Saturday, September 25, 2010

2010: Best of Qtr III

20. "Did Trouble Me" - Tom Jones
19. "Intervention" - Margaret Cho feat. Tegan & Sara
18. "Peter Pan R.I.P." - Kula Shaker
17. "Gaslight" - fDeluxe (aka The Family)
16. "In the Dreamlife You Need a Rubber Soul" - The Clean
15. "Twice if You're Lucky" - Crowded House
14. "Blame it on the Girls" - Mika
13. "Licenses to Hide" - The Posies
12. "I Could Break Your Heart" - Oranjuly
11. "Don't Fight the Sea" - Al Jardine feat. The Beach Boys
10. "Best Friend" - The Drums
9. "Hey Manhattan!" - Prefab Sprout
8. "Act of God" - Prince
7. "Sumthin'" - DEVO
6. "Nothing But Love" - Brian Wilson
5. "WTF" - Heart
4. "Wishing He Was Dead" - The Like
3. "Come and Get It" - Eli "Paperboy" Reed
2. "The Like In I Love You" - Brian Wilson
1. "Ruby" - Kula Shaker

Friday, September 24, 2010

On my turntable: Basement Jaxx - Scars

Prior to owning this album I'd only heard remixes that Basement Jaxx did for other artists. I was drawn to Scars (2009) because of the brilliant - allow me to restate this word with italics for added emphasis - brilliant performance by Yoko Ono on "Day of the Sunflowers - We March On".  I waited on purchasing the LP because of its $30+ price tag, but last month found the record on CDWOW for less than $25 (with free shipping - thanks to Chuck for referring me to this site!).  Interestingly, the album arrived in the mail exactly one year from the week of the album's original release date, 9.22.2009.

If you're a fan of lavish and thoughtful vinyl packaging this album is worth its price.  Scars comes in a gatefold sleeve, with custom heavy paper inner sleeves (one of them mylar/silver) and custom labels.  This is not simply a vinyl version of the CD (as many new LPs are, unfortunately) - this package was created with thought and care as an art piece of its own, like so many other great 12" LPs in the history of recorded music.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

7:05 PM

9.21.2010, originally uploaded by jeff's fancy blog.
Trying to catch up for tomorrow's Political Psych class.

On my turntable: Bay City Rollers - Rollin'

For a brief time in the 70's when I'd felt I'd outgrown The Monkees,  but before I had "discovered" The Beatles, I was a big fan of the Bay City Rollers. I had a couple of cool iron-on BCR t-shirts, and all of their American LPs.  I even started buying 16 magazine because the band was always on the cover with some "exclusive story" and "exciting new pics".  Interestingly, I wasn't gay for the Rollers -- I really liked their music (and still do).

I remember the day when some school kids started teasing me for wearing my awesome faded blue BCR ringer tee, saying things like "Oh Anderson likes the Gay City Blowers!" How does a 5th grade kid respond to that? To be honest I don't remember how I responded, but that was probably my first clue that only girls were supposed to like the Rollers. Sadly, I stopped wearing my t-shirts in public, but I continued the ritual of riding my skateboard to the corner 7-Eleven to pick up the latest 16 magazine and a slurpee. 

It was in 16 that I learned about the Rollers' British LPs (including Rollin' (1974)), which were entirely different from the band's US albums.  It wasn't long before I obtained three Rollers import albums from a record shop at Maplewood mall. I remember what a thrill it was to buy these records, which I listened to incessantly until early '77.  1977 was the year that I saw the Beatles' Help! after school on a local tv station, at which point my life became all Beatles, all the time.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

New year, fancy new banner!

This month marks the 5th Anniversary of my life as a blogger. To commemorate the occasion I made a fancy new banner. It's pretty similar to the previous one except this one's orange. :)

Previous banner:
Fancy *NEW* banner:
Here's to 5ive more years!!

On my turntable: The Love Generation - Montage

For a Partridge Family fan, discovering The Love Generation is like learning of the existence of lost Partridge records. In essence, the Love Generation was the Partridge Family before there was a Partridge Family.

I found out about The Love Generation back when Napster was the big thing. I stumbled on a track called "Let the Good Times In",  a song that was featured in the Partridge Family pilot episode but never officially released. When I listened to the track I could tell that the voices were the same, but it was a different recording with a slightly different arrangement. After some research I learned that the version I'd found was actually by The Love Generation. 

The Love Generation was comprised of a group of session singers whose records were released at the height of the late 60's flower-power scene.  Many of the group's songs were pure bubblegum, capitalizing on the love and peace movement that had seeped into the culture at the time, but several songs featured sharp social commentary as well.  The group's 3rd and final album, Montage (1969) includes far-out songs such as "The Pill" and "Consciousness Expansion".

When the first Partridge Family album went into production, brothers John and Tom Bahler (the core of the Love Generation) were brought in to lend their vocal talents and arrangements to what would become the trademark Partridge Family sound.  In the beginning of these sessions it was not expected that David Cassidy would sing, since the producers were unaware that he was anything other than an actor. This may explain the absence of David's voice from some of the tracks on the first album.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

1:33 PM

Been up since 3:00 this morning and it's starting to be a drag. I'm sure I'll bounce back after the inevitable bitchin' nap I'll take once I get home.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

A new beginning of another ending

Tomorrow I begin what I am expecting to be my last semester of college coursework for my Ph.D.  The '09-'10 academic year had its highlights, but much of it was marred by poor health. I cannot claim 100% personal responsibility for being sick; Crohn's Disease can be woefully unpredictable, plus I had a wonky gallbladder that came out last spring.  Still I do think that some of my illness was partially the result of my attempts at being some larger-than-life graduate student.  I was involved in a ton of graduate student leadership activities, committees, student senate, task forces, etc., on top of teaching several classes and taking courses.  It was at a conference last fall that my body first started telling me to slow things down a bit.  What I learned (and it hasn't been the first time I've been taught this lesson) is that I need to listen to my body more carefully. 

So this year I get a fresh start. I did not run for the Student Assembly this year, choosing only to retain my involvement with the Student Affairs Student Advisory Board (I am the 'Grad Student At-Large' rep this year). I'm teaching two classes this fall and taking three as a student. I am excited about my registration: Political Psychology, Teaching in Higher Education, and a Proseminar in Political Psych. I hope to present at a national conference in the spring and complete a lot of preliminary research for my dissertation throughout the year. Above all I want to enjoy the friggin' journey, which is not always easy for me.  I will often get so wrapped up in how busy I am that I forget to take the time to recognize how damn fortunate I am to be doing and studying something I have a lot of passion for, which is higher education. I want to enjoy this experience while it's happening, not just in retrospect ten years from now.

Here's to moving forward. Glass half full. Sunny-side up.

Tee of the day

9.6.2010, originally uploaded by jeff's fancy blog.
From a shop of the same name in Iowa City.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Political word of the day: Dogmatism

I've been spending some time tonight doing some reading before the semester starts (don't ask - I don't know where the motivation came from!).  In one of the books for my Political Psychology class the word dogmatism came up.  I realized that I had heard that word a lot, but I didn't really understand what it means.
dog-ma-tism (noun)
the tendency to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true, without consideration of evidence or the opinions of others
So in the arena of politics, can you think of a particular group of people who could be identified as dogmatists?  Hmmm.  Maybe I can conjure up some examples... 
  • We have scientific evidence that proves evolution is fact, but the Bible tells a different story, so we must ignore the evidence.  
  • We have a mountain of research that tells us sexual orientation is not a choice, but since there are Bible verses supposedly condemning sexual activity between members of the same sex, then we must continue to promote organizations that claim they can turn gay people straight.  We can "pray the gay away," despite what the American Psychological Association has published, stating that homosexuality is normal and attempts to change one's orientation have not proven to be successful.
  • We know that Barack Obama is an American citizen, born in Hawaii. There is documented proof.  But since he's 50% black then he must have been born in Kenya, and he must be a Muslim and a terrorist. And a socialist. And a communist. 
I saw a discussion on Hardball earlier this week on the topic of religious fundamentalism and the role it plays in politics. At the moment, religious-based dogmatism is at a fever pitch, and it's a little frightening.  It doesn't matter what evidence exists on a given topic, since the fundies are going to believe what they see as The Word of God, which in their minds is the only word to dictate law in this country.  The scary part is their interpretation of scripture, since they are free to basically come up with any bullshit they want and say "But it's the word of the lord!".  This tactic has been used to justify slavery, and is still used to treat women as subordinate to men and to classify gays as 2nd class citizens with a different set of rights.

So yeah, that's what dogmatism is. 

Out of touch

Every so often I'll watch VH1's Top 20 Video Countdown, just to see what the kids are listening to these days. Lately I find myself, more often than not, thinking "ReallyThis is junk! Who likes this crap?" So far this morning's countdown has evoked more feelings of disgust than excitement.  And yet I keep watching.

On my turntable: Madonna - Hard Candy

When Hard Candy (2008) first came out, I was marginally interested until I saw the price tag, which averaged around $35. For an album. No thanks.

Granted, it's a very glitzy album, with two candy-colored LPs, plus a bonus 2 track remix LP and a CD of the full album, all housed in a triple gatefold package. If I were a huge Madonna fan I may have considered the hefty price tag, but instead I passed.

Earlier this week my good friend Chuck informed me that Amazon was selling Hard Candy for $6.50. Six dollars and fifty cents.  So I'm thinking  a) this is way below cost and Amazon just wants to move these LPs out, and b) Warner Brothers was over-charging retailers up front.  Regardless, my guess is that I wasn't the only person to pass on the album, resulting in warehouses overstocked with copies of Hard Candy collecting dust.

I *love* that vinyl is making such a big comeback. What I don't love is the extravagant price tag of albums with "deluxe" or "limited edition" stickers slapped on them.  Hopefully record labels will start paying closer attention to what consumers are willing to pay (many of the indies have caught on and are issuing great LPs of new artists at very budget-friendly prices). Had Hard Candy been released as a single LP for $15.99, or even a double at $18.99, I would bet they'd have sold enough that Amazon wouldn't be clearing them out now for $6.50. Don't get me wrong - I love rummaging through the clearance bins, even if they are online!