30 September 2011

Something 4 The Weekend # 221

Peaking Lights: 936: "All The Sun That Shines" [mp3]

This morning at work, a gust of wind set off several car alarms in the parking lot.

Later, at lunch, a coworker talked about his fascination and slight experience with S&M. I briefly thought about being pegged by our waitress, a tall, busty brunette with a slight gap in her front teeth, but found myself mostly annoyed by the fact that there was entirely too much teriyaki sauce on my Hawaiian Chicken sandwich. The bottom half of my bun had quickly turned into a soggy, unmanageable mess.

At 3:14 in the afternoon I received an email from our VP of Sales announcing an unusually large order of 9000 pieces of MSPSHD11000EP. Checking inventory, I saw that we only had 2000 finished pieces in stock, and only another 3000 boxes to build more. I quickly shot off my own email to our printer, requesting a price quote for 8000 boxes, and got to work writing purchase orders for two stickers that are also part of the assembly, and the assembly job order itself.

At 4:17 I got a second email from the VP of Sales telling me to immediately cease all operational activities related to this unusually large order until further notice. I went to the kitchen and bought a Butterfinger from the vending machine. On the message board is a flyer informing us that one of our coworkers is giving away a pair of adult cats to a good home. They are 8 year old siblings that must stay together. Eventually I'd like to get a kitten to replace Eno. Two 8 year olds are 1 cat and 7.5 years too many for me, unfortunately. I washed down the Butterfinger with a cup of coffee. The coffee is somewhat horrible.

I returned to my desk and ran a historical usage report for MSPSHD11000EP to reassure myself that this order for 9000 pieces was indeed unusually large. I thought about our waitress at lunch, and realized she kinda looked like Kat Dennings, who is currently #4 on my Laminated List this year, and playing a waitress on a CBS sitcom, 2 Broke Girls.

This song by Peaking Lights was playing on my computer, wherein there is about 15 gigabytes of MP3s that I play at random all day, every day, through my Mediamonkey player. The next song was "Im Partial To Your Abacadabra" by Ian Dury & The Blockheads.

I shut it down and drove home.

Hotcha! Hank

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27 September 2011

Tuesday's Fortune: 27 September 2011

MEAL: 2 Roast Pork Egg Rolls + 1 small order of Chicken With Black Bean Sauce = $6.60 + $1.40 tip

Hotcha! Hank

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23 September 2011

Something 4 The Weekend # 220

I just wrote down a list of my favorite REM songs. Right now there are 23 songs on the list, and I could keep going because you know what? "Me 'n' Honey" is a fun tune, and a great album closer, just like their cover of The Clique's "Superman" at the end of Lifes Rich Pageant. "Superman", by the way, isn't on the list, but only because it isn't an REM song.

So, I've spent the last hour or so listening to REM songs, trying to decide which is my favorite, and after an hour, I still hadn't made a decision, finally deciding that it had to be this song, "9-9" , because my memories are telling me that this is the song that convinced me that REM were my new favorite band somewhere back in late 1983.

On this song, Mike Mill's fluid, propulsive bass kicks things off, with Peter Buck's serpentine guitar quickly joining with an Oriental flavor that found it's way into many REM songs back then. What I particularly love about Buck's playing on this song are all those little fills that he sneaks in between vocal lines, no two the same. But in general, Buck packs this song with a seemingly endless array of guitar sounds and riffs and styles, and to my ears, it's all very awe-inspiring. Easily one of the most forgotten guitarists when fanboys talk about all-time greats.

I can't say whether or not Bill Berry could or should ever be considered as one of Rock'n'Roll's great drummers, but I always found him steady, tasteful and interesting back in those early IRS Record years, and always a great partner with Mike Mills as the rhythm section. When the band made the conscious decision to become the biggest fucking Rock Band they could be when they signed to Warner Bros, Bill Berry's drumming got more powerful, and really helped the band evolve and succeed in becoming that big rock band that could fill big arenas and stadiums with a bigger Rock sound than the Indie Jangle kinda thing they had been known for.

And then there's Michael Stipe. I've always loved his voice, though many believe it took him a few years and a few albums to really become a good and proper Singer. Others will always hate his voice, which I'll never quite understand because it's a real voice, it's his own voice, and he was always messing around with phrasing and sounds. Of course, on this song, Stipe's legendary mumbling is in full effect (Murmur was their first LP, after all). Listen to the lyrics and try deciphering them, and then click here if you feel like reading the lyrics as decided upon by a consensus/collaboration of fans. I promise you weren't even close. "Right on target" and "conversation fear" are probably the only words you got right.

I linked to an REM lyrics site, but I won't read anything there. I've got my own version of all those songs long figured out for myself, and yes, for the sake of nostalgia that's the version I'm sticking with. So many hours spent singing along with Stipe, sussing out a word here and a phrase there, puzzles that were often nonsense, but so fun to sing along with...

So yeah, my sentimental favorite band of all time broke up this week, and this is my favorite song of theirs.

Hotcha! Hank

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21 September 2011

It's The End Of R.E.M. As We Know It (And I Feel Old)

REM were my absolute favorite band from 1983 to 1995. After drummer Bill Berry retired to rest his brain and do some farming, REM were never quite the same to me. I still followed the band, of course - bought all the albums, and even saw them one last time in 1999 on the Up Tour, but without Bill Berry, well, I guess in some ways, REM broke up, in my mind, back in the summer of 1995.

Fun Fact: My Halloween costume in 1987 was "Bill Berry". Essentially I just glued two swatches of "fun fur" over my eyebrows to approximate the magnificence of Berry's eyebrows. Somewhere out there a VHS tape might still exist that shows me saying nothing but "Hi, I'm Bill Berry" about three dozen times at various moments throughout the night.

REM was my favorite band because their music sounded like a true and real democracy. What I mean is that their songs never sounded like "a Stipe song" or a "Buck song". All four of those guys brought something unique to every song, and in doing so, no band before or since has sounded quite like REM. "All Songs Berry Buck Mills Stipe" indeed.

Fun Theory: People with big eyebrows tend to be the most interesting people you're going to meet in this life.

See, the thing is - REM were a great band to get high to. Far and away my favorite band to get high to.

They were also a great band to drive to, and guess what! Back then, in the 1980's, my buddies and I used to do alot of "buzz runs", which was nothing more than driving around out in dairyland, passing around a pipe and cranking tunes. Most of the time it was my car, a muscled 1973 Chevy Nova. Most of the time, we ended up parked out at Rabbit Ridge, our secret party spot at the end of a very long fire road. We partied out there dozens, maybe hundreds of times, and we never once encountered a cop.

One summer we grew our own weed out there. "Gardening At Night", indeed. (It wasn't very good weed.)

Anyways, I could probably dedicate a blog to REM alone, but I think we all know exactly how little writing I actually do, so...

RIP, REM. No band will ever matter more to me, for so many reasons I will probably never share. Thank you.

Hotcha! Hank

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20 September 2011

Tuesday's Fortune: 20 September 2011

MEAL: 2 Roast Pork Egg Rolls + 1 small order Pork Mei Fun = $6.60 + $1.40 tip

Hotcha! Hank

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17 September 2011

Maneuver Roy Clark Sideways, Right There Between Felix & Oscar

Of course, when I think about country guitarists, I always think first of Roy Clark. Here he destroys a Flamenco tune called "Malaguena", which became perhaps his signature tune, in the same way "Sugarfoot Rag" was Junior Brown's calling card.

What makes this performance even more amazing is that he's playing a steel-stringed guitar when this song calls for nylon strings, a much more pliant and forgiving material.

And of course what seals the deal is that this from an episode of The Odd Couple.

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Sideways Sugarfoot Maneuver

I've heard and/or seen Junior Brown do this song 1000 times over the past 20 years, and it still leaves me speechless.

Hotcha! Hank

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16 September 2011

Something 4 The Weekend # 219

Junior Brown: Guit With It: "You Didn't Have To Go All The Way" [mp3]

Aside from surnames, to the best of my knowledge, there are no popular (or even unpopular) bands with the word "brown" in their names.

Pretty much every other major color has been used in a band name, some more than others obviously...

Average White Band, The White Stripes, White Lion, Black Sabbath, Black Flag, Black Dice, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Blue Oyster Cult, Blue Cheer, The Screaming Blue Messiahs, Green Day, The Green, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Red Red Meat, Simply Red, The Indigo Girls, Deep Purple, Orange, Agent Orange, Orange Juice, Orange Goblin, Orange 9MM, Orange Jefferson, Pink Floyd, Yellow Magic Orchestra...

But try finding a band with "brown" in their name. There's a rapper who calls himself Brown, but that's either his surname, or a reference to his skin color, so I'm not sure he counts.

A quick search at eMusic a moment ago reveals a Polish Metal band who call themselves Brown, so I guess this post has been pretty pointless thus far.

See, the thing is - I had run across the following formula while surfing the internet earlier this evening:

The Color Of The Shirt You're Wearing + The Object Immediately To Your Right = Your Crappy Superhero Name

As I write this, my superhero name is The Brown Stack Of Paperbacks, which I don't think is crappy at all.

And for whatever reason, while considering my brown t-shirt and my new, bitchin' superhero moniker earlier this evening, I started thinking about Junior Brown. I had a superdeep love for Junior Brown back in the early '90's, and one time my crew went to see him perform outside the Pabst Theater in downtown Milwaukee, with the slightly smelly (and decidedly brown) Milwaukee River rolling slowly behind him and his band.

After their typically awesome show, Junior hung around the front of the stage, drinking a bottle of Pabst while signing autographs and talking to about two dozen of us fans who hung around. I got his autograph on a $20 bill, and shook his hand, and as I remarked on the drive home, "He had the softest hand I think I've ever felt in my life," to which my buddy RSBJ replied, "Supple."

YES! SUPPLE! That's the perfect word. Junior Brown has the most supple hand I've ever felt in my life.

I still have that autographed Jackson, and while I still listen to his first three or four albums from time to time, I stopped seeking out new Junior Brown recordings about a decade ago. He never really expanded his palette as a songwriter or a stylist, which I hate writing because he's certainly a solid songwriter, and more importantly, a stunning guitarist and an almost iconic performer with his ten gallon hat and famous "guit-steel" guitar.

The most supple hand I've ever felt in my life, and one of the finest guitar players I've ever heard.

Hotcha! Hank

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13 September 2011

Tuesday's Fortune: 13 September 2011

MEAL: 2 Roast Pork Egg Rolls + 1 order Fried Crispy Bean Curd + 1 small order Chicken With Pea Pods = $8.20 + $1.80 tip

Hotcha! Hank

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09 September 2011

Something 4 The Weekend # 218

Laurie Anderson: Homeland: "Another Day In America" [mp3]

We all know what this Sunday is all about, right?

I'm not a fan of nationalism, so my thoughts and feelings about the events of 9-11-01, and our rememberance of the day on this 10th anniversary, are not very deep or involved. Which means this Sunday I'll be drinking Kentucky bourbon, smoking SW Sconnie weed, watching football, monitoring my fantasy teams, and perhaps doing things like absent-mindedly drawing comic strip stuff, or finally getting around to reading Portnoy's Complaint. At some point I'll probably order a 16" Pestoral from Roman Candle Pizza, and if my fantasy teams do well, and if I actually start reading Portnoy's Complaint, I might masturbate sometime in the evening.

My biggest hope for Sunday is that I hear bits of Lee Greenwood's "Proud To Be An American" no more than three times that day. My plan is to mute the TV and crank Fucked Up, or some such loud and rollicking music combo of that sort.

So yeah, this is another solipsistic blog entry, making a national tragedy all about me...

But what would you have me write? That I'm not a fan of nationalism? That I believe our current financial problems can be partially tied to the events of 9-11? That I'm not a 9-11 truther but I still don't understand how the damage at the Pentagon was done by a passenger jet airliner and not a missile? That we retaliated in the wrong country for reasons other than retaliation?

You don't want or need my opinions about nationalism, fundamentalism, war, death, the Bush Administration, the Obama Administration, or the politics of oil. Of course, you didn't want or need to know I'm probably going to pleasure myself Sunday evening, but here we are.

Information is not knowledge, babycakes.

I suppose the blog post I should have written here and now would have posited the thought that when I think about New York City, I think of maybe eight people - Woody Allen, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Gregory Corso, and the Talking Heads.

And then I could have gone on to write about how Anderson's song "O Superman" appeared to be a bit prescient in light of the events of 9-11, and somehow brought it around to this particular song you're hopefully listening to right now.

But I didn't do that, did I?

See, I've been hesitant to read Portnoy's Complaint because I think I'm too old to really truly enjoy it. It's like The Basketball Diaries, or Catcher In The Rye, which were scriptures to me when I was 17, but not so much with subsequent readings. From what I know of Roth's book, I fear the same might be true - that it's a book I probably should have read when I was 28. I guess I'll find out.

Hotcha! Hank

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06 September 2011

Tuesday's Fortune: 06 September 2011

MEAL: 2 Vegetable Spring Rolls + 1 small order Hunan Pork = $6.95 + $1.05 tip

Hotcha! Hank

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