MTV accidentally played Fresh Prince during Prince tribute

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Yesterday, MTV, which surprisingly still exists, remembered that its name is an acronym for Music Television, and launched a Prince music video marathon. Unfortunately, they accidentally slipped a Fresh Prince video in there too. (Cinemablend)

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"The Time Prince Got Mad At Me Because I Wouldn't Dance"

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In 1999, my old pal Gil Kaufman interviewed Prince for the pioneering Web magazine Addicted to Noise. Today at Billboard, Gil writes about his five minutes with Prince:

No one else was in the room, so I was clearly next. But I had to wait for this dude to … stop dancing around the coffee table with Prince. Man, they were both pretty into it. "It’s really not a great dance song," I thought more than once as the boogeying just went on, and on. Once you started it, it seemed like it would have been hard to just stop.

It was all pretty goofy. The publicist whispered the guy’s name and affiliation into my ear as I stared down at my long list of questions and notes, reminding myself to be cool. Not sure why she did that. But... man, the dancing. I just couldn’t see myself doing that. It’s a calculated choice you make. Dance and maybe you get that extra, extra couple of minutes. Don’t dance and you potentially score one to two stock answers before getting yanked or your clock freezes at exactly five minutes and there's no chance to go into bonus time. I didn’t dance. I sort of nodded my head a bit, respectfully, but not too much.

Like that scene in every '80s movie where the needle scratches and the room goes dead silent, the volume dropped hard and Prince looked over at me.

"You don’t like this one?" he said, implying that my non-dancing was an offense of the highest order.

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"When Doves Cry" played by Greg Dulli (Twilight Singers/Afghan Whigs) and Apollonia

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For decades, Greg Dulli of The Afghan Whigs and Twilight Singers has masterfully woven Prince lyrics and melodies into almost every live performance, frequently closing shows with the final strains of "Purple Rain." Dulli has name checked that album as being his favorite record of all time. Dig if you will the intense 2009 cover above of "When Doves Cry" recorded by Dulli's Twilight Singers and Prince's former lover/co-star Apollonia for a special 25th anniversary Purple Rain tribute produced by Spin magazine.

From an interview with Dulli at The Quietus from 2014:

My life is kinda pre-Purple Rain/post-Purple Rain. I had already been a fan of Prince before that. 1999 was when I really got in. I heard 1999 and I went back and got Dirty Mind and Controversy. I saw the 1999 tour. 1999 is a very synthy album, but when I saw him in concert, he was playing a lot of guitar, and he's really good. I wasn't fully prepared for that. There's parts of Controversy that have guitar but nothing prepared me for the guitar playing on Purple Rain. From start to finish, from the first song to the last song, it's one of the greatest records I have ever heard. There's nine songs, they're all great. They're all different. The first song that everybody heard from that record was 'When Doves Cry'. There's no bass on it. It's really a strange, avant-garde hit song. Sort of like in the way 'Hey Ya' was. 'Hey Ya' was such a weird song.

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Marijuana is kosher for Passover

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Apparently some Ashkenazi Jews of central or eastern European heritage consider cannabis to be in the category of food that's prohibited during Passover, the festival that begins tonight. However Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, a recognized leader in Orthodox Judaism, ruled that it's actually fine to use weed for medical purposes during Passover. Reminds of the time many years ago when we used a bud to represent the "bitter herb" on the Seder Plate. From The Independent:

Among Ashkenazi Jews, who are of usually of Central and Eastern European descent, the drug would be considered to be a member of the kitniyot – a group of legumes and grains which are forbidden during the festival of Passover, including rice, peas and lentils....

The 88-year-old rabbi, who lives in Bnei Brak, an Israeli city east of Tel Aviv, can be seen with another prominent rabbi in a video uploaded to YouTube by pro-legalisation group Cannabis Israel in which they are presented with cannabis leaves and partake in the leaves being blessed.

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Listen to Brian Eno's new cover of the Velvet Underground

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Today, Brian Eno released his reimagination of the Velvet Underground's track "I'm Set Free." The cover, titled “Fickle Sun (iii) I’m Set Free,” is from Eno's new album The Ship, coming April 29. Below, the Velvet's original version of the song, from their third album The Velvet Underground (1969).

Eno says:

“The first time I ever heard [The Velvet Underground] was on a John Peel radio show… it was when their first album came out and I thought “This I like! This I want to know about!”. I was having a huge crisis at the time. Am I going to be a painter or am I somehow going to get into music. And I couldn’t play anything so music was the less obvious choice. Then, when I heard The Velvet Underground I thought, “you can do both actually”. It was a big moment for me.

“That particular song always resonated with me but it took about 25 years before I thought about the lyrics. “I’m set free, to find a new illusion”. Wow. That’s saying we don’t go from an illusion to reality (the western idea of “Finding The Truth”) but rather we go from one workable solution to another more workable solution.

Subsequently I think we aren’t able and actually don’t particularly care about the truth, whatever that might be. What we care about is having intellectual tools and inventions that work. [Yuval Noah Harari in his book “Sapiens”] discusses that what makes large-scale human societies capable of cohering and co-operating is the stories they share together.

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Weird, fun audio glitch in Apple TV

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BB pal Dustin "UPSO" Hostetler posted evidence of this curious glitch that manifested while he was using his fourth generation Apple TV. A restart eliminated it, but Dustin says, "I wish it was an option! I'd keep it if I could!"

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You will dig Prince's burning cover of Radiohead's "Creep"

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From Coachella 2008.

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No, 'Puff The Magic Dragon' is not about smoking weed

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Here's the story of the lyrics, based on a poem that 19-year-old college student Leonard Lipton wrote in 1959 and popularized in Peter, Paul and Mary's classic 1963 song.

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Watch incredible video of Prince's "Purple Rain" debut

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Footage from the August 1983 concert at Minneapolis' famed First Avenue club when Prince (1958-2016) debuted the magnificent 13-minute original version of Purple Rain - with an additional third verse - that was later edited and overdubbed for the Purple Rain album. This was also guitarist Wendy Melvoin's first performance with The Revolution. (Apologies that the video host's Flash-based widget won't work on some mobile browsers.) Read the rest

Contraption converts a "hoverboard" into a go-kart

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The Hoverboard Cart is a $69 aluminum frame that attaches to hoverboards and holds a beach chair, cooler, or other seat. You steer it with your feet. The only thing missing is a mount for a fire extinguisher.

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The only man to never have seen a woman

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In 1938, Mihailo Tolotos died at age 82. He's considered to have been the only man to have lived such a long life "without ever seeing a woman." Tolotos, whose mother died at childbirth, lived all his years as a monk in one of Greece's Mt. Ethos monasteries where only men are permitted. Of course, Tolotos's claim to fame doesn't account for people who are blind since birth, but it's still a rather curious story anyway.

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Scientists are studying what made Queen singer Freddie Mercury's voice so amazing and unique

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In a new scientific study, researchers conducted acoustical analysis of Queen singer Freddie Mercury's singing voice. While he spoke in a baritone voice, Mercury had a tremendous singing range. But his real vocal superpowers were a rather unique vibrato combined with his ability to use subharmonics, like a Tuvan throat singer. The Austrian, Czech, and Swedish scientists report on their research in the journal Logopedics Phoniatrics Vocology.

"Perceptually, Freddie Mercury's irregular (and typically faster) vibrato is clearly audible in the sustained notes of famous songs such as 'Bohemian Rhapsody' (A Night at the Opera) or 'We Are the Champions' (News of the World), and it appears to be one of the hallmarks of his vocal style," they wrote.

In other Mercury news, a notebook containing some of his last lyrics will be auctioned off at Bonham's in June. It's estimated to go for £50,000-£70,000.

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Swapping faces with statues is rather disturbing

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JakeMarshall91 went to a museum and face-swapped with statues. The results are strangely horrifying and wonderful.

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More people are smoking dead scorpions to get high in Pakistan

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Pakistan's daily news service Dawn reports on the rise in scorpion smoking there:

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Why did astronauts' space suits leak urine?

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Ariel Waldman, creator of Spacehack, has just published a delightful book titled "What's It Like in Space? Stories from Astronauts Who've Been There?" Illustrated by Brian Standeford, it's a fun collection of astronaut anecdotes on everything from sneezing and farting in zero gravity to weird frights and the necessity of Sriracha in space. Here's an excerpt:

The early male astronauts often had leaky space suits. They would frequently complain about their urine leaking into other areas of the suit. For a while, no one could figure out what was wrong with the spacesuits. NASA eventually realized the leaking was due to the oversized condom catheters the astronauts were using. Turns out that when the astronauts were asked by doctors what size they needed, they would often ask for “large.”

Buy "What's It Like in Space? Stories from Astronauts Who'Ve Been There?" (Amazon)

Excerpted from What's It Like in Space by Ariel Waldman, illustrations by Brian Standeford (Chronicle Books, 2016). Read the rest

Watch Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' without the music

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"Hee hee hee..."

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Watch these bulldozers battle over turf, for real

In China's Hebei Province, bulldozers from competing construction companies battled it reportedly over a business opportunity. According to ABC News, police finally put a stop to the insanity and two drivers were injured. Perhaps the operators have been watching too many Survival Research Labs performance videos.

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