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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Review -- K.T. Tunstall

I'm not a music writer, but sometimes I'll catch an act that's so good I'd feel guilty not writing about it. Or him. Or her.

The her in this case is K.T. Tunstall, whose performance at Headliners Music Hall in Louisville, Ky., was all I needed to pledge my allegiance to lifelong fandom. Thanks to our fine city's public radio station, WFPK -- 91.9 FM, Louisvillians have become quite familiar with Tunstall recently, playing a couple of songs from her current CD "Eye To The Telescope" during my morning radio hour when I'm tardily getting ready for work.

I happened also to catch a short in-studio session on WFPK Saturday afternoon, several hours before she took the stage, in which she played a couple songs and in between them talked about her rise from playing small-time joints twice a week to a full-on tour.

I'd have to say I preferred the live versions better than the album -- OK, downloaded -- turns of "Silent Sea" and "Other Side Of The World." I was in the condition you should be in when witnessing smart music before your very eyes just before it breaks through to the big time, so don't ask for specifics on those songs; I just enjoyed them a lot.

One song, and feel free to help me out here, includes the lyrics "...even when you're miles away," which caused a minor moment of sadness for me personally because over the weekend was when the young girlfriend and I had our first serious conversations about what will happen with our relationship when she leaves for grad school. Stay tuned.

But I got over that and remembered that you're supposed to enjoy a live concert, and Tunstall mixed the right slow tunes and faster ones with perfect prudence. "Another Place To Fall," my favorite track from Telescope, had a surprising rock-out factor that turned my sardine-like positioning (it was so crowded that one arm ended with hand in pocket, the other kept a cup chest high) into an awful dance that prompted Jennifer to observe, "You dance with your head. That's funny." It was just too dang crowded for me to move around the way only I know how to operate.

Late in the evening, I saw a co-worker, an older-than-me, gray-bearded photographer who's pleasant and quiet but very funny at work and always reports to me on Fridays that he's got no weekend plans or on Mondays that he just worked around the house and did nothing else. His secret is out. He's a party guy, and he looked as buzzed as I was. Well done, Bruce!

So there you have it. Go see K.T. Tunstall in Cleveland Monday or Chicago Tuesday, before she heads for home; her UK tour begins the following week. At least pick up the album. It's well worth it.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Katie Did

It's amazing how much buzz Katie Couric's NBC-to-CBS announcement has generated, at least in the news business. I should probably qualify that, because it is indeed a mega-story in the industry, but maybe what's more amazing is the type of buzz I heard all day Wednesday.

Many, many people, especially the female co-workers, have a problem with this. My only problem I have with it is that Ann Curry isn't a shoe-in here to replace Couric. Meredith Vieira? Please.

Opponents don't think Couric will do a good job transitioning from dainty morning snowflake to evening-news hardass. Not the most outlandish opinion I've heard, but what troubles me is that those folks blame Couric for it all. If you, however, were 49 and already had served as The Today Show's longest-serving anchor, and you had a contract expiring in a month and an opportunity down the street to land a bigger plum of a job for a limousine full of cash and would become the first female ever to sit in a network's evening news chair, I'm sure you would say no to the offer and continue waking up at 2 or 3 in the morning as you have been for the last 15 years.

If you want someone to blame, as all Americans do for everything these days, blame Les Moonves for not even sneezing in the direction of Lesley Stahl, if a female presence really was what he was after.

Or just blame the times, because they keep offering up one surprise after another. And I think the surprise to many here will be that Katie will do just fine.

Thoughts On Katie's Big Move?

WMD Envy

A man admitted on Wednesday that he sent a bomb to a doctor after the doctor botched the man's penile enlargement surgery, according to the Associated Press in Philadelphia.

The story goes on to say that the attorney for Brett Steidler, 25, said his client is mentally ill and noted the difference between the roughly 2-year sentence for mailing a letter bomb and the 4- to 8-year sentence for using a weapon of mass destruction.

"I thought the average sentence was between five and seven years," Steidler said. "Besides, my girlfriend said it's not the length of the sentence that matters."

Now I hate to kick a man when he's down, especially when we're talking about a subject that hits close to my own home, but if you don't think enough of yourself that you feel you need surgery to increase the size of your penis, perhaps the penis is not your biggest, um, problem.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Straight Bawlin'

This time of year is perhaps my favorite. In fact, Final Four weekend is a good way to keep me on the couch, Budweiser in hand, surround-sound on full blast as I take in college basketball's last three games of the season.

And not being the most empathic person I know, I tire more easily than others of heartwarming stories that media members often like to overdramatize.

But one story that keeps making television and newspapers over the last several weeks is that of Jason McElwain, and not only does it keep getting better, but it hasn't yet failed to make me sob.

Can something like that really happen? An autistic teenager who spends the season as team manager at a New York high school gets to suit up for his last game on Senior Night? That's cute and all, but it would be even better if he got in the game. Even better if he got his name in the scoring column. Maybe a long-range three-pointer to bring the home fans to their feet would be pretty cool.

Well, McElwain did all that, and I'm sure you've heard ... he actually made six three-pointers and finished with 20 points in roughly four minutes of action.

Sure the other team's defense might have defended a little half-heartedly on a couple of those shots, but who cares? I sure don't. I typically hate the exploitation of the truly beautiful stories, but not this one. I'll be first in line to see this movie, which hopefully will be made soon.