Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Puppy Bowl!

I plan to watch the Super Bowl this year, but just while Prince is on. For the rest of the time I'll be watching the Puppy Bowl!

Why do I hate Rush?

It's true. I hate the band Rush. I don't understand why they are so loved and adored by so many geeky fans. Perhaps it's Rush's fans that I hate, not so much the band? Hard to say. I hate that people call them a "power trio", and I hate that the lead singer has a mullet that looks god awful on him. And I hate that their fans think that Rush are the most amazing musicians that ever lived. You know what? It doesn't matter how good of a musician you are if your songs are boring and smell like poo. I could go on and on with this rant because I'm highly juiced up on coffee right now, but I think I'll stop.

What do you guys think? Thoughts?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Family Reunion!!!


I just learned from a post at Prince.org that the short-lived Paisley Park band The Family has reunited for a new album and tour. This is very happy news.

On my turntable: John Lennon - Mind Games (MFSL version)

You may remember my post from last March about this album. I recently broke down and purchased the Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs (MFSL) version of Mind Games (1973), which uses a completely new remix commissioned by Yoko Ono. The results really are stunning, perhaps in part because the original mix was so horrible. This new mix features better separation and less reverb than the original, which makes for a much more enjoyable record. The most dramatic improvement to my ears is on "Meat City", which totally jumps out at you. The bass is more prominent, and John's voice is clear enough that I actually understood some of the lyrics for the first time.

The MFSL version of Mind Games is pressed on 180 gram vinyl and packaged like all MFSL releases with a special anti-static sleeve. It also features a one-sheet insert duplicating the inner sleeve for the original Apple release. Music Direct is currently selling this album for $24.99.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I don't get it.

Who does Dick Cheney love more - his lesbian daughter Mary, or Focus on the Family? The reason his new grand-daughter is being "born out of wedlock" is because Cheney's administration insists on fighting to outlaw same-sex marriage. Dick Cheney should be stepping up and fighting for the rights of his daughter and grand-daughter. Pig.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Rosie answers my question...

I posted a question for Rosie on her blog.

My question:

Do you remember the first record you ever bought as a kid? Do you remember where you bought it?

Rosie's answer:

cecila
at ej korvettes

Friday, January 26, 2007

I feel old today

The reason why I feel old today doesn't have so much to do with the number "40" as it does with simply being so friggin tired & worn out. Back in the day it didn't matter what I ate or how much exercise I got - I could pretty much count on a consistent level of energy most of the time, as long as I was healthy. Nowadays I know that if my lunch consists of a bag of Funyuns and a Diet Coke my body is going to start dragging by 3:00. I've also learned that if I sit on the couch and watch cable all day I will lose ambition and energy to do anything worthwhile, aside from going to the kitchen for more salty snacks. Meanwhile my muscle tone vanishes and my arms become all wibble-wobbly like my grandma's arms used to be. wibble-wobble -wibble-wobble.

I anticipate not having the drive to work full time and effectively go to school for much longer. Hopefully after Leo graduates this spring we can coordinate things for me to pursue the Ph.D full time. In the meantime I still plan to make the most of things, as I'm super happy with how things are. I definitely feel blessed at the moment. Blessed but tired.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

On my turntable: Blondie - Plastic Letters

One of my fave albums by one of my favorite bands. I don't have many specific memories attached to this record, although I know I had it in high school, and I think I bought it at Don Leary's record store in St. Anthony.

I've seen Blondie in concert three times: The Great Northern Picnic at Parade Stadium (8/7/82, with Elvis Costello, Duran Duran, Sussman Lawrence, Greg Kihn), Taste of MN (7/6/02), and most recently at First Avenue after "Curse of Blondie" was released. The First Ave show was undoubtedly the best -- it was great to see the band in such great form at this stage in their career. Clem Burke is one of the best rock drummers ever. Ever.

Selling Winnebagos is really hard work

Crowded House is back!

Hot off the press from Frenz.com:

"Crowded House founders Neil Finn and Nick Seymour have confirmed that they will be putting the band back together, with plans for a new studio album and world tour.

Talking about the decision Neil said "After spending most of last year making music and hanging out with my friend Nick Seymour we are now announcing our intention to reform Crowded House with a new record entitled Time On Earth. It feels right to us that the band should re-emerge at this time and together with Mark Hart we look forward to reconnecting with the audience that we established and for whom we still hold a deep respect. We aim to make the upcoming shows and the new music every bit as vital and spirited as what has come before. We are conscious that Paul Hester was above all a great drummer and we are currently auditioning to find someone special to take that role."

The band is currently putting the finishing touches on the new album for release later in the year. Tour plans are yet to be announced but the band have confirmed they will play the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in California, USA along with Bjork, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Rage Against the Machine."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Rollers - "Life On The Radio"

I never even knew this video existed. One of my favorite songs by The Rollers:

Sean Lennon - "Parachute"

Not so much a groundbreaking video, but it is one of my fave songs from Sean's great new "Friendly Fire" album (released on vinyl in the UK).

On my turntable: Joan Jett & The Blackhearts - Notorious

This is the album that made me a Joan Jett fan. I always liked her to some extent, but Notorious (1991) was the one that made me take notice. The album is full of hooks and pop melodies, spread on top of those big Gary Glitter-style drums that she uses so well.

When Joan toured for this album she played a great show at the Minneapolis Glam Slam (Prince's club) that my brother and I attended. Paul Westerberg, who co-wrote the album's first single "Backlash" joined Jett onstage for the song. A very memorable and historic show.

In the early 1990's I, like most music buyers, bought into the lie that CDs were this perfect, superior music format. It didn't hurt that I worked at a music store at the time, so I got a lot of my CD's for free from the record companies. Aside from 12" singles, I basically stopped buying vinyl (around the mid-90's I wised up and went back to LPs). Over the past couple of years I've been re-building my early 90's collection on vinyl. I found this album last week, still sealed, on eBay. Very fancy.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Saturday, January 20, 2007

On my turntable: R.E.M - Up

R.E.M. is one band who, for over 20 years, has released each of its albums on LP. Of the R.E.M. catalogue, Up (1998) is possibly my favorite. I know I'm not alone when I say that Up is not an easy album to digest at first. I did not listen to this album much, if at all, for the past 5 years, but since buying the LP last week I've been playing it a lot. It's a beautiful album. This double vinyl version of Up features a different label on each of the four sides, and a one-sheet insert with lyrics and credits.

Upon this album's release R.E.M. chose not to tour, but by the summer of 1999 they were doing select dates in the U.S.. In August '99 I was lucky to see them play at Midway Stadium in St. Paul.

Stage Fright

This kid had me in tears. He's trying to say happy birthday to Roseanne. I'm still laughing.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

"But the BIBLE says!"

I don't know who wrote this, but it's a good read:

When someone tries to defend homosexual equality, Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.
I do need some advice, however, regarding some of the other specific laws in the Bible and how to follow them.

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

2). 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?

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

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

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

6). Leviticus 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?

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

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

9). My uncle has a farm. He violates Leviticus 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? (Leviticus 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? (Leviticus 20:14).

Japanese penguin goes to fish market

This is one of the cutest things I have ever seen in my entire life. A penguin wearing a penguin backpack, shopping by himself at the fish market. Lawd have mercy.

Countdown to "LOVE": 20 days

"Countdown to LOVE" - sounds like a Petula Clark album, doesn't it? Well, according to various web resources, the new release date for The Beatles LOVE on vinyl is February 7th. Twenty days. If LOVE is like other Apple Records releases of recent years (Live at the BBC, 1, Let It Be...Naked) it's bound to be a lovely package, especially with that great cover artwork. Plus, there's that thrill about buying something new from Apple Records on vinyl. Makes me all tingly inside, like a big bowl of mashed potatoes.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bangle Vicki is my new girlfriend



Vicki Peterson of the Bangles held an online chat yesterday, and I got two of my questions answered.



JA: Vicki! Thanks for doing the online chat thing with us.

My Q: Have you and John (Cowsill, Vicki's husband) discussed writing/recording together? I've not had the chance to hear your voices combined yet, but goodness knows you both have that intuitive harmony thing going on.
VP: Oh, yeah, we have talked about working together--and we've discovered that we DO sound pretty darned good together. We're both "blenders"... We've performed together (twice) as "the Newlyweds!"

JA: Vicki - Thanks for answering my first question! Of course I thought of another Q after reading the other posts...

Many "indie" bands are issuing their new releases on vinyl these days, and 7 inch vinyl has a particularly growing market in the UK (or so I've read). Has there been any talk of *new* Bangle vinyl in the future? I don't know how feasible it is for the band, but you can't argue with the beauty of the vinyl!

Also, LOVE LOVE LOVE "Light My Way". So Bangley. peace.
VP: i'm glad you like "Light My Way," we like it too ... i'm a big fan of vinyl and still have a working turntable which i use regularly... it's not impossible to dream of a Bangles vinyl... we'll just have to see...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

On my turntable: Del Tha Funkee Homosapien - I Wish My Brother George Was Here

Picture it: St. Anthony Park, November, 1991. The weekend of the infamous '91 Halloween blizzard I totalled my Chevette, after which I briefly relied on Metro Transit to get to work. I Wish My Brother George Was Here (1991), which I listened to on my walkman as I rode the bus, always brings back vivid memories of this time.

There were lots of new hip-hop acts in the late 80's and early 90's. What made this album so fresh was its smart lyrics, layered over pure P-funk infused tracks. It sounds reminiscent of early De La Soul, but from the street. The album's most well-known track, "Mistadobalina", is built around a sample of an uncredited Peter Tork, taken from the song "Zilch" on The Monkees'
Headquarters (1967).

I just purchased this album, pressed in 2004, tonight at the Uptown Cheapos. I don't recall ever seeing this on vinyl prior to 2004. It's nice to know that these great records are being given new life in vinyl format. The bass on this record is definitely booming and far better sounding than the tape I played on my walkman 15 years ago.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Party Mary

1980

Recently I blogged about the year 1981. By chance tonight, as I listen to Billy Joel's Glass Houses (1980) I find myself thinking about 1980.

I've frequently considered 1980 to be my personal end of innocence. It was the year I started high school, a year that I found to be very scary and isolating. Life sucked at school, and it sucked almost as bad at home, where my family was struggling through my dad's alcoholism. Although I didn't know it at the time, I was also experiencing what were probably my first symptoms of Crohn's disease, a chronic condition that would later define much of my life and claim large chunks of my small intestine. To top off all the suckiness, 1980 concluded with the murder of John Lennon. I was a hopeless wreck, and the kids at school bullied me for it. No compassion whatsoever. Ninth grade sucks.

Life was changing faster than 8-tracks were being banished to the clearance bins. It wasn't all bad though - through everything I grew to be independent and self-reliant. For every action there is a reaction, right? I don't want to sound all whiney about the 1980 because I do have good memories of roller skating, American Bandstand, and Apache Plaza, to name just a few.

So as I sit here listening to records from 1980 my reaction is to recall the struggle, but I also have a sense of pride about it all. Everything I am now, 26 years later, is the result of a series of life events, both good and bad. No regrets. Wow - this turned out to be a personal entry.

Allow me to brighten things up with a list of kickass 1980 records in my collection. RAWK!

Van Halen - Women and Children First
Billy Joel - Glass Houses
Linda Ronstadt - Mad Love
Beatles - Rarities
Paul McCartney - McCartney II
The Knack - ...but the little girls understand
John Lennon & Yoko Ono - Double Fantasy
Pat Benatar - Crimes of Passion
Blondie - Autoamerican
Buggles - The Age of Plastic
Cheap Trick - All Shook Up
Alice Cooper - Flush the Fashion
KISS - Unmasked
The Kings - Are Here
Journey - Departure
Hall & Oates - Voices
Queen - The Game
Rolling Stones - Emotional Rescue
Split Enz - True Colours
Rick Springfield - Working Class Dog
Soundtrack - Xanadu
Donna Summer - The Wanderer
Yes - Drama

Quote of the week

Actually it's multiple quotes, taken from famousveggie.com:

My wife actually got worried about my drinking so much regular milk, you know, so she got me into rice milk and now soy milk, which I greatly enjoy. A soy mocha's a fine thing.
-Willie Nelson

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
-Mohandas Gandhi

People get offended by animal rights campaigns. It's ludicrous. It's not as bad as mass animal death in a factory.
-Richard Gere

Compassion is the foundation of everything positive, everything good. If you carry the power of compassion to the marketplace and the dinner table, you can make your life really count.
-Rue McClanahan

You ask people why they have deer heads on the wall. They always say, Because it's such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother's attractive, but I have photographs of her.
-Ellen DeGeneres

Plug: TheVegetarianSite.com

I know I've written about this online store before, but they deserve another mention. The Vegetarian Site not only charges a flat $5 shipping charge on all purchases, but they donate 10% of all profits to veggie friendly non-profits. During January they are donating the 10% to Farm Sanctuary. I just purchased some cool new vegan shoes and a vegan dress belt (sorely overdue in my wardrobe). Check 'em out:

Thursday, January 11, 2007

On my turntable: Black Sheep - A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing

I was working at a music store (Digital Only in Minnetonka) in 1991 when this album was released. I bought it because of Black Sheep's self-proclaimed connection to the Native Tongues, a gang of innovative hip-hop groups that included De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, and Jungle Brothers. Although I considered the album a disappointment at first, with its unnecessarily raunchy and sexist lyrics, eventually I decided that A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing is a very musically interesting record. "The Choice Is Yours" is one of the best hip-hop singles ever. "Similak Child", which includes a sample from Jefferson Airplane's "Today" is one of my favorites, as is the jazzy "Flavor of the Month", which takes some obvious jabs at Vanilla Ice. The tracks are solid throughout, representing much of the ground-breaking stuff that was happening in hip-hop at the time.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Pajama Party Tonite!

Here's another one of those records that I used to play in college that probably drove my dorm roommate bananas. I just watched this clip for the first time tonight. Check out how perky Annette is!

Be "Green" in 2007 & Go Veggie!

Taken from a list of helpful "Easy To Be Green" hints published in Newsweek, and posted at MSNBC.com. This is the reasoning that convinced me to become vegetarian 17 years ago:

7. "Eat Your Veggies - Have a meatless Monday. According to the Cambridge, Mass., environmental-advocacy group the Union of Concerned Scientists, meat production is energy-inefficient, sucking up a lot of natural resources. In fact, it takes about 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef. "You don't have to be a vegetarian—just take a break once or twice a week," says group president Kevin Knobloch. "If everyone tried to do something that simple, it could have a huge environmental effect." And when you're shopping for that food, think local. It's more fuel-efficient (your food didn't have to travel thousands of miles to get to your table), and you're boosting the local economy. Use the search engine at localharvest.org to find farms, markets and other food sources in your area. And, of course, bring a reusable cloth bag to the market so you don't have to take the plastic ones".

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

From our shower

When the afternoon sun comes into our bathroom it creates a psychedelic freakout:

AAAAAAH! Demon suitcase!

Instead of Wisk, perhaps this woman should try luggage that doesn't scream at her. Sheesh!

Forever Yours

Anyone else remember this?