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Local artist Jake Brennan tells the stories featured on Boston.com through his eyes in Pop-Ed. Read his blog to discover what he sang about - and why.

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May 18: Pop-Ed, we hardly knew ya'

By Jake Brennan
May 18, 2007 | 04:00 PM

So all of us over here at Folk Hero Industries would like to say thanks to all of you for tuning in to two wicked killah weeks of Pop-Ed. We're hitting the dole after today, but we wanted to let you know that we had a blast waking up every morning and trying to find different ways to make the news entertaining.

Now that we're officially unemployed, we're taking aim at the co-captain's chair over in Tom Finneran's studio. Tommy, forget about Bernie McGuirk. Drop the zero and get with the folk heroes. Give us the gig. We know how to give the people what they want. More important, we've never kept company with Imus. Then again, you used to hang with Billy Bulger so what do we know? Keep swinging low, Tommy.

Thanks to everyone at Boston.com and to everyone who helped out with the videos over the last two weeks. Thanks for putting up with us. We'd also like to extend a ginormous thank you to everyone out there on the Web who tuned in to watch the Pop-Ed ridiculousness. Camp St. Studios, Fenway Recordings, Joan Hathaway, WBOS and Luke, Colin, Derek and Evan at Folk Hero Industries.

See you all soon. Teddy Boys unite!
Jake

What do you think? Share your thoughts here.

May 17: Dick Albert vs. Neil Young

By Jake Brennan
May 17, 2007 | 04:00 PM

Todayís song is about the weather. So what? Some of us are actually interested in the weather. Some of us are a little tense when it comes to the weather. Some of us get WAY too worked up when the slightest hint of a storm approaches. What happened to us? Arenít we supposed to be New Englanders?

I guess I understand the hysteria when there is an impending snowstorm but yesterday it was just... raining. And yeah, there was some thunder , some lightning, but if you watched the news or headed out onto any of the major roads during rush hour youíd of thunk Auntie Auntie Em was searching for a basement somewhere in the 617 area code.

So this morning I woke up, logged onto Boston.com and went straight for the weather page. Thatís when I realized that weather forecasts are almost lyrical, poetic... dare I say psychedelic? After all, isnít there a storm always on the horizon? Isnít the news just one big forecast? From the outcome in Iraq to the annual June swoon of the Red Sox to Cadillac Patís next political gaffe. Arenít we always on the lookout for whatís just around the corner?

Like the best Neil Young lyrics, there are universal truths buried deep within each forecast. Dick Albert is one heavy cat.

Far out,
Jake

PS - Thanks to Bill Walton for the fashion advice this morning.

What do you think? Share your thoughts here.

May 16: Oh no, Anna Nicole

By Jake Brennan
May 16, 2007 | 04:00 PM

I know that I shouldnít act surprised but the truth of the matter is that I really am. I canít believe that people are still writing about Anna Nicole Smith. That can mean only one thing: that people are still interested in reading about Anna Nicole Smith. WHY???

I can honestly say that until this morning I hadnít read one word about her death. Still, that doesnít mean that Iím ignorant on the subject. Youíd have to live in a shoe to not at least know that skeleton of the story, but come on... Let it go. Let her rest. Even post-mortem, and months after the fact, the peoplesí interest in her is still palpable. Some German businessman bought two of her diaries for $500,000. Are you kidding me? Again, WHY???

At this point, the only thing less interesting than Anna Nicole Smith is what Britney Spears isnít wearing in public these days. The story is ridiculous, as is the pressí undying infatuation with this talentless, dead, past her prime, supermodel. Writing to cue, we cooked up an equally ridiculous song and video. I guess that my role in the video is that of the press or something. Iím not sure. I think we may have gone too far with this one.

Iím going to blame Evan. See you tomorrow.
Jake

What do you think? Share your thoughts here.

May 15: On the couch

By Jake Brennan
May 15, 2007 | 04:00 PM

Tuesday, 6:30 a.m., and a headline with a hook: Woman gets suspended sentence for pretending to be psychologist.

For a minute there, I wondered if this was the same woman that my parents sent me to when I was a kid. Back then, they were freaking out because I was busy flunking out of summer school and blowing my money in Harvard Square record stores. The kiddie shrink did me no good though, because I'm still blowing my money in record stores. So maybe I was the victim of some phony psychological advice.

Well, I doubt it, but either way, this is a good story to write about. An ex-stripper, Louise Wightman, posing as a child psychologist, who then gets off with a suspended sentence - I love it.

We headed down to Chinatown today in search of the Combat Zone to film today's video. This just in: there is no more Combat Zone. Oh well, we managed. Sounds like Louise will too.

See you tomorrow,
Jake

What do you think? Share your thoughts here.

May 14: Thank God for Parker Posey

By Jake Brennan
May 14, 2007 | 03:30 PM

Week two, day one and as of 6 a.m., today could only have been categorized as a SLOW news day. What did Geldoff say? I don't like what? Anyway, Boomtown Rats references aside, it was tough finding something of interest to write about this morning.

Thank God for Parker Posey and big, stupid, summer blockbusters. We love Parker and this song was almost exclusively about her, but we didn't want to upset Ryan Adams. He's got enough to whine about.

Yeah, Parker rocks. Weíd rather see her up on the screen than most of the other big, blockbuster swill being peddled this summer. What is up with Hollywood? Itís like this big, old, lumbering, giant waiter who keeps bringing the same dish to the table, only with more crap on it. And even though it still tastes bad, and even though the dish keeps getting more expensive, we keep swallowing it.

Another "Spider-man," another "Harry Potter?" Whatever. Who am I to judge? People continue to turn out in droves. "Spider-man" did another $60 million this weekend, a 60 percent drop from last week but still far more than itís its closest competitor, "Weekend at Bernie's 8."

The Hollywood formula seems to be this: Rewrite, spend more, dumb down, cash in. Keith Richards better be in that new "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie.

See you tomorrow,
Jake

PS - Speaking of bigger and dumber, a big thanks to Ian Kennedy for the blockbuster guitar solo.

What do you think? Share your thoughts here.

May 11: Until next week ...

By Jake Brennan
May 11, 2007 | 04:00 PM

Our thoughts on PopEd ... Itís been a good week. Some ups, some downs, and most importantly, some great news stories. Weíre all a little fried, but we had a blast doing this.

Thanks to Boston.com and everyone all over the world for tuning in. We figured we'd do a little end of the week spring cleaning, give thanks, bid you adieu until next week, and address some of the more pressing questions on the message boards. Particularly all of the Mike Wallace-esque hard hitting questions pertaining to mine and Evanís hair.

Additionally it makes sense to tie into the fact that itís been a week of farewells. From Roger Clemens pretty much guaranteeing that heíll never be back with #21 on his back to Tony Blair, a man on the out and a man with his own set of detractors.

Thanks to Fast Phil for today's location, everyone who helped out this week both in front and behind the camera (Yo Chuck Young!), Adam and Paul at Camp St., and to everyone at WBOS and the rest of radio land for getting the word out. Oh, and a thanks to my mom - the best publicist a son could ask for. Happy Mom's Day.

See you next week!
Jake and everyone at Folk Hero Industries

PS - Get out this weekend and come see me live. I'm at St. Mary's in Clinton, Ma., tonight and at the Lizard Lounge tomorrow night with the Teenage Prayers and Eli Paperboy Reid.

What do you think? Share your thoughts here.

May 10: And we were swingin' (like Sonny Liston!)

By Jake Brennan
May 10, 2007 | 04:00 PM

Day Four of Pop-Ed. Woke up this morning (send the royalties to the Howliní Wolf estate for that line) and I was expecting to strike a more serious tone and write about the Dalai Lamaís call for compassion when I was hit with this whopper of a headline: Fight Breaks Out at Boston Pops!"

Are you kidding me? The news gods are smiling down upon Folk Hero Industries. What a headline. The story was a little light on details, so we had to rely on a little poetic licensing. Even better.

We weren't sure who was throwing haymakers at who up in the storied Symphony Hall balcony so we imagined it to be an older, crustier, Pops season ticket holder. Possibly a failed composer. A traditionalist with no patience for Ben Folds Five and his younger, "hipster audience." Somebody who has made an art out of doing the wrong thing in life like, oh I donít know... STARTING A FIGHT AT SYMPHONY HALL!

You canít make this stuff up.
See you tomorrow.
Jake

PS - A big hearty congrats to our producers at Camp St. Studios, Paul Kolderie and Adam Taylor. Yesterday their Grammys arrived. The actual statue/trophy thingys. They won for the mix they gave to Irma Thomasís last record. And I have to thank Doug Gessler for the last minute, early morning stage call and Sarah Borges for the makeup job.

Oh, finally... Tune in to WBOS 92.9 tonight at 6:00 p.m. Iíll be doing an interview on the Morse and Laurenti show.

What do you think? Share your thoughts here.

May 9: My duct tape prom queen

By Jake Brennan
May 9, 2007 | 04:00 PM

Day three of Pop-Ed. You know what that means? Neither do I. I do know that it's prom season and when I read Boston.com's piece this morning entitled, "Prom is a wrap for pair garbed in duct tape" it made me laugh and think back to my awkward junior year at Clinton High.

First off, I hated the thought of the prom. So much pressure for a kid who only cared about how he was going to get Dan Carr's older brother to tell him more stories about Bon Scott's AC/DC from behind the counter of City Hall Music.

Second, my parents "made" me ask a date. So I did - and she stood me up.

Whatever. I was glad. I rode in the limo with my friends Dutch and Richie and while they soldiered into the unknown, to what Iím sure was an incredibly cheesy soundtrack, I hung in the limo and watched the Miss America contest with the burnout chauffeur.

My third thought was, this duct tape thing is brilliant - and these two kids rule (dig those shoes!). What a way to take the pressure off and to poke fun at the ridiculousness of "Prom." Plus, the dudeís suit kinda looks like the nudie suit that Gram Parsons is wearing on the Flying Burrito Brothers album cover. And as far as "cool" goes, you canít beat that cover.

So I imagined myself at the big dance with "My Duct Tape Prom Queen." Figured we'd go light today with the subject matter given yesterday's song. Word.
- Jake

PS - Special thanks to Steph for her pre-office job/prom makeover. I owe you one (like always). Apologies to everyone at Narraguagus High. I know I butchered the pronunciation. Sorry.

What do you think? Share your thoughts here.

May 8: 456 billion reasons to write a second blog

By Jake Brennan
May 8, 2007 | 04:00 PM

It's day two of reporting from the blogosphere (Camp St. Studios in Cambridge to be precise). At 6 AM this morning, when I started this process it appeared to be a slow news day. Lesson learned: A lot can happen in 6 hours.

What started as a slow news day led me to write a song about the Boston.com article "What does $456 billion buy?" Since then the Amy Winehouse review went up and Paris Hilton rehired John Lennonís old pal, Elliot Mintz for some much needed damage control.

Hopefully these stories stay in the news because Iíd love to write about either of them tomorrow. Woody Guthrie wrote about Ingrid Bergman so why canít I write about Amy Winehouse? Who knows, maybe Scarlett Johansson will do something news worthy.

Anyway, on to the song in hand. As I said above, itís about the $456 billion price tag attached to the war. Thatís the consensus amount being bandied about in Washington. How to apply it - the when and the how - well, people with much bigger cuff-links and far more frequent flyer miles than I have are sorting that one out as we speak. Whatever... the divide over the war in Washington is far less interesting to me than the question posed in the piece: Other than the war, what else would $456 billion buy?

I tried answering it in todayís song, ďFOUR HUNDRED FIFTY SIX BILLION REASONS TO...Ē

See you tomorrow,
Jake

PS - a special thanks to all the Clinton and Central MA kids for checking out PopEd and big ups to Adam Taylor over at Camp St. for the pre-caffeine production. This, as always, has been a Folk Hero Industries production.

May 7: See you in October, big boy

By Jake Brennan
May 7, 2007 | 08:37 AM

First off a quick hey and how are ya. I'm Jake Brennan and as you've probably read on the previous page I'll be writing and recording an original hard-core folk song a day, a song based on the news and ripped from the headlines here at Boston.com. Me and my cohorts here at Folk Hero Industries will produce an accompanying video and I'll be writing a daily blog that tells the tale behind the tape. Real time, baby. We aim to have the whole kit and caboodle wrapped up and posted by 3:30 p.m.

So here we go...

Today's song is titled "21 OVER 22." Obviously it's about Roger Clemensí decision to once again ignore the Nation's pull on his heartstrings in favor of George Steinbrenner pulling on his purse strings. Pathetic.

He rationalizes that he's "...come back to do what they only know how to do here with the Yankees, and that's win a championship." Give me a break. As if the Yankees invented winning. If he really wanted to win he'd have suited up in a rotation next to Beckett, Schilling, and Matsuzaka. I think his real reason is that he feels that pinstripes are thinning.

And what about the high drama in the Bronx yesterday? What a diva. I wonder if he's used any of that prorated $28 million to hire Mariah Carey to carry his bags for him. Maybe he can get her number from Derek Jeter.

Sour grapes? Maybe. But we shouldn't be surprised. Since the Rocket left the Bean he's always followed the cash and why shouldn't he? I'll tell you why. Because coming here to finish his career would have been different. The season would have been a PERFECT ending to an amazing career and would have been worth more than whatever Georgie Porgie could fish out of his deep pockets.

I miss the old Clemens. The old #21. Lean and hungry to win. Maybe #22 is the same "Texas Con-Man" that Will McDonough warned us about.

This barely happens but I actually agree with most of what Dan Shaughnessy has to say in today's column "Rocket Lands With Yankees Again." (Everything but his obligatory jab at Schilling - give it a break, Dude).

So with that I take my cue from Mr. Zimmerman's great folk song about Catfish Hunter and give you "21 Over 22." Bring it on, #22. We're ready for you. We've got a young lefty on the mend with the heart of a lion. He's coming back from CANCER not some cushy Texas mansion. And in case you haven't noticed, our current #5, Julian Tavarez is loco, bro.

See you in October, big boy.

P.S. - Special thanks to the kids at Fenway High for co-starring in the video with me. Also, much appreciation to Ian Kennedy for the fleet-footed fiddle work.

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