- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 30, 2003

Live or lip-sync?
"ABC producers promised that the pop stars they recruited for this year's Super Bowl halftime show would do their singing live no lip-syncing allowed. But what about country star Shania Twain, who seemed to hop around the stage without missing a note?
"Paul Liszewski, who produced the sound for the show, says Shania's mic was hot and her vocals were live. … Twain's accompaniment, however, was what's called a 'band in a box,' which means the back-up vocals and instrumentals we heard were prerecorded. So while the diva was belting out show-stoppers like 'Man, I Feel Like a Woman,' her onstage drummer was thrashing away merely for effect.
"Other bands use a different mix of taped and live elements, depending on the nature of the show. … At an event like the Super Bowl, where sound engineers have five minutes rather than the usual six or eight hours to set up, bands are more likely to rely on tape. During No Doubt and Sting's halftime sets, we were also hearing live vocals and canned instrumentals."
Julia Turner, writing on "Did Shania Twain Lip-Sync Her Super Bowl Halftime Songs?" Tuesday in Slate at www.slate.com
Still at risk
"There is today a great war at hand. It is being fought in every home, in every neighborhood, and in every school in this country. It is the war for the minds and souls of young people. When I was in high school the National Commission on Excellence in Education issued this warning to an unsuspecting nation: 'Our Nation is at risk. … [T]he educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people. … If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.' …
"My own experience has shown that we are a nation still very much at risk. Before becoming the principal of a school, I taught history at a small college in the Midwest. I found that most of my students were woefully unprepared for college and for civic life. … During the first couple of weeks in my course on Western Civilization, for example, I would give a geography quiz on modern Europe. More than half of my students could not identify Paris or London or Greece on the map. … This scares me. It scares me because what we call education, the handing out of degrees, increasingly does not reflect any attainment of knowledge. … It scares me because the rest of the world, especially after September 11, looks to America for ideas, for leadership, and for courage. … The words of warning pronounced by Edmund Burke to the British Parliament just before losing the American colonies ring true for America today: 'A great empire and little minds go ill together.'"
Terrence Moore, principal of Ridgeview Classical Schools in Fort Collins, Colo., writing on "A Nation Still at Risk," for the Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs at www.ashbrook.org
Rock rocket
"Do you know those '60s shots from above a rock gantry at Cape Canaveral? There's that moment after they count down, 'Three, two, one …' when clouds of smoke billow from the rocket. And then it begins to thrust and burn a hole in the atmosphere. That would be the feeling of a Clash show. It was a real rollercoaster ride. …
"We put out 16 sides of vinyl in five years. Maybe we said all we needed to say in a five-year blast. We could have strung it out over 20 years, and we'd be on the fifth side of 'Sandinista!' right now. When you think about groups like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, they were boyhood friends. But we met when we were already grown up. Some groups might last longer if they played basketball together when they were 8. We met and immediately started the Clash."
Joe Strummer, founder of the Clash, who died Dec. 22, in his last interview Nov. 8 by Bill Crandall of Rolling Stone

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