July 31, 2006
They Say It's Your Birthday
A rocket launched. An astronaut stepped onto the moon, planting a flag. After a few jagged chords and smacks of a snare, the camera cut to a mop-headed, former WMMR-FM DJ named Mark Goodman, who sat on a desk, arms folded, announcing, "This is it! Welcome to MTV, music television, the world's first, 24-hour, stereo music-video channel."
Yes, MTV once played music videos. That was hip back then. But turning 25 isn't so hip, apparently, which is why MTV is staying in on its birthday, with no plans to mention the occasion. Not everyone's happy.
But, back to our story. The first clip to air on this new cable network was a statement both ironic and prophetic: "Video Killed The Radio Star" by the Buggles.
A quarter century later, MTV has done a bit more than kill (or make) the radio star. It's Rocked the Vote, and forced the president of the United States to specify whether he wears boxers or briefs (Usually briefs, Clinton answered). It's popularized a jump-cut sensibility to the attention-deficited visuals of our time. It can be thanked for reality TV. Entertainment Weekly went further this week:
"The trailblazing cable network wouldn't just influence top 20 lists, it would do everything from dictate fashion trends to sway political elections."
How precocious was the network? At the moment of its launch, original co-host Nina Blackwood told EW, New York City didn't even have cable.
For all of its revolutionary power, MTV began a lot like a TV on the radio, with five peppy announcers, called VJs for video jockeys, playing a tight list of songs in set rotations. Outside of Philly, only one had a well-known name: J.J. Jackson had recorded a decent version of "It's All Right."
Here's a good question for Quizzo: What was the second song played on MTV? An Ask Yahoo Q & A yields this answer:
After the Buggles, the channel aired five spots introducing MTV's veejays (the spots were played in the wrong order). Then the next music video was broadcast -- the tune was "You Better Run" by Pat Benatar. Some fumbling and dead air followed these first two videos, as engineers and veejays scrambled to play videos in the right order. Eventually, the MTV team got their act together and became one of the decade's biggest influences on popular music.
You can watch those first moments here, on YouTube. Or revisit the whole first day of programming, starting at midnight Monday on VH1 Classic.
What's been MTV's footprint? Nothing you'd want to hum. Five years ago, when Time Magazine music critic Christopher Farley took questions on CNN.com, he didn't start off talking about the music, when he talked of the network's influence:
It's really had an effect on reality programming. When you think about "Real World," it was sort of the godfather to other reality programming we see on TV today. Shows like "Survivor," and shows that MTV would probably not be that proud to be the godfather of, like "Fear Factor" on NBC, and "Big Brother" on CBS.
A chat participant asked him why the network had moved away from videos, Farley replied:
MTV doesn't play as many videos because, apparently, pure video programming doesn't always garner good ratings. So although their image is that of a video station, mainly they play a lot of original programming, shows like "Spider Games," the "Real World," of course, "Road Rules," and a number of other shows that really aren't even worth watching.
Videos didn't turn out to be "sticky" in the language of TV programmers; a kid with a wandering eye could easily click around out if he or she didn't like a song. Story lines would be harder to shake.
Landmark moments MTV has delivered, like the airing of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" in 1983, making it the first song by a black artist to gain play on the network. Nine months later, John Landis directed a record-setting $1.1 million video for the 14-minute "Thriller."
The Music Video Awards debuted the next year, with Madonna performing "Like A Virgin" dressed up like a wicked wedding cake. The network's love affair with Madonna would continue until 1989, when "Like A Prayer" proved to be the first of several controversial videos from the singer. (Here's MTV viewer's own list of most-controversial videos, via IndieBlogHeaven.)
MTV turned a corner with 1988's "Yo! MTV Raps." Soon the two-hour weekend show would command six days of weekly programming. Did they have a little influence on the hip-hopping of suburban hoods?
The network would give us "The Real World," Beavis and Butt-head, Carson Daly, Johnny Knoxville, the Osbournes, Nick and Jessica. No wonder they don't need to show videos any more.
Ok, quiz time. Think you can complete a list of the first 10 videos played a quarter century ago on MTV? Guess a couple? Yes, there was Rod Stewart. No, not the song that came to my mind.
Sirius, which has brought together the four remaining VJs for a show on its Big 80s channel at 10 a.m. Tuesday, (that's Goodman, Blackwood, Alan Hunter and Martha Quinn) provided us with a list of the first day of programming.
There's a Philly guy, a British never-was (at least over here), a couple of '70s remnants and one smart-sounding, three-letter band that doesn't ring a bell.
Click "continue reading" to see if you know your Ahas from your AC/DCs.
a1. Video Killed The Radio Star, the Buggles.
2. You Better Run, Pat Benatar
3. She Won't Dance, Rod Stewart
4. You Better You Bet, the Who
5. Little Susie's on The Up, PHD.
6. We Don't Talk Any More, Cliff Richard
7. Brass In Pocket, The Pretenders
8. Time Heals, Todd Rundgren
9. Take In On The Run, REO Speedwagon
10. Rockin The Paradise, Styx.
If You Had A Life This Weekend
That Philadelphians, described a mere seven years ago as America's most porked-out people, have vaulted to the 23rd most in-shape, according to Men's Fitness. Phillyist writes: And who's to credit for our Charlie Brown-esque rise to 23rd place? None other than Mayor John Street, of course. Besides naming his friend Gwen Foster as Philadelphia's "fitness czar," he helped create the program "Health Journey," which encourages "travel buddies" to "travel to exotic places including fictional places such as Las Veggies, Nev.; Hon-A-Lose-It, Hawaii; and Fitadelphia."
That we like boobs a lot, according to Gridskipper. Writing about the Boobies exhibit at the Falling Cow Art Gallery in South Street, Gridskipper shows it knows its Fug lyrics. Philadelphia Weekly shows it doesn't mind using the word boobies: There'll be blinging boobies, double-D boobies, frosted boobies, battling boobies, sisters' boobies, cascading boobies, animal-topped boobies, Land O' Lakes boobies—hell, there'll even be three boobies you get to “examine.” Neither do we. The show, which benefits breast cancer research, runs through Aug. 26.
That Owen Wilson don't remember the queen of soul. At least he doesn't remember Steely Dan or their song "Hey Nineteen." Or so he says in his back-at-you reply to the Dan's Becker and Fagen, who've accused him of ripping off their "Cousin Dupree" song and turning it into a lame movie. I agree with the Huffington Post commenter who'd like to see a flick based on Steely Dan's "Don't Take Me Alive." "Throw Back The Little Ones" would work, too, if anyone knew what it was about. Read the lyrics. (I did just hear "Cousin Dupree" on the radio, meaning this whole thing is working as planned.)
That not only are there more than 5,000 members of a Myspace group dedicated to loving the Wawa, but there are several other online groups for fans of the Pa.-based convenience stores. Apparently, it's not the ice tea or the vinegar potato chips. It's the service, sayeth the New York Times.
That there is a blog that keeps track of Condoleezza Rice's hair.
And, since you are probably back to work as you read this, that the Guardian news blog went out and found Ten Gadgets That Would Get You Fired. We, too, are partial to the under-the-desk microbrewery.
July 30, 2006
Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle to the Yankees for reliever Matt Smith, and three prospects, including New York's No. 1 pick in 2005, shortstop C.J. Henry. The others: minor league catcher Jesus Sanchez and right-hander Carlos Monasterios.
Beerleaguer's verdict: Bobby Abreu arrived in Philadelphia in one of the most lopsided deals in Phillies history. As it turns out, that's probably how he will depart.
ESPN's Keith Law: The Yankees get a big OBP boost and the best fifth starter they've had all year, and they did it by using money (of which they have a lot) instead of prospects (of which they have few once you exclude Philip Hughes and Jose Tabata). The Phillies, meanwhile, get some salary relief for 2007, but not much else.
ESPN's Jayson Stark and Buster Olney were first to report Sunday afternoon that the Phillies veterans were to be fitted for pinstripes. The Yanks would take on all of Abreu's and Lidle's contracts.
First reaction on the PhilliesPhans board from FloppedTheNuts:
And this deal is officially worse than the Rolen and Schilling deals.
Great move Pat.
Jake V wrote:
Does this mean the Yanks had to pick up Abreu's 2008 option after all?
The only way this deal doesn't stink is if the following two things happen:
1. Abreu declines for the rest of his contract
2. Gillick makes something great happen with the money saved.
If not, it's a dog.
Abreu is gone after nearly nine years as a Phillie. Lidle, who has won four games in a row, was to be a free agent after the season.
By email, reader Dave of Trenton writes to Blinq:
The Phillies got absolute garbage for Abreu. A 27-year-old relief pitcher prospect and a SS prospect who's hitting .237 in low class A ball. Okay, so they don't have to pay Bobby $15.5 million next year, but Pat Gillick better get an ace pitcher and a proven lead off hitter this offseason.
But he does leave this gift, a link to something purporting to be the 20-year-old C.J. Henry's MySpace page.
Phillies Nation gathered these stats earlier this month, as Abreu's tenure in Philadelphia looked over, making a case for the right-fielder being an all-time Phillies great:
Reports have been flying all over the place today.
The New York Daily News reported this morning that Abreu's agent had freed the Phillies to lift his no-trade clause, allowing the outfielder to be sent to the Yankees, Mets or Red Sox. The latest report from the tabloid put the Yanks in front of the race, and talked about the Phils receiving reliever Scott Proctor and some prospects in exchange for Abreu and pitcher Jon Lieber.
Abeu, set to start today after a day off, was pulled from the line-up ten minutes before the game against the Marlins began. Abreu was shown hugging players in the dugout.
Fox Sports, meanwhile, has been reporting the deal is for Abreu and pitcher Cory Lidle.
And Olney, in ESPN's Insider, wrote:
"Late last night, the Yankees were moving toward the completion of trade talks for Bobby Abreu, but having some internal dialogue about whether Abreu is worth the money. It is becoming apparent that the Yankees could have an Abreu deal they can accept or reject, because it really is down to dollars, and the Yankees almost never let dollars get in the way of something they really want. We'll see if they take on Abreu and his contract, and if the Phillies, in the end, are willing to dump Abreu."
The Phillies have been insisting on not paying any of the $17.5 million remaining on Abreu's guarantee. (At least I think that is the amount. I've read a dozen stories and not see the same figure reported. That's from Marcus Hayes at the Phila Daily News. MLB.com breaks it down this way: "The Yankees will assume Abreu and Lidle's contracts. Abreu is due $15 million in 2007, and has a $16-million option for 2008, or a $2 million buyout, plus the rest of this season's $13.5 million salary, while Lidle is in the second season of a two-year, $6.3 million contract he signed in 2004.")
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick quotes a source close to the deal as saying that the Phillies will pay Abreu $1.5 million in exchange for waiving the no-trade clause and accepting the condition that the Yankees will not pick up his option for 2007.
The NY Daily News report quoted the man hitting .277 for the season as telling The Morning Call:
"Of course, when you hear the Yankees, one of the best teams in baseball, and you hear the rumors it, makes you feel good. They have such great players. They have such a good team. That would not be such a bad situation."
The Daily News reported that the Phils had scaled-back their demands:
At first, however, Gillick was said to be asking for top prospects - Double-A pitcher Phil Hughes and Single-A outfielder Jose Tabata. Cashman repeatedly turned down those requests, believing that he should not have to give up top quality for a player whom Gillick wanted to move to cut salary (Abreu makes $13 million this season and $15 million next year).
Gillick, according to sources, kept his demands high until recently, when it's believed that he decided he had no chance to trade equally high-priced Pat Burrell. Faced with the prospect of keeping both, Gillick began to lower the price for Abreu. If Proctor is indeed included in the trade, it will be a controversial move for the Yanks since he has been one of their most reliable relievers.
Clout groused to Beerleaguer:
Slipping or not, Abreu is still an offensive force. Trading him for mediocre to poor prospects like Proctor & (Eric) Duncan would simply be a disguised salary dump. The problem with Lidle is he is a free agent at season's end and the Phillies don't intend to re-sign him. Thus they must deal him for whatever they can get. Bell was in that category and Lieberthal & Dellucci are too. I think a rebuilding team needs to move guys like that.
One was, however. Tim wrote:
i'd love proctor and duncan for abreu. proctor has huge value, not just to us, but to most teams in baseball, and duncan gives us a legit upperlevel prospect at 3b which we are lacking.
i can't wait to see what this team looks like next year. i predict a lot of playing time for victorino so gillick can decide if he will be their leadoff hitter or if he needs to go get one. his history - rickey henderson, ichiro - indicates that is a spot he covets, and i doubt jroll, as productive as he is (or will be when lower in the lineup), is gillicks guy for it.
finally we're seeing a real gm at work.
Can always expect Deadspin to find the most bizarre angle. It did, reminding readers of when Abreu's ex had that sex problem on Mexican TV.
Swing and a Miss's Tom Goodman bid a cool goodbye to David Bell yesterday. Then, in a comment below, found himself surprising moved by the third baseman's words.
How moved was Balls, Sticks & Stuff? Enough to create The David Bell Tribute Page. With photos.
I particularly like The America Gothic Bell.
Enrico at the 700 Level stuck with simplicity - a photo of Bell with a fork stuck in him.
Phillies Nation quickly cobbled this together about the prospects the Phillies acquired:
C. J. Henry, SS
B-T: R-R . . . 6-3, 205 . . . Born: May 31, 1986, Oklahoma City, OK . . . Resides: Oklahoma City . . . Originally selected by the Yankees in the first round (17th player overall) of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft . . . Was named the 2005 Oklahoma High School Player of the Year and also named by Baseball America as a first-team High School All American . . . Hit .481 at Putnam City High School in 2005 with 13 home runs and 41 RBI in 37 games.
Henry is hitting .232 in 76 games for the Charleston RiverDogs in the single-A South Atlantic League. He has 19 doubles, three triples and two home runs with 33 RBI and 35 runs scored. After hitting .211 through the first two months, Henry is hitting .254 in the last two months, collecting 11 of his doubles and 21 of his RBI. He will be assigned to single-A Lakewood, also of the South Atlantic League.
Henry made his pro debut last summer with the Yankees’ rookie-level Gulf Coast League team, hitting .249 in 48 games. Baseball America named him the fourth-best prospect in the Yankees organization after the season.
Matt Smith, LHP
B-T: L-L . . . 6-4, 220 . . . Born: June 15, 1979, Las Vegas, NV . . . Resides: Henderson, NV . . . Originally selected by the Yankees in the fourth round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft out of Oklahoma State University . . . Was the school’s all-time strikeout leader (348 over three years) when selected.
Smith has relieved for both the Yankees and triple-A Columbus this season. He began the season with Columbus, was promoted after three scoreless appearances and relieved three times in the majors, returned to Columbus, recalled again on June 4 and back to triple-A on July 4.
Smith pitched a total of 12.0 scoreless innings for the Yankees over 12 games, allowing four hits and eight walks while striking out nine. With Columbus, he went 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 24 games.
Last season, Smith was converted from a starter to a reliever while splitting time between double-A Trenton and Columbus. He was 3-1 with a 1.55 ERA in 18 appearances at Trenton before moving up to Columbus’ bullpen where he was 2-0 with a 2.60 ERA in 25 appearances. He also pitched for Grand Canyon in the Arizona Fall League and for Team USA on the Olympic Qualifying team.
Jesus Sanchez, C
B-T: R-R . . . 5-11, 160 . . . Born: September 24, 1987, Valencia, VZ . . . Resides: Valencia . . . Originally signed by the Yankees as an amateur free agent, July 2, 2004.
Playing for the Gulf Coast Yankees this season, Sanchez was hitting .264 in 23 games with five doubles and 10 RBI. He had eight multi-hit games. He made his professional debut in 2005 with the Yankees’ team in the Dominican Summer League.
Carlos Monasterios, RHP
B-T: R-R . . . 6-2, 175 . . . Born: August 17, 1985, Miranda, VZ . . . Resides: Miranda . . . Originally signed by the Yankees as an amateur free agent, September 22, 2004.
Monasterios was also pitching for the Gulf Coast Yankees. He was 1-2 with a 2.97 ERA in seven games (three starts). In 30.1 innings, he allowed 23 hits while walking three and striking out 24. Opponents were batting .207 against him. He, too, made his debut in the Dominican Summer League last season, going 1-1 with a 0.59 ERA in 13 games.
Both Sanchez and Monasterios will be assigned to Single-A Clearwater.
Mel Gibson took heat back in 2003 when a New York Times Magazine profile of his father, quoted the elder Hutton Gibson, leader of a traditionalist Catholic movement, as denying that six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust.
I never felt the son should pay for the views of the father. Even if I left The Passion of the Christ thinking the boy had some issues.
A celebrity Web site called TMZ.com has published portions of a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department handwritten report after the star's arrest on suspicion of drunk driving Friday morning. Gibson is described as being abusive, shouting anti-Jewish slurs, like - "the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," saying he owned Malibu and trying to escape from custody.
Andrew Sullivan writes on his Time blog: "Either this is an extremely elaborate hoax or it's the end of Gibson's career."
The Los Angeles Times on Sunday quotes "a source close to the investigation" as saying that the document is authentic. The paper reports that the department's civilian oversight office will probe whether Gibson received preferential treatment. On Friday, a Sheriff's Department spokesman had told reporters that Gibson was arrested earlier that day in Malibu "without incident." The arresting deputy's report has not been released to the public.
Gibson was stopped at 2:30 Friday morning after a deputy watched his Lexus LS traveling the Pacific Coast Highway at more than 80 mph - nearly twice the speed limit. There was a bottle of Tequila in the car. Gibson's blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.12% - the state limit is 0.08%.
The Times wrote:
In the written pages posted on http://www.tmz.com , the arresting deputy — identified as James Mee — wrote that after cooperating at first, Gibson became "increasingly belligerent as he took stock of his predicament."
The deputy said he told Gibson "that if he remained cooperative, I would transport him without handcuffing."
Instead, he said, Gibson tried to flee back to his car. After he was subdued and handcuffed, the actor told the deputy: "You're going to regret you ever did this to me."
Gibson, the report continued, then said he "owned Malibu" and launched a "barrage of anti-Semitic remarks."
Those remarks included Gibson's statement that "the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," the report said. After that, Gibson allegedly asked the deputy: "Are you a Jew?"
Saturday Gibson issued a statement apologizing for his "despicable" behavior during the arrest. He did not specify what he had said or done.
"I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested," the statement reads, "and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable. I am deeply ashamed of everything I said."
His statement acknowledges he has battled alcoholism as an adult, and added, "I … profoundly regret my horrific relapse. I apologize for any behavior unbecoming of me in my inebriated state and have already taken necessary steps to ensure my return to health."
Marty at Booman Tribune empathizes, to a point:
When I get drunk I'm known to make flippant remarks. Nothing too embarrassing. Sometimes an apology is required. To date, I've never become so unhinged as to ask a cop: "What do you think you're looking at, sugar tits?", but I'm still young.
He leaves on this point:
I've come to the conclusion that if someone makes a grand display of their piety that the chances are very strong that they are a deeply immoral and disturbed individual.
Of course, Jesus said the same thing.
If anyone you know is suffering from the weather, which is expected to feel like 100 degrees for a few days, tell them about the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging's heatline. It's 215-765-9040, and was activated Saturday at 2 p.m. The heatline will stay staffed until Wednesday, or until the National Weather Service calls off its excessive heat warning.
The heatline is a counseling service. City Health Department nurses take the calls. They're able to dispatch mobile relief teams and notify 911 for emergencies. It's not a number to call for fans or air conditioners.
I learned of the site while house-sitting for a neighbor Saturday. Linda Riley works for the PCA, and I should have known she was sensitive to the heat, when she sat me down in a wicker chair on the corner of her porch and handed me an ice tea. Decaf.
"No sodas with caffeine, no alcohol," she began. It got worse. "A fan is not your friend in this weather if you're in a closed room."
"If it's only blowing hot air, it's dehydrating you. It takes away your sweat, which is a natural coolant, and makes you sweat some more."
Linda gave a few cheap and easy suggestions for how to beat the heat if you have no air conditioning. Get on a Septa bus. Bring an ID, and it's free for seniors, off-peak. Or go to a movie. If you're house-bound, plop your feet in a bucket of cold water. Place a cold towel or an ice pack on the back of your neck.
"Water's the best thing," she said. "Take a shower or a cool bath. Drink lots of water. No mint juleps. Sorry."
And tell grandma to stay out of that fountain.
July 27, 2006
Check Out Any Time You Like
There's The Black Crowes and The Black Ox Orkestar, Fiona Apple, Damien Rice and The Teeth, Genghis Tron and Lake Trout, The Adolescents and The Editors - all sorts of acts coming around this weekend that are made for word play. Some we'd even stand in line to hear. It's the weekend already in Kamchatka, so let's drop the needle on our weekend music grab:
Her story could be captioned Exhibit A in the case for the power of musical netroots. Fiona Apple's third album was going nowhere, shelved by Sony, when songs started leaking onto the Web. First two, then all 11. Fans and critics raved. A guerrilla campaign, called Free Fiona, which involved the mass mailing of foam apples, helped win the record's release. And so last October, the label finally released Extraordinary Machines. And it was extraordinary. The emotive waif with the emerald eyes comes to town Friday to play the Tweeter Center. Listen to this feature/interview from NPR upon the CD's October release. This would be a good show if it were Fiona alone. But you get Damien Rice opening for her, and David Garza opening for him. Rice is the Irishman, whose tender "Cold Water" was used to such strong effect in The Girl In The Cafe. It's from 2003's winning O.
(Update: got a fan who hated her recently write into the comment section below. Anyone want to offer an opinion of Friday's show???)
Speaking of big bills - The waterfront will be musically purling once again this weekend, and my pick would be the Black Crowes, Drive-by Truckers and Robert Randolph - mostly because I have never seen the Drive-by Truckers in person, though I've gotten a hold of a few live songs of theirs over the years, and have heard tale of their three-guitars, play-it-all-night-long ethos. For a taste of the Truckers, hell, for a whole show, visit the Live Archive. Might want to start with a January concert back at the 40 Watt Club in Athens, Ga. For download or stream.
Where has Freedy Johnson gone? So begins a recent post at IndieBogHeaven that I can get behind - he had quite the streak about a decade ago, peaking with "Can You Fly," which Robert Christgau once called "a perfect album." He's supporting the release of a new (but old) live CD, and back in town Saturday night at the Tin Angel.
Double bill, at the TLA Saturday finds Lake Trout opening for The Editors. Let's pay attention to the editors first, because editors demand that. Some, such as Kiss Atlanta, have called them a lab-made concoction of Interpol, Joy Division and Bloc Party parts. Others, like me, just find them interesting. I'd hunt down "Munich," the acoustic version, before returning to Kiss Atlanta to hear what it sounds like layered. Lake Trout? Here's a live show/interview for download from WOXY.com. Their MySpace page is well stocked, too.
As a bonus (Mondays aren't the weekend, but this IS a break-up tour) here's something to consider if you're heading to the Starlight Lounge for Sleater-Kinney's Philly farewell. RBally found this God knows where, a live show, posted in its entirely, by Jennings in honor of what he calls the greatest rock band in America.
Words To Write By
A strong, defined personality with a sense of humor about themselves. An ability to filter news quickly and to recognize, you know, what is interesting to other people as well as interesting to themselves, and finding the balance between those things.
But that, she concedes, was so six months ago. Now?
What I think is changing is that people have now become addicted to the rapid update. You know, the not just 12 times a day; 18 times a day, 24 times a day. And it’s almost physically impossible for one person to do that.
So group blogs are the latest thing, she says, meaning the talents of today must play well with others.
Hair Today II
Actually, this picture is from an earlier stint in the organization.
Fasano was traded to the Yankees Wednesday for a minor-league second baseman named Hector Made.
And like Johnny Damon, Sal had to trim his locks. He also took the Fu Manchu in a little bit.
Why? George's rules. Philebrity found this on the Yankees Wikipedia page:
Dress Code: Under George Steinbrenner, long hair and facial hair below the lip are prohibited.
Sal should have pulled a Rollie Fingers and said he'd only go if Steinbrenner shaved his head.
From the Journal News:
Fasano had a Fu Manchu mustache and hair nearly to his shoulders when he was with the Phillies. He now has a more conservative mustache and much shorter hair, as per the rules of his new club. ...
The Yankees are Fasano's seventh team since 2000.
"You're an animal sometimes and you go from zoo to zoo," he said.
Anyone expecting a Sampson-like let-down in Sal's strengths will be disappointed. He went one for three in his NY debut against the Rangers.
The 700 Level's got a photo of pin-striped Sal in action. Some sort of action.
Out Of The Closet
Santana's Lotus, Live in Japan? $80.
The Stones' Exile on Main Street with those 12 postcards, mint? $120.
Popsike tells you what your rare vinyl might fetch on eBay. Based on 250,000 prior sales.
No Bustle in Your HedgeRow?
The Boston Phoenix goes where many have gone before - the 32 worst lyrics of all time - but go with snotty style. Like:
THE SONG: Train “Drops of Jupiter”
THE LYRIC: “Can you imagine no first dance, freeze dried romance five-hour phone conversation /The best soy latte that you ever had . . . and me”
THE VERDICT: First we’re traveling in space all fine and dandy, then he starts name-dropping fads from the year 2000 as if it’s a VH1 special and he's Hal Sparks. Soy Lattes? Tae Bo? Yes, Venus did blow our minds.
Or, taking on my favorite of all time:
THE SONG: America, "A Horse With No Name"
THE LYRIC: "There were plants and birds and rocks and things"
THE VERDICT: What, did he get tired? Rocks and things? Try a @#$% cactus. Dirt? bugs?
July 26, 2006
Silence From The Left
Where has the left been since violence erupted in the Middle East?
The editor of The Forward, the 109-year-old Jewish newspaper published in New York, has found bloggers on the right to be "going on about those horrible Muslims, the horrible Arabs," yet on the left "there's been an unwillingness to get into it."
J.J. Goldberg's paper reported on the silence from the left last week. Jennifer Siegel wrote:
...As the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah raged on and conventional media outlets covered the news from the ground, major players in the liberal blogosphere were keeping, by their own admission, decidedly quiet.
The most prominent liberal blogger, Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, briefly addressed the topic Monday on his eponymous Web site DailyKos.com, in a post titled "Why I won't write about the Israel/ Lebanon/ Palestine fighting."
This is "a morass of a mess of a disaster of a quagmire of a sinkhole," Kos wrote. "It doesn't matter what the President of the United States says. Or the United Nations. Or the usual bloviating gasbag pundits."
A newspaper friend calls it "The Third Rail." Nothing I wrote in a quarter century generated the heated correspondence I attracted in two months of covering the Second Intifada from Jerusalem in 2002. All sides went after me with brickbats and honey, derision and praise - never losing focus of the need to draw my point of view closer to theirs.
No assignment I've encountered requires more strength and smarts - or tougher skin. All words go under a microscope and onto a scale. I invited everyone with such strong opinions to drop by the region for a fresh look -- about 200 people died during my tour, and I got tired of armchair surety. I tried to answer every email. Many wound up being posted in listserves. I grew more savvy about sharing my words.
The Forward reporter also contacted Josh Marshall of TalkingPointsMemo.com, Kevin Drum of the Washington Monthly and Matt Stollar of MyDD.com, and each acknowledged a reluctance to write about the subject "for reasons that included both the vehemence of rhetoric from readers on both sides, and the difficulty of commenting on the rare issue that truly divides liberals."
The "venom... is just, from my personal experience, just a whole order of magnitude greater than with garden variety political topics," Marshall told the Forward.
The piece also quotes Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of The New Republic, who rejects the argument that the events are too complex to lend themselves to blog treatment.
He wrote the Forward by email: "Maybe the problem is not complexity but complication — the way in which sympathy with Israel's campaign against Hezbollah, and therefore with the use of force, might complicate their lives in progressiveland, where they live."
Atrios, too, has been quiet on the latest Middle East front. Today the popular Philly southpaw quotes from a post by The Poor Man Institute, introduced with "Finally somebody gets it right so I don't have to try:"
I’ve said nothing about war in Lebanon or Ethiopia because I have nothing to add, and also because - as you may or may not be aware - the United States is actually involved in a hugely bloody war right now, and this is more of a pressing concern to me personally. I don’t know the secret formula for unshitting any of these beds - I promise I wouldn’t be shy if I did - but I currently only have to sleep in one of them; and, as it turns out, that’s the one bed where I actually have some minuscule chance of influencing the situation. So that’s my concern.
I've found one prominent lefty voice to be crying loudly in the tall cedars - Billmon, the progressive Philadelphia blogger and former business journalist, who writes at Whiskey Bar and who has long gone his own way.
He thinks the Israelis are in danger of losing both the war and the war for public opinion.
Thursday morning update: Some bloggers have responded to this post. Here's what they're writing:
First reaction came from Conspiracy, What Conspiracy? a right-leaning blog from Philadelphia. The blogger, Logan, has a couple thoughts why liberals haven't been hammering conservatives for what they've been writing about the conflict:
1.) While , the Palestinians have been a left wing favorite and by extension Hezbollah they don’t want to alienate the Jewish base that is notoriously Democrat.
2.) To come out strongly either for or against War over there weakens them in Iraq. You’re like WTF right?
Here’s my reasoning on both points. Jewish Americans statistically vote and donate very heavily to the Democratic party (I don’t know why since the Repubs are much better friends, they just do), to look weak on Israel’s right to exist and defend itself would seriously hurt the Dem’s coffers AND weaken them in the blue northeast states. If they come out strongly for Israel fighting terrorist Hezbollah it weakens their arguement on pulling troops out of Iraq. If they come out strongly against Israel hammering Hezbollah then they look very weak on the war against Islamic Jihadists. Repubs will bash them with stones either way. The best democratic tact might be to try and remain as silent as possible on it....
it’s important to remember that the left blogosphere is facing a huge conundrum here. Defend the civilians of Lebanon in Beruit, Tyre, etc and by this defense stand against the civilians of Israel in Haifa, Sderot, etc. Or do they do the opposite? See, the problem they face? The right has it much easier, see we don’t look at this as “civillians being hurt” we look at this as “War on Terror”. Yeah we realize that civilians are getting hurt but we realize that to stand by and do/say nothing is to give the terrorists aid by our silence. Something the left still needs to learn.
Downstairs (literally) at the Daily News, Will Bunch reacts on Attytood:
Frankly, we're not so sure that liberals are so divided on this. Call us crazy, but some progressives have this thing about senseless warfare and killing, especially when it's been going on for ages. Bloggers tend to be at their passionate best when they choose a side, like the case of Lamont v. Lieberman.
In this showdown, do you back the folks who kidnapped a couple of soldiers in the hope, frankly, of triggering wider bloodshed, and who launch inaccurate rockets into civilian neighborhoods, or do you support the people who manage to kill a lot more civilians, with lethal accuracy, who seemingly target ambulances and neutral UN observers and drop phosphorous bombs?
Some bloggers don't have a dog in that hunt. Can you blame them?
But while Mr Rubin might be concerned that the liberal bloggers are simply stepping very gingerly around the subject, I’d suggest that he got the reasons very wrong.
The liberal bloggers are shying away from the subject because they know that Israel is right about this one!
Oh, they’ll certainly abhor what they see as an excessive response from the Israelis, but they know, deep down, that Israel didn’t start this one.