Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"RIP Hilly, we'll miss you, thank you."

Hilly Kristal, whose dank Bowery rock club CBGB served as the birthplace of the punk rock movement and a launching pad for bands like the Ramones, Blondie and the Talking Heads, has died. He was 75.

Kristal, who lost a bitter fight last year to stop the club's eviction from its home of 33 years, died Tuesday at Cabrini Hospital after a battle with lung cancer, his son Mark Dana Kristal said Wednesday.

Last October, as the club headed toward its final show with Patti Smith, Kristal was using a cane to get around and showing the effects of his cancer treatment. He was hoping to open a Las Vegas incarnation of the infamous venue that opened in 1973.

"He created a club that started on a small, out-of-the-way skid row, and saw it go around the world," said Lenny Kaye, a longtime member of the Patti Smith Group. "Everywhere you travel around the world, you saw somebody wearing a CBGB T-shirt." (MORE)

Japan's Warp-Speed Ride to Internet Future

Americans invented the Internet, but the Japanese are running away with it.

Broadband service here is eight to 30 times as fast as in the United States -- and considerably cheaper. Japan has the world's fastest Internet connections, delivering more data at a lower cost than anywhere else, recent studies show.

Accelerating broadband speed in this country -- as well as in South Korea and much of Europe -- is pushing open doors to Internet innovation that are likely to remain closed for years to come in much of the United States.

The speed advantage allows the Japanese to watch broadcast-quality, full-screen television over the Internet, an experience that mocks the grainy, wallet-size images Americans endure.

Ultra-high-speed applications are being rolled out for low-cost, high-definition teleconferencing, for telemedicine -- which allows urban doctors to diagnose diseases from a distance -- and for advanced telecommuting to help Japan meet its goal of doubling the number of people who work from home by 2010.

"For now and for at least the short term, these applications will be cheaper and probably better in Japan," said Robert Pepper, senior managing director of global technology policy at Cisco Systems, the networking giant.

Japan has surged ahead of the United States on the wings of better wire and more aggressive government regulation, industry analysts say. (MORE)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Nowhere Man

Brian Epstein helped make the Beatles a phenomenon. Forty years after his death, why is his contribution forgotten?

THE OLD WAREHOUSE DISTRICT AROUND MATHEW STREET IN CENTRAL LIVERPOOL IS AS SACRED TO BEATLES FANS AS THE VIA DOLOROSA IS TO CHRISTIANS. At one end is the Cavern, the rebuilt but authentically dank former vegetable cellar where the band played 274 times in the early 1960s. Nearby is the Wall of Fame, where bronze disks commemorate each of Liverpool's No. 1 hit records; the statue of the early John Lennon in trademark leather jacket; and the plaques outside the Grapes and the White Star, the blue-collar pubs where the boys and their mates hoisted many a cheap pint. But there's nothing to mark the nondescript storefront on Whitechapel Street that was once the North End Music Store, known as NEMS, a record shop and appliance emporium owned by Harry Epstein and his wife, Queenie.

It was from this shop that their first-born son, Brian, set out just before noon on November 9, 1961, to catch the lunch-hour show at the Cavern a few hundred yards away. He made his way past a queue of teenage girls in beehives and boys in skin-tight drain-pipe trousers, and down 18 damp stone steps into the catacombs to check out four sweaty young men playing guitars and drums. What he saw and heard that day, and what he decided to do about it, forever changed their lives and his -- and ours, as well. Virtually every place in Liverpool where the Beatles lived, went to school or played music has been enshrined with a plaque, a statue or a stop on the tourist trail known as the Magical Mystery Tour. But the missing name at almost every Beatles site is that of the man who played such an essential role in their improbable rise.

The 40th anniversary of the release of the Beatles' masterpiece album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" in June set off a predictable round of appreciation of the Beatles, their art and legacy. But few will linger over another milestone tomorrow -- the 40th anniversary of Brian Epstein's death, three weeks before he would have turned 33, from what a coroner's inquest ruled was an accidental overdose of barbiturates.

"I think Brian's one of the forgotten people," Cynthia Lennon, John's first wife, told me when we met last year. "It's almost as if he's been written out of the story. I don't think they'd have got anywhere without Brian." (MORE)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Forty Years AgoToday: The Most Significant Music Album Ever

August, 1967 was the height of the summer of love. It was, too, the crowning month of an amazing year of music. In sixty-seven Pink Floyd released their first album. The Stones would release their 7th, 8th and 9th albums. The Monterey Pop Festival redefined live concerts. Plus there was a little album from the Beatles that was dropped to, oh, a bit of notice.
Also, the most significant music album ever was released in the US.
On August 23rd of that year America was introduced to the absolutely astounding debut record from 24-year-old Johnny Allen Hendrix. Jimi, to the world. At a time when both musicians as artist, as well as studio recording techniques were evolving at an accelerated pace, Hendrix possessed a singularity. As a self-taught guitarist -- left-handed, no less, on a flipped Fender Stratocaster as opposed to a true left-handed guitar -- he was an unparalleled virtuoso. Beyond his sheer ability, what made Hendrix Hendrix was the absolute fearlessness of a nuke scientist he owned when it came to mixing and blending styles. Rhythm and Blues, free Jazz, Soul, Rock... A cocktail he called the melding of Earth and Space -- Earth being the music itself, Space being a psychedelic approach to phrasing, playing and recording. Added to all that was Hendrix himself -- the hair, the clothes, the casual attitude toward life and the obsession for creating perfect music. (More from John Ridley)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

They grew up in Wayne's World.

The Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2011
Most of the students entering College this fall, members of the Class of 2011, were born in 1989. For them, Alvin Ailey, Andrei Sakharov, Huey Newton, Emperor Hirohito, Ted Bundy, Abbie Hoffman, and Don the Beachcomber have always been dead.

1. What Berlin wall?

2. Humvees, minus the artillery, have always been available to the public.

3. Rush Limbaugh and the "Dittoheads" have always been lambasting liberals.

4. They never "rolled down" a car window.

5. Michael Moore has always been angry and funny.

6. They may confuse the Keating Five with a rock group.

7. They have grown up with bottled water.

8. General Motors has always been working on an electric car.

9. Nelson Mandela has always been free and a force in South Africa.

10. Pete Rose has never played baseball.

11. Rap music has always been mainstream.

12. Religious leaders have always been telling politicians what to do, or else!

13. "Off the hook" has never had anything to do with a telephone.

14. Music has always been "unplugged."

15. Russia has always had a multi-party political system.

16. Women have always been police chiefs in major cities.

17. They were born the year Harvard Law Review Editor Barack Obama announced he might run for office some day.

18. The NBA season has always gone on and on and on and on.

19. Classmates could include Michelle Wie, Jordin Sparks, and Bart Simpson.

20. Half of them may have been members of the Baby-sitters Club.

21. Eastern Airlines has never "earned their wings" in their lifetime.

22. No one has ever been able to sit down comfortably to a meal of "liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti."

23. Wal-Mart has always been a larger retailer than Sears and has always employed more workers than GM.

24. Being "lame" has to do with being dumb or inarticulate, not disabled.

25. Wolf Blitzer has always been serving up the news on CNN.

26. Katie Couric has always had screen cred.

27. Al Gore has always been running for president or thinking about it.

28. They never found a prize in a Coca-Cola "MagiCan."

29. They were too young to understand Judas Priest's subliminal messages.

30. When all else fails, the Prozac defense has always been a possibility.

31. Multigrain chips have always provided healthful junk food.

32. They grew up in Wayne's World.

33. U2 has always been more than a spy plane.

34. They were introduced to Jack Nicholson as "The Joker."

35. Stadiums, rock tours and sporting events have always had corporate names.

36. American rock groups have always appeared in Moscow.

37. Commercial product placements have been the norm in films and on TV.

38. On Parents' Day on campus, their folks could be mixing it up with Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz with daughter Zöe, or Kathie Lee and Frank Gifford with son Cody.

39. Fox has always been a major network.

40. They drove their parents crazy with the Beavis and Butt-head laugh.

41. The "Blue Man Group" has always been everywhere.

42. Women's studies majors have always been offered on campus.

43. Being a latchkey kid has never been a big deal.

44. Thanks to MySpace and Facebook, autobiography can happen in real time.

45. They learned about JFK from Oliver Stone and Malcolm X from Spike Lee.

46. Most phone calls have never been private.

47. High definition television has always been available.

48. Microbreweries have always been ubiquitous.

49. Virtual reality has always been available when the real thing failed.

50. Smoking has never been allowed in public spaces in France.

51. China has always been more interested in making money than in reeducation.

52. Time has always worked with Warner.

53. Tiananmen Square is a 2008 Olympics venue, not the scene of a massacre.

54. The purchase of ivory has always been banned.

55. MTV has never featured music videos.

56. The space program has never really caught their attention except in disasters.

57. Jerry Springer has always been lowering the level of discourse on TV.

58. They get much more information from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert than from the newspaper.

59. They're always texting 1 n other.

60. They will encounter roughly equal numbers of female and male professors in the classroom.

61. They never saw Johnny Carson live on television.

62. They have no idea who Rusty Jones was or why he said "goodbye to rusty cars."

63. Avatars have nothing to do with Hindu deities.

64. Chavez has nothing to do with iceberg lettuce and everything to do with oil.

65. Illinois has been trying to ban smoking since the year they were born.

66. The World Wide Web has been an online tool since they were born.

67. Chronic fatigue syndrome has always been debilitating and controversial.

68. Burma has always been Myanmar.

69 Dilbert has always been ridiculing cubicle culture.

70. Food packaging has always included nutritional labeling.

Source: Beloit College

Friday, August 17, 2007

You Know You're An Aging Radio DJ If...

You were first hired by a GM who actually worked in radio before becoming a GM...

You excitedly turn the radio up at the sound of "dead air" on the competitor's station...

Sales guys wore Old Spice to cover the smell of liquor...

You were playing Elvis' number one hits when he was alive...

Engineers could actually fix things without sending them back to the manufacturer...

You worked for only ONE station, and you could actually name the guy who owned it...

You remember when only "hippies" listened to FM...

Radio stations used to have enough on-air talent to field a softball team every summer...

You're at least 10 years older than the last two GM's who fired you...

You know the difference between good reel-to-reel tape and cheap reel-to-reel tape....

You have a white wax pencil, a razor blade, and a spool of 3M splicing tape in your desk drawer - just in case...

You know people who actually listened to baseball games on the radio...

You can post a record, run down the hall, go to the bathroom, and be back in 2:50 for the segue...

You still refer to CDs as "records"...

You've been married at least 3 times, or, never married at all...

You answer your home phone with the station call letters....

You have several old air-check cassettes in a cardboard box in your closet that you wouldn't dream of letting anyone hear anymore, but, you'll never throw them out or tape over them... Never!

You have a couple of old transistor radios around the house with corroded batteries inside them....

You were a half an hour late for an appearance and blamed it on the directions you received from the sales person....

You've run a phone contest and nobody called, so you made up a name and gave the tickets to your cousin...

People who ride in your car exclaim, "Why is your radio so loud?" ...

You remember when people actually thought radio was important...

(The source for this is unknown. It is freely circulating on the Internet.)

Happy Birthday to the Compact Disc

It was Aug. 17, 1982, and row upon row of palm-sized plates with a rainbow sheen began rolling off an assembly line near Hanover, Germany.

An engineering marvel at the time, today they are instantly recognizable as Compact Discs, a product that turns 25 years old today - and whose future is increasingly in doubt in an age of iPods and digital downloads. (more)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Who Knew?

State-by-State DRINKING LAWS
All states ban selling alcohol to minors, and nearly all prohibit possession, but many do
not expressly bar minors from consuming it.

Under 21 may not possess or consume alcohol.
Under 21 may consume alcohol only if married AND if spouse or guardian is present.
Under 21 may not possess or consume alcohol
Under 21 may consume alcohol.
Under 21 may consume alcohol.
Under 21 may consume alcohol only if married AND if spouse or guardian is present.
Under 21 may consume alcohol.
Under 21 may not possess or consume alcohol.
Under 21 may consume alcohol only if married AND if spouse or guardian is present.
Under 21 may consume alcohol.
Under 21 may consume alcohol only if married AND if spouse or guardian is present.
Under 21 may consume alcohol.
Under 21 may not possess or consume alcohol.
Under 21 may not possess or consume alcohol.
Under 21 may consume alcohol only if married AND if spouse or guardian is present.
Under 21 may consume alcohol.
Under 21 may not possess or consume alcohol.
Under 21 may consume alcohol.
Under 21 may consume alcohol only if married OR if spouse or guardian is present.
Under 21 may consume alcohol.
Under 21 may consume alcohol.
Under 21 may consume alcohol.
Under 21 may not possess or consume alcohol.
Under 21 may consume alcohol only if married AND if spouse or guardian is present.
Under 21 may consume alcohol.
Under 21 may consume alcohol in parents’ or guardian’s residence if parent or
guardian is home.
Under 21 may consume alcohol if parent or guardian is present.
Under 21 may consume alcohol in parents’
or guardian’s residence if parent or

guardian is home.
Under 21 may consume alcohol.
New Jersey
Under 21 may consume alcohol in parents’ or guardian’s residence if parent or
guardian is home.
New Hampshire
Under 21 may consume alcohol.
New Mexico
Under 21 may consume alcohol.
New York
Under 21 may consume alcohol.
North Carolina
Under 21 may not possess or consume alcohol.
North Dakota
Under 21 may not possess or consume alcohol.
Under 21 may consume alcohol if parent or
guardian is present.
Under 21 may consume alcohol.
Under 21 may consume alcohol only if married AND if spouse or guardian is present.
Under 21 may not possess or consume alcohol.
Rhode Island
Under 21 may consume alcohol.
South Carolina
Under 21 may consume alcohol.
South Dakota
Under 21 may not possess or consume alcohol.
Under 21 may not possess or consume alcohol.
Under 21 may consume alcohol if parent or guardian is present.
Under 21 may not possess or consume alcohol.
Under 21 may not possess or consume alcohol.
Under 21 may not possess or consume alcohol.
Under 21 may consume alcohol if parent or guardian is present.
West Virginia
Under 21 may not possess or consume alcohol.
Under 21 may consume alcohol if parent or guardian is present.
Under 21 may consume alcohol. research/Alex Johnson. Sources: National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; Alcohol Policy Information System; State University of New York-Potsdam.


Thursday, August 09, 2007


Not to get political, but this is a bit scary.
Reprinted from Pearl Jam's Website:


After concluding our Sunday night show at Lollapalooza, fans informed us that portions of that performance were missing and may have been censored by AT&T during the "Blue Room" Live Lollapalooza Webcast.

When asked about the missing performance, AT&T informed Lollapalooza that portions of the show were in fact missing from the webcast, and that their content monitor had made a mistake in cutting them.

During the performance of "Daughter" the following lyrics were sung to the tune of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" but were cut from the webcast:

- "George Bush, leave this world alone." (the second time it was sung); and

- "George Bush find yourself another home."

This, of course, troubles us as artists but also as citizens concerned with the issue of censorship and the increasingly consolidated control of the media.

AT&T's actions strike at the heart of the public's concerns over the power that corporations have when it comes to determining what the public sees and hears through communications media.

Aspects of censorship, consolidation, and preferential treatment of the internet are now being debated under the umbrella of "NetNeutrality." Check out The Future of Music or Save the Internet for more information on this issue.

Most telecommunications companies oppose "net neutrality" and argue that the public can trust them not to censor..

Even the ex-head of AT&T, CEO Edward Whitacre, whose company sponsored our troubled webcast, stated just last March that fears his company and other big network providers would block traffic on their networks are overblown..

"Any provider that blocks access to content is inviting customers to find another provider." (Marguerite Reardon, Staff Writer, CNET Published: March 21, 2006, 2:23 PM PST).

But what if there is only one provider from which to choose?

If a company that is controlling a webcast is cutting out bits of our performance -not based on laws, but on their own preferences and interpretations - fans have little choice but to watch the censored version.

What happened to us this weekend was a wake up call, and it's about something much bigger than the censorship of a rock band.

The complete version of "Daughter" from the Lollapalooza performance will be posted here soon for any of you who missed it. We apologize to our fans who were watching the webcast and got shortchanged. In the future, we will work even harder to ensure that our live broadcasts or webcasts are free from arbitrary edits.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

What the World Might Look Like When the Millennials Run It

All that time spent social networking has indoctrinated Millennials into the cult of groupthink, refashioning them into the most collaborative and team-oriented generation the world has seen in many a decade. This manifests in "a wide array of positive social habits that older Americans no longer associate with youth, including a new focus on teamwork, achievement, modesty and good conduct," say Strauss and Howe.

Millennials spend 16 hours a week on the Internet -- and that's not including emailing. Recent research from the Pew Internet and American life project shows nearly 80 percent of the 28 and younger set regularly read blogs, compared with just 30 percent of adults 29 to 40. And roughly 40 percent of teenage and 20-something Internet users have created their own blog, as compared to just a sliver of 30-somethings -- a mere 9 percent. MORE