Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Real World 17: Key West

Has The Real World really been on for 17 seasons? I learned recently that the new season, which begins on February 28, was shot in Key West, and one of the cast members is a 23 year-old from Minneapolis. I've watched every season of The Real World since it began, except for New Orleans and the super sleazy Las Vegas. Seriously, all that sex becomes boring after a while. At this point I approach each season prepared to hate it, which is part of the fun of watching!

MTV Real World 17

Coretta Scott King

From the HRC.org website:

— Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese made the following statement on the passing of civil rights leader Coretta Scott King.

“Once in a lifetime God grants us with the ability to witness an extraordinary life dedicated to justice. With Coretta Scott King and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., God smiled on us and fortunately granted us two,” said Solmonese. “When her husband was killed, Mrs. King assumed her husband’s role as the guiding light that led the way toward a more equal nation. She performed that role with enormous grace and strength, never relenting in the movement for civil rights. She saw justice as a birthright and lent her voice as a relentless advocate for all fair-minded Americans, gay or straight, black or white. We join the nation in mourning the loss of a great hero and give enormous gratitude for all that she’s left behind.”

Often speaking of the importance of civil rights for gay and lesbian people, Coretta Scott King said in March of 1998, “I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice. ... But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’” Coretta Scott King also supported a federal bill prohibiting anti-gay discrimination.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Sick with guilt

This morning I woke up with a notably upset stomach. I've lived with Crohn's disease since I was a teen, although it's currently in remission. From time to time I still have my sick days, and I find that it just makes sense if I stay home from work and take care of myself. So what's the problem? My whole adult life I have dealt with guilt whenever I call in sick, suspecting that people think I'm lying, even though all of my coworkers know that I have a chronic illness. To be fair to myself, my good health for the past 2 years has resulted in far fewer absences, but I still need to miss work several days each year for my bi-monthly Remicade infusions (the drug that keeps me in remission).

So I called in sick to work at about 7:00 this morning, and by 7:15 I was out like a light. My gut does feel better tonight, although I feel dehydrated. I'm sure I'll feel much better tomorrow morning. It seems bizarre to me that I'm putting this info up on the internet for strangers to read! One of the unique qualities of the web, I guess. Anyway - thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

On my turntable: The Darkness - One Way Ticket To Hell...And Back

First of all, let me say that the title of this album bugs me a little. If you have a One Way Ticket to Hell AND BACK, then what you have is a round trip ticket! I never bought the first Darkness LP, although it was issued on vinyl. I purchased this new Darkness LP earlier today (it was released this past Tuesday, although the CD version came out last year), and I already love it. If you've not yet heard this band, they almost sound like a spoof of the early 80's cheesy metal bands, but they're not kidding. Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker produced this new album, and it definitely has its Queen-like moments.

The LP, issued by Rhino/Atlantic, has a gorgeous gatefold cover, an inner sleeve with lyrics/credits, and custom lables. Rhino is one of the best makers of new vinyl right now, definitely setting the standard for how great all records should be. If you've not yet purchased this album, do yourself a favor and pass on the CD, as this vinyl version is superior.

Friday, January 27, 2006

New Prince single: "Black Sweat"

Expected to be released to online music outlets next Tuesday, 1/31.
Update: I've just now read that this date is being pushed into February.

Super cool website of the week: ImpeachBush.org


Top 10 Fave albums by KISS

10. Symphony: Alive IV (2003)
9. Dressed To Kill (1975)
8. Unplugged (1996)
7. Unmasked (1980)
6. Creatures Of The Night (1982)
5. Dynasty (1979)
4. Psycho Circus (1998)
3. Music From The Elder (1981)
2. Double Platinum (1978)
1. Destroyer (1976)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

What I'm reading: The Monkees by Andrew Sandoval

The book's full title says it all: The Monkees: The Day to Day Story of the 60's TV Pop Sensation. This is a very detailed work, written with full cooperation and input from the band. I just got the book today so I've only thumbed through it, but I'm sure it will provide hours of useful reading.

In my CD player: Ceremony - Hang Out Your Poetry

Chastity Bono's band from the early 90's. Produced by Mark Hudson & featuring the backing vocals of all three Hudson Brothers. There are a handful of really good songs, my favorites being "Goodbye Sunshine", "First Day Of My Life", and "Turn It Over", all written by Chastity & Mark Hudson, with bandmate Chance.

Bad, Bad, Bad Bunny

A fellow house rabbit owner sent this to me today. I love the look on the rabbit's face. I imagine him saying "They're carrot people. Made of carrots. Really big delicious carrots. Me, I'm a rabbit. Rabbits eat carrots. This discussion is closed. Say, do they make aliens out of craisins?"

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Belafonte: "Bush is the greatest terrorist in the world."

I was watching CNN this morning, where they were talking about Harry Belafonte's recent comments about George W. being a terrorist. Is Bush a Terrorist? I base my own decision on the following, for starters:

Americans killed by terrorists on 9-11: 3,030
Americans killed in Bush's war in Iraq: 2,224
Innocent Iraqi's killed in Iraq war to date: estimated at
over 31,000.

Do the math. How can Bush not be considered a Terrorist after illegally invading a country and killing so many innocent people?

Related sites that may be of interest:

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Winter view

From our living room window facing downtown Minneapolis.
December, 2005.

New Simon & Austin pics

The Top Three priorities in the life of a bunny are 1) sleeping, 2) pooping, and 3) HAY. Simon & Austin take care of the latter two at the same time, by eating hay in their pooper boxes. Who knew rabbits were so good at multi-tasking?

Friday, January 20, 2006

Top 10 Fave albums by Yoko Ono

Season of Glass (1981)
10.Plastic Ono Band (1970)
9. Feeling The Space (1973)

8. Blueprint For A Sunrise (2001)
7. Milk and Honey (1983)
6. Sometime In New York City (1972)
5. Fly (1971)
4. Rising (1995)
3. Double Fantasy (1980)
2. Approximately Infinite Universe (1973)

1. Season Of Glass (1981)

Top 10 Fave albums by Prince

Parade (1986)
10.For You (1978)
9. Musicology (2004)
8. Purple Rain (1984)
7. Sign 'O' The Times (1987)
6. The Rainbow Children (2001)
5. Graffiti Bridge (1990)
4. Around The World In A Day (1985)
3. Lovesexy (1988)
2. The Gold Experience (1995)

1. Parade (1986)

Top 10 Fave albums by The Ramones

Pleasant Dreams (1981)
10. Leave Home (1977)
9. Too Tough To Die (1984)
8. Ramones (1976)
7. Rocket To Russia (1977)
6. Brain Drain (1989)
5. Mondo Bizarro (1992)
4. Ramones Mania (1988)
3. Road To Ruin (1978)
2. End Of The Century (1980)
1. Pleasant Dreams (1981)

Top 10 Fave albums by The Beach Boys

Pet Sounds (1966)
10. Holland (1973)
9. Smiley Smile (1967)
8. Love You (1977)
7. The Beach Boys (1985)
6. Endless Summer (1974)
5. Surf's Up (1971)
4. 20/20 (1969)
3. Friends (1968)
2. Sunflower (1970)

1. Pet Sounds (1966)

Top 10 Fave albums by The Monkees

I enjoyed assembling my last Top 10 list so much that I had to do another. Here, in rank order, are my Top 10 favorite albums by The Monkees:

Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd (1967)
10. Pool It! (1987)
9. Instant Replay (1968)
8. Present (1969)

7. The Birds, The Bees, & The Monkees (1968)
6. More Of The Monkees (1967)
5. Justus (1996)
4. The Monkees (1966)
3. Head (1968)
2. Headquarters (1967)

1. Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, ltd. (1967)

Super cool website of the week: CuteOverload.com

Here is but one of the super cute pictures at CuteOverload.com.

Please to enjoy!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Top 10 fave 90's albums

Nirvana - Nevermind (1991)
Duran Duran -
Wedding Album (1992)
Terence Trent D'Arby -
Symphony or Damn (1993)
Permanent Green Light -
Against Nature (1993)
Redd Kross -
Phaseshifter (1993)
O(+> (Prince) -
The Gold Experience (1995)
Soundtrack -
Austin Powers (1997)
The Knack
- Zoom (1998)
Bacharach & Costello -
Painted From Memory (1998)
Cree Summer -
Street Fairie (1999)

On my turntable: Julian Lennon - Mr. Jordan

Mr. Jordan (1989) should have been Julian Lennon's 2nd album, instead of the rushed sophomore slump, The Secret Value of Daydreaming (1985). Produced by Patrick Leonard (who also produced Madonna's Like a Prayer), Mr. Jordan is an album full of energy, melody, rich arrangements, and fantastic songs penned by Lennon and John McCurry. Vocally, Julian sounds more like Bowie at times than he does his dad. The album's first single, "Now You're In Heaven" did receive some attention on MTV, but the album ended up largely ignored, which is unfortunate.

When this album came out I was living with my brother and our friend Kim in a house on Polk street in Northeast Minneapolis. I was a junior at the U of M, in my early 20's, working at a record store, and recording and playing shows with my band. I remember it as a very fun period in my life, due in part to the great music that came out in '88/'89, albums such as (to name just a few):
B-52's Cosmic Thing
The Stone Roses
Paul McCartney Flowers In The Dirt
Deborah Harry Def Dumb & Blonde
Tears for Fears The Seeds Of Love
De La Soul 3 Feet High and Rising
Bangles Everything
Duran Duran Big Thing
Prince Lovesexy
Smithereens 11

In my CD player

Compilation CD I'm listening to at work:

Splitsville - "Our Love Was"
Emmylou Harris - "A Love That Will Never Grow Old"
Billionaire Boys Club - "Blow It"
Hot Socky - "Full Of Love"
Ceremony (Chastity Bono's band) - "Goodbye Sunshine"
Hudson Brothers - "Be A Man", "Long Long Day"
The Clash - "Spanish Bombs"
Big Star - "Mine Exclusively"
Kathy Valentine - "Retouch Me"
Why? - "Rubber Traits"
Sammy Davis Jr. - "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever"
The Now People - "Town Without Pity"
Cowsills - "Don't Look Back"

Monday, January 16, 2006

Count 'em: 9 pounds

During a recent physical exam, my physician (the lovely and delightful Dr. Hirschfield) told me that I'd gained 10 pounds since my last visit, and that she wanted me to lose the weight. I made a conscious effort, and after stepping on the scale yesterday discovered that I've lost nine pounds! Of course after stepping off the scale I helped myself to two large portions of my mom's vegetarian beefless stroganoff, which is packed with cream of mushroom soup and sour cream. What can I say - my mom's a great vegetarian cook.

So how did I lose the weight? I eliminated a lot of dairy from my diet, things like cheese, snicker bars, doritos. I started ordering my taco bell bean burritos without cheese. I stopped drinking sugar pop. At work I've been walking a further distance to the bathroom, which can be quite a workout. My goal now is to lose an additional 10 pounds over the next two months. Wish me luck!

On My Turntable: The Cowsills - II x II

Don't Look Back
(by Barry Cowsill, 1970)

When you leave us far behind in the morning,
When you drive away from here,
Try to hold back all you tears.
And don't look back, baby, don't look back.

We will miss you when you go away from here.
We know you will miss us too.
Don't let all your sadness through,
And don't look back, baby, don't look back.

Reminisce about all the nice things we do, and what I meant to you.
And what life standed for then, and what it stands for now.

When you leave from here,
Return on the morrow.
Leaving all the things you cherish,
Please do something as you perish.
Don't look back, baby, don't look back. Back.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

2005 Album of the year

At This Time (2005)
I purchased a lot of new music in 2005. Among the records that I bought, I believe that Burt Bacharach's latest release, At This Time, deserves the title of "Album of the Year". The album, with its gorgeous arrangements and poignant lyrics, shows a legendary artist in the prime of his life and at the top of his game.

Related blog entry: On my turntable: Burt Bacharach - At This Time

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Hero of the week: Chastity Bono

I love this woman. Chastity is such a rock star. Like millions of Americans I used to watch her as a toddler on the Sonny & Cher show, and I remember when her band Ceremony released their CD in '93 (I was working at a record store at the time). Chas is a hero because of her tireless political work on behalf of the GLBT community, because of the courage she exhibited in her own coming out process, and most recently for her sobriety and the way she's kicking ass on Celebrity Fit Club 3! Chastity alone is reason to watch this season.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

On my turntable: The Clash - London Calling

London Calling (1979)
I purchased this album yesterday for the first time, which is about 25 years overdue. When "Train In Vain" was first released as a single I went berserk over it (it sounded great on American Bandstand, and at the roller rink), so I bought the 45 but just didn't feel like I knew enough about The Clash at the time to splurge on a full-length double album. I now understand what all the ruckus was about; London Calling (1979) deserves the hype.

Before hearing this album I was expecting a straight-ahead punk record, but stylistically this music is all over the place. There is rock, punk, ska, reggae, arrangements rich with horns and percussion, all layered on top of great songs.

This remastered double-LP re-issue, released in 2004, sounds terrific. The LPs come in what I assume to be the original inner sleeves with lyrics, credits & photos. This is a record that belongs in every collection. For those of you who refuse to own LPs (shame on you), go buy the CD.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

This morning's tunes

Revolver (1966)
Records spun this morning:

Donna Summer (1982 self-titled)
The Kings Are Here
The Beatles - Revolver (US version)
Raspberries (self-titled)
Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Get Happy!!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Barry Cowsill, RIP

Top 5 best places to buy new vinyl in the Twin Cities

5. Dinkytown CD Warehouse, 1417 4th St SE, Minneapolis.
Over the past year this store has been expanding and improving its new vinyl section, and recently even started stocking used LPs.
4. Treehouse Records, 2557 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis.
Formerly known as Oar Folkjokeopus, this Uptown store is my favorite shop for new 7" releases. They also tend to stock new LP releases as soon as they're available, although sometimes the prices are a bit steep.
3. Roadrunner Records, 4304 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis.
Roadrunner's new vinyl section is pretty impressive, including punk/hardcore/alternative and vintage reissues. I rarely walk out of Roadrunner empty handed.
2. Aardvark Records, 924 Lowry Ave NE, Minneapolis.
Located in my neighborhood of origin, Nordeast Minneapolis, Aardvark is a very friendly store in which to shop. There's usually a nice selection of fresh new vinyl releases, and as an added bonus the owner has a very lovely pooch that hangs out in the store and sometimes begs for lovins.
1. Cheapo Records, various locations.
Cheapo, particularly the Uptown store but also St. Paul on Snelling, remains the king in terms of stocking new vinyl. The prices can vary, but the variety of new and older catalog releases is very consistent. The Uptown store recently opened a brand new lower level for vinyl, tapes & VHS. What's also cool about the Uptown store is the occasional celebrity that shops there. I saw Jellybean Johnson of The Time shopping there once, and Prince himself has been known to buy records there.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

On my turntable: Why? - Elephant Eyelash

Elephant Eyelash (2005)
I bought this album today after hearing one track ("Rubber Traits") on the Anticon website, and based on a sticker on the album's sleeve which read:

"Why's Elephant Eyelash is gorgeously rendered jangly psych-rock folk-hop spread across 12 songs that bleed and breathe all over one another."

As I type this I'm three tracks into side one and pleased with my purchase. The music is very instrumentally rich & interesting. I look forward to seeing how good this sounds on the fifth listen!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

Leo & I were with friends, children, and dogs last night. It was really nice. I do not miss the bar scene at all. We just hung out, ate lots of food, and (in my case) drank too much coffee. I was up until almost 4:00 this morning.

So The Bangles performed on Dick Clark's New Years Rockin Eve, and they looked fantastic. It was disappointing that they chose to lip-synch "Hazy Shade of Winter", partly because the bassist who played on the 1987 record is no longer in the band, but mostly because I'd much rather hear them play live! WTF? They did make up for it by playing a lovely (seemingly) live rendition of "Eternal Flame". The harmonies were flawless. (Above) The Bangles on their recent tour of Australia, with current bassist (and former Lovedoll) Abby Travis.