Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Moving On...

Yesterday was a very hard day for me. I spent most of it oblivious to the world, wrapped up in anger, fear, sorrow, numbness, and guilt. My wife mentioned it briefly on her blog, and this is the one time I'll make public mention of it. My wife was raped 4 times over the past two months. On Monday she finally opened up and confided in a counselor and the police and me about it. I'm proud that she is now finding the power in herself to not be a victim, and she will always have me there as her safe place. Many thanks for everyone who are praying for her and us, and also thanks for those who have called and emailed their support.

We don't yet know the real identity of the rapist, but the police will soon if they don't already. There is some doubt if this rapist will end up behind bars, because of the way rape laws are today. However we are working with the local PD to do all we can do to stop him from hurting us or others, ultimately hoping that this scumbag is locked away.

For now we are working through things, finding the help my wife and I need, and informing others.


Monday, August 29, 2005

Please Note

Posting will be sporadic from me at best for at least the next few days as my wife and I deal with some pretty scary and intense stuff. If you do pray, please keep us in your prayers for peace, courage, and healing.

As for the contest, the results will have to be delayed for at least a few days, until I'm ready to dive back into the blogging wade pool and some semblance of normalcy.



Random Music Archive: "Graceland" by Paul Simon

Continuing my month-long look at the 80s music in my musical collection...

Track Listing:

1. The Boy In The Bubble
2. Graceland
3. I Know What I Know
4. Gumboots
5. Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes
6. You Can Call Me Al
7. Under African Skies
8. Homeless
9. Crazy Love Vol. II
10. That Was Your Mother
11. All Around The World Or The Myth Of Fingerprints

I was raised on my parent's record collection, which included classical music, Peter, Paul & Mary, The Beatles, Ravi Shankar, Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers, and Simon & Garfunkel. I really enjoyed Simon & Garfunkel, and when I was in my teen "No one Understands Me" phase, I latched on to songs like "I Am A Rock" and "America". I picked up the cassette of this album shortly after the "You Can Call Me Al" video made the regular rounds on MTV. This CD actually comes from my wife's collection that I married into. It's one of her better musical additions to our marriage.

I really dig this album. While I don't think this is Simon's best songwriting, it's certainly high up there. I could listen over and over to the lyrics of Graceland and the mood that song evokes of searching still for the wonder of America, this time through the eyes of a man who's loved and lost. While this isn't really by definition a "concept album" I love how the first two songs evoke a Southern Americana feel and gradually moves to the African beats, and then back to Americana (and even Cajun). It reminds of Langston Hughes' "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" in which the poet connects the rivers of Africa and its people's history to the great American river, the Mississippi and the people's continuing history.

Paul Simon surrounded himself with some amazing artists from Africa and America. Unbeknownst to me until just recently, the last track features session work by one of my favorite bands, Los Lobos. In addition, Simon collaborates with the South African group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Yousou N'dour, the Everly Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, and others.

For many folks, like myself, this was the first exposure to African music. Another component of this album is that in 1986, South Africa still was under apartheid. By 1986, there had been some pressure by many countries to try to force South Africa to end Apartheid. I think Paul Simon's concerts in South Africa, and Americans hearing the music from Africa did a lot to get people to start thinking that something had to be done. Apartheid started to unravel in the early 90s with Mandela's release from prison in February 1990. By 1994 South Africa held it's first democratic elections, with all races now able to vote. Artists like Ladysmith Black Mambazo were instrumental in the struggle against apartheid.

As a teen in the 80's I was periphally aware of the struggle, but at that age my focus was more on the freedom and power of the music itself. As an adult, I totally appreciate this fine album on many different levels now.

By the way, I also think the video for "You Can Call Me Al" also marked the last time Chevy Chase was really, really funny as well.


Friday, August 26, 2005

Everybody Was Music Meme-ing!

I got Memed! I'm always a sucker for a music meme. Here's the rules:

A. Go to

B. Enter the year you graduated from high school in the search function.

C. Bold for the songs you like, strike through the ones you hate and underline your favorite. Do nothing to the ones you don't remember (or don't care about).

I graduated in 1989.

Top 100 Hits of 1989 / Top 100 Songs of 1989

1. Look Away, Chicago
2. My Prerogative, Bobby Brown
3. Every Rose Has Its Thorn, Poison
4. Straight Up, Paula Abdul
5. Miss You Much, Janet Jackson
6. Cold Hearted, Paula Abdul
7. Wind Beneath My Wings, Bette Midler
8. Girl You Know Its True, Milli Vanilli
9. Baby, I Love Your Way/Freebird, Will To Power
10. Giving You The Best That I Got, Anita Baker
11. Right Here Waiting, Richard Marx
12. Waiting For A Star To Fall, Boy Meets Girl
13. Lost In Your Eyes, Debbie Gibson
14. Don't Wanna Lose You, Gloria Estefan
15. Heavan, Warrant
16. Girl I'm Gonna Miss You, Milli Vanilli
17. The Look, Roxette
18. She Drives Me Crazy, Fine Young Cannibals
19. On Our Own, Bobby Brown
20. Two Hearts, Phil Collins
21. Blame It On The Rain, Milli Vanilli
22. Listen To Your Heart, Roxette
23. I'll Be There For You, Bon Jovi
24. If You Don't Know Me By Now, Simply Red
25. Like A Prayer, Madonna
26. I'll Be Loving You (Forever), New Kids On The Block
27. How Can I Fall?, Breathe
28. Baby Don't Forget My Number, Milli Vanilli
29. Toy Solider, Martika
30. Forever Your Girl, Paula Abdul
31. The Living Years, Mike and the Mechanics
32. Eternal Flame, The Bangles
33. Wild Thing, Tone Loc
34. When I See You Smile, Bad English
35. If I Could Turn Back Time, Cher
36. Buffalo Stance, Neneh Cherry
37. When I'm With You, Sheriff
38. Don't Rush Me, Taylor Dayne
39. Born To Be My Baby, Bon Jovi
40. Good Thing, Fine Young Cannibals
41. The Lover In Me, Sheena Easton
42. Bust A Move, Young M.C.
43. Once Bitten, Twice Shy, Great White
44. Batdance, Prince
45. Rock On, Michael Damian
46. Real Lov, Jody Watley
47. Love Shack, B-52's
48. Every Little Step, Bobby Brown
49. Hangin' Tough, New Kids On The Block
50. My Heart Can't Tell You No, Rod Stewart
51. So Alive, Love and Rockets
52. You Got It (The Right Stuff), New Kids On The Block
53. Armageddon It, Def Leppard
54. Satisfied, Richard Marx
55. Express Yourself, Madonna
56. I Like It, Dino
57. Soldier Of Love, Donny Osmond
58. Sowing The Seeds Of Love, Tears For Fears
59. Cherish, Madonna
60. When The Children Cry, White Lion
61. 18 And Life, Skid Row
62. I Don't Want Your Love, Duran Duran
63. Second Chances, .38 Special
64. The Way You Love Me, Karyn White
65. Funky Cold Medina, Tone Loc
66. In Your Room, Bangles
67. Miss You Like Crazy, Natalie Cole
68. Love Song, Cure
69. Secret Rendesvous, Karyn White
70. Angel Eyes, Jeff Healey Band
71. Patience, Guns N' Roses
72. Walk On Water, Eddie Money
73. Cover Girl, New Kids On The Block
74. Welcom To The Jungle, Guns N' Roses
75. Shower Me With Your Love, Surface
76. Stand, R.E.M.
77. Close My Eyes Forever, Lita Ford
78. All This Time, Tiffany
79. After All, Cher and Peter Cetera
80. Roni, Bobby Brown
81. Love In An Elevator, Aerosmith
82. Lay Your Hands On Me, Bon Jovi
83. This Promise, When In Rome
84. What I Am, Edie Brickell and The New Bohemians
85. I Remember Holding You, Boys Club
86. Paradise City, Guns N' Roses
87. Iwanna Have Some Fun, Samantha Fox
88. She Wants To Dance With Me, Rick Astley
89. Dreamin', Vanessa Williams
90. It's No Crime, Babyface
91. Poison, Alice Cooper
92. This Time I Know It's For Real, Donna Summer
93. Smooth Criminal, Michael Jackson
94. Heavan Help Me, Deon Estus
95. Rock Wit'cha, Bobby Brown
96. Thinking Of You, Sa-fire
97. What You Don't Know, Expose
98. Surrender To Me, Ann Wilson and Robin Zander
99. The End Of The Innocence, Don Henley
100. Keep On Movin', Soul II Soul


Lefty's Weekend Three Questions

I'm working like a busy bee, so I'll try to rush out this week's 3 questions. As always, my answers are in the comments area where you are free to leave you own answers as well.

1.) I think I asked this last year about this time: What new TV show are you most looking forward to? What returning show are you most looking forward to?

2.) The end of September the cancelled TV series, Firefly, rises again with the movie Serenity, and hopefully to some success. What other canned-before-its-time TV could also make a kick-ass movie?

3.) Other than the 'naughty bits', what place on your body do you like to be touched or kissed?


Random Music Archive: "Appetite For Destruction" by Guns N Roses

Next in the month-long 80s way-back machine is....

Track Listing:

1. Welcome To The Jungle
2. It's So Easy
3. Nightrain
4. Out Ta Get Me
5. Mr. Brownstone
6. Paradise City
7. My Michelle
8. Think About You
9. Sweet Child O'Mine
10. You're Crazy
11. Anything Goes
12. Rocket Queen

For some reason I want to add the word "fuck" to each of the song titles, but then again it IS Guns and Fuckin' Roses. I'm not a huge heavy metal rocker by ANY means, but I flat out love this album. Every. Single. Song. This album is a classic by any definition of the term. Yeah there's a lot of swearing, so much that I'm hear listening to it at work before anyone else is here. Yeah, Axel Rose's voice is not the easiest on the ears. But man, Slash and Izzy Stradlin carve this album up into some momentous riffs.

Like I said, I love every song on this album. The weakest song that I still like is Anything Goes, and that's track 11. My favorite song is probably Sweet Child O'Mine, because of that legendary guitar intro that is forever burned into my head. It reminds me a little of the twin guitars during the Allman Brothers' Jessica only it's dripped in sex and booze of the Sunset Strip. It's hard-wired in my noggin and no amount of sugary pop songs, hip-hop, disco, or Robbie Williams will dislodge it. And I thank God for that every day.

I've never seen Guns and Roses live in concert, and I never will. The tragedy of Guns and Roses is that Axl is so messed up he'll never get his act together. I never pegged himself as the creative one in the band, so he'll always be just crazy and never Brian Wilson crazy. At least with Wilson we still get acts of utter genius, with Axl we just keep a long-promised crappy album (Chinese Rock) made with none of the band members that made all the other albums so magical.

This album drew a line in the sand in the Heavy Metal genre. It declared that if you're gonna be a hair band, you better know how to use your fuckin instruments, because the big hair and the pyrotechnics will only cover up so much. Hell yeah, we're talking to you Winger and Cinderella. Watch out Poison, Guns N Roses are kicking down you're door! It was a declaration of war, and sadly they won the battle but lost the war when the band scattered in the 90s. Usually when a band does something THIS good to change the face of rock (as we know it), a member is usually killed...but Axl so far has kept the Boneyman at bay. Maybe Pat Robertson should have God intervene or something.

Fuck Pat Robertson. Fuck Axl Rose. Fuckin' Guns and Roses.


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Lefty's Weekly Top Ten

Shoot I'm tired. Remember this? Well about 1/2 of that is now moved back into the room I cleared out. This time it's better organized with shelf access to some of the science and business journals. Still, I got a lot more work ahead of me, and sadly it won't be finished before school starts. So, with another work day finished, and while I wait for my wife to pick me up, it's a good time to post this week's Top Ten:

1.) Rockstar: INXS (CBS) Ok, I'm now really hooked on this show. I watch the previous night's episode the next morning before work, and the week always feels long between the Wednesday's episode and Monday morning when I watch the VH1 portion. I'm now pulling for Ty, Marty and MiG.

2.) 40 Year Old Virgin Funniest movie I've seen in some time. It's about 10x as funny as Wedding Crashers, and it's still a movie with heart. If my wife is feeling better next weekend, I'm going to drag her to this. I gotta see this again. I was laughing so hard I had tears rolling down, and had to catch my breath. Genius!

3.) "Lord Foul's Bane" by Stephen R. Donaldson Just finish the first book in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever. It has been some time since I read this series (two trilogies) and with a new series starting up I'll be reading this for the next month.

4.) Days of Vengeance #5 (DC) Again out of all the Infinite Crisis miniseries that have come out this is my favorite. Why? Great character writing, sharp art, futile causes, and talking chimpanzees. I never would have guessed that this would this mini would have been so good.

5.) Big Brother (CBS) Ah, just a few more week and this will be over with. I've been enjoying spending time with my wife watching this, but I really don't have any favorites in the house, and it's pretty sad if Howie ends up being the only one you have any glimmer of hope to win it. This is what happens when there's just nothing good to watch on TV.

6.) Entourage (HBO) Thank God for Comcast Video-On-Demand, because I never know when this show is on, and with VOD I usually spend a Sunday afternoon catching up on any episode I may have missed. It's one of the quickest 1/2 hours on television.

7.) Robbie Williams I am now one CD away from owning all of Robbie Williams albums. Well actually I have one CD that 'should' be in the mail now from England, and I just won the last one I needed off of the U.K.'s Ebay. Now if I can just get a decent shipping rate out of this seller (he honestly wants me to spend more than $10 to ship the CD to me, no freakin' way), I soon can enjoy a full-on 'man crush' on good 'ole Robbie. I'd like to thank Dorian for turning me on to decent English pop music.

8.) The Daily Show (Comedy Central) Always entertaining, although I find myself bypassing some of the movie star interviews and digging the journalist and author interviews. Oh, and I hate the new set. Hate it!

9.) Tom Petty & The Black Crowes This Saturday I'm going to see both bands for the first time at the always-beautiful Greek Theatre in Berkeley, CA. In the meantime I've been listening to different live shows I have of both bands when I have time.

10.) Rainbow 6: Black Arrow (Xbox) I'm still playing this, but this time I'm dangerous because I just don't care about stats, clans, and what type of weapons I use. It's always fun to take someone out using a 92-FS...usually my wife. She's easy to kill...most of the time.


Lefty Left-Overs: The Battle Is Joined

On August 3rd I started a contest to win a Darth Tater and a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card. For information on the contest go here.

I have no received everyone's CDRs, and we have 6 people vying for the prize. So far I have glanced and listened to snippets of the various Mix CDs. This weekend I'll have more time to give each CD a good listening to. Next week, I'll start reviewing them for the blog, and on Friday September 2nd I'll announce the winner! At the same time I'll offer up copies of the winning Mix for anybody who wants a copy.

Let me say a few words on how my score card works. For each submission I'm looking for a few things:

1.) Does the mix stick pretty much to the guidelines I issued?

2.) Is the mix compelling? Does it flow? Are there any songs that just kill the vibe?

3.) Did I love listening to it? Is the Mix something I'm going to listen to repeatedly? Will listening to it, make me want to go out and purchase music by the artists on the Mix?

4.) Is the Mix creative? Is there some interesting things going on other than meeting the guidelines?

5.) Is the Mix presented well?

That's mostly what I'll be looking at. So good luck to all contestants!


Random Music Archive: "Chase The Kangaroo" by The Choir

Gonna get some religion with today's 80's flashback...

Track Listing:

1. Consider
2. Children of Time
3. Clouds
4. Sad Face
5. Cain
6. The Rifleman
7. Look Out (For Your Own)
8. Everybody In The Band
9. So Far Away
10. Chase The Kangaroo

(The additional tracks are from their 1986 album "Shades of Pain")

11. Fade Into You
12. 15 Doors
13. More Than Words
14. Tears Don't Fall
15. All Night Long

I first heard of the The Choir when my group leader of a local church college group mentioned that he had gone to a Russ Taff concert and these bunch of hippies opened for them. I then decided I must hear more about these 'hippies'.

The first CD I picked up by The Choir was the one they made right after "Chase The Kangaroo", called "Wide Eyed Wonder". Without a doubt The Choir is the one Christian band I most closely connected with in my Christian formative years. That's a very good thing, because a large section of Christian music is a poor imitation of the secular pop music market with a bunch of 'Jesus' and 'Hallelujahs' thrown in for good measure. The Choir is one of the handfuls of bands that blend their own Christian walk into their daily lives, so often you'll have a song that is a lamentation on missing their loved ones while on tour and you find the mystery of God sprinkled in.

"Chase the Kangaroo" is probably their best album, although I would argue their 90s album "Circle Slide" comes a very close second. The Choir sound a little like The Church and also The Steeple....just kidding about The Steeple line, I had you there didn't I? Seriously, they are very much shades the English New Wave scene. Before most of them headed out to Nashville, they lived in SoCal, so I had lots of chances to see them live in concert in various dives in the Bay Area. Each show I was also impressed with them. The Choir lyrics are really incredible, with just the right amount of mystery in them to make me and my circle of friends chat for long evenings about them. Their music is pretty ethereal. They have just enough guitar and bass to give their songs body. The drums drive the songs forward, but the secret ingredient is Dan Michael's sax and lyricon which frames the moodiness of the band.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Random Music Archive: "In My Tribe" by 10,000 Maniacs

Next on the month-long 80s flashback:

Track Listing:

1. What's The Matter Here?
2. Hey Jack Kerouac
3. Like The Weather
4. Cherry Tree
5. The Painted Desert
6. Don't Talk
7. Gun Shy
8. My Sister Rose
9. A Campfire Song
10. City of Angels
11. Verdi Cries

This was my first CD I ever picked up. Well, not exactly. My first CD I ever picked, back when the technology was new and the CD came packed in a paper 'long box', I picked up the original version of this CD. The original version had Cat Steven's "Peace Train" on it, but they removed it after some controversy arose from good ol' Cat. I loved their cover, so when my copy got scratched up I was pissed that my replacement copy didn't have that track on it. It's since reappeared on the 10,000 Maniacs 'Best Of', "Campfire Songs".

I purchased "In My Tribe" even before I had a CD player. After picking up the CD I went down to my local Kmart and put a CD boombox on layaway, and for a three months I used what little money I earned working part time at a Long John Silvers to buy that thing so I could enjoy the CD I couldn't play.

This album is very good, and features another one of those Michael Stipe guest-vocals that crept up on a few albums during the 80s. Mike pops up in City of Angels which is perhaps one of my favorite tunes on the album. Natalie Merchant has one of those voices that folks either love or hate. She joins the good company of Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Neil Young, and other voices that I happen to dig, well except for Tom Waits who I still haven't "gotten it" yet. There's other members of 10,000 Maniacs but try naming them off the top of your head and without the use of the 'all-powerful' internet. See that right there is reason number one why the members of 10,000 Maniacs must have lived in fear & trepidation that one day their most recognizable member of their group might become an Army of One...umm musically speaking of course (the image of Merchant packing a M4 is too creepy).

A few years after the release of this CD (right after their sophomore album Blind Man's Zoo came out) I caught 10,000 Maniacs in concert in Berkeley, CA. Camper Van Beethoven opened for them. I went to the show with a friend Kelly Clark (for another Kelly Clark story read my other Random Music review here). In High School I had a crush on Kelly, but by the time we went to the concert that window had passed, and we had a swell time at a really cool concert. I love seeing shows at the Berkeley Greek, and I'll be heading there this Saturday for a Tom Petty & Black Crowes show.


Lefty Has Strange Thoughts

- As I was bagging my complete collection of D.P.7 (yeah that's right), does Marvel count Kickers, Inc. as part of their 4,000+ intellectual properties? Hmmm, maybe they SHOULD follow Tony Caputo's advice and liscense some of those properties.

- You know sometimes I get bord of playing Xbox, does that mean I should read Manga or Blankets to redeem myself. Oh wait, I should play SNES right?

- A Comic con friend of mine (meaning I always say hey when I see him at cons), Chris Moreno (who needs to update his site), has a new book from Alias out today:

It's Monkey In A Wagon Vs Lemur On A Big Wheel #1, by Ken Lillie-Paetz & Chris Moreno

Lemurs are the new Zombie. Get them on a big wheel they do circles around pirates. I saw art from this at SDCC and this looks like a whole lot of fun, and looks sweet!


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Want Do You Want A Medal?

Yeah I changed the blog appearance. I didn't like that it was so hard to read my posts and links in my previous incarnation. I tweaked some of the coding, but I still don't know what I need to change to make my links under "archive" to look similiar to the rest of my sidebar.

I also added new blogs to my sidebar. There's the ones that are temporarily have a "***" next to them.


Chris Brown Addendum

I mentioned a while back that I've been getting a lot of hits of folks looking for info and lyrics of an up-and-comer R&B/Hip Hop artist who shares my name, Chris Brown. Well he has a fan site, and someone over there posted on my blog. So if anyone trying to find out all about him, go to and enjoy. Tell them Chris "Lefty" Brown sent ya...and thanks for the hits. It tickled my inner stat-whore. I checked out the site, and while I don't like the treatment of girls as cheesecake material, it's a pretty cool site.


Blogaround Challenge..Completed!

Last week, Tegan at Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog issued a challenge to go hit up the Comics Weblog Update-A-Tron 3000 and visit at least ten comic bloggers and comment on their site. Well, here's mine:

- The Successless Comics Blog has just started a big project reading the complete Cerebus. Good luck to you! In spite of the well-deserved lumps Dave Sims takes, Cerebus is still a great series, at least in the telephone books that I have. My collection peters out around Melmoth, but reading Dylan Abbot's reviews I might just have to pick up the others. We'll start an Oprah Reading club, which if Sim was dead he'd probably roll around in his grave. Anyway, this blog is co-written by selene-bot, thus adding some ying to Abbot's that just sounds bad don't it? It's a good site, and I'll be adding it to my blogroll.

- The Comic Asylum is another blog that I'll also be adding to my ever-growing blogroll. Run by James Meeley, Comic Asylum has some well written posts, and I'm also impressed with guys who know about artists and writers of by-gone era. I liked his post on Annuals, and agree I would love to see a return of the self-contained, meaningful annual. My favorite annual is the Amazing Spiderman Wedding Issue.

- Clandestine Critic by David Norman is another good blog, that I'll also be adding soon to my blogroll. It looks like he does a lot of work on his posts which consist mostly of reviews of comics, films, linkblogging, and comic solicitations. I'll have to do some more reading of his archives to see what else he writes about, but a real nice site. I like how his comic reviews give a little bit of the plot and flavor of the issue in addition to his critique of it.

- Universomarvel is in Spanish. I can't read Spanish. I really do need to learn Spanish, not just to read this group blog, but also I live in Fresno where Hispanics ARE the majority, and really it's is a very nice language. Sadly, until I learn the language I doubt I'll be adding this to my blogroll. Still, the site has some very nice pics.

- The Crossgen Creator Watch is an interesting idea, but sadly doesn't appear to offer any of it's own commentary. Instead it links to other news sites and releases. It won't make my blogroll.

- Over at The Pickytarian Jdonelson proves himself blog-worthy (apologies to Seinfield). He does reviews of books, some commentary, and links to over comics news. Quick read, but good and to the point. Color me impressed.

- A. David Lewis deserves congratulations. He just got engaged, AND he posts at a very nice blog, Loose Pages. I enjoyed reading through his blog, and I like his 'voice' in his posts. Dug his thoughts on Superhero movies. Definitely adding him to the blogroll.

- Evan Cantrell runs the blog Chipped Ham Productions which appears to be a blog that links to solicitations, some news, and what's shipping (but only includes that which he is picking up). I like that he adds some personal insights to the solits, but wish I had some reviews or more commentary. Still he mentioned in a recent post that he wants our comments on how to improve his site and/or what we like or dislike. For now I'm blogrolling him, and hoping he adds some more of his thoughts into the site.

- I initially thought that Roscoe's Comics was going to be a blog for a comic book shop. Instead it has commentary that is thematically related to the days of the week. I saw Manga Monday (now I can't stop mentally rewriting the Bangles' "Manic Monday" in my head), Warren (Ellis) Wednesday, Toothy Tuesday, Frightening Friday, and Samurai Sunday. It's an interesting subject. I don't like the design of the blog that much. Also, I wanted more commentary or a review of the subject matter, instead I read a little dry reposting of what's going on. I'm passing on adding this one.

- Popp'd is definitely finding a home on my blogroll. Marc-Oliver Frisch has a well-rounded blog with plenty of commentary about comics, other blogs, and the industry. Plenty to read here, and I'll definitely be reading this quite a bit.

Well, look for the additions to my blogroll later on today. This was a fun experiment.


Monday, August 22, 2005

What If?...Image Happened In Today's Market.

I'm not exactly sure if there's a point to be found in here, but it's a jumble of thoughts I've been thinking about:

Last week, Tom Maclean on his blog, Bags and Boards reflected on the success of All-Star Batman & Robin, but what really gets my mind reeling is when he begins to write about the graphic novel business. He cites a recent article in Newsweek which says:

"In the United States, sales of graphic novels have leaped from $75 million in 2001 to $207 million in 2004. Booksellers in America, Britain, Germany, Italy and South Korea cite graphic literature as one of their fastest-growing categories. In Borders, one of America's largest bookstore chains, graphic-novel sales have risen more than 100 percent a year for the past three years."

That's amazing news, but Tom puts a spin on the tale that started my synapses a' firin':

So despite the tremendous growth of the medium, the direct market remains a very hard sell for anything that's not a traditional Marvel or DC superhero franchise. It's not too difficult to imagine a day when the top talent in comics goes to the stability and receptiveness of the bookstore market, bypassing the traditional specialty market and its reliance on decades-old heroes and leaving it in the aging hands of fanboys who remember buying comics off the drugstore spinner rack. The direct market deserves to enjoy its recent successes, but the success of graphic novels in bookstores is starting to make some of the seams in the specialty business model show.

The difference is like night and day in a lot of bookstores and comic book shops. I know I'm generalizing here, because I have been in a few great comic shops that carry a great many non-superhero graphic novels, but most comic book shops carry and display the superhero graphic novels prominently while most bookstores show off the Manga and the non-superhero graphic novels. Again, there are exceptions to the rule. A colleague of mine who isn't all too familiar with comic book genre was impressed that when she sought out Persepolis, the local Borders has it sitting in the History section of the bookstore, far from the Japanese teenage girls of Manga and the Busty superheroes of yore.

Years ago superhero comics were character-driven, but now it seems that while Spider-man will always keep webbing and Superman leaping tall buildings, the market has become writer and artist driven. The name Bendis will sell a comic, as well as Millar, Miller, and Lee. Granted, many of these artists are pleased to be feeding from the trough of the "Big Two", but if the bookstore market continues to grow, could we really see another exodus of professionals from "traditional" superheroes and into these other genres? Imagine if Bendis decided that he'd rather write OGNs (Original Graphic Novels) that are a better fit for his writing style. He then decides that he'll be the one to fill that gap between superhero comics and the graphic novel, marketing a superhero book that comic book shops will stock up on and that the bookstore will display. Or what would happen if Greg Land decided he would rather draw an adult-oriented book that has more to do with sex & relationships than saving the universe from the Dark Phoenix?

I think part of the reason many haven't jumped is risk. While working in the spandex trade, the risk is on the publisher to churn out the product and if a professional goes solo then the risk is all theirs. I don't know enough about small publishers to say how much risk the professional must take if they decide to go with a small press. Also if a professional decided to go with a small publisher how much dollar share would they still be entitled to after the publisher extracts its pound of flesh? Then there's the question of back orders, will the graphic novel go out of print, who retains rights to the work (ex. can a writer then take his work to another publisher?), and who much say an artist has in trade dress, marketing, and what-not.

Does someone out in the comic blogosphere has a number on the publishers, that aren't Marvel or DC or Tokyopop, but ship their product to both the direct market (comic book shops) and bookstores? I suspect the number has grown in the past few years. It seems that for every publisher that goes under three more takes its place. If the number of publishers are growing, I suspect the the genres of graphic novels are going as well. AiT/PlanetLar offers a wealth of different genres of books, as does Oni Press. They and others also offer books that target different age groups as well. I don't think that it many of the popular artists and writers in the "Big Two" left for other pastures it would kill the direct market. The superhero characters will be around as long as kids keep reading them (who in turn may turn into adults who keep reading them), and new artists & writers will crop up. I do think it'll shake up and change the direct market a bit, maybe even forcing it to grow a bit as new and old readers change their shopping habits. For instance, for years and years I bought toilet paper at a grocery store but weird thing is for the past several years that purchase is always made at Target or Costco. What if these comic professionals did leave the "Big Two", and comic book shops a specialty bookstore that is free from the "comic book guy"/clubhouse for kids and lonely men mentality?

In addition to the direct market, the bookstore market would also experience some changes. I think with a growth of the graphic novel eventually consumers will be more picky about picking up a book that's dinged up and returns will increase slightly. Also if sales did pick up, I think a bookstore's risk would also increase. They might start stocking several copies of a non-superhero GN versus one or two and then re-ordering when they sell out, or special ordering them. I think we'll see GNs in the remainder/discount piles as well. I wonder if a growth in non-superhero GNs would shrink the super-hero/Manga display areas? I also wonder how bookstores would place GNs that don't fit nicely in to other sections of their store (ex. Joe Sacco's The Fixer would obviously be in History, but what about something like Alex Robinson's Box Office Poison)?

So What If Comic Professionals flew the coup of the Big Two? Will it happen? I don't know, I just like thinking about all the possibilities. I am the Watcher*.

*Sorry I couldn't resist.


Random Music Archive: 12"/80s/2

Next up in my month-long look at 80s music in my collection:

Track Listings:

Disc 1:
1. Simple Minds: New Gold Dream (12" Mix)
2. Heaven 17: Penthouse And Pavement (12" Mix)
3. The Human League: The Sound Of The Crowd (12" Mix)
4. Hue And Cry: Labour Of Love (12" Mix)
5. Pigbag: Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag (12" Mix)
6. The Associates: Party Fears Two (12" Mix)
7. ABC: When Smokey Sings (The Miami Mix)
8. INXS: Need You Tonight (Liebrand 12" Mix)
9. Belouis Some: Imagination (12" Mix)
10. Lloyd Cole And The Commotions: Brand New Friend (Long Version)
11. Talk Talk: Life's What You Make It (Extended Mix)
12. Visage: Night Train (Extended Mix)

Disc Two
1. Pet Shop Boys: Love Comes Quickly (Dance Mix)
2. Duran Duran: The Reflex (Dance Mix)
3. Frankie Goes To Hollywood: Two Tribes (Annihilation Mix)
4. Spandau Ballet: Chant No. 1 (I Don't Need The Pressure) (12" Version)
5. Thompson Twins: Love On Your Side (12" Mix)
6. Soft Cell: Bedsitter (Extended Version)
7. Altered Images: Don't Talk To Me About Love (12" Mix)
8. Siouxsie & The Banshees: Peek A Boo (Silver Dollar Mix)
9. Julian Cope: Trampoline (Warner Out Mix)
10. Tears For Fears: Pale Shelter (Extended Mix)
11. That Petrol Emotion: Big Decision (Extended Mix)
12. Echo And The Bunnymen: The Killing Moon (Up All Night Mix)

Disc 3
1. Aztec Camera: Oblivious (12" Mix)
2. Haircut 100: Favourite Shirts (12" Mix)
3. Culture Club: I'll Tumble 4 Ya (12" Mix)
4. Style Council: Long Hot Summer (12" Mix)
5. Swansway: Soul Train (12" mix)
6. Sly & Robbie Feat Shinehead: Boops (Here To Go) (12" Mix)
7. Tom Tom Club: Genius Of Love (Extended Mix)
8. Kid Creole & The Coconuts: Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy (Remix)
9. Animal Nightlife: Mr Solitaire (12" Mix)
10. Harold Faltermeyer: Axel F (12" Mix)
11. Yello: The Race (12" Mix)

I sometimes get a little obsessive compulsive. I haven't really had it medically diagnosed, and it isn't anything that's harmful to myself or others, but I see it a lot in how I get about music. Sure, my wife will say I am so compulsive because I always have to have my CD in numeric-alphabetic order (even when I take them to work to listen to), but there's another side. I'll get to thinking about some recent music I've seen or listened and I won't stop obsessing about it until I own it. This three disc box set is a result of such compulsion. Last month, we spent a night in San Francisco. Our original plans was to go to a shindig at Isotope, but when my wife was in an awful amount of pain. While she slept her pain off I walked around San Francisco, ending up at the Virgin Records Mega-store. It was there I saw this box set, but didn't end up purchasing it. For the next two weeks I couldn't shake the though of owning this and finally I succumbed and picked it up on EBay.

If you've read this blog enough, you know I love 80s music. Sure it wasn't the greatest period of music, but dammit growing up immersed in the sounds of the synthesizer, the drum machine, and the birth of the "sample" I ate it all up with a rather big spoon. This collection of music delves in a new territory of 80's collections, the 12" records, often used in dance clubs and garage parties (like some I threw back in the day). The collection is an interesting mix of well known bands and lesser known bands. I liked the mix of artists very much, turning me onto music I missed the first time around.

12"/80s/2 is of course the second collection, and one day I will also pick up the first collection which is a little harder to find. This collection makes for some very good driving music, especially if you're in a New Wave state of mind (apologies to Billy Joel). My favorite disc in the box set is disc 2 which features some of my sentimental favorites: Pet Shop Boys, Tears for Fears, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, and of course Echo & The Bunnymen. You get the sense that the people who made this collection possible took a lot of time to get tracks that flow well with each other. My only real problems with the collection is the packaging. The box set has a flimsy outer sleeve which sits three slim disc cases. It's hard to take the cases out. Also the CD themselves have no images on the non-readable side, so it's very hard to see what side faces down when playing the discs. Lastly, and this is just my hang-up, there a small differences in how the songs are listed on the box of the set sleeve and the covers of the actually discs. I admit that's just nit-picky but it got my feathers ruffled. Still, this collection is so much fun to listen to, and has been in constant rotation at work and in the car.

And for the record it's shelved according to it's first number (12) before I hit the "A" section of my archive, though I did contemplate filing it under "V" for Various artists. See, told ya I was obsessive compulsive or at least anal retentive.


Friday, August 19, 2005

Lefty's Weekend Three Questions

I had a horrible start to my morning I got up thinking it was Monday. Thankfully I came to my senses, and now that I'm just about to start my weekend, here's this week's 3 questions:

1.) Do you have a favorite artist and art piece (painting, sculpture,installation)? I'm not talking comic book artist here.

2.) What's the most amount of money you've ever won gambling (including lotteries if you want)?

3.) Your house or apartment is on fire, if you could only take one thing what would it be? Don't count family or pets assume they're safe. And it's just one item, so one comic book (if that is your answer) not your whole comic book collection.

Once again, my answers are in the comments section where you can leave your answers as well.


Random Music Archive: "Storm Front" by Billy Joel

Next up in the month-long look at 80's music in my collection, comes one that is mine by marriage:

Track Listing:

1. That's Not Her Style
2. We Didn't Start The Fire
3. The Downeaster "Alexa"
4. I Go To Extremes
5. Shameless
6. Storm Front
7. Lenningrad
8. State Of Grace
9. When In Rome
10. And So It Goes

This album has "that song" on it. You know the one, it's the song that radio stations played so much that whenever it came on you groaned. It's the song that performers have to play because they need to give the audience what they want. The song ("We Didn't Start The Fire") has a real stupid beat, so it amazes me that it was a big hit mostly because of the lyric content. A short romp through history in under 4 minutes that I'm guessing a small percentage of Americans are knowledgeable of each event mentioned in the song. Anyway, it helps not having heard this song in a long while, but once a decade is enough for me.

I've been known to like certain Billy Joel songs, but I don't go out of my way to pick up a CD by him. Like I mentioned this CD I came into by marriage, and if I had to guess, Kelly picked it up based on one song (she does that a lot, likes one song and plays it endlessly), "And So It Goes". I just have to let you know I HATE "And So It Goes", and I blame my college for that. Our college choir every year throws what they call "Unconcert" in which the members of the choir pick songs they like and perform them in front of an audience, often with dance. Well, it resembles dance. Here's the thing, my college is a Mennonite college, which for the longest time didn't allow "rhythmic movement" because it leads into temptation. So giving the spotlight to the herd of dance deficient students often became a funny unintentional highlight to these Unconcerts, often resulting in funny reinactments in our college suite or dorms. However, "And So It Goes" went one step further, Interpretative Sign Language. For some reason where ever you went on campus there was always someone on campus practicing, rehearsing, or just listening to this song, and it drove me batty.

Anyway, this Billy Joel album was sort of the last hurrah to Billy Joel's career. Sure he had a couple of hits since this album, but this was his last BIG hit. Since then he's gone on to have great success in concerts, shipbuilding, classic music, divorce, and drunk driving. I must say I liked some of this album, particularly "I Go To Extremes" and "State Of Grace". Also I have to say I prefer Garth Brooks cover of "Shameless" more than Joel's original here. Yeah, I admit I listened (even owned at one time) to Garth Brooks, whatcha gonna do about that? There's not too much I like about this album, and frankly listening to it was more an exercise than a reward. I prefer Joel's early stuff which seemed to fit the time period. Oh, I should also note that rising star, Richard Marx provides a lot of background vocals on this record, just so all you Marx-ists (I wonder if Marx fans actually DO call themselves Marxists, or if there actually ARE any Richard Marx fans out there) can run out and get this album.

I'm also thinking that one of these days if I'm feeling a bit mean I should post a listing of all my wife's music just to cast shame upon her musical leanings, which have improved with marriage...a bit. If I can ever figure out audioblogging, I have this particular damning piece of music in which my wife sings Twist & Shout, and Wind Beneath My Wings. Funny stuff.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

Random Music Archive: "Born In The U.S.A." by Bruce Springsteen

Next up in my month-long 80s music coverage:

Track Listing:

1. Born In The U.S.A.
2. Cover Me
3. Darlington County
4. Working On The Highway
5. Downbound Train
6. I'm On Fire
7. No Surrender
8. Bobby Jean
9. I'm Goin' Down
10. Glory Days
11. Dancing In The Dark
12. My Hometown

I actually didn't pick up this album until last year, and I'll tell you why. This was the album that cemented "The Boss" in the hearts and minds of America and the world. It was such a huge album that history has not been kind to it. Between the images of 'former Friends star' Courteney Cox being pull onstage on a video, President Reagan's re-election campaign using "Born In The U.S.A." and not getting the meaning of the song, to the endless every half hour the radio stations would play "Glory Days"; time has forever made this album a three ring circus that is largely undeserved. So for me the biggest surprise to me when I picked up this album last year is how much I enjoyed it.

Try to listen to this album without the hype that came with it. Listen to the songs. Memorize the lyrics. Fall in love with Weinberg's crack drumming, and Clarence Clemons' powerful sax flourishes. I love the songs that weren't huge hits on this album. My favorite cut is the unofficial John Kerry theme song, "No Surrender", which my friend Paul Taylor reminds me almost didn't make the record. My other favorite song is "Downbound Train".

However, for all the creamy goodness that is on this record, this is not Springsteen at his creative best. My favorite Springsteen album is "Darkness On The Edge Of Town". Some of his earlier works have such strong lyrics, and feels authentic. However, here on "Born In The U.S.A." some of lyrics feel a little to "paint by numbers' for me. Still, the music is pretty good, well maybe with the exception of "I'm Going Down" which is my least favorite on the album.

This album brings to mind a conversation I perennially have with friends over the difference between "rock anthems" and "rock classic". Much of this album are very much rock anthems (including my favorite "No Surrender"), which drives the listener with great hooks, but may not have the lyrical, technical, or creative genius to be called a classic. AC/DC rules all when it comes to rock anthems, and while I loves me some AC/DC, very little is what I would consider rock classic, at least by my definition.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Why Lefty Is Tired

Three or four years ago I had to take a lot of bound journals off the shelves because we were running out of space in our bound journals section. It was a rush job, and they ended up stacked and boxed in a former microfilm reading room. Well, three years later I had to take everything out of the room to install some shelving. Once the shelving is installed (I start that tomorrow), I then have to weed through the thousands of volumes (pictured above) and shelve the journals we may get requests for. The rest get re-boxed and put into storage somewhere (hopefully we'll still have room for storage once the shelves are in. Until then our American literature & Mathematics section (we follow Library of Congress classification) is off-limits, so noone can enjoy the works of William Faulkner.

Needless to say, its tiring work and long overdue. It's be great when the projects done to feel a sense of accomplishment. Hopefully it'll come before my back gives out or I sprain something. Already my left shoulder is hurting quite a bit. (Maybe I can convince my beautiful wife for a rub down tonight).


Random Music Archive: "Friend or Foe" by Adam Ant

Here's the next installment of my month-long look at the 80's music I have in my music archive:

Track Listing:

1. Friend Or Foe
2. Something Girls
3. Place In The Country
4. Desperate But Not Serious
5. Here Comes The Grump
6. Hello, I Love You
7. Goody Two Shoes
8. Crackpot History And The Right To Lie
9. Made of Money
10. Cajun Twisters
11. Try This For Signs
12. Man Called Marco

If it weren't for my wife and her strange desires, I wouldn't have this album in my collection. Years ago, I think even before we got married, she had got this obsession with the song "Goody Two Shoes" and was compelled to pick this album up. I don't listen to this album a whole lot. I think the last time I picked this out to listen to was when I was reading Blue Monday by Chynna Clugston-Major.

I like the emphasis on the drums and the use of the horns on the album. Back in the day, I would not go looking for Adam Ant. I wasn't a big fan of "Art School Punk" or "Blitz" punk or whatever they called the more pop-focused punk. Nowadays I've been getting more and more into it.

There are some great songs on this album, and some that just feel limp. I love "Friend Or Foe", Desperate But Not Serious (my favorite track on the CD), "Goody Two Shoes" (I do tire of this one, after my wife constant repeats of this song), and "Crackpot History And The Right To Lie". Some songs that I don't care for are: "Place In The Country", "Hello, I Love You" (yes, The Doors cover), "Here Comes The Grump" and "Try This For Sighs".

Adam Ant falls off the radar on a lot of 80's Best Of discs for some reason, and I think that's undeserved because some of this is good stuff...and it's very rare that I can thank my wife for her taste in music.


Waiting For My Moment To Shine

There's a Meme that been floating around that I want to do, but I promised myself I wouldn't do it until I was tagged. Well even some of my internet friends" got tagged, but didn't tag me. Poor, poor me, if I had a sandbox to play in, I'd bury myself in it.

Yeah, I realize it's pretty pathetic to blog about wanting to do a meme, but heaven help me I do.

Anyway, I got a buttload of bound journals to organize. Summers are for big summer projects in the library, and this year it seems they had to get started two weeks before school begins.


Lefty's Weekly Top Ten

Here's a peek at the top ten things that are wasting my time as of late:

1.) Rock Star: INXS (CBS) Ok, I admit it, I've know grown compulsive about the show. They whittled down enough of the chaf where now each performance is very good..even the weaker ones I never really liked before sounded good. Frankly I have about four favorites I'm pulling for. And who knew that I would actual like hearing a cover of Spears' Baby Hit Me (One More Time).

2.) Blankets by Craig Thompson I'm still reading the trades I picked up at San Diego, and this past week I dove into this great book. Wow. I like how authentic it comes across. Thompson writes/illustrates a compelling story of a Christian youth who reaches a crisis of faith while becoming aware of his own body and the world around him. Highly recommended, although I feel like I'm the last one in the comics blogosphere to have read this work.

3.) Robbie Williams "Sing When You're Winning" My first experiment with the British Ebay arrived the other day. Not seeing a lot of Robbie William CDs offered for sale in the states, I gave the UK site a chance. Despite not having the track listing on the back, this might just be my favorite Robbie Williams album. Lots of catchy songs, and man I have a man-crush on Robbie voice.

4.) 12"/80s/2 box set I'll be reviewing this three CD box set for my Random Music Archive in the not-too-distant future. This collection takes the 12" records and extended mixes of 1980s music. Some of the music is well known (INXS: Need You Tonight, Duran Duran: The Reflex) and some isn't (Belouis Some: Imagination, That Petrol Emotion: Big Decision) but its all good here. This is a very fun collection, and now I've got to get the first collection in this series.

5.) Mage: The Hero Discovered vol. 1 by Matt Wagner Another one of my San Diego Comic Con finds. I loved this book, and gotta pick up the other two books in this series. The art is early Matt Wagner, and starts off iffy, but improves as the story progresses. Currently, Matt Wagner is a fantastic artist, so it's cool to see his beginnings. It's a great story that plays around with Arthurian legends in a contemporary setting. Fun read!

6.) Indigo Girls I've mentioned more than a few times about this excellent website. Well this month's CD arrived from my Queue and it was the Indigo Girls self-titled CD. A long time ago I had this album on cassette and feel in love with it. Listening to the CD reminds how much I loved this album, and this group. Emily Salier's father is a Methodist minister, and I remember reading an interview with them both talking about faith, music, hymns, and being active in social causes (including gays & lesbians). It was a great interview. Anyway, some of at least Emily's faith wades in and out of the lyrics on this album, which also draws me too it.

7.) Big Brother (CBS) I know, I know. The show isn't even that good, and it's filled with filler and dumb segments to fill time. However, I do enjoy getting my Xbox-addicted wife off the damn videogames (and some of the folks she meets on it) and spend some quality time with her lonely husband, even if it's a really crappy reality TV show.

8.) Old Mixtapes I've undertaken a huge project at home, cleaning out the computer room. As I dug out the mess in the walk-in closet, transferring my Live Music CDRS to a old library card catalog that I got for free, I ran across several mixtapes I made a long time ago. The oldest is about 12-15 years old. I've been having fun popping them in and seeing what I was listening to at the time. I also have lots of live tapes I'll be giving away next week that I now have on CDR. It's mostly stuff like U2 shows, Allman Brothers shows, Grateful Dead, etc.

9.) Earthboy Jacobus by Doug Tennapel Yet another of my San Diego Comic Con finds. This graphic novel is perplexing to me. On one hand it's by far his most original and I love the whole idea of it. On the other hand, there's a lot of stuff that takes me out of the story. It's gets a little too "preachy" for me. Tennapel makes out public education to look as if it's nothing but kooky self-help classes juxtaposed against Chief preparing his "son" for battle against aliens, and "real" education about history. My wife being a hard-working excellent public school teacher, this just flat-out pisses me off. Also in some places he plays the faith in God card a little too flat for me. In addition, I liked when Jacobus begins to be rebellious when he becomes a teenager, but just a few pages later he back to being this little kid again where his needs is secondary to finding the happiness of his "father". I also didn't like how he wrapped up the ending so that everyone had to have a happy ending. Despite these big flaws, I still liked the GN because I found the concept to very fun. It's sad Tennapel's best concept comes at the expense at his urge to force his views on his story.

10.) The Dreamers DVD I heard some things about this movie, so I check it out. I'm not exactly sure I loved this movie, but I did like it. There's a LOT of skin in this movie, but it's not pornography. Some of the plot weirded me out, especially between the love between the twins. Still it's a beautifully shot film. I loved how Bernardo used film clips interposed with the story. I'm embarrassed to admit that I was also attracted to the beautiful Eva Green who is sans clothes a lot of the film. As a Christian it set me a little on edge, but the layers of the story was compelling. What is "real" love? Is film voyeuristic? The personal biographical history set against a larger political movement is what initially drew me to the film.


Oi! Lefty Gets A Haircut

Because I'm bored I've decided to sport this look for the next few weeks, unless I decide I really dig it and keep it. Hair maintenance can be a bitch. As much as I want to, my wife will strangle me if I decide to pierce my ears.

Strangely there's nothing written in our university's dress code about mohawks. Hooray!

Nothing like a thin mohawk on a fat dude. Let's hope now that I'm getting my exercise in regularly that as my mohawk grows in size, the weight goes down.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Win Free Stuff! Find Out How!

In addition to my own contest, which unless you're super fast you are running out time (because all entries must be in by the weekend), there's another chance to win free stuff.

In celebration of his one year 'blogoversary', Dave Carter over at Yet Another Comics Blog is giving away free Graphic Novels this week. Day One winners were announced, and I was lucky enough to get the hook up. It's Tuesday and you now have one less day to win some free stuff. So check out what Dave has for Day Two. Dave isn't making folks jump through a lot of hoops and you might get some real cool stuff.

Also if you have a chance check out his blog, it's pretty good. Working in a library, albeit a religious university library, I always get a kick at what his university is getting for it's collection. Also this reminds me that I should check out his other blogs: Yet Another Music Blog and Yet Another Music Radio. Wait a minute, Yet Another Music Radio is his own internet radio station, thus living out one of my fantasies.


Random Music Archive: "Wide Awake In America" by U2

Continuing the month-long celebration of 80's music in my music collection, I give you...

Track Listing:

1. Bad (Live)
2. A Sort of Homecoming (Live)
3. Three Sunrises
4. Love Comes Tumbling

Four songs, and it still counts as one full selection at Columbia House? What's up with that? Anyway, years ago in college I basically got the full U2 collection through Columbia House, including this album. I love this little EP. "Bad" is probably one of my favorite U2 songs, and it's definitely my favorite live song. Well it's one of my favorite live songs during the 80's and earlier 90's because they often would toss in a few covers teases into it like "Gloria" or something. Sadly, the "Bad" on this album is sans "Gloria". Still there's a lot to like in these four songs. I like the ethereal vocals on "Three Sunrises", with the driving drum and bass. "Love Comes Tumbling" sounds like some rare song you'll never hear in concert, and U2-philes write essays about. Coming right before the "big break" into mega-stardom, Wide Awake In America is like a nice long stretch before deciding to get to work.


Monday, August 15, 2005

Random Music Archive: Totally '80s

Continuing my month-long look back at 80's music in my collection:

Track Listing:

Disc 1
1. Take On Me -A-Ha
2. Hot Hot Hot -Buster Poindexter
3. Caribbean Queen (No More Love On the Run) -Billy Ocean
4. Walk Like An Egyptian -The Bangles
5. Who Can It Be Now? -Men At Work
6. Addicted To Love -Robert Palmer
7. Karma Chamelon -Culture Club
8. Jump (For My Love) -The Pointer Sisters
9. Wild Thing -Tone Loc
10. Everybody Have Fun Tonight -Wang Chung
11. Walking On Sunshine -Katrina & The Waves
12. Jessie's Girl -Rick Springfield
13. The Heat Is On -Glen Frey
14. Wild, Wild West -The Escape Club
15. Heaven Is A Place On Earth -Belinda Carlisle
16. She Works Hard For The Money -Donna Summer
17. (There's) Always Something There To Remind Me -Naked Eyes
18. Too Shy -Kajagoogoo
19. Missing You -John Waite
20. Sexual Healing -Marvin Gaye

Disc 2
1. What I Like About You -The Romantics
2. Centerfold -J. Geils Band
3. She Blinded Me With Science -Thomas Dolby
4. Rock This Town -Stray Cats
5. Electric Avenue -Eddy Grant
6. 99 Luftballons -Nena
7. Waiting For A Girl Like You -Foreigner
8. Gloria -Laura Branigan
9. Everybody Wants To Rule The World -Tears For Fears
10. (I Just) Died In Your Arms -Cutting Crew
11. 867-5309/Jenny -Tommy Tutone
12. Ghostbusters -Ray Parker Jr.
13. Morning Train (Nine To Five) -Sheena Easton
14. Only In My Dreams -Debbie Gibson
15. Sunglasses At Night -Corey Hart
16. All I Need Is A Miracle -Mike & The Mechanics
17. St. Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion) -John Parr
18. Queen Of Hearts -Juice Newton
19. Broken Wings -Mr. Mister
20. Keep On Loving You -REO Speedwagon

First of all, I'd like to apologize for the really bad picture. I usually grab images off of Amazon, but evidently this collection from Razor & Tie, one of the first collecting 80s music, has gone Out of Print some time ago. I remember ordering this CD while back in college, over the phone no less. Back then everyone called the internet the world wide web, and we're crazy about this thing called Mosiac. The collection was released in 1993 just a few years after the 80s closed. Perhaps that was too close to the time period, but by and large this collection gets it right in places. Set against the 'Rosetta Stone' of 80's collection, the Rhino box set, this collection has 23 songs of 40 that are on the Rhino collection. Some of the artists are duplicated, but different songs are used, and generally I think Totally 80's chose the better songs. For instance, Totally '80s uses Mr. Mister's Broken Wings versus Rhino's box set using "Kyrie".

My main complaint with this collection is that it seems there we're very little effort to make sure the music was 'up to pay' sound-wise. I almost never use selections off this collection for my music mixes, because they also sound a tad too quiet. I have a feeling they took whatever they could get, and had very little access to master tapes. Still, it's a very nice party mix. I generally prefer disc two of this two disc compilation. Disc one has two of my least favorite '80s songs. They are Tone Loc's "Wild Thing" and The Escape Club's "Wild Wild West". Disc Two contains some of favorite gems as well. They are Sheena Easton's "Morning Train" and Juice Newton's "Queen of Hearts". I even have a soft spot for Cutting Crew's "Died In You Arms". I was also impressed that they used Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing" on this collection. I wise choice I must say.

I would hesitantly recommend this collection, but being Out of Print, it makes it a bit harder to find. Also much of the tracks on this collection can be found (and maybe in better condition) on the 3 dozen of more collections out there. SO don't go out of your way to find this one.


Justice Sunday 2: Pray Harder

So this weekend was Justice Sunday 2 in which a bunch of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ get together to pray from our churches to start caring about feeding the poor and making sure every race and nationality receives real justice and mercy.

"Organizers of the rally, which featured a packed audience at a Baptist church swaying and singing hymns beneath two huge American flags, said they hoped to use the gathering as a "launching pad" to mobilize Christians against judges they say are overriding the Constitution with their decisions."

Oh hold on a minute. Really? You're joking right? We got the poverty level rising in America, an AIDS epidemic in Africa (or is it a pandemic, I can never remember the difference) and in Asia, we have adults and children starving in the bread basket of the United States, the cost of living is outpacing the raise in pay for the middle class, and we have a war in the Middle East; but wait a second let's make sure our judges kowtow to our wants and needs over and against the constitution.

This just sickens me, that our Christianity in the United States has been replaced with Nationalism. I suspect many of my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus have turned their backs on Jesus and instead worship a false idol of morals and patriotism. Just imagine if our churches turned our energies away from politics and put it into making sure each and every child in their cities and towns had cheap or free medical access, food in their belly, and a safe place to sleep and study, a safe neighborhood to walk to school. Oh you brood of vipers, I pray that someday the same Lord we profess we worship will meet you in your idolatry and make your body and soul tremble. I hope our great God will burn away the red, white, and blue blindfold and make you see that you have neglected the Kingdom of God that not only awaits us, but also surrounds us. May God use your falleness to bring you back into the fold.


Saturday, August 13, 2005

Lefty's Weekend Three Questions

Each week I ask 3 questions. My answer are in the comments section, where you are free to leave your own answers.

1. If you could eliminate one technological device from our planet what would it be?

2. What word or phrase do you wish you could incorporate more into your vocabulary?

3. Forget best, what was your WORST vacation?


Friday, August 12, 2005

Random Music Archive: Like Omigod! The 80s Pop Culture Box (Totally)

Welcome to 80's Random Music Archive. I just received a collection called 12"/80s/2 that collects 12" records of various 80's bands. So that has me in the mood to get some 80's music out of my system. From now until September I'll be reviewing CDs I have in my collection that come from 80's bands. Leading off with the 'Mother Of All' 80's collections.

For Rhino's Like Omigod! The 80's Pop Culture Box (Totally), I thought we could play a game. Without using the internet as a crutch, try to name the artists to the songs. The answers are in the comments section. Feel free to post how many you got right, and also feel free to leave your favorite 80's artist or song too.

Track Listings:

Disc 1
1. Whip It
2. Video Killed The Radio Star
3. Empire Strickes Back (Medley)
4. Another One Bites The Dust
5. Celebration
6. The Breaks (Part 1)
7. Let My Love Open The Door
8. Call Me
9. Keep On Loving You
10. Turning Japanese
11. Lost In Love
12. 9 To 5
13. I Love A Rainy Night
14. Sailing
15. Just The Two Of Us
16. Cars
17. Ah! Leah!
18. Sweetheart
19. Shake It Up
20. General Hospi-Tale
21. The Stroke

Disc 2
1. Dancing With Myself
2. Working For The Weekend
3. Jessie's Girl
4. Genius Of Love
5. Centerfold
6. At This Moment
7. Harden My Heart
8. Hold On Loosely
9. Theme From "Greatest American Hero" (Believe It Or Not)
10. Take Off
11. Super Freak (Part 1)
12. 867-5309/Jenny
13. Bette Davis Eyes
14. Time
15. Gloria
16. Maneater
17. Theme From Hill Street Blues
18. Valley Girl
19. Da Da Da (I Don't Love You You Don't Love Me Aha Aha Aha)
20. You Dropped A Bomb On Me

Disc 3
1. Hungry Like The Wolf
2. The Look Of Love (Part One)
3. Tainted Love
4. Rock This Town
5. Lies
6. Words
7. Don't You Want Me
8. Love Plus One
9. Down Under
10. Steppin' Out
11. I Want Candy
12. Come On Eileen
13. Mickey
14. Twilight Zone
15. You Should Hear How She Talks About You
16. Key Largo
17. Pac-Man Fever
18. Total Eclipse of the Heart
19. Africa
20. Goodbye To You
21. Puttin' On The Ritz

Disc 4
1. Jeopardy
2. She Blinded Me With Science
3. Electric Avenue
4. Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)
5. Our House
6. The Salt In My Tears
7. Girls Just Want To Have Fun
8. Talking In Your Sleep
9. Major Tom (Coming Home)
10. Always Something There To Remind Me
11. In A Big Country
12. One Thing Leads To Another
13. Der Kommissar
14. Suddenly Last Summer
15. Karma Chameleon
16. Let's Go To Bed
17. Too Shy
18. Maniac
19. Sister Christian
20. Cum On Feel The Noize

Disc 5
1. Owner Of A Lonely Heart
2. Mr. Roboto
3. I'm So Excited
4. Back On The Chain Gang
5. I Want To Know What Love Is
6. Sunglasses At Night
7. Missing You
8. 99 Luftballons
9. Tenderness
10. They Don't Know
11. Heaven
12. White Horse
13. Let The Music Play
14. Let's Hear It For The Boy
15. Cool It Now
16. Ghostbusters
17. Footloose
18. We're Not Gonna Take It
19. Rock You Like A Hurricane
20. The Glamorous Life

Disc 6
1. Obsession
2. Shout
3. Take On Me
4. Don't You (Forget About Me)
5. Walking On Sunshine
6. Voices Carry
7. Weird Science
8. You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)
9. "Miami Vice" Theme
10. Life In A Northern Town
11. Kyrie
12. Every Time You Go Away
13. We Built This City
14. St. Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion)
15. Addicted To Love
16. Axel F
17. Rhythm Of The Night
18. You Look Marvelous
19. Heartbeat
20. Everybody Have Fun Tonight

Disc 7
1. Venus
2. Walk Like An Egyptian
3. Paranoimia
4. If You Leave
5. Keep Your Hands To Yourself
6. What You Need
7. Walk This Way
8. Rumors
9. Don't Dream It's Over
10. Holding Back The Years
11. I'll Be Loving You (Forever)
12. Tuff Enuff
13. Since You've Been Gone
14. Only In My Dreams
15. Never Gonna Give You Up
16. La Bamba
17. Wild, Wild West
18. Don't Worry Be Happy
19. Right Here Waiting
20. Roam

Hands down, Rhino produces the best box sets in the music industry. This 80s box set comes with an 88 page booklet that has information on the songs, lots of pictures, and short essays. Reading the booklet is enjoyable enough, but man I just love this collection of music. I had my eyes on this set for a long time, but a couple of years back my wife and I threw an 80's Theme Party at our house. Our invitations included the greatest 80's compilation ever created. A great many of those songs on that invitation were from this box set. The 80's party was a hit, many of my friends still think warmly about it, and we had discussed a sequel, but that never materialized. We went a little overboard with the party, buying many CDs and DVDs to give away as prizes. We also bought a somewhat cheap Karoaoke player and a large Karoaoke CD collection for it. The Karaoke was a hit for a short time, but since then we are continually asked by friends to borrow it.

Omigod has seven discs, 142 songs, and takes an entire workday to listen to (although we will need to keep listening during your lunch to get through them all). If I had to choose one disc of the seven as my favorite I would choose Disc 3, because it includes my favorite Duran Duran song (which is saying a lot because I was never a big Duran Duran fan), has the quinessential 80s song, Mickey, and gives me a reason to sing "Too-La-roo-la-aaa" (from Come On Eileen). My favorite song from the 80's is on this box set. It's General Public's "Tenderness".

Rhino does a very good job in pulling out some forgotten songs that really do need to be included in an 80's collection. Some of the songs are "I Love A Rainy Night", "9 to 5", "Pac-Man Fever", "Time", and "The Breaks (Part 1)". With a collection so big, of course you'll have a few songs that you find in other 80's collections. Songs like "Come On Eileen", "Take On Me", "Mickey", and "Walking On Sunshine" are some that you'll find on a dozen other 80's collections. The box set also includes "We Built This City" which was voted somewhere as being the worst song in Rock or something, but I happen to like it. In fact, one thing weird about the song, you know the part where they have the radio DJ say something? Well, that parts sounds different from the version that plays in my head, because back when it was on the radio in the 80s, during that part the local radio station would inside it's own DJ and call number in that section.

Out of all my boxsets, this one if the most listened to, and quite often the wife and I will choose 5 discs of the seven to put in our CD player and just press "Random" while we do things around the house. For the record, I can get 109 out of 142 songs on the box set with looking who sings them, but then again I'm such a big nerd for 80s era stuff.


Lefty Harnesses the Power of the Internet

I have a few questions that I want answered, but the life of me I can't figure out on my own, so if any of the readers out there know, could you leave a comment with the answer?

1. I remember in the 80s I had watched a few times a sword & sorcery movie that featured a sword that had a hand at the end of it, and also had an archer that was blind and wore a blindfold with an eye painted on it. There was also a big battle in a church or inn or something. At my age back then I really dug the movie, and was trying to find it to watch again. Any thoughts to what it was?

2. When is AiT/PlanetLar's Seal Team Seven and Black Diamond (the series) coming out? I heard Seal Team Seven was pushed back.

3. Anyone have the numbers on the Marvel TPB, Combat Zone, which was originally supposed to be a series, but they turned into a trade? Has it turned up on any radical right or freeper websites, considering it was written by Karl Zinsmeister?

Any help?


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Mother Can You Build The Wall?

Are we so far removed from a sense of what's right and wrong here in America, that our leader we elected can't take 30 minutes out of his vacation to grieve with and answer questions from still-grieving mother, Cindy Sheehan?

"But Lefty, you liberal bastard! She just has an axe to grind!"

So what?! Her son gave his life for his friends, and his country. The very least his Commander-In-Chief can do and take the verbal fire of a mother who wants some answers. Sure, we're talking about a leader who has dodged hard questions all his life, but now he's met an image that he can't shake. A grieving mother.

Despite whatever spin the conservative gas-bags want to throw out there: She's just a prop for Michael Moore, Cindy is just being used, She's "Un-American"; it's hard to overcome the visage of a mother in grief.

So do the right thing, I think even YOUR mother would agree Mr. President. Even Nixon had more decency (and balls) in this regard when he met with secretly with Vietnam protestors.


Random Music Archive: "Home" by Hothouse Flowers

Track Listing:

1. Hardstone City
2. Give It Up
3. Christchurch Bells
4. Sweet Marie
5. Giving It All Away
6. Shut Up and Listen
7. I Can See Clearly Now
8. Movies
9. Eyes Wide Open
10. Water
11. Home
12. Trying To Get Through
13. Dance To The Storm
14. Seoladh Na nGamhna

"Scream, Liam!"

With the exception of one CD, I picked up all my Hothouse Flowers CD used, and at Wherehouse for that matter. I don't have all the details, but I seem to remember that U2 helped nuture this Irish band. They never really even became one-hit wonders. Their biggest hit was most likely Christchurch Bells from this CD or a track from my favorite Hothouse Flowers CD, "Songs from the Rain". Evidently they have a "new" CD that I need to pick up sometime. They are an interesting band, Irish enough to be able to use interesting looking instruments, but rocking enough to keep me from being bored to tears. For me though, I love the song lyrics and the sound of Liam's voice. Hands down favorite song from the CD is "Movies."

More than Pearl Jam,Smashing Pumpkins, or Nirvana; Hothouse Flowers was the music I most remember in the 90s. They had somewhat of a Christian bent, but they were Irish so that's two steps removed from being pagans. Living on a Christian college, that was enough for us. My best friend and roommate in college had this CD and their other CD at the time "People". We'd listen to those two CDs so much when we were studying, and hanging out in the dorm room. But mostly it became a soundtrack for our journeys around Fresno, Yosemite, Mono Lake, and parts known and unknown. I swear to you, that Yosemite looks 10 times more magnificent when "Home" is played while making your way to Toulomne Meadows. I remember listening to "I Can See Clearly Now" as we made our way into the White Mountains to view what remains of glaciers in California, and to hike amongst Bristlecone pines older than most everything on earth.

Sometime after college, my best friend married and moved to Wheaton, IL. He was away for several years, and during that time I picked up this CD. When he came back to visit family, he and I snuck up to San Francisco to catch Hothouse Flowers play at the Maritime in San Francisco. It was one of my favorite shows. During the concert a woman screamed out loud, "Scream Liam!" that could be heard through the Maritime. Liam promptly obliged here, and the request quickly became a part of my friend and my vernacular.

A few years later, I helped my best friend move back to Fresno, and sure enough on our slow U-Haul journey from Chicago to Fresno we had Hothouse flowers to serenade us as we crossed the Great Divide in the wonderful Rocky Mountains. During the years, Hothouse Flowers became an important piece of our friendship, so it's fitting that last week when we were in the Bay Area, I helped him find Hothouse Flowers' "People" on CD, which had gone missing a year or two ago.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Lefty's Weekly Top Ten

Here's the Top Ten things putting a stranglehold on my attention this week:

1.) Sandbaggers vol. 3 DVD I have two episodes left in this fantastic British spy series. It's been a real pleasure to watch these shows, and how in certain episodes I can hate Burnsides or root for him in the next. What a great character.

2.) Rockstar: INXS (CBS) This is what happens when there's not much to watch on TV. I'm digging this show, but I'm still wondering what other band would they showcase if they ever did another season?

3.) Delta Force: Black Hawk Down (Xbox) My wife rented this game for me, and I have to say I'm quite enjoying it. I like playing a sniper, finding a good hiding place, and going to town. Graphics are great, the controls are easy to pick up, and there's a great many different types of Xbox Live maps and options. I haven't played around too much with the campaign.

4.) Spider-Man/Human Torch: I'm With Stupid (Marvel) Although I would have preferred this miniseries TPB in a larger format, I liked the price. The story is light-hearted and fun. It's very much geared to those with a knowledge of Spider-Man and Human Torch, comics, and Marvel Team-Up, because writer Dan Slott plays around with their histories, even the use of those Hostess Pies ads. Hilarious, while at the same time quite a pleasant story. Dan Slott is now on my official pull list on any book he pops up on. I should also mention Ty Templeton's art is quite nice on the eye, and has a classic feel to it.

5.) Robbie Williams "The Ego Has Landed" I am slowly building up my Robbie Williams CD collection. I picked this up for $5 used during my trip to the Bay Area last Saturday. Quite a nice CD, not as fun as Escapology (my other Robbie Williams CD), but fun to listen to.

6.) Halo 2 (Xbox) I'm actually playing this again, just for not that long. For some reason whenever I play a competition, everytime I "kill" someone I get knock out of the game, and I don't know why. However, I just play this game to chew the fat with friends, and not take things to seriously.

7.) Rainbow 6 Black Arrow (Xbox) I've found myself not really caring how well I play this game, just that I have fun with it. So I started carrying around weapons that are harder to get kills with (M1 shotgun and a USP) and just have FUN. So I'm not really dependable in a clan match, seeing as how I just don't care for such things anymore. Liberating really.

8.) Black Sabbath "Past Lives" This two disc album captures Black Sabbath at their best. It's amazing, and I can't stop listening to it. Love hearing them do Sweetleaf and War Pigs. I gotta pick me up some more Sabbath when money is less tight.

9.) Back Issue #11 Despite some transcription problem on the Groo interview that Mark Evanier recently wrote about on his blog, Back Issue once again makes me care about comics book stuff that I don't usually groove to. I've been enjoying the latest issue so far and am about to read the massive Marvel Comics Conan article. Personally I can't wait until September when they have an article on the whole black alien costume Spider-man, when I first started reading Spider-Man.

10.) Big Brother 6 (CBS) Or is it BB7, I can never remember. This, again, is what happens when there isn't anything good on TV. After deciding not to watch last seasons Big Brother, I've been dipping my toes into the shallow end of the summer TV reality series. It's vapid, but I have to say I'm hooked. Thus endeth my bad TV confession for the week.


There's Still Time, Act Now!

This is another reminder that there's still time for you to win your very own Darth Tater, not to mention a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card in "LeftyBrown's Hunt for the Best Music Compilation" competition. For full rules and instructions, go here. All entries must be in by August 20th. Winner also has my permission to call themselves the world's Best Mixtape/CD Creator!

Once again rules are here.


Random Music Archive: "Sarafina" Soundtrack and "Sister Act 2" Soundtrack

Track Listing for Sister Act 2:

1. "The Greatest Medley Ever Told"
2. "Never Should've Let You Go"
3. "Get Up Offa That Thing/ Dancing In The Street"
4. "Oh Happy Day"
5. "Ball of Confusion (That's What The World Is Today)"
6. "His Eye Is On The Sparrow"
7. "A Deeper Love"
8. "Wandering Eyes"
9. "Pay Attention"
10. "Ode to Joy"
11. "Joyful, Joyful"
12. Ain't No Mountain High Enough"

Track listing for Sarafina:

1. Sarafina!
2. The Lord's Prayer
3. Nkonyane Kandaba
4. Tomorrow
5. Freedom Is Coming
6. Sabela
7. Sechaba
8. Safa Saphel' Isizwe
9. Thank You Mama
10. Lizobuya
11. One More Time

Today you get not one, but TWO music archive reviews. I "inherited" these two CDs when I married my wife. When I first was dating my wife, she had a peculiar taste in music. She would listen to Christian "rap" DC Talk, Garth Brooks, and any Disney music and/or groups. We used to have this game we played once or twice, in which she would play this tape of TV theme songs, and if I got the TV show right, I would get a kiss. Um, forget I mentioned that, okay? Moooooving along...She's since developed a better "ear" for music, but still has her eccentricities sometimes listening to a single song off a CD 5 or 6 times in a row, which drives me up a wall.

Truth be told, I don't think I ever listened to these two CDs all the way through...until know. I've had to listen to the Sarafina soundtrack a couple of times now, just because I had lots of things going on at the time. The Sarafina disc is okay to listen to. The African music sounds okay, but has a theatre sensibility, which bastardizes it a bit. Still it's listenable, but that last song (One More Time) is so Hollywood I can see it in my head, having never seen the film. You can just picture some "pull at the heartstrings" ending of a large gathering of those who struggled during the film, now triumphant, and then it rolls to credits. Am I on target here? I'm not wild about the CD but it is listenable, and I didn't find myself shaking my head at it. I did however, put it on pause when I had co-workers, whose musical opinion I respect, came by.

On the other hand...Sister Act 2. I saw the first film, and my mother had the sountrack to that one for a time. This soundtrack is like a redux of the first one, in which Whoopi and company takes great R&B classics and turns them in to musical wrecks with bits of god-speak in them. I prefer the originals thank you. Having to listen to this CD is much akin to sticking knitting needles into my ears. May I present exhibit number one: "Get Up Offa That Thing/Dancing In the Street". Here, Whoopi and the Sisters are able to transcend the urban groove of the original to make a bland Hollywood cover that feels limp and soulless despite the existence of nimble horns which are the song's only redeeming feature.

And it gets worse. Probably one of the worst songs on the soundtrack is "Ball of Confusion" which is cringe-inducing. This song had me close to shutting off the CD player, taking out the disc, shredding it, then dousing the shreds with lighter fluid and setting fire to it, then taking the ashy remains and burying them in a deep deep hole. It is two minutes, twenty-six seconds of excruciating pain that I would have no one endure.

Still, Sister Act 2 does contain a few good moments that should be mentioned. "His Eye Is On the Sparrow" is rather quite good, and evokes those transcendent moments I love about listening to Aretha Franklin gospel albums. Incidentally, that track IS followed up by an Aretha Franklin song, which reminds me how low the mighty has fallen. I was just commenting to a friend recently that I really regret that Aretha never recovered her genius since the late 70's. Here she sings a song produced by C&C Music Factory, so you can just guess how wonderful the song is.

You know, one thing I detest is the urge to turn every song into some hip-hop wannabee hit. The bottom of the barrel is when they take a wonderful, straight-forward "Ode to Joy" and then kick in a hip-hop beat into "Joyful, Joyful" which includes the lyrics "You down with G-O-D?/Yeah you know me" (obviously ripping off the O.P.P. song). Once again, please make it stop.

I will never EVER go near the Sister Act 2 soundtrack again. Sarafina on the other hand, I won't go out of my way for, but at the very least won't cause your ears to bleed (or wish they had).


This is not the Chris Brown You Are Looking For

Being the Stat-Whore that I am, I've been excited that my hits have been growing as of late. "Wow!", I thought to myself, "people are really starting to read this blog on a regular basis." Then I took a look at how people found my site:

Wolverine soundboard

X-Men, Avenger, musician? Whodathunkit?

how old is chris brown

I've just recently turned 22. Yeah, that's what I keep telling myself. (It's actually 34, as of July 21st -still time to send presents if you want).

Jerry Garcia bubblehead at bonnaroo

I miss Jerry too, just not that much.

Noah Hathaway

This USED to be where I'd get most of my blind hits, but recently it's been this:

Chris Brown Run It! (Main Version) lyrics

Until his 15 minutes are up, and Hip Hop turns its lonely eyes to another "star" it can use and abuse, here's Chris Brown's "hit" (I guess) song:

Artist: Chris Brown featuring Juelz Santana
Song: Run It

Lyrics :

Juelz Santana
Check it, Check it, Check it out
It's Santana again
Steppin, Steppin, Steppin out
One of them Brand new big boy toys
I do big boy things
I make big boy noise cuz...
I know what girls want...
I know what they like
They wanna stay up , and party all night
so bring a friend

Chris Brown
(Verse 1)
Let me talk to you
Tell you how it is
I was thinkin when I saw that body gotta get shawty
Tell her what the young boy gon do
Damn them chicks wit chu gotta be okay
Babe pretty thick wit the kick that's sick that need to be hit
So tell me what ya'll gon do

I got friends, and you got friends
They hop out, and you hop in
I look fly, and they jockin
The way you drop, drop makes me hot, hot

Is ya man on the flo?
If he ain't...
Let me know
Let me see if you can run it, run it
girl indeed I can run it, run it(2x)

(Verse 2)
You'll see
Girl I can set you off
Don't believe my age is gonna slow us down
I can definitly show you things
that's gon have you sayin I can't be 16
Once I get in you won't wanna go
(and I...)
I'll have yo girls wishin they were you
(and I...)
I know your heard about me, but guess what's goin down if we leave

(Hook 2x)
I got friends, and you got friends
They hop out, and you hop in
I look fly, and they jockin
The way you drop, drop makes me wanna pop, pop

(Chorus 2x)
Is ya man on the flo?
If he ain't...
Let me know
Let me see if you can run it, run it
girl indeed I can run it, run it(2x)

Girl you feel right
(Feel right)
Make me feel like...
(feel like...)
I wanna do a little somethin
(do a little somethin)
Ain't no thing let you do it fo sho
Girl the way that your wearin them jeans is turnin me on
I'm the hottest thing thats in these streets so baby won't you rock me...

Make it drop honey...
Make it pop honey...
Whip, whop..
Tick, tock to da clock fo me
don't stop doin that
and shawty know I mean what I say so she won't stop doin dat
Plus I heard if you can dance you can bump
Well dance is up let's go, let's go(yup)
we can get it in...
we can gets some friends
do it like the ying yang twins
wait til' you see my....
wait til' you see my...
let me fall back
You ain't ready for all dat
have you sleep late
real late
yeah takin a long nap
you teel your friends...
to get wit my friends
we can be friends
switch and meet friends(switch)
we can do it all night long, and...
til' da clock hit mornin ya dig

(Chorus 2x)
Is ya man on the flo?
If he ain't...
Let me know
Let me see if you can run it, run it
girl indeed I can run it, run it(2x)

oooh, oooh, oooh, ooh

Music til' fade out...

Not exactly deep stuff here. Ummm, I may need a translator for this one.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Random Music Archive: "New Morning" by Bob Dylan

Track Listing:
1. If Not For You
2. Day of the Locusts
3. Time Passes Slowly
4. Went To See the Gypsy
5. Winterlude
6. If Dogs Run Free
7. New Morning
8. Sign On the Window
9. One More Weekend
10. The Man In Me
11. Three Angels
12. Father Of Night

I like Bob Dylan a lot, but I'm not a Dylanologist. Yes, there's actually a group of folks that study and analyze every facet of Dylan: his life, his music, and I'm sure someone in Dylanology has looked into the effects of Dylan's dietary and eating habits and it's effects on his music. I think this album was created in one of Dylan's "finding himself", of which there are many. Creatively the album seems a little forced, but still loads better an song off of the awful, awful Nashville Skyline."

I think Dylan is one of those rare musicians are actually deserving of the phrase "poet musician." This CD was packaged together with two other of his CDs (John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline), but I think this is my favorite of the three, even if Harding has some very well-known, often imitated Dylan songs on it. I like how laid back this album is. There is one stinker of a song, and that is "If Dogs Run Free", but otherwise I dig this album. If I remember right, I heard "If Not For You" on a George Harrison album as well.

"New Morning" is not the best Dylan, in fact when it comes to great Dylan albums, this CD shouldn't even be in the conversation except for "Sure, if I don't have any of THOSE albums, I could always chill out with New Morning". Still, a lackluster Dylan album is still bounds better than half the stuff in most artists back catalog. I think this album gets the most play out of me on Sunday mornings when paired with Delaney & Bonnie's "Motel Shot" and some early Van Morrison. It's read "Sunday Morning paper" listening music. But if I want my dose of 100% Dylan I'll put in "Blood on the Tracks" or "Highway 61 Revisted".


Monday, August 08, 2005

Lefty Short Cuts

Just a few various things I've been thinking about:

* Kevin Smith said that he likes to play World Championship Poker. I think I could take him. Anyone know his Xbox Live handle? Actually this thought led me to thinking if anyone out there has played with a celeb who was playing on Xbox Live. I did a Google for "Celebrity + Xbox Live" but didn't come up with any sites that would be fun to have fun with. It would be an interesting side gig, live a virtual 'star maps' to the console internet gaming. Which also makes me leads me to believe that making up a Celeb Xbox Live name is about half as fun as looking for them.

* MY wife picked up the Rainbow 6 Black Arrow Lockout Demo this weekend. I played a few times and I'm getting a bit scared for the future of this game. Granted that this was a demo, and we only got to play with limited weapons, one map, and one objective. However I found movement to be awkward in the game, and many of the buttons harder to get the feel of. I also didn't like the tiny map we played (Harbor). I wonder how different the actual game will be from the demo. I like the idea of being able to build a character, like in a MMORP, and I also love that you can turn that option on or off in a game. I also like the look of the game, the sort of brush blue-gray metal. Very soothing, I didn't even mind waiting for the map to load. Still, the Battlefield 2 demo runs circles around this demo. I'll buy the Battlefield 2 game in a heartbeat, this game I may have to rent first. That crushes me a little because I love the Rainbow 6 franchise.

+ I love it when you ask for something AND you get it. Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark on Daredevil, sounds beautiful don't it. Still, I won't break my "wait for the hardcover" rule on Daredevil. I love reading that book in one long stretch. I actual do "wait for the hardcover" on all Bendis stuff. Why? One, practically ALL of his stuff come in hardcover. Two, I dig his stuff and it's confirms to the length the story demands, not the 22 page and you tease the next issue rule. I recently read the New Avenger hardcover, and while I wasn't as impressed as his other stuff (Ult. Spidey and Daredevil in particular), it had it's moments.

+ Today I asked myself a question. "Self, if you only had to pick one and ONLY one monthly comic book to pick up what would you pick up?" Well, I secretly agreed that this doesn't include the bi-monthly True Story Swear to God (by Tom Beland), because that's BI-monthly. I also secretly agreed that I'd still continue to pick up the OGNs from Ait/PLanetLar because they're not a monthly and 9 time out of 10 I get more bang for my buck than a Michael Bay movie. So what WOULD I pick up? Hmm, by a nose over Gotham Central, I'd have to go with Y the Last Man.

Well, lunch time is over, back to the salt mines*

*Or in my case, time to pick up mail.


Friday, August 05, 2005

Lefty's Weekend Three Questions

It's back. Lefty's 3 questions returns, from a short break. Since I will be in the Bay Area tomorrow IKEA shopping and escaping the Fresno heat, Lefty's 3 Questions is going to resume it's former Friday slot. Every weekend I ask three questions. My answers are in the comments section, where you are invited to leave your own answer to the questions there as well.

1.) I've been thinking about Best albums by certain artists. What are the best artists these bands put out: R.E.M., U2, Rolling Stones, Beatles, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, and Black Sabbath. (Feel free to include other artists as well)

2.) Summer is almost over, what made for great reading,watching or listening to this summer for you?

3.) Sure a few of us like to play the, "who should write a comic book for the big two", but let's play the inverse of that. What writer currently writing for Marvel or DC should 'stretch their legs' and do some Indy work? Any idea what they should do?


The Lines Are Still Open!

There is still time to try to win your very own Darth Tater and $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card. For details on the contest, read this.

So far I have three confirmed folks working feverishly to become the undisputed 'King of the Compilation Mix', but there's still time to throw your hat in the ring. So like Axel Rose says: "Get in the ring mutherfucker!"


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Random Music Archive: "Then & Now...The Best of the Monkees"

Track Listing:
1. (Theme From) The Monkees
2. Last Train To Clarksville
3. Take A Giant Step
4. (I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone
5. She
6. A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You
7. I'm A Believer
8. Look Out (Here Comes Tommorrow)
9. Sometime In The Morning
10. The Girl I Knew Somewhere
11. Randy Scouse Git
12. You Just May Be The One
13. For Pete's Sake
14. Pleasant Valley Sunday
15. What Am I Doing Hangin' Round
16. Words
17. Goin' Down
18. Daydream Believer
19. Valleri
20. D.W. Washburn
21. Porpoise Song (Theme from Head)
22. Listen to the Band
23. That Was Then, This Is Now
24. Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere
25. Kicks

This now out of print CD has now been replaced by better Best Of collections of The Monkees material. I was one of the thousands that hopped on The Monkees bandwagon after MTV re-aired the TV series. I saved up my money to see them play the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA, with Weird Al Yankovic opening for them, and yes for the most part they did play their own instruments (with lots of back up musicians).

This Best Of is all your average listener would ever hope to hear...but not me. I love the music they did after the TV show. I like the more political stuff they did. Hell, they even partied at the famous Monterey Pop Festival when Hendrix blew everyone's minds (and yes I do know Hendrix was booed when he opened early in the Monkees careers). I dig the country rock stylings of Mike Nesmith. I owned all of their albums on either vinyl (all from garage sales), or cassette, but time has seperated me from my collection. One day, when the price is right, I'll pick up that dang box set off of Ebay.

My favorite Monkee was Mickey Dolenz, although the correct answer should be Mike Nesmith. Mickey will forever be my George Harrison, the hidden genius. I love his songs, and I liked his very dimwitted American god on the TV series. This reminds me that I need to add the DVD to my Netflix queue, so I can pass off this entertaining series onto my wife.

Anyway, that concert was terrific. My parents drove me and Kelly Clark, a girl I liked. I wanted to be boyfriend/girlfriend with Kelly, but was too shy and awkward to ask out. I found out years later at a 10,000 Manaics concert that she liked me too, but I had missed the window of opportunity and we just remained friends. To this day I'm amazed and thankful that my parents drove all the way from Fairfield to Mountain View, which to my early teen sensabilities seemed very far away, and waited for us until we met up with them after the concert.


Lefty's Weekly Top Ten

1.) Battlefields 2 Demo for Xbox Live Despite having just one map to play on and you can only play for two rounds before having to jump out and jump back in, I am obsessed with this game. Can't wait for this to come out this fall.

2.) Ray Lamontagne "Trouble" The first of many CDs on this week's top ten. I heard the "Hannah" on Xm radio, and loved the 'The Band' vibe coming off it. I picked it up for under $10 and I've fallen in love with it. Reminds me Ryan Adams, only all the material is grade-A prime rib. Very soothing, relaxing music.

3.) Rock Star: INXS First of all, I dislike the band INXS, but I love this show. Sure this is American Idol with a beat, but it's entertaining, and I have this strange fascination with Dave Navarro. What I really want to see is a reality show where "talented" producers make an entire band and not lead singers, sort of like The MOnkees meets "Making the Band" (which was more or less R&B/HipHop).

4.) Aqueduct "i Solid Gold" Every now and then I get in these moods where I make a somewhat blind purchase based on what the local CD section peon decides the public needs to hear. This was Barnes & Noble Music Department Mike's selection, and God bless him for it. I really dig this album which is very much a more rough-around-the-edges The Killers/80s redux band. I was hooked on one listen.

5.) Alanis Morissette "Jagged Little Pill Acoustic" An impulse buy while picking up my free cup of coffee at the local market/drycleaning/bank/starbucks/everythingueverneedevenifudontneedit grocery store. I have to admit this is quite good. Look for a sort of compare/contrast Musical Archive post soon between this new acoustic CD and the original CD.

6.) Dead West (Gigantic Graphic Novels) While I had a problem with some of the art which felt rushed, incomplete and hard to tell the differene between certain characters, the story here is very fun and a highly recommended read. Zombies and Spaghetti Westerns. Very enjoyable. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy.

7.) Justice #1 (DC) Of coruse that pansy Aquaman would be the first to fall. In all seriousness, this is a very good beginning to a story that is going to take a while to tell (2 years). I best not file the issue away, because I bet I'm going to have to reread them all with each new issue. Still, it's gorgeous, breath-taking art with a story that feels like it's going to be gigantic, all-out fight.

8.) Sandbaggers volume 2 & 3 DVD sets Finished the second volume last week, and now beginning the final volume of this fantastic British spy series. Despite the play-like settings, the acting is top notch, and the writing is among the finest I've seen in any spy series. You know it's good when it starts to shape your perception of what the government is up to, particularily in this modern war against terror: fighting terror with torture.

9.) Gotham Central #32-34 "Dead Robin" (DC) Once again Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka prove why this is the best "Bat Book" on the stands. I love how the readers are left as much in the dark to the inner-working/reasoning of Batman and his crew as the detectives in the GCPD are. Why does Batman take the gun? Is there more than one Robin? The artist, Kano, is starting to grow on me. He's helped out by some gorgeous coloring and inking. Great work, and I'm so hooked on this story. This book is now one of the first I read in my pile.

10.) March of the Penguins Saw this documentary this week up on a super-huge screen, thus increasing the penguin "chicks" cute factor times ten! I normally don't go to movies in which I know there will be a pack (or is it a herd) of young kids, but I risked it for this movie, if anything just to see what would happen when they showed penguin sex on screen. Sadly, the filmmakers decided to be very tasteful in showing penguin reproduction, focusing a great deal on penguin foreplay, but we did one passing shot of penguin sex, and who knew? Penguins like it doggy-style. Anyway, the movie is very good, and the moments of sadness as quickly followed by shots of "awwwwwww how cute" tiny penguins, so even the inner softies like me can make it through the film without wet, red eyes. The movie's sondtrack was very moving as well. It's quite possibly the best film I've seen all summer, although the car chase went a little too long for my tastes.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Lefty Left-Overs: Join Spud or Die!!!

A few weeks ago I picked up one of these at SDCC:

Yesterday I picked up another one of these:

And if the force is strong in you, it could be yours! That's right I am giving away an unopened Darth Tater figure, free of charge to one lucky blog reader. [Update: winner will also receive a gift card from Barnes & Noble as well.] The contest is open to those in the North America area (re: USA and Canada). Relatives and employees of Leftybrown may not play the game, since I have no employees that narrows the playing field.

I will be making you work for it. I love listening to those Mixed Bag CDs I threw together a few months ago, but this time around I wanted to make it a bit more challenging. This time, I get to judge the compilation discs and declare the ruler of all compilation discs. I will review each and every one here on the blog, and will then reveal the winner. To make it more challenging, contestants must choose one of three parameters to craft their compilation discs:

1.) Music A to Z. Fit in alphabetic order (as many as you can) music from bands that begin with the letter A on down to Z (or as far as you can get).

2.) Include songs that relate in anyway, shape, or form to Comic Books. It could be the name of the band, the song title, or a comic book is mentioned in the song. You decide.

3.) Create the Greatest 60's, 70's, 80's, or 90's Music Compilation Ever Created. All tracks must be from one decade only. Bonus points for keeping away from tracks that always seem to make it on those decades collection (i.e. do we really need another 80s hits mix that has A-Ha's "Take on Me" on it).

Here's the fine print:

1. Email me at leftybrown (at) gmail (dot) com if you want to take part, and I'll supply you with my mailing address.

2. Entries must be received by me by August 20th to be considered. I'll email you when they do arrive, just so you know.

3. I may make additional copies of the top three compilation discs of my choosing to mail out to readers of the blog so they can share in your good taste...or if you want you can choose to pass additional ones out via your own blog (if you have one).

4. I may add additional prizes to sweeten the pot, so to speak. And I may add a prize for second and third place. If I do, I'll mention it here on the blog.

5. Have fun, but keep in mind the deadline.

Update: Now that I have the wife's permission, I am also giving away a $20-25 gift card from Barnes & Noble for the first place winner as well.


Random Music Archive: "Knowledge & Innocence" by Terry Scott Taylor

Track Listing:

Dancing On Light
(Out of) The Wild Wood
Here Comes Second Time
Picture of You
Song of Innocence
Old Time Gospel Camp Meeting Hour
Picture of You (Reprise)
Ever After
Home Movies
(a. Christmas 1980)
(b. Knowledge & Innocence)
One More Time
Baby's Heartbeat (6 Months)
Light Princess
Waiting (Reprise)

Way back in the early 90s, I became a more devout Christian. Not really fundy, but I went through a phase where I threw out a lot of my more "questionable" secular music. I was a bit more picky in my Christian music, eschewing some of the more popular Christian music like Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, and the like. A friend of mine had this Christian concept album by Terry Taylor on cassette, and we went on a steady musical diet of this cassette, music from Jeff Johnson, 77's, The Choir, Adam Again, Daniel Amos, Swirling Eddies, Randy Stonehill and a few others. Several years ago I picked up this album on a reissued CD. In hindsight I think the album works better as a cassette or record, just because the listener feels the two stories better when you have to physically flip it over. If I remember right the second side of the cassette would start on the Old Time Gospel Camp Meeting Hour.

"Knowledge & Innocence" was written about the time Terry Taylor was dealt with losing a child in miscarriage and losing his grandfather. Much of the album deals with those loses, but with tenderness, and a sense of wonder and mystery. It evokes almost a C. S. Lewisian view of death and entrance intro the Wild Wood. Terry seems to have a penchant for concept album, because between his solo stuff, and his other band stuff there's a lot of them, but this is one of the best, IMHO. Musically it's quite good, but does have some of the cheesy synth music on the some of the tracks. The song writing is stellar however.

This album has always been a good listen for me. Terry is one of handful of Christian artists, that take the term "artist" to mind when crafting songs that reflect faith and music. You get a sense in a lot of his songs that he takes his love of the Beach Boys, and the SoCal Country Rock, and even the Bakerfield sound and infuses it into his music. Hell, he even thanks Brian Wilson in the credits on this album.


You Have Experienced A Brownout

Is it Wednesday already? Geez, I promise to have some actual content later on today as I catch up from doctor visits, and a pile of work. I have a couple of neat things to give away in a couple contests, so that's something to keep checking the blog. I also have a few Random Music Archives to post on, a weekly top ten, and a few other things. So the next few days I should have plenty of content. Until then....

You know if I was ever really, really rich, instead of buying a mansion I would by an apartment building. I would then have each apartment redone with different themes and styles. I would live in a different apartment each week depending on my whims. I would name the apartment building, the Baxter Building. Apartment themes, off the top of my head: the indoor jungle apartment, the gym apartment, the comic book reading apartment, the "game" apartment, the "movie theatre" apartment, the "apartment of looooove", and the sparse apartment for intense meditiation and general boredom.