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


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.


"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


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...


?uestlove, drummer for the Roots, made this thoughtful and fascinating post on 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 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--" ...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.

Mr. Littlejeans


"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.


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:

Onion: The Situation in Nigeria Seems Complex

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In The Know: Situation In Nigeria Seems Pretty Complex

More amazing work from the folks at the Onion's video team. This might be the funniest one yet. Wait... no... maybe the hobo murder in congress is better.

Plumber, m'am.


Land of a thousand lakes...

I'm in Minnesota, prostrate before the throne of the Public Radio Program Directors annual conference. So things may be quiet around here.

LA: I'll see you Saturday for George Saunders & Friends!

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