MuchMusic launched when I was in university, so I was a target demo for Canada's take on MTV. It was wallpaper television for a few years, although I'm hard-pressed to guess the latest time I watched the channel. For one, I'm older; for another, MuchMusic doesn't seem to be in the music business much.
MuchMusic is turning 25 on Monday, but with no fanfare. This Canadian Press video explains more ... with interviews that include Erica Ehm, the appropriately named original VJ.
I had not seen this video - a brief, star-filled mini-musical about California's Proposition 8 - until a few days ago. Not so topical, but still pretty funny. Look closely, and you'll see a slew of famous folks, from Alison Janney to Margaret Cho to Maya Rudolph and more.
A coat of arms depicting the knights who formerly said 'Ni,' as per Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The T-shirt was spotted here; click on the T-shirts label below to see more. In the meantime, enjoy a Monty moment below:
As seen on Make this morning, here's a device that combines the Lego obsession of our son and my wife's craft hobbies. It's a yarn spinner (my wife says it's called a swift), made in a store in Portland, Oregon.
Ellie Greenwich, whose fingerprints were all over many of the Sixties pop songs that millions of people can sing by heart - even if they never knew her name, died today of a heart attack, after battling pneumonia. She was 68.
Greenwich wrote or cowrote dozens and dozens of songs, like Be My Baby (see below), River Deep, Mountain High, Leader of the Pack, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), Chapel of Love ... the list goes on. Check out the list on her own site. She often collaborated with Jeff Barry, her husband at the time, and the songs were often produced by Phil Spector.
But Greenwich was a producer herself, not to mention a musician and a singer. She and Barry produced Cherry, Cherry for Neil Diamond; if I recall correctly, the released version was pretty much as they knocked it off in a demo session in a New York studio. A more polished session probably would never match what they got at the start. You can hear Greenwich's singing on the tune below.
Greenwich was also an arranger; the familiar backing vocals of Aretha Franklin's Chain of Fools were her handiwork. When Blondie was looking for an authentically retro feel for Dreaming, a hit single in 1980, they wisely recruited Greenwich to sing backup. Once you notice that she's there, you realize how much she adds to the song.
Greenwich was one of the inspirations of the character that Ileana Douglas played in Grace of My Heart (Carole King is another, more obvious one), a love letter of a film about the Brill Building days. Her songs also inspired a Broadway musical. I wonder how many people will be playing some golden oldies tonight.
This cartoon has been through various changes and additions over the years; if you go to the Project Cartoon site, you can make your own revisions, or print own versions for your own office in a variety of languages.
Why do people love William Shatner? Because, for instance, he loves being in on a joke. An NYC outfit called Fall On Your Sword lifted some Shatnerisms from an interview, remixed them to a beat ... and Shatner mouthed along for the video for Shatner of the Mount.
I pulled a little bit of a fast one on my son this morning, when I pointed to this photo and told him that they had found the inspiraton for Timon and Pumbaa from the Lion King. He was, until he turned around and saw me smiling, willing to suspend disbelief. Actually, I just saw it here.
One of the newer blogs with a local, um, flavour is A Wicked Scoff, which is published from New England (hence the "wicked" part - they use the term more fervently there than here) by an expat from Newfoundland (hence the scoff). Check it out, particularly this latest post with recipes for a salsa, guacomole, and grilled chicken with a lime rub. Yummy, indeed.
The finish for the baseball season is in sight. The winner of the World Series may still be up in the air, but by now it’s clear who’s out of contention (sorry Baltimore and, in all probability, Toronto). This week’s jog around the internet bases starts with an all-star of a web powerhouse.
Major League Baseball Among sports sites, Major League Baseball is the heavy hitter: it's not only packed with stats and scores, but pushes itself to keep providing new, smartly tailored services. Sure, it’s an umbrella site, but MLB knows full well that many fans care only about one team, so it offers countless ways to satisfy their very specific interests.
I can't imagine a baseball fan not being satisfied with what’s on offer. For instance, MLB.tv offers high-quality webcasts of games, which opens up a few dozen niche markets; it’s not free, but the annual subscription of US $30 is something a fan’s loved ones ought to consider at gift-giving time.
Countless sports sites offer up sports scores and summaries, but MLB (which is notoriously protective of its broadcast rights and commercial interests) makes it hard for fans to avoid stopping by, and sticking around.
Remember Delicious Dish, the old Saturday Night Live sketch about an American public radio show about food? Splendid Table is, well, an American public radio show about food … but the similarities end there with the recurring SNL routine, which skewered the low-key, monotonic hosts who inadvertently said the naughtiest things. By contrast, Splendid Table is robust, lively and amusing, and it makes you want to cook something delicious while you’re listening. I signed up for the podcast, and have been working my way through back episodes, which are all just over 50 minutes in length. They’re worth it just for the regular segment with canonical oddball chroniclers Jane and Michael Stern, who specialize in strange places to find something delicious across the U.S. The companion website for Splendid Table is fully annotated, with resources mentioned on the weekly program.
Bruce Cockburn's Toronto A Rush fan's guide to Toronto For music fans on the go, here are two sites to bear in mind if a trip to Toronto is on the horizon. Both Rush and Bruce Cockburn have based their careers there, and indeed have woven bits and pieces of T-dot into their work. (Rush, for instance, didn’t name the song "YYZ" after Pearson International Airport for nothing. )
Recycle My Cell Do you own an old cellphone? There’s no need to toss it in the trash. Dispose of it appropriately, and for free, by dropping it off at a retailer participating in this national campaign. Tap in your postal code to find the vendor closest to you. In a couple of moments, I had a range of options for dropping off a dead phone that’s been collecting dust in my drawer.
Here's one on my radar. The music service Spotify is a big deal in Europe, drawing the kind of enthusiasm that iTunes enjoyed in its early days. It's not available yet in North America, due to licensing issues, but that may change within months as the company prepares for a big release on this side of the Atlantic. Spotify has specialized in streaming music, and has been building a business model that allows for paid downloads. This may be one to watch, as Apple prepares for some competition.
Since Britney met K-Fed, the rest of us have been wondering about a peculiar subset in the celebrity species: attractive young women and the slovenly jerks by their side. The title of this funny site gives you an idea what to expect. (Not, then, for the grandmotherly types.)
John Gushue is a writer in St. John's, and is currently on leave from his job with CBC News in St. John's. John is on Facebook right here. John is on Twitter right here.
Easter will be celebrated on the same day in 2010 in both the western Christian churches and in the Eastern Orthodox church. Because the churches use different methods to calculate when Easter falls, coinciding dates happen only a few times every century. (Easter will be on April 4, by the way.)
Chindu Sreedharan, 36, a lecturer at the
Media School in Bournemouth University, England, has undertaken an ambitious project with his Twitter account. Through @Epicretold, he is tweeting, in segments of up to 140 characters, the contents of the world's largest poem, the Mahabharata.
Genius of Love by Tom Tom Club - the side project founded by husband-and-wife Talking Heads Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth - features a famous and much-sampled bassline ... but Weymouth didn't actually play it. Round-the-clock recording (they could afford only three days of studio time) left Weymouth unable to close her hand at one point, forcing her to teach the basslines to a technician. You can play the video below.
Steve Wynn, the Las Vegas casino mogul, has a surname that fits the gambling business, and by no accident. His father, a compulsive gambler who owned bingo halls, changed the family's name from Weinberg to a new identity. That detail is included in a recent 60 Minutes profile; click below to watch it.
I was surprised to notice a little while ago that it's been almost a decade since Milt Jackson died. The vibraphonist was known as Bags - evidently because the shape his eyes and face were in. This T-shirt was spotted here. For a sense of what we had, check out this casually recorded video of Jackson playing Take The A Train in a classroom in Budapest.
Dot Dot Dot is Morse code for the letter 'S,' the full message Guglielmo Marconi claimed to have received atop Signal Hill in St. John's in 1901. It ushered in the age of telecommunications. My maternal grandfather worked as a telegraph operator for Canadian Marconi on Signal Hill for many years.
As well, I have a habit of overusing the ellipsis when I write ... as frequent readers might notice.