Thursday, November 30, 2006

i know, you didn't think you'd hear from me so soon. After all, i probably used up all my words for the rest of the month in that post yesterday.

But i feel the need to share that I seem to be having "one of those days." It started at 10:15, when I went into the studio to record some voice tracks for a program. I was working from a script I had written, but you'd think I'd never seen english words before, let alone written each of them down in that particular order. I'm usually close to mistake-free, but not today!

How could I follow that up? By bursting into laughter while recording some promo announcements for upcoming news reports. the culprit? The simple line "and then....all about aspirin."

I know, it doesn't look funny. But say it over a few times. And then imagine hearing someone else reading those words. " theme, blah blah blah...and then, all about (wait, give it a pause, and sound fascinated and sparkly) aspirin!! sparkle sparkle, blah blah blah, theme up."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

it's almost time for the annual trip to london, and I'm getting excited.

In the words of the immortal Noddy Holder: It's Christmaaaaaaaas!!!

If you're saying "huh?," you have somehow missed "Merry Christmas Everyone," the most iconic of UK Christmas songs. (we've got bing, they've got noddy.)

Slade has a chance of, once again, getting the Christmas Number One spot at the top of the pops chart with "Merry Christmas, Everybody." In 1973, the song ENTERED the chart at number 1 and stayed there, the first time that had ever happened. It's going to be re-released next week, and, well, who knows what will happen.

In the UK, it's a huge deal to be at the number one spot come christmas day.* Over there, people still buy singles, and an amazing number of records are moved the week before christmas. A story from last week said "Since the announcement was made ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ has already been installed as second favourite for the Yuletide top-spot with odds of 12/1, beating the festive releases from Girls Aloud, McFly, Westlife, Crazy Frog, and Brian May & Cliff Richard. The favourite is of course the eventual winner of The X-Factor.

Nick Weinberg of Ladbrokes said: "Punters are definitely giving Slade the Nod to Hold off the field. -They're second in the betting behind X-Factor** but it looks as though Simon Cowell wont have things his own way this Christmas. The song's a classic and our customers are backing it to have a massive impact."

Anyway, I'm going to buy a couple of copies, just because I can. As for you, well, you can check out this clip of Noddy Holder*** and the boys singing their christmas classic.****
Slade - Merry Xmas (TOPof thePOPS 1973)

*the subject is covered pretty well in "Love Actually," with Bill Nighy playing the part of a jaded rocker who finds himself somehow in the race for the Xmas top spot. That's a good performance, but nighy does washed up rocker even better in 1999's "still crazy," co-starring billy connolly and steven rea. it's a great film: the reunion of a late, arguably not-so-great, and unlamented '70s rock band, Strange Fruit. Music is quite good, with original songs by mick jones (from foreigner and spooky tooth) and Squeeze's chris difford. It's under 10 bucks at amazon.

**x-factor is the second idol-type show that Simon Cowell created in the UK. Pop Idol was the first, but he decided against doing a second series, and created this one, which he now owns. No flies on him! The "X" stands for the undefinable "something" that makes someone a star)

***because it's my job to know these things, I can tell you that a: Slade still exists, and b: Noddy Holder left the band after 15 years. ( dave hill still plays guitar and leads the group, albeit without shoulder length hair. Dan saw them just a few months ago somewhere, and had a few of guitar geek questions answered. (And thanks to Cherish for correcting my spring tour info....)
What's Noddy up to? he's been working in TV and Radio, and was immortalised as a puppet on the TV show Bob the Builder.

In 1999 Noddy Holder's autobiography Who's Crazee Now? was published and he was awarded the MBE in 2000 for his services to music.

****interestingly, a US group called "camp freddy," with Dave Navarro and Scott Weiland are releasing their version of the song over here on the 12th of December.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

the holiday weekend passed in a blur----everyone survived, no big mix-ups or mash-ups.

now the holiday countdown begins....i'm doing well so far: 1 gift purchased, a zillion more to go.

if you haven't done so, do read the doonesbury strips nov 20-25. Here's where you'll find them. Of course the smirkers who should be shamed by these won't ever see them....

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

i am looking over the holiday division of power, and i'm not sure the scales of justice are evenly weighted.

NKK: roasting a turkey. Perhaps making a dressing.
JEK: roasting garlic, boiling, etc and finally mashing potatoes (mr quayle?), stringing beans, making gravy, making cranberry chutney.

of course, they're hosting the thing. But, for some unknown reason, I am always ready to keel over before the food is served.....

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

RIP Robert Altman. My favorites? Nashville, Mash, Gosford Park. When I remember it, A Wedding. mccabe and mrs miller.

In no particular order, of course.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Not to make you feel all old, or anything, but....

Let's go back in time to 1965, when a young hippie and a friend tossed a VW van-load of trash off a cliff in the western Massachusetts town, creating a stir -- and a song that clocks in at 18.5 minutes long.

Happy 40th anniversary to: Alice's Restaurant Massacree.

I can see you shaking your head. You think I'm off with the time on that song. Believe me, I know exactly how long that Alice's Restaurant is. Why? Because for about 8 years I played it on the radio at least once in the week before Thanksgiving or, even better yet, on Thanksgiving day. (Used to be a noontime staple for rock stations, though I guess it's no longer today)

It's funny about some of those songs. I hear them, and there's an immediate reaction, just like pavlov's dog. Don't believe me? Find an old fm rock jock. Ask them what happens when they hear hear "Stairway to Heaven," or "roundabout." I would bet the house that every single one feels the need to "heed the call of nature." Even if they've been fasting for 40 days and 40 nights, they'll still be compelled to (at least) walk into the bathroom*.

* in the dark ages, they'd also need a smoke. Any kind.

Which brings me to another observation. How do kids these days roll joints? I mean, there's no such thing as a double lp to open up?**.

** this is just an mental observation, purely rhetorical, of course. Having never seen anything with my own little eyes even remotely related to what I'm writing about, I'm not even sure what I am talking about. hello? What?

another wonderful phrase heard over the weekend:

two men, waiting at the butcher counter at wegmans. (sorry lee, decided to come out at the last minute, sans phone) BIG lineup, as everyone was picking up turkeys. (hope they weren't all fresh, as it was only sunday!

talking about the new james bond film. Man a says to man b. "....sounds right exciting. I can't wait to see it. I'm going to see this one at the pictures."

No, I wasn't down in sarasota, talking to a 90 year old. He was a quite "fit" brit. I'd say about 35.

Not quite as fit as this one:

As for me, I'll probably see it at the pictures, too. Daniel Craig can be downright intimidating on the TV....almost jumping off the screen and using up all the air in the room.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

i have been thinking about heading back up the pike to tower records, and their going out of business sale. Last weekend, when I was picking up CDs of lps I'd never gotten around to updating, i toyed with the idea of purchasing some jackson browne.

I have a love-hate relationship with the guy. I used to love him - - - I mean that first album? With "doctor my eyes," "rock me on the water" and "jamaica say you will" - - -fantastic. the next one, goes into my hall of fame simply because it contains "these Days." Doesn't need anything else. And on and on. But later we started hearing that perhaps he wasn't such a nice guy...rumors of abusive relationships and stuff. Like other women I know my age, we shuffled JB to the back of the rack. And I've never really moved him forward again.

A couple of years ago, I was over at the coleman's. Robin and i were watching tv, and we came across a concert, or documentary, about JB. almost in unison we both said something like: "I feel guilty about it, but i still really like his music." Neither of us have ever met him, but her husband has played with many of the same people, and felt much the same way we do.

So that's why the only jackson browne recording i own is a vinyl version of the first album. perhaps I'll change that.

Speaking of love-hate relationships, I've also got one with Rod Stewart. But for a different reason.
What's my problem with rod? well, I can't think of another songwriter who's squandered so much talent. He was once one of the best song interpreters in rock music, and also a killer songwriter. consider his early output, and we'll only look at the solo albums, not the stuff with The Faces, or jeff beck. Starting in 1970 (or the very end of 69, if you want to be exact), and continuing through the release of smiler in 1975, when his deal with mercury ended, Rod stewart released an amazing number of good songs.

the originals include: gasoline alley, jo's lament, mandolin wind, maggie may, every picture tells a story, lost paraguayos, and you wear it well.

the covers were amazing, too. these just kill me: the stones street fighting man, elton johns country comforts, handbags and gladrags, tim hardin's reason to believe, i know i'm losing you, hendrix angel, twisting the night way, sweet little rock and roller, and, if when feeling charitable, pinball wizard.

I guess we should have started to get nervous with that stringy version of carole king and gerry goffin's oh no not my baby. because then it wasn't too long til we heard do you think i'm sexy and hot legs.

amazing. to think that the same person could write every picture tells a story, and hot legs. or choose to sing both handbags and gladrags, and some of the treacle of recent years.

that said, i(and other spurned fans) started thinking perhaps all was not lost when he released "when we were the new boys" in 1998. the self-penned title track sounded like, well, a rod stewart song. But the album, with covers of songs by oasis, graham parker and nick lowe, and even an re-working of Ooh la la, wasn't a hit.

after that, we've mainly heard cover album after cover album. yawn.

maybe he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for britt ekland??

What made me think of that? Well, a recent viewing of the wonderful Life on Mars. You know, that bbc series I've been going on about. the one that you have to describe as "this detective gets hit by a car, and wakes up in 1973, and we see him try to figure out why he's there and how he can get back to 2006," even though that's not really telling the story AT ALL! the one that features the best use of music I've seen on tv, or in the movies, in years. Not to mention wonderful actors, and fantastic scripts. with tossaway lines like these:

the setting is an interrogation of a mouthy, uncooperative woman:
I'm done with this game. Let's play another. Let's play hopscotch or pin the tail on the donkey, you pick, Dora.

I want a lawyer.

I wanna hump Britt Ekland, what are we gonna do??"

trust me, it plays funnier than it reads. you've got to remember that in 1973, britt was the epitome of hot. famous for being famous, and for being peter sellers wife. And, in the UK, for the wickerman. and already cast in the james bond flick "the man with the golden gun."

And lee, if you've read this far, what did you ever do with that scarf of Rod's? Oops...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

a word to the wise:
Just cause your cat has kittens in the oven doesn't make them biscuits.

I had not heard that phrase in eons - - - but a nice looking lady of a certain age, with hair of a certain bluish-tint said it this morning on the subway. I only wish I could have heard what prompted it!

so, tomorrow, shelley and i are taking an extra long lunch. But not to eat, to trek over to the landmark theatre and see "for your consideration."

Hey, we're not geeks. We're going to the third show, not the first! (they've got two of the four screens at this quasi-arthouse).

no one has any comment on the new blogger?
No reaction to the last two posts?

I'm used to some people ignoring everything I say, but I'm not used to my written word being ignored!

Monday, November 13, 2006

2 things:

is the new blogger stable yet? I haven't made the switch, but will do so if things are finally in line. NM? What you say?

i spent 222 dollars at tower records yesterday. But only paid 77. Stuff was 40% off, and then ten percent off that. Add in 5% for tax.

yes, you read right. I did buy music. Not rare import stuff, either. All stuff that I wouldn't dare ask anyone for comps.

What did i buy? Some stuff I'd never gotten around to getting on CD. The stones "black and Blue," a pretty blah album, except for "memory motel." That alone was worth the 7 bucks I paid. A J. Geils record from the early days, two Bowie discs, Hunky Dory, and a a new collection. Maybe it was 3, i could have gotten Ziggy also. another copy of the new James Hunter CD from Rounder - - - he's a great british singer and songwriter, really swinging stuff. I have a copy of my own somewhere, this is a gift. Wanted the new Who, but they didn't have it.
What else? I'll have to check when I get home tonight.

I hate the idea of another record chain going under. What little I purchase, I usually buy:

direct from musicians. Always the best idea. They'll actually see a bit of the money that way. Back in the dark ages, when I was working with Slaid and Chesapeake, we'd (well, they'd, but i was a part of things) buy a box of CDs (how many in box? 28? I'll have to think, it's been so long) for 7 bucks each, and resell for 15. The artist keeps 8 from each sale. Of course, they keep little of that, some goes to management, etc. But, if you purchase in a store for 15, an artist would be lucky to see a buck. More like half of that.
Moral is: buy direct.

I'll purchase big label, major artist stuff from Amazon. i don't have to do that too often, luckily. Most stuff I want is either sent to me, or I'm able to buy direct. Of course, I don't want much of the majors stuff. I did buy the new dylan that way, simply to get the DVD edition. Same will go for the Beach Boys remaster.
If it's a new artist on a big label, again I'd try to buy direct. Most have sales on their websites, too. Those may be through a third party, but the artist is still likely to see more of the sale.

I'll purchase from Waterloo Records online. Waterloo is an amazing store in Austin. They are part of what the bumpersticker "Keep Austin Weird" is all about. Amazing stock, local business, civic minded owner. Employs many struggling musicians, too. If I'm lucky enough to be in Austin, I'll buy in person. Average time spent in shop: 45 minutes.

My last option is a brick and mortar store. And I guess that's the problem, huh? RIP tower.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

it was absolutely gorgeous here on saturday....high in the upper 70s, sunny, everything that november should be, and isn't. Today was more typical: about 50 and rainy.

But, on that beautiful saturday I put the top down on the car, and headed out to the land beyond wegman's....home of sasha. And Lee. And Dan.

Met Lee, and we headed over hill and dale to "dinosaur park." Which was flooded with kids. And dad's, for the most part. A few mom's, but I think most Mom's were busy doing something else while dad and the kids were out of the house!

We looked around, and found Sasha. True to form, she was busily sweeping leaves off of something. She stopped to investigate me!

Soon, it was time to head for home. And for noodles. Which was probably number one on her list of priorities. Sasha started off "full steam ahead."

But she soon decided that was not the most energy efficient way to travel. This was!

We played a bit before lunch*, and then again before naptime. Sasha became quite good at saying my name, and we became quite good at clapping our hands and repeating it back to her. Hmm....she's probably saying the same thing about us at this moment! Better check her blog.

* yes, sasha asked for a sponge and cleaned off her placemat without prompting. Scrubbed hands, too. Probably would have started scrubbing me, too....but we distracted her. And yes, I did see her very own dustbuster, i mean minivac. Can't find the trademark symbol on this keyboard!

Friday, November 10, 2006

hmmm..mony says write something.

I might buy these shoes. For some reason, the thought of having some green boots makes me smile.

and guess what? I'm having an audience with sasha over the weekend. Well, with lee really. But who knows, I might catch a glimpse of VA's brightest superhero.
(no photo here. She's changed her disguise again, I guess.)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Darrell Scott wrote (and recorded*) a great song called "It's A Great Day To Be Alive."

And that's just how I feel today! Karma, Pres. Bush, it's all Karma. You too, Rummy.

*yes, I know travis tritt had the hit. But I like Darrell's version best. John Cowan's comes in second.

Monday, November 06, 2006

what did i do today? Took the day off, as I had a couple of drs appts, and had to go back to the dentist. this time it was just for one of my thrice yearly cleanings. And guess who has a chipped filling in a wisdom tooth. probably a 15 year old filling, it's metal, not that amalgam stuff.

Yes me, the one who seems to single handedly be paying for doc's daughter to go to college next year. Honestly! You'd never know that i really have nice strong teeth. Just 3 crowns, and two fillings. No braces ever, and my wisdom teeth.

After that I went to meet nkk, we picked up brian (the state senator) and bill (you remember him from friday) and went to see al gore!

who no longer has his beard. Remember the beard?

anyway, there we were in a nice little theatre style room at a local seniors development. Which just happens to be the biggest precinct in the state! All our candidates were there, as al was stumping for martin o'malley, and ben cardin...our governor and senate hopefuls.

Great speech by al. I, of course, forgot my camera. The phone photo doesn't do him justice. Bill was up on stage, and got some good shots, I hope. We'll find out soon.

NKK was asked to speak for a few minutes about her old pal ben cardin. loads came up to compliment her afterwards.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

y'know...I KNEW this, but it just didn't register until I saw this disc at Tower yesterday.

i have not purchased the 40th anniversary edition of Pet Sounds, but I probably will get my hands on it someway or another. It's hard to over estimate the importance of this record in the history of pop music, and i'm not even going to try to explain it.

Interestingly, Blonde on Blonde and Pet Sounds were released on the same day. Two iconic albums released on the same day? That's never gonna happen again.

Just like it's going to be impossible for anyone to match the success of hank williams. There's no way that ANYONE could write or record so many now-classic songs in such a short career. He was a recording artist for just six years. During that time, Hank Williams recorded 66 songs under his own name, and an amazing 37 were hits. Big hits. and more than once, he cut three hit songs in one session.

Friday, November 03, 2006

I had a bit of a different day today. I skipped school, i mean I took the day off, and went with NKK and my state legislator Bill to a huge political rally. featuring both of MD's senators, a couple of congressmen, one congressman-turned-senate-candidate (ben cardin), the next governor of MD (martin o'malley), and the Lt-governor-to-be (anthony brown).

Oh yeah. Some guy named barack obama was there, too.

(sorry about the quality. or lack thereof. It's a phone pic. bill has better ones, so soon you shall too!)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

for those of you following the house saga:

the outside view:

the view outside

hooray! we have a contract. Closing is December 1, allowing us all to have a larger tax burden for 2006.