Weekly Download Vol. II No. 33

The Last Living Rose by P.J. Harvey – Crammed among DBT, Kurt Vile, TV on the Radio, My Morning Jacket and Fleet Foxes (still holding strong for album of the year, but I sense a great disturbance in the force) was my week/10-day obsession with Let England Shake the new album by Polly Jean Harvey.  (N.B. the link is to a youtube video of prolly my favorite song on the album, but it’s also 1 of 12 (or so) short films (why don’t we just call them music videos) by Seamus Murphy that correlate with the album.  Watch all of them.  They’re magical) Upon reflection, I’m not certain that Let England Shake isn’t the best (I believe I’ve referred to as deepness value) album I’ve heard this entire year.  I learned of it on a whim and I’m glad for that.  I had no expectations, no clues on what to listen for.  The Last Living Rose showed up on the 4.20.11 mix then I purchased the entire album and here we are.  She has fairly curious thoughts about England and a very certain disdain for war.  Normally when you get an artist of PJ’s particular skill set creating an album from that place, it can come across a little Lillith Fair-y.  She’s avoided that and made a really great album.

I’ve tried for awhile to develop what I want to say about my quasi-obsession with Newser.com.  For anyone (hell, maybe for everyone) that doesn’t know Newser, it’s a news aggreator website and iPhone app that condenses current news stories into little bite-size nuggets of digestible info for our ADD addled society.  Each nugget has a headline and a picture.  If a particular nugget piques your interest you can click it and read further and then you can click on to the source material after that.  I’m not shilling for it or anything, but since my ________ of network and cable news due to their unrepentant partisan hackery (great word) I get hungry for news besides ONR, NPR and Jon Stuart Liebowitz.  Newser is great at satisfying that hunger.  However, sometimes I get really obsessed with the nugget’s one liners, their order, what they might mean in relation to each other.  I try to divine some deeper meaning from them as if I were staring intently at tarot cards.

Below are a few lists of headlines I’ve shared with some of you (and those with whom I’ve shared these can verify that most of the emails containing them come in the dead of night.  Feel free to factor that into your analysis) that I found fascinating:

April 19, 2011:

  1. NCAA to Punish North Dakota Over ‘Fighting Sioux’ Name
  2. 3 Hurt When Kindergartner’s Gun Discharges
  3. Freeze Tag, Kickball Unsafe: New York State
  4. STDs Soar Among Seniors
  5. Sheriff Creates ‘Mugshot of the Day’ Contest

Snark: There’s some immutable truth about modern day America in between those lines. (N.B. Curious as to if there is a brand of rubbers designed specifically for the octogenarian dirt bag.  Curious as to what the name might be.  Suggestions?)

March, 8, 2011:

  1. Great Gatsby Mansion to be Torn Down
  2. Dog eats sleeping man’s toes
  3. Gates, Petraeus Joke About Bombing Libya
  4. Sarah Palin: I Might Be Too Unconventional for US Voter
  5. Tiger Kills Lion in Zoo

Snark: This list got me for a number of reasons.  The lead-off is about the tearing down of a house that was in a movie.  Then the obligatory human interest story about man’s best friend.  Then the real news which consists of American military officials getting giggly about throwing depleted uranium at Muammar and Caribou Barbie saying “I think I may be a little too crazy.” Finally: oh and in other news, not even man can control natural selection. Brilliant.

January 19, 2011:

  1. Craigslist Dumps Four Loko Adds
  2. Mexican Musicians Killed After Encore Refused
  3. Meet the Russian Mom who Flips Babies
  4. 4 Busted in iPad hack
  5. Drug Smuggling Pigeon Nabbed

Snark: Here you have an encapsulation of our drug addled entertainment demanding culture.  David Foster Wallace called it “Infinite Jest.”  BTW, The Russian Mom Who Flips Babies is completely creepy.

March 12, 2011:

  1. Tanks move on rampaging Metallica fans in Bogata.
  2. 11 tigers starve to death in China zoo.
  3. Rove: “I’m proud of waterboarding.
  4. Brits uncover mass grave of headless Vikings.
  5. CIA “spiked baguettes with LSD” in French experiment.

Snark: This one is pretty Orwellian.  It was the very first list where I was like “this shit is unbelievable.”

October 13, 2010:

  1. T.I. (the rapper) Talks Jumper Off Ledge
  2. Feds Tracked Online Sites for Evil Plots
  3. Berenstain Bears Get Religion
  4. Pat Sajak: Limit Public Employees’ Right to Vote
  5. Porn Star Tests Positive for HIV

Snark:  I struggle with what all this means.  Any single one of these leading off a newscast would force me to watch the whole thing.  Berenstain Bears is probably my favorite, but T.I. is close.

Some of my favorite one-timers:

  1. Ted Haggard: “I’m probably gay.”
  2. Brett Favre’s sister arrested in raid on meth lab.

And from this very day:

  1. San Francisco Considers Ban on Goldfish Sales.
  2. Study Finds Perfect Dose for Medical Shrooms
  3. Ga. Governor to Farmers: Hire Ex-cons not Illegal Immigrants
  4. Why we must Bring Back Flogging
  5. Oprah’s Goal: Score OJ Confession



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