Thursday, July 30, 2009

10:55 PM

My latest attempt at capturing downtown from our house at night.

Simon got a big ol' butt

  • Hey Simon - Your bunn'tocks are so sweet they put Hershey's outta business!
  • Those 'tocks are so nice it's a shame you have to sit on them.
  • Hey Simon - you've got something on your 'tocks -- my eyes.
  • Simon do you have a quarter? I want to try & bounce it off those 'tocks.
  • If bunn'tocks were a status symbol, you'd be on the A list!
  • Simon are you wearing space pants, 'cause those 'tocks are outta this world!
OK I'll stop.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New carpet

We finally replaced the ratty old rugs outside of the buns cages with a new rug we found in the 'scratch & dent' section at IKEA. No opinion from the buns yet on whether they approve of the new rug, but I'm sure we'll find out soon enough...

9:33 AM

Simon & Leo share a morning ritual.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

pic of the day

I had a meeting this morning with my academic adviser, after which I took advantage of the gorgeous weather and snapped some pics around campus. My favorite of the batch is this one of Coffman Memorial Union, which is where I spend a majority of my time when I'm not in the classroom.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A few more of today's pics

Mitzi on Parade

Practically every Sunday that we visit mom, we get a little floor show from her dog Mitzi. It starts with Mitzi getting one of her toys, which she then parades around proudly from the kitchen, through the living room, to the bedroom, turn, and then repeat. It's like she thinks she's a supermodel on the friggin' catwalk. It's very odd, but Mitzi's an odd pooch.
above: Pics from today's supermodel photo shoot.
Click on image for larger version.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Today's booty

One of today's record store scores was this 45, still in its original plastic bag from Woolworths. Back in the 60s & 70s, Woolworths used to have piles of these just tossed into a clearance bin for shoppers to rummage through. These days it's not very common to find a record still wrapped in one of these sleeves.

My cost for this gem: $0.25.

What I'm Reading: Stonewall by Martin Duberman

5:45 PM

Leo calls this Xmas in July.

1:55 PM

The University of MN Football Marching Band
Northrop Auditorium Concert
-recorded November 22, 1964-

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Stone Roses 20th Anniversary

Good things come to those who wait!

This baby's been on my vinyl wishlist for a long time. Next month (8/11) The Stone Roses' debut LP is finally getting its due, with what appears to be a proper reissue from Sony/Legacy. The LP comes in an embossed gatefold sleeve, along with a bonus 7" single of a "lost" track, "Pearl Bastard". Sounds mighty fancy.

Some fans might be upset by the absence of the song "Fools Gold". However, purists will know that the first pressings of the LP/CD did not include the song, which makes this more of a loyal re-pressing.

You can pre-order the LP at InSound now for $19.99 (which seems like a decent price; Amazon is selling it for $26). There's also a crazy-deluxe box set, which features a double CD, DVD, three LPs, a USB, a 48-page book, and six limited-edition art prints, all for a mere $130.00 (!).

UPDATE: The release date for this reissue has been pushed to 9/8/09.

This made my day

So I was innocently browsing through someone's facebook photo albums and all of a sudden, without warning, there I was! This is a pic from grade school, probably 2nd grade, which would make me 7 or 8 years old I suppose. I was good friends with at least 2 of the other kids in this picture. What a flashback.

New Header

I was feeling a little creative tonight and created a new header for the blog.

Here's the original header:And the new one:As always, I'm open to your feedback, so feel free...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

6 Degrees: The Kinks > Prince

Warning: Nerdy post ahead.

I wanted to do some cleaning today, and figured a musical theme of some sort might help. I decided to do a musical six degrees of separation, where I would play 6 records, each somehow connected to the next one. Before I explain the connection, see if you can determine the relation between each of these albums/artists:

  1. The Kinks - The Village Green Preservation Society
  2. The Turtles - Turtle Soup
  3. The Monkees - Headquarters
  4. Kansas - Power
  5. Yes - Drama
  6. Prince - Graffiti Bridge
OK here goes: 1) Kinks member Ray Davies produced 2) The Turtles' sixth album, Turtle Soup. Bass player Chip Douglas left The Turtles in 1967 to become producer for 3) The Monkees (trivia: The Turtles & The Monkees share two songs in common: "Love to Love" and "The Story of Rock & Roll". The Turtles released "Story" as a single, but The Monkees' attempt at the song was abandoned after the recording of just the instrumental tracks.). The Monkees' first two albums were supervised by Don Kirschner, who later started his own record label, which released records by 4) Kansas. Steve Morse, the guitarist on Power, recorded songs for a 5) Yes tribute CD called Tales From Yesterday (1995). The singer on Drama was Buggle Trevor Horn, who later became an acclaimed record producer. One of the artists he produced (although the album remains unreleased) was Wendy & Lisa, who used to write & perform with 6) Prince.


12:06 PM

The Monkees


Dill growing in our yard.

Quote of the week: President Obama

Make no mistake: the pain of discrimination is still felt in America. By African-American women paid less for doing the same work as colleagues of a different color and gender. By Latinos made to feel unwelcome in their own country. By Muslim Americans viewed with suspicion for simply kneeling down to pray. By our gay brothers and sisters, still taunted, still attacked, still denied their rights.

On the 45th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, discrimination must not stand. Not on account of color or gender; how you worship or who you love. Prejudice has no place in the United States of America.

~ Excerpted from Pres. Obama's NAACP speech, 7.16.2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

On my turntable: Elvis Costello - Secret, Profane & Sugarcane

Just got this today, and right now I'm on side 1. I gotta say I'm enjoying this old school hanging-out-on-the-couch-following-along-with-the-lyrics routine. As for the record itself, I doubt that it will go down in history as my fave Costello record, but I gotta give him credit for trying out yet another musical genre and for doing it well. This time around it's bluegrass (produced by T-Bone Burnett). It's a style he's tested before (bits of 2004's The Delivery Man, for example), but to my knowledge he's not made a full album of just bluegrass before. Honestly though, you can't really go wrong when Elvis is the one at the mic.

Here's a brief promo for the album from Concord Records:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

yesterday's booty

As I was exiting one of my record stores yesterday I saw this out of the corner of my eye with a post-it note attached that said "FREE". As you can see in the pic, it's a sweet looking vintage Holiday 8-track car stereo. I don't know if it works yet, but I hope to mount it in our kitchen once I find a cheap power source. If any readers have ever converted car audio for home use I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, July 13, 2009

10:13 AM

It's times like these when Austin wishes he were not so snugglicious.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

8:13 PM

Home from camping and happily back to the routine.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

5:04 PM

In our upstairs hallway.

11:27 AM

Austin & Simon have added a lovely skylight to their favorite cardboard box. I commended them for their hard work, and explained that home improvements help to beautify the neighborhood while also increasing the value of their home.

Somehow I don't think they gave a shit.

record label art: K-tel Records

If you were alive in the 70's you already know that K-tel was more than just a record label. They made everything you didn't really need (but thought you needed after seeing the commercial!), and although a lot of what they made was junk, K-tel International was an indisputable cultural phenomenon.One thing I didn't know when we were kids listening to our well-worn copies of K-tel's 22 Explosive Hits and Bright Side of Music, was that K-tel's homebase was located on Wilson Street in N.E. Minneapolis, just a couple of miles from our house on Taylor Street. By the mid-70's K-tel had moved out of Northeast, to fancy new digs on K-tel Drive in Minnetonka.

K-tel's glory days were, in my opinion, from around 1975-1979, which, coincidentally, was when they had the coolest looking label. The early 70's label was cool too (somehow the label's "LIMITED COLLECTOR'S EDITION" proclamation created a perception of added value), but nothing tops the bright orange and yellow collage that K-tel started using in '75.

K-tel records were known for cramming as many hits as humanly possible onto one 12" record. What most of us youngsters didn't know was that LP's have sound limitations that become sadly evident when a record contains an ungodly amount of music (in order to accommodate for so much tunage the grooves are made smaller, which in turn reduces the dynamic range of the record). Something else K-tel was notorious for was chopping up songs, sometimes practically in half! K-tel LP's also tended to have 2 or 3 songs that nobody had ever heard on the radio, but you listened to them anyway because the album cover said they were "sensational hits", and you ended up liking them by the time you'd worn out the LP.

In 1980 K-tel switched from the groovy orange/yellow label to a bland brown/orange one. They started using full-length versions of hits, which reduced the number of songs on the LP's to around 14, dramatically improving the sound quality. A good number of K-tel records from the early 80's, while less iconic than the 70's records, really kick ass.

Despite an increase in product quality, by the mid-80's K-tel had lost its mojo. After releasing some market-specific rap, dance, and heavy metal collections, K-tel LP's quietly vanished from record stores. Looking through my own collection, "Metal Rage" is the only LP with a date of 1986, which leads me to think that '86 was the year that K-tel (at least in the U.S.) switched its focus to products other than LP's. Eventually the company went bankrupt.

Some of my K-tel LP's

Monday, July 06, 2009

thrift store booty

Just got home from the thrift store where I scored a bunch of practically new 45s for about $5. It's moments like these that make life worth livin'.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Saturday, July 04, 2009

record label art: Apple Records

There is a small number of record labels that are so cool that I collect the catalog; Apple is one such label. Apple Records, in my opinion, is the coolest looking record label of all time. It is strikingly simple, which is one reason that as a brand it is so memorable (that and the fact that most people associate the label with the biggest band of all time). I've always thought that its use of the sliced apple on side 2 was very clever.The Beatles started Apple in 1968 with plans for a multi-media corporation, producing records, film, and other projects for a mess of independent artists. Within a couple of years the band said 'screw it' and focused primarily on Apple's functions as a record company, eventually for Beatles-associated records only.

The label released new music until 1975, ending with the Ringo Starr Blast From Your Past compilation LP. Legal problems kept the label dormant until the early 90's, after which Apple released a flurry of reissues (most of which are now out of print), and oversaw the highly successful Beatles Anthology project. To this day any official Beatles products (DVDs, CDs, LPs, t-shirts, etc) are released through the label.

Although I'm been buying records on Apple since I was a kid, it wasn't until recently that I began collecting the Apple catalog in earnest. Part of what makes Apple so fun to collect is that the label's artist roster is so varied. Apple covered everything, from the Modern Jazz Quartet, to the folk of Mary Hopkin, to the avant garde orchestration of John Tavener. The label also released a handful of film soundtracks, and launched the careers of some pretty high profile artists such as James Taylor and Badfinger.
Some of my Apple LP collection.