Thursday, December 28, 2006

Holiday Wrap-Up!

Well, we survived another one. The tree (for the moment) is still standing, despite Chiquito’s best efforts. He has managed to dislodge several ornaments, however. He also likes to take naps under the tree. I think it reminds him of being outdoors on his own.

I had a lot more trouble with the holiday baking this year than normal. Several things did not turn out, and I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough to give away. Happily, that wasn't the case. Still, it's a little frustrating that so much went wrong, and I can't figure out why. Three batches of fudge got tossed before I decided to give up and move on. Sigh!

I’ve about taken the holiday feasting as far as it can go. I’ve picked up enough weight to start feeling uncomfortable, even though I’m no where near regaining everything I’ve lost. Once the New Year starts, it’s back to healthy eating and exercising. Keith has already joined the Y. I’m really proud of him for that!

Keith really seemed to like his presents, which was great. I felt like I did really well this year, so it was nice to be right. I might regret giving him the harmonica, however. He gave me some pretty awesome books this year, which was a little different. Keith tends to shy away from getting me books, because he’s afraid I may already have them. This time around though, I got several, including a nice Frida Kahlo collection and the companion book to the March of the Penguins movie, which I also got on DVD. Keith likes to pick one item each year and get everyone on our list one. This year’s item was MoP on DVD. Honestly, I was getting a little jealous watching him wrap all those DVD’s for other people, when I’m the penguin nut in the household! I should have known better! So, all’s right with the world now. My mom gave each of us gift cards to Barnes and Noble, and my Secret Santa at work gave me one for Half-Price Books, so there’s going to be plenty of new reading in the house for a while!

I hope everyone had happy/merry/ho ho/whatevers and that 2007 will be very very good for you!

Hey Mr. Turtle!

Destroying my childhood memories, one by one....

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Bleah!

I hope you had a happy/merry/ho ho/whatever! I'm a little under the weather today and am heading back to bed. Hopefully, I'll get more posting done this week.

In the meantime, two post-holiday treats:

Sign up to win a nearly complete run of Strikeforce Morituri!

And for your viewing pleasure...Superpoderosas!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Linking Around

Looks like the new Emmylou Harris boxset won’t be available until next Spring. Bummer!

Happy blogiversary Progressive Ruin!

Read about Bully’s Xmas Adventures. Plus, gift giving guides!

Meanwhile, Dorian’s at war with Christmas. And he’s keeping track of where everyone stands!

Yes, he’s making a list. And given how thorough Dorian can be, he’s probably checking it carefully. I wouldn’t be surprised if he even checks it twice…

Hmmmm…..That sounds kind of familiar….Let’s see….


They both seem to have this “beard and silly hat” thing going on, too… So is this a case of “Know thine enemy” or is it more like “We have met the enemy and he is us”? More importantly, which list is this stunt going to put me on?


CBR’s Pipeline offers a plan to revive Wizard. And some folks want to see it happen.

Hey! Lefty moved me up a slot on the “musical guru” list. Wow! I was convinced I’d been a pretty crappy guru, so I was pleasantly surprised. (But he didn’t ask me any questions…)

Speaking of music, Thor’s been sharing the contents of his jukebox with Beaucoup Kevin.


Dammit!
Botofest 2007 has been cancelled. What is it about cool music festivals in this town? Bluesky Jamfest lasted one year as a multi-act festival. Now Boto has done the same thing. Damn! Damn! Damn!

Maybe it’s good music in general in this town. Homefront has lost their performance venue. This just SUCKS!

As if it couldn't get any worse, it also looks like we could be on the verge of losing the Rud, too. When it rains, it pours... (That's a Courier-Journal link, so it's only going to be available for free for seven days.)

Random Thoughts About This and That

Gotta love pay day! My insurance premium went down, so I’ve got a few unexpected extra dollars. Of course, that will correct itself when my increase in flexible spending for 2007 kicks in.

If blogging about blogging is a sin, then what is blogging about not blogging? I seem to do more of that…

I’m a bit concerned about how Chiquito is going to handle the Christmas tree when it goes up.

I’m supposed to be Santa for our office Christmas lunch on Friday. (Seriously!)

Can anyone recommend some hip-hop/rap music that I might actually like?

Had the first snow of the season last week. Not sure whether to be excited or bummed. It was only flurries, after all. And not that long ago, we had temps in the 70’s! And it’s been in the 50’s this weekend. On the one hand, I totally hate the cold and mess of winter weather. On the other, there’s the romantic vision of sitting on the couch with peppermint hot chocolate, a warm blanket, the one I love, and a cat or two.

Getting ready to start my holiday baking today.

Trying to blog while balancing a laptop and a kitten on one's lap is difficult.

I'm convinced that the Post Office is a bit like church. There are people who only go there at Christmastime. And, consequently, they're pretty damned annoying because they have no clue how things are supposed to work. I never thought that the PO was that hard to navigate, but it seems to be beyond an increasing number of people. It can be pretty aggravating to those of us who go there several times a week.

But rather than grouse about it, I've decided to be proactive instead. Here are Eddie's tips for the PO-challenged:

1. Get your stuff ready beforehand. Address everything. Pack your boxes. Tape them shut.

2. If you don't have the supplies to do this, go get them, go home, get your packages ready, then go to the Post Office.

3. This includes the priority and express mail supplies that are available at the Post Office. Take them home and get your stuff ready.

4. If the idea of making two trips to the PO bothers you, take your supplies out to your car and get your stuff ready.

5. If you haven't figured out what I am trying to say yet, try this: The Post Office is NOT the place to get your packages ready!

6. If this sensible approach is beyond you, at least have the decency to not try getting your stuff packed up while you are in line at the Post Office!

7. Most PO's have counters where you can do that. Step out of line and use them.

8. If you step out of line to use them, please don't expect the line to hold your place.

9. And for God's sake, don't try to hold your place in line while you're at a counter doing the stuff you should have done at home.

10. Know how you're going to be sending your stuff: which rate you want, insured or uninsured, with delivery confirmation or not. You can look all this stuff up at the USPS web page.

Following these simple steps will get your holiday packages on their way with a minimum of wear and tear on both you and the other people using the Post Office. Since I'm likely to be one of those people, I'd certainly appreciate your cooperation.

If that seems to be too much for you to handle, I have just one thing to say: UPS.

And, taking a page from Mike, for reading all that, here's my favorite animated Christmas short ever!


Friday, December 08, 2006

But What Did Lois and Batman Do?


Action 417, artist unknown.

Jimmy's crime, at least, is obvious: those pants!

Image courtesy of Eddie's Great Pile o' Unread Comics!

Sinning Boldly*

Unless and until you hear otherwise, consider this your December post.

Well, I guess I owe it my three or four regular readers to actually post something at least once a month or so. I think I’m just going to go ahead and add the word “occasional” to my blog description, just for the sake of truth in advertising. Maybe “infrequent” would be better still.

Seriously, I’d hope that I might get some new posts in this month, but this is me we’re talking about, so who knows? Just in case, let me go ahead and wish everyone a Happy Yule, Blessed Kwanzaa, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year, just in case you don’t hear from me again for a while. Best to keep one’s bases covered.

*Thanks to Lefty for the Luther quote.

Monday, November 06, 2006

From Last Night's Smallville Weather Forecast:

"And for tomorrow, it looks like it will be cloudy in the morning with a 98% chance of a Superboy storm in the afternoon. You'd best break out the kryptonite umbrellas folks, or else plan to stay inside. Making sure that your homeowner's insurance is up to date is a pretty good idea too. There might still be time to purchase the special 'Kryptonian Damage' rider!"

Superboy 159 (art by Neal Adams--I think)

Image courtesy of Eddie's Great Pile o' Unread Comics!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Today, I Turn 42.


We will celebrate in the traditional manner, with shopping at my favorite second-hand stores, punctuated by meals at my favorite restaurants. This will continue throughout the weekend.

That is all.

PS Damn! That’s a lot of candles!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Burn THIS Pal! Director's Commentary Disc 2

An awful lot of really bad things are done by people who are supposed to be the good guys. And a lot of really good music has been written about it. I couldn't help adding a second disc to collect some of it. If the law can't or won't do anything about it, then call in the folksingers!

What If the "Good Guys" Are the Ones Doing the Bad Things?


Heroes (Jill Sobule):
It’s always hard to hear about the foibles and shortcomings of your heroes. I thought this humorous take on the whole “feet of clay” syndrome would be a good way to open the disc and offer a much lighter perspective than some of the cuts to follow.

Conservative Christian Right-Wing Republican Straight White American Males (Todd Snider): Again, another light-hearted song, but this one is a little more direct and contemporary. On the one hand, you can say Snider chose an easy target, but, on the other, he really lays bare the political polarization in America today.


Hey Kevin (Yer Girlfriend): Yer Girlfriend is a lesbian band from here in Louisville. Back in the day, Keith and I rarely missed one of their shows. They broke up several years ago, but re-group for special occasions. This song is based on a true story of a gay student who was kicked out of one of the seminaries here. It’s always touched me on a real personal level, because I was a student there too. So was Keith. It’s where we met. The last verse really resonates for me, all these years later.


Man of God (Eliza Gilkyson): This isn’t Gilkyson’s best bit of writing. It’s just a tad heavy-handed for my tastes. She done much better anti-war and anti-W songs, but I felt this one just fit here.


Mercy Now (Mary Gauthier): I couldn’t move away from the abuses on the contemporary American religious scene without including this song. Mary Gauthier cuts through to the part of me that still wants to believe, touching on many of the reasons why in the process. When this song was first released, my dad was in the hospital. Even now, listening to it realy gets me.


Shady Grove (Zoë Speaks): Kentucky folk duo recasts a well-known traditional song as an indictment of racism and racial injustice. This one gives me the chills every time I hear it.


Black Waters (Jennifer Rose): I really wanted to use Jean Richie’s version of this song, since she wrote it, but could not find it on iTunes. Jennifer Rose’s version comes the closest to matching Richie’s traditional mountain style of singing so I chose it. The many evils committed by big coal against the land and people of the Appalachians don’t get near the attention that they should. Personal note: Jennifer Rose and I went to the same college.


In the News (Kris Kristofferson): Nobody can sum up the crappy state we find ourselves in like Kris Kristofferson. It’s always fun to go to a Kristofferson concert and watch the folks who think the only songs he ever wrote or recorded were “Sunday Morning Coming Down” and “Help Me Make It Through the Night” when he starts throwing out his more political material.


Can’t Make It Here (James McMurtry): I believe that we are reaping the bitter fruits of the Reagan revolution, and it’s not a pretty sight at all. The human cost is unbearably high. This song lays it all out better than any I’ve ever heard.


Some Humans Ain’t Human (John Prine): Only John Prine would think of comparing those responsible for our current national mess to “ice cubes with hair!”


Christmas in Washington (Steve Earle): It simply would not have been right to do this disc without a Steve Earle song!


Let it Ring (Amy Ray): As I started moving to the end of the disc, I felt like I had spent enough time laying out the evils of contemporary American society. I didn’t want stop at merely creating a musical downer. One of the beautiful things about “protest” music is that there are as many songs of hope as there are of indictment. I wanted to end with some calls for change and reminders not to give up hope.


This song comes from her solo album, Prom, which deals in large part with growing up queer in the south. It’s an incredible album, one of last year’s best, in fact. This is the final cut, and she manages to blast at those who use flag and faith as weapons to attack others and encourage those of us who oppose them at the same time.


The People’s Day (Otis Gibbs): This is the song that made me fall in love with Otis Gibbs. It sounds like something that would have been song at an IWW meeting in the 30’s! The inclusion of Harvey Milk on the list of the fallen heroes is a nice touch.


Peace Call (Eliza Gilkyson, Iris Dement, Mary Chapin Carpenter): This is a previously unrecorded Woody Guthrie song. I love the harmonies especially.


Imagine (Emmylou Harris): During the 2004 election cycle, she would do this song at her concerts. I was lucky enough to see it twice. Just her, a guitar, the words of one of rock’s greatest writers, and that amazing voice. I don’t know about anyone else, but that’s enough to inspire me to hold on to hope for the future. I hope she will record this in the future. In the meantime, this is an audio rip from a CMT live performance. Again, I probably should have edited the applause a bit.


Goodbye George! (Ann Reed):
At this point in time, anti-W folk songs are a dime a dozen, and most of them, frankly, aren’t that good. Ann Reed knows how to do it right and manages to be political, clever, and entertaining. I had to close with this one, which is available for purchase from her web site, even though it meant following one live cut with another.

Quick Takes on Some of the Other Discs:

Lawbreakers (Lefty Brown): It’s a nice collection all together. Unlike a couple of other folks, I loved the Judas Priest opener. It’s a fun song and I thought the choice was tongue-in-cheek enough to be inspired. I didn’t care much for the next two cuts, so was a little worried for a moment. Franky, Fiona Apple bores me. The only other cut I really didn’t like was the Rod Stewart cover of "Street-Fightin’ Man," which just felt a little wrong somehow. But, the actual presence of the Rolling Stones made up for the bad Stones cover, and the presence of Steve Earle more than makes the disc a total winner. I’ve read some reviewers who think that "Condi Condi" is just a toss off bit of fluff for Earle, who usually has a lot more muscle to his music. Personally, I think it’s nice to see him bringing a bit of humor to his well-known politics.

The Steve Taylor song brought back good memories of my college days when I was into being in the Baptist Student Union and listening to contemporary Christian music. I had BSU friends who thought I was a bit of a heretic for liking Taylor, because he actually had some thought-provoking substance to his music, which was anathema to their version of Christianity. Of course, those same folks now think I’m a total hell-bound heathen because I’ve left the church, the faith, and (gasp!), I’ve been in love with another man for 15 years! Anyway, all told, I thought Lefty’s disc was another solid Lefty Brown collection. The man puts together good collections of music, folks.

Roger's Plethora of Contributions (Roger Green): I got his law and order discs in mail last week, along with a copy of his disc for Kelly’s Summer exchange (which I hadn’t received), and a very pleasant surprise disc. There’s no song list, just “Hello Eddie” written on the disc, so naturally I had to check it out first. In short, I’m enjoying the heck out of it. I’ve laughed. I’ve grooved. I’ve recognized some songs and a few artists, but there are quite a few who are new to me. I hope Roger will see this and spill the contents. Thanks for the lovely surprise, Roger. It's one of the best discs I've gotten this year!

He made two discs for the exchange, Enthroned in the Hearts of Kings (love the title!) and John, Bobby, and John. At his blog he says that he made Enthroned because he wasn't totally happy with JBJ after it was finished, which is odd to me, because I thought JBJ was the better of the two.

I thought the theme, fallen 60's icons (two Kennedys and a Beatle), gave the disc a really tight focus, but still allowed for a variety of contributions. I was especially surprised to hear Laura Cantrell on the disc. I thought it all hung together and flowed really well. The other disc is good and has a LOT of good songs on it, but it feels a little more disjointed to me.

Finally, Roger's summer exchange disc has been perfect listening for a couple of dreary October days!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Burn THIS Pal! Director's Commentary Disc 1

Okay, so a little while ago Gordon announces he's doing a disc exchange with a law and order theme. I debated participating, because I thought I'd have a hard time dredging up enough stuff to fit the theme from my music collection.

Then it hit me: "You idiot! Most of what you listen to is Americana-ish stuff and most of it is about people making choices that get them in trouble." In about five minutes, I had a list of songs for the collection, without having to think very hard about it at all.

I still had a couple of concerns, but they turned out to be easy to deal with, for the most part. I wanted to make sure that I had a good showing of work by female artists, since I have so many of them in my collection. I also had to make sure that I got a local act or two in, since this is important to me.

My biggest concern had to do with audience perception. I was a little concerned that some of the recipients would find a mono-genre collection to be boring, even though the boundaries for Americana music are pretty broad and fairly flexible. I was also worried that Roger, Lefty, and Gordon, recent recipients of several "all Americana, all the time" discs from me, would be rolling their eyes and groaning "Not again! Someone please take his CD burner away!"

It's a valid concern. I love making mixes, but boring your audience is never good. Still, the seed had been planted, and I had to follow my muse. I promise some more musical variety next time around, guys!

One of the things that I love most about Americana music is the stories, especially the ones that don't end happily. Maybe I'm just a morbid old crank, but there's something about listening to the sad fate of someone who made some bad choices that really gets to me. Of course, some folks don't have to make a bad choice for things to go to hell. Life just turns out that way. Either way it can make for some good music. Hence, my title:

Hard Times, Rough Living, Bad Choices, Good Music

Long Black Veil (The Cheiftains with Mick Jagger): I just love this slow, mournful tune. The pipes that moan through the opening of this version gives me the chills, and Jagger's voice matches them, wail for wail. I thought it was a great opening. A man is hung for a murder he didn't commit because his alibi is the woman he's having an affair with--his best friend's wife.

Devil’s Right Hand (Steve Earle): Given Earle's many songs about outlaws and rebels, not too mention his personal clashes with the law, he was a given for this set. The problem was picking a tune. I finally went with this one because I thought the rockier beat was a good follow-up to the opening ballad. How was I to know that Tosy was going to decide he doesn't like Steve Earle?

Postcards From Mexico (Kevin Welch and Kieran Kane): I just love Welch and Kane! This is off of their newest release. I love the call and response format of the song. I wanted to use this one so bad, but I don't have the CD yet, so I actually joined iTunes to get it.

Camelot Motel (Mary Gauthier): Some of Gauthier's best writing is found in this song about the motely collection of losers, hustlers, lovers, and thieves who take rooms at the titular no-tell motel.

Pancho & Lefty (Emmylou Harris): This was a no-brainer. Emmylou's classic version of Townes van Zandt's classic outlaw song. In my mind it's one of the greatest songs ever written. I love the way he laid out the story of these two men without explicitly filling in all the details. We see the men through the blur of the legends that grew up around them. Emmylou sings this tragic tale beautifully.

1952 Vincent Black Lightning (Del McCoury Band): Okay, I apologize to Lefty, Roger, and Gordon, who now have this song on three consecutive discs from me, but it's a classic doomed outlaw love tale. I couldn't not use it! I promise it won't show up again for the rest of the year, even if the band did...well, you know. (I promise I'll stop talking about that one day too. It just won't be soon.)

Robert Ford and Jesse James (David Olney): Jesse James showed up a lot in the mixes this time. I like this take on the story, which tries to explain why Ford might have wanted to shoot his cousin in the back.

Milly’s Café (Fred Eaglesmith): Eaglesmith has become the new songwriter of choice in our home. His stuff seems to continually inhabit our music-playing devices. You can't do a disc like this without one story of a good girl who gets pulled into a life of crime by the bad boy. It never ends well.

Infamous Angel (Iris Dement): I imagine this one made Tosy cringe, but I love it. Another thing I love about Americana is the large number of songwriters with what I refer to as"voices with character." They're not as polished as others might be. Some of them are even a bit quirky in their tone or phrasing, but they inhabit and embody their songs perfectly. Iris Dement is a perfect example. I am madly in love with everything about her music, especially that wonderful lilt and twang that she has in her voice. It's lovely and perfect, especially for a song like this. We don't know exactly what Angel has done to become so infamous, but the song hints that she's been involved in quite a lot.

Sam Stone (John Prine): A classic, pure and simple. One of the first songs I thought of for this disc. Nobody can write a song like this like Prine can.

Best of All Possible Worlds (Kris Kristofferson): Except maybe for Kristofferson. I wanted this one because it's so tongue in cheek.

My Wife Thinks You’re Dead (Junior Brown): I originally had three or four songs like this one in the mix. Stuff that was a little lighter, and more humorous in nature. Sadly, I ended up not having room for them. I miss the texture they would have brought to the mix, but they'll be turning up on a future project.

Tecumseh Valley (Nanci Girffith): Another Townes van Zandt song. This time, it's the sad story of a young woman and the lengths she goes to support herself and her family. Arlo Guthrie sings along with Griffith.

Caleb Myer (Gillian Welch): A modern take on the classic murder ballad, which means that, for once, it's not the female character getting killed! I love Welch's haunted take on traditional music. (Note to Roger: Please do the murder ballad disc!)

Terrible Horrible Thing (Dan Gediman with Heidi Howe): Another modern murder ballad. This time, the man and the woman both get killed. Gediman and Howe are both Louisville-based artists. Gediman is the man behind the revival of "This I Believe."

Jesse with the Long Hair Hanging Down (Robert Earl Keen): I dismissed the more likely REK choice as being far too obvious. This lesser known tune is one of Keith's favorites. I like the fact that it actually has a happy ending!

You Think You Know Someone (Todd Snider): Haunting story about child abuse.

Murder at the Read House (Otis Gibbs): This was a late addition to the mix, as I really just discovered Gibbs on the Music Choice Americana channel right before I had to put it all together. Nevertheless, I love this song, because it's so overwhelmingly creepy.

The Sweetest Gift (Linda Ronstadt with Emmylou Harris): I had to include this one, for sentimental reasons. This is the song that introduced me to the wonder of Emmylou Harris. My mother was a big Linda Ronstadt fan, and I spent a lot of time listening to her albums as a kid. The first time I played this cut off of Prisoner in Disguise, I had to know who the harmony singer was. I found a copy of Blue Kentucky Girl at the library, and that was all she wrote. I wanted to wrap up the CD on some lighter, more hopeful notes, and this song fit that desire perfectly.

25 Minutes to Go (Johnny Cash): Only Johnny Cash can stand live before a bunch of hardened felons in prison and sing a song that makes light of waiting on death row and get away with it. I knew this would be the perfect closer for the CD, because it's not so heavy. I just wish I had edited out some of the applause and stage chatter at the end. It would have made for a tighter ending to the disc. I was in such a hurry to get the discs out before we left that I didn't think of it.

That's disc one. In a moment, we'll have disc 2.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Very Quick Updates on the Personal Front

Finally feeling better, except for a residual cough. Now, if we could just get Keith's ears unclogged.

Conference went extremely well. Almost 500 attendees. My major work stress for the year is OVER!

My brother is in town for the annual Mitchell Brothers Reunion Road Trip. We're going to the flea market today.

Kosh has become a very needy lap kitty since we've been back from Mexico. For my lap in particular.

This blog passed its third blogiversary earlier this month, unnoticed by everyone including me.

Next week, I'll be passing my 42nd birthday in much the same way.

That's not true. I'll be sitting by the mailbox waiting for the flood of cards and gifts from my many admirers. What are you waiting for? You still have a week to get something in the mail.

Bennie ripped the space bar off my laptop the other day. We got it back on, but if you don't hit it just right, it doesn't always space right. Any odd spacing errors in this post are her fault.

I got tangled in my power cord the other day rushing to get Chiquito off Bennie and the laptop dropped. Now the audio is garbled about half the time.

People who have cats shouldn't own laptops.

Yes, I just did a post largely about my cats.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Citizens!

Not much time to write today. Snot continues to cram the crevices of my head and chest (ewwwww!), but I am breathing a little easier and am able to sleep without Nyquil, which means that I am sleeping better.

The dreaded conference is tomorrow, and I'm heading to the hotel in a bit to set stuff up. I still have to hit the office and copy one more thing, while I'm at it. I've done this thing for six years now, and I have never had the problems getting it together like I have this year. I've spent most days since I got back from vacation fighting with either our purchasing folks or the hotel accounting folks over getting the damn thing paid for! Never had to do that before.

Anyway, nothing new except for some blogroll updates today. I added Tosy and Cosh and GayProf because I enjoy reading them and I need to stop hopping over to them using Roger's links. It's taken me a while to get my own set up, but I'm lazy like that.

Tom the Dog and Crocodile Caucus should have been on my blogroll a long time ago as well. I think I may have even done it in the past and forgot to re-add them when I lost my links after updating my template. Oh well. They're both worth a read, if you're not already doing so. Lyle at CrocCauc is a really nice guy. A couple of years ago, he and I had a great time prowling the indy comics pavilion and small press alley together at the San Diego con.

And to make up for being so rushed, one of my favorite YouTube Adam West Batman videos:

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Theory: I Died Three Days Ago and This is a Zombie Post

Okay, so I’m not an iron blogger like Mike. I’m a wimp. I get sick and I crawl off to bed, instead of writing long posts about comic books. Sorry about that.

Part of the problem is that the impending conference has made it impossible for me to take a sick day. This has turned my post-work routine into the following:

Leave work.
Stagger home.
Stumble in the door.
Sniff and hack a little.
Have a bowl of Cap’n Crunch.
Sniff and hack a little more.
Have another bowl of the good Cap’n.
Polish it off with a bunch of OJ.
Sniff and hack some more.
Watch last night’s One Life to Live on the DVR.
Sniff and hack at Keith a bit.
Take a bunch of Nyquil.
Crawl in bed.
Get under quilt.
Wait for Kosh to settle in beside me.
Sniff.
Hack.
Pass out until morning.

Everything has settled into my chest, which takes forever to clear out with me, but I’m starting to feel somewhat better, exxcept for not sleeping well without medication yet. I haven’t really had time to work on my Mexico posts, and that’s probably going to have to wait until after the conference on Monday. I might post more over the weekend, but don’t hold your breath.

In the meantime, check out Mike’s latest round of links (and if you missed the Nancy link post from a couple of days ago, your life is woefully incomplete).

When you get done there, visit GayProf’s hagiography of gay saints, if you need some spiritual edification. If your needs are more carnal in nature, then swing by Dorian’s Beefcake Week posts. (Mmmmm....beefcake!) Personally, when it comes to comic beefcake, I’m pretty taken by Jaeger.











(That's not the sexiest Jaeger shot, but I haven't had much luck finding any good ones online. I'll try to scan some this weekend. Image courtesy of The Gay Comics List. Art is by and Finder is copyright Carla Speed McNeil.)

Over at Journalista, Dirk Deppey has compiled all his manga scanlation recommendations for indy comic readers into one document, with images.

And with that, it’s time for the evening routine. See you all later.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

No Posts When I'm Dying!

I think I've now proven that one can pick up illnesses from reading a sick person's blog. At least, I'm pretty sure that's what happened.

Actually, Keith started coming down with a cold right before we left Mexico, and he's been kind enough to share it with me. I spent most of the day in bed and am heading back there as soon as this gets posted.

More later!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

But What About Mexico?

Our trip to Mexico City was fabulous! One of the best vacations we’ve ever taken, in fact. The city is wonderful. The people are wonderful. And there is way more to see and do than we could possibly cover in eleven days, believe it or not. We’re already talking about a return visit.

The trip has left me with a lot that I want to write about, so be prepared for several posts in the near future. I’m going to be grouping things into somewhat loose topics, rather than providing a really boring day by day travelogue. This is my first deliberate attempt to create a bunch of posts that I would consider to be Rogerian in nature. We’ll see how it goes. I’ve got a lot to get out of my system, and what’s the point of having a blog, if not to get things out of one’s system?

I’m going to try to sandwich some Burn THIS Pal director’s commentary for my discs in between Mexico posts, plus review some of the other contributions as well. After I’ve run the trip into the ground, I’ve got a bunch of stuff I started ages ago that I want to finish up and post, including a review of Dolly Parton’s first album, a through the years look at a few Emmylou Harris albums, a post about my father and comic books, some additions to my sidebar, plus a really long post (or series of posts) about Days of Our Lives that I have been wrestling with for a while now, but haven’t been able to get it to turn out the way I’d like.

If it all comes out the way I plan for it to, then I should have enough content to last through my birthday in November. Of course, this is me we’re talking about, so we’ll just have to wait and see. I mean, the big annual work conference is the 23rd and my brother is coming to visit on the 26th, so I will have some distractions in there.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I Know This Is Going to Scar Everyone for Life

Lefty, I'll see your picture of you with a bra on your head....



....and raise you a picture of me with a pair of underwear in my head!



(If this becomes a meme, I'm going to be truly frightened!)

Eddie-ted: I added the links I forgot to put in last night.

Monday, October 09, 2006

I'm Coming Home!

Greetingsfrom our last day in Mexico City! The in-trip blogging didn't happen like I had hoped because I was either way too busy or way too tired to think about it. Rest assured, though, that there will be at least a week of boring travel recaps to thrill and excite you.

Keith and I fly out in a few hours and should be home by ten tonight. I'm really missing the cats at this point. We've not been away this long since we got Kosh a few years ago, and I'm not sure Chiquito will even remember us.

I did manage to keep up with the blogosphere in a limited fashion over the past eleven days, so here are a few noteworthy highlights to tide everyone over until I get home:

It's mini-comic week at Comics Worth Reading!

At Postmodern Barney, Dorian went to see the Scissor Sisters and has some nice pics of the show. He's also had a lot of well-put thoughts about the current state of queers in Marvel Comics. I have to admit that I find what I'm reading about the whole situation to be disturbing and annoying, but I'm really loathe to comment on it, simply because I'm not reading any Marvel books at the moment (and don't plan to be in the future). For me to complain too much seems like hypocrisy. I am glad, however, that there are folks like Dorian raising the alert on stuff like this. Oh, andit must be October, because Dor brought out his Halloween template. I'm hoping we'll get more monster posts and horror movie reviews soon!

Lefty predicted the future, then got really strange. I think the emissions from his crystal ball are starting to get to him.

Roger had a great post yesterday comparing the original album release of Pete Seeger's We Shall Overcome to the CD re-issue. I've got to get my hands on the CD now!

Gordon went psycho, um, psychic too. And he's right about the peace sign thing too! He also belatedly discovered Wolff and Byrd.

Delenda Est Carthago is a big two years old now! Congrats, Greg! You can review some of Greg's greatest hits in his anniversary post, or see his top ten favorite English monarchs (I just love typing that!), or watch him tussle with Tom Beland.

I'm not that big a fan of True Story Swear to God either, Greg, for many of the reasons you state. I'm actually a fan of autobio comocs when they have something to say or else present themsleve with some sort of style or point of view. Beland skims the surface of things too often for my tasteand avoids dealing with anything remotely messy, which means that he really doesn't deal with anything interesting either. His piss-poor response to your review put me off the bookeven more than I already was.

Scroll through the last few days of Journalista posts for some scanlation recommendations of manga for folks who tend to like indy and alternative comics. Great stuff!

Finally, watch a stuffed bull go above and beyond the call of duty. Scroll through Bully's hour by hour reviews commemorating 24-hour comics day!

That's all folks. See you back in the USA!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Let's see....

Plane Tickets--check!
Passports*--check!
Cat Sitter/House Watcher--check!
Pesos--check!
Plane Reading--check!
Hotel Reservations--check!
Suitcases Packed--check!
Camera Charged--check!

Time to go to Mexico!

I'm not sure how often I'm going to be able to blog until we get back, but I'm going to try, so check back here from time to time.

Other Stuff:

I mailed my Burn THIS Pal! discs yesterday. (Yes! I met a deadline for once!)

Thanks, Roger for all the answers.

*You still don't need a passport to go to Mexico at this moment, but having one makes things a little easier. After the first of the year, you will need one.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

No TIme! NoTime! Oh My!

Got too much going on this week getting ready to fly out on vacation on Thursday, so blog-time is a tad limited right now.

How about an Emmylou Harris video to pass the time?



Maybe more later!

Friday, September 22, 2006

I Have Failed You Grasshopper

A little while ago, Lefty named me as his “Musical Guru #5,” which is really kind of cool. I know Lefty listens to and likes a LOT of music, so it’s pretty neat that he thinks that much of my own musical tastes. However, I didn’t realize that being a guru carried so much responsibility!

In July, he turned to me and several other of his gurus for some musical recommendations for his birthday shopping, and I was just too busy to get back to him in a timely manner. I’m a failure as a guru, I guess. Worse yet, he called me out on it. And it's still taken me this long to get back to him! Looks like I’ll never get promoted out of the number 5 slot, and I could actually be dropped down the list!! Worse, I totally missed out on his birthday music excursion!

Still, I couldn’t pass up the chance to throw out a few ideas for the next time he’s in a mood to pick up some music. So here, for Lefty and anyone else who might be interested, or my picks from some of the current musical releases. I decided to stick with 2006 releases because I thought they would be easier for Chris to track them down.

I know he’s got this year’s releases from Kris Kristofferson, plus the Mark Knopfler/Emmylou Harris collaboration, the Springsteen Seeger album, and the Gram Parsons boxed set, so he’s already got the best of the year, in my opinion.

Still, there’s quite a bit to recommend:

Rhett Miller: He’s the lead singer of the Old 97’s (a band I know Lefty likes), but does side projects from time to time, including this solo album that just came out this year. Like his band, Miller blends rock, alt-country, folk, and power pop in his songs. I really like him a lot.

Teddy Thompson: He’s Richard and Linda Thompson’s son, which means he’s got good musical genes, and it shows. He also had a new CD come out this year.

Linda Ronstadt: This one hasn't been out for too long. She’s teaming up with Anne Savoy to do a Cajun/zydeco album. I’ve loved Ronstadt for ages and ages, and am so glad to see her stretching back to more roots oriented music.

Some Day Things Will Be Much Worse--Meat Purveyors: Anyone who likes punk as much as Lefty does should have some Meat Purveyors in his collection. They’s made a career out of playing traditional, string band-style music with punk rock intensity. Their stuff is really compelling. I love the lead singer’s voice! For the first time in their career, they used electric instruments on the new album. Sadly, they're also breaking up. Sigh!

Lost John Dean--Kieran Kane/Kevin Welch: Love, love, love Kieran Kane, whether on his own or with Kevin Welch. Dark, moody music about desperate characters! Gotta love it. The new album features “Postcards from Mexico” a call and response song about a man who took the rap for a robbery his girlfriend committed. It’s awesome.

Unsung--Slaid Cleaves: One of my favorite singer-songwriters. He also spends a lot of time on the lonely side of town with the down and out. His new album is covers of songs by songwriters from the Austin area, which is where he lives. He wanted to try and give some attention to other local talents, which is way cool.

T-Bone Burnett: Lord, the man only releases albums every decade or so! What other reason do you need to pick this one up?

Well, that should be enough to keep anyone busy for a while. Oh yeah, happy VERY belated birthday, Chris! Can I hold on to that number 5 slot?

This and That

Just randomness on a soon-to-be rainy Friday morning:

Roger's taking questions at his blog again. Go stump him, won't you? And tell him Eddie sent you! (Don't try to stump him with Algebra, though. He's good at that.)

Dorian posts some queer comix stuff I've been forgetting to do. I envy those lucky dogs in San Francisco.

Beaucoup Kevin has the best commentary on the Groth-Ellison suit.

And, finally, from Tosy and Cosh: An excellent review of Bob Dylan's new album. Lefty, do you have it yet?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

More Musical Miscellany!

Carrie Newcomer has some great new demos up at her site. I particularly like the one about email!

Delia Bell is a bluegrass artist, one I'd be willing to bet that you are not familiar with. She's got a really big fan, though, in the form of Emmylou Harris, who produced an album for Bell in 1983. It's been out of print and unavailable for decades, but it is soon to be re-released on CD! That's your musical good news for today.

My Morning Jacket fall tour dates.

Remodelling

I’m trying out a new template. I got tired of the old one. The type was too hard to read and the dark background was problematic. It would look fine on my computer, but another computer I used to check the blog would show the background as totally white, making the type impossible to read. No one else has complained about that, but I was afraid that it might be happening to other folks. So far, it doesn’t seem to happen with this one.

However, now I’m seeing lots of html gobbledygook in places. Is anyone else seeing it? It only happens for me on one computer out of the three or four I use to check the blog.

Can anyone tell me how to hide it?

I also thought this template would look nice with the logo I’ve been working on for the blog, if I can figure out how to get Blogger to accept it. I wish I know more about what I’m doing here. Sigh!

Two Comic Thoughts

1. Forget Marvel, their back and forth policies, and their gay characters created solely to be cannon fodder! This is the kind of gay comic book I want to be reading: intelligent, subversive pornography! (Not at all work safe!)

I wonder how many fans of Rader’s Catwoman are coming along for this ride.

2. Harlan Ellison is suing Gary Groth and Fantagraphics. That feud has been going on for so long that this is almost like one big yawn, except for two things that hit me when I first read the news.

First, the timing of the suit seems funny to me, given the long history of the feud and Ellison's willingness to sue seemingly at the drop of a hat. A commenter at Comics Worth Reading came to the same conclusion I did: Thanks to Peanuts, Fantagraphics finally has some money to sue for!

Second, the way the Groth-Thompson relationship ("shared house" "secret vacation") is described in the complaint (3 mb PDF file), it sounds more like they are lovers than business associates. A commenter at Journalista! picked up on that too. The cynic in me is wondering if it this is a deliberate wording choice.

In another place in the complaint, there's a reference to Groth having a "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" routine. It looks to me like they are trying to paint Groth as being somehow "less masculine" than Ellison, between that statement and the subtle gay implications (using the old stereotype here that gay = feminine).

It's like they're trying to hook into the line of thinking that says a man who isn't sufficiently "manly" really shouldn't be trusted, because, after all, who knows that someone "like that" will do.

I'm not saying it's deliberate, because I have no way of knowing, but when I read the complaint, I see a veiled attempt to play to stereotype and homophobia. It's distasteful and if the suit really does have merit (which I am in no position to judge), totally unnecessary.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Musical Miscellany!

Best music-related promo of the summer:

It’s for Todd Snider’s (Warning: Pop-ups and Flash at the link) new album, The Devil You Know, but interestingly the phrases are all from a song ("Conservative Christian Straight White American Males") on his previous release, East Nashville Skyline. Not sure why they're reusing them, but it makes a cool giveaway.

The whole thing is a sticker set! Each phrase is a separate decal, which you can peel off and use to decorate notebooks, bulletin boards, walls, refrigerators, or a nearby Keith.*



*You’ll have to get your own Keith, however. This one’s mine.

-----------------------
If you’re not already an InRadio supporter, then this month’s issue might just be what you need to join the flock.
I love getting these bi-monthly collections of music from independent artists and labels, but this month they surpassed themselves. From start to finish, there’s not a bad track on this disc, which is amazing, considering it covers a lot of musical territory: pop, indie rock, neo-folk, Americana. It’s really great!

---------------------------

I’ve been cataloguing all of our CD’s into a spreadsheet, because it’s getting harder to keep up with them. I’m finding myself in a used music store staring at a disc and trying to remember if we’ve got it or not just a little too often. I’m only about ¾ of the way through and I’ve already got a thousand discs listed. Is that excessive?

------------------------------

Query: Been listening to What’s New, Linda Ronstadt’s first collaboration with Nelson Riddle from 1983. Eventually, they ended up doing several albums of standards together. Was she the first singer from a “more contemporary” genre not known for singing standards to record an album of standards? I know she’s gotten a lot of concert mileage of those albums. I think some folks probably know her more as a singer of standards than as a rock or country performer.

Nowadays, it’s become almost a cliché for artists to do these type of albums. Elton John actually mocked the trend in a Rolling Stone interview that I can't seem to find a link to. (Of course, given some of the mediocre pop he churned out in the 80’s and 90’s, he doesn’t have a lot of room to talk.) Did Linda start the whole movement? If so, then why did it take a couple of decades for anyone else to catch on?


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Finally! I Reveal What's REALLY Distracting Patricia

Is it too late to do this? I hope not. I'm operating on Eddie-time as per usual. However, the extra time has allowed me to ascertain beyond the shadow of a doubt what is truly distracting Patricia:

Either she wants a cute, cuddly kitten of her own...

(Oh come on! You saw that one coming!)

Or, she's haunted by the image of the most disturbing comic cover ever!


Now you know.

Screwing Up the Mix (Part 2)

Well, Kelly's decided that only she, Roger, and Lefty actually particpated in her exchange, which I guess is probably true. But, I promise, my discs are finally on the way!!!!! To kind of make up for being so late, I decided to include a couple of bonuses, so maybe folks wouldn't think quite so poorly of me.

First off, I threw in copies of When Bloggers Collide, the mix I made for Gordon when we got together in July. It's all Americana, all the time, but that's largely because I didn't decide to make the disc until the day before we went to Saint Louis. When in a hurry, I tend to work with what I know best. Plus, I already had those songs ripped.

I apparently did not save the artwork for the cover, so I did a new one, which means that Gordon has an exclusive, limited edition, which is the way it should be, I think. Anyway, here's what's on that disc:

Tennesse Bird Walk (Jack Blanchard and Misty Morgan): Just a silly little country ditty from the 70's that I happen to love. When I was a kid, I actually drew a comic strip to go along with the verses.

Leather Britches (Adrienne Young and Little Sadie): I'm always partial to contemporary bands who work in traditional stylings.

Day Like Any Other (Amy Levere): I also like artists that manage to combine musical genres in forms that actually utilize the best parts of each one. Amy Levere does this so well, I don't know whether to call her stuff twangy jazz or jazzy twang.

Valentine (Old 97s): Interestingly enough, Lefty was listening to Fight Songs, the album this comes from, a few weeks ago. One of these days I want to put together a collection of the saddest pretty songs (or should that be prettiest sad songs?) I can find. This one will be on the list. I like that these roots rockers can do a song that sounds so folky.

This is Us (Emmylou Harris and Mark Knopfler): I just love this song!

I'll Oilwells Love You (Dolly Parton): Somewhat of a throwaway from her very first album, but I like its "tongue in cheek-ness." This was recorded several years before she wrote I'll Always Love You.

Sweet Old World (Lucinda Williams): Taking a slightly morbid turn, now.

Can't Make It Here (James McMurtry): And then a shift to something more political. This country is reaping the bitter harvest of the Reagan revolution and it ain't pretty. This song sums it up perfectly.

Mists of Down Below (The Duhks): Just another band I love in that neo-traditional mode. They have a new one coming out this month.

Don't Be Sorry (Meat Purveyors): "Don't be sorry. Just be gone." They're not ones to mince words. I love the Purveyors and their spin on the string band. This is from their new one.

Vincent Black Lightning 1952 (Del McCoury Band): Again. (Honestly, I'm really not trying to brag about this or flaunt it, but it's one of the coolest things that's ever happened to me. I can't help being a little verbose about it.)

The Rowing Song (Patti Griffin): This is my favorite from her release a couple years ago. I love the trumpet part and the repetition.

My Sweet Love Ain't Around (Rhonda Vincent): Love, love, love Rhonda Vincent. I think she captures that classic "high, lonesome" bluegrass sound perfectly, mixing it with just a twinge of old country honky-tonk.

Acres of Corn (Iris Dement): Again with Iris and a sad immigrant's tale from a Tom Russell album.

Dirty Little Town (Kieran Kane): Emmylou appearance. I like Kane's dark take on country music.

My Own Mind (Lyle Lovett): Who doesn't love Lyle Lovett?

Great Hank Williams (Robert Earl Keen): A stranger turn from REK, who usually isn't quite this off the wall. I couldn't resist the image of Hank Williams in drag!

Jesus is Coming (John Eddie): As the Teletubbies say "Again! Again!

When I started this project, I wasn't intending to send Gordon's disc to the Summer mix folks, so I re-used a couple of songs. I figured it wouldn't hurt, since the discs were going to different folks. So I hope that Chris, Kelly and Roger don't mind the repeats when they finally get their discs. (Plus the artist overlap that resulted.)

I also decided that I needed to include something special for each recipient, so each participant also has a disc that none of the others got.

For Kelly, I put together a compilation of songs by Kate Campbell and Carrie Newcomer, two of my favorite singer-songwriters. I've always found comfort in their music, along with a non-threatening spirituality and a respect for others and the roads they've traveled. I'm hoping it might take her mind off her pain for a little while, or at least make it a little easier to bear. It's not much, but since I'm kind of short on medical miracles, it's the best I can do.

Lefty got an EP of songs from Hammell on Trial, which I think he will appreciate. When I played Hammell's new disc, Songs for Parents Who Enjoy Drugs, I kept thinking "Chris has got to hear this. He'd love it!" I didn't want to copy the whole disc for him, so I made him a teaser EP, that I hope will prompt him to seek it out and buy it. And, Chris, I do mean that tag that says you'll probably get fired if you play this at work!

Finally, for Roger, I'm returning his copy of the Songs Eddie Mitchell Should Own mix and asking nicely that he actually send me his summer mix disc.

Finally, if anyone would like a copy of Backpack Full of Tunes or When Bloggers Collide, drop me a line at eddieboyky (at) gmail (dot) com. I'll try to get one out to you before we leave on vaction next week. Right now, I'm working on actually surprising everyone in Gordon's Law and Order exchange by having my stuff out on time!