Friday, October 31, 2008

11:04 pm

Go Gophers.

Mix Master Moo

The National Association of Graduate & Professional Students is having its annual conference this week, and needed a DJ for tonight's costume party. As it turns out, DJs are not cheap! I joked that my friend Kristi & I could do it, and suddenly "DJ Jazzy Jeff" was booked for the event. Oh well. I'm not a very good DJ, but I'm a very good free DJ (you get what you pay for).

My last minute costume for the festivities is a cow outfit that I rescued from the basement, equipped with a pair of headphones. I'm attending tonite as Mix Master Moo, representin' my brothers at Kappa Lambda MOO fraternity.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

trick or treat?

Leo & I bought a 50 cent infant bib at Target thinking it would look adorable on Simon. We were right of course, but Simon (as seen in this picture), staunchly disagrees. Ohmygoodness he was not pleased.

Top 10 Greatest

Earlier today my brother emailed out a list of his personal "Top 10 Greatest Songs In the History of Music", asking others to join in with their own. It's not an easy task, but I gave it a shot:
10. "I Wish U Heaven" (full version) - Prince
9. "My Brave Face" - Paul McCartney
8. "Leaving this Town" - Beach Boys
7. "Beechwood Park" - Zombies
6. "Our Lips Are Sealed" - Go-Go's
5. "Good Vibrations" - Beach Boys
4. "Kilburn Towers" - Bee Gees
3. "I Feel Fine" - Beatles
2. "Don't Listen to The Radio" - Vines
1. "For Pete's Sake" - Monkees
Honorable mentions: "What is Life" - George Harrison, "Citadel" - Rolling Stones, "New Power Generation" - Prince, "Bubbles" - Free Design, "Big Bang Baby" - Stone Temple Pilots

Feel free to post your own 10's in the comments...

update: Kyle left a comment suggesting I add more detail about my selections, so I'll try to add some as I have time (see comments).

Monday, October 27, 2008

11:01 pm

Mrs. Obama is on the Tonight Show.
I am so totally crushing on her right now.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

oh no.

To get optimum results from vinyl LPs it's best to clean them before playing, using a reputable cleaner specially formulated for records. What some people will use on their vinyl LPs is shocking: I've heard tap water before (a no-no), and I've even read that some people will wash their records in the sink with dish soap (I'm getting faint thinking about that one).
Click for larger version:
Thanks to fellow blogger (& vinyl lover) Chuck for sending this!

On my turntable: Elvis Costello - North

North (2003) is one of my all-time favorite LPs, especially when it's cold outside and I feel the need to park it on the couch with a hot beverage & blanket. The album was released in late September '03, so the tracks tend to evoke fall & early winter. The music is more Bacharach Elvis than Attractions/Imposters Elvis, with gorgeous arrangements and subdued, heartfelt vocals. It's moody & lovely.

To my knowledge the only vinyl issue of North is a German audiophile pressing from Deutch Grammophone, which tends to be a bit pricey, not to mention hard to find. Since most new copies that I'd seen were around $30, I abstained from purchasing until I found this near perfect used copy in 2007 for $12. The LP is oh-so-smooth and wonderfully mastered. I highly recommend.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Opie is a genius

You've probably already seen this, but I think every blogger on the planet should post it:

On my turntable: The Polyphonic Spree - Together We're Heavy

When I first saw Together We're Heavy (2004) at the record store I thought "Oh, yeah - this looks like something I would like". After a little research and comparative pricing I eventually bought the album in August '04 at our dearly departed Let It Be records.

If I had to choose one word to describe this record, it would be "bombastic". The Polyphonic Spree is more of an orchestral choir than a traditional band, dressed in colorful robes that make them look like a gang of Krishna devotees. It's interesting stuff, even if singer Tim DeLaughter's voice gets a bit grating at times. The packaging of the double LP is deLovely; the colorful gatefold sleeve features gold foil lettering, and includes a foldout lyric sheet/poster.

update: I like this album even more after watching this awesome video for "Hold Me Now", starring a cast of puppets:

Start packin yer bags, Missy.

So long, Michele.

I can't say that you'll be missed.

Link: Bachmann's a Goner

Thursday, October 23, 2008

On my turntable: Duran Duran - Astronaut

Another 2004 LP that I'm filing away. Astronaut was a great return to form for Duran Duran. Notice I didn't say "comeback", since the band never really went away. They just sort of became a different band as a result of personnel changes. The reunion of DD's five original members included a very successful world tour, followed by the departure (again) of guitarist Andy Taylor. The band (as a quartet) released Red Carpet Massacre (on CD only) in 2007, and they continue to successfully tour the world.

Official Videos:
"(reach up for the ) Sunrise"
"What Happens Tomorrow"

8:25 am

Brian Wilson - Getting In Over My Head (2004)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ellen wants to buy you a pony!

From the website of Ellen Degeneres:
Don't Discriminate -- No on 8!

Hey everybody. There’re only a couple weeks left before we vote. In California there’s a proposition that’s trying to take away my right to be married. And if it passes, my marriage will probably no longer be valid.

The supporters of Proposition 8 have raised more than $25 million just to discriminate against same-sex couples who want to get married. That’s a lot of money.

I can think of 25 million other uses for all that money:

- How about paying teachers more?
- What about helping those people who just lost their homes in the recent fires?
- How about buying a pony for every child in California? How much fun would that be?!

Don’t let them convince you that discrimination is okay just because they can pay for a commercial. It’s wrong. Please vote NO ON PROPOSITION 8! I’m begging you. If you vote no on Prop 8, I’ll buy you a pony.

Monday, October 20, 2008

At last: The release of more Partridgey goodness!

After believing that Season 3 of The Partridge Family would never see the light of day, Season 3 of The Partridge Family actually saw the light of day! That's right - last week 25 more super sweet and hilariously awesome PF episodes became available at your local retailer.

But wait - the goodness continues! At long, long last, after years of being sadly out of print, The Partridge Family's final album, Bulletin Board (1973) is getting a proper CD reissue on October 28. I couldn't tell you the last CD I purchased, but I'll probably buy this one, just to complete the set.

Here for your enjoyment is but one of the happy, sappy tunes from Bulletin Board, "I'll Never Get Over You". Watch for the appearance of the Partridge's own version of Cousin Oliver, little Ricky Segal (Adorable or annoying? You decide). Also pay attention to Tracy's consistent inability to play the tambourine. You'd think after four seasons she would have shown some improvement. Screen Gems should have sacked her ass after season 1 and replaced her with rock legend Davy Jones.

"Hope of Deliverance"

This song has been bouncing through my head all morning, so I've adopted it as my theme song for the next couple of weeks:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

On my turntable: The Monkees - Headquarters

The first 5 Monkees LPs have been available on vinyl for around 12 years now. The Monkeemania of 1986 saw the reissue of the band's entire catalog on Rhino records, which was a big event for Monkees fans like me who weren't old enough to buy the LPs the first time around. Prior to '86 we were lucky to find Monkees LPs at garage sales, used record stores, or as Japanese imports. My first official copy of Headquarters (1967) was an early 80's reissue from Japan, which I purchased at Harpo's Hot Licks in downtown Minneapolis. The copy pictured here is the most recent issue from Sundazed records, on 180 gram vinyl.

Headquarters includes my all-time favorite Monkees tune (possibly fave song by anybody), "For Pete's Sake", written by Peter Tork & Joseph Richards, and sung by Micky Dolenz.

"For Pete's Sake"
"Randy Scouse Git"
"No Time"
"Forget That Girl"
"Sunny Girlfriend"

Right on, Powell!!

This is what America needs to hear. He even includes a smackdown directed at Michele Bachmann. It's so refreshing to see someone that America sees as a leader stepping up to the plate this way:

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Super cool website of the week:

Check it out, and if you're so inclined, sign the online petition:

9:14 pm

I can't friggin' believe that we're entering the middle of the semester already! Tonight I spent a couple of hours just assessing what's coming up, and making sure I'm not tragically behind on anything. The next few weeks will be a bit crazy, but no complaints -- I love all this shit. I fully own my academic nerdiness.

Friday, October 17, 2008


My latest thrift store score: vintage Munsingwear cardigan, $4. I'm not crazy about the color, and am considering trying to dye it, but I dunno - there's a certain Bing Crosby classic quality about it that I like.

Even more from the Capitol Vaults!

The latest announced batch of vinyl reissues in the beautiful Capitol Vaults series includes three solo Beatles LPs:
Plastic Ono Band - Live Peace In Toronto, 1969
Ringo Starr - Ringo
Ringo Starr - Sentimental Journey
Megadeth - So Far, So Good...So What
Roxy Music - Stranded
Roxy Music - Country Life
The Specials - The Specials
All titles are expected to be released on 12/9/08.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

On my turntable: Brendan Benson - The Alternative To Love

Another 2004 album that is being filed away to make room for '09...

Not very often do I buy an album without hearing any of its contents, but The Alternative to Love (2005) was one such album. I had read a couple of good reviews, and the cover art was just cool enough to seal the deal. In this case it was a wise purchase.

Official Videos:
"Spit It Out"
"Cold Hands (warm heart)"

Correction, 10/18: I just noticed that this album is from 2005, not 2004, which means I filed it away one year too soon. Oops. I will un-file it toot sweet...

crate digging

Thanks to Chuck to sending me this. "Crate Digging", for those of you unawares, is the act of relentlessly combing through second hand stores, thrift stores, flea markets, etc, for used records. It becomes a lifestyle for some of us. Artist Stefan Glerum's cartoons are funny because they're true, even if some of them do hit a bit close to home:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

warm & fuzzy

This makes me all sorts of happy and tingly downstairs:
Susan, Nona, Patti

Monday, October 13, 2008

What I'm reading: The Mayor of Castro Street

"Lay down your funky weapon"

I snagged this near mint 45 tonight for 99 pennies. Listening to it now reminds me that "New Power Generation" is one of my all-time favorite Prince songs.The video, on the other hand, is one of my least favorites, compiled from pieces of an abysmally dreadful movie (Graffiti Bridge). Still, the track is nothing but funky, and the lyrics seem particularly poignant today, in a time when are fighting to get our country back:

1:58 pm

These remind me of Smints, which I loved but don't see anymore. I'll probably start buying these now, but what do I do with all these teeny tiny metal tins? Any re-use ideas will be graciously welcomed.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

On my turntable: Monie Love - Down to Earth

Here it 'tis, one of the holy grails that I've been seeking for my collection, snagged this past week in sealed condition. *sigh of satisfaction*

Monie Love was part of an emerging gang of young hip-hoppers in the early 90's who dubbed themselves the "Native Tongues": De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Jungle Brothers, Queen Latifah, and Monie Love. De La Soul got the ball rolling with their groundbreaking 3 Feet High and Rising (1989). Their beats were culled from a mess of different genres, sampling heavily from records of the 60's & 70's, with lyrics that spoke of social issues, but also plain silliness. As a junior and senior in college this was music that I identified with heavily.

Down To Earth (1990) continued in the Native Tongue tradition, but without so much of the psychedelic direction taken by De La & Tribe. Monie's songs were more about boys, feminism, safe sex, and other social issues. It was pretty groundbreaking at the time, and still is, if you consider that there aren't any prominent female artists doing what Monie was doing 18 years ago.

Prior to this week, I'd not had the pleasure of hearing Down to Earth on vinyl. What an experience! The bass is booming, the beats are thick, and the overall soundscape is oh-so-smooth. I've said this before, but the switch back to vinyl has given me the opportunity to rediscover a lot of great albums. It's a journey I highly endorse.

Official Videos:
"Monie in the Middle"
"It's A Shame"
"Down to Earth"
"Ring My Bell"


I would have guessed some kind of hound, but labs are nice:
What dog breed are you? I'm a Labrador Retriever! Find out at

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I almost forgot...

Look at me! I'm a gay!! Gay Gay Gay. Queer. Homo. Sissy. Pansy. That's right, I'm a little light in the loafers. You heard me. I'm swishy. I swish. I'm Swishy McSwishersons. Swish Swish Swish. I'm drunk with swishyness.
I'm fancy. :)

Happy Coming Out Day, fellow gays and allies!

One world, One people.

Saturday meme

Last Kiss: Simon (our lop-eared bunny).

Last Good Cry: Don't remember. Not that I repress crying or anything, I just can't recall my last all-out, balls to the wall cry session.

Last Crush: Depends on how you define "crush". The only one that really matters is the one I share my life with.

Last Alcoholic Drink: Grain Belt Premium, probably at the Fratellis concert.

Last Phone Call: Sibling.

Last Text Message: I don't text, and don't plan to start any time soon.

Last TV Show Watched: Daily Show (playing now).

Last Book Purchased: “The Journey to the East" by Hermann Hesse

Last Book Read: "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder" by Vincent Bugliosi

Last Movie Seen In A Theater: Probably Ratatouille.

Last Movie Rented: Norma Rae (I needed it for a class).

Last Download: Free download of Beck's new album that came with the vinyl purchase.

Last Curse Word Used: sonofaBITCH.

Last Beverage Consumed: COFFEE.

Last Food Consumed: Two frozen burritos, covered in my cousins tasty salsa.

Last Item Purchased: Handful of 50 cent LPs from Roadrunner records.

Last Words Spoken: "Hi bunny!"

Last Annoyance: The Minnesotans at yesterday's Lakeville McCain stop who called Obama "Arab" and "Terrorist" and a bunch of other stupid words that tend to come out of redneck mouths.

Last Disappointment: See last question.

Harvey Milk

An important story, in theaters next month:

Friday, October 10, 2008

simple pleasures

As I got home from the record store tonight I found a little delivery on our front steps. Inside the box was two jars of truly tasty homemade salsa especial from my cousin Cyn (thanks again, cousin!), surrounded by a whole mess of newspaper. The buns have been running in and out of the box of paper for the past hour (above right: Austin on his way out of the box, wearing his "bun fun" expression). I love how rabbits create their own fun - it cracks me up every day.

So long, Myrtle

Eileen Herlie, the actress who played Myrtle Fargate on All My Children, has died. Myrtle was Pine Valley's rare voice of sanity and reason. Whenever Erica was about to do something stupid, Myrtle was the one who would tell Erica to pull her head out of her arse. In later years she became quite the comic figure on the show, flinging zingers with her fantastic Irish accent.

We'll miss ya, Myrtle.

Look through my window

Wedding Bells in Connecticut

I did NOT see this one coming:
CNN: Connecticut Supreme Court
legalizes same-sex marriage

On my turntable: Prince - Musicology

Musicology (2004) has held up better than I would have expected. I can see now why this was seen by many as a "comeback". This promo LP version was not made widely available, issued by Sony's Urban Division.

Official Videos:
"Cinnamon Girl"
"Call My Name"

Racist Hockey Moms Against Obama

(lifted from

Making room

I keep albums of the past five years next to our turntable for speedy access. Over the coming weeks I'll be clearing out the 2004 LPs in order to make room for 2009. I'll be giving each of them a quick listen before filing them away, and likely blog about a few ('cause that's how I roll).

On my turntable: Best of Alan Parsons Project

I bought this album yesterday for $2 solely for the gorgeous "Old & Wise", sung by Colin Blunstone (The Zombies). I admit I feel a bit on the defensive about listening to Alan Parsons Project, since they're on my "don't like" list. I actually enjoy listening to some of the hits though, particularly "Eye in the Sky", "Time", and "I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You". The rest of the tracks I'm not yet sure about, since I find some of them a little annoying.

Of course, no post about Alan Parsons can slip by without this little gem:

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

On my turntable: The Box Tops - Greatest Hits

After having such luck with Rhino's compilation of The Turtles' Greatest Hits (1982) this past summer, I thought I'd see if lightning could strike twice with Rhino's Box Tops Greatest Hits (1982). It's not entirely fair to compare the two bands (one being a psychedelic folk-rock band, the other a R&B bubblegum flavored band), but I guess it's safe to say that both albums kick ass.

Back when I was barely a preschooler, The Box Tops' "Choo Choo Train" had earned heavy rotation status on my trusty Close N'Play (which, btw, was not kind to records). To hear the song now with its tasty horns and bouncy bass, and to actually understand the lyrics without all the surface noise of the dirty old 45 is a sweet experience. The rest of the album is enjoyable as well, including what were probably the band's biggest hits, "Cry Like a Baby" and "The Letter".

The singer in the following vids is a very young Alex Chilton, who would later graduate to the legendary Big Star:
"The Letter"
"Cry Like a Baby"
"Turn on a Dream" & "Soul Deep" (The Mike Douglas Show)

11:22 pm

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

fancy new videos

A couple steaming hot new videos that have caught my eyes/ears:
"Be The One" - The Ting Tings
"Troublemaker" - Weezer

"Compassion for a Change"

$1 of each t-shirt sold goes to the Obama Biden campaign:

Monday, October 06, 2008

Monkee and Beatle

Here's a pic I've never seen, and by now I thought I'd seen 'em all. George and Peter were kindred spirits of sorts, being the staunch Krishna-chanting, brown rice eating members of their respective bands. Cool photo.

8:04 pm

My awesome friend Ellen got this for me over the weekend at an Obama-Biden bake sale/fundraiser. I shall not remove it from my wrist until our heroes win the election.

You heard me.

8:20 am

Dad's sweater.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Goldy & friends

Leo and I attended a campus bowling event tonight and got our photo taken with Goldy Gopher. See if you can you spot the two dorks in this picture (hint: the non-dork is wearing a mighty spiffy bowling shirt).

8:29 am

Our front lawn.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The M word

Look at me - I'm Sarah Palin:


Christ almighty. We get it, Sarah. McCain's a Maverick. You're a Maverick. The word has become pointless.

conventional squirrel wisdom

Hey Sarah - say it with me: NU-CLEE-AR

Jeeeezus, Sarah. It's NUCLEAR. I swear she's said nuc-U-lar three dozen times already.

Biden says it correctly.

On my turntable: Sly & The Family Stone - Stand!

Methinks we could use some of this energy today.

10:44 am

Dressy Bessy - Holler & Stomp (2008)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Quote of the day: Roland Martin (CNN)

I a commentary published today over at CNN Politics, Roland Martin asks:
"Is Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin running for vice president of the United States or vice president of the student council?"

You can read the rest here:
Commentary: Time for Palin to Put Up or Shut Up