From the Dead Dog

Guilty pleasure of late has been digging Ed Harcourt’s upcoming release, The Beautiful Lie. Much more inventive than say a Rufus Wainwright, Ben Folds or Elton John (to name the countryman-keyplayer he for some reason gets compared to) and several levels less pretentious than Thom Yorke, dude can flat-out write some killer-diller melodies.

As if that weak-ass-of-a-review isn’t convincing enough, check out Visit From the Dead Dog, a song with a feel and title that somehow reminds me of Mark Eitzel’s “Seeing Eye Dog.” There is much more at his website. Some other blogs have spoken, primarily UK-based. Couple other new cuts via Harcourt’s myspace page.

Training With Vikings I

by Daniel Heimpel, on assignment in Iceland.

“Spricccun!” Ari yelled at us. It means something like go, or run, or attack! So up I went; up the steep 50-foot grass covered embankment for the fifth time. My lungs were burning and I came down fast, just behind a hyper-muscled black man, a boxer in his thirties from Spain. What’s he doing here training to box in Iceland? Oh yeah what am I up to?

I pitched my editor out here an idea – train for fight against Viking. She said okay. Life is good.

“Have you been training?” asked Radar, a man in his mid-twenties who had been boxing since the sport was re-legalized in 2001, since being banned in 1953. We were standing by a dumpster outside of Reykjavik’s premier boxing gym, the same that won eight titles out of 12 in the last nation-wide boxing tournament.

“Not really. Just been in New York and London.” At this I tipped an imaginary 40-oz bottle to my lips. I always figure that references to alcohol are always good with Norsemen – either that or thunderbolts, sails or big hammers.

Continue reading “Training With Vikings I”

Reporting in Iraq

The recent car bomb that took the lives of two CBS crew members and left correspondent Kim Dozier in critical condition has sparked, yet again, a conversation about reporting in Iraq.

Dozier and her crew were attacked on Memorial Day, while producing a piece about “fighting on in memory of those who have fallen,” according to an e-mail sent by Dozier to her colleagues that morning.

The LA Times’ Tim Rutten attempts to make sense of it all as best as anyone can.

I highly recommend reading this entry from Ms. Dozier on, reprinted last week in the LA Times:

journalists face awful, dangerous risks in Iraq, more so than almost anyplace else on earth right now.

But it’s nothing compared to the people we cover.

Also, today the LA Times reports that a record 1,400 bodies were brought into the Baghdad Morgue in May.

Dog Handlers Pt. II

Following up on my post a couple months ago, in which I dwelled upon the six month sentence given to Sgt. Michael Smith for his involvement in torturing prisoners at Abu Ghraib with dogs, videotaping peanut-buttered testicles and more.

At the time, a Pentagon spokesman declared, ?What you?re seeing is what the department has committed itself to ? a very broad and a very deep review of its detention operations across the board.?

Today, the second Abu Ghraib dog handler was “sentenced” — and I use that term in its lightest and most fragmented form — to a few months of hard labor and a reduction in rank — no suspension or pay loss whatsoever.

Sgt. Santos A. Cardona was convicted of dereliction of duty, but was acquitted of more serious charges “including unlawfully having his dog bite an inmate and conspiring with another dog handler to frighten prisoners into soiling themselves.”