Sunday, July 30, 2006

Product Plug: Ben & Jerry's Jamaican Me Crazy Sorbet

Yesterday I saw God in a pint of Ben & Jerry's new Jamaican Me Crazy Sorbet. This stuff is so unbelievably delicious. Chunky pineapple sorbet with passionfruit swirls. Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Well, I can tell you that I've been to the mountaintop and it's covered in Jamaican Me Crazy sorbet. I promise that you will love this stuff, unless you have no taste or are a stupid person.

Simon LeBun

A new picture of Simon taken this afternoon. What a ham.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Thursday, July 27, 2006

"The Idiocy of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’"


The Idiocy of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

The military has just discharged its 55th Arabic linguist — at a time when Arabic speakers are in desperate need — simply because he is a gay American.

Does homophobia truly trump national security in today’s Army? Apparently so: The linguist in question didn’t tell. He wasn’t asked. He enrolled to serve his country after the tragedy of 9/11 and was outted by anonymous emails to his superiors.

Remember this: On September 10, 2001 our intelligence forces intercepted an Al Qaeda missive saying “Tomorrow Is the Zero Hour“; it wasn’t translated until September 12. This policy designed to keep gay men from f***ing each other is f***ing all of us instead.

-- Tim Dickinson

Twenty years ago today

I was shuffling through songs on my iPod last night and came upon "Blitzkrieg Bop", recorded by The Ramones at First Avenue, July 27, 1986. This was my first Ramones show, probably my first live show at 1st Ave, and one of the most important concerts I've seen (a live LP of the concert was released by Pinhead records a few years back). You can read my memories of the show here. Hard to believe it's been twenty years.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

On my turntable: Wings - London Town

Here's an album that I've owned on four different formats: cassette, 8-track, LP, and CD. The LP is by far the best, if just for the big double-sided poster that came with the original release. Sonically, I've always thought that London Town (1978) was a bit dull, too bottom heavy without enough high end. An earlier Wings abum, Red Rose Speedway (1973), suffered from some of the same sound issues, in my opinion.

Sound matters aside,
London Town is a nice Wings record, with at least a half dozen great songs. I remember listening to "With A Little Luck" on my Panasonic transistor radio while riding my bike around my Northeast Minneapolis neighborhood. Very nice memories associated with this record. Standout cuts include the album's three singles: "London Town", "I've Had Enough", and "With A Little Luck", plus "Name and Address", and "Deliver Your Children".

Lance Bass: out & proud

Way to go, Lance.

28 days and counting!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Bic Banana Ink Crayons

This really gets me in the mood for school supplies!! A vintage commercial for Bic Banana Ink Crayons (um, isn't that just a fancy product name for, oh I dunno, a pen?), starring the legendary Charles Nelson Reilly:

Fernie's Beefless Stroganoff

My mom has made some amazing vegetarian comfort food in the 16 years since I stopped eating meat. She continues to go beyond what most folks would do to make me feel welcomed at the dinner table, which I appreciate so much. This recipe for beefless stroganoff, while SO not vegan (although I'm sure a vegan version is possible for you diehards), is one of her most delicious and filling veggie meals. Here's the recipe, exactly as she sent it to me:

Fernie’s Beefless Stroganoff
1 package of Harvest burger patties (cut in squares)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic
1-6 oz.can mushrooms and broth
1 cup sour cream
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 to 1/4 cup red cooking wine

Roll harvest burger in flour and brown in a little vegetable oil.
Remove from pan and cook onion, mushrooms and garlic.
Cook gently until onion is golden. Add remaining ingredients.
Put harvest burger back in sauce and cook until thickened
and bubbly. I simmer this for about an hour or so stirring
occasionally. Then serve over rice or noodles.
Enjoy, from Mom

Monday, July 24, 2006

My Fancy iPod

Today I joined the ranks of the iPod carrying peoples of the world.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Bush is a liar.

According to an article at CNN, Bush said the following when speaking to the NAACP this week:

"I come from a family committed to civil rights," Bush said. "My faith tells me that we are all children of God -- equally loved, equally cherished, equally entitled to the rights He grants us all."

I see. Well this certainly is news to all the gay and lesbian families that he has deemed "not equal" for the past five years. He probably meant to say that all of God's children -except for the gay ones- are entitled to the same rights.

This is news??

This was an actual headline over at MSNBC this morning:

"Is Nicole Richie too skinny to shop?"

Why is this news? Seriously, this whole gossip biz is obnoxious, and I can't believe that people give a shit. Yes, she should eat something, but are we supposed to feel sorry for her because she may be too thin to carry a shopping bag? WTF???

Thursday, July 20, 2006

On my turntable: Paul McCartney - Wingspan

From a historical standpoint, Wingspan - Hits and History (2001) includes a curious amount of non-Wings McCartney tracks, thus making it a flawed Wings retrospective, but the lavishness of the packaging and the sound quality of this LP more than make up for the poor track choices. This four-lp set comes packaged in a gatefold sleeve, with individual inner sleeves, custom labels, and a special hologram-style postcard. If I could only own one McCartney album, this would be it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

My fave pizza joint: Pagliai's

I'm not sure why, but I've been thinking of Pagliai's Pizza a lot lately. As a general rule, I try not to eat a lot of dairy, but dammit this is good pizza. I'd eat it for every meal if I could (I am salivating as I type this). I'm hoping to convince Leo & some friends (Jan & Brad, that would be you's guys) to make a pilgrimage to Mankato soon.

On my turntable: The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers

I bought this over the weekend almost solely based on the first single "Steady, As She Goes", which I love. I didn't really know what to expect, but I figured that any joint project involving Brandan Benson and Jack White would be worth a listen.

After three or four listens, my impression is that this really sounds like a Brendan Benson record, much more than it does anything by the White Stripes. This album is spectacular. The songs are great little power-pop nuggets, with little hints of psychedelia here and there. The tone is both dark and upbeat, but mostly upbeat. I anticipate this being one of the best records of the summer.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Back To School!!

Tonight Leo and I made a trip to Target to look at school supplies. We didn't buy anything (yet), but it was fun to see all the cool things I'm going to get for school. I'm totally planning to milk this back-to-school thing for all it's worth :).

On my turntable: The Partridge Family - At Home With Their Greatest Hits

This morning I got infused with Remicade, a drug used to treat Crohns disease. Typically after an infusion I sleep for several hours, but today's heat is making it too uncomfortable to sleep. So instead of sleeping I'm hanging out with the rabbits and listening to records.

When we were kids and summers would get super hot, one of the places our mom would bring us was the Northeast Public Library, where I checked out a lot of records. Records such as The Partridge Family's
At Home With Their Greatest Hits (1972).

Something else that we used to do as kids when it got insanely hot was lay on a bedsheet spread out on the living room floor, with a fan blowing on us while we watched Match Game and Tattletales on TV. That actually sounds like a great idea right about now...

Saturday, July 15, 2006

On my turntable: Bay City Rollers - Dedication

About half of this album consists of some of the best tunes recorded by the Rollers. Unfortunately, the other half is made up of some of their weaker tunes, songs like "You're A Woman", "My Lisa", and "Write A Letter". If you took the stronger cuts from Dedication (1976) and combined them with the best tracks from Rock 'N' Roll Love Letter (1976), I reckon you'd have one helluva 70's glam power-pop record:

"Rock 'N Roller"
"I Only Want To Be With You"
"Yesterday's Hero"
"Are You Cuckoo?"
"Money Honey"
"Rock and Roll Love Letter"
"Wouldn't You Like It"
"I Only Wanna Dance With You"
"The Disco Kid"
"Eagles Fly"
"Too Young To Rock & Roll"

The Bay City Rollers made some great records. For a short time in '76 & '77 the Rollers were my favorite band, until I discovered The Beatles and they pretty much became all that mattered. The Rollers (Les McKeown, Eric Faulkner, Woody Wood, and Alan Longmuir) reunited for a short time in the late '90's for a few live shows, but soon disappeared again.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Top 10 "Back To School" LPs

With "Back To School" signs popping up everywhere, I reckon it's time for a Top 10 list of albums that remind me of starting school. Most of these albums were released in late summer/early fall (hence why they're on the list). Since I can't really rate any as favorites, I'll rate them chronologically according to school (why? Because it's my blog and I make the rules, see. Also 'cause I'm a bit nerdy about this music stuff. Sue me.):

Waite Park Elementary:
The Partridge Family Album
NE Junior High:
George Harrison - All Things Must Pass
Edison High School:
Journey - Escape
U of M:
Paul McCartney - Press To Play
The Stone Roses
Tears For Fears - Seeds Of Love
Deborah Harry - Def, Dumb & Blonde
Wendy & Lisa - Eroica
Big Star - Radio City/#1 Record

R.E.M. - Monster

The Electric Company - "Punctuation"

This was always one of my favorite Electric Company clips. Why hasn't Rita Moreno done more comedy? She's friggin hilarious:

My fave b-sides: Prince - "Rock 'N' Roll Is Alive!"

One of the benefits of being a Prince fan is that he's constantly putting out new material. This can also be a challenge, because if you blink you could miss something. "Rock 'N' Roll Is Alive! (and it lives in Minneapolis)", the b-side of 1995's sorely overlooked "Gold" single, came out at a time when the public wasn't really paying much attention to Prince (or "O(+>" as he called himself at the time). Thus, this solid Prince rocker went largely unnoticed. The lyrics make reference to the land of a thousand lakes, Lake of the Isles, and Minnehaha (you can read the lyrics here). The record serves as a nice little present to Minneapolis fans who have stuck by Prince for the past 25 years.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

On my turntable: Burt Bacharach (1971)

Burt Bacharach is of the true great music masters. This album from '71 provides several solid examples Bacharach's influence on popular music since the 1960's. My fave song on the LP is "Nikki", perhaps because it reminds me of the ABC movie of the week. The arrangements on the whole album are fantastic. Horns, strings, big dynamics. Great stuff.

So long Penny Arcade

The StarTribune reported today that the Minnesota State Fair has shut down the Penny Arcade, a staple at the fair for decades. It's true that I don't do well with certain types of change, mostly because I'm a sentimental idiot. I cling to pieces of the past, such as, well, the Penny Arcade at the St. Fair. It's one of the buildings at the fair that I make a point of visiting year after year, because it reminds me of being a kid. This year the building will house butterflies. Hmmm. Yeah, not interested.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

New LPs caught in my radar

New vinyl that I may be purchasing in the coming month(s):

Chris Bell - I Am The Cosmos (reissue - release 7/25/06)
Big Star -
3rd (reissue - release 7/25/06)
The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
Frank Popp Ensemble - Touch And Go
Daniele Luppi - An Italian Story


The intro from season two in the 70's. I watched this show a lot, along with the Electric Company:

Monday, July 10, 2006

Super cool website of the week: Crohn's & Me

This website is incredible. Resources such as this can really make a difference for people with Crohn's who can sometimes find life unmanageable:

Crohns & Me

Thursday, July 06, 2006

8-Track corner: Xanadu Soundtrack

A great soundtrack for a puzzling and odd (but still great!) movie. The original Xanadu LP was split into an Olivia side and an ELO side, something that the 8-track sort of replicates, at least in terms of song order. Tracks 1 & 2 feature Olivia's songs, and 3 & 4 are mostly ELO, save for the "conclusion" of one of Olivia's songs at the beginning of track 3. This 8-track actually splits three songs in half (including the fantastic "Dancin" by Olivia with The Tubes) in order to maintain proper song sequence (see scan). It's hard to believe 8-tracks ever became as popular as they did.

Xanadu kicks ass regardless of format, but it's really best on vinyl, in my opinion. I'm not a big fan of soundtracks, but this would have to be one of my favorites.

Equal Rights in New York

Gay Marriage was shot down in New York this week. The argument used by opponents? That children deserve a mother and a father. If I hear one more conservative "christian" use this statement as a mask for their own bigotry I think my head might just pop off. Right off of my neck - *pop!*.

Seriously. We're not talking about gays being able to adopt here. What we want is to have the same rights as other citizens, as it states in the constitution. The right-wingers have somehow decided that it sounds less hateful to say "save the children from the gays" then to say "gays aren't as good as us, therefore they shall not marry." Whatever. However it's said it is still hateful, bigoted, and incredibly hurtful to LGBT families across the country.

Teaching our children that gays & lesbians are not as good as everyone else is not a very christian thing to do. Breeding hate and prolonging unjust discrimination of a minority is not at all christian. But apparently it's very American. God bless America.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Your Best Entertainment Value

I don't know if this sticker was used exclusively by Musicland, but I remember seeing it on a lot of records there in the 70's. It's true, what the sticker says. Records
are your best entertainment value!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

On my turntable: The Beatles - Rock 'n' Roll Music

This album reminds me of The Bicentennial more than any other Beatles album. I'm sure it has something to do with its release date of June 1976. Rock 'n' Roll Music was heavily marketed by Capitol Records at the time. It's the only record that I can remember seeing on display at our neighborhood 7-eleven in Northeast Minneapolis.

Rock 'n' Roll Music is unique in that all the tracks were remixed by George Martin expressly for the collection. As this album is yet unreleased on CD, the only place to really enjoy these mixes is on LP. I've said it before and I'll say it again: take that CD buyers. :)

On my turntable: The Beatles - White Album

Although I have a couple of clean and pristine copies of this album, my favorite is still the first copy that I obtained as a kid in the 70's (see label scan). Sure it's got some scuffs, and it's been played a zillion times, but those scuffs and worn out grooves are part of what I love about it. This record has been played on almost every turntable I've ever owned, and it still holds up.

These days I don't listen to the White Album often, but when I do I most definitely enjoy it. It's probably one of my top three favorite Beatles records.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

5 & 7

My partner Leo and I are celebrating our "5 & 7" today: we met on this day 7 years ago, and had our ceremony 2 years later, on July 1, 2001. Happy Anniversary, puddin'.