To help ease the pain, these personal favorites will be counted down in daily installments, complete with videos and, in many cases, links to our interviews with the artists who made them. I'm making no claim that these songs are the year’s best, since I’m not even sure there is such a thing.
Note also that No. 10 is a tie, which technically makes this a Top 11.
10B: Broken Bells, “High Road”
Shins frontman James Mercer and Brian Joseph Burton (aka Danger Mouse) are a surprisingly perfect pairing as Broken Bells, whose eponymous debut album brings out Mercer’s experimental side and Burton’s pop instincts. “High Road” is its hands-down high point, an atmospheric, plaintive and strangely uplifting track that never gets old.
10A: Nick Curran & the Lowlifes, “Reform School Girl”
The title track from Curran’s latest album is a perfect reinvention of the previously inimitable Phil Spector/girl group sound. A punk rock devotee who, against all odds, ended up recording and touring with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Curran reverses the “Leader of the Pack” formula, leaving the bad-girl-loving narrator in the lurch. It’s a surprising departure for Curran, and one worth pursuing.
9. Grace Potter & the Nocturals, “Tiny Light”
Grace Potter and cohorts were named one of Rolling Stone’s “Best New Bands of 2010,” an honor that overlooked the fact that they’ve been together since 2003. The 27-year-old Potter had already amassed countless critical hosannas for her stunning vocals, which are as powerful as Janis Joplin’s, but without the broken-glass rasp. Over the course of five minutes, “Tiny Light” travels from moody verses and uplifting choruses to an extended instrumental outro that pits Scott Tournet’s electric guitar against Potter’s worldless wailing. A breakthrough single, and deservedly so.
8. Plan B, “Stay Too Long”
After establishing himself in the world of British hip-hop and dubstep, Plan B surprised fans by letting out his inner crooner. “Stay Too Long” shifts between Lenny Kravitz-style retro soul and rap interludes vaguely reminiscent of Rage Against the Machine. A Top 10 hit in his native U.K., it has yet to be released over here.
7. Pigeon John, “Dude, It’s On”
The sole SoCal member of the Bay Area-based Quannum Projects collective, underground hip-hop artist Pigeon John covered a lot of musical terrain on this year’s Dragon Slayer album. But “Dude, It’s On” is the true standout, a down-tempo slice of pop brilliance that rhymes Motel 6 and Chick-O-Sticks. Seriously, what more could you want?
Look for more picks, videos and interview links tomorrow. Meanwhile, don't forget to share your own Top 10 with the rest of us.
Brianna Michelle Gomez was seven months pregnant. Her baby boy, delivered by emergency C-section, is in critical condition. Gomez's husband, and two other young children in their car, survived the crash.
Williams' car was also packed. Williams' adult son and her 7-year-old grandson were both thrown from the vehicle. The car also carried Williams' 3-year-old grandson. Only Williams was wearing a seatbelt — an irony given that Williams pushed for tougher seatbelt laws in Colorado.
Williams' grandchildren have been released from the hospital, but apparently her son is not faring as well.
Read more at the Denver Post.
Curious what it might have looked like should the city have decided to regulate local medical marijuana centers out of existence? In California, the city of Los Angeles earlier issued a strict ordinance in hopes of closing the majority of the roughly 430 dispensaries that called the area home.
Recently, a judge issued injunctions for portions of the ordinance and said that some of the closed centers would be allowed to reopen, reports the Associated Press.
Superior Court Judge Anthony Mohr said the local law was unconstitutional on several grounds. He said the ban on new dispensaries hadn't been extended properly. He said the due process rights of operators of shuttered dispensaries were violated because they weren't provided a hearing to argue against the closure. The ordinance invades patients' privacy rights, he said, because police can access personal information without a warrant or subpoena.
He suggested in his ruling that the City Council could amend the ordinance to avoid further litigation.
The repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" last week begs the bigger question: What does this mean for LGBT Americans?
It "will have the larger consequences of moving forward the discussion of equality," says Anton Schulzki, a teacher and sponsor of Palmer High School's Gay/Straight Alliance, in an e-mail.
"We still have a long ways to go," Schulzki writes, adding, "It's 55 years since Brown v. Board of Education, we've elected an African-American President of the country and there is still racism and bigotry ... I am afraid to say that for the LGBT community, the prejudice and bigotry that exists now will exist in the future, though more and more people are opening their minds and hearts and that truly speaks for better days.
"As the saying goes, 'it gets better.'"
And, Schulzki notes, it's slowly getting better at Palmer itself. In 2003, the ACLU and Palmer's GSA filed a lawsuit against the school, fighting for recognition as a student group. It took a while, but in 2005, D-11 settled and granted the alliance student-group status.
"When the club was finally given standing in the school in 2005, it came both as a relief and also increased battles," Schulzki writes. "Ironically enough, those who fought against the club largely on religious and moral grounds realized that in addition to the GSA being a recognized club, so too could Fellowship of Christian Athletes and prayer clubs. In many ways the recognition went well beyond GSA."
"The down side to the fight for club recognition was that it brought some unwanted attention to myself and my co-sponsor, and damaged both of us professionally."
With 30 to 35 active members and upward of 40 gathering at the GSA's lunchtime meetings, Schulzki says, "They are the reason the club exists. They do all the hard work, they were the ones who found ways to keep it going despite pressure not to. They are the ones who continue to keep it going and work hard to open the minds of others."
And other students seem to be catching on. "The students ... are the ones who are becoming far more tolerant than some of the adults in the building, though that is slowly changing." The club's Ally Week and Day of Silence have gained the participation of more students outside of the alliance and the administration "has been more open," giving the GSA a display case for the month of October for LGBT History Month.
Schulzki says students and administration at Palmer recently encountered some issues of bullying, and "the administration was very proactive in dealing with the students involved." But, he says, "the school district's policy of bullying currently does not address gender identity and that needs to be addressed."
Air Force junior safety Jon Davis intercepted a pass at the AFA 2-yard line with 11 seconds left, preserving a taut but memorable 14-7 victory for the Falcons over Georgia Tech on Monday afternoon in the Independence Bowl at Shreveport, La.
Tech had driven from its 20 to the AFA 22 in the final two minutes, after a missed field goal by the Falcons that could have sewn up the victory. Tech quarterback Tevin Washington, who ran for 131 yards in the game, completed three passes and ran for a key first down on the final drive. But the Yellow Jackets' last chance ended with Davis making a great athletic play for the interception.
That errant pass was Tech's fourth turnover of the second half, two inside the AFA 5 and the other two coming on fumbled punts.
After Georgia Tech's third turnover, Air Force senior fullback Jared Tew bulled into the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown, and a 2-point conversion by Jonathan Warzeka gave the Falcons a 14-7 lead with 13:24 left in the fourth quarter.
Tew was playing for the first time in two months, since suffering a broken leg in midseason. He was named the offensive player of the game.
Air Force had punted from its 46, but Tech mishandled the kick and the Falcons recovered at the GT 14. Earlier, after Tech took the second-half kickoff and marched from its 18 to the AFA 5, quarterback Tevin Washington lost a fumble to end that drive.
The victory was Air Force's second consecutive bowl win, and its first bowl victory against a team from a BCS conference since beating Washington in the 1998 Oahu Bowl. It gives the Falcons a 9-4 record and a combined 34-18 over the past four seasons.
"That's a remarkable year when you look at the schedule we played," AFA coach Troy Calhoun said. "It's a real credit to the kids. We played tremendous defense today."
Air Force shut out Georgia Tech, the nation's top rushing team, in the final three quarters and held the Jackets to 320 total yards (287 rushing), well below their average. Air Force finished with 287 yards, including 117 passing from Tim Jefferson.
Air Force's Zack Bell kicked a 41-yard field goal on the final play of the first half, bringing the Falcons to within one point of Georgia Tech, 7-6, at the break.
After three straight series of being stopped on downs, Air Force put together a good drive in the final minute of the half led by quarterback Tim Jefferson. He completed four passes, two to Kyle Halderman, as the Falcons moved from their 19 to the Tech 24. After two throws into the end zone that fell incomplete, Bell was perfect on his kick.
Air Force led in total yards, 201-141, but was plagued by mistakes and slips. Receiver Jonathan Warzeka dropped a pass inside the Tech 20 that could have been a touchdown, then later lost his footing on a fourth-and-2 from the GT 18.
Georgia Tech running back Anthony Allen scored on a 5-yard blast up the middle, capping a 69-yard drive to give the Yellow Jackets a 7-3 lead over Air Force in the final seconds of the first quarter.
After a field goal gave the Falcons a 3-0 lead, Tech took over at its 31 and quickly faced a fourth-and-1 at the 40. Quarterback Tevin Washington sneaked for the first down, and suddenly the GT option began clicking, with back-to-back gains of 16 and 17 yards putting the Jackets in scoring range.
Allen, a first-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference pick, had seven carries for 38 yards on the drive.
Air Force's Zack Bell nailed a 42-yard field goal with 6:37 left in the first quarter, giving the Falcons an early 3-0 lead against Georgia Tech in the Independence Bowl at Shreveport, La.
AFA All-American cornerback Reggie Rembert broke a 43-yard punt return to set up the Falcons at the Georgia Tech 39. After a first down put Air Force in field-goal range, Tech stiffened and forced the kick.
So far, both teams look a little sluggish on offense, especially Air Force, which hasn't played since a road win at Nevada-Las Vegas to end the regular season on Nov. 18.
At least 40,000 people were in the stands, and the game-time temperature was 47 degrees.
The game's top defensive player was Air Force senior lineman Rick Ricketts, who had a career-best 10 tackles and a sack.
Air Force is now 3-0 in the Independence Bowl, having won it in 1983 over Mississippi (9-3) and 1984 against Virginia Tech (23-7). The last time the Falcons won consecutive bowls was 1990-91, beating Ohio State and Mississippi State, both in the Liberty Bowl.
Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.
Swollen-lipped Brit-actress Gemma Arterton is the latest ingénue that Hollywood is trying to shove down our collective post-Megan Fox throats, starring recently in the hits Quantum of Solace, Clash of the Titans and Prince of Persia. Given that illustrious filmography, she probably won't be around much longer, which only makes The Disappearance of Alice Creed an infuriating movie to watch. Don't get me wrong: This is the skeleton of a great movie, a scuzzy British kidnapping caper filled with unexpected tri-sexual twists and turns. But, Arterton, as the kidnappee, doesn't have the dramatic chops to play anything more convincing that the requisite sex object in the aforementioned blockbusters, and watching her desperately try to emote here is like being in the middle of a cruel joke on the poor girl. And that's one joke I don't want to be in on.
Having not seen it in over 20 years, I completely forgot how fun and charming and good-natured Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is. I was smiling the whole way through — it's just a happy movie that freely flows from one scene to another, filled with imagination that never seems like the product of a toy company marketing committee, the way so many kiddie flicks do today. When you look at the pedigree behind Chitty, it's easy to see why it's become a true classic: starring Dick Van Dyke and Benny Hill, a screenplay written by Roald Dahl based on the novel by Ian Fleming and featuring music and songs from Richard and Robert Sherman, the amount of talent here is an unfathomable dream-team of creativity that was determined to make films guaranteed to stand the test of time, to be passed on as a cinematic family heirloom for years to come. Turn the key and take Chitty Chitty Bang Bang out for a spin.
As much as I despise the now-cliched dysfunctional family Christmas comedy that seems to have proliferated in the past decade, Coopers' Christmas really separates itself from the pack by maintaining a really funny, very lewd old-school 1970s National Lampoon-vibe that bests even the Chevy Chase classic Christmas Vacation that officially held that banner. On Christmas, in 1985, suburban dad Gord surprises his family with a “barely used” VHS Camcorder, with the youngest Cooper kid filming all the hilarious goings-on as dad gets drunk on scotch, the sullen older brother trying to kill himself by drinking floor-cleaner and watching as mom is seduced by a sleazy uncle. Starring The Daily Show's Jason Jones and Samantha Bee — whoever they are — Coopers' Christmas is the perfect holiday movie, just make sure you put the kids to bed first.
From Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the hacks behind Epic Movie, Disaster Movie, Meet the Spartans, etc., comes their latest opus, a failed gag-a-minute parody of the Twilight franchise called, predictably enough, Vampires Suck. Am I being too hard on this already? It's not very good, but it's still better than the bloodsucker-lite romance novels they're based on; then, of course, what isn't? As neurotic every-girl Becca, Jenn Proske does a dead-on brutal impersonation of the affected twitchy histrionics of Kristen Stewart, and there's a rather hilarious “It's Raining Men” joke ... but other than that, this is nothing more than an obvious poverty row quick-buck cash-in on the Twilight phenomenon, taking advantage of Twi-hards who're desperate for any type of pseudo-vampire entertainment, no matter how mentally deficient. Eh...they deserve each other.
The full title of Harpoon is actually Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre, which is the best movie title of the year, hands down. If only the actual film itself were as good. Billed as the first splatter horror film from Iceland, with a screenplay written by Björk collaborator Sjón, it's an Icelandic take on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with white-neck ex-whalers turning to human meat for their daily sustenance. While the horror part is OK, the real interesting thing about Harpoon is its decidedly unexpected pro-whaling stance, showing how the killing of the industry has left not only people unemployed, but turned Iceland into nothing more than another tourist spot. There's also quite a few jabs at Greenpeace libs, which is actually hilarious. Maybe this would have worked better as a social satire instead of a deadly serious horror movie?
Time is running out to keep your Colorado Springs streetlights OFF.
Last chance to keep SELECT streetlights off
Citizens interested in keeping residential streetlights off must contact the City by Friday,
Dec. 31, 2010, either by calling (719) 385-2852 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. City crews are preparing to reactivate residential streetlights impacted by the 2010 budget cuts.
After the initial contact is made, citizens will be given paperwork to document approval of at least 67 percent of affected neighbors (as determined by City staff). The paperwork must be completed and turned by Feb. 15, 2011.
Crews will begin turning residential streetlights back on beginning the week of Jan. 2, 2011.
More than 8,000 residential and arterial streetlights were initially deactivated by the City in early 2010 to save about $1.3 million for the general fund. The program successfully saved budget dollars but changing economic conditions provided City Council with the financial flexibility to add residential streetlight maintenance back into the 2011 general fund budget.
Women's wages are expected to recover faster than men's, and that means companies that market to women should do better than companies that market to men.
There are several reasons for the trend. First, women have lost fewer jobs in the recession than men, largely because the biggest sectors hit were male-dominated ones like manufacturing and construction. (Female-dominated professions like health care and education, have been somewhat shielded from the downturn.)
Second, women have other advantages: More women then men graduate from college, and women make most of the financial decisions in the household.
Move over, glass ceiling!
Read more: Bloomberg News.
Springs Council member Sean Paige is on the rampage against city-owned Memorial Health System's promotion of a possible April 5 ballot measure that would ask voters permission to convert Memorial to a nonprofit agency.
First, he complained that two ads ran in The Gazette, costing $16,500, earlier this month. Then he noted the Future of Health Care blog Memorial has been doing for months has a prominent feature called "Our Point of View: The case to convert Memorial to a community-based nonprofit."
"It seems like another case in which the health system is blurring the line between public information and public indoctrination. It's not the blog itself, but it's obviously self-serving content, that crosses the line, in my opinion," he says in an e-mail to us." It's a widely-accepted precept, at all levels of government, and that includes city enterprises, that public money should not be used for lobbying, politicking or self-serving advocacy activities, but there's a tendency among certain city leaders to tolerate violations of the rules as long as they agree with the agenda being pushed."
He also says City Attorney Patricia Kelly has "helped facilitate this" by identifying legal defenses for such activities.
Paige says as an outsider, such fudging the lines always bothered him; now that he's a Council member, "I now have an opportunity to speak up about his, with a louder voice, so I am."
By the way, the law specifies that no public money shall be spent to campaign for or against any ballot issue. So far, the Memorial matter is not a ballot issue, so Memorial isn't breaking any laws. Jan. 25 is the deadline for mounting a ballot measure. After that, using city resources to campaign would become illegal.
Paige, not too long after sending that message, had another bee in his bonnet. This time, it was about an article published in a Memorial magazine about CEO Larry McEvoy, who is strongly in favor of the switch to a nonprofit.
The article, written by a Memorial employee, is called "Change for the better" and features photos of McEvoy with his horses, "in cowboy hat and flannel shirt, looking like the Marlboro man," Paige says.
"Check out the latest edition of the "Peak Living" magazine if you get a chance," Paige writes, "which has a 5 page spread (in a 15 page publication) devoted to Larry and his grand vision for Memorial. Haven't yet had a chance to read, or judge the spin content, of the piece, but this is beginning to take on the look of a personality cult, since he, not the board or the commission, is obviously the driving force behind this effort. Not sure what this piece cost, but I would put it into the category of publicly-funded propaganda."
Here's what Memorial's spokeswoman Cari Davis said:
As we've said before, we feel that it is entirely appropriate to share our
point of view with the community, just as Penrose, CSHP, Mountain View
Medical Group and others have done. Further, we believe that communicating
our perspective is the ethically responsible thing to do for patients and
Peak Living has told our organization's important stories for several
years. Now facing one of the most important moments in Memorial's history,
we felt it would be appropriate to address the future ownership topic in a
Peak Living article. Memorial is financially supported by patient
revenues, not local tax revenues, and we believe it is in the best
interest of our patients to be informed and educated on Memorial's
As much as some people may want to politicize this issue, accuse us of
propagandizing or use the press to divert attention from the core issue at
hand—building better health care—we must remain focused on what's best
for patients and this community. Those we serve deserve to know where we
stand and why, just like they deserve to know where others stand on this
issue and why.
A doctor would not be accused of propagandizing by explaining treatment
options to his or her patient and recommending what he or she thinks would
be best. You—the patients, neighbors and community we serve—are our
patient, and you have a right to know the options ahead, and what this
provider thinks would be best.
Well, at least, not implicitly. In a recent clip, the author/TV evangelist/mogul says he's worried about criminal sentences for young people, and the effects of prison on said youth.
I’m not exactly for the use of drugs, don’t get me wrong, but I just believe that criminalizing marijuana — criminalizing the possession of a few ounces of pot, and that kind of thing — I mean, it’s just, it’s costing us a fortune, and it’s ruining young people. Young people go into prison as youths and they come out as hardened criminals, and it’s not a good thing.
While the blogotubes went wild with the news that Robertson supports the legalization of marijuana, a statement from a spokesman for the evangelist sent to the New York Times clarifies that it's just not so.
“Dr. Robertson did not call for the decriminalization of marijuana. He was advocating that our government revisit the severity of the existing laws because mandatory drug sentences do harm to many young people who go to prison and come out as hardened criminals. He was also pointing out that these mandatory sentences needlessly cost our government millions of dollars when there are better approaches available. Dr. Robertson’s comments followed a CBN News story about a group of conservatives who have proven that faith-based rehabilitation for criminals has resulted in lower repeat offenders and saved the government millions of dollars. Dr. Robertson unequivocally stated that he is against the use of illegal drugs.”
You have to wonder how Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson must have felt Wednesday night during the Las Vegas Bowl.
Thompson had to be sad, seeing the University of Utah playing its final football game as a Mountain West member, in a stadium with a capacity crowd. Losing Utah as well as Brigham Young in 2011 will change the conference's makeup, its demographics and its personality — not to mention removing the great rivalry between those two schools.
Yet, at the same time, the commissioner surely was giddy about seeing Boise State, which will join the MWC next fall, show its superiority in pounding Utah, 26-3. Holding the Utes to just a field goal proved once again that the Broncos deserve their place among the top 10 or so in the national rankings, with a 38-2 record over the past three seasons.
Boise will lose some of its front-line players, but quarterback Kellen Moore will return as a Heisman Trophy favorite for 2011, and the Broncos should start next season well up in the national polls. Early indications are that Air Force will travel to Boise for the first conference game between those two, because the Falcons normally would have gone on the road to play Utah and Brigham Young in 2011.
Boise also could bring the Mountain West another shot of fresh exposure in its 2011 opener, facing the University of Georgia on Sept. 3 in a new corporate-sponsored game (Chick-Fil-A) at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, surely on national TV.
Meanwhile, the Mountain West's bowl schedule continues tonight with San Diego State facing Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium, the Aztecs' home field. That game kicks off at 6 p.m. Mountain Time on ESPN.
Tune into the Indy Minute — as seen on ABC affiliate KRDO News Channel 13 — each week for details on all the events that entertain and bring our community together. It's simulcast on KRDO News Radio 105.5 FM and 1240 AM.
When Billy Bob Thornton spoke to the Indy a couple years ago, he mentioned his plan to direct a film adaption of Jess Walter’s novel, Citizen Vince. A former journalist whose novels have been described as “standup tragedy,” Walter seems like a perfect match for Thornton’s darkly comic sensibility.
That said, I haven’t heard a word about the project since. But Thornton’s enthusiasm ended up convincing me to read one, two and eventually all five of Walter’s novels: The Financial Lives of the Poets, The Zero, Citizen Vince, Land of the Blind, and Over Tumbled Graves. I even found myself entranced by Every Knee Shall Bow, his nonfiction book about Ruby Ridge (a subject in which I’d had no previous interest).
So I was happy to see that Denver’s Tattered Cover Bookstore posted Walter’s Favorite 2010 Books today as part of its ongoing month-long series. Better still is the fact that Walters will be a panelist at the store’s day-long Writers Respond to Readers conference at the downtown store on Jan. 29.
If you've yet to climb aboard the Jess Walter bandwagon, it’s easy to do. Just listen to the following clip, in which the author reads the opening 7-Eleven scene from The Financial Lives of Poets, and you’ll be hooked:
In case you missed this on Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman interviewed Hannah Sassaman, a representative from Prometheus Radio Project, about the Senate's recent passage of The Local Community Radio Act. Once this bill finally becomes a law, it will expand the opportunity to capitalize on low-power FM service by thousands of new licensees.
What does that mean? According to Prometheus, it means that "non-profit organizations, local governments, churches, schools, and emergency responders" and so on will be able to apply for a license from the FCC to run a radio station that broadcasts to the immediately surrounding community.
The Local Community Radio Act will expand the low power FM (LPFM) service created by the FCC in 2000 — a service the FCC created to address the shrinking diversity of voices on the radio dial. Over 800 LPFM stations, all locally owned and non-commercial, are already on the air. ...
The bill repeals earlier legislation which had been backed by big broadcasters, including the National Association of Broadcasters. This legislation, the Radio Broadcast Preservation Act of 2000, limited LPFM radio to primarily rural areas. The broadcast lobby groups claimed that the new 100-watt stations could somehow create interference with their own stations, a claim disproven by a Congressionally-mandated study in 2003.
Congressional leaders worked for years to pass this legislation. As the clock wound down on the 111th Congress, they worked with the NAB to amend the bill to enshrine even stronger protections against interference and to ensure the prioritization of full power FM radio stations over low power stations.
Imagine, the public's airwaves being opened back up to the public.
AMY GOODMAN: How do people apply for these stations?
HANNAH SASSAMAN: So the FCC will open up what’s called a licensing window. We’re not sure exactly when. We at Prometheus are very excited to be working at the FCC to make a window happen as soon as possible. But now is the time to organize your group to think about what a community station can truly do in your town.
It will be exciting to see who in our community takes advantage of this new opportunity.