Program Notes

Life is a contest so play it. Or as poet Lionel Goldbart might say, "Integrity is a winning strategy." Right, right. So it is with pride and pleasure we announce the Official New Times "Program Notes" R.E.M. Photo Contest. We could make this easy, of course, like by asking what song "Star Me Kitten" is a rip-off of (1967's "The Look of Love" by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and sung by Dusty Springfield) or what M. Stipe really sings in that song (it's "fuck" not "star"). We could, but then again, the more entries we get, the more work it is for us, meaning me. So here's the question: On the inside flap of the cassette (and we presume the CD) there's a photo of the boys walking down a street in front of some buildings. Tell us where that photo was taken. The more exact, the more likely you win. The prize is a shiny new Porsche and your picture on the cover of Newsweek magazine! Right, right. Actually the winner(s) gets her/his name published in this space, plus I'll even let you review the album (easy on the adjectives, please) for publication here. Better you than me.

Monsters of Rock Detour: You might remember the big Halloween blowouts in the Grove, moved last year to the Deering Estate, which was moved this year by Andrew. The big Deering monsters are okay, though, and they'll make a special October 31 appearance at Brickell Tavern, where the party also includes rock by Outta Control inside and reggae by Copacetic outside. Five bucks gets you in and out.

Little bits without adjectives: Load's on tour -- again. Johnny Quest and F.O.C. at Ambassador tonight (Wednesday). Riverwalk Blues Festival soon. Willy Chirino at Club One on Friday and Saturday.

Amboog-a-lard has found a drummer to replace George Kokkoris -- Jon Somerlade (Type Zero). The band's taking a live-show hiatus, busy writing and recording material for a five-song EP due out in early 1993. Popular Mechanics is planning a cover story.

Speaking of magazines, in case you don't scope High Times, I'll tell you that one of its best features is "The Hemp 100," a reader-voted list that this month includes such honorees as Black Crowes, Minnesota Grassroots Party, Northern Lights #5X Haze, Police Have Riots/People Have Revolutions, Pink Floyd, and the one from the November issue that justifies this noting: "Volunteer work at the Fairchild Tropical Garden, Florida" checking in at number 64.

Duh, I lead the item with "grateful deadline" and flabberjabber about Miami Rocks, Too! without mentioning when is the deadline. It's November 1. Hope you're grateful.

A butthorn in the media's pet corner: That's me, reflecting on five (5) years here at New Times, the longest I've ever been in any of the many jobs I've worked. I'm recalling how more than a year ago, thanks to a tip from my great friend and mentor Billie O'Day (who knows more about the UM Hurricanes than anybody, including Dennis Erickson), I suggested a story idea: That a kid named Jonathan Harris would be UM's next big star. The idea was spiked, and Harris didn't do much that season. This year's different. From Thursday's Herald: "Next UM Great One?" next to a mug shot of Harris. All puffed up, I recall last week's "On the Beat" in New Times, wherein we managed to misidentify in the cutline my own grandfather. In case you didn't figure it out, the photos of Chet Atkins at the top of the page, were, as captioned, photos of Chet Atkins. The ones at the lower left, also captioned as Atkins, were actually Herbie Cooper.

Butthorn of the week: General Motors. Yeah, I drive an old ('80) Chevy, when I can get it running. And I'm not proud of it. But I am shopping for a new car. It won't be a GM. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida call it the "Heartbreak of America." I'll quote them: "GM is the only automaker in the world still using live animals in crash tests. Pigs and ferrets have their chests, stomachs, and brains smashed in GM's laboratory. They call these `safety tests.'" Guess what, humans? GM models hold the four top positions in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's list of highest death rates. GM might argue that they need the tests to lower the deadliness of their products. That's pretzel logic. The tests don't work. Period. But the animals still suffer.

The media circus: Madonna. Sex. Somehow it's really hard to think of the two simultaneously without hurling.

Pet corner: The question of companion animals (a.k.a. "pets") has always haunted animal-rights believers, so the story of Scooter, from PETA, is especially interesting. Scooter, striped with white paws and a serious demeanor, was captured at the age of three months and sold to Carolina Biological Supply Company, where a PETA spy bought the cat just as it was about to be gassed to death. CBSC kills some 1000 animals per week, PETA reports, mostly for use in biology classrooms. Scumbags of the lowest form lure (often with sardines) any cat they happen to see, trap it, sell it for five bucks or less. Scooter now lives at Aspin Hill, a PETA sanctuary, and is said to be the most gregarious cat there. "He spends most of his day in the office supervising the staff," PETA explains, "with time out for snoozes on the large screened porch all the Aspin Hill cats share." Sweet dreams, Scooter. For a free copy of Alternatives in Biology Education, write PETA, PO Box 42516, Washington D.C. 20015. (The University of Miami's School of Medicine newsletter is planning a cover story about Scooter's less fortunate species mates soon. Right, right.)

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Greg Baker