The Olden Days, When This Site Still Called Itself Unbelievably Retarded

Monday, January 31, 2005


WRESTLING'S FAKE! ABC News Commentary by John Stossel: John Stossel Takes on Myths, Lies and Nasty Behavior

UR Media BlabAnother Friday, another week in which John Stossel bitches about how government is inefficient and big business is the benevolent man on white horse that comes to save people from themselves.  Honestly, I never thought it was possible for 20/20 to become worse than it already was under the Baba Wawa/Generic Male Cohost in Hugh Downs' Chair reign or during the 20/20 BrandTM Extension years (i.e., giving Cynthia McFadden a star turn with that 20/20 Downtown crap), but Stossel seems to have proven me wrong.  By this time I knew the show would become little more than a vessel for Stossel's big-business-is-nigh-invulnerable views as his influence on the show would become more pronounced.  This episode of 20/20 just proved as such, at least in my view.

I rarely watch 20/20, by the way.  I can't stand the show's brand of journalism, not to mention my having better things to do on a Friday night than be informed of why Ben Affleck is so hunky followed by a piece on defective dishwashers and why you shouldn't let baby near them.  Stossel, of course, has been part of the show's staff since 1981 but his contributions earlier in the show's history were just kept to one segment and/or the occasional 20/20 special.  As soon as he became the permanent cohost alongside Barbara Walters, I knew the show would start to become little more than The John Stossel Show - then "Give Me a Break" became a regular feature.  Now it's starting to fill entire episodes of this show.  It sort of makes one long for Baba Wawa's pithy hour-long interviews with Famous Hollywood Personalities, which is never a good thing.  Ever.

The problem with Stossel is the fact that the man's documentary style is so blatantly obvious and one-sided, filled with mistakes and half-truths.  The man's easier to criticize than Geraldo Rivera, but I feel "Myths, Lies and Nasty Behavior" is more blatant a piece of trash journalism than is usual for Stossel, it being "Give Me a Break" padded out to fill an hour.  If he's going to be biased, fine, but "Myths, Lies and Nasty Behavior" utilized all of Stossel's trademark leaps of logic to an extent that I have rarely witnessed from the man before.  To wit:
  • Myth No. 7 was "GASOLINE PRICES ARE TOO HIGH!"  Stossel's response: "THEY'RE NOT!  YOU'RE NOT ADJUSTING FOR INFLATION!"  If one adjusts for inflation and nothing else, then that might be true.  Still, he's conveniently forgetting fuel additives, reliance on gasoline from politically unstable regions of the world (e.g., The Middle East, South America), the emerging North American preference of heavily fuel-reliant light trucks, SUVs etc. to smaller but more fuel-efficient vehicles and such.  I'm a subscriber to Consumer Reports (point and yell "LIBERAL" at me, but they're one of the fairer sources of journalism out there) and a full-sized crew-cab pickup truck is considered fuel-efficient if it gets 14 miles to the gallon, at least according to the August 2004 issue.  Truck-like vehicles are terrible at fuel economy, which means they're more reliant on gasoline than something like a Toyota Prius.  Small cars aren't sexy, though.

    Also, alternative fuels are cheaper and easier to produce than gasoline, but the technology hasn't improved enough for consumers to get on the ball with regards to fuels like propane, diesel etc.  Once an alternative fuel meets the needs of the average consumer, though, consumers will be more likely to jump aboard the trend, meaning more demand and lower prices on top on the savings one is likely to accrue now from switching to an alternative fuel like diesel.  DVD's are cheaper to make now than VHS tapes ever were, for example.  People will flock to a superior, cheaper alternative once it becomes feasible to do so.

  • Nasty Behaviour #5: "FARMERS ON WELFARE!"  No shit, the farm industry gets subsidized?  It's mostly agribusiness now?  It's been like that for years - hell, I live (presently) on a hobby farm so it's not like I'm not aware of this fact.  Still, it's not that the farm subsidies are the problem.  It's the distribution of said subsidies that's the problem.  True family farms (i.e., farms that are not "hobby farms" but are too small-scale to be considered full-blown corporate enterprises) have been priced out of the market and a lot of them go out of business every year, but Stossel's example of a "family farm" was some 12,000 acre cotton-growing business.  That's not a family farm, it's a large farm that just happens to be family-owned.  Also, Stossel never disclosed what said large farm's operating budgets were, spouting off some vague rhetoric about them being "welfare queens."  Am I to know whether this farm is abusing its farm subsidies or not?  I guess it doesn't matter; Fred and Larry Starrh were laughing at Stossel because they had been corrupted by welfare, not because they were being interviewed by some whiny-voiced arse with a thick moustache.  Right?

  • Myth #3: "OUTSOURCING IS BAD!"  Stossel: "OUTSOURCING IS SO GREAT EVERYONE SHOULD DO IT!"  What a dangerous thing to say.  Outsourcing is sometimes economically smart, but the danger of outsourcing lies within what corporations are willing to pay people in the countries they're outsourcing to.  In Stossel's magical fantasy world, sweatshops must be great because they save clothing manufacturers tons of money, right?  Those savings are passed on to you, aren't they?  WORK HARD, AND EACH DAY ZUTROY GETS A SHINY PENNY!

    Outsourcing is a fact of business life, but it's not some magic panacea for all its problems.  The only factor that really matters from a consumer's point of view is how quality the product is, and outsourcing to a cheaper country like Mexico sometimes leads to a decline in said quality due to the materials used in manufacturing, sloppier work and/or how workers' rights in that country are monitored.  That's what bothers opponents of outsourcing, not the outsourcing itself.  Again, Stossel's painting a grey area in black and white colours.  Basically, Stossel is calling Lou Dobbs a poopyhead despite the fact that Lou Dobbs is a business reporter and might better understand what he's talking about than general-interest investigative reporter Stossel.  I wonder why Stossel didn't Michael Savage the guy and call him a "RED DIAPER DOPER BABY!"  That damn liberal CNN...

  • Myth #2: "URBAN SPRAWL IS RUINING AMERICA!"  Stossel: "NO IT ISN'T!  95% OF THE COUNTRY IS UNDEVELOPED!"  Again, another Stossel tactic: throw away one half of the evidence to prove your point.  James Kunstler is right, to a point.  Suburbs are cookie-cutter environments; there's no way to get around their artificiality and the standardized construction that goes into these homes.  They're predictably built and made to appeal to a middle-of-the-road mentality.  Still, Stossel pointed to Portland, Oregon's "smart growth" plan as stupid because of Portland's limiting the growth of the city, causing the housing market to skyrocket.  Well, duh, that's what happens in real estate when buildings become limited commodities in a desirable west-coast metropolis.  The real growth, in my opinion, is in the rural areas and small cities, where disgruntled city folk express their desire to live in an environment with a little more unpredictability and quiet to it.  The housing's sometimes cheaper, too.  Maybe urban sprawl isn't ruining America, but Stossel isn't even giving the concept the right to exist.

    By the way, I wonder how much his apartment costs a month.  He can't be living in a dump, considering he has to be raking in the g's as a mainstream network news anchor.  Then again, he's not a victim of urban sprawl.  I think the man can afford not to pay attention to it.

  • Myth No. 1: "SHARING'S GOOD!"  Stossel: "NO, PRIVATE OWNERSHIP IS!"  Stossel proves this point by comparing a poorly kept public toilet to a fucking talking luxury toilet.  That's brilliant.  I've been to the toilets at Carleton University - a privately run university, I might add.  Some of the toilets are terrible there and the uni only recently (i.e., early 2004) started to install self-flushing urinals in some bathrooms, only because the university's hell-bent on improving its image (and not, if I may editorialize, the quality of the education there - sorry, I'm one of those disgruntled Carleton students you may have heard about.)  The quality of a resource is only as good as its maintenance, nothing else.

    I'm basically going to gloss over Stossel's bringing up forest fires happening on "government land" - which I'm pretty sure has something to do with the forests' locations - and bringing up communal farming programs that Stalin and Mao initiated.  I mean, bringing up totalitarian regimes' "work programs?"  That's just crass.  Basically, these are more examples of Stossel's your-enemy-my-friend way of thinking - if public maintenance is bad, private maintenance has to be good.  Stossel's mind doesn't seem to accept third-party thinking.  I feel for the man, really I do.

    As an aside, there was a high school teacher by the name of Tori Haidinger that did an experiment (read: "pushed a blatant agenda") where she gave beakers of Hershey's Kisses to groups of students and asked them to share said candies amongst themselves.  Any candies left over at the end of the experiment would be doubled.  If the students knew about the doubling stip, why didn't the groups take one candy to start with knowing full well that they would have the maximum number of candies possible at the end of the experiment?  Again, management.  Geez, smart class there Haidinger.  Glad to see great teaching methods at work, hon.

Anyway, I'm keeping an eye on Stossel from now on.  The man has used a somewhat important television forum (though I'd hardly call the show that interviewed a fake Buckwheat too important - more important than 60 Minutes Wednesday, maybe, but what isn't) and, as expected, is turning it into his own personal mental lav now that Baba Wawa's fragrant droppings are becoming a distant memory.  If you think the mainstream media's 100% liberal, watch Stossel and tell me that's true, mmmkay?  The right-wing dittoheads aren't all on Fox News or up Michael Savage's ass.

By the way, I consider myself a centrist, just so I don't get swept up in cries of me being "fag liberal" or "fucking conservative."  I just don't like bad journalism, is all.  If it makes anyone feel better, last Wednesday's the fifth estate was almost as bad as Stossel's baby, but that's another story for another day, preferably one where I don't get irritated writing the name "Dan Rather" eighteen times in a sentence.  Bloody Texan.

Saturday, January 22, 2005


I recently downloaded a program that grabs streaming audio so that I may bring you this piece from CBC Radio One's Definitely Not The Opera.  It's about the Daivari/Hassan characters and how they differ from other mainstream Muslim characters within the vast, bubbling vat of "pop culture".  It's a standard CBC piece, to be honest, and I'm not too fond of the "wrestling is fairytale" bit they tack on at the end.  Still, I normally don't do MP3s so listen to the segment and judge for yourself whether the CBC did right by wrestling or not.

By the way, I'm sending this link to PWInsider and other "serious" mainstream wrestling sites, so let's see how far this meme goes by tomorrow, mmmkay?  Alright.  Considering I'll be writing for TheDDT again very soon (and Unrestrained! - man, I'm a train wreck of luck these days, aren't I?) tomorrow should be quite interesting indeed...

UPDATE (01.30.2005):  I broke my previous record of 83 hits for the blog (according to my ExtremeTracking hit counter, anyway) and the record number of hits for URBMN seems to have been set at 370 as of this writing.  As of January 30, the official URBMN record for hits in a day stands now at 407.

The weird thing is, Dave Scherer is the only man to have reported this info correctly.  Dave Meltzer misspelled the link and the syndie twats are reporting that the audio is from CBS (which is impossible as CBS has not had a proper radio network in decades.)  Man, this is helping kill whatever little respect I held out for the "wrestling newzboard" kids in the first place.  Hey, thanks for the attention, but you berks fucked up on the absolute easiest of tasks.  At least this gives me more column fodder for TheDDT.  Dumb 13-year-old Internerds.

One good thing did come out of this, though.  I want you all to pay attention to The Warrior Project, borne of a stupid picture I made in GIMP one day to capitalize on this whole fracas.  The project is under my control now and I will be doing articles for TheDDT under The Warrior Project banner just as soon as Jimmy Reject stops with his experiments on how to rotate on one's thumb.  Pictures for The Warrior Project are being submitted through TheDDT.com's forum and through email, so lessee where this bastard goes.

Thursday, January 20, 2005


Well, today I just installed the WordPress blog system for use as the new content management system for URBMN, which means I'll be moving away from Blogger eventually.  It won't be a dump-the-readers-on-their-asses move as the transition will take as long as it takes for me to learn how to convert the Blogger template to WordPress, fully utilize all that WP has to offer etc.  Still, the Blogger people have recently taken six days out of seven to fix FTP/JavaScript problems they've been having with regards to recognizing my FTP server.  It's time for me to move.

LOOK AT THE HAPPY MANSeriously, what is the problem with Blogger lately?  First it was the snafu with the dirty words (one of the half-decent theDDT writers, Rogue Iannone, suggested I spell the words the way spammers do, but the spammers are more interested in selling me shitty penny stocks these days so it arses the point a tad.)  Now it's Blogger's constantly having problems on their end with regards to my blog and perhaps others with similar setups.  Blogger has gone from being a trusted ally to ending up as a bloody nuisance, so am I the only one having problems with the service these days?  I honestly don't think I am.  Today I had to go through some incompetent doctor's recommendations regarding Effexor and weight gain as the woman told me nothing I hadn't figured out already.  I've heard more than a few complaints from people about her; the doctor came from Halifax and it's obvious she considers working in Stirling, Ontario - a town of about 1800 people - a comedown.  Honestly, why would I need another minor annoyance today with Blogger after going through this shit?

Anyway, that's the reason why you haven't seen me post in a few days.  Trust me, I've been meaning to do Feeds of the Moment posts, but I've been busy with other things and I can't wait for Blogger to resolve problems regarding its recognization of my FTP settings.  I'm not impatient, and UR doesn't rule my life (I do have other interests besides this site, you know) but there's only so much crap I can take from centralized content management systems.  I feel like telling Blogger to suck my 7H1C|< M3ETe B0|\|3R.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


I just recently changed servers from ShieldHost to Two-A-T.com and I must say I enjoy Two-A-T's service a lot better already, if only because the support team takes one to three hours to contact me instead of ShieldHost's twelve to twenty-four.  I enjoyed being with ShieldHost, but there were some complaints about the webhost and its legitimacy.  I've never had a real problem with ShieldHost and the webhost seems to be improving a bit, but that's because I did my research and weighed the pros and cons of my decision first.  The company is decent enough as a starter host, in my opinion, and a fair number of ShieldHost complaints seemed to come from people expecting to run their e-businesses from the ShieldHost servers.  I don't know why people would want to run an e-business through a $1.99-for-200-MB webhost, honestly.  Still, support is terrible there, and I'd read that support was second-to-none at 2AT from HostRatings.com users.  Also, James Ryder recommended Two-A-T to me as a worker there does some admin work for his messageboard so...here I am.  I'm still mulling over using the ShieldHost account for backup purposes, so I'll update the situation with regards to 2AT and ShieldHost in the coming weeks.

BLACK METAL COUNTRY CHAP W/CAKEYou may also have noticed that parts of this site were down in the past two days as the changeover wasn't exactly as smooth as I'd wanted it to be, but the site's up and everything seems to be in order now that the domain name servers have finalized their recognition of the switch.  I'll continue with my sifting/smartass commenting schtick for UR and blogs in the coming days, and The UR Blog has officially become URBMN as part of the merger process of the two blogs into one blog family.  Simply put, I'm posting the same articles for two blogs now instead of one.  For Firefox users, you'll also notice the icons for both sites have changed to reflect the merger - basically, it's that stupid tongue pip I put in my articles these days but altered to ape the previous UR Blog logo.  URBMN proper will be launched within a few months.

Finally, in the greatest WTF moment since the Bunchofuckingoofs guy gave a thumbs-up to my site, John Chedsey (!) decided to play a pointless game of e-mail tag with me last night.  I have no idea why he did this - he doesn't seem to be too pissed off at me despite the negative opinions I've hurled towards him in the past - but I think it's a sign that I've reached that vaunted "next level" I've been working way too damn hard to reach since at least 2001.  I don't garner any real ill will towards Chedsey (shit knows I was in a half-suicidal mood when I wrote that 2¢ Worth review a year ago), but I don't know whether he's trying to befriend, berate or blow me.  He sends those mixed signals, y'know?  Weird guy, that Chedsey fella.

Monday, January 10, 2005


Note: This is a parody post, for those who don't understand subtle (pfhhh) wrestling humour.  I don't have anything against anyone I linked in this post (aside from TheWrestlingBlog - the IWC's simulacrum of a blog, indeed) so if this offends anyone, I've done my job.  Let me know if you want to be removed in this instance.


I WILL DO WHAT I WANNA DO WHEN I WANNA DO IT Off The Line! | Who booked Randy Orton to go over Triple H?  Triple H made Randy Orton and unmade him at the same time!  You don't know shit about wrestling, kid, because Triple H is the greatest World Champion of ALL TIME!

BenMaller.com | Brock Lesnar screwed Brock Lesnar.  When he comes back to the WWE, Triple H will expose Brock Lesnar for the puny little nothing he is, because he has never beaten THE GAME!

lori braun and femalemuscle.com bodybuilding blog | Funny thing, Chyna's telling Triple H she could lift more than him caused Triple H to more heavily pursue bodybuilding!  How do you think he became THE GAME?  That bodybuilding has directly helped him to become the greatest World Champion in history!  TRIPLE H MADE THIS BUSINESS WHAT IT IS!  HE MADE MICK FOLEY QUIT!

Spleen-Venting | Who said you could watch other wrestling feds besides WWE?  What are you, another "Internerd reporter?"  TRIPLE H IS THE GREATEST!  HE UNMASKED KANE, YOU UNGRATEFUL MARK!

My life or something like it | LeAnn Rimes fans?  They still exist?  Are they like Goldberg fans, because Triple H KILLED the last of them after he beat Goldberg!  Who was next?  GOLDBERG WAS NEXT!  GAME!

This is me.. : ) | INTERNERD!  GAME!

satan_child_88 | INTERNERD!  GAME!

E M E R G I C . o r g | INTERNERD!  GAME!

Basketball and Video Games | What are you talking about, kid?  LeBron James isn't fit to hold Triple H's jock!  Never mind the massive amounts of HGH and anabolics I'm sure The Game's purchased from Lex Luger, TRIPLE H IS ALL NATURAL!  LIKE BATISTA!


My life is Gemstone | Listen to this kid whine!  Do you think HHH whined when he suffered a torn quad?  Well, constantly considering all those "Desire" video packages, BUT THAT'S NOT THE POINT!  HE CAME BACK BIGGER AND BETTER THAN EVER BEFORE, AND THAT'S WHY HE'S THE REIGNING WORLD CHAMPION YOU LOSER!  GREATEST OF ALL TIME!  HARLEY RACE!


the wrestling blog | Hey, KenAnderson, why are you making fun of Vince?  Vince McMahon made this business and Triple H is bringing it to the next level!  Hey Internerd, don't get pissy with me because Evolution just passed you by!  LET'S SEE YOU WIN A WORLD TITLE, YOU FAT SMARKY 13-YEAR-OLD INTERNERD KID!  RIC FLAIR!


beautiful_sole | INTERNERD!  GAME!


riu | Batista: (unintelligible grunts, then something about shoes)

hitrat | Hey, Triple H likes furries!  He's great friends with X-Pac, after all, but X-PAC SOLD OUT TO TOTAL NONSTOP RUSSO AND HE'S NOT EVEN MANLIER THAN CHYNA!  TRIPLE H TRADED UP, BABY!  THAT'S WHY HE'S THE GAME!


dj_keyserv140 | Of course it's ominous that HHH is the ten-time world champion!  HE'S THE BEST IN THE BUSINESS BECAUSE HE IS THAT DAMN GOOD-UH!




Big Nate's Thoughts - Age Of Empires | GAMERGAME!  INT!


Pots and Pans Ink | Why are you doing this fantasy booking?  LEAVE THE BOOKING TO TRIP...UH, I MEAN STEPHANIE MCM...OH SHUT UP YOU FAT KID!!!  YOU KNOW NOTHING!

Kickass Kickass Kickass Kickass | All right, who let Batista near the computer?  Was it you, Flair?  That Randy Orton kid's influencing him too much!  Wait, that may be Nash influencing him, that lazy cripple...

Wading in the Velvet Sea | Crippler CrossBlog?  I'll have you know I'm...wait, don't want to blow my cover...HE'S WRITING...uh...SHUT UP YOU KNOW-NOTHING!  CHRIS BENOIT WILL GET HIS DAY YET!

mrnewz | All right, I'll admit it, I am The Game!  I'm better than you little web geeks thinking you can book for the WWE!  ONLY I CAN BOOK FOR THE WWE, AND WARRIOR OWES ME A JOB!  I HOPE YOU'RE READING THIS, WARRIOR, I WANT PAYBACK FOR ME PUTTING YOU OVER!  DO THE JOB, WARRIOR!

chi_town_13 | I ate my way to the top?  No, you're confusing me with either The Big Show or my wife.  Just kidding, my little Stephy-wephy, kisses for the poochie ^X^

crazydeltaman | What's Mordecai doing revealing the business to the web nerds?  I'm gonna get Steph to job him to this CW Anderson guy.  Don't play the game, kid, UNLESS YOU WANNA GET BURNT!  HAHAHAHAHAAAA I'm so funny with my Taker jokes, I love that guy

slimshadey | Hey, one of the guys from Full House liked my Elimination Chamber match!  Neat!  I'm going to coerce Vince to sign him to a development deal.  I love that show.  Too bad he thinks he's John Cena, though.


Kelly | I wonder why Jimmy Fallon's so broke.  Maybe if he was with us in the Kliq, he'd be at the top of his game.  THAT'S WHY I'M THE GAME AND HE'S JUST AN UNFUNNY COMEDIAN - man, I should Pedigree him.

mr13yroldnewzinternerd | Ah, me burying Eugene.  Good times.  I hate Nick Dinsmore.

hocuspukeus | I wonder what Lita's doing going to school.  Heh, I should get Steph or that Gerwitz dink to change her gimmick to Doink the Clown.  Then I'll get Nick Dinsmore to job to her.  Heh, that'll draw >B

dead_magnum | INTERNERD!  GOLF!  Heh, I really am a comedian.  I should get into that once I get my twentieth World Title.  When will that be, oh...let's say December 5, 2006

rvdsabu | Oh, that is IT, I'm sick of RVD running his mouth like this.  I'm gonna get Steph to have RVD job to Doug Basham 27 times.  That'll teach that fuckin' pothead.


Active Domain | Hey, that's a good idea!  The Triple H show starring Triple H and with me as musical guest!  I gotta run this one by Vince, he'll love this one.  Man, I love myself.

Big Fish Cake | Yeah, I did save Blade: Trinity from sucking.  Hell, they should have based the whole film around me, really.  I'm such a modest man.  I'd probably have a career in Hollywood if they weren't so big on minorities.  They're only hiring The Rock 'cause he's Samoan, you know.  Heh, I carried that man so far...


J-Stew | What, someone gets quoted in a Boston Globe article and all of a sudden this knob is an Internerd "wrestling reporter?"  GO TO A GYM!  WHO CAERS IF YOU CANT SPEL!

JR's Blog | What the...it says JR's Blog, but there are all these funny lines in it.  Must've been Tajiri hacking into JR's homepage.  I'm gonna bury the little nip myself.  I really really hate that guy.



Sunday, January 09, 2005


Maxthon vs. Opera Round 1, winner becomes my alternative alternative browser: Maxthon's kicking Opera's ass.  At least Opera isn't crashing eighteen times a second like it did when I uninstalled it back when Opera 6 was a going concern, but I'm already liking Maxthon's stability.  It gained what Avant really lost when the former IE Opera (Avant, for those not familiar with the Satanic Browser Verses) squeezed out its version 10.  Still, all the bells and whistles and what I really want is stability and the ability to keep ten documents going without crashing every six seconds.  That's why I was a K-Meleon fan - I hope that browser can catch up from where it left off, too, 'cause it's losing a lot of ground to Firefox.

Browser wars are exciting.

Unleash the Bowflex POWERBlogdigger GreenCine Daily PopMatters | GreenCine Daily lists a bunch of film best-ofs from PopMatters, even though 2004 has been dead for about nine days now.  It's probably PopMatters' fault for releasing its best-ofs so late, but whathehell.  The Worst Media Events article is worth a look, especially considering Terry Sawyer avoided NIP SLIP and LIP SLIP and included Star "I AM a lawyer" Jones and Law & Order in his list.  The man knows where the real problems are with regards to the entertainment media.

Blogdigger OutofRange | Rather redundant reprinting of reviews from British paper The Observer - if I wanted a bunch of reviews from The Observer, I'd go to the paper's web site.  I'm just sayin' is all.

Blogdigger The Movie Blog | About an Australian thriller playing at Sundance.  The blogger reporting this calls Wolf Creek a horror film, which it probably isn't. The film sounds somewhat promising, though.  The reason Australian horror films haven't been exploited that much is the fact (noted in the blog comments) that there isn't much to exploit.  Canadians love to complain about the film industry here, but at least this country has horror films to exploit (Ginger Snaps and Donnie Darko being almost markets unto themselves in North America.)  In Australia it's Razorback and little else, really.

Guardian Unlimited Guardian Unlimited "Heavy metal pioneer" "Jerky, punky, funky" | Career overviews of metal sculptor Anthony Caro and new wave/punk band Gang of Four.  Surprisingly, the two articles aren't all that different from each other.  Basically, they're both standard (yet well-written) "X has/have been (an) outsider(s) for such and such a time and here's why X is/are important" articles.  Not surprisingly, both subjects have a place to exhibit their latest works.  Hope you brought your MONEY.

Google News Denver Post | Denver Community Television is falling apart.  I hope DCTV can keep itself together during this crisis, but the field of public-access television needs to undergo a crucial makeover if it is to succeed into the next century.  Considering the Internet is lapping public-access TV in terms of quality and diversity of programming at this point, the public-access people should seriously be thinking about UHF (antenna-only) programming.  The networks and their local affiliates/O&O's are abandoning that market, and there's a surprising market for local UHF programming if any entrepreneurs decide to enter that field.

Seriously, antenna-only television might see a renaissance in the next ten years.  It sounds crazy, but low-power community radio stations have existed for quite a few years so community television's not out of the question yet.

Film Threat Film Threat | Short film with idiotic title deals with Jesus' resurrection as a flesh-eating zombie.  The film sounds blasphemously awesome, but Beaster?  Every time I hear that name I keep thinking of that purple schmuck from My Pet Monster (BEASTUR GET MONSTER), not an undead zombie Jesus.  I would have called this film Dawn of the Christ, but no one ever asks me to do consulting work so bully for you, Mr. Campos.

I like Film Threat, by the way.  The site's decent enough to consider Anchorman in its top ten, which is the way things damn well should be.  Will Ferrell's a comic diety unto himself.

Livejournal - Interests zine_scene | LiveJournal print 'zine community.  Personally, I'm only linking this to demonstrate how many search engines I'm using for this article, but this LJ seems to be more useful and vibrant than any random community I could choose from this list.  Honestly, I imagine eighty percent of these LJs could be wiped off the face of the map and nobody would give a shit.  Nobody.

Syndic8 Heroes from the Past | I'm curious to know the process that Syndic8 uses to choose feeds from the hundreds it must get every second.  Heroes from the Past seems to be a decent (if sparse) news-related blog, and it introduced me to Ralph Nader vs. The Puppets Of DOOOOOOM.

Anyone remember when Nader was actually respectable?  Man, from serving on the staff of Consumers Union to hawking what looks to be a lame Saturday Night Live-ripoff puppet sketch.  So this is how he's been pissing away his good name and legacy, huh?

Google News Silicon Valley's Metro (California) | Mike Park likes Fishbone enough to release three of bandmember Angelo Moore's poetry CD's on Park's Asian Man Records label.  I know Asian Man Records is supposed to be a well-regarded pop-punk label, but that's just sad.  There's a difference between empathizing with a critically-acclaimed but barely loved band and sticking one's tongue down Angelo Moore's pants, and I don't think there's a pinkish colour to Moore's tongue anymore.  Still, he's the Fishbone fan so I can't control his actions.

Memepool Garden of Eden (Lucas, Kansas) | Usually I don't cut and paste from the sources I cull, but yoyology describes what he submitted so well that my words aren't really needed in this instance:

S.P. Dinsmoor (not to be confused with Dinsdale) began, at the age of 64, to build a monument that would stand long after he was gone. With 2,273 sacks of cement and countless tons of limestone, he constructed a "log" home and sculpture garden in Lucas, Kansas called the Garden of Eden. As if the whole place weren't creepy enough, one of the exhibits is Dinsmoor himself, in a homemade glass-topped concrete coffin.

The Garden of Eden must be one fun tourist trap, I imagine.

Slo-Metal.com | This site linked to me through one of its forums.  I don't understand Slovak, so I don't know if these guys are making fun of me or enjoying what I do.  Anybody care to guess why they linked me?  Hey, I enjoy the extra hits but I'm just curious as to why I'm linked through here.  Not that I'm knocking it, of course.

Saturday, January 08, 2005


God of the Machine | This doesn't have a source image because I found this through Google while searching something for purposes beyond this feature.  This blog is sort of entertaining, although it seems to be fond of the academic side of debate with regards to philosophy and why it's essentially bunk.  Either Aaron Haspel's writing style has changed in two years (this is how I discovered God of the Machine, whilst searching for stuff on DailyPundit) or he's writing like this for the self-absorbed fun of it, but this is mildly diverting.  He's comfortable with writing in a thick and impenetrable fog, though, so don't go here if you're looking for fluffiness and kittens.

wft bnoerGoogle News The Japan Times | Searches for "death metal" have been kind of fallow lately, so the Google News pip makes its debut locating an article about a vaguely new wave revival band ("taking its cues from punk rock, electronica and '80s dark-wave synth pop" - yeah, new wave revival in a nutshell) called The Faint.  Surprisingly, these guys are from Omaha, Nebraska so they very well could have a legitimate sound to exploit and make money off of.  The lead guitarist played in a death metal band, so The Faint sound more promising than most.

Yahoo News Mt. Vernon Register-News (Illinois) | Herb Edson just doesn't understand why the kids are into what he considers crap, then reminisces about the boogie-woogie of his youth.  This man can't be real, because near the end of this article he talks about how the lyrics to the songs he likes were all love songs and the dialects are so impenetrable it's impossible to tell if they are or not.  The man has his opinion, but this article is like warmed-over Andy Rooney parody at best - which is probably why the Mt. Vernon Register-News hired him, I imagine.

Alltheweb News The Chattanoogan (Tennessee) | Review of an album by a surf band using the time-worn "kaiju" gimmick.  Based on what the band is described as, they probably wouldn't have sounded out of place on Mai Tai Records (when that label was a going concern) and will probably release something on Estrus in 2007.  I really should tell the reviewer how homosexual he is and recommend some Bon Jovi to him instead, but that was a high-school in-joke and I'm not that bulletheaded to stretch that joke out to its breaking point.

Finally, today's article is so bereft of linkage that I'm forced to give space to some links I visited by way of No Rock'n'Roll Fun.  You might enjoy these sites; I'm basically linking to them to see if they'll link me and to fill out a weak, weak Saturday column.

[parallax view] | Methinks 'Dead Kenny' "appropriated" my compendium idea; he's commented here before, though, so I imagine he enjoys the site as I do his
rock and roll means fuck - How the hell did the guy get away with using "fuck" in one of his blog entries, anyway?  Makes no sense to me, but there it is.


Lately some of my blog posts have been disappearing due to the fact that I've been including "profanities" in the title field of said posts.  The "deleted" posts still exist in some form within the blog archives of the www.sweetposer.tk/www.sweetposer.com site, but headlines containing terms like "wtf" and "boner" cannot exist on a Blogger-based blog system for very long.  I can swear like a stevedore in the body of the posts, but put a dirty word in the title and the entire post is deleted, even if the title's referencing bad Saturday Night Live commercials and/or even hinting at profanity.

Media BlabTo be honest, I don't know why Blogger does this.  I understand if I was on Blogpost why this stuff would happen, but I've been publishing to my own site for ten months.  I don't understand the self-censoring in this instance.  In addition, the filter isn't even that smart - it seems that Blogger just automatically deletes any instance of profanity it finds between the HTML title tags.  It's an egregious bit of filtering - two previous posts of mine were deleted even though the term "wtf" wasn't even referenced on its own but as three letters in the name of an image - the image I've been using for the past two days as part of the title for UR Music News' Feeds of the Moment.  It's not intelligent filtering, that's for sure.  The same image will be used under a different filename starting today, just to make sure deletions don't keep happening on a daily basis.

If I've been breaking the Terms of Service, I apologize - both instances where I "swore" weren't referring to sex per se but directly have a relationship with sexual acts.  I think Blogger should let all its users know what words cannot be used in the headlines of blog posts, as it would make things easier for people who find themselves in situations like mine.  Still, I'd never had a problem with Blogger (however minor said problem may be, and this is minor) before this, and it makes me want to switch to a different blogging system (e.g., Drupal, Movable Type, Wordpress.)  I like Blogger, but something tells me I need to move sometime soon to a blogging system I can have more control over.  Nothing personal to Google or its Blogger subsidiary, but I just find this problem kind of weird.


The logos you see to the left of the links were either converted directly from the Firefox search engine plugin's source icon or from the site's favicon.ico icon.  No copyright infringement is intended; the logos are just there to denote where the link was found.  More logos will be added as I begin to use more search engines.

Blogdigger None of the Above | The Caninus meme infects another poor soul.  Nice blog Peter Bergin has here, but considering it's a personal blog it's good for a few shits and giggles and an hour later you forget your mind has eaten there.  At least it's not a glorified LiveJournal, though.

Blogdigger LokiTorrent Recent Torrents | Torrent of an album by Phobia.  Now, I would never (*cough*) suggest you download this album, 'cause I imagine you can get it at a fair price from a number of grindcore distros anyway.  Slap-A-Ham released good shit until the label went bankrupt some time ago.  The label's death was a real shame, honestly.  Slap-A-Ham remains a minor legend in the field of grindcore/punk and it will be missed.

Blogdigger Guardian Unlimited Arts | A month-old article reprinting John Peel's preface to the recently-published Feral House book Choosing Death.  I don't need to read this to know how good John Peel was as a writer and broadcaster, but he made me realize why I got into death metal in the first place.  Well, that innocence died by my and the mainstream metal scene's hands, so I too realize how much the grindcore scene has been raped in the past ten or so years.  I'm still searching for a scene like the 1980's-era grindcore scene, really.

Blogdigger Planethalder | A site I've never heard of apparently did a survey (hey, yo) that claims a blog readership of 27 percent out of the people they've surveyed.  I'm not surprised considering how infant the blogging medium is, but the growth of the medium seems to be slow (I'm assuming a 20% readership in 2003.)  Even considering the fact that this is a survey, this is sort of a slap in the face to the people who insist that blogs came of age in 2004.  The medium still has a ways left to go before it enters total mainstream consciousness.  Of course, blogging does help my Alexa rating, I'll admit that.  Not that I worry about my Alexa rating, of course.

Blogdigger Microsoft Monitor | Apparently Sony and Microsoft are talking about forming a joint venture to take on the iTunes/iPod "monopoly."  Didn't Microsoft bail out Apple in 1998?  Honestly, I'd be calling in a favour there considering Microsoft really should be working with Apple, not against them.

If Microsoft were really desperate to compete against Apple in the "digital music" business it wouldn't be a stupid strategy to work something out with GE and NBC Universal, where corporate synergy has worked there in the past (e.g., MSNBC.)  To my way of thinking, there really isn't much difference between Sony and NBC Universal as they both have a sizable share of the entertainment industry market, and GE/RCA could better afford to put out a loss-leader as their products are noted for being good-quality for the price.  Sony can afford to enter the digital music business on their own, and I doubt the Sony-Microsoft deal will go down.  I can't see it happening, sorry.

Blogdigger www.gadgetguy.de - The GadgetGuy Techdirt Corporate Intelligence | The iPhone.  This is really getting ridiculous - the LG TV/refrigerator, the Sharp toaster/microwave, and now the iPod crammed into an already-overstuffed cell phone.  This seems like the first chink in Apple's iPod armour - Motorola products really aren't that good considering there are better choices out there.  The iPod "monopoly" will collapse by 2007, I can just see it.  The iPod = the Sega Dreamcast of 2004.  The fad won't last.

Blogdigger I Hate Crap | Basically, this is one man's complaint about the fun world of automated service.  Pretty basic rant, and I imagine we've all been through this before.  Rather entertaining read, though.

Blogdigger AlterSlash (Extended Remix) | The link doesn't really work, but I did find out that zed.cbc.ca is switching to Ogg Vorbis streaming feeds and opening up its source code.  Now, if ZeD could open up the show's content base so that it doesn't seem so hipster/trend-oriented, ZeD would really break some ground, you know?

Blogdigger ProHipHop HipHopGame | I don't like hip-hop at all, but this came up and should be of some interest to those more interested in this type of music so...well, here it is.  Personally, I haven't heard of any of these guys on this "best of 2005" list so I can't comment on this.

Blogdigger Boing Boing | Advertisement for a bog-standard monochrome T-shirt with a slogan literally stolen from the 1980's.  Still, I saw this site in the background of a CBC Ottawa Canada Now segment on online tsunami relief funds yesterday!  OMG BRUSH W/GREATNESS

Blogdigger Daily Pundit BBC News: Entertainment | IRRITATING "OMG! FILE SHARING=STEALING!"/"NO IT'S NOT YOU STUPID BINT, FILE SHARING DOESN'T DO SHIT" debate in the electronic pages of The Daily Pundit.  No one goes after David Gillies for transposing the RIAA with the MPAA (Jack Valenti?  What?) or getting the name of the BBC wrong, but this seems like a political blog and said blogs are all tongue-in-the-bung affairs anyway.  I'd go into the hows and whys of file-sharing but this circular arguing actually makes me want to kick my monitor in.

Blogdigger theboxtank New York Times | 95% of all residential homes in America are prefabricated, apparently.  That is astounding, and I think that's actually interesting news.  Why, then, does theboxtank relate that to a story about Ashlee furshlugginer Simpson?  Way to downshift that argument, guy.

Technorati I am a bug | The lone Technorati listing on here, this is a top-hundred list from...someone.  It's so mainstream-oriented, and I think this belongs to a guy that DJs at a radio station somewhere.  I like the fact that choice #100 on this guy's list is an album that has to be thirty years old by now.  Got to keep the loonies on the path, you know...


Tonight I am going to debut a new feature for The UR Blog/Music News (heretofore referred to as URBMN.)  As part of my "broadening the site to a wider audience" process (my Chase for the Nextel Cup if you weel - yes, I'm referring to NASCAR now that it's going upscale) I'm going to find articles and bits of lint that wash ashore from certain blog search sites/mainstream news sources/etc. and disseminate them for my supposed audience.  Basically, I'm using the Firefox search toolbar and wadding links that interest me into a link dump with my smartass comments.  Yes, this could be construed as "hackwork" or "lazy journalism," but every journalist falls back on his formulae every now and then.  I'm not in the running for the Pulitzer here, you know, it's just a feature to keep you readers interested during my "fallow periods" (see: 2000-2003.)

This is the first new feature in a series of four that I am debuting this month.  Let me know whether you find this feature useful or not by writing me at [email protected] or using the comments form below.  The other three features will be entitled Sports Compendium (which takes over from Hockey Lockout Compendium), Media Blab and UR Updates (basically, what I've used The UR Blog for since March 2004) as I continue with the great experiment in Becoming Respectable that I'm sure is going to alienate hardcore fans.  It's something I take great pride in, alienating fans.  It means I'm doing something right.  My audience is a hard-won lot, we all know that by now.

http://www.livejournal.com/users/__rudexscenster/ | This is a LiveJournal that is supposed to make fun of all "scenes," although there's a bit of Fandom Wank-worthy bint-slapping here.  I don't exactly know what happened here and this seems to be one of those "you crapped in my Corn Flakes"-type moments that happens in music scenes all the time.  The idea's nice, but I'm not a fan of the execution - there's way too much emphasis on making fun of emo kids and the writing style is typical LiveJournal bantering.  Still, the LJ is not a serious thing so I doubt the LJ user who writes this is too worried about what I think about the site.  Come on, it's a LiveJournal.

Blaine Buxton: Positronic Vibrations From Alto Dorado | Blogger/programmer who seems to be a fan of metal.  He has a top-20 of 2004 and it's nothing out of the ordinary but at least he's honest about what he likes and I can't complain too much about his tastes.  Still, this guy wrote what seems to be the most confusing line from a metal fan I've read so far in 2005:

I bought a lot of old Depeche Mode and went back to purchase a lot of the old Earache catalog.


sacramento.craigslist.org | Craigslist.org personal ad from a death metal band in Sacramento.  Anyone from the Sacramento area should contact this band, as it's nice to see there's a death metal scene there.  I haven't heard the band's song yet, though.

portland.craigslist.org | Two death metal musicians and one female Husky are looking for a roommate.  That's nice, but why did the metal guys let the dog write the personal ad?  Must be one of those mutant marsupial dogs, I guess.

My So-called Penis | This guy's going into the "Major Links" section of The UR Blog soon, I was so impressed with the blog.  I like that Wil Forbis made a silhouette of a pair of testicles look surprisingly tasteful.  That honestly takes effort.

Edmonton Sun | Interview with Axis of Advance.  Last I heard, the band was signed to Osmose Productions (the indie-cum-almost-Relapse of the 2000's) and it's nice to see someone give them an interview.  Still, Mike Ross overhypes the band a bit - calling them heavier than death metal?  Never a good idea, man.  This isn't really vintage Ross - it reads almost like reheated mental potatoes, to be honest.  The article's still credibly done, though.

Riverfront Times (Missouri) | The Greil Marcus Rock Death Meter makes a comeback in the hands of John Goddard and John Nova Lomax.  In their estimation, Dimebag Darrell leads the list of rock deaths this year with a score of 24 out of a possible 30 points.  I honestly can't argue with that choice, even though Dimebag Darrell Abbott's death was ridiculously over-reported in 2004.  Man, people were giving Darrell more space in death than they did when he was alive, which is saying something.  Still, Dimebag will be missed.

East Bay Express (California) | Wha...?  Rob Harvilla actually recommended a black metal band?  Wow, am I wrong about the guy's writing?  Kind of surprising that Alternative Tentacles actually signed a black metal band, actually, but black metal seems to be one of the "in" things with indie and/or punk kids sometimes.  I can't explain it, Jello Biafra's label is weird like that.

East Bay Express | I am wrong about the guy's writing!  Wow, this actually makes up for the jokes I made at his expense while doing the Best-Of Compendium.  Honestly, he's one of the first people I've seen in a while that admits that every critic - including me - sometimes uses lazy critical shorthand while writing reviews.  He even included the terms "swirling" and "angular."  I guess Harvilla actually is funny and insightful.  I take back comparisons to Ben Rayner - I apologize for calling you Harvzilla, man.

Heh, I must have caught this writer on a bad day.  Whether said day was his and/or mine, I cannot say.  Maybe I just didn't understand Rob Harvilla's rhythmic wordscapes and soaring grooves of infectious tonalities, or something.  I'm a dumb shit.


Wednesday, January 05, 2005


Recently I renewed the sweetposer.com domain and decided to buy space at two-a-t.com, which means I'm going to continue my push to become one of the better underground entertainment websites going this year.  Personally, 2004 has been an interesting year for me (though, crucially, not a good one overall) and this is the first time in years I've felt my stubbornness at writing has paid off for me.  There are a few announcements I am going to make, though, which point to a new direction for UR and Sweetposer Entertainment.  These are decisions I've decided to make after a long thought process and they will affect all areas of UR, including the two blogs and UR itself.

First of all, I am no longer going to use derogatory slang in my writing and am going to clean up/get rid of a few UR-related articles that I don't feel represent me at my best.  I'm not doing this to appeal to political correctness, by the way.  I just feel that my mood swings are affecting my writing too much and I really don't want to feel like I'm alienating as much of my audience as I'm attracting anymore.  Personally, my writing received the most attention ever in 2004, enough that I'm deciding to try to pursue arts journalism as a professional career.  I've been an amateur at this for years, but I didn't enter the world of metal or writing the way most people would.  It's probably why I'm at odds with so many of my fellow writers and why I feel my intelligence hasn't shown through in my writing until quite recently.

Personally, television and comedy were my first loves until I started my InternetTrash site way back in 1999.  It's 2005 now and I've finally found something that interests me in media/sports/arts criticism, and I want to go beyond the borders of what people might want my site to be.  I've never really felt like I was a part of any scenes I was trying to appeal to - not to say that I'm a trend-follower or (worse yet) a scam artist, it's just hard trying to be oneself when it's impossible to pinpoint where the hell one belongs in the world.  I know I'm in the business of being offensive, but I want to do this the right way - through my opinions, and not through the ignorance that sometimes shows in my work.  Personally, I'm 23 and it just reflects poorly on me to use words like "fag" and "boner" when writing articles for UR and the blogs.  This year, I plan on going "legit" and am aiming for an actual journalistic and/or writing career.  Right now I'm waiting to see if Zero Tolerance likes my work enough to hire me as a writer, and UR itself will undergo a makeover to integrate the disparate parts of my site more fully and give it a more professional look.  Personally, the scenes I am into (metal, experimental/"difficult" music, media criticism, video/DVD) need an alternative to much of what's out there, and I want to give it to them.

Secondly, I am officially announcing that UR will no longer continue to function as a "fanzine."  I will continue to review music for UR and other venues that I write for, but it's idiotic to appeal to a certain group of people when I'm really only appealing to myself.  Personally, I've grown tired of the music business in general, especially with regards to the metal scene.  Honestly, the scene has grown too serious for me to abide it anymore and I feel it hasn't tried to appeal to a more intelligent audience since before I began reviewing it back in 1999.  My tastes in metal and music in general have changed with my outlook on life, and I honestly think there needs to be more responsible journalism out there than what there is now.  Extreme metal is a difficult thing to love, but much of what's out there seems to be so conformist and similar-sounding to me that I can't even really review it fairly anymore.  This is why I went into video/DVD and media criticism - I follow it closely and it seems to tie in with my first love, television.  Eventually I want to turn Sweetposer Entertainment into a film company - I've always had that dream.  This is why I wanted to go into the film industry in the first place - I genuinely love the arts and I'm a fan of "lowbrow" entertainment.  I'm not an apologist for it, but there is a lot of good stuff coming from the metal, film etc. scenes that isn't given the respect it deserves.  I want to give it that respect.

Expect UR's two blogs to be merged into one feed later on in the year as I plan to merge The UR Blog and URMN into URBMN soon.  Both blogs have done well for me and giving the two blogs their own category within one blog shouldn't be difficult to do.  Also, I'm planning on creating an RSS feed for my blog(s), as not creating an RSS feed in this day and age to appeal to an audience that's growing more accustomed to getting their news from alternative sources is potential suicide.  If anyone can recommend a good feed creator, let me know.  I know a little PHP but I'm not a coder so I need to learn some stuff if I am to keep up with/beat my competitors.  UR will go all-PHP/XML relatively soon - don't expect a sudden change now or three months from now, but platform-independent programming seems to be where the big money will soon be.

I have switched from Avant Browser to Maxthon as Avant crashes too often these days for my liking.  I'm also giving Opera another shot, as Maxthon and Opera are competing for Avant's spot as the "second browser" of choice after Firefox.  I didn't embrace Firefox before September or so, but Mozilla has made up for past mistakes with the Firefox project.

Finally, I will stop writing for Wrestling Opinions and Space Junkies in the near future.  I'm still writing for SJM and plan to contribute there during the next six months, but WO just isn't working out for me and I don't know what the future holds with regards to me writing for TheDDT.  I've grown to like some of the people there and I think the writing's improved a lot at the site this past year, but considering my mental state I'm taking on too many projects and UR seems to be able to support itself as a semi-popular site by now.  I know I keep teasing my leaving WO, but I did a best-of there that drew zero response from all but three DDT writers.  I'm sorry, it just ain't happening, Doug.

Was I being too didactic there?  Yeah, I get that way sometimes.  I think you needed this bit of treacle after the Compendium enema I gave you people for two weeks.  Man, I'm not attempting that for at least another two months.  Yikes.


Well, this is it.  Finally, I'm able to get through the rest of the best-of articles and end this chapter in the life of The UR Blog/URMN.  I seem to be ending the compendium with a "bang" as The UR Blog has risen from its ennui and URMN is enjoying healthy levels of visitation.  Hell, I've received a search for "the least essential albums of 2004."  I'll happily revive that tradition if The Onion A.V. Club doesn't want to be arsed to compile the lists anymore, I seriously will.  I plan on merging URMN and The UR Blog's feeds into one catch-all blog soon, so let's see if these articles serve as the catalyst to the eventual merger, mainstream success and the grudging respect of my enemies.  (Greg Pratt's even visited my site, apparently - how about that?)  These articles will probably do shit to help my career, though, considering I'm more worried about its foundation at this point in time.

What is an explosiobum, anyway?  It's a fart.  I'm inventing stupid terms again, I know.  Some people call that "cleverness" - or "sophomoric," same fucking thing.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | Jack W. Hill and Ellis Widner seem to be the only music critics at the Democrat-Gazette that dared to put over acts that weren't over-exposed in 2004, while Jeremy M. Doherty seems to be comfortable with the usual metal suspects (aside from Exodus' inclusion in Doherty's top-ten list - that came out of left field, wow.)  A better-than-usual top-ten list, to be sure, but that isn't saying too much.

New Bern Sun Journal (North Carolina) | Typical rambling polemic on pop culture, but decent for what it is.  At least this writer put over Fountains of Wayne - everyone and his mother seemed to be high on that band back in 1998, but now that the band has a hit or two no one seems to be interested in talking about them anymore.  I'm just glad someone's writing an honest article out there in the middle of the Heartland.

New Zealand Herald | Best-of film list from the limeys at TimeOut magazine.  The two reviewers responsible for the list don't get too adventurous in their choices - after all, they did swoon over Lost In Translation - but I imagine the list is credible enough for the film buffs to accept without argument.  I've seen far worse than this over the past few weeks, that's for sure.

Tacoma News Tribune (Washington) | Sam McManis covers all the bases while writing about the top-ten list formulae being used in newspapers all across the country, but I think he's a little off on a few things here.  One, Greendale is another one of those albums from one of Neil Young's "self-indulgent" phases, and most critics really hate self-indulgent Neil Young albums (see: Trans...oh hell, everything he recorded while on Geffen.)  Two, indie-centric critics watch a lot of TV, they just do it "ironically."  Three, McManis shouldn't be leaving his phone number at the end of this article.  Maybe I should crank-call him and ask him where Johnny Carson is.

Also, Wonderfalls could have been improved had the "voices" in the main character's head been from some demonic, otherworldly premise that would reveal its indigenous form in the middle of the sixth episode.  Then again, I think I know how to write better television shows than most television writers do, so I'm basically talking crap.

The Sunday Times (UK) | Basically predictions about what's going to become "big" in 2005.  These articles are always useless considering something always comes out of nowhere, becoming the world's most annoying trend by the middle of the year.

This year, I predict Dropkick Murphys will become the world's most favourite band by August.  I'm just as right as anyone else.

York County Coast Star (Maine) | Dana Pearson assigns a paragraph to every film he's seen this year.  Rather lazy, but laziness abounds this time of year so I'm not surprised.

Newindpress (India) | Bollywood rundown of 2004 in music and film.  I'm not from India so this would only really appeal to Indians and enthusiasts of Bollywood culture.  Makes me wonder why I'm listing this, actually.

Canoe/Ottawa Sun | Another top-ten list, this one a grab-bag of the year in music.  Honestly, does anybody with a penis write these things?  It's like a PR flak threw up on my screen and decided to leave the vomit there as though he could get away from admitting the dirty deed.  Too much hyperbole, not enough passion, guys.

Canoe/Ottawa Sun | Oh, neat!  Canadians who found success in America!  Wow, am I supposed to be impressed by this?  I bet no one is going to like this blog unless I impress Jason Kottke or something.  Wait, I'm not worried about impressing Jason Kottke.  I hate these articles with a passion.

Daily Llama | An American/UK co-production.  This list ranking the fifty greatest comics of all time was compiled for a Channel 4 program, so right away anyone within earshot knows this list is meaningless.  Honestly, Larry David is on this list and Jerry Seinfeld isn't?  We all know no one remembers Fridays so I'm pretty sure he's on there for the Curb Your Enthusiasm promotion.  This list is, as they say in Britain, pooftershite.

A Feedster RSS search for "PopMatters."  It links to other personal best-ofs, which is much more effective than me going through these links, saying they're tosh and running the risk of offending people I barely know and don't have working business relationships with.  Besides, people who are that offended by what I say really need to smoke a joint and/or re-prioritize their lives.  I'm only one man.

Filmcritic.com | The site's Filmcritic.com and the article is a compilation of top-ten lists, so one plus one equals the same formula every damn time it's used.  Man, I'd like to see one critic write down Garfield: The Movie as the best film of the year, just for shits and giggles.  For people who hate when other people shoot at easy targets, these guys sure do like to throw baseball bats at cardboard ducks.

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette (Indiana) | Annoying article about the way top-ten lists annoy Jeff Pearlman.  He may think Salon's Year in Bad Sex is a bad list, but I'm sure it's way more entertaining than Pearlman's experiments with baseball bats on moving cardboard ducks.  I mean, Salon?  That's the broad side of a barn for sure, dumbass.

SNLMB | Yes, I'm providing a link to SNLMB and Sean H.'s ranking of the SNL hosts so far this year.  Note the subtle wit in the renaming of Ashlee Simpson to "Acid Reflux."  OH GOD, THE WIT IS BLINDING!  BLINDING!

Sify (India) | More Indian film talk.  Some people might wonder why I give article space to this, but if one of these films becomes a North American hit I can claim that I broke the film to North American audiences and base my entire reputation off that "fact" alone.  The guy from Ain't It Cool News became famous for far less, you know.

Indian Express (India) | What the hell is a "sex film?"  Is that another name for Indian softcore porn?  What, is it twenty minutes of fucking followed by a dance number?  I almost don't want to know what goes into an Indian "sex film."  Foreign films, kids!

you will need one egg. | Yeah, I'm linking to the LiveJournal of a PopMatters writer.  This is something I found via Feedster and I usually don't go that deeply into the belly of the beast - the point of these articles is to show just how shallow mainstream arts critics can be sometimes.  This writer isn't shallow, though, and thank God for that.

glamsham.com (India) | I don't know why the Indian film articles started to come in yesterday even though 2004 has been dead for four days now.  The occasional article is enough, but I don't think all but one out of every thousand UR Blog/URMN readers are that worried about the ups and downs of the Bollywood film industry.  I mean, you know how many cop films come out of Bollywood every year?  It'd make you shit your pants, it would.

femalefirst.co.uk | Apparently this article is about some meaningless "best song award" from the Brit Awards people, but this is not why I linked the article.  I linked the article because...uh, Teri Hatcher hasn't had sex in four years.  Journalism at its dog damn finest, that is.

Lodi News-Sentinel (California) | KEVIN NASH IS NOT A RUSSIAN

Earvolution (Maryland) | Standard best-of music list, but this best-of is from a blog accepted by Google News as a news source.  Man, if that site can become a legitimate news source I really should jump on the Google News bandwagon, shouldn't I?  Of course, I'll probably be rejected by Google again because no one else besides me bothers to post here, REVEREND.

Yeah, I shouldn't be hard on the guy.  After all, he thought I was quitting the entire site not two months ago.  Again, I'll blame this on the Effexor.  It makes my testicles act funny, shit knows what else it's doing to me.

Denver Post | Elana Ashanti Jefferson reviews the first three releases of her new year.  Included is an Ol' Dirty Bastard mixtape.  Great, it's the 2Pac phenomenon all over again.

Canoe/Ottawa Sun | Denis Armstrong's look back at the Ottawa arts scene in 2004.  The city that "forgot fun?"  All the stores close by nine almost every night, how much fun can Ottawa be anyway?  I mean, I only lived there for three years.  Maybe I was the one not having fun.  It's hard to tell, really.

CNN International | The "cult of Apple?"  Good god, it's a public company, not some perverse faux-religion based around some fish-based H.P. (dude, HP...woah) Lovecraft character.  APPLE FTAGN!  APPLE FTAGN!  IA!  IA!  MGLUI NAFLFTAGN STEVE JOBS EY'HA-NTHLEI!

Miami Herald via AP | Overlooked albums article via the Associated Press, so more often than not the albums covered here haven't actually been overlooked during the past year.  The article features Nekesa Mumbi Moody's writing, so it can't be that good.

AllAfrica.com | Overview of the Kenyan music scene circa 2004.  This is outside my usual area of musical expertise, but the list is disappointingly heavy on mainstream North American rap.  Man, you can't escape gangsta rap even in Africa.

Chart | The final article in the URMN/UR Blog Best of Music+ Compendium goes to Chart, who are still continuing with a year-end readers' poll four days into 2005.  Apparently The Tea Party and Simple Plan were battling for best-artist-of-2004 honours and Keshia Chante (who?) now holds the lead.  Granted, they're competing for the "Golden Toque."  Somehow, it don't think it matters which way this readers' poll goes, because the award probably isn't going to someone good.

Yeah, I said it.  Sue me.

Monday, January 03, 2005

PART 2: DEC. 30-31 BIT

Note: this was published yesterday and for some reason Google deleted this on me as if it didn't exist.  I understand why as Blogger might have taken the article to be porn, but jeez, what a lame bit of censorship that is.  Has this affected anyone else?  Honestly...

Does anyone think Today's Special would have been a better show if it was about me on an ATV driving around the Eaton Centre instead of the adventures of a feather boa-wearing mouse and one of those bog-standard magic mannequins stolen from an episode of The Twilight Zone?  Kids remember lessons from anarchic shows better than from the stuff that TVOntario shat out during the 1980's.  That's why I remember Pee Wee's Playhouse much more fondly than, say, Bookmice.

What does this have to do with anything?  Nothing, really; that introduction was better than most of the articles I'm listing here, though.  Did the guy who played Jeff work in television after Today's Special?  I know he's more a theatre man, but...aw, screw it.  TXL was the only good part of that show anyway.

McKeesport Daily News/etc. Magazine (Pennsylvania) | It's nice to see people cover metal without getting too jokey about it, but what does it say about these critics when their tastes don't go deeper than Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall and the Dillinger Escape Plan?  Honestly, the more mainstream metal mags have already been slobbering all over these bands for at least a year.  I honestly don't see what's so appealing about any of these bands.  I can't stand putting bands on mythic pedestals and this is no exception.

The Monitor (Texas) | Overlooked, huh?  William Shatner's Has Been has received some positive press as of late and people from The New Pornographers have had their palms greased by the alt-weeklies before, but Mike Moody's telling the truth here.  Lucky he is, else I'd have e-mail bombed him with pictures of Oprah Winfrey eating George Bush.

TheDDT.com | MSN came up with a list of the worst ten films of the year, leading members of TheDDT.com's forums to pick apart said list.  Standard list, standard boring TheDDT thread really.  H331

Tacoma News Tribune (Washington) | Seattle critics like Clint Eastwood, Thomas Haden Church and Jamie Foxx.  Remember this come Oscar time when every film critic who ever lived reminds you what you should and should not like this year.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (California) | Quotes of 2004 from the Santa Cruz Sentinel, somehow dropped into the Style section for no apparent reason.  Weirdly, Henry Rollins has an infatuation with Ann Coulter.  That's scary.

Richmond Times Dispatch (Virginia) | Best-of/worst-of rundown from a Virginia paper, nothing special.  The worst-of is predictable and the easy targets are present and correct, but isn't making fun of William Hung rather rote by now?  They're not selling Hung's product for any other reason than comedy value, you know.  I hope he makes as much as he can from his two albums.  No one's going to remember Hung six months from now anyway, like...oh, Ugly Kid Joe or Mariah Carey.

Tucson Weekly (Arizona) | Typical best-of list from "the usual gang of idiots."  Man, these critics are referencing Mad and Saturday Night Live in the same article.  That can't be good.

WNYT (Albany, New York) | A rather slight best/worst-of film list covering all the usual bases - Seed of Chucky sucks, Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 is terrible, Ray is Jamie Foxx's breakout role, bla bla bla.  I guarantee you've seen better lists than this; this article does come from a TV station after all...

Contra Costa Times (California) | Best-of concert rundown.  Tony Hicks apparently considers seeing Judas Priest (with Halford, as it should be), Slayer and Black Sabbath a guilty pleasure.  Maybe it'd be a desirable thing to see...IN 1984, but I'd be skeptical about seeing them live now considering it's Ozzfest.  Nostalgia is good, but too much of it is more toxic than Slik Toxik worship.  Wow, when did I start to write these gay sentences?

Seattle Post-Intelligencer | Best-of list/musical rundown of 2004.  Among the usual chattering about Ashlee Simpson's LIP SLIP and OMG THE PIXIES REFORMED, this article reminds us that it was ten years since Kurt Cobain died.  People have to be reminded of the fact that Nirvana CHANGED THE FACE OF MUSIC FOREVER...oh wait, he just spearheaded a new trend that the major labels have trod upon and relied on since 1992.  Rarely is something fêted in music unless it sells hundreds of thousands of units.  Let us never forget how much of a business popular music is.

Aspen Times (Colorado) | Stewart Oksenhorn gets my vote for most honest critic of the year.

Honestly, I'm glad there is someone out there who honestly admits that he doesn't understand why every critic out there comes up with the same concensus favourites every year.  I've been looking for someone else willing to do this music criticism job fairly and I'm glad Stewart Oksenhorn is out there honestly doing his job and questioning why the popular music business is why it is.  His tastes might not match mine (he despises smooth jazz and metal) but at least the man lets you know that.  I might not understand why the hell one of his favourite albums is from Donovan (I mean, Donovan - one of the most godawful hippie-era musicians I've ever heard) but it's a bolder choice than accepting Modest Mouse's new album as great.

People like this man give me hope that music criticism can still be rooted in honest and open-minded critique, as opposed to the unholy marriage of shilling and scene worship it seems to have been mired in since the late 1980's.  I wish this man much more success throughout his career.  Music criticism needs more men like Stewart Oksenhorn.

Boston Herald | Sort of a typical best-of/rundown of 2004 - the Pixies were always the most influential, respected and beloved band of the late 80's/early 90's, Larry Katz - it seems to be the rule among music hipsters that anything Frank Black and/or Kim Deal is involved in is automatically good.  Still, the man gives the Dropkick Murphys their due.  Seriously, Dropkick Murphys are one of the few punk bands in the past decade that have become as big as they are mainly by word-of-mouth (even figuring Epitaph's advertising budget, and that's saying something.)

I think Dropkick Murphys are one of the most influential bands of the late 1990's.  I'm serious about this.

Comingsoon.net | I should write this off as bog-standard, but this is actually a higher-quality worst-of-2004 film article than most I've seen so far.  It's great that someone is ready to take down better targets than Oliver Stone, and "The Weekend Warrior" seems to be a man after my own heart.

Spike Lee is far more of an Oliver Stone type than Oliver Stone is, by the way.  Tell me I'm wrong!

Business Wire (press release) | Apparently a Daily Show book tie-in was the best-selling book from Amazon.com in 2004.  There's something off-kilter about an overrated show (honestly, The Daily Show is really not that funny) coming out with a political crossover book and Jon Stewart being fêted as one of the foremost political analysts in America.  Sure Jon Stewart can debate, there's no doubt about that, but when did comedians like him and Al Franken start to become the figureheads of liberal political discourse in America?  Maybe I'm not meant to know.

FMQB (New Jersey) | Oh lord, metal made a "comeback" in 2004?  What?  Since when has it made any sort of a "commercial" return?  Honestly, Atreyu and Lamb of God aren't as mainstream as Faith No More was in 1989.  Don't talk about metal as a radio format until there's an sprawling market for mainstream, over-the-air extreme metal stations, OK?  Man, indie took until 2004 to be recognized as a commercial viability - the extreme metal subgenres won't make a real commercial impact for a few years yet if they ever do.

Buffalo News (New York) | Mat Callahan has the best opinion here among the people being interviewed for a "what happened to popular music" article.  Funny thing is, most of the bands Jeff Miers is big on in his top-ten list are just as meant for sale as 2Pac and Toby Keith.  Honestly, that's why it's called the music business.  Fake sincerity sells, after all.

CTV.ca via CP | Ah, another article about the Canadian television business coming of age if only Canadian magazines would talk about the shows more, more Canadian dramas need to be made etc.  I've heard all the arguments before, guys.  Canada needs more genre content, since that is where some of the great unheralded art is coming from.  Again, I'm serious.

Cincinnati Enquirer | Cincinnati ROCKS! with the music of TODAY!  That's pretty much the gist of the entire article, really.  No mention of WKRP, though.

NorthJersey.com (New Jersey) | More belief in that "indie scene" nonsense that assumes small web sites start the ball rolling for music bands/musicians.  Usually it's the college rock stations and local scenes that launch these bands, leading to coverage from the fanzines and small web sites.  The alternative web sites, newspapers and magazines tend to glom onto the trends next, and then the big glossy music mags claim to find The Next Big Thing.  Once a label/band/etc. becomes popular, though, far too many publications seem to assume it has become popular because of the higher quality of music being released - if people are talking about it, it must be good, right?  Although that might be the case some of the time, it tends to lead to the worship of certain bands and labels and overcoverage of a regional music scene at the expense of the local one.  This is (in my opinion) why so many amateur and/or professional music critics seem to have the same tastes.  They've forgotten their local scenes and/or have forgotten that success in independent music is at best a relative thing depending on what one's threshold of success is.

It's humorous how independent music scenes have developed the hierarchy they claim to avoid by design.  Then again, I'm a low-level wonk so why trust me?

Houston Chronicle | The worst of journalism according to David Shaw.  This is a great article - read this, and then read what I wrote above about the "indie scene."  Now you understand why I'm frequently frustrated with the vagaries of pop culture.  This is why I exist.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Film taboos were broken in politics and religion this year?  Really?  The Passion of the Christ, I can see the controversy.  Still, no one was making a similar stink about Garth Drabinsky's film, which covered the same ground from a different viewpoint.  Also, most of the docos that became successful and/or well-known were blatantly liberal, unbalanced polemics against Big Business and Republicans.  I swear people are becoming cruder while thinking they're finer.

Maybe I'm just bitter because I don't have a bevy of fans kissing my arse after five years of amateur music journalism.  Then again, if I was in this solely for popularity I'd be talking about how great Mastodon is by now.  I'm such a bitter, stupid berk.

Louisville Courier-Journal | Apparently Jeffrey Lee Puckett thinks the Louisville scene is better than ever these days.  Who am I to say he's wrong?

North Bay Bohemian (California) | Typical personal best-of, but I like the cut of Sara Bir's gib.  Too bad I'm not a fan of her tastes in music, but I bet you'd expect that from a man with no musical taste.

the beat/Comicon.com | A rundown of the comics world in 2004.  Nicely done, and this came from *seebelow so this might be the first thing I've actually stolen from there.  I'm still going to apologize for that mini-gayout I went through in November.  Shit knows how much of a drama queen I can be sometimes.  It's the Effexor, honest.

Modesto Bee (California) | Concert attendance is down in Modesto and the arthouse scene there isn't much better.  Here's a quick answer for the Modbee wonk: arthouse films play best at art houses (with reasonable prices, I might add) and concert attendance is low because ticket prices are too high.  Man, simple answers and yet people continue to ignore them.

MSNBC | Heh.  Denise Hazlick had the perfect opportunity to try to get people to save Trio (as it's on the cutting block, I hear) but she never exploited it.  Maybe her corporate masters at GE and Vivendi don't want people to know the truth about NBC Universal.  GE'S OWNED BY FROGS, YOU KNOW.  WOAH, MAN

NorthJersey.com | Best-of pop culture, 2004.  Do not pass NIP SLIP, do not mention LIP SLIP, do not collect $200.

The Signal (California) | Good title wasted on some guy with the last name of "Peeples" telling people (I maed a funy) that he likes both Green Day's American Idiot and yet another Beatles reissue box set.  In unrelated news, I was up until 2:30 AM this morning and can't get a bad Saturday Night Live musical number from 1984 relating to Footloose (Footless - DAMN JOE PISCOPO AND CO. ARE FUNNY!) out of my head.  Peup.

OC Weekly "Love Letters 2004" "Diary Of A Drunk County" "Best Music Writing 2004" | None of these articles fit into the rhythm I've set for myself batting away the best and worst albums etc. of 2004, which is a good thing.  I enjoy OC Weekly, and reading these three articles will help explain why.  This also helps me burn off my link backlog.

Orlando Sentinel | List of personal favourites...literally.  This article is more lightweight than Winger.

Philadelphia Inquirer | Todd McFarlane's under bankruptcy protection because some goon named Tony Twist sued him and won a $15 million lawsuit.  At last, a good thing happened this year!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY ME!

Slate | Crap.  I thought this article was going to be about Men Without Hats and it turns out to be a bog-standard rehash of the trends of 2004.  Those Slate guys, they are a sneaky bunch aren't they?

Poughkeepsie Journal (New York) | Rundown of 2004.  I ignored this as the name "Nelson" was enough to give me shit-fits about this article for twenty minutes.  Man, those guys are still around?  That sucks.

Taipei Times (Taiwan) via New York Times News Service | Man, a Taiwanese paper can't do better than the news service from the New York Times.  I honestly hope this is due to the tsunami that's terrorizing Asia and not due to journalistic laziness/apathy.

Tandem (Canada) | Rundown of the Canadian music scene in 2004 from a magazine I am unfamiliar with.  Long story short: Canadian indies good, Canadian major-label scene bad.  Never mind that some of the indie labels in Canada have relations to the major-label scene, what's one myth among friends?

The Globe and Mail | I'm not going to mince words here: Liam Lacey came out with a good article that more succinctly critiqued the year in film than I possibly could.  Good job, Liam.  You're, what, the third guy I've seen today that wrote an insightful article about 2004's entertainment trends?  Man, this 7.5% success rate...really, that's pretty sad.

The News-Press (Florida) | A lot of Ashlee Simpson jokes in this article, and that worries me.  Yes, that Saturday Night Live snafu was the biggest thing going for that show since Sinead O'Connor (and/or Celebrity Jeopardy! or Debbie Downer, take a grab bag of picks) but people are surprised that some musicians lip-sync on "live" TV?  Backing tracks and vocal accompaniments are pretty standard things in mainstream pop music.  Shit, you people think it's just Ashlee Simpson doing this lip-syncing thing?  Some of you bought her music, you know.  It's your fault she became as big as she did.

The Saratogian (Saratoga, New York) | Some quotes to cleanse the palate for another day.  We've still got at least thirty more articles to go here, so stay tuned to URMN/The UR Blog for another few days.  I know you're all chomping at the bit to hear my concept about the man who's a living mannequin...quit laughing, ya twits.

TOMORROW: DEC. 31, 2004/JAN. 1, 2005 NAUGHTY BIT


Stupid question: did NBC recently insert those Budweiser plugs into the Doumanian/Ebersol-era Saturday Night Live reruns or was Bud sponsorship a thing that went in and out of style depending on whoever was running the show?  Seeing Modest Mouse do that "play out of tune while the lead singer sings way too loud" bit and knowing the "King of Beers" (ha) sponsored that shit is bad enough.  If we're polluting Clash songs with retroactive Bud pops, that really says more about how pervasive advertising is these days than anything else.

The plugs are still funnier than Ted Kazurinsky, though.  Then again, so is sticking a pickle up my ass and calling that a Richard Nixon impression - yeah, an Adam Sandler routine basically.

Fort Smith Times Record (Arkansas) | Trends in country music circa 2004.  "Insurgent country" is big these days, but doesn't that seem like an urban Northeastern trend?  Sure, people are big on Old 97's and Possum Dixon now, but are people really snapping up Merle Haggard and Hank Williams albums because of this trend?  I'm just curious.

Also, I don't know what's worse - Jimmy Buffett becoming a country music artist, Shania Twain's anthems for the kitty-dancing middle-aged-woman set or the Travis Tritt/John Mellencamp "What Say You" duet.  Man, that song is awful.

The Signal (California) | Check it out, the article's called "2004's most 'movin' experiences" and the music writer's name is Michele E. Buttelman.  DUDE!  THAT IS SO FUNNY HEY PASS ME THE JOINT MAN HAHAHA THERE'S A P ON THIS PENNY WOAH

Malaysia Star | Rundown of the Malaysian and North American entertainment scenes circa 2004.  Way too heavy on the North American news, but I think we all expected that.

Philadelphia Center City Weekly Press | Geez, what a long name for a paper!  No wonder they registered the Philly1.com domain!  Anyway, standard worst-of article - pretty good for its type, one of those articles that helps pass the time whilst one is taking a shit.  I don't understand why Kam Williams is surprised about the product placement in Shark Tale, though - The Flintstones was there ten years ago, let us never forget (BC-52's, HA HA HA!)  This is a sad fact of Hollywood life these days - and the shilling still isn't as blatant as it was for Mac & Me.  I blame Spielberg for this.

Barre Montpelier Times Argus (Vermont) | These obscure papers are coming out of the woodwork today.  The best of the local Vermont music scene is covered here, though this article seems too MOR for my tastes.  Still, it's a best-of and that's that, I guess.

Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader (Pennsylvania) | Best of 2004 from the hometown of the Baby Penguins.  Apparently some band called Breaking Benjamin went gold this year and this news hasn't been more widely reported in the media yet.  I'm astounded any act from Hollywood Records is able to go gold, really - is this Hollywood Records' first gold record since the Fastball album or am I full of crap?

Minneapolis Star Tribune (Minnesota) | A rapper called P.O.S. is the best Twin Cities-area artist of 2004.  No, I am not making this up.  This honestly sounds like the world's easiest joke for those who hate rap.

Washington Blade (DC) | Gay paper liked Scissor Sisters, k.d. lang and Indigo Girls in 2004.  In other news, the sky was blue, people passed gas and babies mined for gold.

Financial Gazette (Zimbabwe) | Reggae rundown covering (as far as I can tell) a local festival of some sort.  I shouldn't really include this, but it's a rare enough thing to find African music news as it is.  Reggae may not be my thing, but I present this sop to world music enthusiasts anyway.  Pity about Zimbabwe's leader and that Hitler moustache of his.  Bloody terrorist.

NPR | All Things Considered plays its choices for the best albums of 2004.  I imagine this has been archived by now, not that I'd want to listen to what the berks there consider cool.  Shit, CBC Radio 3 is better than NPR and that's not saying anything at all.

andPOP (CanADA) | andPOP runs down its best ten interviews from the one hundred its staffers conducted over the past year.  Rather self-serving promotion, really.  Shit knows this is too mainstream for my tastes.

Asbury Park Press (New Jersey) via yer Gannett News Service | Why is it the more conservative newspapers are always the ones to cover metal?  That makes furshlugginer little sense.  Anyway, here's a film top ten and best-albums-of-the-year list from one of the shittier news services in America.  Man, do I ever hate Gannett Newspapers.

New Kerala (India) | Bollywood's best songs.  I don't honestly know how Indians can tell these songs apart, considering they all sound the same anyway.  Seriously, they all contain oversinging by some high-pitched Indian woman and feature lyrics that sound like "VEENA KINKY OHOHOH" or whatever.  It's the culture gap, I don't understand Indian popular music at all.

Canoe/Toronto Sun | Musicians' quotes of 2004.  It's the usual filler you expect this time of year, and you bastards just lap it up.

Lafayette Daily Advertiser (Louisiana) | Standard 2004 music rundown that covers the usual bases and ends with a plea for world peace and musicians that sing and make art.  I think the writer's setting his standards too high here.

Top40-Charts.com (New York) | Green Day are number one because they released an album that was experimental and political.  That's pretty much the gist of the entire article, making the rest of the list redundant.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer | Five who made news in the arts this year, from Seattle.  Essentially, the article's Modest Mouse and Ken Jennings worship.  Bloody Seattle.

Lodi News-Sentinel (California) | EDDIE STOLE MY OTHER SIGN

London Free Press | Top 25 of the year from the Free Press, and the only real surprises here are the inclusions of Neil Young and Zeke to this list.  Man, Relapse is going so mainstream these days.

London Free Press | London Freeper runs down the year in concerts for the midsized city that could.  Evidently there are still Wayne Newton fans in this world.  That's really kind of sad, isn't it?

The Columbian (Washington) | Somehow, three of the top ten choices on this list are of bands that get enough attention as it is.  Hell, the most overlooked CD according to this guy is from Scissor Sisters, and they were on SNL recently!  Little attention?  Give me a break.

NPR | More NPR propaganda, this time concerning film.  I imagine this is archived for your listening pleasure, not that fans of mine would find NPR non-homosexual or anything - or maybe I'm misreading my present audience.  I prefer Pacifica anyway.

Florida Today | Basically an excuse to vent about Ron Artest, though considering he is a rapper he technically belongs in this article.  Methinks the next Deion Sanders is in the hizzouse, but it'll be tough to beat "me's plays baseball/myself's plays football/and I rhyme."  Deion Sanders is a hip-hop god.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch | If Nelly's considered one of the highlights of the St. Louis music scene according to anybody, then I'm not interested in reading this article.  Honestly, I predict St. Louis will be called the new City of Rock this year.  It's not like the city's that deserving of the title, but neither is Cincinnati.

Texarkana Gazette (Texas) | Texarkana's music scene in detail according to Anthony Davis.  I have a sneaking feeling Pilotdrift is going to blow up big this year even though I've never heard of the band before reading this.  I just get the feeling, you know?

New Zealand Herald | The best entertainment of 2004 for The Herald evidently features The Blog, The Peter Jackson Sycophantic Bum-Lick and The Typical Rant About Janet's Pasty.  Barely entertaining!

San Francisco Chronicle | San Francisco Chronicle's own "quotes of 2004" article.  The Stuff That Comes Out of Their Mouths!

South Florida Sun-Sentinel | "My picks for the best albums of 2004. Your results may differ."  Funny how your picks are quite in line with everyone else's, Sean Piccoli.  Then again, I'm not accusing you of journalistic laziness or anything...(scratches mutton chop)

Wichita Eagle (Kansas) | I wonder if Rod Pocowatchit and Ed Bumgardner have ever met before.  If they haven't, I'd like to introduce them to Fish Griwkowsky so the three could kibbutz together or whatever the hell it is they prefer doing.  Oh, this is another top-ten list.

Al Bawaba (Jordan) | I guess this is concerning what people think is the worst Egyptian film of 2004.  The film couldn't be worse than the article's broken English, though.

AllHipHop.com | Oh lord, TVT and Astralwerks somehow qualify as independent labels?  Man, this article's stupid definition of "independent" just sinks what wasn't that great of a best-of hip-hop music list to begin with.  Then again, that's just my opinion, so don't you hip-hop fans go apeshit on me just because I find the current scene incredibly overrated.  Seriously, isn't TVT owned by Universal Music?  That's REAL INDIE, MAN.

BBC News | BBC pats itself on the back because it has the power to influence music sales and charts.  With eight radio stations, four television stations and Top of the Pops, it damn well better.

Canoe/Edmonton Sun | It's Fish Griwkowsky again!  Sadly, he's talking about his favourite concerts of 2004 this time and he's not as entertaining this go-round.  The guy honestly writes like he's a 13-year-old who just discovered how to masturbate.

Canoe/Edmonton Sun | Fish Griwkowsky makes another appearance here (but crucially doesn't write the article; Mike Ross does.)  Mike Ross is negative about the year in mainstream music and even I think he's being too much of a downer.  (This is a good time for you to mentally think of three exclamation points because I said something surprising.)  I agree with his statements, but lay off the Steven Wright act, eh?

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | The first Oscar-watch article of the new year.  What do I win for spotting this?  Oh, nothing?  Well, fuck you then.

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette | Some berk's column about the worst of 2004.  Rather tellingly, the man who wrote this goes by the name of Steve Penhollow.  I actually enjoyed this article, granted, but...you know, kayfabe.

The Oregonian | Standard gossip-oriented column for those bubbleheads in the audience.  The Stuff That Comes Out of Kristi Turnquist's Mac!

Montgomery Advertiser (Alabama) Knight-Ridder Syndication Crap-O-Rama "Sounds of the Year" | I honestly decided to take a pass on these two articles from the Montgomery Advertiser.  It's a Knight-Ridder paper, how good can these articles be anyway?  Knight-Ridder is like 0.08% better than Gannett as a newspaper chain.

Munster Times (Indiana) | Finally, here are a bunch of film reviews to end today's column.  They have nothing to do with what I'm talking about today, but this looks like the last day I'll be summarizing forty articles for a while, so thank someone out there for small miracles.  Also, lumping in a bunch of reviews like this is the height of laziness for the Munster Times, so enjoy this while it lasts.


Saturday, January 01, 2005


One of the things about end-of-the-year newspaper articles that always amuses me is the fact that most of them - I'm assuming damn near one hundred in the past three days - tend to get rushed out the journalistic bum at the last possible moment because the end of this year falls on the worst possible day for an arts article to get published.  If the beginning of the year falls on a Sunday, as it will next year, that's great - arts articles get the most press and/or attention on a Saturday, when the TV listings and the leisure articles are printed.  End-of-year articles printed at the actual end of the year just makes for good coverage.  The Monday-Thursday axis is also fine, as Saturday's best-of coverage can fall near the end of the year and not have to share space with the Christmas edition of the paper.

This year, however, is a bitch.  Christmas coverage takes over the Saturday paper and best-of articles have to either be bunged out on December 18, January 1 (the beginning of a new year, so why are people still talking about last year's garbage?) or thrown into the weekday sludge of articles and sections, which less people read - they have to go to work after all.  Welcome to my hell.

I am dividing the final hundred or so links I come across into daily sections for the next three to five days as the compendium will end on January 3-5, 2005.  It seems really stupid to wad 100+ links into one big article considering I expect at least ten to twenty links to come in during the next three days.  Really, I'm nuts to provide this much coverage but I do it.  I don't know why.  Maybe I'm just looking to get hired somewhere that would actually pay me to do this.  I should've gone into journalism, but I have no foresight.

frames per second (Canada) | Animation year in review.  Surprisingly, I found this list rather entertaining considering this could have devolved into across-the-board Pixar worship and/or ranting about how WOW! GENNDY TARTAKOVSKY DOES IT AGAIN WITH THAT STAR WARS SPINOFF THINGY! OMG THAT GUY'S A GENUIS!  I'm not excited about Jeff Boman's putting over of the Gargoyles DVD set (it was a good show when I saw it in 1994, but these days I find it rather melodramatic) but it's nice to see a wide swath of choices covering a wider animation sphere than current Hollywood CGI projects and whatever anime series is coming through Adult Swim these days.  Good job, fps.

TeenMusic.com (Canada) via Atlanta Journal-Constitution | What a superficial list.  There's not a surprising choice in this list and most of the albums covered here are the typical ones being fêted like mad from hundreds of other music critics.  It wasn't that bloody long since I was a teen and I know people in my school had way more diverse tastes than this - well, the people who weren't vapid bubbleheads, anyway.  Bleah.

New Kerala via Cinema India, Bollywood (India) | A Bollywood rundown of 2004, but I'm stumped as to why a Bollywood paper considers The Passion of the Christ the best Bollywood film of the year.  That honestly doesn't make a lick of sense, but I didn't compile this so who am I to comment.

Animated News | Here's your bog-standard list of Disney/Pixar love and mainstream animation coverage, all present and correct with Amazon links.  I know Disney's known for good animation (some of the time - the company craps out its share of limited-animation junk, too) but the company lost its affiliation with Pixar and shut down its traditional animation department.  It's nice to believe in Cinderella, but you have to believe in midnight, too.

Ames Tribune (Iowa) | Typical film best-of that has been covered to death, but I'm just surprised people are giving good reviews to a Mario Van Peebles flick (of all things.)  No one ever gives the love to Winston Thrash or the people who made Mean Mother.  It's high time for a documentary about Dr. Black and Mr. Hyde, baby!

Akron Beacon Journal (Ohio) | Best/worst concerts article.  It's a nice read, but what sort of a name is Malcolm X Abram, anyway?  Isn't it also surprising that said man is evidently a Melvins fan?  Man, that is sending one hell of a mixed message, unless there's a hidden Islamic subtext in Melvins lyrics or something.

Ithaca Journal (New York) | A DVD best-of, rather well-written for its type.  Not surprisingly, the Seinfeld boxed sets are given top nods.  Surprisingly, the boxed sets are actually something I'd buy...three or four years from now, when the price for the sets goes down.  I like Seinfeld but not enough to spend $50+ dollars just to watch something rerun eight times a week or so as it is.

Portsmouth Herald News (New Hampshire) | Woah, an actual metal fan writing for a mainstream paper?  What, he's leaving due to "changes at Seacoast Newspapers"?  Damn it!  Where am I going to find someone who'd actually give Darkthrone props in a mainstream paper now?  Maybe I should hire the schmuck if I had actual money.  HA!

East Bay Express (CALI, MOFUCKA) | Review of the hip-hop world circa 2004 using the familiar "good/bad/worse" formula.  The fact there's even a subgenre of rap-rock out there called "crunk rock" - I mean, good god, crunk rock?  People are still trying to bleed the fucking rap-rock stone?  Are the niggaz trying to make rap-rock stupider than it already is?

Salem Statesman Journal (Oregon) | Pink Martini has apparently sold 600,000 copies of their seven-year-old album Sympathique, according to Ranch Records.  This is fucking astounding, really, but does it get any national mainstream coverage?  Okay, it does, but not much if a regional band can go gold in this day and age and not be congratulated all too much for it.  These guys outsold Modest Mouse in Modest Mouse's home region, what more do you music wonks want?

Fairfield County Weekly (Connecticut), among others | Review of the year in movies.  I like the fact that there's a media mini-empire imitating the Knight-Ridder model of cross-paper coverage, but is it necessary to give John Boonstra e-mail addresses as though he was a local critic?  I think a curt Gmail address would suffice.

Fort Worth Weekly (Texas) | Fort Worth music critic puts over his local music scene.  I like that there's a trendy club there that tried to be hip and failed miserably at achieving that task.  It gives me hope for the future.  Texas scenes should never try to ape Northwest scenes.  It just seems goofy.

D00D TINNY HIPLIFE MANGGhana Music.com (Ghana) | Like hell I'm going to make fun of this article.  To say this is not my scene would be the understatement of the year, but I'm just curious to know whether "hiplife" is a music genre or just another way to describe rap there.  I'm ignorant, yes.  I imagine you are, too.

Syracuse Post Standard (New York) | If You're A Fan of Don Henley, You're In Luck!  This critic thinks Henley's State Fair Grandstand appearance was the best concert of the year.  Man, this list is more MOR than MOR.  Watch these lame jokes fly out my ass!

Hershey Chronicle (Pennsylvania) | Standard best-of film list, but there have to be better films than Kill Bill Volume 2 to be worthy of best film honours.  Tarantino gets a 1-2 punch here, a travesty I'm sure.  No, I don't like Quentin Tarentooty.  Can't you tell?

Des Moines Register (Iowa) | General 2004 arts rundown.  I kinda glanced through this one, but apparently Jethro Tull packed the Civic Center.  Wow, don't tell me they're making a comeback.

Ottawa Citizen via Edmonton Journal | Could that headline be any more fawning?  I'm pretty sure the major labels still have a hand in promoting some of the "indie acts" this writer's spittling over.  Woah, people no longer have to be told to by Rolling Stone or MuchMusic about what sort of albums they can listen to?  Wow!  HOW 1975!  Bint.

Houston Chronicle | Standard best-of music list, but points for some guy named Devin the Dude actually making it onto a top-ten list.  Apparently he's supposed to be better than Afroman.  That must be the lamest reason to pay attention to any rapper ever.  I know Afroman's music was an intentional bad joke to begin with, but still.

KSBI (Oklahoma) | Hey yo, time for a survey.  Apparently 21 percent of "people" (polls can be manipulated, y'know) see Oprah Winfrey as the celebrity they'd like to have run for President of the United States.  In related news, I want to strangle this 21 percent of people to death.

Man, I feel like Norm Macdonald.  COCK

LA City Beat "Sound Statements" "The Reality of Fantasy, The Fantasy of Reality" "Angels, Rebels, and Auteurs" | I know it's rather lazy to lump LA City Beat's output like this, but I always find this news source rather entertaining for what it covers.  Basically, LA City Beat is like the print version of CBC but less annoying and didactic.  Give me a break, I have to fly through these articles you know.

Las Vegas Mercury | The Las Vegas paper I'd like to poop on comes out with a "singles of the year" list.  Man, for all the push Eminem's "Mosh" was getting I thought people would be placing him on a pedestal again for Encore.  Of course, his current single's aping Pee Wee Herman so I'm not surprised his fanbase is limited to twelve-year-old girls now.  Man, that song's gayer than Duran Duran's "Sunrise" - now that's gay.

Las Vegas Mercury | Typical best-of film list.  I'll never understand the love for Shaun of the Dead, considering it didn't look that promising from the ad I saw of it.  It seems like this year's Shaolin Soccer, that "amazing indie that could" if you will.  Ignore the true filmic underground at your peril, people.

Silicon Valley's Metro (California) Singles Film | You notice that the Metallica doco keeps reaching number nine on the few top-tens that list it?  Is there some sort of reverse 666 thing going on here?  Moreover, how much are Metallica relying on Bob Rock these days anyway?  Shouldn't the guy be reviving Payola$ by now?

The Tennessean (Nashville, TN) | About a band called Th' Legendary Shack*Shakers, though there's some ranting beforehand about the Nashville scene being more than out-the-anus assembly line country music.  I could have told you that five years ago, but people never want to hear the truth from Nashville residents.  It's hard not to feel sorry for the town's non-country music scenes, really.

Broward New Times (Florida) Film Music | The Broward New Times is hit-and-miss with their articles.  Sometimes the paper puts out an article I like, but I hate a fair amount of the paper's output as well.  These two links are a case in point - the film article is the usual top-ten I've ranted about since December 18, but the music article's pretty entertaining and informative.  Maybe this paper isn't in the Toledo Blade range of enjoyable, but it's miles ahead of most of the Knight-Ridder crap I see too often while scouring Google News for UR Music News material.

Note: Metallica: Some Kind of Monster gets another ninth-place nod.  IT'S LIKE NEGATIVE SATAN'S INFLUENCING THESE LISTS, D00D

London Free Press via AP | Jake Coyle's top-ten is merged with Nekesa Mumbi Moody's top-ten.  It doesn't help improve the resulting list, sadly.  I get the feeling Moody's one of those stringers/freelancers as I see her work far too often for my liking.

Washington Post | Typical best-of with typical picks, but I had fun making some stupid rap song out of the article's title.  I then segued into Pearl Jam's "Spin the Black Circle" and now hate myself for being an idiot.  Furshlugginer Washington Post.

Winston-Salem Journal (North Carolina) | The usual mainstream-oriented best of, with Blonde Redhead in Sonic Youth's place this time.  It must suck having a name like Ed Bumgardner.  I can't imagine the type of jokes this man must receive in his inbox every day.

Las Vegas Review-Journal | Woah, a third Las Vegas paper!  Anyway, some quotes of 2004 for your perusal, including a Robert Goulet quote that I wish Will Ferrell would quote verbatim.  I'm still waiting for Red Ships of Spain: The Movie, though.

Roanoke Times (Virginia) | Roanoke has few music venues and a dying music scene.  Wow, I thought Ottawa was a dead scene once - never again after reading this article.

Rolling Stone | No explanation needed, surely?  Look for appearances by Devin the Dude and William Shitner! - I-I mean Shatner! I mean...sorry, bad joke.

San Diego Union-Tribune | Local music-scene rundown.  Surprisingly, Cattle Decapitation makes an appearance on this list.  That sure as hell shocked me, considering I'm not big on the band myself.  Still, I won't knock it - death metal getting its due in mainstream press doesn't happen all too often these days.

Waynesville Smoky Mountain News (North Carolina) | Another top-ten, yeesh.  Still, Ricky Skaggs and Keb' Mo' make appearances on the list, so it's not like this list is the same old same old.  I do think giving Brian Wilson's Smile a number-one spot is pushing it, though.

Style Weekly (Virginia) | More critics' choices, this time from a Virginia weekly.  Nothing out of the ordinary, but Pink Martini makes another appearance.  I guess that counts for something.

Ithaca Journal (NY) | Local scene best-of from Ithaca.  Pretty good in and of its type, but I'm surprised there's this much of a scene in Ithaca.  Rochester (and maybe Albany, maybe) I can understand, but Ithaca, New York?  You learn something new every day.

London Telegraph (UK) | The single's not dead, says the London Telegraph.  "Get out of here; it never really left," says some berk from Ontario.  Man, why do big papers waste time with these kinds of articles?  Shouldn't they be scouring the streets for the next big trend to exploit?

The Capital Times (Wisconsin) | The first and (I hope) only top-ten concert list featuring Margaret Cho.  Man, and I thought Madison was cool...