Mixed Media

Text You and Everyone Who Looks Like You

| Fri Dec. 14, 2007 8:56 AM PST

Like K-Fed, one in seven people report having been dumped via text message or email. Another 4% simply cut off all communication. What a flock of cowards. Back in my day, we had a little something called integrity. Whatever happened to the old-fashioned backbone required for dumping someone via voicemail?

You know the drill: call the loser's office - reception, not his direct line - to make sure he's at work. Then, fire up that fake, unplaceable accent normally reserved for dodging the collection agencies and student loan folks ("wha? who? no De-ba Deek-son he-ah. You got-ta baad num-ba. No De-ba he-ah. Call some more, me curse you whole fam-ly."). With him safely away for nine or so hours, bravely enumerate his failings and let his machine know exactly how dumped he is. Next, block his number or screen like a son of a gun whilst hiding at an out of town girlfriend's for a few days til you have enough contact attempts for a restraining order. But text and email? Ah, for the good old days of American forthrightness.

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Will Jeopardy Host's Heart Attack Make Him Stop Frontin'?

| Fri Dec. 14, 2007 7:35 AM PST

Jeopardy host Alex Trebek had a minor heart attack this week and is recovering at a LA hospital. Given that recovery, I might as well admit that I dislike Trebek. Intensely. I'm sure he's a great guy. So why do I always want to smack him on sight?

Who does he think he is peering over those little half-glasses at the contestants, sniffing out the answers as if from his own brain and not those little index cards that underpaid liberal arts majors labored over for sub-union wages? No one else in Hollywood wears glasses in public; you know he's had laser correction and just wears those to fake being brainy. And that smarty-pants, high falutin' attitude when delivering the answers - what a poseur! This is America, you Canuck: the ability to read someone else's work aloud isn't much of an accomplishment. If they ever spin-off a medical Jeopardy, I guess he'll be fronting in couture scrubs with a stethoscope dangling from his neck. Imagine the hours he'd put in learning to pompously pronounce all those complicated words so he could pretend to be as smart as the contestants. Or his own staffers. Not even this killer X files cameo can make him bearable.

I've never understood the allure of TV game/quiz shows, and Jeopardy even less since you have to endure Trebek's smug fakery to get to the questions.

But, dude, get well soon.

All I Want for Christmas, Part 1: Jeff Koons Beach Towel

| Thu Dec. 13, 2007 3:56 PM PST

mojo-photo-koonstowel.jpgFrom the description at Target.com:

"Bring art into your home with this 60x70" cotton towel designed by acclaimed artist Jeff Koons ... Koons captivates and inspires audiences with artwork that brings the mundane into high culture ...This lively towel features a happy inflatable toy monkey against an abstract, pool blue background."

The price? Only $50, so it's in your budget, Riff readers and secret Santas. And that monkey is totally so happy!

Golden Globe Nominations Clear Up Confusion About Best Stuff

| Thu Dec. 13, 2007 3:35 PM PST

mojo-photo-goldenglobes.jpg

With all the year-end countdowns and best-of lists flying around these days, one could easily get overwhelmed with trying to sort out what was worth your time this year. Thankfully, there's an elite group of like 17 random foreign journalists who put on a little awards show every year called the Golden Globes, perhaps you've heard of them? Well, they announced the nominations this morning, and hey, they decided to include seven movies in the "Best Motion Picture – Drama" category. Boy are you pissed if you were choice #8, huh:

The RIAA Nearing Goal of Alienating Everyone in the World, Part II: Download a Song, Lose Financial Aid?

| Thu Dec. 13, 2007 12:45 PM PST

riaa_logo.jpg

Not only is the Recording Industry Association of America continuing its litigation efforts against university campuses, as Party Ben noted yesterday, but the group is also trying to pass legislation that would jeopardize the federal financial aid of these schools whose students are engaged in file sharing. Already strapped students and universities could soon be tasked with helping RIAA reach its bottom line.

The massive 800 page tome that is the College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007 includes a section called "Campus-Based Digital Theft Prevention," which addresses file sharing, mostly of music and movies, on campus networks. The bill states that during the financial aid process, schools are obligated to inform students about copyright infringement laws. In addition, schools are mandated to implement technology that would prevent file sharing. The penalty for not taking these preventative measures is loss of all federal financial aid for the university.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inducts John Mellencamp, Disses Donna Summer

| Thu Dec. 13, 2007 12:36 PM PST

Yes Mellencamp No Donna

2008's inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were announced today, and there's a bit of a disturbing (if not entirely surprising) trend here. See if you can spot it:

Inductees

Somebody remind me what the point of this Hall is? And nothing against any of the inductees, but if the Hall is going to marginalize hip-hop and disco then why even nominate them? Well, if the losers have a party I totally want to go to that one instead.

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Ike Turner Dies at 76

| Wed Dec. 12, 2007 4:11 PM PST

There's really no better way to put it than the AP opener:

Ike Turner, whose role as one of rock's critical architects was overshadowed by his ogrelike image as the man who brutally abused former wife Tina Turner, died Wednesday at his home in suburban San Diego. He was 76.

Ike Turner was involved in a record that some historians call the first, or one of the first, true rock songs: "Rocket 88", by Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats. Turner used a distorted sound on the guitar, something that reportedly happened by accident when one of the guitar amps fell over. If that's true, what an accident, right? But of course, he was a real jerk to Tina, and you can't help but think about Laurence Fishburne's harrowing portrayal of the guy in "What's Love Got to Do With It." While Turner always denied abusing his wife, I think everybody believes Tina on that score, and jeez, who doesn't love Tina Turner, it's like beating up the Statue of Liberty. So, rest in peace.

Here's Ike and Tina doing "Proud Mary."

New Music: Lupe Fiasco - The Cool

| Wed Dec. 12, 2007 3:29 PM PST

mojo-photo-lupethecool.JPGI know I said lead single "Superstar" was good, and I stand by that, but the rest of Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco' new album is, sadly, kind of disappointing. Apparently it's a concept album featuring three competing metaphorical characters, "The Cool" vs. "The Streets" vs. "The Game," but I'm afraid I have a hard time telling them apart or seeing how their braggadocio is any different from typical lowest-common-denominator hip-hop. Now and again we get some interesting tracks: see "Go Go Gadget Flow," where Fiasco gives us a technically skillful if oddly robotic double-time rap, or the Gemstones-featuring "Dumb It Down" with its dramatic, buzzy electro groove. But what's with the terrible intro poetry slam: "He thought it was cool to carry a gun in his classroom and open fire Virginia Tech Columbine stop the violence." What? And the track featuring UK producer UNKLE, "Hello/Goodbye (Uncool)," just ends up sounding like a Linkin Park B-side, possibly in a nod to Linkin Park's own Mike Shinoda who helped produce the album, in another bad sign.

Fiasco's 2006 album Food & Liquor was a progressive, Kanye West-influenced treat, but on The Cool, even when Fiasco delivers thoughtful lyrics and innovative flows, he's too often let down by the music.

Lupe Fiasco's The Cool is out next Tuesday, December 18th on Atlantic Records, but MTV.com is streaming the whole album here.

Green Day Release New Music Under Bubbly Pseudonym?

| Wed Dec. 12, 2007 12:28 PM PST

mojo-photo-foxboro.jpgAh, so this is why news stories are kind of confused about new Green Day material: the Bay Area trio have apparently released six new songs under a pseudonym, Foxboro Hot Tubs. The "official" web site for the Tubs features an EP called Stop Drop and Roll, whose look and sound is decidedly '60s garage rock, but with some eyebrow-raising similarities to Green Day's oeuvre, plus the bands link each other on MySpace, and that's a dead giveaway.

Green Day of course have a history of taking on alternate identities. Back in 2003 they released a new-wavey album under the name The Network, and to this day have never confirmed it was them, although everybody in the world knew. If Green Day are in fact the Tubs, they're taking the secret a little more seriously: a spokesperson for Reprise, Green Day's label, told MTV news he "knew nothing" about Foxboro Hot Tubs.

Stream: Six songs from Foxboro Hot Tubs

The RIAA Nearing Goal of Alienating Everyone in the World

| Wed Dec. 12, 2007 12:02 PM PST

Dr. RIAA-loveThe Recording Industry Association of America continues its fight against illegal downloading and music copying, and they're really ratcheting up the insanity. At this point I half expect their spokesperson to ride a nuclear bomb down on illegal downloaders a la Dr. Strangelove. First up, Billboard reports that they've sent another round of "pre-litigations settlement letters" to university campuses this week. This is the 11th wave of such letters, meant to notify the campus network administrators that the kids are downloading "Lip Gloss" again. Out of the 22 institutions which received letters, Minnesota's Gustavus Adolphus led the way, receiving 36 of the notices, followed closely by the University of Southern California at 33. Jonathan Lamy, the RIAA's senior VP of communications, issued this statement from their underground bunker: "For those who ignore these great legal options and ignore years of warnings, we will continue to bring lawsuits. It's not our first choice, but it's a necessary part of the equation."

Much more awesomely, the RIAA is now maintaining that the files on your hard drive you've ripped from the CDs you bought legally at the record store with good old American Rubles are themselves "unauthorized copies." That's right: you buy a CD, rip it to your Mac, pop it on your iPod: you're a criminal two times over. Breakin' the law! Jennifer Pariser, head of litigation from Sony BMG, says that making a copy of a song you own is "just a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy'."

Coming soon: the RIAA demands it be allowed to surgically remove the collections of synapses which "remember" songs illegally in human brains. How are labels supposed to make any money if all of us just sit around thinking about songs we've heard?