31 January 2008

Why I love Stacey Grenrock-Woods*

*besides for her name and her general hotness

Stacey's the sex writer for Esquire, which is a very good magazine despite what you may have heard. In the February issue of Esquire, she tackles a question about how a guy can tell if a stripper is really into him. She turns to Diablo Cody (who penned "Juno" and who also rawks):

"Take it from the screenwriter and former stripper Diablo Cody: 'Unless she explicitly says, "I like you, my real name is Karen, I think we should go bowling right now, and I'll pay," consider yourself a mark.' (Unless your name happens to be Mark, in which case 'fool' will suffice.)"

Tilde end of the world

So Jenn's back in school. I'm jealous. Or, at least I was until she e-mailed me this list of questions her fellow students actually asked the Spanish teacher before today's test:

1. "Do we actually have to know the numbers?"
2. "We don't need to know accent marks, do we?"
3. "Do we need to know how to spell the vocabulary?"

and, Jenn's personal favorite:
4. "Oral questions? But what if we can't understand the Spanish?"

Let me 'splain, La Cucuracha, if you don't understand the Spanish, you fail. Comprende?

Aterrizaje!Ovni
"Tu Necesidad" (mp3)
from "Aterrizaje!"
(Nacional Records)
Buy at Napster
More On This Album

30 January 2008

'Desmosedici': Italian for 'stupidhead'

In what can only be attributed to his desire to reenact scenes from "Mission: Impossible II" (below), Tom Cruise is getting one of only 1,500 new 200-mph Desmosedici motorbikes, manufactured by Ducati. He's the first U.S. customer for the $72,500 machine.

In other Tom Cruise news, he just jumped up 735 spots on Harrah's dead pool. He is now listed at No. 2, behind Andy Griffith.

weBay

News you can use: eBay has announced that no longer will it track feedback on buyers. This is great news to anyone who's ever been stung by a lousy seller, responded with negative feedback to warn other buyers, and found himself the victim of a negative rating due to the lousy seller's electronic retribution.

Small potatoes, maybe. But the bullying had to stop. Good move, Corpulent Corporate Giant.

(The cartoon came from over yonder.)

Bloated Elvis

Don't know when I'll be over my mancrush on Elvis Costello. Don't really care. The news is, Hip-O Records is preparing to release a Deluxe Edition of "This Year's Model." This is good news. Sort of.

To explain, let me give a little history of the record. It was Costello's second release. It hit No. 30 on Billboard's pop charts. In America, the schmucks dropped two fine cuts, "(I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea" and "Night Rally" as "too British" (imagine!), and added the fabulous "Radio Radio." If that weren't confusing enough, a Rykodisc CD release added six bonus tracks in 1993. Rhino issued another edition with a full 12-track disc of bonus material.

Now comes the Hip-O release with a total of -- wait for it -- 40 tracks. The bonus stuff include 11 B-sides and rareties, plus an entire concert. Too much? Maybe. But let's not forget that this album was voted No. 98 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. If that means anything to you. So if you haven't heard the record, this sure as hell ought to be the definitive edition. It's out March Fourth, the date that's also a command.

29 January 2008

Indiana Jones, the last

While I'm rounding up much-anticipated movie sequel news, Ain't It Cool News reports the contents of the trailer for the fourth and final Indiana Jones film, to be called "Indiana Jones and the Pimple that Bloomed." Wait, that's not it. It's "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."

Some of you will prefer to wait for the trailer's debut, which will be at the Feb. 15 screenings of "The Spiderwick Chronicles." Those who want to read the synopsis (of the trailer only), click here.

This right here is certainly NOT the trailer, despite appearances.

P.S.: I found a huge collection of Indiana Jones fan films here. Had no idea these people were as obsessive as "Star Wars" geeks...

28 January 2008

Bilbo to battle Pan!

Not really, of course, but RealMovieNews.com reports that Guillermo del Toro ("Pan's Labyrinth") is the director chosen to helm the pair of "Hobbit" movies produced by Peter Jackson.

Here's a scene from the forthcoming film, acquired somehow in spite of the fact that filming begins in 2009. Magic. You can click it for a closeup.

In other news, a panel of Tolkien experts have ruled that "helm" is the perfect verb to use in a brief about Middle Earth.

Scary

Here's a photo illustration I threw together to potentially go with this story about the haunted Windsor Hotel in Americus hosting murder mystery theater dinners. We went with straight-up hotel photos instead, which was probably the right decision. But there's nothing creepier than a little-girl- in-a-white-dress ghost, is there?

Is there?

The show in Americus is sold out now. Sorry. But some locals are going to be doing a similar thing right here in C-town, the 1040, or whatever it is you call the neighborhood. Look for detail on that in the To Do section next week.

27 January 2008

Dog 2.0

This is Sidda. She's our beagle mix, 7 years old. Sweet dog, with, as displayed here, the world's longest tongue.

From the category of "I swear we didn't plan this," Jenn was idly picking off stickers from her five-year-old laptop yesterday, and today when Sidda hops up on the bed to say good morning, she's got this sticker stuck to her back.

No word yet on how we're supposed to authenticate Windows on her, now that she's got the new motherboard.

25 January 2008

E is for Eels

Who are the Eels? Or who is the band's frontman, Mark Oliver Everett -- who goes by just 'E' -- I should ask.

How much of his genius physicist father is lurking in his rapscallion skull? How much was he scarred by the death of his father and mother and suicide of his sister? Do we even care as long as he crafts fantastic albums like "Beautiful Freak," and "Electro-Shock Blues"? Will he ever learn to cut the bloat that plagued his otherwise fantastic two-disc release of "Blinking Lights and Other Revelations"? Sitting down to listen to Eels' new two-disc collection of rarities, "Useless Trinkets," I was a bit skeptical. If the actual formal releases had become bloated and something shy of razor sharp, how good could his group of live tidbits, remixes and unreleased songs be?

Very good, as it turns out. The live recordings are so clean that but for the applause and catcalls you wouldn't even know they're from the stage. The remixes are invigorating. The cover choices are intriguing (James Carr's "The Dark End of the Street," Elvis' "Can't Help Falling in Love"). This collection is peppered with the noise and electronic squigglies that made "Beautiful Freak" so damned good. It would actually make a great introduction to Eels, even if his label didn't also release a 24-track "Meet The Eels" best-of at the same time.

"I'm turning out just like my father,
Though I swore I never would.
Now I can say that I have a love for him
I never really understood.
What it must have been like for him,
Living inside his head.
I feel like he's here with me now
(Even though he's dead)."
-- Eels, "Things the Grandchildren Should Know"

24 January 2008

Best song featuring 'Bologna'

"I started in Bologna,
when I stepped between the lights.

I thought I'd lost my charisma.
My life flashed before my eyes.
The communists rejected me.
I didn't fit their plan.

And anyway I must assume
they're anti-American"

-- T Bone Burnett, "Euromad"


I got T Bone's autograph once. Actually got to have dinner with him before his then-wife, Sam Phillips, performed a festival. He signed a CD book thusly:

T B
ONE

T.B.-One, like his hip-hop alter-ego. Odd bird. It was a great night.

More bologna blarney

If you missed it, this week's column for the real paper gushes -- perhaps to an uncomfortable level -- about my rekindled romance with bologna, of lunchmeat fame. I'd post a link, but the story already seems to have disappeared into the electronic ether. (e-ther? eTher?) If y'all make enough noise, though, I'll just post the whole damn column here.

Two people called in to tell me I should also try frying it again. That's on the agenda, for sure. I actually had a line in there about that, but we had to cut it for space. Specifically, I'm going to saute some vegetables and do up a sandwich like this. Only I'll probably melt some cheese on top, too.

Mmmm.

23 January 2008

Whigging out

Here's a little something to tide you over until The Whigs' label, ATO, greenlights the posting of an MP3 from the Athens band's new record. It may not be a new cut, but to any Whig virgins, it's gold. It's the best song offa their debut, "Give 'em All a Big Fat Lip."

Alternately, you could go here and download four of the new tracks, straight from the boyz.

Start bugging the SoHo or The Loft to book these fellers again already, Columbusites.

Give 'em All a Big Fat LipThe Whigs
"Technology" (mp3)
from "Give 'em All a Big Fat Lip"
(ATO Records)
Buy at Napster
More On This Album

Mmmmm, pie!

It's National Pie Day — so tells me my friend Meg (and confirmed here).

The National Pie Council recommends the following: "Eat pie. Whether you make it yourself, buy it at a supermarket or bakery or order it at a restaurant, perform a random act of pieness on yourself and enjoy some pie on National Pie Day – it’s great with lunch, dinner or as a late-night snack."

Great advice, which of course leaves one important question unanswered. Namely, how can I get me a job as a Pie Councilor?

Here's my random act of pieness. And here's a great recipe.

22 January 2008

No Joke(r)

Heath Ledger
1979-2008
Jouster, gay cowboy, uber-villain


Here's the story.

Oh yeah...

Can't believe I forgot to mention two other CDs by Georgia artists, out today, that I'm excited about getting my hands on (making a grand total of four Georgians among the five new releases I'm mentioning. Go, um, peaches?).

* The Whigs release their first CD since being signed today. It's called "Mission Control."

* The esoteric Cat Power, she of the ethereal voice and the strange stage antics, releases an album of covers, called "Jukebox," with songs made popular by Aretha, Dylan, Joni, Janis, Hank, Liza and others.

21 January 2008

Costa la vista, bored ears

What a great week for new music. We've got:

* The Drive-By Truckers' "Brighter Than Creation's Dark." No musician likes doing what he does more than Patterson Hood (see picture, right). Nineteen tracks of nouveau Southern rock may be overkill, but I haven't heard filler among the five cuts I've already listened to. Definitely sounds like an improvement over 2006's "A Blessing and a Curse."

* Matt Costa's "Unfamiliar Faces." This guy writes great pop songs. Jack Johnson's label signed him, and he's a far more interesting (read: Beatlesque) songwriter than Curious Jack. Listen and buy.

* Sean Costello's "We Can Get Together." This Atlanta bluesman is not even 30, and he's got the guitar chops of a vet. And his voice is getting better and more weathered with age.

We Can Get TogetherSean Costello
"How in the Devil" (mp3)
from "We Can Get Together"
(DELTA GROOVE PRODUCTIONS)
More On This Album

Good head

So Militia, who we all know as the new American Gladiator revealed to be a gay porn star before getting his new gig, is now under endorsement with HeadBlade — "the world's leader in head-care and men's products." (Insert laugh track here.) So, uh, move over Howie Mandel.

The company president, Todd Greene, further states that Militia, nee Alex Castro, "will play an important role enhancing our lifestyle brand across multiple media platforms as he continues to redefine the modern-era gladiator competition."

Lifestyle brand? I'm not 100 percent sure, but I think Greene is suggesting that all bald men are gay.

(I also feel required, in the interest of full disclosure, to point out that there's also a HeadBlade endorsee named, seriously, Luggnutz.)

20 January 2008

Ghosts! Aaaah!

OK, there seem to be more ghost stories than actual ghosts at Americus, Ga.'s Windsor Hotel. Still, the place looks hella-haunted.


Here's a story I wrote for today's paper on a murder-mystery dinner they're holding at the place, along with a cool picture. And here's the Windsor's Web site.

I'm tuning into football now. The stupid Patriots already won. See you tomorrow.

18 January 2008

Out of the blue

I swear I'm not trying to pick on chick pop stars. These opportunities just keep falling in my lap. (Huh-huh. Huh-huh.) This press release just in: "Total Pop Star's Deborah Gibson Celebrates Iconic Career and Launches Camp Electric Youth."

Now, I ask you, which is the more pathetic half of that statement.

"Deborah Gibson is poised to pass on the pop idol torch to the next wave of musical prodigies through her passion and commitment as a judge on 'Total Pop Star' and the launch of Camp Electric Youth," the release states. Uhhh, I think that torch was pretty much dropped, about a generation and a half back, girl, and then picked up by 1) Britney Spears, 2) Christina Aguilera, 3) Hilary Duff and 4) Miley Cyrus. In that order. Speaking of Little Miss Achy Breaky Heart, D-Gib also later claims to be "the Miley Cyrus of my generation." Here's the "TPS" web site, and the link to Camp Electric Youth, if you even care what that is, sadists.

Checkmate

Bobby Fischer
1943-2008
Master chessman, son of a Jew, anti-semite and loon.

17 January 2008

Pappa-NOT-zi

The AP reports that four paparazzi have been arrested and charged with reckless driving, for chasing too close one Britney Spears.

Thank frickin' god someone's finally cracking down on the real morons. Well, she's an idjit too. But you know what I mean.

Almost lost in the news is the irony that they're the only ones trying to get close to Ms. Spears these days.

Rocka-buy the album, bitches

At least that's what Shawn Mullins will be saying, when he returns to Columbus on Feb. 15. The singer-songwriter will be dropping his new disc, "Honeydew," on March 11.

If it's on par with his last, "Ninth Ward Pickin' Parlor," we'll be in for a good set of songs. Dare we even hope it's his next "Soul's Core" (which spawned the hit "Lullaby (Rockabye)"? Maybe we can find out at the show, where he'll previews the material. It'll be at The Loft.

Other places to see him:
• Jan. 17 (that's, uhh, tonight): Rhythm & Brews, Chattanooga, Tenn.
• Jan. 18: Grey Eagle, Asheville, N.C.

16 January 2008

The final front, here

National Geographic presented today the first photos from the previously unseen, far side of Mercury, courtesy of NASA's Messenger spacecraft.

Here's the story, but if you just want the photo, I've cribbed it and added some helpful annotations below.

K-Russ

Here's Tuesday's column, about how the beautiful actress Keri Russell is secretly in love with me. I mean, secretly in love with Columbus. And me.

Tried to convince my wife that she was on my list -- you know, the 10 women I'm allowed to sleep with, without repercussions on the marriage -- when she was filming "We Were Soldiers" here. Jenn wasn't buying it, though, since her name had never come up before she was staying in town.

D'oh.

15 January 2008

Must've been Bubbles' idea

Apparently when Michael Jackson said, a few months back, that he was working on some new material, he was actually working on some old material. Like remixes of the "Thriller" tracks for some godforsaken reason.

Why would he wanna be (re)startin' somethin'? Well, because that album's been his bread and butter for the last 25 years, of course. Sorich has the details here, including the link to the "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008" remix with Clay Akon. Wait, no. Make that just Akon.

(The track here isn't the M.J. song. It's a reggae track. I offer it simply in honor of The Man Who Would Be White.)

The Original ThrillerAugustus Pablo
"Thriller" (mp3)
from "The Original Thriller"
(President Records)
Buy at iTunes Music Store

'Orgasm'

That's the title of this short film. Many thanks -- I think -- to my buddy John for pointing me to this. Despite the title, it really is safe to watch at work. Unless you work at someplace really uptight.

Enjoy...?

14 January 2008

Late-night LaVette

Bettye LaVette, the retro soul-singer who's nominated for a Grammy for her latest record, "Scene of the Crime" (recorded with the Drive-By Truckers), will be stirring up things late at night on Wednesday.

She appears on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" Wednesday (Jan. 16). So tune in and get your ears sandblasted with her raw, beautiful voice.

And keep your fingers crossed for her in the Grammy race, culminating Feb. 10.

Wheedle's Groove - Seattle's Finest in Funk & Soul 1965-75Black On White Affair
"Bold Soul Sister, Bold Soul Brother" (mp3)
from "Wheedle's Groove - Seattle's Finest in Funk & Soul 1965-75"
(Light In The Attic)

Buy at eMusic

No Globes

Here's how little I cared about the Golden Globes press conference last night.

I played Madden football. And Jenn watched the "Masterpiece Theatre" presentation of Jane Austen's "Persuasion." (I prefer "Jane Austen's Mafia.")

Yawn. Tomorrow's column has some more thoughts, including the answer to the question you've been wondering: How are the Golden Globes like the NHL? And I also take a stab at this one: Why does Keri Russell have a crush on Columbus, Ga.? Tune in to the paper to find out. Or just check back here, as I'll prolly post a link.

13 January 2008

Sunday Spins

Haven't had many quiet weekends lately, what with the holidays, the travel and the like. So it's been too long since I've been able to pull out a handful of old CDs begging for a fresh listen, file 'em in the changer, and play. Today's different.
Here's an edition for (or at least from) the ladies... Here's what's on shuffle:

* Victoria Williams, "Swing the Statue": Pearl Jammies know her because P.J. recorded "Crazy Mary" for a tribute album to raise money for Williams' medical expenses back when. For my money, "Why Look at the Moon," on this record might be her finest song. There's also a great cover of Marvin Etzioni's (of Lone Justice fame) "Can't Cry Hard Enough" on here.

* The Innocence Mission, eponymous: Their 1989 debut still stands as one of their best records. Especially the run of four tracks from "You Chase the Light" to "Wonder Of Birds." Karen Peris' voice is clear and fragile as fine crystal.

* Crash Vegas, "Stone": Criminal that this band never got much recognition. Michelle McAdory's voice is the opposite of Peris'. Smoky and sultry, like a more knowing version of Margo Timmins. She's still around, 14 years after this album.

* Frogpond, "Count To Ten": Their sophomore and final record. These guys were reminiscent of The Breeders, but their live show really kicked. All-chick punk-rock is so hot. Saw them at Sluggo's, eons back, and was blown away by the energy. (And the drummer's hotness, I'll admit.) "Be" and "Waiting for a Friend" are the best cuts. The band's gone, but two have carried on.

* Maria McKee, "Scarlover": My favorite vixen. This is the record where she transformed herself from alt-country to some sort of freaky David Bowie spawn. It's wonderful. When "Absolutely Barking Stars" hits the bridge between the first two verses and the guitar squawks power chords with glorious abandon... well, it's a good time.

11 January 2008

'Idol'ing or stalled?

Taylor Hicks, Ruben Studdard and Katharine McPhee, once proud "American Idol" icons, have all been dropped by their labels. Maybe you've already heard that, though, from MTV or from the Ledger's own 'Idol' blogger, Double S.

Could it be that America is finally saying 'no' to being force-fed its stars? Could it be that we're ready for our stars to earn their fame through talent and songwriting (you know, old school) instead of a manufactured popularity contest.

God, I hope so.

10 January 2008

Juno what I mean

The bad reviews made me skeptical, but I went to see "Juno" last night. And you know what? Loved it.

Yeah, the first 20 minutes was a little too clever. Yeah, no real 16-year-old girl is this hip. Yeah, it's tough to see why Jennifer Garner's and Jason Bateman's characters were together in the first place. But anyone who couldn't get past this stuff to appreciate the razor-sharp writing and excellent comedic performances across the board is an idiot. I'm talking to these reviewers.

Overall, B+, or on the Metacritic 1-100 scale, an 85.

09 January 2008

Moronic Moment of the Month*

*brought to you by Seventeen magazine

I know you've had to wait a really long time for the next MMotM. But Seventeen turned out a super-dee-duper double issue for December/January, and it's taken a lot longer to sort out the best of the moronocity. (It certainly wasn't as easy picking a winner as with last month's "Decode your discharge" story.)

The contradictions are wonderful, starting with the double-cover featuring Rihanna. Here she is on the second cover page, saying "I don't like to follow trends as much as I like to follow them." Good advice, no? But what's Seventeen's saying on the outer cover...?


Steal her fashion tricks! Perfect! Sheesh.

Speaking of mixed signals, the cover also exclaims, "Look Pretty Now!" which stands in contrast to the "make peace with your body" segment inside. Then there was this sex-ayyy revelation from Vanessa Hudgens:


Hot. But the most moronic moment comes when the magazine answers a question on the difference between being "turned on" and having an orgasm. They describe an orgasm thusly:


That's right, an orgasm is kind of like a sneeze. Who said there's no such thing as a stupid question, because that right there is a stupid question, friends. Besides, I thought girls learned this stuff at, like 14 nowadays.

There is no hope, people.