Archive for Pop Culture

Listen to the CIA’s torture playlist

cia-lobby-seal

The Anti Media:

According to declassified reports, video evidence and testimony from whistleblower guards and soldiers, the US government used music to torture detainees in a number of different ways.
In some cases, songs would be played in repetition for hours or days on end, as to drive the prisoner to insanity. Music was also used to prevent detainees from sleeping, which is another way of creating delirium and vulnerability in the detainees.
Some songs were chosen because they were annoying, while others were chosen because they may have been offensive to the prisoner’s culture or religion.
Below are some of the songs that have been identified most often as being used by the US military in their torture programs. Some of the songs are annoying and could understandably be considered torture, specifically the Barney & Friends theme song and the Meow Mix commercial.
However, some of the artists featured like 2Pac, Rage Against The Machine and (hed)pe are actually pretty good, and are actually philosophically opposed to what the military is doing.

Listen to the playlist on Spotify below:

Read More…

DoD gives Scientology federal funding for “detox” of Gulf War vets

scientology

Annapolis Capital Gazette:

A detoxification program in Annapolis supported by the Church of Scientology is treating veterans suffering from chronic Gulf War-related conditions.
Treatments are funded by the U.S. Department of Defense through a $633,677 grant issued in September 2010, according to Pentagon officials. The Annapolis office opened in January, Clinical Trial Coordinator Crystal Grant said.
Seven Gulf War veterans have completed the program and at least four plan to begin the regimen next year. One is currently undergoing detoxification, a treatment designed to rid the body of environmental toxins through exercise, sauna therapy and doses of vitamins.
The federal money was awarded to researchers at the University of Albany in New York state, with David O. Carpenter, the director of the school’s Institute for Health and the Environment, as the chief applicant and investigator.
Carpenter said the program is a “preliminary study” intended to find out if there is a scientific basis for the therapy developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard for the church’s detoxification program.
He said the study is the first of its kind to be done by “independent people … in a fashion that’s rigorous and objective.”

The program is also funded by a nonprofit headed by John Travolta, a noted Scientologist.

It sounds a lot like L. Ron Hubbard’s controversial Purification Rundown. More on that has been written by Tony Ortega and Daily Kos. Gulf War Illness has also been called Gulf War Syndrome.

Eleanor Holmes Norton to appear in “The Nutcracker”

norton

 

 

Judy Kurtz of The Hill reports that Eleanor Holmes Norton, Democratic Delegate to the U.S. House from DC, is making her third appearance Saturday in the Washington Ballet production of the Tchaikovsky ballet The Nutcracker. Norton will play The Merry Widow.

In the past, Mayors Marion Barry and Vincent Gray have also appeared in the ballet. Tickets still remain for both Saturday performances at The Warner Theatre, but the report doesn’t note whether Norton will perform in the matinee or evening performance.

Burt Reynolds auction includes pro wrestling memorabilia

reynolds1 reynolds2

You probably saw the news story Monday about Burt Reynolds selling personal items at auction. The 1978 Smokey and the Bandit Trans-Am got most of the attention but there are several other interesting items in the auction catalog.

One item that caught my attention was a Burt Reynolds Islanders WWF jacket (pictured above.)

From the description:

A black satin jacket embroidered “Burt” in yellow stitching at right breast and the “WWF” logo embroidered at left. The back is embroidered with an image of two palm trees and reads “The Islanders.” The Islanders was a professional wrestling tag team. Size extra large. The jacket was part of Burt Reynolds’ personal wardrobe.

The Islanders were a tag team in the WWF from 1986-1988 consisting of Haku and Tama. I did a pretty thorough online search to try to connect Reynolds to the duo but had trouble finding anything, so I am making the educated guess he was just a fan. Reynolds was the guest ring announcer for a match at Wrestlemania X in 1994 between Bret Hart and Yokozuna and he celebrated in the ring after Hart won. (Jennie Garth was the guest timekeeper for the match and Roddy Piper the guest referee.)

Aside from Wrestlemania X photographs, I was also able to find other photographs of Reynolds with wrestlers including the Bushwhackers, John Cena,and Ric Flair.

The Hollywood Reporter notes other details:

Hundreds of personal items belonging to the Deliverance star will be auctioned off at The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas next month. Julien’s Live auction house is running the event.

The auction’s catalog, entitled Property From the Life and Career of Burt Reynolds, lists over 600 items, including such movie memorabilia as a jacket and shirt he wore in Smokey and the Bandit II, a football helmet from The Longest Yard and even a pair of monogrammed boots from 1996’s Striptease, for all those diehard Striptease fans out there.

Also on the block: several vehicles, a wide selection of artwork and sports collectibles and even a number of awards, including his 1991 best actor in a comedy Emmy for Evening Shade and 1998 best supporting actor Golden Globe for Boogie Nights. 

The sports collectibles, some of the celebrity memorabilia, and the autographed books are personalized to Reynolds. That usually makes the value less for an item, but in this case it would probably enhance them.

World of Beer to open 2nd Baltimore-area location

wob2
The website for World of Beer shows that a new location is coming soon to 115 East Joppa Road in Towson (which is apparently Towson Square.)

I asked Baltimore County Councilman David Marks (whose district this will be located in) for his reaction to the news and he provided the following comment:

I welcome any business to our district that is going to create jobs, but particularly a distinctive restaurant that is unique to the area.

World of Beer features an extensive craft beer selection along with food and live entertainment in their tavern locations. There is a location at McHenry Row in Baltimore City and two locations in the northern Virginia suburbs of DC (Reston and Arlington.)

I had heard rumors of one coming to White Marsh in the Baltimore suburbs and that resulted in me finding the Towson location that is coming soon. If you know details that confirm or debunk the White Marsh rumors, please leave a comment.

There’s one other issue with the Towson location. On their website directory, World of Beer misspells the town’s name as “Towsen.” I tweeted it to the attention of their corporate Twitter account but so far it has yet to be fixed.

No, Budweiser is NOT getting rid of the Clydesdales

IMG_0775.JPG

I saw a headline Sunday that Anheuscher-Busch was not using their iconic Clydesdales in Christmas ads this year. I didn’t think much of it until a bunch of other stories said they were getting rid of them altogether. I did see a piece debunking that yesterday as well. Now that the story is well on the way to virality, I wanted to stand athwart the landslide of outraged comments and get it corrected (and I personally think most of the beers made by Anheuscher-Busch taste like I imagine Clydesdale urine must taste like, so don’t call me, a craft beer guy, a fanboy for writing this.)

Here’s what a Yahoo blog noted about the original report:

Rest easy, Budweiser Clydesdales — you aren’t being put out to pasture just yet.

Contrary to an earlier report, the iconic horses, who have been an essential part of the Budweiser brand for nearly a century, will in fact be appearing in the beer company’s holiday advertising this year.

Horse fans and beer drinkers alike were alarmed by a Wall Street Journal story published Sunday claiming that the magnificent beasts were being phased out of Bud’s 2014 holiday advertising in an effort to appeal to younger consumers.

“The company has decided that persuading 21- to 27-year-olds to grab a Bud is the best chance to stop the free-fall. After years of developing advertising and marketing that appeals to all ages, AB InBev plans to concentrate future Budweiser promotions exclusively on that age bracket,”
The Journal’s story claimed. “That means it won’t trot out the traditional Budweiser Clydesdales for this year’s holiday advertising. It means February’s Super Bowl ads will feature something more current than last year’s Fleetwood Mac. It means less baseball and more raves with DJ group Cash Cash.”

Here’s the truth:

However, a spokesman for the company told TheWrap on Monday that the horses will continue the tradition of appearing in the brewer’s holiday advertising.

“The story this morning may have left a wrong impression – the Budweiser Clydesdales will, in fact, be featured in next year’s Super Bowl advertising and are also a part of upcoming holiday responsible drinking advertising,” a spokesman for the company said in a statement. “The Clydesdales play a strong role for the brand, representing Budweiser quality and care for more than 80 years. As icons of the brand — and relevant symbols of integrity, perfection and team spirit for all generations — they are important to the brand and our campaigns.”

The revered horses will even be galloping into the digital age this year, with a piece of content that will run digitally, featuring real people along with the Clydesdales.

The moral of the story is a continued reminder to be wary of what you read on the internet. The secondary sources who picked up the WSJ piece had time to find out what the Wrap blog at Yahoo found out, but going for the clickbait headlines that get shared more ruled the day (some of this may fall on the people who shared them as well – especially if they didn’t read the actual articles.)

Report: Former DC Mayor Marion Barry Dies at 78

IMG_0768.JPG
WUSA reports:

Sources close to the family tell WUSA 9 reporter Bruce Johnson that former DC Mayor Marion Barry has passed away.

Family and very close associates are gathering at this hour at United Medical Center in Southeast, DC as word spreads.

The 78-year-old Barry was just released from Howard University Hospital this evening where he had been admitted on Thursday.

Tweets about the situation by Johnson and others were confusing the situation because of earlier reports on his release and the newer ones that he was dead. WUSA posted this story at 2 a.m. EST.