Potpourri: The FCC, Steve Van Zandt, The New York Yankees and Mick Jones

I don’t really have anything coherent to write about, so instead, here are a few random thoughts that I was too lazy to make into full posts.

The FCC Gets Its Ass Handed To It

It’s big big news that the FCC got smacked down by a Federal Appeals court for their kowtowing to groups like the PTC and slapping fines on every broadcaster who had somebody let loose a stray “fuck” on their airwaves.

And for anybody who doubts that’s exactly what they were doing, here’s a pretty telling quote:

“Practically, this makes it difficult to go forward on a lot of the cases that are in front of us,” Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin told The Associated Press after the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the FCC on Monday in a case involving two Fox Television shows.

Good!! You what that means? Those cases were no doubt “arbitrary and capricious,” — as the court pointed out — and no doubt reflected a political agenda of a very small, but vociferous, group of people, who hate free speech if it offends their personal sensibilities. But here’s a truth that is completely self-evident: not a single small child was harmed because Cher or Nicole Ritchie said “fuck.” Not a single one. Just has no child who may have read it on this website was harmed.

Nor will this open the door for full-out orgies on Network TV. It ain’t going to turn into Rome, in a day, or even a week or ever, for that matter.

Requiem for Little Steven

As The Sopranos winds down with yet another spectacular episode, it’s time to pay homage to the end of the acting career of one Steven Van Zandt, who kept that scowl on his face — and pretty much nothing else — for the entire run of the series. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve always loved Steven Van Zandt. Whether backing Bruce Springsteen or Tony Soprano, he’s exuded an amazing patina of pure and utter cool. And his work on behalf of various causes — whether it’s not playing Sun City or totally playing Garage Rock — is exemplary.

But time to face facts: he can’t really act. He can’t really sing. He does, however, have amazing taste in friends. And projects. And probably everything else, for that matter. It’s a trade-off! And I wonder what will ultimately seem cooler: that first Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul album (Men Without Women, a secret classic from 1983); the Underground Garage; that part in at the end of “Two Hearts” from NYC 1999 where he sings “It takes twoooo, me and yoouu” with Bruce; or the fact that Silvio Dante was gunned down outside of the Bada Bing! in front of a horrified crowd full of strippers. Of course, he may not be dead . . .

Please Stop It With The Yankees Already!!

When did ESPN and FOX become wholly-owned subsidaries of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox? It seems like every single national game they broadcast these days features either the Red Sox playing somebody or the Yankees playing somebody. And of course, we have to be treated to every single goddamn Yankees-Red Sox regular season game. But here’s the thing: the Yankees suck. And not in ironic way people have meant for the past decade, either. As I write this, they are 25-31, a full 11 1/2 games out of first in the AL East.

So to paraphrase Run-DMC, that’s “Suck meaning suck, not suck meaning good.” Nobody outside of New York City gives a shit about watching a .446 team every single goddamn week. And, really, we’re all sick of the Red Sox already, who have gone from loveable also-rans to the New Yankees, especially now that attention-ho Curt Schilling has become as hateable as Roger Clemens ever was. While nobody really believed that he faked that bloody sock in the 2004 playoffs, it sure sounds like something that he would do.

Hey, Have You Heard Carbon/Silicon?

Finally, for a band that released its first album 30 years ago, the three original members of The Clash have been unusually busy this year. Bassist Paul Simonon surfaced in The Good, The Bad and The Queen, whose unexpectedly good debut was also the first DRM-less album made available by EMI.

Meanwhile, Joe Strummer has both a new film and a new biography created by close personal friends, and getting a lot of good press, as well. This, despite Joe having been dead for over four years now. (Sniff!)

But what you might not know is what Mick Jones has been up to. It’s actually pretty simple: he’s been making his best music in 20 some-odd years, and putting it up online for free. The band is called Carbon / Silicon, and I swear to gods that if you loved songs like, say, “Somebody Got Murdered” or “Should I Stay or Should I Go” (before you got sick of it) this is right up your alley. Mick Jones has found the rock and roll again, and that’s really all that needs to be said.

And up until a couple of months ago, Jones (and his partner in crime, Tony James, who co-founded Generation X with some blond-haired guy) had posted two and a half full albums worth of songs — essentially, putting them out there seemingly as fast as they recorded them — on their website, for anybody to grab. Recently, however, they took the first two albums down. Here’s hoping they show up on iTunes or eMusic, if they haven’t already.

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