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THE KING OF MUSIC COLUMNS

Screw Paul Krugman. Forget about Maureen Dowd and her Pulitzer Prize. They think they're so damn smart with their highbrow musings and multisyllabic words.

My favorite columnist used to be Larry King, until he stopped writing his column a few years ago. When I needed a truly informed opinion on just about anything, there was only one person worth consulting. His column was the only reason to pick up USA Today.

For those who had never read it, King's column comprised a series of opinionated (read: obsequious) non sequiturs about whatever thought happened to pop into his mind (and was therefore unintentionally hilarious). While I've parodied his column in these pages in the past, this time around, I'm merely stringing together some random items a la King, rather than cribbing his writing style. "Why?" you ask? Because it's another musically dead week in Tucson, and I had nothing pressing to write about.

· Anyone interested in checking out a bit of Tucson's punk rock history--or punk history in general--should head directly to shavedneck.com. There, you'll find an archive of gig fliers from 1982 to 1984, from Tucson punk shows, as well as shows in Phoenix and Los Angeles. The site also offers live Black Flag and Conflict MP3s from related shows, and promises more to come. Also on the way: a link to a gallery of well-shot photos from the shows by Tucsonan Ed Arnaud, some of which you can already check out on the site. Cool stuff. Thanks to metafilter.com for turning me on to it.

· Most random mention of a dead writer in an indie-rock song in 2004: Charles Bukowski, who gets referenced in not only Modest Mouse's "Bukowski," but also on The Good Life's Album of the Year.

· I recently rented Martin Scorsese's brilliant 1974 film, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (if you've never seen it, get thee immediately to Casa Video), which contains the most accurate line about Tucson in a movie, ever. As Tommy (Alfred Lutter) and Audrey (Jodie Foster) are leaving Chicago Store after a guitar lesson, Audrey remarks about a fellow student, "He's even weird for Tucson, and Tucson is the weird capital of the world." Amen, sister.

· Am I the only person on earth who can't stand Usher? He's more pompous than Kanye West (and far less talented), and if I have to hear that damn "Yeah!" song one more time, I'm gonna stab my ears with pencils until I'm deaf. And dude, put a shirt on, fer chrissake. We get it--you've got killer abs.

· Further proof that the record industry is getting desperate in its fight against piracy and file trading: I recently received an advance copy of Eisley's forthcoming Reprise/Warner Bros. album, Room Noises, in the mail. In addition to my name being stamped directly onto the CD itself, the disc was sealed in a package that reads: "Warning! By opening this seal you are agreeing to the terms below." Those terms are explicitly laid out in a letter that accompanied the CD: "As you're undoubtedly aware, illegal file trading and piracy are two of the most daunting issues facing the music industry today, and we at Warner Bros. Records are working very hard to deal with these problems. One of our efforts to thwart unauthorized copying of CDs is the watermark on the CDs we distribute. Watermarking enables us to track the CD back to the original authorized recipient. As part of this effort, the enclosed advance Eisley CD has been individually watermarked with a unique identification number embedded in the music. This watermark is not changed or destroyed by extracting clips of the music, or by using any compression technology such as MP3.

"This watermark has been assigned to you as the authorized recipient of this CD. By accepting this CD, you agree to not make copies of the CD, to not play the CD in your computer and to not upload the CD or any part of it to the Internet or otherwise allow, or make, the CD or any part of it available on the Internet. You agree that you will not lend this CD to anyone, and that you alone will listen to this CD for promotional purposes. Accordingly, you will not play this CD for anyone."

I can already envision the following conversation taking place at the homes of music journalists across the country:

Music journalist: "Dude, I just got hooked up with an advance of the new Eisley album, and it kicks so much ass!"

Music journalist's friend: "Oh, man, I've been dying to hear that! Put it on, willya?"

Music journalist: "Sorry, buddy. I wish I could, but I just can't risk the suits at Warner Bros. finding out. See, we've got this agreement ... "

· Happy New Year, everyone.

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