Friday, January 19, 2007

Friday Afternoon Funnies:
Wonder Showzen!

It's four thirty in the afternoon. You've done your week's work, and there's still an hour and a half to kill before you go home for the weekend. Throw on your headphones and kill fifteen minutes with Totally Claimin's "Friday Afternoon Funnies!" The boss won't know. And you'll be thankful for it! Today's funny is an episode of "Wonder Shozen."

"Wonder Showzen is an American sketch comedy television series that began airing in 2005 on MTV2. It was created by John Lee and Vernon Chatman of PFFR. The show's format is that of educational PBS children's television shows such as Sesame Street or The Electric Company (e.g. use of stock footage, puppetry, and clips of children being interviewed). However, Wonder Showzen parodies the format in a very adult-oriented manner. In addition to general controversial comedy, it satirizes politics, religion, war, and culture with black comedy.

Recurring skits include interviews with kids who give irreverent, controversial answers (a parody of similar segments on Sesame Street), kid reporters interviewing adults in a segment titled 'Beat Kids', and man-on-the-street interviews by the puppet Clarence (voiced by co-creator/writer Vernon Chatman). Clarence has a knack for harassing New Yorkers with innocent questions. Every episode also features short animated cartoon segments, many of which are produced at Augenblick Studios." Wikipedia

I know you will enjoy!

A Fine Iron & Wine

IPods have a weird way of making you "discover" an unknown (at least to you) artist. You set the thing on shuffle, and occasionally a song you didn't even know you had in there pops on and blows you away. The song is so good that it makes you wanna go out and buy everything the artist has ever recorded. If you haven't already figured it out, I'm a sucker for a good cover song (read my previous posting on the subject here) especially when I already love the original version. So when an artist covers a Flaming Lips or a Postal Service song, and perhaps makes it even better, well, I take notice. For me, Iron & Wine did just that.

Iron & Wine is the stage and recording name for Florida singer-songwriter Sam Beam. His music has been compared, variously, to that of Nick Drake, Simon and Garfunkel, Neil Young, Elliott Smith, John Fahey and Ralph Stanley. His music is often characterized as alt-country, progressive folk, or indie folk. In other words, it's just plain goodness.

For your consideration, I offer you his cover of "Such Great Heights" originally recorded by The Postal Service and was featured in an advertisement for M&M's, in the 2004 film Garden State (and its soundtrack), and in 2006 in an advertisement. Undoubtedly you know that tune, but it's the other song you may not be as familiar with. The Flaming Lips recorded "Waitin' For Superman," which was already a wonderful song filled with meloncholic lyrics and sung with passion. Iron & Wine covered the song for KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic and not only made the song his own, he added even more levels of emotion to it.

Here are the lyrics:

I asked you a question
But I didn't need you to reply
Is it getting heavy?
But then I realize

Is it getting heavy?
Well, I thought it was already as heavy as can be

Is it overwhelming
To use a crane to crush a fly?
It's a good time for Superman
To lift the sun into the sky

Cause it's getting heavy
Well, I thought it was already as heavy as can be

Tell everybody waiting for Superman
That they should try to hold on best they can
He hasn't dropped them, forgot them or anything
It's just too heavy for Superman to lift

Here are the songs.

For Your Consideration:
Iron & Wine - Such Great Heights Mp3
Iron & Wine - Waitin' For Superman Mp3

Thursday, January 18, 2007

My Morning Jacket: How Could I Know?

My last purchase at Tower Records (the one on the Sunset Strip, pictured above) was the CD Single for My Morning Jacket's "Off The Record." I paid eighty cents. Here for your consideration, is a B-Side from it. "How Could I Know" is a great B-Side that doesn't really fit in with the vibe of the album for which it was recorded, but stands on it's own. It's more of a country-ish vibe, one that would fit perfectly on "It Still Moves."

"It Makes No Difference" is My Morning Jacket's take on the Band's classic tune. The track appears on "Endless Highway: the Music of the Band," a wonderful album that was just recently released. For more information on the album and hear Gomez cover "Up On Cripple Creek," click on the artwork to the left.

For Your Consideration:
My Morning Jacket - How Could I Know Mp3

My Morning Jacket - It Makes No Difference Mp3

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

ALI "The Greatest" Turns Sixty-Five

"I saw the punch coming: a piece of red cinnamon candy exactly the size of a gloved fist. I tried to slip it and couldn't — it was that fast. The back of my head bounced off my shoulders. A chorus of white light went off behind my eyes. A metal taste clouded my mouth, then there was a second, heavier thump as he caught me with a left hook I didn't see. The spectators sounded way, way off. I tried to regain control of my body and couldn't; my legs went to soup beneath me." -Davis Miller in today's LA Times on getting punched by Ali in his prime.

Today is the Greatest. The man who fought inside the ring (and out), who floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee, Muhammad Ali turned 65 today. Happy Birthday, Champ!

Here are some random quotes of Ali's throughout the years:

"To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you're not, pretend you are."

"If you even dreamed of beating me, you'd better wake up and apologize."

(Prior to a boxing match with Floyd Patterson): "I'll beat him so bad he'll need a shoehorn to put his hat on."

"Frazier is so ugly that he should donate his face to the US Bureau of Wild Life."

...and then there is this one that says just as much about today's world as it did when he originally said it:

"Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years."

For Your Consideration:
The Hours - Ali In The Jungle Mp3
Muhammad Ali - I'm So Mean Mp3

American Idol: Give A Little Love

Last night pretty much all of us watched the season premier of American Idol. And much like America itself, amongst its audience, there are two parties.

One party tunes in for the performances later on in the season, feeling that it is the best part of the show. The other party (of which I am a card carrying member) loves the first couple of episodes, which I call the "William Hung" portion. This is where you get to watch the endless parade of the delusional. We could care less about the final twelve, unless of course one of our favored delusioned makes it through. Typically we root for the type of "Sinatra singin" guy, the virgin that lives with his grandmother, or that guy pictured to the left. The outcast. The shitty ones that must have some Internet campaign backing them because the website has a secret agenda to showcase the inherent faults of the shows voting process.

So needless to say, I'm in heaven. "Is this heaven?" "No. It's Minnesota." Thank you Minnesota, and from the looks of it I should be thanking Seattle in advance. I've never seen so many freaks in one "Scenes from tomorrow night's show" sequence ever! I can't wait to see how many of you morons exit through the wrong door. It ought to be a drinking game Simon had to say it so much. Was it me or did that happen every single time? It's that extra bit of humiliation that we love so, the cherry on top if you will.

Yes, my nipples are hard.

Too Far? Ok. Sorry. Anyway, one thing that I noticed during the show was the commercial for Coke. No, not the carefully placed Coke products within the show, but rather the actual commercial for Coke. The commercial above is a take off on the Grand Theft Auto video games series that promotes doing the right thing instead of, well, driving up on to a roof and using a sniper rifle on passerbys to an eighties soundtrack. Ok, can you tell I play GTA?

Anyway, the spot contains a song from my childhood called "You Give A Little Love," which was featured in the 1970's classic gangsta children's flick called "Bugsy Malone." The movie starred Scott Baio and Jodie Foster. "Little Enis" himself, Paul Williams did the words and music. I thought it would be cool to share the original version of the song with you.
For Your Consideration:
Bugsy Malone, Razamataz (Paul Williams) - You Give A Little Love Mp3

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Obama - O'Brien in 2008?

Sen. Barack Obama launched a presidential campaign today that would make him the first African American to occupy the White House. His running mate of course has not been named yet, but could a Obama/O'Brien ticket be in the future? Hmmm. I found this video on YouTube from his appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and thought you might enjoy a glimpse of the candidate in his "Arsenio/Saxaphone Mode" before the wears and tears of running for the presidency change the man.

The freshman Illinois senator, and top contender for the Democratic nomination, said upon his declaration
"Our leaders in Washington seem incapable of working together in a practical, commonsense way... Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can't tackle the big problems that demand solutions. And that's what we have to change first."

For Your Consideration:
Bruce Springsteen- Born To Run (Live Acoustic, From the Chimes of Freedom CD) Mp3
Tenacious D - The Government Totally Sucks Mp3

Crush Of The Week: Melora Hardin of "The Office"

Melora Hardin last night at the 64th annual Golden Globe Awards. No wonder Michael loves Jan so much. Looking very Sela Wardish, even that claimer on the left noticed Melora. Perv, she's my crush of the week!

Eric Prydz Vs Floyd: Proper Education

On January 1st 2007, Swedish "dance legend" Eric Prydz returned to Data Records to follow up his hit "Call On Me", with a blistering track sampling Pink Floyd's "Another Brick In The Wall (Part Two)."

This is the first time a Pink Floyd record has ever officially been cleared for usage as a sample. The song laces David Gilmour's vocals with an immense electro bassline. The track has recently appeared on America's Hot Dance Airplay, while in the UK it has been put on the playlist for numerous commercial stations and Radio 1.

This song will either make your ears bleed or get you groovin. There is no middle ground. My take? Well, it kinda makes me wanna grab a pacifier out of my Hello Kitty backpack and stare at it for hours, then find Roger Waters and punch him in the glowstick. You can decide for yourself, it's worth at least one listening.

For Your Consideration:
Eric Prydz Vs Floyd - Proper Education Mp3

Fall Into The Gap: Favorite Songs (2005)

I love Amoeba Records. There is always a pretty good chance you will find a gem there. Yesterday was no exception. I found in the clearance section a cd entitled "Gap Favorite Songs: Fall 2005," which contains all of the songs that were featured in their commercial campaign of that year. It is especially notable because it contains many remarkable versions of classic songs covered by today's artists. I especially love the version of Seal's "Crazy" by Alanis Morissette and The Beach Boy's "God Only Knows" covered by the always soulful Joss Stone. Give it a listen, you're bound to find something you love, even if you hate the clothing company that released it.

Track List:
John Legend - Hello, It's Me - The Isley Brothers
Joss Stone - God Only Knows - The Beach Boys
Jason Mraz - One Love - Bob Marley
Alanis Morrisette - Crazy - Seal
Brandon Boyd - Alison - Elvis Costello
Michelle Williams - Let's Stay Together - Al Green
Keith Urban - Most People I Know Think That I'm Crazy - Billy Thorpe
Bonus Track: Michelle Branch - Life On Mars - David Bowie

For Your Consideration:

Gap Favorite Songs: Fall 2005

Monday, January 15, 2007

Has Hell Frozen Over? LA es Muy Frio!

Ummm, did hell freeze over during the weekend? On Sunday, the low in downtown Los Angeles bottomed out at 36 degrees shortly after sunup, breaking the old record low of 37 degrees set in 1932. Temperatures in the valleys were in the 20s, and Lancaster hit 3 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Woodland Hills, the low was a flat 20 degrees, tying the old record set in 1963. Over at the Santa Monica Pier, the low was 39 degrees, tying the old record, also set in 1963. Long Beach hit 31 degrees, beating its old record of 33 degrees set in 1963.

Other records included:

35 degrees at Los Angeles International Airport, breaking the old record
of 36 degrees set in 1963.

36 degrees in Westwood, beating the old record of 40 degrees set in 1989

27 degrees in Burbank, breaking the old record of 30, set in 1963

So in honor of our weather, I made a five-for mix of "Cold and Windy" songs. They are:

Ray Charles - Baby, It's Cold Outside Mp3
Foo Fighters - Cold Day In The Sun Mp3
The Arcade Fire - Cold Wind Mp3
Cat Stevens - The Wind Mp3
The Association - Windy Mp3

For Your Consideration:
Baby It's Cold Outside Mp3 Five-For-Mix