By CHRIS PACKHAM
• Hillary Clinton, after hammering Barack Obama for supposed "plagiarism," ended last night's debate with the line "You know, the hits I’ve taken in life are nothing compared to what goes on every single day in the lives of people across our country." Which, if you're a fan of phrases borrowed from other peoples' speeches, you're going to love.
• I was praying for this constitutional amendment! The irony is that I stood up and prayed for it in the middle of a public school. And in a horrifying twist for both the Christians and the Scientologists, I was praying to Lord Xenu, evil dictator of the "Galactic Confederacy," who brought billions of his people to earth 75 million years ago, stacked them around Earth's volcanoes and killed them with hydrogen bombs. SPOILER! This is actually the M. Night Shyamalan surprise twist ending of Operating Thetan Level III. I totally just saved you $100,000.
• Jesus, give a disease a Weekly World News name like "flesh-eating bacteria," and people completely freak out. If they'd created a more exciting name for AIDS 25 years ago, like "Necrotizing Vampire Evil Clown Virus," maybe the world would be a different place. Anyway, Merck is now testing a new staph vaccine in the Kansas City area that provides resistance to superstaph. IN YOUR FACE, GlaxoSmithKline!
• Since turkey fryers are basically culinary variants of improvised explosive devices, seeing the words "turkey fryer" and "OP day care center" in the same headline is the dee-licious journalistic equivalent of deep-fried Twinkies.
• The Hall Foundation made out a check for $43 million to Children's Mercy Hospital, and tucked it inside a lovable Ziggy card.
• Can you watch something so cute that it literally kills you dead? I've got the strength of a horse, but this sent me lurching around clutching my heart like Fred Sanford having a "big one." Three years ago, this kid's parents never dreamed of the entertainment cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine that would be detonated inside their house.
You haven't been reading The Pitch if you don't know about the Ssion or Murderbot. Murderbot, aka a young DJ named Chris, recently relocated to Chicago and founded Sleazetone Records, on which he has released the latest Ssion single on CD and vinyl. However, Chris is having trouble getting the release out on the DJ-friendly digitial distro site Beatport. Below is the e-mail we received this morning from Chris. It's both a good primer on the Ssion's recent accomplishments and it contains a dilemma of which everyone who wants to dance to the Ssion at clubs should be aware.
"Hi, my name's Chris, and I just want to release a record by the Ssion."
From: "Chrissy Murderbot / Sleazetone"
Subject: A favor for Murderbot / Ssion / Sleazetone — THIS IS IMPORTANT!
As many of you know, I recently started a second record label called Sleazetone. The initial release, a CD & 12" single by a really wonderful band called Ssion came out on Feb 12. There's been a lot of critical acclaim -- features in Better Propaganda, Big Stereo, Fluxblog, Gorilla vs. Bear, Imageyenation, Missing Toof, Music For Robots, Palms Out Sounds, Paper Thin Walls, Pitchfork, Pop Tarts Suck Toasted, RCRD LBL, Slutty Fringe, Stereogum, Pitch Weekly, GBH.tv, Pensatos, Vice, the Village Voice, XLR8R, a nice big feature in Urb's new Next 100 issue, and forthcoming reviews in Ghetto Blaster & Pitchfork. It has also been charting well in CMJ (Top 200 & RPM charts), and the live shows have been getting an EXCELLENT response. Cody (the lead singer) has just done a new video for Tilly and the Wall, in addition to his previous video and art design work for Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Liars, The Faint, Black Dice, etc. Basically, this is an amazing project.
(Click More for more.)
By CHRIS PACKHAM
• The Pitch sister paper The Village Voice has an exposé about fake pretend reality television that will chill you to the bone. Specifically, the bone that enjoys watching the American Iron Chef. I know, I know, reality is a construct and reality TV is an even more constructed construct, and we all know it. But seriously: TV is a liar who lies, and we're all really, really easy to trick.
• St. Mary's Academy headmaster Father Vicente A. Griego now says that female basketball referee Michelle Campbell was never told that there was any issue with her authority over boys. He now says that, out of deference to ladies, the boys would have felt inhibited on the court by their fear of slamming into a woman and causing her to explode into a lilac-scented cloud of flower petals.
• In an article John McCain's lawyers have been trying to smother for a while, The New York Times implies that the senator might have been sexing up lobbyist Vicki Iseman with some old-man sex. Maybe! "A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client’s corporate jet," says the McCain-endorsing New York Times. "It is a shame that the New York Times has lowered its standards to engage in a hit and run smear campaign," says The New York Times endorsement-accepting McCain campaign. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
• Independence teen's mean parents won't give him any money. So he allegedly hires someone to murder them. Now he's going to learn an important life-lesson about what happens in D-block when you cross the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang.
• State gaming regulators voted to fill the casino-shaped hole in Sugar Creek by accepting applications for a casino in Sugar Creek.
• An Overland Park man died playing Russian Roulette. The Pitch reminds readers that blackjack played with perfect basic strategy has much better odds than Russian Roulette, so gamble responsibly. If you think you have a Russian Roulette problem, call the compulsive gambling hotline at 1-888-BETS-OFF.
By NADIA PFLAUM
A dozen people showed up at the gravesite of 15-year-old Charles T. Simpson recently to mark the third anniversary of his slaying. Simpson’s mother, Pamela, handed out Dixie cups containing citronella tea light candles. The family, joined by former Mayor Pro-Tem Alvin Brooks, formed a shivering half-circle around the boy’s headstone in the Forest Hill Calvary Cemetery at 69th and Troost. The wind soon blew out all the candles.
“He was my partner,” his sister, 20-year-old Kiera Simpson, said at the February 10 vigil. “My mother had six kids and we all paired up. He and I always celebrated our birthdays together.”
“He was a good boy,” Pamela Simpson remembered, her voice wavering. “Nobody ever had anything bad to say about the child… I’d be less of a mother if I didn’t try to get some justice for him.”
Simpson was the 17th homicide of 2005, a year that ended with an alarming 127 homicides in Kansas City. He was shot walking home from after-school activities at Operation Breakthrough, where he’d proudly showed off a photocopied sheet of his report card from East Elementary School – he’d gotten straight Bs.
Simpson made it to his grandmother’s driveway at 58th and Indiana, where he collapsed and later died at the hospital.
Operation Breakthrough had a scholarship account saved for him with $40,000 in it, according to his mother. A co-founder of Operation Breakthrough, Sister Berta Sailer, told The Kansas City Star in 2005 that Simpson always talked about wanting to run for president -- “if” he grew up.
The unsolved killing still bothers Detective Matt “Buck” Williams of the Kansas City Police Department. “It’s tough when your crime scene consists of him, and that’s about it. There were no eyewitnesses,” Williams says. “It’s our job to solve them, and when you don’t, you feel like you failed.”
Anyone with any information on Simpson’s slaying should call the TIPS hotline, 816-474-TIPS.
By CAROLYN SZCZEPANSKI
Move over Obama Girl, this Kansas City baby has a crush on the smooth-talking senator, too.
James Pfeiffer, an architect with the local firm BNIM, is the proud father of an Obama-loving toddler. Whenever Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama hits the airwaves, Pfeiffer says, his 16-month-old daughter lights up.
“She runs to the TV and starts making out with it,” he says with a laugh.
When the Pfeiffers left a copy of Time magazine lying around, their daughter gravitated toward the issue with Obama on the cover. Her mom, Bridget MacNevin-Pfeiffer, posted this video for their family to see.
“We didn’t program her, there was no coaching or anything like that,” Pfeiffer says. “She just gets very excited.”
So are her parents supporting the junior senator from Illinois, too?
“Luckily, we are,” Pfeiffer says. “It’d be a little awkward if we were, like, Mitt Romney supporters.”
By CHRIS PACKHAM
• Barack Obama won the Wisconsin Democratic primary last night by 646,000, compared to John McCain's 224,000 votes on the Republican side. When this was posted, Obama's home state of Hawaii was also leaning heavily Obamaward.
Oh, he also beat Hillary Clinton, obvs.
• I think I could really warm up to Cindy McCain -- she doesn't seem at all like an icy, withholding domineer. Anyway, she does not care for what Michelle Obama has to say.
• Missouri is proposing a bill to reclassify the "Plan B" emergency contraceptive pill as an "abortion-inducing medication," which would protect pharmacists who refuse to dispense it. And now the Gawker media empire's Jezebel has noticed. Great. Just great. Why do they have to cover the embarrassing stuff? Don't they know Kansas City has more barbecue sauce-spewing fountains than any city in the world? Why can't they write about that? And what about all the jazz? You know what the kids love? Jazz.
Still, it's about time someone stepped up with a plan to protect Missouri pharmacists from dispensing physician-prescribed medicines. Then the Legislature could maybe turn their attention to "protecting" me from my job, too. Do you have any idea how much fucking work I have to do around here?
• More beef news: Wichita-based Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon Inc. is closing 26 restaurants across the country, including two in Kansas City. The massive beef recall definitely can't can't be helping business.
• This is the most glorious thing on the internet today. It's awesome in the categories of cuteness and also excellent musicianship. I can't explain why a beat-boxing basset hound works; it's mysterious and probably involves math. You will need to turn on your speakers.
• Inasmuch as I'm willing to concede that the issue isn't numbingly tedious, I guess I'm pretty much anti-recall. The voters will get the embarrassing mayoral spouses, rectal exam eyewitness reports and EOCC investigations they deserve. Honestly: Does Tony Botello really want Funkhouser to go away? I know I don't -- as a giant fan of the super-slow-motion crash test videos produced by the NHTSA, I love the current administration.
But I've got to say -- The Kansas City Star's Yael T. Abouhalkah sure does like punching down at regular folks who get in way over their heads. Hey, no judgment here! I like pushing people around, too, and the smaller the better, which is more or less how I started operating a day care center out of my house.
BY JUSTIN KENDALL
The Seattle SuperSonics will move to Oklahoma City if NBA commissioner David Stern and team owner Clay Bennett have their way. Stern gave the bleak diagnosis to the Emerald City during his annual all-star-weekend news conference. Stern also talked about expanding the league to Europe, promoting the idea of NBA-ready arenas in London and other cities, according to the Associated Press.
What about Kansas City, where the Sprint Center is still without a home team?
CBS Sportsline columnist Ray Ratto summed upKansas City’s interest in the NBA this way: “uninterested.”
I called AEG spokesman Michael Roth Tuesday morning to see if Kansas Citians are apathetic about getting a NBA franchise. AEG is supposed to be finding a pro hockey or basketball team to play in the Sprint Center. Roth hasn’t returned my call.
BY JUSTIN KENDALL
Kansas Sen. Jim Barone got caught stuffing his pants with top-secret polling data, according to the Associated Press. The incident, which has been dubbed “Trousergate,” occurred at a December 19 Democratic Party retreat when Barone allegedly tried to slip out of the meeting with his packet.
Tim Graham, Sen. Anthony Hensley's chief of staff, caught Barone “red-handed” and asked the senator from Frontenac to return the packet.
Barone handed over the data, and later, in an e-mail, tried to explain the reason for the bulge in his pants to Graham.
“I did place the poll in the small of my back as I have done with bulky papers for 40 years,” Barone wrote, “so that I could continue to review some areas that I did not clearly understand after returning from a bathroom break.”
The Democrats are now trying to strip Barone of his caucus chairmanship.
Click here to read about other things involving Barone's trousers.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Better than: David Lee Roth’s solo vocal take on “Runnin’ with the Devil”
By RICHARD GINTOWT
Ever since the advent of Guitar Hero and Rock Band, I’ve had a horrible premonition that video games are going to seriously fuck things up for kids who want to be musicians. I’ve already heard stories of kids who rule at Guitar Hero but can’t play an actual lick to save their lives. Are we doomed to suffer another generation of crappy emo bands because kids spend all their time pushing buttons that mimic crapola My Chemical Romance riffs?
Last night, however, I glimpsed a ray of hope. They’re called Bang Camaro, and they’re a lot like Guitar Hero and Rock Band (the latter of which they appear on) with one notable exception: they shred real guitars. The band’s three lead guitarists are so good that they’re placed center stage in front of the group’s eight touring vocalists, who collectively mimic the hair-metal choir patented by Skid Row and so many other retroactively hilarious '80s bands.
By CHRIS PACKHAM
• My dream job: I want to be the guy who comes up with all the new ideas at National Public Radio. Because I would never, ever have to produce any work whatsoever. When NPR fired Bob Edwards from Morning Edition a few years ago, that was like the biggest programming shakeup in 20 years. As a testament to the obstinate durability of the NPR programming schedule, their lineup of shows has now outlasted the Fidel Castro administration.
• Superdelegate Rep. Emanuel Cleaver will vote for Hillary Clinton at the Democratic convention, except WHOOPS, the popular vote in the 5th District was for Barack Obama. If there's one thing I know for sure, it's that superdelegates will have to vote their conscience. In other fun undemocratic news, Hillary Clinton's campaign is testing a new strategy: Going after Obama's elected delegates. Although the campaign is now publicly denying it.
• As a lapsed Catholic, it's kind of sad for me to see the church in Kansas City laying off parishioners. Clean out your pew, and a priest will escort you off the premises.
• As an unpledged superdelegate representing the Chris Packham voting district of one guy, two enormous biceps and a giant, throbbing brain, I have to vote my conscience. So I'm throwing my support to Dale Hoinoski. The former Marine and Kansas City resident's Web site is a rich source of the kind of writing produced by an average guy trying to sound all fancy. Here's a section from a page outlining his position on abortion -- and just in case anyone glances at the following paragraph and, God forbid, mistakenly thinks I wrote it, I'm enclosing it in the oversized novelty quotation marks normally reserved for Carrot Top routines about punctuation:
IN ORDER TO discuss this subject regarding abortion, we now need to identify that it took two individuals; who decided to engage in and to have consensual intercourse. Furthermore, weather these two individuals are married or not, the man participation now needs to be the main topic of this discussion. His involvement has identified him as the father, and he now has a responsibility that will involve him for the next eighteen (18) years, of his life. He created his family and he now needs to be completely responsible for decisions.
Entire paragraph sic, and paid for by "The Committee to Elect Dale Hoinoski For President." The entire Web site is a precious, precious treasure that I'm going to keep in my hope chest at the foot of my canopy bed for ever and ever.
• One hundred forty-three million pounds of beef is a lot for a recall, and most of it has already been consumed. Area butchers respond. The good news: The misfolded protein that causes bovine spongiform encephalopathy has a really long incubation period -- up to four years. That's enough time to earn a diploma, or -- if you're like me -- a two-year HVAC degree! So if you've enjoyed a hamburger recently, you should start looking for the following symptoms, which I've superimposed onto a comforting photo of an adorable kitten, in early 2012.
• As a stipulation of my probation, I'm required to publicly evince sincerity on a regular basis. So when I say this 90-second screen test for Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are fired a sad little spark in my tough old rawhide chew-toy of a heart, it's important to remember that I can literally get sent back to Leavenworth Penitentiary if I don't. The screenplay is by McSweeney's founder Dave Eggers, and the film looks awesome.
im still out done!! Nasty and desperate poor excuse for a man - from Chrisean
Baliff, whack their peepees!
Excelsior Springs is so pround of Courtney's accomplishments