Wednesday, February 29, 2012
rip davey jones
his publicist, helen kensick, said the singer died in indiantown, fla., where he lived.
jones sang lead on some of the group's biggest hits, including daydream believer.
jones, who like his bandmates had continued to perform, had dates scheduled for march.
the monkees - daydream believer
The Six O'Clock Alarm Would Never Ring
Don Kirshner wanted a photogenic—telegenic—group he could control and sell. The songwriting would be taken care of by The Professionals: Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, Neil Diamond, John Stewart (who wrote the song shown below), Jerry Goffin and his wife "Oh" Carol King, and the other residents of 1619 Broadway.
But something happened on the way to that place. It turned out that the musicians were real musicians, and the two actors—who later toured with Boyce and Hart—understood that the musicians wanted to do more—like write and make music—and supported those efforts.
The musicians had friend (such as Frank Zappa) who added absurdity to shows that otherwise were comedic. The Texan began to write and produce country-rock songs, in the days before Sweetheart of the Rodeo. The four became a group, and began to do interesting things—even (Heaven forfend) publicly credit the studio musicians who worked on their albums, not to mention those who toured with them.
It lead to fights that did no one any good in the short term: Kirshner decided that if they weren't going to be The Prefab Four (as wags later referred to them), he didn't need to keep them around. The country-rock album was delayed until after The Byrds disc proved that the kid Had the Right Idea After All.
After three short seasons, it fell apart. The television series ended, and almost no one missed it. The group made a few albums and a movie over the next few years, but first the bassist and then the lead guitarist left.
The more you look at it, the more you think the bright-eyed English kid kept them all together Just Long Enough. And when they re-formed, nearly twenty years later, recording some new material and even being a tour (apparently, until Don Henley gave them a negative review, at which point the lead guitarist quit the tour and returned to his successful production company). And they tried some more, but the thrill was gone.
And now the English kid has taken that Last Train to Clarksville, being "done too soon" of a heart attack.
Why I'm Voting "No" on the SAG-AFTRA Merger Part 2
[second in a series by actor/blogger Gil Christner]
There are other reasons that I am hesitant to vote yes on this current merger proposal. To be honest, the biggest of these other reasons is purely selfish: I want my pension! (and I’d like to keep the Screen Actors Guild-Producers Health Plan, one of the premiere health insurance plans in the country!)
There is no literal way to know one way or the other how the merging of the two separate health and pension plans of the two unions would play out (unless you know Dr. Who or Bill & Ted). However, one can make educated guesses, based on current and past realities. The Pro-Merger contingent argues that a combined merger, and by implication, a combined health and pension plan, would be obviously stronger. But there many many experts that would take exception to that vague idea, or at least raise some alarm bells about taking it as fact.
Variety reports on the lawsuit filed by the Minority Opposition view to stop (or at least, disregard) this week’s ballot until a comprehensive actuarial report can be made on the pros and cons of merging the two health and pension plans:
Yet the pro-merger side cites very few experts in defense of their position.
Nobody I know has even questioned the truth of a, b or c. However what is missing is a specific estimation of what might happen (the positives and the negatives) if these two specific plans were to merge.
In fact, the trustees of the AFTRA plan themselves doubt that it would be easy or simple or perhaps even advisable, denying the above-mentioned Plan co-counsel’s involvement:
This report raised several questions in 2003 about the supposed benefits of merging the two plans. It raised enough questions that the trustees of the SAG pension plan to deem merger “unacceptable.”
Though I have no specific knowledge of the two plans’ viability together or separate, I can’t honest believe that economic conditions have improved so much since then that what was deemed economically unviable in 2003 would now be considered smooth sailing to easy street in 2012.
[More Later. Part 1 can be read here]
10 big questions for conservative politicians
russian scientists revive frozen ice age flower back to life
occupy andrew breitbart
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Why I'm Voting "No" on the SAG-AFTRA Merger Part 1
I did my first Screen Actors Guild job in 1979 when I had one line in “More American Graffiti.” I played a hippie in a commune who refused Candy Clark’s plea for money to bail her boyfriend out of jail. I remember the line well: “He still owes me 50 for that key I fronted him.” What Acting! Bravo!
I joined AFTRA a couple of years later when I did a commercial under that contract. So I have been a proud dues-paying member of both performers’ unions for over 30 years. And I must say that both Unions have done well by me; I have made a living under SAG contracts for nearly 20 years (not to mention the great health benefits I got and the Pension I am getting), and AFTRA was instrumental in recovering money from a producer who used tape of me in a TV show without my knowledge or permission. I am glad to be a member of both esteemed organizations.
Yet I am voting “No” (two times…one ballot per union) on the current SAG-AFTRA merger proposal. Now, make no mistake, I am definitely NOT against the merger of the two unions in theory. But there are many many reasons why I think this specific proposal is not only bad for the Screen Actors Guild members, but bad for Middle Class Actors all across the country as well.
On the surface, merger of the two actors unions sounds like a great idea. In fact, the surface idea of it is one of the main talking points that the pro-merger side is touting. What could be better than all actors in one Grand Union, working together, battling Management for the betterment of its members? Solidarity forever, Together United, We’ll Never Be Divided, The People Yes!
Unfortunately, there is one large detriment to the specifics of SAG merging with AFTRA in my view, and it flies directly in the face of Union Solidarity.
For those unaware of the specifics of the two actors unions, AFTRA not only represents actors in television and radio, it also represents Broadcasters: On Camera News people, Sports and Weather Casters, Announcers, etc. And putting aside the question of whether Broadcasters’ work and contract problems are the same as Actors, putting aside the question of whether Broadcasters would have voting rights on Actors contracts, or whether they would even honor an Actor picket line, I have a huge HUGE prhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifoblem with the current paradigm of Broadcasters and Union work.
Simply put, Broadcasters work off the card (non-union) with impunity. AFTRA never punishes union Broadcasters for working non-union shops (and there are plenty of non-union shops: CNN, Fox Sports, etc). I am unwilling to consider merging the Screen Actors Guild, whose Global Rule One is Don’t Work Non-Union, with a union that refuses to enforce a similar, fundamental definition of what it is to be in a Union. I forsee a weakening of union standards, and probably union effectiveness, if it’s accepted behavior to work non-union.
[we will provide Gil with space to air more reasons later - ed.]
here's part 3
why patriarchal men are scared of birth control
the 10 scariest states to be an atheist
russia faced nuclear disaster in 2011
Monday, February 27, 2012
4 out of 5 economists agree: the stimulus worked
why has obama reversed course on medical marijuana?
animals doing people things
Sunday, February 26, 2012
mIssouri catholic bishop seeks dismissal of cover-up charges
mormonism no longer one of the fastest growing religions
bathe in knowledge: functional bathtub made out of books
and, may we take a moment to give kudos to ed kilgore, who has taken over steve benen's spot @the political animal @ the washington monthly. unlike other inside-the-beltway blogs who only give us two "open threads" for their entire weekend content, ed turns over his space to new voices every saturday and sunday. this allows new writers to gain exposure, and certainly gives readers something to do besides extend flame wars with trolls! good job, ed!
Saturday, February 25, 2012
why sag members should vote 'no' on upcoming merger
we agree, this vote is coming too fast. certain questions have not been answered, and they are the very questions to which "merger" was supposed to address. however nobody has specified "how" merger will address these questions.
we at skippy international say, if you are a member of sag and/or aftra, vote "no" in the upcoming ballot.
dancing on a saturday night
gop aide sentenced for disenfranchising robo-call on election day
how jack kirby helped the cia rescue diplomats (and it all started with roger zelazney!) (via avedon
and it's dogs against romney
Friday, February 24, 2012
skippy sez: "vote NO on sag aftra merger"
we at skippy don't endorse the merger. pensions will be merged and, by all accounts from various studies on specifics, the sag pensioners will lose benefits.
for a comprehensive, easy to read non-partisan analysis of why this merger is bad for actors, read the editorial from bizparentz, a group of parents of working child actors. their only concerns are their children's welfare, not 58 year-old commercial character actors.
and here's the opposition statement being included in the ballot mailing next week.
not to mention the loss of individual membership vote for national officers, instead sending reps to convention to choose. these, and a myriad of other results plus the dearth of specifics to remedy the problems the merger purports to address, make us at skippy internatonal vote a big no!
addendum: what jackson pollack sez:
every friday afternoon
conservative personality disorder
need to protect your personal data? there's no app for that
swiss plan janitor satellite to clean up space junk
Thursday, February 23, 2012
skippy's thursday night music club
happy blogiversary to steve benen!!
steve was an early fan of this humble space, and treated us well while he running the carpetbagger report. after a stint at political animal, now he's in the big time, as a blogger and producer for rachel maddow.
steve has always been the first read for us in the morning, wherever he happened to be working. he's one of the go-to voices in blogtopia, and yes, we coined that phrase! good work steve, and congrats!
the myth of small businesses as job creators
need moralizing about abortion? ther's an app for that
these evenings you can see mercury with your naked eye
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
skippy's wednesday night music club
Feature or Bug? Yes edition
Jim Henley, taking a moment of Twitter time from trying to save the world from spreading Santorum, suggested yesterday that "Wonderous Stories" (the second hit single* from Going for the One) is "the worse Yes song," rather than "Don’t Kill the Whale" (the first single from the subsequent Tormato albumen).
I dissented, and Jim was gracious enough to explain his reasoning, noting that the lyrics to "Don't Kill the Whale" make more sense than those of "Wonderous Stories." So I know we’re looking at the same data.**
But that’s the problem. You see, Jon Anderson lyrics aren't supposed to make sense. I mean, really:
Only the second example, and that just barely, can be passed off as the lyrics of someone whose natural bent is not toward "goofy."**** Were Anderson not a castrati, David Byrne’s career might well have ended somewhere between "Love is a Building on Fire" and "Life During Wartime,"***** in recognition that tracks such as "Burning Down the House" or "Stay Up Late" owe their lyrical structure to ransom notes and Tales from Topographic Oceans.
As we follow the path of the band, we see Anderson becoming less and less lyrically obscure—a problem compounded as the music never gets more interesting. Variations on Stravinsky or Copeland sound less unique in a time when aspiring mainstreamers such as Barry Manilow are adapting Chopin, and eventually the audience realizes that they can go to the symphony instead, and the band is left to produce the Love Beachs and Tormatos of this world.******
In short, there seems still some faint glimmer of hope left when "Wonderous Stories" is released; that hope is dashed upon the rocks a year later with "Don't Kill the Whale." At least, that was my perspective.
Jim, dealing with the singles, clearly disagrees. So I leave it to the Skippy readership:
Don't Kill the Whale
or Wonderous Stories (which doesn't appear to have had an Official Music Video)
I report, you decide.
*Phrase used loosely.
***I haven’t verified that we’re in agreement that Going for the One is a superior Yes album, which seems rather like saying that one’s latest bowel movement was solid and relatively monochromatic. The homoerotic Roger Dean cover—a naked man staring up at a skyscraper; Robert Plant, one suspects, can relate—and the presence of the Obligatory Unending Song That Takes Up the Second Side*** make that a recognizable Yes album, while Tormato makes ELP’s Love Beach obituary seem like Foxtrot, or perhaps Selling England by the Pound. The band is, by that point, dead in the water, and their inevitable follow-up with the most successful single of their career, "Cloner of a Top Ten Hit," only proves that.
***I suspect "Awaken" takes up the second side; I owned it on 8-track. Certainly, it is as interminable as the album version of "Roundabout."
****A friend who is much more of a Yes fan than I, even to this day, declares that the secret to Jon Anderson lyrics is that if your interpretation of them makes sense, you’re probably hearing them wrong.
*****"Think of Memphis/Home of Elvis and the ancient Greeks"—had Byrne not freely admitted that was a gaffe, he could have taught history with Victor David Hanson
******Or find themselves being turned into something else, e.g., McGuinn, Clark, and Hillman, where Byrds songs and instrumentation were produced to sound like all the other Capricorn Records of the time.
arizona's cas against unions seems to be dissolvong
10 things barristas won't tell you
really really really tiny lizards
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
hey...assemblymember monning - go truck off
even though house minority leader nancy pelosi recently called food trucks "a model for small business innovation," other california legislators are considerably less bullish on the whole phenomenon.last week, carmel assemblyman bill monning introduced a bill prohibiting food trucks from selling food within 1,500 feet of an elementary or secondary school between the hours of 6am and 6pm.monning's bill is intended to be part of the state's effort to create a healthier eating environment for its school children. some educators feel that a whole slew of newly implemented programs--such as lausd's new, district-wide healthy lunch menu or santa barbara's revolutionary s'cool food initiative--are being undermined by the presence of nearby food trucks slinging significantly less healthy options. - huffpo
skippy's tuesday night music club
especially for you groovy tuesday
u.s. district court denies breitbart's dismissal of sherrod's lawsuit
nasa pulls plug on last main frame computer
nancy brinker's annual salary at the susan g. komen charity is equivalent to 400 mammograms per year
Monday, February 20, 2012
the verbal anachronisms of downton abbey
(and doctor science has even more!)
no herman cain on dancing with the stars
Sunday, February 19, 2012
any given sunday
the pathology of inequality: our national dementia about work and wealth
kodak may not survive but kodakery lives on
escaped emu on the lam in vermont
Saturday, February 18, 2012
come saturday morning
man brings guns to church, accidentally shoots pastor's daughter
private plane intercepted after accidentally flying thru obama's air space. the problem? it was smuggling dope
is it ok to shoot bigfoot?
Friday, February 17, 2012
black friday rule
marines nazi flag whistle blower comes forward
honor the hyatt hotels boycotts
newt's bus breaks down in west hollywood, locals not too sympathetic
Thursday, February 16, 2012
the problems romney's math
bankruptcy papers reveal more than 8000 more sexual abuse victims
san diego demonoid or dead opossum?
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
a history of ireland in 100 excuses
20% of republicans likely to vote to re-elect obama
man proposes during pokemon game w/custom made pokemon "diamond" card
bad kitty for president
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
the two sides of monsieur valentine
14 ways economists say i love you
the periodic table valentine
we're saved! it's sarah palin vs. nazis from the moon
Monday, February 13, 2012
can't get blue monday out of my head
libertarian ron paul gets reimbursed twice for government trips
rick santorum's culture war and obama's november victory
best scale/ratio/universal angst game ever
Sunday, February 12, 2012
another park another sunday
palin, stalin and alinsky
6 things you should know about arizona's attack on workers
are you a brony?
Saturday, February 11, 2012
rip whitney houston
book of saturday
gop senator and cpac white supremacist panel thinks diversity is the grwatest threat to america
the canadian seal hunt is dead! long live the seals!
yay! monty python reunites! (sort of!)
Friday, February 10, 2012
american friday night
jc penny won't fire ellen
7 signs the corporatocracy is losing
male monkeys prefer trucks to dolls; female monkeys like both
Thursday, February 09, 2012
skippy's thursday night music club
but then, a week ago last thursday
alec vs. the middle class
unionization rises in 2011
inoffensive atheist billboard challenge: accepted!
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
i'm going to the california democratic convention
i'll be bringing my computer along and hopefully give you some evening blog posts covering the goings on...that is if i'm not bloto'd out with all the parties i've been invited to.
sandy eggo...here i come!
skippy's wednesday night music club
the gop hates americans
the 2010 buick enclave parked in her garage kept michigan resident renee moore from getting food stamps for two months last year, even though her family's income had dropped to below the poverty level, her husband's ford explorer had 300,000 miles on it and her family had less than $1,000 in the bank.
why? In the eyes of the state, she owned too much. - sfgate
ash wednesday blues
the quiet triumph of obamacare
but if you want y.ou campaign contributions to count, don't give them to obama
and rip the very last wwi veteran
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
skippy's tuesday night music club
assemblymember das williams fights for californians again
after hearing the frustration of parents, teens, communities and health advocates throughout the state and across the nation about the runaway marketing of sugary drinks to youth, assemblymember das williams (d-santa barbara) is urging californians to learn more about these beverages and be mindful of what we put in our bodies.
early on tuesday
anti-gay senator kicked out of tennessee restaurant for being anti-gay
meanwhile, state gop elections official in indiana convicted of voter fraud
pythons are eating thru everglades mammals at an astonishing rate
and happy 200th birthday, charles dickens
Monday, February 06, 2012
better b.a.d. than never
bacon and eggs
call it stormy monday
mass incarceration and justice in america
the craziest mofo who ever lived
boba on board: star wars family car decals
world's longest running experiment currently on its 85th year
Sunday, February 05, 2012
environmental news stories sunday
surrounded by air pollution. - once a refuge for people desperate to breathe the clean desert air, metropolitan phoenix now battles the smog and smudged horizons the refugees were trying to escape. the pollution clogs lungs, aggravates asthma and traps people with respiratory diseases in their homes when conditions worsen - phoenix arizona republic
europe cold snap claims more than 260 lives. - the death toll from the vicious cold snap across europe has risen to more than 260, with hundreds having to be rescued after a ferry caught in a snow storm hit a breakwater off italy. - afp
climate in dc doesn't favor clean-air rules. - in february 1998, the governor's air quality strategies task force delivered a thick report recommending actions that could reduce air pollution in metropolitan phoenix. since then, almost nothing has happened to address the threat of traffic-related pollution sources along major roads and freeways or to help children or adults with respiratory illnesses aggravated by air pollution - phoenix arizona republic
gulf oil spill's 'trial of the century' could end before it begins. - bp and negotiators for federal and state governments are frantically working to confect a settlement so they won't have to leave the fate of billions of dollars in potential pollution fines and spill damage payments in the hands of u.s. district judge carl barbier. the trial is set to being in three weeks - nola times picayune
could drought threaten south africa's rooibos tea? - south africa's rooibos tea only grows in a small area and erratic weather patterns - blamed by some on climate change - mean the plant and the new industry are now under threat - bbc
ssssscotland here we come! - grass snakes from england are colonising scotland as climate warms - glasgow herald
cooked eggs recalled in california, 33 other states. - cooked eggs are being recalled in california and 33 other states over concerns about possible listeria contamination - latte times
rising australian floodwaters spark mass evacuation. - mass evacuations were under way in northern australia sunday as record flooding that has cut off thousands of people threatened to engulf areas devastated by wild weather last year. - afp
staying afloat. - drought, floods, low milk prices, decreasing water rights – uncertainty is a way of life for northern victoria's dairy farmers - melbourne age
chevron refuses to apologize for ecuador pollution. - u.s. oil supermajor chevron corp. refused to issue a public apology for pollution in ecuador’s amazon region before a court-imposed deadline, saying it is not responsible for toxic drilling waste that has spoiled ecosystems and harmed local communities’ health - latin american herald tribune
"skin deep" in more ways than one. - very little if any media attention or research has looked at the possible connections between african american beauty salons, the personal care products utilized primarily by black women and adverse health outcomes, specifically in the area of reproductive health. but that has begun to change - sf bay view
texas drought forces a town to sip from a truck. - spicewood beach is one of the first four subdivisions, made up of about 1,100 people, in drought-stricken burnet county to run so low on water that it had to be hauled in by truck - nytimes
glaciers face new threat as ice is stolen. - glaciers across the globe, at risk from climate change, now face a new threat, a u.n. report says -- ice thieves - upi
rare february blizzard rages in denver. - while snow in colorado isn't unusual, it's rare for denver and eastern colorado to get a storm of this magnitude during february. most of denver's snow comes during the fall and spring, and this storm may break records for the biggest february snowstorm. - climate central
mysteries of killer whales uncovered in the antarctic. - two of the world’s leading experts on the world’s top marine predator are now in antarctica, tagging and photographing killer whales. climate change and other human impacts, such as overfishing and the accumulation of toxic chemicals, are rapidly altering the whales’ habitats and their prey - yale environment 360
blogroll amnesty day is here again!
once again, it's time for our yearly celebration of blogroll amnesty day!
readers of this space know that b.a.d. is the holiday wherein we ask everyone in blogtopia (and yes, we coined that phrase) to link to 5 smaller blogs w/less traffic than theirs (no bad jokes about no blogs having less traffic than yours, please).
this way we all can introduce our readers to new voices in blogtopia (and yes, we coined that phrase)' as well as giving greater exposure to blogs which may otherwise go unnoticed.
now, please realize that b.a.d., or "blogroll amnesty day" for short, does not, much like purim, fall on the same date every year. it is more or less dependent on various factors in the yearly cycle, including the number of blue moons in that previous calendar year, the day of the week that chinese new year falls on, how interested we are in lent next month, and when and/or if we remember. usually, tho, the celebration starts on superbowl weekend.
of course, the impetus for this whole ordeal originated w/our dearly departed friend, the legendary jon swift, aka al weisel, who was quite upset by the original blogroll bloodbath and self-amnesty declaration by those big box blogs who shall not be named.
al, in his guise as conservative blogger jon swift, wondered why so-called liberal blogs would have the least liberal blogrolling policies. we here at skippy international joined al/jon in his mock self-righteousness, and thus, five years ago b.a.d. was born!
to begin this year's festivities, we'll let our long-time partner in this endeavor, blue gal, introduce some ground rules:
truthfully. not only is the "there are no blogs smaller than mine" joke unoriginal, it's not funny, and is seriously whiny. unless you have a blog with literally zero traffic, which means that even you don't bother to read it, then you can bet there are blogs with traffic smller than yours. be a mensch. find them. link to them. help each other out.
also, if you would be so kind, please include a link to this very blog post in your own. one year we actually got a headline @ memeorandum (here), and, truth be told, we're itching for another.
addendum: heavens, as our saintly mother used to say, we'd forget our own head if it wasn't screwed on! we'd be remiss if we failed to invite you to email us for the codes to the above graphic!
also, we would be remiss if we failed to thank batocchio, whose original graphic of jon/al was the foundation of this year's banner for b.a.d. [ed. note: and for his tireless work in this year's pre-production.]
double addendum: yes, we are late w/b.a.d. this year. sorry, we were busy helping susan g. komen w/their back-peddling, a full-time job. however, we will therefore let b.a.d. run a few extra days, so don't hesitate to put up a post and email it to us!
out goes the b.a.d. air, in comes the b.a.d.!
jill @ brilliant @ breakfast!
steve hynd over @ the agonist
busted knuckles over @ ornery bastard
mikeb302000 over @ mikeb302000
all the sundays
good luck to laffy on her gig w/the new progressive radio station in dc
will coral reefs be gone by the end of the century?
energy.gov: where information goes to die
think before you pink