The tenth installment of America's hottest music festival is only one week earlier than usual this year, but it sure feels like it snuck up on me. Holy palm trees, it’s this Friday, and I'm not ready! I need to get new crazy-colored board shorts, hipster vintage T-shirts, and decide on a poolside cocktail! More than anything, though, any festival attendee with a serious interest in music needs to start planning early, picking priorities from the cornucopia of quality acts. For the next three days I’ll take a look at the lineup, splitting things up into admittedly imperfect “rock,” “hip-hop” and “electronic” categories, for lack of a better idea. Today: rock.

The debate rages at Slate's XX Factor. The indomitable Linda Hirshman lit a fire with her piece on 'blaming' the victims of domestic violence for not leaving sooner. She uses two books to make the point that it's entirely appropriate to ask the question that so many feminists consider verboten, switching the onus from batterer to batteree. Of Leslie Morgan Steiner's new memoir of four years in an abusive relationship, Crazy Love, and Katha Pollitt's Learning to Drive: And Other Life Lessons about marriage to an epic philanderer (she didn't know it at the time), Hirshman writes:

This definitely isn't "media," and it's probably not "culture," although the little pooch does seem to be wearing a lei, which is, er, kind of cultural, right? Whatever, you know you want to look at pictures of the Obamas' new pet, which whitehouse.gov has provided, and The Riff can use the traffic. As you already know by now (since the story leaked two days early) the President has finally made good on his campaign promise to get Sasha and Malia a dog. The puppy is a 6-month-old Portuguese water dog, he's a gift from Senator Edward Kennedy, and his name is Bo. Hmm, "Bo Obama" is a little awkward, but the name is apparently the same as the Obama girls' cousins' cat, a phrase I can't believe I just typed, and is also an oblique reference to Michelle's father's nickname, Diddley, which is marginally more interesting I suppose. I have to say, Bo looks like he's pretty skeptical about this whole deal in the above photo, but I guess I would be too if I was forced to pose for photos in a nothing but a cheap-looking lei. (Again.) One more picture of the first family greeting their new doggy after the jump, and then I'm getting back to posting about indie disco dance tunes.

Good for what ails you: This 7-minute clip (video embed disabled, sorry) of 47-year-old Susan Boyle singing on Britain's Got Talent.

Wait for minute 4 when unbridled joy breaks out on the judges' faces. 

Experience the power of God in real-time...on Twitter! To commemorate Jesus' crucifixion and death, Trinity Episcopal Church in Manhattan tweeted its three-hour reenactment of the Stations of the Cross today. Well-known twitterers included Jesus Christ, Mary Mother of Jesus, and Pontius Pilate. And in between their tweets, world-wide followers shared their thoughts. Here are some excerpts: 

Pontius Pilate: What harm has this man done? Why does the crowd cheer on his murder? I wash my hands of this. They can do what th...

jgderuvo: Guys, stay within the 140 character limit...it's truncating, ruining the effect!

JesusChrist: Let the sctriptures be fulfilled. It is as the prophets wrote. I am who you say I am.

romanguard1: I've got dibs on his robe, but if you guys want to cast lots for the rest of his clothes, I'm cool with that.

mrst72443: I am sure I am missing out on somethign here. I guess I do not understand this TWS thing. How and what do I DO???

JesusChrist: Forgive them, they know not what they do.

Will twittevangelism replace televangelism? Judging by today's tweeting it looks like St. Isidore of Seville, the sixth-century scholar who Pope John Paul named patron saint of the internet, is praying for the church to keep up with the times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Californians can say goodbye to the electronic bingo machines (better known as e-bingo) in their charitable bingo halls thanks to a ban signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger that takes effect tomorrow. Turns out that bingo isn't just good old-fashioned fun anymore. Instead, it's at the center of a fight between nonprofits and Native American tribes who are all clamoring after bingo's big money.  

Federally recognized tribes will still get to operate the machines on their reservation land, but charities will have to shut theirs down. Despite a few upshots for charitable bingo operators in the new law, like an increase on prize caps from $250 to $500 for traditional bingo games, the e-bingo ban still puts them on the losing end because many have come to rely on the machines to keep their business afloat.

The Splendid Table, NPR's signature cooking show, recently launched a Gastrosexual of the Month Contest. Gastrosexuals, we know (thanks Urban Dictionary), are foodies who use their culinary skills to impress friends and woo the opposite sex. Splendid Table host Lynne Rossetto Kasper, of course, is the ultimate gastrosexual: that sultry voice, that Midwestern perkiness, all that experimentation with raddichio. Grrr, and winners get to join the original saucy dish on the air.

I'm sure gastrosexuals nationwide are now polishing their essays on the sexiest culinary tool and waxing poetic about variegated beets and double creme gouda. Yet, the phrase "gastrosexual" is more a clever marketing tool than trendy neologism. A pseudo-scentific paper entitled "The Emergence of the Gastrosexual," concludes that the newest forces in the culinary scene are men, ages 25-44, who cook with the hopes of getting frisky. The paper, written by the dubious sounding Future Foundation, was commissioned by a British food company called PurAsia.

A descendant of the metrosexual, gastrosexual falls victim to the adding-a-witty-prefix-to-sexual-to-describe-a-cultural-phemonmeon curse, pushing it into marketing ploy territory. Further Googling reveals the website gastrosexual.com, an elaborate ad for PurAsia, complete with an interactive quiz, with a focus on Asian cuisine, that purports to answer the question, "just how gastrosexual are you" before guiding users on "a journey of enlightenment into the cuisine of the East"—a journey outfitted, of course, with PurAsia products.

PETA has finally gathered up the courage to ask the Pet Shop Boys to change their name. Explaining that pet shops often treat animals cruelly, the group suggests that the PSB consider a more critter-friendly name, like Rescue Shelter Boys. It's not clear why PETA has waited more than 20 years to make this request, though I suspect it wanted to preempt an Onion headline that's just been waiting to be written. So what will be the next step in the campaign to remove animal cruelty from musical monikers? Asking Brian Wilson to change Pet Sounds to Animal Companion Sounds?* Hounding bands like Dogs Die in Hot Cars, Psychedelic Furs, and the Meat Puppets? MoJoer Lauren Rice proposes that Meat Loaf rechristen himself Cruelty Loaf. Or Textured Vegetable Protein Loaf. Presumably Cat Power and Animal Collective are off the hook. But just to be safe, the reunited Phish may want to rename itself Sea Kittenz.

*Nonspeciesist Beach Boys makeover after the jump.

Image by Wikimedia Commons user Beaucoupkevin used under a Creative Commons License.

Social media, that dastardly upstart of a content type, is a little like a cocktail party: occasionally interesting and usually full of people you sort of know. Social media aggregators, on the other hand, are more like boozy pubs: entertaining and loud.

Forthwith, 10 links this week from Digg and Reddit that I found informative and deliciously strange. This (and every) week's meme: the internet! Think of social media aggregators as newspapers that report on the internet as if it were a place. That's right, kinda like a bar and kinda like a newspaper. Enjoy.

1) Does anyone else feel like despite the vastness of the internet you just visit the same 4 or 5 sites over and over?

2) Trent Reznor explains the music industry.

3) Is it immoral to review leaked copies of The Wolverine movie?

4) Hey, Bill Gates has a Facebook page!

5) Should Obama control the Internet?

6) The dark side of Dubai.

7) Yes, the Internet sucks on April 1. Every year.

8) Chewbacca chord. Hilarity ensues.

9) Hungover in London? Have I got a bacon cure for you. 

10) Just cuz it reminds me of the Homeward Bound movie..

The National Organization for Marriage, which probably called you Vermonters recently during dinner about keeping holy wedlock away from The Gays, has a video for you. Why are the people in it more concerned about gay marriage than the lightning bolts falling around them? Never mind, watch people flub their homophobic lines on these audition tapes instead:

UPDATE: The audition tapes are already inspiring YouTube parodies.