Apr 27, 2008

Sunday Morning WTF

Heidi Montag was invited to the White House Correspondents gala. What?

Apr 17, 2008

Did Portishead kill trip-hop?

That's what this Salon article by James Hannaham says. Apparently Tricky and Massive Attack, in their most recent releases, have turned away from the Bristol Sound. Our only hope---Portishead and their ten-years-overdue third album--- Hannaham seems to assert, doesn't keep it alive.
[Lead singer Beth] Gibbons' trembling voice used to sound bluesy and erotic --"It Could Be Sweet," from their debut, could have been pillow talk verbatim. On the second record, she often threw in a vampy, nasal quality that cut the generally depressive tone with a touch of humor. What singer could take herself seriously while doing a Shirley Bassey impression? On "Third," Gibbons takes herself entirely too seriously, moving between a whispery, disaffected moan and a fluttery, anxious whine. She always sounds powerless, like she's about to burst into tears. The folky numbers, like "Hunter," have a very listenable, austere atmosphere, but not a sensual one -- Portishead has lured you and your partner to their dark Transylvanian castle, but you'll be sleeping in separate quarters.
One of the tracks from the new album, "Machine Gun," is up on their MySpace page.

Oh, snap. He's right, it's a totally different sound. I'm not going into mourning just yet: true, it's no Roads or Mysterons, but I'll still buy the new album anyway.

The New Yorker drops knowledge about "The Hills"

Yeah, I've watched "The Hills" voluntarily. A girl sometimes needs some mindless entertainment. But I'll never forgive Lauren Conrad, she of the "sub-Old Navy" clothing line, for blowing off a summer in Paris so that she could spend time with her boyfriend. What? WHO DOES THAT?

Anyway. I love when high-brow publications offer up commentary about vapid pop-culture institutions. In this case, The New Yorker takes on "The Hills," and the author still can't figure out why this show is so hot.
I don’t know for sure what the appeal is, even though I have worked for nine years in the building identified in the show as Teen Vogue Headquarters and some wisdom should have rubbed off on me by now. But I’m still trying to figure out why teen-agers want their bra straps to show and how it came to pass that crooked hair parts are considered chic and not a pathetic sign that you didn’t have proper mothering. So I have plenty to think about as it is. The L.A. of this show has no edge or darkness to it, and perhaps it’s easy, and pleasant, for young girls to imagine being Lauren & Co. when they grow up. (Or at least to have their teeth, which are truly spectacular.) The show’s soundtrack is all pop songs, often as many as a dozen per episode, and they tend to be programmatically upbeat or emo, underlining the three overriding and broadly painted feelings of the characters: I’m so glad; I’m so sad; and I’m so confused. These characters are now in their twenties, but they still smell like Teen Spirit.

(Photo credit: Illustration by Quickhoney, courtesy of The New Yorker.)

Apr 6, 2008

Poor Larry.

Larry Ellison's shithole in Woodside, CA.

Larry Ellison, Oracle's CEO, recently took a $3M tax break on his Woodside home after declaring it "functionally obsolete," whatever that means. According to the SF Chronicle, the money will come out of San Mateo County funds, $1.4M of which would have gone to schools.

And while it's true that Ellison, Mr. #12 on the Forbes 500 List, already has a net worth of about $25 billion (with a B, kids), he must really need that extra three mil, so get off his back.
Why? How did Larry Ellison's palatial estate decline by more than 60 percent in value in a market where luxury homes are actually appreciating and single-family homes values in the county only decreased 6.3 percent in the last year, according to DataQuick Information Systems?

Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Lilienthal declined comment, and Bennett, of San Francisco law firm Bennett & Yee, didn't return a call from The Chronicle. But Ellison's appeal claimed the property suffered from "significant functional obsolescence" because there is a finite market for high-end luxury homes, limited appeal for 16th-century Japanese architecture and the "over improvements" and "excessive" landscaping are costly to maintain.

Sixteenth-century Japanese architecture doesn't just take care of itself, Lar.

(Photo credit: Chronicle photo, 2006, by Christina Koci Hernandez)