Saturday, January 31, 2009

Daschle's Confirmation "Speed Bump"

OK, last night's post about Daschle was jesting and having some fun about a couple of tax issues. Daschle's defense that he believed that a car and driver service was merely a "generous gift" that was not taxable was dubious for a man of his supposed intelligence and the rank he's held over the last 30 years, but I took it to be a stupid, costly mistake that would be news for a few days.

This morning, however, we find out that there is more to the story. Specifically, there was also more than $88,000 in consulting income that went unreported in 2007. That's bad; in fact, it's worse than the car service problem as there is no longer a "I didn't know it was taxable!" excuse to be made. But what bothers me far more are multiple references to "questionable charitable contributions." For some reason, I had to search several stories before I finally found a description: Daschle had initially claimed deductions for donations made to organizations that turn out not to be tax-deductible. We need to know more -- a whole heck of a lot more -- on that matter, especially the organizations and if they might be tied to his consulting and/or legal clients (hey, I'm a cynical SOB).

If Obama remains committed to having Daschle as his HHS Sec, there needs to be a full and detailed accounting of everything ASAP, including public release of at least the past seven years of tax returns. This current controversy is only over the past three years that the Finance Committee has been reviewing: if they'd initially wanted to review five years or seven years, how many additional adjustments might Daschle and his accountant have made?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Stimulus Package And Tax Cuts

I'm being forced to rethink my position on Obama's stimulus package. With tonight's revelations about Daschle's little IRS issue, it's becoming clear that the Democrats also believe that additional tax cuts are necessary. But instead of pushing for rate reductions as opposed to increased spending, the Dems have simply been refusing to pay what they owe. Or rather, they don't pay until they find themselves facing the prospect of Senate confirmation.

At this time, Marion Barry still hasn't filed for his 2007 federal or DC taxes. Instead of hauling him before the judge yet again, I suggest that Obama nominate Barry for an important position someplace: that seems to result in the resolution of all manner of tax and general legal confusion. Surprisingly, or serendipitously, really, from what I can gather, Obama has not yet named any nominees to head either the Drug Enforcement Agency or the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

(Oh, come on now, no need to be upset about this or think that I've become a Dittohead: I kid because I love!)


Blogging under the influence. I doubt that it's ever been done before, considering how staid and downright conservative things are out here in this mess of pipes and tubes known as the Internet. Oh sure, we have our occasional fights over who clogged what pipes and arguments about which tubes should be tied and mini wars about who should pay what to get priority access to said pipes & tubes, but Joe the Plumber recently decreed that we cannot discuss those or any other important issues with outsiders such as yourselves since openness and unrestricted access to information and a free press and the like are all antithetical to a free society (meaning, of course, that they're tools of the Socialists!), so forget I said anything.

Now playing: "Destroy Babylon," Bad Brains - GOT damn, that's nearly enough to turn me into a metalhead
(I hadn't even finished typing that before Minutemen's cover of "Green River" came up... it's a live track off their Tour-Spiel EP, which I have by way of their Post-Mersh Vol 3 compilation... Minutemen (a groundbreaking and political band) covering CCR (one of the original groundbreaking and political bands) is normally a good thing, but this is not a good example... I have high standards for live recordings: I dislike the grand majority of the live albums I've heard over the years.)

This is going to be a rambling sort of post covering a few different topics. Basically, it's going to be Larry King late-night radio style, if you know what I mean. (And hopefully you do know what I mean, because I don't... everything I know about LK I learned from years of listening to Don and Mike, the Radio Gods, who were hilarious but probably ever so slightly unfair whenever talking about LK. "Paint your bald spot? Paint your bald spot?")

NP: "Chicago Piano," Jawbox

I realized this evening that I needed to do a blog posting because I found myself having to wait at Starbucks while they made more coffee. No, I'm being completely serious. I'd stopped by there to order a medium coffee only to be told that they were out and could I wait four or five minutes while they made some more. Huh?! I could only laugh. No, I didn't mind at all, but how weird that SB would run out of coffee.

NP: "Cinderella's Big Score," Sonic Youth

They didn't charge me for the coffee, BTW.

This afternoon I found myself at the office bored -- all of my important projects had either been completed in the morning or were on hold pending callbacks -- and reduced to doing the sort of admin work that must get done but which is mind numbing and quite possibly soul killing. From out of the blue came this realization that I hadn't been to On the Border since Christmas Eve (Why yes, as a matter of fact, I did have a rather un -traditional Christmas. Why do you ask?). In case you don't know, On the Border is a Tex-Mex chain restaurant. Good food. Even better Margaritas. And at that moment, I realized that nothing or no one would be able to deny me a Margarita. No wind, cold temps, or bad drivers on the Beltline could keep me from my appointed rounds.

NP: "All Aboard," Muddy Waters

I go to OTB once a month or so and usually order two Margaritas, on the rocks. I consider myself a beer guy, but I rediscovered Margaritas last summer after my friend and former co-worker, Nancy, emailed some of us to say that she'd enjoyed her first one ever during happy hour several days earlier. Not longer afterward, I got my latest tattoo and I went straight from the tat shop to On the Border and rediscovered my taste for tequila. I used to do tequila shots, but, in all honesty, I couldn't handle them very well when I was in my 20s, so I was sure as hell not going to try doing shots now that I'm in my 40s. Instead, I went with the Margarita and, holy crap, it was good. It was perfect. My leg was still bleeding a little bit and stung like a mofo , but after that first Margarita, well, who gives a flying leap?? So I had a second. And, as I say, I've been going back once a month or so ever since. Tonight, the drinks were just as good, and I almost talked myself into ordering a third, but I really hate spending the night in jail, so I went to Starbucks, instead (ha - and you thought there was no way I was going to tie together any of these stupid vignettes).

NP: "Life Is White," Big Star

I think the whole "I deserve a Margarita" thing was because this had been a pretty decent week at the office. I like my job and I like the company I work for, but one frustration is that there is a feast-or-famine aspect to my particular job: I'll go for a period with very little really productive work accomplished because the work just isn't there or (far more often) I'm not hearing back from my customers. Then, from our of nowhere, all of the work hits at once, and things go from slow to crazy busy. The last week and a half were crazy busy, and I marked a good number of projects off my To Do list, including several that other people had been waiting on. So that's a good thing. And it gave me an excuse to mess with my brain chemistry with a little alcohol.

NP: "Danse Fambeaux," Dr. John

After Starbucks and a quick trip to the grocery store (bananas, beer, coffee, toothpaste, ibuprofen, and dishwasher detergent), it was time to come home. I had some idiot tailgating me for a short distance until he finally took the hint from my slowing down to a crawl. Tailgating seems to be an official sport in this area. Drives me nuts, and I will probably end up getting shot eventually because I don't react very well to it: I tend to get pissed and will usually seek to annoy the offender every bit as much as he or she has annoyed me: I'll slow down, hit my brakes, and/or gesture rudely. Anyway, tonight's offender eventually got into the other lane and was pulling ahead of me when I noticed that the freaking idiot had a small TV jammed between his door and the steering column and angled in such a way that he could watch while driving. It's a good thing I don't own any guns, because if I did, I'd have been sorely tempted to shoot out this moron's rear window.

NP: "High Voltage," AC/DC (yes, believe it or not, I actually own a couple of AC/DC albums)

For no particular reason, I feel like stating publicly that I have no problem with gun ownership. I do, however, have a problem with stupid people owning guns. And I don't like violent, ill-tempered people owning guns. Also have a problem with irresponsible people owning guns. Basically, I guess I want to be the person who decides who gets to own/possess guns. And I definitely want to decide the punishment for those who misuse guns or allow their guns to be misused by others. If that sort of system won't work for whatever crazy reason, then can we require not only registration, but also licensing? At the very least, everybody must pass a basic safety and handling course before they can apply for a license that itself is required before registration. Now, how you put that system into place when there are already tens of millions of guns in existence in this country is not a small concern, but I think most people would be willing to comply with registering existing guns. The hardcore NRA folks will protest and many will outright refuse, of course, but I have a feeling most of those folks live in the suburbs, exurbs, and rural areas, where guns don't create quite the most serious problems.

I have more to say on that topic, but I'm suddenly bored with writing and pretending that I have anything important or original to offer. So, to steal a line from Marc Fisher, that about kicks things in the head for this post. You've been a wonderful audience and I wish you all a good night.

NP: "It Makes No Difference," Solomon Burke
(heh - that song title is just a perfect sentiment for this and just about any other blog, eh? it probably also is a good commentary on the whole notion of gun control. as Steve Earle once noted, it's way too late for gun control in the U.S.... then again, that was an observation he made many years ago while sinking deeper and deeper into his drug addiction, so I have no idea if that's an accurate description of how he really feels about the issue now that he benefits from a clear mind.)

NP: "Keep It Clean," Steve Wynn
(heh again - this song just came up as I wrote about Steve Earle's recovery from addiction)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Project Complete

I just completed perhaps the most useless project I've ever conceived. Last year, I decided to listen to all of my MP3s in alpha order by song title. Generally speaking, the songs I skipped were those where I had multiple copies (studio and live versions, remixes, covers by multiple artists, etc.). In addition, I allowed myself to skip other songs on rare occasions for the sake of my sanity (e.g., Metallica wasn't always a big help when I was feeling stressed at the office).

According to iTunes (it's amazing the sorts of stats that program compiles) I started this project on Wednesday, September 24, 2008, at 7:36 AM while at the office (iTunes doesn't track my location... or it doesn't display that info if it does happen to track it) by listening to "A-11" by Richard Thompson. I completed it today, Wednesday, January 28, 2009, at 1:23 PM, also at the office, listening to "'..." by House of Freaks.

And while I accomplished nothing of any real value to anyone, I feel a bit of pride tonight. (I'm kind of a weird guy, I know.)

So here is the tally from this 127-day effort: 9,634 songs making up just over 35,444 minutes of music (or 24.6 days worth or 4.65 hours of music per day).

I listened to songs from 1,210 different albums by 547 different artists.

The top 10 artists in terms of number of songs are U2, Bruce Springsteen, Minutemen, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Oingo Boingo, David Bowie, Guy Clark, Muddy Waters.

The top 10 artists in terms of total time are generally the same, except that Sonic Youth, Marshall Crenshaw, and John Hiatt pushed Minutemen, Guy Clark, and Muddy Waters from the list.

The songs covered 80 years of music, dating back to Mississippi John Hurt's 1928 Okeh sessions.

According to iTunes' classifications, the songs covered 26 different genres, not counting "Unclassifiable" (which accounted for 121 songs). The genres mean very little when you consider that four songs are listed as "Squiggle," easily my favorite label. Those four songs, by the way, are from Bryan Harvey's sadly never-released solo album. If you're a House of Freaks fan, you can find those songs by going to this blog and scrolling to the entries that start on May 8 2006. If you don't know House of Freaks, well, go here and here.

So. Don't you just feel better knowing all that? Yep, I figured you would. You're most certainly welcome.

Say Goodbye to Cello Scrotum

Never let it be said that I shy away from discussing the great issues of the day. Found this on Dave Barry's Blog:
Peer Reveals 'Cello Scrotum' Hoax
I think I'd like this couple, Elaine and John.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

John Updike

Well, crap. The man was in his late 70s, so it's not like this qualifies as shocking news (Bernie Mac dying at 50: that was a surprising death). And I didn't know the man, so it's not like this is a personal loss for me, either. Still, this bums me out.

The Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom series will always be among my favorites. It's amazing that most of us liked and even cared about the main character, even if he was one of the most immature, selfish, and sometimes hurtful SOBs in all of popular fiction. I've only known two people who've read the first novel, Rabbit, Run , and couldn't stand Rabbit... maybe the rest of us who cheered for him are just as twisted as Rabbit (well, actually, I guess that goes without saying in my case... which was part of Updike's point, it would seem).

Among his lesser known novels, I've been most impressed by (and highly recommend) Toward the End of Time (Updike does post-Apocalyptic sci-fi?!?) and A Month of Sundays. I recently picked up a beat up, dog-eared copy of The Centaur, which started out terrifically but was just a bit too deep for a time when I really wanted/needed a comedy. I guess I need to pull that one back out and give it a second shot.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Music Man: The Waterboys (1983)

Music Man Discovery Series, Part 2 of ???

In contrast to Smash Palace, there is no doubt that The Waterboys -- the band's eponymous debut release -- has held up well through the years. The band formed in London in 1983 with Mike Scott as the driving force, singer, primary songwriter, and man of seemingly any instrument. He was joined by Anthony Thistlewaite on sax (and occasionally guitar and keyboard), Karl Wallinger on keyboard and synthesizer, and Kevin Wilkinson on drums.

This is not a group that was ever destined to hit it big given their complexity of influences (Van Morrison, Patti Smith, David Bowie, Bob Dylan are the usual mentions), their early love of minor keys and unusual beats, and a sound in which neither guitar nor the ever-present 80s cheesy synthesizer was often dominant (the band initially favored sax and piano or a simple keyboard/synth sound; later, they scored their biggest success with a Celtic folk-rock sound; only more recently has guitar become a far more primary instrument in their sound).

The first video at bottom, for the lead single, "A Girl Called Johnny," gives a good idea of the overall sound from this first album. In fact, this gives an idea of the unusual style from the band's first three albums, a sound termed "big music" after a single of that name was released off their second album, A Pagan Place. As a style, the big music is appealing; as a lyrical theme, it's edging toward the territory of egotistical tripe: Scott is quoted as describing it as "a metaphor for seeing God's signature in the world."

Their fourth album, 1988's Fisherman's Blues, marked a dramatic change with a turn toward Irish folk-rock and was their biggest success in terms of both sales and critical response. It also marked the first of several HQ changes for the band, as they moved from London to Dublin to prepare for the album (they've since been based in New York, Galway, and a Scottish commune [?!?]).

As much as I enjoy the early albums, Fisherman's Blues is my favorite; although, to be fair, it so different from their previous albums that it's nearly impossible to compare them. For some reason, I stopped following the band after that album, so I have no good idea of what has come in the 20 years since. Indications are that Mike Scott (the band is really his solo effort now since Thistlewaite, the last of the original members, left in 1991) has continued experimenting and changing up the sounds, which is never a bad thing, even if some of the individual results may be (or may not: again, I haven't heard the newer albums).

Also of note, keyboardist/synthesizer master Karl Wallinger left in 1985 to form World Party. Similar to Mike Scott and The Waterboys of the last 10 years, Wallinger is the single man behind World Party: these are both solo artists posing as bands. Wallinger left The Waterboys after their third album and before planning started for Fisherman's Blues, almost guaranteeing that some major change in the band's direction would follow given his tremendous influence on the band's early sound.

These are albums that I will certainly look for on vinyl. And given Scott's history, I'm sure that material post-FB is also worthy of consideration.

"A Girl Called Johnny" is the first video, followed by the title track from Fisherman's Blues:

The Music Man: Smash Palace (1985)

In a previous post, I made mention of The Music Man, a record store in Norfolk, VA, at which I spent a lot of time and too much money during my college days of 1985 to 1990. Heck, I even worked there for several months. For whatever reason, several of the employees took me under their wings and set out to expand and improve my music collection and taste. In thinking about the store over the last few days, I decided it might be interesting to revisit some of the somewhat obscure and/or unusual music I was encouraged to try.

Obscure is an imprecise term when it's applied to pop culture: while relatively few people are familiar with someone like Danny Gatton, most everybody who enjoyed the punk/alternative period of the 80s knows the Replacements. Still, I'd argue that both Gatton and the Mats are obscure when considered from the viewpoint of "popular music" or even the less general "rock music" vantage. So while I appreciate that the term does not apply equally or even fairly to every band or artist I might write about here, it at least makes obvious that these groups or individuals are not in the realm of the Beatles or whatever manufactured teen group is being hoisted upon the public this particular week.


During one of my early visits to The Music Man in the fall of 1985, one the employees highly recommended two albums: the eponymous, full-length debuts of both Smash Palace and The Waterboys, the latter of which I'll write about in a separate post.

Stephen and Brian Butler formed Smash Palace in New Jersey back in 1985 after working in two earlier bands with recording contracts: Quincy (disbanded after being sued for trademark infringement by Quincy Jones, incredibly) and Lulu Temple (a band they left while recording an EP because of disagreements over how the band's direction: musicians' version of politicians' "to spend more time with my family" excuse). Their new band was quickly signed by Epic records and they released their debut album in the same year.

I remember being bowled over by this album; in fact, despite not having heard it since probably 1986 (or perhaps because of that), I came very close to bidding on a vinyl copy last weekend but finally reasoned that the album might not be as good as is my memory of it (see: Kierkegaard, Repetition; see also: needlessly geeky references). Based upon my recollection of their guitar-heavy sound, I want to describe the group as power pop. But when searching for old videos, the only one I could find was for their "Living on the Borderline" single, and it makes me wonder just how faulty my memory may be: either this song is a poor representation of the album as a whole or I enjoyed more bad music 25 years ago than I'd realized. This video suggests that Smash Palace sounded like so many dime-a-dozen mid-80s bands who seemed to share the same singer (you know, the guy who sang like a constipated American trying to sound like a Brit after listening to The Smiths too much) and the same synthesizer schmo (yeah, that guy who idolized Flock of Seagulls and loved wringing out cheesy, unnatural sounds from the equipment). This is not power pop. If this is what the rest of the album sounded like, then I can only say in my own defense that I was 18 and a freshman in college at the time, so please cut me some slack.

In researching the group, I found that their post-debut bio is just as interesting (especially when compared to this single) as their pre-SP story. This initial album proved to be their last for 14 years: despite having some success with this release on Epic, they left to follow their A&R man to Polygram. But the promise of a contract on the new label never came to pass, so they were left hanging, marking the first and most likely final time that a band was ever screwed over by someone in the normally altruistic music business. The brothers stayed with the music business, however, hiring on as staff song writers for several labels through the years before deciding to reform Smash Palace in 1999. They recorded an album on their own in Stephen's house, signed with an independent label, and have since put out five albums.

Recent live performance videos, songs from their new album, Everybody Comes and Goes, and tracks from the 1999-2006 period indicate that the suckage factor may have significantly decreased in the last 25 years. The new singer, Stephen (who took that role over from Brian when the band reformed... Brian is now no longer with the band at all), doesn't feel the need to try to mimic Morrissey or anybody else. Even better, the sound is guitar-driven power pop with decent (i.e., non-embarrassing) keyboard support. In fact, there is some stuff here that I've been enjoying this morning.

While looking over the personnel changes throughout the years, I'm struck by something that didn't jump out at me initially: their first lineup did not include mention of anybody on keyboard or synth. So perhaps my memory of the Epic release isn't far from reality after all: maybe "Living on the Borderline" was the ready-made single forced on them by the label and the producer who were intent on drawing in fans of the more popular but less talented bands of the era. I know, I know: a major label would almost certainly never do such a thing, instead trusting a band's sense of direction. Still, I'm going to stick with my theory, because I just can't abide the thought that I might have considered an entire album of "Living on the Borderline" was decent music; plus, it makes very little sense that such an album would have been pushed by the crew at The Music Man. I deny living in denial.

So, finally, the "Living on the Borderline" video and a recent live performance of newer material:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Time to Get to Work

Just a quick post about two striking lines from Obama's inauguration address.
Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.
With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come.
I think it's safe to say that the grand majority of us are ready to get to work: we're ready to do what's asked of us, so long as we're being led by people we can trust and respect. I have hope in that regard.


Just enough to make me happy, brighten the area, and delay my office's opening until 10:00 force my company to close for the day.

Inauguration Day

Since I moved from the Washington, DC, area in 2007, I don't believe that I've once missed the area. Sure, there have been some things about DC that I miss, such as the great mass transit system (DCers love to complain about WMATA, and rightfully so in some instances, but it's still a great service that most people elsewhere in the country would love to have), but I've never regretted being in Raleigh.

Until the last few days.

Despite the road and bridge closures and the restrictions and the crowds, I'd love to be in the area right now just to feel the energy.

A friend sent out a report regarding her trip into the city on Sunday. Now, I ask you, just exactly how cool is this?

So! I actually made it to the concert at the Lincoln Memorial yesterday. Went with my 26 year old friend J---. It was just the two of us because his wife O--- (she is Belorussian SP?; they met 3 years ago when J--- was in the Peace Corps in the Ukraine and married two years ago) works at a hotel so she is on duty at this busy time!!

I took Metro to their apartment which is across the Potomac from Georgetown. We then walked along the river to the Roosevelt Bridge (Memorial Bridge was closed for security) and then made our way down the mall and watched on giant screens near the Washington Monument. It was INCREDIBLE. Not too cold (30s) and TONS of people....all ages, races and nationalities.....heard lots of European accents. Everyone so happy. Whenever the cameras would flash on "Barry" watching the concert the crowd would just start cheering.

Then we made our way back to Georgetown.... lots of streets closed so we could walk in the streets. Pedestrian Power! Had a bite to eat at a little Italian bistro .... ended up chatting at the bar with this very nice guy who was the boyfriend (gay) of the owner so we will definitely be back. Yummy food and comfortable ambiance. After our respite we walked back to Jeff's and I hopped on the Metro and went home. Got back around 9PM. I was exhausted!! Alot of walking and standing but sooooo fun.

Staying close to home today and tomorrow will probably watch the swearing in on tv and then head in to DC later in the afternoon to observe all the Inaugural Ball attendees.

It's a great time to live in Washington!!
Enjoy the moment, whether you're braving the crowds in DC, watching from home, or sneaking occasional glaces during the workday.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Waxing Poetics

Improbably, Norfolk's Waxing Poetics are back (baby)!

OK, they're not really back, but there has been a surprising amount of activity of late. Those who remember the WP know why that's exciting news. Those who have no idea about this band need to check them out. FWIW, their second album, Manakin Moon, is their most popular while the third album, Bed Time Stories, is my favorite: Bed Time Story is their experimental album, the musical definition of multiple personality disorder in terms of styles, and one of the darkest, most claustrophobic, paranoid albums I've ever heard.

Their long out of print albums -- Hermitage (1987), Manakin Moon (1988), Bed Time Story (1990) -- were made available for download via Amazon and iTunes last month. The downside is that the cover songs -- most notably, Brian Eno's "Needles in the Camel's Eye" and Wreckless Eric's "Semaphore Signals" -- are not available. It appears that the band bought back the rights to their albums and are releasing these themselves, which would explain why they opted to drop the covers. But on the upside, there are two previously unreleased bonus tracks available on Hermitage: "Happy Days" and "Jimmy Carter's Head" (which also went by the name "Different Lands") were both popular songs from the Poetics' fun live shows.

In addition to the digital re-release of the old albums, a shiny new website has also gone up that includes links to a batch of newly posted live videos, as well as MP3s of some of the bands and one-off projects that Dave Middleton and Paul Johnson (AKA Paul Tiers) have done up in NYC since the Poetics called it quits back in 1991 (save for the occassional reunion every other year or so back home in the Hampton Roads area).

I'm posting two of the better WP videos below. I believe that these have been created only recently, which only adds to my curiosity about the sudden activity of a long defunct band. It's probably just wishful thinking, but this just makes me wonder if something special, possibly new, is in the works from Paul, Dave, Sean, and Bill.

Watch Waxing Poetics - Jimmy Carter's Head in Music Videos | View More Free Videos Online at

Watch Waxing Poetics - Happy Days in Music Videos | View More Free Videos Online at

New Year, New Hobby

I was playing around on the internets Saturday night because that's what all the cool people do on weekend nights now, ya know. Because I've been on a Waxing Poetics jag since the recent digital release of their old albums -- the subject of another blog post that doesn't really exist just yet -- I was checking for used copies of their CDs on Amazon. Wow. Their first release, Hermitage, was going for $40 while the LP versions were pulling in $50. So I checked eBay and found similar prices, except a couple of folks -- sellers with long histories and 99% satisfaction ratings -- listed LPs in VG+ condition for around $10. Found similar price differences with some other OOP recordings by my favorite bands from my college days.

So I started buying.

Never mind the fact that I don't own a stereo, listening to all of my music on my computer and an iPod. For the last few months I've been toying with the idea of piecing together a nice stereo system, to include a turntable. I guess I've now finally committing myself on getting that stereo, because by Sunday evening, I'd spent about $150 on used records: in addition to eBay, I had the pleasure of digging through the used LP bins at Schoolkids Records in Raleigh and CD Alley in Chapel Hill.

Pretty happy with the bounty. I love music and I love hunting for music. I have the folks from The Music Man store at Military Circle Mall in Norfolk to thank for that: those folks gave me an education in music that rivaled high school and college combined. Plus, they saved me from many of the worst sounds (and ungodly fashions and haircuts) that the music world of the 80s had to offer. The Music Man is long defunct, unfortunately, and I've spent years searching for someplace similar. I've found a few good places, but nothing to rival that store or any of the other folks from that store. If it was good music, David and Joe made sure to stock it or would walk through fire to order it for you, no matter how small the kitchen or basement was out of which the record label operated.

But back to the topic at hand...

This week, it'll be time to start researching stereo receivers and real CD players and good turntables and speaker systems in hopes of putting together something that will result in my immediate eviction should I be stupid enough to test its full potential in my apartment.

Anyway, here are the albums that I've picked up so far:

Alex Chilton .......... Feudalist Tarts
BoDeans .......... Home
The Connells .......... Boylan Heights
The Del Fuegos .......... Boston, Mass
The Dream Syndicate .......... Medicine Show
House of Freaks .......... Monkey on a Chain Gang
House of Freaks .......... Tantilla
John Hiatt .......... Join the Family
Little Feat .......... Waiting for Columbus
Los Lobos .......... How Will the Wolf Survive?
Marshall Crenshaw .......... Marshall Crenshaw
Marshall Crenshaw .......... Field Day
Marshall Crenshaw .......... Downtown
Marshall Crenshaw .......... Good Evening
The Neville Brothers .......... Yellow Moon
The Nighthawks .......... Ten Years Live
Oingo Boingo .......... Good for Your Soul
T Bone Burnett .......... The Talking Animals
The Who .......... Quadrophenia
The Who .......... Who's Next
Waxing Poetics .......... Hermitage
Waxing Poetics .......... Manakin Moon
Waxing Poetics .......... Bed Time Story

23 albums down, only 2277 to go before I can say that I have all the essential stuff on vinyl.

Alllrrriiight !!!

The forecast is for a good snow in the Raleigh area on Tuesday. If this proves out, it will be my first real snow since moving here in late 2007. With any luck, folks around here are nervous enough about snow that my wish to sit on my rear end in my favorite chair while drinking frothy adult beverages and watching the inauguration festivities just might come true. Hope, indeed.

I love snow. Can't possibly get enough. As I've gotten older, I find that I don't like the bitter cold as much as used to, but I'm still a kid when it comes to snow. So this little bit of hopeful news about a winter storm watch is worthy of my first blog post. (Just don't tell my boss, please.)

Watching the snow and the Obama inauguration. It'll be like Christmas all over again. Except far more enjoyable. And no family. No Chinese food, either, probably.

LATE BREAKING NEWS: This morning's forecast called for two to four inches of snow. They've upped that estimate this evening to THREE TO FIVE INCHES! We're gonna be snowed-in for weeks!!! Oh, I only wish. I've got a pile of books here that would probably get me through an exceptionally bad North Dakota winter.