borat, arrested development, boring story

Kazakhstan threatens “Borat” with court. “‘We do not rule out that [“Da Ali G Show” star Sacha Baron] Cohen is serving someone’s political order designed to present Kazakhstan and its people in a derogatory way,’ Kazakh Foreign Ministry spokesman Yerzhan Ashykbayev told a news briefing.”
Video of Borat in action.
Pardon my French, but: Those motherfuckers! You can’t kill the best show on television! Especially if you’re going to replace it with It’s Toby Keith!
Hipster trap!
My boring-ass story from Sunday’s paper. I can’t believe they killed my one lame joke, which despite its lameness was the only thing livening up my dead prose. (“The flurry of new exams may make you want to steal a line from the first George Bush: ‘No new TAKSes!'” Okay, maybe I can believe it.)

cheerleaders! sex!

You’ve probably seen this story by now: Two Carolina Panthers cheerleaders arrested for allegedly having sex in a bathroom stall in Florida. Cheerleaders, sex…now that’s a story the media can sink its teeth into!
The terrible twosome have already been excised from the online roster of the TopCats — the names Angela and Renee are already gone. But they apparently don’t have anyone at TopCat Central with good Photoshop skills, because they’re still in the squad photo at the top of the page. (Fourth from the right in the back row and last on the right in the front row. Clicking on them brings up a blank page.)

email from matt murphy

The best part about liking Canadian indie rock is that, when you have a question or something and send an email to a band’s site, you’re likely to get a response straight back from the lead singer himself. I have, saved somewhere, an email from Charles Austin regarding my question for a Neusiland EP a few years back. And when I emailed the address on the City Field site — the band mentioned in the last post — to hunt down their EP, I got a reply from the great Matt Murphy himself.
It’s that personal attention to customer service that separates the CanRock stars from those south-of-the-border types. I love Canada.

matt murphy, 2000th post

I want to see this movie. “Jim Jablowski is a small-town [Canadian] Prairie kid who dreams of becoming a country-rock troubadour. Under the stage name Guy Terrifico, he finds the audience he craves — only they’re not loving him for his music. Instead, the crowd wants to experience his outlandish on- and off-stage antics, which include near-death experiences and a sexual act with a drum kit.”
While it sounds funny and all, my main reason is that Mr. Terrifico is played by none other than Matt Murphy, a very definite favorite and ex-frontman for The Super Friendz (whose Mock Up Scale Down album is a forgotten mid-’90s classic) and The Flashing Lights, who were similarly terrific. Not to mention Little Orton Hoggett and a stint as one of Neko Case’s Boyfriends.
Here’s a brief in-studio performance by the FLights from 2000.
Nobody does smiley/crunchy power-pop quite like Matt, and I’m looking forward to hearing his new project, City Field. Quoth the press: “What is unexpected is just how very 1979 the fivesome sounds. On City Field’s snappy six-song Authentic City EP, the band makes no attempt to hide the new wave influence of the B-52s, Pere Ubu, the Talking Heads and Patti Smith.” In other good news, it appears there may be more Super Friendz or Flashing Lights work ready to come out soon-ish.
In unrelated news, this is the 2,000th post in history.

three stories

I’ve got three stories to link to today:
My page-one story on the growth of Chinese classes in high schools:
You could write a fair history of late 20th-century America just by tracking the languages high school students learned in school.
At the height of the Cold War, Russian was hot, spasibo very much.
Japanese boomed in the late 1980s, when it seemed the rising sun would eclipse America’s economy. And by the morning of Sept. 12, 2001, Arabic was getting more attention than ever.
But say “ni hao” – “hello,” that is – to the newest language to push its way to the forefront: Chinese.
My metro-cover story on missing test documents:
More than 20,000 copies of state tests – supposedly kept under lock and key – disappeared from Texas schools this spring, according to state data. Dallas schools lost more than 7,000 test documents, more than any other district in the state.
State officials say they are reconsidering their testing security policies after some experts said having Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, or TAKS, questions floating around the state could put the integrity of the testing system at risk.
“We probably need to look at some ways to strengthen our security,” said Susan Barnes, associate commissioner of standards and programs at the Texas Education Agency.
– The Miami Herald ran my Jonathan Kozol review in their Sunday book section.

i’m 30 — and a winner!

As of 26 minutes ago, I am 30 years old. Weird.
(At least by calendar date. I was actually born at 8:01 a.m., so I’ve got a few hours left before I start to bald.)
Also, apparently a few hours ago, I won a pretty nice award — the top prize for Best Investigative Reporting in a six-state area (Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas). This would be for the cheating stuff last year. Yay!

coeval moors, harvey danger

Two-word phrase I did not expect to read in a record review today: coeval moors.
Coeval, of course, means “originating or existing during the same period; lasting through the same era.” It is used correctly in the review. Moor, as a noun, means “a broad area of open land, often high but poorly drained, with patches of heath and peat bogs.” It is, I would argue, not used correctly, the writer having confused the verb and noun forms — methinks he meant something like “anchor” or even “fencepost.”
As for the review, I sadly have to agree with it. I was anxious to hear the new Harvey Danger record, having considered their two mid-1990s releases criminally overlooked — as the review put it, “Throw your 10 fave 90s indie albums in a blender and poof! — Harvey Danger.” And I’m an established fanboy of HD lead singer Sean Nelson. And the album’s certainly not bad or anything — just a little overcooked and adult-contemporary in spots.
That said, the band lets you download the whole album free and legally, which is mighty cool.