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Archive for June, 2008

My Ticket

The Black Crowes, soulful purveyors of music’s most authentic brand of rock n’ roll, played the second show of their “Euphoria or Bust” tour last night – June 28, 2008 – at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom in New Hampshire. We were there…In the front row…It was awesome.

Luther DickinsonThis new tour follows the release of their much acclaimed 7th studio album, Warpaint, and marks the debut of the band’s two new members, guitarist Luther Dickinson and keyboardist Adam MacDougall. I think the story of the night was Luther Dickinson (pictured on the left), who featured as prominently as Chris Robinson’s always impeccable vocals throughout the night. The set list seemed to be designed, in large part, as a platform for highlighting Dickinson’s slide guitar playing acumen. He really was incredible; ripping frequent, extended solos and injecting – if you can imagine it – even more richness into slide guitar staples from the Crowes’ catalogue, like Descending (hence the post title, which comes from the lyrics in Descending).

Right from the start, the band as a whole played as strong as I have ever heard them, quickly settling into their blend of, as Dennis Cook put it in a recent Crowes interview, “bohemian gospel, dirt road blues, freshly harvested psychedelia, uncut funk and tear-in-your-beer country.” My favorite song of the night, which also happens to be my favorite Crowes song of all, was Thorn In My Pride – it was just a great show! To top it all off, one of our other favorite bands, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, opened the show (Grace is pictured below)! I could go on…but anyway, here is the Crowes’ set list, as best I can recollect:

Grace Potter

  1. Move It On Down the Line
  2. Evergreen
  3. Gone
  4. Cosmic Friend
  5. Nebakanezer
  6. Locust Street
  7. Never Ending Song of Love (by Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett)
  8. My Heart’s Killing Me
  9. Whoa Mule
  10. Wee Who See the Deep
  11. Thorn In My Pride
  12. Descending
  13. Twice as Hard
  14. Virtue and Vice
  15. Wounded Bird
  16. Hung Upside Down
  17. Hey Grandma

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When the Olympics were held in Atlanta 13 years ago, a local radio station from East Dublin, GA wanted to draw some of the Olympic crowds to their little town. What could they possibly do to accomplish this? Create the “Summer Redneck Games”, of course!

A week from today, on July 5th, the 13th Annual Summer Redneck Games will commence. With around 10,000 attendees each year, it has grown into quite the shin-dig. Rednecks compete for the respect of their fellow Southerners and trophies appropriately made out of crushed beer cans (something to proudly display on their mantels – although, I’m not sure trailers have mantels).

A local asphalt layer (who happens to have no teeth and goes by the name of Elbow) is the Games’ mascot. Every year, Elbow kicks off the festivities by using the Redneck Games torch to light the Ceremonial Grill.

 

The games include everything from the Mud-Pit Belly Flop (competitors are judged on beauty of form and size of splash), Bobbing for Pigs Feet (ugh!), Dumpster Diving, the Armpit Serenade, Redneck Horse Shoes (with toilet seats!), and a Seed Spittin’ Contest. In addition, they have live bands and other forms of entertainment like swimming in the watering hole, Redneck Idol, and the Miss Redneck competition.

 

CMT put together a short documentary on the Redneck Games – not something you see everyday!

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I have been fascinated with astronomy and space exploration for as long as I can remember, but even if you don’t really care, you will be amazed by these pictures. This is by far the best collection of Mars images I’ve seen anywhere – these 17 pictures and animations are incredible! And just imagine the what we’ll be looking at 10, 30, 50 years from now!

Martian Skies

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These days many of us feel the need to be constantly connected. Being surrounded by technology in today’s “wired” world makes living in this uber-productive and connected state easy as pie. The downside? Well, we don’t watch where we are going and tend to walk into things on the sidewalk.

This photo was taken on a London street (credit: FNC), which is already experimenting with padded lampposts to prevent texting-while-walking injuries. Hilarious!

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In Science:

Sarcasm Seen as Evolutionary Survival Skill

What great news! I fully embrace any and all evidence that justifies my predisposition towards being a sarcastic ass 🙂

In Real Estate & Construction:

Ailing Builders Getting Back Into Land Game

Interesting article on the current market’s effect on land value and current activity by construction firms to stockpile land (at low prices) in anticipation of renewed residential construction activity. Builders are slashing prices to clear the glut of inventory left in the wake of the housing bubble, and at the same time, slowly “re-coiling the spring” of new land development by taking advantage of the pass-through effect of low prices on the cost of raw land. 

In Sports:

The World’s Greatest Athlete

A panel of sports experts sifts through a mountain of data and pick the fastest, strongest, most agile athlete on Earth. Oh please don’t let it be A-Rod…

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Broadening our perspective on some of the important things in life – like the state of humanity, gas, and of course, beer:

  • The World Clock – Check out the World Clock (click link or picture) to see active running statistics on population, deaths, illnesses, energy use, environment, food, crimes, and more. If you click on “Day,” “Week,” or “Year” it shows running totals for that period, if you click “Now” it will reset the counters to zero.

The World Clock

  • The Price of Gas – I gathered data on the price of gas in 28 countries as of early June. Guess which country still has the cheapest gas of all? Four bucks a gallon really sucks, I’m just saying, it’s a lot worse pretty much everywhere else.

Retail Gas Prices by Country

Pint Price

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I’d expect a “Celebrity 100” list from People Magazine, but I was surprised today to see that Forbes.com published an extensive online feature on the top 100 celebs. I have to admit – reading celebrity magazines are a guilty pleasure of mine. Although, I only read them when I travel or when I visit the apartment of my friend Craig – he, lucky for me, is a current subscriber to US Weekly. No, he isn’t gay – far from it – the subscription was a result of a Best Buy promotion.

Anyways, the Forbes list ranks the most powerful and best paid celebrities from June 2007 to June 2008 – factoring in celebrity earnings, media metrics like Google hits, press mentions (according to Factiva), TV/radio mentions (according to Lexis/Nexis) and the number of times the celeb appears on the cover of more than 50 consumer magazines.

Oprah is #1 (obviously), Tiger Woods came in at #2 (congrats – he won the US Open yesterday), and Angelina Jolie (a personal favorite) came in at #3. Kobe Bryant came in at #19 (loser – go Celtics!). Check out the list of 1-25 below. The full coverage (plus, LOTS of photos) are at Forbes.com.

Rank Name Pay ($mil) Web Rank Press Rank TV Rank
1 Oprah Winfrey 275 2 5 1
2 Tiger Woods 115 12 1 3
3 Angelina Jolie 14 1 9 15
4 Beyonce Knowles 80 3 32 14
5 David Beckham 50 10 3 18
6 Johnny Depp 72 17 19 36
7 Jay-Z 82 6 43 41
8 The Police 115 15 20 51
9 J.K. Rowling 300 23 27 64
10 Brad Pitt 20 4 8 7
11 Will Smith 80 26 39 32
12 Justin Timberlake 44 5 24 17
13 Steven Spielberg 130 34 23 60
14 Cameron Diaz 50 13 50 45
15 David Letterman 45 42 34 10
16 LeBron James 38 32 13 13
17 Jennifer Aniston 27 21 67 49
18 Michael Jordan 45 38 45 29
19 Kobe Bryant 39 28 18 24
20 Phil Mickelson 45 87 12 23
21 Madonna 40 15 20 67
22 Simon Cowell 72 65 47 40
23 Roger Federer 35 40 2 26
24 Alex Rodriguez 34 51 7 6
25 Jerry Seinfeld 85 79 72 38

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