December 31, 2003



Took a bunch of shots of this. It's right around the corner, decaying as we speak.

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I am done monkeying with my 2003 list. The states are colored in, the chads are punched out, and the Supreme Court can't touch this.

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December 30, 2003

BEST OF 2004


1. Jay-Z “99 Problems” (Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam)
2. The Streets “Fit But You Know It” (Vice)
3. Britney Spears “Toxic” (Jive)
4. M.I.A. “Galang” (Showbiz/XL)
5. Kelly Clarkson “Since You’ve Been Gone” (RCA)
6. Ghostface & Jadakiss “Run” (Def Jam)
7. Cherie “I’m Ready” (Lava)
8. Annie “Chewing Gum” (679)
9. Usher & Lil Jon “Yeah!” (Arista)
10. Snow Patrol “Spitting Games” (Fiction/Polydor UK)
11. The Ponys “Let’s Kill Ourselves” (In The Red)
12. Snoop Dogg f/Pharrell “Drop It Like It’s Hot” (Doggstyle/Geffen)
13. Nina Sky f/Jabba “Move Ya Body” (Next Plateau/Universal)
14. Britney Spears “(I’ve Just Begun) Having My Fun” (Jive)
15. Mya & Chingy "Fallen" (Polow da Don remix) (Universal)
16. Ghostface & Comp “Run” (Pistol Pete Remix)
17. Tegan and Sara “Take Me Anywhere” (Sanctuary)
18. Miss Kittin “Professional Distortion” (Astralwerks)
19. Ciara f/Petey Pablo “Goodies” (La Face)
20. Damien Rice “Cannonball” (WEA)
21. Christina Milian “I Need More” (Island)
22. Charlotte Hatherley “Summer”(Double Dragon)
23. Britney Spears & Ying Yang Twins “(I Got That) Boom Boom” (Jive)
24. Goddamn Guest “Pass The Word (Beasties vs. Beatles)” (
25. Butterfly Boucher “Life Is Short” (A&M)
26. Dem Franchize Boyz “White Tees” (Universal)
27. Slim Thug “I Ain't Heard Of That” f/Pharrell (Interscope)
28. U2 “Vertigo” (Interscope)
29. The Hives “Walk Idiot Walk” (Interscope)
30. Kellie Coffey “Texas Plates” (BNA)
31. RJD2 “Exotic Talk” (Def Jux)
32. Brandy “Sadiddy” (Atlantic)
33. Jay-Z “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” (Roc-a-Fella)
34. Tift Merritt “Wait It Out” (Lost Highway)
35. R. Kelly “Happy People” (Jive)
36. Wilco “I Am A Wheel” (Nonesuch)
37. Colin Hay “I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You” (Epic)
38. Federation “Hyphy” (Virgin)
39. The Delgados “Everybody Come Down” (Chemikal Underground)
40. Ludacris “The Potion” (Def Jam South)
41. Julie Roberts “Break Down Here” (Mercury Nashville)
42. Gary Allan “Nothing On But The Radio” (MCA Nashville)
43. Juvenile “Slow Motion” (Universal)

1. Keren Ann Not Going Anywhere (Blue Note)
2. Gretchen Wilson Here For The Party (Epic)
3. Franz Ferdinand (Domino)
4. Madvillain Madvillainy (Stones Throw)
5. Dizzee Rascal Showtime (XL)
6. The Hold Steady The Hold Steady Almost Killed Me (French Kiss)
7. The Streets A Grand Don’t Come For Free (Vice)
8. MIA & Diplo Piracy Funds Terrorism (Fader)
9. Cam’ron Purple Haze (Roc-A-Fella)
10. Lhasa The Living Road (Nettwerk)
11. The Mountain Goats We Shall All Be Healed (4AD/Beggars)
12. Dungen Ta Det Lugnt (Subliminal Sounds)
13. The Hives Tyrannosaurus Hives (Interscope)
14. The Futureheads (Sire)
15. The Ponys “Laced With Romance” (In The Red)
16. The Concretes (Astralwerks)
17. Carla Bruni Quelqu’un M’a Dit (Naïve/V2)

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Josh Daniel points out that the quote in the David Brooks column on Dean's amnesiac character came from George Santayana's 1920 book, Character And Opinion In The United States. (Why couldn't I Google that successfully on my own? Good question.)

Brooks paraphrased the quote, though I don't think much violence was done to the original sentiment. Here is the relevant passage:

"One of the peculiarities of recent speculation, especially in America, is that ideas are abandoned in virtue of a mere change of feeling, without any new evidence or new arguments. We do not nowadays refute our predecessors, we pleasantly bid them good-bye. Even if all our principles are unwittingly traditional we do not like to bow openly to authority."

Here are two other passages that struck me:

"In America there is a tacit optimistic assumption about existence, to the effect that the more existence the better."

"Even what is best in American life is compulsory--the idealism, the zeal, the beautiful happy unison of its great moments. You must wave, you must cheer, you must push with the irresistible crowd; otherwise you will feel like a traitor, a soulless outcast, a deserted ship high and dry on the shore. In America there is but one way of being saved, though it is not peculiar to any of the official religions, which themselves must silently conform to the national orthodoxy, or else become impotent and merely ornamental. This national faith and morality are vague in idea, but inexorable in spirit; they are the gospel of work and the belief in progress. By them, in a country where all men are free, every man finds that what most matters has been settled for him beforehand."

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JoB de Wit points out that Cowboy of the Furious Five died of AIDS in 1989, so it is arguable whether or not Eazy-E was the first major rapper to die of AIDS. (See below, the entry on Jonathan Gold's LA Weekly Eazy-E piece.) It also should be pointed out that Cowboy could smoke that midget in half a bar.

Old Hag points out that many Australians, or the ones she knows, have no idea that "spook" is a racial epithet, and blithely name their animals and children Spook. We are still reviewing this one.

NPR reports today that bankrobbing in 2003 was up 63% from 2002 in New York.

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December 29, 2003



"The philosopher George Santayana once observed that Americans don't bother to refute ideas, they just leave them behind." David Brooks quoted this in a recent NYT editorial on Howard Dean. (It's a good piece, and I'm no Brooks fan.) Does anyone have a citation for this? I can't find one.

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I do not feel listy, so this may be an N of 1, but I have to give a shout to the New York Times' Herbert Muschamp. These are just his year-end yeas and nays, but you could search for any of his pieces and likely come up with a prize. The lists aren't a bad DNA sample--you can see his enthusiasms, his straight back, and his ability to hold architects to standards without becoming a grouch or a scold. Best of all, he's been a consistent voice of dissent in the WTC debacle. Anyone who thinks the Glass Republican Victory Penis isn't political is looking at their feet, literally. Muschamp is keeping the pressure on, even if it's Sisyphean.

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December 27, 2003



Very thorough take on Christmas music, courtesy of Douglas.

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December 25, 2003



And try to tell me this isn't a set for the opening scene in a SpiderBatAvengerMan Movie.

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December 24, 2003



The oft-repeated but still-juicy line from Godard: "The history of cinema is boys photographing girls. The history of history is boys burning girls at the stake." You can confirm the second sentence by watching TV for three minutes. To confirm the first sentence, watch the Cat Power videos available here at the Matador website.

I don't know who Brett Vapnek is, but she's internalized the not-very-hidden fact that Chan Marshall is beautiful like few people are ever beautiful. She does what director Patrick Daughters does in the "Maps" video for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs--lets the remarkable looking people provide remarkability. Each Cat Power video is better than the previous one because each song is better than the previous one and Marshall is more beautiful in each successive video. (At this rate, she will soon become a small dwarf star.) "He War," a song that drives me bananas when I can't see her, is almost unbearable as an actual sequence of moving images. The bronzed paeans to Jean Seberg and Anna Karina and Garbo tumble through my head, but they don't stay long. There is little to say except "I was hoping to see somebody who looked like that one day." And I have.

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Jason Gross's favorite pop criticism of 2003. I've read very few of the pieces he cites, but I am always glad to see pieces collated, especially when they're not by the usual suspects.

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Most of the Flash animations here at don't contain new information, but the short films are blunt and effective and many of them do contain lesser-known details. And the well-known facts bear repeating. These little digi-squares bring the pain.

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December 23, 2003



My wife pointed out I have no iTunes data from the summer, and there's no record of all the mixtapes I play on my desk CD player. So my stab at empiricism stumbles. New approximations to follow.

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From today's Harper's Weekly update.

"A federal appeals court ordered President Bush to release Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen who was arrested last year in Chicago and has been held since then as an enemy combatant. The court ruled that "the president, acting alone, possesses no inherent constitutional authority to detain American citizens seized within the United States, away from the zone of combat, as enemy combatants." A class-action lawsuit was filed against the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security accusing the agencies of illegally using a national crime database to enforce civil immigration laws. Federal investigators found videotapes of guards at a detention center in Brooklyn beating and mistreating foreigners who were rounded up after September 11, and the Department of Justice filed suit against Mississippi for abusing juvenile prisoners. "We found evidence of systematic abuses including hog-tying and pole-shackling," said Alex Acosta, an assistant attorney general for civil rights. "It was even reported that girls, overcome by the heat during drills, were forced to eat their own vomit."

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From Jonathan Gold's piece on Eazy-E in the LA Weekly.

It's 1988, and "[i]t is possible to read a profile of a performer without coming across the phrase 'surrendered to police.'" You see, NWA is going to ruin all this. It helps to forget Fatty Arbuckle, Keith Richards, Jerry Lee Lewis and dozens of white people when you write loaded sentences like this.

Gold goes on to recreate the moment when NWA played "Gangsta Gangsta" for their label, allegedly changing LA forever. He makes some good points about consumer identity, ("The moment an audience stops wanting to be M.C. Hammer is the moment that they stop buying M.C. Hammer’s records") but then catches some "gotta finish the piece" vapors:

"Ice Cube left the group and became the voice of his generation as both a musician and a screenwriter. Dre developed a stable of platinum rappers for Eazy’s label, invented what would be called New Jack Swing, then left to form another label, where he developed a second stable of platinum rappers, including Tupac and Snoop Doggy Dogg, and left again to form yet a third company that brought us 50 Cent and Eminem. Eazy, before he became arguably the first major rapper to die of AIDS, nurtured a gangsta–cum–corporate wax war with his former colleagues that was almost operatic in its complexity."

A) Ice Cube stopped being the voice of his generation when he became an actor. B) The creation of New Jack Swing is attributed by everyone other than Gold to Teddy Riley. It is one of the only genres that can be plausibly linked to one producer, and it ain't Dre. C) When Dre signed Tupac, he was fully "developed" and solidly popular. D) The Eazy E/Ruthless dispute was much like any other contract breakdown. What was "operatic" about it? E) Straight Outta Compton is more responsible than any other album for the creation of the gangsta aesthetic, but "Gangsta Gangsta" is kind of an odd tune to single out. It does have the word "gangsta" in the title, though. F) Eazy E was the first major rapper to die of AIDS. What's the arguable part?

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December 21, 2003



Merry Tax Dollars Complicity Freakout Season!

Administration Raises Level of Terrorism Alert to Orange.

Strong Support Is Found for Ban on Gay Marriage.

Bet you a dollar it's a gay al-Qaeda dude this time on the button, because airport security were too freaked out to search his husband.

Posted by Sasha at 05:27 PM | TrackBack

December 20, 2003



This under-annotated, inexpensive box set of Cuban music has been kicking my ass. Your ass will be equally kicked by the I Am Time box set, but it more expensive. It also looks like a box of cigars, and that gets me every time. I would probably buy uranium if the box was cute.

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It was unexpectedly warm.

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The heft ends in a humid click. We are now compressed according to what everybody already knows about an accordion. Talcum in the folds, hiss crowded to fading. It cannot persist and so will end outside.

We were up all night in the bellows with the bellhop, husking lemons and catching ice. The folds sing. This is where we will look.

The sheer size of it partitioned the hug and set the heel of the answer. The sparkle delayed the thud. We knew our water was undrinkable and all we had.
We will not, without air, get high enough to pierce this.

We are hunters, squeezing out a script. The mumbling is ten feet tall. I can’t see you. There is a truck slapping plates. Your words are silver and creeped. I don’t feel bad that I can’t hear you. When we get out, we get out.

The heft rounds itself up.

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Always thinking in threes, too much room for my field goals, if rebar is the colon.

Drowning it like a cup now, Nubeostat, two crews and sureness.

Dreams for Roger—how can I measure that?

Drinking it like a cop now, two creams and one sugar.

“Cream” and “sugar” are measures how?

The cadences of sit-coms in children’s mouths.

I almost don’t see the Jaguar Darden Plus license plate: MAKIN TV.

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December 19, 2003



I'm not kidding--this Gidigidi Majimaji record imay even be better than the Liz Phair & Justin collabo, "Sasha Would Like Us Even Better If We Were English."

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This track is from the 1998 album Techno Animal Versus Reality. If I recall correctly, and I might not, Justin Broadrick and Kevin Martin sent us an ADAT of their stuff and we sent them the raw tracks from “Blood In The Air,” off of Lifelike. TA combined the material and made “Deceleration,” and the track I sent is "Version". I used stuff from those two sources, plus bits from the sessions for the Microstoria remix 12” (which we did all live) and a bit of the Biz. I love Wilbo’s upright work—it was a whole pass we never used. Kevin Martin of Techno Animal is still tearing it up as The Bug, and his album on Tigerbeat6, Pressure, features one of the best fucked-up dancehall songs ever, “Run The Place Red.”

This is called "Steep,” and it’s from an album called Standing Upright On A Curve. I recorded it at home in 1997, right around the death of my father and the birth of our first child.

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to everyone who's written in the past few days. It's been 98% supportive, and I am glad to say the haters can spell this time. We welcome it all. We care that you care. (It is impossible to make this read sincerely, since we change forms of address and rhetorical deer-stands over here when the wind shifts, but I really am impressed and touched that people care enough to spend the time writing really long and passionate responses and agreements and challenges and hate mail and mash notes.)

I'll be posting the old Voice clips that aren't online (unless they suck) and some more songs, and maybe some demos for the new band, The Sands.

Answers to questions that didn't involve cursing or threats of psychic harm:

1. Yes, the Liz Phair record is my favorite record of the year. My list is based as closely as possible on the semi-empirical: how many times I listened to the thing. iTunes helped me track this, and my family and feeble memory filled in the blanks. Liz and Junior Senior got big support from the wife and kids, and that pushed the number of spins. It is only "a dopey and transparently political act" to list Liz Phair at Number One if you think politics are stupid, or somehow spoil aesthetics or experience or prose. If you do, you are a practitioner of Unchecked Penisism. Lists function as denotation only if you are tiny of mind and small of heart and committed to pretending your statements don't refract in other people's windows and grow in other people's gardens. It is crazy to pretend you are dealing with facts. Every list is ideological, even if you don't think you thought about it. Or if you do think you thought about it, creating a list based entirely on pique and fury and assertion of principles is DANDY, as is any admixture of beef and intuitition and fake science. THERE IS NO NUMBER ONE. That said, I try to track my own listening with numbers because I am interested in tracking down what my brain is trying to do, and the numbers always, ALWAYS surprise and help. This is why Bill James got hired by the Red Sox, and why Dan Smith's books are so great. One of many reasons.

2. The photos are all mine. I don't know enough to manipulate the images, nor do I have the software to do so. I use a Canon PowerShot S400. The words are mine, unless attributed. The music is mine, unless I am remixing someone, and in that case it's a blend. If anyone gets mad about an MP3 being up, I'll take it down. Don't bite! It's not polite!

3. You need to thank Abe Burmeister at right now, because his generosity and technical skill makes this whole fucking clambake possible.

4. "Pay To Cum."

5. Yes, but you need to breathe more slowly.

6. Size 10 1/2 in Converse, size 11 in Nike.

7. Rakim.

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December 18, 2003



This is a remix of Tom Ze's "Gene," which only ever came out on a promotional Luaka Bop EP. It's official title is "Gene To Gene," I think. I feel very lucky to have gotten this call in the first place. There's very little of the original in place: just the opening bit with the pandeiro and the bridge where Ze sings "gena da genna da gen" (phonetic rendering) over and over. It's basically a new song that Liz Mitchell and I wrote. Clem Waldmann played drums and Steve Matthews played congas and steel drum. I played guitars, beats, keys and sanged. The nice voice is Liz, obviously. It "came out" in 1999.

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Bits cut from the final post in the Slate music club:

Weirdest thing I said: That there could or should be a “black P!nk.” A) Black people and P!nk can work this out without my help; and B) P!nk already tried being black.

MC who opened his mouth just a teeny tiny bit: 50 Cent.

MC who opened his mouth all the way: Bonecrusher.

“Red Light Fever,” from Liz Phair: Maybe the red light between 36 and 37 is scarier than the one between 26 and 27, but everybody is worried they’re losing their edge.

Aspects of the Old World that I am not sure we can do without: records executives pushing for hits and editors. Everyone cannot work at home in a disciplined way.

Posted by Sasha at 05:19 PM | TrackBack



If gay marriage is legalized, Bush and Blair will be able to get a place together in Provincetown after John Travolta wins the 2008 election.

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Josh Kun on Tupac, Eminem and race in hip-hop. And cross-reference it with this verse from "Bully," Eminem's 53rd Benzino dis track:

"So now you try to pull a race card
And it backfires in your face hard
Cuz you know we don't play that black and white shit."

Track down that "we" for me.

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I think "nerd" is a hideous, apologetic word and this quiz has a lot of dodgy variables, but I cannot resist a dose of fake science.

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December 17, 2003



"dj hati monji hairy megamix" is a remix I did for this album on Sub Rosa, Sub Rosa vs. Shi-Ra-Nui. The concept was to do a Latin Rascals-style edited summary of dj hati monji's album. I threw in "Fusion Beats' and "Rock It In The Pocket" for maximum pseudo-danceability, though the ride cymbal section is my favorite bit.

What happened to the fabulous and mysterious Shi-Ra-Nui label? Every release came in a clear jewel case with clear plastic inserts. All ten releases were great and it's all fallen off the face of the earth. Free hip-hop? That sort of describes it. Fabulous, slippery manipulation of vinyl and dirty, dusty textures. Email me if you know anything more.

Posted by Sasha at 04:50 PM | TrackBack



This is my "Red Corona Mix" of "St. Elmo's Fire" from the Uilab Fires EP. Bingo, my label and the US label of record for Fires, is no longer but the EP is still in print on Duophonic Super 45s. Big shout to Wilbo's weird vocal dissonance arrangement. And RIP the fantastic Mary Hansen, whose vocal adlib made the whole thing. We still love you.

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Special thanks to Ana Marie Cox for helping me get BlogRoll functionality going. This means the links will randomize every time you load the page and a little "fresh!" symbol will pop up when a blog is updated.

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Death Stalks Poets.

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December 16, 2003



This is my "Landslide" track with the vocal from Destiny Child's "Bug A Boo" on it. After considerable reflection and extended consultation with my colleagues, I have decided to call it "Landslide A Boo". More tracks soon...

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This one is from 2000 and it's called "The Bryant Park Alexandernauts", more of a chops and stabs kind of thing. Too fussy to sing over. I was still using MIDI then. O, the larks.

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Jonah and his class performed a holiday sing-along this morning. The whole class sang "Mr. Goldfish," which Jonah wrote. "Mr. Goldfish went out one day. He didn't find a friend, but then he found a worm friend." (That's the whole thing.) I am fit to bust with pride.

I rode with a cab driver named Winer Hyppolite this morning. This name ranks with Iqbal Butt and Ahmad Butt. (The picture is terrible, but you can sorta see.)

Thanks to everyone who said nice things about the photos. To answer your questions: yes, no, October.

Last year, my mom gave me a gift certificate for one hour of Swedish massage at Eden Day Spa, but I didn't use it until yesterday. Holy crap, that is the new thing that I will do now when I can do things like that.

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December 15, 2003



The Slate 2003 Summation is in session. It is my great honor to be conversating with Rob Sheffield and Keith Harris. Enjoy.

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December 14, 2003



From Nigel Coates' Guide To Ecstaticity.

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Right now, it's your girl, B.

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Many best of 2003 lists.

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"What will happen when a national political machine can fit on a laptop?"


Everett Ehrlich guesses.

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Hussein captured.

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December 13, 2003



From the Boston Globe:

Star power
By Jascha Hoffman, 11/30/2003

THOUGH THE ANCIENT Greeks were consulting the zodiac in the sixth century BC, astrology first came into its own a century earlier in Babylonia, where court magicians rose to positions of power. The triumph of Newtonian physics may have brought the age of Aquarius-watching to an end among astronomers, but belief in the influence of the planets lives on.

9th century AD Baghdad astrologer Abu Mashar equivocally links Saturn to moisture, cunning, wealth, perfidy, trustworthiness in speech, older brothers, long journeys, fear, experimentation, the dead, and eunuchs. 1348 The medical faculty of the University of Paris attributes the spread of the Black Death to a major planetary conjunction in Aquarius, stirring "vapors from the earth and the sea."

1555 Andrew Dygges publishes a "Manuscript on Medical Astrology," in which he matches planets to human body parts: Mercury takes the brain and nerves, Jupiter the liver, and Saturn the bones.

1687 In his theory of gravitation, Isaac Newton combines two essential tenets of astrology -- action at a distance, and the unity of heaven and earth -- to create mathematical physics.

1708 Satirist Jonathan Swift, writing under a pseudonym, mocks astrologer John Partridge by fraudulently forecasting Partridge's imminent death, then apologizing for missing the time by a few hours.

1870 Major-General Sir Henry Crewswicke Rawlinson publishes "A Selection from the Miscellaneous Inscriptions of Assyria," offering "a key to ancient astrology."

1932 Erik Jan Hanussen, a German-Jewish astrologer, casts Hitler a chart indicating unstoppable victory. (Before being shot by the Nazis in `33, he says, "I had always thought that business about the Jews was just an election trick.")

1975 In a scathing denunciation in the pages of The Humanist, 186 scientists claim the time had come to "challenge directly and forcefully the pretentious claims of astrological charlatans."

2003 Mars's closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years leads to prophecies of increased war, terrorism, and male sexual desire.

Posted by Sasha at 08:35 PM | TrackBack

December 12, 2003



Waking us up today:

Day old cup of coffee we got with our WNYC donation. (We got the beans from NYC, not the actual cup of coffee.)

The new Kay Slay Ghostface mixtape, No Pork On My Fork, Volume 1. How genius is "Run"? Jada has asthma.

The new Mobb Deep, "Gangstaz Roll."

Mission of Burma will release a new album in May on Matador.

In a very different way, the Wolfowitz Iraq memo.

Don't miss Scarlett Johansson today on Leonard Lopate!

I'm, like, all shilling!

Posted by Sasha at 10:41 AM | TrackBack

December 11, 2003



Le web can do anything! I can post MP3s, so why am I trying to put this out on a label? Damn me! Damn me!

This is the instrumental of a track called "Landslide." It's about 2 1/2 years old. There's another version with the "Bug A Boo" vocal on top, and then a real one with my singing. If anyone's feeling this one, I'll post those.

West End or Sunnyview, give me a call.

Posted by Sasha at 10:39 PM | TrackBack



"To be sure, wilful simplification for the sake of clarity is philosophy’s stock-in-trade. It reveals just how beholden the field’s research frontier remains to its teaching function. Thus, philosophers – even the great ones – spend most of their time attacking straw opponents who fail to correspond to any actual precursor but who are no less vivid as phantom presences in student textbooks. By his own admission, Kuhn’s understanding of logical positivism was almost entirely of this character. But so too was Popper’s sense of his favourite foes Plato and Hegel. Sometimes behind such scholastic fodder that frames philosophical debate lie opponents who are not so different from each other after all. For example, a closer look at ‘rationalists’ like Descartes and ‘empiricists’ like Locke shows them to be much more alike than suited Kant’s own purposes when he first distinguished the two theories of knowledge at the end of The Critique of Pure Reason. But sometimes the stereotype, for all its crudeness, does capture differences in sensibility that become deeper the more one looks. This is certainly the case with Popper and Kuhn." from Kuhn vs. Popper, by Steve Fuller.

From another site, our first guest image:


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December 10, 2003



free indirect style (or free indirect discourse). A manner of presenting the thoughts or utterances of a fictional character as if from that character's point of view by combining grammatical and other features of the character's 'direct speech' with features of the narrator's 'indirect' report. Direct discourse is used in the sentence She thought, 'I will stay here tomorrow', while the equivalent in indirect discourse would be She thought that she would stay there the next day. Free indirect style, however combines the person and tense of indirect discourse ('she would stay') with the indications of time and place appropriate to direct discourse ('here tomorrow'), to form a different kind of sentence: She would stay here tomorrow. This form of statement allows a third-person narrative to exploit a first person point of view, often with a subtle effect of irony, as in the novels of Jane Austen. Since Flaubert's celebrated use of this technique (known in French as le style indirect libre) in his novel Madame Bovary ( 1857), it has been widely adopted in modern fiction. [Baldick, 1990]

Posted by Sasha at 06:27 PM | TrackBack



Connect the dots:

December 10, 2003

Pentagon Bars Three Nations From Iraq Bids

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 — The Pentagon has barred French, German and Russian companies from competing for $18.6 billion in contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq, saying it was acting to protect "the essential security interests of the United States."

The directive, issued Friday by Paul D. Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, represents the most substantive retaliation to date by the Bush administration against American allies who opposed its decision to go to war in Iraq.

The administration had warned before the war that countries that did not join in an American-led coalition would not have a voice in decisions about the rebuilding of Iraq. But it had not previously made clear that companies in those countries would be excluded from competing for a share in the money for Iraq's reconstruction that the United States approved last month.

Those funds will pay for a total of 26 lucrative contracts for rebuilding Iraq's electricity, oil and water sectors and equipping its army.


December 10, 2003

Six Afghan Children Killed in U.S. Attack

Filed at 2:44 a.m. ET

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Six children were killed during an assault by U.S. forces on a compound in eastern Afghanistan, a U.S. military spokesman said Wednesday, the second time in a week that civilians have died in action against Taliban and al-Qaida suspects.

The children died during an attack on Friday against a complex near the eastern city of Gardez where a renegade Afghan commander, Mullah Jalani, was believed to have stocked weapons, said Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty.

"The next day we discovered the bodies of two adults and six children under a collapsed,'' he said. "We had no indication there were noncombatants'' in the compound.

Jalani was not at the site, 12 miles east of Gardez, but Hilferty said nine other people were arrested.

Hilferty said that U.S. warplanes and troops attacked the compound in a nighttime raid, setting off secondary explosions. The bodies were discovered the following day. They appeared to have been crushed by a falling wall, he said.

He expressed regret over the death of civilians in Afghanistan, but said it was impossible to completely eliminate such incidents.

"We try very hard not to kill anyone. We would prefer to capture the terrorists rather than kill them,'' Hilferty said. "But in this incident, if noncombatants surround themselves with thousands of weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition and howitzers and mortars in a compound known to be used by a terrorist we are not completely responsible for the consequences.''

Hilferty said he was not sure if the wall collapsed because of U.S. fire or the secondary explosions caused by weapons stored at the site. There was no word of U.S. casualties in the operation.


December 10, 2003

High Payments to Halliburton for Fuel in Iraq

he United States government is paying the Halliburton Company an average of $2.64 a gallon to import gasoline and other fuel to Iraq from Kuwait, more than twice what others are paying to truck in Kuwaiti fuel, government documents show.

Halliburton, which has the exclusive United States contract to import fuel into Iraq, subcontracts the work to a Kuwaiti firm, government officials said. But Halliburton gets 26 cents a gallon for its overhead and fee, according to documents from the Army Corps of Engineers.

The cost of the imported fuel first came to public attention in October when two senior Democrats in Congress criticized Halliburton, the huge Houston-based oil-field services company, for "inflating gasoline prices at a great cost to American taxpayers." At the time, it was estimated that Halliburton was charging the United States government and Iraq's oil-for-food program an average of about $1.60 a gallon for fuel available for 71 cents wholesale.

But a breakdown of fuel costs, contained in Army Corps documents recently provided to Democratic Congressional investigators and shared with The New York Times, shows that Halliburton is charging $2.64 for a gallon of fuel it imports from Kuwait and $1.24 per gallon for fuel from Turkey.

A spokeswoman for Halliburton, Wendy Hall, defended the company's pricing. "It is expensive to purchase, ship, and deliver fuel into a wartime situation, especially when you are limited by short-duration contracting," she said. She said the company's Kellogg Brown & Root unit, which administers the contract, must work in a "hazardous" and "hostile environment," and that its profit on the contract is small.

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December 09, 2003



This will surprise some of you, especially the cockhammers who KEEP EMAILING ME about OutKast, but I had a brainwave scan today and I am completely normal. Bad part: The process required attaching 20 electrodes to my scalp, each of which needed to be scratched into my skin to create a firm contact. Put a cat in your head and ask him to slowly fuck your head up. It was like that.

Technician's best line: "It really isn't that bad."

On the way home, I saw a Con Ed employee walking uptown while talking on cell-style walkie-talkie: "OK, I am walking downtown right now." Then, three blocks later, I saw a bald guy eating nuts in a very hostile way on Irving Place. He was asking a woman "Where are the main streets? Like, the main avenues?" But she couldn't answer because he kept asking the question. Total front page serial killer. Very clean and put-together, which made him scarier. No coat.

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It's a rockist kinda day, when we become the WNEW-FM-style bearded canonist we fear and joust with. I, we, whoever the fuck is here is listening over and over and over to the Pretenders' first and thinking nobody's ever made a better debut. (RHETORIC ALERT: I DON'T ACTUALLY THINK THAT. I FEEL THAT THE WORLD IN WHICH THAT IS TRUE IS THE WORLD I AM IN NOW.) Wait, not even The Overstater can stand by that. Too many first-time destroyers to battle with. But some kind of voodoo algorithm of consistency and valorizing of pleasure and ease and power and Holy-shit-where-are-you-from?-ness is at work. And who else came out of the box with the ballads and rockers so FULLY and EQUALLY covered? And the seven other styles? And a song in a funny time signature that isn't prog? Maybe the only one? Six Day War covered "Tattooed Love Boys," Alan sang. The Bad Brains covers with Dean were better. (Did anyone tape that show? The one at Maxwell's?)

And the Talking Heads boxset, that's the other loop today. We're thinkng all the Rolling Stone thoughts: How come nobody kills it like this now? How come today's coughing-in-their-sleeve weirdos can't also bring the sweets? And we know all the ways to discredit this line of thinking, but some days you just can't rewire what childhood hath wrought. I will always think Fear Of Music and Remain In Light are better than your records. Sorry!

I need a Swiffer to wipe up the nostalgia in here. But apologize? Never that.

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You don't even need to reach for the Rockism Decoder Ring (and ask who cares if Alicia Keys, or anyone else, writes her own shitty songs and plays piano upside underwater?): She can't sing. And her gig, both ideologically and Soundscanologically, demands singing. I also hope Timbaland spent about four seconds on that wack rock beat for "Heartburn." There are seven better rock beats on the Mudd Katz mixtape.

Posted by Sasha at 06:08 PM | TrackBack



From Francheska:

January, 14, Monday, last year - great intercontinental recommend starts! Today is a great step, you can get admittance to this mind-boggling extend at 1OO% Free!

P.S. Dearest buddy Sfrerejones tell about Astonishing hearsay to your partners, mates and pals!

Truly yours, Beth Litiches, assistant!

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A commercial for a record store.

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A little Maysles Bros. to go with the Heckerling. But first, Geordie Walker's guitar rig.


1983: I was making a tape for the senior dance and I wanted to include "Change," but I was nervous that it might be too weird and rocky and nobody would dance, though it's obviously a dance song and plenty of dance songs were rock songs in 1983. Jaz's freaky, echo-trail yelps seemed like they might drive people into the cafeteria for a smoke. I ended up putting the song on the tape somewhere in the middle of the action, and everybody danced. Resident guitar god Jeff Tischler came over asked me the name of the song. That was a little like Barry Bonds asking me how to bunt.

1983: I argued with Ben Fishman that what's THIS for...! wasn't weird for no reason. Something was going on. He could only dig "Tension" and thought "The Fall of Because" was unlistenable. I knew what he meant but since I played that song more than any other--possibly precisely to figure out how I felt about it--the song seemed listenable by definition.

1985: I am in a band called Bad Timing, my first actual playing-in-front-of-people band. I am 18. The guitarist, Galen Wade, is really good and has lots of effects I don't understand. We both like U2, though I am unsure we can cover any of their songs adequately. We do a good version of The Cure's "A Forest" and a better one of The Velvet Underground's "I'm Waiting For The Man," which allows me to think, for the first time, that I am not a miserably terrible singer. (This is not evidence that I wasn't, but it is the only song people ever said they liked.) The album we agree on 100% is Killing Joke's Night Time. We fool around playing "Eighties" and "Love Like Blood" but never make the mistake of trying to play them live. My originals at this point rank with the worst songs ever written. I remember the lion's share of one called "Back Wave" and it so hideous that I only remember it, silently, when no one can see my tiny, terrible eyes.

2001: For three months after 9/11/, the only popular music that doesn't make me sick is Killing Joke's 1990 album, Extremities, Dirt and Other Repressed Emotions. It is an extremely loud, angry and politically specific record. Except for Andy Hawkins, nobody else I know even knows this record exists. It is a magnificent piece of hard rock. I drive around Connecticut numb and terrified, listening to only this record. Jaz is humane AND angry and that's the companion I want. I don't want bitterness or cynicism. I want rage, as loud and committed as they make it. Anarchist bands are too hard on my tinnitus, and I don't want to hear any hip-hop at all. (In the weeks following 9/11, Hot 97 plays Jadakiss' "We Gon' Make It" over and over, because of the chorus. The verses somewhat undermine the idea that the chorus they want to hear is the chorus Jada had in mind.)


US critics traditionally prefer the “telephone” paradigm: “My pain, my epiphany, my soul, coming atcha, unmediated, via rock.” There is a group of people, the English well-represented among them, who don’t put much stock in this approach. In contra-distinction to the soul fire crew, they believe that the distance introduced by “acting” works pretty well. Call it metaphor, or treat the process physically and call it massage, but it’s a practice free from the conceit of commonalities as necessary entry tickets. If you’re looking for individual catharsis or a one-night stand, the distance between performer and audience helps. Audience and performer look to the same spot in the distance, at the thing to be conjured, the ROCKING. The subject is not so much false as not there yet, and much metal and hard rock creates that subject.

Killing Joke are not unllike AC/DC. They’re not expressive in the messy sonik way--no no no. Their loud is a big clean loud. This is the old high/low split coming in through the power lines. If you are an ARTISTE, you play messy guitar parts that fall out of tune because the feeling has overwhelmed your very soul. If you perfect a huge, hippodrome-sized sound and deliver the goods every time, like Geordie Walker or Angus Young, you’re just a worker. You’re not OBVIOUSLY feeling it. And this spirit vs. labor dichotomy plagues bands like Killing Joke, as does the theater variable. Metal fans and theatergoers are comfortable with the idea that the performer is not actually on fire, or wearing animal skins, but still find the whole idea exciting. American critics don’t like that shit. Metal's combination of silly and powerful suggests Killing Joke are metal, as does the valrization of cleanliness. There's more to the Joke than that, but isn't accurate to say they're entirely NOT metal.


Half their old tunes seem thicker than they are because they’re convinced they’re big. Where they put the lines implies the rest of the building.

The first album is very much part of the dance music community.

Band like Killing Joke feed sounds to the avant indie scene (Hello, Big Black!) the same way their anarcho dread fans do the grunt work for liberal political causes, getting arrested, hosed and sleeping out all night.

Killing Joke are as much a black rock band as they are a metal band. Mosh funk is jst a slowed down, remastered verson of “Change,” which led to the Bad Brains “Re-Ignition" and Slayer's "Angel of Death" and that’s how we got frat metal.


In their 25 years of thankless fire-starting, Killing Joke have been a dub rock band, a goth dance band, political brick-throwers, ridiculous, beautiful, and entirely themselves even when it hurt their bank account. The alpha dogs caught on early. Steve Albini borrowed Geordie Walker’s guitar sound in 1983 and still hasn’t given it back; James Hetfield gave the regal nod to Killing Joke in 1987 when Metallica covered “The Wait”; and Kurt Cobain bit Killing Joke’s “Eighties” for Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” in 1991. Since then, Nine Inch Nails, Helmet and Foo Fighters have all kissed Killing Joke’s ring but the band still couldn’t get into The Canon if they set themselves on fire and wore animal skins.

The fact that singer Jaz Coleman opens their new album by singing about fire and animal skins may have something to do with this. Killing Joke spent the 80s not deciding if they were pagan anarchists, disco rock or industrial sprechstimme, giving away ideas left and right. (You can hear these investigations in draft form on *The Unperverted Pantomime, a demos/live/rarities bootleg that was reissued in legit form earlier this year.) In 1990, when most people thought they didn’t exist, they released *Extremities, Dirt and Other Repressed Emotions, a furious album of political hard rock that defines underrated, which is admittedly a dodgy concept. (Doesn’t somebody somewhere overrate everything?) Vague art school alienation was out and blunt anti-capitalism was in. The title “Money Is Not Our God” gives you a sense of the goings on, and though Jaz Coleman isn’t the go-to guy for Marxist primers, his targets are specific and his anger blows out the fuses. The band is archetypal on *Extremities, impossibly revved.

Joke’s other 90s comebacks were forgettable but the re-re-return uses *Extremities as the template. Jaz and Geordie never go out in public without a great drummer and this time they’ve hired a young man named Dave Grohl. (In the 80s, the default drummer was Chic’s Tony Thompson. It was a good idea, and so is calling Grohl.) The opening track, “The Death and Resurrection Show,” acknowledges the lean years and makes light of the KJ style: “Mark out the points, build the pyre, assemble different drummers, light up the fire, put on your masks and animal skins.” And then track goes up like a Weber grill. If Walker’s sound had a peer in the early 80s, it was the Gang of Four’s Andy Gill. So here he is, as producer and occasional guitar player. (Cue 80s nostalgists passing out.) When the whole pickled cloud of guitar evil gets going, you could guess Gill was there even without the credits. If someone wants to make a better sounding commercial hard rock record, they’d better hustle. (The band has always had a touch of the Viking chest-beating routine, so be warned that this is music for your Man Place.)

The Deftones’ new one, also self-titled, provides some competition. Guitarist Stephen Carpenter is firmly in Geordie territory, though he may have gotten there via My Bloody Valentine or through the gear itself. His sound like an ocean liner that seems to be coming closer and receding at the same time, environmental but impossible to hold. Singer Chino Moreno has come up with his own effective synthesis: the flayed alive scream of speed metal alternating with a drugged lullaby croon copied from various sources. His lyrics are opaque enough that quoting the clear bits would only misrepresent the gestalt at work here. It’s an immersion thing. Like much nu metal, the Deftones have reduced hardcore’s combination of morality and personal pique (“I thought you were my friend/but now it has to end!” was the shorthand parody we used in my first band for off-the-rack hardcore lyrics) to a kind of furious whine, a loop of betrayed hurt. This is kinda thin soup for those not feeling all Dave Gahan, but the Deftones are on a sonic trip and you can plug in whatever ails you once their medicine hits. The band was unhinged and fierce at their Summer Sanitarium appearance, and *Deftones is their second great record in a row, following the slightly better *White Pony. I prefer Killing Joke dissing Bush, but the Deftones’ pillow of noise is a perfectly good place to put your head if you just don’t know why you need to.

Posted by Sasha at 10:41 AM | TrackBack



Listening to "Angel of Death" right now on the Slayer box, Soundtrack To The Apocalypse, and I am convinced no other music ever needs to be made or listened to. (Is that overstated? Hey, call 1-800-EAT-SHIT!) My coffee is huffing and puffing to keep up with Kerry "Frozen Metal" King. Chilly can be hot.

Also having serious flashback to early 90s when Dave Reid and Andy Hawkins and I would listen to AC/DC and dub really loud and talk about what underrated human being was actually more of a genius than the people who are normally called geniuses. Thank God that type of A versus A argument has died out!

I'm not sure you shouldn't just buy “Reign In Blood” four times and be done with it.

One sentence from liner notes: "As introspective as Slayer lyrics can be..." Hm. It seems that one big point of metal is an ability to create effective narratives that don't depend on clichés of interiority or naturalism or hoary concepts of the real and hyperindividual. Metal practices the confessional inside the generic, dramatic position OF the group it chooses—e.g.: gone crazy because of system; inherently evil ectomorph; blind and legless soldier; all-seeing grouch; helplessly violent refusenik--but rarely outside this form, and rarely in defense of a character that isn't widely generalizable. That's the difference between Slayer and Drive Like Jehu—the attitude toward how vocals express character. (That and and a smattering of generational feelings about tunings and feedback, but those feel like ancillary differences.)

it feels like time for the unfinished Killing Joke thing. In eight minutes we start real work, but let's do it anyway.

Posted by Sasha at 09:25 AM | TrackBack



In this morning's weight loss spam from my friend Clarence, I found a line of text on top of an HTML image (fat woman/same woman, thin) that must be there to defeat filters but it defeats more than that:

Iain Prosecution derive Prosecution may whereas There Minister Executive White.

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December 08, 2003



A sense of obligation seems misplaced here. Web dis-tracktion: You could be in jail and I could be sipping a milkshake. You didn't ask, but you clicked. What is our legal status? Consensus impossible, intention feh, modes of address infinite. So it is mostly to prod myself that I say this is coming up:

Why I hate the "Indian Flute" video (obvious, duh).

My Architect

Arte Povera.

Hari Kunzru.

The backlog rape kit project.

Fellini and how I still don't get it. (Evidence: I Vitelloni.) Still seems like a misogynist creep who liked overacting.

Giovanni Ribisi in Friends, melting not melting stuff.

The Deftones' stage setup.

My daft attempt to buy Nino Rota at a record store.

Posted by Sasha at 09:07 PM | TrackBack

December 07, 2003



Life got you down? Say "Floetry creates floacism!" over and over. You'll be counting your blessings and catching rose before you can say "When's that Ali Shaheed Muhammad record coming out?" (That took a while to say, so pick a better phrase.) You think I'm just putting copy underneath a photo, but this routine has legs. (I have yet to open the CDs. I don't want to ruin the mantra.)

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December 06, 2003



because today's files are ransomed by popper tubers until their swains and topcoat bottoms unhand the boullion and sell off their drayhorses.

But you see what it looks like.

Posted by Sasha at 11:45 PM | TrackBack

December 05, 2003



And go buy Lifelike, 'cause we killed it on that one. Fuck all non-believers, herbs and busters.

Posted by Sasha at 10:18 PM | TrackBack



This Is Not A Test is firm and delicious. I am getting my weave done right NOW.

Posted by Sasha at 05:07 PM | TrackBack


Kompakt's Pop Ambient 2004 is on the box, the radiators are clanking and Missy is not calling me. Five looks out the window say we're staying in town this weekend. If you're in the neigborhood, give us a ring, won't you?




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Because if you are not thorough with yours, Jessica Hopper has a tractatus for that fanny. So go on with your lettuce-eating self. I see you.

Posted by Sasha at 12:48 PM | TrackBack



How did I miss No More Wig For Ohio by Odd Nosdam? If you want to play flaneur (rather than poet, thief or antagonist) with the library of recorded music, then this is the way to do it. Reminds me a bit of Skylab's magnificent #1, one of the most slept-on records in the last 15 years.

Posted by Sasha at 12:25 PM | TrackBack

December 04, 2003



who are connected to Dr. Dre mysteriously NOT putting out their own albums? Knoc-Turn'al and Nate Dogg woudl be two good examples. And while we're at it, why did Adina Howard's second album never come out? (It was five years ago, but when ribald wearers of vinyl are concerned, we remember like Pepperidge Farm.)

Posted by Sasha at 11:49 PM | TrackBack



but it turns out that iPod has been shafting many people with their proprietary, bullshit battery scam. (Read the message on the Neistat site, as Apple policies have apparently changed.)

Posted by Sasha at 12:28 AM | TrackBack

December 03, 2003



Had a ripping session in Times Square today after the hardest, most satisying work day in ages. Le difference: No web access all day. Fuck you, le web!

Why isn't there a national holiday in honor of David Bowie's Heathen?

My review of Sting's review of Sting's childhood, in the Washington Post.

December 01, 2003


rivets.jpg says: "The Chinese Communist Party will repackage Mao Tse-tung as a rapper, in an attempt to appeal to Chinese youth." I cannot find any corroborating stories, but if this is true, I can hear Wiley producing some tracks for Mao.

Enjoying Private Room, the new album by the R&B singer with the least appropriate name in recent memory, Avant. It is R&B and it is smooth, so don't come crying to me. (Great year for male R&B. Or what.)

Posted by Sasha at 04:51 PM | TrackBack