HITS Daily Double
In a nutshell:
"The hardest-working actor in monsterdom ... don’t get much funkier than ... something completely inappropriate ... in authentic NFL ... pneumonia ... perfect for the soundtrack of any David Lynch movie—quiet, smoky ... kidnapped and tied up by drug traffickers."


This Is What We Get After Nine Long Months of Weird Cravings and All the Bloating?
Don’t try to lie to us. Well, no more than usual, anyway. But don’t try to make us believe you’re actually even getting work done today. Sure, we know you won’t be anywhere near your office on Monday, the day most of us know as Labor Day. But we’re guessing you’ve probably called it an early day today as well. (Otherwise, how are you gonna make that 1:30 tee time?) You know it will be useless to lie to us—especially since we won’t really be in the office either. Of course, with us, it’s a little harder to tell the difference between "working" and "taking a day off." But do us all a favor and take just a moment in these next four days (today included) to think back to The Knights of Labor. That New York group first held a parade on the first Monday of September in 1884 celebrating the working class. Ten years later, Congress passed a law making Labor Day (or to you, "Golf Day" might be more appropriate) a national holiday. I know it feels a lot like "book-learnin’," but give it a shot. It won’t kill ya, we promise.

Universally Appealing:
Ask most aficionados of classic Universal monster flicks—and we are legion—about the black & white franchise’s enduring appeal and you’ll most likely get an earful about the tragic complexity of the signature characters limned by Karloff and Lugosi, or about director James Whale’s postmodern perverseness or the iconic brilliance of the imagery in the ’30s originals. True enough, and like the rest of the horror-worshipping geeks out there, I bought the box set of DVDs featuring Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Mummy and other undisputed classics as soon as I had my player. But I have to confess I’m even more excited about the latest batch of Uni monster DVDs, most of which are "monster rally" sequels from the 1940s.

Stripped of the literary trappings and auteur filmmakers that guaranteed film-school legitimacy to the first wave of flicks (except for the rightly acclaimed Bride and new-to-DVD Son of Frankenstein), most of these hastily issued creature features were motivated purely by commerce. Their challenge was to get as many monsters on screen as possible, as dictated by the infallible studio-boss logic that more is always better. The result often had the quality of a school reunion—Dracula! What up? Did you see the Wolf Man already? Yeah, he’s exactly the same—but the sumptuous production values and crisp, gorgeous black & white photography give these films the same wonderfully eerie vibe their predecessors possess.

And all props to the hardest-working actor in monsterdom, Lon Chaney Jr. In addition to playing the Wolf Man in the furry one’s eponymous outing and Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, he became the bolt-necked monster for Ghost of Frankenstein, the vampire’s progeny in Son of Dracula (a personal fave) and the mummy in one of those (admittedly forgettable) entries. He returned to his lycanthropic roots for the ultimate monster rallies, House of Frankenstein (also just released—"five times the terror!" reads the text in the included theatrical trailer), the not-yet-digitized House of Dracula and, of course, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Lugosi and Karloff, too, tried on different roles, but Chaney proved the ultimate utility player. The DVD transfers on all these flicks are typically brilliant, and best of all, you get two features to a disc. Let’s see, that’s twice the terror times five times the terror…
—Simon Glickman

"The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense." —Tom Clancy

More Bang for the Buck:
Among the very best musical bargains these days are the compilation CDs attached to magazines. The U.K. monthly Uncut, which issues a jam-packed CD with each issue, is particularly adept at blending tracks from new acts with reissued classics; Select and Musik have been regularly turning out comps as well, while Q and Mojo have done it on occasion. In general, these wildly diverse CDs make excellent jogging and driving companions—Q actually put out a comp called Essential Drive earlier this summer—as well as introducing curious Yanks to what the Britcrits are going gaga over from month to month, including American roots and indie artists. For example, I was turned on to Shelby Lynne by hearing a track on an Uncut CD months before I Am Shelby Lynne was released in the U.S. The same mag’s disc of Beatles covers, attached to its recent special issue on the band, was a sheer delight. Unfortunately for you, that issue—along with the accompanying CD—is sold out.

Blue Highways: By far the most satisfying mix CDs from an American publication are those put together yearly by music journalist Rick Clark for the Oxford American. The fifth annual OA music issue, on newsstands now, is a typically deep and rich sampler of indigenous Southern music, ranging from a scratchy 78 by the Delta Rhythm Boys (with a young Les Paul on guitar) and an ancient radio transcription of the Golden Gate Quartet to unreleased new recordings by Jim White and Tricia Walker (whose "The Heart of Dixie" is powerful enough to fit on the Randy Newman classic Good Ol’ Boys). It’s remarkable how seamlessly the sequence moves through the deep blues of Mississippi Fred McDowell, the earthy bluegrass of Ralph Stanley (joined here by Bob Dylan), the seductive Memphis soul of Ann Peebles (it’s revelatory to hear "I Can’t Stand the Rain" in this context) and the mystic grooves of Emmylou Harris and Daniel Lanois’ mid-’90s landmark Wrecking Ball on its panoramic 73-minute journey. It don’t get much funkier than this, folks. By the way, the OA has been forced to go from bimonthly to quarterly and will go under if it doesn’t get 8,000 more new subscribers. Four issues go for $19.95; subscribe at P.O. Box 1156, Oxford, MS 38655. Or contact Editor Marc Smirnoff at [email protected].

Talk of the Town: There was no CD attached to the recent music issue (dated Aug. 20 & 27) from the world’s best-written weekly magazine, The New Yorker, but the keenly insightful piece on Radiohead by the venerable publication’s classical-music expert, Alex Ross, is so descriptive that you can hear the "pivot chords" as you read about them. It’s the most revealing piece I’ve ever encountered on the band. On top of Ross’ tour de force, Nick Hornby’s white-knuckle excursion through a recent week’s Top 10 albums is as hilarious for the reader as it was harrowing for him. If only the New Yorker site had a comprehensive archive, you’d be able to read it. If you’re desperate to check out this stuff, hit me up for a photocopy. —Bud Scoppa

Better Low Than Uni:
Simplicity, especially in the often design-heavy world of the Internet, is a rare beast. And nothing on the Web is as simple—in design, execution and purpose—as Lowbrow.com. Self-described as a site "dedicated to bringing you the best user-submitted content about scraping the bottom…about moments where you said something completely inappropriate, where you stuck your foot in your mouth, or stamped the air out of some poor fuck's lungs." The casual reader of Lowbrow should beware of two things: that the content is addictive and anything written by [email protected] should be avoided. Here’s just a sampling of the random goodies to be found at this wonderful site: "I had never met a true idiot until the moment when the woman in the next cubicle pops her head over the wall and says, ‘Vietnam. That’s World War Two, right?’" "Overheard: I walked through Wal-Mart, shopping for toilet paper. A mother to her less than adolescent son: ‘I don't like WWF, I like WCW.’" "What if someone invented an engine that would get 500 miles to the gallon? Of infant blood." Classy! —Jeff Drake

Plus Lucky Numbers!
In case you forgot to have Chinese food this week.
Patience is the key to joy.
4, 14, 26, 31, 33, 42

Madden 2002:
Tha undisputed leader in authentic NFL football simulation steps onto the turf for another gridiron conquest. Painstaking football realism cumz alive in true-to-life graphics and time-tested game play. For tha 12th year in a row and tha second score on tha PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system, Madden NFL Football brings tha realism of tha pro gridiron right to your fingertips. With all tha teams, players and features that you've come to know and luvvv, Madden puts you right on the field with tha big hitters! Play a full season with your favorite team and take them to tha Super Bowl, or try tha franchise mode and build a dynasty. You can even create teams and players so you can start from scratch! With all-new realistic player animations, Madden Cards, a training mode and the Two-Minute Drill, Madden truly has it all. And a must def, you need to check out tha Echo Team, az they feature hip-hop’s hottest personalities, DJ Babu, MC Serch, Mark Echo, Psycholess (Beatnuts) and Xzibit. So this one iz definitely a must-get.
—Latin Prince AKA Tha BUM!

Three-Day Bender:
Any DEVO fan will get a kick out the Aquabats’ brand of New Wave, punk and ska, which is invading the El Rey Theatre tonight. Perhaps best known for spawning Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, these costumed superhero musicians have a reputation for frenetic live performances. Expect anything from flying pizzas (delivered fresh from Domino’s) to preschoolers crowd surfing on inflatable pool rafts shaped like lobsters. But most of all, expect to laugh like you’re 10 years old again… Weezer fans throughout SoCal will converge on Anaheim’s Chain Reaction, Saturday (9/1) for Ozma’s Rentals-esque show. However, the real potential will be found in the opening acts, particularly River City High’s infectious brand of pop-savvy punk and raspy vocals. Austin’s favorite indie sons, the Impossibles—whose heart-on-sleeve lyrics and guitar-rock evoke comparisons to Weezer and Jimmy Eat World—are the show’s definite don’t-miss. And should you happen to miss them, they and River City High also will be playing at USC on Monday (9/3). —Yennie Cheung

Get Outta Town:
It's slim pickin’s music-wise this holiday weekend in the Big Apple. Here's the best of what few things are happening around town. Friday night has Parker & Lily performing at CB's 313 Gallery. Formerly of avant-jazz group the Valentine Six, P&L now play music perfect for the soundtrack of any David Lynch movie—quiet, smoky and sparse pop. Opening up for Arto Lindsey at Tonic on Saturday are Avey Tare, Panda Bear & Geologist (yes, that's the name of just one band). Their unrefined noise and fuzz make for a chaotic live show that's bound to impress. Sunday head to Brownies to catch opening act, N.Y.C.-based up-and-comers Radio 4, whose sound, although not entirely original (think Gang of 4 and Wire) is deftly executed. Ted Leo (ex-Chisel) headlines the night (which also includes Juno and Ivory Coast), and his shows are always top-notch.
—Heidi Anne-Noel

And You Thought It Was Something When Ricky Schroder Came Back as Rick Schroder:
A day after being shot and left for dead, 43-year-old Brazilian truck driver Pedro da Silva Correa rose from the grave on Tuesday (8/28). A day after a gang shot him and threw him into a tomb in a cemetery in Campos, about 150 miles northwest of Rio de Janeiro, Correa pushed the cement lid off and climbed out. "He walked all the way to the hospital covered in blood," said hospital spokeswoman Sandra Santos. "The whole incident has given people quite a fright." Correa told doctors he was kidnapped and tied up by drug traffickers as he was on his way home to a shantytown where a rival drug gang holds sway, she said. The gang eventually shot Correa and left him for dead inside a closed tomb. One of the bullets was still lodged in his head when he stumbled into the hospital. "Obviously he is terrified that the gang will try to kill him again when they find out he is still alive," Santos said. "It sure seems unlikely, however, that the gang would find out he’s still alive though, doesn’t it? And by ‘he,’ I am, of course, talking about 43-year-old Pedro da Silva Correa of Campos, Brazil." —J.D.

William Henry Harrison
, our ninth president, was born Feb. 9, 1773, in Berkeley, VA. Harrison was the first president to die in office. There isn’t much to be said of Harrison’s 30 days as president, as he was ill for most of it. After delivering one of the longest inaugural addresses ever delivered (on a cold, cold March 4, 1841), Harrison promised not to run for a second term. That promise proved to be unnecessary. Harrison caught a cold from that inauguration day. The cold developed into pneumonia in late March, and on April 4, 1841, Harrison died in Washington, DC. Hmmm, what else can you say about the man? Um, except maybe that Daniel Webster edited his inaugural address and therefore may be partially responsible for his death. Not that we think that would stick in a court of law, but you never know. Best Anagram Of His Name: Swirl in a hale, horny rim.

Upcoming Birthdays
Aug. 31-Sept. 6

Aug. 31—Buddy Hackett (77)
Sept. 1—Conway Twitty (68) & Lily Tomlin (62)
4—Dick York (would have been 73)
5—John Cage (would have been 89) & Raquel Welch (61)
7—Buddy Holly (would have been 65) & Chrissie Hynde (50)

Special Events
September is Latino Heritage Month
2—Joust of the Saracen (Arezzo, Italy)
3—Labor Day & Janam Ashtami
6—Marion Popcorn Festival (Marion, OH)

Mrs. Garrett rides hard on an all-night study session for Blair, Jo, Natalie, and Tootie—cramming together for finals for the last time.