Monday, February 23, 2009


Music is something you enjoy listening to in different occasions of your life. However, some are considered bad, good, reasonable and of course exist the ones that are considered excellent. So, the judgement of the quality of the music varies from person to person. It goes from age to age from child, teens, young adults, 20's, late 20's, 30's, late 30's, 40's, late 40's and so on. It's judged according to your moment, according to what is happening in your live. Moreover, each year or decade the critics elect one music that they consider the best one. Below is a selected list.

1. Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend
2. Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis, Two Men with the Blues
3. Miles Davis, Kind of Blue: 50th Anniversary Collector's Edition
4. TV on the Radio, Dear Science
5. Adele, 19
6. Duffy, Rockferry
7. Santogold, Santogold
8. Gustavo Dudamel, Fiesta
9. Charlie Haden, Rambling Boy
10. Amy MacDonald, This Is the Life


1. Adele, 19
2. Duffy, Rockferry
3. Melody Gardot, Worrisome Heart
4. Amy MacDonald, This Is the Life
5. The Ting Tings, We Started Nothing
6. Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago
7. MGMT, Oracular Spectacular [Bonus Features]
8. Lucy Woodward, Lucy Woodward Is... Hot & Bothered [Barnes & Noble Exclusive]
9. Jazmine Sullivan, Fearless
10. Esperanza Spalding, Esperanza


1. R.E.M., Accelerate
2. Metallica, Death Magnetic
3. The Pretenders, Break Up the Concrete
4. Mudcrutch, Mudcrutch
5. Joan Baez, Day After Tomorrow
6. The Fireman, Electric Arguments
7. Steve Cropper & Felix Cavaliere, Nudge It Up a Notch
8. Charlie Louvin, Steps to Heaven
9. Shirley Bassey, Get the Party Started
10. The B-52's, Funplex


11. Hank Williams, The Unreleased Recordings
12. Bob Dylan, The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs - Rare and Unreleased
33. Miles Davis, Kind of Blue: 50th Anniversary Collector's Edition
14. Led Zeppelin, Definitive Collection Mini LP Replica Box
15. Willie Nelson, One Hell of a Ride [Box Set]
16. Motown: The Complete No. 1s
17. Hunter S. Thompson, The Gonzo Tapes: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S.
18. Love Train: The Sound of Philadelphia
19. The Pogues, Just Look Them Straight in the Eye and Say...Pogue Mahone [Box
20. 43 Songs for 43 U.S. Presidencies


1. Shelby Lynne, Just a Little Lovin'
2. Jenny Lewis, Acid Tongue
3. Jim White, Transnormal Skiperoo
4. The Black Crowes, Warpaint
5. Raphael Saadiq, The Way I See It
6. Nick Lowe, Jesus of Cool [Bonus Tracks]
7. Jamie Lidell, Jim
8. Lizz Wright, The Orchard
9. Buika, Niña de Fuego
10. The East Village Opera Company, Olde School


1. Miles Davis, Kind of Blue: 50th Anniversary Collector's Edition
2. Cassandra Wilson, Loverly
3. Joe Lovano, Symphonica
4. Esperanza Spalding, Esperanza
5. Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis, Two Men with the Blues
6. Melody Gardot, Worrisome Heart
7. Stanton Moore, Emphasis! On Parenthesis
8. Dianne Reeves, When You Know
9. Brad Mehldau, Live
10. Bebo & Chucho Valdés, Juntos Para Siempre


1. Ray LaMontagne, Gossip in the Grain
2. Metallica, Death Magnetic
3. Drive-By Truckers, Brighter Than Creation's Dark
4. The Pretenders, Break Up the Concrete
5. TV on the Radio, Dear Science
6. My Morning Jacket, Evil Urges
7. The Black Crowes, Warpaint
8. The Black Keys, Attack & Release
9. Weezer, Weezer (Red Album) [Bonus Tracks]
10. Dragonforce, Ultra Beatdown


1. Santogold, Santogold
2. Danity Kane, Welcome to the Dollhouse
3. Day26, Day26
4. Erykah Badu, New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War
5. Janelle Monáe, Metropolis: The Chase Suite [Special Edition]
6. Solange Knowles, Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams
7. T.I., Paper Trail
8. Raphael Saadiq, The Way I See It
9. Jazmine Sullivan, Fearless
10. Ne-Yo, Year of the Gentleman


1. The Felice Brothers, The Felice Brothers
2. Kathleen Edwards, Asking for Flowers
3. Sonny Landreth, From the Reach
4. Buddy Guy, Skin Deep
5. Amos Lee, Last Days at the Lodge
6. Charlie Haden, Rambling Boy
7. Joan Baez, Day After Tomorrow
8. Pete Seeger, At 89
9. Ray LaMontagne, Gossip in the Grain
10. Bob Dylan, The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs - Rare and Unreleased

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Prostitution in New York City

This week the government must release sealed documents that could reveal new details about the origins and scope of the prostitution investigation that brought down former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, a judge ordered Thursday. U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff wrote in federal court in Manhattan that the documents, which were FBI applications for wiretaps, should be unsealed "given the strong and obvious public interest in disclosure." He ordered them released by Tuesday. The New York Times sued late last year to get access to the documents, which name the 67 people besides Spitzer who were clients of Emperor's Club VIP, a high-end prostitute service. The Times has agreed to allow the government to withhold the names of the customers in the documents. None of those customers except Spitzer has ever been identified and no client was ever charged. Four people who operated the ring were charged with prostitution and money laundering and have pleaded guilty.
The government has voluntarily unsealed a search warrant application for Emperor's e-mail account, but it withheld applications for wiretaps on cell phones, including one used by a woman who booked appointments with prostitutes.

New York Fashion Week

As a result of the president Barack Obama being elected there is a question in the air: Does the fact of Obama been elected brings more faces of color to the runways this season? Is already noticed that in some shows the number of ethnic models during New York Fashion Week has been increased, although it’s hard to point out whether that’s a result of the excitement over the new President and First Lady or the ongoing conversations about the lack of diversity in fashion.

“I wouldn’t say it’s an invasion” of ethnic faces. “But it’s an acknowledgement.” Popular models on the catwalks include Sessilee Lopez, Jourdan Dunn and Chanel Iman, whom Lee called “staples” at fashion week.

The progress came after much work within the fashion community to raise awareness of the lack of diversity in fashion, both on the runways and in the ateliers. A series of panels spearheaded by former fashion model and model agency owner Bethann Hardison helped jump-start the conversation about race and fashion in 2007. From there, small victories ensued, including the July issue of Vogue Italia that featured all black models — Iman, Tyra Banks, Liya Kebede, Dunn and Alek Wek, among others. This year, American Vogue featured Dunn and Chanel Iman in a well shoot in its January issue, and now has First Lady Michelle Obama on its March cover.



The 10 Most Beautiful Places in America, which is a nation so blessed with sights natural and man-made that you could ask all 300 million residents for their favorites places and expect 300 million different answers.

1. Red Rock Country (Sedona, Ariz.)
Ever since the early days of movies, when Hollywood has wanted to show the unique beauty of the West, it has gone to Sedona, a place that looks like nowhere else. Beginning with The Call of the Canyon in 1923, some hundred movies and TV shows have been filmed in and around town. We fell under Sedona's spell, too, and while debating our No. 1 spot kept returning to it for the same reasons Hollywood does: The area's telegenic canyons, wind-shaped buttes and dramatic sandstone towers embody the rugged character of the West -- and the central place that character holds in our national identity. There's a timelessness about these ancient rocks that fires the imagination of all who encounter them. Some 11,000 years before film cameras discovered Sedona, American Indians settled the area. Homesteaders, artists and, most recently, New Age spiritualists have followed. Many cultures and agendas abound, but there's really only one attraction: the sheer, exuberant beauty of the place. People come for inspiration and renewal, yellowish-browny cliffs rising from the beige desert floor, wind singing through box canyons, and sunsets that seem to cause the ancient hills and spires to glow from within. We hear the canyon's call and cannot resist.

2. Nighttime view from Mount Washington in Pittsburgh
In a nation with a wealth of spectacular cities full of compelling stories, ranking Pittsburgh as the No. 2 beauty spot is perhaps our most surprising choice. But the Steel City's aesthetic appeal is undeniable, as is its very American capacity for renewal. Standing atop Mount Washington, the steep hill that rises giddily on the city's south side, sightseers enjoy the unforgettable panorama of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers flowing together to create the mighty Ohio, that waterway so essential in the nation's settlement. The rivers cup downtown's lustrous Golden Triangle, where landmark skyscrapers thrust upward like rockets. At night, lights twinkle on no fewer than 15 bridges. Almost as breathtaking as the vista itself is the urban renewal that made it possible. A century ago, a pall of smoke lay so thick over town that streetlights burned all day. As Pittsburgh continues an evolutionary course that has taken it from trading post to transportation hub to industrial goliath, we salute its reinvention into one of America's most scenic and livable communities. In the life of a city, there's nothing more beautiful, or inspiring, than a renaissance.

3. The upper Mississippi River
For third-place honors, we turn to an area less celebrated than others, but nonetheless packed with the unique beauty our nation abounds in. Its low profile makes it all the more charming. To truly appreciate the Mississippi, we leave the familiar territory of Huck and Tom and take a spin on the Great River Road as it runs alongside Old Muddy's upper reaches through Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota. One of the nation's most scenic routes, it winds over hills, atop towering bluffs and through one 19th-century river town after another. The sites along the way read like chapters in American history. Ancient Indian burial mounds punctuate rolling parkland, sidewheelers ply the river, and villages on either bank present fine examples of Steamboat Gothic, the ornate architectural style born in the heyday of river travel. In Galena, Ill., 85% of the buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. At Trempealeau, Wis., the Trempealeau Hotel has offered haven to watermen since 1888. The whole laid-back region's real draw is the river itself. Steady and timeless, it makes one fine traveling companion as it rolls toward the Gulf.

4. Hawaii's Na Pali Coast
At the country's extreme western edge, half a world away from the cradle of the American Revolution, we gain a flash of insight into the restlessness that drove our forebears from New England to the Pacific Ocean and beyond. They pushed west in search of paradise. Amid the coral reefs, beaches and mist-shrouded volcanic peaks of Hawaii's oldest island, they surely found it. Along the Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali coast of Kauai, verdant mountains plunge 4,000 feet into the sparkling Pacific. A short hike inland, where Hanakapi'ai Falls pours into a crystal pool and tropical flowers dapple the lush hillsides, the play of color and light creates the effect of an Impressionist painting gone native. Experience the splendor at your own risk: The hardest thing about a trip to Kauai is boarding the plane to go back home.

5. Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
Engineering marvel, art deco icon, monument to progress: The Golden Gate Bridge does much more than connect San Francisco to Marin County. Named for the strait it spans -- the 3-mile passage between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific -- the bridge is a grand symbol of one of the world's most striking cities. Completed in 1937, the $35 million structure of concrete and steel embodied a city's unquenchable spirit -- and, by extension, the nation's. Set off by its signature orange paint job, twin 750-foot towers that seem to disappear into the heavens and spidery cables that stretch like harp strings, the Golden Gate was unlike anything else ever built. At 4,200 feet, the main suspension span was easily the world's longest. (Almost 70 years later, it ranks seventh.) Facts and figures tell only a partial story: Admired as a practical feat, the bridge is beloved as a work of art, one of the greatest the 20th century produced in any medium.

6. Grafton, Vt.
Had the French explorer Samuel de Champlain arrived in Vermont in the autumn of 1609 instead of summer, he never would have dubbed the land "Vert Mont." In fall, the foothills of the state's namesake Green Mountains blaze red, yellow and orange. Among the choicest spots to take in nature's annual art show is Grafton, right, one of the state's prettiest hamlets and, thanks to the efforts of the non-profit Windham Foundation, arguably its best preserved. The foundation has rehabilitated more than 50 historic buildings, including the Old Tavern at Grafton, a one-time stagecoach stop. Other man-made attractions include the award-winning Grafton Village Cheese factory, a pair of graceful New England churches, a nature museum, a smattering of art galleries and the almost obligatory covered bridge. But the compact village of 600 isn't really about picturesque buildings. It's about the Yankee virtues of simplicity, modesty and saving things that matter. Past and present harmonize sweetly in this vital community. Come fall, you'd swear you can hear the brilliant hillsides singing.

7. Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
America has older mountains than the Tetons, and higher ones. But it has none more dramatic. The jagged range was formed 6 million to 9 million years ago, when grinding pressure along the Teton Fault caused two massive sections of the Earth's crust to come unhinged. On the rift's west side, a block reared up to form the Teton range. On the east, a separate block buckled under, creating the valley known as Jackson Hole. This geologic violence is what makes the Tetons so spectacular: Forgoing the nicety of foothills, a dozen 12,000-foot peaks shoot abruptly from the valley floor, literally an eruption of granite. Amid the grandeur lies glittering Jenny Lake, left. Named for the Shoshone bride of a 19th-century trapper, the pristine, 2.5-mile-long body of water mirrors the mountains' glory. Beloved by canoeists, hikers and honeymooners, lovely Jenny is also popular with elk, moose and trumpeter swans. Small and dazzling, she is one of the true jewels of our glorious national park system.

8. From Key Largo to Key West in Florida
So little actual land, so many associations: coral reefs, Key deer, manatees, pirates, Key lime pie, silver palms, Bogart and Bacall downing gangsters in Key Largo, Hemingway downing mojitos at Sloppy Joe's in Key West. Florida's freewheeling Keys, it has been said, is where things settle when you pick up the continent and shake it. This much is certain: In the Conch Republic, as Key West is sometimes called, a spirited sense of American individualism prevails. Skipping down the fragile, ribbon-thin 110-mile archipelago on U.S. 1, visitors see things that exist nowhere else in the country. With a peak elevation of 18 feet, the land mass can seem but an afterthought to the shimmering Atlantic on one side and the blue-green Gulf on the other. In places the only thing separating them is the roadway itself, panoptic water enchanting travelers with the deliciously disorienting sensation that they've become one with the sea. Along with famously colorful residents and fauvist sunsets, it's one more Key reason to visit this beguiling place.

9. Clingmans Dome along the Appalachian Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Winding through 14 states as it makes its rugged way from Georgia to Maine, the entire Appalachian Trail ranks high on any list of scenic gems. First proposed in 1921 by hiking enthusiast Benton MacKaye, the trail came into service as a continuous footpath across the Eastern states in 1937. A monumental achievement, and one that has given countless Americans fresh appreciation for the vastness of the land, it rewards exploration of every well-trod mile. Clingmans Dome, at Tennessee's eastern edge, rises to 6,643 feet, the highest point along the 2,172-mile trail. The surrounding Smokies support more than 4,000 species of plants, 230 types of birds and some 65 mammal species. From a lookout at the summit, hikers gaze upon a fog-streaked wilderness and see the East as it existed hundreds of years ago, lush forest stretching unbroken in every direction. Among the clouds, one feels doubly awed: by our county's magnificent nature, and by our duty to steward it.

10. The squares of Savannah, Ga.
In this charmed city, the urban and the pastoral gracefully mingle in a uniquely Southern way -- that is, with gentility and a generous dollop of mystery. Shaded by live oaks, perfumed by magnolias and surrounded by historic buildings, 22 enchanting public squares (including Columbia Square, above) beckon like secret gardens. Feasts for the eyes, balm for the soul, the vest-pocket parks serve as gathering places, serene retreats and tourist attractions all rolled into one. Spanish moss romantically drapes Pulaski Square, named for Revolutionary War hero Gen. Casimir Pulaski. At Chippewa Square, lorded over by a statue of Georgia's founder, James Oglethorpe, pay respects to the man who drew up Savannah's triumphant 18th-century street plan. Forrest Gump had the right idea: He contemplated life from a bench in Chippewa Square.



If nothing else, it has been an eventful and eye opening year for Barbados born songstress Rihanna. In addition to recording one of the most popular singles of 2005, the hypnotic "Pon De Replay" (which bass bumped out of more car windows while igniting a slew of barbeques last summer), she won over the masses with her charming Bajan persona.

"So much has happened in my life, I feel like I've grown five years in a year," she gushes. No doubt, by the time Def Jam Records released Rihanna's debut album Music of the Sun, it was obvious that this young woman was more than a one-hit wonder. With a work ethic reminiscent of Motown sisters back in the day when soul reigned supreme, Rihanna traveled throughout the world.

2005 saw Rihanna rocking the mic on tour with Gwen Stefani, making crowds sweat in Japan, posing for magazine covers in Los Angeles and shooting her first film role for Bring It On Yet Again. This was a long way from the quiet life she led in Barbados in the parish of St.Michael. Robyn Rihanna Fenty has come through her musical initiation process without a scratch. And now she is poised for everything that 2006 may hold as she readies to do it again with her sophomore release A Girl Like Me.

"I grew up so much this past year. I had no choice. To pursue my dreams, and with their support, I left my entire family in Barbados to move to the States. It was a little scary to have no friends or family and all of a sudden step into a recording studio," recalled Rihanna.

"2005 taught me the dedication and responsibility it takes to make this dream a reality. Waking up at 5:00 am to start rehearsals, the training, the schoolwork, interviews, video shoots, going all day; it always seemed glamorous but it is real work. My love for music and singing will never change but the rose colored glasses are no longer so rosy."

"Many times over the past year, I didn't have anyone my age with me. When recording this album, I wanted it to seem like I was having a personal conversation with girls my age," says the eighteen-year-old singer. "People think, because we're young, we aren't complex, but that's not true. We deal with life and love and broken hearts in the same way a woman a few years older might. My goal on A Girl Like Me was to find songs that express the many things young women want to say, but might not know how."

Dropping from the harmonic heavens to the groovalistic dance floor, Rihanna has returned with another single that will have listeners begging the d.j. to play it one more time. Produced by Jason Rotem, the sizzling "S.O.S." is bringing the summer heat early this year. With its hypnotic beat and tempting melody, "S.O.S." utilizes the electro-funk of Soft Cell's '80s classic "Tainted Love" to create a soulful anthem of young love.

"I got excited when I first heard this track and three days later, it was recorded," Rihanna says. Turning heads with its rebel sound, "S.O.S." has been used as the theme song for their NIKE latest women's line, which can be viewed on "Making that commercial was yet another new experience," she says. "It took six days to shoot, but working with choreographer Jamie King (Madonna and Shakira) was amazing."

Focusing on progressing as an artist, Rihanna has recorded a persuasive track of heartbreak called "Unfaithful." Penned by her label-mate Ne-Yo and Stargate, the song documents the tragic decay of a relationship when another person starts cheating.

Yet, in this instance, it is the girl who has strayed. "On a lot of records, men talk about cheating as though it's all a game. For me, 'Unfaithful' is not just about stepping out on your man, but the pain that it causes both parties."

Perhaps the most surprising track is the rock meets island vibe of "Kisses Don't Lie." Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken, the principles of her production company, SRP, used a mixture of Caribbean elements, electric guitar and an interesting bassline." Coming from Barbados, I really hadn't heard that much rock music," Rihanna confesses. "Touring with Gwen changed my perspective. Thus, when I was discussing this project with L.A. Reid, Chairman of Island Def Jam Records, I made sure to say I want to experiment with some rock."

During the recording of A Girl Like Me, Rihanna jet set down to Jamaica to record with Sean Paul on the yardie duet "Break It Off." Smiling, Rihanna explains, "I have so much respect and love for Sean Paul. He took me to visit the Bob Marley Museum before going into the studio, which was an amazing experience. When we finally got to the studio, I felt as though Marley's spirit was in the room with us."

With A Girl Like Me, the beautiful singer proves that her breakthrough was no coincidence. After selling 1 million copies worldwide of her debut Music Of The Sun, once again, the summer belongs to Rihanna.