News: Revisited and reconsidered
•Beheading faker is a candidate
I predicted some people would try to excuse the behavior of the man who pretended he was beheaded by Iraqi militants on political grounds. It turns out I overestimated human nature. The fellow was running for office in California and apparently thought the stunt would enhance his electability. The Desert Suneditorializes.
Misguided Benjamin Vanderford, 22, originally staged his own beheading to draw attention to his campaign for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He eventually decided to distribute the video on Kaaza, a Web site that trades millions of software files daily. It crossed over to the major media and aired on Arab television. He later said that he was making a statement against the war in Iraq.
This incident is even more troubling because Vanderford has shown no remorse for his disgusting act.
No matter what type of statement he was trying to make, he showed absolute disrespect for those who died this agonizing death -- and for those who have to live forever with the horrid images of their loved ones suffering.
I am no Right Wing editorialist, but I agree. Perhaps we've sent a message to American youths that any kind of stunt is acceptable if the objective is marketing oneself. T'aint so. Does it matter that Vanderford is coming from the Left of the political spectrum? Not a whit. His actions were irresponsible regardlessly.
•"Wake Up Everybody" is a a timely tune
Who says Old School rock and soul are necessarily 'old'? I recently wrote about Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, whose fame peaked in the 1970s, though their lead singer, Teddy Pendergrass remained popular. The group was part of the history making Sound of Philadelphia, which fell on hard times after CBS stopped distributing the artists of Philadelphia International Records. Now we learn that one of the group's best known songs, "Wake Up Everybody," will be used to launch, hopefully, a million votes, in 2004.
Add Babyface and Missy Elliot to the growing list of artists looking to get out the vote in the months before the Nov. 2 presidential election.
The R&B star and hip-hop queen lead a cavalcade of music superstars--Brandy, Mary J. Blige, Wyclef Jean, Eve, Ashanti and Jadakiss, among them--who have come together to record a new all-star version of the classic hit "Wake Up Everybody" to benefit voter initiatives.
The anthem, recorded by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, was used by Democrats in 1976 during Jimmy Carter's run for the presidency to mobilize black voters.
Now Kenneth "Babyface" Edmunds, who produced the new cover, hopes to do the same and win the hearts and minds of Americans in an effort to unseat President Bush from office.
The lyrics to the original "Wake Up Everybody," on which Pendergrass, who has a remarkable baritone voice, sings lead, are sympatico. Here's the first stanza:
Wake up everybody, no more sleepin in bed
No more backward thinkin,'
Time for thinkin' ahead.
The world has changed so very much
From what it used to be
So there is so much hatred war and poverty.
Wake up all the teachers time to teach a new way.
Maybe then they'll listen to whatcha have to say.
Cause they're the ones who's coming up
And the world is in their hands
When you teach the children, teach'em the very best you can.
No message could be more on point at this time in history than the chorus.
The world won't get no better if we just let it be
The world won't get no better
We gotta change it, yeah, just you and me.
Old School is not so old after all. Efforts to reform much of what is wrong with America began in the 1960s and 1970s, but the work is far from done.
•Real reduces price, ups ante against Apple
Real Networks has decided, "in for a dime, in for a dollar." It has slashed the price of downloads from its online music store to 50 cents per tune. The effort is an attempt to attract Windows users from Apple's iTunes Music Store.
RealNetworks will slash its song and album prices in half Tuesday in an attempt to lure music fans to buy its music downloads, which play on a slew of portable music players, including Apple iPods.
At 50 cents a song and $5 an album, the prices are the lowest yet offered by a mainstream digital music service. The bargain prices will last for "multiple weeks," according to Dan Sheeran, a senior vice president at RealNetworks.
Real's promotion is the latest volley by the company to pressure Apple Computer into opening up its music format to interoperate with other players. Several weeks ago, Real unveiled its Harmony technology, which allows music bought from Real to be played on more than 100 different portable players, including Apple's iPod.
Ironically, I anticipated this change for all online music stores in comments at another blog. But, I did not expect it to happen so soon or as part of a price war. If this is a war. We will not know until we see whether Apple, or other competitors, respond in kind. The more likely result is that Apple will attempt to expedite its lawsuit against Real claiming opening the iPod's software violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
•Many of the current reports about the Blue Notes contain inaccurate information. Harold Melvin died in 1997. The present group, which performed at the 2000 Republican Convention, does not include any of the members from its hit-making epoch with Philadelphia International Records. Read a history of the Blue Notes.
•Mac-a-ro-nies previously considered Real's 'trespassing' on Apple's turf.