Mixed Media

With These Reissues, You Can Relive the Glory Days of the Delightful Francoise Hardy

| Mon Oct. 19, 2015 3:55 PM EDT

Francoise Hardy
Tous les Garcons et les Filles
Le Premier Bonheur du Jour
Mon Amie la Rose
L'Amitie
La Maison ou J'Ai Grandi
Light in the Attic

Often mistakenly described as one of the yé-yé girls of French pop, teenager Francoise Hardy achieved instant stardom in 1962 with the beautifully melancholy hit "Tous les Garcons et les Filles," and became an international sensation. Unlike the bubbly yé-yé singers, who were attuned primarily to the latest chart sounds, she mixed more traditional influences like Charles Aznavour and Jacques Brel with contemporary elements. Her elegant singing eschewed youthful exuberance for a serene gravity that would serve her well over the course of a career that has thrived into the current century.

Recording in English, Italian, and German, as well as French, she wrote much of her own material, a rarity for female singers of the day. The photogenic Hardy socialized with members of the Beatles and the Stones, and was famously pursued (to no avail) by Bob Dylan, who addressed a poem to her on the back of his 1964 album Another Side of Bob Dylan. While America has proven immune to Hardy's alluring artistry, the wonderfully idiosyncratic Seattle reissue label Light in the Attic is seeking to rectify that by reissuing her first five French-language albums from 1962 through 1966. Taken as a whole, they tell the engrossing story of an ongoing evolution, as echoes of folk, girl groups, and torch balladry were absorbed into her singular, yet consistently accessible style. The trappings changed over time, and the music grew more elaborate and orchestral, but Hardy was her own person from the very start, secure in her identity.

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Amazon Is Going After People Who Write Fake Reviews

| Mon Oct. 19, 2015 3:16 PM EDT

When you're online shopping for the perfect Halloween mask or an awesome shirt for casual Friday, do you ever get the sense that those five-star reviews seem a tad exaggerated? You're not the only one: For the second time this year, Amazon is cracking down on fraudulent product reviews.

In a civil complaint filed in Seattle on Friday, the company targeted 1,114 users listed on the UK-based website Fiverr, where freelancers list odd-job services like proofreading, graphic design, programming, and translation. According to the complaint, most of the defendants use the site to sell five-star Amazon product reviews for $5 apiece—often asking Amazon vendors to send them prewritten reviews, which they post from multiple usernames and IP addresses to outwit the company's detection software. The result, the company argued, undermines the credibility of all reviews on its website, violating Washington state's consumer protection act and its own terms of service.

"Amazon strictly prohibits any attempt to manipulate customer reviews and expressly prohibits compensated reviews," the complaint stated. "Nonetheless, an unhealthy ecosystem has developed outside of Amazon to supply reviews in exchange for payment."

In April, Amazon filed suit against several websites that produced paid reviews of Amazon products, causing most of the sites to close. With the Fiverr suit, Amazon is trying a different tactic: suing individual users. The company admitted, however, that it only knows their usernames, many of which are no longer listed on Fiverr. Still, even a quick search on the site turns up many freelancers still offering the same kind of service. User Brett_lee, who is not listed in the lawsuit, says he'll post a negative review on Amazon, Google, Facebook, or Yahoo for $5 (a one-day turnaround, multiple reviews, or downvotes on other listings cost extra):

Hi there, I will post negative reviews in anywhere you need. Its more better if you send me the text reviews. Need revenge or anything else, Just place your order :)

After Bernie Sanders Rejected His Campaign Donation, Price-Gouging Exec Fractured His Wrist...or Did He?

| Mon Oct. 19, 2015 9:08 AM EDT

Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical executive who back in September was caught price-gouging an HIV drug by more than 5,000 percent, is upset with Bernie Sanders.

After attempting to donate to the Vermont senator's presidential bid—with an offering of $2,700, which Sanders' campaign swiftly declined—the "most hated man in America" took to Twitter last night to claim that he was so enraged by the public rejection that he punched a wall and was left with a broken wrist.

But Shkreli's "broken wrist" is probably just one petulant cry for attention. As noted by Twitter user Mike Leeman, who used the power of reverse image search to expose yet another layer of pharma sliminess, it's looking highly likely that the X-ray posted by Shkreli is actually a stock image of a fractured wrist.

"IDK" is right. Perhaps hoping to detract attention away from the escalation of conflicting medical opinions, soon after this exchange Shkreli posted a photo of himself playing the guitar—no visible signs of a fractured wrist either.

Larry David Just Played Bernie Sanders on SNL—and the Internet Is Going Nuts Over It

| Sat Oct. 17, 2015 11:07 PM EDT

Noted without comment, here is Larry David playing Bernie Sanders on tonight's Saturday Night Live.

The internet is quite taken.

 

I didn't actually watch it myself because I am a millennial cliché who doesn't know how to watch actual TV. I have a TV but I lost the remote and gave up trying to find it months ago, like a good millennial. Anyway, the internet is pretty in love with it.

Angela Lansbury Is 90 Years Old Today. She Is Why You Are Named Jessica.

| Fri Oct. 16, 2015 3:06 PM EDT
Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher on "Murder, She Wrote"

Come with me down a rabbit hole, won't you?

The most popular name for baby girls in the United States from 1970 until 1984 was Jennifer. In 1985, Jessica surpassed Jennifer and stayed the top name until 1990.

Most common baby name for girls Jezebel/Reuben Fischer-Baum

What could have caused the change? Murder, She Wrote, in which Angela Lansbury played Jessica Fletcher, premiered on September 30, 1984, on CBS.

Did the one cause the other? Maybe! Maybe not! I think it did.

Today is Angela Lansbury's 90th birthday. If your name is Jessica and you are between the ages of 25 and 30, you should thank her.

Unless you hate your name, in which case you should blame her. But it's her birthday, so keep it to yourself.

Feds Say Fox News’ Favorite CIA Source Is a Total Fraud

| Thu Oct. 15, 2015 2:00 PM EDT

Wayne Simmons, a regular Fox News commentator who claimed to have worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for almost three decades, was arrested on Thursday for allegedly fabricating his agency experience.

CNN Money reports that Simmons appeared in court on Thursday, where he faced charges of major fraud against the United States for falsely claiming to be a former "outside paramilitary special operations officer"—a padded resume that federal officials say he used to successfully gain government security clearances.

The frequent Fox News guest was often credited as a "terrorism analyst" and former CIA operative, who would routinely issue outlandishly false claims on national security matters, including the assertion there are "19 paramilitary Muslim training facilities" in the country.

In the indictment unsealed on Thursday, federal agents said they also believe Simmons had a "significant criminal history, including convictions for a crime of violence and firearms offenses, and is believed to have had an ongoing association with firearms notwithstanding those felony convictions."

Other charges include wire fraud and making false statements to the government.

According to CNN, a Fox spokesperson said Simmons "was never a contributor for Fox News," and that he only appeared on the network as an unpaid guest.

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One of New York’s Most Influential Restaurateurs Just Ditched Tipping

| Wed Oct. 14, 2015 1:34 PM EDT

Danny Meyer, the man behind Shake Shack and a string of acclaimed restaurants in New York City and around the country, announced Wednesday that his restaurant group will be putting an end to tipping at all 13 of Union Square Hospitality's full-service properties.

The move makes Meyer the most high-profile restaurateur to jump on the progressive policy, whose supporters argue that the tipping system doesn't actually incentivize work and in fact leads to unequal pay.

In a letter posted on the company's website, Meyer said that while he believes hospitality is "a team sport," workers like cooks, reservationists, and dishwashers "aren't able to share in our guests' generosity, even though their contributions are just as vital" to a customer's experience.

To compensate for higher wages, Meyer said his restaurants will be raising menu prices significantly.

The shift will begin in November at The Modern, located in New York's Museum of Modern Art, and gradually roll out to the rest of the group's restaurants. Shake Shack, however, will not be included in the changes.

Here's What Happens When You Photoshop All the Men Out of Politics

| Wed Oct. 14, 2015 12:14 PM EDT

The current pace at which women are elected to office in the United States and abroad is incredibly slow. A recent study cited in the Nation found that gender equality in American politics won't be seen for another 500 years— a demoralizing trend that's also evident in most major industries, from Silicon Valley to Hollywood.

For anyone who believes that women's underrepresentation in politics and industry is a progressive myth, a new video created by Elle UK proves otherwise. Using the power of Photoshop, the project wipes out all the men in politics, entertainment, and more to show just how few women actually have a seat at the table. Watch below:

This Aunt Is Suing Her 12-Year-Old Nephew for an "Unreasonable" Hug

| Tue Oct. 13, 2015 1:00 PM EDT

Update, October 13, 3:51 p.m. EST: Jennifer Connell lost her lawsuit. It took the jury just 20 minutes to decide to decline awarding her the $127,000 she sought in damages against her 12-year-old nephew. Here she is leaving the courthouse:

Today's spotlight for some internet outrage can be directed toward Jennifer Connell, a human resources manager who hails from New York.

According to the Connecticut Post, 54-year-old Connell has filed a lawsuit against her 12-year-old nephew claiming he acted "unreasonably" after giving her a hug that caused her to fall and break her wrist.

The unabashed display of affection happened four years ago at her nephew Sean Tarala's eighth birthday. He is the only defendant identified in the lawsuit, which claims his "negligent" hug caused her serious harm.

"All of a sudden he was there in the air, I had to catch him and we tumbled onto the ground," Connell testified before a jury last Friday. "I remember him shouting, 'Auntie Jen, I love you,' and there he was flying at me."

She says she did not complain to her nephew at the time because she didn't want to hurt his feelings, she told jurors. But four years later, Connell is now seeking $127,000 in damages, which include compromising her ability to eat gracefully at social occasions.

"I was at a party recently," she explained. "And it was difficult to hold my hors d'oeuvre plate."

On Friday, local media reported Tarala sitting next to his father in court looking "confused." His mother died last year.

Recap: "The Good Wife" Would Like You to Stop Selling Photos of Your Naked Children

| Mon Oct. 12, 2015 12:10 PM EDT

RECAP: The Good Wife, Season 7, Episode 2: "Innocents."

The episode opens and the good wife is in bond court and she meets a kid who has been arrested for vandalizing some stupid photo exhibit at the Chicago Museum of Art and this kid, see, this kid just doesn’t know how to help himself. “I did it,” he says over and over despite the good wife’s pleas that he ixnay the whole confession-ay. The bond judge grants the dumb kid bail and as he’s being led away he says to Alicia, “it’s me…in the photo [i defaced.] It’s me.”

Eli visits Governor Bad Wife to apologize for saying some mean things during last week's episode. Peter is all, “great, thanks, apology accepted, Alan Cumming, but you still can’t work in the campaign.” Eli is like “I hear you, buddy. Live long and prosper.”

Can we talk about this whole thing for a second? The entire idea that Peter would fire Eli for Margo Martindale is insane. Peter owes everything to Eli and up until last week’s episode has been acutely aware of that. I get they just needed to set up a fight for Eli to have but it really just makes Peter seem even worse than he already is.

And, look—OK, this is turning into a rant—but Peter, the bad husband, has never been portrayed as an actually evil or nefarious person. Deeply flawed, yes, but never villainous. The whole throwing Eli under the bus thing is really annoying me. But I digress.

Eli bumps into Margo Martindale as he’s leaving Peter’s office and she threatens to kill Eli if he comes near “[her] candidate again.” Eli asks her if she’s seen It Follows. Like me, she has not. Unlike me, she hasn’t even read the Wikipedia summary.

Back to the kid who hates the art. The photo is of him as a child when he was naked. His mom is a famous photographer. His mom is played by Amy Irving! I love Amy Irving. Amy Irving and my dad were in a movie once called The Competition where they played competing pianists who fall in love. The art vandal in this episode is basically my brother.

Alicia needs an investigator because Kalinda is gone so she interviews a few of them. One is this guy who is clearly really good. He’s played by a famous actor whose name I can’t remember, but he was in Watchmen and various other things. He is too famous not be the one she ends up with but also his character is too rich for Alicia’s blood. He costs $5 more than another investigator so Alicia goes with the cheaper one…for now.

Cary and Howard are fighting about something and I don’t know or care what.

Mamie Gummer is back guest starring as Amy Irving’s lawyer. The good wife feels for Amy Irving’s son because he’s clearly a screwed up twentysomething and it’s probably because of all these naked photos of him running around. She is going to try to get the Chicago Museum not to show the photos.

Eli calls the good wife and lets her know that Peter won’t let her hire him as her chief of staff. The good wife is like, “no way, José” and goes to visit her husband and is like “LET ME HIRE ELI OR I WILL DESTROY YOU BY TELLING THE PRESS HOW OUR MARRIAGE IS A SHAM” and Peter is like, “ok ok ok ok.”

Amy Irving and the son she photographed nude as a child meet and he is like, “mom, please don’t put these photos in the museum” and his mom is like, “I’m an artist, kiddo.” Amy Irving is really good at playing a hippy artist here.

Alicia’s case against Amy Irving has to do with whether her son ever gave consent to be photographed nude. Mamie Gummer says Amy Irving gave consent because she is the child’s mom.

Margo Martidale dispatches a spy to be Eli’s assistant and report back to her all his activities because she finally realizes that he isn’t giving up without a fight.

Amy Irving’s son takes the stand and explains how ever since the photographs of him naked where made public he has received emails from pedophiles. “After the book was published I’d come out of school and these…men…would be waiting for me.” Gross.

Cary and Howard are still fighting. I don’t want to bother trying to explain this storyline but one of Howard’s throw away lines is: “I can some up the Cubs turnaround in one word: Jews.”

The investigator Alicia hired screws up a bunch because she is utterly incompetent and Alicia is like “damn i should have hired that famous actor who was far too famous to only appear in one scene of this TV show.”

Amy Irving takes the stand and is all, “look, back off, ok? I am an artist and lots of artists use their children as subjects and if I were a man you’d be throwing me a fucking parade” and then the bond attorney who is now Alicia’s second chair is like, “I’m not in the business of throwing parades for people who take photos of naked children.”

Back at Alicia's house, Eli presents the good wife with a plan to make her “Saint Alicia” again. She needs to go the Democratic party chief who screwed her over last season. I don’t remember all the details of that but he was corrupt and forced Alicia to drop out of the State’s Attorney race even though she had totally won and not done anything wrong. He is a bad corrupt person. That is all we need to know.

The corrupt man asks Eli to let him and Alicia talk privately and is like “I want to put you on the election board. People like people on the election board! But here’s the thing, I need you to do me a corrupt favor. Vote No on the first vote. DON’T ASK ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT THE FIRST VOTE WILL BE BUT JUST VOTE NO, OK?” And the good wife says, “ok,” because the good wife is not a perfect human being.

Alicia fires her shitty investigator and calls the guy from Watchmen but he maybe is going to work for Cary. Cary can offer him a lot more money.

Anyway blah blah the case of the naked child continues and it isn’t going great for Alicia and Amy Irving’s kid but then P.I. Watchmen suggests she put a pedophile on the stand and the pedophile is like, “oh yeah I love looking at those photos of that kid naked! All the pedos love it!” It’s a darkly humorous scene.

The judge isn’t convinced that it’s kiddie porn though and is like “museum can open!” but then Alicia realizes she can go after Amy Irving for lost wages because the kid was a subject of the photo and was essentially working during the photo shoots. She is going to sue Amy Irving for a whole lot of money.

It seems like ol’ good wife has Amy Irving over a barrel but then the kid is like “mom, i don’t want your money I just want the photos so the pedophiles will leave me alone” and the good wife is like, “the photos are still on the internet, kid. You can’t unring the bell. But this money can help you start a new bell.” Amy Irving looks at the kid and reaches her hand across the table. The kid reaches his hand and joins his in hers. This is the end of the scene.

Peter tells Margo Martindale that Eli did a good thing by getting Alicia on the elections board and that she should call him and give him an attaboy. She is disturbed by this instruction.

Back at the good wife’s home we find out that she won the case on behalf of Amy Irving’s son and got a nice chunk of change so apparently that handshake meant Amy Irving was agreeing to pay her kid. The male investigator shows up and is all “knock knock, I have a really good offer. Can you beat it?” We know what the offer is but Alicia does not. Diane offered him $250 an hour. Alicia says, “what’s the offer I have to beat?” And Jeffrey Dean Morgan (thank god, I finally remembered his name) lies to her and says, “$90 an hour.” Alicia offers him $95 which is still way less than the $250 he was really offered but he says yes because he likessssssssss her.

The end.