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Ah yes, it’s time to listen to the last 3 of my grandfather’s CDs. If they were all mixed in with the rest of the cds I would still know they were his, because where else would I get a Lawrence Welk CD? (poor justification–I probably have another one somewhere), and because each one has a label on it, on of those free return address labels that non-profit organizations send you to encourage your donation. I can picture him figuring this out, looking at the sheet of return address labels, the fourth or fifth sheet he’d gotten in the mail that month, and thinking, “I could stick these on my cd cases, and then if someone steals’em I can get’em back!” But I didn’t steal’em, I pillaged’em, I guess; what is it called when relatives sort through the stuff the deceased has left and portion it out? I don’t mean the legal term… ah well. Almost done: 11) Burl Ives: Burl Ives Poor Burl didn’t even warrant a CD title from the Beautiful Music Company, apparently. Burl rivals James Earl Jones for most ubiquitous yet unattributed voice of the past 50 years, I think, though Burl (as Sam the Snowman…
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Ok, still on Grandpa’s short stack of music: 9) Vera Lynn: For All WWII Sweethearts! No, Roger Waters, I don’t remember Vera Lynn, at least not the way you mean on The Wall. And really, neither do you, since you were born in 1943 and “We’ll Meet Again” was released in 1942. But it is a great song, and I remember singing it on a well-oiled evening with a group of people who also did not remember Vera that way. 2 cds, nice enough to play while making dinner, and her version of “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To” is pleasant . The whole experience made me want a gibson and some tongue in aspic. (bonus: The end of Dr Strangelove, and I also found out that “Vera” is cockney rhyming slang for “gin” (rhymes with “Lynn”). 10) The Wonderful Sound of An Accordion Band: Accordion Party. Wow, accordions! In an airplane hanger! Or at least it sounds like an airplane hanger, the reverb is HUGE and there are 4 or 5 accordions going at once and then, way, way in the back, is a drummer and a standup bass and a piano player. The reverb makes it,…
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Cds + Snuka

My short essay about going to see Jimmy Snuka wrassle is up at Gloom Cupboard (I’m at the bottom of the page). Continuing with my Grandfather’s CDs: 7) Lawrence Welk: 22 Great Songs For Dancing. Yes, this is what prozac must sound like. Or, as my lovely wife put it, “this is soul-sucking, life-killing, vapid noise meant to turn you into a Republican.” A certain kind of Republican, anyway. (bonus: it’s over!) 8] Paddy Reilly: Live This one was pretty good, actually; I was worried the production would be soul-sucking and life-killing, but for the most part the band just stayed out of Paddy’s way. Some cheesy synths did almost ruin “Carrickfergus,” but otherwise, sparse and fairly moving. (bonus: a cover of “Deportees” (Arlo Guthrie) reminded me how clearly anti-Brown People the debate over immigration is–no one is complaining about all the illegal Irish anymore….)

CD Collection: Yikes…

I started this project (listening to very CD I own) with a stack sitting on a speaker in our living room, and while the first 2 were excellent, the rest of the pile consists of CDs I got when my Grandfather died; I tok all his LPs too, and just grabbed the CDs without thinking. Without thinking I’d ever have to listen to them, that is. I knew there would be rough patches, might as well get it over now. 3) Al Hirt and Ace Cannon: Help Me Make It Through the Night. Or, Help Me Make It Through this CD of muzaky versions of very bad songs: “Rhinestone Cowboy.” “Games People Play.” Makes me want to go buy a TV dinner. (bonus: it’s pretty short. And the liner notes, which say that Al is good at talking about “the moving symbology of a negro jazz funeral.”) 4) Bruce & Dina & Duane Prill: Celebrate! Music For Two Trumpets and Organ. A collection of every overplayed classical piece they could cram on a CD, as played by, you guessed it, and organists and 2 trumpets. Fine for background music as I moved some furniture, though every once in a while…
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CD’s cont’d

Still working through Nina Simone, should have more time to listen this weekend. CD 3 had some gems I forgot about, highlighted by her versions of “O-o-oh Child” (5 Stairsteps) and “The Pusher” (Hoyt Axton, Steppenwolf did a well-known cover). I was quite lucky to catch Nina an her US tour just before she passed away… she left the US in 1970 and didn’t return to tour until 2002, though she visited for other things. She also ” fired a gun at a record company executive whom she accused of stealing royalties” (according to this interview). RIght on. Not that I advocate shooting record execs anymore, they are kind of pathetic now, an endangered species, like John Birchers and people who like Orangina.

Ah, that’s what all those cd’s are for…

My wife asked me last night how long it would take to listen to all the cd’s we have, if I listened for 8 hours a day. After some silent arithmetic that took far too long, I decided 200 days would be a good guess, which means I guessed 1600 cd’s. We laughed at my hoarding for a while, and then inspiration struck: why be so fuzzy about the number, why not listen to them all? I already have decided to gradually visit every bar in Lockport, so this project, also an exercise in pointless completism, will give me something to do at home. Listening in the car doesn’t count, I decided, and every cd must be played in it’s entirety, though I don’t have to “actively” listen to each one; I have to be in the room, but I can do other things whilst listening, like blogging about it. So: I am starting at the cd tower in the fireplace room downstairs, and am listening upstairs through a desktop computer plugged into a PA system I bought for $50 in Atlanta from a church. 1) Handsome Boy Modeling School: So… How’s Your Girl? This was first because I just…
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The suburbs

An interesting discussion on the freakonomics blog: future of the suburbs I’ve lived in suburbs and always found it a soul-draining experience, but lots of people seem to like them. Another example of how the internet lets us see into the thought processes of people whose existence we may have begun to suspect was a media ploy.

Go Bills!

this is too funny: American Football by Harold Pinter Hallelujah! It works. We blew the shit out of them.We blew the shit right back up their own ass And out their fucking ears.It works. We blew the shit out of them. They suffocated in their own shit! Hallelujah. Praise the Lord for all good things. We blew them into fucking shit. They are eating it. Praise the Lord for all good things. We blew their balls into shards of dust, Into shards of fucking dust. We did it. Now I want you to come over here and kiss me on the mouth. (accessed:

yappin at the antique store

I was in one of those rent-a-space collective antique stores the other day, this one in downtown Lockport, and a group of folks were yappin’ about McCain and Obama, about bailing out Wall street, and so forth. The group’s republican voice sounded totally disillusioned with his parties’ manic candidate, as well he should be, but what was most interesting to me was his characterization of Obama as “just a kid from the South Side of Chicago.” The Obama’s-too-young theme is pretty standard, and I hadn’t thought much about it till that moment, but it really is a striking blend of anti-intellectualism and racism. Obama sounds like what he is: a very smart man, one who doesn’t need to show off his intellect (folks who need to show off that way generally aren’t very smart, in my experience), and that manner of address is threatening to a fairly large portion of the population. Add his blackness to his intellectualism and the result is a theme that tries to infantilize him by calling him too young, lacking in wisdom, and so forth. I’m sure if he was white the theme would be similar (see JFK, for example), but it is double-edged when…
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Because it’s September 11th (and soon to be Sept 12th)

GB’s Lake On September 12th, 2001, I went fishing. Perhaps not the most patriotic reaction, but my place of employment had been closed for the day and sitting propped in front of the TV news seemed even less patriotic than angling. The mega-corporation that my wife works for stayed open, of course, although some shadowy cabal in charge of morale did broadcast a company-wide email recommending folks seek out one of the many crisis management-certified staff members, if they felt the need. It has been my experience that a certain ratio exists between a) the difficulty management has reacting emotionally to events not directly tied to mutual funds or golf, and b) the size of the corporate entity they inhabit, so the flat inadequacy of the communiqué Ashley received was no surprise. Corporations exist globally, and the destruction of the twin towers had revealed that the U.S., for all its posturing, was still largely provincial, and the very act of revealing the frightened, suspicious, local character of our people made them even more frightened and suspicious–but then again, this small town character was also the source of all the acts of selflessness and bravery that followed in the wake of…
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