Monday, January 02, 2006
All the clicks that are fit to hit
Our friend Neil Harvey retired from Web fixing, but he has re-emerged to give us this:
One of the big buzzes about the Transformers movie this weekend was that it's preceded by this trailer
Paramount is producing the movie for Bad Robot, which is J.J. Abrams' company (he did Alias and Lost), but there's no title, no real information and the credits flick by in a flash. Supposedly the title of the movie is "Cloverland" or "Clover Land" but that's believed to be a fake "working title." ( E.T., for example, was misleadingly called "A Boy's Life" until it wrapped, although it was always going to be E.T.).
Bootlegs of the preview kept appearing on the internet then and quickly getting yanked all weekend. There was speculation that this was really a trailer for the new "off the island" season of "Lost" (and the monster certainly sounds like the Dharma Initiative's Smoke Monster, but as "Lost" is supposed to debut in February, that's probably wrong.
Today it seems to have lighted for good at Apple, but there's definitely a mess-with-you approach to the marketing of whatever this is.
While I question the relative size of a certain piece of sculpture, it's a neat piece of post 9/11 thriller.
Marrone! Web fix wonders if David Chase enjoys this sort of thing? Wonders if he’ll ever say publicly what’s going on in this beautiful scene.
Obviously, someone for more knowledgeable about Roman mythology and far more obsessive than Web fix has broken this down in a fascinating way. That doesn't mean the blogger is right, but what the heck. We're posting it anyway. It's fun.
What are your thoughts? E-mail.
This should in no way be construed as an endorsement from Web fix of any presidential candidate. It is, however, close to genius. Watch Bill and Hill — and Johnny Sack!! — in this parody of "The Sopranos" finale.
The words "a circular sub" came up in a gentleman's experience. He could not stop thinking about it. He was compelled to make such a submarine sandwich. Here is the story of his journey, in words and photos.
Want live acoustic Radiohead? OK — here ya go.
We all know that Saturday Night Live sucks these days (aside from that, uh, item in a box). But as they say out in the country, "even a blind hog finds an acorn sometimes." And speaking of un-PC statements, SNL just rips into Mel Gibson with their take on the trailer for his new movie, "Apocalypto." It's classic.
This is all you need to do today — go to happytreefriends.atomfilms.com. It is a benign-looking little cartoon that turns out to be about as twisted as it gets. I laughed so hard that my boss told me to shut up — first time that's ever happened.
Who doesn' t like Rube Goldberg devices? You know, those elaborate contraptions made up of household items? Like, the sun hits the magnifying glass and lights the candle which burns the string which drops the anvil on the see-saw and bounces the confetti up into the air.
Personally, my favorite Rube Goldberg device is the breakfast machine in "Pee-wee's Big Adventure," but here is an R.G.D. with a body count. It's built around the videogame "Half-Life 2" and it involves steel girders, cables, exploding barrels, playground equipment, boxcars and some very unfortunate little men.
If you like your videogames in a mellower groove, maybe pop on some Aphex Twin or some Floyd and check out The Falling Sand Game. No, it's nothing like "Let's Count Sand." It's actually a lot more entertaining (and addictive) than it sounds and kind of like a pacifist version of the old Atari game, "Missile Command."
Yeah, yeah, yeah, "Brokeback Mountain" parodies have been done to death. But if you haven't seen this one, which lampoons "Brokeback Mountain" and the "Back to the Future" movies, check it out. It's possibly the best of the bunch. But after that, no more!
With the show "Web Junk 20," VH-1 and iFilm totally ripped off our Web fix idea. Sort of. They, too, select stuff off the internet and highlight it for your perusal. Alas, they're generally a lot funnier. If you haven't seen the show, or if you missed last week's episode, here are two choice clips: "Kung Fu Audition Gone Wrong" which is funny but also sad because the guy face plants on the ground yet still makes a valiant-but-foolish-looking attempt to keep going; and "Bouncing Bear" in which animal control officers create a Rube Goldberg device of their own, with mixed results; it, too, is funny but also sad because it's amusing to see a bear flying through the air, but sad to see him land right on his snout.
Loungy covers: Nouvelle Vauge
I first heard about the French trio Nouvelle Vague last summer when I downloaded their cover of the Clash's "Guns of Brixton." The concept was novel -- an angry punk ode given the lounge treatment -- but the song I expected was infinitely better than the one I heard, which was surprisingly kind of dull.
That said, I recently stumbled onto the group's cover of Depeche Mode's "Just Can't Get Enough," which is also on their self-titled album, and I've been digging it all morning. It's the kind of song that makes you want to make a movie so you can use the tune over the opening credits.The always helpful Web site BetterPropaganda, which happily distributes free and legal downloads, has "Just Can't Get Enough" available and you can check it out here.
Everybody who watches "The Simpsons" has six or seven& dozen favorite moments. One of mine comes from the episode in which the Springfield power plant workers go on strike and Lisa sits by the picket line playing protest songs on an acoustic guitar. "Now play 'Classical Gas'!" says Carl, inexplicablyl, and Lisa launches into a pitch-perfect version of Mason Williams'strange, sweeping instrumental hit. That's really neither here nor there, but it came to mind when the Times'Pete Dybdahl sent me this link to a Web site devoted to the song -- complete with trivia, history, sundry tidbits and a cool photo of the tune being played on the Smothers Brothers Show in September, 1968 (check the photo: that's Glen Campbell sitting third from the left and then-"Brothers" show writer Steve Martin second from the right).
Art doesn't have to be some big, sprawling, Cristo-esque statement. Sometimes it can be something that simply fits into a tackle box. There's a museum devoted to such works, The Museum of Temporary Art, located in Cambridge . Check their website to get a glimpse of the exhibits and find out how to send them you pocket-sized masterpieces. And if you click the link quickly (shameless self-promotion) you can see two pieces submitted by the maverick, groundbreaking candlewax artist who goes by the same name as me.
At long last, your Web fix has returned! (cue the “Ode to Joy”)
Forgive me, readers, it’s been two weeks since my last Web fix and during that time I’ve searched high and wide for interesting things to post. I didn’t find much, though, so instead I’ll give you… llamas.
Jeannie, an avid young fan of this page, has been in touch lately. She keeps asking me to sign her copies of "The Catcher in the Rye " and "The Bell Jar." Alas, I'm afraid I'm neither J.D. Salinger nor Sylvia Plath, though like both of them, I do occasionally lock myself in the house for too long. The last time she wrote, she sent this and while I have absolutely no idea what it means – and I fear it has a distinct “MK Ultra” vibe to it -- it's got a nice beat and you can dance to it. But you have to dance fast.
Have you ever wanted to listen to a radio station programmed by a big AC/DC fan? Or a Beatle fan? Or a Tori Amos fan? Or an "insert your favorite artist here" fan? Now you can. The Music Genome Project presents Pandora.com, a hopelessly cool site in which you can plug in your favorite artist's name and it will spit out either tunes in the same groove, or music by that very band. For example, it's a little known fact that I'm a huge stalker of the Bee Gees, so I punched in the Bee Gees and they played: "With My Eyes Closed," by the Bee Gees, followed by "Caravan of Love" by the Isley Brothers, followed by "Sweet Sexy Thing" by NuFlavor; all the while, little pop-up windows explained why they were playing the particular songs they were playing. Anyway, after hearing NuFlavor, however, I suddenly remembered I only liked a few Bee Gees songs (mostly just "Jive Talkin'" once you get right down to it) so I punched in AC/DC instead.
“Clerks” fans, rejoice! Your sequel has arrived and it ain’t called "The Passion of the Clerks" no more. I could only get the teaser to play for a few seconds, then it locked up, but the movie apparently picks up 10 years after the original and it looks like all the old guys are back -- Smith, Mewes, Mosier, Jeff Anderson, Brian O'Halloran and Kevin’s wife. And they're bringing Miramax muse Rosario Dawson and Wanda Sykes, too, which is usually a good thing.
We’re coming up on a new year, and what better time to look back on the past.
So, all you little pet boy Sherman’s out there, hop into the Web Fix Wayback Machine with me (I get to be Peabody in this scenario; sorry) and take a gander at what Roanoke (aka the Star City, aka Big Lick) looked like long, long ago.
• • •
Remember spirographs? I always wanted one as a kid, but also always suspected that they were more complicated than the commercials indicated. Of course, that was back in the days of Captain Kangaroo and Romper Room and such. Now, we’ve got the internet and you can do a “Spiro graph” from the safety of your computerized monitorium – no pencils, papers or expensive kits required.
• • •
Here’s a nice little time waster that’s kind of along the lines of a spirograph, kind of trippy and kind of Martha Stewart, all at the same time. Next time you’re in the mood to arrange a Grateful Dead-style Pick-Me-Up bouquet, have at it.
I haven't done anything movie-centric for the past few weeks, so here's hollywoodelsewhere.com, home of the wise, straightforward and fiercely opinionated film critic Jeffrey Wells.
Wells tempers common sense ideas about film with a nice serrated edge. I've gone to his site for years and found all kinds of cool info about current movies as well as classics - his column pointed me toward movies such as "L'Eclisse," "Z Channel" and the stately, lysergic eeriness of "Castle Keep."
But lately he's been getting into internet broadcasting and posting audio: mish-mashes of classic film scores, general musings, interviews with other critics and with major filmmakers ("Syriana" director Steven Gaghan, and a chat between Noah Baumbach and Woody Allen, just to name two).
Even when he's just riffing on pop culture, he's got the laid-back vibe of a ‘70s So-Cal FM DJ so, if you're into film, it's pretty fascinating stuff.
• • •
A recent hollywoodelsewhere item focused on Spike Jonze's new ads for the Gap. The company is changing its look and its image and has hired wunderkind Jonze to give the renovation a fight-the-power, anti-capitalist edge.
Politics aside, though, it's always fun to see people smash stuff up real good.
• • •
Some people might tell you that this is pure nonsense.
Obviously, those people are working for The Organization.
Don't listen to them.
Don’t let them get ahold of your loose change and/or toenail clippings, either.
And make sure you use generic foil when fashioning your headgear. It's a well-known fact that the CIA has been tampering with the chemical structure of Reynolds Wrap since 1969. You know. In connection with the moon launch.
It's a shame that the Valleydale plant is closing. But we hope to stifle some of the sadness with a great link. If you're old enough to have seen the old Valleydale three pigs cartoon commercials. You could never forget them. If you didn't see them, here's your chance for some old-school advertising cheese.
With that breaking news out of the way, let's move on to our regularly scheduled fix.
In the interest of freshness and variety within the friendly neighborhood Web fix, I cast the net around the newsroom last week, asking for internet suggestions, and I caught a whole school of e-fish to serve up this week.
• Business writer Andrew Kantor sent in this twisted, glistening little beaut, www.showmeyourwound.com, and it’s exactly what the name implies: Lots and lots of nasty injuries, very considerately hidden from view until you choose to click on their descriptions. Nevertheless, enter with caution, obviously.
• Times librarian Belinda Harris offered up www.allgive.com, a site that donates money to the charities of your choice when you shop online at eBay, amazon, expedia.com and others. Check it out, it'll help take some of the guilt out of maxing-out your credit cards this holiday season.
• Shawna Morrison, the Times' education writer, suggested www.anagramsite.com, a site that discombobulates and re-combobulates words from their original form into amusing new terms. It was pointed out to me that "Neil Harvey," when anagram-ized, becomes "Hyena liver." It's also "Hi very lean" (which is accurate enough) and "Hair evenly" (which, unfortunately, is not). Alas, all the name-o-matic site could do to "Web fix" was make it "Fix web."
Ever wonder what it would be like if cartoon horses made sounds that resembled Aphex Twin transmuting a doo-wop vocal group? I'm absolutely positive that you have, but have you wondered what it would be like if you could make those horses sing whenever you wanted? Satisfy your jones for electronic singing cartoon horses at this strange but surprisingly engrossing little place on the Web.
Remember the mall of your youth?
Odds are, if you're old enough, that mall is either gone, fading into the past or revamped and upgraded beyond all recognition.
But there's a site out there that remembers the malls of long ago all too well.
It's called deadmalls.com, and it not only tells you everything you need to know about malls that have passed their glory days, it also features essays about specific malls, including a fascinating and wistful "biography" of Tanglewood Mall by Roanoke Times contributor Steven Swain.
Wander back through the consumer world of Leggett, Woolco, Orange Julius and the French Quarter.
• • •
If you've seen the new movie "Capote," you might find this interview interesting. The Truman himself spoke with the Paris Review in 1957, a couple of years before he became involved in the Clutter Family murder case, the incident that spawned his classic "In Cold Blood" and serves as the central plot of this new film.
Catherine Keener plays Harper Lee in the movie. Lee is the author of "To Kill a Mockingbird" and was a friend of Capote's from childhood (he was reportedly the inspiration for the character Dill, Scout's dapper neighbor in "Mockingbird"). The reclusive Lee supposedly only gave two interviews and, you can read them both here.
• • •
OK, so aside from the 1978 movie, I'm not a huge fans of Superman. Back when I did read comics, I was a Marvel guy, not a DC-er.
But I wasn't really all that into what director Bryan Singer did with Marvel's "X-Men" movies, either.
So news that Singer was directing a new Superman man movie didn't exactly rock my world, especially after they unveiled the rather, uh, "fancy" new supersuit.
All that said, this new, short little SUPERMAN RETURNS teaser trailer kind of rocks the house.
It's a bit of a cheat, because they borrow music from John Williams' original "Superman" score (a piece called "The Planet Krypton" that's so swollen with inspiring horns, it's difficult to resist saluting the nearest flag when you hear it).
And they also borrow some of Marlon Brando's stirring dialogue from the original "Superman" movie (only Brando could make Kryptonian condescension sound so... reassuring, with lines such as, "[Human beings] can be a great people, they wish to be, they only lack the light to show the way....").
And all that stuff is great and cool, but the teaser's real kicker is a quick shot of young Clark Kent, apparently newly aware of his superpowers, leaping cornfields in a single bound. In a word: Yee-ha!
"Superman Returns" opens next summer.
What do you do during the day if you're five months old, don't have a job and are an endangered form of bear?
A) You hang out with mom.
B) You sleep a lot.
C) You munch on bamboo.
Check out little Tai Shan, a young panda cub who was born in July. He's a resident of the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C. and this camera watches him and his mother, Mei Xiang, all day long. And while you may think, "Bo-ring," you might be surprised at how interesting (and cute) the little guy is.
• • •
OK, so last December Steven Spielberg was in Lexington shooting "War of the Worlds." That movie came out in the spring. Now it's November and the aliterative auteur already has another movie set to open early next month.
Steve! Slow down! You're gonna hurt somebody! You're gonna hurt yourself! Still, the preview for his new film, "Munich," looks pretty intense. It tells the story of a Mossad agent who tracks down the Palestinian terrorists who had assassinated a group of Israeli atheletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
• • •
Ahh, those funny, funny bunnies are back with more cinematic hilarity. Angryalien.com, which offers 30-second versions of popular films (recast with cartoon rabbits) recently posted a few new adaptations: The 1953 "War of the Worlds," "Highlander" and "The Big Chill." [Mild warning: Contains language and occasional footage of bunnies doing violent and/or loving things to one another]
And if you like those, they're also promising future additions such as "Star Wars," "Night of the Living Dead," "King Kong," "A Christmas Story" and (sigh) "Reservoir Dogs." They're practically multiplying like... rabbits.
• • •
Salon.com's "Audiofile" page is almost always a font of interesting music news and free, legal downloads. Non-subscribers may have to watch a commercial or two to get in without paying, but this week it's worth it as AF serves up an acclaimed song off the acclaimed new album by the acclaimed band My Morning Jacket. It's called "Dondante;" it's from the disc, "Z," and you can have it gratis.
"Is Your Heart Filled With Pain?"
Let me tell you a little something about being a rock star. It's not all about how you take the stage and launch into your first song. It's all not about keeping things hopping all night. It's not even all about remembering the freakin' lyrics. What it is all about is capping the show with a big finish. Elvis Presley knew that and even when his live act turned into a stammering, sweating, drunken, Valium-addled nightmare of bad jokes and flubbed lines that would make a mortal ache with embarrassment .. . he still knew how to bring the house down before he left the building. I give you Exhibit A: www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2477691
"I'm Not Renting it Shoes, Dude."
So you think you're a fan of "The Big Lebowski," ehhh, Leb-ow-ski? Then you'll definitely want to check out the lebowskifest [www.lebowskifest.com] near(est) you, at which people don costumes from the movie, "The Big Lebowski," drink White Russians and generally beat every single line from the movie to death. They're out of their element. Or nihilists. Or little achievers.
Speaking of "Lebowski," if you're familiar with that film, you'll remember Autobahn, the musical trio that somehow figured into the movie's Byzantine plot. Autobahn was a fictional 80's band, a parody of technokrautic groups such as Neu! and Kraftwerk. Well, now we have a real band called Euromotion that could almost be a parody of Autobahn parodying Neu! and Kraftwerk . . . with a little bit of Sprockets and Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon's old SNL characters, "Hanz and Franz." Listen to the hilarious-and-bumpin' tune "Dance Move Burglar" [www.euromotiondance.com/AuralFiles/Euromotion_DanceMoveBurglar.mp3] and you can practically smell the burning wires of their second-hand Emulators.
Based on the sketch that emblazons his column in the New York Times' Magazine, Randy Cohen looks like a bespectacled Tintin. But he gives calm, souond advice to hurricane victims who don't want to rook their employer, computer analysts who are thinking about jumping the gun, personal trainers who need their conscience conditioned and many more. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/06/magazine/06ethicist.html.
The Web is a beautiful thing. All you need is a good idea. Then you can get it to everyone without having to deal with weasels who don't understand what's fine in this world. Here's an example — Web-comic Dr. McNinja!! After reading it, you realize the ones in charge of it are superior people. You are grateful that they have links. One of the links is for Something Awful Dot Com. It's not awful. It's wonderful. You will laugh and laugh.
Another example is http://www.folkstreams.net/. This is where a bunch of documentary film makers who have learned the lesson about getting the good stuff out there without having some idiot tell you that it won't make money. So what, they won't make a studio rich. This is our culture we're talking about.
Arthur "Killer" Kane played in a band called The New York Dolls. He was cool. But then he couldn't stop drinking. An old story. 30 years later, he's a Mormon, and he wants to do a reunion show. There's a documentary about it, called "New York Doll."
Greetings from Olo Chubb and Togo Loamsdown!
What the heck are we talking about, you ask? Feast your eyes on this handy hobbit name generator and find out what your Middle Earth name would be. It's minutes of pleasure, especially around the office!
Not long ago, Webfix featured a nifty little video from the supremely cool video production house called PS 260. We showed you a trailer for "The Shining" that had been recut to resemble a variation on "About a Boy." It parodied both movies, and also goosed the many, many ways studios can spin their products to make you think you're getting a movie that you're not actually getting.
Now we bring you two more clips that, while they don't approach the brilliance of "The Shining," are still pretty amusing, especially if you're familiar with the actual movies.
• First we have the classic musical, "West Side Story," recut to resemble a "28 Days Later" style zombie thriller:
• Some of the music used in that one came from the horror spoof "Cabin Fever" and when "Fever" director Eli Roth saw the clip, he asked PS 260 to give his own movie the same treatment. Thus, the cheeky, splatty "Cabin Fever" becomes a soft-focus "Dying Young"-style tearjerker:
The Virginia Film Fest kicks into gear next weekend in Charlottesville and there's a full menu of movies to mull over.
"Manderlay," Lars von Trier's latest chapter in his controversial "American trilogy," is scheduled to screen, as is the new John Cusack/Billy Bob Thornton comedy, "The Ice Harvest." "Harvest" director Harold Ramis is due to be onhand for a showing and discussion of his modern classic, "Groundhog Day." Other big premieres set to go off are Sarah Silverman's "Jesus is Magic" and Rodrigo Garcia's critically acclaimed "Nine Lives," which will include a discussion by director Garcia (son of author Gabrael Garcia Marquez) and actors Kathy Baker and Sissy Spacek.
How do I know all this? Is it smarts? Absolutely not. I've simply been to the Website's schedule page.
What American president served between Martin Van Buren and John Tyler? William Henry Harrison.
Which president was expelled from Dickinson College for smoking and drinking, but turned over a new leaf, was reinstated and graduated with honors? James Buchanan.
Which president's first job involved laboring in the goldfields of Nevada? Calvin Coolidge.
Will knowing these fun facts earn you cool points? Actually, just the opposite. But they will make you a more knowledgable American and that's better than being cool!
And if none of that is weird enough for you, get a load of this!
Every now and then, some moron will e-mail us with some letter purportedly written by George Carlin. Of course, George Carlin would never write such stupid swill. He has even put up a Web page to refute all of them. Bonus: He tells you how to spot a fake.
Hey, guess what? Only 80 shopping days till Christmas? Make sure your child is the first on her block to get this cool gift! Seriously: Don't show this to your kids.
Do you love a good radio sports-talk show? Do you miss the Tony Kornheiser show on ESPN radio? Wouldn't you like to strangle that Colin Cowherd? Kornheiser is back on the air, at Sports Talk 980 in Washington. Go to the site and stream him for some fine 9 a.m. to 1 p.m entertainment.
We remember that Stephen King disliked Stanley Kubrick's version of his book, "The Shining," so much that he made his own miniseries. Wonder what he thinks of its conversion, at least in preview form, of a feel-good romantic comedy?
Halloween's coming. Time to get a costume.
In case you haven't seen this yet: "Katrina, The Gathering."
Guess what? Or newest Supreme Court nominee has a blog!! Well, probably not, but go ahead and check it out anyway.
The new single from Weezer is called "We're All on Drugs," but in order to get it played on MTV, Rivers and the guys had to change the main lyric to "We Are All in Love." The video features actors lip-synching the main lyric but, funnily enough, they're clearly lip-synching "on drugs!" instead of "in love!" Weezer previously had to bleep out the title of its "Hash Pipe" in order for it to be MTV-appropriate.
Watch the video: http://www.musicvideocodes.com/?song=3541
Oddly enough, both songs are anti-drug in nature. MTV, on the other hand, has no problem showing the soul-corrosive "My Super Sweet 16," the alcohol-fueled "The Real World," "Wondershowzen" (which virtually roils with pot-themed humor), et al.
Away from music for now, and on to suicidal bunnies. Seeing this helps us understand why they have to procreate so frequently — survival of the species.
One day when we needed a laugh, along came Jill Soloway, who one day will rule the world. She already has a fine resume. Soloway and her sister, Faith, were responsible for the one-time pop culture phenom, "The Real Live Brady Bunch. She was a writer and producer on the fifth season of HBO's "Six Feet Under." Check out her Web site and find some very funny stuff. And as usual, we tell you this when we have to: This stuff is not for kids!
Kitesurfing and kiteboarding look like a lot of fun. They also look insane. Why do those two words — fun and insane — so often go together? We don't know, but while we ponder it, we're going to check out kiteflix.com, which has some of the wildest derring-do committed to video.
A few weeks ago, we did a podcast with 8-bit musician Jeremy Kolosine. Here is a site (cribbed from Beck's really cool links page) featuring the music of a lot of other 8-bit geeks. Download this stuff and have your own gameboy rave.
These squirrels have got the spirit — lawdy!
Here's a little game: One of the two main characters in this short video clip is trying to be funny, with reasonable success; the other is trying to be serious but is inadvertently very funny. Want a hint? We believe that President George H.W. Bush chose Dan Quayle to be his vice president because he reminded him so much of his son, W.
We didn't mean for this page to turn into a weekly music obituary, but it has been a passing time for some of the old roots artists. Last week, it was Mississippi hill country droner R.L. Burnside. And this week, we pay tribute to Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, a great multi-instrumentalist and pipe smoker. Ever heard that swinging drum beat where the bass drum kicks on two and four, and the snare hits along with it, of hits on upbeats? That's Brown's invention. Surf Gatemouth's music page and hear several examples of hit gutsy style.
Brown escaped his house near New Orleans ahead of Hurricane Katrina, and went to his hometown of Orange, Texas. There, he died of lung cancer and heart disease. He was 81.
Now on to new subjects, with the hope that we don't lose any old ramblers for a while, at least.
That Fiona Apple record we wrote about before is finally coming out, as many Fee-freaks already know. And as those freaks know, the songs were good and mostly illegally downloaded already. But here's some legal stuff from the label itself, Epic. The video for Not About Love features the extremely funny Zach Galafianakis, who is rarely even a bit ashamed. The second clip provides proof that Apple was way precocious.
If that's not your thing, check out The White Stripes new video, Doorbell.
And here's a trailer for "Brokeback Mountain," a movie about gay cowboys. The Ang Lee/James McMurtry project stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway, so a lot of people are likely to walk out of theaters feeling very confused.
Well, it's a damn shame. R.L. Burnside, a super-fine blues picker, a real-deal from Mississippi, has died. The North Mississippi hill country blues specialist was 78. We're not going to write too much right now, just let his playing and his own words from past interviews tell his story.
Burnside, who wasn't "discovered" until he was already elderly, wasn't lacking for blues fire or cool stories. Here, he tells bluesaccess.com about annoying the purists while winning younger fans because of a collaboration with what was then called Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.
In this interview, Burnside and his sideman/manager/chauffeur discuss dealing with the devil (in this case, a major record label) and Burnside's youth around blues titans such as Mississippi Fred McDowell and Muddy Waters.
Among the subjects here are an incident in which Burnside played a bunch of Lightnin' Hopkins and John Lee Hooker covers, unaware that both men were backstage, listening.
Here are some tunes you can stream:
Who knew that a grieving mother's attempt to meet the president (again) and talk about why we're at war would turn into the story of the late summer? As it often does, Salon.com. has the lowdown on the downloads of what it calls "various politically minded troubadours" who have been writing songs about her. Salon's audiophile has the good stuff — OK, we know you have to get a site pass, which means watching a quick ad, but it's worth it. While you're there, check out other audiophile goodies, including Del McCoury's new song. The site also links to the Beastie remixes page. Very cool.
Finally, another sojourn into the weirdness that grows on the Web. At first glance, it looks like a collection of postcards, but these cards contain "secrets." Why do we use the double quote marks around that word? Because these secrets might just be made up. But it's still fun. A favorite, apparently from a coffes shop employee: "i give decaf to customers who are RUDE to me!" Warning: These aren't all for kids. Check out postsecret.blogspot.com.
We were always convinced that the game show "Press Your Luck" was rigged. That big board, the one with all the Whammies that went, "Boop-boop-boop-boop-boop-boop-boop-boop!" was just too easy to manipulate.
And now, thanks to this site, we can discuss such conspiracy theories with other like-minded individuals.
We have no life. We're happy. No Whammies.
We know that, if you knew a site that offered interviews with literature's most impressive figures, you'd turn off the TV and settle in for a quiet evening of reading. That's why we offer you this: theparisreview.com/literature.php.
And, on that note, while you're checking out the Paris Review, we're off to watch "The Real World: Austin" and see if that ever-sullen young man who got popped in his eye will ever get over the always depressing curse of being pursued by a sweet, long-legged, supermodel-esque blonde who's partial to short skirts. Yeah, yeah, sure he's had genuinely rough times lately (I mean, his mom did die and MTV did cruely film it all and throw in manipulative flashbacks showing him being rude to the woman during their last conversation) but the boy was a crybaby even before all that happened and you know it. Now go read!
Those natty eggheads at the New Yorker frequently dash out a word or two worth perusing, although I do question their taste for regularly failing to name me the winner of their weekly cartoon caption contest. This article about the strange career and gubernatorial candidacy of Kinky Friedman, the former folk star and mystery writer, is worth a glance. He's running for governor of Texas and his slogan (Kinky2006: Why the hell not?) would cinch my vote if I lived in the Lone Star State.
Sure, this is a little morbid, but where else can you see the headstones of Humphrey Bogart, Rita Hayworth, Moe Howard and Jim Backus?
With a word, you can get what you came for. And if you came for bizarre-o "Stairway to Heaven" covers, we got bizarre-o "Stairway to Heaven" covers, including Dolly Parton, Pat Boone, a lounge-y take by Tiny Tim and Brave Combo, one by the Beatnix, a Beatles cover band who do a version in the style of "Hard Day's Night"-era Fab Four.
For years, Timothy Treadwell traveled to Alaska and lived in the wilds among the grizzly bears. He shot hours of home movies of himself co-existing with the large, ridiculously dangerous animals, and he went around the country talking about what he'd learned from them. Then, one day in 2003, the bears decided to make a meal of him and his girlfriend. The end wasn't pretty, but the director Werner Herzog has recently made a film from the existing footage. It's called "Grizzly Man" and Yahoo recently posted some fascinating clips that almost make one want to scream, "Dude. Bears don't speak English, dude!"
Or you could just watch the new trailer for the Sam Mendes/Jamie Foxx/Jake Gyllenhaal/Peter Sarsgaard movie, "Jarhead", an adaptation of Anthony Swofford's 2003 Gulf War epic that looks a little like a combination of "Three Kings" and "Full Metal Jacket," with really cool burning oil fields special effects.
Well, it had to happen sooner or later. Information Technology had to come in here and wipe our our hard drives to install the latest super-evil Windows program, compatible with a big upgrade we had in page-making gizmology. Maybe I could have saved my Web browser bookmarks somewhere, but I didn't. So I've had to start making all new bookmarks, because I am obsessed with them. They're mostly music-related.
But enough about me. Let's get to some of the new bookmarks. The photo you saw on the IO homepage was The Rev. Gary Davis, a highly influential blues-ragtime guitarist from way back when. When Jorma Kaukonen played a set at FloydFest last month with fellow acoustic slingers Corey Harris and Larry Keel, he played an old Davis song. Scott Perry, a superfine, Floyd-based fingerpicker, raves about Davis, too. I bookmarked them all.
Earlier this week, I interviewed Roanoke native Mary Huff, of Southern Culture on The Skids, for this week's Fedora Oblongata. and we talked for a while about Hasil Adkins, the West Virginia wildman who played the craziest one-man-band music and was one of the most interesting people we'd ever been around. Adkins died in April, so you missed out if you never got to see him play. Other Adkins sites are The Hasil Adkins Hazequarters and The Official Hasil Adkins Hunch Club.
To start off, we're sad. If Charlie Murphy is to be believed, Chappelle's Show is over. But after months of suspense, at least we sense some end to the saga that began when comedian Dave Chappelle began to part ways with Comedy Central for reasons that are still unclear, scuttling the much anticipated third season of the show. Chappelle is now working on a movie project that is apparently influenced by the documentary Wattstax.
Speaking of movies, "Walk The Line," the biopic of Johnny Cash, starring Joaquin Phoenix, is scheduled for release. Check out the theatrical trailer. Sample a load of other trailers via movies.yahoo.com.
We'll run the risk of 'fest overkill here, but what the heck. With FloydFest and FiddleFest going on this weekend, we want to point out some of the lesser-known performers playing there and send you to their Web sites.
• Let's start with Porter Batiste Stoltz, playing Floyd. George Porter Jr. is one of the universe's funkiest bass players. His resume includes The Legendary Meters, The Funky Meters, Allen Toussaint, Tori Amos, Earl King, Dr. John, Paul McCartney, and Patti Labelle. Drummer Russell Batiste Jr. is a descendant of New Orleans funk royalty and has cut his own trail playing with Maceo Parker, Champion Jack Dupree and The Funky Meters, among others. Brian Stoltz has recorded with Bob Dylan, Edie Brickell, Linda Ronstadt, Dr. John, The Neville Bros., and of course, The Funky Meters.
Go to this band's audio page to hear some wicked funk. And I really do mean wicked.
Porter Batiste Stoltz 10:15 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Saturday at the Hill Holler stage. Larry Keel and The Natural Bridge, Corey Harris, The Asylum Street Spankers, DJ Williams Projekt and Cadillac Jones are among the other acts set for that stage. You might find yourself unable to leave that spot.
• At Fiddlefest, Roanoke's own Herschel Sizemore is playing. His resume includes gigs with the Bluegrass Cardinals, Jimmy Martin, the Shenandoah Cutups and Del McCoury's Dixie Pals. Listen to a couple of sound clips from his Hay Holler recordings, loaded with quick, clean mandolin runs.
The thing we love about google.com is, whenever our minds are drifting, or conversation takes us to murky waters, we can use the all-powerful search engine to add just the right touch of insanity to the conversation.
For example, the other day a co-worker wondered what were the last-meal plans for, Robin Lovitt, the next person slated for execution in Virginia. We googled the words "last meal" before we realized that Lovitt's execution had been stayed, but we still got quite the lengthy list of final banquet requests at this google-recommended site. And when we said banquet, we meant banquet. How do they eat all that?
Another example: the mind was reeling during a bout of walking pneumonia, and the prevailing inner meme was simple: blowed it up real good ... blowed it up real good ... blowed it up real good ... . What did it mean in context? In general? To the latter question, we received satisfaction by way of the goog — it was an old SCTV line! How could we have forgotten? Sadly, many who google it now get mostly references to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, whose writers cribbed the line from the legendary Big Jim and Billy Sol. We attempt here to make things right.
And it helps us to learn more about one of those goofy products that have seemed to thrive in Southern drug stores such as Eckerd. A friend got us a little too worked up with a joke about Joint-Ritis. OK. We didn't even need to google that one. But it's comforting to know that we could, if we had really needed to do that.
It seems to be that time of year again — inboxes are filling up with "urgent requests" from the surviving relatives of super-rich foreigners. Only your money can help them unlock the trove, and you're guaranteed a cut. We hope that you're not that stupid. But the Scam-a-Rama people take incredulity a step further, sometimes even getting the e-mail scammers to send money to them! We have only one question: Where do they find the time to craft these brilliant reverses.
What athlete hasn't been sued by a woman claiming he gave her herpes? Well, actually, not that many. But any such suit is still just a series of unproven allegations until the thing gets to court. That doesn't mean that the Mike Vick case isn't receiving attention, or that there aren't people out there already looking to cash in. Find out just how they're taking advantage by going to RonMexico.com — in case you were unaware, that's the name former Virginia Teck quarterback Vick used for an alias, according to court documents posted on thesmokinggun.com.
In 1989, after "Dirty Dancing" catapaulted him to ridiculous levels of stardom, Patrick Swayze followed up that playful piece of puppy love with Rowdy Herrington's bizarre, pulpy, ultra-violent "Road House."
It was bloody. It was vicious. It was frequently hilarious in a mind-boggling way. It became a staple of basic cable. And now... it's been turned into a musical starring Taimak, of "The Last Dragon" fame.
The play, which was recently produced off-Broadway, has sadly ended its run. And we'll say this: We wish we'd been around to see Miles Davis perform with his band in 1958. We wish we'd been around to see the Beatles, back when they were playing basements in Hamburg. We wish we'd been on-hand to watch Nirvana record their "Unplugged" session. And we wish we'd caught this play. As it is, all we get to see is the show's program. You, too, can find it here.
Pop quiz: The original Marlboro Man died of lung cancer. True.
The song, "Puff the Magic Dragon" is really an ode to smoking marijuana. False.
The anti-depressant clomipramine has been known to give users orgasms when they yawn. True.
The Titanic was advertised as being unsinkable. False.
Playwright Moliere died in 1673 after an onstage coughing fit he suffered while performing his new work, "Le Malade Imaginaire" ("The Hypochondriac"). True.
Well, true and false according to snopes.com, a handy-dandy Web site chockful of enough urban legends (both debunked and verified). We've featured snopes in the Webfix before but it's such a sprawling, addictive site we're throwing it out there again.
Where can you find full coverage of the BTK Killer's confessions? Where would one search for a thorough examination of the Black Dahlia murder case? What site has a "Mad or Bad" column, profiling such curious fellows as Ted Kaczynski, Richard Trenton Chase and Ed Gein? Why Crimelibrary.com, of course! The breadth of its knowledge and extent of its details are frequently awe-inspiring, but don't be surprised if you feel like washing your hands and locking all your doors after you go there.
Is Big Brother watching? If so, he’s probably a frequent guest at zabasearch.com. Type in your name and any state where you’ve ever resided and you can probably find a listing for yourself that includes your address, phone number and possibly your date of birth.
Film critic Kim Morgan writes for L.A. Weekly, The Oregonian, Reel.com. and DVDTalk.com, and she's a frequent guest on AMC's "Movie Club with John Ridley," but her site (sunsetgun.com) is a cornucopia of too-cool-for-school cineaste fair. You never know when she's going to wax rhapsodic about the classic cult film "Two-Lane Blacktop," interview Tracy Morgan, spotlight some of the coolest cars of cinema, rate all the “Batman” movies or post a vintage picture of Tuesday Weld. Movie geeks rejoice!
While you're twirling your sparklers on July 4, NASA geeks will be watching a space probe as it slaps a comet. This is what they reckon it'll look like.
Why exert your shoulder throwing a paper wad into a trash can when you can sit at your desk and give yourself carpal tunnel syndrome while doing it on your computer? This is so addictive, too, as simple as it is. It's almost as good as the old game where two King Kongs threw exploding bananas at each other and the buildings upon which they perched. If you see that game anywhere online, please let us know!
Yeah, we know that Sasquatch is supposed to be a myth. But apparently, those legendary beasts of the north are forming a militia.
(Cover photo: nasa.gov)
Do you know what a quasiturbine is? The website howstuffworks.com will not only tell you what it is, it'll tell you ... how it works. They can also explain solar sails, the Batmobile and human networking, and much, much more. The site even divides topics up into categories such as computer, auto, electronics, science, home, health, money and travel.
In addition to being part of the best fake news site on the Internet, every Tuesday afternoon, theonionavclub.com serves up the coolest reviews of movies, music, books, DVDs and videogames. Not only do they usually HATE everything, few sites possess wittier critics who just love to tear into a Hilary Duff movie or a Coldplay album. Plus, they include weekly interviews with cool people.
Every time you think
If Friday's concert in Salem whetted your appetite for more Bob Dylan, check out this page of his official site. All the samples are streaming audio, so you can't download them, but fans of warbly one can at least hear high quality recordings of some truly unusual live performances -- including his cover of Don Henley's "The End of the Innocence," two songs from the infamous December 1961 "Minneapolis Hotel Tape" and the first live performance of an old nugget from the Basement Tapes, "Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread.
You can sign up for a Budweiser e-mail account here. You probably don't want to use this address on a resume but, then again, I guess that just depends of the job you're applying for.
Have you ever seen that movie, "28 Days Later" ? It's guys like these that started all that trouble. But if you take a look around their site, you might feel inclined to cut them some slack. Even if they did turn London into a bunch of zombies....
Do you blog? If so, are you an Android? A Bliss Ninny? An Evil Clown? Loopy? A Lurker? A Yuk Yuk? Find out for yourself at Mike Reed’s “Flame Warriors” site. There you’ll find hundreds of random generalizations of different types of online authors and if you don’t recognize yourself as any of them, you’ll definitely recognize people you blog alongside every day.
In 2001, filmmaker Bradley Beesley released “Okie Noodling,” a fascinating, unnerving documentary about guys who catch catfish with their bare hands. That activity entails reaching into underwater holes in search of nests, frequently getting hurt and often hauling very, very large fish from the water.
With Beesley’s follow-up documentary, he leapt from catfish to the modern psychedelic band The Flaming Lips. He’s a friend of the group and has been collecting interviews and performance footage of them for more than 10 years. His movie about them is called “The Fearless Freaks”. Check it out for a summary and clips.
“Pimp Beaten By Karate Master.”
Here’s another mini-opera of low culture from the folks at IFILM. The title says it all and even though the beating consists simply of a single, well-timed punch, the results are still worth checking out. The clip also underlines that age-old proverb: Don’t pick a fight with anyone who knows more kung-fu than you. Like the man says, “It’s hard to look mean on wobbly legs.”
It’s like ‘people watching’ without having to leave the comfort of your home or office! Rich Vogel’s site offers visitors glimpses at hundreds of pictures of strangers doing their thing. It’s strange, funny, sometimes disconcerting and strangely reassuring. As Vogel put it, “The world seems like a smaller place after finding all these photos and posting the ones that are worthwhile. I can see so many of the same emotions and situations that I've experienced over the years, unique to each person but similar and instantly recognizable.”
Summer is unofficially here. Have you planned a vacation yet? Check out the Trail of the Hellhound Web site for ideas on checking out the heart of Mississippi Delta blues country. If you want to go, consider a bivouac at The Cotton Gin Inn/Shack Up Inn, in Clarksdale, Miss. The inn's Web site includes a highly entertaining FAQ section.
Ever wonder how a wacky story from a little town like, say, Roanoke, gets played nationwide? Fark.com is one answer. Contributors post links on the site, which people hit and read, then laugh, cry, grow angry or break out in hives. Then they comment. Several stories from The Roanoke Times Ali G at the rodeo, the wedgie murder case, and most recently, the teenage Guns 'n' Roses groupie, made the site. Our favorite recent headlines include this gem: "Dutch voters teabag the EU." Warning: Some of this stuff isn't for kids!
NPR's Fresh Air has been a radio fixture for years, but if you miss something cool there or the local affiliate gets scared of it again, what can you do? Go to the NPR archives.
You ever get one of those far-out religious pamphlets that tell you something like "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" is satanist literature? We've gotten plenty of them, and now we've found a fine parody , accusing the "Star Wars" movies of being a demonic tool.
Now here's something that probably is the work of Old Scratch — video clips of people crying while eating. The site tells you what the crier is eating, and why he or she is making all tearful-like. Sure, there are fakes among them, but it's still a bizarre time-killer.
Used to be, you had to live in the right town, and be lucky, to see the next big thing in music. Maybe you still do, but your chances of being nowhere yet still on the cutting edge have improved a little. Here's a site, stompinground.com that is a clearinghouse for all kinds of unsigned bands. There are too many good bands here to name just a couple.
We're always sending you to Web sites other than ours, because there's a lot of cool stuff out there. But we shouldn't always do that. There's a lot of fascinating stuff on roanoke.com.
One piece that has kept people's interest over the past couple of years features young Arielle Rosmarino, who made it to the finals of NBC's bubble-blowing contest. Watch her whip up some massive gum bubbles in this clip, shot by The Roanoke Times Josh Meltzer, in summer 2004.
Speaking of Meltzer, he was with reporter Jay Conley on a visit to Brunswick Correctional Center in Lawrenceville, where Jens Soering is serving two life terms for the murder of his then-girlfriend's parents in eastern Bedford County. Read the story.
The Roanoke Times photographers have turned in a lot of cool multimedia stuff. Check them out.
Now back to the world outside this part of the Web. If you haven't heard this act yet, check out the John Butler Trio. Butler can whip up on a guitar, and his band is smoking, too.
We're feeling a little sentimental right now, but with our feet planted on solid ground. Why? Because two of the world's most wonderful musicians, Col. Bruce Hampton and Jimmy Herring, have reunited, if only for a while.
From the 1980s up until about the mid 1990s, the two played together in Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit. Their self-titled, debut CD, recorded live, was a scorching mix of improvisation and roots. For reasons too numerous to get into here, the band split. Lately, Herring has been making much paper playing with The Dead. Hampton and his most recent band, The Codetalkers, featuring killer guitarist Bobby Lee Rodgers, still are hard at it on the road.
Check out some archived Code Talkers live shows, including a recent Charlottesville show with Herring in the mix. Beware: If you don't like long jams or great musicians testing their limits, you might as well not bother.
And here's an interview with the strange and fascinating Hampton.
Enough self-indulgence! But wait — let's have one more music bit — here's Conor Oberst on the Tonight Show, turning in a protest song so hard and direct that Woody Guthrie would be proud. And by the way, it doesn't matter if you're a Democrat or a Republican; it's plenty fair and balanced to call this one a protest song.
Throwback art. Video games just look so real nowadays. No wonder people get addicted, and their eyes get all bugged out. But we still have love for the old school, when everything was one-dimensional, and Mr. and Ms. Pac-man reigned supreme. So do the artists who contributed at iam8bit.net. Check them out.
Speaking of games, how about the roller derby? Here are some slide shows, one of which features one-time Hollywood madame Heidi Fleiss, who actually looks nearly human in this photo. Call us lowbrow if you like, but this stuff is going to wind up on A&E.
Do old cartoons seem to be missing pieces when you see them on TV these days? There is a reason. They've been edited. In this post-politically correct world (which is not necessarily a bad thing), some of the old 'toons could be taken, as, well, insensitive at best. Wonder which parts are missing? Think you know already? This site has it down.
For a new kind of cartoon, one that asks you to participate, check out Drifter TV. It's not for kids, though.
The new JibJab joint is out. It's no 2004 election song, but it's OK. Check it out.
This next thing is not quite cartoonish, though it has a cartoony feel in places. Instead, it's some cool stop-motion photography, kinda strange and almost hypnotic at times, shot around trains in Japan. It's nice now to think about good things when it comes to Japanese trains, which are getting some bad press right now, with the crash and all.
How about a game? This one is a good substitute for actual misdemeanor behavior. It's a shoplifting game that starts out easy, then gets tough. You'll wind up in e-jail if you don't get pretty good at it.
Or, you can learn from this poor fool about the kind of trouble that's easy to avoid. There's only one rule to this game: Don't touch the electric fence, idiot!
Practicing unprotected sex is a little like touching an electric fence, except the aftershock can last a lot longer. Of course, you can abstain. Here's how.
But no matter what our course in life, we all must die — even engineers leave this mortal coil, and in a lot of unusual ways.
Guess what? The new pope hates the rock 'n' roll. In that case, he should go to work for a record label like Sony, or the royalty police at the RIAA, who don't want you posting songs from the unreleased Fiona Apple record. So that's the end of swapping her excellent batch of tunes, you little criminals!
According to this article, maybe there's a good reason not to release the alleged "Extraordinary Machine" on CD. We agree, if your only goal is to be a soulless bean-counter (this one is a treat) making money from music for the lowest common denominator.
Some have said Fiona herself didn't much care for the recording. The same couldn't be said of improvisational rock band Umphrey's McGee. They like this recording so much, they made a podcast of it. Listen up.
First, let's acknowledge track star Carl Lewis's status as a giant among athletes. The Olympic gold medalist could do it all, and did not look as though he ingested steroids. But then the dude went and made what we believe is a candidate for worst music video of all time — and that's not hyperbole on our part. Watch it and judge for yourself. Let us know how it compares to last week's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" video.
After watching both of those, you might want to die. So check out a ton of interesting death-related sites. Then go on living, please. We need you.
So stay alive and see this:
There’s a moment in “Back to the Future II” where the story becomes so complicated that old Doc Brown actually has to sit Marty McFly down and use a blackboard to explain the plot to him.
Halfway through the super low-budget time travel thriller, “Primer,” (which was released Tuesday on DVD), I realized I needed Doc Brown’s help myself. But I also realized he’d need a big damn blackboard, and possibly a PowerPoint presentation, to straighten me out. Think “Memento” with alternate realities.
That doesn't mean it's not worth watching and trying to figure out. Here’s the movie’s site with clips, production notes and a cool, creepy trailer.
Does anyone remember the old Bonnie Tyler song, "Total Eclipse of the Heart"? We feel your pain. But it's all OK now, because some bunch of freaks has videotaped a version that may be the best performance of any song — ever.
More music stuff: Before MTV, VH1, Fuse, even USA Night Flight, there were scopitones — like video juke boxes with poor quality and high cheese. Check them out.
Maybe you prefer your tunes a little more cutting edge. Check out a Notes From The Underground podcast, which includes a review of the South By Southwest Festival (for those patient enough to scroll down a little).
All that stuff is a little Western-centric. Download music from around the world at smithsonianglobalsound.org. OK, so you have to pay a buck to download a song, but that's probably a day's worth of meals for some poor sap strumming genius songs on his guitar while sitting outside his mud hut. So c'mon.
Have you seen a site you want to share? Let us know by e-mail. No attachments, please.
Cover image: www.science.uva.nl/~robbert/zappa/.
Check out the female William Hung. She's Wing. She's been on South Park, and she's amazing. But we wouldn't download her songs. Just listen to the samples. That's all you need.
By now, you may have heard of Pat O'Brien's recent troubles. The former sportscaster turned Hollywood schmooze recenly went into rehab, right about the time someone began uploading sound clips of a man who sounds suspiciously like O'Brien, leaving some very nasty voice mail messages from a woman he found, uh ... hot. Now, some freak has a blog in which he pretends to be "stuck in rehab with Pat O'Brien." Pretty funny.
Tired of the stuff at your local cineplex? Check out some experimental student films.
Have you seen a site you want to share? Let us know by e-mail. No attachments, please.
We got a little too heavy last week. This time around is all fun.
When someone does the right thing with photo manipulation, an angel gets its wings. Worth1000.com shows many such good deeds, such as Christina Piguilera (pictured), replete with curly little tail! Great stuff on this site.
Do you like TV but never get to watch? Hate TV but like to make fun of it? Both? Television without pity recaps the shows for you, with attitude.
Bonus fix: A cartoon take on the Michael Jackson trial.
It's been said many times by many people, and generally, it's true: record company executives are a bunch of weasels. Spineless cretins is what they are. Especially now, with all the mergers, the money-worshipping is even worse. Soul and creativity go out the window. Young artists are denied the chance to develop.
It even happened to million-selling singer/songwriter Fiona Apple. OK. She's done her share of stupid things, but that's not unusual for an artist. Anyway, she finished an album two years ago, and Sony Corp. executives refused to release it, saying they didn't hear a hit single, according to many reports. Her fans couldn't take it anymore, and several of them have gotten hold of the music and have published it online, free for the downloading.
We at Web fix have no interest in having the weasels and their attorneys annoying us while we're trying to turn you on to new stuff. But sfgate columnist Mark Morford is not as concerned. And you know how to type these names — Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine — into google.com. Before you know it, you too can be streaming a really interesting album that record industry weasels did not much care for. Have patience if you don't find it immediately. Let's not fall prey to the instant-gratification thinking that rules the music business.
We suggest streaming these instead of downloading, because the weasels are already getting their little backs up.
Shoo. That's a little longer a rant than we're used to. Enough of that. Check out these:
• For those who thought cartoon bunnies have no range as actors, here's a troupe to debunk your silly assertion. Thanks to Meredith Woodward for the link.
• Tom Waits' top 20 records list. Read it, then go buy them.
• You like seeing horrible crashes. Admit it.
• Oh, and one more Fiona Apple thing: The End 107.7 is playing the downloaded tunes.
What happens when you combine SpongeBob SquarePants with Cheech y Chong, Pink Floyd's "The Wall," Neal Cassady and an intellectually deficient version of Timothy Leary's philosophies? The answer: SpongeBob HempPants!! Surf around at Spongy's home, heavy.com, and you'll find all kinds of other messed-up animation and video. Warning: It ain't all G-rated.
Let's now combine two things — free, legal downloads and great alternative music that you're not likely to hear on what passes for radio stations around here. You can find such new or recent songs as Cass McCombs' "Sacred Heart", Veal's "Judy Garland" and the Geraldine Fibbers' "Lily Belle" at fingertipsmusic.com.
You're young and your future is looking grim, with the sure possibility of ignorance. That's the role Jim Morrison took in this short film. Did he have an inkling that he would become The Doors legendary "Lizard King?" If he did, would he have made this silly film?
Silliness is no matter for this fellow, who is feeling the ramifications of the near future RIGHT NOW!!
This guy was taped unawares but was also unabashed. Do you really want him flying jets to protect our country? Thanks to Benny Smith of the University of Tennessee's 90.3 The Rock — stream it! — for the link.
Who will protect us from simulated dinosaurs in an empty office space?
Imagine "The Matrix" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" as a peyote fueled ping-pong match. Or watch Michael Jackson morph from cute young pop star to creepy felony suspect. (Sorry to keep picking, MJ.) If that's not your thing, play a rousing game of stack the cats — like Tetris with mewling felines. All of this comes from chilloutzone.de — "providing free fun and games since 1978. Oh, and one more thing: one of the most partying elevators ever.
Check out the "Ann Coulter meltdown" here, if you dare. It really shouldn't matter if you're a Democrat or a Republican; it's obvious that this woman lost it a long, long time ago. Even Sean Hannity makes a funny face in this one.
Here are a few cool things we've found lately, and a couple that we've loved for years:
• Imagine "The Matrix," and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" as a ping-pong match.
• Do you believe every stupid rumor you hear? Debunk them here, and quit coming off like a sucker.
Speaking of hoaxes, the bonsai kitten site had some animal activists believing it for a while. But relax — their pages detailing the body modification of housepets are really only jokes.
• Like to play 20 questions? So does this Web site, and it's pretty good at it, too.
Have you seen a site you want to share? Let us know by e-mail. No attachments, please.
This is not a pitch for Burger King, but we can't help but love that the fast-food chain has left its Subservient Chicken on the Web. It's been months since last we told it to do something, then laughed, hyena-like, as it complied. So we checked it out again, just to see if the big clucker was still as pliant as before. Of course, there are some things this chicken just won't do, but it's always worth asking, just to see how it reacts.
Speaking of animals, the original of a legendary painting — "Dogs Playing Poker" — has sold for more than $590,000.
One last thing. We love the old blues, jazz and ragtime musicians — Blind Blake, Tommy Johnson, Bessie Smith, Blind Lemon Jefferson and on and on. The Internet Archive has tons of downloads of those artists and others in all kinds of fields. Warning: This isn't the most easily navigable site, but it's worth the trouble.
You can't walk away from a TV event like the Super Bowl without missing a commercial that gets people talking for the next week or so. Turns out, this time it was a commercial for godaddy.com, a company we never heard of before it spoofed last year's notorious "wardrobe malfunction." The spot was supposed to air a second time during the big game, but was yanked by Fox TV geeks who were frightened by our national return to the 1950s.
If you missed it, click on ifilm.com to see the godaddy.com commercial and lots of other fine video entertainment. And if you think that such commercials are cheap objectification of women, skip the godaddy and watch the Bud Light parachuting ad . . . or the banned Mickey Rooney naked backside ad. Just kidding — no one wants to watch the Mickey Rooney ad.
You'll need RealPlayer to view the stuff.
You like the music. You want free downloads. You don’t want federal charges brought against you. Then try betterpropaganda.com, where you can get singles for free and not worry about jail time or fines.
It’s one of those sites where one click leads you to another cool page, then another. We went from Ani DiFranco (we actually like her new song, Studying Stones) to Michael Franti (Spearhead, Disposable Heroes) to Jello Biafra to the Buzzcocks to the Donnas. Back at Franti’s page, we checked out some Charlie Hunter and The Crack Emcee (who is EXCELLENT!). Hit this site.
Maybe you’d rather watch massive buildings implode. Then check out implosionworld.com, where stuff gets blowed up real good! It has links to videotaped demolitions like the one of Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia and some decent still photos of other stuff getting imploded. Hit the site’s home page.