Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009!!!

You heard me.

9:56 am

Leo gave me The Hudson Brothers' Razzle Dazzle Show DVD for Christmas. I watched this every Saturday morning in 1974/75. They really look like they had a blast doing this show.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

On my turntable: Donna Summer - The Wanderer

Before MTV I found a lot of my new music on American Bandstand. There are some records that I distinctly remember buying because of Dick Clark's weekly show: "We Live For Love" by Pat Benatar, "Does Your Mother Know" by ABBA, "Clean Clean" by The Buggles, "I Don't Like Mondays" by The Boomtown Rats, and "The Wanderer" by Donna Summer.

"The Wanderer" was an exciting mix of dance and electronic rock -- if it weren't for Donna's "Queen of Disco" past, the single might have identified her as a New Wave artist. The accompanying album of the same name was the first LP to be released on David Geffen's new Geffen Records label (followed by John & Yoko's Double Fantasy). While the single (pictured, right) was a Top 10 hit, I don't remember the album being a huge success. In fact, it's not too hard to find sealed copies of the record still in record racks.

Check out this cool promo video for "The Wanderer" (which I'm guessing was seldom seen, since it was pre-MTV), and dig those highly fashionable leg warmers:

putting the pet in impetuous

I just spent a good 5 minutes laughing and crying my ass off over this clip.
Cat and parrot
(hat tip to cute overload)

The Snuggie

One of the first things they teach in Marketing 101 is that a product must fulfill some type of need, and if it doesn't, you must either create that need or make people think that they have a need for the product you're trying to sell. Some of the best examples of this are the black and white parts of infomercials, which is where we see how incredibly frustrating life is before the introduction of the life-saving product. Let's look at this outstanding commercial for the Snuggie:

"Blankets are OK, but they can slip and slide, and when you need to reach for something, your hands are trapped inside." Ain't it the truth!! But I'm afraid this poor woman needs more than a Snuggie. For starters, if it's so damn cold in her house, she should invest in a real blanket! And did you see how agitated she was over that phone call? Geez, lady - take a breather. Let the call go to voice mail if you're so worked up. Unless it's the doctor calling, because you might want to ask about lowering your steroid dose. While you're at it, this might be a good time to think about switching to Sanka.

But wait, what's this? The Snuggie? Of course! Turns out all this poor woman needs is a blanket with sleeves. Brilliant. And just look at all of the things you can do with a Snuggie that you simply cannot do with an ordinary blanket:
  • use your remote!
  • read a book!
  • use your laptop!
  • enjoy a snack!
  • use your hands!
  • pour some coffee!
  • play with the baby!
  • pet the pooch!
  • toast marshmallows!
  • go to a football game!!
Amazing. Now I understand why my life is so empty and unfulfilled -- It's because I don't have one of them Snuggies! One question that I had while watching this: If the snuggie is one size fits all, why isn't the baby wearing one? Hey lady - if it's so godamn cold in your house (as evidenced earlier in the commercial), why are you all snug and warm in your snuggie, while your baby is on the brink of frostbite? Someone needs to call child protection services.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

On my turntable: Q-Tip - The Renaissance

A return to form for Q-Tip.

This is #8 in my fave LPs of 2008. I've not enjoyed a new hip-hop album this much in quite a few years. It took a while for me to warm up to the first single, "Gettin' Up", but it did get under my skin eventually. If you like A Tribe Called Quest, this is definitely worth a listen.


quote of the week: Chuck Panozzo

On the topic of coming out:
It's a monkey off your back to say, "I want to live my life as an openly gay person."...
It frees you up to be a better thinker. Suddenly, it doesn't matter if someone says that you look or talk like a faggot. Instead of freaking out, you have the courage to answer back, "You can't say that to me. I'm not going to allow you to say that to me." It's an empowering feeling.
- Chuck Panozzo, cofounder of and bass player for Styx,
in his book The Grand Illusion (2007)

6:16 am

The past 4-5 days have been a little uncomfortable in the couple of spots where I tend to have Crohn's activity. No major worries - I'm scheduled for a Remicade infusion tomorrow, which usually does the trick.

My task for today: no stress. And laundry.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Best LPs of 2008

This list is all vinyl, baby:
20. Peter Bjorn & John - Seaside Songs
19. Dennis Wilson - Pacific Ocean Blue (expanded reissue)
18. Tipsy - Buzzz
17. Dressy Bessy - Holler and Stomp
16. Elvis Costello - Momofuku
15. Liam Finn - I'll Be Lightning
14. Bob Mould - District Line
13. Matthew Sweet - Sunshine Lies
12. Radiohead - In Rainbows
11. Black Hollies - Casting Shadows
10. Lyrics Born - Everywhere At Once
9. Beck - Modern Guilt
8. Q-Tip - The Renaissance
7. Sloan - Parallel Play
6. Weezer - The Red Album
5. Glen Campbell - Meet Glen Campbell
4. B-52's - Funplex
3. Brian Wilson - That Lucky Old Sun
2. R.E.M. - Accelerate
1. Ting Tings - We Started Nothing
For starters, I'm as surprised as anyone that The Ting Tings had my fave album of the year. I didn't even want to like the band, let alone go bonkers for their album, but it was just too damn catchy and kickass. The other surprise that I could not have anticipated was Meet Glen Campbell, a great return to form for a legendary artist, with an all-star cast of musicians.

2008 was a banner year for records in our house. This was due partly to me striking a balance in my work/school/other obligations and making time every week to hit the record stores. I discovered some terrific vintage LPs this year, including Dawn's Ragtime Follies, God Bless Tiny Tim, and LaBelle's Nightbirds, to name just a few. I was also fortunate to see a few great concerts this year: Mika, The Hives/The Donnas, Brian Wilson, The Fratellis, The Ting Tings, and the True Colors tour.

So how about you all? What were your musical highlights this year?

12:13 am

Friday, December 26, 2008

On my turntable (xmas booty edition): Labelle - Nightbirds

I scored a sealed copy of Labelle's Nightbirds (1974) yesterday with a gift certificate from one of my record stores (thanks again Mom!!).

This album struts.

I also picked up brand new copies of Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde (1992) by The Pharcyde and A Tribe Called Quest's The Low End Theory (1991) yesterday. Needless to say it's been a very good Christmas for my turntable!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

On my turntable (xmas booty edition): Sloan - Parallel Play

I've had my eye on this LP since I first heard "I'm Not a Kid Anymore" in the spring. I finally got the album yesterday (thx Jay & Joan!), and it's got to be one of the strongest albums of 2008, in my opinion.

Parallel Play
(2008) joins the ranks of power-pop classics such as Phaseshifter by Redd Kross and Dear 23 by The Posies, albums that overflow with melody, chops, hooks, harmony, and top-notch production. This is my first Sloan vinyl, although I expect that I'll be acquiring more in the near future. Great stuff.
www.SloanMusic.com

On my turntable (xmas booty edition) - John Lennon - Rock N Roll

I got some super sweet stuff for Christmas this year, including this pristine, brand new 2008 reissue of Rock-N-Roll (1975) (THANK YOU JAN & BRAD). As a record collector and Beatles fan, there are few life moments as satisfying as cracking the seal on a new Apple LP. A few things about Rock-N-Roll:
  • It was John's last full-length LP of "new" material prior to his retirement in '75, which lasted until the release of 1980's grammy-winning Double Fantasy.
  • I bought this album while John was still alive (1979, I think) -- seems like a million years ago now. I'm pretty certain that I purchased it at Don Leary's records.
  • Rock-N-Roll was one of the final LPs released on The Beatles' Apple label until its resurrection in the 90's. I think the last actual LP of the era was Ringo's Blast from the Past (1975).
  • The new reissue uses the same catalog number as the original release: SK-3419
  • The album's sole hit was "Stand By Me", the 45 of which included a non-LP b-side, "Move Over Ms. L", which I'm pretty sure is about Yoko (the couple were separated at the time). Here's the original promo film for "Stand By Me", notable for its live vocal from John:
"You Should Have Been There" - Dr. Winston O'Boogie

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

On my turntable: Dean Martin - Holiday Cheer

Much love to my family, extended family, friends, e-friends, and blog buds on this Christmas/Holiday Season. I'm feeling a lot of gratitude this year -- thanks for being who you are & for being part of my life.

Oh, and thanks to Dean for this lovely little piece of cheer. I don't know what it is, but suddenly I've got a hankerin' for a scotch on the rocks...

xxx
ooo

j

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"The people have spoken"

This is another line that's wearing very thin lately, in reference to Prop H8.

Straight blogger Kevin Tracy states it very nicely on his blog (Correction: it was actually written by Jared Wilkerson -- thanks to Mr. Tracy for kindly pointing this out!):
"I sort of hate to say this, but screw the people. The people are idiots. The people can’t identify a picture of Gerald Ford, yet they’ve taken the time to educate themselves on the names and faces of every American Idol star and pop singer on the planet.

Allowing people to vote on whether or not to give gays their right to be treated equally is like asking the southern states of 1859 America whether or not those pesky colored folks oughtta keep bein’ slaves so they don’t have to start doing the work themselves. Of course the gays aren’t going to win. They’re severly outnumbered and the majority of people just don’t give a rip about them."

Monday, December 22, 2008

On my turntable: Heart - Dreamboat Annie

I've never been an enormous Heart fan. That's not to say that I've not appreciated them, because they've got an incredible roster of great songs. Perhaps I never bought any of their albums because I saw them as a singles band (I owned "Magic Man" on 45 when it came out, and it got played a lot). A couple of weeks ago I saw this copy of Dreamboat Annie (1976) glistening in the clearance bin for 50 cents, and I couldn't resist it.

I've not yet devoted too much time listening to side 2 of this record, mostly because side 1 is so friggin' awesome, with all three of the album's singles: "Magic Man", "Crazy On You", and the lilting title track (which I first heard on K-tel's Pure Power (1977) album). The only song I'd not previously heard on side 1 is "Soul of the Sea", a beautiful, almost Zeppelin-esque track that makes the first half of the album sound almost like a concept record. If you're curious about Heart, I think Dreamboat Annie is probably a good place to start your listening.

8:18 am

Miserable morning with allergies, but I will survive.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

"love the sinner, hate the sin"

"I was always taught to 'love the sinner but hate the sin'."
Ever heard this chestnut? If you all would indulge me, I'd like to take a moment to deconstruct this sentence, beginning with the definition of "SIN":
Sin: Any act regarded as such a transgression, esp. a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle (dictionary.com).
For starters, when all of you sinner-lovers say 'love the sinner, hate the sin' just what "sin" are we talking about? Being born gay? Doesn't sin, by definition, require an action of some sort on the part of the sinner? Gay people did not do anything to become gay. It's just how they are - no action required there. therefore, I'm pretty certain that it's not a sin to be gay.

So maybe it's the ACT of being gay that you don't like. Hmmm. Let me think about this one. Which of my daily actions make me gay, exactly? Let's trace through what I consider to be one of my typical gay days:
  • Wake up
  • feed the bunnies
  • have some coffee & toast
  • take a shower, get dressed
  • go to work/school
  • stop by one of my record stores to see what's new
  • watch The View, Olberman, Daily Show, etc
  • blog
  • study, if necessary
  • feed the bunnies
  • pick Leo up from work, hang out for a while
  • brush my teeth, pee, go to bed.
Wow. You know, until I had it all written out like that, I had no idea how actively gay I was! What a homo!! I look at that list and see nothing but evil abominations. Seriously, though - So far in this discussion I'm not seeing which of my actions is damning me to eternal hellfire. I consider myself to be a pretty good citizen, actually.

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the 'sin' you're talking about is the act of gay sex, or sticking the man's thing-thing somewhere other than a woman's who-who. Having carnal knowledge, if you will. Now, is it the intercourse itself that is sinful, or the fact that it's sex outside of marriage? 'Cause if it's the latter, the remedy is pretty obvious: repeal senseless and bigoted amendments like Prop 8.

So perhaps you are defining a gay person simply as "someone who has gay sex". Hmm. Do you think maybe that if my partner and I don't have sex today, that makes us straight for a day? Would my 'typical gay day' look any different if my partner and I didn't have gay sex? Of course not. If gay people stop having gay sex, they are still gay. Perhaps you want all gay people to remain celibate their whole lives - do you really, honestly think that's realistic? Do you think it's realistic to expect any group of people to never have sex? To even suggest such a thing is ludicrous, no matter how badly you might want it to happen.

Maybe you would be satisfied if gay people started having straight sex instead. I know you don't understand this (mostly because you're not willing to try), but asking gay people to marry the opposite sex in order to have "normal" sexual relations is like trying to make a car run on orange juice. For a majority of gay people, it doesn't work (that's because for gay people, gay sex IS perfectly normal and natural). That's not to say that gay people can't have straight sex, because technically it's possible. But is this really what you want, because statistically I think we have plenty of data proving that most "straight" marriages that include a gay spouse end up in heartbreak, divorce, and children in therapy.

Maybe you are against any sexual activity that cannot create children. If so, then there are groups outside of gays that you should also prohibit from getting married, including women who are infertile or past menopause, men who shoot blanks, elderly people. Would it make sense to come up with a proposition that would retroactively nullify all straight marriages that haven't produced any children?

For those of you who enjoy saying "Love the sinner, hate the sin" because you think it makes you look like a good Christian, it doesn't. It also doesn't make you look "tolerant". When you talk about 'loving the sinner but hating the sin', it tells people that you are ignorant and unable to think outside of the King James box.

You heard me.

Friday, December 19, 2008

On my turntable: The Jacksons - LIVE

I got this at Savers yesterday for .99, my first vinyl copy of this album (after previously owning it only on CD). I'm not generally a fan of live albums. They can be a nice document if you happened to see a particular tour, but otherwise I tend to prefer studio recordings.

The Jacksons LIVE (1981) documents the group at their absolute peak, on their last tour before Thriller (1983) would change the family's future. You can hear their hunger for success on this record. The results of this ambition on LIVE are mixed; "Can You Feel It", one of the groups greatest studio achievements, sounds clumsy here (suffering also from a dull mix). A full quarter of the LP is comprised of Off The Wall (1979) songs, which gives the impression that Michael's efforts on this tour were focused on his solo career. The true highlights are The Jacksons' hits as a group: "Shake Your Body", "Lovely One", "Heartbreak Hotel" (despite somebody's rather flat vocals - my vote says it's Marlon), and a high-energy medley of J5 hits.


LIVE is historically interesting and worth owning, in my opinion. The last full Jacksons tour was the 1984 Victory debacle, although a full Jackson 5ive reunion has been rumored for years.

Fanciest songs of 2008

20. "Gamma Ray" - Beck
19. "Supernatural Superserious" - R.E.M.
18. "Sunshine Lies" - Matthew Sweet
17. "Wasted" - Donnas
16. "Candlelight" - Labelle
15. "Great DJ" - The Ting Tings
14. "Sensual Seduction" - Snoop Dogg
13. "i like it, i love it" - Lyrics Born
12. "Gettin' Up" - Q-Tip
11. "Troublemaker" - Weezer
10. "Try It Again" - The Hives
9. "Oxygen to the Brain" - Brian Wilson
8. "See You at the Lights" - 1990's
7. "Times Like These" - Glen Campbell
6. "Man-sized Wreath" - R.E.M.
5. "That's Not My Name" - The Ting Tings
4. "Pork and Beans" - Weezer
3. "What's Victoria's Secret" - Rick Springfield
2. "Lollipop" - MIKA
1. "Funplex" - The B-52's
2008 was a great year for music on vinyl, which definitely grew in popularity and availability this year. I'm happy to say that out of the 20 tracks only 3 (listed above in italics) were not available on vinyl. This may be a record (ha - that's a pun!). Also, quite a few of the artists on this year's list are appearing on my "best of" for the first time: Labelle, The Ting Tings, Snoop Dogg, Lyrics Born, Glen Campbell, 1990's, and MIKA.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

8:59 pm

Lights.

Gays already have equal marriage rights?

A lot of Christianists insist that gays already have equal marriage rights. Have you heard this argument? What they mean by "equal marriage rights" is that gay people have the same right as straight people to marry someone of the opposite sex. OK, quickly, let me get this out of the way:

That is fucking ridiculous.

As hard as these people might try to "pray the gay away", you just can't. And also, why would we WANT to get rid of our gayness? It's part of who we are. This is no less offensive (or ludicrous) than saying "Pray the black away" or "pray the blondness away". Gay people are naturally drawn to people of the same sex. It's not rocket science, and it's not something you can force out of people. Unfortunately, these are the same people who refuse to believe in evolution, despite scientific proof. They are walking case studies, I swear.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

11:53 pm

We started decorating for Christmas tonight. To help celebrate the event we cracked the seal on an unopened copy of Barbra Streisand's A Christmas Album (1967). Pretty gay, I know. As of now the tree is up, but no lights or ornaments yet. It's gonna look pretty damn kickass when it's done.

Another reason why I love Minneapolis


Approximately one hour ago I stopped for gas in Uptown, Minneapolis. Right next to me, pumping gas into his PT Cruiser, was Jellybean Johnson - drummer for THE TIME.

InSound 48 hour sale

I think the sale started yesterday (so I'm guessing it ends today), but if there's any vinyl you want to stock up on, InSound is one of the best, and during their sale everything is 15% off. I've had nothing but success with them. The coupon code for the sale is crunchtime15.

Quote of the week - Rev. Michael S. Piazza

"The homo-hatred of the Religious Right has driven so many beautifully gifted women and men into the arms of suicide, alcoholism, promiscuity and self-destruction. It is impossible to overstate the damage done in human lives when people are made to believe they cannot be children of the God who created them."
--Rev. Michael S. Piazza, author of Gay By God: How to be Lesbian or Gay and Christian

Monday, December 15, 2008

On my turntable: De La Soul Is Dead

I have been waiting patiently and searching for this record for several years. I have a number of 12" singles from the album, but never owned the full LP, since I'd made the conscious switch to CDs at the time of this album's release in 1991. But alas, I search in vain no more, thanks to the awesome people at 4 Men with Beards records, who have very recently reissued De La Soul is Dead on 180g vinyl.

De La Soul is Dead is a often overlooked hip-hop stoner comedy masterpiece. On the heels of the hippie-fied 3 Feet High and Rising (1989), Dead sounded rather dark, but 17 years later it holds up as a genius, and at times downright joyous, collection of songs. I hope that other De La classics like Buhloone Mindstate (1993) and Stakes is High (1996) also manage to get reissued soon.

12:24 pm

I just put the Christmas tree skirt down,
and Austin's curiosity is at fever pitch.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

On my turntable: Lipps Inc.

For those of us who grew up in Minneapolis in the 70's & 80's, it was pretty cool thing to have a hit as big as "Funkytown" recorded in your own city. Prior to the release of Mouth to Mouth (1980), the only real charting of "the Minneapolis sound" was Prince's "I Wanna Be Your Lover", which got more play at the roller rink than on Minneapolis Top 40 radio.

Aside from being one of the biggest songs of 1980, "Funkytown" was also the last great song of the disco era. After "Funkytown", disco died a very speedy & painful death. When you consider that disco was practically DOA by the end of 1980, it's easier to understand how Lipps Inc.'s 2nd LP, Pucker Up (also released in '80), failed so miserably. It's not a bad album, but it does stink a bit like a dying genre.

Wacky Packs: Flashback 2 out now

"John's a Gay Man Now"

This really made me laugh. (NSFW, language):

Friday, December 12, 2008

Muppets office xmas party

A not-too-common (but hilarious) clip from Muppets Tonight:

Tork's take on The Monkees

From a recent interview, published 11/12/08:
How is the relationship between the four of you now?
Davy and Micky and I talk when the occasion arises. Both of those guys did shows near where I live, and I joined them for a couple of numbers onstage. We had a great time and lovely conversation. Those are very funny guys. Michael does not figure in my cosmos anymore. I know nothing, I see nothing, I care nothing.
Bonus: Check out this harmonious clip of The Monkees from their 1967 Christmas show:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

next round

This has been a very stressful week of academics for yours truly. To top things off, tonight I found myself in a discussion with two other graduate students regarding, of all things, gay marriage and prop 8. I normally enjoy such discussions (because usually educated people tend to have common sense), but tonight I realized that I was talking with two people who do not support equal marriage rights. One was a staunch republican, and the other a Christian who is more concerned about the rights of her church.

I'm about to go off on a rant now, but it's not directed at the two people I talked with tonight, because I do consider them both friends. OK here goes.
  • I am not an abomination.
  • I am as good as other Catholics, Christians, non-Christians, basically all other humans.
  • If there is anything "not normal" about me, it has nothing to do with me being gay.
  • How dare you imply that being gay makes me ANYTHING LESS than you.
  • I would be an INCREDIBLE parent, I just choose not to have children. Being straight does not automatically make someone a better parent.
  • I am not a pervert, but if I were it would not be because I'm gay.
  • When you say "Don't take this the wrong way, but my faith tells me that homosexuality is wrong" -- HOW THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO TAKE THAT? I am sick of people assuming that because I'm gay that I can't be Catholic or Christian. The Pope is not the boss of me, and I'd like to see him try to kick me out of the church.
  • I am not immoral.
  • My relationship with my partner is just as sacramental as your hetero marriage. How dare you imply otherwise. Just because your laws prevent us from legalizing our partnership doesn't mean that God is not present in our home.
  • Nobody should have to explain why they are worthy of the same rights as another human.
  • It makes me angry that I feel like I NEED to defend myself to other people.
  • If your Bible says that I am an abomination, maybe there's something wrong with your Bible. GOD MADE ME THIS WAY. Are you saying God fucked up?? Seriously!!
  • I refuse to EVER again feel apologetic for who I am.
  • Oh - and if you are AGAINST equal rights for gays, YOU ARE A BIGOT.
Thanks all. 'Till next time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Jon Stewart is a rockstar...

...and Mike Huckabee is still a bigot:

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

"The Ignorant, Tight-Ass Club"

This West Wing clip is magical and I want it to happen in real life.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

2008: Best of Quarter IV

20. "Nothing Too Much Just Out of Sight" - The Fireman
19. "What a Night!" - Harry Connick, Jr.
18. "Womanizer" - Britney Spears
17. "Sober" - P!nk
16. "Never Gonna Give You Up" - Barry Manilow
15. "Act Together" - Andrew Thompson
14. "Niagra Falls" - Wendy & Lisa
13. "Sweet Heaven" - Barry Manilow
12. "It's Christmas" - Davy Jones
11. "Yes We Can Can" - Pointer Sisters
10. "Automatic" - Dressy Bessy
9. "My Love" - The Bird and the Bee
8. "A Christmas Duel" - The Hives & Cyndi Lauper
7. "Go Go Go" - The 88
6. "Sunshine Lies" - Matthew Sweet
5. "Gamma Ray" - Beck
4. "Be The One" - The Ting Tings
3. "Candlelight" - Labelle
2. "Gettin' Up" - Q-Tip
1. "Times Like These" - Glen Campbell

(Items in bold are available on vinyl format. Titles in red have been updated to reflect changes since original post.)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

On my turntable: The Beatles - White Album

Since this past week was the 40th anniversary of The White Album (1968) it seemed like a good time to break out this fancy embossed UK copy that I've only played once or twice (it's flawless). I got my first copy of The White Album when I was in grade school, so I barely remember life without this music.

Having records that are such an integrated part of your life is a pretty special thing, but it's even more special when those old records suddenly take on new personal meaning. Example: Tonight as I'm sitting at the kitchen table, listening to side 4 of this album, it struck me how timely the lyrics to Revolution are, 'cause they seem to speak directly to the issue of Prop 8 and other recent constitutional amendments based on hate:
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We're all doing what we can
But when you want money
for people with minds that hate
All I can tell is brother you have to wait

You say you'll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it's the institution
Well, you know
You better free your mind instead
I read recently that in the mid-70's, when John Lennon was good friends with Elton John, he desperately wanted the gay fans to love him. Elton's friends even had a drag queen name for Lennon: "Catherine". Knowing how much of a staunch ally Yoko has been for the gay community, I don't doubt for a second that if John were alive he would be in the streets with us, fighting the fight for equality.

Friday, December 05, 2008

On my turntable: The Roger Whittaker Christmas Album

This one's for my dad, who passed away on 12/5/2007.

When my brother and I were young my dad used to travel to England for his work, and he would bring back records for us. I remember a couple of 45's on Apple Records that he brought back, and some Roger Whittaker LP's for mom and himself. Whittaker's voice has always reminds me of Dad, and it's more comforting to me now than ever.

I found this sealed copy of The Roger Whittaker Christmas Album (1978) earlier this year for 25 cents, and it's really quite lovely. I know my dad would have enjoyed this record, and he would have smiled learning how cheap it was (he always took pride in paying next-to-nothing for something). If you are a fan of Christmas music I recommend this highly, especially if you stumble across a copy for the cost of a quarter. :)

We love and miss you, Dad.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

New Bird & the Bee vinyl!

A double vinyl version of The Bird and the Bee's forthcoming album, Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future is being released by Blue Note Records on 1/27/09. If I didn't already love the duo I might just buy the album for the awesome retro cover art.

8:51 pm

I'm thinking of leaving all of this on the table tonight
for the research paper elves to finish.

Prop 8 - The Musical

Hollywood steps up to the plate:

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

My letter to Donny Osmond

That's right, you heard me. I emailed Donny Osmond and gave him a piece of my mind. I am badass. Here's the letter:
"Mr. Osmond:

I hope that this email finds you healthy and happy as you and your family gear up for the joy and excitement of the holidays.

I have been a fan of yours for as long as I can remember; I was 5 when your Saturday cartoon show first aired, and I’ve followed your career ever since. I could have had far worse role models growing up, and that’s something for which I’ve always been thankful! However, I am compelled to write to you today after reading your recently publicized comments on same-sex marriage. As a gay Christian American in a long-term, committed relationship, I found your words deeply hurtful. I know that you are very dedicated to your faith, and I truly admire and respect that. I also know in my heart that you would never intentionally hurt any of your fans. However, I think I can pretty safely speak for many of your gay and lesbian fans when I say that your comments felt like being beat up on the playground all over again, except this time it was from someone whom we admire, respect, and love.

You and I were created equally by our Creator -- He just happened to make you straight instead of gay like me. I don’t expect that you will change your views on same-sex unions, even though I wish you would. You mentioned that some of your best friends are gay. Perhaps they could explain how truly crummy this feels better than I just did. Still, I share this with you today because I wanted you to know, and I hope that you accept it with the warm regards and sincerity in which it is sent.

Much love to you, Debbie, and the whole Osmond clan this Christmas season."
Yeah, OK not so badass, I guess. I tried to sound sincere because I really am a fan. I don't expect a reply tho.

(props to Daily Dish and J.M.G.)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Disappointment for the People

This is my 2nd defective copy of Automatic For the People. Word to the wise: stay away from the standard U.S. vinyl pressing of this LP, 'cause it's not good. Side one is lovely, but the 2nd half of side 2 is all wonky (for lack of a better word). I'm holding out for a reissue on this one.

Oh, and on a side note, Barnes & Noble's vinyl shipping stinks. This LP showed up at my door pretty bent up, due to not enough packing inside the cardboard mailer. Turned out to be a non-issue in this case, since it's defective & going back anyways. Still, I say Harumph.

The more you know.
..

3:24 pm

I break 4 Doritos.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Gratitude

Following Jen's lead, I thought I'd list a few things for which I'm thankful in '08:
  • my family (of origin & extended)
  • my partner, Leo
  • our bunnies Simon & Austin, who remind us not to take ourselves so seriously
  • being a student & having the opportunity to follow my passion
  • having a job that I enjoy & find rewarding
  • my kickass grad assistant health plan that dishes out a shitload of money for Crohn's and A.D.D. meds and treatment (I never take this for granted)
  • my super sweet record collection
  • Barack Obama
  • living in a city with so many great record & thrift stores
  • having this little space in the blogosphere where I've met some pretty nifty people

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Cyndi Lauper & The Hives: A Christmas Duel

If you dig this song you can download it for free between now & 11/30:
The Hives Broadcasting Service

7:24 pm

In this dramatic scene from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, I love Snoopy's aloof reaction to Peppermint Patty's bitchiness. Genius.

Top 10 Fave '70's LPs

10. Sound Magazine - The Partridge Family
9. Electric Warrior - T.Rex
8. Band On the Run - Paul McCartney & Wings
7. All Things Must Pass - George Harrison
6. Sunflower - The Beach Boys
5. Destroyer - Kiss
4. It's a Game - Bay City Rollers
3. Eat To The Beat - Blondie
2. In Color - Cheap Trick
1. Get the Knack - The Knack

Honorable Mentions:
Main Course - Bee Gees
Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart
Fragile - Yes
Bad Girls - Donna Summer
New Ragtime Follies - Dawn
Blue - Joni Mitchell
Ram - Paul & Linda McCartney
Hunky Dory - David Bowie
What's Going On - Marvin Gaye
Rumours - Fleetwood Mac
Walls & Bridges - John Lennon
Plastic Letters - Blondie
No Dice - Badfinger

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

HOPE

I found this to be both inspiring and discouraging. Change takes a very long time, and fighting the fight takes a lot of energy sometimes, but we still need to do it. The good news is that we can do it together, because there's strength (and infinite energy) in numbers, right?

Monday, November 24, 2008

fanciness

I just checked my campus mailbox and found this gorgeous engagement party invite (pic, above). It's very fancy & lovely (just like my engaged friends). There's something about lotus flowers and paisleys that resonates & helps me feel centered -- methinks I may have been Indian in a past life.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Top 10 Fave '60's LPs

10. Sell Out - The Who
9. Surrealistic Pillow - Jefferson Airplane
8. Barabajagal - Donovan
7. Their Satanic Majesties Request - The Rolling Stones
6. Forever Changes - Love
5. Once Upon a Dream - The Rascals
4. Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, & Jones ltd. - The Monkees
3. Revolver (UK version) - The Beatles
2. Pet Sounds - The Beach Boys
1. Odessey and Oracle - The Zombies

Very honorable mentions:
The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society
Younger Than Yesterday - The Byrds
Parsley Sage Rosemary & Thyme - Simon & Garfunkel
Abbey Road - The Beatles
Friends - The Beach Boys
Flowers - The Rolling Stones
HEAD - The Monkees
Rubber Soul (US Version) - The Beatles
Feel free to post your own 60's Top Ten list, if you have one...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

On my turntable: K-tel - Circuit Breaker

Most of my K-tel collection has been built by scouring the thrift shops, but sometimes I come across a K-tel gem at one of my record stores that I just cannot pass up. When I saw this lean, mean, and pristine copy of Circuit Breaker (1979) yesterday at Hymie's, I knew I had to bring it home. It's not a particularly rare record, but I've never seen one still in shrinkwrap looking as shiny and crisp as this copy. It sounds fantastic.

The best part about collecting these vintage K-tel records is hearing the long forgotten gems that received scant airplay back in the day, those songs that barely scraped into the top 30. Typically those are the songs that I do not recognize by title alone, but the second they start playing I'm in the wayback machine to 1979. The biggie for me on Circuit Breaker is "Dancin' Shoes" by Nigel Olsson. What a flashback. Leo said he recognized The Raes' "A Little Lovin' (keeps the doctor away)", which I don't remember hearing on Minneapolis radio. Another track that really sent me back is "What You Won't Do For Love" by Bobby Caldwell. One song that I didn't need to hear again is "You Needed Me" by Anne Murray. Somebody at K-tel must have had a friggin' chubby for Murray because I swear this song is on practically every K-tel album from '79.

To enjoy some original videos of Circuit Breaker tracks, click on the song titles below:

Bluer Than Blue . . . Michael Johnson
What You Won't Do For Love . . . Bobby Caldwell
I Was Made For Dancin'. . . Leif Garrett (from '79 tv special)
Because The Night . . . Patti Smith
Every Time I Think Of You . . . The Babys
A Little Lovin' (keeps the doctor away) . . . The Raes (Swiss tv)
Dance (disco heat) . . . Sylvester

...and now as an added bonus, here's a vintage clip of "You Needed Me" from Signing With Cindy, which is awesome beyond description:

Friday, November 21, 2008

Huckabee Hound

Mike Huckabee is wrong. In this recent clip from The View, Joy asks Huckabee about his take on gay rights, to which he replies:

"It's a different set of rights."



Hey Mikey - I've got a quote for ya. It's from some document called the Declaration of Independence. Perhaps you've read it:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that
all men are created equal."
So, uh, Mr. Huckabee, I'm having a hard time understanding this. In fact, it probably doesn't take a grade school education to see the contradiction here. If we're all equal, as Thomas Jefferson said in the above quote, how does it make sense that one group of citizens be treated using a different set of rights? Shouldn't all Americans have equal rights, since we're all equal??

Maybe we should have a different set of rights for Bigots.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

TAGGED

Fellow blogger Jen tagged me a few days ago, so I'm obligated to comply (blogger's rules, I think). I don't know if it's my ADD working overtime, but I had a hard time completing the task. My duty? To respond to the following question:
What would you tell yourself 10, 15, 20, 25 years ago?
I thought long and hard about it (as evidenced in pic, left), and did some writing, but then deleted it because it seemed too personal. How, you might be asking, can anything on this blog be too personal? I dunno - after writing it I just felt uncomfortably naked and exposed. What can I say.

Thanks to Jen for tagging me, tho! I'm glad we're blog buds.

Latest thrift store acquisition

Vintage charcoal Izod v-neck sweater: $14.98

Rosie Live!

I must say I'm looking forward to this show. I miss old school variety/comedy shows, and Rosie's kicking it up a notch by doing it live.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Heroes of the week: BEASTIE BOYS

Damn right. This was posted by ADROCK today over at the Beastie Boys' page (and lifted by me from JMG's blog). This makes my day:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Brian Wilson @ State Theatre 11.15.2008

One thing I'll say about Brian's concerts over the past ten years is that he has become far more relaxed on stage. He also has an amazing band that is able to play some pretty complex stuff. The "hits" part of tonite's show contained a couple of surprises, particularly "Salt Lake City", which I don't think I've ever heard live. "Please Let Me Wonder" was a good example of Brian's ability to sing using his "sweet voice", which for a while seemed all but lost after the mid-70's. His pitch was also mostly spot-on for most of the show, which is not always the case.

After an intermission the band played Brian's new LP, That Lucky Old Sun, in its entirety, and it was fantastic. I was surprised by how beautifully Brian sang "Midnight's Another Day" -- he actually sounded better on this one live than he does on the record. During the spoken "vignette" sections, a large screen showed little animated bits with scenes of California, along with the occasional photos of the Wilson brothers (but no pics of the full Beach Boys band). As a live show Lucky Old Sun was a whole different experience -- I felt fortunate to witness it from my front row balcony seat.
SONG LIST:
California Girls, Dance Dance Dance, Surfer Girl,
In My Room, Salt Lake City, All Summer Long,
Please Let Me Wonder, Add Some Music To Your Day,
The Little Girl I Once Knew, Do You Wanna Dance,
Do It Again, Sail On Sailor, Marcella, I Get Around,
(short round of "Row Row Row Your Boat"),
Wouldn't It Be Nice (w/Jeff Foskett on lead),
God Only Knows, Good Vibrations.
(break)
***THAT LUCKY OLD SUN***
(break)
Johnny B. Goode, Help Me Ronda, Barbara Ann,
Surfin' USA, Fun, Fun, Fun
Love & Mercy

Friday, November 14, 2008

Heroes and Villains

Tomorrow Leo and I will spend the afternoon with other Minnesotans standing up for the civil rights of Californians, who had their marriage rights stripped from them on November 4th via Prop 8. I'm pretty excited at the prospect of seeing so many citizens standing up for what they know is fair and right. This is long overdue.

In stark contrast to the nastiness of Prop 8, I'll spend tomorrow evening enjoying Brian Wilson (one of my personal heroes) live at the State Theatre. This will be my 4th BW show, the last one being Brian's triumphant SMiLE concert of 2004 (one of the best concerts I've ever seen).

Quote of the week

"When we find ourselves believing that killing a man makes us more of a man but loving a man makes us less than a man it's probably time to re-examine our criteria for manhood."
- award-winning vlogger Jay Smooth

Barnes & Noble hops on the Vinyl train

Breaking news: The next time someone gives you a Barnes & Noble gift card for the holidays or birthdays you can buy yourself some shiny new records! Sure, Barnes & Noble aren't known for their low prices (and their vinyl pricing reflects that), but it's nice to have yet another option. The "member" pricing is a bit more reasonable, and there's free shipping for orders over $25, which is sweet. With Amazon, Best Buy, and B&N on board, is Target next??

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

STAND!

Consider me there:

Demonstrations will be held in all states across the country this Saturday!

For more info: JoinTheImpact

Q-Tip's Renaissance

For almost 20 years I've been a big fan of Native Tongue groups like De La Soul, the Jungle Brothers, and A Tribe Called Quest, the latter of which featured the now-famous solo artist Q-Tip. Q-Tip released a new album, Renaissance, last week that is garnering some nice attention; the tracks I've heard have a sweet live band feel to them, with a jazzy Tribe Called Quest vibe. The album is available on standard vinyl (which means it's affordable), and I plan to hunt down a copy myself this week, so check back soon for further details!

Here's a video of Q-Tip's recent MySpace premiere for Renaissance:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Prop H8, pt. II

Thanks to Keith Olbermann for this thoughtful rant on tonight's Countdown:

Prop H8

Talk about mixed emotions. The past week has been filled with elation over the victory towards equality that we gained with Obama's win, and an absolute blow to the gut over what happened in California. I purposely avoided blogging about it because I have needed some cool-down time.

I don't believe every Californian that voted "YES" on Proposition 8 actually understood what they were doing. I'm choosing to believe that many of them thought "Yes" meant "Why, Yes, of course I want same-sex couples to have the same rights as me. Why wouldn't I want that?" They didn't realize that they were voting to take rights away from individuals, couples, and families who happen to have been born gay.

It's infuriating, and so incredibly hateful that christianists poured countless millions of dollars into organizing Prop 8. Imagine how many starving children could have been fed with that money. Instead, we talk about how awful it would be if children learned about gay marriage in schools. Seriously?? Do you think children don't know about gay people? AND WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH LEARNING ABOUT GAY PEOPLE? We EXIST, and we are here because GOD created us this way.

I guess I haven't cooled off much.

To all you hateful people who worked so tirelessly to make Prop 8 happen, I pity you, but even more I pity your children. These kids are going to have to learn the hard way that gay people are to be valued, not scorned, and that God loves gays just as much as he loves straights. They'll have to learn from experience that GAY = OK, that gay is perfectly normal, and that gay people should have equal access to the same rights as straight people, just as it says in the constitution.

To the LGBT community in California, hang in there. Despite what all the misinformed haters out there believe, God IS on OUR side, because we are living true to ourselves, the way God created us. Equality will prevail.

I usually feel better after these little rants, but this time I don't. It's an awful, awful feeling.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

"Yes We Can Can"

Leo and I have had this on repeat in the car since Wednesday...

On my turntable: Colin Blunstone - One Year

My musical orientation tends to lean more towards "the band" than "the singer". There are probably less than a half dozen singers whose voices make me all weak-kneed and mushy inside, and Colin Blunstone has one of those voices. I've been a big Zombies fan for the past 20 years, but it wasn't until last summer that I started digging into his solo work, beginning with 1972's Ennismore. I finally found Colin's first solo LP, One Year (1971), during yesterday's trip to the record store, and on first listen my insides were promptly reduced to mush (like a big steamy bowl of mashed potatoes).

One Year, as Blunstone's sleeve notes explain, represents the year between July of "She Loves the Way They Love Her" and July of "Say You Don't Mind" (the album's opening and closing songs, respectively). The ten songs are written mostly by Blunstone or Zombies Rod Argent & Chris White, which makes One Year sound very Zombies-esque. If you are a Zombies fan who's not yet heard this album, I would strongly encourage that you seek it out.