Thursday, May 29, 2008

Do You REALLY Learn Something New Every Day?

I learned something new when our power went out yesterday afternoon. I learned what "breakers" are. When I called Xcel energy, the very patient woman I spoke with asked me if our breakers were off. I did not know. Turns out they are the main switches at the top of the fuse box. They were in the on position, so she concluded that the problem was not with my house, she put in a work order, and our power was restored after only four hours or so. Now, if you were ignorant of this, as I was, YOU have learned something new today!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

More Miss Ellaneous

Have you heard that Cameron Diaz has a new, signature line of skillets coming out designed for electric ranges? Yeah, they should work great because they have completely flat bottoms.


Dear Memphis,

You're a musician in a way, right? Please settle an argument between my wife and I. She claims that the opposite of "flat" is "sharp". I say the opposite of "flat" is "in tune". Who's right? A huge steak dinner is riding on your answer!


Dear Brad,

The opposite of "flat" is "not flat", of which "sharp" and "in-tune" are two subsets. You're both partially right, which is another way of saying you're both wrong. So you can both go without the steak dinner and save a cow and your money. Incidentally, your question actually involves not music so much as mathematics, but luckily for you in addition to being a musician, I am also the 16th best junior high math student in the state of Tennessee circa 1985. Cheers.



Inspired by the current occupant and the generally sickening contenders:

Oval Office Mug Idea: You don't have to be a psychophantic megalomaniacal toady to work here...BUT IT HELPS!


Monday, May 19, 2008

Miss Ellaneous

I have listened to Kaptain Karl's album The Chicago Tapes all the way through twice today. Man, that is good! It has these moments and performances that are indescribable and inimitable. I think I had to listen twice to some of it to confirm that yes, it really sounded like that. And it is Karl's strongest, most focused batch of songs yet. The sequence is good. I considered remixing it though, knowing what I know now ten years later. It's kind of quiet overall and my copy of it starts to get static-y toward the end, which I think is a function of the sticker applied to the disc.


I have cleaned up cat poop in three locations today. (Four if you count the litter box.) I have also cleaned up a hearty dose of cat puke. I am forced to conclude that cats' reputation for fastidious cleanliness is just like Republicans' reputation for restraint in government and government spending - a ludicrous lie that those of us faced with the harsh reality of these groups' messes can only wish was truth.


Here are some other entries from TPWK that I really liked:

Confessions of a Female College Student

Have you considered buying something?

What you've been missing

Rock TV


I read something the other day that made me sad. It said Hillary Clinton's win in the West Virginia Democratic Primary was "meaningless". Really, Star Tribune? Tell that to the hardworking West Virginian who woke up early, kissed his cousinwife, got out of bed, took a shower in the backyard with the goat, and voted on his way to work at the coal mine!

No, just kidding, West Virginia! You're great. One of my friends in high school was from there. Really! Plus I love the Bruce Springsteen bootleg Oh, Boy! recorded in your majestic city of Charleston! Also I love the song named for you on John Linnell's brilliant State Songs album. I'm just yanking your chain. The chain you use to keep your dog tethered to the giant tractor tire in the backyard near the woods, that is. Ha ha! Just kidding!


Man! Yahoo! news has become more and more pathetic. The main headline is usually about some lame reality tv show. I used to rely on it as my primary news source that was not the Sunday Star Trib. Now I can rely on it only for a brief mental hit of disgust with the hideous slop being forced on my imperiled country.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I AM The Future Of News

I read somewhere that in the future all news agencies will just provide links to other news. I am not sure about how exactly that will work, but I did want to share my favorite blog with you. I will direct you straight to the post that best exemplifies the random, unexpected, juxtapositional humor I enjoy and leave you to explore the rest on your own.

Again, to reiterate, that is my favorite blog, so you should check it out.

Top Fourteen Neil Diamond Characteristics

14. The Essential Neil Diamond and Bob Dylan's Time Out Of Mind are the only two albums I am aware of that use the Columbia Viva-Tonal Electrical Process.

13. One of the only songwriters who writes good songs about songs and songwriting.

12. No rhyme is too tired, silly, or unhip.

11. Elvis did at least two of his songs.

10. He was voted women's favorite music to listen to during sex.

9. He writes about anything he wants: imaginary friends (Shiloh), seagulls (Jonathan Livingston Seagull), and who-knows-what (Soolaimon).

8. You can put on his music and forget about it and enjoy your day a little more or you can listen on headphones and really get in to it.

7. The twin descending portamento keyboards that lead back to the title line on "Love on the Rocks".

6. You can always understand the words.

5. He's the truest descendant of the Sinatra "Tell a story/sing a poem" school working today.

4. He takes his work seriously

3. He appeared as himself on Saturday Night Live alongside Will Ferrel as Fake Neil Diamond.

2. The Band liked him enough to invite him to The Last Waltz

1. Surrounds himself with great players of music.

No irony or, really, humor in today's post. Just really was enjoying The Essential Neil Diamond this week and wanted to figure out/talk about why that was.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Why, God, Why??!!??

I bought a new microwave last year because...well, because I punched our oven so hard it broke. What can I say, it was making noise. Really annoying, constant noise that only stopped with careful, gentle punching but then the careful modulation of the punching hardness just got away from me and suddenly my blood was spattered around the kitchen and I have a scar on my right pinky now. Anyway, the point being that we decided to get a new microwave to hang above our new oven/range.

So given that our old oven was a victim of its own irritating noise habit AND given that we were using as a possible model for our new one my parents' microwave, which has a mute function, WHY GOD WHY did I not insist on having a mute function built in to our new microwave? Now we have a loud beepin' microwave that doesn't just beep when you program it and start it up. Oh, no! It beeps when it's done. Then it beeps once a minute until you give it further attention. This is especially nice when you set it to make a nice relaxing cup of tea, then go away to, say, change a diaper. (Not an activity from which you can walk away) Beep...beep...beep...come back to me!...beep...I will awaken you and your children...beep...beep...BEEEP!!

What is wrong with me that I forgot to get a mutable microwave?!? How often do you buy a new microwave? Well, if you're me it's an average far...once every 36 years. So who cares? Why would I write a blog about it? Here is the takeaway. If just one person learns from my mistake, then it will have been worth it. So let me make an egregious break with netiquette for a moment and use all caps combined with obnoxious, obvious cut and paste for a summary.


That is all I really wanted to say. You're welcome.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Striking While The Iron Is Ice Cold, Part One

I hear that blogs are passe now and everyone who is anyone is twittering. Well, fine. Have fun with that. In the meantime, I will be clinging to the amazing technology of the go-go 1990s and continue to write here and in my new blog, which does not replace this one, as it is about a totally different topic, whereas this one is about no particular topic at all. And I am posting right now using Mac OS 9.0.4, which really struggles to pull down much of today's hi-tech internets. I could no more twitter than I could jamaharon.

Pretty soon I intend to listen to Dark Side of the Moon while I watch The Wizard of Oz with the sound turned down. And I will do it using a vinyl record and a VHS tape. I hear it's better in analog anyway. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Is The Feed Thing Working?

So I tried to let people get an e-mail when there is a new blog post. Click on the icon underneath the words "Subscribe Now" in the lower right. Is that working for anyone?

Also, I think in the future all comments here will need to be attributed. To understand why, try watching the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode "The Anonymous Donor". Thank you.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Mississippi Seven Triumphant on the West Bank

Had a great Mississipi Seven show tonight at the Acadia Cafe in its new location at Cedar-Riverside. (Setlist and details) Scuffy Pucker, Two Dollar Bill Turner, Me, Collaborato Punxatawney, and A Hon made up the group tonight. I played my new acoustic guitar instead of drums because Kaptain Karl was singing with his barbershop group at the Wisconsin Governor's fishing opener, which was held indoors because of inclement weather. (The Governor drew a little plastic ducky with a "64" on it and was given a teddy bear.)

Sound was good and the band right before us was really great AND they hung around to hear our set. I will be checking out their website and the CD I traded with them for. "Inching Away" was a highlight, but it is slated for their NEXT album. Oh well.

I had some trouble hearing lyrics from the first two bands so I worked really hard to enunciate clearly, as I had lead vocals on eight of eleven songs tonight. I really felt like I was making a connection with people when I saw smiles and laughter. Duh. It's so simple, but so rare with most bands. All my bandmates played great. I had to give Scuffy an extra time through the pattern on "Gone To Stay" because I could tell he was just starting to warm up and indeed he was really rocking the banjo by the time I brought the Memphis verse back in. Scuffy and Collaborato had an epic, two-verse long accordion battle on "Boxcar" that showed me how far Collaborato has come on that instrument.

Toddler asked me this afternoon if we could play the trumpet, so we did. I realized I could play the melody from "Theme From Honigman" quite easily, so I brought my trumpet to the cafe, hid it under my parents' table, then had my dad bring it up to me after the first time through the pattern. It was really a hit and everyone was surprised, even my bandmates. I think we'll use it on any recording of that song this band makes. I even threw a little unscheduled, improvised trumpet in the background of "Total Peace" since Bill was playing my guitar.

It was so great to play for other songwriters and people who really liked our songs and heard the words and what they meant. Thanks to everyone who came to the show and enjoyed it. Thanks to the Acadia for having us and supporting live music. Thanks to Trio Tipo for inviting us. And thanks to my bandmates for hauling all that gear, finding parking, and most of all playing like champions.