31 July 2007

Famous and Popular Bands and Musicians That I Don't Like That Everyone Else Does (Part I)

*denotes possible violence against band/musician

Prince I get that he plays 4,968 instruments. I understand that he is incredibly prolific, innovative, and is great to dance to. But I hate his tinny drums, his whiny voice, his Casio keyboards and most of all his quote unquote dirty sexy lyrics. And the fact that he insists on spelling "to" with a "2."

U2* My most hated band, led by my most hated frontman. He must have done something good in a past life to have died and come back as Jesus Christ. Plus, they could have Brian Eno as a producer, and still suck. With Bono's histronic singing, the Edge's monotonous guitar work, and their misguided belief that 'catorce' follows 'tres," I am always surprised how much credit critics and fans give them. And their names? What the fuck is with their pseudonyms? Is Bono a Sonny and Cher fan? Is the Edge supposed to be tough?

The Police*Speaking of pseudonyms, should we be frightened of Sting? Is that supposed to be a scaaaaary name?

Guns'n'Roses I've never really been into any of that hair metal crap (although with all honesty, I did have a Def Lepard period in junior high), and most of my peers that listen it now do so ironically, barring those people in New Jersey or Peoria. But G'N'R is that one band that everyone seemed to think rode above the pack, and was worthy of artistic praise as well. Yawn. I actually prefer Velvet Revolver, mostly because I don't hate Scott Weiland's voice like I do the caterwauling of Axl Rose (another pseudonym...I'm seeing a pattern here that never occurred to me before).

The Eagles I've rarely had more sympathy for a movie character as I had for the Dude in The Big Lebowski when he leaves the Malibu police station after being beaten by the sheriff, only to be stuck in a cab playing the Eagles. Ugh. Music for people who are afraid that they might be challenged.

30 July 2007


That's a real billboard in New Zealand. Oddly, it's an ad for a pizza chain. Really.

The Women of Rock!

This is my radio show...that I'm hosting RIGHT NOW.


Monday night on Esoteria we will be listening to the best rock, pop and hip hop from some of the most influential women in modern music. Lots of bands have the girl playing bass, but what about the women that really make the music? For every Vixen and Spice Girls we have L7 and Peaches.

What about such groundbreaking musicians as Mo Tucker of the Velvet Underground, the Slits, the Raincoats, Patti Smith, Yoko Ono, Bikini Kill? We'll be featuring new music from female musicians as well, from the Pipettes to Lady Sovereign to Neko Case.

Tune in Monday Night, 7-9pm CST, only on Chicago Radio 1!

You can reach me for questions or suggestions at either esoteria@chicagoradio1.com or while I'm on the air via AIM at chiradio1.

Ingmar Bergman, 89, Rest In Peace

Another legend, gone.

28 July 2007

My Mac Has A Virus--Call the Smithsonian

I must be some kind of superhero. Things constantly happen around me that are supposed to be impossible. Allow me to elaborate.

It doesn't rain in the desert. Or if it does, it's only at a certain time of the year. Right now it's monsoon season, so one might expect some rain, but typically it doesn't rain much. On not my first, but my first and second visits to Phoenix, it rained. The fist time I flew there, it was not only raining, but so badly that the plane had to be diverted to Tucson. It was not monsoon season.

I ran into George Wendt once. He was drinking a beer at a bar. Honestly.

I once accidently walked into the 150th anniversary celebration of the publication of the Communist Manifesto. In Sweden. All 30,000 of them (actually, I don't know how many people were there but it was a lot) went on a march, too.

And I have a Mac, and it has a virus. Macs don't get viruses. My friend suggested that we send it to a museum as the first known Mac that got one. Now, it's not impossible for a Mac to become infected, but extremely unlikely. That's my luck.

I have superpowers. I know it.

26 July 2007

This Is Too Good

I'm just going to quote from the AP:

"FBI Chief Contradicts Gonzales Testimony

by LAURIE KELLMAN and LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON - The head of the FBI contradicted Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' sworn testimony and Senate Democrats requested a perjury investigation Thursday in a fresh barrage against President Bush's embattled longtime friend and aide.

In a third blow to the Bush administration, the Senate Judiciary Committee issued subpoenas to compel the testimony of Karl Rove, Bush's chief political adviser, in connection with its investigation of the firings of federal prosecutors.

The likelihood that Rove will ever testify? Not bloody likely.

Full story at the AP.

Some thoughts for the day...

1. The guy who had the Windows fatal error message tattooed on his arm must either be: a) stupid b) stupid, and a Mac freak or c) stupid and masochistic, because you know that no girl is going to consider that as an addition to this guy's sex appeal, so he clearly must be inviting mockery.

2. I watched Madmen on AMC tonight. I rarely watch TV outside of the Daily Show, Colbert Report, and Adult Swim (oh, and Mythbusters and Countdown), and never watch anything that's in prime time, but now that I work days, I have the opportunity. Madmen is from on of the guys behind The Sopranos, and I'll tell you what...if this was a movie, I would have considered the admission price well spent. To spoil one gag from the show (which takes place in 1959):

Two mothers are talking in the kitchen. Their kids run in from where they have been playing, out of sight, in the family room. The boy is dressed like a spaceman, and annoucnes that they've been playing "Outer Space." The girl has placed the bag from the dry-cleaning over her body. Her mother gestures for her to come over, sternly warns her that the dry-cleaning better not be wrinkled, and sends her on the way--still wearing the bag.

That's good TV.

3. I work in an office now. I've never had a day job, and the adjustment to mornings is excruciating. How do you do it? How do you go to bed after the Daily Show and make your lunch and iron your shirts? Does this mean I'm finally grown up? How bizarre.

25 July 2007

And it begins...

The House Judiciary Committee has voted to hold Harriet Miers and Joshua Bolton, President Bush's former chief counsel and head of staff, respectively, in contempt for their (non) testimony into the investigation into the firings of all of those prosecutors who apparently weren't looking into voter fraud hard enough.

What does this mean? For starters, this is the first real ruling that I can remember that is a rebuke to so-called 'executive privilage,' in this administration. It means that someone in the government is finally saying, "NO."

What is the reality of the situation? Will this lead to impeachment? Doubtful. But it made my day, I'll tell you that. And how often has a Supreme Court nominee been held in contempt? Not often, I'd wager.

Full story in the New York Times.

Girls, Guns and Ice Cream

This image brings a lot of thoughts to mind. They are soldiers in the Israeli army, in case you're wondering why teenage girls are packing assault rifles. For some reason they are dressed like they are shopping in the mall, but that have those assault rifles with them while they are buying ice cream...There's something funny, and sad, and oddly perverted about the whole thing. Apparently there's a whole thread that is full of photos of attractive girls in the Israeli army.

I do like how they seem to be allowed to style their hair and wear makeup.

Strange strange strange.

21 July 2007


On a previous post, I misspelt the word 'Teletubbies," as "Teleubbies." Months later, the top search term used to find this blog is still 'Teleubbies." Even more than Ron Paul.

I had corrected the post to be spelled correctly, but type "teleubbies" into Google and you still end up here. It's made me think about other common words I could misspell and redirect hits with.

Perhaps 'Nakd" or "Britny Spears" or "fcking."

We'll see what happens.

Tammy Faye, R.I.P.

Married to not one evangelical criminal, but two. Inspiration behind a t-shirt that I remember from my childhood. Subject of a camp documentary. Co-star of Vanilla Ice and Eric Estrada.

I don't really have an opinion of her, other than I see her story as a prototypical American story.

She passed away from cancer complications.

Five Songs That You Must Have In Your Life

1. "You're Gonna Miss Me," The 13th Floor Elevators (1966)
The first psychedelic rock band, hailing from Austin, TX. When I got dumped by my last girlfriend, this was the song I was thinking of. You can almost imagine lead singer Roky Erickson snarling while he sings it. Also a band with a fascinating history. Check out the link to their Wikipedia entry. Also chosen because I'm seeing a documentary about Erickson on Tuesday.

2. "Young Bride," Midlake (2006)
This is such a wistful, melancholy, cinematic song. It gave me chills the first time I heard it. Still does.

3. "We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives," Los Campesinos!, mp3 (2007)

I only got this song a couple of weeks ago, and I can't get enough of it. Cheery indie pop, plus murder!

4. "Pyjamarama," Roxy Music, (1973)
A band that was so good that Brian Eno was fired from it, and they still ruled. I saw them referred to as a band Oscar Wilde would have liked, and I find it hard to disagree with that.

5. "Jackie," Scott Walker (1968)
Walker is such a visionary musician that he can still put out albums thirty years later (The Drift) and freak people out. This is a bizzare Jacques Brel cover that the Flaming Lips often use as introductory music for their concerts.

17 July 2007

Lily Allen Has Three Nipples. No, Really.

JonLovitz: Hero For Our Times

Andy Dick irritates me. For every time I've laughed at something he did in a crappy movie or TV show, there are probably 100 times I didn't. But I'm not the only one who doesn't like him. Jon Lovitz really doesn't like him.

The short version: Dick is a dick, and Lovitz either 'pushed him really hard' or 'smashed his head into the bar.' I sincerely hope it was the latter.

The longer version. Jon Lovitz and Phil Hartman were good friends. At a party in 1997, Andy Dick was doing coke, and gave some to Hartman's wife, Brynn, who had been sober for a decade. Six months later Brynn had spiraled downwards into depression and drugs. It ended when she killed herself and Hartman. I'm not saying this was entirely Dick's fault, but Lovitz has always blamed him for what happened.

To quote Lovitz in Page Six of the New York Post, "Last year, Lovitz related, a drunken Dick strolled up to his table at Ago in West Hollywood, rudely downed his guests' peach liqueur drinks, and "looked at me and said, 'I put the "Phil Hartman hex" on you - you're the next one to die.' I said, 'What did you say?' and he repeated it. I wanted to punch his face in, but I don't hit women."

When the two ran into each other at the Laugh Factory last Wednesday, "I wanted him to say he was sorry for the 'Phil Hartman hex,' " Lovitz told us. "First he says, 'I don't remember saying that.' Then he leans in and says, 'You know why I said it? Because you said I killed Phil Hartman.' Which I never said. Then he asked me to be in his new movie.

"I grabbed him by the shirt and leaned him over and said, 'I don't want to be in your movie! I don't want to be in your life!' I pushed him against the rail. Then I pushed him again really hard. A security guard broke it up. I'm not proud of it . . . but he's a disgusting human being.

Jamie Masada, who owns the Laugh Factory, told Page Six, "Jon picked Andy up by the head and smashed him into the bar four or five times, and blood started pouring out of his nose."

Lovitz told Page Six, "All the comedians are glad I did it because this guy is an asshole."

16 July 2007

You're Not the Only One Pissed Off About Your Crappy Cell Phone Reception

Why are Australians so entertaining?

I'm too tired to write about Day 3

I'll do that tomorrow. I did host my radio show tonight... have I mentioned that I have a radio show? A whole internet radio station, in fact? Since internet radio has received a stay of execution, we're revamping the station over the next couple of weeks.

The station is called Chicago Radio 1. If you tune in right now, you might hear ecclectic pop music (my music) or heavy metal (the other DJ's music), although one of the first things I'm doing this weekend is to change the non-live music to something a little less aggressive except during advertised times.

My show is called "Esoteria." It's on Monday nights, 7-9pm CST, so you missed it tonight, but don't worry, I'll be there next week.

More on the station as it develops. It should be good.

But something I need from y'all. What kinds of things would you like to hear on the radio? If it was your station, what would you program? I'm all ears.

15 July 2007

Pitchfork, Day 2: The Loudest Rock Band Fronted by a 74 Year Old Woman Ever

The weather was surprisingly pleasant for a Chicago summer yesterday, all the better because I was out in it all day long. It was Day 2 of the Pitchfork Music Festival, and it would have been much less enjoyable had it rained or been a scorcher.

Since I was here, writing about how I was missing the first couple of acts, I missed the first couple of acts. I missed Ken Vandermark, which was okay. Not because I didn't want to see him, but because he lives in Chicago, performs regularly, the fact that I've seen him before, and that he will be performing again today as well. I also missed a bad called the Twilight Sad, but since I've heard they are kind of a downer, perhaps it was best that I didn't start my day on a melancholy note.

A Slow Start

I caught a few minutes of Voxtrot, yet another American band that imitates Brit pop. I never understood why so many American (male, always male) singers affect a British accent when singing, and why nobody calls them on it.

Next up was Grizzly Bear. A friend of mine insisted that I go and see them, and I enjoyed the show, even if it wasn't the most high energy show. Recordings of them had led me to expect a two-dimensional Beach Boys rip-off, but they showed that they took more than the idea of lush orchestration to create a sort of wistful, fragile art pop. Worth checking out, I think, although a little too low key for the festival.

Battles Tear It Up

Low key was not the case of the next group I saw. I have heard one song from Battles before, but it didn't give me any indication of what I was going to see that day. Battles is a four piece weirdo disco/punk/prog/rock group. I'm not sure how to explain them other than that. Everyone but the drummer played keyboards as well as their other instruments, the sparse vocals were treated to sound kind of like the Chipmunks on acid, and one minute you'd be dancing, the other shaking your head, wondering what the hell they were doing. Battles will probably be my find of the festival (unless someone blows my mind today).

After Battles had blown my mind, I sort of wandered around for a bit. Being broke, I merely window shopped at the WLUW record fair, and avoided the printmaking area all together. My budget allows for food and a couple of beers a day, no more.

Not a Rip-Off

One of the many good things about the Pitchfork festival is the fact that water only costs $1 a bottle. That's cheaper than in some convenience stores. The people that run the festival know a few things well. First, it's not good if your fans are passing out from heatstroke because they can't afford to pay $4 for a bottle of water. Second, too much corporate presence (a necessary evil that is required when putting on something as big as this) will kill the vibe. All advertising has been kept to a minimum, and you won't really see ads anywhere near the stages, which like at Bonnaroo are not corporately named. Third, keeping the ticket proces low guarantees maximum attendance and attitude. No one can accuse you of selling out when the prices are $50 for all three days.

Fourth, and most importantly, the only beer sold is Goose Island, a Chicago brewing company. Beer is only $4, which is about what you'd pay in a bar. Hell, a six pack of their IPA can run as much as $10 in a store, so I consider that a deal.

There was a little tent set up from Whole Foods, selling reasonably healthy snacks, with all of the proceeds being donated to the Lill Street Art Center (so money well spent there). I ended up having veggie sushi, a banana, and a box of cherries for my dinner, which is the best meal I've ever eaten at a music festival. Iron & Wine were performing a the closest stage, but they were making me sleepy, so I just stayed put and chilled out.

Your Ass: Mastodon Kicks It, Clipse Makes You Shake It

Across the way, I heard Mastodon begin. That's not due to my acute hearing (which after years of rock music isn't so acute anymore). Everyone heard Mastodon, because they are fucking loud. I'm not sure why Pitchfork invited a metal band, but they provided a nice, high energy contrast to the either sleepy or very intent members of a few bands I won't mock here. I kept my distance (and saved my hearing, I'm sure) and watched them from a distance. Not really my kind of music, but Mastodon will always have a place in my heart, because they provided the music for the opening of Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters.

After that, the Clipse. They were one of my top groups to see at the festival, and they didn't disappoint. While I found the GZA show the night before to be unfocused, low energy and disorganized, the Clipse came bounding out on to stage full of energy, putting on one of the best shows of the day. I don't know if it was because they had an audience of thousands watching them, or if they found it amusing that the audience of thousands were primarily white (considering that they often refer to whites as crackers in their songs), but the Clipse had smiles on their faces, talked with the audience, boasted about having the album of the year (a sentiment I agree with), worked the crowd into a frenzy, and left everyone wanting more. Now that's what a hip hop show is supposed to be like.

I haven't heard any of Dan Deacon's music yet, but I was told he puts on a good show, so I headed over there for that. Unfortunately, he put on such a good show that the cops shut it down almost immediately, due to overcrowding. The same happened to Girl Talk, who I've now missed seeing twice this summer. Perhaps they need a larger third stage than the tent in the alley, especially if they are inviting guests of this caliber to it.

I caught a little bit of Cat Power. Chan Marshall looked like she was high on something. Half the time she was wandering around the stage aimlessly, singing to the band or hiding in the wings, other times she was walking out to confront the audience. She was in great voice, but I found her performance to be a little unsettling.

And finally, Yoko Ono.

Yoko Ono

I've heard great things about her. I've read great things about her. But what I've heard I just didn't understand. Her show didn't start off promisingly, with a video that went on and on about an art piece she was doing, involving flashing lights and universal love. The video must have lasted ten minutes, and left the audience restless and bored.

She came out and started chatting. A lot of talking between songs for Yoko. When the band finally kicked in, they were a lot louder than I expected. It must have been the loudest rock band in history fronted by a 74 year old woman. I was going to type that Ono sang, but that's not really the word for it. She more vocalized in a strange, quavering vibrato along to the music, and it was just plain weird. I just didn't get it. I sat there listening for the first couple of songs trying to understand what I was hearing.

Then I got it.

It was like the clouds had moved away from the sun. If you've ever heard what Ono sounds like in front of a band, you've probably been wondering what she was doing. That's because you, like I was, were thinking of her as a singer. Don't. Once you accept the idea that her voice is an instrument, it makes sense. Think of her voice like Thurston Moore's guitar. It's an instrument soloing over the backup. Really. I'm not making this up.

As if to prove the point, Thurston Moore himself came out and performed a few songs with her, and they were perfectly matched. Her music went from weird and unpleasant to profound in just a few minutes of watching here, and I count myself lucky to have seen her live.

I'm getting ready to head out to Day Three.

I'll keep you posted.

14 July 2007

This Weekend: Pitchfork Music Festival!

It's time for y'all to bust out your tight jeans and ironic t-shirts, because the Pitchfork Music Festival is in town. It lasts from yesterday (Friday) to Sunday, and features a lot of bands that none of us have heard of, and a few we have. Last night the festival was opened by a reunited Slint (pictured above) plaing their seminal album Spiderland in its entirety. They were followed by the GZA performing all of Liquid Swords and Sonic Youth performing Daydream Nation. Sataurday and Sunday feature more traditional sets from Clipse, Cat Power, Of Montreal, Steven Malkmus (the prototype for the majority of the male fans there), the Klaxons, De La Soul, and in an odd (but appropriate) choice, tonight's headliner: Yoko Ono. Yes, Yoko Ono. I have it on good authority that she will have a number of guests on stage with her, and will be backed up by Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Chan Marshall of Cat Power. We'll see.

I have to get running now. I've already missed Ken Vandermark, the Twilight Sad and Califon, but I might be able to catch some of Voxtrot's set before heading over to Grizzly Bear (don't worry, I barely know who they are either). I'll keep you posted on the event.

12 July 2007

Internet Promotional Video, c.1994

Ah, the good old days. Remember when each of these pages took a full minute to load?

Hollywood Is Desperate For New Ideas (The July 12 Edition)

Now I know, and knowing's half the battle.

11 July 2007

Hollywood Is Desperate For New Ideas (The July 11th Edition)

Paramount dancing to 'Footloose'
Efron to star in Ortega remake

Paramount is plotting a musical remake of the 1984 film "Footloose" and will develop it for "High School Musical" star Zac Efron and director Kenny Ortega. Dylan Sellers will produce.
Ortega is in negotiations to helm and choreograph, and Efron is in talks to play Ren McCormack, the rebellious newcomer (originally played by Kevin Bacon) in a town where dancing has been banned.

Original was directed by Herb Ross and scripted by Dean Pitchford.

Plan is to turn the project into a full-blown musical. "Footloose" was already turned into a Broadway tuner.

The 19-year-old Efron made his breakthrough with the Ortega-directed Disney Channel teletuner "High School Musical" and just completed an Ortega-directed sequel with the original cast; a third installment is in the planning stages.

Efron makes his feature debut in "Hairspray," which New Line releases Friday.

From Variety

At some point this week, I'll write about something else. Honest.

10 July 2007

Hollywood Is Desperate For New Ideas (The July 10th Edition)

And he's voiced by Jason Lee. That's one Scientologist/Professional Skateboarder who is about to enter my Punch In the Face List.

09 July 2007

Six Days Left Until Congress Shuts Down Internet Radio!

So we’ve got until Sunday, July 15th.

The Copyright Royalty Board has upheld a decision that dramatically hikes royalty fees that internet stations must pay.

Clear Channel? Big radio broadcasters? They pay zero. Zilch. Nada.

This decision has the potential to drive many smaller broadcasters out of business, as well as sites like Pandora and Yahoo! Music.

But it’s not over yet. Write your representative–Congress still has the power to overturn the decision. The bill is in a committee right now, co-sponsored by 125 Congressmen and women.

Click here for more info on how you can help:


For a musician's perspective, click here!

08 July 2007

Obama's Campaign Headquarters Burglarized

Cough cough... Watergate! Cough cough...

(AP) DAVENPORT, Iowa The Davenport, Iowa, campaign headquarters for presidential candidate Barack Obama was burglarized Friday evening.

Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor says two laptop computers and some campaign literature were taken. A campaign worker discovered the burglary this morning, and a report was filed with Davenport police.

Vietor says that it doesn't appear that it was anything sensitive or irreplaceable was taken.

From CBS 2 Chicago.

07 July 2007

Download of the Day

Linda Laurie, "Jose, He Say," mp3.

Music for a strange cocktail party.

By the way, have I mentioned before that all Downloads of the Day are free? They're not from my page, but mp3s linked to other people's sites. Most of them are even legal downloads! If you're not sure how to download them, wait for the song to fully load on the page, and then click the little down arrow on the right hand side and select "Save As Source."

Of course, if you like the song, go and buy the album, or a t-shirt, or go see the band in concert. These guys probably need your support.

Hollywood Is Desperate For New Ideas (The July 7th Edition)

06 July 2007


Usually when you put out advertisements, you want to make sure the bugs are off the food being advertised. Unfortunately, the largest grocery store chain in Australia didn't think about this.

Click on the image for a larger view.

From www.geeodos.wordpress.com

Something Is Wrong With George W. Bush

No, really. Why has his inability to speak properly become more and more pronounced over the last 12 years?

05 July 2007

Download of the Day

Tegan and Sara, "Back In Your Head," mp3

Now this is what I think of as a neurotic breakup song (no personal experience inferred). This came from a great music blog called Fluxblog, which I suggest you check out.

Who the Fuck is Ron Paul? (part 4)

A few things. I recently wrote about the dirt on the Ron Paul Internet Phenomenon. If you missed it, here's the gist. Paul's vast and inexplicable internet celebrity can be traced to about 30 or so supporters who spend a lot of time on the interent, plus their friends. They've been skewing the numbers on everything from Digg to MSNBC polls.

One of the reasons I wrote the post in the first place was an experiment to see if they'd find me here. I've had an unusual number of hits for any mention of Paul, and wanted to see if this would be borne out.

It took two hours.

I had comments posted from Gary (no website link), which read, in part:

"Interesting, but you didn't answer the question posed by your own title. Rep./Dr. Ron Paul is a congressman from the Houston area running for president. He is a constitutionalist/libertarian/republican. He is for The Constitution and the rule of law and he is against big government, The Federal Reserve baking [sic] system, and interventionist foreign policies.

If you really care about "The Idea of Progress" as the title of your blog suggests, you should know how the manipulation of inflation by the private Federal Reserve system acts as a backdoor tax which hits the poorest Americans the hardest.

On the plus side, he did at least sign the comment (unlike my good friend Anonymous, who took the time out of his busy day to chime in, "Oh lord, what a waste of space. I can't believe I clicked to get here. Next!"), but basically it showed that he was disregarding the content of the post (though he apparently read the title), and left a link to some video that I don't feel like watching.

I wasn't even harsh in my description of Mr./Dr./Rep./ Paul. I've been pretty nice talking about him, all things considering. But as pointed out by Cipher Theory, Mr. Paul has a dark side too.

From his Wikipedia entry:

"Paul voted "yes" on the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which authorizes the construction of an additional 700 miles of double-layered fencing between the U.S and Mexico.

He also introduced legislation that would amend the Constitution to stop giving automatic citizenship to babies who are born in the United States to non-citizen parents, which has been in effect since the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868.

...In order to offset the effects of Roe v. Wade, he voted in favor of the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003

He has also introduced H.R. 4379 that would prohibit the Supreme Court from ruling on issues relating to abortion, birth control, the definition of marriage and homosexuality and states that the court's precedent in these areas would no longer be binding.

Despite the fact that you are, were, and always will be an anti-war Republican...I really wish you and your cult-like followers would go away now.

04 July 2007

Mad TV, actually funny and topical.

Download of the Day!

Tom Waits and Kronos Quartet, "Way Down In the Hole," mp3

Live performance from 'Healing the Divide' benefit. Apparently the Dalai Lama was in the audience.

Who the Fuck is Ron Paul? (Part 3)

If you've spent any time on the internets, you've probably seen Ron Paul's name. He's usually the first search term on Technorati, his articles are always on the front page of Digg, he's been featured in Wired, interviewed on the Daily Show, the Colbert Report and Real Time With Bill Maher. But who is he? How does a man with so little traditional media exposure find his way to top of the internet, so to speak?

I've just searched for his MySpace profile, and I've found something interesting. There are at least three profiles that are almost identical for him. Same text, same videos, just a different background or typeface. Hmm.

Speaking of Digg, I came across an article about his internet celebrity. It's written by Ron Sansone, and comes from the International Association of Online Communicators (?), and is an investigative look into the Ron Paul Digg Phenomenon.

How does Digg work? Essentially it is a bookmarking service. You find an article you like, submit it to Digg. Other people trolling around Digg, looking for interesting articles, find it, like it and add 'Diggs' to bring it up the rankings. Articles, pictures, pages, and videos on the front page of Digg have anywhere from 113 to 578 Diggs (as of 12:21pm CST 7/4/07, when I checked). Articles on the front page, by virtue of their high profile, in turn get more Diggs. More people are directed to the articles in question.

What Sansone discovered is that there are a core of about 30 Ron Paul supporters, who do nothing on Digg but Digg any article with a mention of Paul's name. It doesn't take too many to get the ball rolling. Sansone discovered this when he posted a blog entry that mentioned Paul in the title, but scarcely in the article itself. He ended up suddenly with 17 Diggs, more than he ever got for a blog post.

I've noticed it here at the Idea of Progress, too. This is the third in a series of Who the Fuck is Ron Paul? and I've gotten more page views on these than any other postings, and I couldn't figure out why. I had rationalized that it must be my insightful and witty writing style, but I think Sansone's more on track than that.

If this sounds like a lot of silliness to you, like "Who cares if his name gets pushed up on some bookmarking site?" bear this in mind. More than likely, his television appearances have been generated by the sudden 'interest' in him on the the internet. His Daily Show appearance, certainly.

It's not that Ron Paul himself is personally behind this, although I'm certain his campaign is intimately aware of the situation. Paul is 71, and find me the internet savvy 71 year old that even knows what a blog is. I don't think that he's a psycho, and while I am hardly a Libertarian, if a Republican was to be elected, he's hardly the worst of the candidates. But that doesn't mean I'm going to give his campaign a pass for their internet manipulation.

Maybe just a gold star for thinking creatively.