Saturday, September 3, 2005
I don't know that there's any pop culture angle or anything else to say here. It just would feel weird not to acknowledge his passing here, and to hope that he and his family are at peace.
May God save this honorable Court.
Video here, if you scroll down. If nothing else, watch it for the Mike Myers reaction at the end.
Friday, September 2, 2005
During the interview, Mammana spent a lot of time talking about how he'd gotten this city councilman to donate X, and that city official to donate Y -- it had a very inside Philadelphia baseball feel to it. So I googled the guy. He's a self-made millionaire whose entrepreneurial endeavors include real estate and boxing promotion (warning, warning, warning!) , among other things -- his philanthropy seems to be focused on offering significant sums of cash to incentivize people who may have information about unsolved crimes to step forward and cough up what they know.
Question for the current Philadelphians out there -- who is this guy, anyway?
UPDATE: Given our traffic, we're at a very respectable 27th place -- 10 donations for a total of $1,650. Stout numbers, guys.
Thursday, September 1, 2005
But some of the references, wow -- Libya as our main enemy, with the PLO deemed a terrorist organization based in Baghdad; Dennis Miller noting that the Supreme Court had just agreed to hear a case dealing with Georgia's sodomy laws; an airline called "TWA"; and host Madonna, still in her Material Girl phase, talking about her recent marriage to Sean Penn.
A few weeks after this show aired, I celebrated my bar mitzvah. Man, I feel old.
DANIEL ZWERDLING: Do you think that the President of the United States and Congress understand that people like you and the scientists studying this think the city of New Orleans could very possibly disappear?
WALTER MAESTRI: I think they know that, I think that they've been told that. I don't know that anybody, though, psychologically, you know has come to grips with that as-- as a-- a potential real situation. Just like none of us could possibly come to grips with the loss of the World Trade Center. And it's still hard for me to envision that it's gone. You know and it's impossible for someone like me to think that the French Quarter of New Orleans could be gone.
Scientists say that a hurricane of category 4 or higher would devastate the city, and the current levees and drainage measures would be rendered useless. "The biggest fear is a hurricane coming through Lake Ponchartrain with New Orleans being on the northeast quadrant of the storm's center," says Demas.
"When we get the big hurricane and there are 10,000 people dead, the city government's been relocated to the north shore of Lake Ponchartrain, refugee camps have been set up and there $10 billion plus in losses, what then?" he asks.
That's December, 2000. It begs the question of what could have been done. Perhaps nothing.
Edited to provide CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE -- my email source for the above link found it reported first by the inimitable billmon.org .
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
The long-term public health risks, for instance, are enormous, but we can't even get to those issues while there are still thousands in need of evacuation -- though that hasn't stopped some partisans on my side from some shameful Monday morning quarterbacking.
Yesterday indicated that you wanted us to keep the community going amid all this, and this thread will remain open for all New Orleans and Mississippi-related discussion. But if it's a little quiet on other fronts, I think that's okay.
In the meantime, help the Red Cross. Now.
Artie's chronic was spotted in his car during a traffic stop; shouldn't he have learned from Paul that you step outside to smoke yourself a J?
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
"If you get into this (music) business, and you fall in love with this business, you'll go broke," Mix-A-Lot said via telephone en route to a show in Minneapolis. "You have to hate it to survive in it, because the business doesn't love you."
So Mix-A-Lot, whose real name is Anthony Ray, uses the business as best he can. He's a do-it-yourself success story who does what it takes to be able to afford his freedom. The Target commercial rap, which he wrote, is a prime example.
"I told them initially I didn't want to do it," he said of the "I Like Backpacks" spot. "They wrote this rap and brought it to me, and I'm like, 'What the (expletive) is this?' "
He asked the company what they wanted in the commercial and wrote the rap himself instead. Why?
"When a guy starts offering you getting up into six figures for something that takes you two days to do …"
I did want to note a few things: (1) So long, Jonnis and Sandra. Jonnis was outclassed from the first, but Sandra had some talent. I think she freaked viewers out with her stalkerlike intensity. Unsurprisingly, the heavily pimped and deeply lovable but thus far not so much with the good dancing Allan was the top vote getter among the bottom six dancers. (2) As I'd hoped, the judges are rotating on a weekly basis, so the panel is always comprised of Nigel plus three of the five Hollywood choreographers. Those who don't judge in a given week are on deck for choreography. (3) Dude. The quickstep is hard, yo. It's decidedly unfair that Blake and Destini get partnered for the second week in a row and receive lyrical (their respective specialty) for the second week in a row while poor Jamile, Nick, and Michelle have five days to learn from scratch the dance that everyone agrees is the most difficult in all of ballroom dancing.
This week's bottom six:
- Snow and Jamile -- Snow danced beautifully, ballroom being her thing and all, but the bottom six are chosen based on partnership, and Snow's just couldn't hack the quickstep.
- Nick and Michelle -- Their quickstep was an improvement on Snow and Jamile's, but again, the quickstep just ain't something you pick up in a week.
- Craig and Melody -- They were partnered two weeks in a row and should have been okay, but their hip hop was apparently insufficiently street for the judges.
Among the girls, it's an easy call: Michelle should go. For the guys, however, it's a tougher call, as all three of them are quite talented. Nick has a shot at winning the competition, but I doubt the other two do. My guess is that Craig and his beautifully white shiny teeth will be packing their toothbrush and heading home.
Gee, do you think it will turn out well for Michael?
Monday, August 29, 2005
I will confess that although I watched Electric Company religiously throughout my childhood, I don't remember a lot of specifics. The skit that has always stuck in my head was Letterman: "Faster than a rolling O -- more powerful than silent E -- able to leap a capital T in a single bound!"
Now all I need is a boxed set for Land of the Lost, and I'll be all set. (Marshall, Will, and Holly on a routine expedition . . . )
The great Live Concert Moment is born of something heartfelt and in some important way spontaneous. Not necessarily made up on the spot -- although that's never a bad idea -- but improvised to some degree. You might catch something similar in Boston next week, but it won't be exactly what happened in D.C. This is what sets a great concert apart from a great album. It's about music, but it's also about an experience that's ephemeral and communal, that you share for a couple hours with a bunch of strangers who, at some level, you feel like you know because they have the same idiotic glint in their eye when the lights come up. It's the sense that this whole evening means as much to the band as it does to you. It's great songs multiplied by killer performance multiplied by giddy fan reaction.
I've been chasing these Moments since I was 12 years old, and, during my four years as rock critic at The Post, I hunted them the way Ahab chased the white whale. I looked everywhere -- in stadiums, arenas, clubs, basements, studios, garages, even parking lots. It didn't happen often, but on a few unforgettable occasions, I stumbled into a Moment. Finding one just made me crave another.
For me, the pop critic job was a cheap way to feed an old habit. I'd been buying records and "wooooo"-ing at concerts ever since I laid eyes on Elvis Costello in 1977, when he sang on "Saturday Night Live." Pigeon-toed and decked out in a cheap suit and twerpy glasses, he started a song called "Less Than Zero," then, after a moment or two, very dramatically halted the band, shouted some weird apology to the crowd and then launched into "Radio, Radio."
I was a goner. I loved the sound, the song, the drama, the sense that this excitable nerd had taken control of the show and seemed ready to run it into a ditch. He looked like the future of music, a guy who could crash a very dull party and turn it into something that would scare your parents. I wanted to meet him, even though I had the sense that he wouldn't like me, that he wouldn't like anyone, himself included. When I bought his debut album, "My Aim Is True," it wouldn't leave me alone. For a while, my friend J.P. and I were so reverently attached to Costello that we instituted a rule: No leaving the room when Elvis Costello is playing. That would be disrespectful.
One random one from my memories: Guns n'Roses, Use Your Illusion pre-tour during the summer of 1991. Tickets had gone on sale just days before the event itself. Epic set filled with songs we'd heard of but never heard (does anyone else remember the hype "November Rain" received before the release?), and I just remember late in the show Slash taking the solo he was doing into a five minute rendition of the Godfather theme. I'm sure he had done it before and since, but it was awesome.
Also, Lollapalooza 1994, Philadelphia. Just before the Pumpkins came on to close the show, out strolls Courtney Love in her first musical appearance since Kurt's death. Solo guitar, "Doll Parts" and "Miss World", then leaves by saying "Thanks, now Billy's gonna come out here and not suck." V. emotional. Pure Courtney.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
So, what did I miss? What'll be worth watching on the replay, and what can I safely FF past?
We here at Cheapass Games are aware of two basic facts about games: they cost too much, and they are at some level all the same.
If you ignore the clever shapes they come in, the cheap little plastic pawns are an interchangeable part of most of the board games in your house. So are the dice, the money, the counters, the pencils, and just about every other random spare part. These generic bits and pieces can account for as much as 75% of a game's production cost, and that cost gets handed to you. . . .
Cheapass Games come with the bare essentials: boards, cards, and rulebooks. If you need anything else, we'll tell you. And it's probably something you can scrounge from a game you already own, or buy at a hobby store for less than "they" are charging you for it. Heck, if you need to, you can even buy the parts from us.
And the games are both cheap and clever. U.S. Patent No. 1, a game where you try to be first to patent your time machine in the face of any number of competitors, Kill Doctor Lucky, which asks the important question: "why do mystery games all start after the fun is over?" And One False Step for Mankind:
California: 1849. Where the mayors of stupidly rich Gold Rush towns can squander the resources of their citizens on pretty much whatever they want.
This month, it's a race to the Moon. Will it work? Probably not. The real goal is to earn enough votes to become governor. But it seems the best way to impress your constituents is by doing something grotesquely stupid and dangerous, like blasting them into space. It's one false step for Mankind, one giant leap for you.And there's hardly a game more than $8, most considerably less. So if you are looking a novel way to blow an evening at home, give these guys a whirl.