The nonweekly Friday Random Ten

I haven't followed this blog folk custom for a while, in which people are invited to open their computer audio players, set them to "random play," and list the first ten songs that come up. This is partly because I have been blogging less in general, and partly because I haven't been shopping much for new music, so the same things keep popping up. But for now, it's better than grading papers, so here it goes annotated:
Bran Van 3000 (with Youssou N'Dour) -- Montreal
Shuffling rhythm, angry Muppet references, and a guest appearance by a favorite globopopper. What else does a pop song need?

Snakefinger -- Beatnik party
Is it possible for the influence of Nino Rota on wiggly guitar styles to be too strong?

The Kinks -- Waterloo sunset
Early adventures in stereo, or an involuntary nod to classicism?

The Replacements -- Androgynous
Words to live by. They may have been a bit of a hit-or-miss group, but this was hit. This and "Mr Whirly."

Azra -- Gracija
I only have vague memories of the video in which Džoni Štulić sings the song behind the counter of a fish market. Does anyone have a copy?

Eszter Balint -- Un poison violent c'est ça l'amour
It remains impossible to decide whether this cover is better than Serge Gainsbourg's original or not.

Carmen Consoli -- Bambina impertinente
Can anybody explain to me why this person is not the hugest international star?

Eva Braun -- Aljaska
Few things are more enjoyable than cover versions that vastly improve on the originals.

Dinah Washington and Brooke Benton -- Baby you've got what it takes
These two should have recorded many more duets.

Üstmamò e Giovanni Lindo Ferretti -- Io sto bene
I dream of a world in which this tune is some country's national anthem.
Please feel free to list or link your random ten in the comments.

Just possibly the best political advertisement ever?

Why the hell would anybody in Texas not vote for Kinky Friedman for governor?

Podujevo trial to resume again?

A Canadian court has decided to deport Dejan Demirović, the member of the "Scorpions" paramilitary group who is charged with murdering 14 civilians in Podujevo in 1999. In June, after several false starts, his fellow "Scorpion" Saša Cvjetan was sentenced to 20 years prison for the same offence. There were certainly many other people involved in the crime, none of whom have been charged.

Wonderful things my colleagues are doing, Part I

Get set in early November for the Extensible Toy Piano Festival at Clark University! Matt Malsky from our music department set this up together with David Claman from the music department of our sister school, Holy Cross. Composers were offered, via the internet, a set of recorded samples from a classic Schoenhut upright toy piano and invited to assemble them into original pieces. John Cage had already explored its potential in his 1948 Suite for Toy Piano. The aim of this project is to "bring the instrument into the 21st Century," combining its unique sound with the interactive potential offered by computer networks. On November 4 and 5, there will be performances of the selected compositions and there will be a symposium with a keynote address to be given by Kyle Gann.

Finska posla

The United States is not the only country where pseudoscience seeks recognition as a leading arbiter of knowledge. The Croatian minister of science and education (and sports!), Dragan Primorac, is under attack in Nature magazine for his interesting theories on the genetic makeup of various European ethnicities. He proposes that Croats are only marginally related to other Slavic groups, and are instead heirs to an ancient Asian civilisation, and also closely related to Finns. Alison Abbott's article in Nature quotes Primorac's advisor Vladimir Paar as assessing that this genetic-national theory assures that "Croats will be recognised as one of the oldest nations in Europe, and that Hungarians have more Slavic genetic markers than Croats." A physicist, Paar also shows his unique talent for distinguishing among humans by calling Primorac "the most competent person in the world." Primorac's ministry has issued a statement denying that this exercise in creative genetics, however dear to the minister, represents official policy. Meanwhile, Primorac himself has been busy adminstering electric shocks to Boris Becker.


Alo Banja Luka

I am certain that East Ethnia has at least one reader in Banja Luka, so at least this person may want to know that The Beat Fleet is playing a free concert on Sunday, 25 September, at the club "Titanium." Send us an izveštaj if you go.


Adventures in self-government

The British government is not confirming the story, but it looks like there are witnesses. Apparently the Iraqi police arrested two British undercover agents in Basra because they "looked suspicious." When the British requested their release, the Iraqi police objected and said they wanted to continue their investigation. At this point, it seems, the British army sent tanks to the prison where the two agents were held and used them to break down the walls of the prison, freeing their agents and whatever other prisoners managed to get to the hole in the wall in time. Said British defence secretary John Reid, no doubt suppressing a giggle, "We remain committed to helping the Iraqi government for as long as they judge that a coalition presence is necessary to provide security." There may have been a subtext to his statement.

Get thee to a nunnery

Is war crimes fugitive Ante Gotovina hiding in a Franciscan monastery in Croatia? ICTY prosecutor Carla del Ponte says yes, the Vatican says no. Is war crimes fugitive Radovan Karadžić hiding in an Orthodox monastery in Montenegro? A lot of people say yes, Amfilohije says no. Are other monasteries being left out here?


Education can be so easy!

Not all of the junk mail I receive comes from people who have mysteriously found themselves with some large quantity of an ex-dictator's money. Some of it invites people to engage in self-improvement. Like this one:
Do you want a University Degree without studying? An Income that starts off high? The 0pportunity to just get in the door?

We can help. We have a LEGAL Offshore University that issues valid Degree's in any subject for a small fee.

Our Degree's work worldwide. Here's an example.

"I had no exper1ence at all in Marketing. I applied as a marketing consultant for a company. My University Degree & reference letters(issued with degree) got me the job in 1 week! My income is now $90,000 a year vs. $25,000. They still have no idea about not going to University, but love me at work for my creativity. You guys rock!."

Those are some very impressive Degree's, indeed, considering how small their fee is. Of course, they are only of any use to a person who is creative.


Don't let the stars get in your eyes

Although the Ministry of Education appears to have gone out of its way to point out that the institute is not a part of the school or university system, an institute for astrology has opened in Belgrade. It offers certificates in knowledge of astrology which, it seems, would be accepted by the international astrological organisations (I did not know there were such things!). The name of the institute is the Johan Kepler Institute for Astrological Research and Education, probably after the founder of the much-missed bookstore which until very recently brightened the heavens in and around Menlo Park, California.