Halloween used to be one of my favorite holidays. But now it just seems to irritate me!
My biggest gripe: 2nd hand stores like Goodwill and St. Vinnies are so crammed with Halloween stuff that anything that might interest me is probably sitting in a back roomo somewhere. Not to mention all the thrift store newbies that are getting in my way!
I wasn't always this way. When I was in my late teens early 20's, I was all about Halloween, and actually put a lot of thought into my costumes. They didn't always work out the greatest, but I had fun. When I dressed up as the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, no one quite got it. "Seasick elf?" some one inquired. The ghost of John Lennon didn't turn out that great either, with somebody rudely saying "you are the ugliest woman I've ever seen!"
My favorite costume had to be the Cat from Outer Space.
It was based on a character from the musical "Cats," and it got the outer space theme when my mom and I found some insulated drapery material which we turned inside out, and my mom made me some kind of frock type thing.Â The shirt was an old 70's polyester shirt that my older brother seriously wore..with the collars cut off and stuffed, then used for ears.
One thing I know for sure--you're not going to find a costume like that at Goodwill!
Happy 70th Birthday to Steve Cropper..an amazing guitar player, songwriter..and a guy who has an interesting connection to Madison.
When Otis Redding's plane went down in Lake Monona in 1967, one of Cropper's beloved guitars (I believe a Telecaster) went down with it. And he has said he never wrote another hit song after that.
Now I doubt there's much left of it after all these years...but it sure would be cool if a diver could find it.
Cropper co-wrote "Sittin' On the Dock of the Bay," "In the Midnight Hour," among others, and as a founding member of Booker T and The MG's was involved in the recording of pretty much every record Stax Records ever put out.
And don't forget he's the "Steve" of "Play it Steve" on the song "Soul Man"...the Sam & Dave and Blues Brothers Versions.
He's still making records too..most recently puttingÂ out a great album called "Dedicated" features duets with B.B. King, Lucinda Williams, John Popper and Steve Winwood.
Find out more about Cropper's amazing career on his website at www.playitsteve.com.
There's a report out today that Mick Jagger is getting together with Martin Scorsese to produce a new TV show that will air on HBO.
It reportedly will track the exploits of a "cocaine-fueled record executive in New York City circa 1977," at a time "when punk, disco and a new form of music called hip-hop collided."
Okay, I guess he might have some experience in that area, although his buddy Keith Richards may be a bit more qualified.
Now before they settled on that premise for the show, my sources tell me there were others that were rejected. Here are a few of them.
1. "Three's Company: The Next Generation" Mick Jagger would star as the new Mr. Roper.
2. "Ego Wars" This would pit Mick's ego against others who also think a whole lot of themselves. Donald Trump, Charlie Sheen, Sarah Palin and Brett Favre were all being considered as possible guest stars.
3. "Let's Rob Mick Jagger." Some down and out New Yorkers conspire to rob Mick Jagger's apartment.
4. "Extreme Makeover: Lips Edition" Mick would host a behind the scenes reality program involving the best and the worst from the world of collagen.
5. "Moves Like Jagger" Inspired by the Maroon-5 song, celebrities would try their best to dance like Mick Jagger without falling over laughing.
Do you like to cook?
Do you like to eat?
Then the Madison Food & Wine Show is something you need to check out this weekend. Happening Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center, this is one of my favorite parts of the fall.
Here's how it works. When you go into the Exhibition Hall, you'll be given a wine glass (that you can take home), and a bag to hold goodies in, as well as info about all the exhibitors. It's going to seem overwhelming at first..but give yourself a chance to get your bearings, and then start wandering.
You'll find delicious foods from a wide variety of restaurants, caterers, and other food producers (think cheese!) Everything from entrees to desserts. You can pick up lots of great ideas along the way, meet awesome people who know all about the food or other product that they have for you to try.
Ooh..I almost forgot the wine!Â So many wines to sample! It's a great way to discover new wines without having to risk spending a lot of money on something you don't like.
Not big into wines? No big deal. I'm not a real wine person, but I still find plenty of items to try..and yes, there's beer there too.
Throughout the three days, there will be plenty of demonstrations..and the Dueling Chefs competition is always entertaining.
Look for Triple M at the show. We'll be handing out suggestions for great Triple M Triple combos featuring entree, beverage, and album.
Here are the ones I came up with:
British Invasion Picnic
LP:Â The Who Sell Out
Entree: Good Old American Hamburger with beans on the side
Drink: Newcastle Beer
Breakfast in America
LP: Supertramp's Breakfast in America
Entree: Omelette with spinach, mushrooms and Wisconsin colby cheese
Drink: Mimosa with California sparkling wine and Florida orange juice
A Texican treat
LP:Â Los Lonely Boys debut
Entree: Texas Tamale Pie and
Drink: Chameleon El Rey Beer
Find out more about the Food & Wine Show here.
"If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry'."--John Lennon
Chuck Berry turns 85 years old today..and he's still gigging. I'm not sure he's doing his signature duck walk anymore..but just standing upright and holding a guitar for any length of time would be an accomplishment for most people his age. I checked his tour schedule, and he's playing BB King's Club in New York City on New Year's Eve!
I was lucky enough to see Chuck Berry several years ago as part of a double bill with Little Richard. While he was a little cranky (he thought video cameras being used to project the show on big screens were actually recording him and he got testy), and his guitar chops weren't seamless, it was still incredible to be able to see such an icon up close and personal.
Funny concert memory: Mike and I were sitting next to Madison sandwich tycoon Big Mike (of Big Mike's and Milio's fame), who was really getting into the show. At one point, Chuck asked all the pretty ladies to come up on stage and dance with him. While I was too shy, Big Mike (who lives up to his name) ran up on stage and gave it his all! I ran into Big Mike this summer and mentioned that to him, and he asked me, "Can you blame me?"
There are lots of great videos featuring Chuck Berry on youtube..and in many of them, he's playing with rock and roll luminaries that he influenced.
This one is from the documentary "Hail Hail Rock and Roll," and features a famous son of one of the biggest rock stars ever.
I was reading the Sunday paper yesterday and being the frugal queen that I am, I was perusing the coupons. One that caught my eye was a coupon to save a dollar on Halloween Play-Doh. Play-Doh for trick or treat? All I can say to that is...BOOO!
While I have nothing against Play-Doh in general, I don't think this is an appropriate surprise to drop in some one's trick or treat bag. First of all, you'll probably only get one (or maybe two), and the amount is so small you probably can't make anything out of it. Ooh..here's an awesome one-color Play-Doh snake!Â Now where the heck are those Snickers bars?
I suppose there are are other things that are even worse as Halloween gifts. These include fruit, pennies, pencils..or from the completely ironic file..toothbrushes!
Unless of course the toothbrush played the tune to Monster Mash. That would be cool.
Confession time.Â Â No, I didn't recently give birth when I was in the hospital, but I did watch a lot of bizarre television that I don't usually watch. Among the shows: "Toddlers and Tiaras," "Long Island Medium," and my new favorite..."I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant."
There is a show called "I Didn't Know I was Pregnant" ???Â First of all..that happens enough that there's a show about it? Se cond..this show has been on for several years. Wow.
In the episode I watched, a young woman gave birth in a campground restroom. She was in pain and didn't know why..and the baby just fell out and hit the bathroom floor. The show didn't have any actual footage of course, but did have actors re-enacting the scene. Surprisingly, they did not have a doll-double to use to represent the baby.
What I'm wondering is this..how do these kids feel when they find out about their interesting entrances to the world? Will they sit down with the families and re-watch the show every year after they blow out the candles on the birthday cake?"
"You dropped me on the floor!Â In a grimy campground bathroom?" I imagine the kid asking. "Those better be some pretty awesome presents for me to even THINK about forgiving you."
And when his friends ask "were dropped on your head as a baby, or what?" He'll have to say.."as a matter of fact I was. Thanks, Mom."
Want to know more about this bizarre show? (And why wouldn't you?)Â Click here.
It seems just about everybody has read the book "The Help," or at least has seen the movie. I'm sure I'm not the first person to have a problem with the book...but it's probably not the same one others have written about.
Kathryn Stockett's book "The Help" is the story of black maids and the white families they work for, set in Jackson, Mississippi against the backdrop of the civil rights movement. Some crtics have said it's not historically accurate, while others have complained that the author overstepped her bounds in trying to write from the perspective of a black woman of that era.
But that's not what annoyed me. Here's what ignited this reader's flame. Kathryn Stockett doesn't know beans about rock and roll!
In one chapter, which is supposed to be the summer of 1963, one of the white characters hums the Beatles's song "Love Me Do."Â Really, Ms. Stockett? This young white female in the deep south is humming a song that won't be released in the United States until April of the following year?Â The Beatles haven't even been on the Ed Sullivan show yet, and Beatlemania hasn't even really kicked in England yet, but somehow this woman knows the tune, and she's in Mississippi?
I just simmered down enough from that one when that same character is listening to the radio in her car and she hears a song by the new band The Rolling Stones. This was in January, a month before the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan, and four months before the Stones'Â first single was released in the U.S. Simply amazing.
I guess I'm being a bit of a nitpicker (or music snob), but come on. Don't they have editors that double check this kind of stuff? What other stuff did she get wrong? Those blunders really made me wonder.
In another chapter a character changes the channel with a remote control..a Space Command.Â I had to look that up. Was the Zenith space command in use in 1963?
Yes, it was introduced in the 1950's. Okay, she gets a pass on that one.
(And despite all of this...I still really liked the book and recommend it!)
When I found myself flat on my back in a hospital bed for 8 days last month, I was really glad I had some music to listen to.
I don't have one of those fancy schmancy iPod thingamajigs, but I do have a cheap mp3 player, and I loaded it up with albums I thought I might like to listen to while recovering. It turns out there was one I listened to over and over..and it's a CD that's been in my collection for 20 years.
There are a lot of great songs on Peter Himmelman's album "From Strength to Strength," and several of them seemed to fit my particular situation. In "Woman With The Strength of 10,000 Men," he sings about the fact that all his troubles are nothing, compared to those of a woman who speaks by "choosing letters with her eyebrow."Â The song "This Too Will Pass," was helpful too, and not just because that was something my mother always to say to me.
But I think the one that fit the best was "Impermanent Things."
Why keep hanging on
To things that never stay
Things that just keep stringin' us along
From day to day
Okay..it doesn't literally describe my plight, but somehow it managed to ease my frustration of not being able to get out of bed or lift my head above the rest of my body!
When I found myself back in the hospital a few weeks ago, confined to flat bed rest, a lot of people told me they could never do that. Well I say..yes you could..if you had to. But I hope you avoid that situation. I had to stay flat in bed...which meant I could roll over on either side, or lie flat, but my head had to stay at the same level as the rest of my body. Now this gave me a lot of time for reflection, and to watch plenty of bad TV (more on that at another time!) Here are a few of the things I learned.
1. Some foods are better than others for eating while in a non-vertical position. Pizza? Good. Wild rice pilaf? Not so good. I was pickin' pieces of rice off my body for a couple of days!
2. Drinking presents another challenge. Sorry environment, but because of me, a few more straws are going into the landfill.
3. Spitting out toothpaste is nearly impossible to do without making a minty mess.
4. I'm more like Stretch Armstrong than I ever thought. A magazine or hairbrush that seemed out of reach seemed to be always just close enough to grab.
5. Alexander Graham Bell became my new hero. Phone calls were much appreciated breaks from boredom. And with my newly acquired Stretch Armstrong skills, the phone was always in reach.
The balloon in the picture was given to me by Mike more than a month ago and it's still flying high! (sort of)
R.I.P. Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, who passed away Friday (Sept. 16) at his home in Chicago after suffering a stroke. He was 75.
Even if you never saw Smith play, you may have heard of him if you're a follower of the local blues scene in Madison. He was father to Cash Box Kings' drummer Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith.
Best known as the drummer for Muddy Waters, Smith started out on harmonica and played harp for Bo Diddley and other groups back in the 1950's.
Willie "Big Eyes" Smith received a Grammy in 2010 for his work with Pinetop Perkins for Best Traditional Blues CD for an album called "Joined at the Hip." (Perkins died this March at age 97.)
You may have noticed some construction barrels and "Do Not Enter" and "One Way" signs on Willy Street this summer..and may have worried what that would mean for the Willy Street Fair. Well worry no more!Â The fair is on this Saturday and Sunday! Bob Queen with the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Association says you won't have to wear your hard hat..but white shoes might be the worse for wear afterwards.
If you've never been to the Willy Street Fair, you've really got to check it out. It's a bittersweet thing, because it means the end of summer. But it's a party like no other.Â There will be entertainment on ten stages over two days, plus food and beverage vendors, street performances, and a parade that could only happen on Willy Street!
For the 3rd year, the Willy Street Fair teams up with the Wisconsin Union Theatre and the World Music Festival to bring acts from around the world to Madison on Saturday.Â New this year..free Greyhound bus shuttles from campus to the fair on Saturday.
Here's the entertainment lineup for 2011:
Saturday, September 17 / 1:45 pm to 9:00 pm, 900/1000 block of Williamson StreetMain Stage
1:45 Luisa Maita
3:30 Marco Calliari
5:30 Sergent Garcia
7:30 Bomba Estereo
3:00 & 5:00 pm Dragon Knights Grounds Parade
2:00 Blake Thomas and Josh Harty
3:30 Eric Schwartz
5:30 Cris Plata
Madcat Electronic/DJ Stage
2:00-7:00 Local/Regional Electronic/DJ Performers
7:00 East Coast/West Coast Legend, Dr. Dunks
Sunday, September 18 / 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, 800, 900 and 1000 blocks of williamson street
Willy street fair parade: 11:00 amMain stage
2:30 the Midwesterners
5:45 the Kissers
1:00 Mad Rollinâ Dolls Demonstration
2:00 Wil-Mar Teen Fashion Show
4:00 EMCC BreakDancers
5:00 Truly Remarkable Loon
6:30 Willy Street Fair Raffle
11:45 Yid Vicious
1:00 Cajun Strangers
2:00 Sadira and the Riad Dance Company
2:45 An Blas Quartet
4:55 Atimevu Drum and Dance
6:00 Charanga Agosa
WORT Underground Stage
12:00 Whitney Mann (& Band)
2:20 the Shabelles
3:30 Venus In Furs
4:40 Weapons of Mass DeFunktion
5:50 (From Toronto, Canada) The Sadies
12:00 Small Potatoes
2:00 Bret & Frisk
3:30 Bill & Kate isles
September 11, 2001 seemed like a pretty ordinary day at 105.5 Triple M in Madison. I was trying to get over a cold, Jonathan wasÂ back from a week long vacation and the 4th annual Madison Blues Festival had just happened a week earlier.
But quickly it was apparent that this day was like no other for me, Jonathan, or anybody else.
We had just finished the news and sports around 7:50 when we got a call on the M line. It was Triple M listener and Madison singer Lynette who called to tell us she just saw on TV that a plane had hit the World Trade Center.
"What?" I dashed into the newsroom down the hall to check out the Associated Press wire, and at that point there was only a one-line story that had come across. It wasn't even an "urgent" story much less a bulletin. It read, "Plane crashes into World Trade Center, according to television reports." I went on the air with it, and didn't think much of it. (Read the Associated Press timeline here).
Then came news of the second explosion, and I remember saying on the air that I hesitated to consider this a terrorist act.
But as the news kept coming in it became more and more obvious that it indeed was the work of terrorists. Regular programming was suspended on Triple M, and there was little any one could do but watch in horror. We only had one tiny little TV in the radio station. It was in the newsroom and staff members kept coming in to get the latest news.
I called my friend whose husband worked for American Airlines and found out he wasn't working that day, felt relief.
I couldn't leave the radio station...there was really nothing I could do to report on this huge story, but I didn't want to be alone.
When I did leave work,Â the gravity of the situation really hit home when I turned on my TV and found coverage on every station..even MTV! What in the hell? I know this seems ridiculous, but when I saw it on MTV, the situation became surreal. I remember just sitting alone in my apartment in silence.
Later that night when I knew my family members would be home, I called them to touch base. None of them lived in New York, but I just needed to reach out. Hear a familiar voice. Something that I knew was real, and could hold onto..even it if was just over the telephone.
So on this tenth anniversary, I'm reminded how important family and friends are. Hold them close. You never know when you won't be able to.
This is something I promise to make a bigger priority from now on.
The blues world is mourning the loss of David "Honeyboy" Edwards, who died early yesterday at his home. The last of the original delta blues performers has died, just shy of his 96th birthday.
I was lucky enough to see "Honeyboy" when he played the Belleville Blues Festival a couple of years ago, to introduce him and to shake the hand of a man who was a contemporary of Robert Johnson. It was an incredible honor.
This is a guy who was respected by every one from Robert Cray to Keith Richards, and was still a helluva performer almost until the very end. He played his last shows in April of this year.
There's a documentary available on DVD that tells his life story. Check out the trailer here and click here for more info.
Like that great sage (Yogi Berra) once said, it's "deja vu all over again."
Around this time last year, I underwent back surgery at UW Hospital. It was surgery on my spine, to deal with symptoms that resulted from spina bifida, a birth defect I was born with. Basically "spina bifida" means the bones around my spinal cord didn't form completely, and over the years scar tissue built up around the open area, pulling down on my spine and causing numbness and tingling in my legs.
The surgery went great, but in March the symptoms came back, and this surgery is to deal with new scar tissue that formed as a result of the last surgery.
I'll probably be recovering at home for around 4 weeks.
Now this seems a little repetitive and perhaps not as sexy the second time around, so I've been trying to think of some embellished stories to tell people instead of the boring old surgery stuff. Here are some that I came up. Feel free to add your own.
1. I'm going on a pilgrimage to visit the graves of dead rock stars...from Duane Allman in Macon, GA to wherever Amy Winehouse is resting these days.
2. I'm feeding starving orphans.
3. I'm working on an intricate mosaic made up of used beer bottle caps in the likeness of Chubby Checker.
4. I'm getting ready for the mother of all garage sales.
5. I'm hiking the Appalachian Trail.
I was looking through a preview of new TV shows coming out this fall, and I've got to tell you...it's more than a little scary.
I did notice two shows that seem to have a common theme. In the show "Once Upon a Time," none of the characters seem to know they're all living in an actual fairy tale. This comes from the writers of "Lost," and that may be considered a good thing to some people.
In the show "Grimm," the main characters are descendant of the original Brothers Grimm who wrote all those violent fairy tales a couple hundred years ago. One of them's a detective who finds out that fairy tales are real, and he can see some people for the monsters they truly are. (From the executive producers of "Buffy" and "Angel"!)
"Where are we going?" asks a character in the trailer for "Once Upon A Time."
"Somewhere horrible," is the reply.
Somewhere horrible indeed. You can bet on it.
Once Upon A Time will air Sundays at 7pm on ABC and premieres October 23rd. Grimm premieres Friday October 21 on NBC and will air at 8pm.
While neither one of these shows seems promising to me, I bet both of them will seem Oscar-worthy compared to the new Tim Allen comedy that's coming out this fall.
Here are the trailers for the two shows. What do you think?
If Keith Moon were still alive, he would have turned 65 this week. And while many argue that Moon was one of the best drummers ever (and I would be among them), most every one would agree that he was the maddest drummer out there. And by mad, I mean crazy.
There's the legendary story of Moon adding extra explosives to the special effects for an appearance on the Smothers Brothers show, knocking out 90 percent of Pete Townshend's hearing in one ear.
And the other story of him driving a Cadillac into a Holiday Inn swimming pool to celebrate his 21st birthday.
Moon definitely added a sense of humor to the Who, something that was clearly missed after his death. Not that I necessarily think causing deafness or criminal damage to property is funny, but there was just always something a little cheeky about him. (Get it? Moon? Cheeky?)
I bet he spent a lot of time in the headmaster's office during his school days.
Here's the famous Smothers Brothers clip:
Check out how rubbery Keith's arms seem to be! This is from an episode of Shindig. Amazing!
Back before anybody ever heard of "singer-songwriters," there were very talented folks who wrote the songs, but rarely sang them where any one could hear.
We lost two greats on Monday when Jerry Leiber died of cardiopulmonary failure at the age of 78, and Nick Ashford died of throat cancer at age 69.
Leiber, along with his writing partner Mike Stoller, came up with some songs that were something more than "classic," if there were a word for that.
Leiber was barely out of high school when he co-wrote Hound Dog for Big Mama Thornton, that Elvis eventually made a hit. Leiber said it was written in 12 minutes flat! Other songs with the Jerry Leiber credit include Stand By Me, Jailhouse Rock, Spanish Harlem, On Broadway, and even a novelty hit or two, including Yakety Yak for the Coasters.
Nick Ashford was one-half of the songwriting duo Ashford & Simpson. He and his wife Valerie wrote lots of great Motown hits, including Aint No Mountain High Enough and Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand) for Diana Ross. They had a hit that they sang in the in the 1980's. Remember Solid As A Rock?
Do you think maybe Leiber and Ashford will team up and write some songs for a new demographic, on the other side?
So this year the rabbits stayed away from my flowers.Â I was so happy I finally found some plants that rabbits weren't hungry for.Â My green thumb was twitching with joy.
Note that I say "was twitching."Â
That's because my flowers and I have a new enemy. The colorful, yet feisty, Japanese beetle.
They've all but obliterated a bush in our backyard, andÂ are making swift work of my marigolds.
Apparently there are no good ways to get rid of these pests. I made an attempt to read a brochure on the topic from our friends at the US government, and it made my head spin. The only things I managed to process were that there's no good pesticide to kill them..but I could try to introduce parasites into the equation.
Where do I go? Parasites 'R' Us?
I guess I'll stick to my current method. Muttering under my breath, and plucking them off the plant and squishing them (with a paper towel), or knocking them off and crushing them with a rock.
I figured I've killed around 17 of them so far. That's a good start, right?
If you'd like to read the exciting government booklet on the topic, click here.
I was a little surprised when I heard that Ted Nugent was coming to Madison to play the Capitol Theater at the Overture Center.
For one thing, I don't think he'll be sporting a Wisconsin 14 shirt, like The Nightwatchman Tom Morello might when he comes to Madison in September.
The last time I saw Ted Nugent (yes, I've seen him twice) he opened for KISS at the Kohl Center. Neither his music, or his political ranting were my personal cup of tea. (But I did think it was kind of awesome when he shot an arrow off a specially made bow-guitar).
At one time, I thought I could have been friends with Ted Nugent. There used to be a cool hippie bar in Stevens Point called the Yacht Club, which had a very big picture of the bar's owner posing with none other than Ted Nugent, holding up some kind of dead game. (Pheasants, perhaps?) Ted and Ray apparently were hunting buddies.
Now I've got nothing against hunting, and any friend of Ray, I thought, could be a friend of mine.
The first time I saw Ted was during a Damn Yankees concert at the Coliseum in 1990. I had won the tickets, and had no idea Ted was even in the band. "Why is this band doing Cat Scratch Fever?" I wondered.
When I was in the restroom, I was chatting with some other concertgoers, and pointed out that I had been unaware that Nugent was in the band, and said "I grew up listening to his music." To that, another gal asked.."How old ARE you?"
Here's Ted with his old band, the Amboy Dukes. Who knew where his journey would take him back then?
Elvis week wrapped up today in Memphis, with thousands of people coming in from all over the world to pay respects...some dressed in full Elvis regalia.
When I was reading about this year's tribute, I got to thinking about the folks that are REALLY into Elvis, but don't necessarily make it to Graceland for his death anniversary.
They just collect a bunch of tacky Elvis crap, and put it on youtube.
Like this guy, Ron.
He seems like a swell person. I'd love to meet him for lunch and a grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich.
So another Great Taste of the Midwest Beer Festival has come and gone..and once again I am very impressed with some of the fantastic beer names that these brewers come up with.
Here are my faves this time around (in no particular order)
A Cart Ride to Mexico: a Mexican style Maibock from Red Eye Brewery in Wausau
Where Lizards Dare: an India Pale Ale from Figure 8 Brewery in Valparaiso Indiana
Razzmanian Devil: Raspberry Bockfrom Old Hat Brewery in Lawton Michigan (Runner up: Suave Chicken, a Saison).
Bingo, Bango: wild rice beer (gluten free) from Right Brain Brewery, Traverse City Michigan
A Beer Named Sue: two different breweries had beers with this name..Goose Island, and Thirsty Pagan from Superior Wisconsin
not to be confused with..
Pseudo Sue: an American Pale Ale from Toppling Goliath Brewing Company in Decorah, Iowa.
I can't wait to see what the brewers come up with for next year. The 26th annual Great Taste is set for August 11, 2012.
Would some one dare remake Wizard of Oz? How about Casablanca or Shawshank Redemption?
Of course not.
Some classics should not be remade. Remember what happened with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? I died a little inside when I saw Johnny Depp's warped take on Willy Wonka.
That's why I'm so concerned about another project that Hollywood is destined to ruin. This time it's a small screen classic, a program that made such a positive impression on so many youthful minds. A program that is beloved to so many..
That's right, it's Hong Kong Phooey. Hollywood is remaking the classic 70's cartoon for an animated big screen feature, tapping none other than Eddie Murphy to play the #1 Super Guy.
Here's a quote from the producers:
“We could not be happier that Eddie Murphy will star as Phooey. There is no overstating his contributions to cinema, and to such enduring stars of family entertainments such as ‘Shrek’ and ‘Dr. Doolittle.’ We look forward to watching him re-imagine yet another classic character.”
This could not be farther from the truth. Eddie Murphy is no Scatman Cruthers, I can tell you that.
Now if they had Will Smith do the voice, that would be something else entirely.
To get you in the mood for The Great Taste of the Midwest which happens at Olin Park on Saturday..and this is just the thing to get you all fired up..awesome retro beer commercials.
Even if you couldn't score a ticket to this sold out event, you've got to get a kick out of these things.
See if you can spot the former child star in this one:Is that the Brawny man making a cameo appearance?Schlitz, just the thing to quench your thirst in your "Brick House."
Naming your band after an animal is certainly not new. And you'd think that eventually there would be no suitable band names left in the entire animal kingdom.
That's where you would be wrong.
In the first wave of bands named after critters we had... the Crickets, the Byrds, the Beatles, the Animals, the Eagles, the Turtles, and yes, even the Critters.
Then we had the second wave, which include Counting Crows, Black Crowes, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Whitesnake, and Phish.
Some of my favorite newer bands include Frightened Rabbit, Super Furry Animals, Fleet Foxes, Panda Bear, Freelance Whales, and Eagles of Death Metal.
I'm not really quite understanding the latest obsession with bands with the word Deer in the name..they include Deerhoof, Deer Tick, Deer Camp, Deer Woman, Starved Deer, and even Festival of Dead Deer.
One area of the animal kingdom that seems under-represented is undersea creatures. So I've come up with a few names that I believe would be awesome. Or least better than Festival of Dead Deer.
In no particular order, I present:
Sea Cucumber Salad
The Lowly Snails
You wanted the best you've got the best...we're proud to introduce..Muskellunge!
Did you know that Art Garfunkel has a list of every book he's read, starting in 1968, and going all the way through 2009?
He not only has such a list, it's on his website! It starts in June, 1968 with The Confessions, by Jean Jacques Rousseau, and concludes with I Feel Bad About By Neck, by Nora Ephron, in September, 2009.
That got me to thinking, what would my list of books look like, had I kept a list?
I definitely read a lot more when I was younger, went through the Trixie Belden phase, and read just about every mystery that Scholastic Book Service ever published, countless biographies of famous women, and quite a few books about unexplained phenomena.
I went through by Beatle book phase, reading authorized and unauthorized accounts of their rise to fame. (The Stevens Point Public Library had a pretty slim collection on the topic, so it didn't take long).
I read a lot of Victoria Holt gothic novels, my share of Sidney Sheldon and Jackie Collins' bodice rippers, and even a few classics.
The last book I read was Room by Emma Donohue, which was great, albeit dark and disturbing, at least for the first half.
I certainly don't wish I still had all those books..the ones I kept already take up too much space. But I kind of wish I would have kept a list (for my own records, not to bore the world with on the internet.) I have a feeling there would be some surprises on there. AndÂ I'd love toÂ compare and contrast my list with Art Garfunkel's.
We have read some of the same books (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and The DaVinci Code, for example). But it may be a while before I get around to reading The Art of Courtly Love, or The Strawberry Statement.
Check out Mr. Garfunkel's list here.
It had been a while since I had listened to my CD of Life's Rich Pageant. So when I threw the new 25th anniversary remastered CD into my Bose Wave radio, I wasn't sure how it compared to the old one.
I listened to the album A LOT when it first came out. How I even came to own it is actually kind of a funny story. I'll cut to the chase. I wanted Robert Palmer's Riptide for Christmas, but my younger brother bought me Life's Rich Pageant instead, because it was better.Â And what do you know, he was right!
Listening to this album again reminded me of how I listened to R.E.M. back in the day, on vinyl.Â I really had no idea what any of the songs were about, and for the most part couldn't understand what exactly Michael Stipe was singing.
A lot of phrases of the songs stuck in my head back then..like "this is where we walked, this is where we swam, take a picture here, take a souvenir." "My sweet hyena..." "Run and turn into butter."
After I listened to the CD I put my old one in for comparison purposes, and sonically, the new one is a big improvement. If you're just going to load it onto your iPod, I'm not sure its worth rebuying..but if you have a good stereo or even a Bose CD player like I do, it's worth it to get the upgrade. The remastering sounds great...not different, just better..less tinny, more full.
The bonus CD that came with it was a disappointment. It's made up of 19 songs from a previously unreleasedÂ concert, and for the most part sounds too much like the record..and includes early versions of some stuff that would show up on later records! The last song is kind of interesting. "Get On That Way" is an earlier version of "What if we Give It Away," so I guess it's somewhat cool to hear it with different words.
A big fan of R.E.M.? Go buy this 2 CD set.Â A so-so fan who already owns the CD? Keep the one you've got. Just discovering the band and want to see what the fuss was about before they started singing stuff like "Shiny Happy People?" You should go buy this. They really were quite good.
And so much better than Robert Palmer singing "Addicted to Love."
Now some people accuse me of having too much free time. And that may be the case. I've spent hours making creations out marshmallow peeps. And don't even ask me about how much painstaking detail I've gone to in order to create a Halloween costume that, in the end, no one understands.
But all of that's nothing compared to a group of Lego artistes who took more than 2 years to create a video of the Coldplay song Viva La Vida in Lego's.
Hey, at least they got it finished before Coldplay's new album came out!
It's actually quite well done. Kudos!
(Hey, maybe I could make some kind of video out of Kudos granola snacks!)
Have you seen the A&E show Storage Wars? It's a lot like Pawn Stars and American Pickers, except in this case, treasure hunting entrepreneurs bid on the contents of abandoned storage lockers, without knowing what's in them. Sometimes they find something cool, but mostly it's a lot of crap...old shoes, sporting equipment, hangers. But sometimes it's pay dirt...antiques, vintage guitars, or baseball cards.
Now all those shows like that have several things in common: ridicule, drama, and surprise.
I have an idea for a new show that I think will be a huge hit. It has all of those elements...and more.
DRY CLEANER WARS!
First off, this show will offer the viewer a chance to ridicule and feel better than the person on the show.
VEWER: "They're paying money to get THAT cleaned? That is the most hideous dress I've ever seen....He spilled yellow mustard on that shirt!Â Any discriminating person knows the only appropriate condiment is grey poupon."
The element of drama could be demonstrated in several ways.
For example, this scenario:
CUSTOMER: "Look at this nasty wine stain on my grandma's wedding dress. Can you get it out?"
DRY CLEANER: "Ooh, that looks like it's really set in there. I don't know if there's anything we can do with that..."
CUSTOMER: "Oh, you've got to help me...I'm desperate."
ANNOUNCER: "Will that wine stain come out? Will Rebecca be able to face her family ever again? Find out, right after this."
You can feel the tension, I know you can.
But what about surprise? How can we be surprised at the dry cleaner?
That's easy..all we have to do is dump out the pockets.Â "Eww, what the heck is that? I've never seen anything like it!Â What is it? We'll tell you, right after this."
And once this show takes off, which I'm sure it will, I've already got a spin-off idea.
CELEBRITY DRY CLEANER WARS.Dry Cleaner Wars, Celebrity Dry Cleaner Wars, copyright 2011, Kitty Dunn Enterprises.
Gotta love those Madison summer festivals...
It was an extremely warm afternoon in Madison, but folks looking for entertainment and camaraderie got what they were looking for at Atwood Summerfest on Saturday!
And it was all for a good cause..the Goodman Community Center.
MTV is turning 30 years old this August, so I thought I'd dip back into my memory banks to the early days of the music TV network..back when they actually played videos!
Not every city had MTV right away, but Stevens Point was, amazingly, an early adapter and Jones Intercable or whatever cable company we had back then got on the MTV train only a week or two after it premiered.
I wasn't a huge fan, but did watch it when there wasn't anything else on, or I was hanging out with friends and needed some background music while we chatted and drank!
These are my TOP FIVE MTV videos that for some reason have been imbedded in my brain for all these years (in no particular order).
1. "Land of Confusion" by Genesis. Reaction then: "Wow, they're getting so political! Awesome." Reaction now: "Puppets are creepy."
2. "Cry" by Godley and Creme. Reaction then: "Amazing visual effects, so trippy!" Reaction now: "Um, I guess that was kinda cool."
3. "Freeze Frame" by the J. Geils Band. Reaction then: "Peter Wolf looks a little like Gilligan." Reaction now: "I want that Danelectro guitar."
4. "Take On Me" by A-ha. Reaction then: "Cool pencil animation, lame song." Reaction now: "Cool pencil animation, lame song."
5. "In Your Letter" by REO Speedwagon. Reaction then: "I'm thinking REO might not be all that cool after all." Reaction now: "Kevin Cronin needs to eat a sandwich."
This Saturday it will be extra festive around the Barrymore Theatre..it's Atwood Summerfest time again!
This is one of Madison's great summer festivals, with tasty food, refreshing beverages..and great live music.Â Local bands make up this year's lineup, with a little something for everybody.
Proceeds benefit the Goodman Community Center (which used to be the Atwood Community Center). They've got great programs for kids and adults and really do great work. This is one of their major fundraisers, so let's hope it's a big success.
Now I know it's going to be HOT this weekend, but here's another great thing about this festival. It's located within convenient walking distance of several air conditioned bars.
Here's the lineup for 2011!
Harmony Bar / Capital Brewery BLUES Stage
12:00 pm The Roddys: a duo that mixes country with the blues
1:10 pm Cris Plata and Extra Hot: original Tex Mex
2:20 pm Sigourney Weavers:Â original rock/alternative
3:30 pm David Hecht and Primitive Culture: funk, blues, tropical
4:40 pm Kyle Henderson and Blue Eyed Soul: soul & blues from an original member of the Producers
5:50 pm The Jimmys: 8-piece Chicago style blues led by rock-n-roll farmer Jimmy VoegeliMaximum Ink / Ale Asylum ROCK Stage:
12:00 pm Unity the Band: reggae
1:20 pm Lova Nova: get your groove on
2:40 pm Soul Shaker: rock n roll, blues
4:00 pm Baghdad Scuba Review: progressive rock
5:30 pm VO5: funk/disco/dance
After Amy Winehouse died last weekend, a lot of people rushed to their computers to download her albums.Â In fact, she's back on Billboard's Top Ten.
In the sales cycle ending on Sunday, 50,000 copies of her two albums were sold. Compare that to 1400 the week before..and 44,000 so far this year (according to Nielsen Soundscan).Â More than 46,000 of the albums that sold (mostly from Saturday to Sunday, I'm sure), were sold as downloads.
Makes sense, since most of us probably found out about Winehouse's death online. I found out on facebook. One more click..and I would have had the whole album!
The surge in the sale of Amy Winehouse albums has got me thinking about the whole concept of rock stars' music becoming more popular after their death. I guess it seems like a natural way to mourn..to appreciate the artists' work and realize that their music will live on. What I don't get is the bandwagon people..who really had no interest in an artist until they died.
I'll have to admit, I got more interested in Elvis after he died in August of 1977. I didn't run out and buy any albums, but I did cut a lot of articles out of the paper and make a scrapbook.
And despite the fact that I was a John Lennon fan before his death, I didn't even go out and buy Double Fantasy, but millions of people did. I just couldn't get past the Yoko factor on that one, so I just threw some Beatles on the turntable and let that music help me heal.
But you know record companies have mixed feelings when their artists die. Sure it cuts down on the long range sales projections, but in the short term, it means big bucks.
This concept was the topic of a Smiths song that came out in the 1980's on the album "Strangeways Here We Come."Â The song "Paint a Vulgar Picture"Â starts out like this.. "At the record company meeting, on their hands a dead star, and oh the plans they weave, and oh the sickening greed..."
But greed is good, right?
I was very excited that the Dodgeville Chamber of Commerce brought back their annual Blues Fest this year. It was canceled, due to the economy, last year but was back in full force for 2011.
In the past the fest was free, but this year they charged admission (still cheap...$7 or 2 for $10), and I was worried attendance would be down..but by the end of the night there was quite a crowd...so I'm hopeful it will be back in 2012.
One of the great things about this festival..they bring in bands that I've never heard of..but are always great!
This year the headliner was Dave Herrero, a blues guitar player and singer from Chicago. According to the bio on his website, he used to play guitar with Archie Bell and The Drells, and has toured Europe 13 times. He plays a lot at Buddy Guy's Legends as well.
Mike and I thought he reminded us a little of Jimmie Vaughan...a great player with a great voice. And that's a mighty pretty Les Paul he's playing in that photo I snapped (right).
This is one of the songs we rocked out to in Dodgeville on Saturday.
You can find out more about Dave Herrero here.
You may recall I got a new car a couple months ago from Zimbrick Eastside..it's a Hyundai Elantra and I love it!
In fact, Friday was my three month anniversary with my new vehicle, and I celebrate by eating an entire cake while sitting in the front seat.
Okay, that's not true. What I did do was go to get the car's first oil change, which was FREE! I thought this was a special perk for me, but it turns out every one who buys a car at Zimbrick Eastside gets their first oil change free.
I was really impressed with how clean everything is in the service department at Zimbrick Eastside Hyundai.Â Instead of driving into a dirty old garage like at some places, you pull into what seems more like an extension of the vehicle showroom. And the waiting area was great too..with a TV, complimentary snacks and bottled water..and a play area for the kids as well.
I like knowing that the folks working on my car are Hyundai certified technicians.Â And the multi-point inspection i is extensive, covering fluid levels, air filter, lights, hoses, shocks, battery, tires brakes, and more.
Another great thing about getting your oil changed there? Free car wash...and they even vacuumed the floors. Sweet.
Game show host Alex Trebek turns 71 today! I plan on ingesting some potent potables later today in his honor.
I've been a fan of Jeopardy since it came back to TV in the '80s, and despite his smugness, I must admit I like Alex Trebek. Even when he gets so cocky with those French pronunciations.
And this is why I'm a little jealous that my dad got to meet him at a senior citizen conference in Stevens Point around 20 years ago. And he got his autograph..reportedly because he knew that would turn me 12 shades of green.
I did get to try out for Jeopardy several years ago, and even met a member of the Clue Crew, but sorry Jimmy McGuire, you're no Alex Trebek.
What would I do if I did meet Alex Trebek? I'd tell him to grow back that mustache.
Madison Magazine's Restaurant Week is coming up starting on Sunday (July 24th), and this week I got a sneak peek when I checked out Brickhouse BBQ on Gorham Street.
Readers of Madison Magazine named it Best New Restaurant of 2010, so I was curious to see if the hype was deserved.
My companion Karen and I decided to check out the new restaurant on Tuesday..and our visit started out great because we got rock star parking at a meter just outside the restaurant.
We decided to try a variety of items that the restaurant had to offer. We started off with some appetizers..Brickhouse Nachos and quesadillas, each made with pulled pork. Neither of us had ever tried these items made with pork before, and we were pleasantly surprised. Our server told us that all of their meat products are organic, and come from Niman Ranch, which works with family farmers who raise livestock traditionally, humanely and sustainably. All that's wonderful, but how did it taste? Delicious, that's how!
Our friendly server (sorry I didn't catch his name) also told us that Brickhouse is all about local ingredients..buying lots of produce every Saturday down at the Farmers Market.Â And the barbecue sauces are all made in-house.
The array of food just kept coming. Next we tried the smoked ham topped with pineapple salsa, and Karen and I agreed it was the best we ever tasted...tender, flavorful, and not salty. The Brickhouse ribs were tender and not too greasy..although I will admit my napkin was well-used by the end of our dinner.
We also tried the blackened catfish, which was nice and spicy, and presented beautifully.
While Brickhouse offers 40 different beers on tap, we opted for the lemonade which was delicious, thirst quenching, and much better than the Crystal Light type stuff you get at so many restaurants.
The atmosphere was crisp and clean, and urban in feel. When we were there the outdoor patio was closed due to the heat, but I hope to check that out when conditions are more temperate. And those happy hour specials look tempting too.
Check out their Restaurant Week Menu here.
Brickhouse BBQ menu here.
In honor of Carlos Santana's 64th birthday, and because he's our Friday feature, I thought I'd share with you some Santana Fun Facts, in no particular order.
1. Santana played Woodstock before their first album came out. Santana says he was on acid during the performance, and remembers none of it.
2. Two early Santana members, Greg Rolie and Neal Schon, left the band and formed Journey. Greg's the guy that sang both Black Magic Woman and Evil Ways.
3. Carlos is on the Board of Directors of Casa Noble Tequila.
4. Carlos owns four upscale restaurants named Maria Maria after one of his songs, three in California, one in Austin, Texas.
5. In appreciation for a guitar amplifier he built for him, Carlos Santana bought Howard Dumble a house.
6. He has a line of women's footwear. Carlos shoes include designs with names like Roulette, Baubles, and Bohemia.
7. He was #15 on Rolling Stone's list of 100 Best Guitarists.
8. Born in Mexico, he has been a naturalized U.S. citizen since 1965.
9. He proposed to his current wife, drummer Cindy Blackman, at a concert in Tinley Park, IL last year.
10. He has an entire room in his house just for T-shirts.
Santana, flying and seeing colors at Woodstock, 1969
During my childhood in Stevens Point, hot days were often spent at the city's municipal swimming pool, which everyone called The Munici-pool.
It was spartan by today's standards. No water slides, or wave machines. Just a pool, with a deep end and a couple of diving boards (one a high dive).
I don't ever remember adults being involved in any way with our trips to the pool. It was usually a group of kids from the neighborhood walking there or riding our bikes. I bet the oldest kid was sometimes no more than 10 years old. But things were different then and we were all free range kids.
Admission to the pool was 10 cents. That's right. One thin dime. And that got you a wire basket to put your clothes and towel in. In exchange you were given a pin with a basket number that you attached to your swimsuit.
You weren't allowed to bring a towel into the pool area..towels were strictly for drying off afterwards. No toys either..no frisbees, water goggles, no water wiggles. If you were a real renegade you snuck in an extra dime to go diving for.
At 3:00 it was break time and the lifeguards got to go in for a 15 minute swim. Every one else had to take a rest, sunning ourselves while lying down on the hot cement. There were no deck chairs at the Munici-pool. There was also no suntain oil allowed. We didn't call it sunscreen back then..it was supposed to make you tan faster, not protect you from anything.
I had a lot of great times at the Munici-pool, even though I was a terrible swimmer. I almost drowned there once, but I think I'll save that story for another time.
What a coincidence that Motown great Martha Reeves is celebrating a milestone birthday today--and we're just in the beginning stages of a Heat Wave! (Not the kind that's burning in your heart.)
Reeves is 70 years old and still tours..after taking a brief time out to get into politics. She was on the Detroit City Council from 2005-2009.
I checked out her website and discovered that when you purchase a CD or photograph, she'll personally autograph it for you. You can get a personally signed picture for just 5-bucks. Sounds like a steal to me.
Check out her website here.
And here she is a "few" years back.
There are people who give J.K. Rowling for getting kids interested in reading again. Well, pip, pip cheerio!
I did read the first Harry Potter book when it came out..to see what the hub-bub was about, and I thought it was pretty good. I watched the first movie as well, but while I did get a lightning bolt tattooed on my forehead, I was never swept up into Potter-mania.
When I was a kid I found plenty of books to keep me reading in the days BP (Before Potter), and many of them had some pretty good magical mystical things going on. Here are a few I remember.
1) The Earthsea Trilogy, by Ursula K. Leguin. The way I remembered it, this was kind of like Lord of the Rings Lite. I also liked her time travel book, A Wrinkle In Time, which for a while was my favorite book.
2)The Chronicles of Narnia, by CS Lewis. I had no idea he was manipulating me with a Christian allegory. I just thought they were good stories.
3)Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. This was actually more of a long lesson in wordplay, but I loved it. It was even made into a movie in the early 70's and I was very excited about it.
4)The Egypt Game, The Velvet Room, A Season of Ponies, by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. All her books had an element of magic to them and were excellent. I just looked Snyder up online and found out she kept writing after I stopped hanging out at the elementary school library. She even released a book this year!
5)Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron. I still own my copy of this book, mainly because the cover is very trippy and it looks more like something published by High Times than the Scholastic Book Service.
Apparently things aren't going too well on those talks regarding raising the debt ceiling in Washington. I read one news story today that mentioned that there were disagreements early on, in the middle, and at the end of a meeting between President Obama, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and others. Some reports even said Obama stormed out of the meeting.
I've got some simple solutions that I think will help things out greatly.
1)They need a little aromatherapy. Pipe in some lavender essential oil and that will help calm tensions right from the start.
2)Chair massages. I am sure there are some starving massage therapists that could use the work. Who can fight when some one is working out that tight spot in their shoulder. "There...no there. Aah, that' s it! What was that about the debt ceiling? Oh who cares. This feels incredible..."
3)Certain foods might help the politicians unwind. First I thought pizza would be great, but then got concerned fights would break out over what toppings would be included. So I've decided to give up something that has been sitting in the Triple M studio since my birthday. That's right, my precious Lazy Cake relaxation brownie. I haven't cracked it open yet, because our show is already sleep inducing enough. I think I'll send a case of them to the White House. Who wants to help me pay for postage?
Pop culture genius Sherwood Schwartz died yesterday at the age of 94. And by now you've probably heard snippets of the themes to "Gilligan's Island" and "Brady Bunch" featured in news stories about his passing. That's because he was the producer of both shows and the writer of their theme songs. But you may not have been treated to this gem from the short-lived show "It's About Time."
I don't really remember this particular show, which aired for one season in 1966 and '67, but I have heard this catchy theme song before.
Enjoy this fine theme song, written by the late Sherwood Schwartz.
Through some quick web research I discovered that the first half the season featured the modern day astronauts back in caveman days, but when ratings started to tank, it was re-tooled so the astronauts came back to the '60's and brought their new cave friends with them.
Obviously that didn't do the trick either since the show was not renewed.
One amusing note: Imogene Coca's character was originally called Shag, but when the big wigs discovered the word was the '60s equivalent of "making whoopee," her character's named was changed to Shad.
No, not the character in the Kurt Vonnegut novel. You may recall a duo called Billy Pilgrim put out in the early to mid-90's. Some folks called them the Indigo Boys, because of their jangly guitars and sweet harmonies. A couple of songs that got a lot of airplay on Triple M back then were "Get Me Out of Here," "Insomniac," and "Half-way Home."
Well one of those Indigo Boys is doing quite well, thank you.
Andrew Hyra is the brother of actress Meg Ryan, but that's not the one I'm talking about. Kristian Bush, the guy in the hat, pictured below, is one half of another duo...the highly successful Sugarland, which headlined at Summerfest in Milwaukee on Sunday night. The concert got excellent reviews, and was said to be more crossover pop than straight country.
Back in the day, when they played Triple M's Taste of Madison stage,Â Kristian signed a CD for me, "Nice meeting you, see ya soon." Well I'm still waiting for my reunion. Wonder if he still has that hat.
On July 4, 1991, Triple signed on the air for the very first time, on the frequency of 105.5 on the FM dial. A little less than a year later, I started working there, doing afternoon news and writing commercials. It was a lot of fun, albeit low-paid. I was glad to be back in radio, a career which accepted me as I am, quirky, outspoken, and a little bit weird. I promise to share more photos of days gone by ( I have a scanner), but here's a staff photo from probably around 1993. Absent on picture day would be Sybil McGuire. And there's one guy that I could not identify if my life depended on it.
I'm smack dab in the middle, right below and to the left ofÂ Pat Gallagher and his mullet!
So why am I so dressed up?
Okay..by popular demand..here are the names, as I remember them.
Seated: Leslie Gavin and Nate Cohen.
Middle row: Tammy (Turbo) Terwelp, Mike McCoy, Kitty Dunn, Annie Brewer.
Back row: Greg Reisch, ?, Pat Gallagher, Ed Johnson, Kevin Fulk, John Urban.
Have you seen the new Target commercial with the kids creating a good old summertime ruckus in the store, with the Status Quo song "Pictures of Matchstick Men" in the background?
Not sure this line from the song is a great sales point for the store:
"When I look up to the skies I see your eyes a funny kind of yellow."
Lucky they didn't use the next line, which is somewhat ominous.
"I rush home to bed I soak my head I see your face beneath my pillow."
Here's the original song..
And here's the Target ad. Everything you need for summertime fun, except the hallucinogenic mushrooms.
Triple M's 20th birthday is on the 4th of July. That's got some of us waxing nostalgic around here.
I've been at Triple M for a little over 19 of those years, and I've got pictures to prove it. Here are a few.
1. I had just started working at Triple M when I got a crazy idea for a promotion before the Genesis show at Camp Randall. I had this friend that people said looked a lot like Phil Collins..so we brought him in and he played the part to the hilt. Free photos with "Bill Collins." The photographer in this photo is my future co-host, John Urban. They guy in the wacky shorts is Ralph Cohen.
2. John Urban in the old Triple M studio on Odana Road. He put up with me from 1993-1998.
3. With Jonathan at the second annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, March 1999. That other dude is Radio Free Madison's Rick Murphy. And yeah, I'm the one in the funny hat.
4. Live From London (Wisconsin). Our first photo shoot with roadkill.
5. At a Madison Blues Festival..with Westside Andy. Awww, shucks.
Sarah Palin's been getting some flack for her reinvention of the Paul Revere story. So I thought I'd present evidence of my advanced knowledge of United States history, even at a very early age.
I believe I wrote this fine little essay when I was around 8 years old,Â because I was bored.Â I have no idea why I saved it; I found it among a bunch of childhood drawings that my mom had saved.I thought I'd share it with you in honor of the nation's upcoming birthday on July 4th. (Looks like it got cut off a bit on the right margin).
I don't know, but I'm pretty sure the 8 year old Kitty could give Ms. Palin a run for her money on U.S. history.
Summer was a different when I was a kid.
I wasn't shuttled from one organized activity to the next. I wasn't imprisoned in some kind of certified summer program that promised me enrichment in any way.
I did take a few classes..the random art program, guitar lesson, or swimming lesson.Â But for the most part the kids in my neighborhood were allowed to go where we pleased, just as long as we checked in for meals and came home when the street lights came on.
We were allowed to walk to the pool (called the Munici-pool) in Stevens Point, with no adults present. Sometimes there would be a group of 6 or 7 of us, with the oldest kid probably no older than 11 or 12.
A couple of times a week we'd wander over to a nearby grade school for what we called "Playground School" run by the local recreation department, where college age kids taught us crafts or organized a game of Duck Duck Goose or Monkey in the Middle. There was no signing up for playground school. No fees, no permission slips, no forms indicating emergency contact numbers.Â That' s where I learned to play Nok-Hockey and Caroms. It was a blast!
Sometimes my friends and I would just ride our bikes somewhere far away (okay a mile or two) like the "underpass," and we'd eat a lunch we packed on Reserve Street, under Highway 51.
I understand that it's a different world these days and that kids can't just roam free. But that makes me sad.
Summer is here and the time is right..for special summer only commercials.
I listened to a lot of radio when I was a kid, and even though I should have been spending all my time outside, I did sit in front of the TV quite often.
That means I have some memories about commercials that only rain the summer, like the ads for Bain Du Soleil suntan oil. I always thought the jingle went like this.."Bain Du Soleil for the Central Bay tan." Apparently it's St. Tropez..where's that again?
And does anybody remember QT? The stuff that turned your skin a peculiar shade of orange? Good thing you can't see that on the black and white commercial..
Some people might not be aware that Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson are members of a Mutual Admiration Society. Their birthdays are just two days apart (Paul on June 18 and Brian on June 20).
While the Beach Boys wave of success started before Beatlemania, both groups were pretty darn huge in the 1960's. And while such competition might create jealousy and anger among some, with Brian and Paul, it was the opposite. Both served as inspiration to the other..for the most part.
When I saw Brian Wilson perform the Smile album at Overture Center several years ago, he pointed out that "God Only Knows" was Paul McCartney's favorite song, and seemed quite proud of that fact. In fact, Paul has said he was inspired by the Beach Boys album "Pet Sounds," as Sgt. Pepper was envisioned. And you can't help but notice that Paul's song "Back in the USSR" on the White Album is an homage to the Beach Boys.
Oh, and in case you're interested, Brian has said his favorite Beatles song is "Let It Be."
What a remarkable opportunity to get to fly in a B-17, just a couple days before Father's Day.
My dad, Jim Dunn, was a waist gunner in WWII, flew two missions on D-Day, and received the Distinguished Flying Cross.
The EAA has brought a vintage B-17 to the Dane County Airport for Father's Day weekend, and is offering ground tours for $5, or for $465, you can take a flight over Madison and see what it felt like for the young men that took part in that war almost 70 years ago. (With the exception that you're flying much lower, you're over Madison not Japan or France, and no one is shooting at you.)
My co-host Jonathan Suttin and I were given the opportunity to go on a media ride on Thursday, and both enjoyed it very much. Not only was it very cool, I had a real emotional connection to my father, who passed away in 2004.
The plane is at Wisconsin Aviation through Sunday. For more info, click here.
I'll admit I don't understand the intricacies of the court ruling made yesterday that allowed that union-busting bill to move forward and become law. But here's what it seems like to me..there is a law that says that governments must give adequate notice when they're going to make laws or set public policy..but that the state legislature doesn't have to follow that law.
That seems like dangerous territory to me, and I'm concerned this could lead to even more power grabs by the state legislature.
Here are some of the things we can look forward to in the not-so-distant future.
1. All Democratic lawmakers will be required to wear monitoring bracelets so they can easily be located and be brought to the capitol at any time. That way they can be ignored by Republicans who are "doing what's best for the state of Wisconsin."
2. Any one caught rolling their eyes during a legislative hearing or floor session will be immediately shot.
3. Gov. Walker will ask for federal money to build a playground outside the capitol. That way when lawmakers are on recess..they're actually experiencing recess. Democrats will never be allowed to use the teeter totter or the tether ball.
4. In order to save money needed to implement the Voter ID law, henceforth all elections will be canceled, and the current lawmakers will be lawmakers-for-life.
5. The state motto will be changed to "Suck It, Middle Class."
One of the things I love most about Madison is its great summer festivals..and now the first one has already come and gone! I had a blast at the Marquette Waterfront Festival, even though it was a little cloudier and windier than I had anticipated. Note to self: how hard is it to throw a sweatshirt in the car?
I'd never seen Robbie Fulks before and was very excited..but have to admit it was not what I expected at all. I missed probably the first half hour..but the songs I heard were not the twisted hard drinking alt-country songs I was expecting. And I certainly didn't think he would cover Michael Jackson (This Girl Is Mine). He did do "Let's Kill Saturday Night," so I had to let him off the hook.
I didn't really pay attention to the Campbell Brothers..although I could tell they were very talented musicians and singers. I guess I just wasn't in the mood for gospel.
The Bottle Rockets did not disappoint. Totally balls to the wall alt-country/rock and roll. They did most of the songs I was hoping for, including Radar Gun, I'll Be Comin' Around, and of course..Radar Gun.
I can't wait for the next summer neighborhood festival. I'll keep ya posted!
Now this just might get me to go back to the movies!
Warner Bros. is bringing Mel Blanc back to life..because they needed somebody to voice three new cartoon shorts they're making to run before movies, just like in the old days.
Now Mel Blanc has often been impersonated, but it never sounds exactly right, so that's why Warner Bros. decided to call on their friend Dr. Frankenstein to bring the talented cartoon voice artist back from the other side!
Holy reanimation, Batman!
Okay, that's not entirely true.
What they're actually going to do is take Mel Blanc's voice parts as the vocal track for the new cartoons. The first will star Daffy Duck and will be shown before Happy Feet 2 when it comes out in November.
You probably already knew that Mel Blanc was the voice for Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, but he also was the man behind Porky Pig, Sylvester the Cat, Tweety Bird, Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam, Wile E. Coyote, Woody Woodpecker, Barney Rubble, Mr. Spacely, Speed Buggy, Captain Caveman, Heathcliff, Speedy Gonzales, Elmer Fudd, Secret Squirrel, Hardy Har Har and the Frito Bandito.
I have nothing else to say about this topic, except, "That's All Folks!"
You've gotta hand it to the folks with the Marquette Neighborhood Association..they've put together a great lineup for this weekend's Waterfront Festival.
I'm particularly exited about two of the acts--Robbie Fulks, who plays Sunday afternoon at 2:45, and the Bottle Rockets later on at 6:15.
Robbie Fulks is a gifted singer-songwriter who is just twisted enough to keep it interesting.Â I've never seen him live, so I'm really looking forward to it.
I'd say the Bottle Rockets are going to end the festival with a bang (because of their name)...but that sounds a bit trite. So I'll just say this is rock and roll...wait here's a line I can steal that sums them up perfectly. The Spartanburg Herald says "If Uncle Tupelo is the Beatles of the alt-country movement, the Bottle Rockets are certainly the Rolling Stones. Featuring a brash, in-your-face sound with as much of a Lynyrd Skynyrd influence as Gram Parsons." I'm not sure where Spartanburg is, but I love the quote! I saw the Bottle Rockets twice..once they opened for John Fogerty in Milwaukee..and the second time I saw them at the Annex in Madison and I'm a big fan.
The Marquette Waterfront Festival is this Saturday and Sunday (June 11th &12th) at Yahara Place Park, on the shore of Lake Monona where it meets the Yahara River..just a couple blocks off Williamson Street. It's the first of a lot of great Eastside festivals..with plenty of food and beverage vendors. They depend on sales of beer to break even or hopefully make a profit..so don't bring in your own beer. That's just lame.
See the full schedulehere.
State lawmakers are debating a very serious question today. If you guessed it has something to do with the rights of public workers, you'd be WRONG!
They are debating adding a new item to the list of official state symbols. Spurred on by some future constituents (4th graders), lawmakers are weighing the pros and cons of making the Cream Puff the Official State Dessert.
Now, having been a politico with my fingers on the pulse of state government for more than two decades, I'm able to provide a little perspective here.
Back in the 1980's, the legislature disappointed 4th graders all over the state when it decided NOT to name the cranberry muffin the official state muffin, despite the fact that cranberries are a major state product. One state lawmaker said the idea was half-baked and that legislators risk looking foolish when they spend time on such items.
Lawmakers looking foolish?
I don't think the current legislature has a problem with that.
I'm sure we'll see the cream puff right next to the robin (official bird) and Antigo Silt Loam (official soil) in the Wisconsin Blue Book very, very soon. (Complete list of state symbols here, in case you have nothing else to do right now.)
I had a great time at Ride the Drive on Sunday. Not only was it especially good for the spirit to wheel down roadways that are usually filled with cars, it was also fun to see all the different types of bikes..from all different eras..that were tooling around.
Not only did I see a bicycle that seemed to have bowling balls for tires... I also saw a lot of cool old vintage bikes...including Schwinn Sting Rays. Now maybe I just wasn't paying attention, but I don't think I saw any one doing wheelies. Maybe that's because they didn't have an official Wham-O Wheelie bar!
Check out this video to see a great old school commercial, and some pretty awesome bikes.
So how exciting was your high school graduation?
Mine was so dull my parents left early! My graduating class was HUGE, 640 kids, so I really didn't blame Mom and Dad for hitting the road after they got through the D's in the alphabet.
And we didn't do anything nearly as cool as the grads from Wausau East High School a week or so ago.
My fave part of this video? The student at the end of one row who refuses to participate.
I was watching TV the other night when I saw a commercial for a new type of makeup being offered by L'Oreal. It's called Magic Smooth Souffle.
Makes you kind of hungry, doesn't it? Now I've heard of pancake makeup, which according to Wikipedia was developed by Max Factor to deal with the harsh lighting used in Technicolor movies. (It was actually called Pan-Cake makeup, and had nothing to do with flapjacks).
Back to souffle makeup. I imagine that the marketing geniuses who work at L'Oreal were sitting around brainstorming ideas when somebody said.."every one knows about pancake makeup..if we made it lighter and smoother it could be Souffle Makeup." And some one said "You've got it!" And the rest is history.
The L'Oreal website says this particular foundation is "versatile enough to beautify any skin type!" Impressive, isn't it?
This is so fascinating to me that I've come up with some more ideas for the folks at L'Oreal.
Waffle Makeup: "what you wear when you can't make up your mind."Chocolate Chip Pancake Makeup: "to bring back the youthful feeling of adolescent blemishes."Three Cheese Omelet Makeup: "for those days when you literally want to have egg on your face."
So yesterday when I was writing a blog about the birthday of Andy Griffith, I noticed a line in the original vocal version of his 60's TV show..
"Pull up a weed to chaw, and maybe set and jaw."
That reminded me of a fun country ditty inspired by that wild gang of Mayberry characters. Maybe that weed they were chawin' on was on the wacky side. At least that's the way the group BR-549 sees it.
The first time I heard this song was at Summerfest years ago, and I was quite amused.
Actor Andy Griffith turns 85 today..and is still a pretty cool old dude, if you ask me.
Not only did I really love the old Andy Griffith show, I also thought it was awesome that he sued a guy in Grant County, Wisconsin when he had his name legally changed to "Andy Griffith" to get publicity for a run for sheriff.
The elder Andy said it was copyright infringement. (And by the way the guy lost the race.)
I never did get on the "Matlock" train, but can watch those same old black and white Andy Griffith show episodes over and over.
It was on a Andy Griffith reunion special that I found out the theme song actually had lyrics.
Give a listen, and then tell me what you think!
My favorite line: "..pull up a weed to chaw, and maybe set and jaw!"
It seems PBS is always running specials about cool roadside attractions..like a bakery that's shaped like a giant donut, or motels in cabins that look like teepees.
Since it's almost time for summer vacation, I thought I'd look into what Wisconsin has to offer..and I found there's a lot out there worth exploring.
I could head up to theÂ Duluth area to meet a man who works at a landfill and has made a really huge ball of twine. (Lake Negagamon to be exact).
Birnamwood, Wisconsin boasts the World's Largest Badger. Actually, it's just a badger head and it's outside a strip club, The Northern Exposure Gentlemen's Club. What? They couldn't find a beaver?
But I think they first place I'll venture is Delavan, where a lot of circus troupes used to spend the winter back in days gone by. Not only do they have a giant fiberglass giraffe..they also have a huge rampaging animal. According to legend, Romeo The Killer Elephant knocked off five people within 15 years, including one he impaled on his tusk. And he once escaped his barn and terrorized the countryside for three days!
Actually, no one knows for sure if this really happened, but it does sound like a good excuse for a road trip.
My car gets pretty good gas mileage..who wants to join me?
Find out more about Wisconsin roadside attractions here.
When I hear the word "poppies," my first thought is the line from the Wizard of Oz, where the Wicked Witch says "poppies will make them sleep," as Dorothy and her new pals run toward Emerald City.
Secondly, I think about the red "buddy poppies" that are sold by veterans' groups around Memorial Day.
I ran into an elderly American Legion volunteer that was selling the small crepe paper flowers outside the grocery store the other day. I told him my dad was a longtime Legionnaire and said that I was a fan as I donated some cash.
That got me wondering about the origin of these poppies..so I looked it up. Apparently the Veterans of Foreign Wars started selling them after World War I around Memorial Day as a remembrance of soldiers and others who died in The Great War. The idea started with a poem written back in 1915.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.- John McCrae
With Oprah signing off from her daytime show today, I feel a little like Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind. "Where shall I go? WhatÂ shall I do?" But instead, I'll say "What shall I read?"
I never really could afford to buy any of "Oprah's favorite things." Jeans for $400? AÂ $200 towel? I don't think so.
But I did read a lot of the Oprah book selections. She (or her staff) really seemed toÂ like the same kind of books.
I just looked atÂ The Complete List ofÂ Oprah's Book Selections, and found I didÂ read quite a few of them in the early years..before she switched to classics by Tolstoy and Faulkner. I managed to avoid having to read themÂ in school, I wasn't about to start now.
IÂ thought it was great that writers with Wisconsin connections got to be Oprah picks (Jane Hamilton, Jackie Mitchard, David Wroblewski). But the booksÂ I loved the most were the onesÂ that wereÂ about people who were a little twisted.
My favorites were the two by Wally Lamb--I KnowÂ This Much Is True, and She's Come Undone, but I also really liked The Poisonwood Bible, White Oleander, Where the Heart Is, Back Roads, and Gap Creek. Â
So now I have one thing to ask you. Read any good books lately?
It will be just like Lord of the Rings, but with candy!
And, no, I'm not making this up. Universal is developing a movieÂ based on the Candyland kids' board game, to be written by Ethan Cohen, who wrote Tropic Thunder and Sherlock Holmes.
I can see it now..Betty White as Gramma Nutt and Johnny Depp as the Duke of Swirl.
Most adults really hate this board game because, well, it's stupid, and it takes forever to play.
I hope those qualities don't transfer over to the movie. Because for one thing, you'd get almost to the end, and then it would start over at the beginning! Aargh!
I hope this is not a new trend in movies, with more and more being made based on board games.
I really don't need to see a 3-D version of Operation with a real-life Cavity Sam splayed out for examination. "Take out wrenched ankle." Ewww.
Battling Tops would just make my head spin. And Trouble or Headache could be interesting. But who would they get to play the Pop-o-matic Dice?
I think maybe the powesr at be in Hollywood should go back to what they're so good at doing. Making movies out of old TV shows. You know, they still haven't made "F-Troop: The Movie."
Did you hear about Mick Jagger's new supergroup? He says he's been in the recording studio making an album with Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, Joss Stone, Damian Marley, and some guy from India who does film scores. Their name? Super Heavy.
Mick says they did a lot of improvising and jamming, and that he plays a lot of harmonica.
Can't say I'm super-excited about this idea.
A lot of supergroups aren't all that super. RememberAsia? Blind Faith had some good moments, but never was as great as the sum of their parts. The only one that I can really say is deserving of that title is Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
With that in mind, I decided to do a little brainstorming and come up with some more supergroups that will be at least on the level of Mick's new band.
Justin Bieber (vocals),Â Alejandro Escovedo (guitar), Jermaine Jackson (bass) and Lars Ulrich (drums).
Sheena Easton (vocals), Elliot Easton (guitar), Geddy Lee (bass)Â and Sheila E., (drums).
Jon Anderson (vocals), Ian Anderson (flute), Tommy Shaw (guitar), Noel Gallagher (bass), and Ringo (drums).
My next task? Coming up with names for these awesome combos I have created. Here's what I have so far..Super Crazy, Super Stupid, and Super Awesome. Feel free to mix and match.
More about Mick's supergroup here.
So tomorrow's the so-called Rapture, when all the good people that God loves will be taken away and the rest of us will be left here to deal with a nightmarish world of plague and pestilence.
For some reason the song "Eve of Destruction" popped into my head, so I thought I'd stick it into yours as well!
This song was a hit for Barry McGuire in the 60's and is about the Vietnam war. The guy who wrote it, PF Sloane, also wrote "Secret Agent Man" for Johnny Rivers and "A Must to Avoid" for Herman's Hermits.
Which reminds me...wouldn't it be hell on earth if Herman's Hermits were the fab gear band that brought us the British Invasion? Imagine for a moment "Hermit-Mania."
I know I'm digressing, but I wanted to get that point in here, in case this is my LAST BLOG EVER.
Here's a recent video of Barry McGuire doing his hit song. It may be the last song you ever hear.
The poet laureate of a generation, Bob Dylan, turns 70 May 24th, so he's getting a little extra attention this month. I'm happy to join the party!
I've seen Dylan a few times, and find him to be entertaining, and yet mystifying. Sometimes a little confounding as well, as he reworks songs in concert so much it's hard to tell what song he's singing. Was that "Dogs Run Free" or "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall?"
One thing that amuses me to no end is the Bob Dylan persona..especially when he was young, and would hold news conferences before his gigs around the world. Some segments of those are included in the fantastic Dylan documentaries "Don't Look Back," directed by D.A. Pennebaker, and "No Direction Home," directed by Martin Scorsese.
Here are some of my favorite Dylan Q&A's from news conferences.
Journalist: Do you think of yourself primarily as a singer or a poet?
Dylan: Oh, I think of myself more as a song and dance man, y'know.
Journalist: What do you consider yourself? How would you classify yourself?
Dylan: Well, I like to think of myself in terms of a trapeze artist.
Journalist: Who are your favorite performers? I don't mean folk, I mean general.
Dylan: Rasputin . . . Hmmm . . . Charles de Gaulle . . . the Staple Singers. I sort of
have a general attitude about that. I like just about everybody everybody else likes.
Journalist: Has financial success changed your life?
Dylan: Yes, I have more money now.
Journalist: What have you done with it?
Dylan: I buy things.
Journalist: What is your real message?
Dylan: My real message? Keep a good head and always carry a lightbulb.
Here's a segment of one of those press conferences. Bob is just so cute and charming..and strange. Enjoy.
Happy Birthday to Bluesman extraordinaire Taj Mahal!
Henry St. Clair Fredericks was born on today's date in 1942..so I guess that would make him 69 years old. I've had the opportunity to see him many times..probably the best performance was at Summerfest in the late '90s, when the Potawatomi Stage was still a big old tent.
One of the first Taj Mahal songs I remember hearing was "Take A Giant Step," which was on a Taj Mahal album that came out in 1969. Admittedly, I don't think I heard it until somewhere in the 1980s when I was exposed to radio a bit more adventurous than they had in Stevens Point.
I liked the slow blues deliver on that song, and it took me quite a few listens before I realized that it was same song the Monkees included on their debut album, and album I listened to over and over and over again as a child. It's a song that was written by Jerry Goffin and Carole King, and the two versions are very different.
I thought you might appreciate a chance to listen to both versions back to back.
Homeland security officials and other U.S. government types have been combing through lots of documentsÂ seized from Osama Bin Laden's compound, including his personal journals. Now a lot of this is really important classified information. But some of it'sÂ kind of mundane.
Here are some excerpts which were released to me by a super top secret source at the Pentagon.
Dear Diary:Hot and muggy today. Stayed inside. Watched LaVerne and Shirley on the VCR. That Squiggy is so funny.Hello again diary,How are you today? My day was pretty dull. Hung out with the wives, did the Sudoku. Got to keep the mind fresh you know.Dear Diary,What's up? Today I did some plotting against evil Americans. Then I had a bowl of pudding.Dear Diary,Tried to tape another message to America today. But you'll never guess what happened? We did the whole thing before we realized we were out of videotape! Every one thought I would be mad but I just laughed and laughed. Guess we'll try again tomorrow.
Willie's getting the gang together again for Farm Aid 2011. Willie Nelson made the announcement today that the day-long event will be at LiveStrong Sporting Park in Kansas City on August 13th.
I was hoping it would be held in Milwaukee again this year. Mike and I had a blast last October when it was held at Miller Park, even though the roof was closed and acoustics were less than perfect. It was just a great day of music with a wonderful vibe, even though a man behind us kept saying "Who????" really loudly after they introduced any one. "Ladies and gentlemen, Farm Aid is proud to welcome Jeff Tweedy." Who????"Â Ladies and gentlemen, Farm Aid is proud to welcome Jason Mraz."Â "Who?"Â You get the idea.
And of course it's all for a great cause.
They haven't announced who any of the supporting acts will be, but you can bet all the main dudes will be there--Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, and Willie Nelson.
More info here.
It's hard to believe, but it was 34 years ago this week that the Eagles song "Hotel California" first hit number one.
I was a huge fan of this album, and played it a lot when I was a young teenage girl. This is one album that I bought twice on vinyl, because I wore the first one out!
Kitty's exciting moment regarding this album? I met the guy who took the album cover photo (David Alexander) and actually went to a New Year's Eve party at his house in the mountains of Ashland Oregon. (It was a really awesome house, with a tower in the middle so you could overlook the city!)
I was bumping around on youtube and found this awesome video of a couple kids playing "Hotel California" on the piano. Hope you like it.
Calling all our motorcycle riding friends! There's a benefit ride for Donna Linderman this Saturday. Donna's the wife of Westside Andy and she's been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.
The fun starts with a motorcycle ride and is followed by a pig roast, and live music from two bands..the Westside Andy- Mel Ford Band at 4 and Peter Egan & The Defenders at 7. Camping is available as well.
The event starts and ends at Rick's Garden Center, 714 Taylor Lane in Stoughton. Rick and Deb say you don't have to take part in the ride to attend the party afterward.
More info here.
So last night I tried a new food!Â For the first time I tried cooking with quinoa. It's been called a super-food--a grain that's also a complete protein.
I found a recipe online and adapted it, and must say it worked out great!
Now I don't really pay attention to specific measurements when I cook, so this is just an approximation.
Kitty's Black Beans & Quinoa
Sautee half of an onion,Â 1 1/2 cloves garlic, and one small sliced zucchini in around a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add a little more than a quarter cup of uncooked quinoa, 1 cup chicken broth, a couple of tablespoons of Fiesta Lime Mrs. Dash. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for around 20 minutes. Then add in 1/2 cup frozen corn and cook five minutes longer. Then add one can black beans (rinsed and drained) and less than a quarter cup chopped cilantro. Cook a minute or two to warm beans and serve!
I used Ancient Harvest Organic Quinoa from Woodmans, which is a quick cooking type that does not require rinsing. If you don' t have Mrs. Dash, just add cumin and cayenne, which is what the original recipe called for. And you can add more cilantro if you want..I just don't like things getting too cilantro-y.
With Mother's Day coming up I thought I'd come up with a nice little list of the best mom songs out there. Funny, it sure seems like there are a lot more mom songs that would NOT be appropriate in one of those Hallmark singing greeting cards.
Here are the top 5:
1. Mother by Pink Floyd. Any song that starts out "Mother do you think they'll try to break my balls" should not be included in a musical card and opened at brunch with the family.
2. Mother by John Lennon. "I wanted you, you didn't want me." This song came from Lennon's primal scream period and let's just say he had some issues.
3. Mother's Little Helper by the Rolling Stones. It's got a good beat and it's easy to dance to...but it doesn't paint the best picture of traditional housewives and moms...or the pharmaceutical industry.
4. My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama by Frank Zappa. No further explanation necessary.
5. Motorcycle Mama by Sailcat. Actually this song is just stupid (but it may bring back memories)."We'll see the world through my Harley." This is a true one-hit wonder from 1972. As in, "wonder why this was ever a hit."
I've been known to lament the fact that I was born too late to be a hippie during the 1960's and early 1970's. I liked flashing the peace sign, protesting wars, and keeping the man off my back.
Too bad nobody really pays attention to you when you're 10.
I'm trying to show off my hippie mystique in this photograph, with a vest crocheted by my mom. Check out those fringes! And I was trying so hard to be cool with that bottle of beer in my hand and cigarette in my mouth.
It was hard enough to look hip with those snazzy plaid pants..and then my brother John jumps in with a photo bomb!
And no matter how much I would have liked it, the family dining room was no Haight Ashbury.
My co-host Jonathan is giddy with excitement about the royal wedding. Some people think he's making that up when he oozes with exuberance, or that he's at least exaggerating for the purposes of our little radio show.
If anything, he is toning it down!
If I'm interested at all in the wedding of William & Kate, it's from a sociological perspective. I'm fascinated by all the CRAP, I mean souvenirs, you can buy to commemorate the occasion.
And I'm really surprised that even the canine world is getting caught up in the frenzy.
You've got to be kidding me. I don't think any self-respecting pooch would be caught dead in this collar!
Do you like beer? Do you like drinking it, learning about it, exploring new flavors?
Then Madison Craft Beer Week is for you! It goes from April 29-May 8, and features all kinds of beer related tastings and events. I perused the website and these are some of the ones I found to be most compelling.
Learn how to make beer based cocktails, Saturday April 30 at Underground Kitchen. It says they run the gamut from apertif to dessert.Â I generally like to have cocktails and beer on completely different days, but this sounds interesting.
Biking and beer! On Sunday May 1 you can go on a New Belgium bike ride, starting at Dexter's Pub at 1pm. They'll have a bunch of New Belgium beers on tap and giveaways as well. After you've tried a few, pedal over to Ivory Room, Madhatters and Memorial Union for 1 hour stops at each place. And you thought the only thing New Belgium had to do with biking was the Fat Tire logo!
Create some Bedlam! Ale Asylum celebrates the re-release of Bedlam! IPA, and invites you to design a teddy bear to represent your darkest inner bedlam and you get a free pint of this hoppy beer. Starts at 4pm Sunday.
Monty Python's Holy Grail Night at The Cooper's Tavern, from 5-11pm Thursday May 5th,. Dress as your favorite character from that wild movie and your first pint is on the house. Best costume gets a $50 gift certificate.
For me, every week is Craft Beer Week, but this week it appears I have some extra reasons to raise a glass. Cheers!
More info on Craft Beer Week here.
Rummage sale season is upon us once more, and I've got that itch to get back out there and find some bargains.
Hopefully the bargains I find won't take up too much space. Over the years I've found a lot of great stuff to add to my collection of toys and games and other retro nonsense, and I'm already running out room.
Several years ago I gathered a representative sample of my treasures and set them up on the kitchen table for a photo opp. As you can see there's quite a bit of stuff..and most of it is pretty darn awesome.
So what do you think? Should I go out and look for more, or quit while I've still got space to move?
If you'd like to see this picture in more glorious detail, click on it!
Back in the day, my dad and I used to enjoy going out for fish fries when I'd head up to Stevens Point for a visit.
Now my love for fish, folded up slices of buttered rye bread, french fries and coleslaw was so great that I put aside the potential embarrassment of going out to a business establishment with a dad who liked to tell it like it is, and also liked to shamelessly flirt with the waitresses.
One Good Friday we headed out to the Moose lodge for a cheap tasty dinner. What's this? Entertainment? At no extra charge? It was a little old lady playing Easter songs on a Wurlitzer organ.
Now keep in mind, there really aren't a lot of Easter songs. How many can you think of?
That's okay. I'll wait.
Okay..there's Easter Parade, and Here Comes Peter Cottontail. Yup. Those are the only two songs this lady knew. And she played them over and over.
So that's the backdrop of the really amusing part of this. There was another elderly lady walking around selling chances on an Easter basket full of goodies. And she couldn't seem to remember which people she'd asked and which she hadn't. So that meant she kept coming back around.
"Would you like to buy a raffle ticket for this wonderful Easter basket?"Â We'd politely say "no thank you."
Probably the fourth or fifth time around my dad couldn't take it any more.
"I'M DIABETIC!" he screamed at the woman.
She remembered him the next time she passed by her table.
When Earth Day rolls around each year, it always reminds me of that 1970's public service announcement featuring the crying Indian.
It also reminds me of the movie Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster, but that's another point entirely.
I was watching this PSA and listening to the voice-over at the end, when I decided it needed a revision. It says "people start pollution, people can stop it."
Here's what I prefer. "Corporations stop pollution, corporations should stop it."
What do you think?
I did it! I got my new car...and I love it. It's the 2011 Hyundai Elantra.
Jonathan Suttin drove me over the Zimbrick Eastside to pick it up, and he said it was too nice of a car for me! I beg to differ.
I want to tell you I loved this car the first time I took a test drive. The brochure says "It's a shape inspired by nature, and refined by science." I just say it's a SWEET lookin' car, which also happened to get fantastic mileage, is fun to drive and was right in my price range. And every one I met at Zimbrick Eastside was incredibly nice, and were great at giving me the information I need. I have high praise for Gerald Ayers, who really made sure this was the car I wanted, answered all my questions, and really made the whole process fun. Car buying fun? At Zimbrick Eastside it sure is!
Admittedly, I was a little sad to see my old car go (we'd been together for 12 years!) But it didn't take long for me to get over the heartbreak.
I love the way it handles..how quiet it is..and I really like the color. It's kind of like a chameleon car...it changes color depending on the lighting. Sometime's it's silver, other times it's a purple color that's almost periwinkle. (Officially, it's called sky blue metallic).
I wonder if it's kind of like a mood ring..changing with my moods? I'll keep you posted on that.
A new study suggests that if you hurt yourself, you'll feel less pain if you swear a blue streak.
Here's the kicker..the study done at Keele University in the UK says this pain- killing method works best if you aren't a potty mouth on a regular basis.
Here's how they did the study--volunteers were told to plunge their arm into icy water..and the ones that were told to swear were able to keep their arm submerged longer than those were told to say a more innocuous word. And the volunteers who didn't regularly swear were able to keep their arm in the longest.
While this story is interesting to me on its own, it also brings up the first time I ever swore. I don't think I actually remember this happening, but my mom liked to tell the story. I had a lower drawer in the kitchen where I kept a variety of small toys..mostly prizes from cereal boxes. One day I accidentally slammed my finger in the drawer and shouted.. not one bad word but a string of them. "G.D...son of a bitch!"
My mom's reaction? She laughed hysterically and said "at least you used it in proper context."
And now I know that since I wasn't a regular swearer...at least back then...my pain probably went away instantly!
As you may have heard, I'm getting a new car very soon. So that meant I had to clean out my old one. Jonathan was very shocked at how much crap...I mean valuable treasures...I had in my vehicle.
So I thought I would show you! I threw it all on the kitchen floor and took a picture.
Some of the things I found included
17 pens and pencils (only 4 of them didn't work)
17 cassette tapes (including The Big Chill Soundtrack, Cracker Kerosene Hat, The Refreshments Fizzy Fuzzy Big and Buzzy,Â and some that I accidentally erased with a magnet)
X-Files Promotional mirror
Assorted Triple M Stickers
4 Triple M Sampler CD"s
One Triple M nametag
One St. Patrick's Day hat
Two strings of mardi gras beads
One ice scraper and one snow brush
Two car wash tokens for a place that's out of business
Three bottle openers (never can be too prepared)
One pizza cutter (brand new)
One first aid kit
and last but not least....one marble.
When I heard the news that ABC is canceling "All My Children" and "One Life To Live," I wasn't all that surprised. Networks had already dumped "Guiding Light," "As the World Turns," and several other soaps.
I was surprised to learn what they'll be replacing "All My Children" with. It's a show called "The Chew."
I am not making that up. "The Chew"? That might be the most unappealing name for a show that I've ever heard! I guess it's supposed to be a mix of talk show and cooking show. I suppose they already have shows including "The View," and "The Talk," so why not? I guess that's the hottest thing in daytime. The word "the" with one more word.
With that in mind, I've come up with a few more ideas.
The Smirk: This show would take a cynical look at the bizarre world of politics. Oh wait..we already have The Daily Show.
The Belch: This show would be all about delicious beverages, hosted by Rosie O'Donnell.
The Babble: obviously this show would have to be hosted by Charlie Sheen. Could also be called "The Incoherent."The Drool: I would like this show to be hosted by Matthew McConaughey.
The Chortle: I would have to host this show because I just like the word chortle. I also would be willing to host a show called The Guffaw.
The last few times I bought a car, I have to be honest with you,Â when I went into the finance office my head was swimming with lots of information about all the extras they offer you.
And when I met with Jeff Klade in Financial Services at Zimbrick Eastside, I told him that. In the past I've purchased stuff I didn't really need because it was all so confusing.
He assured me that a lot of things have changed since the last time I bought a car (12 years ago), and say the warranties and other extras are a lot different.
He explained the different packages that they offer, including one that basically doubles the manufacturers warranty. One of the packages that I'm considering offers extra coverage for tires and wheel damage..and from other damage that may happen if you smash into something in the road.
He answered all my questions..and my head wasn't swimming this time around!
Another great thing about the financing folks at Zimbrick Eastside..they do all the legwork for you when it comes to getting a loan. They'll find the one that best fits your financial circumstances..and how long of a loan you would like. And Jeff told me something crazy that I never knew..that back in the 1950's and 1960's, people who sold cars would help you pick out a car..and then drive you around to different banks to find you the best loan.Â It's a lot easier now. With the touch of a few keys on the keyboard..they search for the best lender, and wa la! They find one that provides you the best rate. And thatÂ only counts as one credit search on your credit report, which is very important.
Now I'm no expert on auto loans or warranties, but I feel a lot more comfortable now than I did before...and I'm getting closer to finding the right deal..and the right car, for me!
When Al Green was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, he was called "one of the most gifted purveyors of soul music," and I can definitely agree with that.
It's hard to believe he's a senior citizen. The Rev. Al Green turns 65 today. While he became an ordained minister in 1976, he made a return to his R & B roots in the late 80's.Â At one of the last Madison Blues Festivals I had a chance to see him live. And even though it was a Sunday night and I had been outside all weekend meeting Triple M listeners and enjoying music and beverages...I stayed until the very end. (Many of my Triple M colleagues left early..their mistake!)
I remember his voice sounded as smooth as ever and he looked smokin' hot in an all white suit.
While I don't have any video of that to share with you, here he is rockin' a different kind of suit in the early 70's. Enjoy!
Elvis Costello writes the introduction on the liner notes to Paul Simon's new CD "So Beautiful or So What," and he promised me "rock and roll surprises." And Simon delivers. I won't detail them here or they won't be surprises to you. What I will say is that this definitely goes beyond the confines of the typical rock and roll record, without getting outlandish or silly.
Paul Simon has never been afraid to search the world over for musicians, or unique musical instrumentation and vocals. Like he did with "Graceland" and "Rhythm of the Saints," Simon takes us on a journey that takes us somewhere new..in this case..down south for a little gospel, across the ocean to India, and back home again. And he does it while still maintaining his rock and roll sensibility.
Skimming the credits, I saw quite a list of musical instruments..from glockenspiel to tuned bass djembe, conga, harmonica, harp, and celeste and angklung. (A celeste is similar to a glockenspiel, and is the instrument used in Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy; an angklung is an instrument made of bamboo tubes.)Â The use of these instruments (and others) creates a very interesting record that never jumps the bridge into novelty..but just seems to work.
Simon is definitely reflective and even philosophical throughout most of the album, but he's never depressed..even in the quieter, slower ballads. As he says in the song's title tune, "Life is what we make of it, so beautiful, or so what."
Paul Simon's world is definitely beautiful, and it's a nice place to visit.
I get a lot of interesting mail here at the radio station. That includes a lot of books, with the authors and publicists hoping I would be interested in interviewing the author or perhaps reviewing the book on the radio or in my blog.
Well, I certainly got an interesting one the other day. It's called "pat the zombie" and it's a take-off on the kids' book Pat the Bunny.
Now zombies are all the rage and literary zombie books like "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" have been best-sellers. But I'm not really sure what the market would be for a book like this. The press release that came with it boasts, "designed to rattle the funny bones of adults with the same edge of the envelope humor as a blood soaked episode of Family Guy.."
That explains a lot.
It will be in stores April 26th if you need your funny bones rattled in a very inappropriate sort of way.
Here's another chance for you to enjoy some great music, and help somebody at the same time.
You may have heard that Donna Linderman, the wife of blues harmonica player Westside Andy, is going through a major health battle..and although they do have insurance, costs are mounting. Local musicians are holding another benefit this Sunday at the Harmony Bar.
Suggested donation is $10..which is a steal to see these great bands: Cash Box Kings, the Midwesterners, Frankie Lee, Mel Ford, Billy Flynn and Glenn Davis. The music goes from 3-9pm.
To get you fired up for the show..check out this great performance from Cash Box Kings at the House of Blues.
So if you've been following my quest for a new car, you know there are a heck of a lot of choices at Zimbrick Eastside. And now I've checked out even more!
This week I paid another visit to Denise Tretter at Zimbrick Eastside Nissan, where I got behind the wheel of a Subaru Outback. It's a 2005, but only has 70,000 miles..and if you know anything about Subarus..this vehicle is just getting started. It was the Outback L.L. Bean edition...which means it's extra outdoorsy, and stylin' too!
The next car we checked out was a Nissan Certified Pre-Owned Altima. TheÂ Altima's just been crowned "best selling sedan" in America..and with good reason.Â The one I looked at was a 2008, and it had all the upscale features at a reasonable price. Even push-button start and a huge panoramic sunroof!
And because it's certified, it comes with an amazing warranty..84 months, and 100,000 miles and it covers 603 components. Plus youÂ get 24 hour roadside assistance, and the deductible is jut $50. You can even upgrade that warranty so it covers 1,468 components. (I never knew cars had that many parts!)
You'd be amazed at some of the great used cars they have at Zimbrick Eastside. Why not go pay Denise a visit and see for yourself?
Happy 74th Birthday Mr. Merle Haggard!
I have to admit I used to hate that twangy country music..but in the past decade or so I've warmed up to traditional country music like Merle, Johnny Cash, and dare I say it? Even Buck Owens!
So what's my connection to Merle Haggard? Have I memorized the names of all 38 number 1 country hits he scored between 1967 and 1988?Â Well...no.
Did I meet him or ever see him in concert? Not hardly.
Okay..here it is. Back in 1969 he had a hit with a song called "Okie From Muskogee." And that inspired a polka band in Stevens Point to record a song called "I'm Just a Pollack From Polonia" which was on jukeboxes all over town. (Polonia is a tiny little town located near Stevens Point). Merle Haggard sued. Production of this toe-tapping 45 was halted.
My favorite line? "They still drink Point Beer down at Kryzewski's, Point Special's still the greatest thrill of all. "
I own a copy of it. I got it at a rummage sale for a dime. Major score! And that's my connection to Mr. Haggard. I don't think he'd be too impressed.
But I do think you'll be impressed with this fine song. Find a dancin' partner!
"I'm Just a Pollack from Polonia"
Did you hear about the new reality show on TLC? It's called "Extreme Couponing"?
I am not making that up. It's a 12 week series focusing on people who go over the top when it comes to clipping coupons and saving money.Â Like a woman who got 646 dollars worth of groceries for 6 bucks.
Am I jealous of these people? Yes, yes I am. I am a bit of a coupon queen myself. I love the Bucky Book, www.mymadisonperks.com, and clipping coupons from the Sunday paper.Â If the coupons are particularly good, I have been known to go buy an extra paper.
But I think the most I've ever saved was about 6 bucks on a $30 order. And most of my coupons wind up expiring on my purse or in some pile on the kitchen counter before I ever get the chance to use them.
I am a believer in "Coupon Karma." That's when I realize I have a coupon that's about to expire and know I'm not going to use it. I'll leave the coupon on the store shelf next to the item to surprise another shopper.
Hey...I've got it. How about a new show called "Coupon Karma"? It would be kind of like "My Name is Earl," but instead of trying to right past wrongs to improve karma, people have to go into stores and stealthily hide coupons.Â Imagine the joy on the unsuspecting customer's face when they get to unexpectedly save 50 cents on Suave shampoo!
I think that show would be perfect for the Oprah's new network, don't you?
Have you ever heard of a sugar glider?
I hadn't heard of one until I saw that some one is looking for one on Madison freecycle.com website.
They're tiny little marsupials that are native to Australia and supposedly they're the next hot pet.Â But after reading up on them a bit, I have no idea why any one would want them.
They're nocturnal, and noisy all night long. You can't feed them typical pet food..they love grubs and mealworms. (Don't you want a Tupperware container full of mealworms next to the parmesan in your fridge?)
Plus, they're smelly. If you have them outside the cage so you can enjoy them gliding from couch to chair to table they will probably leave their mark, so to speak. And they bite.
Oh by the way..the Madison guy who wants oneÂ says it's because he says he and his girlfriend are looking to acquire one.Â Now that's a strange way to show you care.
Here's the text of the news release we received regarding proposed changes at the Farmer's Market.
For immediate release
April 1, 2011
The Dane County Farmers Market opens its outdoor season April 16th, and a local group is announcing an effort to make sure it's as peaceful as it has been for the past three decades.
Concerned about possible conflicts due to the ongoing budget crisis, The Coalition for a Fair and Balanced Market is proposing dividing the Capitol Square, with half the market designated for supporters of the Governor's proposal, the other half for opponents.
According to coalition president Greta Johnson, "this will assure that citizens of this state can buy locally made goods and produce without having to be concerned about getting into any heated conflict."
To make it easy for everyone, Johnson is proposing that as you approach the capitol from State Street, the left hand side will be for liberals, and the right hand side will be where the conservatives will do their shopping.
For more information, click here.
So my quest for a new car has me checking out some pre-owned vehicles at Zimbrick Eastside.
I met up once again with Gerald Ayers at Zimbrick Eastside Hyundai..and he had some cool cars to show me.Â I took a pre-owned Hyundai Certified Pre-owned Hyundai Elantra Touring out for a test ride. It only had 30-thousand miles on it..which means I would have 70-thousand miles left on the factory warranty. Incredible! And you wouldn't believe all the extra hoops they have to go through to make sure it meets Hyundai's strict expectations.Â They inspect the body, the brakes, the belts, hoses,Â wheel bearings..you name it!
Did you know Zimbrick Hyundai Eastside has other makes and models of used cars on the lot? Gerald showed me an all-wheel drive Subaru Forester.. which looked great, but was a little too big for me. He also put me behind the wheel of a Toyota Solara convertible! It was too cold to drive very far with the top down..but we went for a cruise and I was impressed that the top is a hard top..the back window was glass (not scratchy plastic), and that it even has front wheel drive. This is a convertible that could be driven year-round.
I got a chance to meet Zimbrick Eastside'sÂ Sales Manager David Masar, who showed me where the used cars are all rigorously checked out by their mechanics to make sure they meet their high expectations. He also explained that all used cars, even the ones that aren't Hyundai certified come with a 3-month 3-thousand mile warranty. And a full tank of gas!
Hey I finally completed another item on my list of trying 50 new things before I'm 50.
Admittedly, it wasn't too big of a stretch. I tried a new type of yogurt. I'd been hearing a lot about the benefits of Greek yogurt, and since I had a coupon I bought a couple containers.
I brought it into work today and tried it. And my first reaction was "yuck," but I stuck it out to the end and I guess it's okay.
I tried the strawberry fruit on the bottom variety. If it had more strawberries it would have been more palatable to me. And it might have been better if I hadn't read the other ingredients in advance. The included less than 1% of corn starch, lemon juice concentrate, kosher gelatin and vegetable juice (for color). Apparently the strawberries weren't strawberry colored enough on their own.
I have another container of the stuff at home. The next goal is to actually eat it before the expiration date.
By the way, I'm making this list up as I go along..so if you have any ideas for me, let me know!
When I was a younger lover of music, I pretty much refused to buy any album from any artist until they came out with a Greatest Hits package. More for the money, I thought.
Now this started to fade away when I got into my belated Beatlemania phase and my brother got me the silver "Rock and Roll" album I requested, and also got me "Sgt. Pepper" so I could hear the music the way it was intended.
So for what it's worth..here's a list of some of the Greatest Hits albums I had when I was junior high and high school (and a bit thereafter). Did you have any of these?
Elton John's Greatest Hits (Vol. 1) Favorite song at the time: "Rocket Man.""
Elton John's Greatest Hits (Vol. 2) Favorite song at the time:Â "Levon." Least favorite: "Grow Some Funk of Your Own." Just what was he singing about?
Simon & Garfunkel's Greatest Hits. Loved the slower songs. I like the song "Cecelia," but didn't like that it jolted me out of my relaxed mood at the end of side 2.
America's Greatest Hits. I had to skip over "Muskrat Love." Yuck.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young So Far (Greatest Hits). I loved "Ohio." Brought out my protest-y side.
Queen's Greatest Hits. I just liked kickin' that can all over the place.
Jim Croce's Greatest Hits. I can still all the words to all those great songs. Even "Roller Derby Queen" and "Workin' at the Car Wash Blues."
Loggins & Messina's Greatest Hits. "You and me, we ain't got money..I'm so in love with ya honey..and everything will bring a chain of love..."
Eagles' Greatest Hits (Vol. 1). I always liked "Lyin' Eyes," and "Desperado."
Cat Stevens' Greatest Hits. Loved "Moonshadow." Hated "Morning Has Broken."
Bread's Greatest Hits. Only listened to Side 1 of this one. Heartbreaking that the "Diary" he found under the tree wasn't about him. Sniff. (There's actually a great rocker on side 2 "Mother Freedom," but I didn't learn about that for years.)
Foreigner's Greatest Hits. Loved that the album cover design looked like a juke box.
ELO's Greatest Hits. Who doesn't love "Evil Woman" or "Telephone Line"?
The Madison Area Music Awards nominees were announced over the weekend..and what's this? Jonathan & Kitty are nominated?
Why yes..yes, we are. And herein lies the dilemma. In the radio personality category, Jonathan and I are joined by two of our colleagues..Gabby Parsons and Pat Gallagher.
The 4th nominee is Rockin' John McDonald, host ofÂ "I Like it That" on WORT.
Now it seems to me that the Triple M votes will be split, and the obvious winner will be Rockin' John. And I've no problem with that. He's a great guy! Not that I'm trying to sway anybody's votes or anything.
As I make a quick glance through all the nominations, I notice a lot of familiar names, including the names of past and current Project M contestants. And there sure are a lot of categories covering a wide variety of genres, including rock, pop, country bluegrass..and even a category called "unique."
Click here to see the list of nominees and to vote. You must be a Madison Area Music Association Member to vote. This requires a minimum donation of $5 which goes to support music in schools and put instruments in the hands of kids.
The awards will be handed out in a ceremony/concert in June.
I have to admit, I never thought I was a Buick person..but I could be changing my tune!
I paid a visit to Andy Hammond at Zimbrick Eastside, and when he told me he was going to show me a BuickRegal, I thought to myselfÂ "isn't that the kind of car grandpas drive?"
Then I saw the car and thought..that would have to be one really cool grandpa. This car had style! Sitting behind the wheel, I thought I could get used to this! Andy showed me all the cool features..and even let me peek under the hood. I immediately recognized the Variable Valve Timing intercooled turbocharged engine with direct cylinder fuel injection. Actually I had no idea what I was seeing, but it seemed impressive.
This car is really built for safety..and performance. When I hit the road..I loved the smooth ride, and was surprised that there's even a "Sport" mode if you're a more active driver.Â The Regal also hasÂ just been named the Best Upscale Sedan for the Money by US News and World Report.
Andy also showed me a GMC Terrain--which is bigger than any vehicle I've ever owned. It's an SUV that gets pretty great gas mileage (up to 32 mpg on the highway), and has tons of storage space for all the treasures I find when I'm out going to rummage sales. I took a little drive and then asked Andy..I want to go a little faster..can we go back out on the highway? This vehicle was really fun to drive.Â And as some one who has a little trouble backing up vehicles, I liked the rear backup camera (it's attached right by the license plate).
If you're looking for a more upscale sedan or a zippy SUV..go see Andy at Zimbrick Eastside Buick.
Now I know Fab Four merchandising goes way back to the early days of Beatlemania.Â And I own my share of Beatle ephemera and doo-dads.
But I had to shrug when I saw the latest item meant to caught the eye of fans like me.
A Yellow Submarine diaper bag? Is that really necessary? Actually there are several different styles of the Yellow Submarine Diaperdude bags.Â By virtue of the manly name, I guess they are marketing them to dads.
But since most new dads weren't even born when the Beatles were still together..maybe it's Grandma and Grandpa that they're trying to entice...who'll buy these snazzy bags for their kids.Â Because I don't know too many parents who have the disposable cash to spend $88 bucks to hold their disposable diapers.
Check out all the styles here.
It's been a while since I've read a book published by Scholastic. While The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsÂ is being marketed to teens and young adults...it seems everybody is becoming addicted to it.
I've been reading about this book and seeing folks mention it on Facebook for a while, and finally picked it up.
I could try explaining it, but it would be easier to show you the official book trailer. (Did you know books have trailers on youtube now?)
The characters are well-drawn...and the plot is filled with lots of surprises.
There's a sequel..which I was forced to buy in hardcover because I demand immediate gratification and can't wait until the paperback comes out.
Oh..it's going to be a movie too.Â Jennifer Lawrence will be play the lead role of Katniss Everdeen. She was on the cast of the TBS sitcom The Bill Engvall Show and was on the movie Winter's Bone.
There's no official trailer for the movie as it isn't scheduled to be released until 2012. Quite a few fans of the book have made their own trailers, and they're all quite horrible. Don't waste your time watching them..just go buy the book.
And then call me so we can talk about it!
One of the last original Delta Blues players has passed on. The legendary boogie-woogie piano man, Pinetop Perkins, died yesterday in Austin, Texas, at the age of 97!
He influenced lots of performers, including Dr. John and Greg Allman, and played piano with Muddy Waters' last great band, appearing on Muddy's albums in the 1970's and performing with him on The Band's final concert, The Last Waltz.
At age 75 most people are ready to call it quits, but that's how old Pinetop was when he put out his first album under his own name. And he never quit playing! I saw him at one of the Madison Blues Festivals several years ago and was amazed at his energy when it came to hitting those keys on the piano. And he looked so adorable in his suit and hat as he shuffled out to the piano bench.
Pinetop kept on recording too. His most recent album came out last year..a collaboration with Willie "Big Eyes" Smith of Chicago
When he turned 95, he released an album called Pinetop Perkins & Friends, and this video promotes that album and gives a good overview of his career.
I have to admit, I was really getting into all the hype about the Super Moon. Armchair astronomers were getting starry-eyed about the Super Perigee Moon Saturday night. With the moon the closest to Earth in nearly 20 years it was supposed to be big and bright and spectacular.
Now I'm already a fan of what I like to call "Big Ass Moons," so I was pretty psyched.Â Mike and I looked for the perfect spot to watch for it to rise in the east.
"There it is!" he shouted. And it was...okay. Really no big deal. Nothing to go over the moon about. I know I've seen bigger brighter moons than that in the last few years. It did make a cute little reflection in the water though.
Apparently it looked better in other places on the globe.
Here are the fine photos I shot with my 8.1 megapixel Kodak Easy Share camera. Don't look directly at them or you might go blind.
I like to call this one "Long Exposure, No Tripod."
My quest for a new car took me this week to Zimbrick Eastside Nissan, where I met with Sales and Leasing Consultant Denise Tretter. We chatted about what I was looking for in a car, and what I liked and didn't like about the Hyundais I tried last week.Â I haven't encountered a lot of female car salespeople so Denise was a breath of fresh air...and very knowledgeable about all the cars and their features.
She had four different cars for me to try..the Sentra, Versa, Cube, and Juke. I liked each of them, for different reasons. All were great on warranty and safety...but they were all so different from each other.
I tried out the Sentra first. It has the Nissan Intelligent Key, which means if the key's in your pocket or purse, you can open the door by pushing a button. To start they car? Just turn the ignition with the "key" nearby. Very cool. I was also impressed with the best cup holder I've seen yet..it's adjustable! The Sentra's ride was also very smooth.
Next I hopped into the Nissan Versa. It's a station wagon type hatchback car, which is not too different from my current vehicle in style. But it has an advance suspension so it's not too bumpy, lots of horsepower and torque to make merging on the highway a breeze.
Next I tried the Cube. They're relatively new in the U.S., but have been around for a long time in Japan and are very popular.Â From the outside I thought it was a little "boxy," but once I got in I realized that it was kinda fun to see the road from a little higher up.Â I loved the Rockford Fosgate stereo system..and Denise took me out to a parking lot where I did a sharp turnaround to illustrate the amazing turning radius. And Denise told me the front of the car was designed after the face of a bulldog. (See pic below.)
The final car I tried was the Nissan Juke. The brochure calls this a Turbocharged Sport Cross. It's a crossover vehicle, which means it's kind of a cross between an SUV and a car. This little car was super fun to drive. It has different modes..so you can get extra boost or torque..or take it easy to get more miles to the gallon.Â And it has push-button ignition..which I think I could really get used to.
I think of the four cars I drove, I felt most comfortable with the Versa. It had the highest fuel economy rating as well.
Are you interested in a Nissan? Go see Denise!!
Random thoughts for March 17th
*The Guiness Extra Stout we get in the United States is brewed in Canada
*Elvis Costello is not Irish, but should be. His real name is Declan Patrick McManus
*Not all Irish luck is good.
*Shamrocks do not have four leaves. A 4-leaf clover and a shamrock are NOT the same thing.
*If you're going to serve green beer, adding a drop of food coloring to a glass of beer does not have the same festive spirit as coloring the whole barrel.
*May the road rise up to meet you, and may you be in heaven an hour before the devil knows your dead. I don't know if daylight saving time somehow interferes with this, but I'm suspicious.
*The little marshmallows in Lucky Charms are known as marbits.
When most people are asked to name an Irish rock band, they probably say "U2," because undoubtedly they've had the most commercial success. But there are some other outstanding bands out there that you may not have heard of.
I'll admit, the first Irish music I encountered was The Irish Rovers, because my mom had a two or three record set of their traditional Irish songs, most famous being The Unicorn Song. While I still have fond memories of them from my childhood, I can't say they rock. And neither does Gilbert O'Sullivan, especially on the song "Alone Again Naturally." Yuck.
My guitar playing boyfriend Mike has turned me on to some great musicians, some of them Irish. Before I met him, I never heard of Rory Gallagher. He's an amazing guitar player, who in fashion sense at least was completely different from the traditional rock star, choosing to wear plaid button-down shirts..or worse yet, shirts with snaps! But he can really play, and has a great voice. I love this song.
I've also come to appreciate Thin Lizzy, thanks to Mike. Did you know they had songs other than "Boys Are Back in Town"? And of course I'm a huge fan of Elvis Costello, who has lived in Ireland but is really from England.
I also like Irish beer, but that's another story entirely.
Tonight the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame gets some new members. Alice Cooper (the band, not just the guy), Neil Diamond, Tom Waits, Darlene Love, Leon Russell and Dr. John will get to add that distinction to their wikipedia page.
I don't have any real problem with any of the nominees this year..which might surprise you. I still think Gram Parsons, Paul Revere and the Raiders and Stevie Ray Vaughan are glaring omissions..but maybe next year will be their year.
I'm not a huge Neil Diamond fan, but he certainly does have the chops as a singer and songwriter..so even though he doesn't exactly ROCK, I think he is deserving.
I have had the opportunity to see Dr. John a couple of times..and found him to be quite entertaining despite the fact that he swears a lot.
Here he is performing somewhere that swearing would be a big no-no..on the Tonight Show.
My search for a new car has taken me to Zimbrick Eastside..where I got a chance to test drive a couple cars that definitely made me remember what driving a new car is like.
I tried two models of the Hyundai Elantra. First Gerald Ayers at Zimbrick Eastside gave me the run-down on the Touring model..which is basically a station wagon and has similar style to my current vehicle. I was really impressed with the features it offered (heated seats, fantastic stereo, telescoping steering wheel), and was very impressed with the safety features.
I had heard the term ABS brakes before..but didn't know what it meant. So Gerald took me out the road and told me to slam on the brakes in a slushy, snowy area! Wow! It's like the brakes started doing the work for me. The Elantra also has electronic stability and traction control..to make it much less likely I would get into an accident.
I really liked the car..but Gerald also wanted to show me another Elantra, a sedan that has all the features of the touring model, but has the bonus of being green. No--not the car's paint job..but this car is super eco-friendly.Â According to the sticker in the window..40 miles per gallon. But Gerald says that can go even higher. You have to buy an electronic or hybrid car to get a better eco-rating.
When you drive this car, it even has a little ECO light that comes on if you're doing a good job driving to optimize your fuel mileage. And yes, I am an eco-warrior!
This little car really has zip and was fun to drive...the ride was super smooth and quiet as well.
IÂ and had a blast learning all about both from Gerald. I think I would be happy with either of the cars I tried at Zimbrick Eastside Hyundai, and they were both in my price range.Â Gerald gave me all the info I needed (and some I didn't know I needed)...and even gave me a bottle of water for the ride home.
But my quest continues..next week I'm going to check out the Nissans at Zimbrick Eastside.
Okay..I've figured out the second new thing I'm going to do before I turn 50 next year.
I'm giving something up for Lent. Now I'm not exactly what you call a practicing Catholic (hence never giving anything up for Lent). But I figure a 40-day period seems do-able.
I'm giving up french fries. You'd think now that most fries are trans-fat free, why would I want to do that?
Just to see if I can.
Since I come from potato country in central Wisconsin, this may seem like inappropriate..but don't worry. I'm not giving up hash browns.
Or tater tots.
Stay tuned...I'll let youÂ know how I did just after Easter.
And by the way, I'm still looking for ideas for more new things to try before I'm 50.Â So feel free to make suggestions!
I hate to admit it, but I'm turning 50 next year. And I've decided to go on a little journey of personal growth before I get there next February, by trying 50 new things before I'm 50.
I've already completed one--by emceeing an event on my own, and that went pretty well. That was 3 weeks ago..so I've got to get going on this, and that's where I need your help. Do you have any suggestions?
They don't necessarily have to be physical accomplishments..like competing in Iron Man, or walking up all the stairs on a downtown parking ramp without getting out of breath.
And they don't have to be death-defying either. I've already jumped out of an airplane, and I'm not interested in bungee jumping.
Preferably I'd like the new things to be either fun or involve some kind of personal growth.
My friend Adam just emailed me somebody's bucket list of 530 items...and I can tell you I won't be doing some of them.Â I'm not going to read the complete works of Shakespeare, because I have a thing against iambic pentameter.
And I'm pretty sure I'm not going to win a Nobel prize, build a gazebo, or become a Charlie Sheen intern any time soon either.
Do you have any suggestions? Feel free to share them here!
You never know what you'll find at the Dollar Tree. That's part of the intrigue and excitement of shopping at a store where everything's $1. If you're just a casual shopper who's picking up off-brand lotion or party favors, you'll miss some truly interesting items.
Like the confection I picked up just the other day. A 2.5 ounce chocolate ballerina.
I've heard of chocolate bunnies, Santas, and even the occasional Halloween pumpkin. But why in the world would any one dream of creating a chocolate ballerina?
How did that meeting go at the chocolate factory?
BOSS: "We need to think of a way to sell our chocolate during months that don't have a holiday."
EMPLOYEE: (remembering her daughter's dance recital later that evening) I know, why not make a chocolate ballerina?"
BOSS: "THAT'S IT! And we'll sell them at the Dollar Tree! You're an absolute genius."
Well, they certainly hooked me. It was such a bargain!
But now I have a problem. Which end do I eat first..the toe shoes or the head?
I'm starting to come to terms with the fact that I need a new car. So that means it's time to do some research!
Jonathan suggested I check out Zimbrick Eastside..so I did! I met with Zimbrick's Jay Sass so I could get a better idea about what cars and deals are out there. Since Bill Clinton was president when I last bought a car I figured there was a lot I had to learn.
Jay didn't try to push me toward any particular vehicle--in fact he asked me a lot of questions. He wanted what I'm looking for in a car..first of all..what do I like, and what don't I like about my current vehicle (aside from the fact all the doors don't open like they should). He even wanted to know whether I preferred light or dark colors!
That was something I had never really thought about. Since the cars I've owned have been red, maroon, blue and maroon..I guess I lean toward the dark side (of car colors).
We chatted about the kinds of features I wanted, how much money I wanted to spend, and whether I wanted to lease or buy.Â After listing off the features that I wanted and told him my budget, I asked "is this possible?" And Jay said--"we make automotive dreams come true!"
I like the sound of that!
Next step--checking out some cars at Zimbrick Eastside Hyundai.
With all the political shenanigans, tomfoolery and downright evilness going on, I decided I had two options to preserve my sanity.
1. Curl up in a little ball and cry myself to sleep.
2. Regress to the safe, warm, comforting days of my childhood.
I know I'll have to resume fighting the fight or my conscience will bug me, but for now, I choose #2.
And I've gone off to the la-la land of fave childhood cartoons.Â I bet I can remember some you haven't thought of in a while.
Kitty's Top Cartoons She Bets You Forgot
1. Huckleberry Hound
2. Pixie and Dixie (and Jinks the Cat)
3. Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy
4. Go Go Gophers
And for your viewing/regression pleasure--enjoy this Snagglepuss snippet that features some classic lines.
Charlie Sheen has been saying some pretty crazy stuff lately, but I thought we could make boost the insanity with a little game I like to call Charlie Sheen Mad Libs.
I've taken some quotes from Mr. Sheen's recent interview with Piers Morgan and removed some of the words. Here's what you have to do:Â ask some one else for the corresponding parts of speech and then fill in the blanks. When you read the new sentence, hilarity will possibly ensue!
CHARLIE SHEEN MAD LIBS
âItâs been a (NOUN_______) of media. And Iâve been riding it on a (ADJECTIVE) surfboard.
âThat doesnât matter. That was an (ADJECTIVE________) brain. I have a new brain. I have a 10,000-year-old brain and the (PLURAL NOUN________) of a seven-year-old."
âIn their opinion, in their (ADJECTIVE___________) research, pink (_______PLURAL NOUN) have to go away. Canât you spin on a (ADJECTIVE_________) cloud your whole life, and just be super (ADJECTIVE___________) and focused?â
You know what..the real quotes are probably funnier. Here they are, in all their messed up glory.
âItâs been a tsunami of media. And Iâve been riding it on a mercury surfboard.
âThat doesnât matter. That was an old brain. I have a new brain. I have a 10,000-year-old brain and the boogers of a seven-year-old."
âIn their opinion, in their vast research, pink clouds have to go away. Canât you spin on a pink cloud your whole life, and just be super bitching and focused?â
With everything that's going on in Madison, you might be tempted to go all Charlie Sheen on us...but I hope we can all somehow manage to maintain our grip on reality.
So in that spirit, I've got some things that we can be happy about.
1. Shamrock shakes at McDonalds. Even though they are not made from shamrocks.
2. Spring is coming. I'm pretty sure the governor can't cancel that.
3. Puppies. Click here to check out The Puppy Channel!
5. Music...whether it's a protest song or a favorite tune that just helps you want to go on living, music can be a great healer.
Today marks the 68th birthday of George Harrison, the lead guitar player of the Beatles..and the man who inspired many of today's top guitar players to pick up the instrument.
As a tribute, the entire 2002 Concert For George is being streamed live today at www.concertforgeorge.com.
You can watch some of the same folks that are on the Concert for George on this video as well. Can you figure out who every one is?
With crank phone calls in the news this week, I've been reflecting on some of the excellent calls I made back in my younger days.
Most kids resort to calling and asking for Prince Albert in a can..or come up with something worn out like "is your refrigerator running?"
Mine may have been even more stupid.
"Excuse me, but what kind of peanut butter do you use?" (The response was "the same kind the Dunns use." My friend dialed his own house and his sister answered the phone and recognized my voice.)
Another time a friend and I called a house where we knew a bunch of the children. When a boy answered we sang "we'll have a blue Christmas without you."
And we even called a really old guy named Henry Winkler whose name we found in the phone book... and imitated the Fonz.
I guess we weren't really ready to be political commandos.
Time Magazine has come out with a list of the most influential toys, by decade, dating back to the 1920's. I'm not sure what they mean by "influential," but the list is fun to look at.
It does say that fake vomit was one of the most influential toys of the 1950's. I can't say I was influenced by this item, but do remember admiring it in the glass case next to the fake dog poop at the Moon Fun Shop in downtown Stevens Point.
Here's the list from the 1960's.
* Etch A Sketch
* Slip 'n Slide
* Chatter Telephone
* G.I. Joe
* Easy-Bake Oven
* Creepy Crawlers
* Rock'em Sock'em Robots
* Johnny Seven O.M.A.
* See 'n Say
* Barrel of Monkeys
* Radio-Controlled Car
* Hot Wheels
* Flatsy Doll
* Barbie's Dream House
(See the whole list here.)
I don't think I was influenced by any of those toys, but do know I coveted many of them. While I never had an Easy-Bake oven or Creepy Crawlers, IÂ wasn't that deprived..I did have some Hot Wheels, Barrel of Monkeys, SuperBalls and Flatsy dolls.
But there is one glaring omission from that list. If you are girl who was a kid in the 1960's...you've probably spent the rest of you life looking for your Mystery Date. Is he a dream, or a dud?
I always said I liked the duds better..just to be edgy.
You might wonder what Jonathan and I are up to while the songs are playing during our show. Sometimes we're answering the phone, planning what we're going to talk about next, or having a snack.
Other times we're getting distracted on the internet. And with all the tense stuff going on these days around here, distractions are good.
And we've found something to provide you hours (or at least minutes) of enjoyment. Somebody had the brilliant idea of matching up Beatles songs with old episodes of Underdog. Why didn't we think of this? It's GENIUS!
You may not know this, but Jonathan has an unnatural attraction to Sweet Polly Purebred. So I dedicate this one to him.
With the circus coming to town this weekend, I thought I'd do a little searching of my memory banks to determine when I started getting creeped out by clowns.
On a 1-10 scale of clown aversion (10 being an all-out panic attack with possible fainting), I'd say I fall at around a 3.
When I was young, I actually thought clowns were a different race of people that were born that way. I got this idea from a children's book that featured all kinds of clowns..including babies and children.Â So I wasn't afraid of them then.
I also liked to watch Bozo's Circus, and was a big fan of Bozo and his friend Cooky.
I don't think it was until that dreaded Poltergeist movie that I started getting the heebie jeebies from them..and I think that's also around the time the pop culture world starting talking more and more about the fear of clowns.
I'm also afraid of new housing developments that are built on top of cemeteries, but maybe that's just me.
I went to an antique show yesterday and you won't believe the crazy inappropriate Valentines I found. The ladies who were sold them to me said they were from the 50's.
I'm glad Valentines for kids have left the racial epithets behind and have moved on to non-controversial themes like Hello Kitty and Sponge Bob.
What do you think of these?
For some reason, most people can name at least one celebrity they share a birthday with, and they take pride in that.
Like they must also share some characteristics with that person by virtue of the day they were born.
For example, my boyfriend Mike shares a birthday with Thomas Jefferson. He was pretty cool aside from all that slavery stuff. Another friend shares a birthday with Duane Allman. Now that's impressive.
If you were born today, you share a birthday with Sheryl Crow, which is kinda neat.Â But you probably don't want any one to know you also share a birthday with Jeb Bush.
My birthday is Sunday. I've always felt a little ripped off in the shared birthday department. I've got Peter Gabriel (okay, he's not so bad), and another Peter--Peter Tork of the Monkees.
But do I share my birthday with any one that's not named Peter? So I did a little online research.
I also share a birthday with Chuck Yeager and football bad boy Randy Moss. (Oh no!)
What's this? I share a birthday with Tennessee Ernie Ford? That's awesome! I think that means I should get 16 Tons of birthday cake....
I was surprised and pleased to learn that the Guitar Hero video game is being sent to the electronics dustbin.
Activision is dumping the game due to a lack of demand, and is making a complete change in focus by making handcrafted guitars out of spruce, mahogany, and rosewood....made in the USA!
The company wisely realized that a world filled with musicians would be much better than a world filled with couch potatoes skilled at pushing buttons.
Okay, that's not really what happened. They're actually going to focus on "Call of Duty." A super-violent war game in which you get to blow up the enemy with amazingly lifelike (and deathlike) graphics. Yeah...that's much better.
I'm not a huge fan of the show South Park, but this sums up my feelings on the issue.
Will the Rolling Stones be going out on tour this year? Not unless Mick Jagger and Keith Richards can kiss and make up.
There have been reports that the Stones have a new album in the works and the they were planning to tour in 2011. But now it looks like reports of the tour have been exaggerated. This is what the band recently posted on facebook:
Some of you may have been made aware of the news stories concerning us touring and Live Nation. We wanted you to know directly that we have no current dealings with Live Nation and to date no news on touring. We can however confirm that you will be amongst the first to know if there is any tour news.."
Now contactmusic.com says the tour is threatened because Mick is still furious about something Keith wrote in his book Life. You got it, the "tiny todger" line, in which Keith alleged that Mick's girlfriend had no fun with Sir Mick because of his..well..you get the idea.
I think maybe Mick didn't read the whole book. He called it "tedious," so that probably means he missed the part where Keith said his bandmate was a control freak and had LVS (Lead Vocalist Syndrome), accused him of wanting to call the band "Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones," made fun of his solo work, slammed him for being knighted, and the list goes on and on.
It will be interesting to see what the latest volley in this little war will be--after Sunday night when Mick appears sans Stones on the Grammies. I think Keith will be less than impressed, and Mick will get mad about that "tiny todger" comment all over again.
But will the Stones tour this summer? I have no idea..but if they do..the guitar playing and the singing might seem a little angrier than usual.
Did you hear Bristol Palin's penning her memoirs? Unbelievable, right?
What took her so long?Â She's lived two decades already, with more than two of them in the public eye. The world has been clamoring to know more about Bristol Palin's life, and now it looks like we'll get our wish this summer.
You may have not been aware of this fact, but I have some connections in the publishing world. I made some calls,Â and I got a little sneak peak at the outline for Bristol's book. She hasn't finished it yet, but is said to be furiously scribbling.
Working Title: Mama Grizzly's Baby Bares AllChapter One:Â My parents almost name me Myers-Squibb. Chapter Four:Â Show and tell goes horribly wrong
Chapter Seven:Â Boys are so DREAMY! X O X OChapter Eight:Â Shopping for Two! To Baby Gap and Beyond
Chapter Nine: Leave Me Alone. Now Look at Me!
Sad news among all the Super Bowl excitement yesterday..as we learned of the death of Irish guitar player Gary Moore. According to press accounts, Moore was found dead in a hotel room in Spain, where he was on vacation. No cause of death has been released.
I first heard of Gary Moore in 1990 when he released an album called "Still Got The Blues." It featured his soulful bluesy voice, incredibly expressive guitar playing..and some heavy hitters helping him out. Not only are Albert King and Albert Collins in the credits, but even George Harrison lent his voice and guitar playing to the record.
In Ireland, Moore was best known for his work with Thin Lizzy (although he was not on their biggest hit "The Boys Are Back In Town") and also released 15 other solo albums. He was also in an Irish band called Skid Row..but it's important to note it was not the U.S. hair band of the same name.
For some people, becoming a Packer fan is a choice. But for most of us, it's just part of who we are.
Some people come from families where their second toe is longer than their big toe. Others have a genetic predisposition toward freckles, or bushy eyebrows.
And then there's the Packer gene. For those of us born within certain latitude and longitudes, the love of the Packers has always just been there.
It may even go deeper than religion. You hear of lapsed Catholics, but never a lapsed Packer fan.
My earliest memories are of the Packers in the glory years, but for some reason I don't remember the glory part so much. I remember the yelling... because despite their talent, their were always plays that didn't turn out quite right.
There are stories of one neighbor throwing an ottoman through a window to show his disgust.
More ingrained in my memory are the not-so-glory years. The Dan Devine years (feeling fine with Devine? Not so much). The Bart Starr years. A great player, a great Rawhide Boys Ranch pitchman, but not so great a coach.
Remember the bumper stickers that read "The Pack Is Back"? They were more wishful thinking than anything else.
Then there were the Favre years. Sweet sweet memories. I choose not to think about how that tale ended. At least not right now.
And now, it's another chance for glory. My fingers are crossed, and the ottomans have been tied down for safety purposes.
I know that a lot of people are reporting wild adventures and close calls following the Snowmageddon we just went through over the past couple of days.
But I thought I would share my harrowing tale anyway.
Mike has a Jeep and in the past has had no trouble making it through anything the Abominable Snowman could throw at us. But this time it wasn't easy for him to get across the Great Wall of China that plow crews left at the bottom of our driveway. Finally he was successful and we were on our way. The two miles to the radio station were spent in silence, as we worried if would ever make it to our destination on Ganser Way. I must admit, thoughts of the Donner party came to mind.
When we got to Mineral Point Road, things were looking up, but the turn at D'Onofrio had not seen a plow. "No worries," I said to Mike, as I jumped out of the Jeep to walk the marathon distance of a block and a half to the station.
I managed to walk in the tire trails of some other brave soul, and thought I would soon arrive at the station. Then my eyes almost popped out of my head when I saw a barrier much higher than the Great Wall in our driveway. The snow was too soft to walk on, so I had no choice but to roll over the mountain onto the area that had been plowed by the crew digging out our parking lot.
Though my fall wasn't graceful, it was successful. I was covered head to toe in snow, and for the most part unscathed, except for the SNOW IN MY PURSE.
I'll give you a moment to contemplate the gravity of this situation.
Okay, now my story resumes.
Though disheartened, I managed to make my way through the parking lot and up the snowy stepsÂ into the station to begin another broadcast day.
And then I lost my voice.
Sometimes life just isn't fair.
I'm not a huge snow fan, but I know there are a lot of you crazies out there. None as crazy though as college students. Do you remember back in 2009 when UW Madison students created a giant snowball?
I was actually looking for a different video when I found this one (the one where college students built a bunch of snowmen in the road a year or so ago.) But I do find the idea of a giant snowball amusing.
I'm sure it started small...and (you've got it) it snowballed.
I love one of the comments on youtube..."I want to go to this fun school."
What could be better in the dead of winter than a festival dedicated to beer and cheese?
I had a great time at the Isthmus Beer and Cheese Festival on Saturday. Because Mike and I haven't missed a Great Taste of the Midwest in years, and plan vacations around visiting brewpubs, you might think we would have tried every beer there is.
You would be wrong, Hops-and-barley breath! Yes, I did have a chance to re-sample some old favorites. And I did find some new tasty treats.
I even discovered a couple of new brewpubs. St. Francis Brewery is located in the southern Milwaukee suburb of St. Francis. How it managed to open in the spring of 2009 without me knowing it is beyond me. I tried the Lust Weissbier, which I really enjoyed, even though I usually don't like wheat beers. According to theirÂ website they use a special strain of yeast that results in wonderful banana and clove flavors, and they didn't lie. And I was glad it was not too yeasty.
The Woodman Brewery is located in Woodman, WI, between Boscobel and Potosi. I tried the pilsener, which was a light (but not "lite") tasting, drinkable brew. A quick check of their website shows they also offer more choices include a honey raspberry beer which sounds interesting, and a chocolate porter coming soon.
Other ones that I circled in my beer menu were the Scottish Porter from Brewery Creek in Mineral Point (Mike also raved about the Frankenshandy), the Bitter Blonde from South Shore Brewery in Ashland (it wasn't bitter), and the root beer from the Potosi Brewing Company.
Oh--there was cheese too. I loved the Apple Smoked Cheddar from Carr Valley Cheese in Middleton, and Mike kept going back for the Buttermille Blue from Emmi Roth USA in Verona.
Organizers of the festival say it was a big success, and they're planning another for next year. I suggest you attend.
Looking for a great place for a relaxing night out, in a casual comfy atmosphere? I know that sounds like the opening line to a commercial. But it's really the best way to sum up the night Mike and I had at Quivey's Stable Grill during Madison Restaurant Week.
The Stable Grill is located inside a stable built back in 1855, and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Mike and I felt comfortable right away! We also enjoyed the juxtaposition of the setting with the 80's music that was playing in the background. I hadn't heard "She Drives Me Crazy" by the Fine Young Cannibals in a long time!
But I digress. Mike and I started by ordering a couple of great local Ale Asylum Beers, and then made our choices off the special 3-course menu. We both ordered the same thing so it made things easy for our extremely cordial server.
We started off with the spinach salad, which was topped with warm bacon dressing, red onion, mushrooms and hard boiled egg. It was a delicious blend of flavors and went great with the Madtown Nut Brown beer.
Next was the entree..which was a fish fry that went way over the top! It was comprised of beer-battered whitefish, pretzel-crusted lake perch and crispy rainbow trout fingers. You can tell that Quivey's really pays attention to the batter, because each was quite unique and flavorful. Not like some places where it seems like all the fish is dumped into the same mixture of flour and milk. The french fries were huge with great potato flavor and a fine accompaniment to the fish.
For dessert we picked the turtle pie, which looked fantastic. I'm sure it will be decadent and delicious..it's sitting in the fridge at home waiting for us.
Quivey's Grove Stable Grill is open for lunch and dinner and there's even a happy hour Monday thru Thursday from 4-6pm. It's a great place to go during Restaurant Week, or any time!
Find out more about Quivey's Grove Stable Grill and the Stone House next door here.
Etta James, who turns 73 today, is one of those wild women that really know how to sing the blues..and she's been doin' it for a long long time!
Etta James Fun Fact: She's pretty sure that her birth father was Minnesota Fats, who's pretty much the only professional pool player I've ever heard of.
Here's Etta a while back with some other wild women...and B.B. King back in the day when he still performed standing up.
Yeah, there was a big football game this weekend..but I managed to have more fun before the game even started!
I had a great time at Flake Out Fest in Wisconsin Dells, as a media judge for the Wisconsin State Snow Sculpting Competition. The winning sculptor team gets to on to the national competition in Lake Geneva.
I'm in awe of the detail these artists work into each of their creations.Â Not to mention the less than ideal working conditions! Some of the artists were still working Sunday morning when the temperature dipped to 22 below.
Here are some of my favorites!
I'm a Packer fan, but my love for the Packers is apparently miniscule compared to some of you folks. For example, I would never paint my house green and gold.
I've seen numerous "Packer houses" over the years, and I believe even some Packer barns. Just doing a quick google images search brought up quite a few, including one right here in Madison! This house is so outlandish...I mean..awesome... it's featured on the website roadsideamerica.com.
Then there's a guy with way too much money who bought a house in Green Bay right across from Lambeau Field. He gutted the place so he has a wall of windows overlooking the stadium. It also has a lot of Packer accessories that put your little bobblehead collection to shame. (Read more about it here).
I bet you don't have a urinal like this at your house. Or do you?
Packer fans sure have come a long way since the days of "The Pack Is Back" bumper stickers and those little green and gold styrofoam balls you put on your car's antenna.
Oh and one more thing.
I'm not really a winter person..but I'm looking forward to spending some time outside this weekend in Wisconsin Dells. It's the 21st annual Flake Out Festival, which includes the official Wisconsin State Snow Sculpting Competition.
You really have to see these things to appreciate them! The artists spend all weekend..night and day..creating these amazing works of art, and the judging is on Sunday. The winners get to go onto the national competition!
There are lots of great activities..from live music outside in a tent to kids activities, an ice maze, snow tubing, an arts and crafts show and more. MostÂ of the stuff is free, but some activities require you to buy a $5 snow pass.
Don't forget to check out Moosejaw Pizza and Brewing Company while you're there and try a tasty brew!
Click here for more information!
Janis Joplin was born on today's date in 1943..meaning if she had managed to survive her rock and roll lifestyle, she'd be 68 today.
I wonder what she would have been like? Would she still be beltin' out the blues? Hopefully she wouldn't be pitching one of those Time Life sets of CD's or urging people over aged 50 to get affordable life insurance.
On stage, Janis either seemed in command of the stage (when she wasn't messed up on alcohol or drugs), but in interviews there was a real vulnerability that was almost uncomfortable to watch.
Here she is on her last appearance on the Dick Cavett Show. I heard they were an "item," which for some reason I find fascinating.
First Oprah quits her show, Larry King heads for the golf course, now Regis Philbin is retiring? How can we muddle through our mundane lives without good ol' Reeg?
Regis announced today that he's leaving the Regis & Kelly Show in the fall. The 79 year old has had quite a career..including 28 years on this particular morning talk show.
He didn't give a reason for quitting..but maybe his age has something to do with it. He'll turn 80 in August.
Regis holds the Guiness world record for having the most time in front of a TV camera, but there's another random fact that I enjoy even more. He's one of around 300 people thanked in the liner notes of an album by the Chocolate Watch Band...a 60's psychedelic rock band from California. (Little Steven plays them every once in a while.)
Here's a clip of Chocolate Watch Band from the movie Riot on the Sunset Strip. Can't you just see Regis grooving with these guys?
I know it's just a gimmick to get more viewers, but for some reason I'm feeling very unsettled about this upcoming Jeopardy match pitting humans against an IBM computer.
They did a test run, and the computer frightens me. He's got such a blank look on his face, and his voice is so...machinelike.
I watched a video of the test run, and thought it was interesting that Alex Trebek was not present. Since he is the smartest man in the universe (just ask him), there's a good probability that the computer was really Alex Trebek!
Today's the birthday of actor Charles Nelson Reilly--who most of you probably remember as a panelist on Match Game. But he also starred in the trip-trip trippiest Saturday morning program of all time, Lidsville.
Reilly was born in 1931 and died a couple years ago. He's probably glad that most of the obituaries did not mention this particular program.
He starred as a crazy wizard named Horatio Hoodoo, who hung out in a land entirely inhabited by hat people. Not people who wear hats, but people who are hats. And there's a little boy who accidentally stumbles into this world when he falls into a giant magicians hat. He's played by Butch Patrick, aka Eddie Munster.
When I was a kid, the drug references were lost on me. I didn't know that "lid" could refer to a certain amount of marijuana..and I wasn't familiar with the effects of LSD...but I think the writers of this show certainly were!
An Apollo 12 astronaut is in need of some cash..so he's selling an item that illegally made a space flight.Â It's a picture of a Playboy playmate that was tacked inside a locker and crew member Richard Gordon has held onto it all these years, and is now putting it on the auction block.
Some other items that made it onto space craft illegally include a corned beef sandwich and a harmonica.
So that got me to thinking--what would I smuggle onto a spaceship if I had the chance. Here are a few of my ideas.
1) Mork from Ork. It's time to get my vintage doll from the 70s show Mork & Mindy a little closer to his home planet. Nanu Nanu!
2)Pop Rocks. What this fizzin' poppin' candy might do at zero gravity boggles the mind!
3)Woody from Toy Story. He'd be a "Space Cowboy."
4)Pigs in a blanket. Then it would be "Pigs in a blanket in space!!!!!" (Muppet show reference.)
5)Diet Mountain Dew. Because I'm no good if I don't get my caffeine in the morning. Besides, Tang sucks.
Snowy days make me think if of warming up with a nice cup of hot cocoa.Â Nowadays every one seem to call it hot chocolate, but cocoa seems, well, cocoa-cozier!
When I was a kid my mom would warm milk on the stove and mix in chocolate and sugar..or a few teaspoons of Nestle's Quik. This is back in the olden days when "just add water" was a new and frightening concept.
Frightening? Yes. For a couple of reasons. First--it's easier to be tempted to drink the stuff too soon after adding the boiling water, and that'll burn off your taste buds faster than you can say "mini-marshmallow."
Secondly,Â Swiss Miss was a little bit creepy. Not quite Mrs. Butterworth-creepy, but creepy just the same.
Enjoy your hot cocoa everybody. And I won't tell any one if you add a shot of Kahlua.
So what do you think of the latest Hollywood rumor? It looks like Brad Pitt will be playing John Lennon in a movie about his life, and Yoko approves.
At first I thought this was ridiculous...they look nothing alike for one thing. And Brad is 47, seven years older than John ever got to be (sadly). But then I thought about it a little more, and maybe it's okay.
Brad is a great actor who's already rolling in dough, so I don't think he'd take the role unless he thought he could pull it off. (He's reportedly studying up so he can imitate John's voice..talking and singing). And Mr. Pitt is also quite the humanitarian, whose mindset on political issues is probably not too far away from Lennon's.
As a matter of fact, can you tell which of those quotes was said by Brad Pitt and which are Lennon quotes?
The answers might surprise you!
1. I have a hard time with morals. All I know is what feels right, what's more important to me is being honest about who you are.
2. You must lose everything in order to gain anything.
3. Possession isn't nine-tenths of the law. It's nine-tenths of the problem.
4. As usual, there is a great woman behind every idiot.
5. Give peace a chance.
6. Fame is a bitch, man.
Did you buy any vinyl records last year? Apparently vinyl is making a comeback..although we know it will never be what it once was.
How big of a comeback? Most facets of the record industry saw sales go down last year..but not vinyl. In fact, 2.8 million NEW vinyl albums were sold last year. And that's not counting the millions that were probably sold at record shops, second-hand stores and on the internet.
The new albums that sold were a mix of classic iconic artists, and newer bands. Number one on the list was the Beatles Abbey Road, followed by Arcade Fire's Suburbs and the Black Keys Brothers.
I think it's cool that folks are willing to spend $40 or more for something they could get cheaper on CD or download. But the fact is, this is not a new phenomenon. There have always been audiophiles who prefer the warm sound of vinyl. And they're not only willing to spend big bucks on records..they're also forking out a lot of money for gear.
There are plenty of them that are definitely not your sister's Close N Play.Â $2000 turntables are common..but there are some that cost way more than that. The Goldmund Reference II turntable costs $300,000! The company makes only five a year so you better get your order in way ahead of time.
I'm probably not going to find one of those at a yard sale for 5 bucks.
Looking for some more modestly priced turntables...that will only set you back a grand or so..check out Audio Advisor.
"How are you so perky and wide awake every morning?"
I have been asked that quite a few times over the years. (I've been waking you up on Triple M for 18 years this week..that's right..when the first George Bush was wrapping up his presidency!)
So how am I so damn perky? First of all I don't like to think of myself as "perky," but I really don't know what the secret is. I'm usually dead tired, but when the microphone goes on, something clicks in my head..and "it's showtime, blah blah blah."
Even I am irritated at over-the-top perkiness. Like the insanity that's featured in this Pop Tarts commercial I have seen every morning this week.
If you don't mind PERKINESS..that is covered with sugar and high fructose corn syrup, watch it once or twice. Sorry if it gets stuck in your head. "Pop Tarts are the bomb!"
You may have heard of the passing of Gerry Rafferty, the Scottish singer songwriter who had solo hits in the 1970's, and earlier in the band Stealers Wheel. (He died Tuesday of liver failure at the age of 63).
When I heard the news I got stuck on the long and winding road of youtube, and stumbled on some songs I'd heard before but had forgotten about, and discovered some new ones as well.
Do you remember this song? It was on the album Ferguslie Park, the one that was the follow up to the self-titled debut that included "Stuck in the Middle With You." It made it up to #29 on the U.S. charts in 1974, and I remember hearing it on the radio. It's obvious they're lip synching here, and it's fun to watch Gerry's facial expressions.
And Mike and I thought this one sounded a little like solo John Lennon..and Mike thinks he looks like him a little bit too.
And here's the song he was best known for....
A lot of excitement has been generated about the launch of Oprah Winfrey's new TV network (OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network). She's got a bunch of new shows and some look interesting..I'm always a sucker for shows about miracles (The Miracle Detectives), shows about kids (Kidnapped by the Kids), and of course, Dr. Phil.
Oprah loves to inspire people, and even though I haven't watched OWN yet, I have already been inspired. I am going to create my own TV network. Unfortunately, my initials aren't as perfectly suited for this purpose, but that's not stopping me.
Over the next few weeks, I will be unveiling some of the original programming that will appear on my network. I'm really excited about the first show on the docket.
Sponge: this is a one hour science/social experiment show. On each episode a different sponge will be featured. Sometimes it will be a kitchen sponge, other times it might be one that's used elsewhere in the home, or for industrial purposes. Top scientists will analyze the bacteria content, which also be shown to the viewer, CSI style.
I know, I know. You say "that's been done."Â But here's where it gets really exciting.Â We compare and contrast the germy sponge with actual living sponges, such as grown men who won't move out of their mother's home and just spend all day playing video games.
If you know some one who we should feature on this program, please comment on this blog, and I'll follow up with you shortly.
Most of us make New Year's resolutions, and most of us don't keep them. In fact, 97 percent of us know damn well we won't keep them before we even make them. (Like cutting down on non-essential swearing...$*#! I already blew that one).
Okay, time to get down to it. Here are my New Year's resolutions, which I'm fairly certain I will keep.
1. Cut down on television watching, especially soap operas like As The World Turns and Guiding Light.
2. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Do marshmallows count?
3. Cut down on processed foods and eat more whole grains. Where can I get me some whole wheat donuts? (And sprinkles are good for you, right?)
4. Walk more steps each day, not just the 20 steps between the couch and the fridge.
5. Move couch to other side of living room.
I think these resolutions are all realistic and do-able. What do you think?
There are so many wonderful Christmas songs, but when you try to come up with good ones for New Year's Eve, it's a little tougher.
One of the songs rock stations generally pull out this time of the year is "Funky New Year," by the Eagles. This is an awful song, and it's actually about a hangover. There are probably some excellent hangover songs out there, but this is not one of them. It's so bad there's not even a video for it on youtube.
But some one did their homework and came up with a top ten list of New Year's songs.
Pretty good list, but they missed some obvious ones. Like this song from George Harrison. I know, it just says ding ding dong ring out the old ring in the new, but I love George so have to include it.
And we can't forget Jimi!!!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!
It suddenly occurred to me. I must have slept through 2010. An entire year has gone by and I missed it?
It may have appeared that I was awake....I know the alarm went off really early most days and I managed to make it into work and talk on the radio.
But there's some pretty convincing evidence that leads me to believe otherwise, especially as I look at some of the end of the year lists that have been coming out in recent days.
EVIDENCE THAT KITTY IS REALLY RIP VAN WINKLE and slept through 2010.
1. She can not name a single Justin Bieber song.
2. She did not see Avatar, and when she thinks of blue creatures, she pictures the Smurfs.
3. She thinks that Gilligan was somehow involved in the series finale of Lost.
4. Want to buy a vuvuzela? Kitty sends to you Red Letter News.
5. She still thinks Barack Obama is popular.
She does have a vague memory of something really bad happening in the Gulf of Mexico and some elections with confounding results, but is pretty sure those were just really bad dreams. They were just bad dreams...weren't they?
With all that snow falling out east, we might have the tendency to mock the situation. Something like: "those babies out east don't know snow. A few flakes and they panic." "Boy if this snow were falling in the midwest the news media wouldn't even pay attention."
I however do not say any of those things. That's because I'm pretty sure that if I did the snow gods would get me back, and pretty soon I'd be back outside shoveling and cursing at the snow plows who keep re-covering the driveway.
So I will feel empathy for those dealing with the storms out east (but I won't help them shovel.)
And for you..I present this cool timelapse video I found.
December 2010 Blizzard Timelapse from Michael Black on Vimeo.
On Thanksgiving, for the first time ever, I had mashed potatoes with gravy.
"What? You're Irish and don't like potatoes? I wish I had a nickel for every time some one said that. I hated potatoes as a kid and over the last ten or 15 years I've tried new kinds and several years ago decided I liked mashed potatoes..the really buttery garlicky kind, but was still afraid to have them topped with gravy.
Then on Thanksgiving Mike and I went out for turkey dinner and they brought me the potatoes that way, and I had no choice but to try them. And Sam-I-Am, I liked them.
So what does that have to do with Paul McCartney? Not much. But I thought you might like this video of Paul teaching you how to make mashed potatoes. Yes, it's random. And I don't know why he made this video. But it's ADORABLE. And just in time for the holidays!
It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas!
What's your favorite smell this time of year? They say smell is the sense that most evokes memory..so no wonder the smells of Christmas can make us happy..or maybe a little wistful for times past.Â Here's my list of the best Christmas smells.
1. The piney scent of a real Christmas tree
2. Sugar cookies
5. Turkey roasting in the oven
6. Bread baking
8. Pumpkin pie
9. Figgy pudding*
10. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.*
*I have no idea what these things smell like, but I like my lists to be a nice even number.
It's been a year since Bob Dylan came out with a Christmas record. A year since we all first wondered what he was thinking, as he's gone back to his Jewish roots.
It's also been a year since we heard this great holiday tune, and got to watch this completely bizarre video.
The song's actually been stuck in my head since then. And just in case you finally got your brain cells to release it...here it is again.
Barbara Walters may have already come out with her list of the year's Most Fascinating People, but for some reason her list and my list don't really match.
Or maybe Barbara just couldn't land interviews with these particular people.
Kitty's Top 3 Most Fascinating People of 2010
#1: Double Rainbow Guy: aka Yosemite Bear Mountain Giant. Double Rainbow! What does it mean??? Haven't watched the video for a while. Catch it again here. Maybe we can get the number of views up to 30 million!
#2: Steven Slater: Yeah, the JetBlue flight attendant who flipped out, grabbed a couple of beers and escaped on the inflatable slide. I'm not sure he would have made the list if he didn't grab those beers. That added a lot of class.
#3: Unnamed Naked Mailman: The Whitefish Bay mailman thought he'd cheer up a woman's day by delivering mail to her office while wearing nothing but a smile. What is intriguing to me is that most people were just freaked out by the fact that he decided to do it in in cold weather..not that he thought of the idea in the first place.
Will you be getting beer in your stocking this year?
Personally, I think beer is a great Christmas gift. But it does present some challenges. You might not know what variety your friend or relative might like. Lagers? Ales? Dark beers? Light beers?
It can also be tough to wrap.
So here's the next best thing. A book about beer that includes FREE BEER. My recommendation is a book called Wisconsin's Best Beer Guide by Madisonian Kevin Revolinski. It's a new edition of a book that came out a couple of years ago that I used heavily.
It gives you great info about all the breweries in Wisconsin..different varieties of beer that may be available there, and other things to do in the area. A few years ago Mike and I went on vacation and hit a whole bunch of the brewpubs and had an absolute blast.
But what about the free beer? Most of the breweries that are listed in the book offer some kind of free deal when you visit..like a free pint of beer, a tour or some other kind of doo-dad like a bumper sticker.
Find out more about it here.
The 2011 Class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has just been announced, and while I'm not super excited about the list, I'm not ticked off either.
Congrats to Tom Waits, Dr. John, Alice Cooper (the band, not the solo artist), Neil Diamond and Darlene Love. They will be inducted to the Rock Hall in March.
I could go off on a rant about the artists that haven't been included yet but are eligible (Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Moody Blues, Rush, Gram Parsons and Paul Revere and the Raiders), but I won't. At least not right now.
What I will do is tell you my favorite songs from each of the artists.
Tom Waits: The Piano Has Been DrinkingDr. John: Such A NightAlice Cooper: No More Mr. Nice GuyNeil Diamond: Cracklin' RosieDarlene Love: He's a Rebel (credited at the time to the Crystals)
If you're not that familiar with Darlene Love...she's also acted in some movies. She played Danny Glover's wife on all four Lethal Weapon movies. She also appears on Dave Letterman's show on the final episode before Christmas ever year to sing "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).
So why don't you sit back and enjoy a little holiday cheer from Ms. Darlene Love?
Looking for a great holiday gift for somebody who loves rock and roll? I've got a few ideas, and none of them will break the bank (except for the last one).
1. Keith Richards autobiography, Life. I started reading it right when it came out and took a break for a few weeks..but this thing is rock and roll memoir done right. Not only does Keith remember the sex and drugs and rock and roll..he weaves a good story.
With plenty of behind the scenes anecdotes and quite a bit of humor, you get a good idea of what it felt like to be a Rolling Stone. And if you're a guitar player, he gives a lot of instruction on how he got certain tones on his most famous songs. While we do learn a lot about his fascination with open tunings, thankfully he doesn't get TOO bogged down in technicalities.
2. Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival 2010 DVD or BluRay. Didn't make it to Chicago to see Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Jimmie Vaughan and the rest of the gang back in June?
You'll get the highlights here and won't have to pay $11 for a beer.Â While some cool stuff didn't make it into the video, there's lots to see here, including a rousing rendition ofÂ "Miss You" featuring Ron Wood, Buddy Guy and Jonny Lang. If you buy the DVD at Best Buy you get a bonus disc.
3. Robert Plant's Band of Joy CD. I had to give this album a plug following our charming conversation a few weeks ago. Still can't believe he flirted with me.
If you missed that conversation you can hear it here. And to answer your question, no I didn't give him my phone number. (I know, I know, I should have.)
4. LENNONYC This new documentary highlights John's life from 1971 until his tragic death in 1980, and his love affair with New York City.
It features new interviews and interesting perspective on John's "Lost Weekend," the period of time he left rock and roll to take care of his son, and his immigration fight with the U.S. government.
It premiered on PBS last week and is now available on DVD. I haven't seen it but Rob Thomas of 77 Square did. You can read his review here. 5. The entire Beatles catalog on iTunes. Assuming you don't already have it on vinyl or the remastered CD's that came out last year, iTunes has your digital hookup to the best music of all time. Not that I'm biased or anything.
I think the whole collection costs $149, but you can get individual songs for $1.29 each.
Every year on this date I get mad all over again. And then the sadness sets in.
Today is the 30th anniversary of the death of John Lennon, and this year I will not let the negative emotions win.
I won't dwell on circumstances, but instead will try to do something that's more in line with the message he tried to make clear in so many of his songs:
Say the word and you'll be free
Say the word and be like me
Say the word I'm thinking of
Have you heard the word is love?
-From the Beatles The Word
The former Dallas Cowboy known as "Dandy Don" Meredith died last night after suffering for many years from emphysema. He was 72.
Now I'm not a real sports nut, as you may know, so I know Meredith mostly for his iced tea commercials. But a quick search of the internet turned up some interesting facts. First of all, he was the original Dallas Cowboy..signing an agreement to play for them before the team even officially existed.
He had a relatively short football career..retiring at age 31 because he said he had lost the desire to play. (He never unretired either, Brett).
Meredith was an early announcer on Monday Night Football, but quit that in 1984. (Really, that long ago?)
He also tried his hand at acting and was a regular on the TV show Police Story. And he starred in a 1976 TV movieÂ Banjo Hackett: Roamin' Free. (Shockingly, it is available on Amazon.com).
Despite all of that, I'll always remember him for being a Lipton Tea Lover.
If you could go back in time to see any defunct band, what would it be? According to a new survey, Americans would most like to see the Beatles, followed by Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, and Mozart. (More about the survey here).
And while the Beatles would pretty much seem like a no-brainer, I agree with comedian Matt McCarthy who says he wouldn't want to see them because of all those annoying screaming girls. Like he says, he would have to yell "they quit touring because of YOU!" Add to that the fact that their concerts were only 20 minutes long and the Beatles couldn't hear whether they were sucking or not, because nobody had thought of stage monitors yet..and you have some pretty good reasons for staying away from Beatles concerts (at least after they made it big).
So who WOULD I like to see? I just happened to have this conversation with my boyfriend Mike the other day, who immediately answered "Hendrix." Yeah..I have to admit that would be pretty cool...although if I had seen him back in the day when he opened for the Monkees I probably would have been permanently scarred!
I think it would have been pretty cool to see Janis Joplin..because from what I can tell from video her performances were always electric. Otis Redding was a helluva performer too, who could hold audiences in the palm of his hand.
You know what? I think I'm going to bend the rules of this game a bit and just dial up "The Monterey Pop Festival" from 1967. Then I'd get to see Janis, Jimi, Otis...and the Who. And maybe I'd even get to meet Monkee Mickey Dolenz who was walking around stoned in an Indian headdress.
I have a few problems with holiday shopping. One is that I never really know what to get people and worry that they won't like what I do wind up choosing.
But that's not the problem I'd like to comment on today.Â A lot of times when browsing in a store or online I find something that I think is just perfect...for me. I'm not sure if this fits into that category though.
Headphones that also double as earmuffs! Now I'm not an iPod person, so I wouldn't be using these outside. I was thinking they might be good to use while I'm broadcasting on the air. Sometimes it gets very chilly in the Triple M studio! And think of how styling I would look at live remotes!
I did a little web search and found them for sale from various companies, in quite a few different knit designs. They range in price from $35.99 to $44.00. I know they look amazing...but do you think they will sound like crap?
What do you think, should I invest in some?
Dick Clark, host of American Bandstand and numerous other TV shows, turns 81 today. While I do remember Bandstand from Saturday mornings, I'm probably most familiar with Dick Clark from game shows like the "$10,000 Pyramid."
He's probably best known in recent years for "Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve," which still features his name but is now hosted by Ryan Seacrest, following Clark's stroke several years ago.
A quick check of the Internet Movie Database shows that Mr. Clark had a lot of other experience as well. He hosted "Dick Clark's Celebrity Bloopers," did a voice on the cartoon "The Angry Beavers" and played himself on several episodes of "Dharma & Greg." He was also the murderer on the very last episode of "Perry Mason," which is a pretty cool footnote to TV history.
But this might be my favorite cameo of all!
I can't believe Neil Young's Lincvolt is gone! Turns out a fire at a California warehouse was started by a fire in his Lincvolt electric car..the same car that I got to see just a few weeks ago at Farm Aid.
According to fire officials, flames began in his 1959 Lincoln Continental that runs on electric batteries and a bio-diesel powered generator, and then spread to a warehouse. The fire caused more than a million dollars damage to the warehouse and Neil's music equipment and memorabilia that was stored there. Neil said he was grateful to firefighters who managed to get a bunch of stuff out..including archival items that were threatened.
But what of the Lincvolt? That particular car may be gone, but Neil says they did retrieve the car's computer, so hopefully they'll be able to figure out what happened. And knowing Neil, he's probably got another '59 Lincoln Continental just waiting to be converted. Let's hope so!
In the meantime, check out the pics I took at Farm Aid. (And you can read more about the warehouse fire here.)
Today's big announcement that the Beatles are finally selling their songs on iTunes doesn't affect me personally. There are two reasons for that: I don't own an iPod, and I already own all the commercially released Beatles that I want (sometimes more than once).
I think this is probably exciting for folks who have been Beatles-curious, but don't own any Beatles albums. And that probably means they're a lot younger than me!
Now the Beatles have done songs in various genres, so they've got something for every one.
For the rocker:
Don't Bring Me Down
Back in the U.S.S.R.
Hard Days Night
For the acid tripping fans
Tomorrow Never Knows
I'm Only Sleeping
I Am The Walrus
Magical Mystery Tour
Across the Universe
For the country music fan:
Don't Pass Me By
For the show tunes/Tin Pan Alley fan:
When I'm 64
For the toddler fans (with download capability)
Maxwell's Silver Hammer
All Together Now
And everyone just download these, because George Harrison was awesome:
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Here Comes the Sun
For some reason when I was playing Joe Cocker's "You Can Leave Your Hat On" this morning, a scene from Days of Our Lives popped into my head.
I know the song was used in the movie 9 1/2 Weeks..and that was pretty steamy, but I really thought this scene was hot and heavy especially for 1992!
Thanks to Triple M listener and my Facebook friend Lyndsay for finding the clip for me on youtube.
Bo and Carly--HOT!
Happy Birthday to Neil Young..one of the most intriguing characters in rock and roll.
He's definitely a guy who has his own internal compass and goes whichever way he wants, and if you don't like it, he doesn't give a damn.
Some of my favorite things about Neil Young:
*In his 20's he drove a hearse.
*He liked to call himself a "rich hippie"
*When the Lionel Toy Train company was going through financial difficulties, he became an investor
*His dedication to farmers through Farm Aid
*He did a whole album of guitar feedback (Yes, my boyfriend Mike owns it, but I do not)
*The Linc-Volt...he's spending thousands and thousands of dollars to turn his old Lincoln Continental into an electric car (I got to see it at Farm Aid!)
*He can rock those mutton chops like no one else on Earth
Today's Veterans Day..so I add my name to the list of those saying "thanks." Veterans did what a lot of others were afraid to do, and stood up for their country. For far too many that's included putting themselvesÂ in harm's way, when others would not.
I think it's great that restaurants like Applebees and even Hooters (!) are giving vets free meals today..and while most of us don't have that opportunity, we all can reach out and say thanks. If that means giving grandpa a call..or writing a check to an organization like Disabled American Veterans or other vets organization, we can all do our part.
And I say thanks to my family members who have served, including my Grandpa Andy who served in World War I, my dad who served in World War II and my brother Tim who served in Vietnam. Thanks guys!
Here's a pic of my dad and his bomber crew from World War II. He served in England and actually flew two missions on D-Day. He's the guy in the front row on the far right.
On today's date in 1969, America's kids starting learning the fun way--the muppet way! That's the day that Sesame Street premiered on National Educational Television.
While I enjoyed the program..it didn't teach me a whole lot..because I could already read and count.
But it sure was entertaining. And even at my current advanced age, it still makes me smile. And I really enjoy it when celebrities make appearances on the show.
Check out this musical montage and keep an eye out for some of your faves. Caution: Fran Drescher does make an appearance.
I don't know how I let this piece of news slip through my grasp...but apparently we can look forward to Family Circus: The Movie at some point in the future.
No, I'm not making that up. Apparently there was a bidding war among studios for the rights to the Bil Keane "classic" comic, and Fox and Walden Media were the winners.
Family Circus is not a funny comic strip and as far as I can remember has never been funny. There are two basic concepts...Billy or Jeffy or Dolly does something wrong and when Mom or Dad asks "who did it?" it turns out it was an imaginary individual named "Not Me" or "Ida Know." Unless one of those characters is played by Michael Keaton in his Beetlejuice costume I just can't see it working on the big screen.
Of course the other Family Circus standby is one of the kids has to bring his parent something and then runs all around the house and outside and to the neighbors and to the liquor store and there's a dotted line showing the path. (Did I say liquor store?)
There are cartoons I would possibly like to see on the big screen...maybe Bizarro or The Far Side, but Family Circus? That I'll only watch if the script was written by Billy, because it's Father's Day and dad needs a break.
If you're a fan of Delbert McClinton, you've probably heard the story about Delbert teaching John Lennon how to play harmonica. When you heard it, didn't you picture Delbert how he looks now, teaching the young mop top a few licks? Imagine my surprise when I find out that Delbert's actually a few weeks YOUNGER than John Lennon! (Delbert's 70th is today, John's was Oct.9th).
(In case you haven't heard the story--Delbert was on tour in England with Bruce Channel...the guy who had the hit with Hey Baby! He played the harp on that song and taught the young Beatle a few tricks of the trade).
Delbert is one of my favorite songwriters..with a turn of the phrase that's right up there with a couple of my other heroes, John Prine and John Hiatt.
Here's Delbert on Austin City Limits back in 1982. This performance is available on DVD by the way. Check Amazon.com if you're interested.
A lot of people, including me,Â are disappointed in the way the election turned out last night. A lot of people are angry. How will we possibly get through this?
Like the hippies used to say...just keep on keepin' on.
This is certainly not the first time I've been disappointed in the outcome of an election, and it won't be the last.Â I grew up in a very political family. My dad was a big grass roots campaigner. We always had yard signs all over our front yard. My dad would even put a car top sign on the top of his van. I'm surprised he didn't also have a loudspeaker to play rabble rousing songs and implore people to vote for his current favorite..be it Mo Udall or Marty Schreiber or Ed Garvey.
My dad always picked the ones who rooted for the little guy. And his candidates almost always lost.
So I lived through the disappointment of the re-election of Richard Nixon and the trouncing of George McGovern. I used old Marty Schreiber stationery for scratch paper. I screamed and shouted when Ronald Reagan was elected president (and found out later my dad marched through downtown Stevens Point yelling "Reagan sucks" with a bunch of drunk college students). I nearly threw up when Newt Gingrich became speaker of the house.
In fact, I never voted for a winning president until Bill Clinton. And I wasn't too thrilled every time my candidate lost to Tommy Thompson.
But I got through it. Yes, there was eye rolling and indignation. But the world didn't stop spinning. And I think it will take more than a few hundred idiots in Washington (or the state capitol) to bring about the ruin of modern civilization. At least that's what my last two optimistic molecules are hoping.
"Shut up and rock!" That's what you'll hear from the crowd when rock stars start shooting off their mouths about politics. But they're not always going to do what we say, are they?
Whether they think they have an influence or not, some musicians are known for spouting their political beliefs. How well do you know your favorite star's political leanings?
Match the rock star to their political quote.Â Answers below...no peeking.
1. "You see, idealism detached from action is just a dream. But idealism allied with pragmatism, with rolling up your sleeves and making the world bend a bit, is very exciting. It's very real. It's very strong."
2.âBlind faith in your leaders, or in anything, will get you killed.â
3.âWhen the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.â
4. "I fear that our true motivation is about oil and our own flailing economy; about the failure to destroy Al Qaeda and about revenge."
5. "We're not a political band. We don't want to tell people what to do or what to think. We just want to tell them to think."
1. Bono 2. Bruce Springsteen 3. Jimi Hendrix 4. Dave Matthews 5. Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day)
I'd like to take you back to a time, long before Madison officials decided to fence off State Street for Halloween, and long before riots and vandalism caused such an uproar.
The drinking age was 18, and the bars and streets were filled with ghouls and creatures of all shapes and sizes.
Check out this cool video...actually Super 8 film...that a guy named Joel Fletcher made back in 1979 on State Street.
Click the link to watch.
HALLOWEEN STATE STREET 1979 from Joel Fletcher on Vimeo.
The Charlie Brown Halloween special is on tonight--and I watch it almost every year to get me into the spirit of the holiday.
With all this talk about childhood bullying, don't you think it'sÂ time they re-edit it so Charlie Brown gets something other than a rock?
I remember trick or treating as a kid...and envy those kids whose parents actually plan a costume for their children ahead of time. Most years we just threw something together last minute, like "bum," which just demanded raggedy clothes (no shortage of them around our house) and burnt up cork to make a dirty face or 5:00 shadow. Sometimes I went as a hippy, and that wasn't very demanding either.
I do remember the year that I was fascinated with bats, and my mom sewed me a costume. She sewed black wings onto a red shirt, and crocheted a black hat and sewed little bat ears into it. Why the red shirt? She was afraid I would get hit by a car if I were dressed all in black.
Safety? Who wants to be safe on Halloween? My mother was really into safety and was also not a fan of plastic masks because she wanted me to be able to see where I was going. What? That's craziness!
And yes, I wore a winter coat on the outside of my costume more years than not.
I guess I should quit the bitching. Because we all know Halloween really is just all about the candy.
Most people who buy pumpkins use them for jack o' lanterns.Â A few reject the canned variety and make pumpkin pies from scratch.
But I'm here to present a few other ideas for those orange gourds.
You could use a pumpkin for housing, even though they don't generally have much square footage.Â Now I must make a disclaimer that I don't endorse what Peter Peter did, because I'm not sure his wife enjoyed being put and kept in a pumpkin shell. But if some one voluntarily lives in a pumpkin, that's their own business.
You could use a pumpkin for a boat. Every year UW-Madison students brave the chilly waters of Lake Mendota in the annual Pumpkin Regatta. This year's event was a couple weeks ago..so you'll have to make plans to attend next year if you'd like to see it in person.
Or you could just do what these folks did. Just don't use your own car.
It's getting scary out there...and I'm not just talking about all those campaign ads. Halloween is almost here, and in that spirit, I present to you the 5 scariest music videos of all time.#1) Tubular Bellsby Mike Oldfield. Scary because it was used in The Exorcist, but I think even if I'd never seen the movie this song would give me the heebie jeebies. Heck it even adds an eerie tone to a black and white video of people skiing.
#2) Bloodletting-The Vampire Song by Concrete Blonde. The whole Bloodletting album has a creepy tone, but this one will definitely make you long for kinder gentler vampires like Count Chocula.
#3) I Want to Eat Your Hand by the Zombeatles. More melodic than the hugely popular "Hard Days Night of the Living Dead," this song is still pretty darn creepy. Who wants to eat a human hand? That's just psychotic, if you ask me.
#4)I Put A Spell On You by Screamin' Jay Hawkins. You've heard this song covered by lots of folks, but this version is the original. And by far the creepiest.
#5)That's Rock N Roll by Shaun Cassidy. Okay, it's not Justin Bieber scary. But it's pretty darn scary. Watch only if you dare.
So what are the hot costumes for Halloween? I'm sure that kids are all going as some character from Toy Story 3, or Dora the Explorer. But when it comes to adult costumes, it's a little trickier.
I came across a list of the top costumes, and quite of them are pop culture inspired. There's the Jet Blue flight attendant (the guy who grabbed two beers and made his escape on the inflatable slide). Wear a snappy jacket with a nametag and carry around a couple beers.
If you want to go the bimbo route, you could be Snooki or the Situation from The Jersey Shore. (Yawn). Or Lady Gaga with a dress made out of meat (beware of flies).
I can't believe I didn't see any of the Tea Party candidates on the list, but I think Ms. Christine "I am not a witch" O'Donnell (R-Delaware) could be an amusing costume. All you need is a wig and a pocket constitution.
I did go for a political themed costume once back in the 80s...I was Gary Hart's mistress Donna Rice. I came up with that idea when I saw my dad had a Gary Hart for President T-shirt....and with a little blonde spray hair coloring...I was good to go.Â And that's my friend Kelly..who was a pretty hot fairy godmother if you ask me.
I decided last night which team I'd like to win the World Series. I knew I didn't want the Yankees to win, because...well, they're the Yankee$$. The Texas Rangers? They used to be owned by George W. Bush. I know--they've never won a World Series, but I'm still bitter about the first eight years of this century.
So it was down to the Phillies and San Francisco. Last night I realized that the Phillies were in the series last year...because I recognized some of the players..in particular Chase Utley. I think Chase Utley is a very cool, very baseball name. They just had their chance last year, so I'm not rooting for them.
I decided I'm cheering for the San Francisco Giants after seeing who they brought out to sing the National Anthem-- the Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh and Bob Weir (along with Jeff Perhson who's in the band Further with Weir and Lesh). Their arrangement was excellent, and they nailed the harmonies. It was very cool to see those two old hippies in Giants jerseys.
I couldn't find video of last night's anthem online...but I did find this one from Jerry Garcia Night at Giants Stadium in August (where you could get a Jerry Garcia bobblehead!) They had a Jerry Garcia night--with bobbleheads? Now I think they're even cooler.
Happy Birthday to Steve Cropper. The guy that was session man extraordinaire, played lead and rhythm guitars for Booker T. and the MG's, and backed up the Blues Brothers, turns 69 today.
As a Madisonian, I feel close to Steve Cropper, because according to legend, one of his guitars is on the bottom of Lake Monona. I remember hearing somewhere that the guitar was in Otis Redding's plane when it crashed in December, 1968. Cropper co-wrote the song "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" with Otis, which became the soul singer's biggest hit after he died.
If you're interested in music history or guitar playing, check out this interview with the man himself.
The artist more commonly known as Tom Petty turns 60 today.Â He says he wanted to be in a rock and roll band ever since he saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. Who knew he'd actually get to be in a band with George Harrison? Of course I'm speaking of the Traveling Wilburys. A great band--even if they didn't have a single Top 40 hit. (Nope...not even Handle with Care).
Earlier this year, Tom Petty came out with a fantastic heavy-on-the-guitars album called Mojo. Even though the musical styles were all over the place--I loved it. (There was even a reggae-tinged song!)
Here's a great song from the album. Feel free to dance. (Unless you're my friend Melvin, who hates Tom Petty..but I'll save that story for another day.)
Now I know Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is a much beloved food. I've probably eaten more than my share during my life, and most recently have become a fan of the Easy Mac, which prevents me from eating an entire box full of the cheesy good stuff in one sitting.
That's why I'm a bit afraid of a new product I saw at the grocery store yesterday. It's Kraft Macaroni and Cheese For The Grill. Apparently the idea for it did not come from the Kraft kitchens, but from an ad agency...and it's being tested in a very limited release right now.
It comes in an aluminum tray and looks like it could provide real hearty portions, and a guy from the ad agency says grilling adds a nice "smoky flavor." I don't know if it would ever replace burgers and brats, but it might be an easy way to please finicky kids without turning on the stove or microwave. (And we all know how difficult that can be).
I am concerned that this is the start of a disturbing trend. What's next--Spaghettios For the Grill? Or how about Swedish Meatballs for the Grill? Or, providing equal time for the Norwegians..Lutefisk for the Grill?