The Blog of Young America

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So... what was wrong with this?

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I keep hearing these rumors that David Letterman slammed Paris Hilton, or he wouldn't let go of the jail thing, or whatever. All I see is David Letterman being the greatest television host of our time, one of the funniest people ever, and Paris Hilton being a cypher as per usual. And then a commercial for perfume.

Gimme a break, America.

Below: Letterman and Sarah Silverman talk about it a bit, before continuing to both be talented and funny.

Podthoughts by Ian Brill: "The Signal"

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Since we spent time last week looking at a Doctor Who podcast, where the fandom has over four decades to mull over it, let’s look at a podcast dedicated to a show with far less material to work with but remain just as passionate. The Signal, hosted by Les Howard and Kari Haley, deals with all things pertaining to show Firefly and the film Serenity. The show lasted one season in 2002 but being created by the man behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon, it was guaranteed a healthy fan base. They managed to continue the show in 2005 with the film Serenity, although it didn’t too well at the box office (I remember when the film came out and it seemed most Firefly fans saw it in free screenings before the official release). As much as I enjoyed the show and film I finished the entire franchise in a week. What more could this podcast be discussing in late 2007?

Much of Firefly seems to be about expanding the world of these characters, commonly known as The ‘Verse. Role playing games get a lot of attention. I understood about 5% of the terminology the reviewers of these games used but I could tell they were informative and well researched. Fan fiction is another tool for Firefly fans to remain in The ‘Verse. I’m glad to say that the audio dramas featured on The Signal are a lot better than what I heard on Time Tales. The writing, foley work and acting all come together on these pieces and make for fairly entertaining five to ten minute segments. The Sept. 26th episode featured a private eye story that, while maybe a bit Mary Sue-ish, had all the twists and gratuitous sex you want out of a noir story.

The entire show actually sounds very professional in the way different segments are coordinated and introduced. I assume that the hosts had backgrounds in radio work but maybe not as on-air talent. I’ll be honest, Howard and Haley sound like…well, they sound like people who have watched a lot of Joss Whedon shows. They say mildly clever and cutesy things to each other and then sound tremendously satisfied with themselves while saying it. It reminded me of why I found the character of Xander on Buffy so annoying.

Thankfully when Howard and Haley are interviewing someone the affectations are thrown away and an actual conversation starts. The interview with sci-fi writer PJ Haarsma about his work with Nathan Fillion and Kids Need to Read was very enjoyable and illustrated a point about Firefly fans that I was happily surprised by. I expected a lot of moaning and groaning about short-sighted television executives and fickle American audiences. Instead I was glad to hear how many Firefly fans took their passion about a sci-fi series and turned it into real charity work. Many of these groups take it upon themselves to raise money for groups such as the one above or Equality Now. Fandom has made a lot of people shut out the rest of the world. Many Firefly do the opposite and try to make the rest of the world a better place and it’s good to know those groups have a hub like The Signal to make things go easier.

Office Hours are CLOSED

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Office hours are (edit)NOW CLOSED(edit).

You can call me to ask a question or for any other reason. Right now I'm thinking about guests for a show in Chicago and maybe about making tote bags. That's just some ideas about stuff we could talk about.

All you have to do to call is click the button above, and type in your number. Your phone will ring, and as soon as you pick it up, my phone will ring. THAT IS THE MAGIC OF THE INTERNET.

Thanks to all who called in this time around!

"Ain't Life Grand?" - Ricky Jay, the world's most amazing person.

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A poster on Metafilter just declared Ricky Jay "The coolest man alive."

I can't say I'm really in a position to disagree. Above he does some amazing shit with cards. Below, he does some EVEN MORE amazing shit with cards. Did you know he wrote a book called "Cards as Weapons?" HE CAN KILL A MAN WITH A THROWN PLAYING CARD.

This fact weighed heavily on my mind when he was on The Sound of Young America (MP3).

A great story my brother wrote when he was three or four.

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"Heavy Man is a hat man, and he sells hats at his hat factory. He lives in Outer Space. He lives so far away so children can't see him making hats at night. He likes big people, but not children and when his uncle comes he falls on the ground because it's so slippery outside." - Brendan Thorn

More Tom Lehrer

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When I was in Tom Lehrer's class on the history of musical theater at UCSC, he would always mock my announcements about The Sound of Young America, but he would always let me share them. Whatta guy.

Above: a little bit of satire that's as apt today as it was back then... "Send the Marines."

Below: a bit of hilarious freelance misanthropy: "When You Are Old & Gray."

I'm not entirely sure who this 6funswede character who uploaded these vids is, or where he got them from, but God bless him. Don't miss "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park," an all-time classic.

?uestlove on surviving the music industry...

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?uestlove, drummer for the Roots, made this thoughtful and fascinating post on Okayplayer.com about life in the music industry. Am I crazy to be inspired by it?

--
occasionally i gripe cause its alot of preaching to the choir (it took "men at work" in Va for the Clipse cats to realize that Riq was a monster---but those cats come from a "classic hip hop" base ---meaning they aint going around talking "they dont listen to earth wind and fire, or afrika bambatta" (my nameless labelmate)---i mean okp is like preaching to the choir.

but a cat like hov (who has yet to watch a complete roots show) or the rest of my label, this is a hard sell (basically riding with cats they "heard" have critical acclaim but pretty much are too ADD to find out themselves (yeah he was miffed at rich's xxl interview)

but i can really say that the grass aint greener on the other side (from what i hear). there is nothing like talking to a person that CLEARLY had attention some years back and now is thrown like yesterday's trash. i mean i can name some cats but im not trying to draw attention to that light.

compared to what i was working with 18 years ago....i can truly say that we come a long ass way. the lesson i learned the most is how not to overstep bounds.

i mean we can use anyone for an example for that.....it was assumed in the mj camp that he will make 9 million a month (the cost of what it takes to operate neverland---lights, staff, upkeep, etc)---but times are even hard for mj. so off the bat i don't assume that i will make my monthly survival quota.

so that said: yes i can afford an mtv crib. but does it make sense?

no wife/kids/dogsand a tour/dj/production schedule that keeps me in a hotel for about 9 months out of the year (had new house for about a year....i say i been in it maybe 3 months and that's being generous)

i don't really like baller ass cars (i love my scion) so i have no short dick/turning 50 dreams of some SUV i dont like (i do like the 2006 S class however lol)

and i aint big on jewlery.

so already i saved myself about 500,000.

so its easy to survive in this business if you live within your means...

if you make $100,000 a year you live like you only make $40,000
if you make $1,000,000 you live like you make $400,000

in this business you live 60/40...cause after loan outs and taxes and bills and etc..that is pretty much what you left with.

and you must be disciplined.

that is key.

shawn gee should be in this post. i got my first big check in 99 after tfa and this mofo was talking "we need about 10 more of these and you are gonna buy a house"---of course my ass was like "pssh man!" but he told me id thank him later.

another friend of mine stopped me from buying a car i couldn't drive. and told me to invest in my future by starting a website. (thanks ang)

the point of this whole post is that i have seen the mountain top (other peoples mountain tops) and some perks are cool.

i mean hanging with some cats in this industry that have shit like 10 cars in their garage, everynight the ratio of chicks to dudes is like 3 to 1 and mofos get on some rick james shit ("make love to ?uest bitches!!!!!!"---when im old i'll write the book)

but on the other side of that coin is....

the hits can stop
and people's loyalty aint worth shit
and if you do make it to the top, mofos dont even wish you all that well.
even if its just playing around... (--looks at com's cell phone....goes to "J"...jolie. --grits teeth--"must...be ...nice....huh rash?"--) jokes...but yeah man....let's ask wil, or kanye, or rash or mos or jay or whomever has held a 7 figure check in their hand (and let me put another myth to rest....just because you earn 7 figures a year dont mean you a milllllllionare---bbeeee leeeee meee on that shit....for every person that is able to achieve 7 figs i'll show you his staff of 20 that helps his world go round and the irs right around the corner)

so---in closing...yeah...a white girl could be the answer to "winning"
but there is a price to pay.
now that wil has tasted that success, he now MUST deliver the goods each and EVERY time
that is a pressure i dont know i wanna live with. one year i'll like breakbeats and the next thing i know, someone gives me some west african music and it will inspire me to want to do that....but then i just remembered im part of a money making empire and west african music don't appeal to jena, la or middle america to the other jena's out there (and they make the world go round dont doubt it)

so there it tis.

hope this makes sense.

"It's up to you."

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The popular band Radiohead (maybe you've heard of them?) will be selling their newest CD, at least initially, as a digital download from their website. Unremarkable. Except for this: they're taking any payment for that download. Not any form of payment -- any amount of payment. They give you the files, you give them whatever amount of money seems appropriate. No limits in either direction.

Revolutionary.

We don't yet know if the files will be DRM-free, but imagine people putting all their creative efforts into the creation of sound -- then giving it away without restriction, and asking only for donations in return. Throwing their work out into the digital ether without promise of compensation. Rolling the dice and feeding peoples ears (and minds) without certainty of feeding their own mouths.

Starting to sound familiar at all?

My kudos to Radiohead for jumping on the bandwagon ;).

While you're waiting for that new Radiohead record, and if you haven't already... please donate to support The Sound of Young America.

As the rock and roll guys put it:

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