My friends and I went on a road trip to New York City to ring in 2010. I won tickets to see Chuck Berry play in an overpriced blues restaurant, but the 83-year-old had trouble remembering how to play his songs. After he played “Maybelline” for the third time, we left and found a tiny karaoke bar where we sang all night with a rowdy crew of guys from Philadelphia. —Stephan MacLeod
Oh, hi there! It’s Tom Scharpling! The host of The Best Show On WFMU! You know me, right?
We are into Week Two of the WFMU fundraising marathon. If you are not aware of it, this is how the station raises money to stay on the air. The station is 100 percent listener sponsored. We don’t run ads and we don’t take corporate funding or government grants. And that’s what keeps the station 100 percent freeform, letting me do something as willfully stupid as The Best Show On WFMU every Tuesday, letting me and Jon Wurster do our thirty-five minute calls without commercial interruption or editorial feedback from anyone at any point.
My second and final Best Show for the 2010 marathon is this Tuesday March 9th between 8-11 PM EST. And if you’re a fan of Scharpling and Wurster or me or the people who call or the guests I have on or the podcast or freeform radio or stations that shouldn’t exist in the face of all the corporate creepiness, it’s a cause worth supporting. If we don’t reach our goal of 1.2 million dollars by the end of the marathon, we are In Trouble.
If you want to throw some support, please call 800-989-9368 or pledge online at www.wfmu.org BETWEEN 8-11 PM EST ON MARCH 9th! In addition to your money going to a worthy cause, you get a lot of stuff back.
Everybody who pledges 75 bucks or more automatically gets The Best Show On WFMUâs 2010 CHUMP STEAMROLLER FUN PACK. I’ve been cranking on this thing for awhile and it’s going to be AWESOME. But first let me tell you about the show on Tuesday March 9th between 8-11 PM EST.
We are going to have two awesome guys in the studio helping to raise money. The one and only PATTON OSWALT is going to be on hand with the hilarity. And if that’s not enough, the comedic force of nature that is JOHN HODGMAN also be LIVE IN THE STUDIO! There are going to be surprises galore and it is a guaranteed night of non-stop fun.
Now the details about The Best Show On WFMU 2010 CHUMP STEAMROLLER FUN PACK.
The first item in the Fun Pack is the first ever BEST SHOW ON WFMU DVD! It’s a full-length DVD called FANTASIA IN BEST SHOW MINOR, and it’s going to be amazing. It features stuff you’re never going to believe. Here are some of the people who are going to be involved in the DVD:
PATTON OSWALT ♥ TED LEO ♥ PAUL F. TOMPKINS ♥ ZACH GALIFIANAKIS ♥ FUCKED UP ♥ TIM AND ERIC ♥ JOHN HODGMAN ♥ AIMEE MANN ♥ SCHARPLING AND WURSTER ♥ YO LA TENGO ♥ KURT VILE ♥ MATT FRACTION ♥ TODD BARRY ♥ JASON WOLINER
And SO MANY MORE. There’s going to be puppets. Animation. Scharpling and Wurster stuff like you’ve never seen before. Travelogues from callers like Fredericks from New Port Richie, Julie from Cincinnati, AP Mike and more! Seriously – there are so many people working so hard on this thing. It’s gonna be legendary. And when the marathon is over, this thing is COMPLETELY UNVAILABLE.
The second part of the Chump Steamroller Fun Pack is a set of BEST SHOW TRADING CARDS depicting your favorite callers and characters from the show. They are being designed by Chris Moses and Joe Allen – two guys who have done amazing jobs with previous Best Show projects – and they are outdoing themselves on this! We’re lining up artists – for starters Michael Kupperman, Danny Hellman, Evan Dorkin and Brian Musikoff are on board – and they gonna be jaw droppingly great. And again, these cards will be GONE FOREVER if you don’t pledge DURING MY MARATHON SHOWS!
Last but not least, the first ever BEST SHOW BUMPER STICKER. Also awesome and also available ONLY BY PLEDGING DURING MY MARATHON SHOWS.
Once the marathon is over, THEY ARE GONE FOREVER.
There are pledge levels at $150, $365, $500, $1000 and $3000, and the station takes care of you big-time with a TON of awesome prizes and shirts and CDs that you can’t get anywhere else. And unlike that PBS or NPR crap, WFMU’s premiums are all top-notch and well made – who hasnât seen a cool WFMU t-shirt in their travels? And everything is 100 percent TAX DEDUCTABLE!
And as an added bonus, anyone who pledges $1000 gets something special just from me. It’s a secret. Seriously – I know I’m being vague here but trust me on this one. I’ve got something JUST FOR YOU. I’ll make you happy with it – I PROMISE.
We will also be drawing for three AMAZING GRAND PRIZES at the end of the show. Grand Prize #1 is a COMPLETE MONTY PYTHON DVD set AUTOGRAPHED BY TERRY GILLIAM! Grand Prize #2 is the MISFITS BOX SET – one of the greatest bands ever, with all their stuff in an amazing coffin-shaped box! Grand Prize #3 is a ROBERT POLLARD/BOSTON SPACESHIPS super set! If you win this, you will get a ton of Boston Spaceships vinyl, a limited BS block print that is as yet unavailable and a 7″ test pressing of an upcoming single with a printed sleeve – there are only FIVE OF THESE IN EXISTENCE! Everyone who pledges 75 bucks or more will be in the running for these prizes, but you can only be in the running by pledging DURING MY SHOW!
And if you want to support the station but don’t have the money right now, YOU DON’T HAVE TO PAY YOUR PLEDGE RIGHT AWAY! The station sends you a bill in the mail and you can take care of it later. You can structure your payments in EASY MONTHLY INSTALLMENTS! But the important thing is pledging and being a part of something Good in a world that is filled with Too Much Bad, especially in These Troubling Times.
IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO CALL OR PLEDGE ONLINE DURING MY SHOW, I will gladly write the pledge up myself. You can email me your information – name, address and pledge amount – and I will fill it out myself. All addresses and information is completely confidential and is not sold or distributed in any way shape or form, so don’t worry about your privacy. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll take care of it.
And PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT THIS! Put it on Facebook and Twitter and MySpace and maybe even Friendster if you can still remember your password. Post it on like-minded message boards! Tell co-workers and friends and family members and whoever! The station has a huge mountain to climb this time, but we can do it if enough people step up to the plate and pitch in.
★Tuesday March 9th between 8-11 PM EST
★PATTON OSWALT and JOHN HODGMAN both LIVE IN STUDIO
★THREE GRAND PRIZES – Misfits box, Terry Gilliam-signed Monty Python DVD set, Boston Spaceships mega-pack including rare test pressing!
★CALL 1-800-989-9368 or PLEDGE ONLINE at www.wfmu.org on TUESDAY MARCH 9th between 8-11 PM EST and be counted!
Lots has been said about the recent (“small“) changes to Twitter that take friends @replies out of your twitter stream unless you are already friends with your friends’ friends (clear as mud? see here. People still think this has something to do with your “mentions” stream). These @replies are not completely hidden from you. You can see actively see these replies if you go directly to a friend’s twitter page or if you have their RSS feed, but if you “follow” them you no longer have the choice of seeing this correspondence. This correspondence, initially, gives you a one-sided look into other potential conversations and relationships and is an exciting part of the service. Twitter is essentially penalizing a person if you seek a fuller relationship. Since removing the option from the user, Twitter decided for us that this is mainly noise and backed this up by saying the engineers were having “technical problems” scaling with the growth of the service. That may be true, but why not turn this into a community challenge to fix (see Netflix Prize)? If you want the choice of seeing everything a friend you follow posts, you can’t use Twitter as it is presented to you in the most logical manner. You have to visit via a web page or use your feed reader, as well as your favourite app of choice.
I noticed a similar limiting behaviour with Flickr. If you grab an RSS feed of a person’s photostream, you get updated every time they post new photos. This is how I approach a stranger on the service without having to contact them. If I was brave enough to become a contact, you are given the choice of seeing 1 photo or 5 photos per upload update but not everything. It is then up to you to click on through and see if more photos had been uploaded as part of the process. See where this is going? It is another case of limiting the interaction of people that took the effort, and in this case money, to actually sign-up to a service. Is this another technical limitation? Or is Flickr deciding it is better way to present the information with limited choice. Either way, I would like the option to participate differently and increase the intimacy in world of social media.
Do you know any other examples of companies that are pinching the converted?
One of the world’s most innovative comedians, Zach Galifianakis, joined up with comedian AD Miles, record producer Jon Brion and Fiona Apple (yes, that Fiona Apple) to record the ultra-danceable track “Up In Them Guts”. We guarantee that it’ll soon to outpace “You Look Mahvelous” by Billy Crystal but will never touch anything by Joe Pesci.
The flip is by Teddy “Rockstar” Leo! Yes! Ted Leo went into the studio with his Pharmacists and recorded “Rock’n'Roll Dreams’ll Come Through” which is a song that was originally made popular on The Best Show on WFMU and featured on “New Hope For The Ape-Eared” CD by Tom Scharpling & Jon Wurster.
Both tracks are exclusive to this single. The first 500 are on picture disc!
“PARANOIA: Never Enough” – written specifically for this event and this release. I wrote it on Thursday in Rhode Island, we recorded it on Friday in New Jersey. Hope you enjoy.
“Mourning in America” – it’s about race as a campaign issue. If it makes it onto our next LP, it will no longer be campaign season, but the frustrating irony is that in a few years time, it’ll probably be “timely” again.
“I Got Your Number” – it’s pretty explicitly about media manipulation of political thought, I think. I also think it’s about time Cock Sparrer got a reassessment and a bit of the respect they deserve in the Punk Pantheon.
“Nobody’s Driving” – apparently Amebix is getting back together. I applaud that. Hugely inspirational. Daryl K. introduced me to them way back when we were in Citizens Arrest. After repeated listens to the EP with just the previous three songs, I felt like it needed another. I spent the afternoon yesterday doing a more elaborate version of this – two guitars, two tin whistles, an air organ, backing vocals, etc. – but wasn’t really feeling it. I recorded over it by just playing and singing it live and alone – one guitar and one voice. Be forewarned – unless Touch and Go somehow manages to do some mastering to this before it gets posted, the first guitar chord comes in a little hot – if you’re listening in headphones, you might want to turn it down a notch when “I Got Your Number” ends.
Nearly 3,000 people from 90 different countries were killed that day, in New York City, at the Pentagon in Virginia, and near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. While the damaged Pentagon has been rebuilt, plans are still underway for a memorial in Pennsylvania, and construction has only recently gotten underway on the memorial at Ground Zero, the former site of the World Trade Center in New York City. On that same site, the new Freedom Tower has been under construction since 2006, and will hopefully be completed by 2012, reaching 1,776 feet above Manhattan’s skyline. Here is a brief look back, several views from today, and a peek into the future of these sites.
from The Big Picture
Do you remember this photograph? In the United States, people have taken pains to banish it from the record of September 11, 2001. The story behind it, though, and the search for the man pictured in it, are our most intimate connection to the horror of that day.
“We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.” Palm chief executive Ed Colligan on November 16, 2006
“People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.” computer scientist Alan Kay
“The mobile phone world is littered with crap. The interfaces are tragic. The materials are cheap. The build quality is marginal. And of course the sound sucks…Apple can change this because that’s what Apple does. They can look at the crisis points of a typical experience and erase them one by one. Not by adding a lot of new things things, but by removing the crap and paying attention to the basics.” Jason Fried (Apple Phone: My prediction | Signal vs. Noise)
“I don’t know a single person that likes the phone they have. Everyone feels like a victim of both their phone plan and their phone hardware. Cellphones seem to be one of those things that barely works given all the drawbacks. The iPhone isn’t just a new gadget. It looks like something that will transform the way we think about cellphones.” Matt Howie (Apple is the New NASA | A Whole Lotta Nothing)