Sunday, August 30, 2009

Now, the Beatles Momo Remasters from Bob Lefsetz

This is a completely different experience.

This is the way you remember them. Not scrubbed clean, but emanating from one speaker in the dash, one speaker underneath the spinning wheel of your all-in-one record player. It’s not about revelation, but basking in the joy of the music itself. These are the CDs you want to buy to listen to while you’re having a party, while you’re cleaning the house. They’re more MUSICAL!

Listening to the stereo CDs is being an archaeologist, digging in deep, studying the nuances that have been revealed by the cleansing of tender-loving brushstrokes, which have revealed all the parts, flaws and all. Listening to the mono CDs is just like being in the sixties, albeit a sprightlier, cleaner version.

Let’s put it this way. When you go to the show do you need to sit up front or a healthy distance back, where the sound blends properly, near the soundboard, where the engineer mixes the sound. If you want to see the performer spit, if you want the adrenaline of proximity to a star, you pay extra to sit in the front row. But if you want the best sound, you’ll be disappointed, the vocal will be unhearable, the balance will be tweaked, you won’t be happy.

Not that you want to sit in the rafters.

We all want a good seat, it’s just a question of your definition.

Ultimately, concerts are about the sound. Fifteen or twenty rows back is usually best.

The mono "Sgt. Pepper" coheres in a way the stereo version does not. You tap your toe as opposed to utilizing your aural bifocals to see the music’s components. A great mechanic wants to raise the hood, see exactly what engine is employed, how it’s tuned. A driver wants to leave the garage, let the wind blow through his hair and have an experience. The mono CDs are a better experience.

But you might be disappointed. If you’re sleuthing, if you want to be blown away, you need the stereo mixes. When you hear Paul McCartney sing "Till There Was You", with his unique accent, singing "at TALL", your jaw will drop. You never dreamed of getting this close. Whereas when you hear the same song in mono, without Paul’s vocal isolated, you won’t get the same effect.

In other words, if you want to sit next to George Martin at the console, DEFINITELY get the stereo CDs. But, if you want to remember what it was like in your bedroom, at parties, driving in the car, you’ll enjoy the mono CDs better.

But that’s not the end of the story.

Actually, the booklet in the mono box set delineates the truth concisely and authoritatively. You see, in the eyes of the Beatles, all the way through the White Album, the mono mixes were the definitive ones. Furthermore, the same tracks were not always mixed, and mixing vagaries ended up in tracks containing different parts, even having different speeds. You’ll notice these differences, especially when pointed out, but on an overall basis, they’re far from dramatic.

The stereo CDs breathe. But it’s kind of like those people in the magazines. Seeing their photos in two dimensions, you imbue them with your own feelings and interpretations, whereas if you met them in real life they might not fit your fantasy whatsoever. The stereo CDs reveal almost more than you need to know. But that’s why most people are going to rush out and buy these remasters, they want to know more. Sure, in time these remasters will become the definitive statement, we’ll be listening to these mixes for years, newbies will only know them. But Beatle fanatics are looking for more than the eighties CDs. You’ll get more with the stereo albums.

Having said that, know that cognoscenti are going to salivate over the mono box. The packaging is staggering. Japanese TLC on steroids.

Yes, each CD comes individually wrapped in plastic, that seals with stickum, so these plastic cases can be retained, keeping your original covers in pristine condition.

And not only are they the original covers, they’re the original inner sleeves! Each CD comes in a plastic bag, of the kind the major labels in America finally went to in the eighties, but also included in the slip cover is the appropriate paper inner sleeve. Telling you to take good care of your "Microgroove Records".

Furthermore, "Sgt. Pepper" contains the jigsaw, fade from red to white inner sleeve, and the cutouts, not printed in a booklet, but on a separate page, just like the original, back in 1967.

And the CDs have replicas of the original Parlophone labels. Yet the White Album has Apple labels (remember how cool it was to slip the record out of its sleeve and see this for the very first time?) Since "Magical Mystery Tour" was an American release, it wears the Capitol logo. And Disc 1 of "Past Masters" uses Parlophone and Disc 2 Apple.

If you’re into collecting, you need the mono box.

Then again, if you’re collecting, you’re probably going to buy both.

Yesterday I re-posted Bob Lefsetz's review of the stereo Beatles remasters. Today, Bob has his thoughts on the second part of the release, the Mono Remasters. Both sets hit retail September 9th. Thanks to Bob for sharing.

Posted via web from Mark Edwards 3.0

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Music Guru Bob Lefsetz Has The First Listen To The Beatles Remasters

The Beatles Remasters

What do you listen to first?

"Every Little Thing", that’s my favorite Fab Four track (and I hate that appellation, but that’s how writers are, they’re afraid to use the same term over and over again, and come up with another moniker).

But as I broke the shrinkwrap on the giant box, I had a sudden urge to hear "Dear Prudence", because of the pure sound of that track. So I played that first.


Immediately noticeable is the low level. Today’s tracks are squashed to the max, with the volume cranked. They sound like shit, but they’re very loud. These Beatles CDs are not.

"Dear Prudence" was not a revelation. But what was immediately noticeable was that the guitar sounded like a guitar, one of those things with a body, with resonance, the guitar sounded three-dimensional. As did the vocal. This was no longer a record, this was someone real singing.

I figured the quieter sounds would be more revelatory. "Julia" is extremely personal, the instruments hover in space, but "I Will" sounds like Paul McCartney phoned you up out of the blue, said he was in the neighborhood and could he stop by and play you a few tunes? He’s here! This is not music made by a machine, but real human beings.

The first time through, I didn’t play "Blackbird", I just dialed it up. It’s like you were stumbling in the woods, looking for Rocky Raccoon, and you stumbled upon someone playing the guitar on his front porch. Just that intimate, and just for you. Wow!


It was called "Beatles ‘65" in the U.S. It had little cohesion, just six tracks on side one and five on side two. But in its original English form, with fourteen full tracks, including the missing "Every Little Thing" and "Eight Days A Week", sans "She’s A Woman" and "I Feel Fine", it flows perfectly, it’s become my most played Beatles album.

"Every Little Thing" ended up on Capitol’s slapdash American release, "Beatles VI", which I didn’t buy. Only years later, after being infected by the Yes cover, did I end up hearing the original. "Every Little Thing" is sincere and magical, it encapsulates all the hopes and dreams of adolescent love, and has none of the smarminess or calculation of the boy bands. And the drums and rhythm guitar are especially clear here, but my head didn’t explode. Then, listening to the music, my mind drifted back, way back to the summer of ‘64 on this ultra-hot SoCal afternoon. I broke the shrinkwrap on "A Hard Day’s Night".


On the American version, you’ve got to wait until side two for "I Should Have Known Better". But on the original English album, which this CD replicates, "I Should Have Known Better" comes second.

But it will always be number one in my book.

"I Should Have Known Better" is when we realized John Lennon was special. Sure, the song was great, but the way he sang it twisted our insides, who was this person, could we know him? We could never be as heartfelt, as passionate, we needed to get closer!

"I Should Have Known Better" is mindblowing. The rhythm guitar is distinct, in a way it never was before. The harmonica breathes. And when you hear John sing, you believe he’s still alive.

This remaster is the anti propofol. It’s like Disney imagineers came up with a serum they could inject into corpses to bring people back to life. And when John reaches up the scale, asking you to be MINE, you’ll jump, the hair on the back of your neck will stand at attention, you’ll get goosebumps.

"I’ll Cry Instead" sounds like a band at sound check. Ripping it off while the engineer gets the levels right. It’s casual, but more alive than any performance you’ll ever see at the VMAs.


Okay, I get it. The old albums had further to go, we listened on mono, on record players with heavy tonearms, but by time "Abbey Road" came out we’d all upgraded to stereos.

"Come Together" is about the guitar sound, not up front and center, but holding it all together.

I played the George Harrison tracks, the legendary "Something" and the sunny second side opener, "Here Comes The Sun". The latter was enhanced, it was like a bright spring morning. But then I played my favorite track from the second side, "You Never Give Me Your Money".

With air to breathe in between the instruments, the lyrics stand out. Comprehensible before, there’s a clarity that now lends new meaning. It’s like seeing a famous painting from the Renaissance scrubbed clean, revealing the underlying essence.

Suddenly, there was someone who was truly out of college, money gone, future looking bleak.

Still, "Abbey Road" was not the revelation of "A Hard Day’s Night".


I figured I’d finish off the new albums, they wouldn’t be a big surprise, I’d get them out of the way and then look at the antiques that had had their cobwebs removed.

"Let It Be" is maligned. As an afterthought, cut before "Abbey Road", yet released after, rescued by Phil Spector, but ruined by his hands.

But when you hear John say "I Dig A Pygmy…" before "Two Of Us", it’s like you’re literally in the studio, at the sessions for this album.

As for "I’ve Got A Feeling"… Where did they get that guitar tone? Years before there were enough effects pedals to cover the stage at Madison Square Garden. And Paul’s vocal is quintessentially Paul. The cheeky guy who’s never taken seriously enough, who’s going to show you in one fell swoop how fucking great he is! I can’t imagine this being any better.


Finally finishing off the newer albums, I dialed up the title track, a personal favorite. People focus on "I Am The Walrus", but I love this progenitor of "Back In The U.S.S.R." It sounded good, but my head didn’t explode.

In the U.K., it was an EP, but in America it was a full-blown album, with assorted tracks on side two. I figured I’d spin "Strawberry Fields Forever", the experimental hit song that captured the essence of the Summer of Love, even though it was cut across the pond.

You can hear it’s a mellotron! I melt listening. It’s not a sound, the introductory notes are being played by an instrument. Sure, it was tape loops to begin with, but now it’s no longer wallpaper, on this CD it jumps off the wall to pirouette in the room. The vocals are like the version you know, but better. But what stands out, what makes an impression, is the drums, accenting the track. "Strawberry Fields Forever" was built by humans. Previously, it sounded like it was made by machines. No longer.


I was holding off from playing this, needing to savor it, fearful that it might disappoint.

Sure, the albums were different in the U.S. and the U.K., but sandwiched in between the movie music on the American edition there were gems that bring me right back to summer camp, where I spun this album each and every day.

"The Night Before". Bands cut one track as good as this, and they get hosannas. This was just an album cut.

"I Need You" sounds like George, the dead and now forgotten George. Sure, that’s an overstatement, but dying during the holiday season after a long illness, George didn’t get his due. The vocal is so good, it’s on a par with John and Paul. Once again, the drums are noticeable, anchoring the track. You can hear the percussion. Also, I want to mention Paul’s bass, which dances under so many of these cuts, not looking for attention, but adding a flair that contributed to the Beatles being the best band ever.

"Another Girl". "For I have got!" Need I say more? A great track sounds even better, you can hear the effect on Paul’s vocal. You can hear every instrument. This is a band.

"You’re Gonna Lose That Girl". Great bass, great guitar, but John’s vocal astounds, it’s an extension of "I Should Have Known Better". Who is this guy who knows pain, without being crippled by it? You will lose that girl if you don’t pay her attention, if you don’t treat her right. Best track on the subject EVER!


The sound of "Help!" didn’t knock my socks off quite like "A Hard Day’s Night", but "Please Please Me" was such a shock, I almost couldn’t listen to it.

A combination of the first Capitol album, "Meet The Beatles", and Vee-Jay’s "Introducing The Beatles", "Please Please Me" doesn’t have "I Want To Hold Your Hand", but it’s got the roots. With one foot in a German club, "Please Please Me" is four chaps who’ve got a need to prove themselves. Who are confident, and want to insure that they don’t end up in a life of "Misery".

Which is the track I played first, knowing it so well from "Introducing The Beatles". To die for!

"There’s A Place", the B-side of "Twist and Shout". If you were alive back then, you’ll cry listening to this album. It will bring you right back to 1963. I can see myself going bowling with Mr. Conley’s class. I can see myself sitting at home on Saturday afternoon watching "Wide World Of Sports". The past comes alive.


"With The Beatles" is almost as good.

Starting with "It Won’t Be Long" instead of "I Want To Hold Your Hand", you can hear George play…if a band cut a track this good, they’d get a deal tomorrow, the cognoscenti, the alterna-people would be e-mailing the MP3 to everybody they know, saying they’d found the new Kurt Cobain. And "It Won’t Be Long" is only one of fourteen tracks!

"Don’t Bother Me". The anthem for teenage America, as we laid on our bedroom floors and shut the door to keep our parents out. Wow, you can hear the pain in George’s voice.

I bow at the altar. Of a perfect album cut by youngsters who’d paid their dues when no one was watching and emerged fully-formed. This CD sounds like someone just turned on the tape machine, like it was cut earlier this afternoon.


Once again, different from the American version. But, unlike "Beatles ‘65", the American edition hung together. The English version is like finding out your new car is also a convertible, even though no one told you so and you paid nothing extra.

Sounds great, like the rest of the CDs. You can hear all the instruments, the vocals are full-bodied, but you don’t get a jolt listening.


Figuring the sound of "Rubber Soul" didn’t blow my mind, I was not prepared for "Here, There and Everywhere". It’s like being at a high school party and having the host knock a glass with a knife, quieting everybody down as a few attendees stand and form an a cappella group, not only singing exquisitely, but performing a song of their own creation, better than anything on the pop charts.

The Beatles are still here, there and everywhere. Listening to this track, you know why.

"I Want To Tell You" is the track wherein George Harrison invents riff-rock. Funny, scrubbed clean it loses a bit of its power, but you can hear the separate vocals, the piano, and there’s still that motherfucking riff!

"Tomorrow Never Knows". Where John Lennon invents stoner rock. This one track is a metaphor for the whole experience of listening to this boxed set. You’ve got to turn off your mind, relax and float downstream. So you can hear each and every instrument and effect in this track. They built this, the Beatles, George Martin, a host of string players and… There was a vision, which fit no contour in an executive’s brain. Great artists are a step ahead, they take chances. They don’t always succeed, but as you listen to the tribal bass, as the sounds come out of the jungle, you wish you were still in high school, so you could show up with this album and tell everybody!


Once my favorite Beatle album, "Sgt. Pepper" has not aged well in the eyes of the public. Instead of being seen as a breakthrough, it’s perceived to be a curio. But its cohesiveness is to be admired, something the Beatles never executed on this scale again.

"Sgt. Pepper" was at the advent of the stereo revolution. We know how this sounds. It still sounds good, but we were exposed to the original.


An afterthought in the original CD release schedule, a collection of scattered hits, this two disc set is now a lost religious relic found, the Holy Grail! The background vocals on "Love Me Do" are worth the price of admission alone.

The guitar on "Matchbox" will blow your mind. Although imitating the work of Carl Perkins, the Memphis legend of yore, I’m not sure there’s anybody in Nashville today who can get this same tone along with the feeling!

"I Feel Fine", it’s not only the original feedback explosion, but the picking after that which will have you jumping up and dancing.

"Day Tripper" is so clear and so pristine, yet positively alive, that you almost won’t believe it’s the same track.


Upon insertion of "Help!", I was told by computer that there were two programs. An audio CD and…

A mini-documentary.

Upon seeing George Harrison jumping in the snow, I lost it.

George can’t be dead. And I can’t be 56.

George Martin tells the famous story about the original lyrics of "Yesterday" being "scrambled eggs". And then you hear the record.

You’ve got to give Paul McCartney credit, he’s survived. He didn’t end up in rehab, rather he raised a passel of kids who’ve turned out just fine, and even endured the death of the love of his life. He’s led a charmed life. But he earned it, no one handed it to him on a platter, his father didn’t have a big job in the music business. Paul made it by himself, through sheer guts, hard work and inspiration. Sure, he wanted to avoid a life of drudgery, but he didn’t do it for the money, but the fun. The hit of energy coming off the audience, the toke on the marijuana cigarette, the fun of pulling girls and having a laugh with his buds after the fact.

The Beatles were not a band, they were a religion. And we baby boomers were believers. The Beatles spoke of possibilities, they inspired us, they told us to leave home in order to fulfill ourselves.

There’s nothing in this boxed set that you haven’t heard before. You’re very familiar with the tracks. You only wish there could be more. But this is all there is. But now, it’s come into focus, like someone granted you magic glasses that allowed you to finally see the world.

In an era where sound quality is going in the wrong direction, where logarithms remove some of the sound to squeeze songs down into tiny files, releasing remastered CDs is akin to polishing up an IBM Selectric. Still, maybe these finally pristine releases can be a beacon. Maybe the younger generation will invest in better speakers, techies will invent new file formats, that allow people to hear music the way it was truly made.

Unlike the beat-infused tracks on Top Forty radio, the Beatles music was totally alive. Machines were used to capture the sound, but they didn’t substitute for human beings, flawed, but trying their best. The vocals weren’t comped, maybe that’s why they sound so damn good, real people are singing.

You can’t digest these remasters in an afternoon, you need a whole season. To dig beneath the shock of the sound to investigate what can now be heard, to not only learn but reevaluate your original impressions.

You’ll jump in amazement now and again, but listening mostly puts a smile on your face. As beauty in any form does.

Listening for hours, all I can say is…I believe in yesterday.

By: admin | 2009/08/28 | The Music | Trackback | Comments [RSS 2.0]

The Beatles catalog is being remasterd and released next week. Bob Lefsetz, whose work I HIGHLY recommend anyone interested in music or the music industry follow, got his copies early and shares his thoughts on what he heard. I can't wait to get mine on Tuesday!

Posted via web from Mark Edwards 3.0

Monday, August 24, 2009

9 Ways to Grow an Ongoing, Market-Wide Hunger for YOU

Have you ever been SO hungry that you actually considered cannibalism?

Me neither. I was just curious.

Still, hunger IS a powerful, instinctive force. Maybe it has something to do with our hunter-gatherer nature. I mean, hell, people kill each other for food.

In fact, I could probably cite at least twenty occasions when I was a kid – if the proper weaponry were available – I definitely would have decapitated my big brother just to get dibs on that last slice of pizza.

But enough about Hebrew School.

Instead, here are three questions I want you to think about:

1. Who’s hungry for YOU?
2. How many customers are ravenous and drooling for a bite of YOUR expertise?
3. And what are you doing on a daily basis to grow (and eventually satisfy) their hunger?

Today I’m going to share a nine strategies that you can implement to create an ongoing, market-wide hunger … for YOU.

And I promise not to make any more cannibalism or decapitation jokes.

Well, maybe just one.

So, Jeffrey Dahmer walks into a bar…


1. Attach more promise to your name. Brands are expectations. Which means it’s your job to prove customers right. To confirm their expectations about the value you deliver and the values you stand for. So, let’s do a three-part exercise.

FIRST: Consider five businesses you patronize regularly. What respective promises are attached to each of their names? Write them down.
SECOND: Consider your own business. What is the promise your customers keep coming back for? Write it down.
THIRD: Brainstorm ten specific actions you can take in the next 72 hours to exponentially attach MORE of that promise to your name. Write 'em down.

Remember: To promise to show signs of future excellence. To grow the hunger for YOU, ask: How predictable are you?

2. Competence is assumed. First, good was good enough. Then great was good enough. Now, great isn’t that great anymore. People demand WOW. So: You need to be amazing. Like, scary good. Everything else is your ante. The price of admission.

My suggestion is to stop doing something unless you’re amazing. As Seth Godin once said, “Average is for losers. Be exceptional or quit.” To grow the hunger for YOU, ask: What are you the World Heavyweight Champion of?

3. Be The Answer. People go to Google for one reason: Pornography. But AFTER pornography, people go to Google to solve problems. That’s the secret: Being The Answer. So, here’s an equation that you can plug your unique value (and your perfect customers) into. It’s called The Ultimate Dream Statement, and it goes a little like this:

“I wish there was a/an (X) so I wouldn’t have to (Y).”

So, the (X) in the equation is dream focused, solution oriented and optimistic, i.e., “A portable music player with unlimited digital shelf space.” Then, the (Y) in the equation takes away pain by helping people save time, money, energy, paper or manpower, i.e., “Schlepping ten years of CD’s around my apartment.”

That’s being The Answer: Figuring out what your customers are SICK of doing, then positioning your expertise as the key to NEVER doing that again. To grow the hunger for YOU, ask: What do your customers wish they didn’t HAVE to do anymore?

4. Don’t be selfish with your knowledge. Share your expertise generously so people recognize it, embrace it and eventually depend on you for it. Soon, people in your marketplace will start coming to your for your time. Because they’ll think, “If I’m getting this much help for FREE from this person, how much better off would I be if I actually hired him?”

Remember: More content = More findable = More addictable = More bookable. To grow the hunger for YOU, ask: What did you write today?

5. Create a Visibility Plan. Not a Marketing Plan. Not a Business Plan. A Visibility Plan. Do you have one of those? Doubtful. Most people don’t. And they’re losing money every day for a simple reason: You can no longer afford to be invisible. Winking in the dark is NOT a smart business strategy.

I invite you to sit down with your team and write out all the potential venues – online and off – that increase your visibility. Then spend the next hour doubling that number. The mere exercise of doing so is eye opening and will change your attitude toward marketing forever.

Remember: Being known as “The Best Kept Secret” is a one-way ticket to Sucksville. If you’re a secret, you can’t possibly be the best. Period. Be public or be penniless. To grow the hunger for YOU, ask: What’s your visibility plan?

6. Identify the ONE niche you can overwhelm. Bore deeply into sector needs and position yourself as THEE Guy. The Only. The Universally Presumed Perpetrator. A fixture in the industry. Better than anyone else in your space. So distinct that you’re perceived as a monopoly and people starting asking and hearing what you might say about their situation.

Ultimately, someone who invariably winds up on people’s doorsteps. That way, when customers come, you can confidently declare, “You haven’t just come to the right place – you’ve come to the ONLY place!”

Remember: People will remember your stance if it’s unexpected and non-template driven. To grow the hunger for YOU, ask: To whom will you be known as a rock star?

7. Get them to sample your wares. Everybody knows the best day to go to the supermarket is Saturday. Why? Sample day. And if you do it right – for example, eat a few samples, go out to your car, change your shirt, then walk back in – you can make an entire meal out of those babies!

Now, when you’re a kid you don’t recognize the power of this strategy. Because by giving out those samples, the store feeds your hunger. And that’s why it’s no surprise that Saturdays tend to be the highest grossing days in the grocery world.

So, my question for you is: How many samples do YOU have out there? How often are you giving your samples away? And how much more money would you be making if you designed a system that fed people’s hunger for YOU on a daily basis?

Here’s a hint: Blogging works. Tweeting works. Ezines work. The secret is value. The secret is free. To grow the hunger for YOU, ask: What’s your sample strategy?

8. Be seen in your element regularly. People need to see you doing what you do. Those moments when you’re in your element. At your best, flowing like Phelps. Delivering your unique value in your unique way. The secret is to capture it digitally and share it with the world by starting what I call a Value Forward Video Campaign.

For example, as a professional speaker, I collect video footage from my presentations and workshops. And what I’ll do is break down the program into four or five smaller modules, each of which is edited with a consistent intro and outro. Then I’ll post one clip every Friday for a month, linking back to it from my blog, ezine, Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Ultimately, thousands of people watch them and dozens of people hire me because of them. All because they portray me at my best, doing what I do, delivering unique value to others.To grow the hunger for YOU, ask: How often are customers seeing you in YOUR element?

9. Start positive rumors about yourself. Oscar Wilde once remarked, “The only thing worse than being talked about is NOT being talked about.” So, here’s the question: Who’s talking about YOU? Answer: Not enough people. So, here’s my suggestion: Do it yourself. It’s heaps of fun.

In fact, National Start a Rumor Day is November 9th. Consider posting a blog with five pieces of personal information about yourself, one of which ISN’T true. Next, challenge your readers to guess which one is the lie. Then reveal the answer a week later. Maybe even award the first correct answer with a small gift.

What do you have to lose? That’s probably more creative and engaging than most of the 120,000 blogs that are posted each day. To grow the hunger for YOU, ask: How many positive rumors are floating around regarding YOUR value?

DON'T FORGET: If you want to build the brand OF you, start by growing the hunger FOR you.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my big brother is coming over for pizza.

What deliciousness are you delivering?

For the list called, “72 Ways to Take Your Blog from Anonymous to Award-Winning,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Need to build your Thought Leadership Platform?

Perhaps my monthly (or yearly) coaching program would help.

Rent Scott's Brain today!

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Posted via web from Mark Edwards 3.0

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Associated Press: Attack on Obama riles Beck's advertisers

Attack on Obama riles Beck's advertisers

By DAVID BAUDER (AP) – 7 hours ago

NEW YORK — Glenn Beck returns to Fox News Channel after a vacation on Monday with fewer companies willing to advertise on his show than when he left, part of the fallout from calling President Barack Obama a racist.

A total of 33 Fox advertisers, including Walmart, CVS Caremark, Clorox and Sprint, directed that their commercials not air on Beck's show, according to the companies and, a group that promotes political action among blacks and launched a campaign to get advertisers to abandon him. That's more than a dozen more than were identified a week ago.

While it's unclear what effect, if any, this will ultimately have on Fox and Beck, it is already making advertisers skittish about hawking their wares within the most opinionated cable TV shows.

The Clorox Co., a former Beck advertiser, now says that "we do not want to be associated with inflammatory speech used by either liberal or conservative talk show hosts." The maker of bleach and household cleaners said in a statement that is has decided not to advertise on political talk shows.

The shows present a dilemma for advertisers, who usually like a "safe" environment for their messages. The Olbermanns, Hannitys, O'Reillys, Maddows and Becks of the TV world are more likely to say something that will anger a viewer, who might take it out on sponsors.

They also host the most-watched programs on their networks.

"This is a good illustration of that conundrum," said Rich Hallabran, spokesman for UPS Stores, which he said has temporarily halted buying ads on Fox News Channel as a whole.

Beck can bring the eyeballs. With the health care debate raising political temperatures, his show had its biggest week ever right before his vacation, averaging 2.4 million viewers each day, according to Nielsen Media Research.

He was actually on another Fox show July 28 when he referred to Obama as a racist with "a deep-seated hatred for white people." The network immediately distanced itself from Beck's statement, but Beck didn't. He used his radio show the next day to explain why he believed that. He would not comment for this article, spokesman Matthew Hiltzik said. quickly targeted companies whose ads had appeared during Beck's show, telling them what he had said and seeking a commitment to drop him. The goal is to make Beck a liability, said James Rucker, the organization's executive director.

"They have a toxic asset," Rucker said. "They can either clean it up or get rid of it."

It's not immediately clear how many of the companies actually knew they were advertising on Beck's show. Sometimes commercial time is chosen for a specific show, but often it is bought on a rotation basis, meaning the network sprinkles the ads throughout the day on its own schedule. Sometimes ads appear by mistake; Best Buy said it bought commercial time for earlier in the day, and one of its ads unexpectedly appeared in Beck's show.

One company, CVS Caremark, said it advertises on Fox but hadn't said anything about Beck. Now it has told its advertising agency to inform Fox that it wanted no commercials on Beck.

"We support vigorous debate, especially around policy issues that affect millions of Americans, but we expect it to be informed, inclusive and respectful," said spokeswoman Carolyn Castel.

Besides the unpredictability of the opinionated cable hosts, the rapid pace of today's wired world complicates decisions on where to place ads, said Kathleen Dunleavy, a spokeswoman for Sprint. She said she was surprised at how fast the Beck issue spread across social media outlets and how quickly advertiser names were attached to it.

UPS' Hallabran said the decision to pull commercials "should not be interpreted as we are permanently withdrawing our advertising from Fox." He said the company wants to reach viewers with a wide spectrum of opinions.

Except for UPS Stores, there's no evidence that any advertisers who say they don't want to be on Beck's show are leaving Fox. Network spokeswoman Irena Briganti said the companies have simply requested the ads be moved elsewhere and that Fox hasn't lost any revenue.

She wouldn't say whether Fox was benefiting from any anti-anti-Beck backlash, with companies looking to support him. Some Beck supporters have urged fans to express their displeasure at companies for abandoning their man.

Beck supporters have suggested that retaliation might have something to do with's campaign. One of the group's founders, Van Jones, now works in the Obama administration and has been criticized by Beck. But Rucker said Jones has nothing to do with now and didn't even know about the campaign before it started.

Beck's strong ratings — even at 5 p.m. EDT he often outdraws whatever CNN and MSNBC show in prime-time — make it unlikely Beck is going anywhere even with the list of advertisers avoiding him approaches three dozen.

But it could mean advertising time becomes cheaper on his show than such a large audience would normally command. Some of his show's advertisers last week included a male enhancement pill, a law firm looking to sue on behalf of asbestos victims, a company selling medical supplies to diabetics and a water filter company.

Rucker said has contacted about 60 companies regarding Beck, and is heartened by the response.

"It's causing a certain conversation around Beck, which I think is important," he said.

On the Net:

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Steely silence from Beck's radio syndicator, Premiere Radio Networks, part of the Clear Channel empire, in regards to any advertisers pulling out of his radio show. Hmmmmmmmmm.

Posted via web from Mark Edwards 3.0

Friday, August 21, 2009

Its Gonna Hit The Fan This Time

A new film from Michael Moore is coming on October 2.

I know he can go a bit over the top, but this looks like it could be a solid piece of filmmaking.

For the record, I'm not getting compensated in any way for posting this, I just think its an important film from someone I admire. This is part of the film's PR push:
"It's got it all -- lust, passion, romance, and 14,000 jobs being eliminated every day.” - Michael Moore

CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY tackles an issue Michael Moore has been examining throughout his career: the disastrous impact of corporate dominance on the everyday lives of Americans
(and by default, the rest of the world). But this time the culprit is much bigger than General Motors, and the crime scene far wider than Flint, Michigan. From Middle America, to the halls of power in Washington, to the global financial epicenter in Manhattan, Michael Moore will once again take filmgoers into uncharted territory.

Here's the trailer:

Purely personal opinion, but I'm looking forward to seeing the film. I've seen the mess we're in through by own eyes, I'm anxious to see it through Michael Moore's.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

California Pizza Kitchen: 20% Off Menu Items


My friend that works at CPK told me that all the way through September 15th, you can sign up for a CPK Adventure Card and receive 20% off all new menu items. You can sign up here. (Thx CPK)

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Posted via web from Mark Edwards 3.0

Friday, August 14, 2009

Elvis's Doctor Speaks - The Daily Beast

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BS Top - Posner Elvis AP Photo On the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death, Dr. George Nichopoulos—The King’s own Dr. Feelgood—talks to Gerald Posner about prescribing drugs to celebrities—and why his doctor’s bag is being put up for auction.

“I was so upset when Elvis died that I couldn’t listen to his music for several years,” 82-year-old Dr. George Nichopoulos, Elvis’s personal physician, told The Daily Beast. “I wouldn’t listen, it just upset me so bad.”

I recently had a rare chance to talk to Dr. Nick, as he was called by Elvis and his friends. He gives few interviews since he’s still angry at the press for feeding the “witch hunt” that portrayed him as the original Dr. Feelgood. Dr. Nick spent a decade with Elvis at Graceland and on the road and 42 years ago this Sunday he was in the ambulance on the King’s last trip to the Baptist Memorial emergency room. After Elvis was pronounced dead, Dr. Nick signed the death certificate. And he maintains, as he did from that day, that the King of Rock died of natural causes: a heart attack.

“No one understands that Elvis was so complicated,” Dr. Nick said. “I worked so hard just to keep things together and then they turned the tables on me after he died and decided I was to blame.”

Jerry Francisco, Memphis’s medical examiner, surprisingly agreed with the natural death conclusion. Although, the chief pathologist at Baptist who oversaw the autopsy felt Elvis died from a deadly mixture of drugs, he was overruled by Francisco. “The pressure was on in Memphis,” the chief pathology investigator on the case, Dan Warlick, told me, “to make sure the King of Rock and Roll did not die a drug addict.”

Still, there’s no denying that Elvis’s toxicological report was a veritable what’s what of the day’s leading drugs. Four were discovered in “significant” quantities: codeine; Ethinamate, a popular sedative-hypnotic; Quaaludes; and a barbiturate, or depressant, that has never been confirmed but is reported as Phenobarbital. Elvis also had the painkillers morphine and Demerol; tranquilizers Placidyl and Valium; and Chlorpheniramine, an antihistamine.

Once the tox report was public, attention focused on Dr. Nick. On the morning of Elvis’s death, he had told Warlick that Elvis “only used antibiotics.” Later, Dr. Nick admitted he had prescribed in 1977 alone over 10,000 doses of opiates, amphetamines, barbiturates, tranquilizers, hormones, and laxatives for Presley. But he claims that they were meant not only for Elvis, but also for the up to 150 people that used to hang around Graceland and go on tour with the King.

“You have to put yourself back into that time,” Dr. Nick told me. “There were no such things as pain clinics or sleep centers. I needed both. I could not write a prescription in any other state, so when we were on tour, I was like the team physician. I had to treat the team patients. If I didn’t treat them, then they couldn’t do their work. There was no second string for each person, the guy who put on the lights, or the one that laid out the cords. If they couldn’t work, things didn’t get done. “

Dr. Nick maintains he used to check with the health boards for all tour cities to find out if there was a flu outbreak or anything for which he should pack extra drugs. “I had to carry so many drugs because of the things I might come across. And then someone might be allergic to a certain pill, so I had to carry the substitutes. I’d have several bags with the prescriptions with me.”

If they were for so many different people, why were they all dispensed only to Elvis?

“That was for his father. Only if he thought they were all for Elvis would he not complain about how much was spent.”

Dr. Nick contends that he’s unfairly criticized for having written so many prescriptions, but that he was Elvis’s only doctor, whereas most celebrities, like Michael Jackson, have many. “If you added up all their prescriptions, they’d be a lot more than mine,” he says.

"I don't regret any of the medications I gave him. They were necessities.” Dr. Nick says he asked large pharmaceutical companies to make placebos for Elvis for those pills that might be habit forming. After they said no, he claims he tried in vain to develop his own placebos. “Later, everyone attacked me, saying all I was interested in was making money from Elvis. That’s just not true. I never charged him for a house call, and I’d make those four or five times a week to Graceland.”

In 1980, three years after Elvis’s death, Dr. Nick was indicted on 14 counts of overprescribing drugs to Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and a dozen other patients. The district attorney ruled out murder because of Francisco’s natural death finding. The jury acquitted Dr. Nick on all counts. But later that same year, the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners found him guilty of over-prescribing, and gave him a slap on the wrist—suspending his license for three months and putting him on three years' probation.

In 1995, the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners permanently suspended Dr. Nick’s medical license after it was revealed that he had been overprescribing to numerous patients for years. His appeals were all rejected. “They just never stopped going after me, they always wanted a scapegoat for Elvis’s death,” he told me.

The man who once spent as much time as anyone with Elvis is reduced now to selling personal memorabilia for extra cash. This past June—by coincidence a day after Michael Jackson died—45 items that had belonged to Dr. Nick were sold in Las Vegas by Julien's Auctions. Julien’s is the world’s largest auction house for high-end celebrity estate and entertainment sales. It has sold everything from Jimi Hendrix’s studio guitar ($480,000) to a pair of Bono’s sunglasses ($24,000) to a jacket worn by Kurt Cobain ($87,000) to Marilyn Monroe’s personal phone book ($90,000).

“I want you to know that I had nothing to do with the Julien’s auction,” Dr. Nick told me. Turns out he had previously sold all those items—for an undisclosed price—to a private collector, wealthy Napa-based entrepreneur Richard Long. But Long decided to sell them through Julien’s. As the auction drew near, Long asked Dr. Nick to help out by recording some video promotions. The final product, a DVD titled Dr. Nick's Memories of Elvis, explained the history and events surrounding the gifts in his own words. Nichopoulos wouldn’t disclose how much he was paid for the video endorsements.

“Elvis was impulsive and very generous,” says Dr. Nick, “he’d give away things all the time. One important thing about Elvis is that material things didn’t mean diddly squat to him. He would buy something and wear it one time, or sometimes never even wear it at all, and then give it away. He was crazy about gadgets and got tired of them real fast. He would have been crazy for Sharper Image.”

Elvis gave Dr. Nick, among other items—the auction sales prices are in parentheses—a puka shell necklace he had worn on a Hawaiian movie set ($8,750). “Everyone had gone out shopping,” says Nichopoulos, “and I was in the room with him and couldn’t go. So he said, ‘Here, take this,’ and gave me the necklace.” Some of the other items Dr. Nick says Elvis gave him included a diamond encrusted TCB necklace—Taking Care of Business, the name of Elvis’s band ($117,000); a gold Piaget watch ($8,960); a Mathey-Tissot watch ($23,040); a ring with a large lapis stone ($33,750); a Cat’s Eye ring ($28,125); an Angelus watch ($8,960); a copy of one of Elvis’s favorite books, Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet ($16,640); and even a television set that once supposedly belonged to the King ($1,024).

Dr. Nick sold autographed pictures from Elvis, a tour scarf and jacket, a stuffed dog, one of Elvis’s kitchen bowls, and even the original newspaper with the headline “Nicholopoulos [sic] Found Not Guilty” ($768). Two pistols fetched nearly $10,000, and a display box of assorted security items brought $7,877.50. A single red strobe light went for $1,375. “He gave that to me and told me to put it on top of my car if I ever had to get to Graceland fast. I used it once and my son did once. The police stopped my son, but when he told them that Elvis had deputized us, they just waved him on.”

But every other item put up for auction paled in comparison to one: Nicks’s worn leather doctor’s bag and 9 prescription bottles with Elvis’s name printed on the labels. Julien’s thought the prescription bottles would fetch $800 to $1,200 each. Instead they brought in nearly five times that, a total of $53,000. And the doctor’s bag got a high bid of $16,000. Two items that Nichopoulos thought were virtual throwaways, a glass nasal douche used by Elvis to clean out his nostrils with a saline solution, and a laryngeal scope, used to examine his vocal chords, fetched $2,176 and $1,792, respectively. “My God,” said Dr. Nick, when I told him the final prices. “I can’t believe that.”

Does he consider it unsavory to sell Elvis’s prescription bottles? “Why?” he asked, with seemingly genuine surprise. “The connotation is that the prescription bottle is bad, but the prescriptions are for things like antihistamines, something for diarrhea, nausea, antibiotics. Just because it’s a prescription bottle doesn’t mean it’s a bad drug.”

What about many critics who think he was responsible for feeding Elvis’s addictions and now for profiting from his relationship? “I’m sick of being the whipping boy. No one understands that Elvis was so complicated. I worked so hard just to keep things together and then they turned the tables on me after he died and decided I was to blame. That was the worst part.”

As for second thoughts about selling memorabilia that marked their relationship, Dr. Nick says he isn’t finished. “There were several [doctor’s] bags,” he says. “I still have a couple of bags. And I think I may have some other prescription bottles.”

“People say I took advantage of Elvis, or stole those things, it’s all over the Internet,” Dr. Nick said. “That’s all I hear in Memphis. It drives me crazy. You break your balls to help somebody and try to keep him alive and it turns around you were in it for the money. I was one of his closest friends. At times I was his father, his best friend, his doctor. Whatever role I needed to play at the time, I did.”

Other questions? “You’ll have to read my book,” he says. The King and Dr. Nick: What Really Happened to Elvis and Me will be released by the Nashville-based Christian publishing giant Thomas Nelson next February. “I’ll be giving some interviews then.”

Gerald Posner is The Daily Beast's chief investigative reporter. He's the award-winning author of 10 investigative nonfiction bestsellers, ranging from political assassinations, to Nazi war criminals, to 9/11, to terrorism. He lives in Miami Beach with his wife, the author Trisha Posner.

I love "Death Week". Every year there's more good dirt on The King. I wonder if the same kind of celebration/remembrance/tattling will happen on the yearly of Michael Jackson or Billy Mays' deaths?

Posted via web from Mark Edwards 3.0

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

WOW. This is what a Mayor does?

THIS is what the MAYOR of St. Louis does. Straight from his blog. I can't make this stuff up. Click on the headline and see the actual post.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009
St. Louis’ Best Known
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A local television station’s recent broadcast description of Russ Carnahan as “one of St. Louis’ best known Congressmen” caught my ear – and suggests a few other possible designations: the Cardinals as “one of St. Louis’ best known pro sports teams,” the Arch as “one of St. Louis’ best known catenaries,” and toasted ravioli as “one of St. Louis’ best known appetizers.”

That's the best he's got? Maybe Hizonner could take a few minutes working on the high crime rate, lack of downtown development, disappearing convention business, plague of low birth weight babies, crumbling infrastructure, and don't get me started on transit.

I'm going home to the suburbs now. Its no wonder so many people in our area live OUTSIDE the city limits.

I've posted a phoneboo...


Posted via web from Mark Edwards 3.0

Very cool new app for the iPhone called audioboo, but it works from any phone. Its like Twitter without writing. And spam.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


I don't know how to go on without Paula Abdul on American Idol. She said she was FOREVER my girl. Maybe its time to bring back Brian Dunkleman.

Posted via web from Mark Edwards 3.0

Monday, August 03, 2009

Great Expectations Lead to Great Disappointment

Monday, August 3rd. The day Metro bus routes throughout St. Louis were restored. I got up, actually on time, called a cab to take me to the bus stop, and it came quickly. OK, I thought, we're on a roll here. Even the Bus Stop sign had been set up correctly, telling me a bus would soon come.

And come it did. Right on time at 5:56AM. But there were issues. The farebox didn't want to take my money, and the operator had to turn it on and off about a dozen times before it took one of my two dollar bills. Finally, he just gave up and told me to have a seat because the farebox was messed up and it wasn't worth wasting the time for the other dollar. BONUS!

The bus wasn't exactly packed when I got on as this video shows:

But as we went along, more and more people did get on, leading to a high of 14 passengers. Metro chose to use a smaller bus, so it seemed pretty full. But there were issues. The fare box still wasn't working, so people who wanted to pay cash got a free ride. The air conditioning kept turning itself off, so the operator told us we could open the windows if it got warm. Twice, he had to restart the bus because of some ind of problem with the air pressure, whatever that means. Not a good look since Metro has had MONTHS to maintain the buses that have been off the streets since the service cutbacks.

As we reached about 45 minutes into the trip, the bus finally gave in and broke down at the corner of Lindell and Compton, just a few blocks from the new bus stop Metro put up (see yesterday's post) for my convenience, but too far for me to walk to work. The operator talked to his dispatcher, who tole him to not try to restart the bus and have the passengers wait until the next 58X bus came along, which was supposed to be another half an hour. Of course, while the decision to scrub the mission (thank you NASA) another bus going in the same general direction as ours flew past us on our left.

The poor operator was only following directions, but the combination of missing what could have been a ride downtown, where most of the other passengers were going, and knowing it would be (now) about 25 minutes until a replacement bus would be on the way led to some of the "bus behavior" I've come to know and love in St. Louis:

Most of the passengers got off the bus, hoping something would come along to take them downtown. I waited on the bus with another passenger until the next bus came, which was about half an hour after the original bus broke down. The new bus stop was where it was supposed to be, although I couldn't see one on the other side of Compton for the ride home, and I got off and took the two block walk to the office. The trip took just under two hours from when the cab came to my house until when I hit the office.

So let's review the pros and cons of Service Restoration Opening Day:


  • The bus came on time
  • No problem finding a seat
  • Half price fare
  • As promised, Metro put a bus stop near my office
  • Metro didn't collect what they should have from the farebox (an important source of funding) because the farebox was broken
  • The bus had multiple mechanical problems on its first day on the newly restored route
  • The unavoidable confusion and lack of communications when the bus broke down made many people miss a bus that could have gotten them to their destination almost on time
  • Half hour wait for a replacement bus to pick up stranded passengers
  • In the end, the best laid plans of Metro were negated by poor execution
I started the day with such high hopes. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that there were problems, but the problems make Metro look less than competent to their customers and the people their customers tell about the experience, and that's a shame knowing what I know now about what it took to get the bus I took on the road at all.

And me? I'm thinking of taking a cab home tonight. Yes, its more expensive (by a long shot) but I don't have to worry about delays and equipment issues. Maybe, hopefully, Metro needs just another day to "iron things out".

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Words Of Praise For St. Louis Mass Transit Agency

Anyone who has read this blog or looks at the archives is well aware that I pull no punches in sharing my opinion of the St. Louis area's mass transit agency, Metro. Due to my visual handicap, I can't drive, so I have always relied on public transit, and the system in St. Louis is plagued with problems. I know how hard it is to run a public transit agency, but I firmly believe that Metro is a shambles, run poorly, and not providing the service that will keep the St. Louis region as vibrant as groups like the local version of the Chamber Of Commerce claim it is or want it to be.

I stand by my thoughts about Metro, and have learned a lot in the last few months about why they are in the shape they are in. Much of it is because they are stuck in the vortex of the "St. Louis Way" of politics, with inadequate support from the region's political establishment and even less support from local opinion leaders like
Charles Brennan at KMOX Radio. Full disclosure, I work for the company that owns KMOX, but not for that radio station, and any comments made on this blog are purely personal opinions. Like all public transit agencies, Metro is fighting an uphill battle, but they indeed face more obstacles than most, and that is a sad commentary on the St. Louis region.

That being said, I have words of praise for Metro, and a glimmer of hope for the future of the agency and mass transit in St. Louis. On August 3rd, Metro will restore service that was cut after the loss of funding, both to the city of St. Louis and the suburbs, where I live. That will not only restore bus service to many areas of the St. Louis region, it will bring some 300 people back to work at Metro, and hopefully bring growth to businesses along the newly restored bus routes.

Thanks to the efforts of the city of Chesterfield and funding from the public and private sector, transit service was restored to my area well before the rest of the region. The route they restored first certainly was a help to me, but not an ideal solution. I had to take a taxi, a bus, light rail, and another taxi to travel between my home and office. But at least I was able to use Metro again.

On August 3rd, Metro will reinstate the route I used to take, which stopped literally right in front of my office. This is what the bus stop looked like when that service was suspended, and the way it looks now. That's because when Metro decided to restore the route, they changed the way it ran in Midtown St. Louis, and the bus, actually NO bus, will pass by my office. While I know that affects ME, I also understand and appreciate that the new routing will help provide some kind of bus service to other areas that also had to do without.

Taking this newly restored route will not be a perfect solution either, as I'll have to take a taxi to a bus stop further from my home to get to the bus. However, the bus ride (which will be just under an hour) will take me to the area I work in without having to change to other buses or light rail. After checking out the new route, both on the internet and in person, I discovered there were no bus stops on the new route within a reasonable walking distance of my office. While the bus passes a couple of blocks away from the office, Metro didn't have a place for it to stop.

I contacted Jessica Mefford-Miller, Metro's acting chief of planning and system development, with the request that Metro consider adding a bus stop on Compton, a street just west of my office, so I could board the bus there. I made the request about a week before the service was to be restored, and I honestly had very little hope of even getting a response, let alone any action on my request. I have had very low expectations for Metro, but I know you never get if you never ask.

Much to my delight, I received a very prompt response from Ms. Mefford-Miller and we communicated via email a number of times during what had to be a horribly busy week for her. On Friday afternoon, I received this e mail:

Mr. Edwards,

Today Metro installed a bus stop on Compton between Market and Laclede. I hope you will find this additional stop will allow you to make your trip aboard Metro. We look forward to having you back.
Frankly, I was stunned. Someone at Metro was kind enough to take one person's needs into consideration and make using their system easier. I know Ms. Mefford-Miller and Ray Friem, Metro's COO, were instrumental in getting the first wave of service restored to Chesterfield, and Ms. Mefford-Miller's actions again showed me that there are people at Metro trying to make things better.

I applaud Metro (yes I said those words) for their efforts to obtain the funding to bring service back, for their planning the new service to help as many people as possible use public transit, and for overcoming the obstacles that challenge them on a daily basis in order to get all of this done.

I'm writing this before I board the newly restored bus, so I can only hope that its full of riders and that St. Louisians actually ride Metro, showing that the public will use mass transit. I understand Metro will try to get a new version of the failed tax increase it needs to operate on the ballot in the April, 2010 election. The last time the agency tried to get a tax increase, they enlisted the help of old school St. Louis political hacks who ran perhaps the most embarrassing campaign I've ever seen.

I hope the people at Metro who clearly do "get it" will not trust their agency's future to people who probably have never taken the bus and who don't have the vision to see the importance of mass transit to our region. Metro can't legally run their own ballot issue campaign, but surely they can find people who have more of a clue than the last set of goons they used that led to the defeat of Proposition M.

For now though, I'm grateful for Metro's efforts and optimistic that the darkest days are behind the beleaguered agency, the people who need its services, and the region that so badly needs good public transit.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Happy Birthday!

One of my favorite websites turned two years old this week. If you aren't a fan of My Damn Channel, you are really missing out. Here's a sample of the brilliance of the site.