Gorillas in the Midst

First, I want to note that Lydia had her surgery yesterday. It went fine, technically. Obviously, more on this soon. Thank you very much for your support. It does cut into blogging time, though, so I’ll be brief.

An important holiday. But then you knew that, didn’t you?
***
You may have noticed some slight changes in this blog. That’s because I’ve finally switched to the new Blogger, powered by that gorilla of search, Google. It allows for an easier way to indicate labels. It also allows me to edit every post I’ve ever done (some 800), rather than the last 300. I probably won’t spend a lot of time on retrospective stuff, but each day I post, I may add tags on an old post or two, so that in a couple years, I’ll have tagged the whole thing. Or not.
I knew that the way I did the transition would throw out the categories of bloggers I visit, because I had done the same transition on the Friends of the Albany Public Library site. (BTW, if you’re in Albany, vote Yes on the school and library issues, Tuesday, February 6, from noon until 9 pm.)
However, since the links needed to be revisited anyway – add some, delete some – I’m OK with the chaos, for the short term. Think of the blog as having one of those annoying Man at Work signs on it. Some guy in overalls from Buffalo is musing about his move to the new Blogger.
***
Philip Glass, the big magilla of minimalist music, turns 70 today. I had a girlfriend who HATED his music, and when we broke up, I went on a Philip Glass marathon – not recommended. My favorite Glass recording is this one.
***
Former guerrila (!) leader Fidel Castro’s dying and Miami’s throwing a party. Seems unseemly, somehow.
***
Governor Spitzer, the big gorilla politically around here, releases the budget today. Let’s see if he keeps those high approval ratings.
Sheldon Silver, the powerful Speaker of the state Assembly, has been like a petulant child, because none of the three finalists to become Comptroller (replacing Alan Hevesi, who resigned because of the “Driving Mrs. Hevesi” scandal) is an Assembly member. A committee interviewed 18 candidates, including five Assembly members. Frankly, picking a legislator would have been business as usual, and “business as usual” in Albany has been dysfunctional as long as I can remember. Let it go, Shelly.
***
Get that tobacco monkey off your back. NYS specific, but with some useful data for all.
***
Baseball player Tony Suck, who played as though he were wearing a gorilla suit, based on the stats from his brief career.
***
Finally, Dennis the Menace – “Gorilla Warfare”

Advertisements

Fred G. Hembeck – the G stands for Great


The second annual summer meeting with my family and Fred’s led to all sorts of cool things: our Rashamon take on an obscure 1960s song by Tom Clay, which somehow segued into me writing about Snoopy vs. Osama, and getting a response from the Royal Guardsmen.

But even when we don’t see each other, we’re in contact. He’s turned me on to Nellie McKay and SpongeBob.

I now realize that I’ve known Fred half of our lives. I met him in February 1980, when he was doing a signing for the FantaCo publication Hembeck 1980, when he was 27, and today he turns…lessee 27 times 2 is..this higher math is tough… Of course, there was a big gap in there, but I’m glad he started doing his blog, and that our mutual friend Rocco told me about said blog. (Peculiar that I find out more about Rocco, who lives in Albany from Fred, who lives over an hour from here, than I do from Rocco.)

Another thing you should know about Fred: he’s a proud NGSD supporter.

Last point: this is my favorite time in my relationship with Fred Hembeck, where (for five weeks) he’s older than I am. Utterly petty, but I enjoy it anyway.

Happy birthday, effendi!
***
And speaking of FantaCo and long time ago, check out this link about something called the Daredevil Omnibus that Fred sent me. There are five pages taken from the Daredevil Chronicles, originally published by FantaCo, three pages of an interview, featuring a nifty Hembeck illo, and the two page Miller/Janson spread . I didn’t edit that particular issue, Mitch Cohn did; I was working on as similar ‘zine about the Fantastic Four at the time. But I’m sure I proofread that issue, as Mitch proofed the FF. Really took me back.

Arts Meme

I no longer know who I stole this meme from!

Name a book that you want to share so much that you keep giving away copies:

It’s such a cliche: The Prophet by Gibran. It was a Christmas present I gave again this year. Also, The World Almanac. Beyond that, there are some expensive music reference books from Joel Whitburn about the Billboard charts. I never throw away the old copy when I buy the new copy, I just pass it on.

Name a piece of music that changed the way you listen to music:

Besides “Quintet” from West Side Story, which I’ve previously mentioned – “The Jets are gonna have their way tonight” against, “Tonight, tonight won’t be just any night”? Or the Huntley-Brinkley theme, which I discovered was Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, 2nd movement, thus making classical music accessible? It’d have to be “In the Mood” by Henhouse Five Plus Two, which has led me to the revelation that almost all music can be done as through chickens were squawking. Or maybe the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows”, which is technically all one chord.

Name a film you can watch again and again without fatigue:

There are several. But to name a few; “Field of Dreams”, “Annie Hall”, the first “Back to the Future” movie, the original (Episode 4) “Star Wars”. I saw “Annie Hall” four times in the theater, which is tied for the record.

Name a performer for whom you suspend all disbelief:

Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, Hilary Swank, Donald Sutherland, Tommy Lee Jones, Ellen Burstyn. I’m sure there are others.

Name a work of art you’d like to live with:

The Scream. There are several copies, and they seem to get stolen a lot, so that could be interesting.

Name a work of fiction which has penetrated your real life:

Don’t read that much fiction, but I’ll pick The Handmaid’s Tale; it felt very real.

Name a punch line that always makes you laugh:

Not so much a punchline, as that whole riff in “The Life of Brian” about the ever-lengthening list of what the Romans had done for the Jews, found here:
REG:
They’ve taken everything we had, and not just from us, from our fathers, and from our fathers’ fathers.
LORETTA:
And from our fathers’ fathers’ fathers.
REG:
Yeah.
LORETTA:
And from our fathers’ fathers’ fathers’ fathers.
REG:
Yeah. All right, Stan. Don’t labour the point. And what have they ever given us in return?!
XERXES:
The aqueduct?
REG:
What?
XERXES:
The aqueduct.
REG:
Oh. Yeah, yeah. They did give us that. Uh, that’s true. Yeah.
COMMANDO #3:
And the sanitation.
LORETTA:
Oh, yeah, the sanitation, Reg. Remember what the city used to be like?
REG:
Yeah. All right. I’ll grant you the aqueduct and the sanitation are two things that the Romans have done.
MATTHIAS:
And the roads.
REG:
Well, yeah. Obviously the roads. I mean, the roads go without saying, don’t they? But apart from the sanitation, the aqueduct, and the roads–
COMMANDO:
Irrigation.
XERXES:
Medicine.
COMMANDOS:
Huh? Heh? Huh…
COMMANDO #2:
Education.
COMMANDOS:
Ohh…
REG:
Yeah, yeah. All right. Fair enough.
COMMANDO #1:
And the wine.
COMMANDOS:
Oh, yes. Yeah…
FRANCIS:
Yeah. Yeah, that’s something we’d really miss, Reg, if the Romans left. Huh.
COMMANDO:
Public baths.
LORETTA:
And it’s safe to walk in the streets at night now, Reg.
FRANCIS:
Yeah, they certainly know how to keep order. Let’s face it. They’re the only ones who could in a place like this.
COMMANDOS:
Hehh, heh. Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh.
REG:
All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?
XERXES:
Brought peace.
REG:
Oh. Peace? Shut up!

Tagging:

Not into tagging. Go tag yourself, if you’d like.

BOOK: Kill Your Idols

I’m only adding this banner because I hate to read about Mark Evanier crying.

Anyway, some guy, pretty much out of the blue, sent me a copy of the book Kill Your Idols: A New Generation of Rock Writers Reconsiders the Classics, edited by Jim DeRogatis and Carmel Carillo. (Thank you.) I ended up reading it over two or three days on the road to Charlotte aand back.

I don’t think I’ll be reviewing the book per se, except to say that the essays by some three dozen writers are wildly different. A few discuss how they became critics; I don’t care. But some are pretty much on point.

Here’s a list of the chapters.

Forward: Canon? We Don’t Need No Steekin’ Canon by Jim DeRogatis. The premise is lovely: “each writer addresses an allegedly ‘great’ album that he or she despises.” He manages to dis baby boomers as being “prone to safeguarding works whose values they adopted as articles of faith in their youth, even though said youth is now several decades behind them. The writer challenges the inconsistency of the “best album: lists, notoriously generated by Rolling Stone magazine. It’s a good start.

The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Capitol, 1967, by Jim DeRogatis.
The writer’s point: that the album is an archive of the ’60, a “bloated and baroque failed concept albums that takes a generation…back to the best shindig of their lives,” old-fashioned. He eviscerates most of the songs individually, with the notable exception of “A Day In the Life.”
My take: I think the writer is too harsh about With a Little Help, Lucy, and especially Getting Better, but largely agree with his disdain for Within You Without You and especially She’s Leaving Home, which IS “saccharine, strings-drenched melodrama.” DeRogatis’ point that some of these songs are lesser efforts than the songs on songs from earlier albums, especially Revolver, is arguably true.
Sidebar: Gordon asked, a while ago: Here’s a tough question:
Which Beatle album, in your opinion, is stronger and has held up over the course of time: Revolver or Sgt. Pepper?
Easy question, actually: Revolver, by quite a bit. Taxman rocks more than anything on Pepper, Love You To is less annoying (and much shorter) than Within You, For No One is gorgeous, Got To Get You Into My Life IS rubber soul, and the Tomorrow Never Knows is so strong that the backing track works to make the interminable Within You more palatable on the new LOVE album. (A group called the Fab Four, a Beatles cover band, used the Tomorrow Never Knows music to great effect as backing for Jingle Bells. Really. And I like it.)

The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds. Capitol, 1966 by Jeff Nordstedt.
The writer’s point: Aside from the “unassailable” hits, Wouldn’t It Be Nice and God Only Knows, there is an “emotional gap between the [happy] music…and the [depressing] lyrics”. Overproduced, and your parents won’t hate it. And that overproduction “was partially responsible for the invention of the synthesizers”, which lead to the “evil development” of disco.
My take: Maybe it’s not a “rock ‘n’ roll” album, but so what? It’s one of my favorites. The disco argument is just silly; if there was no Pet Sounds, some other album would have inspired synthesizers. And not all “disco sucks”.

The Beach Boys: Smile. Unreleased, 1967, by Dawn Eden.
The writer’s point: It’s mostly inaccessible, and will never be as good as the hype, Good Vibrations and Heroes and Villains notwithstanding.
My take: Nothing can ever match the hype. The Brian Wilson album SMiLE, released after the essay, is an intriguing piece of music, but may or may not have changed the course of music 37 years earlier.

The Who: Tommy. MCA, 1969. By Steve Knopper.
The writer’s point: It suffers from “glaring conceptual weaknesses, tin-can production, and timeless inability to rock.” Bland, repetitive; the filler songs are terrible. Only Pinball Wizard, I’m Free, Cousin Kevin, and Fiddle About are any good, and the latter is tainted by Pete Townsend’s arrest, even though the charges were dropped. But the greatest sin is that they (especially Townsend) couldn’t leave it alone but had it done again and again.
My take: The filler songs and repeated musical themes never bothered me – Townsend’s working in a largely unfamiliar medium of “rock opera”. Not only did I like the songs cited by Knopper, but also Christmas and Underture. But those other versions with the London Symphony Orchestra, and the movie soundtrack, are NOT improvements.

The MC5: Kick Out the Jams. Elektra, 1969. By Andy Wang
The writer’s point: full of john Sinclair’s nonsensical White Panther Party rubbish, and not very good.
My take: Don’t own; haven’t heard in too long to comment.

The Byrds: Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Columbia, 1968. By Steven Stolder.
The writer’s point: It was no more the pioneer country-rock album than the Beau Brummel’s Bradley’s Barn. The “notion of country rock as defined by the Byrds…seems unnecessary.
My take: Doing a comparison with an album I’ve never heard of, let alone heard, makes it difficult to comment. On the other hand, country rock always seemed like an artifice to me.

Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band: Trout Mask Replica. Straight, 1969. By Jason Gross.
The writer’s point: Gives him a throbbing headache.
My take: Never heard.

Led Zeppelin: (Untitled, IV, Runes, or Zoso), Atlantic, 1971. By Adrian Brijbassi.
The writer’s point: Seems to be largely about his sex life, though he does also talk about Zeppelin musical theft on this and other albums.
My take: I like it well enough, though I’ve ODed on Stairway to Heaven decades ago.

Neil Young: Harvest, Reprise, 1972. By Fred Mills.
The writer’s point: “The music world is overrun by simpering singer-songwriters obsessed with the D chord and first-person pronouns”, thanks to its success.
My take: Well, maybe so. Actually, while I like the songs – though Alabama IS a lesser version of Southern Man from the previous album – I never fully bought it as musically coherent statement. I’ll be curious to hear the next Neil album, which the late producer David Briggs tried to convince Neil should have been the logical successor to After the Goldrush.

Rolling Stones: Exile on Main Street, Rolling Stones, 1972. By Keith Moerer.
The writer’s point: Lots of great songs, with an “awful lot of genre filler (and worse)…” Not a fan of Sweet Black Angel.
My point: I agree.

The Eagles: Desperado, Asylum, 1973. By Bobby Reed.
The writer’s point: Not the cohesive story it feigns to be. (Spends too much time telling about himself.)
My take: Though I probably own this album, somewhere, I must have got it so late in the vinyl game that I don’t really know what it sounds like well enough to judge.
Lynyrd Skynyrd: Pronounced Len-nerd Skin-nerd, MCA, 1973. By Leanne Potts.
The writer’s point: Southern-fried hokum.
My point: Don’t have, though I’ve never been a particular fan of Freebird or Sweet Home Alabama.

Graham Parsons: GP/Grievous Angel, Warner Brothers, 1990. (Original releases 1973, 1974). By Chrissie Dickinson.
The writer’s point: a “critically-correct cult god” who couldn’t sing.
My point: Don’t have. Makes me want to check it out.

The Doors: Best of the Doors, Elektra, 1985. By Lorraine Ali (with Jim DeRogatis).
The writer’s point: Lyrically pretentious, musically lame.
My point: I have another greatest hits, but I have to agree that “Light My Fire” is pretty lame; the single’s much more tolerable than the album cut, because it doesn’t have that cheesy organ solo. But I always live for the “stronger than dirt” part of the creepy “Touch Me”.

Pink Floyd: The Dark Side of the Moon, Capitol/EMI, 1973. By Burl Gilyard.
The writer’s point: It’s “moody, ponderous, torpid and humorless.”
My point: Well, maybe it is, but I like it atmospherically anyway.

Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks, Columbia, 1975. By Chris Martiniano.
The writer’s point: It’s a “cliched, dull, and at times, a tragically sloppy album.”
My point: Given that this is one of my favorite Dylan albums, I’m not feeling this complaint.

Well, THAT was fun. But time consuming. I’ll do it again for the rest of the book. Later, probably next month, when I’m stuck for a topic. I can’t wait, because I used to know one of the upcoming reviewers.

Sports and Race QUESTIONS

Unrelated forward-
Note to Tom the Dog: Now that you are a game show maven, perhaps you can be a source of pithy quotes on other cultural matters. For instance, an Albany-area woman made it onto the next round of American Idol – a show I’m not currently watching, BTW – but had to keep it a secret for a few months, until the program aired this week. Hey, let’s find other folks who’ve had similar experiences, like that guy who was on JEOPARDY! eight years ago! Voila!
***
1. Here’s an excerpt from Boss Talk: ‘Welcome to My World’; NBA Commissioner Stern Gets Kudos for Expansion But Has Share of Problems
Russell Adams and Adam Thompson. Wall Street Journal. (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: Jan 17, 2007. pg. B.1
WSJ: It’s often been said that when brawls break out on the court in the NBA, everybody makes a big deal out of it, even though other sports frequently have fights among players. Why?

Mr. Stern: My own take is the burden of the fans being so close to the stands. Because of the spectacular view of our game from courtside — which is the closest to the action of any game, and it’s replicated by a camera, and increasingly by high-def, the prospect of players, in any shape or form, crossing the barrier between them and the fans — that’s a problem that we have and no one else has.

WSJ: Do you believe it also might have something to do with racial attitudes in this country, that the NBA is judged more harshly for that reason?

Mr. Stern: Well, I choose not to dwell on it, but you may be on to something. We were the first sport to be identified as black. And, despite the fact that the starters in other sports like football could be equally, percentage-wise, black, our guys are [visible] out there. We can see them, they don’t come encumbered by hat, helmet, long sleeves and pants. You just touched on the global conversation, which is the role of race, and certainly, I would not be fully honest if I didn’t say it’s always there, in some shape or form.

Yes, the NBA is 80% black. But the NFL is about 70% black. Is race a factor in perceptions of NBA players, or is it the proximity to the stands, the fact that, unlike football players, they don’t wear helmets, and that changes the dynamic?

2. Much has been written about the two head coaches in the Super Bowl being black. What’s your reaction? This is my take on firsts in everything: Firsts are important when they get us to the point where it doesn’t matter anymore. Doug Williams, the first black Super Bowl quarterback was important, but I couldn’t tell you the second or third. Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby were important, but one doesn’t make note of every black baseball player, as Ebony magazine did in the 1950s and 1960s; interestingly, black baseball players at the major league level is declining.

Once upon a time, I could tell you the name of every female U.S. Senator, but now there are 16, and I can’t; it’s not enough, but it’s a start. However, I can name all of the black members of the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction, since there have been only three: Brooke, Moseley-Braun, and Obama.

Progress is measured when you stop having to measure.

***
Unrelated postlude;

From May 4, 2004 WSJ

A Better PDB?

Jessica Mintz writes in the Wall Street Journal:

“The presidential daily brief titled ‘Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US’ triggered a political firestorm. But for Greg Storey, what was most striking about the document was its lack of style.
“‘Why is it that the president puts up with these horribly written and laid out documents to assess the threat against our nation?’ wondered Mr. Storey, a 33-year old Web designer.
“So he set out to do something about it.”

Here’s Storey’s blog item explaining what he did and why.

The Lydster, Part 34: The Curse of the Purple Dinosaur

I think my in-laws hate me.

First, one set of them bought this singing rabbit and chick for Lydia’s last birthday (singing “Easter Goodies” to the tune of Rockin’ Robin”), then the spinning, singing snowman doing the Springsteenesque “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, which Lydia played over and over and over…
…and over and over and over…
but now another set of them has provided the Barney DVD, which Lydia is fully entranced by. I don’t remember the name of the disc, and I’m too lazy to check it, but it’s a game between those smaller characters, Baby Bop and BJ. BJ wants to be a rock ‘n’ roll star, Miss Muffet only PRETENDS to fear the spider, and blah, blah, blah. Lydia is enthralled, and I am appalled.

Actually, my Barney emnity really predates Lydia. My niece Alex, when she was 3-5, was Barney crazy. I asked my folks what to get her for Christmas, and they said, “Something with Barney”. But Alex had Barney bedding, Barney lights, Barney EVERYTHING. What could I get her that she didn’t already have? So I declined, and felt some disappointment, not from Alex, but from my parents. Feh.

Anyway, the irony is that Lydia’s disc is not tracking correctly, and I may have to get her a replacement copy. Instant karma IS gonna get you.

Lydia’s going to have her adenoidectomy in the next week. She’s passed her pre-surgery physical. We’ve gotten her books about the hospital, a doctor’s kit that has a stethoscope, thermometer, and whatnot, to try to prepare her. Wish us all the best.

Happy 2 5/6, Lydia! Love from daddy.
***
Oh, I went here and realized I needed another title. Since Lydia has had earaches, this one seems to fit.

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
The Very Reverend Roger the Free of Lardle St. Earache
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Favorite Albums 2006

I’m going to forgo the notion of BEST and give you a list of my fifteen favorite albums of 2006, the albums that gave me the most pleasure. I’m convinced that there’s a strong correlation between expectation and what one likes.

15. Paul Simon-Surprise. I discussed this before, as did Tosy. I still like the first and last songs best, though just this week, I was chair dancing to one of the other tunes, to the delight of my daughter.

14. Johnny Cash-American V: A Hundred Highways. My assessment pretty well matched Nik’s. Not as strong as the first 4 American albums, which I love, or even material from the posthumous box set.

13. Jerry Lee Lewis-Last Man Standing. I had low expectations on this one, so it was a pleasant surprise. 22 guest stars, but many of them are used well.

12. Dixie Chicks-Taking the Long Way. Yes, I’m glad they’re “not ready to make nice,” but I liked this musically as well.

11. Neil Young: Living with War. Will this album age well, Lefty wonders. I don’t know, but I enjoy it for what it does in 2006/2007 in the midst of the current situation.

10. Ronstadt/Savoy-Adieu False Heart.
My initial assessment was that I LOVED most of the Annie Savoy Cajun stuff, while Linda’s stuff was only OK, but the latter’s grown on me.

9. Knopfler/Harris: All the Roadrunning.
The musical chemistry is good.

8. Beatles-Love. Nik wasn’t crazy about it, and even Beatles uberfan Fred gave it a lukewarm reception, but I fully expected to, well, LOVE this album, based on the initial cut I heard, Within You, Without You, with the instrumentation of Tomorrow Never Knows. The problem with this, and I now understand Paul and Ringo’s point on this, is that it didn’t do MORE of this. A lot of it sounded like slight variations on the Beatles’ catalog, which I already own. More backwards Sun King! More segued cuts, even if it treads close to “Stars on Forty-Fab” territory. I’m not offended by the remixing, I only wanted it weirder.

7. Costello/Toussaint: The River in Reverse. I thought the last album I have by Elvis, North, was a bit of a bland disappointment, so I was pleased to hear this one. I think the album’s latter tracks are generally better than the earlier ones, and the album as a whole improves with every play.

6. Black Cadillac-Rosanne Cash.
Weird, I suppose, that the album about JRC’s death should rate higher with me than JRC’s album. In any case, it’s not just about her father’s death, but her mother’s and her stepmother’s, all in a couple-year period. Bit I didn’t find it to be a depressing album at all.

5. Tom Petty-Highway Companion.
Somebody please tell me why the Tom Petty albums are, in general, more enjoyable than the Heartbreakers albums over the same period? This is a recent acquisition and may go higher with repeated listening.

4. Ray Davies-Other People’s Lives.
Given its long gestation period, an amazingly coherent album. Recent acquisition, may go up.
Sidebar: The album is on V2 Records. A very good friend of mine writes:
“V2 Records North America is no longer. This ten year old company has sadly bitten the dust as a functioning label.
My 9+ years here have run the gamut. There’s been the satisfaction of witnessing a small bird taking flight and the brutal crush of a boulder rolling down a mountain.”

3. Bob Dylan-Modern Times.
That I didn’t love it quite as much as Love and Theft – but I may, with time – doesn’t negate the enjoyment I’ve received.

2. Bruce Springsteen-We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions.
As I said before, this album came pre-loved.

AND, my #1 favorite album of 2006:

Spongebob Squarepants: The Best Day Ever.

Maybe it’s because I came in with such low expectations, despite Fred’s affection for it; I mean, the man has SpongeBob underwear! And while I’ve watched the cartoon in the past, I’m not a regular viewer.
But I bought into the concept of the album as a radio broadcast, more fully realized than The Who Sell Out; the Who ran out of time, or interest, in completing the theme. My favorite song: “Barnacles”, a word you use when you stub your toe and don’t want to say something inappropriate.

What was your favorite album of 2006?
The Beatles- LOVE
Johnny Cash- American V
Black Cadillac-Rosanne Cash
Ray Davies-Other People’s Lives
Dixie Chicks-Taking the Long Way
Bob Dylan-Modern Times
Jerry Lee Lewis-Last Man Standing
Nellie McKay-Pretty Little Head
Tom Petty-Highway Companion
Corrine Bailey Rae
Paul Simon-Surprise
SpongeBob Squarepants- Best Day Ever
Bruce Springsteen-The Seeger Sessions
Neil Young-Living With War
Something else
pollcode.com free polls

Underplayed Vinyl: The Neville Brothers


It’s the 66th birthday of Aaron Neville, who had a hit single in the 1960s with Tell It Like It Is as a solo artist. I discovered him and his brothers, with their second album, Fiyo on the Bayou. Let me tell you about my copy.

As I’ve mentioned, I loved one radio station in the late 1970s and early 1980s, an eclectic station known as Q-104. What I don’t think I mentioned is that at different times, and briefly at the same time, I lived with a couple of weekend/fill-in DJs from the station at 264 Western Avenue in Albany, which, once upon a time was a Jewish fraternity house. One was Mark, who also briefly employed at the comic book store FantaCo, where I worked, and the other was John; no Matthew or Luke, though. One of them gave, or sold to me cheaply, the station’s copy of the Neville Brothers’ Fiyo on the Bayou.
Side A
1. Hey Pocky Way
2. Sweet Honey Dripper
3. Fire On The Bayou
4. The Ten Commandments Of Love
Side B
1. Sitting In Limbo
2. Brother John/Iko Iko
3. Mona Lisa (Dedicated To Bette Midler)
4. Run Joe
I no longer remember why the station was getting rid of the LP, which they acquired on June 29, 1981 – perhaps they changed music format, or maybe they just got the CD – but the LP has a big card on the cover – covering up the large reptile – describing the DJs’ comments.
“Beat me! Oh God I’m sold on this!!
A1, A2, A3, B1, B2″
“One of the year’s best!”
“Agree”
“Agree”
A2 + A3
“David Fathead Newman on tenor sax. Funky horn section and New Orleans Soul make a great record. B1, a Jimmy Cliff song. A1 A2 and B1 especially. You’re gonna love it. Allen Touissaint-Little Feat sound or maybe that’s L. Feat-A. Touissaint have a Neville Bros. Sound.”
“Rolling Stones have done Neville Bros. songs. Meters have covered a lot too – Top drawer funky stuff. Put this in red. this is Q104, remember?”
“Give me a week and you got it (only kidding).”
“Anybody remember the Wild Tchopitoulas(spelling?). The Album Network called this stuff reggae, believe it or not!”
“Sure wish we had some Meters!”
“We do, and there’s some in my LPs.”.
(Just for the historical record, the Meters were a band in the 1960s and 1970s featuring Art Neville, signed by Allen Touissaint’s label.)
Anyway I literally played the first three cuts over and over for weeks. I also played the fourth cut, a real change-up, featuring Aaron on vocal on that 1958 Moonglows tune. I listened to the second side much less, though the first two cuts are quite good, Mona Lisa (“dedicated to Bette Midler”) is a standard Aaron take on the Nat Cole classic fare, and I can never remember the last cut without playing it again.
Still, I saw it on Amazon for $7, and it’s worth getting. It was paired with their 1989 Yellow Moon album, and that’s DEFINITELY worth the $18 bucks.

Watching the President Tonight

It’s the State of the Union tonight. I feel, as a patriotic American who wants to be an informed citizen, as though I ought to watch. Yet listening to George Bush Jr. makes me verklempt, not just with the content but the delivery as well. So I need your help. I need to come up with a drinking game. For instance, every time he says “war on terror” or “homefront”, I can have a shot of something. Likewise if he announces an aggressive environmental program which will never get funded. (Has anything happened with the switchgrass initiative he mentioned in last year’s speech?)

I also need to set up a pool to figure out at what minute and second he will first evoke 9/11; no cheating by looking at the press copy of the speech.

OK, so I’m being cheeky, and I won’t REALLY watch the speech inebriated. Will I?

Why is this man jumping for joy? Because he’s looking better all the time by comparison.
***
As for the 2008 race, the GOP attack dogs are in full force: Hillary’s Kerryoake On Iraq. I’m not even likely to vote for her, but yeesh…
***
U.S. Bars Lab From Testing Electronic Voting
By CHRISTOPHER DREW

A laboratory that has tested most of the nation’s electronic voting systems has been temporarily barred from approving new machines after federal officials found that it was not following its quality-control procedures and could not document that it was conducting all the required tests.
The company, Ciber Inc. of Greenwood Village, Colo., has also come under fire from analysts hired by New York State over its plans to test new voting machines for the state. New York could eventually spend $200 million to replace its aging lever devices.
Experts on voting systems say the Ciber problems underscore longstanding worries about lax inspections in the secretive world of voting-machine testing. The action by the federal Election Assistance Commission seems certain to fan growing concerns about the reliability and security of the devices.

97 random questions

Go, Indianapolis Colts! I almost gave up on you yesterday. I was going to do a joke about everybody rooting for the team with the black head coach, except that not everyone would know that BOTH teams, the Colts and the Bears, have black head coaches.

101 RANDOM QUESTIONS, cut down for some reason:

0) The Junior Senator from Illinois, who’s black, announced he’s running for President last week. The Junior Senator from New York, who’s female, announced that “I’m in. I’m in to win.” The Governor of New Mexico, who’s Hispanic, throws in his hat today. What’s the chances that none of them will be on the national ticket in November 2008? Pretty poor, though I thought over a year ago that Richardson should be VP, a position he says he does not want.
1) Do you have a crush on somebody?: Thousands, all the time
2) Do you hate more than 3 people?: No
3) How many houses have you lived in?: greater than 20
4) Favorite candy bar?: Mounds
6) Have you ever tripped someone?: Not intentionally, except in play.
7) Least favorite school subject?: calculus
8) How many pairs of shoes do you own?: 4
9)Do you own a Britney Spears CD? No
10) Have you ever thrown up in public?: yeah, a long time ago
11) Name one thing that is always on your mind: music
12) Favorite genre of music?: 1960s Motown
13) What’s your sign?: Pisces
14) What time were you born?: 3:15 pm EST
15) Do you like beer?: no
16) Have you ever made a prank phone call?: no
18) Are you sarcastic?: occasionally
19) What are your favorite colors?: blue, green
20) How many watches do you own?: one, which I got from my parents’ house in Charlotte in late December
21) Summer or winter? Summer
22) Is anyone in love with you?: hope so
23) Favorite color to wear?: wine
24) Pepsi or Sprite?: Pepsi
25) What color is your cell phone?: none
26) Where is your second home?: work
27) Have you ever slapped someone?: no
28) Have you ever had a cavity? More than one
29) How many lamps are in your bedroom?: 2
30) How many video games do you own?: one
31) What was your first pet?: Peter the cat
32) Ever had braces?: nope, never
33) Do looks matter?: more to others than to me
34) Do you use chapstick?: rarely
35) Name 3 teachers from high school: Helen Foley, Joe Maughan, Mrs. Greene
36) American Eagle or Abercrombie?: neither
37) Are you too forgiving?: can one be?
38) How many children do you want?: 1
39) Do you own something from Hot Topic?: apparently not
40) Favorite breakfast meal: a mix of Cheerios and spoon-sized shredded wheat
41) Do you own a gun?: no
42) Ever thought you were in love?: more than once
43) When was the last time you cried?: this week
44) What did you do 3 nights ago?: choir
45) Olive Garden?: very rarely
46) Have you ever called your teacher mommy?: no
47) Have you ever been in a castle?: no
48) Nicknames?: not really
49) Do you know anyone named Bertha?: yes
50) Ever been to Kentucky?: yes, in 1993
51) Do you own something from Banana Republic?: no
52) Are you thinking about somebody right now? Define
53) Ever called somebody Boo?: no
54) Do you smoke?:no way
55) Do you own a diamond ring?: no
56) Are you happy with your life right now?: some days
57) Do you dye your hair?: obviously not
58) Does anyone have a crush on you?: maybe
59) Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts? Probably DD
60) What were you doing in May of 1994?: probably having a big fight with my estranged wife
62) McDonald’s or Wendy’s?: Wendy’s, definitely
63) Do you like yourself?: most days
64) Are you closer to your mother or father?: even when my father was alive, I’d say my mother
65) Favorite physical feature of the preferred sex?: the mind
66) Are you afraid of the dark?: depends
67) Have you ever eaten paste?: don’t think so
68) Do you own a webcam?: no
69) Have you ever stripped?: not in that way
70) Ever broke a bone?: no
71) Are you religious?: “being religious” has such a bad connotation of “religiosity” – I’m a person of faith
72) Do you chat on AIM often?: never
73) Pringles or Lays?: neither
74) Have you ever broken someone’s heart?: undoubtedly
75) Rugrats or Doug?: neither
76) Full House or The Brady Bunch?: neither
77) Do you like your high school guidance counselor?: he’s deceased, but yeah, he was OK
78) Has anyone ever called you fat?: yeah
79) Do you have a birth mark? No
80) Do you own a car?: well, if my wife’s car counts
81) Can you cook?: minimally
82) 5 things that annoy you: 1.) drivers who ignore emergency vehicles and keep on coming through the intersection 2.) drivers that park their cars so that one can’t access sidewalk cutouts and other accessibility locations 3.) lying politicians 4.) people who never stop talking 5.) litter
83) Do you text message often?: no
84) Money or love?: peace
85) Do you have any scars?: yes, from two bicycle accidents
86) What do you want more than anything right now?: sleep
87) Do you enjoy scary movies?: not so much
88) Relationships or one night stands?: relationships
90) Do you enjoy greasy food?: much less than I used to
91) Have you seen all the Rocky movies?: no, 1, 2 and I think 4
92) Do you own a box of crayons?:yes!
93) Who was the last person that said they loved you?: possibly my daughter
94) Who was the last person that made you cry?: probably my daughter
95) Who was the last person that made you laugh?: probably my daughter
96) Who was the last person that instant messaged you?: it’s been months, but Carla in Oregon
97) Who was the last person that called you? My wife.