Stalin’s Granddaughter

She’s got her dedushka’s eyes — but this gun-toting, punk-rocking gal is as American as apple pie, although she does love to cook borscht. Tattooed Chrese Evans, 44, of Portland, Oregon — a Buddhist who runs an antique shop — is far removed from her notorious grandfather, Joseph Stalin, the former Soviet Union’s ruthless “man of steel.”


Star Wars Land

This sounds so cool.

This “waiting area” just happens to be the main section of the Millennium Falcon, expertly crafted like it was in the movies. Dejarik table, computers, all of it is there for fans to interact with and explore as they wait for their chance to fly the Falcon. Finally, your boarding group is called and everyone goes into the cockpit.

There are several amazing things about this cockpit. One is that it feels like it’s the only cockpit. (Obviously, it’s not. If it was, it would be a very long wait.) We think there’s some kind of mechanism inside rotating the rooms from one hallway entry point but how Disney achieved that effect, they specifically would not say. Either way, it’s cool.

The other amazing thing about the cockpit is that being inside it is damn near a religious experience.

Every button and switch works. The handle you pull down for lightspeed has a nice weight to it. You’ll probably have to divert power to specific deflector shields. It’s glorious. But, like I said, there are six of you, and the way the ride works is two people are pilots, two people are gunners and two people are engineers. Pilots fly, gunners shoot, and engineers repair. And while it may seem like you’d really only want to be a pilot, working together ensures a more exciting ride and the ride’s designers assured us all three stations are equally fun and rewarding. (Then again, just touching the controls as a pilot gave me chills up and down my arms.)

Take my money, please.

CNN Remains Shit

CNN announced on Tuesday it has hired longtime Republican operative Sarah Isgur as political editor, charged with shaping its 2020 campaign coverage.

According to a CNN spokesperson, Isgur, who most recently worked as the Department of Justice’s main spokesperson under then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, will coordinate the network’s political coverage for the 2020 election cycle on TV and on CNN’s website. Isgur starts work next month, and will not be involved in coverage of DOJ. She will occasionally appear on TV.

Isgur’s LinkedIn page indicates she has no journalism experience. She has, however, worked for a variety of right-wing organizations and campaigns, including the Carly Fiorina and Mitt Romney presidential bids, the Republican National Committee, and a Ted Cruz US Senate campaign.

CNN can always be counted on to do the dumbest thing.

Monday Cat Blogging

Nikon D100, 50mm (repost)

Two things I miss: a music player that wasn’t perpetually baffled by songs it could stream vs. songs that it had stored locally, and a cat who didn’t communicate “I want to play!” by ripping holes in my skin.

Big In Japan

Dinosaur Jr scored a Billboard Top 20 hit in Japan with a 25 year old song that was never released as a single.



Last week, an alt-rock mystery puzzled the music press. Almost 25 years after its release, the Dinosaur Jr. song “Over Your Shoulder” appeared at number 18 on Japan’s Hot 100 chart, beating out major new releases like Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings.”

The fuzzy, mournful closer to Dinosaur Jr.’s 1994 album Without a Sound, “Over Your Shoulder” is an unlikely candidate for a hit single. Indeed, it was never released in that format. Stranger still, the track rocketed up Japan’s charts thanks to over eight million video plays—earning the country’s top spot for video streams—despite no YouTube upload of the song having anywhere close to that many views.

In the end, no one factor made “Over Your Shoulder” a Billboard hit in Japan. Nearly 25 years ago, it was released. More than 15 years ago, it was used on a Japanese reality show about boxing bad boys. Six years ago, Billboard started counting YouTube plays. And just days ago, YouTube apparently began recommending pirated episodes of that reality show to Japanese users, who seemingly binged it in the thousands, playing “Over Your Shoulder” over and over again in the process.

Bauhaus / 2


Saw half of Bauhaus at the Cat’s Cradle last night. Billed as Peter Murphy celebrating 40 years of Bauhaus, it was Peter and bassist David J with two (very capable) guys handling drums and guitar. While I would have loved to see the brilliant original Bauhaus guitarist Daniel Ash, I’ll take what I can get.


First half of the set was the entire first album – Double Dare, Stigmata, St Vitus, Flat Field, etc.. Second half was everything else: Bela, Ziggy, Telegram Sam, etc. – everything I could hope for.


Peter Murphy has a cold and was a little raspy, but he is still utterly charismatic. No longer young enough to writhe around shirtless, he loomed and lorded over the stage. And David J held a stoic expression the whole time, while totally kicking ass with his fuzzed and furious fretless bass. As sometimes happens, it was one of those shows where seeing those songs played live showed just how much is going on in those songs, and how unique and inventive those guys were to come up with it in the first place. An amazing band, even with two subs (who I think were from Peter Murphy’s band) filling in.


Weirdest part, though, was watching very cool Peter Murphy play the very uncool melodica for three songs.

First opening band was Desert Mountain Tribe, who did a kind of motoric trancey three piece thing that felt like the next iteration of The Doors / Stooges / Cult. Good sound, we’ll done.


Second opener was Vinsantos, a drag queen, who did a cabaret style set of witty and melancholy tunes – just her and her piano. Really fun.

Four hours is a long time to stand in one spot.