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Temple of the strange
There is something, clearly, that makes 7/11 a beacon for fucking insane people. I typically run in to one a week, but tonight I ran in to grab a diet Coke and brushed past a tall, redheaded, Mike Love lookalike who balanced a Double Gulp in his arms as he said, quite clearly: “They sent them to ALGERIA! That’s where they CAME FROM!”

It was another 5 steps to the soda fountain, and once there I ran into a South Asian fellow who was windmilling his arms wildly like Bart and Lisa in the Simpsons hockey episode.

“Hey MAN!” he said. “How you doing? How you doing, man!”

With this he sort of scampered forward and windmilled again, striking me on my right forearm. I brushed him off, and said “Pretty good!” Then I filled the Gulp. Looking over my shoulder, I saw the windmiller walking up and down the store’s short aisles and Mike Love pacing the sidewalk outside.

I sort of hurried to pay for the drink. Once outside, I saw Mike Love walk to the edge of the street and scream – literally SCREAM – “IT WAS A SON! IT WAS A SON!”

Needless to say, I peeled the fuck out of there.

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How soon is now?
Many of my music nerd friends agree that the lack of a Smiths box set makes no sense. I figured you could fit their entire recorded output on four discs. Lo and behold, I did. Here is everything the band released in chronological order.

DISC ONE
1. Hand In Glove (single version)
2. Handsome Devil (live Manchester Hacienda 4/2/83)
3. Reel Around The Fountain (Peel session)
4. Handsome Devil (Peel session)
5. What Difference Does It Make? (Peel session)
6. These Things Take Time (David Jensen session)
7. You’ve Got Everything Now (David Jensen session)
8. Accept Yourself (David Jensen session)
9. Back To The Old House (Peel session)
10. This Night Has Opened My Eyes (Peel session)
11. This Charming Man (Peel session)
12. Still Ill (Peel session)
13. This Charming Man (single version)
14. Jeane (Troy Tate demo)
15. Accept Yourself
16. Wonderful Woman
17. This Charming Man (instrumental)
18. What Difference Does It Make?
19. Back To The Old House
20. These Things Take Time
21. Rusholme Ruffians (Peel session)
22. Nowhere Fast (Peel session)
23. Hand In Glove (with Sandie Shaw on vocals)
24. Jeane (with Sandie Shaw on vocals)
25. I Don’t Owe You Anything (Sandie Shaw on vocals)

DISC TWO
1. Reel Around The Fountain
2. You’ve Got Everything Now
3. Miserable Lie
4. Pretty Girls Make Graves
5. The Hand That Rocks The Cradle
6. Still Ill
7. Hand In Glove (remixed by John Porter)
8. What Difference Does It Make?
9. I Don’t Owe You Anything
10. Suffer Little Children
11. Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now
12. Girl Afraid
13. William, It Was Really Nothing
14. Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want
15. How Soon Is Now?
16. Oscillate Wildly
17. The Headmaster Ritual
18. Rusholme Ruffians
19. I Want The One I Can’t Have
20. What She Said
21. That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore
22. Nowhere Fast
23. Well I Wonder
24. Barbarism Begins At Home
25. Meat Is Murder

DISC THREE
1. Shakespeare’s Sister
2. What She Said
3. Stretch Out And Wait
4. Nowhere Fast (live Oxford 18/3/85)
5. Stretch Out And Wait (live Oxford 18/3/85)
6. Shakespeare’s Sister (live Oxford 18/3/85)
7. Meat Is Murder (live Oxford 18/3/85)
8. Miserable Lie (live Oxford 18/3/85)
9. What She Said (live Oxford 18/3/85)
10. Asleep
11. Rubber Ring
12. What’s The World? (live Glasgow 25/9/85)
13. Money Changes Everything
14. Unloveable
15. The Queen Is Dead/Take Me Back To Dear Old Blighty
16. Frankly, Mr. Shankly
17. I Know It’s Over
18. Never Had No One Ever
19. Cemetry Gates
20. Bigmouth Strikes Again
21. The Boy With The Thorn In His Side
22. Vicar In A Tutu
23. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
24. Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others
25. Panic
26. The Draize Train

DISC FOUR
1. Ask
2. Cemetry Gates
3. Golden Lights
4. You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet Baby
5. Shoplifters Of The World Unite
6. London
7. Half A Person
8. Sheila Take A Bow
9. Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others (live London 12/12/86)
10. Is It Really So Strange? (Peel session)
11. Sweet And Tender Hooligan (Peel session)
12. Work Is A Four Letter Word
13. I Keep Mine Hidden
14. A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours
15. I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish
16. Death Of A Disco Dancer
17. Girlfriend In A Coma
18. Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before
19. Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me
20. Unhappy Birthday
21. Paint A Vulgar Picture
22. Death At One’s Elbow
23. I Won’t Share You

If you excise the alternate versions, demos and live tracks, I think you could come up with a 3-disc set. If you dig up more demos for the first disc, make discs two thru four nothing but album tracks, b-sides and 12-inches, and compile all the live stuff on disc five, you could conceivably have a solid 5-disc set.

I’d take anything, honestly. The Smiths are possibly the worst-anthologized band of all time.

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Ohhhhhhhhh good.
Look who’s on the RNC’s schedule!

— Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) Sen. Santorum, who has served in the United States Senate since 1995, is now the third ranking Republican in the Senate and serves as Conference Chairman. Sen. Santorum is a leader in the fight to reform and improve America’s social welfare system and he has worked closely with President Bush on numerous aspects of his compassion agenda. Sen. Santorum currently serves as co-chair of the Bush-Cheney ’04 Pennsylvania Leadership Team.

— Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) In 1996, the people of Kansas elected Sam Brownback as their 32nd U.S. Senator, filling out the unexpired portion of Sen. Bob Dole’s term. In 1998, they re- elected Brownback to a second term. Brownback shares the president’s vision of growing the economy through tax relief, vigorously defending this country in the War on Terror, and building a culture of responsibility. Sen. Brownback currently serves as Co-Chair of the Bush-Cheney ’04 Kansas Leadership Team.

At least they’ve still got Arnold.

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Propaganda > CNN
Well, this is what I get for slacking off on posts. When I read Wonkette’s collection of Fox memos, I sort of liked how the network was focused on hard news and pressers and pooh-poohed celebrity interruptions. Matthew Yglesias just said the same thing, but better, and as a result I’m sure everyone will be talking about it.

I know why he feels this way – my hatred of celeb news mostly comes from watching the BBC in Britain. Now, obvious, we had celebrity scandals break out with regularity. But the only one I remember vividly was the Jill Dando murder, and murder of a TV presenter is a legitimately big deal. I got to watch election coverage, too, and even though Labour hired celebrities (Ginger Spice) for its commercials, the BBC reported on the parties’ manifestos and what they had actually done in office.

When I think of this and then remember this past Friday, when the possible sentencing of the other guy (the OTHER GUY!) in the Martha Stewart case occupied CNN’s airspace for at least an hour, I get misty-eyed.

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Blog therapy
Listening to a C-Span interview with Molly Ivins, because I’m an idiot, I heard a caller comment that’s been pissing me off consistently for a few days. The caller, reacting to some rude calls in to the show, and sounding for all the world like that hotel manager in the Schwarznegger prank call, said they sounded like “typical Republicans. Always angry about something, always barking.”

OK. Feeling better now.