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Tuesday, December 30, 2003

I'm working hard to finish my year-end list(s) before the actual end of the year so, assuming I get my ish together, look for them to be posted some time tomorrow but, in the meantime, hold yourself down with this stuff:

A good blog to peep: aeki tuesday.

Support the troops - indict Rumsfeld? Army Of One.

An actually very thoughtful column regarding "Thinking outside our ideological boxes" by Lorrie Goldstein from the normally very right-wing Toronto Sun here.

Iraqi Council Flexes Muscles: The U.S.-appointed body is increasingly defying the coalition and pushing its own vision of a free and self-governing Iraq. (Los Angeles Times)

And some stuff to do in NYC for New Years Eve:

EarCandyNYC's New Year's Celebration

@ Culture Club Loft
179 Varick Street (betw. King & Charlton Sts.) NYC

10pm -???
$30 in advance, slightly more at the door

music by:
DJ Marc Smooth
DJ Cosi
and guest starring DJ Reborn.
Spinning everything from Hip Hop,RnB,Reggae,House,Classics, to all the Hot new club bangers of today.

for info and tickets email :

RSVP@HUSTLEMODE.COM or call 212.623.5917. We can deliver to you

or just buy them online right now! remember to bring your receipt, and get ready to party!

in the event that you cannot do either, leave your name and it will be on the list for slightly more at the door!

At Midnight we will have a champagne toast along with party favors to help bring in the new years. We will have drink specials all night like, $5 apple martinis and domestic beers. Dressing up is your option however we will not have dress code for the night, we want to make it real easy on everyone to come to have fun and dance! The theme of the night is to spread love and have fun with all of the beautiful people spreading mad love in the room. Many New Yorkers don't have family here and always wonder what to do, the other half have family in town and dont want to leave home because cover charges and drink prices seem to go through the roof. This is defintely the party that wont break you.


New Year's Eve Party at Sol

"Sol Restaurant and Bar" invites you to celebrate New Year's Eve with us ...

- Special "New Year's Eve" Prix Fixe Menu
Dinner Service begins at 6PM

- Music by DJ Pudgemcee
- Champagne Service Available
- $5 Drink Specials

***** No Cover Charge *****

Sol Restaurant and Bar
229 DeKalb Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

Email Us for RSVP:


New Year's Eve Party for Brooklyn folks

What the deal, y'all. My peeps are throwing this joint right around the way on Wednesday, December 31st. Why go to Manhattan when there is this bomb-ass party right in the BK? Great music, drinks, good people, the whole nine. Please spread da word! Details follow below:

Skilz, Inc. will be hosting

TIME: 11:00 PM until ?

PLACE: 450 Dean Street, Brooklyn, New York (between Flatbush Ave. and Fifth Ave.)
(take the 2 or 3 to Bergen Street, or right near Atlantic Center Terminal with mad trains)

COST: $25.00 at the door


For more information, call (718) 638-4340


After Life Presents

Moments of Soul

Album Cover Photo Shoot Party
New Year's Eve, Midnight to Noon

Kalim Shabazz, Kim Lightfoot & Nick Jones

28 Warren Street, 5th Floor
between Church & Broadway
A, C, E, 2, 3, 9 to Chambers St.
4, 5, 6 to City Hall Brooklyn Bridge
N or R to City Hall


Of course, you could just stay in, get a good night's sleep and be rested and ready to watch the final decision as to who will be the World Idol on New Years Day. BTW: doesn't the Canadian Idol winner Ryan Malcolm look suspiciously like the Verizon "Can you hear me now" dude?

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F-A-B? 5, 4, 3, 2, 1: is the new Thunderbirds film a go? 

OK, I'm now back in BK after a great and very chill break with the family in Toronto but a special "F-ck you" has to go out to US Customs for confiscating a small supply of my Mom's Guyanese-style beef patties and 1 box of frozen Licks' burgers I wanted to bring back to have a little taste of the here in Brooklyn.

Related reading:
Slaughterhouse Politics: Ranchers Fought Rules That Might Have Prevented Mad Cow. (Village Voice)

Images courtesy:

They're making a live action version of Gerry Anderson's cult "Supermarionation" (read: puppet) show from the 60's Thunderbirds with Bill Paxton playing International Rescue leader and Tracy family patriarch, Jeff Tracy? This is not an encouraging first sign for the revival of one of my favorite TV shows as a shorty.

Verging-on-cheap-looking CGI effects, typos in the copy and the use of Blur's "Song 2" and Thin Lizzy in the music beds of the trailers available online so far also doesn't bode well. But with a stated intention by the film producers of targeting the film at the Spy Kids audience (which is probably not that different than the audience the original TV show was intended for), I guess this should come as no surprise.

While I'm probably one of the few people outside of the UK who knew of the original Italian Job starring Michael Caine and actually thinks the new one was as good, if not better, Hollywood's track record overall at remaking cult films and TV shows from the 60's like Get Carter, The Avengers and I-Spy has not been good to date. Obviously they had to update some elements from the show like those (ahem) "swinging" IR uniforms but I have a feeling that I'm going to be disappointed when this movie is finally released. Oh well, there's always Stingray, Joe 90 and Captain Scarlet to remake if they f-ck this one up.

Related reading:
Thunderbirds Trashed: Series creator condemns movie adaptation. (Empire Online)
More Thunderbirds links here.

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Monday, December 29, 2003

Canadian black theater produces a classic? 

Image courtesy:

I'm still here in the so I'm gonna keep posting about stuff happening here until I leave tomorrow.

Highly recommended for anyone living here is the new Djanet Sears play The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God which I saw this past Saturday courtesy of my Mom.

I walked in expecting one of those cheesy travelling gospel plays starring washed-up R&B singers that they stage at the Beacon Theater in New York. Instead, The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God is actually an amazing piece of theater combining drama, music, song and choreography in a really refreshing way while exploring themes of faith versus rationality, science versus religion and racial identity politics in a small Western Ontario town.

The play almost takes on too much story-wise with its focus on the relationships of central character Rainey Johnson with her estranged pastor husband and dying father but, with a tight script that deftly combines comedy and drama and an amazing performance by Karen Robinson as Rainey, Sears pulls off what could have easily become pedagogic morality play.

Image courtesy:

Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God also manages to cover many issues relating to what it means to be black in modern-day Canada while subtly exposing the oft-overlooked black contribution to major events in Canadian history like the War of 1812.

Hopefully, the bankrolling of this play by the premier theatrical producers in Canada, the Mirvish Brothers, is a bright sign for the future of more black-themed and created plays in mainstream Canadian theater. Someone needs to bring this play to the US. as well because the themes would be just as relevant there. For more details, click here.

Also, don't forget to check out my man Carlos Watson (from MSNBC show The Edge with Carlos Watson) on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360° today reviewing the year in politics and tomorrow previewing the upcoming year at the following times:

Monday (12/29) @ 7 pm EST/4 pm PST
Tuesday (12/30) @ 7 pm EST/4 pm PST

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More Best of 2003 action, hip hop continues to go global and is The Return of the King racist? 

Image courtesy: MTV News

The Year In Review - 2003 according to Canada's Exclaim! magazine. (Exclaim!)

Eric from StinkZone's Hip Hop Charts 2003.

Jon Pareles's Albums and Songs of the Year (New York Times).

David from Sleep Not Work's Best Albums of 2003.

And as he did last year, Skillz sums up the whole year in a single track on his "03 Rap Up" (Via

I'm a little behind on this as I just saw the movie last night, but other hip-hop bloggers have been talking about the possibly racist or racial subtext to LOTR3 (here and on Dec 24th here).

While I still stand by my initial comments below that the movie is fantastic (save the unecessary multiple endings), I did notice that the dress and imaging of Sauron's enemy army of Orcs suggested Arabic references or influence. Is that a wishful interpretation on my part fueled by orange alert, holiday attack hysteria or was this a deliberate creative choice made by Peter Jackson and his art direction team? And, if it was the latter, why?

Here's a related commentary from one of the only five negative reviews ("Full circle: 'Return of the King' partly entertains") for LOTR3 I could find via by Stephen Witty:
For audiences coming right from a replay of "The Two Towers" DVD this may be just fine, but other moviegoers can expect to be a little perplexed... Why exactly is everyone fighting so hard to preserve a land of hereditary rulers and cranky old guys in dresses?

If the answer isn't immediately clear, it may be because you don't share Tolkien's reverence for the ruling class and implicit belief in the superiority of Northern Europe. Always lurking on the page, it becomes more explicit in this installment, where you can't help but notice the abundance of blue-eyed, fair-skinned heroes fighting off hordes of swarthy brutes.

That's not necessarily an offensive choice in and of itself, or even inappropriate. Tolkien's Middle Earth was always a stand-in for an ancient, homogeneous, pre-Norman England; its whiteness can be a little startling but it's still preferable to those Hollywood movies that, trying to make the Middle Ages relevant, would drag in Sidney Poitier or Morgan Freeman as "the Moor."

But Jackson's movie doesn't ignore other races, or patronize them. It casts them as villains. Why is it, otherwise, that our heroes' latest enemies are said, ominously, to come "from the South," and enter riding elephants and wearing burnooses? Why, then, would Aragorn gives a rousing speech before the climactic battle, telling his troops that they fight for "the West" and all they hold dear? (The Star-Ledger)
Moving on from LOTR but sticking with movies, does nothing remain underground? Coming soon: Mixtape, Inc.: The Movie (MTV News).

Certainly not hip hop according to the article "Yo, advertisers, listen up." Hip-hop puts the beat into today's ads. Urban sound even promotes diapers. (Toronto Star)

Hip Hop music and culture continue to go global:

Japan grows its own hip-hop (BBC News)

Israeli hip-hop singer touches nationalist chord (AP via The News & Observer)

Another quality blog worth peeping: Kitty Power: blog.

And finally, Ta-Nehisi Coates on the story behind the demise of Black magazine empire Vanguarde Media in "They Had a Dream." (Village Voice)

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Gollum W. Bush, Republicans Target Black Radio and another take on the unemployment numbers 

Just caught Lord of the Rings 3: The Return of the King this weekend which, besides the final 10-15 minutes of plot wrap-up's that I thought were extraneous, was pretty much fantastic and possibly the best chapter in the trilogy. Makes this flash movie seem even more appropos (The Lord of the Right Wing)

Related reading:
Bands Against Bush.
Mouths Wide Open is an ad hoc group of friends committed to fostering dialogue about the current administration's policies, creating and disseminating materials that help spread the message of alternative thought, and to encouraging others to join together in a similar spirit.

Will this work? Republicans Target Black Radio: In an effort to break the Democratic Party's grip on the black vote, several leading black Republicans have accepted an offer from one of the nation's largest urban radio networks to deliver a weekly address targeting African Americans. (EURWeb)

And on the other hand...

Mutating Airwaves: Had enough of Rush? Stay tuned for Al Franken & Co. (Miami New Times)

And here's an interesting take by Russell de Pina on the recent unemployment stats in "TECHNOLOGY BREAKDOWN: Numbers Don't Lie - Or Do They?" (EURWeb)

And finally, this seems like a worthwhile organization to support: Share the Technology.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Lenny gets pardoned, the Pope goes wireless and how to sit on Ostrich skin 24's 

Start scouring Kazaa, Soulseek, Earthstation 5 or whatever P2P program you f-cks with: secret recordings of three unfinished songs from Eminem's next album briefly ended up for sale on ebay. (Ananova)
Related reading: Judge OKs The Source using excerpts of Eminem song. (Billboard)

Can't wait for it? Pirated copies of Microsoft's new Longhorn operating system are already available for sale in Asia. (

Image courtesy: BBC World News

Papal message goes mobile: Cell phone users in the UK can now sign up to receive a thought of the day from the Pope. Looks like the Pope is using more advanced marketing techniques than most record labels! (BBC World News)

Image courtesy: BBC World News

Pour out a little liquor in respect: Lenny Bruce has been granted a posthumous pardon by the state of New York 40 years after he was convicted on obscenity charges. (Reuters UK)

Image courtesy: Asanti Forged Wheels

For ballers with no taste: The Asanti AF 111 3-piece wheel in 20", 22" and 24" models with Ostrich skin...

Image courtesy:

To a pro baller with taste: details on "Something All Our Own," a country-wide tour of NBA star Grant Hill and his wife, R&B singer Tamia's collection of African-American art here.

Even more Best of 2003 action:
The 5th Annual Village Voice Take 5 Critics' Film Poll.

Who Needs Box Sets? Robert Christgau's guide to the very best of the year's best-ofs CD's for your economical holiday-gift-giving convenience. (Village Voice)

And finally, not to be a Grinch but is this the definitive word from God on the decorating of trees for Xmas? (Jeremiah 10:1-5 from the New International Version of the Bible)

Happy holidays to everyone who's taken the time to read Different Kitchen this year and thanks to all my fellow bloggers and writers who I've cited, ripped off or otherwise been insipired or educated by. I look forward to continuing giving you best ish I can find or think up in music, news, pop culture, humor and whatever else grabs me in this blog as long as I have time to do it justice.

I always like getting feedback so drop a comment or email about items I've posted, what you think of music I'm raving about or whether you think my politics are wack or whatever.

Anyway, unless some really good stuff pops off and I have time to write about it, my plan is that the only other posts between now and the New Year will be my long-threatened Year-End lists. However, blogging is like taking heroin so the smart money is on expecting me to disregard that sentiment and post new stuff soon.

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Real talk on Iraq and Anybody But Bush Again... 

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US Saddam claims being challenged: Claims that US troops captured Saddam Hussein have been challenged by reports that he was discovered only after Kurdish forces had taken him prisoner. (The Age Australia)

Rumsfeld backed Saddam even after chemical attacks: Fresh controversy about Donald Rumsfeld's personal dealings with Saddam Hussein was provoked yesterday by new documents, formerly secret, revealing that the Defence Secretary travelled to Baghdad 20 years ago to show America's support for the regime and assure Iraq that America's condemnation of its use of chemical weapons was made "strictly" in principle. (The Independent UK)

I guess this is good news: More Iraqis are giving the U.S. information since Saddam's capture according to Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a briefing to reporters at the Pentagon today. (The Boston Globe)

Anybody but Bush again! Join The A.B.B.A. Party: We don't care who wins, just as long as it isn't George W. again.
Related reading: One Thousand Reasons--Relentlessly Documenting the Failures of the Bush Administration.

But if you need a good last minute Xmas gift idea: consider Top Gun: the George W. Bush Action Figure (via
Other GW gift ideas here.

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The Myth of the Patriot Missile Defense System exposed and run, Ralph, run? 

Image courtesy: Fox News

How you never get the full story living in the US: big-up to my Dad for putting me up on the Canadian TV program "The Can't-Miss Missile" produced by Tamar Weinstein and the CBC Newsworld show The Fifth Estate.

"The Can't-Miss Missile" explores the myth behind the Raytheon-produced Patriot Anti-Missile Defense system's alleged, and much-celebrated by the US military, 100% success rate destroying Iraqi Scud missiles during the '91 Gulf War.

Including interviews with Patriot Missile analyst and Carnegie Non-Proliferation Project Director Joseph Cirincione and MIT missile expert Theodore Postol, the show exposes how the Pentagon overhyped the effectiveness of the Patriot System leading to the death and injury of over 100 American soldiers (as well as many other Isareli and other civillians in separate attacks) during the Gulf War.

Lack of acknowledegement of potential flaws in the missile system or of any real work done to correct or improve them also likely led to the "friendly fire" deaths of two UK Coalition Force jet pilots (Fox News) and a US F16 jet fighter (Guardian UK) in this year's Iraq War as well as forcing another US F16 jet fighter to take out a patriot installation before it shot him down (Fox News).

This program is a must-view for anyone who believes the current administration has mismanaged the Iraq War and that their hubris and arrogance has not only not made the US safer, but needlessly put young American soldiers in harm's way by using unproven, untested weapons systems that cannot do what the military and the manufacturer claims they can.

For more details on how to obatain a copy of "The Can't-Miss Missile" for viewing, contact:

CBC/Fifth Estate
Box 500
Station "A"
Toronto, Ontario
M5W 1E6

Tel: 416.205.6663

Related reading: Joe's Missile Defense Reader (

Who's Keeping Saddam's Secret Safe?: Rory O'Connor's piece on how most Americans don't know the hidden history of Saddam's relations with America, because it has been kept from them by administrations of both parties and their cronies in the press. (

The flipside to the so-called "Liberal Media": the conservative U.S. media attacks an Edmonton, Canada website for supporting presidential democratic candidate Wesley Clark. (Globe & Mail)

Professor Rosen, the Beton Michael Kaneb Professor of National Security and Military Affairs at Harvard University, asks whether the United States is "A New American Empire." Can, and should, the U.S. use its military predominance to regulate interstate relations and create minimally acceptable domestic governments within other countries? What are the alternatives to this approach, and how might U.S. interventionist policies affect educational institutions? (Harvard @ Home Subscription may be required.)

Run, Ralph, run? Not if I had anything to do with it. Ralph Nader's exploratory team are conducting an online survey on whether he should run for president again in 2004.

I happen to believe Nader's campaign in 2000 is a large part of the reason why Gore lost that election. (Others disagree:, Green Party, and City of Almeda Greens) However, this time around I think it's even more important that Nader stay out of this race and give the Dems. the best shot possible at unseating Bush by avoiding splitting the left-of-center, progressive vote.

I strongly urge those who care (and that should be everyone) to register your opinion here asking Nader to stay out.

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For my Party Peoples 


This Friday at 56 Kensington Av
Selectors Choice, A Boxing Day Special.

Nicing up the vibes with classic reggae and ska music.

By Selectors are Chuck Boom (Rub-a-Dub Sound),
Jeremiah (superheavyREGGAE),
Kevin Laverty (Turning Point events)
and Dave Long (CHRY 105.5)

Admission is $5...FREE before 10.30pm

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10 TV Ads America won't see, the New Media legal wars continue, Jay-Z's "Black Phone" and "Mini" ipod's are coming 

10 TV Ads America Won't See: Mr. Kipling's Virgin Birth and Other Not-for-the-USA Fare. (

Image courtesy: New York Times

This is disappointing to hear as a big fan of the show: Three Stars of 'Seinfeld' Boycott a DVD Deal. (New York Times)

Mini iPods are coming: Rumors are rampant that Apple CEO Steve Jobs will focus on the release of new low-end, 'mini iPods' during the keynote address at the upcoming Macworld Expo on January 6 in San Francisco, Calif. (ThinkSecret via Mishpucha)

Sanity prevails? Federal Appeals Court Rejects RIAA Subpoenas. (Washington Post)

"DVD Jon" wins again: An appeals court has cleared a Norwegian man of DVD piracy charges. (BBC News World Edition)

Image courtesy: MTV News via Nokia

The Jay-Z march towards world domination continues: while waiting to become a NBA team owner, Jay-Z continues to break ground as the first artist to partner with the wireless industry for his new signature "Black Phone." (SOHH)

More Best of 2003 action courtesy of Pitchfork.

Eminem's old words aren't hip-hop's biggest problem: Renee Graham explores the agenda behind The Source's ongoing feud with Slim Shady in her "Life in the Pop Lane" column. (Boston Globe)

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OK, now swallow.... 

Image courtesy:

Here's a little tasty flavor from the Kelis album for those who haven't heard what's gotten me so excited:

1. "In Public" feat Nas
2. "Trick Me"
3. "Millionaire" feat Andre 3000 of Outkast
4. "Flashback"

For more, check out the official Kelis website here.

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The College Dropout hype examined and the $30,000 Nike Dunks 

Image courtesy:

Kev Brown's The Brown Album is now on sale at HipHopSite.Com.

$30K for a pair of Nike Dunks? This has got to be a fake ebay listing.

A well-written review by U.M. Fizzstar of the Kanye West College Dropout album that seems to pierce some of the hyperbole surrounding this release with some real talk. (

Image courtesy: PNB Nation Japan

The De La Soul Action Figures by PNB Nation are a go but unfortunately, unlike the Beastie Boys figures from a few years back, they look kind of wack to me (PNB Nation Japan).
Related reading: an interview with Beastie Boys action figure creator Nigo here.

Vibe bites a page out of the XXL playbook in their current (Jan. 2004) issue on stands now with their "Behind the Music" revelations from various Jay-Z production collaborators about the making of his albums (p. 82). Most interesting: that Hov, legendary for his one-take, no punch-in vocal recording sessions, cut the entire vocal for "Heart of the City" from The Blueprint in less time that it took for R Kelly's "Fiesta (remix)" video to air start and finish on the TV playing in the studio.

Image courtesy: All Music Guide

Nick Holder's "No More Dating DJs", featuring spoken word artist, MC and radio show host Jemeni, from his album The Other Side is the truth: the realest song about the relationship between a woman and a hip hop artist (be it DJ, MC or producer) you will ever hear. Recommended if you like the Philly spoken-word vibe of Jill Scott or Ursula Rucker.

Image courtesy: Moving Units website

Underrated West-Coast disco-punkers Moving Units have a new mp3 you can download from their website called "Unpersuaded." More of a funk sound on this one than on their debut EP (shown above).

Image courtesy: Drowned in Sound

New UK act Bloc Party receiving lot of hype in 'zines like The Face as the next post-punk hopes. Are they worthy of it? Judge for yourself whether Interpol need to start getting nervous by clicking here to hear some mp3 samples.
Related reading: at Drowned in Sound here and here.

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Monday, December 22, 2003

Now diplomacy works?! 

The Center for American Progress on the Libya situation:
The decision by Libyan dictator Moammar Ghadafi to permit UN weapons inspectors into his country validated the argument that the United States can achieve its strategic international goals using tools other than military force – namely, diplomatic, political and economic pressure. According to the LA Times, "Libya was virtually isolated from the world" because of UN economic sanctions since it orchestrated the Pan Am 103 bombing. Desperate to re-enter the international community, the North African country has been trying for at least 10 years to have those sanctions lifted. And while the developments are certainly positive, they beg a number of questions.

WHY LIBYA AND NOT IRAQ?: President Bush has repeatedly told Americans that Saddam Hussein could not be trusted to live up to statements that he would disarm and allow UN inspectors into Iraq (which he did before the war). Yet, the Administration is now telling Americans that we can trust Ghadafi – a man with a similar record of repression, aggression, and disdain for international law, not to mention the fact that while Saddam never attacked the U.S., Ghadafi masterminded the killing of 270 people aboard Pan Am 103. On Friday, two days shy of the 15th anniversary of the airliner bombing, Bush thanked Ghadafi for "his commitment to disclose and dismantle all WMD in his country" – yet failed to explain the disparity between the policy towards Saddam and the Libyan leader.

WHY NOT NORTH KOREA?: Just this weekend, Vice President Dick Cheney exacerbated the North Korean situation, blustering, "I have been charged by the president with making sure that none of the tyrannies in the world are negotiated with. We don't negotiate with evil; we defeat it.'' His comments came at the same time the Administration was using quiet diplomacy and negotiation with the Libyan dictator, begging the question: why the disparity in policies towards the two nations?
Full report here.

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Debating the new hip hop classics 

Image courtesy:

The Streets does a collabo with Coldplay? ( What's next: Dizzee Rascal with Starsailor, Ms. Dynamite with The Stereophonics? WTF?

Read Sasha Frere-Jones' Best of 2003 here. (S/FJ)

Check out's Best of 2003 here. ( Of course, I'm in full agreement with their endorsement of the Kelis album.

And XLR8R do their Best of 2003 round-up in the current issue on stands now which made me realize that no matter how cool you are in your circle of friends, there's always somebody cooler somewhere else. Sample comments from the XLR8R "Mind Squad" in the "The Worst Style Trend" section re: Nike Dunks:
"The were wack when they first came out and they are even weaker on the feet of every 35 year old wannabe-17 year old old ad exec..."
Ouch! That one hit a little too close to home.

And from the "Worst Music Trend" section: "Return to the Golden Age" of hip-hop: "if we want to bring it back the "golden age," shouldn't we do some fresh shit instead of trying to make The Low End Theory over and over again?" I think my man Max Roc agrees with that one.

Image courtesy:

I'll admit to not being a king-fu movie expert and being more into the Hollywood art-flicks like Kill Bill, Crouching Tiger and The Matrix etc. that have bitten the aesthetic of the Hong Kong originals, but this flick Princess Blade (out on DVD now, how did I miss it's theatrical run?) looks like it might be hot.

Based on what I've read, seen and heard, House of Sand of Fog looks like it might be pretty good as well and, of course, I've still gotta catch Lord of the Rings 3. I've been more on the Netflix tip and haven't gone to see many movies in theaters recently but I still want to catch Mystic River which has been out for a while too.

Images courtesy: All Music Guide

It was interesting talking with some young hip hop journalists and artists at a party I was at a couple nights ago as they discussed their favorite albums and what they felt were the all-time classic albums in hip hop. Besides some obvious picks, here were some highlights from the conversation that I remember:

They liked The Chronic but not Doggystyle. Not sure how that works although I remember many being disappointed with Snoop's solo debut album after expectations went sky-high after his incredible work on Dre's classic. Go back now and acknowledge the brilliance of Doggystyle 'cos he's never equalled his work there on any of his subsequent solo albums.

Genius/GZA Liquid Swords. Can't argue with this one personally. This is one of those albums that gets overlooked when cats go on about how the solo albums by the Wu were never at good as 36 Chambers. But relistening to the first albums by Ghost, Rae, Meth & ODB and you realize, with the benefit of time, how good they actually were especially in relation to where hip hop has gone since that mid-90's era and even in comparison to other albums that came out during that time period. Gravediggaz's 6 Feet Deep also got rated. Don't know what it is about that album, but people still check for it today. I never disliked it but I was never that into it at the time. I think the "Horrocore" tag critics and fans put on it kind of killed it for me.

Dr. Octagon's Dr. Octagonecologyst was a classic to these guys too. That album is definitely one of the first of the mid-late 90's releases heralding the birth of the new hip hop underground which is when I kind of stopped listening to much of what came out of that scene.

Ditto for Company Flow's Funcrusher Plus which also made their classics list.

These guys had never heard Diamond's Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop. Given the early-mid 90's, underground slant of most of the albums they had mentioned, I had to school 'em on that one.

Finally, no-one mentioned Rakim (WTF?) although EPMD and BDP/KRS-One both got a nod.

Image courtesy: Eastbay

The magazine ads say 12/23 but you can cop the G-Unit G6 Black Edition sneakers in stores right now since they dropped at least a week ago now.

And finally, watch 50 Cent and Jay-Z "Back 2 Back" courtesy Reebok's RBK. This ad is more hip hop than most of the videos you'll see on MTV and BET including the ones done by both of these artists.

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Sunday, December 21, 2003

Who is the Velvet Underground of soul music? 

Images courtesy:

While I was chillin' at the Unity is Strength dub reggae party (the third Friday of every month at HOLY JOE'S, 651 Queen W. for those who want to know) in the the other night, I got on the topic of Donny Hathaway with my homegirl Anousheh and made the analogy that he was the Velvet Underground of soul music.

It's often been said of VU that few heard their music but those who did went on to form their own bands. Like this proto art-punk 60's New York act, Hathaway is grossly underappreciated in the mainstream. People frequently name-check Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder as icons of soul music, but Hathaway is often left out even though he's considered hugely influential in his genre by critics and afficianados and an inspiration to many who heard him and went on to become artists themselves.

Are you a music nerd? Take the quiz here and find out.

Damn, these Hollertonix dudes are everywhere now. Looks like they'll be spinning here in Toronto on New Years Eve but I'll be out of here by then. Looks like I just missed my peoples De La Soul by one day too.

Local T.O. alt. news and entertainment weekly Eye savaged the Musiq album with a 1 1/2 star review, unfairly in my opinion. Granted, dude is no D'Angelo but Soulstar is a surprisingly strong listen to my ears. They did love the Kelis album though which, surprisingly, is getting only middling to good feedback from critics and listeners from what I've read so far. To me, Tasty is one of the albums of the year and I'm madder than a muh'f--ker that I left my copy of the CD in NYC at my girlfriend's apartment and can't listen to it. Luckily I'll see her in a couple of days for the holidays and she can bring it with her although I like it enough that I've been considering buying a second copy so I can hear it right now.

Eye's counterpart Now crushes Raekwon's The Lex Diamond Story with a 1 star review. Haven't heard the whole album yet but, based on the stuff I've heard on mixtapes, this seems way off the mark.

Is it me or are magazines like King, Complex and YRB doing a better job at covering urban culture and urban music than "music-focused " books like The Source and Vibe? Also, I've long bought import "style" 'zines like The Face, Trace, Dazed and Confused etc. because they did a better job of covering the newest freshest ish internationally and in the US, especially if you're into stuff on a slightly more progressive or alternative tip. But, with the rise of the aforementioned titles and others like Fader and XLR8R, it's getting to the point where spending $10-11 on import mags to get up on the cool underground stuff is becoming almost irrelevant.

Watch this blog to crib some of the best stuff from this month's issues like King's hilarious "30 Greatest Hustlers of All Time" (#1 on the list? The "Playa President" Bill Clinton.)

Finally, another blog alert: check out Kizhett for coverage and commentary on music, TV, movies sports and more.

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Saturday, December 20, 2003

More music and music news... 

Current (I think) mixtape heat:

DJ Big Mike Big Mike Retires?
This kid's been on the scene for like a year, maybe two, and he's already talkin' about retiring, WTF? He puts out some hot-ass tapes though. Highlights: Kanye West & Lauryn Hill's "All Comes Down", Kay Slay feat. Cassidy, Lil Flip & Graph "Pay Up" flippin the beat from De La Soul's "Buddy (remix)", the Beyonce "Me Myself and I" remix feat. (Pretty) Tony Starks plus it's got that "Planet of the Apes" joint from Raekwon's album.

DJ Storm Season's Beatings
I don't really know anything about this dude and this is the first tape I've ever copped from him but it got some heaters on it: Ghostface's "Tony Gets His Dough", two tracks from Jo Jo Pellegrino, one of the best white MC's out that nobody ever talks about, including the "Illmatic freestyle" featuring him rockin' over an old instrumental from the Wildstyle soundtrack, "King of Kings" by Raekwon and Havoc, "Certfied Gangstas (remix)" by Jim Jones feat. Lil Flip, The Game spittin' over the old NWA/Eazy-E track "Boyz in the Hood", an incredible track called "Never Let You Down" featuring Kanye West, Jay-Z and Saul Wiliams and the new "Blow it Out Ya Ass" Luda /50 remix jumpoff (which is also on the Big Mike tape).

DJ Trigga & DJ Kool Kid The Phenom
Kool Kid is one of the unheralded new young guns of the mixtape game who's been putting out some good tapes for a while. Highlights include: Cam'ron's "Hey Lady" (the Maurice Starr-era N.E. vibe finally resurfaces!), "Down South" by Big Tymers w/ Luda and Lil Wayne sounding like a joint that could have been from the first Outkast album (seriously!), Joe Buddens' "Pop Off (remix)", Raekwon with Meth and "Gypsy Cab" Cappadonna on "Ice Cream 2004" (which is much better than what I would've predicted), an Ali Vegas freestyle (did this kid miss his window to blow?) and Red Cafe (another one of my picks-to-click in 2004 if he can come with the right record). Also features "Planet of the Apes" (mistitled "Thug Niggaz").

New singles & tracks:

The Rapture "Sister Savior (DFA Vocal Mix)" (mp3 link courtesy of Fluxblog is temporary so may go dead after a while, email me if it does) Not sure if this mix is on the single as I still haven't been able to buy a copy on 12" yet.

LCD Soundsystem "Yeah" (also via Fluxblog but been hearing this on XFM online too)

Yup, I'm still riding DFA's nutsac but, at least , with some justification 'cos these tracks are ridiculous.

Defari on the state of underground hip hop:
"Yeah because I'm out here trying to get shows and a lot of these dudes are taking my money you understand? It's like a lot of these cats are taking my money. The Ugly Ducklings, Atmosphere, Aesop Rock, and all this shit that I ain't even heard of. I guess it's a lot of these young kids that always be on the computer that are into these MC's and these groups that kinda represent and look like them. When I hear these niggaz music I be like "damn that's horrible man." This shit is straight garbage."
I'm not even gonna lie: not being a fan of a lot of the so-called current underground hip hop , I think Defari has a point although he comes across as a hater and real bitter in this interview. I don't even know what you call it when you're hating on artists who sell as little as some of these cats do but being a Madd Rapper against these kind of artists is not a good look for this one-time Liks Crew member. Full interview here ( via

A prefect mix of the commerical and the conscious? Mississippi's David Banner is launching a line of throwback Jersey's that will honor the murder of Emmitt Till, a teenager who was murdered in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman. (

Hip Hop has been verging on being out of control the past couple of years with all the beefs jumpin' off. Is the time right for this?

And finally, not one but two new albums are expected in 2004 from Native Tongues pioneers De La Soul. (Rap News Direct via Where HipHop and Libertarianism Meet) While you're waiting for those to hit stores though, hold yourself down with new music on the official mixtapes from their Spitkickers crew.

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Thursday, December 18, 2003

Paris vs. George , The Source vs. Eminem and Jacko X? 

Here's something I would have never called: Michael Jackson last night became a member of the Nation of Islam. (New York Post)

The latest in The Source vs. Eminem saga: Court blocks magazine from distributing Eminem recording. (Newsday)

This pretty much makes sense to me: Paris Hilton Bigger TV Draw Than Bush. The Simple Life probably contains more reality than any media appearance by Bush anyway. (New York Post)

And Diddy really can do it all (other than rap, that is): First Diddy ran the city, now the Bad Boy will run over to Broadway where he will star in a revival of the Lorraine Hansberry play "A Raisin in the Sun." (

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Uncommon common sense on the Saddam Capture story 

Saddam Finally Captured: Democratic Primaries Rendered Pointless. Another blogger's take on the Saddam capture story including some hilarious predictions at, the blog featuring "uncommon common sense."

Related reading:
Poll: Saddam's capture boosts Bush's ratings. It was to be expected but it's disappointing to see how quickly and by how much the public's approval and disapproval of this war is swayed by individual events, even one as high profile as Saddam's capture, something that you had to assume was eventually likely to happen:
Among poll respondents interviewed Monday and Tuesday, 63 percent said they approved of Bush's job performance, while 34 percent disapproved. The approval rating is Bush's highest since June and is a significant gain over his rating of 50 percent a month ago.

By contrast, in a poll done Thursday to Saturday, before news of the capture broke, Bush's approval was 54 percent, with 43 percent expressing disapproval.

The poll also showed that Americans are increasingly supportive of, and optimistic about, the U.S. effort in Iraq.

About six out of 10 respondents said it was worth going to war. A majority also think Bush has a clear plan for Iraq and that the war has made the United States safer from terrorism. (
And following on from the recent Iraqi army desertion problems comes this: "Desertions deplete Afghan Army: At the current pace, it will take until 2010 for the force to reach full strength - prolonging US Army stay." (

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Wednesday, December 17, 2003

More Xmas Gift Buying Advice for Parents 

Image courtesy:

There is no hope for the music industry. (What a Crappy Present via Mishpucha)

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What's your DJ name? 

In the grand tradition of the Wu Name Generator, the Bond Girl name generator, The Emo Band Name Generator, the Hobbitt name generator, What Brand Are You? and even the Blog Name Generator comes: What is your DJ name? Find out here. Mine (DJ Slim Belly) might be better than the one I actually use. (via Coolfer)

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Why no-one goes to see Gwyneth Paltrow or Colin Farrell movies... 

Image courtesy:

"Until recently box-office clout and tabloid fame were one and the same, but not anymore" Sean Smith on media stars versus movie stars (Newsweek).

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Meanwhile back on the (Crawford, Texas) ranch... 

Well, at least you can say Bush has finally gotten things under control on the domestic front, right? The economy's roaring back, productivity is up, the Dow hit 10,000 (albeit briefly) last week, the unemployment rate looks likes it's peaked and job growth can't be far behind. Or is it?

The Index of Missing Economic Indicators: The Productivity Paradox by Stephen Roach, Chief Economist for Morgan Stanley examines why current methods of measuring productivity may be inaccurate and misleading (New York Times).

And in the related article "The Unemployment Myth," University of Chicago Business School economics professor Austan Goolsbee discusses why there may be more Americans out of work than current measures suggest (New York Times).

Related reading:
Robert J. Samuelson on "Penny Diplomacy": Americans thought rising prosperity would unite the rest of the world behind their ideals, but it has not worked out that way. (Newsweek)

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Saddam's captured: but what does it mean? 

Image courtesy: New York Post

Halfway though writing this post, news broke that Coalition Forces in Iraq had finally located and captured former Iraqi head of state, Saddam Hussein. Does it affect what I was going to say? Not really. In fact, here in New York the capture story got pretty healthy competition from the snowstorm that hit us for top billing in the news on the TV stations I was watching Sunday.

Here's something else to consider courtesy of Al Shaprton, interviewed on NY1 last night: Sharpton made the very eloquent point that, after all the hype about Iraq allegedly harboring and developing weapons of mass destruction which spurred the US public to get behind Bush's call for war, it was ironic that, in the end, Hussein was captured in a tiny "spider hole" in possession of one pistol which he refrained from even using. So much for that imminent threat to US National Security!

Consider these comments from Bush's November 27th 2003 speech to the National Endowment for Democracy:
"Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe - because in the long run stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty.

"The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution." (
Then look at conservative national security analyst Peter Brookes' take on this Bush Iraqi foreign policy strategy:
"The president boldly proposed a "forward strategy of freedom" for the Middle East: A new U.S. policy of persistent, pushy pluralism that would become the Middle East's agent of change and a harbinger of peace and prosperity for the region's people.

This great endeavor has started in Iraq, but it should not - must not - end there. Our security, and that of the free world, depends upon it.

"If we succeed in transforming the cradle of civilization, a tidal wave of freedom will wash over the Middle East." (The Heritage Foundation)
So, how is the "persistent, pushy pluralism" of the Iraq War that deposed Hussein doing at becoming that "agent of change" in Middle East so far?
As Iranian Elections Approach, Voters Lose Faith in the Reformers (New York Times).
Uh oh, looks we're going backwards here already. Could another invasion be on the books if Iran's reformers lose ground to hardliners because of low-voter turnout? I thought Iraqi regime change was supposed to encourage the spread of democracy throughout the Middle East, not its regression?

Of course, this article preceeded the news of Hussein's capture but, focusing back on Iraq, if that doesn't quell the volume of attacks by insurgents, I'm not sure what will. So far, it doesn't look like it has (Voice of America). To be fair though, maybe this policy just needs more time to take hold. I'm sure that what's happened in Iraq so far was all taken into account in the scenario-planning done by the Bush administration for Post-War, right? Right?...
Iraqi Leaders Say U.S. Was Warned of Disorder After Hussein, but Little Was Done (New York Times).
OK, maybe not.

Unfortunately, I would imagine that stories like this ( and this (Globe and Mail) haven't exactly helped and neither would an event like this (Reuters UK) although, credit due, the US is looking into ways to rectify that first issue already (New York Times).

Now, if only Bush would be more concilliatory about internationalizing the post-war reconstruction of Iraq even as France and Germany finally acquiesce to US demands on the Iraqi debt forgiveness issue after James Baker's recent visit to Europe (Washington Post). So far though, he is still holding firm on his stance barring non-coalition force countries from being able to bid on reconstruction contracts (Los Angeles Times) inflaming the "spoils-of-war"arguments made in anti-US/war/Bush sectors. This is why the Iraq war could still break Bush's presidency as data from one poll suggests (Washington Post) even as, according to another poll, he enjoys an approval rating surge in the wake of the Hussein capture news (New York Times).

Related reading:
Iraqi Vice: Locals are calling it 'the bad side of freedom.' Pills, porn, prostitution and booze are rampant now. And it's not only the radicals who blame America. (Newsweek)

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Is Missy Elliott the new Augustus Pablo and did the Beatles try to reform? 

The Augustus Pablo of the mainstream underground? Huh? Jeff Chang elaborates in "Missy E for President" his review of the new Missy Elliott album This is Not a Test (The Village Voice)

See a brand new teaser trailer for Spiderman 2 here.

One day the full cultural impact of The Fast and The Furious will be realized. Hip Hop may have popularized those oversized chromey wheels but F+F is the one that has spawned a growing series of movies by Hollywood with their take on, the formerly low profile and little-known, underground car and bike street racing culture. First, the stupendously uninteresting Biker Boyz and now Torque.

Image courtesty:

I guess they couldn't "let it be" after all? Word is leaking about a "secret Beatles tape" being offered for sale by an internet auction house. Moments in Time claims that that all four members of The Beatles performed on the tape's five songs allegedly recorded in 1976 at the Davlen Studios in Los Angeles for an aborted reunion album. (Ananova)
Related reading:
Info about the auction here. (

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Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Reminder for all you good folk and party people 

takeoutMARKETING and Party Starters Present:


Scottie B & Mori
DJ I-Queue (that's me)
& Geoff Hayes

Throwing down more 80's Classics


at Bauhaus
196 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002


9pm til late

FREE Admission

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New blog alert and the con-game flick no-one's ever heard of? 

Image courtesy:

Here's another blog I've been checking out recently: Esache's Rap Planet, based in the UK, is a fairly new blog just started around a month ago but there's plenty of quality Op-Ed style commentary exploring the soul and state of hip hop music and the rap industry. Worth your time for those looking for thoughtful hip hop-oriented editorial voices in the blogosphere.

Image courtesy: Piccadilly Records

More new music to check out:

M.I.A. "Galang": I first heard this joint maybe a month or two ago one time on XFM out of London and was blown away by it enough to ask my man Mick at 679 Recordings to get me a copy on 12". I wasn't even sure I had either the title or the artist name right. But thanks to Nick at Catchdubs for confirming that I had the info right all along and for bringing this joint back into my mind and yes, as he says, this might be "officially the sh!t." I still haven't managed to cop the wax yet so this description might be a bit off but imagine a female East Asian Dizzee Rascal and I think you're getting close. "Galang" is produced by one of the Fat Truckers and somehow Justine from Elastica is involved in this record too but I can't figure out how or where from listening to it. Worth investigating.

Air "Cherry Blossom Girl": another joint I've been hearing on XFM. Call me boring for loving this type of obstensibly yuppie post-trip hop, chillout music (Zero 7, stand up) but f-ck you, sue me, this song is beautiful. Not even out 'til next year in January but I'll be damned if this won't be on my year-end list of favorites anyway.

Just watched Argentinian heist/con-game flick Nine Queens (originally released under the title"Nueve Reinas") this weekend. Had never heard of this movie before watching it but if you like movies like David Mamet's The Spanish Prisoner, Grifters and The Sting, I highly recommend it. The movie is completely in Spanish and is subtitled but the well-written script and excellent acting still win and slowly hook you in as the plot unfolds. Plus Leticia Brédice is just about the sexiest woman I've seen in a film for a long time. You need this film in your life.

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Monday, December 15, 2003

The Hot Ish (Dec 2003-Jan 2004) 

Some links are active, click to hear tracks or buy music

1. J-Kwon "Tipsy" (So So Def/Arista)
2. Kelis Tasty (Star Trak/Arista)
3. Alicia Keys "You Don't Know My Name (Mid 1 reggae remix)" (White Label)
4. Musiq Soulstar (Def Soul)
5. DJ Vlad Vlad the Butcher
6. Cee-Lo "I'll Be Around" (Arista)
7. UNKLE "In A State (DFA Remix)" (Mo Wax)
8. Joe feat. G-Unit "Ride With Ya" (Jive)
9a. The Rapture "Sister Saviour (Black Strobe Remix)" (DFA)
9b. The Rapture "Sister Saviour (DFA Remix)" (DFA)
10. Black Moon "Stay Real (Remix)" (White Label)
11. Missy Elliott feat. Jay-Z "Wake Up" (Elektra)
12. Jay-Z "Changes Clothes & Go (Remix)" (Roc-A-Fella)
13. CNN "Yes Sir" (Def Jam)
14. Cam'ron "Hey Lady" (Roc-a-fella)
15. Mya "Fallen" (A&M/Interscope)
16. Big Noyd & Mobb Deep "Shoot 'Em Up Pt. 2" (Landspeed)
17. LCD Soundsystem "Yeah" (DFA)
18. M.I.A. "Galang" (Showbiz Recordings)

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The Hood goes Ivy League this winter? 

Image courtesy Stall & Dean

For all my Ivy League folkers and throwback jersey collecting geeks, Stall & Dean presents the Ivy League Throwback Jersey Collection: The sporting culture of the United States was incubated across all walks of life but its formative years it could be said were spent on the storied Ivy League campuses of the Northeast. From the latter half of the Nineteenth Century through to the 1950s Ivy teams set the standard across the nation. Stall & Dean was an official Ivy League outfitter during the Ivy League's golden era of athletics. Our jerseys equipment and patented innovations were worn with pride throughout the Ivy region from New Hampshire to Pennsylvania and many Ivy greats appeared in the pages of our catalogs. With these garments you'll sense crisp autumn days on the gridiron and fierce contests in old wood-framed gymnasiums in the dead of winter. (Stall & Dean)

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Xmas Gift Alert and more "Best of 2003" action.... 

Save yourself time surfing the net and scan the best of the "Best of 2003" lists at VBD and (via (S/FJ)

Images courtesy: and

Sill looking for gifts for the holidays? Consider some of these:

Record Label Coasters by Jeff Davis' from for artful and environmentally friendly gifts. (Eco-Artware) Also available via UncommonGoods.

America 24/7: A Digital Tim Caspule of American Life. From May 12-18, 2003, nearly 4,000 professional photographers and tens of thousands of amateurs participated in America 24-7, the watershed event of the new digital photography age. Together, they took more than a million digital photographs of American homes and businesses, familes, friends and communities, even pets. America 24-7 can be ordered with a custom cover of your choosing. NB: Due to overwhelming demand though, we cannot guarantee that custom cover orders placed after 12/10 will arrive by 12/24. Normal delivery time is approximately 14 days. (America 24-7)

Gift certificates and gift cards for itunes and Napster.

A pair of S. Carter limited Scarface edition sneakers. (Hot 97 Online Auction)

And slightly less seriously:

Hollywood is Calling: Live Celebrity Phone Calls. Now for the first time ever you can have a real celebrity call you or a friend. Celebrities inlcude Leon Spinks, Todd Bridge and Reginald "brother man" Ballard from TV show Martin and Doug Fieger of The Knack. (Hollywood is Calling Patent Pending!)

Skunk Shot Gel: Skunk Shot Gel contains synthetic skunk oil to curb unpleasant fouling and spraying by cats and dogs. It is ideal for gardens, rubbish bags, lawns, fishponds, avaries, fences etc. What, the skunk smell is an improvement over "unpleasant fouling and spraying" by your cats or dogs? (Petalia)

A case of Russell Simmons' Def Con 3 Energy Soda. Email me if you've ever actually seen this product in a grocery store or bodega anywhere. (DefCon 3)

CDs by Wing: apparently not featuring Paul McCartney. (Wing via AttuSeesAll)

But just don't go crazy with it if you end up shopping online for your gifts: 'Bored' teens' run up $160m Internet shopping bill ( International via AttuSeesAll).

If you're short on cash for your holiday shopping, you may want to consider selling your soul for cash money.

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