chanda wins again at wimbledon

Did I call it or what? Chanda upsets the 14th seed Iroda Tulyaganova, 6-3, 6-1, in only 47 minutes. (“Uzbekistan’s Tulyaganova failed to make any impact on Rubin’s serve and was clearly out of her depth on a sun-baked Court 2.”)
Up next: Tatiana Panova, the 21st seed, recently described as a “plumpish Russki countrywoman…last seen losing to somebody named Martina Navratilova who’s 45 years old.”
(Unfortunately, she’ll probably run into the Serena Williams buzzsaw in the next round, just as Venus cut her run short at the French. But this sort of performance could push Chanda back into the top 20 in the world rankings, where she hasn’t been in a while.)

cnn caves to israeli pressure

It’s a damned shame when a legitimate news organization gives in to those trying to influence its coverage.
JERUSALEM (AP) – CNN erred in giving more programming time to the family of a Palestinian suicide bomber than to his Israeli victims and tried to rectify the mistake, the network’s top news executive said Sunday during a damage-control visit to Israel.
Since when are news media required to give equal prominence to victims and assailants? Was it bad that people were more interested in learning more about Tim McVeigh than they were about learning about his victims? Or more interested in learning about Osama bin Laden than about his victims? It’s news judgment, people, and news organizations should be free to make it. Our job is not to salve emotional wounds — it’s to inform the public. And while I didn’t see the segments in question, I can certainly imagine the public would learn more from interviews with the bomber’s family (understanding what leads people to do such a thing, what it might take to stop it, etc.) than with the victim’s family (“we’re really sad/angry/upset,” etc.).
Thankfully, most news organizations aren’t caving.

jb’s music review

It’s that time again: time for the occasional What Josh’s Been Listening To update.
I can unreservedly recommend the new Elvis Costello record. I was never a Costello disciple — I thought his ’70s stuff was nice enough, but nothing I got excited over, and I gave his Burt Bacharach disc a pan in my rock critic days — but this record is terrific. The single sounds ripped from 1977, and the slower stuff manages to be moody without being wussy — a balance he’s had a hard time striking the last few years.
I absolutely loved the first album by Enon — smart art-pop with a little punk and a love of fuzzy vocals. At first, the followup, High Society, didn’t thrill me, but it’s grown on me and I can’t get it out of my head. (I’m not sure it’s this good, but it is damned good.) They’ve added a new vocalist, ex-Blonde Redhead Toko Yasuda, who adds a sort of naif Europop vibe to some of the songs. The songs are probably a hair weaker than the first album, but it’s more fun — this would make a great party record if you had a very cool crowd of people coming over. (Check out an MP3 of one of my favorite tracks, the very Dismemberment Plan-influenced Natural Disasters.)
In the late-to-the-party department, I’ve become a late adopter of Rufus Wainwright. His last disc Poses and his self-titled debut have both eloquent songwriting and great delivery — it’s really the Tin Pan Alley sort of sound that an Elvis Costello/Burt Bacharach should have produced. Fun to sing along to.
Spoon’s A Series of Sneaks has become my de facto car music. I heard the more polished Girls Can Tell first (and liked it enough to name it Album of the Year 2001), so the rougher-edged Sneaks didn’t jump out at me. But man, is it great — the perfect bridge between the Pixies and the White Stripes, if either of those bands appeal to you.
Other recent listens: Sea Ray’s Reveal EP still sounds great a month or two after landing in my mailbox. The new Girls Against Boys is growing on me — seemed a little too dumb-metal at first, but Scott McCloud’s club-weary vocals keep pushing it higher in my estimation. The new “back to our indie roots” Guided By Voices hasn’t thrilled me yet, although that may because I’m one of the few who liked their last few studio-heavy discs more than the Bee Thousand-era stuff. The new DJ Shadow is better than I thought from MP3s, but still no Endtroducing. (Not that that’s anything to be ashamed of.)

bus crash story, tom mallon on portraits of grief

Here’s the bus crash story I helped out on yesterday.
If you read the Portraits of Grief 9/11 obituaries in the New York Times, check out this piece about Thomas Mallon’s attack on the series in The American Scholar. (For the record, that’s Thomas Mallon, the novelist, not Tom Mallon, writer for CMJ and former drummer/bassist of American Music Club, the band whose song this site is named for.)
I don’t know if I’d go as far as Mallon does, but I’m glad someone did — it’s worth talking about.

chanda wins at wimbledon, sports stars in las vegas

It’s one Swede down for my old schoolmate Chanda at Wimbledon. Some Uzbek is next before the firing squad.
After a stirring run at the French, I think Chanda’s going to work some magic on grass this year. She won the traditional Wimbledon tune-up, Eastbourne over the weekend, which indicates she’s finally back from those knee surgeries. (Video here.) And she’s always been strong on grass: she won Wimbledon juniors back in 1992, when we were in high school.
Speaking of athletes, they were thick on the ground in Las Vegas. Among the few spotted: Donovan McNabb, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Jason Sehorn (and, more importantly, his wife and fellow Dallasite Angie Harmon), and others. (Along with non-athletes like Jay Mohr [he’s short] and, yes, Charo.)
I even bumped up against Antawn Jamison at Rum Jungle. While it wasn’t up there with brushing up against Katarina Witt, for a Carolina fan like myself, it was still something to remember. (His performance against Duke in ’98 — when he scored 35 points despite touching the ball for only 53 seconds all game long — remains one of the most amazing athletic feats I’ve seen.)

bus crash, vegas recap, ohio bmv, etc

This site’s been not much more than excuses for not posting lately, hasn’t it? I had to spend the last few hours out at Parkland interviewing the injured. Pretty much the worst part of being a reporter, if you ask me.
Vegas was fun this weekend, even though it’s not exactly my kind of place (not being a gambler beyond $5 March Madness pools). The official slogan of the weekend was “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” so I can’t tell you about the raucous all-night chess matches, the 3 a.m. knitting circles, or the other examples of bachelor party debauchery.
My inner education reporter was amused by this.
Sea Ray fans: their show at Maxwell’s tonight will be webcast at 9 p.m. EDT.
A big slap across the face to the cretins at the Ohio BMV. I finally discovered why my car insurance rates suddenly doubled earlier this year: they somehow invented an accident I was apparently at fault in 1999. (I was in an accident then, but it was not my fault — the guy got a ticket for reckless endangerment when he [southbound] turned left in front of me [northbound].) Thanks, faceless bureaucrat!
My struggles to clear my inbox are finally meeting with success. I’m down to two emails left to reply to. Of course, one was written in May 2001, so I shouldn’t pat myself on the back too much.

kelly’s poll question, mozilla upgrade, pre-vegas laundry

I ask very little of you, dear reader, but I do ask that you please answer the one simple question asked by Kelly.
Mozilla users, rejoice! Thanks to the keen CSS eye of Jason, this page should work on the Moz now. So if you like your browsers clunky, ugly, and waaaay too strict about web standards, you and the other 0.6 percent can now benefit from my M&M commentary, unfettered by technological roadblocks.
Q: Why am I up at 4:41 a.m.? A: Pre-Vegas laundry.