Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Well, their stage costumes are polka-dotted ...

Monday, August 27, 2007

I Don't Like Mondays

Brenda Ann Spencer stole my birthday.

Well, considering that she is 6 years older than me I guess she couldn't really steal my birthday. I hadn't had one yet. But still ... You kinda want to like the folks you share your day of birth with (April 3, if you're wondering).

I don't know Brenda Ann Spencer, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be too fond of her if I did. She did one of the many things that evoke instant dislike in me.

She opened fire on a playground full of kids. Killing 2 adults, wounding 8 children.

But that is not what this post is about.

Songwriter Bob Geldof read this news item and wrote his band's second hit (well, 2nd in the UK. Didn't do as well stateside.) That song, "I Don't Like Mondays", is based around Spencer's response when asked why. She responded, "I don't like Mondays".

The song is rightfully considered by many to be a classic. It has one of the best explanations of "why" I know of.

Why war? Why famine? Why murder rape pestilance etc etc?

"I don't like Mondays".

But that doesn't make any sense you might say. That's not a reason.

Again from the song:

He can see no reasons
Because there are no reasons
What reasons do you need?


There. Not quite as dark as last post. But really, when your topic was immolation and rape and suffocation there really aren't many ways you can go that don't lighten things up a bit.

So upward.

And, hey, somebody is waiting up there for us. Wearing a polka-dot dress?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Don't Care

This would be the 'very' part of 'very dark'. You've been warned.

This is several intertwined stories. I don't know any of the other participants except through the news. Which is my part in the story, mostly. Just reading the news.

The lead story a few days ago was Youssif, a kid from Iraq. I'm not sure why, but this January several masked assailants doused Youssif with gasoline and set him on fire.

For some reason this didn't get press, Last week, though, it was all over the news. For two days the image of this burned kid stared at me whenever I visited Other times the image would creep into my thoughts.

It was that kind of image. Haunting.

On the third day the photo was replaced with that of some guy in Florida's sentencing (his name is well known. I choose not to use it).

In 2005 this guy raped 9-year old Jessica Lunsford.

Which left him with a problem. Our society rightfully frowns on such behavior. What if Jessica told?

So he silenced the victim. Not with threats but with plastic.

He wrapped Jessica in garbage bags and buried her alive.

The obvious question is: why did this guy think this was acceptable?

If an answer was given to this I don't know. Maybe he didn't like Mondays or something. Maybe something in his head was broken.

But at anyrate, he was tried and convicted. He was in the news for his sentencing.

So what is my part in this story? My troubles pale in comparison to immolation and suffocation. After all, bad stuff happens. Screws fall out all the time. It's an imperfect world.

Both these stories seemed greater than just 'bad stuff', though. And they hit me pretty hard. Partly because I've been physically and emotionally tired lately.

Not exhausted. I've been exhausted, I know exhausted. This ain't it.

But back to that guy. I said he was sentenced. Didn't say what the sentence was.

It was death.

Let me be absolutely clear on this. I oppose capital punishment. It is down right embarassing to live in a country that allows the death penalty.


Even though it probably means giving up my imaginary membership card in the imaginary bleeding heart liberal club...

I really don't care what happens to that guy in Florida.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I Said It

Yep, I said it.

You may have missed it. One of the advantages or disadvantages (let's just say things) to having some background in literary analysis is that you notice stuff like this. Even in your own writing.

Said what? you may ask. A few posts ago I said:

insert your favorite stereotype of how disabled folks are supposed to act here

First time on this blog I self-identified as 'disabled'.

Generally, I don't do that. It has nothing to do with denial of anything. If you read my blog with any regularity I've said enough about some of my troubles that you'd probably agree with the identification. If you are one of the lucky folks who gets to actually see me often even more so. And I'm around myself 24-7.

But still I don't self-identify very often as 'disabled'. Really it has to do with how I look at these things. Or how others do.

'Disabled' is often used in a way that implies that it is the central element of one's existance. I see it more as a 'by-the-way' sort of thing. I am a huge comics (and pop culture in general) fan, possibly an even bigger music fan, a long-time vegetarian, social activist, unapologetic left winger, cook, computing enthusiast, have a couple degrees ...

And, by the way, I have a chronic disease and resultant fairly severe mobility issues.

But if I say 'disabled' folks tend to forget all but that last point.

So I don't say it much. Or feel it much. That is in and of itself subversive. Hard to forget I kinda like music when I spend 1/3 of the blog talking about it.

So am I disabled? The State of Minnesota says so. My doctor agrees. Me? See above.

So, that was a little dark, huh? But not so dark as to justify my warning on the end of my previous post. Just another case of my overselling something.

That is assuming I'm done.


Histiography of popular music

Sometimes you stumble across something that you just need to shout about and tell the entire world about what you have found. So it is with The Pipettes, a British group with solid roots in pop. Check them out - for folks on the American side of the pond, a US release comes out at the tail end of August!

In case you missed the hyperlink to the group's site, here it is again. Check out the 'About' link on the group's site. It has some of the wisest comments about popular music I have read.

I particularly like the recognition that there is no single history of poular music, but multiple histories. The one given on the site matches my own view of music history more closely than the traditional Beatles-centric view. Don't get me wrong - the Beatles are a fine band. For me, though, 1964 is an endpoint rather than beginning.

The history I advocate begins July 31, 1927. A.P. Carter convinced his wife Sarah and sister-in-law Maybelle that they should all journey to Bristol, Tennesee and audition for a record producer seeking talent. And so modern country music was born.

Sure there is more to the story than that. A.P. had to get those songs from SOMEwhere. But stories have to start someplace.

The Carters lead (as I said) to country, which is an important component of early rock and rockabilly (think Sun studios), leading us (somehow) to the pop of the pre-Beatles 60's, including groups (Beach Boys, girl groups generally ...) that heavily influenced 4 lads from Liverpool.

So I guess the Beatles are in this story.

But really I am just using the history stuff so I have an excuse to mention The Pipettes. They are about a gajillion kinds of cool. Really fun stuff.

And everyone can use some fun. Especially when things get a little dark.

Not to sound ominous or anything, but (and I telegraphed this last post) the lights are going down around here again. It's gonna get dark for a while.

How dark? Stay tuned, but I can say ...


Friday, August 24, 2007


I have a decision to make.

See, usually when I look in the local free weekly newspaper I see one or two bands I'd like to go see. I was reading a copy while waiting at the bus station for my ride home. This time I saw 7 shows. Seven! Namely:

The Donnas
Suzanne Vega
The Bangles
They Might Be Giants
Arch Enemy
2007 Minneapolis Metal Massacre
Bad Religion

So now I have a decision. Just how badly do I want to see these shows? For Bad Religion and Arch Enemy - pretty badly. The problem I have is this: the venues these shows take place at are probably not laid out with accessability for folks like me in mind. I haven't been to First Avenue in years (where most these shows take place), but I don't remember anything particularly positive from the standpoint of getting around ...

So I have a decision to make. Do I dig real deep, try real hard, insert your favorite stereotype of how disabled folks are supposed to act here, and go to these shows? Or just say to heck with it and save myself the aggravation?

I'm leaning towards the latter.

Am I the only one who sees the first often used as a subtle putdown? I'm all for trying and everything, but I can't stand the "you did not entirely succeed, so you must not have tried hard enough" attitude.

There are days when my brain tells my legs to move but it just ain't happenin'. Not because I'm not trying or not thinking in a positive way.

But because my immune system is eating at my nervous system.

Sorry if sometimes that ticks me off.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


The important part of the title up there is the plus sign. I have always been fascinated by the way things seem to end up connected somehow.

Members of the band Rancid have a weekly show on XM radio channel 53. Today they spent the first part of the show talking about football (what my people call soccer :)), Beckham specifically. The connections between football and working-class punk music is well known, but something mentioned on the show made everything much more specific. It also ties together a few of the things I've mentioned in past posts in a really unexpected way.

Seems a former manager of Manchester City (not sure exactly who) is a major Oi! fan.

Incidentally, City is top of the table in the Premiership. That's #1, kids. Hated crosstown rival United: 16th. We're only 3 games in, but still.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I hear we have an election or something next year here in the USA. It's a little early to call (heck, we don't even know who the candidates will be yet ..), but of two things I am certain:

If Hillary makes it through the primaries and takes the general election, my brother will be horrifically traumatized, and

If the above happens, we, as a society, will need to come up with something to call Bill.

What to call the male spouse of a female president has never been an issue (and probably won't be one any time soon - sorry, Hillary. Just sayin'.) First gentleman?

Bill Clinton has come up with an idea himself. A little bit of word play - first laddie.


We've had major flooding just south of where I live here in Minnesota. I was watching the news, and an anchor asked a field reporeter to describe the situation on the ground. "The situation here is fluid."

Heh. That's funny and probably totally inadvertant.

"Fluid." Floods.



I've taken to getting up a little early each morning so I can devote some time to listening to my satellite radio. The other day I listened to a few songs on XMLM, XM's metal station. One of the songs was by Soulfly, who are kinda a big deal but I was unfamiliar with. Unfortunately I can't tell you the name of the song. I certainly have that ability and remember the title, but can't in the sense that I choose not to. I want to keep this blog accesable to a variety of readers, and part of that is not using profanity here. Not that I don't use profanity in my daily language, but ... time and place, you know?


One group that used profanity in their music in a way that annoys me is Youth of Today. It often seemed Ray (the vocalist) was going out of his way - even to the detriment of the song - to swear. Unfortunate because there is otherwise plenty of good to be said about YOT.


One of the other songs I liked on XMLM that morning was by a band called Arsonists Get All The Girls. Great song, but that is one of the worst band names I have ever heard.

And I have heard plenty.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Patti Smith

There is a scene in the movie Chasing Amy where in one short burst of dialog the three Kevin Smith New Jersey trilogy movies (Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy) are tied together into one cohesive whole. This article on does that to a certain extent for my jumble of musical interests. I never connected the Ramones and early 60s pop before (although I should have ... I mean, really, they worked with Phil Spector ...) I stumbled across the article surfing around trying to answer one simple question:

How did I get to be 37 and not own any Patti Smith records?

I was aware of Smith. Just didn't feel compelled to buy any of her stuff.

Until now.

When I was growing up I would sit in front of the radio and wait for a specific song to be played. This was the early 80s, so that often meant sitting through a lot of junk justifiably forgotten today. (Yes, a lot of my faves come from that era. But let us not forget it was also the era of REO, LRB and other bands with more letters but even less interest for me).

Recently I've found myself listening to XM44 waiting for a Patti Smith song to be played. ANY Patti Smith. It's been quite a while since I've done that sort of thing.

One cool thing about this current obsession is that I can see at least 2-3 blog posts coming from it. All of them about Patti Smith. Or none of them.

Depends on how you look at it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Do ya wanna dance?


Do ya, do ya, do ya, wanna dance?

Probably not. Unless binary inspires you to put on your boogie shoes.

But wait.

Imagine those digits are the representation of a song on a CD. (I pick Prince's "Controversy" from the album of the same name, but pick whatever ...) In that context (as read by a CD player), ones and zeros definately will help you get your groove on.


The above is a much smaller version of what was supposed to be the main part of 3 posts ago.


This is funny looking at it today:

I've heard guys with 10-megabyte hard disks complain of feeling cramped.

Thinking in Forth - Leo Brodie - 1984
Considering how cramped my 80-gig drive is ...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I don't know what this means

Blogger has a neat new feature where profiles with similar interests are linked. Just for fun, I clicked on the link for one of my favorite books, The Passion.

249 other profiles list that as a fave book.

A little under 90% of those profiles are from female bloggers.


The real surprise, though, was the number that listed interests that could be called 'tree-hugging hippy crap'. (I can say things like that for the same reason I can find humor in having MS. Self-awareness and all ...) The Passion is not a book I would associate particularly with folks showing a particular enthusiasm for things like ... uh ... nature and stuff.


Hey, I screwed up again! I wrote this entry in two parts at work and emailed them to my home account. At least that is what I intended. I'm not sure if I forgot to email part one or accidentally deleted it, but here is the second half... Crud, the first half led directly from my previous entry. Oh well. So it goes.


Speaking of dance [which I was in the missing first half], if you go pogo (that's a play on a slogan for the Pogo comic strip), you could do worse than check out I stumbled across this blog looking for info on Dead Silence, a Colorado hardcore outfit that I liked quite a bit but that has always seemed to be unknown on the web. (You can find anything on the 'net HAH!) I've spent much time there the past few days. Every band covered in the 80s hardcore section either 1) I listened to 2) I intended to check out but never got around to or 3) would have intended to check out had I known they existed.


Also check out the e-book Free Culture. More on that later ...