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WFMU’s Beware the Blog:

I first heard of Thor not through his 80s hair-metal albums, but via a dusty video cassette from the rental store called Rock and Roll Nightmare. A good friend giddily introduced me to this film one spooky night (his mother watched it with us) and I must say that my world has not been the same since. Synapse films finally released this lost gem in a deluxe DVD this year, and there has been no greater moment in my life then when I tore open the plastic of my freshly purchased copy only to find, much to my surprise, my own darn name listed in the thank you credits.

So how did a humble little fanboy like me make it to the inner circle of one of the old ones? Well, first let’s start with the film…


SF Gate’s Daily Dish:

Sources claim Kid Rock, real name Bob Richie, became enraged by his wife’s role in the spoof film — in which Borat, played by Sacha Baron Cohen, travels across America to get close to the blonde beauty.

A close friend of the pair tells Page Six, “(Film producer) Ron Meyer held a screening of ‘Borat’ at his house for a bunch of people, including Pam and Bob. It was the first time Bob had seen the movie, and, well, he didn’t like it.

“Bob started screaming at Pam, saying she had humiliated herself and telling her, ‘You’re nothing but a whore! You’re a slut! How could you do that movie?’ — in front of everyone. It was very embarrassing.


Washington Post:

But the contents have not previously been made public. Read as a complete assessment, it paints a stark portrait of a failed province and of the country’s Sunnis — once dominant under Saddam Hussein — now desperate, fearful and impoverished. They have been increasingly abandoned by religious and political leaders who have fled to neighboring countries, and other leaders have been assassinated. And unlike Iraq’s Shiite majority, or Kurdish groups in the north, the Sunnis are without oil and other natural resources. The report notes that illicit oil trading is providing millions of dollars to al-Qaeda while “official profits appear to feed Shiite cronyism in Baghdad.”

As a result, “the potential for economic revival appears to be nonexistent” in Anbar, the report says. The Iraqi government, dominated by Iranian-backed Shiites, has not paid salaries for Anbar officials and Iraqi forces stationed there. Anbar’s resources and its ability to impose order are depicted as limited at best.



What does this mean for Iraq? At the least, Tet and Somalia suggest we should be very careful before concluding that Iraq is a defeat. There is real evidence of failure, especially the escalating sectarian violence. But our perceptions are nevertheless easily manipulated. Iraq looks like a defeat in part because the Bush administration fell into the same trap as President Johnson: raising expectations of imminent victory by declaring “mission accomplished” before the real work had even begun. And as with Somalia, fighting shadowy insurgents in Iraq while propping up a weak government engenders negative memories of Vietnam.

Perceptions of success and failure can change the course of history. Reeling from the supposed disaster at Tet, the United States began to withdraw. Memories of “failure” in Somalia were a major reason — perhaps the major reason — that the United States did nothing to stop the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. If Iraq is perceived as a failure, it is only a matter of time before America pulls out, leaving who-knows-what behind. With the stakes so high, Americans must be certain that their perception of failure in Iraq is not a mirage.



The latest Tony Hawk game, Downhill Jam is set to include a number of classic and current punk and hardcore bands including Descendents,Anti-Flag,The Bouncing Souls,Bad Brains,Lagwagon,Thursday and more.

The game was launch title for the Nintendo Wii, and is also available exclusively for the Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance.

Full track list Here.

Daily Sun, Nigeria’s King of the Tabloids:

“My mind told me, ‘my friend, bring out your camera’. I just brought out my camera. The moment he was climbing a tree, I snapped him. He was trying to tie the knots of the string he was holding to the tree. People were just wondering, what is this? Some people were just wondering, is he trying to stage a play? Not until the man put the rope on his neck and tried to throw himself off the tree that two of them ran towards the tree. One tried to push him up, the other climbed the top of the tree to unknot the rope.

“All of a sudden the man fell and hit his right eyelid on the hard concrete of the gutter edge. There was a cut and blood started coming out. The man was crying, “why don’t you leave me to die?” He was not happy with his rescuers. He was seriously crying. All of a sudden, before you know it, crowd of people started gathering to know what was happening. People were wondering, what kind of thing is this? How can this happen? As for me, I could not believe it, as old as I am, because since I have been moving around, I have never seen somebody trying to take his life in broad daylight. It is amazing. That’s the way I see it”.



In theory, Western snipers are a nearly perfect method of killing Iraq’s insurgents and thwarting their attacks, all with little risk of damaging property or endangering passers-by. But in practice, the snipers say, they are seeing fewer clear targets than previously, and are shooting fewer insurgents than expected.

In 2003, one Marine sniper killed 32 combatants in 12 days, the snipers say, and many others had double-digit kill totals during tours in Iraq. By this summer, sniper platoons with several teams had typically been killing about a dozen insurgents in seven-month tours, with totals per platoon ranging from 3 to as high as 26.

The gap between the expectations and the results has many causes, but is in part a reflection of the insurgency’s duration. With the war in its fourth year, many of the best sniping positions are already well known to the insurgents, and veteran insurgents have become more savvy and harder to kill.


LA Times:

Spirea Ciorobea, 68, portrayed as the “village mechanic and abortionist” in the film, is being represented by the lawyer’s group.

“I was approached in the street and asked whether I could play a welder,” he said. “Like many people here, I can’t find work, so I appreciated the chance to earn some money for my family. Later, they painted my arms up to my elbows with red paint. I had no clue what for and only realize now they wanted to show that I am covered in the blood of the women whose babies I was aborting. I would never have agreed to that, even if they had paid more than the $4 I was given. I am a Christian and oppose frivolous approach to abortion, and I think what they made me do was disgusting.”

Another “Borat” participant, Nicu Tudorache, was told that the fist-shaped rubber sex toy filmmakers attached to his amputated arm was a prosthetic.

NYT Book Review:

They met in 1970 on Thompson’s home turf of Louisville, covering the Kentucky Derby on assignment for the short-lived magazine Scanlan’s. Steadman’s drawings — vicious caricatures of local residents, including Thompson’s brother — shocked the writer with their predatory vigor. Thompson, soon to become famous for a similar bloodthirsty tack in prose, demanded of the artist: “Why must you scribble these filthy ravings and in broad daylight too? … This is Kentucky, not skid row. I love these people. They are my friends and you treated them like scum.” Their first collaboration ended with the journalist spraying Steadman from a can of Mace. “We can do without your kind in Kentucky. Now get your bags and get out, and take your rotten drawings with you!”

Isn’t this how all great buddy movies begin?


WFMU’s Beware the Blog:

Released on Casablanca, recorded live 1979 at the Roxy in Hollywood with backing band that includes Christopher Guest credited as Nigel Tufnel (three years before Spinal Tap, though well dressed and with short hair), Ming the Merciless, Lars Svenki, Dwight Night and Beanie Barnhill. Tracks flow into each other as it’s a live record

Mp3’s, Here.

Yes Men:

Philadelphia – At a Wharton Business School conference on business in Africa, World Trade Organization representative Hanniford Schmidt announced the creation of a WTO initiative for “full private stewardry of labor” for the parts of Africa that have been hardest hit by the 500 years of Africa’s free trade with the West.
The initiative will require Western companies doing business in some parts of Africa to own their workers outright. Schmidt recounted how private stewardship has been successfully applied to transport, power, water, traditional knowledge, and even the human genome. The WTO’s “full private stewardry” program will extend these successes to (re)privatize humans themselves.

“Full, untrammelled stewardry is the best available solution to African poverty, and the inevitable result of free-market theory,” Schmidt told more than 150 attendees. Schmidt acknowledged that the stewardry program was similar in many ways to slavery, but explained that just as “compassionate conservatism” has polished the rough edges on labor relations in industrialized countries, full stewardry, or “compassionate slavery,” could be a similar boon to developing ones.



The video begins simply. Title cards set the stage for a story about the Kurds, the ethnic group of northern Iraq who now live in relative peace.

Then all madness breaks loose. Daily life in Kurdistan unfolds as a staccato, stop-motion dance. Cars jam a street, children play, soldiers train, nurses tend to patients – all at a few frames per second, synchronized like a ballet to instrumental music. As the frames flip by, the camera zooms in and out, hovering to line up a well-framed shot, changing brightness and focus.

The 12-minute multimedia presentation is made from thousands of still photos Ed Kashi shot on a National Geographic assignment in Iraqi Kurdistan last year.


Alec Soth’s blog:
1) In 2004 I applied to Magnum. The night before the members voted on my application I attended a Magnum party in New York. The room was packed with great photographers from around the world. I was intimidated. One photographer approached me and said, “I just want to tell you that I don’t like your pictures and I’m not voting for you.” Scrambling for the door, I was stopped by Alex Majoli. Majoli is tall (I’m guessing 6’5”), Italian, and looks the way a photographer should look. I prepared myself for another lashing. Instead, he grabbed my face in his enormous hand and said “Good pictures, good pictures.”


Ted’s Myspace blog:

I am so lost I almost buy Gene Loves Jezebel but I get distracted in the nick of time as Trent rounds the aisle and announces, I’m buying this!

He hands me a cassette with artwork so lame I have to chuckle.

Voivod’s Dimension Hatross.


New Yorker:

When Adelman went to see Rumsfeld in his office, he knew that Rumsfeld wanted him out. “He said, ‘Ken, you’ve been my friend for most of my adult life,’ and he said that I was going to be his friend for the rest of his life,” Adelman recalled. “Then he said, ‘It might be best if you got off the Defense Policy Board.’ I said, ‘It won’t be best for me. If you want me off, it’s not a problem, but if it’s up to me I’ll stay on.’ He wanted me to resign. He didn’t want to do it himself. And so we did that little dance.”
Adelman went on, “Rumsfeld said, ‘You’ve become disruptive and negative.’ Well, I got a little flustered and said, ‘That’s bullshit about being disruptive. Negative, you’ve got right.’ He responded by saying, ‘Well, you interrupt people in the meetings.’ And I said, ‘You know where I learned that from? I learned that from the master.’ ” Rumsfeld laughed, Adelman said.
“I had the floor then, and I started by saying what a positive influence he had been in my life, that I love him like a brother. He nodded, kind of sadly. And then I said, ‘I’m negative about two things: the deflection of responsibility, and the quality of decisions.’ He said he took responsibility all the time. Then I talked about two decisions: the way he handled the looting, and Abu Ghraib. He told me that he didn’t remember saying, ‘Stuff happens.’ He was really in denial that this was his fault.” Adelman said that it struck him then that “maybe he really thinks that things are going well in Iraq.”


NYT Magazine:

Christopher Guest’s latest film, “For Your Consideration,” a scathing sendup of award-season hype that opens on Friday, employs his usual repertory of actors — McKean, Shearer, Eugene Levy (who has co-written most of Guest’s films), Parker Posey, Fred Willard and Catherine O’Hara, among them. Guest’s movies take months to write, as he and Levy painstakingly develop characters and plot. In “Consideration,” the unlikely Oscar candidate is the independent film “Home for Purim,” a hokey melodrama about a Southern-Jewish family in the 1940s and a dying mother’s reconciliation with her lesbian daughter. Guest and Levy conceived the film-within-the-film to be written by two self-important hacks (played by McKean and Bob Balaban), community-college professors whose pretensions and limitations were explored so completely that Guest and Levy even wrote the titles for 27 of the fictional duo’s plays. As in all Guest films, the parts were created with each actor in mind. When the outlines were finished, the actors offered input into their characters’ costumes, cars, even the set designs for their homes. Then they improvised their dialogue.

“By that point, Gene and I have written hundreds of cards delineating what happens in every scene,” Guest told me. “We have no rehearsal, just turn on the camera and people start talking.” (In the new film, the “Home for Purim” scenes are scripted).

Daily Sun, Nigeria’s King of the Tabloids:

Titi Ebenezer-Fola
What did you say? Ah, that will not be my portion in Jesus name. I reject it! I would not marry such a man in Jesus name. Any man that has VD, it means he has been patronizing prostitutes. God forbid bad thing. The God I serve will never allow my man to contract veneral disease. My husband and I will forever be covered by the blood of Jesus.



On Sunday, violence erupted between the gangs fighting for control of this impoverished turf. One gang is the Mungiki, a secretive, quasi-religious sect whose members cut out their enemies’ navels and worship a leader who says he came from a ball of shining stars. The other is a band of vigilantes who call themselves the Taliban, even though they are Christian and have nothing to do with the original Taliban group that imposed a harsh brand of Islam in Afghanistan.

“They just wanted a name that sounded tough,” said George Wambugu, a youth counselor for a soccer league in Mathare. The Mungiki and the Taliban have clashed before, but not like this. According to residents, the Mungiki tried to impose a higher tax on brewers of chang’aa, an outlawed homemade liquor with a kick stronger than that of vodka.

The brewers resisted and enlisted the help of the Taliban to fight back. That led to a cycle of street rumbles, shanty burnings and reprisal killings. Most victims were hacked to death with machetes, though some apparently were shot.


SFGate Daily Dish:

Federline had been plugging his debut album, Playing with Fire, on the show, which entered the Billboard 200 chart at a lowly 151 and has sold less than 7,000 copies.

Federline is also enjoying his new single status, declaring to his female fans he was “a free man” at Chicago’s House of Blues Wednesday night.

On stage, Federline said, “Hey, I see a lot of fine ladies in here. You know I’m a free man, right, ladies? You wanna dance with a pimp?”

Following his performance, Federline partied at nightspot Cabaret, where he danced to his own album in the club’s VIP section.


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