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Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Call to Prayer

For people of all creeds, Blackfive has issued a call for prayers for a young marine who is fighting for his life. For those of you who believe, say a prayer for Marine Corporal David Emery Jr. For those who don’t spare a moment of thought for the young man and his family.

Wovenhand in Concert

David Eugene Edwards

Wovenhand

Bluebird Theater
3317 E. Colfax,
Denver, CO
Saturday, April 14

I’ll be at the concert (along with a few hundred other rabid fans), and I’d like to encourage the rest of you Denver area music fans to drop by, too. At just $12 (plus, of course, the Ticketmaster convenience fees, surcharges, and extra special bonus billing additives), it is the best concert that you will see this year--intense, brilliant music played with passion. If you’ve never seen Denver’s David Eugene Edwards play a live performance, you owe yourself this experience.

If you are going to go, let me know. If I like you, I’ll even spot you a free, concert-priced beverage of your choice.

Get more details and purchase tickets.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

American Idol: Post Minimalism Report

Hey, Ryan, nice hair.

Between Phil, Haley, and Chris Sligh who should be going home?

Sanjaya, obviously.

Stupid American Idol. Somehow, it isn’t as much fun to watch or mock when you realize that the worst performer is seemingly guaranteed to keep going. The hordes of wrong bettors are certainly enjoying themselves, though.

In case you can’t tell, I’m disgusted, and it isn’t a joke. Sanjaya is a nice kid and I liked him in the beginning--his smile, his personality, and what I hoped was a spark of potential made him a sympathetic figure. But is winning worth knowing that the only reason you’ve stayed on the show is because you’re the butt of some demented joke? I don’t think that my personal sense of dignity would allow for that, even when a giant payday was at risk.

I realize that people will think that I’m just talking nonsense, but personal integrity and dignity are probably the most important things in my life. If I were Sanjaya I would walk away from this contest and let someone more deserving stay on the show. I’ve shadowed the show for a few years now not because I like the music (or, generally, the singers), but because it’s been a pretty funny. The joke just isn’t as funny right now.

Sanjaya, show some integrity, kid. Time to go home.

Unfortunately, tonight Chris S goes home--which wasn’t a surprise since he had yet to really recover from his flub a few weeks back. He wasn’t the best singer on the show--his greatest asset was his personality and sense of humor. The subdued, careful Chris was bound to be going home. It just should never have happened before Sanjaya was gone.

Terrifically disappointing.

Other Points of View:

I’d say that this is the appropriate level of venom.

I hate you with ferocity of a million dieting women fighting over the last cookie on the face of the earth.

Then there’s the other side of the argument.

i think this boy is single handedly carrying the entire show. seriously.

The fear of Sanjaya’s potential victory grows:

Sanjaya Malakar winning American Idol is a worst-case scenario for FOX.  It would single-handedly undermine any credibility the show has as a legitimate venue for talent. 

Painful Realizations in American Politics, Part 1: Call it a Hunch

I just realized that no one is really sitting on the edge of their chair waiting to see who has the Zombyboy Endorsement for the upcoming Presidential elections.

Some days my dreams of ruling the world seem so distant.

Fully Lijit

I’ve added the search widget from Lijit to the left column (after upgrading Expression Engine and ridding myself of an odd bug that targeted, mostly, javascript throughout certain pages on the site) and I’m kind of digging it. It’s free, easy to set up, and has more features than you might guess.

The first thing that it does is set up a search engine for your content. Notice that I didn’t say it sets the search up for your site, it sets the search up for your content. Content over multiple sites, all of the big social sites (MySpace, flickr, whatever) and lets users search your content. When a person uses the search widget to find a term on your site, they not only have the option of seeing the answers coming from your blog, but they can also expand the search to include your content on other sites, content from your network (sites that you have linked in your blogroll or that you add manually to your network), and, of course, a full Web search.

For ResurrectionSong, the expansive view of content isn’t particularly useful. The content that I have is, in the main, on this site; for people that either run a number of sites or make extensive use of social networks, this is great. For me, the ability to search “my network” is pretty damned nifty and the (admittedly basic) reporting tools under “My Stats” provide a quick snapshot of what people are looking for on your site.

Over the last few days, I’ve had it on the front page of the site and I’ll be adding it to the template of all of the archive pages, too. It’s a neat little tool.

For those of you who attended the last Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash, you’ll remember meeting Tara, who was handing out free t-shirts.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

American Idol: The Nearly Minimalist Edition

Did I miss anything?

Chris Slight: A’ight, dawg. Nothing outstanding, though.

Gina: Ooo. Nice. Extra hubbas for her.

Sanjaya: Heheheh. Ahem. Hehehehehehheheheh. Snicker. Hehehehehehhehehehheheheheheh. Ouch.

Haley: Oh, please. Disney version of an insipid song.

Phil: Sting impersonator with crocheted headgear and gratuitous Longing Hobbit Glances. Not bad, though.

Melinda: Well, yeah, of course. The wardrobe was a little scary.

Blake: Good song. Lifeless take on it, though.

Jordin: Another mucked up wardrobe choice. Pretty good.

Chris R: Just shut up already.

More World Crushing Runts

Say, “Congratulations, Andy.” Soon there will be an entire miniature army of World Wide Runts.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Mr. Answer Knows it All (But Sometimes He Doesn’t Like the Answer)

When Mr. Answer sees that some woman is planning to dump her boyfriend, he can’t help but feel a little for the poor bastard. So, this recent search for “good song to tell a guy i dont need him anymore” left him feeling a little sad.

He still felt obligated to break out an answer, though. What songs would you use to (hopefully) kindly tell your former beloved that he isn’t so beloved anymore? Firstly, have you considered just calling the guy and using one of the standard break up lines? Something like “I still love you, but I’m not in love with you” or “I didn’t think that the thing you did with the poodle was going to bother me nearly as much as it did.” That little personal touch can really make the subsequent heartbreak much more poignant for the poor bastard.

Failing that, here’s a list of some songs that you can use to get your message across:

  1. MIke Johnson’s “I Don’t Love You” from the album I Feel Alright is more gentle than you might imagine, but it isn’t particularly subtle. Lead off with this on a mix CD for your ex-loved one, and he’ll probably get the message.
  2. “Blood on My Hands” from the Sundays is a sweet whisper of both “I’m Sorry” and “Goodbye” in one song and an utterly gorgeous song. It’s a shame that Harriet Wheeler and the bunch called it a day after three albums.
  3. You could also add in Mark Lanegan’s “House a Home”, although it would work better if you were a boy. Still, there will be no mistaking “and I’m not the one to make your house a home” as being a call for long term commitment.
  4. BB King’s “Thrill is Gone” is a brilliant choice especially if there was a little infidelity on his part. It’s celebratory anger in the best blues tradition. And it’s BB King, so, seriously, how can you go wrong?
  5. An odd choice would be a-ha’s “The Way We Talk” from East of the Sun, West of the Moon. A short, jazzy number with no resemblance at all to the pop of “Take on Me”, it’s a one sided conversation about a broken relationship. Perfect.
  6. Definitely add in Amy Mann’s “I Can’t Help You Anymore” from The Forgotten Arm--especially if the boy has anything resembling a substance abuse problem.
  7. Lastly, you might want to try “You Will Be Loved” by Death Cab for Cutie, a poppy slice of polite break up song that’s catchy as hell.

As an added bonus, here’s a few songs that he can listen to to make him feel worse. Or better. However you look at these things.

  1. Madeleine Peyroux’s take on Elliot Smith’s “Between the Bars”, which is one of the most melancholy songs I’ve ever heard.
  2. Mike Johnson gets a return appearance with “Turn Around"--just in case you want to string him along a little.
  3. “No One Knows” (especially, if you can find it, the live accoustic version from a Swedish radio show back in the ‘90s, but the album version will do the job, too) from Screaming Trees isn’t so much about a broken relationship as it is about creating a mood. On the live version, Mark Lanegan’s voice sounds so tired and lost that when he asks “Darling, what have I done wrong?” you’ll be guaranteed to have the ex in tears. Unless you tell him that you cheated on him, in which case he’ll be overwhelmed with crankiness. As a bonus, “Dollar Bill” from that same session would work like a charm, too.
  4. If you both happen to be of a certain age, you’d be doing him a serious wrong if you didn’t include Hall & Oates “She’s Gone”. Those under 30 might want to skip this one…
  5. Blood Group’s “Borrowed Tune” is a pretty, ambient bit of depression.
  6. If, on the other hand, anger is called for, Stabbing Westward’s “Lies” from Ungod might be his cup of poison. Caught between goth darkness and industrial noise, it’s a post-break up sing-along for who like their music loud.

Now, go forth and separate.

Friday, March 23, 2007

A String of Short Posts Continues

Damn.

So much for my theory of Memphis being overrated. That was the sound of my tournament chances dying a painful death.

None of which changes the fact that I’ve got some Bejus comin’ to me. Which officially makes my day a whole hell of a lot better.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

If I Did a “Must Read” of the Day…

If I actually did a “Must Read” of the day, Molly’s post from a few days ago would qualify. I meant to link it up a few days ago but never quite got around to it; sorry about that, Molly.

Appeal for Courage

For anyone opposing retreat, defunding, or otherwise giving up on Iraq, click here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

American Idol: Sanjaya’s Angry Revenge Edition

I think the question that is on everyone’s mind is this: will the crying girl be back tonight to grace us with her overdeveloped waterworks? Maybe that’s just the way that the parents fireproofed the child. Self-extinguishing children might be the next big trend in parenting.

Translation of Someone Else’s Aside: Embrace the lunacy!

Brad is not safe. But he’s pretty funny.

Melinda, Phil, and Blake are all safe. Which is no bad thing because Sanjaya needs to go home. Chris Sligh, Lakisha, and Jordan are also safe, bringing us just a little bit closer to heaven.

Haley, Sanjaya, and Gina are also not the bottom three. Which brings all of my hopes tumbling to the ground.

Which leaves Chris Richardson and Stephanie, neither of which would be a bad choice if Sanjaya’s Evil Mind Control Rays weren’t controlling the tweenage girls of the universe.

Damned, evil Sanjaya.


image

Special Bring Down Sanjaya Aside: While a hunger strike might be going a little too far (or, really, miles and miles too far), I’ll be voting for everyone who isn’t Sanjaya next week. Even the bad ones. Even the ones that I hate. Even if, through some miracle, Sanjaya actually performs beautifully next week. The only response is a concerted effort to drown out the children and the wrong bettors who are doing their best to keep Sanjaya in place.

As for the results tonight, the whiny voiced Chris R. stays over the uneven potential of Stephanie--which doesn’t feel like the right choice to me, but is a small injustice in comparison to Sanjaya’s continuing through to the next round. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

American Idol: The Sanjaya Sucks Edition

You know, if Sanjaya had anything resembling dignity and self respect, he would leave the show. He’s not good, he doesn’t deserve to be there, and his biggest fan base is probably powered by a Web site that wants the worst singer to win.

Leave the show, Sanjaya. Come back after more lessons and a little bit of maturity make you worth listening to.

Just sayin’. Haley Scarnato should be following close behind.

Speaking of which, she still sounds like she should be on You’re the One That I Want auditioning for Grease! instead of American Idol. That’s not to say she was bad--it was her best (or, actually, only) good performance of the season. And she looked good enough to pretty much the entirety of the heterosexual male vote for the evening.

That was definitely a multi-hubba performance.

Compulsory Disclosure Aside: I might be nicer tonight because I like “British Invasion” music almost as much as I like the late-80’s/early-90’s Seattle sound. Aside from that, the magazine is almost ready to be delivered to the printer and that makes me happy.

Happy, I tell you.

Chris R isn’t well suited for this kind of music. His whiny voice gets in the way of a pretty melody, he doesn’t have even a vague idea of how to convey emotion, and he oversings bits of a song that begs for simplicity. If it weren’t for all the bad, though, it would be notable only for its blandness.

Which is why Randy thought it was a “great performance”, Paula drools a little, and Simon gives him a thumbs up, too. I don’t see it. Of course, I also think that he the most unpleasant voices on the show (not the worst, mind you, just one of the worst to actually listen to).

In Touch W/ My Inner Geeky Boy Aside: I can’t wait to see Meet the Robinsons. It looks hilarious and when the dinosaur wiggles his arms, I laugh like a little boy.

Did Stephanie Edwards pick a good song in Dusty Springfield’s “You Dont’ Have to Say I Love You?” I’d say it was a great song choice--giving her the opportunity to stretch her voice and play dramatically to the crowd--that was let down a little by her delivery. She sounded uncomfortable, she didn’t really hit the notes, and she had some pitch problems. It was disappointing because it really felt like she should have done much better.

Beatbox Blake’s take on the Zombies’ (lamentably spelled correctly) “Time of the Season” was a fun updating of a damned fine song about gettin’ a little lovin’. It just straddled the line between creative and gimmicky, coming out just on the right side. The vocals were good (if not quite great), but the arrangement was spot on. It probably won’t be remembered as the best singing of the night, but it will be one of the few performance that will actually be remembered after tonight.

“You’re My World” would have been a better choice than “Diamonds Are Forever” for Lakisha, if you ask me. Not that either choice was bad--but “You’re My World” is more upbeat and catchy in my world. Aside from one really ugly moment in the middle of the song, she pulls off the song well and she still has that wonderful, mature voice.

I love “Tobacco Road” in its many variations, but damned if I knew that it was a Brit invasion song. And Phil wasn’t nearly as convincing as the backing band. He looked like a (bald) little kid singing for mommy and daddy. Gina would have done it better--he’s too Disney to be a rocker, if you know what I mean. I think Simon nailed it: no grit in that performance.

Educational Aside: Generally I think of Edgar Winters and Lou Rawls when I think of “Tobacco Road”, but here’s Wikipedia’s entry on the Nashville Teens--which, if you ask me, is a bit of a stretch as a Brit invasion song, given that it was written by John Loudermilk. In case you were wondering.

Jordin Sparks nailed “I Who Have Nothing.” Maybe not to Shirley Bassey’s standard, but for a seventeen year old girl, she pulled it off beautifully. Her one big note wasn’t shouted, wasn’t filled with anything unnecessary, and really hit the spot for me. Gorgeous.

Sanjaya Go Home! (I still love you, kid.)

Good Lord, he was bad doing the Kinks’ “Really Got Me"--one of my all time favorite songs. Done right, it’s a damned hard rock song (listen to the live version on One for the Road), done wrong it’s bad karaoke. Which, we had the bad kind tonight, didn’t we?

And crying little pre-teens don’t do a thing to sell me on the boy. Message to Parents: For the love of all that is good in the universe, hide your cell phones from the kiddies tonight. Don’t let them vote for Sanjaya. Think of the rest of us.

If anyone should do well tonight, it’s Gina. Her vocal style, her balls-out willingness to rock, and her bright personality have won me over, and “Paint it Black"--according to some at my last job, the theme song of all graphic designers--is a damned fine choice. She looks like a little goth girl (which, in case you didn’t know, is a total turn on), and again proves that she should be fronting a rock band. She’s a latter day Joan Jett, I tell you--which isn’t to say that she should be winning a singing contest, but that she’s someone I wouldn’t mind seeing at the Bluebird.

I dig her. I still say she’s the most rock-oriented singer that they’ve ever had on the show, which, for me, is a good thing.

Chris Sligh definitely resurrects the Zombies’s sound with his take on “She’s Not There”.  A marked improvement over last week’s, it still wasn’t his best. After his spanking, he was too timid tonight and wasn’t as filled with his personality as some of his earlier songs. It was a solid week, but not brilliant. With Sanjaya on the show, he should be safe. With Sanjaya’s dismal insurgent supporters, though, who knows what will actually happen.

Closing with Melinda is always a good thing. The chance of her coming up with a good show-stopping close is a better bet than putting money on any of the others.  And again tonight she proves to have the most polished, professional voice and feel for performing on stage. Yep, she’s the best of the bunch.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Mr. Answer Knows it All (And Shares When He Damned Well Feels Like It)

Recently someone searched for information about “‘Gunnin for the Buddha’ British Bands” and came up with ResurrectionSong. I’m guessing that they didn’t know who sang that funky little ditty and needed a little help.

Mr. Answer is here to guide you, supplicant.

The band the seeker is looking for is the under-appreciated Shriekback and can be found on their album Big Night Music. Great album with some other gems to be found like “Running on the Rocks” and “Sticky Jazz.” While you’re out trying to find that little slice of the 80’s, you might also want to look for Oil & Gold, which has their other recognizable song, “Nemesis” along with the brilliantly fun “Hammerheads” (the live version which can be found on the compilation The Dancing Years is perfect, although the album as a whole is a bit of a mixed bag).

Inconsistent, eclectic, and affected, it’s not too surprising that Shriekback haven’t found a huge audience. The good stuff, though, is mighty good.

Now, Mr. Answer is off to sample the pleasures of “Fading Flowers.” Gorgeous.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Zimbabwe (Updated)

Update: Read the Austin Bay report. And then go to Sokwanele to see the result of Mugabe’s brutal regime. The pictures aren’t pretty, but I think they get the message across.

Introduction: I began writing this on Friday, but circumstances conspired against me finishing the thing. I figured I would wait until Monday to finalize the thing. Instead of working on the magazine that I should be laying out, I decided that I wanted to finish this instead. The decision came because i came across a few stories today that fit with the rest of this piece and those new stories come in the extended entry. It’s still unfinished in that I don’t have enough space to say all that I want to say and it hasn’t been edited or polished up at all. Apologies for the rough state of the thing, but that magazine really does need some work--and someone has to pay my bills.



When I close my eyes and see Zimbabwe, she isn’t like the reality we see in the papers. She’s still beautiful, strong, educated, and blessed. The Zimbabwe in the papers is a stranger to me. I can’t remember the last time I saw good news from the country--news untainted by suspicion or word of Mugabe’s latest insanity.

A few examples might do. First, The New Republic has a story entitled “The Other African Genocide.”

The conditions Mugabe rendered in Zimbabwe do not merely stem from idealistic economic and social policies gone awry. He has undertaken a campaign of violence and starvation against political opponents, the fallout of which is killing tens of thousands, if not more, every year. In 2005, there were roughly 4,000 more deaths each week than births, a rate that the famine has surely increased. This is worse than brutality. The United Nations says that “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part” constitutes genocide, and that is exactly what Robert Mugabe has wrought.

Read the rest. It is terrifying to read James Kirchik’s account of the systematic destruction Mugabe’s government has brought to what was once one of the more promising African states. It’s been easy to ignore for most people because the killing isn’t often done with outright violence. As Kirchik notes, this isn’t machete wielding masses cutting down hundreds of thousands of their fellow citizens; this is a slow, methodical starving of a population where food is used as a weapon and as a way to bring the population to what the government considers a manageable level.

As early as 2002, the BBC was reporting that people in Matabeleland, the southern region of the country where the minority Ndebele tribe lives, were starving. That same year, on the eve of a massive drought, the Minister of Zimbabwean State Security said, “We would be better off with only six million people--with our own who support the liberation struggle. We don’t want all these extra people.”

Zimbabwe’s tragedy isn’t as explosive as, say, Somalia. It isn’t as bloody as, say, Rwanda. And it certainly isn’t as noticed as the Sudan.

What Zimbabwe is, though, is devastated and desperately in need of help. Where is the UN? Where is the African Union? Mostly doing what large, international organizations do in times of crisis: precisely nothing. It is so much easier to say “never again” once the bodies have been buried than it is to take action.

American Spectator has a look at Mugabe’s maneuvering to remain in power and the economic damage that he has caused to his nation.

Cleverly, as Mugabe usually acts when he isn’t simply brutal, the self-ordained “father of Zimbabwe” has had floated the idea of rescheduling to 2010 the presidential election due at the end of his term in 2008 in coordination with the parliamentary elections. This device would prolong his stay in office while giving him time to sort out the current bitter infighting within his own ruling party, Zanu-PF.

Meanwhile his country’s economic state is disastrous. What once was a balanced economy before he assumed power in 1980 now borders on bankruptcy. The national inheritance of a modern agriculture and growing mining and manufacturing sectors has been squandered. Inflation neared 1600 percent in January of this year and international banking circles predict it to reach a possible 5,000 per cent by the end of the year.

Barring intervention or a civilian uprising, Zim will continue to die slowly--bleeding the people who can manage to leave, starving those left behind, and nearly drained of opportunity with an infrastructure so neglected that almost nothing remains of the country I knew. Its population as depleted as its farms, its industry ruined.

And on the same day that I am reading these stories, the gentlemen from Sokwanele sent me this link.

Mugabe apparently attacked the IMF as “nonsense” among many other tired familiar rants. I’d have to say though that I can’t think of many things as utterly nonsensical as paying £36 for 2 litres of milk!

The cost of Mugabe’s mismanagement of Zimbabwe is concrete. The effects of his misguided policies are, bluntly, killing the nation’s citizens--millions of people who will die before they should, who will never achieve their potential, who are being destroyed by their own government.

Read the Rest...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

American Idol: The Waste of Time and Energy Edition

When I speak of waste of time and energy, I’m not just speaking of the time I spend on a weekly basis watching American Idol; I’m talking about the things our government does when we aren’t paying enough attention. Example? Glad you asked.

From Shawn at the American Spectator’s blog, comes this story of aluminum bat banning fun. Or how about working hard to make sure that Angel Raich, a woman dying of cancer, can’t legally obtain the marijuana that eases her pain, gives her enough of an appetite to actually eat, and, essentially, makes living livable. Both of these stories represent time that the government spends doing things that government shouldn’t do: meddling to a completely unreasonable level in our lives.

Just sayin’.

Lakisha is safe. Gina is safe. Brandon looks worried. And for good reasons. He is in the bottom three for the evening.

Jordin Sparks is safe. Chris R is hideous. But he’s also safe.

Melinda is safe. Which, otherwise, would have been a horrible miscarriage of justice.

Phil is in the bottom three. Which makes sense.

Chris Sligh looks worried, too, but his goodwill carries him through an otherwise rough week.

Stephanie is safe. Blake is safe. Sanjaya or Haley? Can you really go wrong putting either of them at the bottom of the pile?

Catty aside: Diana Ross may no longer be spectacular, but she certainly is quite a spectacle.

That wasn’t very nice, was it?

Haley sits down because Andy had her number on speed dial. Or because Sanjaya was horrible yesterday--and, yet, he still gets to stay on the show.

Which is something close to criminal. Brandon didn’t sing or perform well enough to have survived much longer, but his vocals were miles above Sanjaya’s timid, unimpressive singing. For that matter, Haley’s performance was good only in comparison to Sanjaya’s. I’m starting to feel a little ill will toward the kid.

Brandon, though, goes out with class and dignity. He’s got a pretty voice--and, as the g-phrase would tell you, a pretty face--and he should have been on the show at least another week. Here’s hoping the future holds good things for the guy.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

American Idol: The Scary Diana Ross Edition

Wow. Seriously scary Diana Ross. It’s in the hair, the clothes, and the vacant look in the eyes. It’s like looking at Paula Abdul twenty years in the future.

Jerry notes in the comments: “I don’t care if the contexts are totally different, there IS no comparison between Diana Ross and Paula Abdul.” He’s right. I’m wrong. Sorry, Diana.

Brandon sounded okay at first and then he fell down seriously. Missing the lyrics killed what was an otherwise decent performance--the kind of performance that could have kept him in the show since he’s such a good looking and likable guy. The dancing really was bad. I really want him to do well, but he keeps not living up to his voice’s potential. Er. If you know what I mean.

Poor guy took it on the chin tonight--deservedly--and can’t be feeling good right now. Luckily for him, most of his competitors aren’t so hot, either.

Hopes remain high that Melinda will be with the show all the way to the end. Her song was, for me, a bad choice, though--a slow, bland, and very safe. Her saving grace is her voice--she’s powerful without having to yell, she’s controlled, and she’s charismatic.

Paula needs mood stabilizing drugs. Stop crying, you over-emotional wreck.

“Endless Love” by the self-assured Chris Sligh might have been a mistake. He changed it enough that it lost its familiar feeling and the changes weren’t good enough to make it better than the original. He’s better than Brandon if only because his personality comes through in his singing, but he isn’t scoring points for making “Endless Love” into a Coldplay cover (which, damnit, that’s close to what Randy just said). There’s enough good will there to keep him in the show, but he’ll need to be better next week. Brave but stupid.

Good Lord, Diana Ross scares me. If I saw that head bounding toward me in a dark alley, I would be terrified.

Gina’s “Love Child” (heheh) isn’t as good as last week. She yells through the big bits, she throws in a kind of odd “woo-woo”, and she, overall, seems to take a step back. That performance didn’t really connect, did it? Almost as disappointing as Chris Sligh’s song.

How tiny is Ryan Seacrest? I mean, he’s like a 3/5ths scale man. With very nice hair.

Ah, poor little Sanjaya. Poor little feller. “Ain’t No Mountain High” is just so much bigger than him--he can’t carry it off vocally and his performance (which is always restrained at best) is like watching a little kid playing at being a singer. It wasn’t anything approximating good. Randy and Simon hit him a little harder than he deserves (maybe), but they are right: Sanjaya isn’t good enough to be on this show.

About the hair: the g-phrase liked it, I thought it was better last week. He looks the part of teen idol without having even the modicum of real ability that might translate into a real career. I’m beginning to think that my earlier belief in his potential was seriously mistaken.

Haley Scarnato, escapee from a Disney musical, will never be my favorite singer. Mostly because she sort of sucks. I mean, easily the worst of the night--which, when you’re on the same show as Sanjaya, is as cruel a statement as I can make. I think Simon was utterly wrong: it really was that bad.

And what a horrible dress.

I"m getting more and more bored by Phil. He’s taking on a Haley-like blandness, although he doesn’t step over into the blatant badness of her performance tonight. In fact, his vocals are strong, but in a tremendously forgettable, lounge singer kind of way. A good lounge, though. Not one of those lounge singers who plays in the middle of the casino to a cast of depressed octogenarians who’ve just lost their prescription copay at the slots and can barely hear him over the clanking of the coins in video poker machines. No, it’s more like the lounge at the casino where people sit and make small talk while drinking overpriced martinis when the opening act for the overpaid, fading star waits to take the stage.

Know what I mean?

“God Bless the Child” is the kind of song that was made for someone like Lakisha. It really gave her an opportunity to stretch her voice--and, mostly, it worked. She still oversings some parts and adds flourishes where they aren’t needed (listen to that beginning again). It was a very good night for her, though.

And you did check out Andy’s commentary, didn’t you? Because if you haven’t, you’re a total dummy. And what about Kate? You didn’t forget to check out her thoughts, did you?

I like Blake. He reworks “You Keep Me Hanging On” and makes it not-sucky. Which is a minor miracle, if you ask me. He isn’t great, and it definitely wasn’t his best vocal performance, but at least he adds a little something interesting to the thing. Paula got it right: Chris and Blake both tried to make a classic song something new, but Blake came a lot closer to being successful.

I like Stephanie less as time goes on. The yelling, a few pitch problems, and a little lack of charisma left me unmoved.

I don’t like, have never liked, and will never like Chris R. He embodies so much of what I hate about contemporary music: marginal vocal talent matched with a whiny, nasal voice and a seemingly endless supply of misplaced self-confidence. I just really don’t like the style, can’t stand his voice, and wish like hell that he would be kicked from the show.

Jordin Sparks is a lot closer to good, normally, but she fell down tonight with a song that didn’t quite work for her. The quiet parts were timid, the bigger parts were screamed, and none of it sounded particularly good. It didn’t help that the song was some refugee from soundtrack hell.

Not a good night for Jordin. In fact, not a good night for American Idol--there were only a handful of good performances tonight. For two hours worth of show, that wasn’t much of a payoff, was it?

About Those Naughty Bits

I’m pretty sure that the Sex Workers’ Art Show has never been as funny as when it’s been tweaked by Shawn Macomber’s pen.

Money shot:

The question attendees were left to wrestle with alone, however, was whether simply plastering a look of exaggerated irony on one’s face while bouncing up and down to twirl shiny nipple tassels delineates empowerment. If one’s sole qualification for an alternative strip show is having a body type that mainstream America will not pay to see unclothed, are you rejecting objectification or merely marketing your niche to a niche audience.

Chances are even the sensitive boys in corduroys aren’t staring at your breasts to make a feminist political statement.

Now read the rest. Naughty bits, indeed…

For the record, I’ve never imagined that the life of a sex worker is empowering. I don’t see how either showing off your body or being paid for one of various forms of sex is empowering. At worst it’s a job that makes sexuality a cheap commodity. At best it’s just a job like, say, graphic design. Only much messier.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Antonella Barba One Step Closer to Porn

Remember when I said of Antonella’s dismissal that “Now we’ll just wait for the inevitable news of Playboy offering?” Well, it looks like the porn purveyors are one step closer to helping that dream come true for young men around the globe.

On Wednesday, Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis extended a public invitation to the comely brunette to join his company, offering her $250,000 to host an upcoming video release from the franchise.
“Antonella Barba is an unbelievably sexy girl who obviously knows how to have a good time,” Francis said.

Francis wasn’t the only entity bidding for Barba’s talents. Adult film purveyor SugarDVD raised the stakes Thursday by offering the Idol hopeful $500,000 to become the company’s celebrity spokesmodel.

“We have set aside money for the right opportunity and we feel like this is it!” SugarDVD CEO Jax said in a statement. “You saw her photos online, she’s smokin’!”
[...]
Though she stopped short of commenting specifically on the various offers that have come her way so far, Barba said she planned to stick around Los Angeles for a couple of weeks while weighing her options.

Joking aside, I would have guessed that she would dismiss the offers on principle--the principle that says a young woman who wants to have a real singing career doesn’t appear in Girls Gone Wild videos. But, then, half a million dollars is a whole lot of money and maybe the realization that her talents aren’t as impressive as her ambitions will lead her to take the cash.

Which could lead to a whole, big conversation about pornography, self respect, dignity, and finding a sense of personal value that resides in a more holistic sense of self that goes beyond the mere physical and encompasses spiritual and intellectual potentials. But that might break the light mood.

Read the story.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I’m All Sorts of Right Wing Apathetic

Okay, so Tom is wondering what the right wingers are going to think about Matt Sanchez’s gay porn star past (this link is so tremendously work unsafe that it requires a big ol’ warning: Don’t click this if you are offended by pictures of naked men doing naughty things with other naked men or you don’t want evidence of gay porn in your browser cache, okay?. Well, along with some who will answer far better than I will (Jeff Goldstein and Michelle Malkin in particular), I thought I would throw in my thoughts.

I don’t care.

I don’t care where or with whom or how much he was paid. I don’t care that it was with other men any more than I would care if it had been with women. And if Sanchez weren’t writing conservative articles, Tom wouldn’t care, either. He only cares because he believes it will discredit Sanchez in the eyes of readers who are rabid right wing homophobic thugs. It’s Tom’s big “gotcha” moment.

But the only thing that I care about is whether Sanchez writing and thoughts are valuable in our national conversation on the big issues of the moment. In fact, from what I’ve read so far, the people most scandalized by the story are all on the left--they are the ones peddling all the salacious pictures, grinning (metaphorically) like school boys, and perplexed by this strange, gay creature. Why would this be? Jeff G has the answer:

Sanchez’ political separation from the “progressive” plantation mentality is a direct affront to Bacchus and his fellow travelers.  And to progressives—because the personal IS the political—anyone who doesn’t wear his group affiliation like a nametag is a hypocrite and a traitor.  Which is why Bacchus and those like him feel justified in “outing” people who, for whatever their reasons, don’t think that having tossed some salad in the 1990s has much bearing on whether or not, say, a university’s policy concerning soldiers is fair or constitutional.

So, it’s easier for a right wing shill like me to imagine and accept a former gay porn star into the fold than it is for Tom and the crew to accept a gay conservative. Now answer this question: which group do you think has the liberal tradition firmly in their corner? Which isn’t to say that the right is perfect or free from anti-gay bigotry, so I wouldn’t ever try to defend that position. But the progressives are the ones intent on hurting a gay man because of his political affiliation, not the right-leaning writers that I’ve read.

So, Tom, here it is again: I don’t care. I mean, I didn’t really need to see the pictures--boy on boy lovin’ just isn’t my thing--but aside from that it just isn’t a big deal. Sanchez may sleep with men or women and it doesn’t have any influence on my life in the least.

Thanks for asking.

Update: And, to be fair, there are some voices on the left who have taken a much more grown up road. Check out Robbie at the Malcontent. And read what McGehee has to say, too.

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