Friday, June 17, 2005

Getting Old??? Bah Humbug!

"Can you feel yourself getting old? Can you feel yourself getting jaded? There's nothing you can do to stop it. Your once-torrid show-going pace has slowed to a crawl, you can no longer stand sitting through opening acts, you start wishing for anti-smoking legislation instead of bumming cigarettes, your back hurts. Older tracks begin to infiltrate your iPod, new albums have a shorter grace period before deletion, sometimes you chose to just read a book. You start to realize that the bands you're listening to are actually younger than you are, for the first time, and this realization finally breaks the dam you've built against constantly playing Spot-the-Influence. Past nostalgia starts to overtake present enjoyment, and no longer are you a first-order listener, frantically casting out nets to be the first one to the next big thing."

(robert mitchum, Pitchfork media)

Funny, this feeling does creep up on me often, especially at all ages shows, but I usually just take it as a point of pride that I am still hep enough to enjoy what the cool kids are diggin' on even still.

It is true however, that I do find myself bored with what is presented to me as new music oftentimes. This has of course made me dig deeper into the nostalgia of my high school days, and even to explore the outer reaches of the fifties and sixties recently. And who can forget the formative radio listening years of the 70's? A treasure trove is out there to be explored, and I am only just starting.

What I need now is a turntable for the "studio" so that I may create and take a trip back to my times of inspiration by listening to all those old LPs in the archives which I have been hauling around with me for 25 plus years. That's right mama!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Mitch Hedburg remembered in his own words...

A tribute to Mitch Hedburg
In my eyes one of the funiest comedians ever.

Some of my favorite bits appear below. We all miss you Mitch, thanks for the laughs and for sharing your skewered view of the world.

I got an ant farm. Them fellas didn't grow shit.

I haven't slept for ten days, because that would be too long.

Last week I helped my friend stay put. It's a lot easier than helping someone move.
I just went over to his house and made sure that he did not start to load shit into a truck.

I got my hair highlighted, because I felt some strands were more important than others.

I want to be a race car passenger: just a guy who bugs the driver. "Say man, can I turn on the radio? You should slow down. Why do we gotta keep going in circles? Can I put my feet out the window? Man, you really like Tide..."

I wrote a letter to my dad - I wrote, "I really enjoy being here," but I accidentally wrote rarely instead of really. But I still wanted to use it so i crossed it out and wrote, "I rarely drive steamboats, dad - there's a lot of shit you don't know about me. Quit trying to act like I'm a steamboat operator." This letter took a harsh turn right away...

...and then at the end of the letter I like to write "P.S. - this is what part of the alphabet would look like if Q and R were eliminated.

I got in an argument with a girlfriend inside of a tent. That's a bad place for an argument, because then I tried to walk out, and had to slam the flap. How are you supposed to express your anger in this situation? Zip it up real quick?

I type a 101 words a minute. But it's in my own language.

I think Bigfoot is blurry, that's the problem. It's not the photographer's fault. Bigfoot is blurry. And that's extra scary to me, because there's a large, out-of-focus monster roaming the countryside. Run. He's fuzzy. Get outta here.

I have an underwater camera just in case I crash my car into a river, and at the last minute I see a photo opportunity of a fish that I have never seen.

One time a guy handed me a picture of himself, and he said, "Here's a picture of me when I was younger." Every picture of you is of when you were younger. Here's a picture of me when I am older. You son of a bitch, how'd you pull that off? Let me see that camera...

My roommate says, "I need to shave and use the shower. Does anyone need to use the bathroom?" It's like some weird-ass quiz where he reveals the answer first...

...Every time I go and shave I assume there is somebody else on the planet shaving as well, so I say "I'm gonna go shave too"

Sometimes I wave to people I don't know. It is very dangerous to wave to people you don't know, because what if they don't have a hand? They'll think you're cocky. "Look what I got motherfucker, this thing is useful...I'm gonna go pick something up"

My sister wanted to be an actress, but she never made it. She does live in a trailer. She got half way. She's an actress, she just never gets called to the set.

On a traffic light green means go and yellow means yield, but on a banana it's just the opposite. Green means hold on, yellow means go ahead, and red means where the fuck did you get that banana at...

I'm against picketing, but I don't know how to show it.

If carrots got you drunk, rabbits would be fucked up.

I like vending machines, because snacks are better when they fall. If I buy a candy bar at the store oftentimes I will drop it, so that is achieves its maximum flavor potential.

I bought a seven dollar pen because I always lose pens and I got sick of not caring.

I think pickles are cucumbers that sold out. They sold their soul to the devil, and the devil is dill...

I bought a doughnut and they gave me a receipt for the doughtnut...I don't need a receipt for the doughnut - I give you money and you give me the doughnut, end of transaction. We don't need to bring ink and paper into this. I can't imagine a scenario that I would have to prove that I bought a doughnut. To some skeptical friend, Don't even act like I didn't buy a doughnut, I've got the documentation right here...

I was walking down the street with my friend and he said "I hear music." As though there's any other way to take it in. You're not special. That's how I receive it too...I tried to taste it, but it did not work...

You know they call corn on the cob, corn on the cob, but that's how it comes out of the ground, man. They should call that corn, they should call every other version corn off the cob. It's not like if you cut off my arm you would call it Mitch. Then reattach it and call me Mitch-all-together...

2-in-1 is a bullshit term, because 1 is not big enough to hold 2. That's why 2 was created.

I have a cheese-shredder at home, which is its positive name. They don't call it by its negative name, which is sponge-ruiner. Because I wanted to clean it, and now I have little bits of sponge that would melt easily over tortilla chips...

I know a lot about cars. I can look at a car's headlights and tell you exactly which way it's coming.

I use the word totally too much. I need to change it up and use a word that is different but has the same meaning. Mitch do you like submarine sandwhiches? All-encompassingly...

This shirt is dry clean only. Which's dirty.

I saw a human pyramid once. It was very unnecessary. It did not need to exist.

I played golf...I did not get a hole in one, but I did hit a guy. That's way more satisfying...
...You're supposed to yell 'fore' but I kept thinking there ain't no way that's gonna hit him.

I have a friend who is a juggler. When I go to his house I don't like to take food from him if it is in threes. "He has three apples left...I guess I can't have one"

At my hotel room, my friend came over and asked to use the phone. I said "Certainly." He said "Do I need to dial 9?" I say "Yeah. Especially if it's in the number. You can try four and five back to back real quick."

My lucky number is four billion. That doesn't come in real handy when you're gambling. "Come on, four billion! Fuck. Seven. Not even close. I need more dice."

I love blackjack. But I'm not addicted to gambling. I'm addicted to sitting in a semi-circle.

I went to the park and saw this kid flying a kite. The kid was really excited. I don't know why, that's what they're supposed to do. Now if he had had a chair on the other end of that string, I would have been impressed.

If you had a friend who was a tightrope walker, and you were walking down a sidewalk, and he fell, that would be completely unacceptible...

I don't own a cell phone or a pager. I just hang around everyone I know, all the time. If someone needs to get ahold of me they just say, "Mitch," and I say, "what" and turn my head slightly...

I hope the next time I move I get a real easy phone number. Something like, 222-2222. I would say sweet. People would say, "Mitch, how do I get ahold of you?" I would say, "Press 2 for a while, and when I answer, you will know that you have pressed 2 enough"

I wrote a script for a guy, and he said he liked it but he thought that I need to rewrite it. I said, "Fuck that, I'll just make a copy."

I don't wear a watch because I want my arms to weigh the same. So if somebody asks me what time it is, I have to tell them something that is going on. "What time is it, Mitch?" "Uh, that guy is eating a hamburger." "Shit, I had to be somewhere..."

That would be cool if you could eat a good food with a bad food and the good food would cover for the bad food when it got to your stomach. Like you could eat a carrot with an onion ring and they would travel down to your stomach, then they would get there, and the carrot would say, "It's cool, he's with me."

I saw a six pack of soda-pop for $1.20. That price fucks with your head, man. Because then I though that I would start selling soda-pop. Suddenly I got things of pop with me. "What's going on, Mitch." "Not much, looking to buy some pop? Fifty cents a can. It's not refridgerated because this is a half assed commitment."

My friend said to me "Man, this weather is trippy." I said to him, "No man, perhaps it is not the weather that is trippy, it is the way we perceive it that is indeed trippy..." then I thought, man, I should have just said, 'yeah...'

I opened up a container of yogurt, and under the lid it said Please Try Again because they were having a contest I was unaware of. But I though I might have opened the yogurt wrong...or maybe Yoplait was trying to inspire me, 'c'mon, Mitchell, don't give up. Please try again. A message of inspiration from your friends at Yoplait. Fruit on the bottom, hope on top.

I think foosball is a combination of soccer and shishkabobs.

Foosball fucked up my perception of soccer. I though you had to kick the ball and then spin 'round and round. I can't do a backflip, much less several simultaneously with two other guys.

I never joined the army because at ease was never that easy to me. Seemed rather uptight still.
I don't relax by parting my legs slightly and putting my hands behind my back. That does not equal ease. At ease was not being in the military. I am at ease, bro, because I am not in the military.

The depressing thing about tennis is that no matter how much I play, I'll never be as good as a wall. I played a wall once. They're fucking relentless.

I think Pringles' initial intention was to make tennis balls. But on the day that the rubber was supposed to show up, a big truckload of potatoes arrived. But Pringles is a laid-back company. They said "Fuck it. Cut em up."

A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

I used to be a hot-tar roofer. Yeah, I remember

An escalator can never break. It can only become stairs. You would never see an "Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order" sign, just "Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience."

Because of [dropping] Acid, I know now that butter is way better than margarine. I saw through the bullshit.
don't have a girlfriend. But I do know a woman who'd be mad at me for saying that.

I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too.

My friend said to me, "You know what I like? Mashed potatoes." I was like, "Dude, you have to give me time to guess. If you're going to quiz me you have to insert a pause."

I went to see a band in New York. The lead singer got on the microphone, and he said "How many of you people feel like human beings tonight?" Then he said "How many of you feel like animals?" And everyone cheered after the animals part. But the thing is, I cheered after the human being part because I did not know that there was a second part to the question.

People teach their dogs to sit, it's a trick. I've been sitting my whole life, and a dog has never looked at me as though he thought I was tricky.

I like cinnimon rolls, but I don't always have time to make a pan. That's why I wish they would sell cinnimon roll incense. After all I'd rather light a stick and have my roommate wake up with false hopes.

I had a bag of fritos, they were texas grilled fritos. These fritos had grill marks on them. Hell yeah, reminds me of something, when we used to fire up the barbeque and throw down some fritos. I can still see my dad with the apron on, better flip that frito, dad, you know how I like mine.

In England Smoky the Bear is not the forest fire prevention representative. They have Smacky the Frog. It's just like a bear, but it's a frog. I think it's a better system, I think we should adopt it. Because bears can be mean, but frogs are always cool. Never has there been a frog hopping toward me, and I thought 'man, I'd better play dead. Here comes that frog...' You never say here comes that frog in a nervous manner. It's always optimistic. Hey here comes that frog, al-right. Maybe he'll come near me so I can pet him, and stick him in a mayonnaise jar, with a stick and a leaf, to recreate what he's used to. And I'm pretty sure I'd have to punch some holes in the lid, because he's damn sure used to air. Then I can observe him, and he won't be doing much in his 16 ounce world.

Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.

I was at this casino minding my own business, and this guy came up to me and said, "You're gonna have to move, you're blocking a fire exit." As though if there was a fire, I wasn't gonna run. If you're flammible and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit.

When you go to a restaurant on the weekends and it's busy they start a waiting list. They start calling out names, they say "Dufrane, party of two. Dufrane, party of two." And if no one answers they'll say their name again. "Dufrane, party of two, Dufrane, party of two." But then if no one answers they'll just go right on to the next name. "Bush, party of three." Yeah, what happened to the Dufranes. No one seems to give a shit. Who can eat at a time like this - people are missing. You fuckers are selfish....the Dufranes are in someone's trunk right now, with duct take over their mouths, and they're hungry. Bush, search party of three, you can eat when you find the Dufranes.

So F'in good. And really, what did happen to the Dufranes?

If you aren't laughing out loud by now, I don't even want to know you.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Irish Eyes Are Smilin'...

Being of Irish persuasion, I feel its okay to poke fun at my tribe. (But if any of y'all try it, then its racism, and you're lookin' for a fight!)

Just as soon as I finish this drink, and possibly the next one after that...and so on.

Happy St. Pat's Day!

McQuillan walked into a bar and ordered martini after martini, each time removing the olives and placing them in a jar. When the jar was filled with olives and all the drinks consumed, theIrishman started to leave.
"S'cuse me", said a customer, who was puzzled over what McQuillan had done, "what was that all about?"
"Nothin', said the Irishman, "my wife just sent me out for a jar of olives!"

"I've Lost Me Luggage"
An Irishman arrived at J.F.K. Airport and wandered around the terminal with tears streaming down his cheeks. An airline employee asked him if he was already homesick.
"No," replied the Irishman "I've lost all me luggage!"
"How'd that happen?"
"The cork fell out!" said the Irishman.

"Water to Wine"
An Irish priest is driving down to New York and gets stopped for speeding in Connecticut. The state trooper smells alcohol on the priest's breath and then sees an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car. He says, "Sir, have you been drinking?"
"Just water," says the priest.
The trooper says, "Then why do I smell wine?"
The priest looks at the bottle and says, "Good Lord! He's done it again!"

"Irish Cemetery"
Three Irishmen, Paddy, Sean and Seamus, were stumbling home from the pub late one night and found themselves on the road which led past the old graveyard..
"Come have a look over here," says Paddy, "It's Michael O'Grady's grave, God bless his soul. He lived to the ripe old age of 87."
"That's nothing," says Sean, "here's one named Patrick O'Toole, it says here that he was 95 when he died."!
Just then, Seamus yells out, "Good God, here's a fella that got to be 145!"
"What was his name?" asks Paddy.
Seamus stumbles around a bit, awkwardly lights a match to see what else is written on the stone marker, and exclaims, "Miles, from Dublin."

"Irish Predicament"
Drunk Ole Mulvihill (From the Northern Irish Clan) staggers into a Catholic Church, enters a confessional box, sits down but says nothing.
The Priest coughs a few times to get his attention but the Ole just sits there.
Finally, the Priest pounds three times on the wall.
The drunk mumbles, "ain't no use knockin, there's no paper on this side either."

"Irish Last Request"
Mary Clancy goes up to Father O'Grady's after his Sunday morning service, and she's in tears. He says, "So what's bothering you, Mary my dear?"
She says, "Oh, Father, I've got terrible news. My husband passed away last night."
The priest says, "Oh, Mary, that's terrible. Tell me, did he have any last requests?"
She says, "That he did, Father..."
The priest says, "What did he ask, Mary?"
She says, "He said, 'Please Mary, put down that damn gun!'

And finally...

What's the difference between an Irish wedding and an Irish wake?

One less Drunk at the wake...bu-dum-bum.

Thank you, thankyouverymuch, I'll be here all week! Pass me the pretzels and crack me another Guinness...

Special thanks to my good friend Rhett in S. Carolina for the jokes.

Friday, March 04, 2005


Yup, spring has officially sprung 'round these parts.

Actually, it feels as if it has been here for awhile due to the previous weeks (3!!) of unseasonably warm, dry weather. But, just recently I have really begun to feel those positive vibrations brought on by the increasing warmth of our planet slowly tilting toward the sun.

The daily ritual walk across town. Kids in tow. Our own little parade down Main St. then Water St. to the elementary school to drop off "the banana", and then out the back door and on to the "B" family residence for lunch and naps and mellow three year old kid time has become quite pleasant. An oddly rythmic, comfortable routine. (this isn't to imply that these walks go smoothly everytime from start to finish...that hardly ever happens...someone is bound to be grumpy, or cry, or fall down or get whiney about walking...but for the most part, it's nice to be out strolling through town on a sunny day.)

This is one laid back little village I have mired myself in. Sure there's alot going on around here, but quietly, at an even keel, and behind the scenes. On our walks, we generally don't see anyone in any real hurry to get anywhere. I like it. This pace suits me, and I feel it is good for my soul. I'd like to tap into the small town vibe more fully somehow, someday, in a professional/business way. I've got my eyes, ears and mind open to the possibilities. Scanning the horizon for workable schemes. Ideas filling my head. What if and how about...

"Ahh Dreamer, you know you are a dreamer
oh, can you put you hands in your head? Oh no!"

Today, on our way out the door, I jokingly said to the gang..."okay kids, let's hit the low road!" ( this is the type of thing I do to the wee ones all the time...mess with common phrases, use the wrong word for something, pretend not to know what they are talking about. Keeps 'em on their toes. Plus, it's fun to see how and if they react to it.) My daughter, without missing a beat replied..."No Dad, we're taking the middle road. That leads to Salem. The Low road takes us to Texas, and the high road goes to the winery" (where Mom works). Ooookaaay...can't argue with that kind of kid logic. She's right after all, on a map, the low roads (heading south I guess ) do go to Texas.


Who is this Johnny Dowd character, and which rock did he crawl from under? Why am I only now learning of his psychotic suburban swamp blues madness? On first listen I wonder how he managed to cross the country and electric blues with Ween-like wierdness and overtones of Don Van Vliet, but in the end it doesn't matter much because it all works. What I have heard so far is quirky lyrical prose with a touch of doom and self pity. Crazy rythms, dark electronic flourishes and guitar solos with the effects peddles set on stun. Odd for sure, but compelling. Try a taste of this guy if you fondly recall Col. Bruce Hampton. Fun stuff.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

At Home He's A Tourist...

Had to break out Gang of Four's excellent debut album Entertainment! this morning as I was psyched to learn that the original band is back together and touring this spring. Yes! They will be coming through Oregon with a stop @ the Crystal Ballroom in PDX (Thurs. May 5th). I am definately going to do everything I can do to get my ass to that show. Those guys have always been one of my very favorite second wave English punk/new wave/post-punk/punkfunk (whateveryouwanttolabelthemas) bands from back in the day. I had some previous chances to see the later day version of the band (with Sara Lee on bass) but never did it for some reason or another. (some stupid job that wouldn't give me the day off, most likely) But now, I can finally see Messers Gill, King, Burnham and Allen pound out the agit-funk angularity that they are the true pioneers of. Coolio.

I remember buying the original vinyl of Entertainment! (along with a slew of other cool albums of that era) while on a quick trip to NYC one winter and the boys loose in the big city, feelin' as cool as one could feel sans parents, and with money in our pockets. As per my usual back then, I dropped a wad of cash at a bunch of different record shops. Good times.
I'd say more about that album,but I think Greil Marcus did an awsome job in his essay I linked to above. I will say this...if you are a fan of Franz Ferdinand (and I am) and you don't own GoF's Entertainment! then you owe it to yourself to go out and get a copy of it NOW, just to see how much the Four influenced those Scottish lads. And to put the icing on the cake, it has been announced that the re-formed GoF's upcoming release will have an extra disc of re-mixes of re-recorded older tunes (stay with me here), and guess who is doing one of those re-mixes? That's right folks, FRANZ F'N FERDINAND. So there.

Really, no matter what, get yourself a copy of Entertainment! It Rocks in a very smart way. You won't be disappointed (unless you're a complete wanker).

On a different musical note, I have been invited by my friend, David the Painter, to see "The Bob" (as in Mr. Dylan) in a couple of weeks (on my brother's birthday...Happy Birthday Doc!). This should prove to be a good time, especially since Merle Haggard is on the tour too. I hate to say it, but having seen "The Bob" a bunch of times in the past, and having sworn off him after seeing the god awful G. E. "I owe my career to Saturday Night Live- showboatin' mother scratcher" Smith play in his band at the end of the eighties, I'm actually more excited to see ol' Merle. If Bob decides to put on a good show, all the better (I hear he is in fine form once again, tho' I'll believe it when I see it). And if that damn G.E. Smith shows up, I think I'll scream and run from the building. As my old pal Tony Marroni used to say everytime G.E would mug for the camera between skits and commercials on SNL, "That asshole thinks he's in a REAL band." (and no, I don't think Hall and Oates qualify!)

I'll let you know what I think of the whole affair. If nothing else, it will be a night out on the town with some good chow, some fermented beverages, some high falutin' conversation, and good music to boot. Can't beat that with a dead peacock. (?)

Dept. of Aha! I Knew it: Pitchfork Media just announced that they fake hip-hop and rap disc reviews...pimple faced emo geeks don't know shit about breakbeats and street poetry apparently...go figure!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

In Rotation...

This will be (I'm guessing) the first of many posts dealing with what's been spending time in my disc changer as of late. Yeah, tho' I am the very person that the ipod was designed for, I do not have one as of yet, and I don't see that changing anytime soon as my ass is poor. Especially since I am such a damn luddite that I only just got my ass on-line a year or so ago...meaning, it won't be until 2010 before I catch myself up to the ipod type then, they will be obsolete, and I'll be able to score myself one for like a 10 spot at my favorite pawnshop...

But, I I'll get right down to it...

The Best of Syd Barrett >>> I creep ever closer to buying some Floyd on disc. Inspired by PA and our little excursion to the "cabin in the holler"near Bend (see Jan. 30th, Big Birthday Adventure - below) I pulled this little gem out of the vault. "Shine on you crazy diamond". Syd is one of those rough around the edges, genuinely artistic, gentle souls that really inspires. (except for the supposed "acid casualty" part of his story) "Gigalo Aunt" (famously covered by R. Hitchcock and his Soft Boys) and "Bob Dylan Blues (reputed to be one of Syd's earliest compositions...written when he was a lad of 17 or so, after having seen Mr. Dylan perform) are my current faves. I also dig "Octopus", Long Gone" and "Two of a Kind". Oh, and let us not forget "Effervescing Elephant"...that title alone - man! - makes it a classic. All in all, this collection is full of fine, hardly polished gems of psychedellic chewyness. Thanks Syd!

Soft Boys -1976-1981 >>>Saw this one coming, didn't you? That's right, I just had to break this out to hear "Gigalo Aunt" in comparrison/contrast. Robyn is Syd with a tighter grip, more refined vision and an even greater sense of the absurd/surreal. LOVE this compillation, it's endlessly odd and listenable. That guy from Katrina and the Waves (!) -Kimberly Rew - looks like Garth (from Wayne's World) and just shreds on freaky new wave acid guitar. Truly. The Soft Boys reunion tour of a couple years back still ranks as one of my favorite live shows in quite some time. A great band.

Talking Heads - Naked >>>The last true "Heads" album...and a superb one really. After slightly lackluster True Stories (tho' there is the blistering "Television Man"*** on that disc)Naked is a refreshingly danceable, topical (even now) often tropical long player from begining to end. "The Democratic Circus" earns its place on my State of our World 2005 mix as, perhaps, does "Nothing But Flowers". Overall this is an album I had almost forgotten the merits of until I just pulled it off the dusty shelf and popped it in the changer. Man, you can't beat an opener like "Blind" to grab your attention by grabbing your ass...;-)
***SHIT! Damn faulty wiring...i'm refering to "Love for Sale" here. "Television Man" is, of course on "Little Creatures"...please forgive me won't you? (3/3)

Tab Two - (No) Flagman Ahead>>>Mid-nineties Euro-centric acid jazz offering. What I'm calling an "Autobahn for a new generation" from duo Helmutt Hattler ("Helmet the Hatter? Huh?) and Joo Kraus - a couple of techno jazz dudes from Germany. One of 'em (Joo, I believe)plays a pretty mean (tho' decidedly laid back and chill) trumpet. (an instrument I gravitate to due to my brief attempt at trying to become a musician in the 5th - 7th instument of choice...since "everyone can't play the drums"*) This is pretty tasty chill out tunage. Good for evening background music, or impressing the fraulines at those occassional hip and swanky Euro-trash coctail parties.

Squirrel Nut Zippers - Hot>>>Anybody remember the late 90's swing dance craze? (I wonder what happened to all those Dolls and Cats anyway?) It hit pretty hard in Portland, mainly due to the large under 25 hipster population, and the remodeling ( by the McMenamin Bros.) of the old Crystal Ballroom (a fabulous place to see a show) with its "dancing on air, ball bearing filled, floating dance floor"...really a place worth checking out if you find yourselves in PDX for any amount of time...there are always good bands playing there. These guys were among the better of those retro leaning acts of the time. It's fun to put this stuff on and dance around the room like an idiot with the six year old. "Put a Lid On It" is one cool number, as are many others on this disc. Ms. Whalen has a fine voice (many have said she channels Anita Baker) and she along with Jim Mathus (the other vocalist and guitarist) make some pretty rad puppets which you can see in the CD booklet. Oh, and as I recall these guys smoked live. Lots of fun and dancing and laughter watching all the lesbians swoon at Katherine's feet.

This is Where I Belong: The Songs of Ray Davies and the Kinks - V.A. >>>One of my true songwriting heroes given the tribute treatment whilst he still goes on living and contributing to the musical art world he helped define way back in the sixties. This is the Anglophile in me coming out, but I dig the Kinks more than the Who, the Stones and almost all their other English kinsmen of their day. This is a good example of the timelessness and translatability of Mr. Davies tune craftmanship. A nice companion to his own Storyteller album for comparrison and contrast. Quite a good listen on its own really. Stand out cuts: Jonathan Richman "Stop Your Sobbing (nowhere near as good as the Pretenders version from their first album, however), Lambchop "Art Lover" (one of the later day Kinks best songs), and Fastball's mirror image take on "Til' the End of the Day". A nice tributute to a great pop songwriter.

Steve Earle - I Feel Alright>>> The troubadour of our times. (Yeah Steve, I feel alright too...not great, but...) This is a musician I admire deeply for his honesty and his convictions. His politics are as close to my own as any rock-n-roller out there. This isn't his best work, but is still a real fine effort. Pulled it out to listen to "Valentine's Day". (Awww...)

Squeeze - Classics Vol. 25>>> Some well crafted (at times almost too well crafted - if you know what I mean**) 80's English pop songs a'la Paul McCartney or Ray Davies...Hell, Nick Lowe even comes to mind. Difford and Tillbrookcould sure turn a phrase and polish a hook. Some of my favorites are found here..."Take Me I'm Yours", "Annie Get Your Gun", "Cool For Cats". That album and Argy Bargy speak to me of sophmore year high school, hanging out in the late afternoon at RS's house. Listening to tunes, shootin' the shit, plotting our escape from adolescent boredom and the stupidity of our public school reality. Oh, and boy howdy did Paul Carrack ever push all the limits of my patience and squeeze the life out of "Tempted" by singing it at every god-damned opportunity he could find. I've seen him play keyboards in several other peoples touring bands, and he would always pull that one out if given the nod and the spotlight. (probably still doin' that to this day even!) Sheesh, ruined that song for me, I tell you what.

*the words of my old band teacher
**see The bit about Paul Carrack and "Tempted"

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro...

and then shoot themselves? What the fuck, over?!? Okay, I know he lead a dark and - at times - twisted existance, and who knows what inner demons, and physical health issues he was wrestling with, but I must say I was/am shocked at the untimely demise (at age 67) of my favorite old radical curmudgeon, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. Good ol' Raoul Duke himself, just couldn't hack life on the physical plane anymore I guess. Holy Shit! Unbelievable. I never saw this one coming. I am taking this a bit harder than I would have thought...I guess I looked up to him a more than I realized.

Yeah, yeah, I know...he probably had that sort of rock star mentality," better to burn out..." and all that, but how could he give up at the time when we need his invective filled rants against the powers that be more than ever? I for one am somewhat disappointed.

What the fuck is going on in this crazy ass world of ours? I blame this ( in an indirect way) on Shrub and his evil henchmen...I mean seriously bad ju-ju is at work in this damn country of ours when we've got an " idiot son of an asshole" - ol' Cleatus R. Dumbass (the most priveliged god damned blue-blood/redneck mother in history) re-elected President, and one of the most talented, sarchastic, funny as hell social critics we have - the good Doctor of Gonzo Journalism himself- suddenly decides it is time to snuff the mortal coil. As insane as he tended to be, he was always - to me, at least - a loud voice of paranoid truth and oddly twisted reason. What the fuck is going on around here anyway? Mark my words, this doesn't bode well for the rest of us progressive thinking folks around these parts...this could prove to be a seriosly bad omen my friends... we have turned the corner, and stuff is about to get weirder and darker than we have yet seen...

I am truly, truly mourning the loss of one of America's great straight shooters, both on the target range and with the truths that flowed from his mind to the page. If nothing else, Senor Thompson was a poster boy for living life the way you want, and fuck all those who see it differently.

You will be missed my commrade, enjoy your time with the great white buffalo, roaming the astral plane. We will struggle on without you, missing all those whacked out musings of yours that used to help get us through. Freak Power must survive, or we are even more seriously fucked than we previously were. And that, my friends, is pretty fucked.

21 February 2005: Larry Lefner, a local sculptor to the Aspen community, will be carving an effigy of the late Hunter S. Thompson's face into a tree in Woody Creek, Colorado, as a shrine to fans and friends alike. No date set for commencement. (this from

"I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (1937 - Feb. 20, 2005...RIP)

Here's a link to the official Rolling Stone tribute...

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Hey! Where the hell did THAT come from???

Okay so I don't really understand what happened, but the internet gods (notice the small "g") were smiling on me because I just went to edit the earlier post, and found two old posts which I thought were lost in the ether. Wow! Cool for me (and for you). Scroll down a bit and you'll find is a wierdly written recipe, and the other a discription of our trip to the mountains a few weeks back. Ciao for now!

Dean Vs. Perle...

Saw Howard Dean debate Richard Perle at the Tom Mcall Forrum in downtown Portland the night before last. A fairly interesting discussion about "National defense post 9/11". Though I don't generally agree with Mr. Pearl, he came across as the more thoughtful "intellectual" of the two. Mr. Dean seems to think he is still stumping for the presidential campaign, and what's more, he doesn't seem to have a sense of volume control (always loud..."Mr. Dean, no need to yell, those are microphones on your pulpit!"). The major moment of excitement came when some "activist" protested Mr. Perle (in the first five minutes of his opening statement) by rushing the stage, yelling "F'ing liar, liar, liar don't believe a word he says the F'ing liar..." and so on whilst simultaneously hurling his shoes at the lectern (and missing his target with both shots). He was subsequently brought to the ground by several audience members and escorted to the street sans shoes and dignity. At this point he uttered what -to me - was the funniest line of the evening "Get your hands off me you big brute!" (to which -in my mind - I added "you smell like fish").

* A pat on the back to anyone who can come up with the reference just alluded to.

Nasty mental shit going on 'round these parts as of late. My stomach feels as if somebody hauled off and socked it to me (and in a sense, someone did). I must be more determined than ever to continue on down the path of evolution and self actualization. My only hope is that I can truly make some positive steps in the right direction, and keep on keepin' on without getting caught in the bog of self conciousness and pity. Not my favorite of field positions, but I am not yet ready to punt.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A Quickie Recipe, as requested...

Okay, here goes with a recipe or two…as was the original intent of this here little weblog…but all things evolve into something else, despite what the fundamentalist try and tell you.

Carrot Ginger Soup with Coconut

Olive Oil (for sweating veggies)
Onions (1lg. or 3sm.)
Garlic (a whole head or more!)
Celery ( a couple two or three ribs,even if the wife hates the stuff, she’ll never know, and it adds an indispensable flavor)
Ginger (a fist sized “hand” grated, or chopped exceedingly fine…don’t want to be picking ginger hairs from between your teeth in front of everyone)
Carrots (lots - ~ 3#!)
1/3 Chicken Stock (canned is okay, but not the best)
2/3 H2O (otherwise known as “pipe stock”) –>>>>(enough total liquid to cover veggies plus ¼)
1 can Coconut Milk (we use the reduced fat variety)
Orange/Tangerine Juice
Lemon Juice
Salt n’ Pepper
(SP) --- these last five To Taste (TT)

- Add oil to cover bottom of heavy stock pot (10 Qt.) and heat.

- Rough chop the carrots, celery, and onions (this is your Mire Poix ), add to olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and sweat (med. heat) until onions are translucent and other veg. are starting to be tender. Don’t forget to stir on occasion.

- Add garlic and ginger, stir to cook about 2 min.

- Add stock and H2O, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until carrots are fall apart tender.

- Puree with hand blender (I prefer this to the regular blender both for ease, and because it leaves some texture to the final soup), and add in the final ingredients to taste. Return to the burner and simmer some more to meld the flavors together. Keep tasting and adjusting the flavors as you wish.

I served this with Olive Oil toasted French Bread rounds for dunking.
Crème’ Fraiche and cilantro leaves would have been nice additions as well.

A great winter warm up after sledding, a walk in the woods, or covertly hauling rocks from the riverside in the nearby national forrest for a garden path (don't ask, it's a long story).

Enjoy. More soon!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Am I the only one who remembers...

that Napoleon Dynamite is Declan Patrick McMannus, er, Elvis Costello circa 1986 as so billed in the liner notes of "Blood and Chocolate". Not one of his best albums, or really one of my favorites, but a respectable E.C. later 80's showing. Maybe his best before the muddled 90's began. I saw Elvis at SPAC in Saratoga, NY during this period, and recall a fun summer night of music under the stars.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

The six year old's Big Birthday Adventure...

Yes, our trip to the foothills around Bend (Tumalo Falls to be exact) was quite fun. Not a lot of snow which was disappointing at first, but we had nice clear sunny days and cloudless star filled nights. The cabin was situated down in a little "holler" by a bend in Tumalo Creek. From this base camp we made short excursions to the ice skating rink (outdoor, uncovered), to lunch at the Alpenglow Café' (very good, down home chow, everything, including ice cream and various breads house made - we will go back again.), and to the snow park up the road which had just enough hard packed icy snow to make sledding both fun and quite challenging. I think the adults ended up having more fun than the kids.

Sledding is the one main thing I miss about being somewhere with lots of snow in the winter. Plus, it was nice to be sledding on a very sunny , no wind day, as we ended up shedding many layers of outerwear after a few times climbing up the rather large hill. All the huffing and puffing was worth it when you went shooting down the mountain with the wind in your hair and laughter in your ear. The look on HB's face on the way down was pure joy mixed with fear, but the giggles just would not stop. I think my friend Ms. B. was able to take some good footage of us with the video camera, but I have not had a chance to watch it yet to find out.

Had much fun cooking and eating, of course. First night we had a fine three bean veggie chili that kicked ass even though I forgot to add the fresh cilantro to it just prior to serving. Chili is a memory filled tradition in my family. It was the usual choice to warm us and our friends up after a long day of winter fun - usually XC skiing - when I was growing up. As is tradition, I served it up with some "Jiffy" corn bread. (sorry, but you can't beat the Jiffy...its the, really!)

For breakfast, our guests served up some righteous whole grain french toast and real maple syrup and thick cut organic bacon. (there's nothing better than that salty, smokey taste of bacon mingled with the sweetness of maple syrup...mmm-mmm). Perfect fuel for a day of ice sledding! Truly a thrill a minute. That night we all relaxed around the wood fire, bellies full of campanelli with spinach-feta chicken sausage and vegetable melange and fine red wine, but not before leading the kids in a dance around the communal table to songs from Pink Floyd's early masterpiece "Piper at the Gates of Dawn". "Bike", one of Syd Barrett's best and most fun songs, and "Gnome" are perfect tunes to get kids enthused and dancing...quite wimsical, as Syd tended to be. Good Times.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Speaking of Music (and Movies)...

Speaking of Music (and Movies)…

Well, I “might as well” get it all out in the open now, before I deceive any of y’all…in case you haven’t already guessed, I used to be a Deadhead. Now – mind you – I wasn’t ever your garden variety died in the wool Dead Head stereotype that pops into your minds eye (even mine) whenever the phrase is uttered. (None of them really are that single faceted really, once you get to talkin’ with ‘em.) Yeah, I saw a whole bunch of shows back in the eighties and early nineties, but at the same time I had my left foot in other various scenes as well…I was busy checking out all kinds of live music as a matter of fact, everything from the Clash to Camper Van Beethoven to Husker Du. Talking Heads to Santana to Nuns and Posers (um, I mean Guns and Roses). Cowboy Junkies to James Taylor to Joan Armatrading.

Okay, you get the idea. As my old friend Johnny G. used to say to me when he would get exasperated by my eclectic and ever expanding musical world…”you’ve GOT no musical taste man, ‘cuz you like everything!” (which isn’t quite true really) He meant it as an insult, but to me, that open mindedness has become a point of pride. Sit me down with anybody and the two subjects that we would find to talk for hours about would be music and – of course- food.

So, before I get too far OFFTRACK, I want to tell everyone that if you are at all interested in the music of the late sixties (most specifically the San Francisco scene, and such like) you should rush out and rent yourself the DVD of “Festival Express.” In a word, this was a fantastic rock and roll doc. So cool to see all that old footage of The Dead, The Band, Flying Burrito Bros. (sadly without Graham Parsons at this point), Janis Joplin (she may not always be my cup o’tea, but to see her belt out the tunes live is to understand why so many do hold her in such high esteem…she truly felt the music and in turn made her audience feel it just as intensely…even years later on my TV screen…still gives me the shivers), and a truly ragged out and disheveled looking Sha Na Na(!!!), unearthed after thirty years (many tragic deaths, and frivolous lawsuits later).

I cannot tell you how good I thought this film was. It was neat for me to finally get a chance to glimpse what it was like on that legendary train ride across Canada with all those crazy musicians as history was being made, and good times were being had by all. This is the train trip written about in the Dead’s song “Might As Well”, and I think it may also be the subject of The Band’s “The Shape I’m In” if I am interpreting the lyrics correctly. By the looks of it in the film, everyone on that train was in SOME KIND of shape at all times.

Man! I only wish it was longer, with more interviews from the participants and audience members. There is a nice amount of bonus material (a whole extra disc in fact) – both performances and interview segments – but when the filmmakers themselves tell you in the “making of” interviews that there are still thirty odd hours of footage lurking about, if you’re at all like me, you want to see it. Where is it Goddamn it!?!

This is one movie that I will definitely purchase for the vault some day…it really is that good.

Thinking about the next generation...

Okay, anybody out there? Not yet, eh? Well all right, that’s okay ‘cuz that’ll give me that much more of a chance to get things ‘round here spit shined and polished up real good before the peeps start flocking over here in droves to see what the “F” is goin’ on round these parts.

What’s been goin’ on round these parts you ask? Well lemme tell ya’…

First off, it is unbelievable to me that it has been six whole years since my little girl – Miss H. – came to join us all on this big ol’ crazy spinning orb in the universe we so lovingly refer to as Earth (still our only home…). But ‘tis true enough, and she couldn’t be any more important to my life. I’m sure most parents say this at one point or another, but becoming the caregiver to a little child changes the focus and scope of ones life and views like nothing else. I’ll never forget that day back in ’99, exhausted from having been up all night trying – in vain, I’m sure*– to assist the lovely Ms. K with the grueling delivery, cradling Miss H’s preciousness close to my heart, tears of joy glistening on my face.
Since that moment was etched in my mind, my time here on this planet has been quantitatively different in an infinite amount of ways both grand and subtle. Mostly for the better though there has been much negativity mixed in as well, let me assure you. And although it seems like yesterday that I first held that amazing little being in my arms, wondering to myself what exactly I had gotten myself into this time, I am blown away daily with all that has changed. For instance, how can I even begin to describe the emotion that washed over me last night when Miss H. announced at bed time that tonight she would be reading us a story, and then listening to her do it - struggling to sound out the words along the way, but doing it none the less. Truly amazing.
I cannot wait to see what lies around the next bend in the trail. I find nothing more fascinating than watching as my little girl develops – absorbs the wonders of the world around her – and becomes the person she was meant to be. I am so thankful that I am able to experience this gift of having even a small hand in shaping a child into a being of the future. My only worry is what will that future be like (given the direction our current society seems to be headed) and how can I help to make some changes for the common good during my time here, so that she will not have to struggle so much (as I have), when I am gone…
Possibly this is an unanswerable question, but you know me, I just have to ask.

*(Is there anytime that a man feels more useless or redundant, than in the delivery room, trying to figure out what to do while his lover writhes and suffers and sweats and makes the most astounding noises whilst laboring to get that damn baby out once and for all?)

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Holy Shit! It's been a month and a half.

Okay, I realize it has been a long time with no action. Partially that is because I am often lazy, partly due to alot going on around here what with the holidays and all, and mostly it is because I had two long and involved postings get eaten by the damn ether monsters after I completed them and saved them as drafts. Damn it, I was mad at the system. Curse you Blogger!

But now, I am getting over it, and am ready to start anew. Turn over a new leaf for the new year as it were. Wipe the slate clean...back to the ol' drawing board...yadda, yadda.

I'm not really sure yet what I am really setting out to do with this thing anymore. At first it was going to be a food thing, but then I was all caught up in the poitics of the moment. Now all that has come to pass (not that all of it is not still very much on my mind) and we have been living with the fact of large scale natural disaster on the other side of the world.

My mind wanders constantly from subject to subject. (Perhaps this is the problem with me and life?) I become interested in many different things all at once. I guess you could say my tastes are eclectic and ever changing (yeah, no kidding asshole, whose aren't!?). So I guess what I am getting at is this: I'm not sure I want to limit the scope of this forum to just one or two narrow subjects. While I admire many of the fine blogs that I peruse so often for their focus and attention to detail, that is not what is going to be happening here. So be forewarned. Don't say I didn't tell you this before you got all involved and captivated by my oh so facinating life and my witty banter about the amazing things I observe going on every day in the world around us.
Turn back now, friend if you feel the mystery of it all is just not for you...I (for one) won't hold it against you. Just don't tag along only to complain bitterly about it later. "Oh - sniff - I didn't think it was going to be like disorganized and diverse and ever changing...I don't like unpredictability...Wah wah wah." I hate that shit.

As for the rest of you (i think I may - in fact - have one loyal reader at this point, but there is no telling if they were lost too in the inactive time) strap yourselves in and prepare for a some what wild ride. Okay, maybe not exactly wild really ( I am almost forty and married with a kid) but it could concievably be an interesting ride at the very least. So whataya say? Wanna give it a try? C' ya'? Every body's doing it. (well at least I think that one guy I alluded to earlier is, maybe.)

Okay, here we go!