The untold Doré

Lew Bedell, who with Herb Newman founded Doré Records in the 1950s, died in 2000, and ownership of the catalog eventually passed to the highly-regarded UK reissue label Ace Records. (Ace UK was not, originally, in any way related to Johnny Vincent’s Mississippi-based pop/R&B label. The Brits now own that American catalog.)

Ace has reissued some recordings from Doré, but this tape found in the vault may have stymied them. A 1965 recording made at Gold Star Studios in Hollywood, Phil Spector’s venue of choice, we know that various members of the Wrecking Crew, L.A.’s top sessionmen (and women) of the era were involved in the track, but not much else. Someone’s counting off the track, but it doesn’t sound like Phil.

My best guess is that it’s either Jack Nitzsche, who did lots of Spector arrangements, or Bob Crewe, who was pretty adept at the Spector sound himself. Nitzsche would seem the more likely candidate, since this was a Gold Star session and Crewe usually worked in New York and/or New Jersey, but to me, this track suggests a backing for Jessica James and the Outlaws — Denise Ferri, Bernadette Carroll and Peggy Santiglia — whom Crewe recorded for his DynoVoice label about this time. (In addition to singing under this nom de disque, said Outlaws backed up Lou Christie on his MGM hits, including the huge “Lightnin’ Strikes,” and Patty Duke on “Don’t Just Stand There.”) For comparison, here’s an actual Jessica James record. Certainly nothing would have stopped Crewe from schlepping the backing track to the East Coast and dubbing the voices there. Nitzsche, alas, is gone now, so we can’t ask him, but I figure getting the track some exposure can’t hurt.

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Quietly into the realm of genius

Meet the new Chief Medical Officer at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, the only hospital in California’s Santa Clarita Valley:

The new CMO’s name is Dr. Richard S. Frankenstein, pronounced Franken-STEEN — unlike the monster-building doctor in Mary Shelley’s classic story.

In other news, Mel Brooks called; he wants his joke back.

(Via James Taranto.)

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Some day my Prince will come

Adrianne Palicki as Wonder WomanGiven David E. Kelley’s past history, what I really want to know about his Wonder Woman pilot for NBC is whether Diana Prince is going to be wearing Ally McBeal-length skirts. (Best guess: probably not, and damn the bad luck.) He’s definitely a revisionist on the costume here, which, says Entertainment Weekly’s EW.com, “de-emphasizes the patriotism and seems to play up the comic’s Greek mythology.” This latter, at least, would seem to be consistent with the rebooted backstory, which has Ms Prince working for Themiscyra Industries, whose CEO is played by Cary (“Westley!”) Elwes.

NBC has said that the series, if picked up, will be “serious” and “non-campy,” which, if nothing else, should make it easier to distinguish from NBC’s news and opinion shows.

“I have an overwhelming need to brush her hair,” said Donna. If the show somehow turns into a hit, I’m thinking there will be dolls action figures which will permit exactly that.

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Incandescent research

David Leeson deals with the perennial question “How many historians does it take to change a light bulb?” thusly:

There is a great deal of debate on this issue. Up until the mid-20th century, the accepted answer was ‘one': and this Whiggish narrative underpinned a number of works that celebrated electrification and the march of progress in light-bulb changing. Beginning in the 1960s, however, social historians increasingly rejected the ‘Great Man’ school and produced revisionist narratives that stressed the contributions of research assistants and custodial staff. This new consensus was challenged, in turn, by women’s historians, who criticized the social interpretation for marginalizing women, and who argued that light bulbs are actually changed by department secretaries. Since the 1980s, however, postmodernist scholars have deconstructed what they characterize as a repressive hegemonic discourse of light-bulb changing, with its implicit binary opposition between ‘light’ and ‘darkness,’ and its phallogocentric privileging of the bulb over the socket, which they see as colonialist, sexist, and racist. Finally, a new generation of neo-conservative historians have concluded that the light never needed changing in the first place, and have praised political leaders like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher for bringing back the old bulb. Clearly, much additional research remains to be done.

Bonus points must be awarded, I think, for working a Derrida-ism into the mix.

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On the Fantasy shelf

This is the first of several “Questions and Answers from AARP Forum,” compiled by Miss Cellania:

Q: Where can single men over the age of 50 find younger women who are interested in them?

A: Try a bookstore, under Fiction.

Probably still more believable than some of the letters they used to print in Penthouse.

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Dewey believe this?

The Man of the West, on Dewey Bartlett Jr.’s promise to end the ongoing fractiousness in Tulsa city government:

That may sound innocent enough in other cities, but in Tulsa, that sort of thing has a very definite meaning. It means that you have every intention of treating any and every politician or person who will not kowtow to a group some of us refer to as “Midtown Elitists” as errant stepchildren. It means that you will be a tool of the Midtown Elitists.

That’s what he ran on, and Tulsa, apparently not knowing what it means for a local Republican to promise to stop the bickering, elected his sorry ***.

District 7 Councilman John Eagleton, it appears, has basically given up on Bartlett, and is now circulating a petition to have the Attorney General investigate Bartlett’s actions. (Michael Bates has background.) This is one of those times when I’m grateful for our uninteresting — though lately not as uninteresting as usual — Oklahoma City politics.

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When in doubt, blame the platform

From the Chrysler Group blog, a week or so ago:

This morning an inappropriate comment was issued from the Chrysler brand Twitter handle, @ChryslerAutos, via our social media agency of record, New Media Strategies (NMS). After further investigation, it was discovered that the statement was issued by an NMS employee, who has since been terminated.

Chrysler Group and its brands do not tolerate inappropriate language or behavior, and apologize to anyone who may have been offended by this communication.

The culprit now contends that it was a problem with TweetDeck:

Tweetdeck was to blame for the word “f*cking” being sent out through the official Chrysler Twitter account, the person responsible has claimed.

The lawyer acting for Scott Bartosiewicz, who lost his job at New Media Strategy, the former social media agency for Chrysler, after he tweeted “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f*cking drive,” has claimed it was due to Tweetdeck that the tweet was sent through the wrong feed.

Um, no. After the jump, I’ll show you why:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Lolcats they aren’t

Last time we saw Oklahoma City vs. Charlotte, the Thunder won the game and the Bobcats lost their coach: Larry Brown, who resigned shortly thereafter. In that previous game, the ‘Cats hung close through three quarters, but OKC finished them off in the fourth; Charlotte was similarly pesky tonight, went cold in much the same way, and OKC, yes, finished them off in the fourth, winning 99-82.

This is not to say that there weren’t some anxious moments before the 15-0 run that put it out of reach, and one after it: Kevin Durant and Gerald Henderson found themselves testing one of the laws of physics — the one about two objects not being able to occupy the same space at the same time — and Durant headed for the locker room, evidently coming off second-best in the collision. KD did roll up 25 points before his departure, buttressed by James Harden with 21 and Russell Westbrook with 18. Serge Ibaka had the only double-double of the night, with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Among the Bobcats, Stephen Jackson pocketed the most points (18), and Boris Diaw added 13; most interesting, I thought, was the performance of D. J. White, who in that previous game wore an OKC uniform. As a member of the opposition, White picked up 9 points in just under 12 minutes. (Conversely, ex-Cat Nazr Mohammed, now with the Thunder, scored four and recorded two steals.) Radio guy Matt Pinto said Charlotte was basically “falling apart” at the end there, and that sums it up accurately enough. On the other hand, Paul Silas still has his job.

Next two games, both at the Project 180 Observation Dome: against the Raptors Sunday evening, and the Jazz on Wednesday.

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What can a rich girl do?

Get the parental units to ante up for a music-video package, apparently:

The answer is Ark Music Factory, a Los Angeles-based company operating as an industry hybrid of Maurice Starr and John Bennett Ramsey. Their casting calls are perfect bait for starry-eyed parents: “If you are a great singer without any material and you want to get discovered,” one reads, “then Ark Music Factory is looking for you.”

The formula is simple: They’ll fly your child between the specified ages of 13-17 to Los Angeles, write her a “hit,” record it in super-compressed Autotuned production, shoot an edge detection-overlay video and BAM! Maybe your kid can notch up a couple thousand YouTube views while you watch your dreams of being a pop-star parent percolate.

In the case of Rebecca Black’s “Friday,” for “couple thousand” read “over ten million.” I, of course, felt duty-bound to check it out.

James Lileks wrote about it for the Strib, which is where I heard it for the first time. And yes, it’s Auto-Tuned to death, but as disposable pop krep goes, it’s hardly in the lowest quartile. (You want to scrape the bottom of the barrel, I suggest you read about — but fercrissake, don’t listen to — Asher Roth’s “I Love College.”) Its biggest flaw is that at 3:42, it goes on far too long: to quote a reader remark on Lileks’ piece, “proper disposable pop takes up two minutes and change, and then gets out of your face and your ears.”

Robinson Crusoe, incidentally, was not available for comment.

Update: She can so sing.

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What can a rich boy do?

A year or two after it was released, I heard that “Street Fighting Man,” a particularly-incendiary Rolling Stones single from 1968, had been originally worked up on a cheapie cassette machine. This seemed unlikely to me: the Stones could afford anything they wanted, even before they became tax exiles, and anyway it sounded a hell of a lot better than “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow,” two years earlier, by a considerable margin the murkiest 45 I’d ever heard up to that point.

But the story is true, and Keith Richards, who should know, tells it in his autobiography:

In the studio, I plugged the cassette into a little extension speaker and put a microphone in front of the extension speaker so it had a bit more breadth and depth, and put that on tape. That was the basic track. There are no electric instruments on “Street Fighting Man” at all, apart from the bass, which I overdubbed later. All acoustic guitars. “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” the same. I wish I could still do that, but they don’t build machines like that anymore. They put a limiter on it soon after that so you couldn’t overload it. Just as you’re getting off on something, they put a lock on it.

The band all thought I was mad, and they sort of indulged me. But I heard a sound that I could get out of there. And Jimmy (Miller) was onto it immediately. “Street Fighting Man”, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and half of “Gimme Shelter” were all made just like that, on a cassette machine. I used to layer guitar on guitar. Sometimes there were eight guitars on those tracks. You just mash ‘em up.

And believe it or not, it gets better:

Charlie Watts’ drums on “Street Fighting Man” are from this little 1930’s practice drummer’s kit, in a little suitcase that you popped up, one tiny cymbal, a half-size tambourine that served as a snare, and that’s really what it was made on, made on rubbish, made in hotel rooms with our little toys.

Nor should you underestimate Mr Jimmy: apparently while he was showing Watts the drum pattern he wanted on “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” Watts told him, okay, you play it, then. Which he did.

(With thanks to Atomizer.)

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Following the unheard

Sometimes a photo sits out here on the desktop for weeks, months even, until I realize there’s nothing much I can do with it, and I shunt it off to the archives.

Then once in a great while the Fates cut me some slack. Last week, Donald Trump was roasted — not over an open fire, I mean a comic-style roast — to fill some time on Comedy Central. One of the roasters was actress Marlee Matlin, seen here taking a break from the action:

Marlee Matlin at the Donald Trump Roast

She wears her four and a half decades well, and obviously she was having a good time, which usually bodes well for a potential Rule 5 nominee, but I was wavering.

Then I happened upon this:

[Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino] took the stage at Comedy Central’s roast of Donald Trump on Thursday, where he was reportedly booed off the stage.

Wearing aviator sunglasses, Sorrentino went up to the microphone, where he proceeded to insult all the other presenters. He called Marlee Matlin “ugly,” Larry King “old,” and Lisa Lampanelli “fat.”

He also told Snoop Dogg that the rapper and Trump had a lot in common because Trump owned a lot of property and Snoop’s ancestors had been property.

Okay, I’ll believe that Larry King is old. But the rest of that just won’t do. You can be as vile as you like at a roast if you make it funny. Otherwise, you’re just a lout.

But this is what nailed it for me:

Deaf actress Marlee Matlin, who currently stars on Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice,” also took a swipe at [Sorrentino]: “Like the Situation,” she said in American Sign Language, “I too have never heard the sound of laughter.”

I just love that. And you know, when they’re funny, they’re prettier. Count on it.

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Mrs Repeal, we’re needed

Not so fast, Michele Bachmann:

Rep. Michele Bachmann’s Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act would rescind the CFL mandates unless three conditions are met. First, the bulbs must show “net savings in the combination of monthly electric bills and expenses for new light fixtures to accommodate the new required bulbs.” There are other ways to reduce our energy bills, such as increasing supply. Then it must be proved that mandated use of CFLs “will reduce CO2 emissions by 20% by 2025.” Even Kyoto couldn’t do that. Finally, it must be shown that “there are no public health risks from the mercury in replacement bulbs at home or in any public building.”

The GAO would make these determinations, but Bachmann believes they can’t be satisfied.

The Old Grouch explains what’s wrong with this approach:

[T]he bill itself shows that in her third term Bachmann has gone native — succumbing to the dreaded D.C. Tinkering Syndrome. Because instead of giving us a clean repeal and a clean slate, Bachmann’s bill tweaks the law to achieve her desired outcome.

It would be well for the GOP to remember that the only reason they got any traction in the 2010 election was because they’d managed to persuade some substantial percentage of voters that they’d somehow undo the most egregious overreaches of the Pelosian Era. Consider this marker called in.

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Hush, puppies

A couple of months ago, Yum! Brands announced that they were going to sell off the Long John Silver’s seafood chain, saying that neither LJS nor A&W fit into their long-term growth strategy.

But before Long John walks the plank, there’s a new logo and a new slogan:

Long John Silver's logo

I assume that the staff, in order to be able to “speak fish,” is being sent to the appropriate schools.

(Via Fritinancy.)

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The operative word is “repellent”

There’s N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, and there’s your New York Times columnist. March Madness-wise, at least, Smitty prefers the latter:

Screen shot - Thomas Friedman beats OFF

Efforts to get Maureen Dowd to show us her DEET have so far proven unfruitful.

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416

There’s “lots to offer” in this week’s Carnival of the Vanities, the 416th in the series. This does not mean, of course, that Andrew Ian Dodge is selling real estate: not that kind of “lots,” guys.

Something they tell you in about the twentieth minute of real-estate school is that they’re not making any more land, and therefore it’s a good buy. What they won’t mention is the fact that every so often, land vanishes:

A thundering sound was heard from the mountain Batuwara which was answered by a similar noise from Kapi, lying westward of the modern Bantam. A great glowing fire, which reached the sky, came out of the last-named mountain; the whole world was greatly shaken and violent thundering, accompanied by heavy rain and storms took place, but not only did not this heavy rain extinguish the eruption of the fire of the mountain Kapi, but augmented the fire; the noise was fearful, at last the mountain Kapi with a tremendous roar burst into pieces and sank into the deepest of the earth. The water of the sea rose and inundated the land, the country to the east of the mountain Batuwara, to the mountain Rajabasa, was inundated by the sea; the inhabitants of the northern part of the Sunda country to the mountain Rajabasa were drowned and swept away with all property […] The water subsided but the land on which Kapi stood became sea, and Java and Sumatra were divided into two parts.

This is not the plot of Krakatoa, East of Java. For one thing, Krakatoa is west of Java. It is, however, a description of events in the Pararaton, the Javanese Book of Kings, which supposedly took place in the year AD 416.

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Fearful schmucks

As usual, P. J. O’Rourke anticipated the present. From Republican Party Reptile, 1987:

Something is happening to America, not something dangerous but something all too safe. I see it in my lifelong friends. I am a child of the “baby boom”, a generation not known for its sane or cautious approach to things. Yet suddenly my peers are giving up drinking, giving up smoking, cutting down on coffee, sugar, and salt. They will not eat red meat and go now to restaurants whose menus have caused me to stand on a chair yelling, “Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, dinner is served!” This from the generation of LSD, Weather Underground, and Altamont Rock Festival! And all in the name of safety! Our nation has withstood many divisions — North and South, black and white, labor and management — but I do not know if the country can survive division into smoking and non-smoking sections.

The Big Scary Thing this week is nuclear power, the generation of which was interrupted in Japan by, oh, let’s call it the result of one of the largest earthquakes in recorded history. Two questions come immediately to mind, and fortunately for me and my indolence, they’ve already been asked. First, by Francis W. Porretto:

No one could build a reactor guaranteed to withstand any imaginable calamity, because such calamities are unbounded in magnitude. A significant meteorite impact — say, a nickel-iron rock 10 to 50 meters in diameter — would collapse the containment around any reactor and disperse the fissionables into the atmosphere. It would do even worse to a fossil-fueled power plant. Shall we, then, eschew electrical power generation altogether?

And the other, by Tam:

Remember back in ’50s and early ’60s, when we set off something like 900 atomic bombs in Nevada? And how we just let the fallout blow wherever and it landed all over the eastern US? And how it wiped out life as we know it and all that was left from Colorado to the Atlantic were six-legged rats battling two-headed cockroaches in the glowing ruins?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go have a banana, a good source of potassium — and, inevitably, a good source of potassium-40. For now, I offer this reminder: The only place on earth where you can’t be hurt is the graveyard. And don’t worry: you’ll get there soon enough.

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