stAllio!'s way
Friday, June 24, 2005 
love theme from the free zone
the free zone is hands-down the best radio show in indianapolis. not that that's really saying a lot. they play the hippest indie rock, the best underground hip-hop (none of that top-40 50 cent shit; they play stuff like beans, dizze rascal, def jux artists, etc), and even play great artists like negativland, evolution control committee, secret mommy, and more.

they've also been very supportive of me, playing some of my stuff and even booking me for a show last halloween. (cohost rob g even listed maura's milk chocolate bath as one of his top 10 of 2004.)

a couple months ago they asked me to compose a new opening theme for the show. i made three. (though it took me awhile to get around to it, with all my other active projects.) they're supposed to start using my themes tonight (maybe one, maybe alternating between two).

the show is every friday and saturday at midnight (indiana time, currently equivalent to central daylight time) on WICR 88.7fm indianapolis. if you're outside the listening area, you can tune in online at

on sunday, i think i'll post all three mp3s in the mp3 of the week section, which will be the last mp3s posted to that section in its current form. in coming weeks i'll either discontinue the mp3 of the week or i'll significantly rework it a discussed here.

financial support for public broadcasting
it should be no surprise. the same thing happens every time the right-wing tries to drasticly cut funding for public broadcasting: the public throws a fit, and congress, suddenly receiving millions of angry emails and phone calls, quickly realizes just how unpopular the idea of cutting funding is and reinstates the money.

despite what tomlinson says, a very large majority of americans do not think public broadcasting is biased, and if anything want more funding for it, not less.

but the news isn't all good:

PBS still might end up with less money than in its current budget. The legislation would eliminate a $23 million for the Ready to Learn program, which subsidizes children's educational programming and distributes learning materials.

Public broadcasting advocates say $82 million is set to be cut for satellite upgrades and a program to help public TV stations switch to digital technology. Restoring the money would mean dipping into dollars intended for stations and programming, they say.

i was going to title this "big bird gets his money back" but did he? apparently not.

also, the cpb board picked a new president: the one tomlinson wanted them to pick. the one who was formerly a co-chair of the republican party.

fight bias with bias.

Thursday, June 23, 2005 
if you are what you own then you are nothing
the supreme court is on a roll. after their recent decision that growing a pot plant in your backyard equals interstate commerce, scotus has now decided that there is no such thing as personal property.

your house is not yours. scotus declared today in a 5-4 decision that local government can seize any property it chooses if it decides that doing so is in the "public interest".

the case revolved around a connecticut town that wanted to tear down seven working-class homes and replace them with a waterfront hotel, a health club, and other hoity-toity high-revenue stuff. the residents, convinced that they have a right to personal property, said "hell no, we won't go". scotus says "hell yes, you will".

the town apparently thinks that waterfront hotels and fancy health clubs do more for the public good than low-income housing, and puzzlingly, five supreme court justices agreed.

Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens said, "Promoting economic development is a traditional and long accepted governmental function, and there is no principled way of distinguishing it from the other public purposes the court has recognized."

yes, there is "no principled way" to distinguish between a public service (say, a subway line, interstate, or road improvements) and private land development, according to stevens.

Justice Stevens noted that the homes in question could not be considered a slum area, and that indeed some of the people have lived in their homes for decades. Rather, he said, the properties "were condemned only because they happen to be located in the development area."

"In affirming the city's authority to take petitioners' properties, we do not minimize the hardship that condemnations may entail, notwithstanding the payment of just compensation," Justice Stevens wrote, adding that local governments have the authority to refine their condemnation policies, and curb them if they wish.

if you live in the wrong neighborhood, the government can now take your home away if it wants to put in something "better" than your house. though "better" almost certainly means "richer" or "paying more taxes".

the seeming irony is that the justices who are often called the "liberal" justices were the ones in the majority. some conservatives are trying to use this as evidence that "the left" is intellectually corrupt or what-have-you. of course, it doesn't really mean anything of the sort: if anything, it only shows that those justices aren't really all that liberal, unless you're comparing them to the "conservatives" on the court. and considering that scalia and thomas are so far to the right that they're driving on the shoulder rather than the actual road, just about anyone could be considered liberal in comparison.

the grokster decision will be announced soon. with scotus's current track record, things don't look very good there.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005 
the hoosier who spied on me
here we go, re-creating the post that was lost.

in my blog wanderings this morning i ended up on wayne besen's blog (because i wanted to read this post), and while there found the link to this nytimes article about ken tomlinson and fred mann, the hoosier who tomlinson hired to "investigate" bill moyers.

A researcher retained secretly by the chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, to monitor the "Now" program with Bill Moyers for political objectivity last year, worked for 20 years at a journalism center founded by the American Conservative Union and a conservative columnist, an official at the journalism center said on Monday.

The decision by the chairman, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, to retain the researcher, Fred Mann, without the knowledge of the corporation's board, to report on the political leanings of the guests of "Now" is one of several issues under investigation by the corporation's inspector general.

i will be adding hyperlinks to the conservative advocacy/lobbying organizations that mann is/has been affiliated with. i think this helps show the bigger picture.

for example, the american conservative union is "the nation's oldest conservative lobbying organization". it has a link on its front page to a column titled PBS is No Longer Relevant -- If it Ever Was -- So Cut it Off. here's an excerpt that mentions bill moyers:

Some curmudgeons at the time wondered at the wisdom in a free society of establishing a government-subsidized broadcast capability, but in those days government, the academy and those who knew better than we what we needed were all singing from pretty much the same sheet. They were all, shall we say, liberals, and they set about establishing the new creation in their own image.

The result was a loose network of radio and television stations capable of beaming classical music into the hollows of Appalachia and providing the likes of Bill Moyers a lifetime platform from which he and those with whom he agreed could lecture the rest of us on our moral, intellectual and political shortcomings. They were giving us what they were convinced we needed and since this was, after all, a public service, felt no guilt as they extracted tax monies from the treasury to do so.

sounds like this guy has a grudge against bill moyers. the author of the column is david a keene, who is the chairman of the american conservative union. fred mann worked for his organization for 20 years. do you think maybe mann knew in advance what his conclusion would be when he started his study on bill moyers? and that maybe tomlinson knew it too? and maybe that's why tomlinson didn't report to the board that he was paying mann $14k for the analysis?

let's get back to the nytimes article:

Until last year, Mr. Mann worked at the National Journalism Center, which for the last few years has been run by the Young America's Foundation. The foundation describes itself on its Web site as "the principal outreach organization of the conservative movement" and as being committed to the ideas of "individual freedom, a strong national defense, free enterprise and traditional values."

the national journalism center" has a bunch of blurbs on its front page advertising "journalists" nationwide who allegedly got their start there. prominently listed are ann coulter and maggie gallagher (maggie gallagher got in trouble last year when it was revealed that she was a paid shill for the dept of health and human services).

The Young America's Foundation shares some top officials with its politically active counterpart, Young Americans for Freedom, although the two are separate entities.

The National Journalism Center was founded in 1977 by the American Conservative Union and M. Stanton Evans, a syndicated columnist.

Mark LaRochelle, a top official at the National Journalism Center, said Mr. Mann told him last year that he was working on the Moyers project for the broadcasting corporation. He said Mr. Mann had run the alumni relations, job bank and internship program at the center, where he got to know Mr. Tomlinson. While Mr. Mann worked at the National Journalism Center, he helped place interns in the Washington bureau of Reader's Digest.

The editor in chief of Reader's Digest at the time was Mr. Tomlinson, and its top editor in its Washington bureau was a friend of Mr. Tomlinson's, William Schulz. In April, Mr. Tomlinson persuaded the board of the corporation to appoint Mr. Schulz to be one of two ombudsmen to monitor public radio and television for objectivity.

There was no response on Monday to voice messages and e-mail messages left for Mr. Mann.

Mr. Moyers has been a source of agitation for Mr. Tomlinson and other conservatives. They say that "Now" under Mr. Moyers (who left the show last year and was replaced by David Brancaccio) was consistently critical of Republicans and the Bush administration.

Last week Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, said that in response to a request, Mr. Tomlinson sent data from Mr. Mann's reports.

Mr. Dorgan said that data concluded in one episode of "Now" that Senator Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, was a "liberal" because he questioned the White House policy on Iraq and that a second "Now" segment on financial waste at the Pentagon was "anti-Defense." Mr. Hagel is known as a mainstream conservative member of the Senate and a maverick who has at times been critical of the Bush administration.

The inspector general at the corporation is now looking at steps taken by Mr. Tomlinson to ensure what he calls greater balance in programming, including his decision to approve $14,170 in payments to Mr. Mann without the knowledge of the corporation's board.

yes, mann defines chuck hagel as a "liberal" because hagel occasionally dares to disagree with bush, and will even openly criticize the administration. while this does make him rare in the modern republican party, it does no make him anything resembling "liberal".

so on friday when i first posted about fred mann, i wondered whether any local media would pick up the story, since the nytimes reported that mann "was listed in the contracts as living in Indianapolis". and who would be better qualified to report on him than indy media, right?

and holy crap, the indy star has mentioned the story! they hadn't last i checked, but it's there now (though relatively buried in the metro & state section, as the fourth part in one of those many-stories-in-one stories they like to run):

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting did not respond to a request for copies of the reports, and efforts to locate Mann were not immediately successful.

A Frederick W. Mann, 61, who has worked for the conservative National Journalism Center in Washington, has Indianapolis ties.

Public records show he is still registered to vote in Marion County and has an Indiana driver's license issued with the same address as the voting record.

But a woman at that address, who said she was Mann's cousin, said he does not live there. Mann did not return messages left on his cell phone.

Moyers said paying $14,170 to see who was on his show was a waste of public funds -- Tomlinson simply could have checked the television listings.

but of course, local tv news is so far clueless. using the search engine on each site, i was unable to find anything on channel 6/wrtv, channel 8/wish, channel 13/wthr, or fox 59/wxin.

the newest issue of nuvo came out today, but the content isn't on their website yet so i can't check there. do any local radio stations (other than maybe wfyi, our local npr affiliate) have their own news departments? i only ever listed to wfyi and whhh, so i don't know.

we just had a blackout (or maybe a brownout?) and i lost a good 30 minutes' worth of work. i was in the middle of a long, info-packed post about ken tomlinson and fred mann... i guess i need to rewrite the whole post now.

the power went off just long enough for everyone's computers to shut down and lose their work, then the power immediately came back on. at least i had saved the "job work" i had been working on, so i didn't lose that.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 
batman begins
i really loved this movie. finally, a batman adaptation that really gets into batman's head.

when tim burton's first batman movie came out, it was the first time we'd really seen a "dark" batman onscreen. our only points of comparison were the uber-cheesy adam west live tv version and the almost equally cheesy cartoon version who was seen in superfriends and guesting on scooby doo. so this new darker movie batman was totally badass in comparison (especially after joel schumaker took over and completely ruined the franchise). but it was still somewhat campy: i suspect that tim burton is incapable of making a non-campy movie. not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that.

and maybe we needed a semi-campy batman in order to wean us off the adam west days. hell, the villain in that first movie was the joker, whose trademarks are cheesy jokes and maniacal murders. the burton batman was tough, and he was brooding, but he was not the compulsively driven, half-mad man who we knew from the comics.

but the batman in batman begins is. he's emotionally tortured, tormented, unable to emotionally connect to other people (except arguably alfred, who is brilliantly played by michael caine here).

people who cite batman as their favorite superhero often explain their choice by saying that batman "is a normal guy", with no superpowers. and technically this is true, and an important part of his appeal. but thinking of batman as a "normal guy" or that "anyone could become batman" seems to miss a fundamental part of his personality: that he is pathologically driven to to combat what he sees as injustice. and not just that, but to dress up in a costume specifically meant to scare people. the transition from "normal" guy to superhero isn't quick, like with spider-man: he requires years of intensive training to gain his skills, not to mention a large technology budget. if he had been unable to become batman, he very likely would have had a mental breakdown or ended up in prison.

the batman we see in batman begins has had all the camp stripped away. before he starts to find his way, he comes treacherously close to crossing over to the dark side. there are few jokes (batman is not for having a sense of humor) and no prince music videos. what's left is a true gritty crimefighter, pissed off and pathological. some will complain that the movie is slow, but it's not supposed to an explosion-a-minute extravaganza. batman first appeared in detective comics: his stories are about suspense, not beating people up (though he does that too, and very well).

supply & demand
i noticed recently that i have not updated my mp3 of the week in a month: yep, 30 days, or one month ago tomorrow, i posted two mp3s to that page (because i was going on vacation), and it hasn't been updated since. perhaps more significantly, not one person has emailed me or left any blog comments asking about the mp3 of the week.

"where's the mp3 of the week?" you could've said. but you haven't. which suggests to me that not many people really care about the mp3 of the week. the thing never really got more than 30-40 downloads a week anyway.

i never expected it to continue indefinitely (after all, i have a finite amount of material, and the concept of quality control suggests i should quit before i post it all, though i do have at least some more postable material). so maybe i should just end it now: there are still plenty mp3s on the site and i'll continue to keep posting new material, just not necessarily weekly and not necessarily old stuff. or maybe i should change it around, make it less stAllio!-exclusive? the current content rules mandated either stAllio! solo stuff or old side projects (meaning not awia or pirates). but there's no real reason i couldn't post awia mp3s. or i could make it into a "bad taste/awia" mp3 of the week, and then i could post non-stAllio! material from my friends and label-mates, like bobby vomit, unszene, dr. butcher m.d., zoke, masochistic ear, etc. (though if i did that, maybe it should be moved to instead of

Sunday, June 19, 2005 
the funeral party experimental extravaganza
this was a great show! there were enough people there that it never felt empty (until pretty late, anyway), and the performances were pretty fun.

amanmonfire went first, though he almost didn't because none of us knew what he looked like! but he managed to introduce himself to the right people and got set up onstage. he had an electric guitar that he ran through a big board full of pedals (at least 6-8). though he kind of "played" the guitar at times, he mostly seemed to be using it to generate signal that he could manipulate with his pedals. it was pretty cool.

next was luke warm bodies (at best), a four-piece with guitar, drums, bass, and electronics. i was pleasantly surpised to discover that i knew the bass player, dave (also in the dream is dead and any number of other bands), but hadn't seen him in years. their sound ranged from relatively straightforward "hardcore"/post-whatever to some pretty psychedelic stuff that reminded me of nurse with wound, where musicians would put down their primary instrument and pick up a whistle or small flute, or something similarly out of left field. they were probably the only act of the night with the "traditional" guitar/drum/bass format, but they didn't really seem out of place as can often happen at these types of shows.

after a bit of a break for setup/teardown, velvet played. velvet is the female half of the funeral party: sardonyx and hallow weener. hallow played cello and sardonyx played keys and strings (i couldn't see her from where i was sitting), all run through delay fx. it was cool and mellow, almost haunting at times.

i went next, my first performance using my new mixer. i must say that having a sampler built into my mixer really helps when i'm having problems with my cd decks. at first it took me a couple minutes to realize i was getting no sound out of channel 4 (cd deck 2), before realizing that i'd hooked the cables into "line A" but the input switch was on "line B". a simple flick of the switch fixed that.

but later i had a new glitch where i inserted a cd and it just started playing (i think it was also playing too fast), but no timecode or anything came on the display. it just played, and i couldn't control it at all. it sounded cool, though. then the second drive did it too. in the past this would've been a crisis, as rebooting the drives to fix the glitch would cause an obvious gap (which i could somewhat fill with the kaoss pad, but not as seamlessly). but i just took a live sample with the mixer, looped it, and rebooted my cd decks without the audience ever knowing there was a problem.

despite these technical problems, i thought my set went really well. because my watch broke a few weeks ago, i didn't know what time it was nor what time i'd started, so i just reached a stopping place and completed my set. then hallow came up and said "you can play a 20-minute set", to which i replied "i can't tell time". so i played a second set, an "encore" if you will, which i also thought went pretty well.

after another break came the funeral party, the guests of honor. the funeral party is the two ladies of velvet plus two guys: tj and antonius (though i don't know which is which). i think theirs was my favorite performance of the night, including all sorts of instruments such as strings, vocals, keys, theremin, congo, fx, and found objects used for percussion. christiebelle came out in full makeup and elaborate hairdo to recite the vocals for one song, which did not go as planned.

otto was scheduled to go next with his "experimental comedy" but by this point it was late (about 2am) and he bravely gave up most of his time in order to speed up the show, telling only a couple jokes. the last act of the night was soulspun, though unfortunately it was now time for me to go so i missed their set.

realicide didn't perform. when i got home i had an email from robert inhuman explaining that they'd shown up at the venue way too early (like 5 hours early) for what would've been the last stop on their tour, with little food, and robert himself suffering "a very disorienting cold". knowing that the bill was already quite full (in fact, i hadn't realized but there was actually another show at the melody inn before ours at 7:30), after some discussion they spontaneously decided to just head home early. they figured that with the lineup as full as it was, their absense wouldn't be too noticeable, and might even help the event by freeing up some time. they were probably right, as the show did get off track even without them, and if they'd been there we would've been even more off schedule. but everyone who came got to perform. (sardonyx and hallow's solo project rosethorns were both on the schedule but apparently cut, though not a big deal as both had already performed, and an "improvisational jam" had been scheduled to happen at the end of the night but probably didn't.)

i met some guy named john who's in a local experimental band called bay big odd back, who's been somewhat unable to find shows to play in the area. he told me all about technique, which involves triggering kaoss pads (which he called "kaoss pedals") using traditional instruments, & traded me a cd called rodina which he said is "a prequel to miles davis's pangaea." i'm listening to it now and it's pretty cool. we should get in touch with these guys whenever we put on our next bad taste show. at one point in the evening, john told me "i know some people in chicago who think your music is the best music ever." i didn't know what to make of that, especially since i've never performed in chicago. (weird, considering chicago's special relationship to indianapolis, and that i've somehow managed to play all over indiana & ohio but not so much in illinois.)

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