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Things I've Found 4 (Giant Robot Is in Da House!)—11/15/2001

by Mark Rose

Giant Robot is one of my favorite magazines. It’s read cover to cover, and it always points me to interesting things to read, listen to, laugh about, taste, and experience. The zine’s tag is “Asian Pop Culture and Beyond,” and the beyond part fits. These were the guys who got me into Japanese fried snacks and Superflat (currently showing at Seattle’s Henry Art Gallery — go see it). You NEED a copy of this magazine (which can be found at most newsstands, even at Barnes and Noble and Borders). Visit the Web site: http://www.giantrobot.com

Hungry for Japanese food? http://www.ramen.de/

For all those who watched terrible 70s Saturday morning TV shows like Land of the Lost, you do know there’s a band called “Scared of Chaka?” And speaking of Chaka, guitarist Rodney Sheppard of the rock band Sugar Ray claims he was the one who played Chaka on the show. Of course, he’s a lying piece of shit. The real Chaka was Phil Paley. http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/WolfFiles/wolffiles84.html Lying about being a lame 70s character is a little disturbing. Did you know I was one of the sea monsters in Sigmund and the Sea Monsters? [Try this link instead as even ABC News’ archive isn’t working right: http://att.eonline.com/News/Items/0,1,5278,00.html?newsrellink]

Carrie Donovan, the hugely spectacled lady in the Old Navy television ads, has passed on. http://www.amiannoyingornot.com/view.asp?ID=20

As a card-carrying member of the media, I take my writing and journalistic cred seriously. That’s why it’s so frustrating to listen to the goofballs who ask questions at White House military press briefings. This isn’t the place for me to go off on the state of our media today (that would take about a thousand e-mailings) but Good God Almighty, these people ask some stupid questions. My favorite today was a reporter asking top military brass about the Taliban retreat: “Can you provide any justification for attacking military personnel who are retreating?” There was a stunned silence from the man at the podium, and then he very patiently explained, as if to a four-year-old, that retreating is not the same as surrendering, and that when they retreat they will regroup, and that it is easier to achieve your military objective if your enemy is “retreating, not attacking” and so yes, there was complete and total justification. How does a reporter keep his job after asking a question like that? Or like this one? Jon Stewart of The Daily Show mentioned on Monday’s episode that his favorite question came from a CNN anchor asking a nameless talking head, “Would you care to speculate on these assumptions?” Yeah, no such thing as hard news or real facts, let’s just speculate on the assumptions we just made up about the lies we read on the Internet. Sigh.

More Zine News: I know a number of people on this list subscribe to Bust. Unfortunately, it went bust. Primarily because it was bought out by Razorfish, which is perhaps the crappiest dotcom company still in existence. http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/news_features/this_just_in/documents/02006468.htm Good news is that the founders are trying to buy the rights back to start it up again, and there’s 2 good links in the story for the Bust community.

Don Henley files suit supporting Napster, claiming that the record labels should not be able to classify artists’ songs as “works for hire”: http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-7867029.html?tag=mn_hd [Gone, try this one instead: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/04/05/napsters_heinous_crime_independence/]. I’m not a regular Napster user, but I have used P2P apps like Kazaa to download and listen to music before buying a CD. In my experience, the existence of those file-sharing networks has increased record sales (but I can also see why you could argue the opposite). What annoyed me in this story is Jano Cabrera of the RIAA stating: “[The suit] is baffling because artists have as much at stake in protecting copyrights online as do record companies.” Actually, that’s not true. Artists have much less to lose in this situation. Record companies don’t create anything, they simply package and distribute and quite a lot of the cost comes from that packaging and distribution. Artists create, and they have the ability to create new things. If something is stolen or appropriated, they can create a new thing. If Virgin Records has their brand appropriated, then Virgin is dead. If Snoop Dogg sings “American Pie,” Don Henley can still sing it or he could write a new song. There’s also nothing to prevent Henley from repackaging his own content and distributing it in a method he could charge money for, such as singing live at a concert. Record companies have found it difficult or impossible to repackage something that they’ve already repackaged. The ONLY value a record company adds is distribution, and they see that core value add being eroded by file sharing apps.

I wonder if Peter Buck, REM guitarist, is part of the Napster suit. He’s a naughty boy. Read about his exploding cup of yogurt and the trouble he’s in for a case of drunken air rage: http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4297803,00.html

The Ballard liquor store has received a new shipment of single-malt Scotches. For those of you who know me well, you know that this could be a bad sign. They’ve finally (!) brought in Glenfarclas (easily my favorite) and a new brand called Lismore. I’ve subscribed to Whisky Magazine for 4 years and never heard of Lismore, but it’s inexpensive ($22.60 in WA state dollars) is light and not too peaty, more reminiscent of a strong Glen Garioch or a weak Bowmore. So far, it’s recommended. If I end up hooting Ralph’s name in the porcelain altar, then we’ll change our minds.

Until then, keep thinking the good thoughts. . . .