Mixed Media

Record Labels Make Hint-Laden Mixtape for NAB

| Thu Jun. 5, 2008 5:07 PM EDT

mojo-photo-cassette.jpgAh, it brings me back to my early teens. With the image of an unrequited crush object fixed firmly in my mind, I'd labor for hours at my crappy Sears stereo, arranging song after song onto a C-90 cassette, in the hopes that the music would carry a message I was too chicken to voice myself: The Smiths "I Want the One I Can't Have," The Cure's "Close to Me," Violent Femmes "Add It Up." A master of subtlety I was not. Then, the magic cassette (complete with intricately detailed cover) would be handed off to said crush object, who I can only assume listened to it for hours while longingly gazing at a picture of me. Or, tossed it in the trash.

Either way, it never really worked, but that isn't stopping record label-funded musicFirst, who are trying to express their unrequited love of performance royalties to the National Association of Broadcasters with lyrically appropriate music this week. Cheekily calling the attempt a "four-day prank," the organization is sending NAB president David Rehr an iTunes certificate for these songs:

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Video: Terry McAuliffe Loses It on The Daily Show

| Wed Jun. 4, 2008 5:06 PM EDT

Is he doing a bit? Is this a shoot-the-moon strategy? Is it the giddiness of a man who knows some sort of secret bombshell Obama revelation is about to hit the fan, which will somehow magically switch everybody's allegiances to Hillary? Or is he just on gigantic mounds of crack cocaine?

Update: Jonathan Stein has already noted on Mojoblog that this guy is loony tunes, but that he'd "want him in my camp." But Jonathan, think of the crack bills! No wonder they're $20 million in debt...

Kmart's Abstinence Pants Maker Says: Yes You Can!

| Tue Jun. 3, 2008 3:25 PM EDT

Yes, I said "abstinence pants." Kmart in-house designer Piper & Blue has jazzed up this year's summer collection with a pair of sweatpants for teen girls that say "True Love Waits" in your choice of colored bubble letters. No, there is no corresponding set for boys.

But there is an official Piper & Blue designers' blog that lets you know how you should be thinking about your summer couture. And maybe it's just me, but some of the suggestions seem a little risque for the True Love Waits crowd. "Top garments like coats and jackets are what an onlooker sees first," warns the blog. What do they see next? Well, if you wear their "football jersey," that would be "a casual outfit that's super stylish and easily accessible!" Easily accessible? Uh oh. "These days, you don't need a bank account like Britney's to get Lindsay's look." You, too, can model your style on two of our culture's pillars of Christian morality. That particular post is entitled, "Hollywood Glam? Yes You Can!"

Though brimming with advice, the blog is sadly silent on the topic of the abstinence pants. It does, however, justify its similar, albeit less-political sweatpants: "By pairing a cute tee with embellished sweats, you'll look ready for action, not bed." I'll leave interpreting that to you all, in the comments.

Bo Diddley Dies at 79

| Mon Jun. 2, 2008 3:38 PM EDT

mojo-photo-diddley.jpgLegendary guitarist Bo Diddley has died at age 79. The AP calls him "a founding father of rock 'n' roll whose distinctive 'shave and a haircut, two bits' rhythm and innovative guitar effects inspired legions of other musicians," while Billboard notes his contribution to the essential ingredients of contemporary music, saying his fuzzy, distorted guitar sound "perfectly complimented his frenetic songs, which he played on a homemade square guitar while decked out in dark sunglasses and a black hat. Similarly, his rhythmic, boastful vocal style predated rap by several decades." Across the pond, the UK Guardian also acknowledges Diddley's influence, saying his "signature "hambone" beat provided one of the original and most enduring rhythms in rock… [and provided] the foundations from which many musicians - including the British invasion bands of the 1960s - have built."

After the jump, some videos.

MoJo Staff Picks: May 30

| Fri May 30, 2008 9:40 PM EDT

MojoStaffPicks.gifMusically, we seem to be fixated on indie-pop, classic jazz motifs, and electric music at Mother Jones this week. Here's what's on our headphones:

YouTube: Naked Icelanders, Robot Bears, Los Simpsons, John Hughes Retro

| Fri May 30, 2008 7:08 PM EDT

mojo-photo-viddies0530.jpgSince it's Friday, I figure it's okay to sully the (normally staid?) Riff with some YouTube vids that fall more on the side of "amusing diversions" than "cultural revolutions." But who's to say: maybe the re-emergence of that super-synthy, overdramatic, dreamy '80s John Hughes movie soundtrack style (read more about that, in French, of course, here) will turn out to be the major cultural development of mid-2008. Or maybe a live action Spanish Simpsons will cause Lou Dobbs to realize we're all just the same under our yellow makeup and giant blue beehives. We're nothing but fair and balanced here on The Riff, so decide for yourselves: are these videos just dainty trifles, distracting you from your Friday afternoon drudgery for a few moments, and if so, is that so wrong?

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TV: "Lost" Finale Way Better on Prescription Drugs

| Fri May 30, 2008 3:50 AM EDT

mojo-photo-lostfinale.jpgPerhaps it's only appropriate that my first post after a blindingly painful slipped disk injury laid me flat for a few days (hopped up on Vicodin and muscle relaxants) would be about Lost. I wouldn't recommend messing up your back, but it turns out that a good dose of Lorazepam isn't such a bad idea for watching this often-infuriating show, as its dangling plotlines and red herrings blur out into an easily-ignorable fog, while its queasy rhythms and quasi-spiritual sci-fi don't make you quite as nauseous. Do take it with food, though.

In advance of tonight's season finale, today's New York Times gave a whirl at a serious critical appraisal of the show, or should I say, gave a whirl at pointing out how you can't give a serious critical appraisal of the show:

"Lost," which concludes its fourth season on ABC on Thursday night, refuses our passive interest while it denies us the satisfaction of ever feeling that we might confidently explain, to the person sitting next to us at dinner, that we have a true grasp of what is going on — of who among the characters is merely bad and who is verifiably satanic. To watch "Lost" is to feel like a high school grind, studying and analyzing and never making it to Yale. Good dramas confound our expectations, but "Lost," about a factionalized group of plane crash survivors on a cartographically indeterminate island not anything like Aruba, pushes further, destabilizing the ground on which those expectations might be built. It is an opiate, and like all opiates, it produces its own masochistic delirium.

Mmm, opiates. Do you think those might help with a slipped disk?

After the jump: what sprawling, frustrating novel is Lost like? Hint: Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment.

Pork: The Other Clear Nail Polish

| Wed May 28, 2008 5:00 PM EDT

Pork-pic-155x200.jpg

This is, of course, an ad for pork. I can't believe it took the industry this long to help us females make the important connection between clear nail polish and pork tenderloin.

Then again, maybe we should have figured this out on our own. I mean, after all, clear nail polish is the "estrogen equivalent of duct tape." As for a pork tenderloin, one "can fix just about anything with it lickity-split too—Asian Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Hawaiian Cobb Salad..." I mean, let's not mince words: you can basically forget about snaring a husband sans pork and polish.

Not sure which makes me gag more, the kicker ("The Other White Meat and clear nail polish. Two handy-dandy things I can't live without") or the very pink color of the raw pork in the ad, which if I am not mistaken looks unnaturally pink...

Found on Salon's women's blog, Broadsheet. Originally spotted on Copyranter.

Oprah's Peace Corps Lite: O Really?

| Wed May 28, 2008 3:01 AM EDT

Hot on the heels of revamping the entire publishing industry, Oprah has apparently decided to reinvent the Peace Corps in her spare time. The new O Ambassadors are essentially younger, poorer, Oprah-backed versions of who I was in Africa after college, as far as I can tell. Good for Oprah, saving the world again and all that...right? Right?

Okay, I'll let her site explain the program's differences to you:

"I'm proud to unveil one of the best ideas we've ever had—it's called O Ambassadors," Oprah says...

The White Rapper Show vs. Miss Rap Supreme

| Tue May 27, 2008 3:18 PM EDT

I'm so out of touch, I'm often reduced to wondering if I'm being punk'd by every third article I read. Seriously. I'm starting to expect to find myself on some YouTube footage while depraved young folk, fresh from MySpace'ing drunken, naked pix of themselves, guffaw whilst reading some earnest critique I've posted of their fabricated news. But no. So far, I haven't fallen for any hoaxes though I often which I had. God help us, it's all true.

I have no idea anymore who those bony babies on the red carpets are, nor most of the shows they're associated with. A good 95% of the bands on SNL are utter mysteries to me. (Full disclosure: I have long since been reduced to watching a TIVO'd SNL on Sunday afternoon; 11:30 finds me deep in REM sleep.) 2006 was my last year bothering to bone up on the Grammy or MTV award recipients (again, on the next day. I read the lists; can't stand the music). All their names sound like spoofs to me. I was quite sure I was being made fun of as Onion staffers somewhere snickered at the thought of nerds like me trying to fake discussing System of a Down or Dashboard Confessional over the water cooler. Since they didn't actually exist. I gave up somewhere around something, someone or some band called Nine Inch Nails. Surely picking your band's name at random from one of those refrigerator-magnet poem packs is a joke, right? But, sadly, no.