Greg Palast: My New Hero

I gotta say, ever since I heard Greg Palast's CD, Weapons of Mass Instruction on Alternative Tentacles, I've been reading his articles with great interest.

One of the key stories that he uncovered was that Florida purged over 50,000 voters in Florida in the 2000 election because they were felons and felons aren't allowed to vote.

Only problem was that over 90% of the people Florida claimed were felons, weren't.

Palast's new article "Vanishing Votes" in The Nation further chronicles this problem and predicts it will repeat itself, nationwide in the 2004 election.

Greg Palast:
The things that can lurk in an unclean colon are truly staggering.

Yeah, I'll say! Check out this site to see a picture of what might be hanging out in your colon.


FYI, I've been using a product called Super Colon Cleanser lately.

Not only is it in fact "super," but its the perfect product for anyone who likes to spend a lot of time in the bathroom.

Needless to say I've been catching up on my reading lately. And I feel super clean too!
I thought yesterday was my lucky day.

Boy was I wrong.

Mishap #1:

I was at the gas-n-sip on my way to work. Coming out of the store I saw a dollar on the ground. I picked it up and looked around for more money. There was none.

Just then I dropped the Red Bull I had just bought for $1.99. The can popped a hole in the side and Red Bull started shooting out.

I put my finger over the hole and got into my car.

I tried "shotgunning" the remainder of the drink, but ended up splashing Red Bull on the steering wheel and dash.

What a sticky mess.

Moral of story: Don't pick up money on the ground.

Mishap #2:

If that weren't bad enough, just minutes later I hit a huge pothole that immediately made my tire go flat.

Fortunately I was less than a mile from Tire City, a place that could patch the tire.

Unfortunately, the pothole ripped a such a huge hole in the tire that I needed a new one, to the tune of $96.35.

Moral of story: I should have found 96 more dollar bills on the ground.
V2 Records, psychic conduct seance seeking advice on marketing dead artist's music

Label asks dead singer how to get his band's single played on radio and requests he continue press interviews, even though dead.

From an e-mail circulated on the Internet:

Date: Thu, 22 Apr 2004 15:44:21 -0400
Subject: Good Riddance

Dear everyone,

I just wanted to drop you a line to let you know that today is my last day at V2. I was let go this morning.

All I can say is this is messed up-I was brought into V2 to specifically work on the Pre Thing record a few months ago. Everything was setting up nicely on the record, radio was reacting, the single "Faded Love" was kicking in at Active Rock, we created this super cool video game that was going to be on the commercial cd, etc.

Then, out of the blue, the main guy from Pre) Thing, Rust Epique dies of a massive heart attack and everything goes haywire. Radio started to back off the single and the CD came out 2 weeks ago and got virtually no press. So, today, they let me go! How messed up is that? Wait, before you think this is nuts, let me leave you with this.

So, before i got let go, we had our weekly marketing meeting yesterday. They brought in a psychic person and everyone joined hands and did a seance to talk to Rust! I'm not kidding, even if I wasn't fired I wanted to quit on the spot. They were like "how do we get radio to continue to play this song?" and "Rust please talk to press and tell them to write about your record." I mean come on, that's just rock bottom!

Whatever! Good riddance to the label and the industry. I'm done with all of this.

Bob Rubenstein
Music and film industries double dipping ... into your pocket

An average film costs Hollywood $103 million to make. By the film industry's own admission, 99% of those films lose money because they are so expensive to produce.

What they don't admit is that most films lose money because they suck. And so does the industry that produces them.

This is from my new column today at called Sell and Resell and Resell.
Finally a comic I will read!

Trucker Fags in Denial chronicles "the sordidly hilarious tale of Butch and Petey, two aging, obese truckers so steeped in denial of their homosexuality, they're about to burst!"

You can order it at Atomic Books or read it online.

The comic is by Jim Goad and Jim Blanchard. I met Jim Blanchard when I was on the Kill Zinesters tour in 1996 with Darby (Ben is Dead), Noel (Bunnyhop) and Larry (Genetic Disorder).

Jim was really cool and hooked me up with a lot of his comics, which I still have to this day.
Too political

Sometimes I think I'm getting overly political ... or more involved in politics than I'd like.

Still, it's hard not to want to become politically educated when the FCC cracks down on alleged indecency and targets one of my favorite entertainers, Howard Stern with $1+ million in fines.

Equally bothersome are

  • The Government's multi-million dollar crusade against pornography.

  • Bush's recent signing of the Fetus Rights Legislation which appears to be a step towards outlawing abortion, as the bill recognizes an embryo or fetus as a person.

    It's hard to stay current in politics, let alone be educated about current events. Being active requires even more effort and time. Many of us don't have that spare time and energy to speak out on issues.

    But then again, right-wing, religious letter writing fanatic organizations such as the American Family Association and Parents Television Council rely on people like myself who oppose their conservative and religious-based views, but who are passive and throw up their hands in defeat asking, "What can I do about it?"

    It's hard to know what to do.

    But in the meantime, I guess I'll keep continuing to educate myself with articles and opinions such as Roger Ebert's article which defends all broadcasters' right to free speech.
  • Bush: Willing to violate the U.S. Constitution.

    Seriously people, what more evidence do you need about Bush?

    Although I missed the Bob Woodward piece on 60 Minutes last night, the 60 Minutes website has the story of Bush's secret plan to go to war in Iraq, with some startling details. Perhaps most surprising is the fact that Bush and many other key government officials consented to be interviewed for this book.

    In his book, Woodward reveals:

  • The war with Iraq could have been avoided.

  • Bush knew the "Saddam has weapons of mass destruction" premise for war was flimsy. Yet, Bush pushed on for war, despite the grave concerns of Colin Powell.

  • Dick Cheney was the motivating force behind the Iraq war. Colin Powell described Cheney's desire to declare war on Iraw as "an absolute fever."

  • Bush sought advice from God rather than his father regarding the Iraq war. Bush did not ask his father, a former President who had launched a war on Iraq, for advice. Bush told Woodward, "He is the wrong father to appeal to for advice. The wrong father to go to, to appeal to in terms of strength. There's a higher Father that I appeal to."

  • Bush violated the U.S. Constitution. Bush directed Donald Rumsfeld and Tommy Franks to create a war plan to invade Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein's regime. Bush violated the U.S. Constitution when he approved their request for $700 million to execute the plan without Congress' approval. He then took the money from supplemental appropriations for a different war - the Afghanistan war.

  • Bush struck a deal with the Saudis to lower oil prices during the 2004 election if he went to war. In order to make himself look more favorable and increase his chances of re-election in 2004, Bush made a pre-war agreement with the Saudi ambassador that in return for removing Saddam, the Saudis would increase oil production so that prices were low during the election.

    Source: CBS News' 60 Minutes: Woodward Shares War Secrets

    Is Bob Woodward a political assassin?

    Mike Whitney seems to think so. "Woodward is the ultimate insider; a major player among Washington power brokers. He is as much a part of the established order as anyone in the Administration or anyone leading a major American corporation." (thanks to Taylor for the link)
  • Things to download

    VIDEO: Grape stomping gone awry
    Here's what happens when you try to cheat at grape stomping.

    Best line: "Oooh, oooh, oooh!"

    VIDEO: Bad ladder demonstration
    Here's what happens when you don't do a good job of demonstrating how to use a ladder on live TV.
    (right click, save as)

    Best line: "And that has never happened."

    VIDEO: Impossible skate trick
    Trying to do an impossible skate trick is a bad idea. Here's why.
    (right click, save as)

    Best line: None.
    Here are some free albums

    You can download about 3 to 4 albums for free, thanks to's 50 MP3 downloads-for-free trial.

    Here are my recommendations:

    FM Knives - Useless and Modern
    Greg Palast - Weapons of Mass Instruction
    The Ponys - Laced With Romance
    Tyrades - Tyrades

    Three years ago today Joey Ramone died.

    I was up in New York City a few days after he passed. I was wandering around the East Village and happened to walk by CBGB.

    I took this Polaroid of one of the shrines in front of the club.

    You can read my brand new column, "Remembering Joey Ramone," at

    Have Pity On UsPoor Nickelback

    As Nickelback can tell you, it's bad a gig when the audience throws rocks at you. Watch the video of Nickelback getting pelted with stones at a gig in Portugal.

    And of course, we've known for a long time that the music you hear on the radio and see on MTV is formulaic bullshit.

    Someone put together an MP3 that combines two singles by Nickelback that illustrates just how formulaic that formula is. In the left channel you hear "How You Remind Me" and in the right channel, "Someday."
    MP3: Nickelback - How You Remind Me of Someday.
    Dude and dog from Doorsteps<---- A Cute Music Video

    My friend, the awesome Taylor Roark, hepped me to this great video "Doorsteps" by the group Lodger. It's a flash video. Watch it here.

    Mogwai: Happy Songs for Happy PeopleA Disturbing Music Video --->

    Mogwai's video for "Hunted By a Freak" at first is really cute. But then it turns sinister.

    Watch the video in quicktime, real media (high) or real media (low).
    The CathetersThe Catheters are playing Delaware again!

    Damn, I just found out that The Catheters are gonna playing Delaware this Summer.

    They played at the East End Cafe two years ago and I missed them. Not this time.

    The Catheters are playing at the Barn Door in Wilmington, DE on June 7. Their new album "Howling...It Grows and Grows!!!" comes out on May 18 on Sub Pop.
    Andee Connors to complete triathlon, raising money for leukemia research

    Andee Connors, a long-time member of the underground music scene (Aquarius Records owner, founder of Tumult Records, drummer of P.E.E., A Minor Forest) will be participating in his first triathlon in three weeks to raise money for Leukemia Research.

    Check out Andee's training weblog and consider helping him reach his goal of raising $5,000.

    Philly scenester continues cancer treatment

    Kim Chowchuvech, who was one of the most loyal supporters of the Philly music scene in the '90s continues to receive treatment for cancer. You can read Kim's diary about his experiences with cancer online.

    A recent benefit for Kim raised over $5,000 to help him with his medical costs as his limited insurance doesn't cover all of his treatments.

    Please consider donating a couple of bucks to help Kim out and learn more about Kim in a column I wrote for
    Don't blame downloaders for lack of CD sales

    Could file sharing and downloading of music really have no tangible impact on CD sales?

    That's what Professor Felix Oberholzer-Gee of the Harvard Business School and Professor Koleman S. Strumpf of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill say in a new report according to an article in the New York Times.

    Read this entire column on

  • Music labels quietly use file-sharing data to boost sales (Houston Chronicle)

  • Record-label executives discreetly use research firms such as BigChampagne to track which songs are traded online and help pick which new singles to release. They increasingly use such file-sharing data to convince radio stations and MTV to give new songs a spin or boost airplay for those that are popular with downloaders. More.

  • Using P2P to Boost Sales (

  • The American music industry also has a secret to tell: it utilizes P2P to boost music sales. More.
    Thurston MooreThurston Moore has a really cool op-ed piece in the New York Times today.

    In it, he discusses how Nirvana and underground music came into the spotlight and was transformed by the music industry into alternative rock. He discusses how it was discarded by the music industry once Kurt Cobain died and eloquently reminds us how significant and influential Kurt's music is, even today.

    Thurston also discusses the current state of underground music saying, "the underground scene Kurt came from is more creative and exciting than it's ever been. From radical pop to sensorial noise-action to the subterranean forays in drone-folk-psyche-improv, all the music Kurt adored is very much alive and being played by amazing artists he didn't live to see, artists who recognize Kurt as a significant and honorable muse."

    I've got to agree with Thurston. There is a lot of cool music out there right now. Innovative bands such as Deerhoof and Erase Errata, essential reissues of little-known punk pioneers such as Metal Urbain and the Homosexuals as well as all the free-form-extreme weirdo-noise you can possibly want to listen to courtesy of distributors such as Forced Exposure and Fusetron Sound.

    And there are radio stations like WFMU who have championed underground music and are dedicated to making sure the quality sounds of what's happening under the radar are heard.
    A friend of mine, a hip-hop fan who prefers to remain anonymous, e-mailed me about some recent releases worth checking out. Here's what he suggests:

    Murs "Murs 3:16 - The 9th Edition" (Def Jux) - collaboration between LA rapper Murs and North Carolina's incredible 9th Wonder (of Little Brother fame). Heartfelt and personal lyrics with a sense of humility not often voiced by rappers. He gives probably the best reason why whitey shouldn't front I've ever heard. Probably the best rap album I've heard in a long while.

    Jaylib - "Champion Sound" Instrumental LP (Stones Throw)- Madlib is one of my favorite DJs. He teams up with Detroit's Jay Dilla for a great piece of instrumental ear candy. Wasn't thrilled with the vocal version of this album - lots of bitch slappin' gansta crap. As a Christian (and a person who just generally has SOME morals) I often find it difficult to get through a vocal rap album. So, I normally buy the instrumental stuff.

    Also got some 12" singles that are cool: Pete Rock and Grap Luva (one of the few rappers I always support) and Sound Providers with Little Brother (my favorite rap group - period, from North Carolina). Sound Providers show promise. Pete Rock always pulls of some very nice stuff.

    Also picked up a Jurassic 5 instrumental album. Very nice, one of the better rap "groups" out there. Also got Madvillain, a collaboration between Madlib and MF Doom (great New York rapper with a unique style).
    Everybody wants some! ... but nobody wanted this.

    Van HagarAfter several failed reunion attempts, Van Halen has finally managed to get back together. Except, it isn't really Van Halen, it's Van Hagar. 

    For cryin' out loud, if you're gonna go through all the trouble to get Van Halen back together, bring back David Lee Roth! What the people want is the real Van Halen. The original line-up, doing the original hits.

    Van Hagar blows. Van Halen is like banging a super model. Van Hagar is like banging some bar skank who thinks she's a super model.

    OK, so David Lee Roth communicates in nonsensical cliches, is obnoxous to a fault and seems like he might be ... well ... a total pain in the ass to work with. 

    But David Lee Roth is also one of rock and roll's quintessential frontmen.

    How hard would it be to keep Roth separate from the rest of the band, hire someone to keep tensions at a minimum and come stage time, the band can get just get out there and rock?! 

    Apparently it's really hard. 

    At the very least, Van Halen could do a tour with all three singers. Van Halen owes that to David, Sammy and Gary after burning and dismissing each of them.

    Don't you think Gary Sharone would appreciate it if the band threw him a bone right about now? He could even warm up the crowd with a couple of songs or some plate-spinning. Then they could do a set with Sammy. And climax with a full-blown set with Diamond Dave! 

    Oh well, this latest reunion is just another rock and roll cliché: band reunites for no real purpose other than to sell a greatest hits record (I'm guessing their “Vol. 2 Best of” will be announced any day now) with two new songs tacked on that no one even cares about. 

    Fans will go out en masse, buy t-shirts, make band richer, while paying outlandish ticket prices and service charges, making multi-death corporations such as Clear Channel and Ticketmaster all the wealthier and more powerful. 

    Van Halen has disgraced itself enough times. The ill-fated "III" album, the DLR reunion appearance on MTV, followed by the fact that the reunion wasn't real at all, and the whole Van Hagar deal. 

    Even Ted Templeman hates Van Halen now! 

    If the band had reunited with David Lee Roth, I just might have been convinced to go. But at $97.00 a pop for tickets (that's before service charges), I expect something other than Van Hagar adding another shitty chapter to the book of once-great rock and roll that has become a total joke.

    Now if we could just get Ronnie James Dio to front Black Sabbath again...
    File sharing's impact on CD sales = none?

    That's what Professor Felix Oberholzer-Gee of the Harvard Business School and Professor Koleman S. Strumpf of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill say in a new report according to this article in the New York Times.

    Using complex mathematical equations and analysis of downloading patterns and CD sales, the two professors found that the effect of downloading music using peer-to-peer file sharing applications was negligible.

    According to the article, the professors state, "While downloads occur on a vast scale, most users are likely individuals who would not have bought the album even in the absence of file sharing."

    Meanwhile, the RIAA continues to point the finger directly at file sharers for the decline in record sales, from $60 million in 2000 all the way down to $32 million in 2003.

    The RIAA doesn't take into account a sluggish economy, fewer new releases and the consolidation of radio stations whose rigidly programmed playlists offer less variety to listeners and limit them in their ability to seek out new music via the radio.  

    The list price on most new CDs is $18.98.

    If that price seems high, it's because it is.

    In fact, this year record companies and retailers paid out a whopping $67 million to music consumers as settlement in class action lawsuits that claimed that:

    Major labels and retailers conspired to artificially keep CD prices high from 1995 through 2000.

    I'm not making this up. It is fact.

    The record companies and retailers also paid out $75 million in non-cash consideration (e.g., not-for-profit, charitable, governmental or public entities to be used for music-related purposes).

    Ironically, people who signed up as a claimant in the lawsuits received a cash disbursement of $13.86, which doesn't even cover the cost of buying a single CD at list price.

    As part of the settlement, the record companies and retailers do not admit any wrong doing. Nice.

    Here are the record labels involved and what they paid as part of the settlement:

    1. EMD (EMI, Virgin, Priority): $6,500,000 in cash and $8,500,000 in non-cash consideration
    2. WEA (Warner Bros., Rhino, Atlantic): $13,650,000 in cash and $15,750,000 in non-cash consideration
    3. Universal: $18,850,000 in cash and $21,750,000 in non-cash consideration
    4. Sony: $12,523,500 in cash and $14,701,500 in non-cash consideration
    5. BMG: $12,776,500 in cash and $14,998,500 in non-cash consideration

    Here are the retailers involved and what they paid:
    6. Trans World (FYE, Coconuts, Strawberries): $800,000
    7. Musicland (Sam Goody): $2,000,000
    8. Tower: $275,000 in twelve consecutive monthly installments (that's $2.3 million)

    If you download music and feel bad for doing so, don't.

    Whenever possible, shop at and support independently owned record stores and buy music on independent labels.
    Sinus Buster spray offers relief

    I love spicy food. Mexican, Indian and chicken tenders doused in hot sauce. Habanero, Scotch Peppers and Jalapenos. I love them all. The more insanely hot, the better!
    Sinus Buster
    So when I heard caller Wayne Perry on the Howard Stern Show mention a sinus spray made with capsaicin pepper that he developed called Sinus Buster, I had to try it.

    The thought of spraying a pepper-based nose spray may seem extreme. To me, it seems pretty logical.

    Whenever you eat a lot of spicy food, what happens?

    Your sinuses clear out immediately. It's good stuff.

    I think spicy food's ability to clear me out drives my love for spicy foods and extreme hot sauces.

    After years of chronic sinus infections, ongoing pansinusitus (infection of all sinuses) and one uncomfortable (and very bloody) surgery, I decided to order some of the Sinus Buster nose spray for myself.

    Bottom line is it works for me and does offer some relief.

    Yes, it does sting when you spray it in your nose. I don't mind that. In fact, I kind of enjoy it.

    If you like the bite of spicy food, then you can handle Sinus Buster's momentary stinging no problem. And if even if you're squeamish about any possible discomfort, over time you become accustomed to using Sinus Buster. Any discomfort is offset by the relief from congestion it offers.

    What Sinus Buster does for me is help keep my sinuses and nasal passages open enough to get me through the day.

    UPDATE: AUGUST 16, 2004

    It's been four and a half months since I wrote my Sinus Buster testimonial and I wanted to give you an update. Aside from one cold and some lingering sinus infection as a result, I have been symptom free this summer.

    I have found that I actually use Sinus Buster less than I did when I began. However, I do rely on it to keep my nasal passages clear and moist if I am exposed to a lot of dust or allergens. Sinus Buster continues to be effective at immediately helping my body clear out any congestion or mucus in my nasal and sinus passages.

    Sinus Buster lives up to its many claims when it comes to offering sinus relief and it is free of any side-effects.

    UPDATE: DECEMBER 28, 2004

    New Sinus Buster "Metered Dose Formula"

    Sinus Buster now offers "metered dose formula" bottle.

    I recently had the opportunity to try out Sinus Buster's new bottle and delivery mechanism, which they are calling their "metered dose formula."

    I think this is the best packaging and delivery mechanism that Sinus Buster has offered. The stream is more concise and direct and it is very easy to direct exactly where the spray goes.

    Their traditional spray bottle (which is much like a saline nasal spray bottle) works well, but I prefer the new metered dose formula.

    As for the metered dose itself, the dose size is somewhat irrelevant.

    Overall, sometimes I find that one spray of Sinus Buster does the trick, while sometimes two or three sprays are needed if I'm especially congested or battling a cold or sinus infection.

    I think what is important about the metered dose formula bottle is how you can control and direct the spray of Sinus Buster.

    UPDATE: NOVEMBER 20, 2005

    I haven't had to use Sinus Buster in a while as my allergies and chronic sinusitus are in check.

    One tip I do have for people with allergies and sinus issues is to keep your nasal passages moist. Use a neti pot at least once a day.

    You can also take vaseline and apply a small amount to your finger and put it inside your nose and spread it around. Sounds gross, but it works great during the winter and dry season.

    Also, get a humidifier for the bedroom and keep it at 50% humidity.

    UPDATE: OCOTOBER 20, 2006

    After being symptom-free of any sinus infections for a year, I have another sinus infection!

    I ordered some of Sinus Buster's new products and will keep you posted on my experiences using Sinus Buster.

    I've been through two rounds of Ketek, which seemed to help a bit. Also got some anti-bacterial compound mixed with saline that I'm using for nasal irrigation after using the neti pot.

    Other allergy remedies

    Of course, I use it in conjunction with Flonase and Astelin nose sprays, Allegra, Profen Forte and three allergy shots a week. If I don't take all of these medicines every day, I don't breathe.

    Hot chick uses the Rhino HornI also use a device called the Rhino Horn (also known as a neti pot) which really helps my nasal passages and sinuses and further allows a person to breathe freely. Used in conjunction with the Sinus Buster and my course of medicinal and immunotherapy, I almost am able to breathe like a normal person.

    Anyway, if you like spicy food and hate sinus congestion, try Sinus Buster. It's pretty good.

    Sinus buster also claims to help with cluster and migraine headaches as well as act as a tool to fight off allergens. While I can't vouch for any of that, it's worth giving it a try as they fill orders quickly and even offer a 100% money back guarantee if you don't like the product.
    Records I've been listening to a lot lately:

    10. The Saints - "(I'm) Stranded"
    9. The Undertones - The Undertones
    8. Metallica - Ride the Lightning
    7. Adverts - Crossing the Red Sea With the Adverts
    6. The Clean - Anthology
    5. Ghetto Ways - Ghetto Ways
    4. FM Knives - Useless and Modern
    3. Lost Sounds - Lost Sounds 7" EP (picture disc)
    2. Killed by Death #1 compilation CD
    1. Go Home Productions - Pistol Whipped 12"