Friday, May 15, 2009

God Help the Scottish Girls

Just the other day I was saying to April, "I wonder what Belle & Sebastian are up to." And today, there in my spam folder, was an email that held the answer to that very question.

It seems that back in 2005 Stuart Murdoch had written a song that he thought would be better for female singers than B&S, so after finishing B&S's last album he wrote a whole album of similar, symphonic girl-centric tunes. Being Scottish, he wrote a cheeky want ad, and then auditioned a bunch of ladies and now, with B&S serving as back-up band, the record is finished. There's even a full documentary about the whole process. You can see the trailer here.

Oh, the group is called God Help the Girl and here's the first video. The album comes out in June.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Oh Baby

I've been following the Celtics' playoff run pretty closely -- even more so than during last year's championship run. In 2008 they led from start to finish; this year, their best player is out and they're stuck with a bunch of role-playing dudes no one's ever heard of. They shouldn't ever win a game, and yet they keep nailing those victories (along with some horrible losses).

I just love these dudes. Eddie House is short and stubby and runs like a cartoon character, with the feet going a mile a minute and not getting anywhere, but he hit 14 straight 3-pointers in one stretch. Brian Scalabrini is all effort and occasional talent, the scrappy white guy that most teams relegate to the end of the bench. (Here's a comic about him.) Rondo does this thing that players stop doing in the ninth grade, where he lets the ball roll to half court before he picks it up. And "Big Baby" is so heavy that he can't even dunk the ball. And yet, tell me you don't tear up a bit when you watch this video segment about how he grew up with a drug-addicted mom and no dad.

For game 4 against the Magic, Baby hit the last second shot to win the game. And then he went on a rampage, yelling the word "motherfucker" so many times that he could only be excused because it was Mother's Day. He also started a bit of a kerfuffle by nudging a kid on the sidelines as he ran by. The kid's dad freaked out, saying Baby was a "raging animal with no regard for fans' personal safety." Davis apologized, the dad apologized, everyone kissed and hugged and rubbed each other a bit, but not homoerotically.

Just be glad Talib Kweli wasn't supposed to sing the national anthem, or else there really would've been trouble.

In the spirit of weekend's celebrations, I leave you with some Erotic Falconry.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Hipster Gypster

Have you been following the Hipster Grifter story? It's kind of crazy and sad, and maybe we're going to be seeing a lot more of these in the future, what with the blogs and the American Talentless and the coming Armageddon and such.

Twenty-two-year-old Kari Farrell was once just a poor Korean girl from Utah (what?). Now Dateline is doing a segment on her! And Gawker runs daily updates on her life. And she's even got a web site devoted to freeing her from jail. Um, yes, jail.

Apparently, Kari is a major con artist, and she's wanted by the Utah police for serious theft, forgery, and writing bad checks (what, they couldn't read her handwriting?) for up to $60,000. Her modus operandi? Saying she had cancer (for the girls), was pregnant (by you?), wanted to give you "a hand job with her mouth" (for the boys), or wanted to "throw your hotdog down my hallway" (yikes!).

All the details are hilarious. Or depressing. I can't decide which. Some guy's selling a supposed matchbook of hers, signed by "Ping Pong" (a degrading nickname given to her by the fine folks at Vice Magazine, where she of course worked for a very short period). People started making T-shirts and posters with her face and sayings on them. She called herself "Korean Abdul-Jabbar" (come on, that one's kind of clever) and she had a tattoo on her back that pointed out her love of beards. Her adoptive dad disowned her. Even the way she was caught -- some guy lured her to Philly with the promise of escaping across country in his band's van -- was crazy sad. And her "apology"? Not so sincere.

This New York Observer article has tons more details about her journey to the slammer. Or the top. As for her victims, I guess the Free Kari web site guy put it best: "They are the gullible idiots who think they’re amazingly lucky to have this wet Asiatic beaver just land on their lap."

Now, in honor of the Celtics game tonight...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Feeling Bookish

On Saturday, I went to the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators conference in Davis. What did I learn? Lots!


Before they're born, elephants actually run in their mommies' stomachs, in order to build up muscle strength.

The author of the Poky Little Puppy, one of the most popular picture books of all time, was paid $75. With no royalties. (Not sure, but I bet he/she died a bitter woman.)

Margaret Wise Brown, the author of Goodnight Moon, was heavily influenced by Gertrude Stein. They both hated commas and other punctuation.

In the '70s, Donny & Marie Osmond got their very own children's book, just like other famed TV personalities Bugs Bunny and Bullwinkle.

Oh yeah, I also learned a lot of stuff about how to get published. But you don't want to hear about that.

On the way home, I was listening to a '90s playlist on my iPod, which led to me spending the next hour trying to figure out what was the best band of that decade. I decided that the deciding factor would be which group had the most great albums, not just the most great songs. And by great albums, I meant albums I still thought were great today. So, after much thought, it looks like there's a two-way tie for first.

Belle & Sebastian - 3 (although if you count the collected EPs it's 4)
Luna - 3 (wow, who knew they'd have such staying power?)
Yo La Tengo - 2 (while some folks, like Brent, would argue 3, I find Painful snoozy and Electro-Pura hit or miss, and Nothing Turned came out in 2000)
Pavement - 2 (seriously, Wowee Zowee and Brighten the Corners ain't that great)
Bedhead - 2 (but, man, what 2 great discs!)
Country Teasers - 2 (yes, 2! so great!)
The Sea & Cake - 2 (oh, The Biz rules)
Guided By Voices - 1 (Pee Ew Thousand, I say)
Stereolab - 1 (all you really need is Emperor Tomato Ketchup)

Thoughts? Omissions? Grouses?