Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (7/18/2012)

Who's worse: Bush the war criminal or Obama the murderer?

Official Team USA clothes for photo shoots don't include women's extended sizes.

Japanese men's soccer team (never even made the quarterfinals of a World Cup) flies business class to Olympics, while women's team (World Cup champions) flies economy.

Mom arrested for letting kids, 11 and 7, walk three blocks to pizza shop by themselves.

The Americas were settled in three waves.

I bet you're a sex addict.

Confessions of an ex-Mormon.

Mormon pageant: fab or drab?

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

Twenty-five YouTube comments that are actually funny.

Rufus and Chaka Khan, "Tell Me Something Good"

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Covers that you might not have known are covers: "One Step Beyond"

"One Step Beyond"

Familiar version: Madness (1979)
Original version: Prince Buster (1967)
Bonus: Madness, "The Prince" (1979)

I suspect that this song is actually pretty obscure to a lot of people, but "One Step Beyond" was really important to me back in the day. The Madness version was actually the first 2 Tone ska revival song I ever heard, and as much as I've loved music all my life, I don't think I've ever loved any music the way I loved ska when I was around 18 to 20. It's the only time in my life I actually thought about becoming a scenester. If the scene had had a different haircut, I probably would have. (Don't judge me, I was only 18.) Kind of ironic considering what I look like today.

But I never knew until recently that "One Step Beyond" was actually a cover of an old B-side by legendary ska pioneer Prince Buster. I rather like that it is, actually, since I first learned about Prince Buster from Madness's song about him, "The Prince" (see below). So here's the Madness version, Prince Buster's original, and a bonus.


Prince Buster

Bonus: Madness's tribute to Prince Buster, "The Prince." This was their first single.

Lots of times, the most familiar version of a song isn't the original version. I write about some of these "covers that you might not have known are covers" on occasional Saturdays.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (7/11/2102)

I was a right-wing child star.

The bad luck of Irish women.

"Almost certainly the lesbians will raise their children actively to detest Christians and Christianity." Gee, I wonder why that might happen sometimes. (I don't think I've ever given a trigger warning before, but please be careful: I've never seen a more wretched hive of homophobia and bigotry.)

A map of countries with universal healthcare.

Women outnumber men on US Olympic team.

Abandoned Walmart turned into library.

Modified peptide from scorpion venom kills deadly bacteria, heals infections.

Photos of the $211,000 the Oatmeal raised for charity.

Utah Valley Magazine salutes its "women of color."

They look so... normal.

Dr. John, "Right Place, Wrong Time"

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (7/10/2012)

God and Mammon edition.

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

The Great Capitalist Heist: How Paris Hilton's dogs ended up better off than you.

A couple of articles about Romney's fundraiser among Hampton millionaires:
"I don't think the common person is getting it," she said from the passenger seat of a Range Rover stamped with East Hampton beach permits. "Nobody understands why Obama is hurting them. college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies -- everybody who's got the right to vote -- they don't understand what's going on. I just think if you're lower income -- one, you're not as educated, two, they don't understand how it works, they don't understand how the systems work, they don't understand the impact."
A woman in a blue chiffon dress poked her head out of a black Range Rover here on Sunday afternoon and yelled to an aide to Mitt Romney. "Is there a V.I.P. entrance? We are V.I.P."

Michael Jordan's house is for sale.

Mormon missionary suffers from conversion disorder.

If you were God...

This is my abortion.

The photo that changed the face of AIDS.

Vintage dogs from 1922 (the Boxer and the Boston Terrier have changed enormously; if I saw those dogs today, I'd think they were Pit Bulls).

Will Ed and Bob ever find each other again?!

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Saturday, July 07, 2012

What do mermaids and God have in common?

As I noted in my last Good Reads/Random Cool Sites post, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) put up a web page debunking the existence of mermaids (apparently because they'd actually received some serious inquiries about the subject).

Anyway, something about the last paragraph of the NOAA page especially struck me:
"But are mermaids real? No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found. Why, then, do they occupy the collective unconscious of nearly all seafaring peoples? That's a question best left to historians, philosophers, and anthropologists."
That would apply equally well to God:
But are gods real? No evidence of gods has ever been found. Why, then, do they occupy the collective unconscious of nearly all peoples? That's a question best left to historians, philosophers, and anthropologists.

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Covers that you might not have known are covers: "Holding Back the Years"

"Holding Back the Years"

Familiar version: Simply Red (1985)
Original version: Frantic Elevators (1982)
Bonus version: Simply Red (2005)

"Holding Back the Years" is one of my all-time favorites. I had the album Picture Book on cassette, and I used to sing the hell out of the song when I was alone in my car. I'd try to hit those bluesy sliding notes and all -- can't imagine how bad I must have sounded. But I loved it.

Anyway, I was pretty surprised to learn that the Simply Red version wasn't the first. The song was written by their lead singer, Mick Hucknall, but he actually recorded it first with his previous band, Frantic Elevators, a punk (-ish) group he helped form after attending a Sex Pistols concert.

So this is actually a sort of self-cover. It was written and sung by the same guy, but in two different bands in two different styles.

Frantic Elevators (This one is really growing on me. It's not as emotional as the familiar version, but I really like it a lot. It's hard to believe Hucknall wrote this when he was only 17.)

Simply Red (For this version, Hucknall added a chorus ["I'll keep holdin' on..."], changed to a purer blues sound, put in that lovely muted trumpet [not shown muted in the video, oddly enough], etc.)

And a bonus acoustic, Latin-rhythm version by Simply Red from their album Simplified. (Nice enough, but I like the other versions better.)

Lots of times, the most familiar version of a song isn't the original version. I write about some of these "covers that you might not have known are covers" on occasional Saturdays.

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Friday, July 06, 2012

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (7/6/2012)

Joe Paterno, moral monster.

LDS Church: Whether we build a new nine-story building at our Missionary Training Center is a secular issue.
Neighborhood leader: In that case, I'm against it.
LDS Church: Nice little temple recommend you have there. Be a shame if anything happened to it.

California eucalyptus trees the victim of bioterror?

Dark matter detected directly.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: No evidence of mermaids has ever been found.

The harm of sexual objectification.

What online harassment looks like.

Black and white in Mayberry.

Romney campaign issues same answer to two different questions.

Flintstones car not street-legal in Germany.

Everything's OK now.

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Thursday, July 05, 2012

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (7/5/2012)

Peter Higgs: "A lot of famous people told us that we were wrong. Heisenberg told me I did not understand the rules of physics, which is pretty scary if you are 26 and are worried about getting a job."

Lost kids who were taught "stranger danger" hid from rescuers because they were strangers.

Privatization of public services in microcosm: Lifeguard fired for helping man who was drowning outside of contracted area.

Schooling the Romney campaign on how to make a Venn diagram.

People made a big deal about Anderson Cooper coming out as gay, but Frank Ocean confessing his love for a man will likely have a much bigger impact.

Strongest woman in America lives in poverty.

Ladies! Don't let your vagina smell like a vagina!

"And Fun? Say Dad, taxidermy's the grandest hobby in the world!"

Man buys short story on Kindle, gets mad because it's short.

Madeline/Harry Potter mashup.

"If You Don't Know Me by Now," Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes (on Soul Train, c. 1972).

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Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day, Americans and resident aliens! Happy July Fourth, all other users of the Gregorian calendar residing in time zones where it isn't July Fifth yet!

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