Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Welcome back

Complaints have rained in lately regarding the infrequency of my posts. I apologize...I didn't expect this to be as incredibly popular as it has been so far.

On to the important stuff...
Frontline last night really turned my attention towards the developing (or, developed, as it were) crisis in Palestine. The election of the Hamas party to power has had serious diplomatic and economic consequences. With Gaza on the verge of financial collapse due to mounting debts and fuel shortages, a temporary band-aid has been put in place. The Frontline piece itself stuck to the usual Western media criticisms of the Palestinian cause, but it was hard to find much sympathy in a Hamas group that failed to see any value in continuing any sort of negotations with Israel.

Supposedly -- supposedly -- a Chicago school teacher is being investigated for making derogatory remarks about Mexican students. According to accusations made by middle school kids, she said that "all Mexicans were criminals" and were "only good for cleaning floors." Reasons I don't believe this story (yet): 1. They're middle school kids. 2. She taught in a Latino charter school. No one in their right mind would say such a thing while teaching in a Latino charter school in urban Chicago.

Slate articulated Monday how Nancy Pelosi may have blown the Dems' advantage ahead of November's midterm elections. Thanks Nance.

I actually feel sick when I read this story...poor little critters. NBC 4 -- by way of the DCist -- reports that 86 dogs and cats were removed recently from a home in Stafford, VA.

Good news everyone! It's official: Britney Spears and Kevin Federline are expecting a second child. Rumors had been swirling, but Spears made it official last night on David Letterman.

A collective exhale -- presumably of pharmaceutical-tinged smoke -- went out everywhere yesterday when Rolling Stones publicist Fran Curtis announced that Keith Richards had not suffered any more brain damage as an effect of surgery on May 9 following "a fall" last month in Fiji.

In sports...
The UEFA Cup -- European soccer's second most prestigious club tournament -- final will be played tonight in Eindhoven. English club Middlesborough face Spanish club Sevilla in what should be an exciting match. Middlesborough had to overcome three goal deficits in both the quarters and semis to reach the final. Those of you lucky enough to get Fox Soccer Channel can watch at 2:30 pm EST. Please do not tell me the score; I am taping it.

My boy Tayshaun Prince had 20 as the Pistons beat the Cavs to take a 2-0 series lead. Elsewhere the Mavs tied up their series with San Anton', 113-91.

Lexington Herald-Leader sportswriter John Clay breaks down the Kentucky Derby winners and losers. Strangely, the Derby festivities in Southeast DC this weekend went unmentioned.

In music...
Slate has two fascinating articles up now. John Cook looks at the bizarre controversy surrounding Stephen Merritt's supposed racism. To quickly break down the story, two disgruntled, irresponsible rock critics (including Sasha Frere-Jones of the New Yorker) have labelled Merritt (of the Magnetic Fields) a racist because he does not like hip-hop and enjoys the song "Zippity-Doo-Da" from Song of the South. He even referred to him as a "cracker" on her blog, which -- and I may be wrong on this -- is itself racist, right? Most problematically, as Cook points out, Frere-Jacques's argument infers that racism and taste are correlated -- an assumption that is in some ways a distant-cousin to Fuzzy Zoeller's comments about Tiger Woods's 1997 Masters win (itself a racist comment).
Slate has also published a great article on the spread of "poptimism" in the face of rockism -- that is the championing of hip-hop and polished, true Pop (capital p) acts in the face of Rolling Stone-style rock fogeyism. Jody Rosen looks at such things as RS's creation of the canon, but also examines potential pitfalls of poptimism and why rockism (the celebration of the rock and roll style as the true form of popular music) can't be totally discounted.

This week marks the 1,500th consecutive week Pink Floyd's magnum opus (up for debate, I suppose) Dark Side of the Moon has spent on Billboard's Top 200 album charts. Bob Marley's Legend runs a distant second at 845 weeks. What makes this really exciting is that Roger Waters has agreed to take the album -- in its entirety -- out on tour with him this summer. Hopefully that will include his stop at the Nissan Pavilion on Sept. 23.

Modesto, California's own Grandaddy released their final album, Just like the Fambly Cat, yesterday. Jason Lytle and company announced this past winter that they would break up after a run that saw them develop into one of American indie rock's most consistent bands. Pitchfork says 6.8; allmusic gives (surprise) four stars.

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