Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Petition to Meet Myles and Slash for Picture and Hug

[Okay, I am a well-respected writer with published stories under my belt and I am using my blog again to stalk my favorite musicians. The respected writer promises to return after approx five days. I appreciate your patience.]

Nancy and Sarah at the Dec 2007 Alter Bridge/Another Animal tour in Love's Park, IL, where it was fucking COLD AS HELL outside. Just sayin'. And bats inside. Crazy shit all 'round.

Dear Myles,

I tried to do this under cover of MySpace, but you are "away" and it would not post. You probably heard me swear all the way over at the Belly Up tonight when it wouldn't go through. I'll be damned if I'll subject you or Slash to a full letter using Twitter-length posts, so the blog it is--my own personal billboard. [It does come in handy, sometimes.]

I am the grateful fan who made the "Starlight" Gulf Oil Spill Video that you and Slash helped spread word about back in June. I'm also the one who bullied you into tweeting Happy Birthday to my sister Sarah, Your #1 Fan, back in June. (Thanks again, you made her cry happy tears :) You were kind enough to do the same for me. I'm too tough for tears, though. Just how I'm made. (Chris Cornell may deny this, but he's lying! I had something in my eye at that concert!!)

As you know by my non-stop tweets, my sister and I will be at your Milwaukee show on Sunday. We will be parked in lawn chairs at the front doors of the Pabst Theatre by late morning--easily making it in time for soundcheck. Soundcheck doors are same side as where your bus parks and just down the street from the front doors. [I can't believe I'm telling everyone who follows you this, but I'm just that pathetic--and couldn't DM you.] I mention that because we would BOTH love to see you again, and meet Slash, if possible. Though we were both lucky (not lucky--helped by Godsmack's Robbie Merrill, let's be honest) to meet you in the dead of winter in 2007 in Love's Park, IL, neither of us has met Slash before. We would both love to meet this Living Legend. [Of course we're kissing up--isn't that the whole point?!]
For the record, the picture I took with you in in 2007 makes me look like a drooling idiot (I may be an idiot, but I don't normally drool) and I think any fan would deserve a second chance at a normal picture. You guys have to race to Clear Lake, IA, right after that show and I don't know if you'll be sticking around long enough to stalk, I mean meet, for a picture. (Who booked this leg of the tour? Chicago is geographically in BETWEEN Milwaukee and Clear Lake--that was horrible planning!)

Bad stalking jokes aside, you know I am a huge fan of yours, whomever you are singing for. I'd love for you to tour singing the blues every day the rest of your life and so would my stressed-out sister, who relies on me to know what you are tweeting and where you are playing every night, since her 4 year-old daughter (the one conceived on the night of your concert in Beloit in 2005--I know, TMI) has turned evil and dominates her every thought and action. She's quite fried, I can assure you. And since they'll be serving drinks at the Pabst, she'll be quite fried by the time you come on stage, as well, so meeting her before the show would be recommended, in all honesty. [She'd KILL me for that one if she ever had time to read my blog...]

You would be doing BOTH of us a great honor if you stepped outside after soundcheck--or before--whenever--and let us shake your hand again and get a decent picture. It would be fantastic if you brought the Guy with the Hat. I will continue to be your loudest proselytizer--Have you noticed all the Cornell fans I've introduced to (both of) you and this album in particular? They know great pipes when they hear 'em!! And I always give you a great--and honest--write-up on my blog after each show. It's been too long since you graced these "pages"!!

Most sincerely,

Nancy Dietrich, Your #2 Fan
Sarah Murray, Your #1 Fan

Can you really blame me for wanting a re-shoot? Seriously...

I even managed to screw up Sarah's picture with you due to technical difficulties.

This would be a lot more degrading if I outright begged or posted full frontal shots of my sister (Truth?--couldn't find any in time. KIDDING!) That, at least, is how I'm justifying feeling better about this.

Or I could post an inappropriate pic of Slash from 20 years ago during the Guns N' Roses/Soundgarden Tour.
Oh, shit. Cornell, inflatable doll, and Slash. DM me, Slash, and I'll take it down, LOL. But you're lookin' good!
Read more!

Non-Tweeters Missing Out...

Gary Busey just posted the following tweet:

@GaryJBusey Has anyone seen @ParisHilton? She was supposed to be holding my purse for me.

Now THAT'S fucking funny. Read more!

9 Of The Most Polluted Places In The World (PHOTOS)

Between 1930 and 1998, Dzerzhinsk was the dumping site for 300,000 tons of improperly disposed of chemical waste. 300,000 people are affected by the city's chemical and toxic byproduct pollution, such as sarin and VX gas. The pollution is a result of Cold War-era manufacturing of chemical weapons. According to Mother Nature Network, in 2003, the city’s death rate surpassed its birth rate by 260 percent.

Okay, so it could be worse than Columbus, WI, where the worst is some dairy feedlot pollution, last year's chemical fire, and the mosquito swarms.

Still amused to this day that doctors in Kentuck told my folks we should move to Arizona to "cure" my sister's childhood asthma. If she was already blue in KY, she would have been downright purple in AZ--you could watch the smog settle every day from our farm, which was slightly outside of town and elevated about 1000 feet over the nasty valley. But with those dust storms, particles were always bad enough to justify a bandit kerchief at all times.

STILL better that Russia or China!!

9 Of The Most Polluted Places In The World (PHOTOS)
Huffington Post, by Barbara Fenig - First Posted: 08-31-10 08:26 AM - Updated: 08-31-10 03:24 PM

From the highways of Los Angeles to the Citarum River of Bandung, Indonesia, earth's most polluted city of Linfen, China to the streets of London, the world is laden with man-made pollution. Chemical, air, water and oil pollution ruin the environment, cause premature deaths, spoil the world's resources and worsen climate change.

As the world's population soars to nearly 7 billion, we here at HuffPost Green thought that it time to investigate some of the world's most polluted places. Check out our slideshow of nine of the most polluted places in the world. Find out which city's death rate surpasses its birth rate by 260 percent. Or which city has 50,000 people die prematurely each year due to man-made air pollution.

*cough, cough* Read more!

These are not going by unnoticed...

The casket of Lance Corporal Cody Childers, of Chesapeake, Va., who was killed in Afghanistan, arrives for a burial service at Arlington National Cemeteryin Arlington, Va.,Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2010. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

5 more American troops die in Afghan fighting

By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer Robert H. Reid, Associated Press Writer – 2 hrs 48 mins ago
KABUL, Afghanistan – Five more American troops were killed in action in Afghanistan on Tuesday, ending the month with a spike in bloodshed that has claimed the lives of 19 U.S. service members in only four days.

The U.S. death toll for August stood at 55 — three-quarters of them in the second half of the month as the Taliban fight back against U.S. pressure in southern and eastern strongholds. American losses accounted for more than 70 percent of the 76 fatalities suffered by the entire NATO-led force.

NATO said four of the Americans were killed by a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan, while a fifth died in a gunfight with insurgents in the country's south. No other details were released.

Until the late month spike, it appeared that the death toll for August would be well below the back-to-back monthly records of 66 in July and 60 in June.

By the middle of August only 13 Americans had been killed — in part because of greater use of heavily armored vehicles and other defenses against roadside bombs, the Taliban weapon of choice.

The reason behind the sudden spike in deaths was unclear because few details about the casualties are released for security reasons.

A member of a Marine honor guard salutes the family of Lance Cpl. Kevin Cornelius, during a burial service at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington,Va., Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2010. Cornelius of Ashtabula, Ohio, was killed in Afghanistan.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Most of the U.S. deaths occurred in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, longtime Taliban strongholds that are the focus of the American-led operation against the insurgents.

As the U.S. formally ends its combat role in the Iraq war, NATO and Afghan forces are ramping up operations in Afghanistan, especially in the area around Kandahar City, the Taliban birthplace and their former headquarters until they were ousted from power in the U.S.-led invasion of 2001.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters in Copenhagen, Denmark, that higher casualties were inevitable because more troops have arrived in Afghanistan in recent weeks, bringing the overall alliance force to more than 140,000 — including 100,000 Americans. The U.S. figure is more than triple the number of American service members in Afghanistan at the beginning of last year.

"Right now we see more fighting and unfortunately also more casualties," Fogh Rasmussen said. "But that is the inevitable result of sending more troops ... On top of that, we now attack the Taliban strongholds in Helmand and Kandahar. That of course means more fighting and unfortunately also more casualties."

A NATO spokesman in Kabul, James Judge, said the insurgents traditionally step up attacks in late summer and early fall before the advent of the harsh Afghan winter, when fighting usually eases. He said casualty figures were likely to remain "somewhat elevated" in September because the insurgents may try to disrupt parliamentary elections.

In a meeting Tuesday with journalists from The Associated Press and two other news organizations, the top commander Gen. David Petraeus insisted that despite the casualties, progress was being achieved in Helmand and Kandahar. Petraeus said he recently walked through the market in Marjah, which until last February had been a major Taliban stronghold and wholesale distribution center for opium.

He said security in Kabul had been reinforced in recent months and that five or six bases were being built for the Afghan army around the city to protect the capital.

Nevertheless, gunmen stopped a bus Tuesday carrying clerks of the Afghan Supreme Court in south Kabul. One gunman boarded the bus and opened fire, killing three people and wounding 12, the Interior Ministry reported.

British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg insisted Tuesday that the military campaign in Afghanistan was "turning the corner" as he wrapped up a two-day unannounced visit to British troops in Helmand.

"We hear so much bad news," he told British soldiers. "Of course the country mourns when people lose their lives. People are full of anguish when there are serious injuries. But what I have seen today is a complete transformation of the military effort that I first saw when I visited two years ago."

Also Tuesday, NATO said its forces, working with Afghan army and police, had killed 19 insurgents and captured five in a major air assault on the village of Omar in the eastern province of Kunar.

Ground forces taking part in the assault that began Monday uncovered weapons caches and ammunition stockpiles inside the village, a statement said.

Two insurgents were killed and one was wounded in an airstrike Monday on a Taliban commander in charge of logistics in Kandahar, NATO said.

In Zabul province, insurgents on Monday night ambushed a convoy carrying food and other supplies, killing two private security guards and wounding five others, provincial government spokesman Mohammad Jan Rasoolyar said.


Associated Press Writers Deb Riechmann, Christopher Bodeen and Rahim Faiez in Kabul and Jan Olsen in Copenhagen contributed to this report.

Read more!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Find me some cuter pictures

Musician Chris Cornell and family [Vicky, Toni, Chris and Lil' Chris]arrive at the screening of Disney's "Tinker Bell And The Great Fairy Rescue" on August 28, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California. (August 27, 2010 - Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images North America)

And I'll be happy to post them. From the Chris Cornell Fan Page come these shots of the Cornell family taking flight to the premiere last night of "Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue" Both kids are wearing wings--and Converse, and being held by their incredible father, Chris Cornell.

The Universe is right.

Couldn't find any cuter, could ya'? Don't worry, not much can compete with this family.

Read more!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How many Muslims do we have to kill...

Getty Images

Before we can let go of 9/11? Apparently, several hundred thousand are NOT enough, as a cab driver in NYC was just brutally attacked last night for being a Muslim. I am so angry I cannot express myself. I'll end up taking it out on my yard and will probably raze every tree and bush to get it out of my system.

Are you fucking happy, you fear-spreading, hate-mongering individuals (I won't even say Republicans, because Democrats are guilty too) for creating such an atmosphere of hate and fear over a single mosque that now people are being attacked? I am ashamed of all of you that did not stand up for the truth, for freedom of religion, for those who refused to acknowledge that this whole issue was spun up to fuel electoral wars. Are you proud of your victories, now? I'm talking to you too, Obama, Mr. If-I-Don't-Say-Anything-It-Will-All-Blow-Over. Well, it hasn't. Another innocent man is hurt and could easily have been killed. How long until someone is?!

'Are You Muslim?' Question Leads to Cabbie Stabbing, Hate Crime Charge
Driver Answered Yes, Passenger Pulled Knife, Says NYPD

Aug. 25, 2010

New York City cab driver was attacked Tuesday evening just after 6 p.m. by a passenger who asked him if he was Muslim, says the NYPD.

According to police, passenger Michael Enright, a 21-year-old from Brewster, New York, hailed a taxi at 24th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan driven by Ahmed Sharif, a resident of Queens.

As the cab headed north on Third Avenue, Enright allegedly asked Sharif, who is of South Asian origin, "Are you Muslim?" When Sharif confirmed that he was Muslim, police say, Enright stabbed him multiple times with a Leatherman knife.

According to a statement from the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, which represents drives, Enright allegedly screamed "Assalamu Alaikum," a common Islamic greeting meaning "Peace be upon you," before slashing Sharif across the face, neck and shoulders. Sharif also sustained defensive wounds to the arm and hand.

Police said Sharif, 43, was able to pull the car over and temporarily lock Enright, who had been drinking, in the back seat before summoning help. Enright was lying in the street blocking traffic when apprehended by an off-duty police officer.

Both Sharif and Enright were taken to Bellevue Hospital, Enright for psychiatric evaluation. Enright was classified as an EDP, an emotionally-disturbed person, at the hospital.

"I feel very sad," said Sharif, according to the Taxi Workers Alliance. "I have been here more than 25 years. I have been driving a taxi more than 15 years. All my four kids were born here. I never felt this hopeless and insecure before."

"Right now, the public sentiment is very serious," said Sharif, in what seemed to be a reference to loud public debate over the proposed construction of an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan . "All drivers should be more careful."

No link to the "Ground Zero Mosque" controversy has yet been established, however. "We have no reason to believe this is anything but an isolated incident," said an NYPD spokesperson.

Enright is a filmmaker who had recently traveled to Afghanistan with an organization called Intersections, a New York-based group that promotes itself as promoting justice and peace across lines of faith. Enright told police he had returned from Afghanistan in May.

He is charged with attempted murder as a hate crime, as well as assault, harassment and criminal possession of a weapon. He is expected to be arraigned this afternoon."

This victim survived. I only hope the next one fares as well. Read more!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stewart: FOX Failed To Mention Co-Owner Is One They Accuse Of 'Terror Funding' (VIDEO)

This reviewer says: Fucking A Brilliant

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Parent Company Trap
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

I'm with Evil. No, Stupid. Oh shit, can't they be both? Read more!

4 of the Most Logical Solutions to the Mosque at Ground Zero Issue

4 of the Most Logical Solutions to the Mosque at Ground Zero Issue by Erin Gibson at the Huffington Post

This whole "mosque at ground zero" thing got me thinking about how we could build a mosque that wouldn't make its opponents so angry. So, I made a list of how we can, as Tim Gunn says, "make it work".

#1 - Build the mosque, but surround the mosque with puppies.
You see American's, heck humans, love puppies, and once they see those cute little furry dog babies, they'll forget all about the religion going on inside that building. Next thing you know, Americans and Muslims will just be standing around the mosque, giving those puppies cute names like Max, Rockie or Bushra. And they'll all be happy, all the time. Because when the puppies get too old, they'll replace them with new puppies!!**

#2 - Ice cream!!!
Not just an ice cream truck, we'll install an ice cream slide that carries ice cream from the minaret straight into people's mouths. Think about how happy you are after eating ice cream! So happy! I had multiple servings of mint chocolate chip ice cream after my grandma died of cancer and instantly I was almost back to normal. It's a magical, milky cure all for the blues, and I think it could really help solve this problem. We'd have to figure out a good rotation of flavors. I'm not dumb enough to think that everyone's favorite flavor is vanilla, so I think putting in a nice rotation of chocolate, strawberry and pecan should satisfy everyone.

#3 - An invisible mosque.
You remember Wonder Woman? That lady had an invisible plane, so why not take that cartoon technology and apply it to an actual building in real life? I don't see any reason why not, especially since it's a particularly good idea.

#4 - Take everyone who doesn't like the mosque idea, put them in a spaceship (I'm looking at you, Richard Branson) and take them to another planet.
Then, the people who want the mosque will live on Earth. Those people who are against it can start their own civilization (we'll help them, of course - we're not monsters who would just maroon people on another planet). I mean, how fun would that be? To start your own planet? Really fun! But I won't be going, because I like the mosque idea. Which means I'll me missing out on a free trip to space, which sounds like a nice time.

You know , writing these out and posting this first draft without proofreading it has shown me that if you just spend a few minutes, you can open your mind and maybe, just maybe you'll solve some of the world's biggest problems. Like I did today.

Keep ona thinkin'!

** I haven't figured out what will happen to the old puppies. Hopefully, they'd be adopted, but logically, I know there are not enough people to adopt all the puppies it's gonna take to surround the mosque with cuteness. This plan may actually call for a lot of dogs to be euthanized.

Mosques don't kill puppies, people kill puppies. Read more!

My Whole Street Is a Mosque

My Whole Street Is a Mosque by Mira Schor of the Huffington Post

I live on Lispenard Street just south of Canal Street in Lower Manhattan, 14 blocks north of Ground Zero. My daily life on this street and this neighborhood gives me an insight into aspects of Muslim worship in Lower Manhattan people outside of New York City may not be aware of.

From my corner I saw with my own eyes the second plane hit the South Tower. I lived downtown through the scary nights and the many rough months after September 11, and I am here to say that my whole street is a mosque. Several times a day, small groups of Muslims -- mainly African street vendors who peddle carvings or fake Vuitton bags and Rolex watches on Canal Street -- pull out prayers mats, often just rolls of cardboard they store in the nooks and crannies of the buildings around, take their shoes off in all weather, wash their feet with water from bottles, kneel towards the east and pray, 14 blocks from Ground Zero, on ground they've spontaneously "hallowed." And the only thing one can say, in the words of my late Holocaust-refugee Polish-Jewish mother, is "Only in America."

Or at least, only in New York, where these outdoors rituals take place on the street surrounded by crowds of Chinese vendors, NYPD cops, business men, rich men's children and their nannies, and busloads of women tourists from the American South who have come to buy those fake Vuitton bags from those vendors (nice Christian ladies who have no problem breaking New York City's tax laws by buying fake label merchandise). Every day I pass these men praying across the narrow street from my front door and on corners throughout Lower Manhattan. It is an example of the religious freedom and tolerance that has made this country a beacon of freedom around the world.

And so the notion of keeping a mosque from the Ground Zero area is absurd: the streets all around it are already provisional mosques, because these men need to pray somewhere. Out of necessity they put the most private religious worship into the most public and the most humble of spaces. Along with the many who perished on September 11, they too bring to mind President Abraham Lincoln's words in the Gettysburg Address that "in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract." Ground can be hallowed many different ways. This is one that I witness every day.

Politicians like President Obama should be wrapping themselves in the American Flag, waving the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights and hollering about Freedom of Religion, the Mayflower, the Founding Fathers, Ellis Island, the Land of the Free, at the top of their lungs, throwing every righteous trope in the rhetorical book of the myth of America at those who would destroy "the better angels of our nature," not getting all wimpy and conciliatory in the face of people who pander hatred and bigotry and who are cynically manipulating the strong emotions of some Ground Zero Families and using the "hallowed ground" of Lower Manhattan as this week's battering ram against America's true greatness.
Read more!

Meet Jack's Distant Relative??

The innocent eyelashes that roped me in... 2005

Nancy, Wee Jordan, Sarah, and Jack the Quarab Pony in Spring of 2007, I think. Jordan must have been right about 1 year old, because she's standing in one of my photos.

In case anyone wondered why Jack the pony ended up as a "companion" pony and not a riding mount, here is a pony who must be a distant relative. Ed the pony, accd to owner, was completely checked by vet, saddler, trainer, etc. (as was Jack). On lead rope--almost always perfect (as was Jack). But let him off-lead and watch the sparks fly. Jack--and Ed--did NOT want to be ridden. The trainer found it so hard to believe that the mom finally made a clip of Ed Unleashed. Trainer was convinced.

Ed's little owner Ross, however, was madly in love with Ed, singing to him on the ground and telling him stories for hours. (Also like Jack--he was a puppy dog on the ground.) You'll notice mom had Ross in helmet AND full body armour (used for cross-country eventers). The only thing I noticed that Ed did NOT do that Jack would do is whip his head around and take a bite out of your calf. I always wore half-chaps working with Jack but he'd always find someplace uncovered to bite if I was aboard. The fun never ended with Jack.

As Ross outgrew Ed, Ed did finally go to a nice farm as a lawn ornament as well.

Felt bad laughing, but the lying down to get rid of your rider is SUCH a classic pony move: and the only one Jack didn't try.

Comparatively, Jack only threw me once--can't believe the tenacity of this little boy!

A little more of Jack after the jump...

Here's Jack being a complete gentleman on-lead without saddle or bridle for Sarah and little Jordan. Appearances can be deceiving--we just didn't make a video of Sarah or me riding, or of our barn owner, Dan, who is extremely good with scared/nervous horses. He had the same experiences.
Jordan is rarin' to go!!

His next move? The calf grab. Guess he didn't appreciate the forelock braid.

Jack touching base with Julian--a slightly safer ride for Jordan, or any human.
Read more!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Jordan's ready for Halloween... Sort of

Jordan torturing her dad, Jeff

Okay, my niece Jordan wants to be Pickles for Halloween. No, not the condiment, one of my guinea pigs. Anyone got a pattern? We need lots of 70's shag carpet...

Pickles enjoying a fresh dandelion salad

Then again, she could always go as a Matisse painting.
Read more!

The Cat and the Crow

If you can get past the narration of Alan Thicke and a few schmaltzy re-enactments, this is truly something to crow about!

Sorry, I couldn't help myself. And don't worry, "SkinFlix" isn't what is sounds like. I, um, checked. Read more!

Randy "The Unit" Johnson Turns Pro Again For Soundgarden!

Randy Johnson, left; Chris Cornell, right, just in case a few of you really have been living under a rock for 20 years.

From SPIN Magazine:


"Photographers working the pit for Soundgarden's comeback set at the recent Lollapalooza festival in Chicago were joined by a very special, if unexpected guest: Baseball legend Randy Johnson, aka "the Big Unit," a veteran of 22 seasons in the big leagues, with 302 career victories, five Cy Young Awards as the game's best pitcher, and a World Series ring with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001.

"Soundgarden, old pals of Johnson's from his days pitching for the Seattle Mariners in the late-'80s and '90s, invited the 6'10" hurler to hang out with them at Lollapalooza, and Johnson brought along his camera gear to document the band's big night.

"Here, Johnson shares his favorite shots from the gig, and tells SPIN.com about how he met Soundgarden—SPIN's current cover stars—back in 1989 and ended up in their Lolla entourage this year."

Interview by Peter Gaston

The 46 year-old catches some air...

Chris Cornell. Yes, he's singing "Jesus Christ Pose"

I've been dying to see what Randy's pics looked like. He filmed the Vic show, partly in front of us--while I was thinking, "They couldn't have hired a shorter videographer?" and one of my companions was saying, "Hey, that guy looks just like Randy Johnson!" to which we rolled our eyes. Oops. Sorry, Arthur. Randy also took some GREAT shots at Lolla for Spin Magazine. My favorite is actually one of Matt:

My personal drumming inspiration, Matt Cameron, last seen signing my Lolla Mag in 1996 at a gas station outside of the Gorge at George in WA. The pen he used had a pic of a little Siamese cat taped to it. Luckily, he didn't notice.

SPIN: "Johnson was stoked to share his photos with the band, after Lollapalooza. "Everybody in the Soundgarden camp has liked them," Johnson says. "I sent them to Kim, and he sent them to [drummer] Matt [Cameron] and [bassist] Ben [Shepherd]. And they all liked the shots. I think it was maybe something more than what they expected, which is a compliment to me."

Cameron might even use some of the shots for an upcoming drum endorsement, Johnson said."

Kim Thayil

BACK IN 1989...

"... Randy Johnson got traded from the Montreal Expos to the Seattle Mariners, right around the time the Emerald City was giving birth to some of the '90s biggest bands, including Soundgarden.

"'I listened to all types of music, and obviously when I got to Seattle I was very much aware of the music scene there,' Johnson recalls. 'And Kim [Thayil, Soundgarden's guitarist, pictured above] is a very familiar face with the black beard. I saw him on the big screen in the KingDome where we were playing a baseball game that night, so I figured he must be a baseball fan.'"

Kim Thayil on left, Ben Shepherd on right. Our "team" was down in front of Ben and had a blast with him!

"'I made my way to a Soundgarden concert that year while the baseball season was still going. And I met their manager at the time, whoever that was [This is a hysterical pot-shot if you know the history of Chris or the band--Nancy], and I just explained who I was,' Johnson says.

"'My name's Randy Johnson and I play for the Seattle Mariners. I saw Kim Thayil on the Jumbotron and I'd like to invite him to come down to the ballpark and take some batting practice if he wants.'

"'I left my number, and within a couple of days he got back to me and I arranged him and, actually he brought Ben Shepherd, the bass player, down with him to the dome, and they took batting practice and had a good time.'"


"After retiring from baseball in 2009, just after notching his 300th career win as a pitcher—a milestone only 23 other players have achieved—Johnson returned to Seattle at the start of the 2010 season to be honored by his former team. It just so happened that Soundgarden was about to end their retirement at the exact same time.

"'Kim had asked me to come down to a studio where they were rehearsing,' says Johnson. 'And this was several days before they did that unannounced first show of theirs at the Showbox in Seattle. Unfortunately, the day before they played that show, I had to leave to go to Japan, so I wasn't able to make it, but I watched them rehearse one night in Seattle and got caught up with all them, told them all good luck.'

"'Kim told me shortly after that visit that they were going to be doing Lollapalooza and headlining, and I told him that I'd like to come,' Johnson says. 'My schedule worked out great—I flew from Baltimore to Chicago the morning of the Lollapalooza show, hooked up with Kim and his girlfriend, put my suitcase down, and drove over to the venue with those guys and hung out, said hi to a lot of people, and then took pictures.'"

Bravo, Baseball Legend!!

Read more!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

If I've told you once...

...I've told you a thousand times. Ross Halfin takes the best rock pictures out there, period. Who else (behind a lens) can get a look like this out of a Cornell portrait?

No one I know...

June 13, 2009 Download Festival

Read more!

Dear FB: Salaam means PEACE in Arabic

Letter to one of several friends who could no longer find me on Facebook and feared I had unfriended her:

Dear L___ ,

Sorry to scare you--I've had a few e-mails...

I suspended the entire account due to the hate-posts I was getting or reading on other friend's pages. I was just so tired of the Obama-bashing and then when the mosque/Muslim hate started going, I was so upset I had to leave. It was either that or unfriend 90% of my friends--mostly for what THEIR friends were saying. I couldn't let it roll off my back any more.

The final breaking point was when one woman equated people that would go to the mosque proposed near ground zero as "the same as letting sex offenders set up practice next to an elementary school." I nearly threw up when I read that. So now Muslims that had NOTHING to do with 9/11 and just want to worship God are not only automatically terrorists but also sex offenders and, in another comment by someone else, Nazis?

After 25 years of studying Middle East and American history, 15 years of studying Arabic, a year of living with these wonderful, caring people in Cairo, and all the Arab-American friends I have (on FB also) I couldn't stand it. It has become a platform of ignorance and hate, and it broke my heart.

I still get hate e-mails from my blog, which is where I took refuge with my opinions, but they are only a few a day and I can handle them better.

I didn't cancel FB entirely--I just have to wait till this blows over and figure out how to handle friends I love that have all Muslims confused with 11 sick-ass men that were not in ANY way religious. They may have called themselves that, but no Muslim I have ever met considers them anything but hate-filled crazy men--NOT Muslims.

We have Christians commit mass murders all the time in our country but we do not fear Christianity (well, I do) but the fear of Muslims is being exploited by the press and by campaigners to an extend that I had to almost completely isolate myself.

Tomorrow, for example, I am going to dinner with relatives who are right-wing religious Republicans. It's hard enough for them that my dad is a gay activist--though they treat him with complete respect. You know me, I plan to wear my white tee that has the huge word "peace" on it--in Arabic.

So if you need me I'll be on e-mail and my blog. I just can't take the hate and misinformation anymore. I just didn't want to keep finding out the hard way which of my friends were racists. I've spent my entire adult life fighting those stereotypes with school and personal experience, but in the end, the opposition overwhelmed me. Now they can hate without me constantly commenting on it.

You can see, I'm obviously still worked up about the whole issue (since I can't block the news) so that is why FB was not the place for me anymore.

I did announce it before I left but once I suspended it, people can't see me and just think I unfriended them. In fact, this was the only way I could think of to save those friendships.
Love you,

Salaam means peace in Arabic. In case anyone wondered. And no, the person modeling this t-shirt was not be-headed by extremists.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Hottest Act of 2010--We Salute You!

Chris Cornell at the beginning of the Lollapalooza set, Aug 8, 2010.

Chris Cornell at the end of the Lollapalooza set, Aug 8, 2010. Can you spot the differences?
'Twas a hot motherfucker out there Sunday night...

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Yes!! But my neighbors would NEVER agree...

This pic is 2 yrs old and funny. Can't see concrete anymore...

Franklin considers 'natural lawn' idea
By Tom Kertscher of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Aug. 18, 2010 5:46 p.m. (26) Comments

Franklin - The Common Council might allow residents to grow "natural lawns" - those containing "common species of grass and wild flowers native to North America which are designed and purposefully cultivated to exceed 12 inches in height from the ground."

The council has asked the city Environmental Commission to examine the issue. The commission is scheduled to discuss the matter Aug. 25.

Residents would have to apply to the city to have a natural lawn and get consent from abutting neighbors - unless the resident could show the city that the lawn would be screened by an "opaque fence or row of continuous shrubs," according to a memo from a city planner.

Let 'em grow!!!
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Right Turn w/Layne Staley (AIC), Chris Cornell and Mark Arm of Mudhoney

A.K.A. Alice Mudgarden

Inside always trying to get back inside
But it's so hard to penetrate pig-thick skin
I'm 'bout as low as I can get
I'd leave but I can't forget
Still I wonder why it, it ain't right?
It ain't right, ain't right, it ain't right, yeah
'Bout as low as she can get
She'll leave me but she won't forget
And she wonders why she ain't right?
She ain't right, ain't right, she ain't right
Now we're as low as we can get
Can't leave and can't forget
We ain't right, we ain't right, not right, we ain't right
Well it's hard to believe that somebody tricked you (Well it's hard to believe that somebody tricked you) (Ain't right)
When you can see you were only high (When you can see you were only high) (We ain't right)
It's all up to you so you gamble (It's all up to you so you gamble) (We ain't right)
Flat on your face and into the fire (Flat on your face and into the fire) (We ain't right)
Well it's hard to believe that somebody tricked you (We ain't right)
(Well it's hard to believe that somebody tricked you) (We ain't right)
When you can see you were only high (We ain't right) (When you can see you were only high)
It's all up to you so you gamble (It's all up to you so you gamble) (We ain't right)
Flat on your face and into the fire (Flat on your face) (It's all up to you so you gamble) (We ain't right)

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Are we having fun yet? Comments on "The Anti-Social Network"

Anonymous commenter "K":

Posting anything political on FB is not going to win many friends. Political nonsense is divisive and if there were consensus, then we probably would be living in a dictatorship, something I'm sort of opposed to, and offended by, being an American. When someone posts a benign comment, it's best to take it that way versus turning someone's commentary into a hate-fest. I neither hate Muslims nor any religion, regardless of whether I call myself a Christian. It seems that for all the painstaking defense of other religions, Liberals have taken to criticizing Christians at every turn as fanatical. Actually, I don't care because it's kind of amusing, to be quite honest. But to some, who aren't able to see the hypocrisy, it is offensive. And yet, no one seems to care. When I complained about an exhibit at a local gallery which displayed Christ with someone urinating on him, I was told that free expression is "artistic". And though you might be one of those who believe that as well, it's actually quite sickening and would not be tolerated if it were anyone else's religious symbol. So, I'm glad that there are people like you who are out there defending other religions, but actually, this country was built on the foundation of Christianity and so be it. For those that want to join other religions or no religion, there are ways to do that and still respect the majority who are Christian.

There is nothing inherently wrong in being a Christian. Fanatics are present in every religion (and political party)and so is hypocrisy. Enjoying political commentary whether it be Glenn Beck or Jon Stewart does not inherently make you a "hater" or "fanatic" or "anti-social". You cannot defend someone's rights only when it is convenient to your belief system. Everyone has the right to believe what they wish.

As for my suggestion which you found "physically sickening", it really was a benign comment. Being a horse lover, it might be hard for you to pass a slaughter house for horses everyday or a battered Women's shelter next to a prison. These might be emotional issues for you. Other people too, have valid emotions that should be respected. At what point do we decide whose emotions are to be respected? I vote for those who are citizens of our country.

I have found, that Liberal ideology is really a lack of the human experience. Gun control for instance, might make sense when you listen to the Liberal dogma, but when you are being held at gunpoint by a stranger, you might wish you had a gun. To suggest though, that your opinion on any matter is the correct one, is one of egocentricity. An opinion is based on whatever nonsense you listen to as well, whether it's Michael Moore or any network news that presents illegals as "victims". Regardless of whether people want to flee their country, there are legal processes and it would be illegal in any country to sneak in and collect benefits, not just ours. Having an opinion that all illegals should come in freely might be interesting fodder for discussion but regardless it is against the present law, despite the current president.But that's a whole other discussion.

August 18, 2010 1:36 PM

My response:

To my anonymous friend K,

I strongly recommend you start your own blog.

Comparing law-abiding Muslim worshippers to sex offenders still makes me physically ill. These people have NOT committed any crime, and wish only to exercise their right to freedom of religion, in a mosque that was there before 9/11 even occurred. THAT--freedom of Religion--is what America was founded on--not Christianity. We got sick of being pushed around by the Church of England and therefore founded our own country (on Native American lands) to do so. So we had to kill a few Indians--it was worth it. They were Luddites, really.

Finally, this political discourse is as much nonsense as a debate over the constitution. I will continue to work to destroy appalling stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims as long as I live, just as I do for gays (oh no, more sex offenders!) and other groups maligned due to lack of education in this country. I'm not doing it to win or keep friends. I'm doing it because it's the right thing to do, and I'll do it alone if it comes to that. That does not bother me in the least.

August 18, 2010 7:37 PM

Muslims do not equal sex offenders. Just wanted to repeat that, make sure we're clear on that one. Thanks. Read more!

Comments from Aug 17: News Outlets Split

This Ground Zero worker, Bob Pernal, is NOT the anonymous commenter, as far as I know. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Anonymous commenter:
I've been to the WTC, there were no strip joints next door despite what libs want to use as an excuse.

My response:
Well, we knew you might get suspicious, so a few weeks ago we rushed up there and created a few building facades to make the article appear more convincing. But you're too clever for us Libs! Getting the businesses listed in the NYC Yellow Pages at such late notice cost us a small fortune, but we used all our hoarded welfare payments and made it happen!

From FACT CHECK: Islam already part of WTC neighborhood


No mosque is going up at ground zero. The center would be established at 45-51 Park Place, just over two blocks from the northern edge of the sprawling, 16-acre World Trade Center site. Its location is roughly half a dozen normal Lower Manhattan blocks from the site of the North Tower, the nearest of the two destroyed in the attacks.

The center's location, in a former Burlington Coat Factory store, is already used by the cleric for worship, drawing a spillover from the imam's former main place for prayers, the al-Farah mosque. That mosque, at 245 West Broadway, is about a dozen blocks north of the World Trade Center grounds.

Another, the Manhattan Mosque, stands five blocks from the northeast corner of the World Trade Center site.

To be sure, the center's association with 9/11 is intentional and its location is no geographic coincidence. The building was damaged in the Sept. 11 attacks and the center's planners say they want the center to stand as a statement against terrorism.

[Scary Muslim!] Guests listen as President Barack Obama speaks at an iftar dinner, the meal that breaks the dawn-to-dusk fast for Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan, in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 13, 2010. For over a billion Muslims, Ramadan is a time of intense devotion and reflection. Obama emphasized the American tenet of religious freedom just as New York City is immersed in a deeply sensitive debate about whether a mosque should be built near the site of the World Trade Center that was destroyed during the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Don't Laugh

Pygmy Jerboa after the leap...

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Soundgarden in SPIN--"Full Access"

Photo by Francesco Carrozzini

Soundgarden: Alive in the Superunknown By David Peisner

This is one of the best in-depth articles I've seen in a long time. Extensive quotes from Ben, who's been having shit for luck; Kim, who likes to sleep as much as I do; Matt, who confirms his loyalties to Pearl Jam; Chris, who speaks the least but, as usual, speaks honestly; and surprisingly, Susan Silver, Cornell's ex-wife and ex-manager.

The most interesting part was that Cornell's January 1 tweet:

"The 12-year break is over and school is back in session. Sign up now. Knights of the Soundtable ride again!" was actually misinterpreted as a reunion announcement for the band.

"As Thayil tells me later, 'We're not the Knights of the Soundtable, that was our fan club. We were just re-upping it with the new website. But the rumors generated offers. The demand was overwhelming. I wouldn't say we acquiesced, but we kind of warmed to the idea.'"

And thank God for that.

Cornell and Matt with SG at Lollapalooza

As far as this fan is concerned, I'm grateful for anything that comes along, and most certainly for the once-in-a-lifetime moments, from the rail at Lollapalooza, where Laurie and I played with a very outgoing Ben Shepherd from the stage above--to the intimate (and slightly bone-crushing) gig at the 1400-seat Vic Theatre, also in Chicago.

Anything else is just icing on the cake.
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News Outlets Split in Describing Mosque

Photo: AP/ Seth Wenig

News Outlets Split in Describing Mosque
By Michael Calderone

There is no mosque being built on the site of Ground Zero. It's a simple fact, but one that news consumers can be forgiven for missing.

In covering the growing controversy over the proposed Islamic community center in lower Manhattan, the national media, led by the big cable networks, have by default shaped the increasingly heated debate by repeatedly referring to the project as the "Ground Zero mosque." An MSNBC spokesman said that describing the project is a "show-by-show decision," while a CNN spokesperson said the network guides anchors in written copy to refer to the project as "an Islamic center that includes a mosque that is near Ground Zero, or is two blocks from Ground Zero." Of course, political pundits may stray from the network's phrasing and inaccurately describe the location of the planned building at the center of the furor.

But Phil Corbett, the New York Times' standards editor said, "Given how politically volatile this discussion has been, we think it's important to be accurate and precise," in explaining the paper's consistent references to the planned structure being two blocks from the Ground Zero site.

The "Park51" project, as it's officially dubbed, is in fact planned for a site two blocks from where the World Trade Center towers fell, amid other lower Manhattan establishments whose names have never featured the words "Ground Zero." If built, the 13-story community center and mosque project will be one of hundreds of buildings located within blocks of Ground Zero — a densely populated area that already includes a couple of mosques, along with less "hallowed" institutions, like strip clubs, bars and Off Track Betting operations.

But Park51 is getting all the attention downtown — and now, nationwide. President Obama affirmed the constitutional right to build a mosque on private property Friday, breathing new life into an already long-raging controversy. In covering Obama's recent remarks — and the past couple months of debate — the media's played a pivotal role in framing the issues at hand. Here's a rundown of how the media covered the debate as it took shape.

Location, location, location

News organizations make conscious decisions when they describe a construction work-in-progress as either located on the site of the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history or two blocks away. The New York Times — except for one blog headline — has consistently described the mosque in headlines as not being built at Ground Zero but "near" the site.

Corbett, who oversees the Times standards on such questions, told The Upshot that he hasn't issued any formal guidelines but has discussed that particular phrasing with editors.

"To call it the Ground Zero Mosque not only would give you the impression that it's on the site of the Trade Center," he continued, "but it might even give you the further impression that it's part of the rebuilding process to that site."

The Times appears to be in the minority, judging by headlines related to Obama's remarks.

Many news organizations ran headlines this past weekend describing a "Ground Zero mosque," including the Associated Press, Huffington Post, Washington Post, Fox News, New York Daily News, Politico, and AOL's Politics Daily site. (Yahoo! News, linking to an AP story on the remarks, similarly went with "Ground Zero mosque.")

Several other news organizations routinely place "Ground Zero" in quotation marks, which is more of shorthand way of describing the debate without pinpointing the location.

Still, shorthand also plays a significant part in how the media frames debates. Anyone who's picked up a newspaper or turned on cable news has likely heard about the "Ground Zero mosque" and the controversy surrounding it. It's perhaps the simplest way to jump into a story that's now lasted more than two months.

Beginning of the "Ground Zero mosque" narrative

Salon's Justin Elliot noted Monday that the "Ground Zero mosque" controversy started to take shape in early May, with conservative Pamela Geller, of the Atlas Shrugs blog, and the New York Post leading the charge. It was only after such opposition gained steam — and in the wake of an important local community board vote — that the words "Ground Zero mosque" started appearing in headlines of national publications.

The AP, for one, didn't refer to the project as the "Ground Zero mosque" until late May, according to a Lexis-Nexis search.

On May 6, the AP ran the following headline: "Plan for mosque near 9/11-damaged site." Up until May 24, AP headlines were always clear that the project isn't going to be built at Ground Zero. That day's headline: "Landmark status could stop mosque near ground zero."

But on May 25, the AP ran the following: "Groups to present NY ground zero mosque plans." And the next day: "NYC community board OKs ground zero mosque plans."

Since late May, the AP has described the projected in headlines as the "Ground Zero mosque" on numerous, but not all, occasions. Following the president's remarks, the AP ran this headline: "Obama supports 'the right' for ground zero mosque."

Chad Roedemeier, assistant chief of AP's New York bureau, told The Upshot in an email that "the slug" — a journalistic shorthand for what an article's about—"on the story has always been Ground Zero mosque, and it has appeared that way sometimes in headlines."

"But the proposed mosque is actually two blocks away from ground zero, and our stories have always said 'a planned mosque near ground zero,' " Roedemeier continued. "We never say 'a mosque at ground zero.' "

It's true that the AP's coverage of the debate is always clear, often in the lead sentence, that construction would be two blocks away. Roedemeier noted that the AP has used "ground zero mosque" twice in the body of a story, but only "when it was described that way by mosque opponents."

AP spokesman Paul Colford told The Upshot that AP "headlines are a telescoping or a shorthanding of a text and a story." Colford said he was also unaware of any official change in policy that would explain why AP stories before May 25 didn't refer to a "Ground Zero mosque" in headlines.

The 1,500-plus newspapers and websites that run AP copy can change the headlines as they see fit. But given that many newsrooms follow AP style, it's possible they'd also go with the news organization's own usage of "Ground Zero mosque" in headlines.

There goes the neighborhood?

The phrase "Ground Zero mosque" may not only create a perception that the project would built at Ground Zero, but also that there's a section of Manhattan by that name. Nate Silver, the blogger behind FiveThirtyEight.com, pointed out to headline writers this past weekend that Ground Zero is not a neighborhood.

Unlike Manhattan's Upper East Side or Soho, no New Yorker says they live in Ground Zero. Also, two blocks can be worlds apart in Manhattan's real estate market — particularly at the narrow lower tip of the island. In an earlier life as a New York real estate reporter, I've seen firsthand how building prices rise, or dip, considerably, depending on which side of a given street they're on — that's how small a New York neighborhood can be.

The Times' Corbett also pointed out that there are probably hundreds of buildings within a two-block radius of Ground Zero. The decision to shy away from dubbing one the "Ground Zero mosque," he said, is "really a question of being accurate."

"We all fall into these forms of shorthand sometimes, when you've written a story so many times," Corbett said. "Sometimes the shorthand can really confuse people or become inaccurate and we need to be wary about that."

The Upshot has reached out to Fox News to see if it has specific policies and will update when we hear back.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

What do you do when 1/5 of your country washes away?

AFP Photo, Arif Ali

AP Photo, Shakil Adil

Sorry, we're too busy arguing about a mosque.
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