Thursday, March 22, 2007
Clever Kleenex Advert
A friend took this amusing shot of an aisle promo in Walmart.
Kleenex is really keen on affirming its markets!
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Rageh Inside Iran
Rageh Omaar embarks on a unique journey inside what he describes as one of the most misunderstood countries in the world, looking at the country through the eyes of people rarely heard - ordinary Iranians.
It took a year of wrangling to get permission to film inside Iran but the result is an amazing portrayal of an energetic and vibrant country that is completely different to the usual images seen in the media. A country of contrasts
Rageh soon discovers that Tehran is a complex place and uncovers a city of extremes of wealth and poverty, where some people survive on less than a dollar a day and others shop till they drop in glitzy shopping malls.
Iran is a country that bans women from riding motorcycles but where 60 per cent of the student population is female. It is also a youthful place, with two thirds of Iran's 70 million population under the age of 30. Local stories
Rageh meets with local people to hear their personal stories and feelings about the current state of affairs in Iran. There are stories of taxi drivers, wrestlers, business women, people working with drug addicts and the country's leading pop star and his manager - the 'Simon Cowell' of Iran.
Rageh Inside Iran transcends images of angry demonstrations and burning flags to reveal a country that isn't without its problems but which is also fascinating, dynamic and hospitable.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Commuter Rail, NYC
Cool infographic of NY regional commuter lines:
click for jumbo graphic
graphic courtesy of NYT
However, given 9/11 and what happened in Spain, I am wondering how smart tghe bullseye was . . .
The Commuting Conundrum
NYT, March 18, 2007
Monday, March 19, 2007
Tax & Spend
Sunday, March 18, 2007
The Beatles - Original 1963 Commercial
I'm not sure what's more astonishing -- the first commercial, or the utterly corny doofus hipster copy!
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Facing West on 42nd Street, near 5th Avenue
Snapped on December 20, 2005, 10:00 am
Friday, March 16, 2007
Best Live Rock Recordings (1969-79)
C. Michael Bailey writes: Live Music is Better:
I have always found live releases exciting events. Every live recording offers such opportunity for sublime musical enjoyment that the anticipation and potential for greatness make me forget every bad live recording I ever bought. (And there have been many of those.) When everything clicks on a live recording, elevating the performance to special event status (like The Allman Brothers at Fillmore East), the album validates and justifies consideration as a superior document to studio recordings.
What makes great live Rock recordings are the same things that make all great Jazz performances: risk, unpredictability, and improvisation. A great live album contains surprises, like the playful Dixieland break halfway through “Dixie Chicken” on Little Feat's Waiting for Columbus ; or Stephen Stills' thrillingly angry solo piano performance on “49 Bye-Byes/For What It's Worth” from Four Way Street. Exceptional live recordings also feature performances so impassioned and so urgently propelled that the listener fears they may spin out of control at any moment. Examples can be found on any Neil Young live recording, but specifically on Live Rust's “Like a Hurricane”; and also during J. R. Cobb's bass solo on “Another Man's Woman” from the Atlanta Rhythm Section's Are You Ready?
What follows is not an altogether unbiased list of the ten best live Rock recordings, plus a list of five runners-up. The live recordings chosen for this list feature the inspiring characteristics described above and, with a few exceptions, document a single event (or a single tour). I have restricted this list to mainstream Rock recordings. Thus I will not consider exceptional live recordings such as Bob Marley's Live and Babylon by Bus, James Brown's Live at the Apollo, B.B. King's Live at Cook County Jail, or Johnny Cash's At Fulsom Prison / San Quentin. I have listed these ten albums in approximately the order I value them as historic documents.
Here are a couple more recordings deserving some modicum of recognition:
• The Grateful Dead: Europe '72 — When asked the best intoduction to the Dead for the uninitiated, I recommend Europe '72. I suspect that I will receive more mail about this single statement than any other recent proclamation. This is not the best Pigpen. Ron McKernan was dying by the time these recordings were made, but the band as a whole was on, night after night. From the same period have been released Hundred Year Hall (Grateful Dead 14020, 1995) and Ladies and Gentlemen�The Grateful Dead: The Fillmore East New York 1971 (Arista 14075, 2000). Convincing music from the greatest jam band ever.
• Rory Gallagher: Irish Tour '74 — Irish blues? Sure, I can't imagine who better. Guitar virtuoso Gallagher turns in an unadorned lo-fi performance of some of his chestnuts, including “Cradle Rock”, “Who's That Coming”, ”Tattoo Lady”, and “A Million Miles Away”. This disc sports perhaps the best “I Wonder Who” since Muddy Waters first growled those words.
• Commander Cody: We've Got A Live One Here — What can I say. More irreverent that Asleep at the Wheel and almost as authentic as Bob Wills and the Playboys. This is the seminal truck-driving album. The good commander steers his way through such tomes of the road as “Semi Truck”, “Mama Hated Diesels”, and “Eighteen Wheels”. But that is not all. “Rose of San Antonio” proves the band can hold its own in the court of Western Swing. “Milk Cow Blues” is a superb blues. And ”Too Much Fun” and Hot Rod Lincoln” close a energy filled exciting set.
• Slade: Alive —None of that ”Cum on Feel the Noize” shit here. Noddy Holder is in full bloom back in his salad days, screaming his way through John Sebastian's “Darling Be Home Soon” and Steppenwolf's ”Born to Be Wild”, not to mention Alvin Lee's “Hear Me Callin'” and Holder's own “In Like A Shot From My Gun”. Not another voice like that, unless one considers Bon Scott.
• Jimi Hendrix/Otis Redding: Live at Monterey — This is my sentimental favorite. I was about 10 years old when I first heard this and what I was most knocked out about was Jimi Hendrix playing Dylan's “Like A Rolling Stone” and Otis Redding's soul searching vocals on “Try a Little Tenderness”. Recorded at the Monterey International Pop Festival during the Summer of Love 1967, it was this recording that made stars of Hendrix and Redding. The definitive live recordings of these two artists before Hendrix's Band of Gypsies (MCA 11931, 1999) and Redding's In Person At the Whiskey A Go-Go —Live (Rhino 70380, 1996). Both candles extinguished before 1970 closed.
• Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band: Live Bullet / Nine Tonight —Taken together, these two live recordings, originally released as two 2-LP sets, provide a snapshot of '70s turning into '80s popular music by a journeyman coming into his own. Bob Seger had already been a mover in the music industry. Live Bullet released just prior to Night Moves along with that record was credited with nailing the final nail in the coffin of Punk Rock. Starting with “Nutbush City Limits” and ending with “Let It Rock”, while passing through “Beautiful Loser” and “Katmandu”, Live Bullet is an arena rockfest. While not as good as its predecessor, Nine Tonight nevertheless delivers that same Seger punch.
• Edgar Winter's White Trash: Roadwork — Roadwork is the tipple point where Rock and Roll, Blues, Gospel, and R&B meet on the dark end of “Tobacco Road”. Armed with brother Johnny Winter, Rick Derringer and a full horn section, Edgar Winter shows that he once had balls before losing them with the tepid “Frankenstein” and beyond. With songs culled from the Trash's first album and the American R&B songbook, Roadwork seethes with rhythm. “Tobacco Road”, “Save the Planet”, and “Rock and Roll Hoochie Coo” make this collection worth the modest price of admission.
• Johnny Winter And: Live —If Jimi Hendrix is the definitive interpreter of Bob Dylan (”All Along the Watch Tower,” “Like A Rolling Stone”), then Johnny Winter is the definitive interpreter of the Rolling Stones. “Jumpin' Jack Flash” is as final a statement in Rock Music as can be hoped for. Add a corrosive “Johnny B. Goode” to the mix and the listener is transported to some Hard Rock Nirvana where Britney Spears and N'Cync are no where to be found. Oh, did I mention Winter could sing the blues?
• Humble Pie: Rockin' the Fillmore —A happy piece of British Invasion fluff, Humble Pie was never as essential as the Rolling Stones or Faces, but did nevertheless provide rock music with an unforgettable rock voice in Steve Marriott and credible rock guitarist turned pop culture Twinkie Peter Frampton. Like Edgar Winter, Frampton used to have balls and they are quite in evidence here. “I Don't Need No Doctor” was an AOR must and still can excite.
• U2: Under A Blood Red Sky —None better than four Irishmen to stir up a revolution. After releasing three well received studio efforts, U2 step out on the stage and provide a minialbum culled mostly from the earlier albums but presented with confident muscle and rage. This is the definitive “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Gloria” and the definitive live recording of the 1980s.
• The Who: Live at Leeds —Post- Tommy , pre-Who's Next, Leeds illustrated that Roger Daltrey was the finest rock vocalist of his generation and Peter Townsend the finest composer of his. Loud and proud, “Summertime Blues” sums up the frustrations of the 1960s, repackages them and offers them as a gift to the 1970s.
• Lou Reed: Rock n' Roll Animal — for “Heroin”, of course.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Porsche Designed Yacht
Porsche Design Studios is bringing some Stuttgart style to the boating business with its first-ever seacraft (the waterlogged 928 in Risky Business doesn't count). Set to debut at the Miami Boat Show, the 28-foot-long high-speed cruiser is a collaboration with Florida-based upstart Fearless Yachts. "We reached out and said, 'You have a blank canvas,'" says Fearless CEO Jeffrey Binder, and the German creatives set about designing a luxury racer that could dominate what they dubbed the "aquabahn."
The boat boasts a fiberglass hull with the sleek curves and lean silhouette of a European coupe, and its "unitized," or seamless, construction does away with unsightly rivets that might slow it down. There's also a 525-horsepower Viper engine that helps the craft reach a top speed of 80 mph, which may not break any world records but will make you grateful for the Latham precision steering controls. Should 28 feet (and room for five) prove insufficient for your entourage, Porsche and Fearless are expanding the line to include vessels of up to 150 feet in length, and while the prices may be steep—the 28 starts at $300,000—they have this advantage: They manage to make a 911 look like a bargain.
Yanko Design via Trader
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Sacha Baron Cohen at Golden Globes