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NetNomad 35

Five offbeat, timely reviews of Web sites on the arts, politics and news -- with a dash of the absurd thrown in for good measure. This week: . . . Survival 2K in the Republic of California . . . Naturist Journal . . . RatherBiased.com . . . Will Percy Interviews Bruce Springsteen . . . The Temple of Martin Denny
 
 
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Survival 2K in the Republic of California (http://www.sonic.net/~seanm/INDEX.htm)

Just when you thought it was safe to start cracking jokes about Armageddon, here's word that "the Republic" of California is in for some super-duper malfunctions. Name your poison: An Internet malfunction will bring the world's economy crashing down; an attack of nuclear, chemical, biological and/or cyber weapons will occur; an asteroid impact will cause global disaster; and last, but certainly not least, new forms of incurable diseases will emerge. Man, it's a wonder we even get out of bed in the morning. "You can have all the ammo, food and water stashed you need, but if you don't know how to survive then these assets become useless." Forget the ammo, we say; give us a pig's foot and a bottle of beer. Our biggest complaint: the cheesy MIDI music ends far too soon! It sounds like Boris Karloff on Methadone.

Naturist Journal (http://www.naturistjournal.com/)

Naturist Journal begins with this disclaimer: You may encounter nude news beyond this point. In fact, that is all you will encounter. Naturist Journal is sort of a daily database of nude news. Such as: Jenny Thompson's mother Margrid comments on her daughter's decision to appear topless in Sports Illustrated, or an article debunking the rumor that Daryl Hannah may appear nude in the London theatre production of "The Seven Year Itch." Nude news, plain and simple. There is also a advice column where you can ask such things as what to wear to a Nudist Halloween party (nothing of course) or whether driving a car in the nude is a good idea or not (there's no short answer to that one, as you might have guessed).

RatherBiased.com (http://www.ratherbiased.com/)

Is newscaster Dan Rather a liberal? The author of this site seems to think so. He explains that "RatherBiased.com is a site documenting the partisan beliefs of one of the most politicized journalists of our time." Politicized journalist? Well, there are dozens of quotes attempting to back up this claim, having noted, of course, that since most of these comments were "made away from CBS News [they] do not indicate bias in his news reporting, but they do show the partisan, ideological bent that frequently taints his reporting." Oh dear. After reading many of the quotes you may feel, as we did, that although Rather is rather good at talking the talk, in the end his views are often little more than a mish-mash of journalistic cliches. And not even very good ones at that. Still, we are pleased to report that there is an overview of the "What's The Frequency?" saga. Now that was newsworthy news!

Will Percy Interviews Bruce Springsteen (http://www.doubletakemagazine.org/issues/12/steen/index.html)

The always-wonderful Double Take magazine scores another home run with this compelling interview with Bruce Springsteen. The chat with Will Percy came about after Will's father, author Walker, sent Springsteen a fan letter in 1989 praising the musicians "spiritual journey." The two never met, but Springsteen has acknowledged that the author's novels and essays, "among other books and films," have had a most profound impact on his songwriting. In fact one of the most surprising things we discover here is that it is movies and books, and not necessarily other music, that most influence Springsteen's work. He cites many such examples here, including Ron Kovic's "Born on the Fourth of July," Flannery O'Connor and both the film and the book version of John Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath."

The Temple of Martin Denny (http://www.chaoskitty.com/t_chaos/denny.html)

The faithful have been congregating at the various shrines for Martin Denny for quite some time, but he is quite new to us. Denny, or the High Priest as he is called here, was born in New York in 1911. At an (unspecified) young age he began touring South American with the Don Dean Orchestra, sparking his life-long fascination with Latin rhythms. We'll skip ahead quite a few years and find Denny in Honolulu, Hawaii where things get very interesting indeed. Here Denny formed a combo that features, among others, Augie Colon on percussion and birdcalls. Yes, birdcalls. That should give you at least some idea of the rather remarkable music Denny has fashioned over the years. He calls is "window dressing, a background," but it is much more exotic, which of course is why his genre of music is often called "Exotica!" The music is simply amazing.