Saturday, September 1, 2012

R.I.P. Hal David

An Oscar- and Grammy-winning (and Tony-nominated) songwriter--no Emmy nomination, strange given the length of his career and his esteem. He's forever linked with Burt Bacharach, so let's start with a few songs he didn't write with Burt.

First, a collaboration with Albert Hammond (Sr.), you likely know the Julio Iglesias/Willie Nelson duet, but I'm using the kicky Alanis version, "To All The Girls (Boys) I've Loved Before" cause I wanted to see if she mentions me.

His collaborations with Sherman Edwards included "Johnny Get Angry," a hit for Joanie Somers and a staple in k.d. lang and The Reclines' early shows.

With Paul Hampton the classic "Sea of Heartbreak" has several fantastic versions. Rosanne Cash and Bruce Springsteen picked up a Grammy nomination for their collaboration as part of Rosie's The List:

Okay, now Burt, non-Dionne edition. My mom used to sing this to us as kids. She probably still would if I asked. Hal and Burt got an Oscar, my mom just the undying love of her kids.

Hal and Burt picked up an Oscar nomination for "The Look of Love" from Casino Royale. It was performed for the film by my cousin Tom (Jones, duh) but apparently I'm eschewing originals for recent covers. I liked Susannah Hoffs version as part of her Under the Covers albums with Matthew Sweet (but I liked her even more when she was just a Bangle, before she became a name before the Bangles).

Speaking of singers who got all full of themselves and promoted themselves ahead of the band, here's Marilyn McCoo and The Fifth Dimension. Grammatically it should be one fewer bell to answer, one fewer egg to fry. But then I don't have any Oscars or Grammys, so what do I know?

I've written about "Alfie" before. There are other hits they (Hal, Burt and Dionne) have had that were bigger, but I'll close with the song I hear referenced every time I talk about traveling to San Jose. Still.

Every time.


Rest in peace dude.

The official cocktail of this vacation: MacFarlane's Encouragement

MacFarlane's Encouragement

Calm Blue Ocean
As is the custom (which, is you haven't seen South Park's parody of last year's royal wedding, isn't particularly funny to read) I christen my 2-week vacations with a new cocktail. Previous entries include the Calm Blue Ocean which people still talk about (just not to you).

After a trip to Big Lots! last weekend I began to lay the ground work for this year's cocktail. It would include the orange fizzy "limonade" I got at Big Lots!

And vodka, probably.

That's pretty much all the effort I give these things (the CBO has 3 ingredients, I think--that's pushing it).

Yesterday Jean from work gave me a lovely bottle of vodka. It's like she read my shopping list mind.

This appears to be a swanky craft vodka. As a Libra, I will proudly balance that out with a $3 mixer from Big Lots!

Cause that's how I roll.

The original name for the drink was Facilitated Malarkey, but I realized that Malarkey is her married name and, no offense to Ryan, it's Jean that gets the tribute. Also it ties into my Scotland trip.
Fun fact: this is the the modern hunting tartan of the MacFarlane clan. Funner fact: I have owned at least 30 shirts that are largely indistinguishable from this.

And, AND, Seth MacFarlane (call me!).

And to close this out, the thank you I made for her earlier.

Song of the Day: "Temple of Heaven"

The song is from Nona Hendryx's new album Mutatis Mutandis or, as I will henceforth call it, Minnie Mouse. (That's not final, but as bad as I am with names, don't expect it to be even close to the actual name.)

The title is a Latin phrase meaning... something. I'm inferring it to mean "same shit, new name" although I think the phrase itself implies that at least some aspect of the shit is, technically, different; like an extra carbon molecule or a new hat.

According to the phrase's Wikipedia entry: "The phrase is also used in the study of counter-factuals, wherein the requisite change in the factual basis of the past is made and the resulting causalities are followed."


And I helped!
In the liner notes, Nona writes "names and faces will change but things remain the same." The album's origins are the recent political climate. I've posted "The Ballad of Rush Limbaugh" and "The Tea Party" as songs of the day before. Racism, sexism, oligarchy (it's a thing, look it up), religious intolerance (and by that I mean intolerance of religions that aren't "Christianity" which may or may not include Catholicism and/or Mormonism depending on who you talk to and what day of the week it is) and, I'm pretty sure, this dude helped.

"But this one, because of the climate of the political and social issues in America, it became more imperative as President Obama went through this election process, and the response that many of the people on the far right and right had and have had to him, and the issues that are individual rights issues, they were just sort of boiling, and things that for me I feel I needed to speak to, respond to. That's really what pushed me to write additional songs about the issues and then to put them together into a CD."--Song Facts interview with Nona Hendryx (h/t Carl at Song Facts for sending me info on the interview)
This song is less overtly political, but it caught my attention because 1) it's fucking awesome, and B) it was cowritten by Felicia Collins (who rocked the bass on "The Ballad of Rush Limbaugh" and is part of the CBS Orchestra on Letterman) and Gale Ann Dorsey  who has worked with Sir David Bowie and a shitload of other musicians I adore (and whose name is misspelled in the liner notes). The song hits funk, rock and soul effortlessly and is a great illustration of what makes Nona such a compelling artist for me. Carl points out in his interview that many artists her age are happy coasting on the oldie's circuit but she's rocking new material--always a thankless proposition, especially with ADD-afflicted people like me who "OMG JUST PLAY THE SONG I CAME HERE TO SEE SO I CAN GO" might not always be open to new material. 

I am still way better at it than you.

If history teaches me anything (and when has it, really), I'll do another song or two over the next few weeks. It will be a nice change from that fucking Gotye song, right? Oh, wait, Carly Rae is the new Gotye. 

Song: "Temple of Heaven"
Artist: Nona Hendryx

"Does it ever shine down on you?"

Last night's full moon was a blue moon. Fans of Nanci Griffith know what the means (duh), but some of you might not.

When you get 2 full moons in the same month, the second one is a blue moon. They typically occur once every 2.5 to 3 years, but I recall a fluke of 2 in one year thanks to a leap year or something (blame it on Y2K, the Obamacare of its day). UPDATE: I went to look that up, encountered the word syzygy and "lunar month" vs. "calendar month" and I'm just not up for it, so I retract the thing about there being 2 in one year.

That wasn't me.

To confuse you even further, here's Dolly Parton covering the song:

I'm not sure how we get here, but I know it includes the phrase "cruelty free"

My 2-week vacation has begun. Spoiler alert: there will be lots of blog posts and little actual vacationing, if history teaches us anything (but when has it ever, really). There will also be cocktails, demolition of my deck (thus allowing the building of a new deck, but I am only qualified for demolition--those who can't do, teach; those who can't teach, yank rotting wood with crow bars [OMG I'm George W. Bush, pretending to do manual labor during vacation to seem more Reagan-esque]), and maybe I'll make progress on my Spandau Ballet musical (disclaimer: no such musical exists but OMG wouldn't one be awesome?).

Oh, quick aside (they're all asides and rarely quick), so long to summer--I let Gracie out around 5 and had to turn off my table fan as it is cold out there. We get back into the 90s next week some time, but I should be drunk and in a cold theater heckling Batman (that's what I will call Magic Mike when I go see it again) so I won't notice.

Anyway, this post was originally about the overblown complexity of the world of vacuum cleaner bags. I'm sure this boils down to "I don't pay attention or think to make a note somewhere to reference so when I see a variety of bag types, with non-sequential lettering, I am easily confused and frustrated" (I was hoping "R" was the bag type I needed, because "R" could stand for the Right one, but alas that was erroneous).

But I do remember the furnace filter size I need--it's either 1" x 9" x 16" [which I'm pretty sure doesn't exist] or 1" x 16" x 25" and I'm sure all you math enthusiasts know exactly what I'm talking about.

Lightbulbs, batteries, I seem to do okay with these, but the vacuum bags not so much. And if you're thinking "do you even OWN a vacuum, you sloppy mofo?" I will say "way to pay attention" and also "I own a lot of things I never use" (see also: KitchenAid stand mixer and lawn mower). But I do need to clean my room... did I tell you that Clark tried to help me organize by putting labels of which clothing items go where on the drawers to my dressers? It's like he hasn't lived with me for 5+ years. He actually created a label for clothes so run down that I shouldn't wear them in public (Lisa White is right, I really am a latent heterosexual). Correction, he created a label for the drawer that contains shirts suitable for wearing in public, which I guess is easier given... me.

Anyway, the whole vacuum bags thing led me to compare prices at Amazon and eBay (H is the letter of the bag I am almost certain I need, so I guess I will think of H for "hallelujah, I figured out the vacuum bags") which led to some series of observations that, fuck, 30 minutes ago seemed charming.

Click to embiggen

Anyway, there was the thing about the shininess of the box the official bags come in (at twice the price) but then I noticed this weird wrinkle in the time space continuum where free shipping from eBay would get me the bags by next Friday while the expedited shipping for $9.45 would get me the bags by... next Friday.

But if I really need them, I could spend $35 to get them by next Wednesday. I think we can all agree that if I've gone this long...

Then this post became (in the editorial revisions of my mind) about how Amazon always trumps eBay because, as a single merchant entity, I'm only going to check out once (the shopping cart exists in eBay now, but that doesn't further my narrative) and Amazon is nothing but long and windy check-out aisle with the coolest impulse purchase items everywhere you look.

It is designed to prey on the easily distracted and... squirrel.

OMG, they are recommending 2 different green laser pointers to me. They know me so well.

If you only buy one how will you know which green laser pointer is better? Duh.

At Amazon I can buy vacuum bags (size H) and the new Nona Hendryx CD (an actual physical copy) and lube (because it's 3 gay dudes living here and either I have an amazing evaporation problem in my house [it's why a pan of brownies disappears overnight, now that I mention it] or people keep borrowing some of mine [or I haven't noticed the label that says "lube" and Clark's put 68 different containers in a drawer... but how is that an amusing blog post?).

That's how we get to the virtual lube aisle (the lube is real, the aisle is virtual). Actually it's the family planning and contraception aisle which, spoiler alert, is not how it will be used, not for either.

At least I'm not awkwardly stocking up on Crisco at Safeway. Although, note to self...

Click to embiggen
To help guide your purchase selection, Amazon provides filters to narrow your focus. In the case of lube, some of these make sense. Unscented, hypoallergenic, travel size--I'm good with these attributes.

Cruelty free, that's where I get tripped up.

There are cruelty free lubes.

I like my lube like I like my men: cheap, readily available, easy to wash off, and having endured at least a little cruelty in their lives.

And now I'm imagining some kind of "it gets better" campaign for young lubricants who endure cruelty.

But this does remind me of my genius idea of a metasearch tool for lube (a for lube, if you will). I was shopping for a bulk purchase for a, um, high-use lube enthusiast (sounds like "slut") a few years ago and was surprised at the variations in price and annoyed by how some packages are in ounces and some are in milliliters (thank God we are clinging to ounces though, like real Americans) so the lube pricing tool would standardize the unit pricing and account for shipping, which is, in fact, how they get you. PATENT PENDING!

Which brings me back to Amazon and the evil genius that is Amazon Prime. A flat $79 gets you and several relatives* a year of 2-day shipping for any merchandise that is eligible for their Super Saving something something. The thing where if you buy $25 or more it all ships free. If you have Prime it gets there in 2 days. And that includes big bags of dog food and H size vacuum bags (which is how we stay on theme).

I'm not going to ruin some future blog post's surprise by telling you what I just ordered (aside from the vacuum bags) but I will note that Amazon has Anal-Eze available in bulk.

What was my point? I don't know.

Happy Labor Day!

* They don't actually require proof of relation, which is how I currently mooch my Prime, as Erin's Guncle Rich. Thanks Erin!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Um... sure

(h/t Kenneth in the 212)

Aaron Schock, seen above doing what he does well (looking hunky) showers with Paul Ryan.

At the Congressional gym, after they get all sweaty doing the P90Xes.

And he says Paul Ryan needs to flaunt that body.

To which I can only say "hells yes!"

And duh.

And Kenneth in the 212 points out that, geographically, Wisconsin (Ryan) tops Illinois (Schock). That seems right.

Watch below if you want to hear Aaron talk about running for governor of Illinois.

Song of the Day: "Under the Westway"

Blur. They left. Now they're back. Enjoy.

Song: "Under the Westway"
Artist: Blur

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Except for 2 extreme exceptions

It makes total sense for Paul Ryan to be a follower of Ayn Rand.

Except she was an atheist and hated politicians who invoke religion.

And she was totally pro-choice.

So aside from those 2 brutally distinct issues, Paul Ryan can totes follow her.

Kyle on a train

(h/t Erin)





Kyle on a train

Song of the Day: "Rhiannon"

Would you stay if she promised you heaven? Will you ever win?
Hearing Best Coast cover this classic Fleetwood Mac track holds sway over me.

Suddenly I'm a kid reading comic books after getting back from the pool one summer afternoon, late August, The Invaders, a box fan taking the edge off the late afternoon heat.

"Rhiannon" is from late 1975 and peaked in the summer of 1976; and The Invaders began their Marvel run in August 1975. But as that's almost 40 years ago and I'm, cough, just 28... I must be having someone else's nostalgia.

Maybe it's yours.

Song: "Rhiannon"
Artist: Best Coast

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

For those who show the cock, we salute you

Future Nobel Peace Prize nominee Jordan Wylie
Future Nobel Peace Prize nominee Jordan Wylie is showing his support for Prince Harry's recent exploits in Las Vegas with the "Support Prince Harry with a naked salute!" Facebook page. As I don't have a Facebook account, I can't, like, "like" it or anything.

There is also a Salute4Harry page coming soon.

Let us never forget Harry's sacrifice.
Obvious fake

Song of the Day: "Watch the Corners"

Dinosaur Jr. sounding exactly like I'd want them to.

That is not an insult, despite the kind of shit I sometimes say as an insult. This time, it's not.

For reals.

Song: "Watch the Corners"
Artist: Dinosaur Jr.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Song of the Day: "Think About Me"

The all-star tribute to Fleetwood Mac that I saw at a Starbucks has "hot mess" all over it (metaphorically that is), but I couldn't resist sampling a couple of tracks.

Which is how we end up with this track from The New Pornographers. There's something special that embraces the whole sound of the original. Infighting? Infidelity? I have no idea. But still, sounds good.

Song: "Think About Me"
Artist: The New Pornographers

Monday, August 27, 2012

Yes, I am just this nerdy

Another I Love Charts post, another response. If only I Love Charts said something about my messy bedroom...
Wordle of lyrics to songs on Elliott Smith's XO

I created the wordle above in response to the infographic below. Know, go, never, Amity... nice job Paste.
Paste via I Love Charts

Girl secretions and witchcraft

Via @_rfenton click to embiggen (you know you want to)

Another pretty data issue

I Love Charts has this, on the biggest of the big donors to the 2 presumptive nominees for 2012:
I Love Charts
But I dislike it because it doesn't really align the dollars to be easily compared. And so I present this:
Me, today.

And again, an appeal for publicly-funded elections will fall on deaf ears, I'm sure.

What John said!

(h/t John)

Sadly this ecard is the nicest thing anyone's done for me in some time...

[UPDATE: Aside from buying me brunch, which John also did. John is a very sweet and thoughtful person.]

Song of the Day: "Amnesia"

No song of the day yesterday. I was shut down from emotional FUCKING turmoil. Too much being yelled at for ALL THE FUCKING HORRIBLE shit I keep doing to people. I'm evil.


I am a nightmare of a person, invoking evil all the time.




Bad. I am a bad bad man.

And you know what? If you give me a rescue inhaler to hold for you for an emergency but I don't recall ever receiving it, and I don't recall EVER acknowledging it, then maybe I have amnesia, like the title of this song.

Or, and this is way more likely, I am fucking evil. Why would you want to live with someone like that?

Oh, side note, fucking AWESOME that Dead Can Dance are back.

Song: "Amnesia"
Artist: Dead Can Dance