DOT COMEDY

Or Just Another Excuse To Mention Ron Jeremy
THE VIRGIN CENTERFOLDS
Radio Free Virgin has teamed up with Playboy for its latest Internet radio channel. "The Playboy Lounge" will incorporate electronica, hip-hop, jazz, world and rock music hosted by the reigning Playmate of the Month. Said Virgin Group Chairman and founder Richard Branson: "I suppose it was inevitable that Virgin and Playboy would get together. Both are innovative and dynamic companies, unafraid to take risks. This represents the beginning of a very fruitful relationship between us." Not to be outdone, Hustler publisher Larry Flynt is launching his own Net station, featuring porn star Ron Jeremy spinning discs with his own—shall we say—needle? Now that's hot.

WIENER SCHNITZEL
Former California Courts of Appeal Justice Howard Wiener has taken a place on the MP3.com board of directors. Wiener served at the state appellate court in San Diego for 16 years and the California Supreme Court in San Bernadino for three years, before retiring from the bench in 1994. Wiener currently is a member of the American College of Civil Trial Mediators and the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers, and serves on the board of trustees of California Western School of Law. Although Wiener declined to comment on the company's legal problems over copyright infringement, he said his appointment to MP3.com is "very exciting, worthwhile, interesting and challenging opportunity." Said Weiner: "I'm certainly not a guru on technology...Talking to my grandchildren and little kids around the block, they know more about listening to music on the Internet than I do. So it's exciting to think that I'll now be cool with my grandchildren." Wiener's first job will be to upgrade his Apple IIe for MP3 compatibility.

IT TAKES TWO TO MAKE DIGITAL MUSIC
Sprint PCS has enlisted digital music network provider HitHive for its foray into digital music. The Sprint PCS My Music service will use a secured delivery system and provide users the ability to create, store, organize and manage their digital music collections online. "HitHive has created a network of syndicated music access points that give our customers nationwide clear access to their digital music collections," said Sprint PCS VP John Yuzdepski. "And this partnership ensures that people will become even more distanced from one another, disappearing into their cell phones, never again to reach out for real human contact, never again to look someone in the eye. But I don't mean that in a bad way."

SAMSUNG BLUE, EVERYBODY OWNS ONE
And in related Sprint news, Samsung introduced its new Uproar (formerly known by the catchy name of SPH-M100), a wireless phone that allows consumers to download MP3 files from their computers directly to their handset. The Uproar's built-in flash memory holds more than an hour of CD quality music—that's as many as two songs by ponderous prog-rockers Yes. The Uproar is also an Internet portal, a personal organizer and it's cleaning your oven right now! "Consumers with hectic work schedules and busy social lives want a single electronic device that serves multiple purposes," said Peter Skarzynski, yet another Sprint VP in desperate need of a vowel. "Did someone from my company already stress the ‘disassociation from the human race' angle? They did? All right. Then I'd like to add that the Uproar also has the potential to distract drivers even more than standard cell phones do right now. But I don't mean that in a bad way."

POP GOES THE MONARCH
Brit music label Poptones has an unlikely supporter—Queen Elizabeth II. According to London's Daily Telegraph, the reigning monarch has invested 50,000 pounds—that's 25 tons!—for a 2.27 percent stake in the venture. Poptones is the latest venture of Alan McGee, who founded the Internet-distributed label after the 1999 folding of his Creation label, which housed shoegazers Jesus And Mary Chain, Teenage Fanclub, Primal Scream and My Bloody Valentine, as well as Oasis. Reports that the Queen is financing McGee in an attempt to get close to his cute buddy, newly available Oasis bad boy Liam Gallagher, could not be confirmed.

THE VIEW FROM
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The discovery engine is revving higher.
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