Thursday, February 26, 2015

Charlie XCX wasted = epic sideboob

Charlie XCX showed up for the Brit Awards looking so strung out that Lindsay Lohan was going "dude!

charlie xcx drugged out

Perhaps that explains why she apparently gave up trying to work those complicated back ties on her dress and gave everyone some pretty serious sideboob action:

charlie xcx drugged out
charlie xcx drugged out

Don't these "stars" have people to take care of that sort of thing for them? Surely they don't dress themselves. I can just see this chick looking at that mass of back ties and going "Aww, f*ck it!" and just stumbling out onto the red carpet looking like some 2:00am mess at the local liquor store lounge.

So, more about that previous post

I've been online since the mid/late 90s. Back in the dial-up days. Back then, if you're not aware of how things were, most isp's would give you 1 mb of free storage to host your own webpage. Some providers, such as ATT (who was my isp) would give you a whopping 5 mb of storage for each e-mail address you had with them. I signed up for 5 different addresses to get the insane amount of 25 mb for webpage hosting.

I had taught myself html coding, and still do it longhand even with this blog, eschewing templates as I find them restrictive. But I built websites for friends and various interests I was working with. The fun of doing this was the fact that with the hosting spread over 5 different accounts, and the fact that my sites were image and graphic intensive, meant a lot of cross hosting, which is to say that hosting a website from particular e-mail section, I would have to use bits of other accounts to handle the images/graphics, often digging around for a few kbs here and there.

Stupid when you look at it now, but kind of fun and challenging back then. Which I enjoyed.

Some of those problems were eliminated as companies like XOOM and others came along with unlimited hosting as long as you put their banners on the entrance page and other conspicuous places within the site. I can't remember all the different companies that did this, I know Yahoo started like that, I personally used XOOM, there was something called Free Yellow (which always cracked me up as a name). But it opened up the web to more site creators.

The downside to all this free hosting was you never knew if/when something was going to disappear. We communicated a lot through message boards back then. And it was not unusual to come home from work and check in to see some board blowing up because a bunch of guys (and I'm using that generically for site builders) screaming because their website disappeared over night. Go to bed and everything is fine, wake up and poof no website, just some short statement about a violation of TOS.

And remember, this is back during dial-up days, 56.6 baud modems, that meant you started uploading images and code at 6:00pm and finished around mid-night. You literally slaved over your website only to have it disappear on a whim from your hosting company.

I saw this happen too many times and decided to take steps. I went to private hosting at one place I figured would never bitch about content -- adult hosting services. Back then the company was called XXX Webhosting but is now know by the much more benign Reliable Hosting. I've been with these guys for over 16 years and never a complaint with their service. And never a problem with any censorship of my content. Which was the whole point.

When I first started blogging, at Blogstream, I used a free image host called who had a pretty easy interface to work with. I upgraded to their premium package, which was unlimited hosting and no bandwidth restrictions for $3.00 per month. After a couple of years there, they offered a one-tim charge of $100 for permanent hosting and no more monthly fees. I paid it and went along happily until one day . . . yep, I wake up to a blank blog. These dudes closed up shop without a peep and left me and a hell of a lot of others hanging. Should have seen that coming, but I didn't. So once again, I took steps. I've got my own domain where I host my images now. Done and done.

I do use another free online host for other work I do. Stuff I don't really care if it disappears. But the content I'm protective of, is under MY control, or as much as possible by paying someone to professionally host my stuff. Technically still vulnerable, but the odds of problems are greatly diminished.

All of which brings me to the situation with Blogger. They're hosting this blog, and thousands of others, for free. It's their game, they own all the equipment and get to set the rules. We may bring them in a lot of money in ad revenue, but . . . c'est la vie.

I would have liked a little better explanation that they've given about this. And also a bit more info about what will be allowed and what won't be allowed. This level of murkiness is what's going to get bloggers like me in trouble, and I don't like the Sword of Damocles vibe this is giving off. They can arbitrarily decide without warning that something is a violation of their new rules and, as in my previous examples, poof your blog is gone or closed off.

So what qualifies as "nudity" to Blogger? If my new favorite nobody, Maitland Ward, Instagrams her bare bottom, is that now taboo? Instagram is infamous for it's own censorship as evidenced by the Free the Nipple campaign that continues even now. So is this verboten?

maitland ward instagram booty

And as we see in the movies, there's a definitive double standard on naked bums. Dude's bare bottom in a movie -- no warning, still PG13 rating. Chick's bare booty -- partial nudity warning and sometimes a boost to a R rating. How is that fair?

What about see through? Not specifically nudity, but you can still see a lot? Yeah or nay?

see throughsee through
see throughsee through
see throughsee through

And then we get into issues over implied nudity. How much is too much? Where are we drawing the line here? Is this kind of peek-a-boo stuff over the line?


Blogger has said that nudity in historic, educational or artistic situations will be tolerated. Okay. So . . . pics of Betty Page are okay because of her historic contributions to the pin-up art world?

The problem here is that I believe Blogger had deliberately left this vague to allow them to pick and choose what blogs stay public. I'm not entirely convinced that there won't be a political edge to this. Had this simply been an issue of pornographic material they found distasteful, that could have been easily remedied. So I'm not sure why they're going in this direction.

something rotten in denmark

Something just seems wrong about this to me. But like before, if I have to, I'll just host my own blog. I've already got a domain set up. It'll be a pain to export this blog and learn a new format. But it won't be the first time. And I have no problems taking my 900,000+ pageviews somewhere else. So we'll see.

Monday, February 23, 2015

This could get interesting

Just got an e-mail from Blogger, the host of this blog, and they are putting a no-nudity policy in place by the end of next month. Not quite sure how this will work, I'm assuming they are going to make blogs with skin issue username/password combos to those whom owners want to be able to still visit their blogs. Otherwise, access will be blocked.

Not sure if this is a side effect of all this "Net Neutrality" stuff the administration is pushing, or whether Blogger . . . well, I don't know what their problem is.

Up until they bitched at me, I was hiding any nudity behind a *click for uncensored* mechanism. Once they forced me behind the improper content curtain, I quit worrying about that. As those of you who drop by regularly have seen.

So I'm not sure if I should go through the massive amount of images I've posted and censor them all or just let this thing go or see what they do at the end of March.

Very odd.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Kurt Busch . . . oy

With the 2015 NASCAR season ready to kick off tomorrow with the Daytona 500, mercurial driver Kurt Busch finds himself on the outside looking in once again, as he has been suspended indefinitely for suspected domestic violence.

Near the end of last season, Busch's girlfriend alleged that Busch banged her head three times against the wall in his racetrack motorhome after she claims she was responding to a text the driver sent her, supposedly distraught about troubles qualifying for the September race at Dover.

Inexplicably, Patricia Driscoll, the girlfriend, waited until November to file charges against Busch, who didn't do himself any favors by alleging that Driscoll had told him she was a trained assassin at one point.   Eesh.

NASCAR won't take any chances here, and with Busch's legacy of anger issues, he's going to be guilty until proven innocent in the eyes of most in the sport.

Gene Haas, who brought Busch in by backdooring his partner, Tony Stewart, is now stuck funding a team out of his pocket that most likely won't have a driver for the rest of the year. Hindsight is 20-20, but if Haas had been this all-fired about putting another team together, I'm sure Stewart would have preferred to put his buddy Ryan Newman in that car. And then SHR would have had two cars in the Chase instead of one.

And in other SHR news, Danica Patrick started the year off . . . well, I'm not sure if it was on a good foot or not. She was videoed having a mildly heated conversation with Denny Hamlin after Hamlin ran Danica off the track in qualifying not once but twice. It's an absurd little exchange with the two of them professing their friendship and support for one another while simultaneously yakking about each other's driving habits and track courtesy.

I mentioned in my post-mortem on last year's season, that I thought perhaps Danica could get a little of that hard-nosed edge from her co-drivers at SHR to help her be a little more aggressive on the track this year. Maybe that's what this is. What I would prefer would be to see her elbow someone out of the way en route to her first victory, but perhaps this is the first little step. She's under a bit of pressure in the sport. Still a good draw for casual fans, she needs to string together some impressive runs/finishes and most importantly, get that first win to validate what I and others have believed about her -- she's got the skills to compete in NASCAR, she just needs to break through that one last barrier.

danica Patrick si

Friday, February 20, 2015

So I'm watching "The Five" . . .

. . . which I don't usually get to watch because I'm never home from work in time.

Well today, as one of the panelists, they have Stacey Dash. Now I've posted on her before. I respect the fact that as a conservative black woman in Hollywood she takes an enormous amount of sh*t from haters, and still she hangs in there with her beliefs. So I'm interested to hear how she does on the round table forum here.

As far as content, she really didn't have anything particularly trenchant or insightful to add to any of the topics they covered. She differed from Juan Williams on the dangerous effect of hip-hop on minority youths -- she disagrees that it is problematic. But otherwise . . . meh.

What did captivate me was her delivery. My goodness! What a breath-y sultry demeanor! Playing with her hair, the smile, that voice . . . I felt like I needed to go outside and have a cigarette after the show. Is she always like this? I don't remember her being like this in movies. That was about as sexy a performance in a show that shouldn't have anything even remotely sexy happening as I've ever seen.

Maybe I was just having a testosterone flare-up or something, but wow! That was something!

Stacey dash playboy

A bit of schadenfreude

There was an article at Human Events the other day by Ann Coulter, where she lashed out a Republican Congressional leaders for their timidity of pressing their advantage with the recent Lower Court injunction against the President's unlawful executive decision on amnesty for illegals.

It's a wonderfully acerbic piece, Coulter skewers Republicans in the Senate for not doing what they promised they would do if given control of the Senate. The irony of her picking on Majority Leader McConnell is that during the last election, Coulter was on every news talk show telling the Tea Party Republicans to sit down and shut the f*ck up. There was a hard push to unseat McConnell by grassroots Republicans, and Coulter went on and on about how brave McConnell was and how hard he fought to block dingy Harry and the rest from rubber stamping the President's agenda, how stupid and ungrateful and politically ignorant and short sighted the Tea Partiers are, blah, blah, blah.

As she always does, Coulter brought up Christine O'Donnell and mocked the Tea Party mercilessly, even though they had delivered the House into Republican hands two years prior. Her default position has always been just fill the seats with people with R's after their name and everything will be fine.

She of course conveniently forgets about Scott Brown and how he turned his back on Republicans once they got him in office. And now she's learning that McConnell is no different. He and Boehner will cave on this due to optics, even though, as Coulter points out, the facts could win the day if these guys would just saturate the press with them.

I like Coulter's writing, she's fun to read, but just because she's witty doesn't mean she knows any more than you or I do. She lashes out at Jeb Bush, but carried on a long slobbering love affair for RINO Chris Christie. She was wrong about Brown, and she's wrong again about McConnell and other beltway established politicians.

Perhaps one of these days, she'll stop automatically disdaining the grassroots of the party and start realizing that we are right -- we need new faces, new representatives that will represent the wishes of those who gave them their jobs and pay their salaries.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Read this

It's an amazing piece from The Atlantic by Graeme Wood that there has been talk about on some news programs. I won't bother to quote sections of it because I wouldn't know where to begin. There's way too much information here. But if you'd like a serious look into the mentality and motivations of ISIS and the ignorance of those like our President on what this threat is all about, it is well worth your time.

I had not meant to add to this post, but watching the news tonight, I saw where our idiot President has tasked his military officials with giving ISIS a several months heads up about our intentions to retake the city of Mosul in Iraq with details that include troop strength and preliminary ground positions.

Lefties are trying to give the Prez cover on this by saying that the intention is to motivate the Iraqi army to get their sh*t together and get ready to fight. Well if that isn't a recipe for disaster, I don't know what is.

What's making me bring this up is something in Wood's excellent article. He talks about the apocalyptic vision of ISIS and part of what they see as a trigger for their End of days scenario:

"The Islamic State has attached great importance to the Syrian city of Dabiq, near Aleppo. It named its propaganda magazine after the town, and celebrated madly when (at great cost) it conquered Dabiq’s strategically unimportant plains. It is here, the Prophet reportedly said, that the armies of Rome will set up their camp. The armies of Islam will meet them, and Dabiq will be Rome’s Waterloo or its Antietam."

He goes on to mention that of course, Rome has no army anymore, but that "...the Americans will do nicely."

Now that it has taken Dabiq, the Islamic State awaits the arrival of an enemy army there, whose defeat will initiate the countdown to the apocalypse. Western media frequently miss references to Dabiq in the Islamic State’s videos, and focus instead on lurid scenes of beheading. “Here we are, burying the first American crusader in Dabiq, eagerly waiting for the remainder of your armies to arrive,” said a masked executioner in a November video, showing the severed head of Peter (Abdul Rahman) Kassig, the aid worker who’d been held captive for more than a year. During fighting in Iraq in December, after mujahideen (perhaps inaccurately) reported having seen American soldiers in battle, Islamic State Twitter accounts erupted in spasms of pleasure, like overenthusiastic hosts or hostesses upon the arrival of the first guests at a party.

Now clearly Dabiq is not Mosul, but the propaganda value is just as high. Suppose the ditherer in Chief sends a skeleton force of American forces to Mosul to back up the comically inept Iraqis, and ISIS, which Wood claims will probably send "vast resources" into a battle that it may deem essential to validate their caliphate, routs the American aided Iraqis . . . imagine the recruiting value in that. And given that this moron just tipped his hand and gave the enemy months to prepare, it is not inconceivable to imagine such an outcome.

What then? Go on television and blame FOX News? Or the Republicans?

This incompetent administration with its hashtag diplomacy and blame white Christian America first attitude is going to plunge the entire world into chaos. I shudder at the possibilities.

Why is anyone surprised by this?

Much was being made yesterday about news that Hillary Clinton's charitable foundation was receiving millions from foreign donors. She was asked to stop this practice when she was named Secretary of State to avoid conflict of interest. But now that she's only running for President, the coffers are back open and raking in the cash.

Like I said, why is anyone surprised?

In both of the previous elections, Barack Obama's fundraising campaign disabled security protocols to allow millions of foreign dollars to flood into his election campaign. If he did it, why would anyone be surprised that Hillary's doing the same thing?

Happy Birthday Vanna White

vanna white playboy

Belated wishes actually. Vanna turned 58 yesterday, but I didn't get this post together in time to properly celebrate that.

If you weren't old enough to be paying attention to this at the time, this was scandal incarnate. Playboy's May '87 issue featured these images of a young Vanna in her pre-Wheel of Fortune modeling days. At the time, Wheel was the biggest thing on television, let alone in tv game shows. Most thought Vanna's career would be over, but the producers at Wheel and Pat Sajak handled it with admirable aplomb. It might have been a different situation today with the voracious internet and perhaps if the pictures had been a bit more salacious, but all in all, it worked out well. Vanna retains her cache, and male fans got a glimpse of their game show crush. I'm glad it worked out for her as she seems a genuinely decent person.

vanna white playboy
vanna white playboy
vanna white playboy
vanna white playboy
vanna white playboy

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What Eric Holder said

So at some press meeting yesterday, outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder snarked at FOX reporter James Rosen that if FOX quit going on and on about calling radical Islamic terror what it is, they wouldn't have anything else to talk about.

Odd comment from a man who, along with the President, can't seem to avoid calling everything they disagree with racist. As was pointed out repeatedly, the President didn't hesitate to insinuate that the killing of three Muslim students was racially/religiously motivated. This without any facts to back that up. Something both of these men have done time and time again. Think back to the Trayvon Martin case, the Michael Brown case, and others. These two race-obsessed black men can't see anything but racism when they look events such as these, even when the facts don't support those conclusions.

But when a group of Islamic radicals, who admit what they are doing is in the name of the prophet and Islam, murder 21 Christians and say it is because they are Christians, these two men and this administration can't bring themselves to call this a religiously motivated hate crime?

Perhaps Holder might want to try on a different pair of glasses. He might see better.

And while not exactly the same thing, I've noticed again and again, even among conservatives, the habit of referring to the war in Iraq as a disaster. What exactly was the disaster? We removed a genocidal maniac from power, allowed for the democratic election of a new government, granted that didn't go perfectly, but it was their first shot at it. We had a huge military base under construction that would have allowed us to have a stabilizing presence in the area. So why is it a disaster?

As far as I can see, the only disaster was pulling out. And I remember hearing one pundit after another warning that if we did, there would be a power vacuum in the area that would be filled by something, most probably bad. Isn't that exactly what happened? And whose decision was it to pull out? Not President Bush's. It was Obama's. Just like the pull out from Afganistan. So why aren't these disasters laid at his door?

Imagine how different that region might be if we had maintained a military presence there, just as we have in free countries around the world? Would there be an ISIS? Maybe. But it would be tiny and ineffectual on the world stage. Not something drawing in disaffected youths from around the world to get in on the fun of burning and beheading innocents in the name of global caliphate.

I'm disappointed that conservatives are so quick to buy into the left's re-writing of history. It does a disservice to the men and women who fought over there and those who made the hard decisions to make it successful.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Oh, those crazy generational differences

So I'm talking to my friend at work the other week and she (yes, I have female friends...don't act so surprised) is showing me this ad on the back of the weekly sale papers we deliver. It's for a local plastic surgeon and it has prices for various procedures, including one for butt implants. With before and after pictures. She's pointing at it and shaking her head saying I've spent my whole life exercising and dieting to make sure my ass doesn't look like that, and people are paying money to make their butt that big?

We had a good chuckle over that as I remarked that we are in the big booty millennium now. Case in point:

iggy azalea fat ass

Yep, Aussie rapper Iggy Azalea aired that booty out in public recently, and wow! If you believe the celeb bloggers, that's not the rear end mother nature provided her. I don't know. I've got nothing against curves, but if she had that enlargement done, perhaps she might have dialed it down a bit.

just sayin'

iggy azalea fat ass
iggy azalea red bikini

It seems as these pics have leaked, Iggy was saddened by the trolls on Twitter and other social media mocking her large she's quitting social media in protest. I'm sure she won't quit marketing that ass in her videos and appearances though. And that certainly isn't going to stop the paps from following her around getting pictures of her hanging out of her shorts or getting more unflattering bikini pics.
Jennifer Love Hewitt learned this the hard way. She lived off the acclaim her impressive cleavage brought her, but when people saw what was under those voluminous dresses she always wore, she was shocked that the media pointed out her less than perfect body:
Jennifer love Hewitt big ass
This is the danger of celebrity. These gals don't hesitate to market their bodies to make money. Well if you're going to do that, you better make sure you've either got an impressive bod or thick skin to handle any snark that comes your way, 'cause you brought this attention on yourself girl:

iggy azalea nipples
iggy azalea big ass
iggy azalea big ass
iggy azalea panties
iggy azalea big ass

At age 5, eh?

According to TMZ, Bruce Jenner has stated that he knew at age five he was actually supposed to be a woman. Or, I suppose, at that age, a girl.

Uh huh. Do you have kids? Remember how they were at that age? You have to tell them not to eat their own poop or put their hands on a hot stove (often repeatedly on that second point). But Jenner says he now knew then what his gender orientation was. Even though most 5 year olds don't even know what gender is. And by the way, don't come at me with that bullsh*t about studies that show differently. At age 5, children will tell you whatever you lead them into telling you, so those studies are completely worthless in my opinion.

I mentioned something about this in a previous post, but I'll repeat it here. We see this again and again with gays or transgendered types, they don't have the courage to admit they've chosen a particular path in life, one that puts them at odds with over 96% of the country and probably the world's population. Instead, they revisit their lives and create a series of data points by re-remembering events that will help them validate their current decision.

Oddly enough, this is not unlike what climate hysterics do with climate data which is why their computer models fail all the time. You can't take a final position then create false data leading up to it, that's not science, that's wishful thinking. And this is what Jenner and others in his adopted community of aberrant sexual behavior devotees are engaged in.

And I'm wondering -- will Jenner also be gay? Which is to say, will he, now that he claims to be a woman, take a male partner? Or will he still want a woman for his sexual mate? Which I guess would make him a transgendered lesbian. Some would say that isn't important, but I say it is. Because it means Jenner isn't a woman in man's body, he's a guy who wants to wear panties and a bra in public. He's a crossdresser, plain and simple.

I've got more respect for someone like Eddie Izzard on this point. He refers to himself in his comedy routine as an action transvestite -- someone who enjoys dressing up, running and jumping, yet still fancies the girls. At least he's honest. And hysterically funny too.

I'm also amused by the fact that Jenner is willing to make money off this by showcasing his gender transformation in a television show. What a coincidence. I'm sure that it's all in the name of diversity and support for the LBGTXYZTSOP...whatever community. He's a shameless famewhore who's been stuck in a family of shameless famewhores with no way to make his own millions by debasing himself on television. Well now he's found a way.

And it's exactly that legitimate too.

Open letter to Republican presidential candidates


I thought you people had learned your lesson from the last election, when you lost the second biggest gimme election in my lifetime (the first being Algore's loss to Bush), but apparently you haven't. To wit: Scott Walker's stumble on evolution the other day.

In the 2012 pre-primary period, Republican candidates were made to look like a bunch of idiots rolling around in a clown car by the left wing media, as they blindly fell for every silly topic the media threw at them. I saw former governor George Patacki on Megyn last night and he got it right -- stay on point! Simply deflect those stupid hot button topics and maintain message. There are plenty of polls that show that most of these divisive topics are way down on people's list of concerns. Only the media cares about them. Hammer the media with facts and don't be afraid to pull a Newt -- call them out on their bias and hypocrisy in their coverage.

Also, no more junior senators or those with no political experience whatsoever. I'm sorry Carly and Dr. Carson, you guys might be good for cabinet posts, but not the big chair. Same for Marco and Ted, you guys need more seasoning and some time to build a proper career before jumping up. The next president should be a governor, someone who has experience governing, dealing with legislatures, working across aisles to build consensus, etc. The stuff a President is supposed to do, not rule by executive order like a petulant king as our current President does.

And no one who has run before either. Sorry Huck, sorry Rick Perry, you guys had your shot and blew it. You've been weaponized by the media, like Sarah Palin, you'll never get past that. Your job now is as attack dog for the eventual candidate. We (Republicans) need a new face, someone dynamic not only to energize the base, but draw in the independents and disaffected Democrats who will swing this election.

And something else, don't assume Hillary is a lock for the Dems. I'm still not sure she's anything more than a stalking horse for fauxcahontas Elizabeth Warren. The last minute, come from nowhere candidate worked to perfection for Dems last time, and I wouldn't be shocked if they tried it again.

The facts are in our favor -- the economy, foreign policy, energy, jobs, health care (yes, even that), focus on those things, not straw man arguments about the non-existent war on women, or contraception, or gay marriage or any other ridiculous topics solely designed by the media to make you look like a caricature.

Don't eff it up this time people, we've got a chance to get this country back on the proper track. Get your game together and get after it.

In the "who wore it better" department

In yesterday's unofficial sideboob competition (what, you didn't know about that?) my ruling is that Maitland Ward wins for her shameless 50 Shades homage over Ashley Benson's daring d├ęcolletage at the Reem Acra fashion show:

maitland ward 50 shades
Ashley benson sideboob

Feel free to weigh in on this, but all decisions by the judge are final.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Maitland Ward does social media right

maitland ward bare ass

Yep . . . still diggin' her   :-)

Amanda Seyfried is noticeable

Cutie Amanda Seyfried brings her single white female/stalker/psycho killer glare to a photoshoot in Miami:

amanda seyfried see thru
amanda seyfried see thru
amanda seyfried see thru
amanda seyfried see thru
amanda seyfried see thru

Music review -- Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes

lost on the river: the new basement tapes

I saw the doc on this the other day and was captivated by it. I ordered the cd and was totally pleased. Some background:

It's the 60s, Bob Dylan and the Band have just finished the tour that solidified their celebrity with music fans. Dylan is overwhelmed by the crush of that celebrity and on the pretense of a motorcycle accident, cancels an upcoming tour and flees to upstate New York, eventually renting a house in the artist community of Woodstock (yes, that Woodstock). Eventually the other members of The Band join him as they are in the mood for a little nothin' too, as Dylan says. Just hanging around being twenty-something guys, Dylan is also writing. Occasionally they go down to the basement of the house and record what Dylan has written. These recordings are eventually bootlegged and released as the first basement tapes that cement Dylan's reputation as iconic songwriter. But these few songs were not the sum of Dylan's output that summer, he wrote upwards of 150 songs, song fragments, and ideas. This unfinished material was boxed up when they left and forgotten about until recently when Dylan discovered them in a dresser. He takes this time capsule of 50 year old lyrics to legendary producer T-Bone Burnett and asks him if he can do anything with them.

Burnett assembles a diverse group of contemporary artists and brings them to L.A. and Capital Records for two weeks last year and basically says Let's see if we can bang out a record. The group consists of Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford who I had not heard of but had record of the year recently, Jim James a session musician who plays with Costello and also appears is a band called My Money Jacket, Taylor Goldsmith from a band called Dawes, and Rhiannon Giddens a bluegrass/folk singer from a trio (I think) called Carolina Chocolate Drops.

The cd has four or five songs by each of the artists including different takes on the same song, which is fun because you get to see how different people interpret the same lyrics.

Costello probably channels Dylan more than the others. His version of Married to my Hack is a syncopated ditty of irrythmic verses and funky little backing vocals. I should mention here that this cd begs to be heard with headphones or on an excellent sound system. I used the player in my car because my 2008 SRT Charger has an absolutely bad ass sound system. The cd is sort of quiet if you get my drift, so you can crank it up and really hear the nuance of the arrangements.

Costello's version of Lost on the River is amazing, he puts a lot of heart break into the song. Giddens' version, that closes out the cd is one of the best on the disc. Hauntingly beautiful, it is simply her and three back up singers along with Mumford and Goldsmith on acoustic guitar. On the doc, Giddens remarks that it's fucking beautiful and hides her face during replay because she's afraid she's going to cry as she listens with the others. She's not far off there and more amazing is that the version on the disc is the demo that Mumford suggested they record for the others to hear. It just came out that good. Very cool.

Whereas Costello and Giddens saw that song similarly, Costello and Goldsmith differed greatly on Liberty Street. Goldsmith lays out a melancholy lament about a guy down on his luck in a worn down city. Costello takes the same lyrics and turns them into a bluesy rocker with a gospel tinged call-and-respond chorus. Both versions are excellent and if you aren't paying close attention, you might not even realize its the same lyrics re-imagined. I like that.

Another similar case is James and Gidden's versions of Hidee Hidee Ho. James turns the song into something that envisions Murf and the Magictones at the Ramada Room in their crushed velvet jackets with drowsy, overly made up back up singers swaying languidly off to one side. It brings a smile to my face every time I hear it. Giddens channels her bayou woman on the same song and turns it into a warning about someone that might want to do her wrong.

James' take on all his songs is impressive. I'm not familiar with his work but he seems to enjoy creating a lush sound, lot's of guitar and backing instrumentation, not overwhelming, but definitely thicker arrangements than the others. He opens the disc with Down on the Bottom, an excellent song and choice for the first tune. But my favorite of his takes is Quick like a Flash. Great guitar work, good vocals both by James (who looks like a muppet with his wild hair, beard, and big black eyes) and the others.

As with James, I'm unfamiliar with Goldsmith or his band, but I'm assuming they're not exactly rockers. Goldsmith's take on all his songs have a sadness to them and have relatively simple arrangements -- mostly piano and acoustic guitar. Not complaining, just saying. His version of Liberty Street is probably my favorite of his contributions.

In the doc, much was made about Mumford struggling to come up with a song. He points out that he simply doesn't write like this -- quickly and on demand. But he finally breaks through with Kansas City, another fairly sad song (more about that later) that inexplicably includes Johnny Depp on backing guitar. My favorite track of Mumford's is probably When I get my hands on you which is pretty much what it sounds like -- a love song, and Mumford arranges it minimally with some organ and muted guitars.

Rhiannon Giddens is the gift of the cd. Her voice is a force of nature, something that these whisper and grunt artists topping the charts today would sell their soul for. And she's quite attractive as well, so why no one's giving this chick a chance at something bigger is beyond me. Perhaps this will be a jumping off point for her. I hope so.

Her bluegrass background is evident in Duncan and Jimmy a foot stomper about two buddies that has Giddens' banjo work front and center. Spanish Mary is perhaps my second favorite of her contributions, one that Burnett singled out as something he thought would be perfect for her. Soaring powerful vocals, banjo, and thumping drums give the song a mystical dreaminess to it. I can't help but wonder if Spanish Mary isn't a reference to a woman but rather a substance, given the time period when it was written, but the song works both ways and I guess only Dylan knows for sure what it's about.

A word about content here. Though this isn't a "sad" cd, I'm surprised at the melancholy tone to it. All these different artists, and they all saw something downbeat in Dylan's lyrics. Is that a reference to our time now or his then? Or my own interpretation? Who can say? I'm also surprised at the number of times Dylan references Kansas City or St. Louis, and he uses "pale" in a couple of songs as well. If these had been spread out over multiple recordings it probably wouldn't be noticeable and probably doesn't mean anything. Just something funny I've picked up on during repeated listenings.

Before I bought this cd, I read the negative reviews on Amazon because I like to see what people hate about something first. Most of the complaints fell into two catagories -- One: it doesn't sound like Bob Dylan and Two: it sounds too polished.

Yeah, if you're expecting mimicry of Dylan's nasal twang and sparse arrangements you're going to be disappointed. These artists weren't tasked with sounding like Dylan but rather interpreting his lyrics. So it isn't an homage as it is what James said in the doc -- Here's some lyrics for your new song, oh by the way, they're written by Bob Dylan, so . . . no pressure.

Complaining that the songs aren't full of mistakes or gaffes is fairly ridiculous in my opinion. Today's music artists are vastly more tech savvy than they were 50 years ago. Using a cell phone, laptop, and open source software even a marginally talented musician can create something that sounds cleaner and more professional than a lot of the studio work in the 60s. That shouldn't be held against these current artists.

In closing, I've only got two thumbs and they're way up for this cd. And I'm a guy whose default music choices are AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, and 80s hair bands. I like my foot stompin' and my head bangin', but this is a good cd full of good music and it's worth a listen. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Here's something we don't see enough of

Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi in a bikini:

padma lakshmi bikini

Because . . . damn!. Did not see that coming. Wow!

padma lakshmi bikini
padma lakshmi bikini
padma lakshmi bikini
padma lakshmi bikini

Sunday, February 8, 2015

So, Paris Hilton got some new boobs . . .

Saw this pic of the famous heiress online the other day:

paris hilton boob job

And I thought Hmmm . . . either that's a really good Photoshop job, or someone's sprung for some enhancements in their chestal region. I've always thought that Paris' slender, lithe physique was perfect for those little bikini pics she would turn up in:

paris hilton topless
paris hilton topless

But it's looking like she's gotten tired of doing the Wonderbra® thing, because judging by these pics that surfaced yesterday, I'm guessing that the above Twitter pic is the real deal:

paris hilton boob job
paris hilton boob job

I know in the grand scheme of things, with all that's going on in the world right now, this is pretty trivial, but like I said in another post -- I just don't want to be the angry guy on the internet all the time.