The Breeders, “Cannonball”

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Cannonball (Elektra, 1993)

The Breeders were an American alternative rock band who had a top 40 hit in the summer of 1993 with Cannonball. It was the lead single from their second album Last Splash. France was most in love with it; it peaked at #8 and was certified Silver there. Critics were also in love with Cannonball. NME, Melody Maker and The Village Voice all declared it the best single of 1993.

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Richey Edwards

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Richey Edwards (December 22, 1967 – disappeared February 1, 1995)

Richard James “Richey” Edwards was a Welsh songwriter and rhythm guitarist for the alternative rock band Manic Street Preachers. He was known for his dark, politicised and intellectual song writing. Initially, he was the band’s driver and roadie but quickly became accepted as their spokesperson. Despite having little musical talent, his words and design were his contribution. In
his early days, he was actually miming the guitar!

Personally Edwards suffered severe bouts of depression and self-harmed. After the release of The Holy Bible, the band’s third album, Edwards checked himself into The Priory psychiatric hospital missing most of the promotional work for the album. After his release, he did join the band on tour. His final live performance was on December 21, 1994 at the London Astoria.

Two weeks before his disappearance, Edwards was withdrawing 200 pounds a day from his bank account. On February 1, 1995, he was due to fly with bandmate James Dean Bradfield to the U.S. for a promotional tour. He didn’t show up. For the next two weeks, he was “spotted” around Newport. On February 7, a taxi driver claimed to have driven him around the valleys of Blackwood (his childhood home). On February 14, his car was found at a service station near Aust, South Gloucestershire and was reported as abandoned on the 17th. There was evidence that the car had been lived in. Speculation surrounds whether Edwards committed suicide on the Severn Bridge (a popular spot for such activity). Over the years Edwards has been “spotted” in Goa, India and on the islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote (parts of Spain’s Canary Islands). None of these sightings have been proven. In 2002, his parents had the option to declare him legally dead. They opted not to. Finally on November 23, 2008, they did. The whereabouts of Richey Edwards and his body remain unknown. At the time of his disappearance, Edwards was 27 years old. He has become another member of “27 Club” (a list of popular figures who have died at the age of 27).

“Where Willy Went?”

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Where Willy Went (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2005)

First off, know that this children’s book is on the Banned Books list. Why? Well Willy is a sperm that lives inside Mr. Browne with his 300 million friends. They are preparing for the Great Swimming Race. Through preparation for the race, the book examines the inner workings of both Mr. Browne and his good lady wife, Mrs. Browne. Oh and the prize for winning the Great Swimming Race? Meeting up with a beautiful egg inside Mrs. Browne. The race and copulation do take place under the cover of a yellow blanket, thankfully. However, we do get to see Willy burrowing into Mrs. Browne’s egg, divide and a familiar shape appears.

Produced in an effort to present the facts of life in an accessible way to appeal to both children and parents, you be the judge. Does this book deserve to be on the banned books list?

Erwtensoep

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Erwtensoep (Amsterdam)

Erwtensoep or snert is a very thick pea soup, made from split peas, celery, leeks, carrots and pork. Erwtensoep is traditionally eaten during the winter with slices of rookworst (smoked sausage) and rye bread with katenspek (Dutch bacon cooked then smoked). The Dutch consider erwtensoep ready to eat when it’s thick enough that your spoon stands vertically. Hence, erwtensoep is traditionally eaten the day after it is made when the flavors are better mixed and the soup is at its thickest.

“Curiosity Shop”

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Curiosity Shop (ABC, 1971-1973)

In an attempt to capitalize on the success of Sesame Street, ABC launched Curiosity Shop in 1971. Sponsored by Kellogg’s (yep the cereal people), Curiosity Shop was an American children’s educational television show broadcast Saturday mornings from September 11, 1971 to January 6, 1973. The show featured three inquisitive kids, two boys and one girl each show (the boys were John Levin and Kerry McLane and the girls alternated between Pamelyn Ferdin and Jerelyn Fields). Each week the kids traveled to a different shop populated with puppets and gadgets to discover interesting things about science, nature and history. Each show featured a different theme.

Curiosity Shop was executive produced by legendary animator Chuck Jones. The puppets included Professor S.I. Trivia (A bespectacled bookworm that provided the children with dictionary definitions), Monsieur Cou Cou (a French-accented bird), Flip (an orange hippopotamus), Baron Balthazar (a man who would tell animated tales from his homeland of Bosnia. The cartoons were from the series Professor Balthazar which were produced in Croatia. At the time both Crotia and Bosnia were still part of Yugosalvia.), The Oogle (a marsupial-like silent creature), Onomatopoeia (a multi-legged furry beat that spoke in sound effects), Woodrow the groundhog (often yelled for quiet), Eek A. Mouse (also usually asked for quiet), Nostalgia (a chronically forgetful elephant), Hermione Giraffe, Aarthir the Aardvark, Ole Factory the Bloodhound, Halcyon the Hyena and Miss Fowler (a flower in a pot). Other actors on the Curiosity Shop included Barbara Minkus as Gittie, a witch who magically appeared when someone said “which;” Darwin, a chimpanzee who lived in a treehouse and Eunice, a seal that lived in a waterbed (a water tank shaped like a bed). Curiosity Shop also featured inanimate characters: Hudson was a gravelly-voiced rock; Granny TV was a rocking antique TV that presented classic film comedies; Mr. Jones was a tape recorder and was the only means of communication between the children and animator Chuck Jones; and a talking computer who satisfied the children’s curiosity about every subject and presented educational movies, tapes, cartoons, vocabulary lessons and the like.

The Spiral Starecase, “More Today Than Yesterday”

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More Today Than Yesterday (Columbia, 1969)

More Today than Yesterday was a jazz rock song that peaked at #6 in Canada and #12 in the U.S. The Spiral Starecase were not together long. After this release and two follow up singles, approximately 18 months together, the band broke up due to poor management and money squabbles.

“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”

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The Diving Bell and the Butterfly Miramax, 2007)(

This is a 2007 biographical drama film based on Jean-Dominique Bauby’s memoir of the same name. Bauby suffered a massive stroke that left him with the condition of locked-in syndrome. Essentially, Bauby was trapped inside his body and was only able to move one eye. The journalist wrote his book, letter by letter blink by blink. Wow.

The film (La Scaphandre et le Papillon as it’s known in France) won awards at the Cannes Film Festival, the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs, the Cesar Awards and received four Oscar nominations. It stars Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Signer, Marie-Josee Croze, Anne Consigny and Max von Sydow.

“Steptacular”

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Steptacular (Jive, 1999)

Steptacular was the second album by British pop group Steps. It was released in October 1999. All the singles released hit the top 5 in the UK, making it the first album to contain 6 consecutive UK top 5 hits. It also topped the album chart for three weeks.

Said singles were: Tragedy, a cover of the Bee Gees hit Tragedy peaked at #1 for 8 weeks; Love’s Got a Hold on My Heart (peaked at #2); After the Love Has Gone, a cover of the 1979 hit for Earth, Wind & Fire; Say You’ll Be Mine (peaked at #4): Deeper Shade of Blue (peaked at #4) and When I Said Goodbye (peaked at #5).

Fr-ooze Pop

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Fr-ooze Pop

Yikes. What are people thinking? Marketed for kids (I know, I’m so sorry guys), the Fr-ooze Pop is shaped like…well look at it, you know what it looks like. The more you lick it, yep, you guessed it, a gooey substance squirts into your mouth. This one comes to us from Singapore. And worse still (yes it can get worse): a voice repeatedly tells you to “lick it and suck it.” Yikes!

El Salto del Colacho

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El Salto del Colacho (The Devil’s Jump, Spain)

Since 1621 in the province of Burgos in Spain, men dress as the Devil (El Colacho) and jump over babies born in the previous twelve months of the year. The babies lie on mattresses in the street. Unsurprisingly, the festival has been labelled one of the most dangerous in the world. The exact origins of the festival are unknown, but it is said to cleanse the babies of original sin and ensure them a safe passage through life and guard against illness and evil spirits. Uh…sure….