Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bay City Rollers in Japan, 1983

The Bay City Rollers performing "Piece of the Action" on Japanese television. This was a "supergroup"reunion of the Rollers including Les, Eric, Derek, Alan, Woody, plus Ian and Pat. This video is very uncommon & fun to watch if you have any interest in the Rollers:

Duluth or bust

Tomorrow I'm off to Duluth with a group of my colleagues for an academic advising conference. I always look forward to visiting Duluth, and it's been several years since I've been there so I'm pretty excited. I'm hoping to find time to visit campus and some of my favorite downtown stores while I'm there. Most of you know that I completed my first two years of college in Duluth at UMD, before transfering to the Twin Cities campus. It's a beautiful campus that overlooks Lake Superior. Hopefully I'll manage to get some nice photos to post here.

Headline: Yoko Eats Dog!

According to Reuters, a British artist recently ate Corgi dog meat as protest against fox hunting by the royal family. Yoko Ono was a guest on the same show and tried some of the dog. Now, I don't condone the use of any animal for food, so to me eating a cow is no better than eating a dog. Because of this, I think this stunt was pretty cool (and incredibly foul at the same time), and it's awesome that Yoko (one of my favorite artists) was involved.

From MSNBC.com:

"A British artist has eaten chunks of a Corgi dog, the breed favored by Queen Elizabeth II, live on radio to protest against the royal family's treatment of animals.

Mark McGowan, 37, said he ate "about three bites" of the dog meat, cooked with apples, onions and seasoning, to highlight what he called Prince Philip's mistreatment of a fox during a hunt by the Queen's husband in January.

"It was pretty disgusting," McGowan said of the meal, which he ate while appearing on a London radio station on Tuesday. Yoko Ono, another guest on the show, also tried the meat."

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

On my turntable: Chris Bell - I Am the Cosmos

Chris Bell was once a member of the pioneering power-pop band Big Star. He left after Big Star's first album (although I think he appears uncredited on some of the 2nd album), and released one single "I Am the Cosmos" before he died in a car crash in 1978. I Am the Cosmos (1992) was assembled years later on CD by Rykodisc, although I don't think it was released on vinyl until just last year when 4 Men With Beards released this and Big Star 3rd on 180 gram LPs. It's a fantastic album, sounding more like Big Star than Big Star 3rd did. The gorgeous song "You and Your Sister" features harmony vocals by Alex Chilton that send little tinglies down the spine.

Pain free

Today was the first day in over a week that I've been without pain. Whew. My CT scan from last week didn't show any abcess or fistula, which is probably good news. The antibiotics have definitely helped again. I'm learning to live a bit more in the moment and enjoy these times when I feel "normal".

On our front porch

On my turntable: Split Enz - Time and Tide

Time and Tide (1982) is considered by some to be Split Enz' masterpiece. To my knowledge there weren't any "hits" on the album, which almost lends to its credibility as a whole piece of music. This record is a good example of the contrast between Neil & Tim Finn, Neil being more the pop Beatlesque writer, and Tim more quirky and moody. There are some Neil songs that could easily serve as Crowded House tracks (especially "Giant Heartbeat"). Great album.

Videos:
"Dirty Creature"
"Never Ceases To Amaze Me"
"Six Months in a Leaky Boat"

Monday, May 28, 2007

11:37 a.m.

Charles Nelson Reilly 1931-2007

As a child of the 70's I knew Charles Nelson Reilly mostly from the Match Game, but also from Lidsville. He's a comic legend in my book. Thanks for the laughs, Charles.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

On my turntable: The Monkees

The Monkees' first album (1966) played a huge role in forming my musical tastes when I was a wee lad. By the late 70's I had moved on to The Beatles, but I keep coming back to the pre-fab four. Some people call it a guilty pleasure, but I have no shame about being a Monkees fan.

This is the 1986 Rhino version of The Monkees. Prior to its re-issue this album was out of print for years. It has since been issued by Sundazed on both colored and 180-gram vinyl, and on deluxe double mono/stereo CD by Rhino.

Videos:
"Last Train to Clarksville"
"Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day"
"Take A Giant Step"

On my turntable: Stone Temple Pilots - Tiny Music...

I have to admit I might not have ever been interested in Stone Temple Pilots had I not thought they were someone else. When I first heard "Big Bang Baby" on the radio I was so sure it was a new Redd Kross tune; I couldn't wait to hear it again. After seeing the video I decided it was too good to ignore, even though I hated admitting that I loved an STP song. To date, Tiny Music...Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop (1996) remains the only STP record in my collection, but it's a good 'un. It's also one of the coolest 12x12 album covers ever.

videos:
"Big Bang Baby"
"Lady Picture Show"
"Trippin On a Hole in a Paper Heart"

Friday, May 25, 2007

Better living thru medicine

I've been popping lots of pills lately, although not of the recreational variety. I'm on a mix of prescribed immunomodulators and antibiotics with the goal of remission, after which I can hopefully reduce the amount of meds I'm taking each day. All a day in the life of a crohnie.

I like the way this pic turned out, with the red & white contrasts.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

New summer LPs

New vinyl LPs on the horizon, which I intend to have by summer's end. Oh yes, they will be mine.

Crowded House - Time on Earth
Beastie Boys - The Mix-Up
The Bird and the Bee - self titled
The Polyphonic Spree - The Fragile Army
Peter, Bjorn & John - Writer's Block

*Hot off the press!*
I just learned that Paul McCartney's Memory Almost Full is scheduled to be released on vinyl by Universal on June 25th.

On my turntable: Beach Boys In Concert

I almost never listen to this album, and wouldn't be listening now had I not scored a pristine copy tonight at the record store. I'm not so much a fan of live albums, but The Beach Boys In Concert (1973) might have to be an exception. The band on this album features Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar, who were only Beach Boys for a couple of records (Holland and Carl and the Passions - So Tough). As a live act, this was arguably the Beach Boys at their most cohesive, before Endless Summer (1974) transformed them into an oldies act. Album highlights: Carl's lovely take on "Caroline No", "Let The Wind Blow", and one of my favorite Beach Boys songs, "Leaving This Town".

Berrylicious

I'm having a CT scan done this afternoon, and to prep I need to drink two quarts of barium. I've been drinking barium since I was a teen but what's new to me is this brand, which is labeled as a berry smoothie. Are they serious? Do they think that by calling it a berry smoothie I will somehow be tricked into believing I've inadvertently stepped into a Jamba Juice? "Hold up, yo - I know this is supposed to be a disgusting chalky concoction but mercy me - I do believe I've died and gone to berry heaven!"

So yeah, that's what I've got going on today.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

On my turntable: Rolling Stones - Flowers

Around 1979/80 I went through a brief period where I was snatching up Rolling Stones albums, including Beggar's Banquet, Let it Bleed, Their Satanic Majesties Request, and my favorite, Flowers (1967). With the exception of "My Girl", this album is a Summer of Love powerhouse, in my opinion. Fave songs: "Mother's Little Helper", "Lady Jane", "Ruby Tuesday", "Out of Time", "Have You Seen Your Mother Baby Standing In the Shadow?" and "Backstreet Girl".

A few years back the Stones' London records catalog was reissued on remastered virgin vinyl. I almost bought a new copy of Flowers, but listening now to my original LP it sounds delicious. No need for a new copy. Definitely one of my favorite 60's albums.

On my turntable: Donovan - Barabajagal

I first bought Barabajagal (1969) on CD in 1992 when I was working at a CD store called Digital Only. I finally upgraded to a vinyl copy last year. I am in love every song on this record.

The song "Happiness Runs", which was recently featured in a Cheerios commercial, includes one of my all-time favorite lines of wisdom: "You can have everything if you let yourself be." Sorta sez it all.

In my CD player: Beach Boys - The Warmth of the Sun

I didn't think I'd do it, but I saw the CD on sale at Target so I broke down and bought it. It was worth the $11.98 for the new stereo remix of "Please Let Me Wonder" alone. When it came through the car stereo speakers I do believe I gasped out loud. Before today I don't know if I've ever heard anything but the old Capitol Duophonic mix, which is muddy and awful by comparison. The other new mixes include "All Summer Long", "Wendy", "You're so Good To Me", "Then I Kissed Her" and "Let Him Run Wild". The Target version of the CD includes an exclusive download of "Fun, Fun, Fun" live in Sacramento, 1964 (previously unreleased).

Monday, May 21, 2007

On my turntable: Brian Wilson

I appreciate this album more now then I did when it was first released. I think at the time of its release in 1988 it seemed like Brian was still too closely associated with doctor Eugene Landy, who received songwriting credit on this album. Of course now Brian has come full circle with the unexpected completion of SMiLE (2004) and several successful years of touring. To me, the Brian Wilson album now sounds happy, innocent, and full of promise. Standout tracks: "Night Time", "Melt Away", "Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long", and the gorgeous "Love and Mercy".

Product plug: Wonder Labs Vegan B-12

As someone who had his Ileum removed (due to complications with Crohns disease) I have to take B-12 supplements in order to avoid deficiency. For twenty years I unhappily gave myself monthly B-12 injections, until I discovered sublingual B-12. My favorite is Wonder Labs' Vegetarian B-12, which I buy from The Vegetarian Site. I've been taking this B-12 for over a year now without any deficiency problems. It's also a great product for vegans who may not always have enough B-12 in their diet.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Party's over


The last guests have just left and the house is silent. I've turned off all the music and I'm sitting in peace. I feel like this is the first moment of non-activity that we've had in three days. Leo's party was great - My mom made a ton of food and so many of Leo's friends were here. I was very happy for him, being surrounded by so much love. Thanks to everyone who came today. The friendship & support you've showed us for the last three years has really meant a lot.

OK time for me start "cleaning". That leftover cake ain't gonna eat itself.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Nurse Leo

This morning was Leo's graduation from nursing school. He did the welcoming speech for his class and did such an amazing job. He talked about the diversity of his class, who they are and what they represent, while the whole auditorium listened intently. It was awesome to watch. I feel very fortunate to have this inspirational person in my life.

Friday, May 18, 2007

On my turntable: Beach Boys - Endless Summer

With next week's release of The Warmth of the Sun (2007), the latest Beach Boys collection, I'm feeling a bit nostalgic for some classic Beach Boys. While the group's work has been repackaged a zillion times, I consider Endless Summer (1974) to be the quintessential set, even though the surfin' period isn't my favorite from this band (I lean towards early 70's albums like Sunflower and Surf's Up). Speaking of Warmth of the Sun, it sure would be great to see it come out on vinyl, although it's not likely to happen. Who knows - perhaps Capitol will surprise us with a deluxe 2 record set like they did with the 40th anniversary of Pet Sounds...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

New Beastie Boys on vinyl

Good (but not surprising) news:

The Mix-Up (2007), the new instrumental album by The Beastie Boys, is being released on vinyl by Capitol Records on June 26th.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Better.

This week started off a little rough, healthwise. I was dealing with some severe nausea, probably due to some of the meds I'm on for my latest Crohn's infection. It was what I sometimes refer to as "a general feeling of ICK." Today was much better.

Tonight Leo kicked butt on the yardwork, and I worked on cleaning the kitchen. The floor was overdue for some sweeping and mopping, and I freshened up the bunny condos a bit. It's a better life not living in filth.

Leo's sister comes into town from Ohio tomorrow night. I've not seen her in a couple of years and I'm really looking forward to spending some time with her. I'm happy that she's able to make it for Leo's graduation on Saturday.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

On my turntable: Afterglow

Here's another album that I discovered through Pandora.com. I admit I don't know a whole lot about the band. If what I read online is true, they were college kids who recorded between breaks from school and released this album posthumously in 1968. The album went largely unnoticed at the time but developed enough of a following over the years to warrant this reissue from Sundazed records. I'm only on my 3rd or 4th listen but am definitely warming up to it. It's very heavy on the late 60's cheesy organ, which is a bit jarring at first. Overall super groovy though.

Jerry Falwell

Here's the deal. It's not my place to judge. However, it is my opinion that Falwell and his moral majority have done some horribly corrupt and evil things. Un-Godlike, even. I can't say that I'll miss the man or his shameful hate-filled antics. The world is better off without him.

Best online quip I've seen about Falwell so far:

"Hope he wasn't wearing a sweater. It gets awfully hot down there."

Monday, May 14, 2007

Long distance dedication

Warning: schmaltzy post ahead.

So tonight I was folding laundry, listening to Mama's Big Ones (1971) by Mama Cass, and the song "Good Times Are Coming" starts playing. Suddenly Tammy Faye pops into my head, and I can't help but feel that the song needs to be dedicated to her somehow. Recently Tammy posted on her website that her doctors have decided to stop her cancer treatment, and that she's down to 65 pounds. All jokes about make-up aside, I have to say that I've had a soft spot for Tammy ever since she appeared on The Surreal Life a few years back. She seems like a very kind and non-judgemental lady with a huge heart. Anyway, as Casey Casem used to say, "Here's a long-distance dedication" to Tammy Faye, with prayers and good thoughts for her journey.

The Good Times Are Coming


I'm not about to come unhinged when everything goes wrong
A fact is something to be faced
But not for very long

The good times are coming
They'll be coming real soon
And I'm not just pitching pennies at the moon
The good times are coming
When they come I'll be there
With my both feet firmly planted in mid air

There's gonna be a place for us
A place where we belong
'Cause to stand outside just looking in
Has got to be all wrong

The good times are coming
They'll be coming real soon
And I'm not just pitching pennies at the moon
The good times are coming
When they come I'll be there
With my both feet firmly planted way up there
In mid air

John Barry & Hal David
sung by Cass Elliot (Mama Cass)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Go Graduates

Today I participated in 2007 commencement at the U, in the college where I work. This was my first commencement seated onstage, with the fancy academic costume and cap. It was exciting to see a good handful of my students, as well as a couple that I've worked and/or taught with, walk across the stage. They are all rock stars and I feel very proud to have known and worked with them. I gotta say that the energy and spirit of commencement ceremonies always gets me a bit emotional, in a good way.

Friday, May 11, 2007

On my turntable: Boomtown Rats - A Tonic For The Troops

"Aug '80" is what I wrote on the inner sleeve of A Tonic For the Troops (1979) the day I brought it home from Bojangles' record store. I was listening to a lot of new bands around this time, bands like Blondie, The Knack, The Buggles, and Split Enz. It was a pretty exciting period for new music, in my opinion.

I think I learned of The Boomtown Rats when I saw them perform "I Don't Like Mondays" on American Bandstand. I bought the single right away, followed by The Fine Art of Surfacing (1979), and then this album. Good stuff.

Video:
"Like Clockwork" (from Top of the Pops)
"Mary of the Fourth Form"

Thursday, May 10, 2007

On my turntable: KISS - Hot In the Shade

I've never been a huge fan of this record. I've always thought that there were too many songs on it, which makes it hard to digest. Also, the vinyl version of this album suffers sonically from having too many songs crammed on each side. If some of the clunkers had been trimmed off, Hot In The Shade (1989) could have been one of the best non-makeup KISS records. Still, there are at least a half dozen decent songs here, including "Rise To It", "Betrayed", "Hide Your Heart" and the #1 single "Forever".

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this was also the last complete album to include Eric Carr on drums. He died in '91 as the band was as the band was beginning sessions for their Revenge (1992) album.

Pinned

Leo got this handsome pin for the completion of his nursing degree, which he finishes next week. It reads: College of St. Catherine - Minneapolis, A.D. Nursing.

Way to go, toots.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I have decided...

I am fascinated by abandoned amusement parks. They are both cool and creepy.

On my turntable: Osmonds - The Plan

The Plan (1973) is one of the most interesting albums I've ever heard. To describe it simply, it is a Mormon rock opera about God's "plan". Some of it, especially "Traffic in My Mind" is very heavy rock. There's also lush orchestration throughout, and impressive writing, arranging, and performing from the Osmonds. One of the saddest things about the Osmonds' career, in my opinion, is that most people don't realize what an awesome band they were. If you think The Osmonds were just about "Puppy Love" and "One Bad Apple" you should really check out this album and the equally impressive Crazy Horses (1972), both sorely overlooked early 70's rock-pop gems.

Some videos from The Plan:
"Goin' Home"
"Let Me In"

I'm on eBay

To my surprise and amusement I found this on eBay this morning. It's a 7" single released locally back in 1987 by a band that I played in. We had these pressed ourselves and stamped each sleeve by hand. There's probably only a couple hundred of them out there, so it's cool to stumble upon it online.

Click on the pic to check it out...

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Urgent Care

Well, I went to Urgent Care today with what feels like the return of an abcess. Booo. Fortunately the doctor was able to look at my history and prescribed another round of antibiotics to curb the infection. Hopefully it will remedy the situation.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

New Crowded House album artwork


Time on Earth (2007)
US CD street date July 10
UK vinyl street date July 2 (according to Amazon.co.uk)

Track Listing:
1. Nobody Wants To
2. Don't Stop Now
3. She Called Up
4. Say That Again
5. Pour Le Monde
6. Even A Child
7. Heaven That I'm Making
8. Silent House
9. English Trees
10. Walked Her Way Down
11. Transit Lounge
12. You Are The One to Make Me Cry
13. A Sigh
14. People Are Like Suns

Friday, May 04, 2007

Hello dark roast, my old friend

It's very difficult for me to write papers or study without the help of a good cup of joe (or even a subpar cup of joe for that matter). Coffee is my mama. I am a slave to its hot tasty goodness.

Methinks I might be up late tonight...

On my turntable: Rolling Stones - Some Girls

This record is all about the summer of 1978. I remember the day my brother bought the 12" single of "Miss You" at Great American Music in Fridley (now a Cheapos). We used to make treks through Columbia Heights to Fridley on Central Avenue, which would include stops at Great American, Kmart, Zayre's Shoppers City, and sometimes Target. A couple of times we stopped at White Castle for a slider eating contest. I never owned the Some Girls LP; my friend Charlie Anway had it, so we would just listen to it at his house (I eventually bought the CD, which I think got sold to Cheapo after gathering dust for years).

Last week I obtained this pristine vinyl copy (pictured above) that sounds delovely. When I hear "Beast of Burden" it feels like I'm riding through Northeast again on my orange bike with the cool banana seat and my Panasonic transistor radio strapped to the handlebars, blasting AM63 KDWB. The Stones were huge that summer. Here's a KDWB playlist from 8/1/78 showing Some Girls at the number 2 spot, just behind the Grease soundtrack (click for larger image):

LOVE is on its way...

Well, it's official. The Beatles' LOVE (2006) is finally available on vinyl. Those of us who pre-ordered through MusicDirect received notification today that the LPs have shipped and will arrive by the release date of 5/8. I really like MusicDirect, as I've had nothing but positive transactions with them. It's probably the best online store for higher-end vinyl releases.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

"Acceptable Level of Violence"

I see...

I've said it before, but I'll say it again. Everyone who played a role in getting this chump into the White House should be ashamed.

On my turntable: Beach Boys - L.A. (Light Album)

L.A. (Light Album) (1979) is not a great Beach Boys record (for several reasons including but not limited to the awful disco version of "Here Comes The Night"). Still, it has some gorgeous tunes, including "Good Timin'", "Full Sail", and "Baby Blue".

This is such a Duluth record for me. I bought it from the cut-out bins at the Duluth Target store during my freshman year at UMD. I snatched up lots of Beach Boys LPs that year, including Sunflower, Surf's Up, Rarities, and Ten Years of Harmony.

Hate Crimes Bill passes House

From HRC.org:

"In a bipartisan vote of 237 to 180, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the historic Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The bill adds sexual orientation and gender identity to existing federal hate crimes laws, ensuring that law enforcement officials have the resources needed to investigate and prosecute hate violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people."

The bad and wickedly lame news is that the White House intends to veto. Why? GWB's little friends at Focus on the Family are saying that this legislation is just a way to persecute anyone who openly hates gays. They're saying shit about "thought crimes" which makes no sense. Unbelievable.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

relaxing

My professor gave the class an extra weekend to complete our final essay, so I'm able to relax and get caught up on laundry and dishes tonight. Right now, for today, I'm also allowing myself to sit on my keester and just be. I still feel, to some extent, residual trauma from last week, if that makes any sense.

Next week is finals week, and I'm seeing a number of my students graduate. I have to admit there's a good level of satisfaction in working with students through to graduation. Each spring I'm reminded of how exciting and gratifying the achievement can be for so many students. It's a good feeling.

Speaking of graduation, my partner Leo is himself graduating from nursing school in a couple of weeks. I'm very very proud of him, as he's worked hard for the last three years to get to this point. Way to go, puddin'.

At the end of this month I'm attending a professional conference in Duluth, where I started college as a freshman in 1984. I used to try to visit Duluth once a year, but I don't think I've been back for five or six years now. Aside from the conference I plan to make time to visit campus and hopefully some record stores and coffee shops. I expect to come back recharged and ready for the summer.