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Endless Pajama Lark

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Top 20 Albums of 2012 [07 Jan 2013|12:49pm]
I hastily threw together a "top 20 albums" list of 2012 for a poll, so I present it below. Disclaimers: I didn't hear as many new albums as in years past, and I didn't do the "playoffs" I used to do when compiling my list of favorites. So this isn't carved in stone, but it's as good a list as I'm going to come up with right now.

  1. Maximo Park - The National Health
  2. The Wedding Present - Valentina
  3. Bob Mould - Silver Age
  4. Nada Surf - The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy
  5. Hidden Pictures - Rainbow Records
  6. Susanna Hoffs - Someday
  7. Guided By Voices - Class Clown Spots a UFO
  8. The What Gives - The What Gives [digital only]
  9. Erik Voeks - Free Range EP
  10. The Raveonettes - Into the Night EP
  11. AC Newman - Shut Down the Streets
  12. Guided By Voices - Let's Go Eat the Factory
  13. Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball
  14. Kelly Hogan - I Like to Keep Myself in Pain
  15. Aimee Mann - Charmer
  16. The dB's - Falling Off the Sky
  17. Cher UK - Little Blue Soldier EP
  18. The Primitives - Echoes and Rhymes
  19. Bettye LaVette - Thankful 'n Thoughtful
  20. Mission of Burma - Unsound
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Best TV Shows of 2012 [27 Dec 2012|07:28pm]
I've been looking forward to critics' TV lists and thought I'd make my own this year. I used to make year-end lists of my favorite albums, but I don't feel like I've been able to keep up with all the music I'm interested in, at least not as quickly as it's been released. And I've done lists of movies, too, but I don't see as many movies as I used to. When it comes to entertainment, TV has been easier to keep up with (though trust me, I'm often behind). After you pay for cable, you don't have to spend more money to see a certain show (aside from the pay channels). It's all just there. But it costs money to go out and see a particular movie or to buy a book or CD.

So in a budget-conscious year, TV has been my primary source of entertainment, and despite the vast, vast amount of reality-show garbage and low-aiming scripted fare, there are plenty of good shows to watch. I hardly ever watch shows in real time, instead relying on my DVR to record my favorites so I can watch them when it works for me. I do watch too much, but many of my shows are ending soon and it seems like fewer shows are popping up to replace them, so maybe there's hope for me yet.

Here's my list. As always with lists like these, the placements could shift depending on the day. And a lot of this is like comparing apples to oranges--these are all TV shows, but it's hard to compare a talk show to a cable drama. I tried anyway.

1. Breaking Bad (AMC)
Once my favorite underdog, now popular. Still brilliant, surprising, amazingly acted, dark, and darkly humorous.

2. Parks and Recreation (NBC)
The funniest, warmest sitcom on TV. The cast is a great ensemble, and I love their characters.

3. Fringe (Fox)
Science fiction with heart. It only has a few weeks left, and I'm really going to miss it. The greatness of its cast has been too often overlooked because it's a low-rated genre show. I appreciate that Fox has allowed it to end with dignity.

4. The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
The nightly tightrope act that quick-witted Stephen Colbert performs is nothing short of brilliant. This year's ongoing exposure of the inner workings of so-called "super PACs" was just one highlight.

5. Mad Men (AMC)
Special props to Jared Harris.

Numbers 6-50Collapse )
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Rotation (week of 11/08) [16 Nov 2009|08:31am]
Monday: Leonard Cohen, Vince Charles, Harper Simon.

Tuesday: Chuck Prophet, Scrooged soundtrack, Love Tractor, Stars, the Concretes.

Wednesday: The Dead Girls, The Gypsy Hombres, Seven Worlds Collide, Run-DMC.

Thursday: Brendan Benson, a psychobilly compilation, Dinosaur Jr., Lou Barlow.

Saturday, live: Chuck Prophet, Brendan Benson.
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Rotation (week of 11/01) [16 Nov 2009|08:30am]
Monday's rotation: I.R.O.M.A. Music Sampler #1, Al Stewart, Wee Hairy Beasties, Four Horse Johnson.

Tuesday's rotation: Teena Marie, the Kryptonics, Sound Spectacular (Beggars Group label sampler).

Wednesday's rotation: Sound Spectacular (Beggars Group label sampler), Robert Earl Keen.

Thursday's rotation: Leonard Cohen, Love Tractor, Wee Hairy Beasties, Will Hoge.

Thursday, live: Jon Dee Graham.

Friday's rotation: The Dead Girls, Richard Shindell.

Friday, live: Tony Ladesich, John Hodgman, Hot Dog Skeletons, Grant Hart, the Meat Puppets.

Saturday: Todd Snider, Robert Earl Keen, Brendan Benson, Wayne "The Train" Hancock, Spoon.

Saturday, live: Robert Earl Keen, Bruce Robison, Todd Snider.
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Rotation (week of 10/25) [16 Nov 2009|08:29am]
Sunday's rotation: some comedy CDs, a girl-group compilation.

Sunday, live: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Monday's rotation: a girl-group compilation, Exene Cervenka, Roseanne Cash.

Tuesday's rotation: Robert Earl Keen, Leonard Cohen.

Wednesday's rotation: The Dead Girls, Four Horse Johnson, A Very Bert Dax Halloween (compilation of St. Louis bands doing Halloween songs), I Like Trains.

Wednesday, live: Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, the Raveonettes, A Flock of Seagulls, Kirsten Paludan and Friends.

Thursday's rotation: The Raveonettes, Robert Earl Keen, Little Steven's Underground Garage Presents Halloween A-Go-Go (Halloween songs), Monster Rally (1958 monster album with Hans Conreid and others), I.R.O.M.A. Music Sampler #1.

Thursday, live: Daddy.

Friday, live: Everywhere (a tribute to Fleetwood Mac), Solid Gold Easy.

Saturday, live: Stone in Love.
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Rotation (week of 10/18) [16 Nov 2009|08:28am]
Monday's rotation: The Bitter Spills, Remington Super 60, Four Horse Johnson, Pete Townshend.

Tuesday's rotation: Pete Yorn, Bruce Springsteen, the Resentments, Dean & Britta, the Kryptonics, I.R.O.M.A. Music Sampler #1.

Wednesday's rotation: Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson, I.R.O.M.A. Music Sampler #1, Rotary Connection, Dinosaur Jr., Teenage Bottlerocket, Bruce Springsteen, Richard Shindell, the Concretes.

Thursday's rotation: Bruce Springsteen, Leonard Cohen, Seven Worlds Collide.

Friday's rotation: Lou Barlow, Thom Rotella, Dinosaur Jr.

Friday, live: The Trend, Fools Face.

Saturday, live: Howard Iceberg and the Titanics, the Expassionates, Hidden Pictures.
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Rotation (week of 10/11) [16 Nov 2009|08:27am]
Tuesday's rotation: Bruce Springsteen, Frank Sinatra, the Clientele, I.R.O.M.A. Music Sampler #1 (compilation of bands from the Iron Range of Minnesota), Teenage Bottlerocket.

Wednesday's rotation: Mel Blanc, Dinosaur Jr., Michael Penn, the Concretes.

Thursday's rotation: Leonard Cohen, Judith Owen, Favorita, Seven Worlds Collide.
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More damn playlists [12 Oct 2009|05:42pm]
Thursday's rotation (10/1): Dan Wilson, Write Your Adventures Down: A Tribute to the Go-Betweens, Bruce Springsteen, the December People, Amy Farris, Blondie.

Friday, live (10/2): Cowboy Indian Bear, Softee, the Dead Girls.

Monday's rotation (10/5): Go!Go!7188, Blondie, Liam Finn and Eliza-Jane, Amy Farris, The Bombay Connection (compilation of "funk from Bollywood action thrillers").

Tuesday's rotation (10/6): The Bombay Connection, Wilco, Seven Worlds Collide, Matt Pond PA, Grand Atlantic.

Tuesday, live (10/6): Liam Finn and Eliza-Jane, Wilco.

Wednesday's rotation (10/7): Grand Atlantic, the Dead Girls, Odetta, Ron Sexsmith, Dean & Britta, Rilo Kiley.

Thursday's rotation (10/8): Odetta, the Away Team, the Postmarks, the Rev. Jimmie Bratcher, the Clientele, Favorita, the Emergency.

Friday's rotation (10/9): Teenage Bottlerocket, the Postmarks, Wilco.

Sunday, live (10/11): Thee Water Moccasins, Brookville, the Postmarks.

Monday's rotation: The Dead Girls, Billy Joe Shaver, Ron Sexsmith, Four Horse Johnson, Dean & Britta.

And then there's this:

The Politics of Spite (Paul Krugman, New York Times): "If Republicans think something might be good for the president, they’re against it--whether or not it's good for America."

Missing Richard Nixon (Paul Krugman, New York Times): "The Nixon era was a time in which leading figures in both parties were capable of speaking rationally about policy, and in which policy decisions weren’t as warped by corporate cash as they are now."

A Century Later, She’s Still Red Hot (New York Times): "A new anthology of her earliest recordings shows that Sophie Tucker was anything but old-fashioned."
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Happy Rocktober! [01 Oct 2009|08:18am]
Here are some recent playlists:

Wednesday's rotation (9/16): Green Day, Booker T, Go!Go!7188, It's My Party, Josh Ritter.

Thursday, live in Austin (9/17): Hayes Carll.

Friday, live in Austin (9/18): Shannon McNally, Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women. (R.I.P. Amy Farris.)

Saturday, live in Austin (9/19): Exene Cervenka, Scott H. Biram, Rosie Flores, the Waco Brothers, Amy Cook, Alejandro Escovedo.

Sunday, live in Austin (9/20): Dale Watson, Two Tons of Steel, Kelly Willis, Bruce Robison.

Tuesday's rotation (9/22): New Model Army, the Dead Girls, the Away Team, the Rakes.

Wednesday's rotation (9/23): New Model Army, Scharpling & Wurster, Booker T, the Pedaljets, the Five O'Clock Heroes, Deborah Harry, Thurston Moore.

Thursday's rotation (9/24): Thurston Moore, Richard Lloyd, Jarvis Cocker, Rilo Kiley.

Friday's rotation (9/25): Jarvis Cocker, the Lucksmiths, Liam Finn and Eliza-Jane, Editors, Ida Maria, Booker T, the Clientele, the Rakes, the Cake Sale.

Monday's rotation: Editors, the Dead Girls, the Cake Sale, Grand Atlantic.

Monday, live: The Dactyls, Secret Machines, And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead.

Tuesday's rotation: Amy LaVere, the Nightwatchman, Liam Finn and Eliza-Jane, the Five O'Clock Heroes, Ron Sexsmith, Rilo Kiley, the Emergency, Blondie.

Tuesday, live: Rex Hobart and the Honky Tonk Standards.

Wednesday's rotation: The Failures' Union, Wilco, Maximum Rap 12" (compilation of early rap in extended versions), Taken By Trees, Dan Wilson.

Wednesday, live: Todd Glass, David Cross.

And then there's this:

How Time Magazine Enables Glenn Beck's Lies (Jamison Foser, Media Matters)

Politicians Score Significant Cash From NFL Owners, Coaches and Players (Open Secrets)
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Lists [16 Sep 2009|04:26pm]
Was September the month I was going to start posting again? Guess not. So I'm just popping in between trips (we were in Cleveland over Labor Day weekend, and we leave for Austin tomorrow) to post the playlists that have piled up.

Thursday's rotation (9/3): Ray Davies, Liam Finn & Eliza-Jane, Peachfuzz, the Shimmys, the Cynics, the Sexy Accident, the Away Team, the Failures' Union.

Thursday, live (9/3): The Dandy Warhols.

Saturday's rotation (9/5): John Fogerty.

Labor Day weekend rotation: Bruce Springsteen (E Street Radio).

Tuesday's rotation (9/8): John Fogerty.

Wednesday's rotation (9/9): Peachfuzz, Ida Maria.

Thursday's rotation (9/10): Peachfuzz, Jordan Lansburg.

Friday's rotation (9/11): Michael Armstrong, the Afterparty, the Dead Girls, Richard Lloyd.

Friday, live (9/11): Lucero.

Saturday, live (9/12): The Doo-Dads, the Rural Grit All-Stars, Adam Lee and the Dead Horse Sound Company, Kirsten Paludan, the ACBs, Hearts of Darkness, The Good Foot, the Heidi Phillips Band.

Monday's rotation (9/14): Solaris, Ida Maria, the Away Team, Editors, the Failures' Union, Blondie, Paramore, Green Day.

Tuesday's rotation (9/15): Green Day, the Dead Girls, the Pedaljets, Jarvis Cocker, Taken By Trees.

And then there's this:

10 Lessons for Tea Baggers (Crooks and Liars)

Media Haven't Learned from Their "Death Panel" Mistakes (Jamison Foser, Media Matters)

Glenn Beck's "Deep-Seated Hatred" of Obama and Why Fox News Won't Budge (Karl Frisch, Media Matters)

20 Best Animated Movies Ever (Entertainment Weekly)
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Just more lists, sorry [03 Sep 2009|07:49am]
Friday's rotation: George Harrison, the Dead Girls, The Nightwatchman, Peachfuzz, Jordan Lansburg, Thurston Moore

Saturday in the car: George Harrison

Saturday, live: Amy LaVere

Monday's rotation: George Harrison, the Sexy Accident, the Failures' Union, the Lucksmiths, Amy LaVere

Tuesday's rotation: George Harrison, the Dead Girls, Peter Bjorn and John, the Pedaljets, Go!Go!7188, Taken By Trees, Blondie

Wednesday's rotation: George Harrison, Ray Davies, Ida Maria, It's My Party, the Shimmys, the Nightwatchman, Blondie

And then there's this:

Ted Kennedy Wanted the Public Option (Joe Conason, Salon): "His list of achievements is epic, but he worked to fix healthcare for 40 years. Let's finish the job in his name."

It Is Possible to Pass a Public Option Now (Chris Bowers, Open Left)

It's Time for Barack Obama to Take a Lesson From Lyndon Johnson (Josh Rosenblatt, Huffington Post)

Chris Wallace, A Teenage Girl Interviewing The Jonas Brothers (Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic)
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I was waiting [28 Aug 2009|08:09am]
I was kind of saving all these until I could post something readable to go along with them, but it's getting out of hand. So here's a week's worth of playlists and links, and I'll try to get back soon.

RotationCollapse )

And then there's this:

Why I Love Britain's Socialized Healthcare System (Salon)

Analysis: Liberals Tired of Health Care Compromise (AP): "Liberal activists say there's no point in the Democrats winning the House, Senate and White House unless they use their clout to enact the major measures that Obama campaigned for--with or without some Republican support."

Now More Than Ever, Bipartisanship Is for Suckers (Joe Conason, Salon): "Republicans want Obama to fail. He needs to stop seeking consensus, because it makes him look weak."

What It Means to Wear a Gun in Public (David Sirota, Salon): "Bringing a weapon to a rally isn't about exercising your own rights--it's about threatening other people's rights."

Michele Bachmann: Pro-Choice Spokeswoman (Salon)

Autism-Vaccine Link Researcher Andrew Wakefield Accused of Faking His Data (Committee for Skeptical Inquiry)

iTunes Sells 25% of All Music in the US, 69% of Digital (ARS Technica)
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The rundown [20 Aug 2009|08:07am]
It's been hectic.

Saturday we attended a birthday party for two of Andrea's aunts. Sunday we took her niece to Powell Gardens for the annual Festival of Butterflies. Monday night I played Sonic Spectrum music trivia at the RecordBar (we led all night but missed the final question). Tuesday night I went to see Blondie--which turned out to be loads of fun. (They might need to stop if Clem Burke ever leaves, though.) Last night Andrea and I went to Liberty Hall to see Dar Williams--she won tickets, so we only paid for gas and drinks. That was a good, solid show, too, if not entirely my thing.

Tonight the North Vs. South Music Festival starts, so it'll be a busy weekend, too.

Here are the past week's playlists.

Friday's rotation: Au Revoir Simone, For Against, Peter Bjorn and John, John Doe, the Freddie Steady 5, Soul Asylum, the Blind Eyes, Glasvegas, the Sexy Accident.

Saturday's rotation: George Harrison.

Monday's rotation: George Harrison, the Dead Girls, the Beat Crusaders, Thurston Moore, Paramore.

Tuesday's rotation: George Harrison, Peter Bjorn and John, the Afterparty, Cary Hudson, Solaris. (Live: Public Property, Blondie.)

Wednesday's rotation: George Harrison, Amy LaVere, the Blind Eyes, Tim Rogers, Charlie Louvin, Toots and the Maytals. (Live: Dar Williams.)

And then there's this:

Is Obama Really That Unpopular? (Salon)

Despite [2006] Air America "Blackout," Companies [Now] Support Beck, Dobbs, and Limbaugh (Media Matters)

Enter Laughing (New Yorker): "Senator Franken's long journey."

Forget Gas, Batteries--Pee Is New Power Source (MSNBC)

What Ever Happened to Acid Rain? (Slate)

Whose Side of the Road Are You On? (Salon): "For the first time in ages, a country is switching to driving on the left. Should we all drive on the same side?"

5 Things Movie Trailers Need to Stop Doing (Cracked)

10 Worst Album Covers of 2009 (So Far) (AOL Radio)
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Rusty what? [14 Aug 2009|08:29am]
Monday night: Music trivia. We played well but we didn't get quite enough points to win. Still, it was fun.

Tuesday night: Andrea and I went to a screening of Ponyo. She was bored, but I liked it. It's definitely aimed at a younger audience than the other Miyazaki films I've seen (Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away), though, and I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I liked those.

Wednesday night: Green Day and Franz Ferdinand at the Sprint Center. Green Day really delivered a great show to their fans--I was quite impressed, even though two and a half hours was a little too much Green Day for me. I've never seen a show with that much in the way of pyrotechnics, either. In the cosmic coincidence department, I wore an old Ashtray Babyhead t-shirt to the show without even knowing that Ashtray Babyhead's Jeff Matika is now a touring member of Green Day. Franz Ferdinand's opening slot was one of the reasons I decided to see my first Green Day show, and they didn't disappoint me either.

Thursday night: The Rusty Kuntz and the Stigmata Brothers at Davey's. In true punk fashion, the Rusty Kuntz were made up of a trio of women who hadn't been musicians until just a few months before the show--including our friend Coleen, co-owner of the recently closed and already missed Needmore Discs. The results were a lot of fun, with some entertaining original songs (including one about Say Anything) and covers (Velvet Underground, Harry Nilsson, Jon Dee Graham, etc.). (The Rusty Kuntz, by the way, are named after the Kansas City Royals' first-base coach. I didn't know that until it was explained to me, either.) The Stigmata Brothers were a one-time-only affair from Coleen's husband Erik Voeks and a few friends, with mostly new songs written for the show. My favorite was the one about local weatherperson histrionics (Katie Horner and friends), but the whole set was good.

And now some playlists from the past few days:

Monday's rotation: Wilco, Franz Ferdinand, the Beat Crusaders.

Tuesday's rotation: Wilco, Green Day, Frisbie, Paramore.

Wednesday's rotation: Wilco, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Fourth of July, the Afterparty, Frisbie, Totos.

Wednesday, live: Franz Ferdinand, Green Day.

Thursday's rotation: Totos, the Dead Girls, Solaris, New Model Army, Au Revoir Simone.

Thursday, live: The Stigmata Brothers, the Rusty Kuntz.

And then there's this:

The High Strung Rocks Gitmo (Vanity Fair)

Can Topps Save Baseball Cards? (Slate): "Major League Baseball just signed an exclusive deal with the legendary card maker. Bad idea."
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Weekend update [10 Aug 2009|08:35am]
I need another day off.

Thursday night I went with a friend to see Glasvegas and Ida Maria--I was more impressed by Ida Maria (who I hadn't heard much of) than by Glasvegas.

Friday I cleaned the house in preparation for visitors. Friday night we went to the Royals game--my first time at a major-league game of any kind--and the Royals lost, of course.

Saturday morning we saw our visitors off, and then later we did some shopping in an attempt to make the most of Missouri's tax-free back-to-school weekend. Saturday night it was too hot to leave the house for the show I wanted to see, so we stayed home.

Yesterday we went to the new Schlitterbahn water park with Andrea's sister and niece--it was a lot of fun, but the admission price seems pretty steep for what's open. (The park won't be completed for a couple of years.) I also got a big-time sunburn because I inadvertently missed a crucial area when applying sunscreen. I shouldn't have rushed. I'm paying the price.

Finally, last night we saw local bands Hidden Pictures and the ACBs (and Justin Ripley) at the RecordBar. I liked Hidden Pictures a lot and now regret that it's taken me so long to get out to see them. I've seen better shows from the ACBs, and I didn't care for Justin Ripley's set--though he is apparently an ex-member of the Pomonas, whose CD I liked. Hmm.

On to the playlists:

Wednesday's rotation: Joe Pernice, MyuuRy, Monstrance, Franz Ferdinand, Fats Domino.

Thursday's rotation: Jill Sobule, Green Day, Frisbie, Fourth of July, Solaris, Wilco.

Thursday, live: Ida Maria, Glasvegas.

Sunday, live: Hidden Pictures, Justin Ripley, the ACBs.

And then there's this:

Intimate Homecoming Is Played Out in Public (New York Times): "Laura Ling said she and Euna Lee had sensed the support for them while in a North Korean prison, even without constant communication."
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Dig it dig it [05 Aug 2009|08:21am]
One of these days I will post more than this. I just have to keep telling myself that and it will happen, right?

Tuesday's rotation: Terry Anderson and the Olympic Ass-Kickin' Team, the Blind Eyes, Dan Wilson, Monstrance, Joe Pernice.

And then there's this:

The Real News in the O'Reilly-Olbermann Feud (David Sirota, Salon)
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Just another manic Monday [04 Aug 2009|09:18am]
Monday's rotation: Terry Anderson and the Olympic Ass-Kickin' Team, Glasvegas, Write Your Adventures Down: A Tribute to the Go-Betweens, the Beat Crusaders.

And then there's this:

But Here's the Funny Part (William Rivers Pitt, TruthOut): "Memo to the Far Right: when you've lost the support of people like O'Reilly, Coulter and Steele, you have to step back and wonder just how far from the pack you've strayed."

Health Care Tyranny (David Sirota, Creators Syndicate): "Here we have a major congressional push to fix a health care system that leaves one-sixth of the country without coverage. Here we have 535 House and Senate delegates elected to give all 300 million of us a voice in the solution. And here we have just 13 of those delegates holding the initiative hostage."
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A weekend's worth [03 Aug 2009|08:04am]
Friday's rotation: Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs, Franz Ferdinand, Jill Sobule, John Doe, Terry Anderson and the Olympic Ass-Kickin' Team.

Friday, live: the Dead Girls.

Saturday's rotation: Terry Anderson and the Olympic Ass-Kickin' Team.

Sunday's rotation: Scharpling & Wurster, Terry Anderson and the Olympic Ass-Kickin' Team.

And then there's this:

Only Half of Republicans Think Obama's a Citizen (Salon)

White Roofs Catch On as Energy Cost Cutters (New York Times)
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Under the covers [31 Jul 2009|08:18am]
Thursday's rotation: Scharpling & Wurster, the Blind Eyes, Au Revoir Simone, Fats Domino, Rocket K, Shonen Knife, Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs.

And then there's this:

Politico Announces Again: GOP Is Resurgent! (Glenn Greenwald, Salon)

Beluga Whale "Saves" Diver (Telegraph)
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Friday on my mind [30 Jul 2009|08:23am]
Wednesday's rotation: The Easybeats, Glasvegas, Solaris, Charlie Louvin.

And then there's this:

Why Markets Can't Cure Healthcare (Paul Krugman, New York Times)

Abstinence-Supporting GOP State Lawmaker Admits to Sex with 22-Year-Old Intern (Talking Points Memo)
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