Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Grey's Anatomy's Denny Lives On!

the character who didn't want to leave. and what a great character he was!
Life After Death
"Grey's Anatomy's" Morgan sees his career reborn after Denny dies.
By Mary McNamara
Times Staff Writer

May 31, 2006

HE did not go gently, neither was he proud. Jeffrey Dean Morgan hoped, prayed, schemed and finally begged for life; at one point, he marched into show runner Shonda Rhimes' office, turned those big shining eyes on her and pleaded: "Please, please, just let me live."

Rhimes was sympathetic, but Rhimes was firm, and on the season finale of "Grey's Anatomy," Morgan's beloved character, Denny Duquette, survived a difficult heart transplant, asked Izzie to marry him, got her to say yes and then, in the last few minutes of the show, had a stroke. While no one was watching, save the 19.9 million viewers sobbing in their homes, Denny quietly breathed his last.

"It was a grim day, let me tell you," Morgan says of shooting his death scene. "A dark, grim day. I'm still not over it. It broke my heart to leave that show."

The show, which follows the exploits of a group of Seattle surgeons-in-training, including Izzie and main character Meredith Grey, is one of the biggest hits on television. It has a devoted following, many of whom were apparently holding out hope that Denny, a long-ailing patient, would somehow pull through. After his death, countless fans lighted up the ABC switchboard in their sorrow and outrage; a few have circulated petitions in hopes that somehow Denny can be resuscitated.

"I don't think so," Morgan says with a grin. "I mean, I was blue."

But death does not trump fame; in some cases, it fosters it. After working as an actor for more than 15 years, after having guest appearances on "pretty much every TV show you can think of," Morgan has suddenly found himself a posthumous celebrity. Weeping women approach him in the supermarket, long-lost friends are falling out of the woodwork and, most important, producers and directors who wouldn't have given him the time of day a year ago are suddenly on the phone.

"It's very weird," he says, shaking his head with another one of those heartwarming grins "Grey's" fans would recognize at once (Morgan may well have the whitest teeth in television). "I mean, I've been kicking around this town for years. And for an actor, it's usually just about paying the mortgage and keeping the dog fed. But now I can actually think about the kind of projects I want to do. Now I can actually say no if I want."

Leaning back behind an iced coffee and an iced tea in a café near his home in Toluca Lake, Morgan has the look of someone who can't quite believe he's saying what he's saying.

But, in fact, he said no to an audition that day — because he had just agreed to do a movie starring Lisa Kudrow and Teri Garr that begins shooting in Austin, Texas, in a week.

"It's a small part," he says, "but can you imagine, Lisa Kudrow? And Teri Garr? I mean, 'Tootsie,' that's just amazing."

Of course, if he had been able to choose precisely what he wanted to do, he'd be back on "Grey's."

"Oh, I came up with lots of ideas for how I could come back," he said. "I mean, what if Denny had a twin brother named Lenny, who was a pediatric surgeon? They need a pediatric surgeon in that hospital."

Yet he went into the Denny gig knowing he was a goner. Rhimes had seen him as Mary-Louise Parker's dead husband on "Weeds" — "It has been the year for me to play the dead and dying," Morgan admits — and asked him to come in for an audition. "I almost didn't go because I wasn't feeling well, but when I heard she asked for me …"
read the rest

Monday, May 29, 2006

Joy Hakim's Joy of History

if more kids could read joy hakim's "the history of science," series we'd have more children interested in science and history.

she presents science in story fashion. she tells about the people who invented things and what was going on when they were thinking. joy tells about the greatest thinkers of all time -- einstein, archimedes, bacon, plato, pythagoros, aristotle....

she also writes about how cultures have always tried to mesh science and religion but it seems, throughout history, people could only tolerate one or the other. amazingly, it's still the same today!

the books are intended for young adults but i recommend them to anyone who never got to learn science or history in school, either because it was too boring or it wasn't offered.

Memorial Day

the day we celebrate all those soldiers who died, who didn't have to die but will continue to die, forever and ever. it's also time for picnicking. how odd.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

X-Files 2 the Movie

woo hoo! apparently, frank spotnitz is writing the screenplay

Pope Visits Auschwitz

words of the pope as he visited the auschwitz concentration camp :
"In a place like this, words fail; in the end, there can be only a dread silence, a silence which itself is a heartfelt cry to God: Why, Lord, did you remain silent? How could you tolerate all this?

why do popes always seem so out of it? why is he pointing his fingers at god? it was the people of the world who so ignorantly ignored the holocaust.

why doesn't god interfere on any number of tragedies going on? name it, darfur, the middle east... and on and on, forever and ever. and how about the everyday catastrophies-- child molestation, abuse -- that goes on and on in thousands, maybe millions of households? god would have to whoosh down every second of the day to keep human kind in line. the last time i checked god wasn't a babysitter.

the better question for the pope would be is: how can the pope better lead his flock to be more god-like? partial answer: by not blaming god.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Soul Patrol

as predicted by the hairball, taylor hicks wins.
but never mind the american idols. that was a rockin' show -- prince, dionne warwick, burt, al jarreau, live, mary j. blige, clay and his new do and..... MEAT LOAF! time to break out bat out of hell!
oh, and only 63 million votes -- more votes than most american presidents get. this is america!

Babies Watching TV

more parents are letting their babies watch tv, according to this story in the NYT.

here's what one mom has to say:

Ms. Beck-Wilson, an educational curriculum designer who lives in Fairfax, Va., has kept television out of her children's bedrooms. But she said that she and her husband, Hank, a stay-at-home dad, agree that if they need to do laundry, pack for a trip or tend to their newly walking toddler, their son Jack, 3, is better off watching PBS or one of his many Disney DVDs than running around unattended.

"It helps with his vocabulary and with learning about morals," she said. "A part of me thinks I am being lazy, and I shouldn't be doing this, but it's just easier."

you're right. it's lazy. forget about easy. parenting is not easy. it's not supposed to be easy. resist. wake up. there is no argument to be made that tv is good for babies. you need an hour to scrub the floor? you have a migraine? too bad.

okay, so there are worse things you could do. if you're inclined to hit your kids because you have a migraine, then by all means, plop them in front of the telly. but ideally, tv is something that can wait.

here's the kaiser family foundation study on the media's effects on kids

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Politicians Lure Church Pastor

i hate politics and typically avoid writing about such ick but this was a good story on NPR this morn: chris geeslin, pastor of a maryland church, says he got snookered by jack abramoff and his nitwits (including ed buckham and tom delay) who only pretended to pray as a cover for their illegal activities.
geeslin said he and buckham, "spiritual advisor" to delay, used to pray to bring the united states back to god. they'd pray for an hour at a time. they formed a nonprofit, us family network. that nonprofit (now closed) allegedly pulled in the dough for delay.

Taylor Hicks Wins American Idol

yes, the hairball likes the chili peppers, john frusciante and american idol!
so here's my prediction: taylor hicks.
why: cause he's the underdog.

this story in the la times attempts to predict who might win, alluding to the cute and the humble factors but ignoring the underdog factor. i suppose katharine mcphee could be considered an underdog because she started out not being a favorite. but she's young and likely to get a contract anyway.

taylor has been a working musician his whole life and is perhaps the oldest contestant on the show. he's quirky, weird. he's the underdog.

why did chris get the boot? he's a nice guy, who married a single mom and took his family under his wings. he can sing. he was my fave. all good. but he didn't show enough of himself. america wants to see. he also wasn't the underdog.
so with that, get ready for the gray haired american idol!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Stadium Arcadium

i was going to write my own review but this one should suffice. this one isn't just about the CD. this review has heart and is as a review should be.

Chili Peppers drop hot Jupiter and even better Mars
By Seth Satterlee
May 19, 2006 in Voices, the university of chicago's newpsaper

Over the last 23 years, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have established themselves as the most innovative band in music—I guess I should say “disputably,” but it really isn’t disputable. They have tried every genre of music that is worth making—which is pretty much everything except country—and have bridged the gap between the rock and rap worlds, bringing together listeners from both genres. Let me name a few examples: soft rock (“Under the Bridge”), pop rock (“By the Way”), hard rock (“Give it Away”), rap (“Around the World”), Latin (“Cabron”), doo-wop (“Someone”), funk (“Hump de Bump”), and ska (“On Mercury”). The point is: The Chili Peppers have done it all.

On May 9, with the release of Stadium Arcadium, they expanded their repertoire even further. With nearly four years since their last release (By the Way), Stadium Arcadium was, needless to say, highly anticipated. With 38 recorded tracks, the Chili Peppers originally planned to release a series of three smaller CDs. What eventually hit stores, though, was a double album—composed of Jupiter, the first CD, and Mars, the second, with 14 tracks each. The task of making a solid album with 28 songs is a big one, and, in the simplest terms, the album is absolutely monumental. But the Chili Peppers are most definitely back, and they come bearing one of their best albums to date.

For four years now, I’ve had to listen to the bullshit debate between Chili Peppers “fans” about By the Way being taken over by guitarist John Frusciante and the music not living up to the Chili Peppers of the past. Screw everyone who said that—or even thought it. Isn’t it OK for a band to evolve? The bass-dominated sound that came from Michael “Flea” Balzary’s unbelievable skills in the first six albums made the Peppers famous, but, with all due respect, Flea isn’t the only Chili Pepper who can play. Flea, the greatest living bassist, and Frusciante, the greatest living guitarist—this, too, is undisputable—play in the same band, so of course there is going to be a balance between the sounds. Just because Frusciante busted out a couple of sick solos on the album doesn’t mean Flea didn’t have his place in nearly every song. “Throw Away Your Television,” the most underappreciated track on the album, is basically Flea’s song. But to me, the funniest thing is that the Chili Peppers have absolutely no qualms about their own sound. They make great music and couldn’t care less about who is controlling the sound. They would be the world’s happiest band, if heroin hadn’t killed two of their members and driven another into rehab. But for all those disbelievers, just listen to Stadium Arcadium.

I think of Chili Pepper songs in three ways: great songs, good songs, and catchy songs. I’ve never heard a song of theirs that didn’t fall in one of these categories. By the Way had seven great songs, seven good songs, and one catchy song. Californication: seven, four, four. And Stadium Arcadium: 13, 10, 5. I am, of course, biased because for me, the Chili Peppers are the greatest band to ever play. Now, on to the actual music.

To everyone who had a problem with By the Way, Flea plays a much bigger part in Stadium Arcadium. He commonly sets the stage for Frusciante to come in with a nasty solo and “clean up,” as lead singer Anthony Keidis actually says in “Readymade.” The album’s first single, “Dani California,” falls in the pop-rock category. Mixing some intense rock with a little psychedelic and funk, the Chili Peppers start the album off with a bang. Chad Smith’s drumming has obviously improved since By the Way, which adds a nice flavor to Keidis’s quirky lyrics and the dynamic duo of Flea and Frusciante.

The song closes with an intense, intricate Frusciante solo, which happens to be very reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze.” A statement? I think so. Jupiter continues with “Snow ((Hey Oh)),” which is a softer song with a pleasant beat. Frusciante’s opening runs about 100 miles per hour, and he continues the same riff for nearly the entire song, making me wonder about hand fatigue and worry about carpal tunnel syndrome. The guy is a magician.

The rest of Jupiter is a tad sparse. Most of the really good stuff is rather slow; only a few of the upbeat songs hold their own. That said, the slower songs on Jupiter are really good. The title song, “Stadium Arcadium,” deserves a few listens because—although it doesn’t stick out as a title track like “By the Way”—it grows on you.

The five-minute “Stadium Arcadium” has you falling asleep when, suddenly, like a P.Funk meteor from the past, “Hump de Bump” takes the stage. What a weird song. Mixing rock with funk, the song is reminiscent of the style of music pioneered by former Chili Peppers producer George Clinton. But if you thought that’s all the song has to offer, you are oh-so-wrong. Near the end, we get a taste of some weird tropical sounds and a nice solo by Flea—on the trumpet, of all things. Sweet. Also worth a listen are “Slow Cheetah,” “Especially in Michigan,” and “Hey.” All slow songs, they fill the gaps in the rest of Jupiter. Each is an emotional song with rather strange lyrics—who’d have guessed?

Mars is the better of the two CDs. I could spend a page on 8 of the 14 songs. If you have any interest in the Chili Peppers, you need to hear “Desecration Smile,” “She Looks to Me,” “If,” “Made You Feel Better,” “Animal Bar,” and “We Believe.” But the two best on Mars are most definitely “Hard to Concentrate” and “Readymade.” “Hard to Concentrate,” the third song, is a love song like the Peppers have never made before. With a hand drum and the bass, the core of the music effectively highlights Keidis’s wonderful lyrics. It sounds like a wedding song and will make you cry like you’re at a wedding, too. It is the prettiest and most peaceful track the Red Hot Chili Peppers have ever recorded. With poetic mastery by Keidis and a smooth solo by Frusciante, the creative genius of Flea and Smith becomes a masterpiece.

Three songs later, with enough time to wipe the tears away, comes “Readymade.” With a fierce bass intro, the song gets your head bobbing immediately. It is impossible not to feel like a badass just listening to this song. About halfway through, Keidis steps back from the mic and says, “Clean it up, Johnny,” a prelude to a ridiculous guitar solo and some gibberish we haven’t heard since “Around the World.”

In closing, Stadium Arcadium is right on the mark. I’m sure I haven’t realized its full mastery yet—it took me a year to fully appreciate By the Way—but when I do, it’ll be my favorite Chili Pepper album to date. With that said, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have solidified themselves as the greatest four men to ever pick up instruments and play.

other reviews
and here

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Rick Rubin and the Dixie Chicks

rick rubin, the sleeping producer, has finished, for now, with the chili peppers and has moved on to the dixie chicks. from the nyt:
....After their own tour ended — it was the top-grossing country music tour of 2003 — the Dixie Chicks joined the Vote for Change concert series supporting John Kerry. They had babies; Ms. Maguire and Ms. Robison both had twins. And they decided to record their next album in Los Angeles. The producer they chose was Rick Rubin, who has made albums with the Beastie Boys, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Cash and Shakira. The Incident had sparked Mr. Rubin's interest.

"After the Incident everyone started taking what they said seriously," Mr. Rubin said by telephone from Los Angeles. "To take a band that's popular not for that reason and give them that power seemed very exciting.

"It's the biggest thing that's ever happened to them, and it rattled them and it changed them," he added. "The pain of it is really lingering. I thought they needed to somehow address what happened in a way that was truthful about how they felt, whatever that was. I just wanted it to be an honest reflection of that, but also told in a way that if you didn't know what happened to them and just heard the songs, you might relate to it anyway."

On previous albums the Dixie Chicks wrote the more lighthearted songs and got serious material from other songwriters. This time, Ms. Maines said, "We knew we had things to write about." Mr. Rubin brought in co-writers including Gary Louris, from the Jayhawks, and Dan Wilson, from Semisonic. "They took the fear out of us," said Ms. Maines. "You know, 'You need to say that because that's the truth and that's the way you feel.' "

The studio band included the Chili Peppers' drummer, Chad Smith, and the guitarist Mike Campbell from Tom Petty's Heartbreakers. Mr. Rubin encouraged the Dixie Chicks to experiment on arrangements. With its layered acoustic guitars and elaborate vocal harmonies, "Taking the Long Way" often has more in common with 1970's Fleetwood Mac than with bluegrass or the Southern-rock electric guitars of the Nashville Muzic Mafia behind Gretchen Wilson and Big & Rich. ("Home" included the Dixie Chicks' version of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide," which became a hit single.)

"I Like It" evolves from stark acoustic guitar to an ebullient Motown beat, while the gorgeous "Lullaby" uses no drums at all, as vocal harmonies cascade amid gently picked strings.

The Dixie Chicks sound determined not to whine on "Taking the Long Way," and they focus on personal reactions, not protests. The album is a defiant autobiography of their career, and "Not Ready to Make Nice" mentions the death threats after the Incident. But until it does, the song could be about the resentment following any breakup or betrayal.

"Lubbock or Leave It," a fierce country-rocker, describes Ms. Maines's Texas hometown as a hypocritical "fool's paradise" with "more churches than trees," blind to its own problems. But there aren't many other specifics on the album. Without the Dixie Chicks' back story, the songs work as meticulous pop vows of loyalty and determination.

Still, the Incident keeps peeking through the pretty arrangements. The countryish mandolin and pedal steel guitar of "Everybody Knows" carry the confession: "All the things I can't erase from my life/Everybody knows." An affectionate ballad, "Easy Silence," praises a companion who provides a refuge when "Anger plays on every station/Answers only make more questions." In the fiddle-topped waltz "Bitter End," one verse mocks fair-weather supporters: "As long as I'm the shiniest star,/Oh there you are." The album's finale, a gospel-soul anthem called "I Hope," insists, "I don't wanna hear nothin' else/About killin' and that it's God's will."

Three years after the Incident the Dixie Chicks insist that it liberated them. "When, no matter what you do, everybody's going to punch holes in it, then you just go and you do what you want," Ms. Maguire said. "And that's the most freeing place to be."

Ms. Maines added: "It will mean a lot to me if people buy the album just sort of out of protest. The naysayers and the people who were so organized to take us down did a really good job. And they succeeded. So it feels good to let the music win out in the end and say, 'Even your hatred can't stop what people want to listen to.' "

A smiling Ms. Maguire had the last word. "See you at the diamond record party," she said.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

How Deep is Your Love Frusciante
awesome video. in it a humble exchange between john and anthony after john is visibly thrown off during the cover of the bee gee's 'how deep is your love.'

more john on youtube. interview
mtv spin germany
while we're at it, a slew of fuse tv videos

Friday, May 19, 2006

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Indonesians Ignore Warnings About Volcano

when will this kind of headline become obsolete. didn't we learn from New Orleans and the katrina disaster that relatively poor people can't simply pick up and move and they have to protect what they do have so it's not like they're ignoring it. they're hoping for the best.

besides i hear they have a mystic guy who knows the volcano's spirits (he gets paid less than $1 a month to appease the these spirits) and he says it's not going to blow. it sure does look like it's going to blow though.

this is an AP photo

here's the science behind volcano eruptions.
how stuff works' scientific explanation
from HSW:
Of the 500 or so active volcanoes, around 10 are erupting on any given day. For the most part, these eruptions are small and well-contained, so they don't threaten life and limb. From time to time, however, we get a major eruption that either takes lives or, more often, devours property. And while not as catastrophic as life-threatening eruptions, these destructive events can certainly take a heavy financial toll on the victims.

There have been, in recorded history, dozens of extremely catastrophic volcanic eruptions -- one may even have wiped out an entire civilization. In fact, in just the last 200 years there have been 19 eruptions that have killed more than 1,000 people. Volcanic activity has certainly played a significant and destructive role in our history, and will continue to do so in the future.

This is only half the story, however. As destructive as it is, volcanic activity is one of the most important, constructive geological processes on Earth. After all, as we saw when we looked at plate tectonics, volcanoes are constantly rebuilding the ocean floor. As with most natural forces, volcanoes have a dual nature. They can wreak horrible devastation, but they are also a crucial element of the earth's ongoing regeneration. They are certainly one of the most amazing, awe-inspiring phenomena on the planet.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Chili Peppers No. 1

stadium arcadium at the top for the week ended sunday, selling more than 442,000 CDs

1. Stadium Arcadium, Red Hot Chili Peppers
2. What's Left of Me, Nick Lachey
3. 10,000 Days, Tool
4. Jagged Edge, Jagged Edge
5. Baby Makin' Music, Isley Brothers
6. Me and My Gang, Rascal Flatts
7. High School Musical soundtrack, various
8. Pearl Jam, Pearl Jam
9. Now That's What I Call Music! 21, various
10. Back to Bedlam, James Blunt

warner bros. press release:
LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 05/17/2006 -- Red Hot Chili Peppers' new album, "Stadium Arcadium," debuted at the top of the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart this week. This gives the band not only their first #1 album debut on their home turf, but also, incredibly, their first #1 album in the United States, period. Soundscan reported first week sales of 442,489.

"Stadium Arcadium" also debuted at #1 in 16 other countries around the globe: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, Switzerland, and United Kingdom.

Red Hot Chili Peppers' ninth studio album, "Stadium Arcadium," is a generous two-CD set with 28 songs. Produced by longtime collaborator Rick Rubin, it released last Tuesday (May 9) on Warner Bros. Records.

The Chili Peppers' last album "By the Way," (2002) scored the #2 spot on the Billboard chart. "Californication" (1999) and "BloodSugarSexMagik" (1991) both reached #3.

The band has also racked up a notable collection of #1 modern rock and rock tracks, including the current single "Dani California." The video supporting the hit single, directed by Tony Kaye ("American History X") portrays an entire history of rock 'n' roll in 4:46 min.

"Stadium Arcadium" has already been certified Platinum in Australia, Austria, Brazil, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the UK, as well as gold in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Holland, Norway, Spain, and Sweden.

The new album has also met with critical praise. For instance, Rolling Stone magazine critiqued: a "triumph that could pass for another, lesser group's great hits collection." Q magazine in the UK touted: "a band at the top of their game effortlessly raising the bar even further." People magazine opined: "an ambitious, inspired double disc... 'Stadium Arcadium' hits it out of the park." The New York Times stated: "the Peppers' best work since the 1991 'BloodSugarSexMagik.'" The Los Angeles Times essayed: " far their most accomplished." And the Independent in the U.K. reviewed: "One of the definitive American rock albums of the past three decades."

Next up, on Saturday, May 20, Red Hot Chili Peppers will don custom-designed Simpson race suits when they perform at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series All Star Challenge in Charlotte, NC (7 pm ET on FX). It will mark the first time the heavily-touring band has performed at a sporting event and the first time NASCAR has scheduled a performance during a race. The Chili Peppers will take center stage between the first and second race segments.

Red Hot Chili Peppers will launch their Stadium Arcadium World Tour in Barcelona, Spain on May 30. They will return to the United States to headline the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago August 4-6, and then kick off the North American leg of their World Tour on August 11 at the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, OR, continuing through November 5 at Excel Arena in Minneapolis.

live dani california video

Peruvian Female Warrior Mummy

she ruled
read the national geographic story

The tattooed mummy's tomb was dated at about A.D. 450 by conducting radiocarbon dating on the rope around her sacrifice victim's neck. Only one of the three other graves sharing her patio mausoleum contained a sacrifice victim as well, and radiocarbon dating on that victim's strangulation rope estimates the grave to be from 250-350. This would make at least one of the three other tombs older than the tattooed mummy's. Since the remaining two graves in the patio do not contain any material that can be tested by radiocarbon dating, it is unknown when they were dug, although archaeologists can estimate by matching pottery styles to previously dated grave goods found at other Moche burials.

—Emily Krieger

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

cool site to find book rankings. the maligned but still awesome book, a million little pieces, i know, i know, is still going strong at no. 80. for all the hullabaloo its worst ranking was no. 115. frey need never write again! the site is still in beta so it's free.

Chili Peppers top Billboard

photo, RHCP

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - The Red Hot Chili Peppers are on target to become the third rock band in as many weeks to reach the top of the U.S. album charts.

Based on reports of first-day sales, their first studio album in four years, the double-disc "Stadium Arcadium," should have no trouble topping 400,000 units when Nielsen SoundScan issues data for the week ended May 14 on Wednesday. The album is currently No. 1 in the U.K.

The current Billboard 200 champ is Tool, with sales of 564,000 units for "10,000 Days." The band took the crown from Godsmack, whose "IV" opened with 211,000 copies.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers' last studio set, "By the Way," debuted at No. 2 in July 2002 with 282,000 copies.


Castro Not a Greedy Dictator

that's what he says. here's an interesting light on Cuba's leader:
By Ian Katz
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

May 16, 2006

HAVANA � Cuban President Fidel Castro lashed out Monday night at a report in a U.S.-based magazine putting his net worth at $900 million, calling it "garbage" that "disgusted me."

At a nationally televised roundtable to rebut Forbes magazine, which this month released a wealth ranking of "Kings, Queens & Dictators," Castro said he reacted viscerally to the article. "I have to confess, the subject disgusted me," Castro said.

Referring to government social projects, he asked: "We did all this to make a personal fortune?" Castro started by speaking less than an hour before asking other top officials, including the Central Bank president and minister of culture, to weigh in. Previously, Castro has said he considered suing Forbes for its annual list. Last year the magazine put his net worth at $550 million.

Opinions about Castro's wealth vary widely among Cuba analysts. "I have no doubt that Castro has some money salted away," said Mark Falcoff, a Cuba and Latin America specialist formerly with the American Enterprise Institute. "Every dictator does. But $900 million strikes me as a rather large number. I would have expected that number for a leader of a larger country, like Peru or Venezuela."

Castro is known to have at his disposal several homes including hunting ranches, a fleet of Mercedes vehicles and private planes, said Antonio Jorge, a Cuba specialist and professor of economics and international relations at Florida International University. "If he has that kind of luxurious lifestyle, I would think it's not past him to take money for any eventuality," he said. "I find it hard to believe that over almost 48 years he has only skimmed $900 million."

Given that longtime dictators such as the Shah of Iran and Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines were reported to have fleeced their countries for billions of dollars, "I would not be surprised if Castro had $4 billion to $5 billion," he said.

Forbes "misses the point of what he really stands for," said Paolo Spadoni, an expert on the Cuban economy at Stetson University in DeLand. "I'm not saying he doesn't have money, but for him the main point is about having control. Money has never been his priority."

Harvard's Best of the Best

"Harvard is full of students who used to be the “best” in high school," says a student in the crimson, harvard's school newspaper. woe is them.

i love reading the harvard crimson, ever since the whole kaavya thing, the student who plagiarised several books it turns out and received a half a mil to do it. of course, she had to give it back but did going to harvard have anything to do with her shenanigans?

Monday, May 15, 2006

Stadium Arcadium Reviews 2

reviews updated 5-16!

my earlier reviews post was getting a bit lengthy. so i start anew here. after reading all these reviews, it's interesting to see the good the bad and the ugly. this one is plain ugly.

with reviews like this, I gotta ask myself, how do these critics get their plum jobs? first off, john has been "back with the band" for the past two CDs. not only is he back with the band, but he's prominently heard on stadium arcadium.

second, some reviewers try to be too cute and then write around their cuteness as in: "But cosmic voyagers promising to take you on a voyage to psychedelic musical landscapes?"
spare me.

third, they have poor taste. any critic who can't appreciate this record, fan or no fan, isn't worthy of their job.

fourth, this review comes late, compared to the others, and doesn't add anything of value to the mix. what does it really say? "but the lyrics get in the way." what does that mean, mr. critic? what it means is i, mr. critic, am lame.

Short on Spice -- Red Hot Chili Peppers’ return ends up a bit on the mild side
May 12, 2006
Ryan Lenz
The Associated Press

The Red Hot Chili Peppers have always been hyper-energetic ambassadors of funk. But cosmic voyagers promising to take you on a voyage to psychedelic musical landscapes?

Well, jump on the mothership, baby! The band was promising just that on Stadium Arcadium (Warner Bros.).

The album, 28 songs split between two discs titled “Mars” and “Jupiter,” was supposed to be the band’s long-awaited return to funkadelic realms they knew on BloodSugarSexMagik, the band’s 1991 release that cemented their reputation as artists.

But rather than a blitzkrieg of high-energy music driven by frantic bass rhythms and jaw-dropping lyrics, the album just teases with what it could be.

Maybe expectations are big on a band’s double album, this being the Peppers’ first. Call it the White Album syndrome — everything longer than a single CD must stand beside The Beatles’ legendary magnum opus.

Yet nowhere on the album does Stadium Arcadium pique with anything new.

You can see where the band was a decade ago on “Hump de Bump,” a libidinal groove which brims with slap bass melodies. You can hear where they were five years ago on “Dani California,” a gruff pseudo rap with chord progressions that mirror Tom Petty’s “Last Dance With Mary Jane.”

It’s disappointing — the ingredients were there for this to be something.

Guitarist John Frusciante is back with the band. And banking on the success — and the sound — of BloodSugarSexMagik, the Chili peppers even returned to the same house in the California hills where they recorded that album to produce Stadium.

What they left with, though, was predictable — a departure from those unpredictable pranksters who used to wear nothing but tube socks at live shows.

“Slow Cheetah,” an acoustic ballad filled with brooding lyrics, and heavy-handed guitar melodies, smacks of familiarity. And “C’mon Girl” sounds good, but the lyrics get in the way.

Too often on Stadium, you get the impression that a song was included not because it added to the album musically or thematically, but because the Chili Peppers could add it.

That’s no way to make an album.

MTV weenie roast review

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Chili Peppers Top UK Charts

red hots top the UK charts! word is john is looking dapper in his TV interviews over there.

LONDON (Reuters) - Veteran Californian rockers the Red Hot Chili Peppers have shot to the top of the British album charts with their new CD "Stadium Arcadium", the Official UK Charts Company said on Sunday.

The band appealed to fans earlier this month not to download illegally a poor sound quality version of the album when it was leaked onto the Internet by an unknown music pirate.

The chart success of the 28-track CD, the band's ninth studio album, comes ahead of a UK tour starting next month.

"Waterloo To Anywhere", the debut album from Dirty Pretty Things, formed by ex-Libertines band member Carl Barat, was a new entry at number three.

photo from RHCP

In the singles chart, American hip-hop duo Gnarls Barkley celebrated their seventh successive week at number one with "Crazy".

It is the 40th single to have earned seven weeks at the top since the UK charts started in 1952, a feat most recently achieved last year by Tony Christie and Peter Kay with "(Is This The Way To) Amarillo".

Soaring 13 places to number two was New York rapper LL Cool J with "Control Myself", featuring actress-singer Jennifer Lopez.

The Pet Shop Boys scored the top 10's only new entry with "I'm With Stupid" at number eight.

The single is the British pop duo's first top 10 hit since 2003. Their ninth studio album "Fundamental" is released later this month.

Road Trippin'

if you love old signs

i love norms!

roadside attractions at usa yesterday
old las vegas at classic vegas
upstate new york diners

Vermont Healthcare

here's how vermont is providing healthcare for everyone:
By ROSS SNEYD, Associated Press WriterTue

As many as 25,000 Vermont residents who have no health insurance will be able to get it under a reform package agreed to Tuesday by Gov. Jim Douglas and legislative leaders.

The bill would extend health care coverage to as much as 96 percent of the state's population by 2010. Currently, slightly less than 90 percent of Vermonters have health insurance.

"This gets health insurance into the hands of Vermonters who don't have it," said House Speaker Gaye Symington. "It isn't just insurance. It's quality insurance."

The bill — worked out between the Republican governor and leaders of the Democratic-controlled Legislature — calls for the creation of Catamount Health, a new insurance plan that would be sold by private companies but would be subsidized by the state for those who cannot afford it.

It would be funded by increases in the cigarette tax and a new $365-per-employee annual fee that would be imposed on businesses that do not provide their workers with insurance.

Advocates said Catamount Health would go further than the universal health care plan approved in Massachusetts earlier this spring. That is because the plan is designed to provide better care for people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer and head off serious complications.

It is designed "so we pay for the blood work and not the amputation," said House Health Care Committee chairman Rep. John Tracy, a Democrat.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Nukaks Give Up the Wild

"The future," he said, "what's that?"
those refreshing words come from belisario. he and his group, the Nukak-Makú, wandered out of the amazon jungle into real life.
facsinating really.
here's part of the story in the NYT:
Leaving the Wild, and Rather Liking the Change

SAN JOSÉ DEL GUAVIARE, Colombia — Since time immemorial the Nukak-Makú have lived a Stone Age life, roaming across hundreds of miles of isolated and pristine Amazon jungle, killing monkeys with blowguns and scouring the forest floor for berries.

But recently, and rather mysteriously, a group of nearly 80 wandered out of the wilderness, half-naked, a gaggle of children and pet monkeys in tow, and declared themselves ready to join the modern world.

"We do not want to go back," explained one man, who uses the sole name Ma-be, and who arrived with the others at this outpost in southern Colombia in March. "We want to stay near town. We can plant our own food. In the meantime the town can help us."

While it is not known for sure why they left the jungle, what is abundantly clear is that the Nukak's experience as nomads and hunter-gatherers has left them wholly unprepared for the world they have just entered.

The Nukak have no concept of money, of property, of the role of government, or even of the existence of a country called Colombia. They ask whether the planes that fly overhead are moving on some sort of invisible road.

They have no government identification cards, making them nonentities to Colombia's bureaucracy.

"The Nukak don't know what they've gotten themselves into," said Dr. Javier Maldonado, 27, a physician who has been working with them.

When asked if the Nukak were concerned about the future, Belisario, the only one in the group who had been to the outside world before and spoke Spanish, seemed perplexed, less by the word than by the concept. "The future," he said, "what's that?" He serves as a interpreter for the others. One of perhaps a few dozen indigenous communities living in relative seclusion in the Amazon basin, the Nukak have, in dribs and drabs, gone beyond the borders of their jungle world only since 1988, just as the world has intermittently found them. read the rest here.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

How Deep is Your Love

john frusciante is up to his tricks, singing classics during his solos at the RHCP gigs.

here is the bee gees' how deep is your love

for emily where ever i may find her
thanks to invisible-movement

here's a couple from a few years back, a great old time fave, fox on the run

maybe's got tons more

Harvard and Ritalin

i've been checking in on the harvard crimson lately, harvard's school newspaper, because other than plagiarisers, the school is supposed to pump out the smarty pants of the world and the future republicans. samuel m. simon ponders something i've wondered myself, even though i never could afford, never dream about mulling it over at a school such as harvard.
He says:
Until recently, I never asked why educated liberals become wealthy Republicans. The Republicans serve the rich, I thought, so anybody who makes any money has a strong incentive to start voting red. Ideals are nice, but they ain'’t gonna pay for the new Porsche. Granted, this view has a strong basis in fact. The Republican Party does support policies that help the rich. And rich people are smart-—they know their own interests. Poor rural folk may be voting against their economic interests because of God, guns, and gays, but rich people aren'’t fooled by the social issues; they know their economic interests, and they vote them.

he goes on to say that bush's tax cut actually hurt the middle class.

here's SOMETHING ELSE. forget about coffee, beer and the illegal drugs. in this story, rich, smarty pants students rely on the hard stuff -- prescription meds -- to study. wow! they really are smart. geez, i didn't even know you could do lines of ritalin.

Iran's Letter to the President

....the one dissed by ms. secretary of state, condi rice. it's a tough read, grammatically speaking, but interesting.
Mr George Bush, President of the United States of America
For sometime now I have been thinking, how one can justify the undeniable contradictions that exist in the international arena -- which are being constantly debated, specially in political forums and amongst university students. Many questions remain unanswered. These have prompted me to discuss some of the contradictions and questions, in the hopes that it might bring about an opportunity to redress them.

Can one be a follower of Jesus Christ (PBUH), the great Messenger of God,
Feel obliged to respect human rights, Present liberalism as a civilization model, Announce one's opposition to the proliferation of nuclear weapons and WMDs, Make War and Terror his slogan, And finally, Work towards the establishment of a unified international community – a community which Christ and the virtuous of the Earth will one day govern, But at the same time, Have countries attacked; The lives, reputations and possessions of people destroyed and on the slight chance of the … of a … criminals in a village city, or convoy for example the entire village, city or convey set ablaze. Or because of the possibility of the existence of WMDs in one country, it is occupied, around one hundred thousand people killed, its water sources, agriculture and industry destroyed, close to 180,000 foreign troops put on the ground, sanctity of private homes of citizens broken, and the country pushed back perhaps fifty years. At what price? Hundreds of billions of dollars spent from the treasury of one country and certain other countries and tens of thousands of young men and women – as occupation troops – put in harms way, taken away from family and love ones, their hands stained with the blood of others, subjected to so much psychological pressure that everyday some commit suicide ant those returning home suffer depression, become sickly and grapple with all sorts of aliments; while some are killed and their bodies handed of their families.

On the pretext of the existence of WMDs, this great tragedy came to engulf both the peoples of the occupied and the occupying country. Later it was revealed that no WMDs existed to begin with.

Of course Saddam was a murderous dictator. But the war was not waged to topple him, the announced goal of the war was to find and destroy weapons of mass destruction. He was toppled along the way towards another goal, nevertheless the people of the region are happy about it. I point out that throughout the many years of the … war on Iran Saddam was supported by the West.

Mr President,
You might know that I am a teacher. My students ask me how can theses actions be reconciled with the values outlined at the beginning of this letter and duty to the tradition of Jesus Christ (PBUH), the Messenger of peace and forgiveness.

There are prisoners in Guantanamo Bay that have not been tried, have no legal representation, their families cannot see them and are obviously kept in a strange land outside their own country. There is no international monitoring of their conditions and fate. No one knows whether they are prisoners, POWs, accused or criminals.

European investigators have confirmed the existence of secret prisons in Europe too. I could not correlate the abduction of a person, and him or her being kept in secret prisons, with the provisions of any judicial system. For that matter, I fail to understand how such actions correspond to the values outlined in the beginning of this letter, i.e. the teachings of Jesus Christ (PBUH), human rights and liberal values.

Young people, university students and ordinary people have many questions about the phenomenon of Israel. I am sure you are familiar with some of them.
Throughout history many countries have been occupied, but I think the establishment of a new country with a new people, is a new phenomenon that is exclusive to our times.

Students are saying that sixty years ago such a country did no exist. The show old documents and globes and say try as we have, we have not been able to find a country named Israel.

I tell them to study the history of WWI and II. One of my students told me that during WWII, which more than tens of millions of people perished in, news about the war, was quickly disseminated by the warring parties. Each touted their victories and the most recent battlefront defeat of the other party. After the war, they claimed that six million Jews had been killed. Six million people that were surely related to at least two million families.

Again let us assume that these events are true. Does that logically translate into the establishment of the state of Israel in the Middle East or support for such a state? How can this phenomenon be rationalised or explained?
Mr President,
I am sure you know how – and at what cost – Israel was established : Many thousands were killed in the process.

Millions of indigenous people were made refugees.

Hundred of thousands of hectares of farmland, olive plantations, towns and villages were destroyed.
This tragedy is not exclusive to the time of establishment; unfortunately it has been ongoing for sixty years now.

A regime has been established which does not show mercy even to kids, destroys houses while the occupants are still in them, announces beforehand its list and plans to assassinate Palestinian figures and keeps thousands of Palestinians in prison. Such a phenomenon is unique – or at the very least extremely rare – in recent memory.

Another big question asked by people is why is this regime being supported? Is support for this regime in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ (PBUH) or Moses (PBUH) or liberal values? Or are we to understand that allowing the original inhabitants of these lands – inside and outside Palestine – whether they are Christian, Muslim or Jew, to determine their fate, runs contrary to principles of democracy, human rights and the teachings of prophets? If not, why is there so much opposition to a referendum?
The newly elected Palestinian administration recently took office. All independent observes have confirmed that this government represents the electorate. Unbelievingly, they have put the elected government under pressure and have advised it to recognise the Israeli regime, abandon the struggle and follow the programs of the previous government.
If the current Palestinian government had run on the above platform, would the Palestinian people have voted for it? Again, can such position taken in opposition to the Palestinian government be reconciled with the values outlined earlier? The people are also saying why are all UNSC resolutions in condemnation of Israel vetoed?
Mr President,
As you are well aware, I live amongst the people and am in constant contact with them --many people from around the Middle East manage to contact me as well. They dot not have faith in these dubious policies either. There is evidence that the people of the region are becoming increasingly angry with such policies.
It is not my intention to pose to many questions, but I need to refer to other points as well.

Why is it that any technological and scientific achievement reached in the Middle East regions is translated into and portrayed as a threat to the Zionist regime? Is not scientific R&D one of the basic rights of nations.

You are familiar with history. Aside from the Middle Ages, in what other point in history has scientific and technical progress been a crime? Can the possibility of scientific achievements being utilised for military purposes be reason enough to oppose science and technology altogether? If such a supposition is true, then all scientific disciplines, including physics, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, engineering, etc. must be opposed.

Lies were told in the Iraqi matter. What was the result? I have no doubt that telling lies is reprehensible in any culture, and you do not like to be lied to.

Mr President,
Don't Latin Americans have the right to ask, why their elected governments are being opposed and coup leaders supported? Or, why must they constantly be threatened and live in fear?
The people of Africa are hardworking, creative and talented. They can play an important and valuable role in providing for the needs of humanity and contribute to its material and spiritual progress. Poverty and hardship in large parts of Africa are preventing this from happening. Don't they have the right to ask why their enormous wealth – including minerals – is being looted, despite the fact that they need it more than others?
Again, do such actions correspond to the teachings of Christ and the tenets of human rights?
The brave and faithful people of Iran too have many questions and grievances, including : the coup d'etat of 1953 and the subsequent toppling of the legal government of the day, opposition to the Islamic revolution, transformation of an Embassy into a headquarters supporting, the activities of those opposing the Islamic Republic (many thousands of pages of documents corroborates this claim), support for Saddam in the war waged against Iran, the shooting down of the Iranian passenger plane, freezing the assets of the Iranian nation, increasing threats, anger and displeasure vis-à-vis the scientific and nuclear progress of the Iranian nation (just when all Iranians are jubilant and collaborating their country's progress), and many other grievances that I will not refer to in this letter.

Mr President,
September Eleven was a horrendous incident. The killing of innocents is deplorable and appalling in any part of the world. Our government immediately declared its disgust with the perpetrators and offered its condolences to the bereaved and expressed its sympathies.

All governments have a duty to protect the lives, property and good standing of their citizens. Reportedly your government employs extensive security, protection and intelligence systems – and even hunts its opponents abroad. September eleven was not a simple operation. Could it be planned and executed without coordination with intelligence and security services – or their extensive infiltration? Of course this is just an educated guess. Why have the various aspects of the attacks been kept secret? Why are we not told who botched their responsibilities? And, why aren't those responsible and the guilty parties identified and put on trial?
All governments have a duty to provide security and peace of mind for their citizens. For some years now, the people of your country and neighbours of world trouble spots do not have peace of mind. After 9.11, instead of healing and tending to the emotional wounds of the survivors and the American people – who had been immensely traumatised by the attacks – some Western media only intensified the climates of fear and insecurity – some constantly talked about the possibility of new terror attacks and kept the people in fear. Is that service to the American people? Is it possible to calculate the damages incurred from fear and panic?
American citizen lived in constant fear of fresh attacks that could come at any moment and in any place. They felt insecure in the streets, in their place of work and at home. Who would be happy with this situation? Why was the media, instead of conveying a feeling of security and providing peace of mind, giving rise to a feeling of insecurity?
Some believe that the hype paved the way – and was the justification – for an attack on Afghanistan. Again I need to refer to the role of media. In media charters, correct dissemination of information and honest reporting of a story are established tenets. I express my deep regret about the disregard shown by certain Western media for these principles. The main pretext for an attack on Iraq was the existence of WMDs. This was repeated incessantly – for the public to, finally, believe – and the ground set for an attack on Iraq.
Will the truth not be lost in a contrive and deceptive climate? Again, if the truth is allowed to be lost, how can that be reconciled with the earlier mentioned values? Is the truth known to the Almighty lost as well?
Mr President,
In countries around the world, citizens provide for the expenses of governments so that their governments in turn are able to serve them.
The question here is what has the hundreds of billions of dollars, spent every year to pay for the Iraqi campaign, produced for the citizens?
As your Excellency is aware, in some states of your country, people are living in poverty. Many thousands are homeless and unemployment is a huge problem. Of course these problems exist – to a larger or lesser extent – in other countries as well. With these conditions in mind, can the gargantuan expenses of the campaign – paid from the public treasury – be explained and be consistent with the aforementioned principles?
What has been said, are some of the grievances of the people around the world, in our region and in your country. But my main contention – which I am hoping you will agree to some of it – is : Those in power have specific time in office, and do not rule indefinitely, but their names will be recorded in history and will be constantly judged in the immediate and distant futures.
The people will scrutinize our presidencies.

Did we manage to bring peace, security and prosperity for the people or insecurity and unemployment? Did we intend to establish justice, or just supported especial interest groups, and by forcing many people to live in poverty and hardship, made a few people rich and powerful – thus trading the approval of the people and the Almighty with theirs'? Did we defend the rights of the underprivileged or ignore them? Did we defend the rights of all people around the world or imposed wars on them, interfered illegally in their affairs, established hellish prisons and incarcerated some of them? Did we bring the world peace and security or raised the specter of intimidation and threats? Did we tell the truth to our nation and others around the world or presented an inverted version of it? Were we on the side of people or the occupiers and oppressors? Did our administration set out to promote rational behaviour, logic, ethics, peace, fulfilling obligations, justice, service to the people, prosperity, progress and respect for human dignity or the force of guns. Intimidation, insecurity, disregard for the people, delaying the progress and excellence of other nations, and trample on people's rights? And finally, they will judge us on whether we remained true to our oath of office – to serve the people, which is our main task, and the traditions of the prophets – or not?
Mr President,
How much longer can the world tolerate this situation? Where will this trend lead the world to? How long must the people of the world pay for the incorrect decisions of some rulers? How much longer will the specter of insecurity – raised from the stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction – hunt the people of the world? How much longer will the blood of the innocent men, women and children be spilled on the streets, and people's houses destroyed over their heads? Are you pleased with the current condition of the world? Do you think present policies can continue?
If billions of dollars spent on security, military campaigns and troop movement were instead spent on investment and assistance for poor countries, promotion of health, combating different diseases, education and improvement of mental and physical fitness, assistance to the victims of natural disasters, creation of employment opportunities and production, development projects and poverty alleviation, establishment of peace, mediation between disputing states and distinguishing the flames of racial, ethnic and other conflicts were would the world be today? Would not your government, and people be justifiably proud? Would not your administration's political and economic standing have been stronger? And I am most sorry to say, would there have been an ever increasing global hatred of the American governments?
Mr President, it is not my intention to distress anyone.
If prophet Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Ishmael, Joseph or Jesus Christ (PBUH) were with us today, how would they have judged such behaviour? Will we be given a role to play in the promised world, where justice will become universal and Jesus Christ (PBUH) will be present? Will they even accept us?
My basic question is this : Is there no better way to interact with the rest of the world? Today there are hundreds of millions of Christians, hundreds of millions of Moslems and millions of people who follow the teachings of Moses (PBUH). All divine religions share and respect on word and that is monotheism or belief in a single God and no other in the world.

The holy Koran stresses this common word and calls on an followers of divine religions and says : [3.64] Say : O followers of the Book! Come to an equitable proposition between us and you that we shall not serve any but Allah and (that) we shall not associate aught. With Him and (that) some of us shall not take others for lords besides Allah, but if they turn back, then say : Bear witness that we are Muslims. (The Family of Imran).

Mr President,
According to divine verses, we have all been called upon to worship one God and follow the teachings of divine prophets. To worship a God which is above all powers in the world and can do all He pleases. The Lord which knows that which is hidden and visible, the past and the future, knows what goes on in the Hearts of His servants and records their deeds. The Lord who is the possessor of the heavens and the earth and all universe is His court planning for the universe is done by His hands, and gives His servants the glad tidings of mercy and forgiveness of sins . He is the companion of the oppressed and the enemy of oppressors . He is the Compassionate, the Merciful . He is the recourse of the faithful and guides them towards the light from darkness . He is witness to the actions of His servants , He calls on servants to be faithful and do good deeds, and asks them to stay on the path of righteousness and remain steadfast . Calls on servants to heed His prophets and He is a witness to their deeds. A bad ending belongs only to those who have chosen the life of this world and disobey Him and oppress His servants . And A good and eternal paradise belong to those servants who fear His majesty and do not follow their lascivious selves.
We believe a return to the teachings of the divine prophets is the only road leading to salvations. I have been told that Your Excellency follows the teachings of Jesus (PBUH), and believes in the divine promise of the rule of the righteous on Earth.
We also believe that Jesus Christ (PBUH) was one of the great prophets of the Almighty. He has been repeatedly praised in the Koran. Jesus (PBUH) has been quoted in Koran as well; [19,36] And surely Allah is my Lord and your Lord, therefore serves Him; this is the right path, Marium.

Service to and obedience of the Almighty is the credo of all divine messengers.

The God of all people in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, the Pacific and the rest of the world is one. He is the Almighty who wants to guide and give dignity to all His servants. He has given greatness to Humans.
We again read in the Holy Book : The Almighty God sent His prophets with miracles and clear signs to guide the people and show them divine signs and purity them from sins and pollutions. And He sent the Book and the balance so that the people display justice and avoid the rebellious.
All of the above verses can be seen, one way or the other, in the Good Book as well.

Divine prophets have promised : The day will come when all humans will congregate before the court of the Almighty, so that their deeds are examined. The good will be directed towards Haven and evildoers will meet divine retribution. I trust both of us believe in such a day, but it will not be easy to calculate the actions of rulers, because we must be answerable to our nations and all others whose lives have been directly or indirectly effected by our actions.
All prophets, speak of peace and tranquillity for man – based on monotheism, justice and respect for human dignity.

Do you not think that if all of us come to believe in and abide by these principles, that is, monotheism, worship of God, justice, respect for the dignity of man, belief in the Last Day, we can overcome the present problems of the world – that are the result of disobedience to the Almighty and the teachings of prophets – and improve our performance?
Do you not think that belief in these principles promotes and guarantees peace, friendship and justice?
Do you not think that the aforementioned written or unwritten principles are universally respected?
Will you not accept this invitation? That is, a genuine return to the teachings of prophets, to monotheism and justice, to preserve human dignity and obedience to the Almighty and His prophets?
Mr President, History tells us that repressive and cruel governments do not survive. God has entrusted The fate of man to them. The Almighty has not left the universe and humanity to their own devices. Many things have happened contrary to the wishes and plans of governments. These tell us that there is a higher power at work and all events are determined by Him.

Can one deny the signs of change in the world today? Is this situation of the world today comparable to that of ten years ago? Changes happen fast and come at a furious pace.
The people of the world are not happy with the status quo and pay little heed to the promises and comments made by a number of influential world leaders. Many people around the wolrd feel insecure and oppose the spreading of insecurity and war and do not approve of and accept dubious policies.
The people are protesting the increasing gap between the haves and the have-nots and the rich and poor countries.

The people are disgusted with increasing corruption.
The people of many countries are angry about the attacks on their cultural foundations and the disintegration of families. They are equally dismayed with the fading of care and compassion. The people of the world have no faith in international organisations, because their rights are not advocated by these organisations.
Liberalism and Western style democracy have not been able to help realize the ideals of humanity. Today these two concepts have failed. Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic systems.
We increasingly see that people around the world are flocking towards a main focal point – that is the Almighty God. Undoubtedly through faith in God and the teachings of the prophets, the people will conquer their problems. My question for you is : Do you not want to join them?
Mr President,
Whether we like it or not, the world is gravitating towards faith in the Almighty and justice and the will of God will prevail over all things.

Vasalam Ala Man Ataba'al hoda
Mahmood Ahmadi-Najad President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


one of the best shows on TV.

patricia arquette brilliantly plays alison dubois, a real-life medium. dubois is one of the subjects in a new science book with a bad title -- Spook, by mary roach. the book aims to scientifically prove the existence or nonexistence of the soul by tripping back in history and revisiting psychics and such from the past. the book is a great read with the strongest piece of evidence for the soul coming from the veritas program at the University of Arizona, which is studying psychics like dubois.

ironically, dubois debunks gary schwartz, who's heading the research at the university, for writing the truth about medium, and using her gift to make a profit. schwartz fights back here.

funny, on you can get a deal when you buy both books together!

allison's book recommendations are here.

back to medium.

the writing is terrific and so are all of the actors, especially Jake Weber, who plays dubois' aerospace engineer husband Joe (do they make guys like that? i think not. his real life blog), Maria Lark, who plays the precocious Bridget, one of allison's daughters, and Sofia Vassilieva, who plays allison's daughter, ariel.

kelsey grammer, who recently doubled as a devious insurance salesman and the devilish angel of death, produces the show.

the show doesn't get much press but it has a following, about 11 million viewers, and has been renewed for next season. yay!

photos from

It's a John Frusciante Day!

and a Red Hot Chili Peppers Day!
stadium arcadium is out! thank you, thank you, thank you..........
early faves: so much i, storm in a teacup, turn it again (do guitar solos get any better?), charlie, desecration smile, especially in michigan, hey, hump de bump, hey oh, stadium arcadium, make you feel better, strip my mind (with a soothing frusciante vocal intro), tell me baby, wet sand, (of course) dani california, 21st century, animal bar, death of a martian, if (love the guitar on this one)........... oh, dear, i think i've listed all of Jupiter and Mars.
the CD is blissful. a more in-depth review to follow after a few more spins.

photo courtesy of RHCP fan club

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Stadium Arcadium Reviews

note: this page is being updated as reviews come in; updated 5-16!

the Mars Volta opening for the chilis. another John Frusciante influence!

Stadium Arcadium reviews:
buffalo news this one is right on:
Throw all of this together, and you've got one of the first double-albums since the Beatles "White Album" that can fully justify its own length. There are no dogs among these 28 tunes, no filler, no moment when you start to feel the excitement wane, or the purpose becoming a bit obfuscated or soggy.

the mariner
toronto sun
bradenton herald today
usa today
detroit news
the globe and mail
rocky mountain news note: this reviewer was listening to another CD
u of maryland's diamondback
san diego
edmonton sun
the observer (a knucklehead)
the guardian
the independent
metro france
interview with chad modern drummer
bloomberg (another knucklehead)
the sun

Miami Herald
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stadium Arcadium (Warner Bros) -- Now that iTunes has rebirthed the popularity of the single, releasing a 28-song, double-disc CD set is the height of audacity, a throwback to the excesses of the '70s. But with producer Rick Rubin in top form these days, the band does the near impossible by releasing a viable double album that doesn't make listeners wish it had been pruned into a single disc. The inspired Stadium Arcadium (in stores Tuesday), the band's ninth studio set, finds the Peppers at a peak where vocalist Anthony Kiedis continues to improve as a singer, the agile rhythm section of Flea and Chad Smith hit hard, Prince-worthy funk (Charlie) and sublime post-Californication balladry in Snow (Hey Oh) with equal aplomb, and guitarist John Frusciante cuts loose with jet engine-sized solos on a batch of rock cuts like Turn It Again. Howard Cohen

LA Times
Josh Kun
The difference between the Hollywood dream and the California dream comes down to a question of scale. Hollywood is about the quick flash of stardom and the instant gratification of excess. California is more epic, a glowing, limitless ideal based on the promise and deliverance of the West. Both are risky ventures. Both can kill you. But of the two, California is the better bet: There will be earthquakes and fires, but you just might wake up saved on the beach, with nothing but endless horizon in front of you.

When the Red Hot Chili Peppers formed in 1983, they were a Hollywood band. Though not natives, the Fairfax High grads became synonymous with Hollywood as if it was their motherland (they suggested as much in 1985 when they covered the Meters' "Africa" and changed it to "Hollywood"). A playground for their nudist escapades and drug binges, Hollywood was not a place for the Chili Peppers as much as it was the freak-show centerpiece of a post-punk worldview rooted in reckless hedonism, overheated sexuality and the Lakers. They bragged of being "the funky young kings" of the West and sang about riding saber-toothed horses through the Hollywood Hills.

By 1991's "Blood Sugar Sex Magik," though, the ravages of addiction and death had taken their toll (their founding guitarist, Hillel Slovak, overdosed in 1988), and gradually the Chili Peppers traded the one dream for the other. They became a California band.

They tried to formulate it as a philosophy on 1999's "Californication" ("Destruction leads to a very rough road," they sang on the title track, "but it also breeds creation") and then carried it out with the kind of lyrical introspection and musical grace that few thought the Chili Peppers -- once responsible for songs such as "Catholic School Girls Rule" -- were capable of on 2002's sun-kissed "By the Way." You could practically hear waves breaking between every song.

All this seems to have just been practice for "Stadium Arcadium," their ninth album and by far their most accomplished California recording to date. Full of stories of destructive sunshine, dead dreams and water that will wash it all away, "Stadium" nods to some obvious lyrical and musical influences from the California audio pantheon -- the Mamas and the Papas, X, the Beach Boys -- without ever getting lost in them. It opens full-throttle with "Dani California," a windows-down Pacific Coast Highway cruise that's a ready-made summer anthem. Anthony Kiedis sounds like a John Fante character when he sings "With a name like Dani California, the day was gonna come when I was gonna mourn ya."

Produced by longtime Chili Peppers affiliate Rick Rubin and spread out over two discs and 28 songs (there were 10 more that didn't make the cut), "Stadium" is big, majestic and mature. It overflows with the kind of music the Chili Peppers do best: a physical, often psychedelic mix of spastic bass-slapped funk and glistening alt-rock spiritualism. Only they've never sounded this good as musicians. The use of analog tape lends a raw, organic touch to the whole album and the Chili Peppers come off more assured and confident than they ever did back when they made a career out of bragging.

Much of the credit goes to Kiedis, who used to confuse singing with shouting and slurring. On "Stadium," he doesn't just dabble in melody, he's a glutton for it, imbuing almost every song with layers of vocal emotion. He plays a hippie folk singer on "If," goes trashy disco on "21st Century," and proves he's gotten only better at spewing brash, light-speed funk verse on "Warlocks" (where Billy Preston drops in on clavinet) and "Hum De Bump," two of many "Stadium" tracks that hark to the pelvic thrusts of the band's first few albums.

Kiedis' drug haze has long lifted and you can hear the rehab in his increasingly elastic voice. "I've had a chance to be insane," he sings on "Slow Cheetah," "I've had a chance to break."

"Stadium's" real star, though, is guitarist John Frusciante, who plays like a possessed pointillist, dotting "Stadium" with prismatic rock solos, spirited jazz fills and an ambient array of squiggles, squeals and slides. Flea has always been a bass virtuoso but he outdoes himself on "Torture Me," where he percolates his way through Chad Smith's churning hard-core drum blast and then slows into a pop chorus before the whole thing gets dressed in regal horns.

Elsewhere on "Stadium" there's a cello, a French horn and even a big choral singalong, but part of the album's charm is how unaware it is of its own grandeur. Who has time for posturing when there are lives to rebuild? "We could all come up with something new to be destroyed," Kiedis admits on "Desecration Smile." With Stadium, the Chili Peppers take pleasure in leaving destruction behind, and rolling the dice on their beloved California one more time.

the australian

IN an era of rock marked by the return of the 40-minute album, few acts -- or labels for that matter -- would be brave enough to release a 28-song double set of new material. But then, not everyone is the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Stadium Arcadium is a grand album in a number of ways. Grand because two albums -- one called Jupiter and the other Mars -- raise tentative questions about quality control and egocentric goofing off. Grand too because the Chili Peppers have done their damnedest to make this their ultimate statement, to prove they remain one of the most original and cohesive bands on the planet and that they are capable of encapsulating everything that came before in one glorious middle-aged punk-funk, rap-metal celebration. They just about pull it off, too. Part of the plan here was to make Stadium Arcadium a concept offering (something to do with kabbalah philosophy, apparently) so every song has its place. It's all tight and bright, too, thanks to the band's unerring chemistry and Rick Rubin's unobtrusive production. The one constant, however, is guitarist John Frusciante. He's everywhere, funking it up on Charlie and going off the scale on the rockier She's Only 18. His subtle textures and grand histrionics have never complemented the others so well. Flea's bass flies in places, such as on the frenetic Torture Me and the poppier C'Mon Girl, while singer Anthony Kiedis has never been in better voice: assertive, soulful and even fragile on the likes of She Looks to Me and Desecration Smile, the latter a real change of pace in a 1960s psychedelia kind of way. Twenty-three years on, Stadium Arcadium is an album fresh enough, but still grounded in their basic formula, to keep the Chili Peppers ahead of the pack.

Iain Shedden



To make their ninth studio album, the Red Hot Chili Peppers looked back to what was arguably their greatest triumph, 1991's BloodSugarSexMagik: They wrote the songs in the same place, they recorded them in the same Hollywood Hills house, and they used the same producer (the brilliant Rick Rubin). The Chili Peppers ended up recapturing the old magic and then some, turning out an ambitious, inspired double disc that just may go down as the best thing of their career. Stadium Arcadium hits it out of the park with 28 songs evenly split between two CDs, Jupiter and Mars, which, had they been released individually, would have easily stood alone. Packaged together, though, there's more room to showcase the sprawling scope and crack musicianship of a band that, against all odds, continues to evolve. Frontman Anthony Kiedis, especially, has grown from a one- note rap-rocker to a real singer capable of emotional depth and nuance, as well as testosterone-fueled aggression. Each member really gets to shine, though: Flea, in addition to laying down his usual funky bass lines, even gets to show off his trumpet skills. While they take the melodicism of 2002's By the Way to new heights-- a dreamy ballad like "If" would make Coldplay jealous--they also demonstrate that they can still kick it old-school on blustering jams like "Storm in a Teacup." [4 stars]

centre daily times

By Cole Hons, for the CDT

Very few bands have the staying power of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Like U2 and R.E.M., the Chilis came up in the '80s, but continues to make relevant music and sell millions of records today. On "Stadium Arcadium," the band's ninth studio release, the world's most popular Los Angeles bad boys prove they're still in love with music and willing to experiment.

The record is a double-disc set, with 28 songs and more than two hours of music. This format can often lead to a whole lot of filler, but "Stadium" stands up very well. A huge, warm, deep sound permeates every track, making it obvious that a lot of time and effort went into the production. But with Rick Rubin back in the producer's seat, that's to be expected.

Ever since Rubin first brought the Chilis into the top 10 with the massively influential "Blood Sugar Sex Magic" in '91, Anthony Kiedis, Flea and co. have been expanding their sound beyond the good-time party vibes they mastered throughout the '80s. On this disc, they continue to grow. Notable successes include:

u "Make you Feel Better": The band leaves the funk behind in favor of a bouncy New Wave beat that Modern English would have been proud of, then adds sweet surf-rock harmonies and touches of rockabilly guitar.

u "Animal Bar": Another return to the '80s style, but in the underground New Wave vein, with a Mike Watt-style bassline.

u "We Believe": The band has mixed laid-back jazz and propulsive rock forever, but it takes that vibe to a new level on this smooth head-bopper.

Other gems include "Torture Me," a furious groove, with massive gospel-esque harmonies and an unexpected synthetic horn figure, recalling "Nothing's Shocking"-era Jane's Addiction. Over a monstrous beat, Kiedis coolly muses "A vintage year for pop I hear/The middle of the end is near."

"C'mon Girl" is one of the most extreme fusions of house disco and wild-eyed rock the band has ever dreamed up. "So Much I," "Hump De Bump" and the vaguely homo-erotic "Charlie" are all fine returns to punk-funk party form. And "Stadium's" fine collection of sad-eyed ballads demonstrates that Kiedis' vocal subtlety continues to deepen with age. "Hard to Concentrate," "If" and "Slow Cheetah" contain some very delicate sounds, and the gorgeous title track recalls the similarly mournful title track of "Californication."

Much of the music here shows the musicians of the Red Hot Chili Peppers just doing what they do best -- kicking out the funky jams, throwing a nod or two to '70s classic rock, and messing around with wild guitar tones, while Kiedis makes weird, stream-of-consciousness rhymes atop it all.

John Frusciante's guitar playing is absolutely fabulous, as daring as ever. Flea continues to be one of the most versatile bass players in rock. And Chad Smith is still laying down expertly solid grooves. As usual, the band's efforts create a perfect backdrop for Kiedis' goofy, sensitive soul-brother routine.

With a sorrowful, minor-key vibe running through both discs, the band creates the sensation of partying amidst the shambles of a crumbling world. Maybe it's thinking of leaving. The two CDs in the set are titled "Jupiter" and "Mars," respectively. Wherever they end up, the Chilis should be OK. These tracks are fine enough to rock the cosmos, whatever planet you're on.

Entertainment weekly
Listen to the Red Hot Chili Peppers' new hit single, "Dani California," and you'll get a sense of what's good, bad, and aggravating about Stadium Arcadium, the band's ninth studio album. The song opens with the Chili Peppers rehashing their funky white- boy shtick, as frontman Anthony Kiedis spits out half-baked slacker rap over a swaggering beat. But then guitar whiz John Frusciante lays down his sledgehammer riffs, Kiedis begins to actually sing the elegiac chorus, the golden harmonies of the bridge kick in, and by the end, you're blindsided by how great it all sounds.

Just like the single, the two-CD Stadium Arcadium (one inexplicably named "Mars," the other "Jupiter") has flashes of brilliance and moments of inanity. Think of it as a 122-minute, 28- track encapsulation of the varied musical phases of the quartet's bumpy 22-year career. There's the early, sophomoric punky funk, the career-making alterna-ballads, and the unlikely late-'90s revival as mature, tuneful, middle-aged rock stars. Maybe they're playing it safe by casting such a wide net. But who can blame them? Their last album, 2002's By the Way, went too far into mellow navel-gazing territory for their party-hearty fans. It moved under 2 million copies--a definite disappointment after 1999's quintuple-platinum career reboot, Californication, which savvily added textured pop ("Otherside") to their well-loved mix of moody post-addiction meditations and mosh-pit grooves.

Stadium Arcadium ensures that graying Lollapalooza-era fans, indie teens, and rowdy lunkheads will all be satisfied. Arenas will explode to the Funkadelic-esque "Readymade" and the psychedelic shredfest "Turn It Again," with its orgasmic, multi-tracked guitar coda. Married-with-children Pepperheads can snuggle to the spiritual pop epiphanies ("Stadium Arcadium") and love songs like "Hard to Concentrate," where Kiedis admits that even serial model daters have monogamy envy.

By reaching out to the next generation of testos-terone-fueled party animals, however, the Peppers stumble. Their '80s frat-rap mode, with its slap-bass diddling and bonehead rhymes ("Warlocks"), lingers like a bad case of mono. It's not that the James Brownish "Charlie" is any worse than a sock-era classic like "Fight Like a Brave" (it might even be better), but to anyone used to the virtuosity of Jay-Z, Kiedis' clumsy flow sounds as dated as an episode of Small Wonder.

When you try to deliver something for everyone--particularly with a double album--a few missteps are to be expected. (They actually recorded 38 tracks with producer Rick Rubin, so we should be thankful it's not a triple disc.) In the era of MP3 ripping and burning, is a slightly bloated two-hour disc worth bitching about? Not really. With a few clicks of the mouse, Stadium Arcadium can become the streamlined, near-perfect disc hidden within. B+

Boston Herald
Grade: B+

The Red Hot Chili Peppers always have been a bit contrarian. When starting out as a punk band, they knelt at the altar of P-Funk, not the Sex Pistols. In the grunge era, instead of flannel they donned nothing but strategically placed tube socks. Now in the singles- obsessed era of iTunes, they've released a 28-song double CD.

Surprisingly, "Stadium Arcadium" (out tomorrow) has little filler. It may be overwhelming and over-the-top in its sheer breadth, but the L.A. punk-funk veterans deliver the goods.

"Stadium Arcadium" resumes the Chili Peppers renaissance, a comeback that began with 1999's "Californication." Produced by Rick Rubin, it continues the foursome's recent obsession with melody, breathy harmonies and dense sonic textures. That said, glimpses of their manic and unhinged early years pop off often, most notably in the throwback shout-funk of "Hump de Bump" and the slap-bass explosion "Tell Me Baby."

Now all in their 40s, the Chili Peppers reveal an increased maturity, both musically and lyrically. On "Hard to Concentrate," the band locks into a percolating Afro-pop groove with fluttering guitars and bouncing bass lines, underscoring singer Anthony Kiedis' bid for the domesticated life:"All I want is for you to be happy and take this moment to make you my family." A bit of a departure from "Suck My Kiss," no?

Even with the charismatic Kiedis and the blitzkreig bass-playing Flea, the undisputed star is guitarist John Frusciante. While tasteful and restrained on previous efforts, he cuts loose on all 28 tracks, whether shredding monster riffs ("Readymade"), plucking delicate lines ("C'mon Girl") or nailing dirty feedback-laced guitar solos ("She's Only 18").

Yes, there are duds. Fortunately, the forgettable tracks are far outnumbered by standouts. Due to the music-buying public's ever- decreasing attention span, the Chili Peppers may not revive the rock tradition known as the double album. But they've never been about setting trends. They're about defying them. Download: "Dani California." - Christopher Blagg

Chicago Tribune

Peppers' Stadium: Too much of too little
By Greg Kot, Tribune music critic
On their latest album, the unnecessarily excessive double-CD "Stadium Arcadium" (Warner), the Red Hot Chili Peppers try to complete their evolution from orangutanlike hedonists into sensitive human beings.

They are only partially successful. At the end of this arduous 28-song haul, newly spiritual singer Anthony Kiedis is still a freak. He may profess his love and respect for the opposite gender, but hair keeps sprouting from his palms.

It's not for lack of trying. Two hour-plus discs dubbed "Mars" and "Jupiter" paint the Peppers as enlightened adults who respect their women and one another, have sworn off drugs and bought into monogamy. Past escapades with catastrophic groupies and even more catastrophic chemicals are painted as cautionary tales. Redemption, or striving for redemption, is the overriding theme.

Hedonistic rock stars who have found "the way" are a dime a dozen, and the Chili Peppers are less credible than most. Perhaps it's the once ubiquitous images of these fun-seekers wearing nothing but strategically placed tube socks on their otherwise naked physiques that leave me somewhat dubious. That, and Kiedis' sentiments in the barely legal "She's Only 18": "I put my lovin' in your oven." Once a rogue, always a rogue.

Singles parade

But, give them this: After bringing the party booga-booga in their first decade, the Chili Peppers turned into the great alternative-rock singles band of the '90s and beyond. And they're in no danger of stopping now.

The memorable songs that were so elusive in the '80s poured out of them with regularity on such hits-heavy releases as "Blood Sugar Sex Magik" (1991), "Californication" (1999) and "By the Way" (2002).

Though none of those albums was a start-to-finish classic, there were enough memorable tunes to justify the Los Angeles quartet's rise into arena-rock icons.

During this era, their collaborations with producer Rick Rubin yielded a bounty of songs with catchy melodies, delectably androgynous harmonies, mind-melting bass lines (Flea, take a bow) and transcendent guitar solos (from Jimi Hendrix disciple John Frusciante).

Rubin is back as producer for "Stadium Arcadium," but his usually rigorous songwriting standards have gone flabby; this is a "Stadium" full of filler. For a band that has always succumbed to overkill, this is no surprise. If the party was the downfall of the '80s Peppers, which lost guitarist Hillel Slovak to a drug overdose and nearly lost Kiedis to his addictions, then "Stadium" stumbles in its belief that more is better. Not even half of these 28 tracks is worthy of release.

Radio-hit possibilities

Fans must pick through the detritus to find the gems, several of which should wind up as radio hits: the hypnotic momentum of "Snow (Hey Oh)," the vocal harmonies that balance the brutal terseness of "Make You Feel Better," the wicked interplay between Flea and Frusciante on "So Much I." Frusciante's contributions alone make a worthy listen, whether biding his time to take over a song at strategic intervals ("Turn It Again"), laying down a gorgeous countermelody ("Desecration Smile"), unleashing a striking solo ("Strip My Mind") or veering from rhapsody to release ("Torture Me").

But it's merely the outline of what might've been a promising single CD. Like their self-satisfied classic-rock forebears, the Chili Peppers have become victims of their own excesses. Remarkably, it wasn't the drugs and partying that sunk them. It was their misguided belief in their prowess as prolific songwriters.

Charlotte Observer

The 28-eight song double album, "Stadium Arcadium," might come as a shock had it been released right after the Red Hot Chili Peppers' 1991 commercial, Rick Rubin-produced breakthrough, "Blood Sugar Sex Magik." Following the maturity of 1999's "Californication" and 2002's "By the Way," "Arcadium" is the next logical step, if a somewhat long, wide one.

Despite the audacity of a double album in an increasingly singles-friendly world, the Chili Peppers don't fall on their faces because they (with Rubin's help) stick to what they do best -- hopped-up funk, and more frequently, the textured mid-tempo pop they first tapped into with "Breaking the Girl" on "Blood Sugar." With rich vocal harmonies, guitarist John Frusciante's refined playing (only showy when it's called for) and the tight, dependable, flowery-funk rhythm section of Flea and Chad Smith, RHCP have perfected their brand of edgy pop.

They still have fun romping through the first single, "Dani California," and get old-school silly on "Hump de Bump," although it's the most annoying track. The dark, big title track and single-ready "Tell Me Baby" are a few of the more serious standouts.

While the two-disc set is a bit excessive, these funk-metal-turned-respectable-adult-rockers have earned a little excess in their 22 years. -- Courtney Devores

New York Post

BAND bliss was maintained while making "Stadium Arcadium," the hotly anticipated ninth Red Hot Chili Peppers record, by giving each member of the quartet a slot in the spotlight.

There are times when Anthony Kiedis' emotional baritone segues from funk to punk to Cali-style dance hall (sans the patois). At others, Flea's potent bass is showcased as a lead instrument.

Then drummer Chad Smith's beats become the heart of a few songs. Not to mention John Frusciante's skillful, chameleon-like guitar licks that morph from distorted rock to radio-hook pop.

Sounds good, right? Then why just three stars for this record?

Because this must-have collection, featuring more than a dozen killer tracks, dilutes itself with filler designed to give star turns rather fan thrills.

Don't blame the RHCP.

The fault lies with the group's longtime producer, Rick Rubin, who failed to edit this 28-song double album down to a single grand slam with unrelenting momentum.

Rubin's a smart guy who knows that the way to carve an elephant from a block of wood is by cutting away everything that doesn't look like an elephant. For "Stadium," he should have insisted that at least 10 songs (maybe more) be whittled out.

There's a kick-ass, fourstar record inside "SA"; you just have to suss it out, since Rubin didn't. Look for that seamless collection when tracks open with fiery funk and then dust off the groove with an "Under the Bridge"style ballad.

On this record, you can hear the "Californication" formula in towering songs such as "Charlie," which features a deep funk groove and stream-of-consciousness lyrics that would make David Byrne's (talking) head spin.

As for the ballads, the unusually gentle "Animal Bar" stands out with a sound that's unlike their usual fare.

Other stunners include the funky "Hump de Bump," the syncopated "Especially in Michigan," and "Warlocks," which is supercharged by keyboard master Billy Preston, who turns up on the sessions even though he's been ailing from heart and kidney problems.

To distill this disc to its most potent force, here are a few hints: Axe the title track, dump "Slow Cheetah" for its dull bridge, kill "Torture Me" and eliminate the whiny "If." These are the buzz-kills of the batch.

That done, just whack six more songs from the halfbaked numbers and, ta-da!, the Chili Peppers have another tight, four-star record.

Download: "Animal Bar," like cocktails on Noah's Ark.

All four Peppers take a starring role on their ninth studio album, "Stadium Arcadium." Michael Muller

Miami Herald

Now that iTunes has rebirthed the popularity of the single, releasing a 28-song, double-disc CD set is the height of audacity, a throwback to the excesses of the '70s when everyone from hard rock's Led Zeppelin to disco's Donna Summer did double album packages.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers, with can-do producer Rick Rubin in top form these days, do the near impossible by releasing a viable double album that doesn't make listeners wish it had been pruned into a single disc.

The inspired Stadium Arcadium (in stores Tuesday), the band's ninth studio set, finds the Peppers at a peak where vocalist Anthony Kiedis continues to improve as a singer, the agile rhythm section of Flea and Chad Smith hit hard Prince-worthy funk ( Charlie ) and sublime post- Californication balladry in Snow (Hey Oh) with equal aplomb, and guitarist John Frusciante cuts loose with jet engine-sized solos on a batch of rock cuts like Turn It Again . That one, the set's penultimate track, should have been the closer in that regard to bring this diverse, ambitious and shockingly cohesive mammoth to an invigorating conclusion.