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.