Monday, May 16

Music Monday: RIP Potpourri

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! The bizarre musical banshee of 2016 has claimed more than just big artists. Today Scott pays tribute to five really cool musicians who passed recently. He liked them all, but they aren't really the sort of musicians who could support a whole blog post. Nevertheless, they did their thing and did it well.

Richard Lyons of Negativland - The Greatest Taste Around


No one ever talks about how Negativland's U2 might actually have been the reason that U2 started paying attention to sampling and video art. The stuff U2 did while touring in the 1990s was almost a direct steal from Negativland's style of art. I was lucky enough to see Negativland a few times in my life, and it was always something interesting and different. I wouldn't have noticed the guy if he passed me on the street, but I think I might have loved this particular Negativland the most.

Hopefully, we're all done with the doom after this. Four more comin' up.

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Saturday, May 14


Friday, May 13


Thursday, May 12


Wednesday, May 11


Tuesday, May 10

The Debunker: Does MSG Cause "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome"?

by Ken Jennings

May is Asian heritage month in the U.S. and Canada, but most of us probably celebrate the Asian diaspora year-round by enjoying one of the greatest gifts from the other edge of the Pacific Rim: Asian food. But sometimes, in our uncommon hurry to enjoy the ramen or the curry, we may find ourselves slurping up all kinds of bad takes along with our good takeout. Ken Jennings, of Jeopardy! fame is obviously not Asian, but (fun fact!) he grew up in Asia, which sort of qualifies him to set us straight on some of the biggest culinary misconceptions about the world's biggest continent. Check, please!

The Debunker: Does MSG Cause "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome"?

In 1968, a Chinese-American doctor named Robert Ho Man Kwok wrote a light-hearted letter to the New England Journal of Medicine, wondering about a strange health complaint he noticed after eating in American Chinese restaurants: numbness in the back, heart palpitations, and general weakness. Dr. Kwok wondered what to blame this on. Chinese cooking wine? Foods high in sodium? Dozens of readers eagerly responded that they had noticed "Chinese restaurant syndrome" as well, and the conversation began to center around the food additive MSG.

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Monday, May 09

Music Monday: RIP Gato Barbieri

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! In the never ending attempt to make 2016's death band the greatest in history, another huge talent has passed. It's possible you've never heard of Gato Barbieri, but it's very likely you've heard him, or at least felt his influence in some other song. Today we're gonna jazz it up and pay tribute. Enjoy.

Gato Barbieri & Santana - Europa


Barbieri was from Argentina, and by the time he was doing stuff like this, was very well established. He'd played with jazz bands, he'd played with partners, and he'd been a solo artist on some artistic avant-garde labels. He was even the inspiration for the Muppet Zoot (the sax player with the Electric Mayhem) if that tells you how important Barbieri was to the counter-culture scene. But I accept that not everyone gives a damn about ESP and the Flying Dutchman labels, so I'm starting with this Santana duet. Because, ultimately, it's just as good as the rest of Barbieri's catalog and it helps you understand how a guy you might not have heard of could still be hanging out right next to a famous rock star.

Scott only learned that tidbit about Zoot while preparing this tribute. Who knew? Four more to come...

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