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April 22, 2010

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The foundering inferno. After two days ablaze, an offshore oil platform sinks in the Gulf of Mexico -- and eleven workers are still missing.

Canis fodder. Nova Scotia trappers are on varmint patrol, after the province offers a subsidy for every coyote that gets offed.

Colour bind. Even under pressure from Thailand's military, the anti-government "Red Shirts" refuse to capitulate.

Guests of dishonour. To force illegal immgrants outside of its borders, Arizona takes immigration law into its own hands.

On the campaign entrails. When she's confronted with one constituent's plight, a Connecticut mayoral candidate has a visceral response.

And...the China syndrome. After a particularly savage migraine, a British woman named Sarah Colwill inexplicably speaks with a Chinese accent.

As It Happens, the Thursday edition. Radio that's heard her talk -- and knows she's not gerry-Mandarin.


OIL RIG SINKS Duration: 00:05:48

After exploding spectacularly on Tuesday night, and burning for nearly two days, a giant oil rig off the coast of Louisiana has sunk.

Eleven workers remain missing.

Yesterday, while it burned, crude oil was seeping from the rig at at rate of fifty thousand litres per hour, although it's believed much of the oil was being consumed by the fire.

The Deepwater Horizon, owned by the Swiss company Transocean, and contracted to British Petroleum, collapsed into the Gulf of Mexico while surrounded by U.S. Coast Guard vessels attempting extinguish the inferno.

Petty Officer Tom Atkeson speaks on behalf of the Coast Guard. We reached him in New Orleans.


BRAND NEW SIDEWALK Duration: 00:00:15

Album:THIS SIDE/NICKEL CREEK

Label:SUGAR HILL, 2 49188

Persons/Roles:
CHRIS THILE - COMPOSER
ALISON KRAUSS - PRODUCER
NICKEL CREEK - POP GROUP

MAYOR DONATES KIDNEY Duration: 00:06:39

While April Capone was running for re-election as the mayor of East Haven, Connecticut, she found an unusual way to reach out to one of her voters. She went beyond hand-shaking, baby-kissing, or even a friendly photo-op.

She donated a kidney. And she did it secretly.

We reached Mayor Capone in her office in East Haven Connecticut.


COSMIC TREE Duration: 00:00:20

Album:4 HERO PRESENTS EXTENSIONS

Label:RAW CANVAS, RCRCD03

Persons/Roles:
MARK CLAIR - COMPOSER
JENS "GROOVEMASTER 7" DOHLE - DRUMS
STEFFEN "STEVE BASS" ILLNER - CONTRABASS
OEZLEM - SINGING
CHRISTOPH REUTER - PIANO
YE: SOLAR - ENS INSTR
ANDRE ZIMMA - DIR

THAI EXPLOSIONS Duration: 00:07:37

The mounting tension in Thailand's capital city erupted today with deadly force.

A series of grenade explosions in Bangkok's business district killed at least one person, and wounded dozens more. But despite strong warnings from the Thai army, the protesting "Red Shirts", as they're known, are not backing down from their demands. They want the current government to be dissolved, and fresh elections to be held.

Vaudine England is a BBC correspondent, and she spoke to us from the network's Bangkok studios.


DUST Duration: 00:00:18

Album:BOMBAY DUB ORCHESTRA

Label:SIX DEGREES, 657036-1120-2MJ

Persons/Roles:
GARRY HUGES - COMPOSER
ANDREW MACKAY - COMPOSER
BOMBAY DUB ORCH - ENS INSTR

SC/MUSIC: SHATNER G-G Duration: 00:04:50

Sometimes it's hard to tell what divides the amusing from the apocalyptic.

Here's an example. As you probably know, Michaƫlle Jean's term as Canada's Governor-General will end this fall. And so there's a movement afoot -- on Facebook, where all important movements begin -- to nominate William Shatner as her successor.

Now, heaven knows it would be terrific to hear an entire Throne Speech read by the former T.J. Hooker. (SHATNER-STYLE) "This government believes...that Canada must move forward...and embrace the future...with a strong economy!" But the thing about the William Shatner suggestion is that it's such a winking, post-modern one that it's impossible to tell whether it's serious, sarcastic, neither, or both.

Oh, and here's something even more post-modern. Post-post-modern, if you will. Two weeks ago, we told you about a reality show contestant named Lin Yu-Chun, who was being called "Taiwan's Susan Boyle". He -- yes, he -- had stunned the world with his bowl cut, and also his haunting rendition of the Dolly Parton song "I Will Always Love You". Some who heard it were haunted the way one is haunted by a sweet memory of a lost love. Others were haunted the way one is haunted by a cruel, violent poltergeist that wants to kill you.

You're asking what Lin Yu-Chun has to do with William Shatner. And it's here that the amusing might turn apocalyptic -- when a black hole of self-referential pop-cultural absurdity might open up and swallow the Earth.

I'll just tell you straight out: last night, Lin Yu-Chun and William Shatner performed Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" together on the talk show "Lopez Tonight".

And at the risk of destroying the universe, we're going to let you hear what that sounded like.


CLOSING

Now seems like a good time for Barbara and me to take a break and compose ourselves. But we hope to have recovered by the time the news is finished, and we'll return with these stories:

Nature's bounty. Nova Scotia has a coyote problem -- and the government's offering twenty bucks a head to trappers who can help them solve it.

The writing is on the Wall Street. And today, President Obama attempted to convince Wall Street that that writing was worth reading, and obeying.

No way to game the system. It's a shame, but all those video games that claim to upgrade your brain are lame.

Stay tuned. I'm HM.

And I'm BB.


RETURN BILLS Duration: 00:00:50

Hello again, I'm HM.

And I'm BB. This is As It Happens, Part Two.

Coming up:

When Arizona drafts a law to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing its border, some believe the state is crossing a line.

Skip past my Lou: the ever-contrary Lou Reed reissues his least beloved recording: the enigmatic, cacophonic "Metal Machine Music".

Those stories are still to come on As It Happens.


NS COYOTES MINISTER Duration: 00:07:00

Twenty bucks a pop. That's what the provincial government says it will pay licensed trappers who kill coyotes in Nova Scotia.

There's been a lot of pressure to take action, following a couple of attacks on people in recent months -- and an increasing number of sightings of coyote packs uncomfortably close to people's homes.

John MacDonell is the Minister of Natural Resources for Nova Scotia. We reached him in Halifax.


YOU'RE NO GOOD Duration: 00:00:16

Album:B-MUSIC: DRIVE IN, TURN ON, FREAK OUT

Label:FINDERS KEEPERS, FKRCD021CD

Persons/Roles:
COLIN YOUNG - COMPOSER
COLIN YOUNG - VOCALS

ARIZONA ANTI-ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT LAW Duration: 00:07:23

Illegal immigration in the U.S. is always a hot topic. And it's about to get a whole lot hotter.

This week, the state of Arizona passed a new bill that would require police to stop anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant. And if that person can't prove their citizenship, they can be arrested.

Immigration issues, until now, have been the responsibility of the federal government. Arizona is the first state to pass such a bill. And the legislation, which is called Bill SB Ten-Seventy, and has yet to be signed into law, is causing a national uproar.

Leah Landrum Taylor is an Arizona Senator who voted against the bill. We reached her at her office.


SALTWATER ROOM Duration: 00:00:18

Album:OCEAN EYES/OWL CITY

Label:REPUBLIC, B001314102

Persons/Roles:
ADAM YOUNG - COMPOSER
OWL CITY - POP GROUP

FOREIGN ACCENT SYNDROME Duration: 00:06:29

Thirty-five-year old I.T. co-ordinator Sarah Colwill has spent most of her adult life sounding like this.

But now, Ms. Colwill's voice sounds very different. It's not deeper, quieter, or louder.

She has a Chinese accent.

No one in her family is Chinese. She has never even visited the country. Ms. Colwill is suffering from the rare condition Foreign Accent Syndrome. We reached Sarah Colwill in Plymouth, England.


ONTARIO PLATES Duration: 00:00:15

Album:WINTER HYMN COUNTRY HYMN SECRET HYMN/DO MAKE SAY THINK

Label:CONSTELLATION, CST025

Persons/Roles:
OHAD BENCHETRIT - COMPOSER
DAVE MITCHELL - COMPOSER
JAMES PAYMENT - COMPOSER
JUSTIN SMALL - COMPOSER
CHARLES SPEARIN - COMPOSER
DO MAKE SAY THINK - POP GROUP

OBAMA BANK REFORM Duration: 00:07:21

A time for bills and change.

American President Barack Obama has been pushing for financial reform since his presidential campaign -- during which he warned of market manipulation, bubbles and an undue concentration of economic power, unless the U.S. banking system was overhauled. In retrospect, those seem like uncanny predictions.

Now, the Obama Administration is pushing to pass a bill on financial reform -- a bill that has been met with strong opposition from Republicans. And that opposition looks downright friendly, compared to Wall Street's response.

Today, Barack Obama addressed Wall Street head-on, during a speech in New York City.

Barry Lynn is a journalist and a senior fellow in the New America Foundation's Economic Growth Program in New York City. We reached him on his cell phone.


TI JEAN Duration: 00:00:15

Album:SEUL AU PIANO/BEAUDET, JEAN

Label:ELEPHANT, ER0707

Persons/Roles:
JEAN BEAUDET - COMPOSER
JEAN BEAUDET - PIANO
JEAN BEAUDET - PRODUCER

NORTH KOREA SHIP ATTACK Duration: 00:07:15

When the South Korean warship Cheonan sank last month, nobody was really sure why it happened.

Because it happened so close to North Korean waters, speculation was rife that Pyongyang was involved -- but nobody could be sure. Now, it seems, that is changing. The South Korean military is firmly pointing the finger at the pariah state. Military intelligence reports claim the warship was the target of an attack from the North -- but what is most startling is how they believe the attack was carried out.

Julian Ryall is a Far East Asian correspondent for the Telegraph newspaper. We reached him in Tokyo, Japan.


FLAX Duration: 00:00:15

Album:TRILOGI/FREDRIK

Label:THE KORA RECORDS

Persons/Roles:
FREDRICK - COMPOSER
FREDRICK - POP GROUP

SMART GAMES DUMB Duration: 00:06:26

You know those brain-training games you can do on the Internet and on hand-held devices? The ones that are supposed to make you smarter and keep your mind froming slowly turning into a pile of overcooked macaroni as you age?

Well, here's a brain teaser for you: are you a dummy if you think they actually make you smarter?

Adrian Owen thinks he has the answer. He's a neuroscientist at Cambridge University who's led an extensive study of these brain games -- which make their creators millions of dollars. We reached him in Cambridge, England.


HOT DOGGIN Duration: 00:00:17

Album:DEERFOOT/DEERFOOT

Label:CUSTOM, DF001

Persons/Roles:
KURT CIESLA - COMPOSER
DEAN FAULKNER - COMPOSER
RON SAMSOM - COMPOSER
RYAN TIMOFFEE - COMPOSER
DEERFOOT - POP GROUP
RYAN TIMOFFEE - PRODUCER

SC/MUSIC: METAL MACHINE MUSIC Duration: 00:02:34

There may only be one album that's considered important, influential, innovative, and utterly unbearable. And it's not Phil Collins's "No Jacket Required". It's Lou Reed's "Metal Machine Music".

In 1975, Lou Reed was coming off his most successful album to date: "Sally Can't Dance". And despite the fact that he had hit the Top Ten, Mr. Reed was cranky -- not an uncommon state for him. But if he wasn't excited about his burgeoning star status, his record label, RCA, was. RCA wanted another album from him, post haste. So he gave them a double-album called "Metal Machine Music".

It wasn't quite what the label had expected. Just to give you an idea, here's what "Sally Can't Dance" sounded like.

And this is what Lou Reed released to capitalize on its success:

That was twelve seconds or so of "Metal Machine Music" -- an album of nothing but guitar feedback. There were four sides of that feedback. And the fourth side ended in what's called a "locked groove" -- meaning that the last one-point-eight seconds of that side would loop until you lift the needle. So if you put on Side Four of "Metal Machine Music" and then left your apartment for six days, upon your return you would be punched by your sobbing neighbour.

Some say Lou Reed was trying to get out his contract with RCA. Others think it was a practical joke. And a growing contingent believes it's a pioneering work of abrasive ambient music -- a kind of Big Bang for any number of avant-garde, industrial and noise-rock artists. If you're wondering about Lou Reed's take on the album, it varies. He has been quoted as saying, "Well, anyone who gets to Side Four is dumber than I am." But he has also said, "The truth is that I really, really loved it."

These days, it seems the latter is true. He's currently touring with a group called the Metal Machine Trio, which replicates parts of the notorious album. And the latest news is that he has just re-released "Metal Machine Music" on Audio DVD, Blu-Ray, and 180-gram double gatefold vinyl, to be played on home theatre systems.

You might wonder how significantly the audio has been improved on this reissue. Let's find out: here is one seven-minute excerpt from the original LP version of "Metal Machine Music", followed by the same seven-minute excerpt from the remastered Audio DVD.Just kidding. Here are the Cowboy Junkies, with "Sweet Jane".


SALLY CAN'T DANCE Duration: 00:00:12

Album:WALK ON THE WILD SIDE: THE BEST OF LOU REED

Label:RCA, AYL1-3753

Persons/Roles:
LOU REED - COMPOSER
LOU REED - VOCALS

METAL MACHINE MUSIC Duration: 00:00:17

Album:BETWEEN THOUGHT AND EXPRESSION: ANTHOLOGY/REED, LO

Label:23562R, 0RCA

Persons/Roles:
LOU REED - COMPOSER
LOU REED - VOCAL MUSIC;MALE

SWEET JANE Duration: 00:03:41

Album:TRINITY SESSION/COWBOY JUNKIES

Label:BMG, 8568-2-R

Persons/Roles:
LOU REED - COMPOSER
COWBOY JUNKIES - POP GROUP
PETER MOORE - PRODUCER



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