I was cleaning out my bathroom cabinet and throwing out things that have expired. The best of the bunch was a Visine bottle that had expired in December 1994. More than a decade ago. I (or, more likely, my grandmother) must have bought it after high school graduation, apparently working from the belief that no man should go off to college without eye drops.
Thankfully, I don’t think I’ve needed eye drops once during that time. Truth be told, eye drops kinda freak me out.
11 July 2005 |
Would you like to be one of the so-called “literary journalists”? The sort of scribe whose byline evokes a sort of intellectual respect, the kind of scribbler who gets months or years to craft a magazine piece of sterling clarity? Would you someday like to call John McPhee your spiritual godfather?
May I suggest a three-step process?
1. Buy The New New Journalism by Robert Boynton. It’s a series of interviews with lit-j superstars on their jobs: how they find stories, how they interview, how they organize, how they write. It’s refreshingly craft-oriented and practical. Writing is a solitary profession, and it’s great to see the quirky systems writers assemble for themselves to be productive. (Gay Talese’s involves a pair of binoculars, corkboard, and a photocopier set at 67% zoom.)
The list of interviewees is impressive: Talese, Susan Orlean, Ron Rosenbaum, William Langewiesche, Michael Lewis, and my personal idol Calvin Trillin.
2. Buy The Complete New Yorker Book and DVD. Yes, it’s $100. (Actually, just $63 at Amazon.) But come on! It’s eight DVDs with the complete text of every issue of The New Yorker, 1925 to the present.
Seriously, the complete text. Which means you get a healthy subset of everything ever written by all those folks listed above. The complete A.J. Leibling! All the Malcolm Gladwell you can handle! Calvin Trillin’s brilliant U.S. Journal stories from the ’70s! McPhee McPhee McPhee! Sy Hersh after Sy Hersh! White and Lardner and Angell, oh my! “In Cold Blood,” “Hiroshima,” and “Eichmann in Jerusalem,” in the orignal forms!
This may expose me as a geek, but I’m about to wet my pants with excitement.
3. Work really hard.
08 July 2005 |
My knowledge of women’s clothing is limited to the chiffon sundresses I wear on hot summer days. That and the thongs I wear to eliminate awkward panty lines. And those cute midriff-exposing cut-off t-shirts!
But enough about my fictional crossdressing. Erin McKean, Friend of Crabwalk and occasional commenter ‘round these parts, has launched A Dress A Day. You’ll never guess what it is: a web site featuring a dress each day! Strangely enthralling.
Erin’s day job is chief wordslinger for Oxford’s American dictionaries. And sorry guys: she’s taken.
08 July 2005 |
Here’s today’s Wilmer-Hutchins story. “Dallas schools officials seem ready to take on the students of Wilmer-Hutchins – as long as it doesn’t cost the district any money.”
And here’s yesterday’s.
08 July 2005 |
Great moments in public relations: “In a famous 1971 interview on ‘Face the Nation,’ the chairman of the board of Philip Morris, confronted with evidence that smoking by mothers leads to low birth weight, replied, ‘Some women would prefer having smaller babies.’”
08 July 2005 |
Good American Music Club live performance from Irish TV. (Although Vudi, the lead guitarist, is missing for some reason — leaves the sound a little hollow. Still, Mark Eitzel seems to be in particularly good voice.)
07 July 2005 |
Apparently my employer has purchased Google AdWords for my name. In other words, search for me in Google and this ad pops up on the results page: “Read your favorite columnists in the Dallas Morning News. It’s Free!” (It only shows up about half the time, so reload if you don’t see it.) Coolio.
07 July 2005 |
Street Fight, a documentary on the bruising 2002 Newark mayoral race. That’s the race that was lost by Obama-before-there-was-an-Obama Cory Booker, who used to be my polisci T.A. in college. Watch the trailer to see a political machine in action.
07 July 2005 |
Congrats to my cubicle neighbor Kent Fischer — both for his impending fatherhood and for getting said fatherhood written up in the sports section of The Boston Globe. I must say, I was not expecting to see his child’s conception detailed in a major metro daily.
01 July 2005 |