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September 2006 Archives

September 29, 2006

Video: Aimee Mann on Letterman

Here's the great Aimee Mann, recorded on Letterman. As far as abnormally tall, avian singer-songwriters go, she's right up there with Beth Orton.

Or, download it as an iPod/iTunes/everything-compatible MPEG4.

If you've never heard Aimee before, and you like this song, you should check out her album Bachelor No. 2 or the soundtrack to Magnolia.

Monday's video: Not sure yet, but will not be musical in nature.

September 28, 2006

An Itsy-Bitsy Lie

Earlier this week, a Danbury CT paper reported that Paul Van Valkenburgh, who wrote "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" under the name Paul Vance, had died at the age of 68. The A.P. picked up the story and it ran in yesterday's New York Times. You know who was most surprised to read it? Paul Vance, who wrote "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini."

What makes this story interesting is that it wasn't just some sort of mix-up on the part of the Obit. columnists. Paul Van Valkenburgh (the dead one) had apparently been telling his family for years that he wrote the song. It's one of those perfect lies that you tell at your high school reunion - like that you invented post-its. It's a great exercise in what I'm sure Van Valkenburgh thought was harmless fakery, and his wife and kids believed him.

Unfortunately, Paul Vance's family also believed it, and understandably freaked out. While the media has withdrawn the original story, Vance is more concerned with the financial ramifications. Two racehorses that he owns were scratched from races yesterday because he was thought to be dead. And as for royalties: “Believe me," he says, "if they think you’re dead, they ain’t going to send the money.”

P.S. - In this week's NYT "Talk to the Newsroom" feature, obituaries editor Bill McDonald answers reader questions including one that addresses this case. What he doesn't address is that in this instance, the Times apparently didn't do any independent fact-checking.

Blah, blah, blah....The Strokes.

Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah 2003, blah blah blah blah blah The Strokes. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Brooklyn and blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah Fischerspooner, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah fucking movie nights at fucking Galapagos and blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Planet Thailand.

As if that weren't enough, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Fabrizio blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah Gawker blah blah blah blah blah blah trucker hats, trucker hats, trucker hats. Blah.

Blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah Conan blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah. Sorry. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

Blah blah blah blah blah blah....2006. Blah blah blah SNL blah blah blah blah saggy tits:

Blah blah iPod/iTunes/everything-compatible MPEG4: Song 1, Song 2.

Tomorrow: Back to reality with Aimee Mann, and maybe somebody else.

September 26, 2006

Video: Ladies and Gentleman....Prince!

Fuckin' Prince, man. I him loved in back '85, and I was LATE to the party. I can remember huddling in a corner with "Darling Nikki" so my mom wouldn't hear that key word. And "When Doves Cry" was my favorite song until "Like a Prayer" came along.

Do I still love him in 2006? Um, not sure. Sometimes I feel like I'm still waiting for the follow-up to Purple Rain. Then when he showed up on SNL a few months back, it was certainly a bit of a disappointment, especially since he didn't even appear in the Prince skit to parody himself. Lighten up, buddy! Pull back the curtain once in a while.

Anyway, here's Prince.

Like most videos we post here, you can download it as an iPod/iTunes/everything-compatible MPEG4.

Tomorrow's video: Probably two, from the Strokes. (I know, I know.)

Video: Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell on Conan

I certainly do love, in a romantic way, Emmylou Harris. Her voice is getting a little hoarse as she ages, but she is still wonderful, and she possesses a rare grace.

Here she is with Rodney Crowell, performing a cover of Dylan's "Shelter from the Storm".

Like most videos we post here, you can download it as an iPod/iTunes/everything-compatible MPEG4.

If you've never heard Emmylou before, and you like this song, you should check out her amazing album Wrecking Ball.

Tomorrow's video: Prince

September 25, 2006

Cleaning out the closet

Amy is on the road for the next couple weeks, so I figured I'd take the opportunity to post some stuff I've had lying around for a while, or some kinds of things we don't ordinarily post. Specifically, I've got a bunch of videos that I never got around to posting, so I may as well upload some of those over the next week or so.

Here's the Beastie Boys performing Root Down on Conan a while back:

As with almost all videos we post here, you can also download it as an iPod/iTunes/everything-compatible MPEG4.

I'll post another one tomorrow.

September 24, 2006

We Want Your Links


Hi everybody,

One of the main features of this site is the constant stream of fresh and interesting links over there on the right side of this page. All those links come from a website we made a while ago called Linkit.

We don't talk about it a lot, but the whole idea of that bar is for you to share interesting things you find on the internet with us. It just takes a second: whenever you find something interesting, go to this page, and send it to us. As soon as you submit it, it will appear on Linkit's main page, and if we like the link, it will soon appear on this page, too.

Now, to prevent spam, we do ask you register with Linkit before adding links. This also takes just a second, but it has an additional benefit: Linkit is a great way to keep track of your bookmarks and favorite links even if you are not really motivated to share them with us. You can even make the links you submit to Linkit show up on your own blog or website, since every user's links are available as an RSS feed. Several Linkit users are already using it to do just that.

So, if you have a second, please bookmark Linkit's Add Item page, and use it whenever you find something interesting on the web. (To make this process even faster, we also have a Linkit "bookmarklet" that you can add to your browser's toolbar that will automatically add to Linkit whatever page you happen to be looking at when you click it.) By sending us your links, you'll be helping readers of Amy's Robot find more great stuff on the internet, and you'll be able to keep better track of the stuff you come across online.

If you're interested in learning more about Linkit, you can read this interview with Amy's Robot where we talk all about it, why we created it, and how much we want you all to use it! (While you're there, check out the great features of Ning.com, the site that hosts Linkit.)

Thanks for reading, and please let us know if you have any questions or comments about Linkit or this site!

-Amy's Robot

September 21, 2006

Photo op

Thai fashion student in Bangkok

The coup in Thailand: a politically confusing pro-democracy military ousting of a democratically-elected (though potentially corrupt) government, or fashion photo shoot opportunity? Both!

This Bangkok fashion student takes her inspiration from the military's stylish uniforms as they guard the government buildings they raided just last night.

September 19, 2006

Coup in Thailand

Coup in Thailand

Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra spoke yesterday at the Council on Foreign Relations here in New York, and discussed his country's sometimes rocky experiences with democracy. He also answered questions about the recent violence involving Muslim separatists in the south, and personal charges of corruption.

Apparently he finds it useful to compare the government he leads to a baby, because he used two different baby metaphors to describe the young democracy:

"I, for one, haven’t seen a child learning to walk without bumping his bottom constantly. As adults, we must learn to live with the pain and the pangs of democracy, lest we throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

But when the cat's away... the tanks come in. A military group calling themselves the Council of Administrative Reform seized power tonight, surrounding government buildings with tanks, and have suspended the constitution and declared martial law. It's the first coup in Thailand in 15 years.

Good timing on the part of the military, waiting until the controversial leader is out of the country to take over. Must have been like taking candy from a baby.

September 14, 2006

In Memoriam: Ann Richards

Ann Richards on a motorcycle

One of the more colorful politicians of all time, Ann Richards, died on Wednesday. In honor of her and her status as onetime leader of progressive Texan politics (sounds crazy, doesn't it?) and all-around hellraising sass machine, we bring you one of her finest moments: the Doritos™ commercial she did with Mario Cuomo, after they were both defeated by their Republican opponents in the 1994 elections, aka the Republican Revolution.

The New York Times provided a narration of the ad.

"THE AD CAMPAIGN; The Taste of Defeat: Got Any Salsa?" By Kevin Sack, Published: January 27, 1995


Mario M. Cuomo and Ann Richards

With the mournful strains of Auld Lang Syne as background music, the scene opens with Mr. Cuomo helping Ms. Richards pack up her gubernatorial office. As she tosses file folders into a cardboard box, they begin to philosophize about the nature of change. When it becomes clear that the change they are discussing is packaging - of tortilla chips, not candidates - Ms. Richards pulls out a newly designed bag of Doritos and Mr. Cuomo begins to munch on a few.

Ms. Richards: "Mario, I haven't seen a change like this since I was knee high to a June bug."

Mr. Cuomo: "Ann, I was as surprised as you are."

A.R.: "Well, I should have seen it coming."

M.C.: "Maybe so, but now I think we ought to accept this change, embrace it, be positive about it, because change can be very exciting."

A.R.: "You're probably right, Mario. I guess I'll get used to Doritos' new bag."

M.C.: "There you go."

Announcer: "This year's big change is Doritos. More great taste, brand-new bag."

M.C.: "Too bad about the Cowboys, Ann."

A.R.: "They always won when I was Governor."

I couldn't find a video of this ad, but if anyone can locate it, please notify us in the comments.

September 12, 2006

Who'Dat?™: Fall TV Season Edition

Has there ever been a better time to be a bald celebrity? Lost's Terry O'Quinn may have led the trend, but since then we've seen Howie Mandel's return to super-stardom with Deal or No Deal,, a "very special" bald episode of America's Next Top Model, and now a fall tv show starring both John Lithgow AND Jeffrey Tambor?

If you're a former celebrity who's gone a little bit to seed, what are you waiting for? Get out that razor and call your agent! That's what this guy did - and in celebration of his return to celebrity relevancy, he is today's Who'Dat?™

Make your guess and click on the picture below to see if you're right.

who dat?

New York Primary Election: 100% lovable loser ticket

election day!

Today is primary day in New York, and the big races are so completely dominated by one candidate that the papers may as well just run their election coverage stories right now.

For Senate: Hillary Clinton is so busy running to the center in preparation for 2008 that she's starting to piss off a lot of New York liberals who don't like her blatant pandering to middle America, and are still mad that she voted for the war. And really, what is so great about Hillary? Especially when there's a candidate like Jonathan Tasini, who wants out of the war, wants to give Medicare to everyone, allow all workers to join unions and get pensions, and make civil and marriage rights universal. He made a helpful PDF of where he and Hillary stand on the main issues. Poll shows him at 9%.

For Governor: Eliot Spitzer, world famous Attorney General, is the leading Democrat. Tom Suozzi is the energetic underdog, recently featured on Gawker, who offer their best wishes: "May you lose by less than 40 points." (disclosure: Suozzi is related to one of us.) The latest poll shows Suozzi has support from 12% of voters.

Then there's whoever's going to replace Eliot Spitzer as Attorney General. Andrew Cuomo has the party endorsement and is in the lead, though the New York Times and the Daily News both endorsed Mark Green, who has emerged after losing the mayoral election to Bloomberg in 2001. There's also Sean Patrick Maloney, the true underdog in this race, whose big issues are human rights protection, cleaning up the corrupt state government, and making gay marriage legal. Latest poll puts him at 7%.

Since the real election on November 7 is pretty much going to be a formality this year, today is the real decider. We love an underdog, and urge you to get out there and make your contribute to some solid single digit election results. [tx Cushie for the headline]

September 9, 2006

Japan vs. Brazil

japanese shoe hat

An item from Kazuo Takashima's collection, featured the other day Japan's Fashion Week.

brazil shoe hat

Katherine Hellmond in Terry Gilliam's Brazil.

original shoe hat

Both can be traced to Schiaparelli's shoe hat from the 1930s or so.

September 5, 2006

West Indian Day Carnival

West Indian Day festival

(photo by George K on Flickr)

Yesterday's annual West Indian-American Day Carnival along Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn brought huge crowds, tons of curried goat, rice and peas, and ginger beer, and enough elaborate costumes to keep the lucrative sequin, feather, bead, and face paint industries in the black for another year.

The parade is New York's biggest cultural event of the year (bigger than the Macy's Thanksgiving parade)--over 3 million people usually attend. It was my first time, and as a friend said, this parade puts all other city street festivals to shame. The costumes are amazing, but the sheer number of people is what really sets it apart. In between the endless formations of women in bikinis and headdresses were lots of tractor-trailers with scaffolding built up to hold several levels of hundreds of partiers and stacks of speakers with chest-cavity-rattling bass, and these trucks were surrounded by thousands of people waving flags and singing and dancing. The Jamaican and the Haitian trucks both looked like they were surrounded by the city's entire population from their respective countries. Great picture of an enthusiastic Jamaican crowd.

See tons of photos on Flickr.

The Daily News coverage focused on the positive, featuring quotes from excited people who came from all over to watch the parade. "I love it," said Michelle Stebila, a 28-year-old waitress from Raleigh, N.C., who was visiting the parade - and Big Apple - for the first time. "Now I want to move here. I love the vibe that is here."

But the Post's article includes a disturbingly long rundown of everybody who got shot or stabbed before and during parade celebrations.

Courtney Clementson, 23, was shot around 3 a.m. and Jordian Brooks, 11, was struck in the thigh by a stray bullet. Earlier, a 17-year-old boy was shot in the arm and another man was hit by a stray bullet.

At 4 p.m., a man in his 20s was stabbed in the neck at Nostrand Avenue and Eastern Parkway. Five minutes later, a man was shot in the leg on Troy Avenue. At 6 p.m., a 15-year-old was stabbed after he intervened in a dispute between his brother and the suspect.

There were cops absolutely everywhere at the parade, but I guess in all the excitement a lot of attacks happen anyway.

About September 2006

This page contains all entries posted to Amy's Robot in September 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

August 2006 is the previous archive.

October 2006 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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