Saturday, February 24, 2007

Because the Night

One of my favorite songs is "Because the Night". It was originally written by Bruce Springsteen, who gave it to Patti Smith, who rewrote and recorded it. Follow the link for more info. Smith has since disowned it, but it is still a great song.

The other day I found out Kim Wilde ("Kids in America") had recorded a cover of it and the quest was on. Where?, I wondered. I found references to a 1998 recording of it by her, but never was the source mentioned. She had no new album in that year, so I figured it was on a soundtrack or a bonus track on a compilation or something.

It took a little searching, but I tracked it down. A German various artists release named Philharmania. I don't have a copy, but from what I could find out it seems to feature musicians reinterpreting well-known rock/pop songs in an orchestral context. Sounds fascinating. I'm really interested in Wilde's vocal - I wouldn't think she had the right voice for the song.

So I have decided I must own this album. Problem is, it apparently wasn't released outside Germany. Which is strange, because there is nothing particularly German about the album unless I am missing something. I need this album for more than just the Wilde track. Also on the album are covers of "Eve of Destruction" done by Lemmy (yes, from Motorhead!) and "I Put a Spell on You" from Bonnie Tyler ("Total Eclipse of the Heart"). So I have multiple reasons to get a copy. I haven't found it as an import, but did track down a copy on ebay (shipped from Australia though). I haven't tried very hard to find it yet though.

Coming up: Bring a candle. It's gonna get dark.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Dave say ...

That is not a typo in the title. Only supposed to be a single 's'. For why, read the previous post, bruah up on 80s pop culture, and hide yourself.

This post is a tangent twice removed on entries I haven't made yet. I was planning a post on 'meaning'. More like 4-5 now. Short overview: ain't none, at least in any universal cosmic sense.

But anyway, back to Dave say ....


An online dictionary does a 'word of the day'. Often it is not a word I would actually use, but 'grok'is something I use all the time. It was word of the day one day last week. Kind of a thrill seeing it in a dictionary. The word entered English in the classic novel Stranger in a Strange Land. The OED defines it "to understand intuitively or by empathy; to establish rapport with". It began being used within 60s counter culture and SF fandom. Has been part of my vocabulary for a long time.


Reminded me of the dangers of referencing something when the communication's recipient is unaware of the reference. I was speaking with a sales rep (that's what I do at work) and closing off the call by asking if there were any other questions he had for me. 'Yes, what is the meaning of life?' he asked. He was making a joke, but without missing a beat I said '42'. Confusion followed. He didn't grok that at all. So I had to explain about The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy, the question of life, the universe and everything, and so on. Not nearly as entertaining as the original off-hand comment.


Similar situation, different call. The lesson here was that just because one has a vocabulary doesn't mean it should be used. Part of knowing what to say is knowing what NOT to say.

'dishwater blonde'

One of the most difficult things I ever did in Russian class was try to learn a list of 40 or so hair colors. I found this especially difficult because that is about four times as many hair colors as I have a handle on in my native tongue. One of the colors that has meaning to me is 'dishwater blonde'. On my former job a coworker asked me what I would call her haircolor (I can't remeber why, just that she asked). "Dishwater blonde", I replied. She really wasn't happy that I would use the adjective 'dishwater' in reference to her hair. To me, 'dishwater' was just an adjective to modify 'blonde' so I was describing her particular hair color. To her it had implecations of ickyness. Same words, different 'meanings'. So what does 'dishwater' mean in a universal sense?

Somewhere else

The scientist flips a switch. Electricity arcs.


The room shakes as if in an earthquake. The scientist thrusts out a hand to avoid being thrown to the ground.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007


In the war between my need for sleep and my desire to blog, sleep has had the upper hand lately.

IOW, I'm tired.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Extra Special

55th post. Time for the extra-special all navel-gazing entry.

This blog is like Babylon 5.

At least, like it was intended to be. The show (for those who haven't seen it) consisted of several long story arcs, which were made up of individual episodes that stood on their own but played in to the greater story. This bigger story wasn't necessarily apparent when the episode first aired.

Individual blog entries here are like the episodes of B5. Each stands alone, but the overall 'story' becomes apparent when all are examined together. Maybe a greater theme is emphasized by an entry, maybe I'm just goofing around. Learning to tell which is part of the fun of the blog.

Coming up is 'Passions', which is a key 'episode'. Kind of like the first time we see Shadows on B5. The groundwork is already there, thematically. You'll see.

First though, 'Squeek'. I've said it publically, now I'll feel obligated to write it.

You'll also see what this is all about (and I SO want to pull the trigger on this):

Somewhere else


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Chili peppers again

Stumbled across a post on a report in Science (2/15/2007) about evidence of the use of Chili pepper 6100 years ago in Ecudor! This would be big news without anything else being involved, but here is the kicker: they are domestic, rather than wild varieties. This is important, because it implies 1) agricultural sophistication and 2) probable trade, since peppers don't grow wild in the region. Doesn't really apply to my questions about chili in Asian cuisines (I think I've traced that to trade with the Portegeuse now, at least for Vietnam) but is still really interesting.

I'm sure some folks who know me are wondering if I watched Family Guy tonight and if I have any comments (MS was used as a plot point). I did and I do. But not right now.

Some day my blog will have something to say about this.

Sorry, yesterday you got a freebie. Todays pop culture reference is up to you to decode.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Dave Explains It All

Actually, I don't. I had intended a sort of 'directors commentary' to my blog, pointing out little references and such. But then I ran up against some technical issues which would make the whole thing much more work than it would be worth. AND, technical issues have a way of making a guy consider whether he really wants to proceed. So I decided against. I remember how much more enjoyable Twin Peaks was before I got a real handle on what was going on. Sometimes a little mystery is a good thing.

But here's a freebie: the title of this post refers to early 90s Nickelodeon sitcom Clarrisa Explains It All.

See how my mind works?

Somewhere else:


Friday, February 16, 2007

3 Sodas From the 80s ....uh ... and 70s

Short list today:


3 - Rondo

This was a citrus soda from the late 70s. I don't remember much else about it, other than I really liked it. It was from a major manufacturer, I believe.

2 - Orbitz

No, not the travel web site. This non-carbonated beverage came in a variety of fruit-based flavors. The gimmick here was each bottle had balls of (I think) tapioca floating in it. You can still find soy drinks using the same gimmick in Asian groceries. A really fun experience. The tapioca balls were an attention grabber.

1 - Surge

Or should I say SURGE! Another citrus-flavored drink. Heavily promoted circa 90-91. Sort of on the 'energy' bandwagon, but predating that trend in this country at least. I still wear my Surge t-shirt, and someplace have a keychain that says "SURGE!" when you press a button.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Saint Valentine's Day Massacre

Bit of bait and switch here with the title. No blood and guts. But there is poetry.


Roses are #FF0000
Violets are #0000FF
All my base
Are belong to you

You really should be at least a 14th level Geek to understand that. It's not mine - I read it on a t-shirt.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Coming soon to this very blog: Passions, Dave Explains It All, Extra Special 55th Post, and ... soda pop.

Monday, February 12, 2007

30 Songs From The 80s The Final Chapter (Day 3 - Last Day! - 1-10)

10 - "Love Kills" - Circle Jerks

One of two completely different songs with this title on the Sid and Nancy soundtrack. And why not? It is a great title.

9 - "Radio Gaga" - Queen

A song with added relevance in the era of sattelite radio. Never forgave Queen for playing Sun City while South Africa was under cultural boycott, but I still love this song.

8 - "Heaven is a Place on Earth" - Belinda Carlisle

Lifts me up on a wave of "good golly those are great vocals".

7 - "Ashes to Ashes" - David Bowie

One of my favorite jokes on The Young Ones has Ric start singing this at a funeral. Until Viviyn hits him up side the head.

6 - "Fight to Unite" - Youth Brigade

It's really just a function of how much hardcore I listened to in the 80s, but I have an incredible number of songs about unity.

5 - "Ball of Confusion" - Love and Rockets

Hey hey. I don't think we were any less confused when this cover came out than we were when the original was released.

4 - "Holiday in Cambodia" - Dead Kennedys

Not my favorite DK song (that would be "Nazi Punks F--- Off"), but the first I heard from them at a critical juncture in my development as a music fan.

3 - "Power and the Passion" - Midnight Oil

A guy tried to start a fight with me at a Midnight Oil concert in the late 80s. Apparently he didn't pay to get in to see my butt. Or something.

2 - "Mysteries of Love" - Julee Cruise

Ever havea song that means so much to you on a personal level that you can't even begin to think of a quip to use in describing it?

1 - "Jukebox (Don't Put Another Dime)" - The Flirts

I honestly can't believe this didn't pop to mind for previous '30 songs from the 80s'. Well,at least it gets to be #1 here.

That's it.

Or is it?...........................

Sunday, February 11, 2007

30 Songs From The 80s: The Final Chapter (Day 2 11-20)

20 - "Crumblin' Down" - John Cougar Mellencamp

I really can't remember what name he was using at this point. I bought this single a few times (remember singles?), all copies suffered from manufacturing defects.

19 - "Edge of 17" - Stevie Nicks

Ought to be part of the soundtrack of being a teenager, if there is such a thing. Soundtrack, not teenager. There are lots of those.

18 - "Candy" - Iggy Pop

A duet with Kate from the B-52s.

17 - "Bastards of Young" - The Replacements

One of the few songs not improved by guitar fury at the end.

16 - "I Want Candy" - Bow Wow Wow

Annabelle was only 14, so whatever you're thinking ... uh, don't. Hitmakers from the Malcolm McLaren machine.

15 - "Just Like Heaven"- The Cure

I don't really listen to the Cure. I could never forgive them for "Hot hot hot". But this song is pretty.

14 - "Don't Come Around Here No More" - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Is this 80s? I can't remember. Too much cake, I guess.

13 - "Behind the Barrier" - Planet P Project

This one is a bit if a cheat. The rule for these lists is 'no repetition of artists.' Tony Carey already appears on one of these lists. Planet P Project is Tony Carey. And one other guy, so it's OK.

12 - "Kings of Rock" - Run DMC

Great thing about this song is that it isn't really a rock song.

11 - "Another State of Mind" - Social Distortion

Really strange experience recently. A number of (signicantly younger) coworkers were looking forward to seeing Social Distortion play a show in town. What year is it again? Wait, the door is how much? DOLLARS? I guess it is the 21st century after all.

Quote of the week, from a review of Berlin's Pleasure Victim ep: "the early 80s were a treasure trove for blonde divas slutting it up on the air waves".

What, you were there too?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

30 Songs From The 80s: The Final Chapter (Day 1 21-30)

Yes, it is coming to an end. Final installment of 30 songs from the 80s.

30 - "Here I Go Again" - Whitesnake

I'm not what you would call a Whitesnake fan. They're not offensive or anything, just not really anything I listen to.This gets on the list for the video. Pretty much just Tawny Kitaen rolling around on a car. Tawny makes even pop metal with a Zepplin fixation listenable.

29 - "War Song" - Culture Club

Either brilliantly simple or stupidly shallow. 'War is stupid/And people are stupid' Yes indeed Mr.(?) O'Dowd.

28 - "The Men All Paused" -Klymaxx

Because it isn't suggestive if you spell it phonetically. Although putting two xs on the end does bring to mind porn.

27 - "Blue Light" - David Gilmour

Oh so much better than when he tried to be Pink Floyd without Roger.

26 - "Pros and Cons of Hitchiking" - Roger Waters

Well, at least he wasn't trying to be Pink Floyd.

25 - "Are We Ourselves?" - The Fixx

Again with double xs.

24 - "My House" - Mary Jane Girls

A Rick James joint. (Hey, double meaning!)

23 - "My Favorite Room" - Lime Spiders

It's hard to get more obscure than this while sticking with stuff put out on major labels. The cover of their album features a posterized image of a Zygon, thus illustrating the value of Doctor Who fandom. Otherwise you wouldn't know that, leading to feelings of lonliness and isolation.

22 - "C'mon Every Beatbox" - Big Audio Dynamite

This guy used to be in the Clash. Who would have predicted the dance club direction he would go in after the Clash callled it quits? Well, pretty much anyone who could make it through Sandanista, but otherwise?

21 - "Valley Girl" - Frank (with Moon Unit) Zappa

Who names their kid Moon? I mean, really? Fer sure fer sure.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Satan was a lesbian

I was shopping for t-shirts yesterday. It all started when I came across anti-valentines designs at Cafe Press. I enjoy valentine's day when I'm in a relationship. Serves as a good excuse to get all mushy romantic. I have never gone the 'buy what we make for you' route. Just seems impersonal and counter to the sentiment of the day, at least the non-commercial part. Even still, many of the anti-valentine designs are pretty humorous. My favorite: 'Valentines make me poop'. No, I don't understand it either. But it made me laugh.

From there I got the idea that I had to find band shirts. Looked for groups like Devo and Human League - yes, I am old school. One site had nice Chuck Berry designs. Hey, I think, know what would be cool? Jerry Lee Lewis.

Couldn't find any Jerry Lee designs that I liked. But this did set me on a path looking at vintage art on t-shirts.

I'm a fan of pulp art. Especially retro futurism, but that isn't what I was looking at this time. The suggestive cover art on dime novels was on the menu last night. And I came across this:

Dangit, imagesaren't uploading. Imagine thecover of the 1966 paperback Satan Was A Lesbian is here. Go to StrangeSisters to see it. While you're at it, waste time at RetroCrush.

Now, I don't claim any expertise on same-sex relationships. But I can't helpbut thinking whoever came up with that title doesn't get the same-sex idea.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Dave responds to Lee Abrams comments about REO

My brother is a huge XM radio fan. His blog has a link to Lee Abram's log, and while I usually agree with most of what Abrams has to say, the following made me pause:

"if you were in your musically formative years around 1980, and were into the American soundtrack at the time, REO was a band you probably cruised around listening to over and over"

I was, and every time a REO song came on I shuddered (if you do the math from my age you may be thinking 'But you were only 10 years old!' True, but I was an early starter ...) The thing is, REO Speedwagon always seemed, well, boring. I am sure they are all fine people and so on, and repect anyone who has had success at that level, but ... ZZZZZZZZ.

But, your mileage may vary. There are bands like Bon Jovi that, while I'm in no hurry to start buying thier stuff still have left me with fond memories.

Two weekends ago I tuned in to American Top 40 on XM 8. I was excited that it was from 1982.

Apparently I have blocked how much of the top 40 from that era I just plain don't care for. I absolutely *love* some of it, but then we have REO or Little River Band and it just leaves me cold.

Play some Blondie or Berlin or Human League (for instance) however ...

Makes me feel like I'm floating on a cloud.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Love and rockets

One piece of advice I've seen for blogging is "make it timeless". In general that is what I try for here, intending posts to have relevance whether read today or next year. This post is a little different. Today's big news story is just so ... deliciously bizarre I can't help but comment. Plus, the topic gives me a chance to make a gratuitous comics reference in the title (Love and Rockets - one of my faves. Shame on you if you thought the title was a reference to the group that rose from the remains of Bahaus).

By now chances are you've probably heard of the astronaut love triangle between Lisa Nowak/Colleen Shipman/Bill Oefelein. In some respects this is a standard love triangle, with one party (Nowak) seeing another (Shipman) as a rival for the affection of a third (Oelefin). Nowak traveled from Houston to Orlando to scare Shipman into a conversation. Two things raise this story above ordinary:

1) These folks are astronauts. Thus the title.


2) To prevent having to stop during her trip to Orlando, Nowak wore ... diapers.

No big overarching point here. It is fun to see highly educated, intelligent people (pretty much required of astronauts) act less than rationally. Gives the rest of us hope.

And ain't it funny what love (or infatuation) can do to a person?


Since writing thiis, Nowak has been charged with attempted murder. Not quite as funny as it once was.

Sunday, February 4, 2007


it's colder than [insert your favorite explative].

Todays high -8 F. Starting about 56 hours ago we went below zero, and won't see positive temps for another 35 or so hours.

Yikes. I'm Minnesota born and bred, I've seen much worse, but we haven't been this cold this long in a decade.

This stinks.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Not fade away

Charles Hardin Holley Sepember 7 1936-February 3 1959

Friday, February 2, 2007

Curried mock duck

My single favorite dish is curried mock duck. So, being on a food history kick lately, I thought I'd look into this dish's history.

Apparently I've picked another difficult-to-research topic to get interested in. So far, I've only found one restaraunt outside Minnesota that has the dish I'm thinking about. This restaraunt isi n Chicago. Still Midwest, which strengthens my suspicion that curried mock duck is a 'restaraunt' dish rather than a traditional prepration. Also strengthening my gut feeling is that although there are certainly Vietnamese restaraunts outside Minnesota, expatriats of my home state complain about not finding this dish, which is common in these parts

'But wait', you may say, 'there are restaraunts with this dish in their online menus from NY, LA and so on.' Yes, but look closely at the descriptions. In these locations 'mock duck' is soy based. Around here, it is seitan (wheat gluten).

Definatly need more research on this before I can really feel like I'm getting a grasp on the question.

Tommorrow tune in for a very special blog entry.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Dave has an idea ...

... for a new hobby. Collecting cans/bottles from energy drinks. This is a worldwidee beverage category, and something I consume daily, so collecting the containers isn't too much of a stretch. My other collections go way beyond casual hobbies. Some I look at as collections proper (7,000 or so comics), some are better termed accumulations (100+ cookbooks), others somewhere inbetween (easily in the hundreds, but haven't counted lately, records).

I'll blog more on this in the future. In particular I take pride in my comics collection, which is largely made up of smaller sub-collections.

The Asexual Lifestyle of Cultivated Garlic

As a title, "The Asexual Lifestyle of Cultivated Garlic" has a lot going for it.

It is relatively short and to the point. Contrast this with many Victorian-era titles, which often go overboard explaining what the work is about. My subtitle to the earlier post "Puree" was pretty much a riff on these titles. I've always been a fan of short, sharp, shock titles (being of the Chaos UK literary school ... I lie here. There is no such school, literary or otherwise.) In my own writing I often use one-word titles.

It grabs your attention, mainly due to ...

It sounds a little rude. I mean, the word "sex" is right up there front and center. Never mind that the context is asexual plant reproduction. The word jumps out at people.

It is a bit surreal. Seeing the title, most will assume I am not really talking about garlic, sex or no sex. There has to be a literary term for this kind of misderection; I feel no shame in not actually knowing that term. Think Zen koan here. But enough tree-hugging hippy crap for today.

The one area this title really falls down, though, is in having anything to do with the actual blog entry here. Although I have just spent most of this entry talking about it. This is the kind of thing that short-circuits robots.

What I really wanted to say, before getting off on a tangent, was "DUH!"

I have mentioned before looking for pre-chilli 'heat' in Asian and African cuisines. Black pepper was undoubtedly important (I was overly dismissive of it earlier), but I couldn't think of other bases for fiery cuisine.

Ginger. Duh.

And after slapping my head, mustard, I thought,

I still haven't found a definitive source on these cuisines before chilli peppers. But I have a much clearer grasp on the possibilities now.