Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Selling Out with the Dead Kennedys

I was 14 years old when the Dead Kennedy's broke up. I did not even know who they were until a year later when a friend recommended their compilation release Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death. I fell in love with them immediately. Their songs assuaged my teenage angst and were a good soundtrack for the Ronnie Raygun era. They were an anti-corporate and irreverent band who were put on trial for obscenity charges and were investigated by the FBI. They seemed to stand for something while other bands like say the Sex Pistols were later exposed as a bit money hungry.

I was quite surprised when I saw a Dead Kennedy’s shirt at Von Maur Department Store last night. It was on sale for the reasonable price of 35 dollars alongside faux vintage shirts from the likes of AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. Of course, the t-shirts were made in a third world country. All I can say is “say it ain’t so, Jello”.

Monday, May 29, 2006

If Anything

Editor's note: This is another installment by Torporindy's music editor, The Kid, who hails from Delaware County. He chose to interview Muncie based band--If Anything.

Up I-69 just north of Indianapolis rests Middletown USA- Muncie Indiana- the town the economy forgot. Home of Garfield the Cat, the greatest pizza in the world (Pizza King’s Royal Feast), illegal gambling run amok, and the coolest bar in the state (Herot in downtown Muncie), Muncie has also been the adopted home of the band - If Anything, which is a band consisting of four guys, Drew, Greg, Dan, and Paul. Paul is originally from Kokomo, Greg from Indy, Dan is from outside Philly, and Drew is from Michigan City. Assuming a plot to retain one of its members in the Hoosier State is successful you should be hearing more about these guys real soon. Torporindy had a chance to catch up with them recently and here’s what they had to say:

1.) Introduce yourself and tell us how you guys got together as a band.

We met freshman year and we became really good friends. We hung out every day and watched Mr. Show religiously. We started a cover band as a joke but within a month we decided that making music together was something that we wanted to take seriously. But not too seriously.

2.) It sounds like three of you graduated from college recently, as Ball State alums you have just joined other illustrious graduates such as Jim Davis, Joyce Dewitt, and Papa John. What's the game plan for you guys post-college and especially, what's the game plan for your band?

Dan, Greg, and Drew graduated with a degree in the Music Technology program. Paul will graduate very soon with the same degree. Dan has been accepted to graduate school at NYU, but Greg and Drew are currently in the process of sabotaging his registration so that the band may live on. If Dan stays in Indiana, we will find a place to live in Indy and continue making music.

3.) Do you guys have any strong musical influences?

Dan is a fan of music with a short attention span (see also: They Might Be Giants, Mindless Self Indulgence, and Tally Hall). Drew likes Counting Crows, Ben Folds (Five), and John Williams (the film composer). Greg’s into bands like Minus the Bear, Pavement, and Jimmy Eat World.

4.) Do any of you have any song or CD that made you decide that you wanted to be a musician and be in a band?

Dan: The album that made me buy a guitar (yeah, I know I’m the drummer) in 6th grade: Queen, Classic Queen.
Drew: I remember Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun, Bush’s Sixteen Stone, and Oasis’s What’s the Story (Morning Glory) hitting me particularly hard about 10 years ago. From a guitar standpoint, hearing Jimi Hendrix’s version of “All Along the Watchtower” is what made me finally understand the magic. Just thinking about it gives me chills.
Greg: Nirvana, Nevermind. I liked the fact that he was a good song writer but he wasn’t the best guitar player in the world.

5.) How does the creative process of creating a song work for you guys? Is it a collaborative effort or say lyrics by one and then music?

While a few songs (Speed Dial, Metropolis) were written by Drew and then fleshed by the band, most other songs (Song About Music, Eleven Thirty Fifty) were written during full band practice/writing sessions. In these cases, the band will share ideas and we’ll veto 99% of them before deciding on a structure. After this, Drew still usually likes to write lyrics by himself in a cave with no running water or electricity.

6.) Your Myspace page says you guys are putting the final touches on your full length studio album, at what point are you guys with your full release right now?

We’re music technology majors, so we’ve all been heavily involved in recording projects and it’s been hard to dedicate time to our own album. It’s sitting on our computers. With a few more vocal tracking sessions it should be nearly done. We’d love an opportunity for a professional producer to record us in a professional studio, but for now we’re doing it ourselves.

7.) We have talked about the Indy music scene a couple of times on Torpor recently, as musicians what is your impression (if any) of Indy's music scene?

Indy’s music scene definitely seems very conducive to our style. We identify with bands like Stereo Deluxe and Extra Blue Kind; we’d really like to play a show with either of them sometime. We haven’t had a lot of chances to play in Indy and that’s something we’re trying to change in the near future.

8.) On the other hand, what can you tell us about the music scene in Muncie?

Some amazing and very popular bands have come out of Muncie in the last three to four years. It’s been a lot of fun to witness. We’re not going to be lame and plug our favorite bands or bash any bands we’re not fond of. It’s a healthy scene, though, lots of people helping other people.

9.) Do you happen to have any good/bizarre stories from a live show that you have done?

Not really. They’re usually fun and afterwards we talk about what we liked and didn’t like about them. Then we quote Arrested Development and laugh until our sides hurt.

10.) You have a song called Willem DeFoe, why call it Willem DeFoe and not say, Alec Baldwin?

Drew: Was Alec Baldwin in Spider-Man, The Boondock Saints, and Finding Nemo? I don’t think so.

11.) When (hopefully) you find yourself at the Herot, what are you drinking?

Dan and Greg are fans of Alpha King, Dead Guy Ale, and Dogfish Head. Drew doesn’t really care and he’ll drink a lot of different beers, as long as they don’t come in cases of 30.

Check out the band’s myspace page. Their web-site has some songs available for listening and two postings of their past performances. We hope to give updates on they release of their CD and shows here in the greater Indianapolis area real soon.

Also, here is a link to a video from the band.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Pat Robertson Strikes Again

Islam is a "Christian heresy," Jews are "very thrifty, extraordinarily good business people"

Enron's Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling were found guilty. Lay faces 45 years and Skilling 275. I hope they both get sent to federal pound me in the a-- prison.

Check out Jennifer Bortel's photo essay at Indyscribe (with funny comments) about the nation's largest half-marathon. I ran it a few years ago. I have been saying maybe next year ever since.

John introduces a Wrigley Field sport that I was not aware of.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Senator Bayh meets local bloggers

TorporIndy and other Indiana bloggers were invited to meet Senator Bayh at a luncheon today at Shapiro's Deli. He sat down with a somewhat bi-partisan group of approximately 12 bloggers over lunch and told us that he was not going to give a speech, but rather he opened the floor for questions for a little over an hour.

I came with a few prepared questions, but these were quickly covered by the other bloggers. A Little Left of Centrist had a slyly crafted question where he asked the Senator about his Presidential aspirations by noting that both he and our current President are the father of twins. The Senator responded that he was currently doing everything that a prospective candidate would do. He even joked that former Virginia Governor Mark Warner and he would make a solid Indiana ticket as Warner was born in Indianapolis, but said they might disagree who should be running for the Vice-Presidency.

He also spoke of his time as two-term Governor of Indiana, where he was often described as a moderate or even conservative because of his fiscal policy measures, which resulted in a budget surplus when he left office. He laughed as someone in Iowa called him an ultra-liberal. He also declared he was not an ideologue and decried the dysfunctional political culture in Washington. He said this partisan culture has caused politcians to ignore our nation's energy, healthcare and budget problems for too long.

All of the bloggers that I spoke with were impressed he took time from his busy schedule to meet with us. I am sure he is conducting these meetings with bloggers from Iowa and New Hampshire as well.

Hoosierplew has audio from the event, other bloggers from Bilerico, Progressive Indiana, Reverent and Free, Advance Indiana, Left of Centrist, Fort Wayne Observed, In the Agora, Indiana Blog Review, Taking Down Words, and Shakespeare’s Sister have or surely will have coverage. If I have forgotten anyone, then please let me know.

One final note, he really likes the Lemon cake from Shapiro's as he took some with him for the road.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Freedom of the Press

Attorney Gen.: Reporters Can Be Prosecuted

The Attorney General has stated he would prosecute reporters who publish classified information. He stated the government will not hesitate to track and record journalist phone calls.

As Americans we pride ourselves on our freedom of the press, but it is measures like these which make us ranked 41st in the world in the world press freedom index.

Also, the government is raising fines for "indecent" broadcasting.

Congress Agrees to Raise Broadcast-Indecency Fines

More than two years after proclaiming outrage over Janet Jackson's briefly exposed breast during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, both houses of Congress have passed legislation that would significantly increase indecency fines for television and radio broadcasters.

On Thursday night, the Senate unanimously approved a bill that would increase from $32,500 to $325,000 the maximum fine that the Federal Communications Commission could impose for violating its standards for decency. The House previously passed a version that would raise the maximum fine to $500,000.


The Indiana Blog Review receives some recognition in the City Guide published by Indianapolis Monthly. The site is listed in the Indy Online section with the description of "The Blog Review is a thorough directory 30-plus blogs by residents or relevant to the state."

One of the few times I listen to the local "alternative" station is for Sunday mornings hangover cafe. Today, they are having a Replacements marathon so catch it if you get the chance.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

This is quite a slip of the tongue.

--Also, Comcast cable and internet suffered outages all through out the state last night. Some people were apparently not aware that they can pick up network television signals without cable. From the article:

Dozens of Comcast customers called The Indianapolis Star because they were unable to reach the company.

"We're missing 'Will and Grace,' " cried Janet Cowan...

When told she could watch it by unplugging the cable connection and tuning to the network station, she, like others who got the suggestion, was relieved.

"You mean I can still watch the news if I unplug the cable?" said Eloise Valinet, who lives near Township Line Road and 86th Street. "Oh, thank you.''


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Wednesday roundup

Random thoughts and links:

Perhaps all of that pressure to love Paul McCartney on his upcoming 64th birthday sunk his marriage.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em. Hoosiers are smoking more and exercising less. We now only trail Kentucky in percentage of smokers and it should not be surprising that we're among the worst in several major health indices. Perhaps more people should pay attention to the Governor's health program.

I think I am the only person in America who does not care about American Idol.

Honda may build an automobile manufacturing plant in southeastern Indiana. Nestle may build a plant in Anderson. Indiana has more manufacturing jobs per capita than any other state.

The air raid sirens are currently going off.

The Senate agreed to give millions of illegal immigrants a shot at U.S. citizenship and backed construction of 370 miles of triple-layered fencing along the Mexican border Wednesday, but prospects for legislation clearing Congress were clouded by a withering attack against President Bush by a prominent House Republican.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Mistaken Identity

I have a recurring dream where I found myself as the keynote speaker at a conference. The details change, but the subject is always something of which I have no knowledge. A recent example was that I was speaking in front of the American Society of Electrical Engineers. I have no idea if such a organization exists, but I do know that I know nothing about electricity or engineering of any type. I usually stumble through my presentation, but I stick to topics of which I have some knowledge like literature, philosophy or politics. The audience is always polite until the question and answer period. This is where I usually wake up in a frisson of panic.

I do not what these dreams reveal about me, but I know that I can sympathize with Guy Goma. If you have not heard of him, he was at the BBC for a job interview when a staffer called out for Guy Kewney. Guy Kewney is the editor of Newswireless and was to appear on the BBC to discuss the Apple Records versus Apple Computers (Ipod) court case. Goma, who is a native of the Congo, misunderstood the staffer and the next thing he knew he was being interviewed live on the BBC. Goma was very confused that he was not being interviewed about the data cleansing position he applied for, but was a good sport and answered all of questions--horribly. He knew little about ipods or the Beatles, but they he managed his way through the interview anyway while the real Guy Kewney was waiting in the reception area. You can read more about the story here or watch the video here.

Is Mexico Scared?

President Bush announced he was sending 6,000 National Guard troops to the border in order to help his sagging poll numbers. Well, he did not say all of that. If I were a guardsman, I guess I agree that it beats a tour in Iraq, and according the Washington Post article, around one third of the nation's guard members could participate in this program over the next two years. During this time, the Federal government will hire 6,000 more border patrol agents, which will have doubled the agency size during his Presidency. It is laughable that some conservatives still identify with the Bush Administration. His Presidenctial policies has created a dangerous scenario--runaway government spending while cutting tax revenues. I am no fiscal conservative, but I would prefer true conservative economic policy to this.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The rumor in the blogworld is that Karl Rove has been indicted.

In addition, the fact that I am posting about the "blogworld" at 11 pm on a Saturday night is an indictment of my social life. At least I did not say "blogosphere".
I still miss the retired 11 am airraid, but I am happy that smartypants has returned after a short hiatus. Check out her blog. I think you'll like her.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


-One can now legally get a tattoo in all 50 states. Oklahoma and South Carolina were the last hold outs. The rationale in Oklahoma was that people were going to get them anyway so why not make sure they're able to do that in a safe and clean environment? I wonder how those same lawmakers would react if one applied that rationale to abortion.

-Is Dateline NBC now entirely devoted to online sex predator stings?

-Matt Tully sits down with the flogger candidate.

-I was going to write about the high infant mortality rate in the US, but instead, I'll link to Reverent and Free's post. Our infant mortality rates are on par with Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Malta at the bottom of the rankings for the world's developed nations.

-Big Brother-NSA has a database of American telephone calls. The agency claims it isn't listening, but yet it is tracking the call patterns of ordinary Americans to help in the fight against terrorism. Of the nation's major telephone services only Qwest has refused to yield to the NSA's request.

-I have added Advance Indiana to the blogroll.

Monday, May 8, 2006

Farewell 11 am air raid

One of my favorite blogs is shutting down. You can read his explanation here. I am really sad to see Jim go as his blog is one of my first destinations when I log on each day.

Please stop by and wish him well.

Greg "the flogger" Walker

St. Allio gives a link to the new satirical website for Republican State Senate Candidate Greg Walker. If you remember, Mr. Walker surprised 36 year Senate veteran, Robert Garton, in the primary last week. Walker has indicated support for public floggings. Oh, the site plays Devo's "whip it" as well.

"Flogging would have a high deterrent factor, be inexpensive, would not keep the perpetrator from working to support himself and any dependents, could be administered swiftly, and most importantly, would alter behavior. If properly, publicly administered, the corporal punishment would steer the offending citizen to chose constructive recreational alternatives to drug abuse." - Greg Walker, Letter to the Editor, The Republic, 7/5/2003

Sunday, May 7, 2006

The November Elections

The Washington Post has on the upcoming elections, which reports the Democrats are promising probes should they win a majority in Congress, but are stopping short of saying the "I" word. According to the Post, an AP-Ipsos poll found that 51 percent of Americans say they want Democrats to control Congress while only 34 percent support Republican control. In spite of these numbers, it will be difficult for the Democrats to take control of the House because the last redistricting solidified incumbent suppport.

Here is an interactive map of the key House, Senate, and Gubernatorial elections this Fall.

Friday, May 5, 2006

We're Number 10

Forbes magazine has rated Indianapolis the tenth best place in the country to start a business or career. The main reason
for Indianapolis' high rating is the cost of living is 16 percent below the national average while incomes are 7 percent higher.

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Polygamy now!

The HBO series Big Love must have inspired this proud, polygamous family to start a blog.

In less sexier news, Masson cites an article which details the corporate cronyism in the Mitch Daniels administration.

Americans unhealthier than English

I have argued for years with others about our healthcare system. I try to convince them that we need national healthcare, which will provide universal coverage. The counterargument is often that that do not want to pay high taxes or suffer because of poor services. I always respond that we spend far more per capita on healthcare than anyone else, yet we have a shorter life expectancy, higher infant mortality and trail developed nations in almost every major health index.

I have actually had some people counter that those statistics are misleading because we are a diverse nation and our minorities skew the results. I guess for the purpose of American statistics only white people should count. In this particular study, they used only non-hispanic whites from the US and England, and white Americans still fell way behind their English counterparts.

So why aren't we debating a national healthcare service? Why worry about high taxes? We're already paying too much for poor results. Here are some excerpts from the article.

Those dismal results are despite the fact that U.S. health care spending is double what England spends on each of its citizens.
The study, based on government statistics in both countries, adds context to the already-known fact that the United States spends more on health care than any other industrialized nation, yet trails in rankings of life expectancy.
Health experts have known the U.S. population is less healthy than that of other industrialized nations, according to several important measurements, including life expectancy. The U.S. ranks behind about two dozen other countries, according to the World Health Organization.
Some have believed the United States has lagged because it is more ethnically diverse, said Suzman, who heads the National Institute on Aging's Behavioral and Social Research Program. "Minority health in general is worse than white health," he said.

But the new study showed that when minorities are removed from the equation, and adjustments are made to control for education and income, white people in England are still healthier than white people in the United States.


Tuesday, May 2, 2006

What's the Matter with Indiana?

State Senate President Pro-Tem Robert Garton was unseated by the fundamentalist, medieval punishment advocate, and right to life candidate, Greg Walker.

The Star's article today notes, "during his tenure, Garton championed women's rights, civil rights and the rights of Hoosiers with special needs." The Star bio on Walker notes that he home-schools his children, opposes the right to have an abortion, and supports gun rights. His quote, "Revisionist judges should not secularize religious expression in Indiana." If you think I unfairly call him a nutjob, consider this-he supports "public floggings" to "publicly humiliate lawbreakers".

I understand Garton is viewed as a career politician and backed controversial measures such lifetime health benefits for lawmakers and the leasing of the toll road, but sometimes change for sake of change is not the answer.

See Advance Indiana for thoughts on the victory.

Caution: Live Bees

I passed this semi today on I-65.

Monday, May 1, 2006

President claims power to disregard 750 statutes

No, I am not talking about Russia's President Putin.

President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.


For the first five years of Bush's presidency, his legal claims attracted little attention in Congress or the media. Then, twice in recent months, Bush drew scrutiny after challenging new laws: a torture ban and a requirement that he give detailed reports to Congress about how he is using the Patriot Act.

The article

A New May Day

The rest of the developed world (apart from the US, Canada and South Africa) are celebrating May Day. This international holiday associated with workers passes without notice in the United States. Of course we have our own Labor Day in safely set in September. It comes and goes in an innocuous picnic fashion each year.

Strangely, the association of May Day and Labor had its roots here in the United States. The May 1st date is used because in 1884 the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions demanded an eight-hour workday in the United States, to come in effect as of May 1, 1886. This led to the general strike in and the Chicago Haymarket Riot of 1886, but eventually also in the official sanction of the eight-hour workday. Today, a large part of the world recognizes what happened in Chicago while we ignore our past.

Perhaps it is significant that Latinos chose May 1st to be the day without immigrants. I am not sure I will be directly affected, but I see so many Latino workers doing jobs that no native wants. I am sure it is going to make a difference. Of course, Indiana's own Congressman John Hostettler has asked INS to check into McDonald's and other large companies to see if they have hired any illegal immigrants.
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