Friday, May 30, 2008

Mercaptan puts the "Ass" in Assparagus

Friday May 30, 2008

You all know what I'm talking about right? Or maybe you don't. I'm talking about that skunky smell in the urine brought upon by the sulfuric breakdown of asparagus. Statistics say that only half of you know what I'm talking about.

Here's the scoop - it's in the genes. Whence the asparagus is ingested, some of us are lucky enough to produce a digestive enzyme that breaks asparagus down quickly enough to produce a gas called Methyl Mercaptan. Methyl Mercaptan doesn't exactly smell like flowers. It's got a pungent woodsy rotten eggish aroma.

Are you in the mood for a science experiment? Do you need to know if you're a stinker or a non stinker? Go get yourself some asparagus. Eat it then "relieve" yourself after 15 dash 30 minutes.

If it stinks (more than normal), you're a stinker. If it's smells like plain jane vanilla urine, you're not a stinker.

For the record I'm a stinker.

The Pixies

Friday May 30, 2008

Today's Friday Flashback is brought to you by the little people. Especially the mischievous little people with tiny pointed ears and wings for flying.

I heart the Pixies.

The Pixies are Black Francis (born Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV, vocals, guitar), Joey Santiago (guitars), Kim Deal (bass guitar), and David Lovering (drums). The band was formed in 1985 while Black Francis and Joey Santiago were roommates at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The two enjoyed the philosophical mishmash of Peter, Paul & Mary-like folk and surf punk. They put an add in a paper for a bassist who liked the folk-punk combination and Kim Deal showed up. Drummer David Lovering was referred by Kim Deal (evidently Kimmie's husband and Lovering were friends.)

Most of the songs and abstract lyrics were written by Black Francis. While in college, Francis spent 6 months in Puerto Rico as a foreign exchange student, hence the Latin undertones and Spanish lyrics displayed in many of the Pixie tunes. The Black Francis vocal style was manic, wide-eyed and wailing. Sounds dark and dismal, I know - but somehow that Black Francis was able to insert a bit of humor above it all.

Although mainstream notoriety was never achieved, the Pixies are considered the antecedent for Alternative Music as we know it today. Imagine the atrocity of Barry Manilow inspired Nirvana, My Chemical Romance influenced by Tom Jones, Death Cab For Cutie actuated by Ted Nugent, the prominence of MC Hammer in Alice in Chains, Korn impregnated by ABBA, and Interpol leveraged with a touch of Hank Williams. See. We owe it all to the Pixies.

The Pixies broke up in 1993 then regrouped in 2004 for a bit. During one of my luckier years - 2005 - the rabidrunner saw 'em in action! Good times people. Good times.

Albums released: Surfer Rosa (1988), Doolittle (1989), Bossanova (1990) and Tromp le Monde (1991).

Hearken! Where Is My Mind, Here Comes Your Man, Hey!, Vamos, and Debaser.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's Raining Death Cab for Cuties!

May 27, 2008

Yesterday was Memorial Day. On most Memorial Days I plan a run through local cemeteries and call it the Tour de Cemeteries. Running amidst all of those flowers can be both fragrant and beautiful. On earlier occasions, I'd hit the Memorial Day lottery by catching a military service in action.

Not this Memorial Day. It rained. Everyone knows I don't run in the rain because I'll melt.

After the reverbial sounding of my "get-your-butt-outta-bed-and-run" alarm, I turned it off and listened to the pitter-patter of the rain. Actually pitter-patter is too delicate a description. I listened to the pounding of the rain.

First thought: I'm gonna hafta run on a treadmill.

Second thought: Vera is taking me to Death Cab for Cutie tonight.

Third thought: It's an outdoor venue.

Fourth thought: I get to wear Gore-Tex!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Les Paul and Amy Ford


Today's Friday Flashback is brought to you by Chasing Sound. Need a good movie? Need a good documentary on music? Go put this one on your list now!

Les Paul was born Lester William Polsfuss on June 9, 1915 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. From an early age little Lester was obsessed with music. He was particularly interested in finding a way to make a new and different sound with each instrument he played. He began with the harmonica and piano and graduated to his signature instrument - the guitar. Since "Lester Polsfuss" had so many opportunities for mockery, Lester changed his stage name to Les Paul. He also liked that it was short and could be said quickly. That leaves more time for guitar playin'.

By the age of 13, Lester was playing country-music guitar professionally. At 17, Les dropped out of school to join a group called Rube Tronson's Cowboys and subsequently joined Wolverton's Radio Band in St Louis.

In the 30s Les moved to Chicago to give the up-and-at-'em Jazz music a try. He formed the Les Paul Trio and played for the mob. Not really. Well presumably. It was the thirties. And it was Chicago.

During his time in Chicago, Paul would alternate his jazz performances with country music. The hipsters in those days would vehemently debate that a professional musician just can't do that - pick a genre and stick to it! What a bunch of stick-in-the-muds.

After Chicago, Les Paul spent time in New York then ventured west to Hollywood. He was drafted during World War II to play guitar for a radio broadcast show intended to boost the moral for U.S. soldiers. Paul would later be featured on the Bing Crosby show.

Iris Colleen Hatfield was born July 24, 1924 in El Monte, California. Being the daughter of a Nazarene minister, the Hatfield family would travel the US spreading their faithful love with music. After momma was tired of changing diapers on the road, the Hatfield family ended their travels in Pasadena to host the city's first Christian radio show. Iris had the voice of an angel and could play a mean (yet spiritual) rhythm guitar. In the early 40s, Iris was discovered by country music legend Gene Autry.

In 1945, a rising star by the name of Les Paul was looking for a female voice to lead his latest musical adventure. Gene Autry introduced the young Iris to Les. Les said Iris Colleen Hatfield takes too long to say (six whole syllables) so you should be Mary Ford.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Les Paul and Mary Ford.

The duo traveled and entertained and recorded for four years before they became a Mr. and Mrs. That's right - married, hitched, trapped, espoused, betrothed. The couple would reign in stardom until the arrival of rock 'n roll (which coincidentally was made possible by Les Paul inventions - more on that later).

Les Paul and Mary Ford were known for recording in bathrooms, kitchens, hotel rooms - just about anywhere and produced many top 40 hits. Grab your sweetheart and gather the kiddies to give the couple a watch/listen with: There's No Place Like Home, World is Waiting For the Sunrise, How High the Moon, Sitting On Top of the World, Alabama Bound/Darktown Strutters Ball (notice the Listerine ad in this one especially the "some times it takes more than that to thaw out a husband") and Tiger Rag.

At an early age, Les Paul was committed to driving music - especially the guitar - to the absolute limit. He was not interested in performing or creating what had already been performed. He was always "chasing sound" as the doc-u-mentary has so cleverly coined.

In the 1930s, Paul invented an electric guitar known as "The Log" that would be the precursor to the solid bodied Gibson Les Paul. This guitar has been the instrument of choice for Chet Atkins, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, The Edge, Jimi Hendrix, Bonnie Raitt, Muddy Waters, Keith Richards, BB King and much more! The detailed list can be found here.

In the late 40s, Les Paul's fascination with electronics and the limits of recording led him to invent dubbing and multi track recordings. Until this time, all musical recordings were played together at the same time - all at once. (I realize I didn't need to say both "at the same time" and "all at once" but I'm trying to make a point). If you wanted 18 violins, 2 banjos, and a choir of 22, everyone had to be present for the recording. With the invention of multiple tracks, you could record one violin, play it back and record a different violin part on top of it, then one banjo, then the next banjo, etc, etc. Watch Paul and Mary multi-track here .

Mary would joke that she should record several vacuum cleaners going at once. This way she could get the house cleaned quicker. How I wish it could be true.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Calvin Coolidge Underwears


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

We're a Presidential Family


Spouse's Cousin and Fiance of Cousin were visiting this week. Cousin and Fiance live and breathe and work in Washington D.C. doing political stuff. Both have worked for senators.

We were gathered in our parlor (you know that fancy room in our house where we sit daintily with crossed ankles, work on our embroidery, and listen to the piano forte). As I lack culture and class and general distinguishment, I was reading a Vanity Fair mag instead of the above mentioned activities. I also lack finesse and knowledge so I look at the pictures in Vanity Far in lieu of reading the articles. It's kind of like playboy for photographers.

Anyway, this magazine is littered with Calvin Klein ads. I turn to Yahoo #1 (who just turned 7) and say, "We should get you some underwear with Calvin Klein written on it."

The four-year-old Yahoo #2 (busy with his transformer) pipes up with "We should get him some Calvin Coolidge underwear!"

I'm pretty sure our high folutin' D.C. comp'nee taught him that.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Adam Ant


Today's Friday Flashback is brought to you by spring and the insects it brings! Today's Friday Flashback is the third in our series of cocky dudes in tight leather pants.

Adam Ant's real name is Stuart Leslie Goddard. He was born in England to Romnichal parents. Romnichal is what those wacky UKers call gypsies. What exactly is a gypsy? A gypsy is someone who wears giant earrings and skirts with bangles. They wonder the earth reading palms and telling fortunes.

Okay not really. The Romnichal people are gypsy-ish Norwegian rejects that were transplanted and left for dead on the coast of England ('round about 1544). They speak a language called Romani - a creole type language that combines the grammar of English with a language called Romani Lexicon. Yum. Creole. I wonder if Romnichal food is spicy.

Adam Ant's father drove a limousine and his mother worked as a maid for Paul McCartney. Ant first played bass in a band called Bazooka Joe. Not being a stand-in-the-back-and-look-cool kind of guy, Adam decided it was time for his own band - hence the creation of Adam and the Ants. (Isn't it every guy's dream to commandeer their own league of bugs?)

After a bit of band-on-the-rocks, three of the Ants were asked to leave and went on to form Bow Wow Wow. (You know, the owners of that one hit wonder I Want Candy - I should really change my PMS Hymnal to this one, eh?)

Once the Ants had been exterminated (a fine strategic move on his part), Adam had a few years of success by himself.

To be honest, I don't like ants either. Although they do make you dance when they get in your pants...

Stand and Deliver - Prince Charming - Wonderful - Kings of the Wild Frontier - Puss 'n Boots - Desperate But Not Serious - Friend or Foe - and don't forget his homage to Mormon girls - Goody Two Shoes

Monday, May 12, 2008

What Does Play Mean?


Yahoo #2 has been in constant inquisition over the meaning of words. To be honest it can be taxing and he doesn't ask about things with easy answers.

"Mom? What does skateboard mean?"

"It's a board with wheels."

"Mom? What are wheels?"

"Round things that roll."

"What's a roll?"

It goes on and on. Today he asked me to play with him outside. I said sure. Then he said, "Mom? What does play mean?"

That's a good question.

What does play mean? I have a vague memory of me staring at him stumped and responding with, "Play means you are doing something you like." After which (sounds like church don't it?), after which I stared upwards in nebulizing ponderance over what play means. I received nary an answer or better yet I couldn't find a way to put "play" into words. I marched inside to look it up.

As we try to go as bookless as possible (that means without books or basically we don't keep anything written that is online somewhere), so as we are bookless, I must go to to see the official definition of play. Are you ready for this? It took over 3 minutes for all of the hundreds of definitions to come up. That's right hundreds.

Play is a drama displayed for entertainment (have you seen Death of a Salesman), play can be a sport (I play basketball!), play is a verb used to show a skill (as in I play the ukulele), play is a set of strategies used in competition (that play helped him win the game). It goes on and on.

What I realized in that 3 minutes of downloading lag time - was that I've lost my meaning of play. Where has it gone?! Is it under my bed? Is it buried in the back yard? Has it entered the dimension of lost socks? Did I leave it on a long run? Is it with all of my lost earrings? Has it been left behind with my career?

I know exactly where my play has gone. It's been sucked into that black hole called responsibility!

Could you think of a better wake up call? Hello!? Ring Ring!

(I'm off to play.)

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Cult


Today's Friday Flashback is brought to you by, um... cocky dudes in tight leather pants. Yeah, that's it. This is the second Friday Flashback in a series of cocky dudes in tight leather pants flashbacks. Today's Friday Flashback is also brought to you by Nigel.

The Cult was founded mostly by singer/songwriter Ian Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy of England. As I take meticulous notes on the changes of drummers and bass players, I made an executive decision (see how fun it is when you have your own blog? You get to be the executive)... I made the executive decision to bag any mention of drummers and bass players. There were hundreds (not really but close) and well that would just be boring to read a bunch of names. You can thank me later.

The Cult started out as Southern Death Cult after Astbury's infatuation with Native American heritage, or the religion referred to as the "Southeastern Ceremonial Complex" and the evils of Southern England. Evidently there's a North vs South mentality in that country. The South isn't as refined. Similar to the Spanish Fork culture that exists in Utah (tee hee hee).

After a few years as the Southern Death Cult, "Southern" was dropped and the band became just Death Cult. After a few years of that, they dropped the Death. Prolly so they wouldn't appear so evil.

The Cult has a distinct and unique sound. It's heavy on the guitars - close to heavy metal but not quite. As The Cult (Astbury in specific) was heavily influenced by The Doors, one can sense the Native American mysticism and sound that Jim Morrison and the boys were so fond of. Jimmy would be proud, eh?

Astbury's vocal range is impressive and hints of formal training - reminds me of Iron Maiden's Dennis Wilcock, Geoffe Tate from Queensryche, and Rob Halford from Judas Priest. But you can decide for yourself.

The success of The Cult spanned a couple of decades. The latter years were a bit mediocre commercially but the quality is Cultesque and Phenomenal.

The Cult had some controversy and gee whiz moments.

  • After the release of their 1991 album Ceremony, The Cult was sued for unauthorized use of a Native American boy on the cover. I guess they took his picture but didn't ask permission to send it around the world (duh!). Only the first few thousandish releases of the album have the original cover. The rabidrunner has said cover. Do you think it's worth anything?

  • Ian Astbury was offered the role of Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone's movie The Doors but turned it down because Ian wasn't impressed with the script or the manner in which Jim was presented. The role was given to Val Kilmer.

  • In 1990, The Cult produced a music festival in LA and San Francisco called "A Gathering Of The Tribes." Some 40,000 people were to attend. Rumor has it Lollapalooza (1991 on) was inspired by this festival (oh how I dream of Lollapalooza each and every year! Vera?)

Dig The Cult! Wild Flower - Edie Ciao Baby - Here Comes The Rain - She Sells Sanctuary - Wild Hearted Son

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Midget Man Mowing Services



Sunday, May 04, 2008

See How Much Money I'm Saving You?


I read a post oozing with a volcanic outburst of clever (here). And this post reminded me of the time I told spouse "See How Much Money I'm Saving You?"

When Spouse and I were dating (wasn't Spouse then), he wanted me to cut his hair so I decided to give it a stab. Having no experience at cutting hair, I found my scissoring technique might benefit from the help of some clippers. Clippers are very consistent you know.

So I said, "Why don't you buy me some clippers to help in the haircutting process?" He said okay and I take him to the fanciest beauty supply joint in town.

At the supply de beauty extraordinaire, I pick out the most expensive clippers. I think they were fifty bucks. He squirmed a bit and I reminded him of his current 18-buck-a-shot haircutting girl.

"See How Much Money I'm Saving you?" I said.

"You have no idea." Said he, while fidgeting with the diamond ring in his pocket.*

*By the way, I didn't know he had a ring in his pocket. That detail came at a later time - after a few years of my saving him money.

The Doors


Today's Friday Flashback (late again) is brought to you by a crush of all shapes and sizes: Orange Crush, The Colorado Crush, Crush from Gladiators, and crushed heels. But most of all, today's Friday Flashback is brought to you by the crush of my adolescence, Jim Morrison. (Even back then I was into hot dead people).

The Doors have an extremely short but successful story. The band's creation began in 1965 when the band's singer Jim Morrison studied film at UCLA with keyboardist Ray Manzarek. Morrison was a poet and had several songs written. He sang the tune Moonlight Drive to Manzarek and Manzarek said, "That's some groovy stuff man. That would be far out if we were a band" (Okay so he didn't say that exactly, but I'm sure that "groovy" and "man" and "far out" were used at least once. I'm also convinced that marijuana was involved but that's beside the point.)

With a vocalist/songwriter and a keyboard player, the band was only half-baked. They needed some guitars and some drums. Coincidentally, Ray had a couple of buddies in his Yoga class who did just that. Manzarek invited Robby Krieger to play guitar and John Densmore to play drums. The band would never have a bass player. Manzarek would play the bass line with his left hand on a keyboard bass (an innovative technique that other bands would follow. Like the Dandy Warhols for example).

The Doors title for the band came from a book called The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley. The book was written while Huxley was taking mescaline and read by Morrison while Jim was experiencing other mind altering drugs.

The Doors of Perception is "considered to be one of the most profound studies of the effects of mind-expanding drugs and what they teach about how the mind works." The Doors of Perception concept originally came from a different author, William Blake, who wrote:

"If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern."

The Doors were known mostly for the poetically cryptic lyrics of Morrison and their drug-induced, outlandish stage performances. Morrison was known for his tight leather pants, seductive eyes and sultry lips (my inner 16-year-old is speaking again).

In 5 short years, The Doors were able to record and release 7 of the best albums of all time. They are: The Doors (January 1967), Strange Days (September 1967), Waiting For The Sun (July 1968), The Soft Parade (July 1969), Morrison Hotel (July 1970), Absolutely Live (July 1970), and L.A. Woman (April 1971).

Tragically, the success of The Doors ended in Paris on July 3, 1971 when Jim Morrison was found dead in his bathtub. No autopsy was performed but there are many legends. One of which is a heroin overdose from an injection by then girlfriend Pamela Courson. The coroner who pronounced Morrison dead found no needle marks on him. Morrison's reason for death was also theorized a heart attack brought on by drinking and a hot bath.

So don't drink in the tub or do heroin. K?

Morrison was buried in Paris next to Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.

Light My Fire - The Crystal Ship - The End - Waiting For The Sun - L.A. Woman - Hello, I Love You - Unknown Soldier - Riders On The Storm - Love Her Madly - Roadhouse Blues and don't forget that foreshadowing tune When The Music's Over

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Cream O' Controversy


I'm in desperate need of a distraction (or two). And what, my friends, distracts better than a good controversy?

Well there are a few things (shopping for shoes, a giant pair of Princess Leigh Bun headphones, going through the "blogs I frequent list" and finding new stuff to read... to name a few). However, in the interest of Distract Me Now Damn-It, I need to open a 16 ounce can of Cream o' Controversy.

Here we go: Good golly Texas, you have really messed up this time. (As if the last time wasn't a mess up either - remember Waco?)

Go ahead, gasp for air in trajectory astonishment over my polygamy-loving stance. You can even spit some disdain in my general direction (just remember, it's you that will need to wipe that monitor!)

I've been delightfully entertained by the raid of that Texas FLDS compound. Not because I get enjoyment from the news coverage or because I agree with either sides of the fence on this one, but because it's downright unconstitutional! (as in "Four score and six years ago..." oops! What I mean is "We The People...".)

Let's back up a few, shall we? I am not a supporter or sympathizer of those who wish to have plural spouses. And I am flat (we all know that I'm flat), I am flat out angered by the marrying off of 13-year-old daughters to Uncle Cleave, or Cousin Tom or half brother Boris. (While we're on the subject of what is so wrong about the FLDS community, let's talk about the horror of those dresses. Eek! frightful!)

Let's start with a few facts: 1) 450+ children were taken away from their mothers. 2) The children were removed because an alleged 16 year-old within the compound phoned authorities in distress over abuse. 3) It turns out the phone call came from a 33 year old woman in Colorado named Rhonda Swinton.

So based on some crack pot phone call, the cops were able to bang down the draw bridge of the compound and haul everyone out on buses.

How does this apply to you and I? Let me illustrate. You have a neighbor, we'll call her Tyrannsaurus Rex (Rexy for short). Rexy doesn't like you. Rexy wants to get even because your grass is always greener and your garage is always cleaner. Rexy makes a phone call to DCFS (Department of Child and Family Services) with allegations of abuse. DCFS shows up on your doorstep and takes your beloved Yahoos. Your life is hell for at least a year.

Here's where I show you Amendment IV from our Constitution:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. "

Now that we have that business out of the way, let's talk about who the victims are. Obviously the children, but who else? The Women!

It's safe to assume that a majority of these women were coerced strongly into becoming part of their assigned clan. Either that or they were born into that way of living and know of nothing else. Being astute and disciplined, these women obliged and made the best of it. They had children and loved them.

Now some fun foster parent gets to take care of 'em. Nice.