About Us
A penny for your thoughts indeed. Around here that would be a raise.

What makes a good blog? I think thematic consistency, a little exhibitionism, and honest writing. I can promise you the last one.

Most of my posts seem to be about music or politics. Some of them are funny. But all of them would love to hear a comment from you.

Oh-- and please welcome God to the APW team. We're thrilled and humbled to serve as His earthly vessel.

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Location: NYC

I was born at a relatively young age. Growing up consumed the better part of my childhood. As a young man I chased a lot of girls. But they kept getting away. Then I got older and even slower, so I got married. I've lived in New York City almost since before I moved here. I summer in Manhattan, which is like New York City, but with more humidity.

Here's me, without baby, thinking big thoughts. (Actually, what I'm thinking is, "Hey, these aren't Pringles!") I think I look better with baby.


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A Simple Twist of Fete
Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The latest round of inductees into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame have been announced; included in the class of 2005 are Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blondie, and the Sex Pistols.

Each year when the inductees are announced, I have to wade through dozens of emails on all the music listservs I’m on about how this band or that band doesn’t belong, and why won’t they induct That Artist We All Really Like? I’ve never liked the idea of a Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame (R’n’R HoF), and I’ve become quite sick of these annual gripefests, wherein otherwise levelheaded music fans suddenly sound like the callers on sports talk radio.

If you need any reason to mock the rock, consider that the Doors are members.

I’m having a laugh at the induction of the Sex Pistols. Personally, I never liked them and never much cared for punk rock at all (so saying “But they invented punk!” to me won’t get you too far.) But as a rock fan I understand and appreciate their place in history. And I think their induction into the R’n’R HoF can only work as a big meta-textual joke; I mean, what are they going to do, put their plaque up between the Eagles and Pink Floyd?

At the heart of what the Sex Pistols were-- and I would argue, inseparable from the music they made (which, true, I never have liked)-- was the fact that they kicked corporate rock in the ass at its most overblown and preposterous.

The R’n’R HoF is corporate rock at its most overblown and preposterous.

The Pistols do not belong in the HoF. They belong outside the hall, mocking it. Getting pissed and throwing up on it. And when I say that, it is my intent to give them their due props. If the embodiment of the Sex Pistols message was “Fuck you, Big Rock Machine!” then how do we justify “On behalf of the Big Rock Machine, you are cordially invited to fete the Sex Pistols…”

Fete??

One only hopes the band takes the opportunity to gob on the hall, right there on VH1. THAT would be a Random Note...

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Posted by: --josh-- @ 3:12 PM  4 comments


This week's sign of the Apocalypse
Monday, November 28, 2005
Of course I could just ask God about the apocalypse (or, for that matter, you could.) But I know the signs when I see them, and I can sum this one up in two words.

Rocky VI.

I hear that in this one, Rocky fights his toughest foe of all:

prostate cancer.

Posted by: --josh-- @ 11:58 PM  2 comments


November 25, 2005: Thus Spake Me
Friday, November 25, 2005

(God's column appears in this space every Friday.)

Happy First day of Christmas, everybody! Sorry I haven't put this up sooner; I was sleeping in. What, God doesn't get to sleep in on a 4-day weekend? Don't worry; if anything happens on earth, I have a baby monitor there in the room with you.

I don’t know about you, but I’m stuffed! Couldn’t eat another bite. (Well, that’s not true; obviously, I can do whatever I want. But in the form I assume when I present Myself to you, then no, not another bite.)

This is an interesting time of year down there on earth. So many of you get the Christmas bug. The weather turns nippy, the Black Friday shopping circulars hit, and as soon as the Cowboys game is over it seems like you all are camping out in front of K-Mart so you can be the first to get a $39 DVD player. Yes, the Spirit of Christmas lives on. Joy to the world.

Humans, it is foolish for you to rush continually headlong forward all the time. If you live in the US, you should enjoy Thanksgiving a little more. You probably saw family, people you don’t see as often as you should. Relish that. Have a turkey omelet for breakfast. Eat some more of that delicious stuffing for lunch. Be where you are, and relax; they aren’t going to run out of crappy DVD players at K-Mart.

I keep thinking one year I am going to pull a Grinch and cancel Christmas. Not out of spite or anything; just so you Westerners will stop seeing the birth of My boy as some sort of stimulus to fourth quarter retails sales. Don’t any of you see something wrong with the day you set aside to celebrate the birth of your Lord’s only earthly son, serving as the lynchpin of your fragile economy? I would call that a cosmic joke, only I’m not laughing.

Anyway, I don’t want to be a downer this week. So be of good cheer, and don’t rush through this season.

Next week: why good things happen to bad people.

Ciao,

God

Posted by: --josh-- @ 6:27 PM  2 comments


The Wrong Marianne
Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I mentioned that the great thing about David Bash’s International Pop Overthrow festival is that each year, I discover a great band or two that I hadn’t heard of before, and who totally rock my world. Last year it was New Jersey’s Soul Engines and Brooklyn’s Marianne Pillsburys, fronted by, uh, Marianne Pillsbury. Last night saw the return of Marianne and her Mariannes to IPO, and yes, they rocked the house.

Marianne is a sexy, bratty (in a good way) singer-songwriter who has been compared to Liz Phair, Juliana Hatfield, and our own Jill Sobule. Her sound is pop-punk, but her songs are far too clever and literate to be punk; I’d call her a Power Pop Princess with extra luster and bounce. In 20 minutes, the Pillsburys ripped the joint, with taut arrangements and crisp playing, and great songs (and it is, after all, ALL about the songs.) In addition to playing some of our faves off of The Wrong Marianne LP, the band favored us with several new songs, notably the opening “Girls Night Out,” off their Hot EP; and “Boys,” inspired by some oaf who had the temerity to reject Marianne. I mean, what the f---?


The MPs closed their set with a smoking cover of Prince’s “When U Were Mine,” stripping it down to its essence, mining the longing, sex and pop at the song’s core (especially fitting given that Marianne wrote her senior thesis on Prince.) (Man, the crap you learn on the Internet.) The 20-minute IPO set left us wanting much, much more from the Marianne Pillsburys, and we’ll have to go see them again soon. As should you.

Check out the Pillsburys’ MySpace page, where you can hear—- and download!—- all three songs off the new EP (girls, you’ll love “Girls Night Out”) as well as a live version of the old school Marianne Pillsburys classic, “Boo Hoo,” recorded live (which is the way nature intended this band to be experienced.)

It should be noted that we really liked Marianne’s shoes. Also, that she’s our secret rock crush. But ix-nay, ‘cuz that part’s a secret.

****

In other IPO news, APW played the air trumpet with Marykate O’Neill on Ringo Starr’s “Photograph.” Marykate’s new album comes out March 8, and we’ll be lining up at midnight at Tower records the night before to get our copy. She’s jazzed about it, just finished mastering, and it sounds like it will be another winner.

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Posted by: --josh-- @ 11:56 AM  4 comments


The Possibilities are Endless...
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Please feel free to write your own joke.


Posted by: --josh-- @ 3:48 PM  2 comments


Veterans on the Iraq War
Sunday, November 20, 2005
The Republican party has done a hell of a job of spinning their Iraq war as some quintessential act of patriotism, the implication being that if you oppose the war, you must not be a patriot. The latest shameful example, and one that is backfiring, is the attempt to smear Congressman John Murtha.

The administration ceaslessly invokes the name of our fighting troops over in Iraq to justify this war. As if it is a foregone cconclusion that if you are a vet, or if you are in Iraq right now, it somehow follows that you support the war.

And every once in a while, you end up wondering: is it true? DO all veterans and soldiers support the administration and this war?

When this happens, its nice to get a reality check. In which case you may want to check out this blog, by a veteran of the Iraq war. Or this vet's blog, or this one, or this one. Not scheming political tools, like the Swifties; just regular Joes who served their country and speak their minds.

Check them out. And the next time someone has the gall to say you are somehow disrespecting the troops by opposing the Iraq war, you can explain the way of the world to them.

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Posted by: --josh-- @ 8:59 PM  1 comments


A Song to Brighten Your Saturday
Saturday, November 19, 2005

I’ve been meaning to write about why I love living in New York City, because so often when I tell people that I do live here they make a sad face, like the very idea is so horrific to them that they want to hold a telethon for me. But I do love it, and I’ll get to that topic soon.

In the meantime, in the spirit of showing, not telling: I went to this afternoon’s IPO show at the Baggot Inn. IPO is a festival featuring generally less well known bands who perform in the power pop idiom. I’ve gone to a few of the shows each of the five years its been going on in Manhattan, and every year I’ve discovered at least one great and totally unheralded band. This year I’ve got two. The first is Xoch (“zoach”), which is a band and also the name of the singer. Xoch (the singer, not the band) is about as sexy as you could ask for and then some, but that’s neither here nor there (she’s the smokin’ hottie pictured here; check out the photo gallery on their website for more, and listen to the MP3s while you're there.) They hit the stage at 1:30 PM, and there were maybe 5 of us there. But did this perturb the mighty Xoch? No, I’m here to tell you that it did not. They played and sang their hearts out for 23 minutes or however long they got, played as if they were playing Madison Square freaking Garden. Great live band, catchy tunes, guys in the band are total ace pros, the chick’s a star, and I think she’s going to become one for real. I'm listening to their CD, Caberet, right now. It's definitely got legs (as, and you see this coming, does she.)

Then there was Andy Mac. Nice guy, unassuming, played a set of gorgeous acoustic and harmony-flavored pop gems. He opened with a song called Sara With No H, instantly glorious, and before the first song was over I had bought his CD (from myself; I was working the merchandise table for the artists. When he found out I’d bought one he wouldn’t take my money). Anyway, is this a winning tune or what? Just try and tell me it isn’t irresistible. Go ahead. Give it a listen; it’s our Song of the Day.

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Posted by: --josh-- @ 10:01 PM  3 comments


Springsteen Postscript
God again. I shouold have mentioned this sooner, but I just got around to reading Josh's post. On Born to Run, I do background vocals and play some acoustic guitar. I'm buried in the mix, and uncredited on the album, but trust Me, if you listen carefully, you can absolutely hear Me in there.

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Posted by: --josh-- @ 9:45 PM  0 comments


November 18, 2005: Thus Spake Me
Friday, November 18, 2005

(God's column appears in this space every Friday.)

OK, this week, something you don’t see every day. God proving to you that you can’t take the bible literally…

First, let’s talk a little bit about the Literalists-- these wack jobs who don’t believe in evolution (and don’t blame me for them; I equipped most of them with working brains. But what you all do with your brains is in your hands, not Mine.) First off, it is important to note that while evolution is the lightning rod scientific issue for these kooks, they don’t believe in any scientific fact that clashes with a literal interpretation of the bible. For example, the Literalists also believe that I created the universe about six thousand years ago.

Hell, I built the pyramids 10,000 years ago. I invented music 357,000 years ago, for a great little horn player on the first planet orbiting Sirius B.

But this is a key point, so bear with Me here. Ponder if you will the vastness of the universe. It is, I not so humbly submit, some of My best work (far better than any of the parallel universes, with the possible exception of Bizzaro universe.) Think about how many stars there are in your own (measly little) galaxy. Consider that the nearest star to your earth, Alpha Centuri, is four light years away. Do you even know how far that is? That means it is so far away that it takes light four years to get from there to you. And light travels at the speed of light! If you were to look at Alpha Centuri, what you’re seeing happened there four years ago; the pictures are just getting to you now. Every ball game you’re seeing on any planet orbiting Alpha Centuri? It was over, years ago. Ask me, I’ll tell you the score. Season over. Most of the players traded or retired. And I hope you aren’t following their soap operas. Spoiler: Klynnkjo is really Snrfjb’s father. As well as mother.

And that’s the CLOSEST star.

How about the furthest star in your spoke of the galaxy? How about the farthest star in the whole galaxy?

How about the next galaxy over?

Because you can SEE these stars and galaxies with telescopes, see them with your own eyes, you know they are there. And you know how far away they are, because your scientists figured it out with those working brains I supplied. Even the nearest galaxy to you is more than 6,000 light years away, dude. That’s freaking far (to you, I mean. Not to Me.) But since you can see it anyway, you KNOW it’s been there longer than 6,000 years. You can see this with your own two eyes, you know it. And that galaxy is in the heavens, which I created, right along with the earth. But it wasn’t no 6,000 years ago. As We’ve just proven.

Do the Literalists have an alternative theory for what those twinkling lights in the sky are? Do they disavow the telescope as Satan’s tool? (Yeah, I’d like to see Satan grind lenses like that. How about credit where credit is due, Literalists?) Or do they simply believe those galaxies full of stars are just not that far away?

See, the Literalists may sound marginally sane on the evolution issue. Wrong, obviously, but marginally sane, at least with this “Intelligent Design” semantic trick. But give that thread a tug. It quickly becomes apparent that Creationism is their strongest subject. In Astronomy, they sound like barking loons. And of course, they fail Social Studies.

Yes, there is a Me. Yes, there is science. It is what I use to do most of My best work. I made monkeys, and I let ‘em stew a while, and voila! They turned into you. (Bravo on developing those opposable thumbs. Know what I thought the first time I saw them? Blogs! But that’s why I’m, well, Me.) And if you think that’s a neat trick, wait till you see what you all turn into. Hint: opposable big toes.

So don’t take the bible literally (not unless you are fluent in ancient Aramaic, and even then, it was a bitch getting any nuance into the thing.) If I’d been thinking it through, I would have written the thing in English, and I would have put in words like “Yo, dude!” instead of “sayeth” and “unto.” I mean, who talks like that anymore? The beauty and the magic of the work comes through, but if you pore over every line, you’re totally going to miss it. Glance at it from the side, circle it, absorb the gist, and you’ll see what I mean. But fixate on the minutiae, and you’ll end up thinking that opposing gay marriage is more important that loving your fellow man. And boy, was that NOT what I intended.

Oh, one last thing before I go. It’s OK to masturbate. As often as you like; practice makes perfect. Just be tidy, is all I ask. Its all I’ve ever asked.

So, I’m out of here. Have a great weekend. And remember—I’m not watching over you. That, my friends, is your job.

Posted by: --josh-- @ 4:47 PM  6 comments


By the Way...
Thursday, November 17, 2005
...you'll note that I've officially added God to the team here at APW. Makes life easier for me, as he can post his pieces directly without having to email his text to me.

Posted by: --josh-- @ 6:00 PM  1 comments


Ryan Redux

I saw Ryan Adams last night, opening for Willie Nelson. I didn't actually stay for Willie, although I know from past experience that he puts on a fine show; I was tired and really just in the mood for Ryan.

The set was too short, and I missed some of the catchier tunes from Cold Roses; of course, with a 50-minute slot, there's only so much he can do. But I thought it was a down-to-business, no-nonsense rocking outing.

Of note, it appears that JP Bowersock is no longer with the Cardinals. There is no official notice that I can find anywhere, but for the past several months, it seems that Neal Cassal has been playing lead guitar with Adams. He sang one song last night, and it was a highlight. He's played with Shannon McNally, a fine little country filly, and he seems well-suited to the Cardinals. The fanboys on the message boards seem pleased, although even they don't know what's up.

Adams's third album of the year is coming out soon, and if it is as good as the first two he will have totally hit for the cycle. I see from the track listing that some of the tunes have already made their way to my greedy ears, either through concert recordings or bootlegs of his numerous studio outtakes. And, oddly enough, Bowersock is on the album, even though it is billed as a solo record as opposed to a Cardinals record. Must have been in the can a while (the album; not Bowersock.)

TONIGHT: Tan Sleeve as part of IPO New York.

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Posted by: --josh-- @ 5:00 PM  0 comments


SOD: Same as the Old Boss
Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The word “legend” gets tossed around casually these days. Actually a lot of words get tossed around casually; it’s an awesome trend. But musician Bruce Springsteen really is a legend. By which I mean, stories and anecdotes and rumors about his performances have sprung up over the past 30 or so years, and become a mythology around him. It is almost impossible to know where truth ends and mythology begins; this is the stuff of legend, in the way Paul Bunyan was a legend.

Me, I never really “got” Bruce. I’ve always liked his work, but it doesn’t speak to me in the way it speaks to—- well, those people it speaks to. I’m not Catholic, I don’t drive, I got along with my dad, my home town was actually pretty posh. He just isn’t singing my song.

But he did take a sound—- the “Jersey shore sound,” a sound that evokes calliopes, the boardwalk, the beach—- and branded it to rock’n’roll, creating something that was wholly new and visceral and exciting (although not without precedent; for example Del Shannon's "Runaway," Gary US Bonds, and much of Dion.) The sheer sound of it was thrilling; “Be True,” “Sherry Darling,” “Rosalita,” “Prove It All Night.” All bells, piano and sax; a very brassy metal thing.

His first three albums are supposed to be the classics, but to my ears he had not found his voice on Greetings From Asbury Park or The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle. The songs on these records have too damn many words crammed into them. Too much new Dylan.

But in 1975, with Clarence Clemons on board, Miami Steve in the band, and Jon Landau behind the knobs, Springsteen bet it all and won big. On Born to Run he wanted to sing like Roy Orbison, write like Bob Dylan, and sound like Phil Spector. The result was a dramatic lightning-in-a-bottle moment in rock history. I still think Darkness on the Edge of Town is the better record, and I see Born to Run as the beginning of a trilogy that proceeded with Darkness and culminated with The River. But this was where he found his voice, where atoms collide and the Jersey shore sound first takes full flight in this configuration, where the bells and the sax and the piano make the hairs on your arms stand up. The two records he made earlier were leading up to this one; in a way every one since lives in its shadow.

Today Sony releases the thirtieth anniversary edition of Born to Run. I don’t have mine yet. The album has been remastered, and this set includes a documentary on the making of the album, plus a live DVD of a concert from the period (Hammersmith Odeon, 1975). The buzz is that you want it for the concert footage. Not surprising. This is how the Boss lives in our collective unconscious—- him and his boys against the world; young, scruffy beard, leather jacket, Clarence has his back. Glory days indeed.

Hear it again, as they say, for the very first time. And so the SOD today is Night, <- (click that) off Born to Run.

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Posted by: --josh-- @ 9:44 AM  1 comments


November 11, 2005: Thus Spake Me
Friday, November 11, 2005

(God's column appears in this space every Friday.)

How do you like the name of My column? I think its simple, but it says it.

A lot on My mind this week. Fortunately I waited to turn in My copy until tomorrow; time doesn’t throw Me for a loop like it does you mortals. In fact I haven’t even begun writing this yet.

A reader asks, what happens after you die? Good question, and two bonus credits for asking (you’ll find out what bonus credits are after you die, but believe Me, they’re good.) To some extent it depends on whether I liked you or not. Did you whine incessantly? Warn others I would smite them? Sleep with chicks and then not call them? Scoot to the register when you were last in line and a new cashier opens up and calls “Next in line”? All this stuff ticks Me off. But generally I’m easy. So here’s what happens when you die. You shed your body, your “earthly remains” as it were, and become pure energy, or spirit. You reconnect with the Oneness of all things (that would be Me), sort of like being assimilated by the Borg on Star Trek, only its nice. Its kind of like a party where you know everyone, and you’re popular, but not the center of attention. In addition to comprising part of the infinite Oneness, though, you spend eternity having access to all the events and moments of you life, to pass through over and over again at your whim. Once you have lost your earthly remains—the flesh—you experience these things in a different fashion, in a more pure way. If you led a good life, you experience this as heaven; if you led a bad life, you experience it as hell.

The Talking Heads came close when they sang, “Heaven is a place, a place where nothing, nothing ever happens.” And while we’re on the subject, let Me just pat Myself on the back for Tina Weymouth, OK?

So live a good life, be open to the wonder of things, to the beauty in things. Take your lead from children. Don’t hate, because that will really come back and bite you in the ass, ever after-wise. And make sure to sing and dance. Even if its only on the inside. Because you’ll know. And so will I.

****

OK then.

Up here I get about 2,000 channels of HBO, and Bill Maher is on all the freaking time. (So is Taxi Cab Confessions; that show never gets old.) And because I’ve sussed the whole space/time continuum thing, I’ve already seen the last two seasons of the Sopranos; I won’t spoil it for you, but Tony gets what he deserves, metaphorically speaking. Anyway, Maher said something funny about Intelligent Design that bears repeating: “Stupid is not a new way of knowing things.”

This week Pat Robertson warned the citizens of Dover, PA not to call on Me if something bad were to happen to them, because they kicked Me out of town when they voted those Intelligent Design cretins off the school board.

Hey, Pat, you numbskull—who do you think fixed the vote? Satan? No, that was the good people of Dover doing My work. Mine. Of course I will be there for them in their time of need. Heck, I was this week, wasn’t I?

Don’t be too tough on Pat though. He has the brain damage.

So until next week, this is the Lord, thy God, saying: Peace Out everybody, and enjoy the weekend!

Posted by: --josh-- @ 11:54 AM  2 comments


Election Wrap-Up
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
The off-year election seems to have been a generally good day for centrist Democrats, which means it was a good day for Americans; centrist Democrats are far closer to representing the rank and file American voter than the Religious Right that dominates Republican discourse.

Here in New York City, Bloomberg easily won re-election. I voted for him, although I voted for him on the Independence Party line, not the Republican line. He isn’t really a Republican though; he’s as close to Independent as you can get, and outside of his priggish attitude toward smoking (you HAVE to be able to smoke in a bar, fercrissakes!), his social politics are mainstream Democratic. He is socially awkward. He has no charisma, and public speaking is not his forte. But he won me over shortly after taking office, when Republican Party leaders criticized him for giving out some high-level appointments to Democrats. His response: oops, it never occurred to him to ask what party they belonged to.

As for Freddie Ferrer, the Democrat candidate, if the basis of your campaign is that you speak for the minority, you can be pretty sure you will get a minority of the votes. So long Freddie.

Across the river in Jersey, Dem zillionaire Jon Corzine beat Rep zillionaire Douglas Forrester in the race for Governor. It was a nasty campaign, and frankly both these guys give me the creeps. Interestingly, Forrester fought to distance himself from the president; the Asbury Park Press quoted him as saying at one campaign event, "I think that the president and I have parted company on some important public policy questions."

And speaking of distancing yourself from Bush, Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore tried to stay as far away from him as possible in Virginia, canceling a joint appearance in Norfolk days before the election. In the end he gave in and had Bush in for an endorsement, but it didn’t help.

Both New Jersey and Virginia already had Democratic governors, so neither is a takeaway. But Jersey has had Rep governors in the recent past, including Tom Keane and Chrissy Todd Whitman; and Virginia is a red state stronghold.

Out in California, all four special ballot initiatives backed by the Governator were defeated by the voters. On the subject of California, while Gray Davis might have been a disaster, why would anyone think that a formerly steroid-juiced, 80s action film star with no political experience would somehow have the answers to the state’s intractable problems? Let's see if he still has the attention span for the job now that his key initiatives have all been defeated and he has to go back to Sacremento with his tail between is legs and get all concilliatory with the Democrats.

In perhaps the most heartening development of the night, reason spoke loudly in Dover, Pennsylvania. This was where the school board was working to get “Intelligent Design” into the curriculum (Intelligent Design, or ID, is the belief that “I’m too stupid to understand biology, so there must be a God.”) Local voters replaced all eight creationist Republican school board members with Democrats. Praise the lord and hallelujah!

Now, let's see if the Democrats have the brains and the stones to stay centrist, and to build a party platform and message strategy and set of positioning statements that can usurp the Republican hold on the middle 40% of the electorate that swings elections. The Republicans are being pushed out of the mainstream and into the red zone of the lunatic fringe far right; we have a president who thinks it makes sense to run supreme court nominations by James Dobson. If the Democrats can make a strong move to stake out the middle ground-- left of center sure, but centrist-- then we may see a very fast and dramatic shift in American politics.

Of course, it has to be a strong move. If anyone could mess up this golden opportunity, its Democrats.

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Posted by: --josh-- @ 2:24 PM  1 comments


Freakish Compelling Curiousity of the day
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Aint got much to say, and God's copy isn't due until Thursday.

This struck me as, well, freakishly compelling. It's called singular facial expression. The subject (Paris Hilton) holds no allure for me; her "career" is based on her not knowing that we're making fun of her. Its a funny joke, but its only the one joke over and over.

This is a cool and well-executed optical illusion.

Posted by: --josh-- @ 2:43 PM  0 comments


Are You There Margaret? It’s Me, God
Friday, November 04, 2005

Hey, APW readers. God here. First off, I want to say how thrilled I am to be doing a semi-regular column here at APW. I’d like to write once a week, but my schedule is very hectic. Next week there is a solar system near the lip of the galaxy I need to obliterate, and there’s one scary-ass tsunami booked for Rigel IV. But whenever I can get away, I will. I’ve got wireless broadband, everywhere.

I thought I’d start off here by telling you a little about Myself. First off, I’m spiritual, but I’m really not religious.

Now, I know that will rankle some. So let me explain.

Of course I am spiritual. I mean, I am the great Holy Spirit That inhabits all things. That is about as spiritual as you can get. So why do I say I am not religious? Well, what I mean is, I don’t practice one specific religion. Most all of them are good. See, it doesn’t matter if you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Pagan, Buddhist, whatever. It’s all Me. I am the Great Spirit; I am the Eye in the Sky; I am Allah; I am Yahweh; I am Vishnu; I am Ganesh. I’ve got a lot of different tellers, but it’s all the Same Big Bank, if you see what I mean.

Which is why I don’t understand this “My God is bigger than your God” thing. Why fight over God, when its all Me? I’m talking about the Wahhabi Muslim, who thinks anyone who doesn’t worship Me in their fashion is an infidel and fair game for killing. I had nothing to do with 9/11 (although you gotta love my firemen, no?) And there aren't 72 virgins waiting for you in heaven; that isn't heaven, its Larry Flynt's house. All you get up here is a cloud, a robe, a harp, and all you can eat shrimp.

I’m also talking about the fundamentalist Christian who warns you that the Rapture is coming and you will go to hell if you don’t worship as he does and share his political agenda. Look, there is no Rapture, this is all a misunderstanding owing to some faulty interpretation of Revelations, which is otherwise one heck of a page turner. No mortal can tell you you are going to hell; that is my job, and mine alone. Some of these holier-than-thou fellas are actually in for a rude awakening come judgment day, wink wink.

No one who speaks for me claims to speak for me. That’s the deal I have with my earthly messengers. So anyone who presumes to talk to you on behalf of God is lying to you. If you aren’t sure about someone, or if you think you might be in danger of going to hell, don’t listen to anybody else. Talk directly to Me. I’m open 24/7, and I’m in the book.

Politically, I’m a flaming liberal. I’m far more left-leaning than the folks here at APW; they are socially liberal but fiscally conservative. Me, I’m a lefty from the old school. I’m all about tax and spend. It’s My way. And let Me be clear about gay marriage: if I didn’t want gay people getting married, I wouldn’t have made so many of them, would I? Hello, I'm not stupid!

My Son— now, He’s the original bleeding heart. Him, always with the “feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the lepers, make love not war.” And the long hair; He was a bit of a Hippie. In fact, let me tell you how you’ll know He’s about to return. None of that “mark of the beast” nonsense; as I say, Revelations was about the Romans being driven from Israel, and that happened a long time ago. No, here's how you’ll know He’s returning: Phish will reform. Boy, did he like Phish (he even co-opted a fish logo.) Me, I was never a fan. But the Boy loves them.

Personally I like the Stones. Well, let’s call it a grudging respect. I’ve been trying to kill Keith Richards since Exile On Main Street, but dude’s like a frigging cockroach. Nothing kills him. Oh well. At least I take solace in finding him that barber.

Anyway, enough about Me for now. What do you think of Me? Post your questions in the comments section, and in coming weeks I will try and get to them all.

*********

Oh, and memo to Madonna: that isn’t Kabala, you twit. That’s new age wrapped in a Jewish taco shell. What do you think, great learned Jews have been wearing red bands on their wrists since… oh, 2002? Pass me the Kabala water. Yeah, right…

Posted by: --josh-- @ 10:25 AM  4 comments


Song of the Day

The Hall and Oates cover led to some dialogue about old 70s soul classics and cover versions by newer white artists. Which led me to my homegirl Jill Sobule's live cover of the classic "Ooh Child," by the Five Stairsteps. (Hall and Oates met at a Five Stairsteps concert.) This is a bootleg recorded in San Francisco in May of this year (and this photo was taken at the show).

Click here to hear the SOD.

IYLTYML: Jill Sobule, The Folk Years

New to SOD? Read the back story.

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Posted by: --josh-- @ 7:11 AM  0 comments


They're Voting for Your President!
Thursday, November 03, 2005
When I was a kid and we used to watch the Newlywed Game ("I hate it when my husband sticks his blank, in my what?"), my mom would erupt at the comically low IQs of the contrestants. She would shout at the TV, "They're voting for your president! They're voting for your president!" It wasn't until very much later, in the post-Jerry Springer era, when I understood just what she meant.

This clip is from Trading Spouses. As I understand it, the woman is a devout Christian (you'll pick that up right away), the new family is "spiritual, not religious." I think I see a "fish out of water" sitcom in the making, don't you?

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Posted by: --josh-- @ 4:26 PM  0 comments


All the Fake News That Fits...

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart just gets better and better. Last night’s program, with the Mike Wallace interview, was a brilliant piece of biting comedy that included swipes at both parties (although more, naturally, at the one in power). Stewart is great because he says out loud, on TV, the things the rest of us are thinking. He makes it wicked funny. And he provides a safety valve that lets us kow at the end of the day that no, we are not crazy. things really are that absurd.

This piece was the lead story last night. Check it out. I don’t care which ideological side you are on, it is drop-dead hysterical, and oh yeah, the most spot-on coverage that anyone had all day.

For an increasing number of young people, Jon Stewart is the most trusted name in news. Way more 18-34 year-olds watch The Daily Show than read, say, the New York Times or Wall Street Journal. Think about the impact on the national debate over time as generations grow up on the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, rather than on traditional news sources.

Here at APW, we're unabashed fans.

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Posted by: --josh-- @ 2:12 PM  0 comments


Introducing the Song of the Day
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
A little verbiage this first time about the Song of the Day (SOD.)

There will be an SOD posted every now and again, when a particular song gets inside my head or under my skin or gives me a burning, itchy sensation. I can’t guarantee you will like all of them. Or any, for that matter. I would probably sound byte my tastes as wussy hip.

I’m using http://www.putfile.com to host these files (that takes you to the service home page, not to the SOD). You can play them, but I don’t know that you can save them. Which is OK by me, because I don’t own the copyrights and the whole thing is gray area at best.

The songs are MP3s generally encoded at 192 KBS. That's 50% larger than your typical MP3, which means 50% more data, so they ought to sound better. I know the dogs I've played this one for can tell. I sure can. I think.

Disclaimer: I am against piracy of intellectual property (anyone who has seen my CD collection will attest to that.) It is my belief that on balance, more people will decide to buy a CD from hearing the SOD than will decide to circumvent buying one. I am an opinion leader, a star maker, and I have broken countless artists (keep in mind that it is impossible to count to zero.)

If you own any of these songs and I’m pissing you off, let me know and I’ll fix it. Please don’t sue me.

OK, so let’s see if this works. Today’s Song of the Day is “Me and Mrs. Jones,” a hit for Billy Paul in the early 70s, as covered by Hall and Oates on August 26 of this year at Jones Beach. I bought the Instant Live of the show, and that’s where this is from.

Listen to the way Darryl Hall comes at the “Mee-yeee aaa-and Missus—- Missus Jones...” part. He takes it in a different style each time around. Dude can flat out sing. Oh, and its almost seven minutes long. Hope you dig it.

Click here to play today's Song of the Day.

IYLTYML (if you like this you might like): Our Kind of Soul, Hall and Oates; and, The Philly Sound 1966-1976: Kenny Gamble And Leon Huff, which contains the original.

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Posted by: --josh-- @ 11:02 PM  2 comments


New at APW!
The entire staff here at A Penny's Worth is excited to announce two new changes which we think all of you will love.

God Joins APW as Guest Columnist. On the heels of His well-received guest post here on APW, God has agreed to be a regular contributor to the blog. We are hoping for regular Friday posts, but really, its ultimatly up to Him.

APW Announces Song of the Day. We are, like, 99% sure we are going to begin featuring a song of the day. Only, it won't be every day. So it will be the song of some of the days. Or, some days there will be no song. But when we do share a song with you, it will indeed be the song of that particular day. We'll try it later tonight.

Posted by: --josh-- @ 11:41 AM  4 comments


Grrr! Redux
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
I know, you thought I was kidding when I said my nerd crush was Maureen Dowd, luscious columnist for the liberal rag the New York Times.

I was not kidding.

Check it. This shot is from the online version of her 10/30/05 NYT Magazine piece, "What's a Modern Girl to Do?"



If I was single, I would so totally ask her out.

Posted by: --josh-- @ 2:51 PM  7 comments


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