Monday, October 31, 2005

Mankato State

I like the old Mankato State logo. I believe this logo remained unchanged from the late 60's until 1997, when the University changed its name to 'Minnesota State University - Mankato'. I've uploaded a scan of said logo here for your pleasure.

Despite its reputation as a "party school", MSU is a really good institution. Its graduate programs are particularly strong; the Student Affairs program that I graduated from (class of '96) has a reputation that is recognized around the country. I made some great friendships in Mankato, and had the world's best roommate while living there (this past August I was the reverend at her wedding). I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend MSU. Go Mavericks!

Picture face

My friend Ellen sent me this picture from last summer that she recently retrieved from her camera (thanks Ellen!). Leo & I both have our picture faces on.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

November 2, 2005: National Day of Resistance

I sincerely hope that students around the country participate on 11/2. As an instructor I'm considering allowing my students to use this day as an excused absence; I'd be proud if my students chose to get involved for one day rather than come to my class. I found a couple of great websites detailing this Wednesday's National Day of Resistance: worldcantwait.org and notinourname.net .

Recently, Mathew Hammitt of Waterville, MN, wrote to the Minneapolis StarTribune with his two cents about Resistence day:

"At the supper table, I asked my children if they had heard about the Nov. 2 student protest. They hadn't.

I was pleased by that. I gave them a little fatherly advice, seconded by my wife: If any of them were to participate in this protest, I would pack their bags and banish them from my home for life.

If some parents want their kids to skip a day of school so they can show disrespect to their country and president, fine. But none of my kids will be involved in this treasonous activity."


Unfortunately, there are lots of Americans that think like Mr. Hammitt. They spew language about family and "American values", but if their children speak their minds, which is their RIGHT as Americans, they shall be banished from the family home forever. Doesn't sound very American to me.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

On my turntable: The Go-Go's - Vacation

I found a pristine sealed copy of this album today for $1.98. It's always fun to crack open vintage albums that have been sealed for so long. Vacation (1982) is probably my least favorite Go-Go's album, although I recall the 1982 Vacation concert to be a pretty good show (but it pales in comparison to the Go-Go's at First Avenue in 1990). Vacation does have some fantastic songs on it: "Vacation", "He's So Strange", "Beatnik Beach", "Get Up and Go". Readers note: I have scanned my 1982 concert ticket for your enjoyment (ticket is enlarged to show texture).

Here's how I rate the Go-Go's catalog in order from favorite to least:
1. God Bless The Go-Go's (2001)
2. Beauty and the Beat (1981)
3. Talk Show (1984)
4. Vacation (1982)

www.gogos.com

Friday, October 28, 2005

What I'm drinking: Hawaiian Punch

I love this shit! The Fruit Juicy Red tastes the same as I remember it as a kid. For years I quit buying Hawaiian Punch because it was owned by Proctor & Gamble, who are notorious for senseless animal testing. I very recently discovered that Dr. Pepper/Seven Up now owns Hawaiian Punch, thus why I'm drinking it now. Fruit Juicy! Fruit Juicy!

Beastie Boys: Solid Gold Hits

There is a new Beastie Boys compilation coming out on November 8! In true Beastie Boys fashion, it's being released on vinyl, which is great news because it looks like a killer collection:
1. So What'cha Want
2. Brass Monkey
3. Ch-Check It Out
4. No Sleep 'till Brooklyn
5. Hey Ladies
6. Pass the Mic
7. Open Letter to NYC
8. Root Down
9. Shake Your Rump
10. Intergalactic
11. Sure Shot
12. Body Movin' [Fat Boy Slim Remix]
13. Triple Trouble
14. Sabotage
15. Fight for Your Right

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Apache Halloween

I like this picture because it proves that there was indeed a time when the Northeast community used to flock to Apache Plaza. This pic was taken probably in the mid 80's. By the mid-90's Apache saw a very sad, swift decline.

When I was growing up in the 1970's, Apache was where my brother and I spent a great deal of our free time (along with our weekly allowance). The mall was demolished last year to make room for a fucking Walmart. I have fond memories of Apache, and still visit in the occasional dream.

It's The Great Pumpkin

We watched The Great Pumpkin tonight, which has become one of my favorite annual traditions. Next to Christmas, this is the best Charlie Brown special, in my opinion. The scene with Schroeder and Snoopy at the piano makes it worth the watch. Who knew a beagle could be such a comic genius.

Paul McCartney@Xcel, 10/26/2005

"Good" is probably the best adjective I can think of to describe last night's concert, although it was a very strong good. I wouldn't say it was one of the best concerts I've ever seen, but that may be because I'm not crazy about arena shows. This was my third McCartney concert, and it was definitely as good as the previous two. I did miss Linda, and was a little sad to see that she was not mentioned in the opening film. I'm sure Paul has his reasons for not acknowledging his former partner and bandmate, and I can respect that.

The concert was a Beatle fan's wet dream, as the majority of the songs were pre-1970. He did a couple of Wings songs, but the only song from the 80's or 90's was "Flaming Pie". Thus, fans of post-Wings output may have been disappointed. Paul was in fantastic form though, looking and sounding practically as good as ever. His band was extremely tight and energetic, and their harmonies were right up front and spot on. The highlight for me, personally, was "Too Many People" from
Ram (1971), which I never thought I'd see performed live.

The opening act was DJ Freelance Hellraiser, who collaborated this past summer with Paul on the great
Twin Freaks LP. Overall, I'm very glad I went to the show. It was fun to hang out with my good friend Bob. Both Bob and I grew up as Beatles fans, so I was glad to be with him for his first McCartney show. I reckon we'll see him again next time he comes through town.
10/26/05 Set List:
Magical Mystery Tour, Flaming Pie, Jet, I'll Get You,
Drive My Car, Till There Was You, Let Me Roll It,
Got To Get You Into My Life, Fine Line, Maybe I'm Amazed,
The Long and Winding Road, In Spite of all the Danger (Quarrymen),
I Will, Jenny Wren, For No One, Fixing A Hole, English Tea
I'll Follow The Sun, Follow Me, Blackbird, Eleanor Rigby
Too Many People, She Came In Through the Bathroom Window
Good Day Sunshine, Band On The Run, Penny Lane
I've Got A Feeling, Back In The USSR, Hey Jude, Live and Let Die,
Encore 1: Yesterday, Get Back, Helter Skelter
Encore 2: Please Please Me, Let It Be, Sgt Pepper/The End

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

"Dear Dr. Laura"

I'm sure many of you have forgotten about Dr. Laura, but you may recall that she is a hateful bitch. I found the following online and had to post it; it's a few years old but still poignant, considering that there are so many right-wing wackos out there trying to eliminate the gays in the name of religion.

Dear Dr. Laura,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.

a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

d) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an Abomination (Lev 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

g) Lev 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev 19:27. How should they die?

i) I know from Lev 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev 24:10-16) Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted disciple and adoring fan.

Walmart is bad bad bad

Yet another reason not to shop at the evil Walmart (like we need more reasons). This is taken from an article at CNN.com, referencing an internal Walmart memo regarding seniority of employees:

"The memo is quoted as expressing concern that workers with seven years' seniority earn more than workers with one year's seniority, but are no more productive, said the paper, which posted the memo on its Web site."

So Walmart is concerned that employees that have been with the company for seven years are making more money than new employees. Right. Fuck Walmart. It boggles my mind that any consumer would want to support a company that works this way. This is ridiculous. I get so angry when I drive past Walmart and see a parking lot filled with SUVs, because these are people who can afford to shop at the smaller stores, or at least stores with a conscience. I will gladly pay 25 cents more for toilet paper if it means that Walmart doesn't get my money. Oh, did I say Fuck Walmart yet? If not, I'll say it in caps: FUCK WALMART. Fucking greedy bastards can rot in hell.

The good news is that there are people out there keeping an eye on Walmart. Check out WalMartWatch.com. And for those of you who shop at Walmart, stop it!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Paul McCartney this week!

Paul McCartney is playing at Excel Energy Center this Wednesday. I don't attend many arena concerts anymore, mostly because I prefer seeing bands in clubs where I can walk around and enjoy the atmosphere. There aren't many artists that I will pay big bucks to see in a large venue, but Paul McCartney is one of them. I've seen him twice before, in 1990 & 1993, both amazing shows. I missed his last tour, so I made sure to get tickets for this one.

The 1990 McCartney show in Ames, IA was a HUGE event for me. I was in the middle of a summer class at UMD that week, and Iowa was a heck of an overnight jaunt, but there was no way I was going to miss the concert. At this point in my life I was growing increasingly passionate about environmental issues, and the PETA materials that I picked up at the concert very much solidified my newfound devotion to animal rights and vegetarianism. I remember the day of that concert, and the whole summer of 1990, as a time when I made major lifestyle choices that continue to affect my life fifteen years later.

(picture) Outside Cyclone Stadium the night of the McCartney concert, 7/18/1990
Songs played on July 18, 1990 (not in order):
My Brave Face, Coming Up, Let Em In, Band On The Run,
We Got Married,Let It Be, Put It There, Rough Ride,
Carry That Weight/Golden Slumbers, Jet, Yesterday,
Back In the USSR,This One, Birthday, Fool On The Hill,
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Eleanor Rigby,
medley: Strawberry Fields Forever/Help/Give Peace A Chance,
Hey Jude, Get Back, Can't Buy Me Love, I Saw Her Standing There
Figure of Eight, Got To Get You Into My Life

Saturday, October 22, 2005

On my turntable: The B-52's: Bouncing off the Satellites

In the fall of '86 I was a new transfer student at the U of M Twin Cities. I was working at Don Leary's record store and was heavily involved in my music projects. Bouncing off the Satellites (1986) is definitely in my Top 5 from that fall.

Satellites
is typically (and unfairly) an overlooked part of the B-52's catalog. I think that when it was released in '86 the album's overt perkiness and positivity was overshadowed by member Ricky Wilson's death (Ricky died just months after the band completed the album in 1985). There are some really great tracks, including "Girl From Ipanema Goes to Greenland", "Detour Thru Your Mind", "Ain't It A Shame", and one of my all-time faves, "Summer Of Love". Ricky appears on 8 of the 10 songs, and shares writing credit on most of them. Not all of the songs are fantastic; "Juicy Jungle", which is basically a Fred Schnieder solo track, is a bit of a dud. If you're a B-52's fan who doesn't own this album, I highly recommend that you go out and get it.

Ooooh scary donuts!!

I found something very interesting last night while doing a google search for haunted places in Minnesota. According to one website I found, there is a haunted Pizza Hut in Columbia Heights. In the 1970's, this particular Pizza Hut was a Winchell's donut shop, where my family used to buy dozens of delicious donuts. According to legend, the old baker that used to work there hung himself in the backroom, and people now see him at Pizza Hut from time to time, and sometimes the lights or the faucets will turn on and off.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

"A Different World", Season One DVD

Oh yes. It will be mine.

It's not the show's best season. In fact, Season One may be the worst season of "A Different World" (the 92-93 season is probably the 2nd worst). Still, this was such a
great show, thus making this a must-own set, in my opinion.

Release date: November 8, 2005

Memorial Stadium

This picture to me says "college football". I don't quite see why anyone would rather attend a Gopher game at the Metrodome, although I remember what a big deal the dome was when it first opened. I think the demolition of Memorial Stadium is a lesson this state could learn from: newer and shinier isn't always better.

The doctor called me fat.

OK so she didn't really say "Jeff you are so fat", but she did tell me that I am ten pounds heavier than the last time she saw me, which is at least ten pounds heavier than I need to be. To be honest, it is amazing to me that I weigh 169 pounds. Because of my history with Crohn's disease, I never thought I'd see the scale hit more than 150. Back in the days before Remicade (an infusion drug that was approved for use 4 or 5 years ago) it was a miracle if I hit 135, so I take a certain amount of pride in the fact that my body is able to gain weight. But, despite my pride I guess it wouldn't kill me to slim down a bit.

I've never needed to lose weight before, so I don't really know where to begin. I suppose I'll walk more, and perhaps eat a bit less from the Taco Bell. Perhaps a little less butter on my popcorn. Perhaps a little more time moving around and less time sitting on my big ol' white scandinavian ass. My goal for right now is to lose five pounds, and see how that goes. I am going to be oh so sexy. Please no chocolates for the holidays. I'm on a diet.

Monday, October 17, 2005

On my turntable: George Harrison - Thirty-Three & 1/3

This is one of George's best albums, in my opinion. He sounds happy on this record. The album's title refers to George's age at the time, but also to the speed at which an LP plays. Clever, eh? I remember first learning of Thirty-Three & 1/3 (1976) when I saw promotional posters on display in Don Leary's record store window, roughly one year before I became a full-fledged Beatlemaniac. From 1977 until probably 1981 my entire existence was pretty much The Beatles.

I purchased this album on 8-track from the bargain bins at Musicland. I loved the song "Woman Don't You Cry For Me", and would get so frustrated with the 8-track format because you couldn't rewind the damned things, only fast-forward, and the fast forward was barely faster than regular speed. So I'd have to wait through two more songs until I could play my favorite song again. Back when I was just starting my collection, I cheaply obtained at least a dozen Beatles solo 8-tracks from Musicland's clearance bins, which I later would have to replace on LP. Kind reader please note: I found the original outer sleeve that my 8-track came in, and have uploaded a scan here for your enjoyment. You're welcome.

Album highlights include my aforementioned fave track, the singles "This Song" and "Crackerbox Palace", "It's What You Value", and the lovely "Learning How To Love You". In 2004, George's entire Dark Horse catalog got reissued on CD. I've not purchased any of the reissues, but I'm glad to know that they're in the shops.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

On my turntable: The Three O'Clock - Arrive Without Travelling

When I first heard Arrive Without Travelling (1985), I felt like I had finally found my kindred spirit band. The Three O'Clock's sound was a mix of all of my influences, a psychedelic brand of Beatles/Monkees power-pop, full of loud guitars and tamborines. I promptly purchased the rest of their albums and enlisted in their fanclub. As a musician this album became a blueprint for what I wanted to achieve at the time. When my own band played at the 7th St. Entry in 1988, we were decked out in paisleys, playing a set of our own songs plus two by the Three O'Clock.

I was never able to see the Three O'Clock perform live, although I think they may have only played in Minneapolis twice (once opening for R.E.M., I think, the other time in the 7th St. Entry). In '88 they released their final album,
Vermillion, on Prince's Paisley Park label. The band's leader and mastermind, Michael Quercio, has since moved on to other bands, including the fantastic Permanent Green Light, and the more recent Jupiter Affect.

On my turntable: Brian Wilson - What I Really Want For Christmas

Kudos to Brian for yet another great album. Released just this week, What I Really Want For Christmas is Brian Wilson's third full-length album in sixteen months (all three available on vinyl, I must add). For the past few years, Brian has maintained a pretty constant touring schedule as well. He has announced that he now intends to take a well-deserved break, and who could blame him!

As far as holiday albums go, this is a really pleasant record! Three of the LP's twelve songs, "The Man With All The Toys", "Little Saint Nick", and "Auld Lang Syne" were originally recorded for the
Beach Boys Christmas Album (1964). The new versions recorded with Brian's band fit very nicely with the rest of the album, comprised of traditional Christmas tunes plus two originals: "What I Really Want For Christmas", written with Bernie Taupin, and "Christmasey", which Brian wrote with Jimmy Webb. Both are really great Brian Wilson songs that stand up against the rest of his work. Some of the credit for Brian's recent success must go to his fantastic band, which includes two of the Wondermints, and former touring Beach Boy Jeffrey Foskett, who now handles much of the falsetto singing. Vocally, Brian sounds fantastic. His return to form of the past six or seven years has been nothing less than astounding.

The LP's packaging is very bare-bones, no surprise considering this is an Arista release (cheap bastards). The cover is nice, but the lp is lightweight with generic labels, and a plain white inner sleeve. No extra expenses put into this one, but it's still worth owning. The CD version, which comes out this Tuesday (10/18), features three bonus tracks.

www.BrianWilson.com

Saturday, October 15, 2005

My favorite concerts: Brian Wilson "SMiLE"@Orpheum, 9/30/2004

This may be the greatest concert I've ever seen. The Beach Boys' Smile is such a legendary piece of work, albeit unfinished. That Brian would assemble, perform, and record Smile in 2004 was almost unbelievable. This concert at the Orpheum was the national premiere of SMiLE, and an enormous thrill for me. It was my third Brian Wilson concert, and easily the best.

Brian (pictured here in a photo from the show) and his band started the night with a short acoustic set, followed by a full electric set, all prior to the opening notes of SMiLE, which was played from start to finish. There were spots where I'm sure there wasn't a dry eye in the house; the music was that captivating and beautiful.

9/30/04 Set List:

And Your Dreams Come True, Surfer Girl, Wendy, Hawaii,
Good To My Baby, Please Let Me Wonder, Drive-In, You're Welcome,
Sloop John B, Dance, Dance, Dance, How Can We Still Be Dancin',
Row Row Row Your Boat (!), California Girls, Darlin', Gettin In Over My Head,
God Only Knows, Wouldn't It Be Nice, Forever, Soul Searchin',
Sail On Sailor, Marcella
*SMiLE*SMiLE*SMiLE*
Do It Again, I Get Around, Help Me Rhonda, Barbara Ann, Surfin' USA, Fun Fun Fun
Love and Mercy

Friday, October 14, 2005

On my turntable: Prince and the New Power Generation

I just received this double LP in the mail today. This is one of my Fall lps for sure, from 1992. Although not one of my favorite Prince lps, it's got some kickass songs on it: "My Name Is Prince", "Sexy M.F.", "The Morning Papers", "Damn U", and the fantastic single, "7". When this album was released I was doing temp work, one year out of college, living with my parents, and working part time at Title Wave (music and video store) in Crystal. It wasn't the best time in my life, but for some reason I don't associate these songs with anything negative.

OK now for the freaky part. I checked the original receipt from when I first purchased the CD of this album, and it shows a date of
10/13/92. Today's date? 10/14/05. I was (unintentionally) one day away from getting the vinyl version on the exact same date, 13 years later. I love when that happens.

Confessions of a vinyl junkie

If you've ever been to a record show then you've seen what some of the diehard junkies are like. They're not an attractive lot; some of them rank rather high on the geek scale. Sometimes when I go to the record shows I am reminded of that fine line that I walk between "enthusiast" and "nerd". It's a slippery slope. I try to assure myself, "Hey, at least I don't live in my parents' basement. Anymore."

I was home from work yesterday after feeling a bit under the weather for the past couple of days, and I caught part of the movie High Fidelity on tv. There's a scene where John Cusack's character is re-organizing his album collection (which he organizes "autobiographically"), and I came to the distinct realization that I myself am a vinyl junkie. I too find theraputic pleasure in the organization of my LPs, and making "Top 5" lists. I think I mentioned in a previous entry how my friends give me flak for remembering where I've purchased records as far back as the 70's. Each record in my collection has its own unique connection to various periods in my life. When referencing an album, I also like to make mental note of what label it is on, when it was released, who produced it, etc.. I also love the smell of LPs, and still get a charge out of cracking the seal on new records. If all this makes me a junkie, or perhaps even a geek, then so be it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Another lovely day in Minneapolis

9/23/05

On my turntable: Pat Benatar - Precious Time

It's hard for me to listen to this record without picturing my friend Kim in her bedroom, blaring "Promises In The Dark", and singing into her curling iron. Precious Time (1981) is far from the greatest album ever made, but it is SO Fall of 1981! It was a huge record for Pat, who was all over MTV at the time (legend has it that Pat got played so much because MTV simply didn't have enough other videos to play!). When I hear this album I'm vividly reminded of myself as a scrawny little sophomore in high school, going out with new friends (some of whom are still with me), going to rock shows, drinking, and throwing toilet paper in peoples' trees. Ah, high school. I wouldn't ever want to live through it again - once was enough.

Kim and I saw Pat perform at The Cabooze in the late '90s. She and her band were great, although Pat snubbed Kim on her way out to the tour bus. Kim just stood there waiting with pen in hand, and Pat glides by. There weren't many of us out there waiting, but apparently Pat had done autographs
before the show. So Kim tries to stop her as she zips past us: "HeytherePatI'mahugefancanIgetyourautog....(dumbfounded pause as Pat disappears into bus)...Whatever, Bitch! I thought the show sucked and I never liked your crappy music anyway. Screw you! I don't need your stinking autograph!" OK so I made up the stuff that Kim said, but it's fun to imagine that's how it happened.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Fall music

If you read my blog with any regularity you've probably figured out that I'm a little fanatical about a couple of things: 1) record collecting, and 2) documenting my life. Oftentimes these two things collide, as I frequently use music as a means of documentation. Hey, every dork needs a hobby.

When the seasons change I start itchin' for music that reminds me of said season. This past week I've been pulling out some of my "Fall records" to get me in the mood for colder weather, crunchy leaves, pumpkins, etc. . So, without further delay, here are just some of the albums that tend to elicit a strong "Fall feeling" from me:


REM - Automatic For The People
John Lennon -
Walls & Bridges
Stone Roses
- The Stone Roses
Ramones - Mondo Bizarro
Paul McCartney - Give My Regards to Broad Street
Julian Lennon -
Valotte
Deborah Harry -
Def Dumb & Blonde
George Harrison -
All Things Must Pass
B-52s - Cosmic Thing & Whammy!
Aluminum Group - Plano & Pedals
Monkees -
Justus
Rutles -
Archaeology
Beatles - Anthology III
Prince & NPG - Diamonds & Pearls
Go-Go's - Beauty and the Beat
Big Star - #1 Record & Radio City
ELO - Time
The Jacksons - Triumph
Bangles - Everything
Duran Duran - Big Thing
Beach Boys - Smile (bootleg)
Cheap Trick - Dream Police
Partridge Family - The Partridge Family Album

Love the sinner, hate the sin, kiss my ass

Last night Leo & I attended a panel discussion at the Basilica. The topic was diversity within the church, and the panel included a gay man and a lesbian (who, in case you're wondering, was a woman). The discussion had me thinking about the self-righteous people who go on about "the sin of being gay", which is becoming so tiring because it is such a bunch of crap. I hope I don't ever have to talk with one of those wingnuts who says "love the sinner, hate the sin", because I might just have to clock the person. Perhaps I need to work on that anger. The gay man on the panel said something very profound, which was that gay people have no more sin than straight people. We are all sinners, yo. Straight people don't earn more heaven points just because they are straight. Seriously. This got me to thinking about all of the energy that is wasted in this country on condemning gays & lesbians. I've said it before, but it's worth repeating: God created gays, lesbians, straights, bisexuals, and transgendered people. What an insult to the higher power to say that GLBT people are somehow defective, or that God loves straight people more. I'm glad I attended the panel last night, because it shows how the Catholic church is trying to change itself from the ground up. I'm sure it will be a very slow and difficult process, but it's a start.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

On my turntable: John Lennon - Wonsaponatime

Today would have been John Lennon's 65th birthday, so in his honor I thought I should spin me some of his lps. Wonsaponatime (1998) features selections from the Lennon Anthology CD box set, which I never purchased. This double LP does feature some gems, though. Most (if not all) of the tracks on the LP are previously unreleased songs or alternate takes, spanning from 1970 to 1980. A definite highlight is the alternate version of "I'm Losing You", which he recorded with Rick Nielson & Bun E. Carlos from Cheap Trick. Like many of the Capitol releases of the past 10 or so years, the packaging of this LP is great: a double gatefold sleeve, with heavy cardboard inner sleeves that feature credits and photos. I highly recommend this album.

Capitol released yet another Lennon collection this past week, called Working Class Hero: The Definitive Lennon. It's a double CD set, and I don't think it's being issued on vinyl, so I'm not sure I'll buy it.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

OK Soda

I LOVED OK SODA. I'm sure that part of the appeal was the nifty marketing campaign. I first tried OK in the Spring of '94 when I was working at Hamline University. One day the soda machine had a new button that simply said "OK", so I tried it. It was a tasty treat, reminding me a bit of the "Worms" soda we used to drink in Wisconsin when we were kids. The last time I remember seeing OK was in a Mankato dorm vending machine. I believe OK only lasted on the market for about a year. Tonight I found a Wikipedia entry for OK:

Today's Carter reunion

Well, we had a partial reunion today of the Carter house, and it was great to see everybody. Everyone basically looked the same, except slimmer! I was the only one that was heavier than I remembered; Jim, Dan and Jerry were looking mighty fit & trim. It was too bad that Stacie was unable to attend, but in her absence we decided it was her job to organize the next reunion. Actually, the next time Jan & Brad are in town we are going to do our best to put something together. Hopefully it will be sooner than fifteen years!

Peavey fountain




I took this pic downtown a couple of weeks ago. Thought it turned out real swell.

Sears & Roebuck

In the 60s & 70s all the major department stores (Wards, Sears, Daytons, JC Penneys) sold records and Hi-Fi's. Back then a stereo consisted of a big wooden console with an AM/FM radio, record changer, and 8-track player inside (some of them even had televisions inside 'em). Every swingin' rec room and/or living room in the country had one, along with shag carpeting. Earlier today I got this Sears sticker on an old Mama Cass lp. I love finding old stickers like this!

Friday, October 07, 2005

My favorite concerts: Stray Cats@First Ave, 8/5/1992

The summer of 1992 was el-stinko for yours truly. I was less than a year out of college, in the process of moving into my parents' attic, and working at a record store at the new Mall of America. To be honest, my memory of the period between August '92 and June 1994 (when I started Grad school in Mankato) is a bit hazy. I do remember quite a bit of drinking and lots of karaoke singing at the Apache Wells. I also remember a handful of great concerts, including this one.

I always appreciated the Stray Cats, but wasn't a "fan" until 1992 when they released the fantastic Choo Choo Hot Fish CD, which totally rocks, and it rocked even harder in concert. I went to the show with my friend and bandmate Matt (one of the few concerts we saw together, I think). Did I mention the show rocked? It was almost hard to believe that three guys could make as much noise as they did. I got the impression that they were trying to prove that they were more than a rockabilly band. They were a bonafide rock combo, due in part to Brian Setzer's incredible guitar playing (and we all know Setzer would later come into his own with his Brian Setzer Orchestra). The Stray Cats at First Avenue was truly one of the best live rock shows I've ever seen. In 2004 the Cats reunited for a European tour, although I don't think they did any U.S. dates.

My favorite concerts: Prince@First Ave, 3/21/1987

WLOL announced that Prince is playing at First Avenue TONITE. It wasn't a thing that you thought about, you just went. A group of us piled into a car, drove to the show, and paid $3.00 a head to get in. This was Prince's first show with his new Sign "O" The Times band, just days before the release of the new album. The stage was decorated just like the album cover, very bright and colorful and paisleyfied.

Prince at First Avenue, March 21, 1987
Prince took the stage, announcing that the show was a bit of a dress rehearsal. He appeared very relaxed and confident as he introduced the new band (including one "old friend" from the Revolution, Dr. Fink), and then introduced his new friend, Polka-dot Suit (which he was wearing). This was the only time that I saw Prince perform at First Ave (although I did stand next to him once at First Avenue in the summer of 1985). It was an amazing show, and I felt SO fortunate to witness it as it was happening. I've seen this particular show bootlegged on vinyl, CD, and DVD, with titles like Regent of First Avenue and 4 Those Of You On Valium. Earlier this year Prince officially released one track from this historic show, "Strange Relationship", as a digital download on his npg music club site.
3/21/87 Set List:
Housequake, Girls + Boys, Slow Love, Hot Thing, Now's The Time,
Strange Relationship, Forever In My Life, Kiss, It's Gonna Be A Beautiful Night

Strike a pose

Found this on the web.
Sweet Jeeeeeeezus this is cute.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Mike Gibbins

Received the sad news today that Mike Gibbins, the drummer for Badfinger, died on Tuesday. Badfinger was one of the founders of Power Pop, in my opinion, along with Big Star and the Raspberries (among others).

www.mikegibbins.com

Carter House Reunion

When I was a senior in college I had the great fortune of living in a house with some really groovy people. It was a dream house for twenty-somethings such as ourselves, in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood of St. Paul. The location was perfect, within walking distance to the St. Paul campus of the U of M, with four of us being students there at the time. An assortment of 6-10 people lived in the house from 1990-92.

The Cast of MTV's The Real World: Carter Avenue
This picture was taken at our housewarming party in the Fall of 1990. From left to right: Stacie, me (with my drunk face), Jan, Jerry, Dan (covering his face), and Jim. Some clown tried to ruin the picture by jumping into it at the last minute; I have blacked out the loser's eyes. Screw you, you picture trashing bastard! Seriously though, it's hard to believe that fifteen years have passed since this picture was taken.This weekend Jim and his wife Sandy are hosting a Carter House Reunion at their home in Lake Elmo. It's going to be cool to have most of us in the same place at one time (Jan is no longer living in Minnesota, otherwise I'm sure she'd be there reminiscing with us). Thanks to Jim for coordinating this!!

Where I work: Folwell Hall

I started a new postition this week at work, as 50% adviser for the Asian Languages and Literatures department at the U of M (I'm still in my former office for the other 50%). The department is housed in Folwell Hall, which, being built in 1906, is one of the oldest buildings at the U.

When I started as a transfer student at the U of M in 1986, my very first class was in this building. I hated the class; it was a Classics course, "Age of Homer", I thi....zzzzzzzzz. Oh sorry - I dozed off just thinking about it! Anyway, Folwell is very architecturally interesting, and I'm really sorta tickled about working here.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

"Living In TV Land" with Davy Jones

I just learned that I might be on national TV! Turns out that the video cameras that were at the Davy Jones booksigning & concert a couple of weeks ago were shooting for an upcoming show on TV Land. From DavyJones.net:

"TV LAND crews were in attendance at Septemberfest in Eagan, MN on Friday, September 23rd and cameras rolled from 6am until well after the sunset. From TV studio to TV studio to TV studio to a very well attended booksigning. Over 3000 people attended the show that night and Davy said it was one of the most exuberant audiences ever!"

I just hope I don't look like a dork on national television.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

My favorite concerts: Monkees@Carlton Celebrity Room, 8/20/86

Seeing the Monkees for the first time was one of the biggest thrills of my life up to that point (I was 20 at the time). Even though the opening acts were good, it was almost torture having to sit through Gary Puckett, Herman's Hermits, and The Grass Roots in order to see the main attraction. It was a very Las Vegas-style show (it was Dinner Theater for godsakes) at the Carlton Celebrity Room in Bloomington (The Mall of America stands there now). My brother and I had great seats - we were basically front and center, and the venue was packed. 1986 was a banner year for the Monkees; their hugely successful 20th anniversary tour was the largest grossing tour of the year, beating out the Grateful Dead.

I saw the Monkees in concert several times after 1986, and the show at Carlton Celebrity Room was certainly not their best, but it was the first time that I got to see my childhood heroes on stage. Micky, Davy, and Peter seemed happy to be together again, and there was a lot of spirit in their performance. The trio would continue to perform as the Monkees until 1989, the year that they received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They reunited again in the 90's, briefly with Mike Nesmith, for a UK tour, a new album, and two new television specials.

8/20/86 Set List:
Last Train To Clarksville, A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You, Steppin' Stone,
Cuddly Toy
, No Time, Daydream Believer, Shades Of Gray, Goin' Down,
Your Auntie Grizelda
, She , I Wanna Be Free, That Was Then, This Is Now,
Valleri
, I'm A Believer, Listen To The Band, Pleasant Valley Sunday

Monday, October 03, 2005

On my turntable: Cheap Trick (1977)

I had forgotten just how much this album rocks. Holy crap!

My favorite concerts: Cheap Trick@First Ave, 11/5-6-7/98

In November 1998 my brother and I spent three nights at First Avenue with Cheap Trick, as they played their first three albums from start to finish. As "V.I.P.s", we were treated to a Q&A with the band in the 7th Street Entry, which was pretty cool, but it soon became an arena for the super geeky stalker fans. "Hey Robin, do you remember your show in 1977 at the St. Cloud Arena? Do you remember? I said "Hi" to you after the show. Do you remember me? I drew a picture of you. Will you sign it for me?"
Still, it was a fun opportunity to see the band up close & personal. Tom Petersson seemed pretty much stoned through the whole ordeal, which was amusing. Musically, Cheap Trick was in absolute top form all three nights. They were as tight as they had ever been in the past, if not more so. Aerosmith, who were playing across the street at the Target Center during one of the shows, came over to watch Cheap Trick from the side of the stage, and even joined the band for part of the encore.

The three-day event was truly a rare opportunity for the few cities that Cheap Trick chose for these tripple-album shows. Cheap Trick continues to tour constantly, which is one reason why they remain one of the greatest live bands of the past 30 years. It's curious to me why they have not yet been inducted into the R&R Hall of Fame.

My favorite concerts: Ramones@First Ave, 7/27/86

Welcome to the latest feature of my blog, "My Favorite Concerts", where I will detail the best shows that I've attended over the past 25 years. Let the fun commence.

Prior to seeing The Ramones in July of '86 I had only owned one Ramones album (
End Of The Century (1980)). I was familiar with Rock & Roll High School, and I had seen their latest video ("Something To Believe In"), but that was about it. My friend Ed Miller encouraged me to go to the show, and he bought the tickets so I agreed. Being my first real show at First Ave, I was a little nervous (I was young, what can I say). The show started with the new video for STBI, after which the rock legends took the stage. From the intro of "Teenage Labotomy" through the remainder of the show, I was riveted!! It didn't matter that I didn't know many of the songs, because they all sounded the same. What was great was the energy, and the cartoonish band that was racing through the songs. As soon as one song ended Dee Dee would shout "ONECHEWTREEFAW" and they'd be off into the next song. It was GREAT.

At one point in the show Ed and I decided to venture into the crowd, to see if we could get any closer to the stage. Before I knew it I was caught up in the mosh pit, and within seconds I was pushed right up against the stage at Joey's feet. I was awestruck! I remember paying attention to Joey's glasses, which were tinted red. "Red glasses," I thought, "
Cool."

I tend to think of this show as one of those moments that helped me identify my young adult self. Not long after this concert I started snatching up all of the Ramones LPs, to the point of borderline obsession with the band. Over the years I would have just one more opportunity to see The Ramones, on the tour for their final studio album,
Adios Amigos (1995). Fortunately for me, Pinhead Records recently released a picture disc LP of the 1986 concert I attended, so I now own a vinyl recording of the show, probably with a couple of my own hoots and hollers in the mix.
7/27/86 Set List
Teenage Lobotomy, Psycho Therapy, Blitzkrieg Bop, Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?
Mama's Boy, Gimme Gimme Shock Treament, Rock 'n' Roll High School, I Wanna Be Sedated,
The KKK Took My Baby Away, Crummy Stuff, Loudmouth, Love Kills,
Sheena Is a Punk Rocker, Glad To See You Go, Surfin' Bird, Cretin Hop,
I Don't Wanna Walk Around With You, Today Your Love Tomorrow The World, Pinhead,
Chinese Rock, Somebody Put Something In My Drink, Rockaway Beach,
Do You Wanna Dance?, California Sun, We're A Happy Family

Celebrity Fit Club 3

The new cast was just announced, and it's a good 'un! Tempest Bledsoe (tv's Vanessa Huxtable), Bruce Vilanch, and Chastity Bono are among those stepping on the scale for our entertainment. Go Chastity! This looks like it could be a good season.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

On my turntable: Fantastic Plastic Machine - Beautiful

I purchased this album at Cheapos tonight. I'd previously heard a few of the songs online, including the great "Beautiful Days", which Leo and I played the bejeezus out of last summer. I was glad to finally find this on vinyl! I've not listened to the whole LP yet, but so far I like what I've heard. Standouts include "Beautiful Days", "Love Is Psychedelic", and "God Save The Mona Lisa", which features guest vocals by Bob Dorough of Schoolhouse Rock fame (he sang "Three is a Magic Number" and many others). I also quite like the song "One Minute Of Love", which clocks at exactly 1:00 and is nothing but the song "Makin' Whoopie" on piano, played at various speeds. Very groovy!
Beautiful
(2001) is a double LP release, with custom labels and an insert with lyrics and credits. I don't know a whole lot about this artist, but I believe it is primarily Japanese DJ Tomoyuki Tanaka. He's released a few albums as Fantastic Plastic Machine, dating back to '97 . To learn more, visit the Fantastic Plastic Machine website.

On my turntable: Bay City Rollers - It's A Game (Japanese version)

The Japanese pressing of It's A Game (1977) featured an extra track, "The Pie", which was left off of the American version (the song surfaced a year later on the band's disappointing Strangers In The Wind album). This has always been my favorite Rollers album. It's unfortunate the the band's teenybopper image overshadowed this record, because it is easily their best work. Anyone doubting the pure power of the Rollers should pick up Rollerworld - Live At The Budokan, Tokyo 1977 (2001), a live recording from this period that proves once and for all what a kickass band the Rollers truly were.