Friday, September 30, 2005

Lefty's Friday Three Questions

For those playing the underwater version of Friday 3 Questions, here's how to play. Every Friday I ask 3 questions. My answer is in the comments section, where you are welcome to leave you answer to the 3 questions as well. This week's theme is things that are wet:

1.) Who would win in an epic battle for Lord of the Underwater Realm, Namor the Submariner or Aquaman? Why?

2.) What's the most fun you've had in or around a large body of water?

3.) Too name a few: Jaws, The Abyss, The Deep, Dead Calm, Pirates of the Caribbean. What's your favorite movie which features the ocean as a major part of the film?


Thursday, September 29, 2005

Banned Books Meme

My wife started this Meme up, so I'm contractually obligated to follow it through here on my blog. I have the ones I've read in BOLD, and the ones in my library in italics. If I've read them and own it in my library I've decided to underline them.

Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
Forever by Judy Blume
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Giver by Lois Lowry
It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Sex by Madonna
Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
The Goats by Brock Cole
Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
Blubber by Judy Blume
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
Final Exit by Derek Humphry
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
Deenie by Judy Blume
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
Cujo by Stephen King
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
Fade by Robert Cormier
Guess What? by Mem Fox
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Native Son by Richard Wright
Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Jack by A.M. Homes
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
Carrie by Stephen King
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
Family Secrets by Norma Klein
Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
The Dead Zone by Stephen King
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
Private Parts by Howard Stern
Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
Sex Education by Jenny Davis
The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Wow this makes me look like I never read any books, but in truth most of these books are children's books, and at that time I was fast reading mystery books (Hardy Boys, Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, Bloodhound Gang) or more advance sci-fi (Dune). My more lit stuff didn't start happening until high school when that world just blossomed for me after reading Catcher In The Rye and To Kill A Mockingbord.


Jesus ~Hearts~ Banned Books

As I've mentioned a few times, I work in a library on a Christian university. Being an institution for higher (and hopefully) critical learning AND a place of religious instruction makes for an interesting dichotomy, especially with the recent events over "Intelligent Design" and what-not. This year our library has been invigorated with the infusion of new blood ( a new library director and a cataloger just a few weeks out of 'library school'). We as a staff are trying to make a library a polis in the campus community. To that end for the first time ever we have been recognizing the ALA's Banned Books Week with a week-long lunch reading and conversations over some banned and challenged books.

Evidently we got a complaint. A faculty member, who didn't even attend any of the book readings, talked to the university provost that he thought it was inappropriate for us to be promoting banned books, after all he said, books are banned for good reason. Well the provost, bless her heart let our L.D. know about the complaint. Our L.D. in turn called the faculty member in question to remind him that as bible believing person, he should had first come to our L.D. with his complaint as it shows in the Matthew model of reconciliation. Then, our L.D. reminded the faculty member that the Holy Bible is itself a banned book, primarily in a few countries outside of the United States. Zing!

The faculty member later called and apologized. However I'm more than a little upset about this, I had expected more from our university, especially its faculty. Anyway, the readings have been very good. Monday's reading was Shel Silverstein's "A Light In The Attic". Tuesday's reading was Margaret Atwood's "A Handmaid's Tale". Yesterday's reading was Maya Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings". Today's reading is Allan Gingsburg's poem, "America" and Joseph Heller's "Catch 22". And I'll be reading The Daily Show's "America (The Book)" on Friday.

Yesterday's reading was particularly affecting. I have to admit I haven't yet read "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings", but our cataloger read out a couple of portions. One portion was from the character's 8th Grad Graduation, and our cataloger just broke down and cried. After collecting himself, he illustrated that this book was challenged and sometimes banned not just because of the sex or the language but because of how whites were presented, and even how black men are largely absentees in black families in the book. I've decided to the read this soon as our cataloger returns it.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Tanks, But No Tanks (On Iraq)

In 1989, the last Soviet tanks rolled out of Afghanistan after ten years of conflict. Those images of those tanks rolling over a bridge stuck with me, but yesterday I couldn't help but feel that in another ten years we'll be seeing U.S. humvees and tanks making a similar exit out of Iraq. This is becoming a war most Americans don't want, and a costly one at that, but we'll fuddle through it for many years to come with Republicans or Democrats in office. That's the way of things, we hate to admit our mistakes until it is years too late. Eventually we'll see that no matter how much we try, Iraq will get the type of country it wants or deserves, and not one imposed with the limits we try to set or influence them with. Their resistance view themselves as freedom fighters, which is kind of ironic seeing as this faction's religious views keep women in the dark ages.


Lefty Beats Tom Spurgeon (For Once)

Sorry, Tom is the king of all linkblogging, and comics reporting, but I'm beating him to the punch with this link on on Neil Gaiman and Hollywood. Check it out, and then check Spurgeon's site, The Comics Reporter, because while I beat him THIS time to the link, he'll always have better commentary and thoughts on this and other subjects than I could on a good day.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Comes A Time: The Music of Jerry Garcia Concert

Last Saturday was a very nice day. It almost didn't start out that way. I had planned to get an early start to my day, and I was ready to leave the house at 7 AM. However the car wouldn't start, and for the next hour I scrambled trying to find what could be the problem, and wondering if I'll have to miss out on this concert I was so excited about going to. Thankfully it turns out that I had to remove some crud from my battery cables and tighten them up, and so I was very relieved to be on the road at 8 AM. I was bugging out there because the last time I went to a concert in the Bay Area my battery died, and now the car crapped out on me again. I have a U2 concert to go to in November, so if it craps out then too, I'll start to question whether the Native Americans were right to believe in a the coyote god, the prankster god.

Anyway, when I made it to my friend's house we decided to take the BART into Berkeley. A wise choice, which made for a relaxing walk around town, and a no stress commute to and from the Berkeley Greek Theatre...not to mention no parking hassles. Before heading to the venue, my friend and I stopped in at Rasputin's a killer Music store. My friend played his regular job of catch and release, where he would hunt down things he was interested in and then put them back. As for myself, I picked up two used CDs. An odd combo, Black Crowes' "Three Snakes & One Charm" and A-Ha's "Hunting High and Low".

On our way to the venue we picked up some Pad Thai to eat in the venue. It was a decent walk uphill, but we made it, and hooked up with some friends who had some space reserved for us on the lawn. Here's the setlist:

The Comes a Time Benefit - For the Rex Foundation
The Music of Jerry Garcia
The Greek Theatre, Berkeley, CA

David Nelson, Sandy Rothman, & Brian Godchaux
7 songs, approx. 25 minutes

String Cheese members w/Scott Law on guitar:
Approximately 30 minutes
Friend of the Devil
Catfish John
Casey Jones (also w/Jeff Chimenti)
Goin'Down the Road Feelin' Bad

The "Jerry" Band
Approximately 40 minutes
Cats Down Under The Stars
Rhapsody In Red
That Lucky Old Sun
My Sisters & My Brothers
*with Warren Haynes, Merl Saunders joining Melvin Seals on keys

Approximately 30 minutes
Mississippi 1/2 Step
Bird Song
Lazy River Road
Big Railroad Blues
Rex Foundation speakers Annabelle Garcia, and family speak briefly

The Jerry Garcia Tribute Band
Approximately 2 hours, 50 minutes including encores
Olin Arageed (Hamza El Din)
Help on The Way (Trey) *Power failure, house sound goes completely out for a minute or two.*
Sugaree (Warren)
Loser (Bruce)
Brown Eyed Woman (Michael Kang)
Dark Star (Bobby)
Bertha (Warren)
Eyes of The World (Trey)
Standing on The Moon (Bruce)
Scarlet Begonias (Bruce)
Fire on The Mountain (Mickey)
Stella Blue (Warren)
The Wheel (Bobby)
Uncle John's Band (All)
He's Gone (Bobby)
Franklin's Tower (Trey)

Brokedown Palace (Bobby)
Dark Star v.2 (Bobby)
Touch of Grey

The show was relaxing evening. It started promptly at 5 and ended nearly right on 11PM. Six hours of music for $50 is a pretty good bargain. The performances were pretty good, but there was the occasional slips of people missing lyrics, musicians missing cues. However overall it was a magical night.

Some performances stick out above the rest. The String Cheese Incident set got the crowd into the show early, and the aisles and theatre were full of dancing, some spirited and some, well interesting to say the least. Trey Anastacio was terrific on "Eyes of the World" which fit his guitar tone. Warren Haynes was particularly moving on an awesome rendition of "Stella Blue". And Bruce Hornsby gave one of my favorite performances on a somber and tender "Standing on the Moon".

I was caught off-guard by how great the Jerry's Band portion was. Drawing from Garcia's solo work, many of these artists made up various versions of his solo bands. Their performances gave the sometimes overlooked material new life, and on some very powerful performances.

All in all I had a wonderful time at the show. On the BART towards the show, my concert-going buddy and I each chose 25 songs we'd thought would be performed at the benefit. We call this our "setlist challenge". A group of us started doing this some years ago for every concert we'd go to. It's a little akin to box scores at a sports game. Anyway, I got my ass handed to me on setlist challenge. Out of 25 I got no more than 9, my friend got 15 or 16 out of 25. At least I got to hear Touch of Grey, and a few other of my favorite Grateful Dead songs.

Oh, I also should say we sat around some really nice folks at the show, and ended up chatting and enjoying the concert with a couple (Tom and Beverly) from Redding. Bev is a fifth grade teacher, Tom a superintendent. Had a blast just chatting about Dead shows, education, and kids.

The show is now available for download via bitorrent, so if you have the know-how and an excellent connection, you can hear the show for yourself. You can download it here.

Lastly, all the photos featured in this post are from Robert Minkin's site. Nice work.


Lefty 5 is Alive!*

Yes I'm still around, just swamped at work, and recovering from an awesome weekend...except for a little touch of something I picked up on my way home on Sunday.

I'll have a report on the massive concert I went to, some words on the War in Iraq, and embark on something everyone's been waiting for, an issue by issue review of the world-changing Marvel "New Universe" book D.P.7....yeah, I'm going down that untrodden path.

Bear with me, posting should recommence this evening.

By the way, still have my eBay auctions running, and I'm continuing to add stuff. Again if you read this blog regularly and happen to win an auction, drop me a line and I'll cut you a break on shipping.

*And yes that was a Short Circuit reference. Where have you gone Steve Guttenberg?


Saturday, September 24, 2005

Lefty Picks The Dead

I'm just about to begin my trek up to Berkeley for the "Comes A Time" the Jerry Garcia tribute concert, featuring a plethora of artists. I'm hoping for a real good concert, there's something about Garcia that makes those who love his music love him passionately, so I'm betting we get some outstanding moments. So allow me for a moment to indulge myself, hell isn't that what a blog is all about, self-indulgence? With Grateful Dead songs floating in my brain, I'm gonna dash off a list of my Top 20 Grateful Dead songs:

1. Box of Rain
2. Ripple
3. Sugar Magnolia
4. Uncle John's Band
5. Touch of Grey
6. Dire Wolf
7. Terrapin Station
8. Shakedown Street
9. Eyes of the World
10. Cassidy
11. Scarlet Begonias
12. Sugaree
13. So Many Roads
14. Black Muddy River
15. The Wheel
16. Built to Last
17. Playing in the Band
18. Tons of Steel
19. Franklin's Tower
20. Stella Blue

I'll try to take notes tonight and have a review of the show on Monday, possibly Sunday night. I'm On the Road Again, sure as you're born....


Friday, September 23, 2005

Lefty's Friday Three Questions

Everybody's working for the Friday 3 Questions....just doesn't have the same ring to it. Anyway for those without the travel edition of Friday 3 Questions, every week I ask three questions. My answer to those questions are in the comments section, where I'd be just swell if you could leave your own set of answers. This week is an all music edition, since my mind is jonesing on the Garcia tribute show I'm going to on Saturday. Here we go:

1.) What's the furthest you ever traveled to see a concert? Who was it, when was it, and was it worth it?

2.) I'll be having fun going through used CDs in Berkeley, but what rock CDs (classic or modern) should I be on the hunt for, and if found should not pass by?

3.) Time to take the tarp off of that time-machine. If you could catch a concert by any band: who and when would it be? Extra points for a reason why.

P.S. Yeah I know the Grateful Dead Comix isn't next in my "A to Z" comic cover project, but I got the Dead in the old noggin' right now.


Lefty's Weekly Top Ten

Before I dive into work, it's time for the weekly top ten, brought to you by the letter "C":

1. The Shield Season 1-2 DVD Wow! Just finished off season 1 and about to head into season 2. Just when the you think plot is gonna zig it zags. What a great series.

2. My Name Is Earl (NBC) So far my favorite new show on TV. I laughed so hard and loud at the premiere episode, and start evangelizing about the show to co-workers.

3. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever by Stephen R. Donaldson I should finish with the first trilogy today at lunch, and dive in to the second trilogy. I have really enjoyed re-reading this series after so long. Everything feels new, because it's been so long I can hardly remember what happens next.

4. No Direction Home DVD and CD I've really have been enjoying listening to the CD "soundtrack" in the car, helps mellow me out when faced with some very stupid Fresno drivers. The DVD I haven't gotten too far in, but I have really been enjoying it a lot.

5. Grateful Dead "American Beauty" I've been listening to a few Dead and Jerry Garcia CDs recently as I eagerly await the Jerry Garcia Tribute Concert: Comes A Time this Saturday. American Beauty is easily my favorite Dead album from start to finish. I even like "Candyman". When I first heard this album some two years after Garcia died, I was ashamed I never got into them earlier, because I love the folk/acoustic feel of the album, along with the awesome Robert Hunter lyrics.

6. Rainbow 6 Lockdown (Xbox) I'm enjoying the game, but it does have too many bugs in it. I was a little angry recently because during a game my level 26 Engineer all of a sudden dropped to a level 18 Engineer, for no damn good reason. Grrr.

7. Family Guy (Fox) Ahh new episodes! I'm still loving this show quite a bit, and especially when they delve into the little media asides that hit my time period, like when they had the Kool Aid Man break through the courtroom wall back in the first season.

8. Arrested Development (Fox) Yeah! It's back! The funniest show on TV last season. The first episode was very good, just not as laugh out loud...yet. I expect great things this season as the series progresses. I also wished the would've released the second season on DVD before the new third season started.

9. How I Meet Your Mother (CBS) An okay start to the series. It definitely has that "Friends" polish to it. Can't wait until the actors really get their teeth into the characters. Remember that first season of Friends, it too felt a little flat for the first few episodes. I'm expecting this to hit it's stride in a few episodes...and it has Bob Saget in voice-overs.

10. Cake Like "Bruiser Queen" I couple weeks ago I just happened to be going through old videotapes and came across an old MTV show 120 Minutes. On the show was a video by Cake Like, which featured many of the comedians from the State. Cake Like had Kerri Kenney (also from The State) in it, who can currently can be seen on Comedy Central's Reno 911. Anyway I picked up this CD really, really cheap on eBay I have been enjoying it. It's actually quite good in a Tom Tom Club meets B-52s type way.


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Lefty Is Hard At Work (Just Not At This Moment)

Our library's 2006 Serial Renewals List just came in, which means Lefty has very little time. So before I head to lunch, let me make just a short post.

I had a very short pull list yesterday at the 'ole comic book shop. I ended picking up just five books. Days of Vengeance ended, the first of the I.C. lead-in books. I swear, someone out there in the comic blogosphere should start a blog devoted to finding out why Bill Willingham hates Batman. Yeah, I'm being tongue in cheek here, because I like what he's doing on Fables. However, Willingham at the end of Days of Vengeance had another destruction hit Batman's home turf, Gotham. Sure that debris could have hit anywhere: Metropolis, Coast City, Belle Reve, sub-San Diego (or whatever they're calling it nowadays)...but NOOOOOO, things had to come crashing down on Gotham. They never catch a break. What's next Bill, you gonna have Alfred out himself and take up with Hush? (On a very special Batman, Alfred reveals he too has a secret identity, and need to DANCE!) I kid, I kid. All in all I liked the Days of Vengeance mini, I found it to be the most easily understood of the minis right up the last two issues, but hey I, like most folks, got a kick out of Detective Chimp.

I also liked the latest issue of Runaways, but I'm not digging the new artist all that much. It felt like a filler issue, but knowing Brian K. Vaughn (who I don't ACTUALLY know, but semantics aside...) an event like the one that happened there will have later implications should the series survive another hiatus or a cancellation.

I haven't finished reading the new Green Lantern Corps. G.L. was my first favorite DC character, but it now Flash. However Green Lantern has a special place in my heart. So far the issue is good, the art is mostly good (some of the art was sketchy in the GL/JLA meet-up), and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens. It's not re-inventing the wheel, but I'm hoping it's more readable than the other Dave Gibbons scripted mini, Rann-Thanagar War.

Yesterday I also picked up the new Bob Dylan documentary DVD, I've only watched about 1/4 of it so far, but damn it's good. Dylan is really forthcoming in the interview portions. Also Martin Scorsese does an excellent job of finding an event in Dylan's musical career that creates the tension in a documentary that draws the viewer in, in this case the "heretic(al)" performance when he switched from acoustic to electric guitar in a performance in England. This DVD no has me looking into finding some good Woody Guthrie biographies and books to read. Can anyone suggest some very good ones?

Anyway, I've continued putting some items up on eBay, and even Mrs. Lefty has gotten into the act as she's at home sick, racked with pain, so the items for sale are growing in our virtual garage sale. Feel free to buy some stuff, because I just read in today's SF Chronicle that if Hurricane Rita hits real hard, we may be looking at gas being $4 a gallon. Yikes! Time to learn those bus routes if that happens.

And since I'm in the "B" section of my comic cover run, let me just find an excuse to post one of my favorite covers ever (which someday I'll own), it's Brave and Bold #124, but the late Jim Aparo.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Spurious Thoughts and Linkblogging

I'm just having one of those week's where nothing really comes to mind, so my blogging efforts resemble more of a free-write to see what sticks, then something thought-out in advance. I had originally planned this to be a "Guest Week" in which I would trot out several fictional TV characters to post, starting off with MacGuyver. However I just wasn't prepared or had my heart in it. Maybe some other time.

On eBay: I ran out of time to put up some more stuff on Ebay, but I did see I had a few bids on the two items I have up right now. Tonight I should have a few miniseries like the 80's Hercules, Cloak & Dagger, X-Men vs. FF, X-Men vs. Avengers, a few recent stuff like Astonishing X-men, Captain America, Young Avengers, and who knows what else I'll get around to.

On All-Star Batman & Robin: I also had planned on writing a little bit about All-Star Batman & Robin. I was a little put off by the last two issues, and yeah I get what others bloggers are saying about the humor in issue two, but what gets me is this both Miller and Lee seem to be off their game. Sure, I can handle a crazy Batman every once in a while, but this was supposed to be a project that jettisons a lot of the continuity baggage in favor of an Batman that most people would recognize. This isn't it. Miller's characterization of Batman isn't a bad thing, it's just the wrong project. However, my real problems with the book is Jim Lee. I usually dig Jim Lee's work but on this book everyone is either a beef-cake or a cheesecake, I mean check out the pictures of Alfred, he looks like he could kick the asses of a dozen men. I also felt like some of the art felt rushed especially the hard to follow chase in issue 2. Anyway, I've dropped the book from my pull list, and wait for the trade to see if the later issues get any better.

On the Death of the Comic Blogosphere: I know as of late there's been some discussion in the comic blogosphere about the death of the comic blogosphere. Sure some of the best and the brightest have moved on, but there's still plenty of bright lights out there. As of late some of my favorite comic bloggers have been, in no particular order:

Tom Maclean's Bags & Boards
is, more or less, a corporate blog of Variety, but I've found Maclean to have some very nice commentary and insights. It's one of my favorite sites for seeing the comics realm through entertainment eyes. It's updated almost everyday, but usually every other day.

Tom Spurgeon's The Comic Reporter is one of the best comic blogs around. When he hangs up his hat, then you know the comics blogosphere is D.O.A. He may not be good for a lots of infotainment "news" (aka comics book marketing hiding as news), which I do admit I like to feed on, but damn it, this man has turned me onto some great graphic novels, comics, and creators that have opened my eyes to the great potential this medium (or is it a genre) offers. Updated everyday, this man works like no other. If I had any complaints it would be there's no comments section...but he doesn't need that headache it seems.

Fanboy Rampage embraces and rejects comic fandom, and in doing so seems to provide a very good resource in news and events in the comics world. The commenters are just as insightful, biting, and witty as the host, and I admire Graeme's work in hunting down the best in fanboy rampage. This is updated just about daily often several times a day.

Ian Brills' Brill Building
has become one of my favorite sites for his "big picture" thinking about comic books. This site is updated at least once daily, but maybe not on the weekends. He recently relocated from SoCal to NorCal, so I'm interested in seeing how geography may also play into what books, creators, and events he'll cover. He knows his comic history too, almost as much as this next guy:

Mike Sterling's Progressive Ruin is one of the funniest places in the comic blogosphere. I marvel at his comics history intellect and a bit scared of his consuming passion for Swamp Thing. He has some keen humor, and genuine love for comics, cheesy or not. He just may not some of his customers. Mike often posts daily, sometime a couple times a day.

Dorian's ( is another one of my favorite reads. It's no wonder that pal Dorian and pal Mike have two great sites. They both work at the same comic shop, and they both have a great comic book intellect. One day there really needs to be a contest to see which of these two minds, Dorian's or Mike's, can lay claim to the comic blogosphere's "Big Brain". Dorian might have an edge because he knows his Manga, and his not about afraid to let it show. Dorian updates his blog daily, sometimes more than once a day. He brings a witty, biting, and often not too heard of commentary to the comic blogosphere.

That's just a short list of comic bloggers that I read daily, there's a great many more that I haven't ventured into yet, but eventually I will. If there's a comic blog I really need to check out, that isn't on my right-hand list of links, let me know. So I don't think the comic blogosphere is anywhere close to it's deathbed, and I do believe the best is yet to come.

On Non-Comic Blogging: I will be getting back to reviews of music in my archive shortly. I am getting back into non-80s specific music for the time being. Also this weekend I'm headed up to Berkeley for a Jerry Garcia tribute concert with a great many guitarists and performers I admire. I hope to formulate some thoughts about that for the blog, as well as finding some great used music at Rasputin's and Amoeba Records.

Finally, just for shits & giggles I'm doing an A to Z comic book cover in my posts so enjoy it. All my jpgs are coming from the great site,


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Lefty Hawks His Wares

I've begun putting some stuff up on Ebay. Most of the time, especially when I'm selling comics, it is a slow process. Not only do I have to wade through 20 short boxes of comics to decide what must go, I have to make sure I'm not accidentally advertising a lot that is missing a book, or a lot in which an issue may be of lower quality than the rest of the bunch. Going through my short boxes I also have these moments of self-doubt on what I should get rid of. I'm becoming less and less a collector, but there are some runs or titles that I value. For instance, I am on the fence on getting rid of my complete volume 2 Flash run. I think if I really, really need money I may get rid of it, especially with DC doing a good job in getting most of the great storylines in trades. I haven't decided what I'm going to do with that title. I did decide that I will keep my Amazing Spider-Man and Uncanny X-men run because that does give me some degree of pleasure of hunting down back issues at cons or on Ebay.

Also, I will be selling some stuff I haven't cancelled on my pull list. That means that I'll continue getting a title for two more months, despite selling off the previous issues. I'm trying harder to move my buying habits from monthlies to trades, with a few exceptions. I just don't have the space for a bunch of boxes piled up in a corner.

The plan is to put up a few comic auctions every night, and also add some non-comic auctions. I have a few hard to find Star Wars figures that I bought solely to resell on Ebay. I'm also trying something a little new and seeing if I can use Ebay as my virtual garage sale, trying to sell some items that aren't collectibles, or music or games. I'll have a couple of wireless routers, some CD storage, some books, and who knows what else.

I'm hoping this new round of Ebay selling goes well. I'm looking at the calendar and seeing that there's not a lot of time between now and December when my wife and I hoped to fly back east to visit my peeps. Standing in between now and then is a few big bills that have lingered from the summer, bigger heating bills, huge gasoline costs, Christmas presents for loved ones, and Xbox 360 just before Thanksgiving. I have a feeling that the Xbox 360 will have to wait until next year's tax refund.

Anyway, if you want take a look at my Ebay auctions. New stuff will be appearing daily for at least a week. Also if you happen to win an auction and read my blog, drop me a line and I'll cut you a deal on shipping.


Saturday, September 17, 2005

Lefty Has the Fever!

Every once in while a book comes out and the concept alone is enough to sell you. Full Moon Fever is about a crew of Waste Disposal technicians, who fly to a Moonbase to service their plumbing when all hell breaks loose. When I first heard of the Joe Casey/Caleb Gerard book Full Moon Fever, I knew I had to pick it up. Why? Werewolves in space!

Yep, you heard that right. On the freakin' moon. Let me tell you, I pre-ordered that son of the bitch!

So this past Wednesday 'lo and behold Full Moon Fever was waiting for me to dive into, and let me tell you, this book it pure adrenaline. Casey's story has all the right elements of a great sci-fi flick, and he paces the story just right to get the full effect of the horror of running into werewolves 238,850 miles from the Earth. Caleb Gerard does a worthy job of bringing Casey's script to life. I was able to make out different characters, and the art conveyed the dire situation these Waste Disposal techies find themselves in. My one small problem with Gerard's art is I would have wanted more detail in the background. I love space stories, and wanted to get the sense of the mechanics, cramp-space of the environment this crew finds themselves trying to survive in.

I have to admit, this book is now one of my favorites Ait/PlanetLar books. It's a book that by the time you finish, you want to talk to someone about it. You want to exchange ideas for sequels. You want to note the details that may spin into further speculation. You want to wonder if Neil Armstrong could make a giant step for man right into the nads of a freakin' Werewolf! This is a book you want to purchase several copies of to hand out to your friends they too can marvel at this book. I loved Casey's writing so much, I'm going to order Codeflesh to check out some more of his Indy work.

Can someone please find Casey and Gerard, lock them in a basement or attic somewhere until they turn out further adventures of Zeke space...with werewolves.


Friday, September 16, 2005

Lefty's Friday Three Questions

Before I dive back into work after a staff break, I thought I'd return my often imitated series, Three Questions. If you haven't played, here's how it works: I ask 3 questions, my answers are in the comments section, where you can also leave your responses as well. So without further ado, here's this weeks 3 questions:

1. Should we rebuild New Orleans, a city on the coast, below sea level? If so, do you trust the current regimes...ummm administration to do the job right?

2. Summer ends next week, so what was the favorite thing you did this summer?

3. Let's reverse the trend, what movie would you love to see turned into a comic book? Who would you love to see write and draw it?


Lefty Rambles On

I've been working on this for some time, and finally got all the details and contracts signed, so I just wanted to report that next week this blog will be co-hosted by some very special guests. Should be fun, and I'm looking for a well-deserved break.

Also while I'm taking a brief respite during Guest Host week, I'll be putting a lot of stuff up on Ebay to try to deal with rising gas costs, taking care of a lingering bill that I want to make disappear, and maybe put a little away so I can indulge myself when Xbox 360 comes out. There will be a lot of comic books some broken into runs of books, maybe some music, some Xbox games, and if all goes well some books, toys, and CD/DVD storage, and whatever I can get rid of that I don't have to save for our annual Yard sale next May. I'll have one of my guest hosts next week post a link to my auctions. And if you're a reader of the blog and you win an auction, email me and I'll cut you a break on shipping. Things should start going up on Sunday or Monday.

Lastly thanks once again to all who participated in the Darth Tater contest, it was a blast. For those who are dying to share their mix CDs with me, hold you horses because after guest-host week I'll unveil plans for the next round of Mixed Bag "Halloween" edition. Looks like it'll be fun, but the next round will also be limited to just a handful of people to make things run faster (and last time out there were a few no-shows to the party).


Lefty's Weekly Top Ten

Wow, it's been a short while since I've done one of these. Here's what's floating my boat as of late:

1. Full Moon Fever (AiT/PlanetLar) Werewolves on the moon. Sold! Even more, the book is freakin' fantastic. I'll have a review of it soon. I'm going to read this lots of times.

2. The Shield Season 1 DVD I finally got around to this series through Netflix. Man it's an incredible series, with some outstanding performances. It has that edge and great storywriting that immediately makes me think of the former HBO series Oz. I'm so glad my wife also liked it, because now we can both spend time together watching it.

3. Rockstar: INXS (CBS) This series wraps up next week, and I have to say I really did enjoy it. I was impress on how well these competition got along (mostly), and lately the performances have been amazing. I'm thinking J.D. is going to win it, but I hope it's Mig or Marty. But I have a feeling that Marty is angling for the "Bo" factor of having a successful career outside of INXS doing his own thing.

4. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever series by Stephen R. Donaldson I am presently just starting Book 3 of the first trilogy, and am now caught up in it. Great fantasy books, that I'd love to see how they'd translate into movies.

5. Rainbow 6: Lockdown (Xbox) Recently got a butt-load of Best Buy rewards (because they screwed up royally on setting up my account), so I broke down and bought the new game. So far I'm enjoying it, but it did have a lot of bugs that UBI has been busy fixing. I like the career mode, makes for gameplay that is progressive and rewarding. I do wish they had more maps though.

6. Rolling Stones "A Bigger Bang" I don't know the whole history of Rolling Stones CD in the past 20 years, other than they have been hit or miss. However their new album sounds fantastic. They really out did themselves here. The whole album sounds re-energized and they don't feel like they are resting on their laurels (take that Eric Clapton!).

7. Survivor Guatemala (CBS) Survivor looks promising this year, but last night's episode was very the Stephanie & Bobby Jon show. I'm looking forward to see how this season plays out, but just once I would love to see a season that isn't filled with inner-tribe bickering, and women vs men alliances.

8. Bob Dylan "No Direction Home " and "Live at the Gaslight 1962" Dylan CDs are sorta like Willie Nelson CDs, you never know when they'll come out and then you'll turn around there's a new one out. Both of these are very good, but I find myself gravitating towards disc 2 of the No Direction Home because I love every freakin' song on that disc.

9. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central) I still hate the new set, but the shows smart wits are still very much about them. I've been enjoying their week-long Evolution/Schmevolution Special Report. Good stuff, but so far no mention of Flying Spaghetti Monster.

10. Big Brother 6 (CBS) I'm watching it if for no other reason to watch the "friendship" alliance to be thrown out on their collective asses. This is an awful series that is like rubber-necking a car accident. You know it's going to be bad, and ugly and grotesque but you watch. At least I get to watch this with my lovely wife.


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Lefty Sneak Peek: Local #1

Lately I've been thinking about why I pick up comic book "floppies", when I get more enjoyment out of various titles when they are collected in to Trades or Graphic Novels. I think my own pull-list will be changing in the next few months to reflect my preference, but this way of thinking sparked my interest in those books I'd much rather have in traditional form. Lately there's been a trend in a few comic books to tell a complete story in one issue. Warren Ellis does this masterfully in his work, Global Frequency, and most recently in the excellent book Fell. However, Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan perfected it in their limited series, Demo. In Demo there was an overarching theme of "metahumans" (or superheroes if you like) set in the real world. Each issue told a different story. There were no crossovers. They could be read in any order. And they were fantastic.

Brian Wood returns to the "done in one" style of story in the new 12 issue series, Local. Each issue will focus on life in different cities in the United States. Wood goes one step further in this series saying, "I've decided to take this single issue format a step further with Local by creating a main character, one that will appear in each issue, and faithful readers will be rewarded with the overarching portrait of this character as she develops."

I received a photocopy of the first issue, and I have to say it knocked my socks off. I was really drawn to artist Ryan Kelly's work which evokes Paul Pope and Glen Fabry. The art suits the story well, and looks impressive. He gets local buildings right, and the characters have life and are easy to tell them apart from one another (a pet peeve of mine with many indy artists).

Storywise, I'm sure many will be comparing Local to Tom Tykwer's Run Lola Run; seeing certain realities change during the course of the issue. I wonder if this will be a component of future issue, but I'm really looking forward to finding out. Brian crafts an amazing story in which you can't help but find yourself rooting for the Megan McKeenan. I like how Wood leaves it to the reader to decide if these different events just happen in Megan's head or if the previous realities took place but were changed.

The review copy was a fast first read for me, but I found myself reading it two more times to catch stuff I may have missed. It's really good stuff, well deserving of the early praise. I know Diamond orders need to be in soon, but do yourself a favor and add this to your pull list.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Darth Tater Contest Winner Revealed

You've seen the track listings of all the Darth Tater Mix contestants. You've read my reviews. Now it's time to reveal the winners. I have to say I was surprised by how hard it was to pick a winner and runner-up. Everyone who participated had some real good mixes, some even had great mixes. However after listening to the mixes several times, there were two mixes that became ones that I always wanted to listen to last, like a nice piece of cheesecake after a filling meal.

The runner-up gets what's behind Door #2, which on Let's Make A Deal can either be a cool prize or something to groan about. The Runner-Up Prize is a collection of Tangentially Related Infinite Crisis Comic Books. They include

* Countdown to Infinite Crisis (first print)

* Legends of the DC Universe: Crisis on Infinite Earths #1

* DC Comics Presents #61 (Superman & OMAC -a cool Perez cover)

* The Brave & Bold #186 (Batman & Hawkman)

* The Brave & Bold #190 (Batman & Adam Strange)

The Runner-Up of the Darth Tater Mix is Craig Moe with his mix titled Solicitation. Second place was actually tougher for me than finding who would win the grand prize. For a long time it was neck and neck with Roger Green, but what pulled Craig Moe ahead by a nose was he had a lot of songs of artists I've never heard before, many of I ended up falling love with. The Ultramatics, Hello Saferide, and Annie are now on my short-list of new bands I want to pick up. Congratulations Craig!

That leaves us with the winner of the Darth Tater and a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble. And the winner is.....This Guy:

Greg Burgas bowled me over with his mix, A,Z and Everything in Between. I knew a couple weeks ago that his mix was going to be my winner. It was compelling. I couldn't stop listening to it in the car and at work. The majority of his mix is uptempo and kept my spirits up. It got to the point where I could fast forward to tracks I wanted to listen to without even having to glance at the track listing. It is a fantastic mix and well deserving of a plastic potato dressed up as Darth Vader.

And yes, that is an actual likeness of Greg Burgess with the prize. His wife must be so proud.

Finally, you too can have a chance to obsess over Greg's mix, and a little "Best Of" mix of all the Darth Tater Mix contestants. I will be giving away up to 20 of both discs, free of charge, to any reader's who'd like a copy. Just drop me an email (see right-hand sidebar) with your mailing address and I'll get a copy of both out to you. Here's the track listing of the Darth Tater Mix "Mashed Tater Mix":

1. Faith No More "Be Aggressive" -from Greg Burgas' mix
2. Dizzee Rascal "Fix Up, Look Sharp" -from Ed Stewart's mix
3. Kelis "Milkshake" -from Gordon Dymowski's mix
4. The Clash "Rock the Cashbah" -from Dave Hovenden's mix
5. Men at Work "Overkill" -from Greg Burgas' mix
6. The Band "King Harvest" -from Roger Green's mix
7. The Faces "Cindy Incidentally" -from Gordon Dymowksi's mix
8. Hello Saferide "High School Stalker" -from Craig Moe's mix
9. Curtis Mayfield "Superfly" -from Ed Stewart's mix
10. Queen "Killer Queen" -from Gordon Dymowski's mix
11. NoFX "Johnny Appleseed" -from Ed Stewart's mix
12. Elliot Smith "Easy Way Out" -from Greg Burgas' mix
13. Elvis Costello "God Give Me Strength" -from Tosy & Cosh's mix
14. Annie "Harvest" -from Craig Moe's mix
15. Led Zepplin "Communications Breakdown" -from Roger Green's mix
16. Dresden Dolls "Girl Anachronism" -from Ed Stewart's mix
17. Sinead O'Conner "Daddy I'm Fine" -from Greg Burgas' mix
18. The Zombies "Care of Cell 44" -from Craig Moe's mix
19. Seal "Get It Together" -from Dave Hovenden's mix
20. Traffic "Medicated Goo" -from Roger Green's mix
21. The Who "Love Ain't For Keeping" -from Greg Burgas' mix
22. U2 "Miss Sarajevo" -from Tosy & Cash's mix


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Darth Tater Contest Reviews #7

And our last contestant in the Darth Tater Mix contest is Craig Moe with his mix, Solicitations. Now Craig not only did an "A to Z" artist mix, but he went one step further and did a concept mix. In an email to me he supplied me with an imagined Marvel Comic solicitation that goes along with the mix. So you can fully enjoy the concept I've broken up his email to go with the songs he supplied information on. His commentary is in italics.

(The title was chosen because I intended on including a parody of Marvel
solicitations with all the track names, but I bogged down near the end.
I've attached it below for the hell of it.)

1. Annie "Heartbeat"

Annie #1
Written by Frank Cho
Pencils & Cover by Frank Cho
"Heartbeat" Jumping from the comic pages to, um, comic pages stapled
together, Frank Cho brings you ANNIE! Reorphaned, separated from Sandy,
and for some inexplicable reason fighting dinosaurs with only the
mysterious Andrew Bird by her side, how will she survive? Can she solve
the mystery of the Fake Palindromes? See Annie like you've never seen her
before- like every other woman Frank Cho draws! Glorioski!

The first of many cool songs on this mix that I never heard of. I like the tone of the lead singers voice. This tune was an excellent way to start of a mix.

2. Andrew Bird "Fake Palindromes"

An okay song, didn't bowl me over, but was listenable. Nice.

3. Charlotte Church "Crazy Chick"

One of the few artists I was actually familiar with on this mix. Good song and works well on this mix.

4. Devin Davis "Iron Woman"

Iron Woman #1
Written by Charlotte Church
Pencils & Cover by ?
"Summer Song" The newest celebrity-cum-comic book writer comes to Marvel!
Can Iron Woman protect Elk City from the menace of the Faces? And what
about her burdgeoning relationship with Devin Davis? Ooh La La!

Cool song. Loved the beginning which drops into a nice little ditty. Color me impressed. Also works well coming off of Charlotte Church.

5. Elk City "Summersong"

Okay song. Very listenable, just didn't grab me all that much. Works well with the mix though.

6. Faces "Ooh La La"

Yeah the car commercial song. It's a great song by a great band. so I dug it loads.

7. Jean Grae "My Crew"

My Crew #2
Written by Priest
Pencils & Cover by Joe Bennett
"Hello Saferide" Marvel's hottest gritty urban drama puts out another
issue! Jean Grae - the knockoff of Jean Grey because we won't let Priest
write any A-list characters - races against time scouring Chicago to save
her student from - Highschool Stalker! Will her psychic powers get her
school bus there on time? Note: This series is cancelled with
issue 3.

Great hip-hop/rap song, but it was a bit of a shock to the system after several laid back rockers.

8. Hello Saferide "High School Stalker"

Sunny, and creepy. Makes for a f-ing awesome song, possibly my favorite on the mix. It made me want to listen to samples of their other work. Great choice.

9. I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness "When You Go Out"

Reminds me of Franz Ferdinand, which in my books is a good thing. I do think this band can't sell any T-shirts because there isn;t any room on the shirt to put their band name. Good song, I dug it.

10. Gloria Jones "Tainted Love"

Interesting cover, but I preferred the original. This came off too much like an American Idol cover, and I loathe AI.

11. Yoko Kanno/Seatbelts "Tank!"

Very British spy TV theme music. It was nice and quirky. I liked it.

12. Lovage "To Catch A Thief"

This song has a good groove to it, but for the life of me, as much as I tried to like it, it just felt limp to me.

Essential Lovage
Written by
Pencils & Cover by
The classic blaxploitation series of the seventies is collected for the
first time! Thrill to former hustler Nathaniel Merriweather as he beats
back the pushers and the thugs. Includes the classic stories "To Catch a
Thief" "Dance Music" and the Spider-man team-up "Join Me in the Park!"
Also includes the first appearances of love interest Nathalie Nordnes and
the honky supervillian team The Mountain Goats.

13. The Mountain Goats "Dance Music"

Another song I didn't care for. I started to get a little worried here, but Craig eases my worries with the next track.

14. Nathalie Nordnes "Join Me In The Park"

Beautiful song. Made me feel good inside. This sweet and catchy pop tune was very enjoyable.

15. Old 97's "Four Leaf Clover"

Nice song, with plenty of bombast. Makes a interesting bookend to the Nordnes track that precedes it.

Old 97's #
Written by Grant Morrison
Pencils & Cover by Josh Rouse
"Wonderful People" The sixties have suddenly reappeared in the New York of
2052! Only the groovtastic team of Four Leaf Clover, Some Postman, and
Q and Not U can hope to stop the blood-sucking Panda Presidents of the
United States of America and prevent the Nuclear Winter in the Hamptons!
OK, let's be honest - we don't know what this about. Morrison just keeps
dropping these scripts off at our office. He kind of frightens the
interns. But the only way he'll agree to salvage another of our franchise
titles is if we let him write this first. We'll have him on Thor in six
months, we promise.

16. The Presidents of the United States of America "Some Postman"

Great song. I really need to pick up a 'Best Of' by this quirky band.

17. Q And Not U "Wonderful People"

An iffy song. I liked the guitar and drumming, but the vocals has a lot to be desired.

18. Josh Rouse "Winter In The Hamptons"

No sir, I did not like this song, which felt like it belonged on a WB teen drama. Not my cup of tea.

19. Self "Better Than Aliens"

An okay song, no complaints.

20. Teen Anthem "I Hate Oasis (And I Hate The Beatles)"

How DARE you sir. Oasis you can rag on til the cows come home, but the Beatles? Thems fighting words. The song just wasn't my thing, I didn't like it.

Ultimate Spiderman #
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils & Cover by Mark Bagley
"Teen Anthem" Part 3 of 12! The Ultimate Kree-Skull War Continues! And
what's better than aliens? Twenty one pages of Peter and Mary Jane
discussing pop music? Who hates Oasis? (And who hates the Beatles?) Find
out in this gripping interlude. Oh, and on page twenty-two we kill

21. The Ultramatics "Chesterfield Girls"

Now this is more my speed. A real good pop-punk band that grabs my attention. Very good track. Very nice.

22. Velocity Girl "I Can't Stop Smiling"

Okay song I guess, just didn't do much for me.

23. Saul Williams "Grippo"

Not my kettle of fish. Just didn't like it.

24. X-Wife "Rocking Rio"

An okay song which had its moments, but occasionally the guys vocals got on my nerves.

25. The Yo-Yos "Leaning On You"

Very cool song. I'm not familiar with the band so I don't know if they come from that particular era or if they are emulating it, but dang it it sounds like a real good early 60s song.

26. The Zombies "Care of Cell 44"

Awesome song. It's dripping with Beach Boys influence, and just flat-out knocked my socks off. Great way to end a mix.

All in all this is a pretty good mix. There were a few clunkers, but there were also some really good gems. I appreciated the whole Marvel solicitations angle. The mix started off strong and ended well, but in the middle was hit or miss. But I did add a few artists for my to be on the hunt for next time I get the urge to find something new (or used). Pretty good job.

So that's it. On Wednesday I will announce the winner, and how you can get a copy of the winning Mix entry along with my "remix" of some of my favorite tunes off all the entries.


Monday, September 12, 2005

Darth Tater Contest Reviews #6

Rolling along is Roger Owen Green's Arro Verti 1967-1969. It's actually NOT an A to Z mix. Roger decided to try for the Best Of decade mix, going one step further and focusing his skilled hand on three years 1967, 1968, and 1969.

1. The Who "Tommy's Holiday Camp"

Short and sweet, the song serves merely as an intro to the mix. Not too bad.

2. Cream "Doing That Scrapyard Thing"

Nice! We are off to a great start on the mix. Cream is Eric Clapton at his best, it's too bad that today he is merely a shadow of his old self.

3. Led Zeppelin "Communications Breakdown"

Oh yeah, watch out! Roger is not afraid to bring out the big guns, and here he uses them well. One of my favorite Zeppelin tunes.

4. Donovan "Barabajagel"

I was a bit worried after seeing Donovan on the mix, he's mostly hit and miss and mostly miss for me. However I was surprised by this tune. I liked not enough to convert me into a fan, but it was good.

5. Traffic "Medicated Goo"

Me loves me some Steve Winwood. Yeah I even dug the 80s crap everyone bags on. However I really love his most recent CD, and his early stuff in his Traffic days. I loved the groove of this song and flows well following Donovan.

6. Lovin' Spoonful "Six O'Clock"

Didn't do much for me except acknowledge that if it wasn't for those late 50's early 60s Motown and black rock and rollers we'd may have never had groups like the Lovin' Spoonful, the Stones, the Beatles, or other great British bands. For the record, the Spoonfuls aren't British but man they emulate them well.

7. QoS (aka Aretha Franklin) "Ain't Nobody"

Never head of QoS, but man this was a great song. Motown mixed with the memphis horns. Yum! Evokes the great Etta James.

Update: Evidently QoS is Roger's shorthand for Queen of Soul, which I'm assuming is Aretha Franklin.

8. Three Dog Night "Nobody"

An okay song. Color me mildly impressed. Made me think of early CCR and less of "Joy to the World".

9. Stevie Wonder "You Met Your Match"

Nice classic Stevie Wonder! Cool song, and it reminds me that I need to add early Stevie to my "used music bin" list next time I head to Rasputins or Amoeba Music in Berkeley.

10. Steppenwolf "Move Over"

I Didn't care for this song. About all I can say is that I enjoyed the tone of the guitar. I don't think I ever enjoyed a Steppenwolf song come to think of it.

11. Monkees "Words"

I have a soft place in my heart for the Monkees. I like this song a lot, it's a great song that often gets overlooked for that f-ing Daydream Believer. Now that song, THAT song I hate.

12. Chicago "I'm A Man"

Ahh why couldn't Chicago stay in this form? I dug this incarnation of the band, B.C. (before Cetera). Funky, jazzy, and it rocks AND rolls.

13. Neil Young "The Loner"

I have a great love for Neil Young's music. Roger picks out a Young gem to placate my love. Nice work.

14. The Band "King Harvest"

The Band reminds a little bit of the Woody Allen character, Zelig. Like Zelig they were a part of momentous history (albeit rock history) both by themselves and with some jewish folk singer named Zimmerman, but yet they don't get the recognition as the greatest Canadian band of the world...let alone being one of the most important rock bands in history.

15. The Rascals "It's Wonderful"

No sir I didn't care for it. Move along.

16. The Mamas & Papas "Free Advice"

It's not like I don't like the Mamas & Papas. I just didn't care for this song.

17. The Supremes "Some Things You Never Get Used To"

Yes. Greatest Motown girls group to grace this earth. Nice song too.

18. Frank Zappa "Peaches en Regalia"

One of the days I'll "get" Zappa. This song is nice, and I do like it. Zappa, along with Miles Davis' Bitches Brew have influenced the whole jamband genre.

19. Reggie Milner "Habit-Forming Love"

Didn't really wow me, and I think on future listens I may fast forward past this tune.

20. Vanilla Fudge "She's Not There"

I think I prefer the faster paced Zombies original versus V.F.'s stuck in the mud cover.

21. The Beatles "Inner Light"

A rare Beatles B-side (Lady Madonna was the "A" side) about Transcedental Meditation. I enjoyed the sitar immensely.

22. Beach Boys "TM"

Oh, a little Trascendental Meditation theme here. I don't buy into TM, but at the very least it has given us some fine music. Nice song, a bit groovier Beach Boys song. An unusual choice to end a mix.

So all in all this was a very nice mix. Roger included a track listing for the mix. As for the title of the mix, Arro Verti; sound out the first word and look up the second. I liked a lot of what Roger included, but there were a very small handful of clunkers. Still, this is a mix I know I'll listen to again and again (and already have). This is definitely in the running for the grand prize. I have to say when I initially got this mix, I didn't think I'd like it much because the 60s can either fire me up or turn me cold. However 67-69 is on the cusp of musical genius (I would also include 1970-71 as well), and Roger includes several examples of this genius. Very good Roger!


Darth Tater Contest Reviews #5

Next up in the Darth Tater Mix CD contest is Greg Burgas with his "A,Z, and Everything in Between Mix":

1. Anthrax "Got the Time"

Good way to start off a mix. I strong, fast song by an artist I really need to have in my collection. Anthrax sounds like a punk band I would love. See, I like punk a lot, but I don't like lame-ass punk bands that don't know how to play their instruments. This track is crisp and furious, and they sound like they have mastered their tolls of their trade.

2. Beck "Hollywood Freaks"

Burgas throws a curve-ball. Once again reminding me that Beck still has something to say to the music world, this track continued my head bob from the first track, but this time my head started swaying with the hip hop beat.

3. Charlatans "Weirdo"

A decent song, didn't "wow" me, but I liked the driving drums, and the 80's club sound. It does manage to preserve the groove that Greg has me in from track 1.

4. Dead Milkmen "Rastabilly"

Cool song. Again the drums preserves that killer groove. Dead Milkmen aren't my kinda punk band (see comments on track one), but I think my wife would love them since she's a freak for Violent Femmes.

5. En Vogue "Hooked On Your Love"

Mellow my mix buzz, but doesn't kill it. It's a nice song, and this track doesn't avoids some of the stuff I disliked about En Vogue. It's a sugary pop song, that sounds like a Jackson 5 song.

6. Faith No More "Be Aggressive"

F-ing awesome song!!! I may not be a fan of Faith No More, but this song...THIS song knocked my socks off. From the pipe organ funeral to distinctive guitar to the cheerleader chorus this is my favorite find on the disc.

7. The Godfathers "If I Only Had Time"

Good song by a band I think Burgas has been trying to persuade me to buy. I just may do that, because this track got me interested.

8. Hamell On Trial "In A Bar"

Counting Crows with annoying sounding Adam Dorowitz (or whatever his name was). A decent song but couldn't shake the feeling like this song belonged in a TV show showing a lawyer after a social and moral victory driving back into New Jersey over a bridge as the sun sets behind him. Fade to black.

9. INXS "Original Sin"

Maybe it's because of CBS' Rock Star: INXS, but I would like to publicly rescind my pronouncement that INXS was the 80s most overrated band. I have come to appreciate their music, and while I admit that I'm just not right for their band, INXS, I like this song. Cool song.

10. Jesus Jones "Zeroes and Ones"

A throwaway song. It was just bearable, but in future listens I know I may fast forward past this track.

11. King's X "(Thinking and Wondering) What I'm Gonna Do"

A good song, laid back and feel good. Exactly the polar opposite of what I'd expect out of King's X.

12. Living Colour "Auslander"

Nice. Living Colour should have been more than a one hit wonder, and this track shows even more of their chops (and less of Reid's lime green biker shorts).

13. Men At Work "Overkill"

How dare you sir! How dare you remind me of how much I love Men at Work. Especially shirtless with their skin glistening with, the band. Yes! The band, Men at Work. See Men at Work had more that one hit, and is/was a real cool band. Wait a minute I'm seeing a trend here, one hit wonders thread: Jesus Jones, King's X, Living Colour and now Men at Work? Nice.

14. Nine Inch Nails "The Line Begins to Blur"

Just a bit weird to go from a pretty Men at Work song to this gritty NIN song, but it's a cool song. I like NIN, for it's one of a few bands that I can only take in short doses versus a whole CD of.

15. Sinead O'Conner "Daddy I'm Fine"

A great Sinead song. Nice song that builds into a crescendo of awesome noise.

16. The Pogues "London You're A Lady"

This song didn't float my boat, but I did like the pennywhistle a lot. Go pennywhistles!

17. Queensryche "My Empty Room"

1 part Pink Floyd, 1 part Yes, and 1 part Cinderella, that's Queensryche. This short and sweet song is over too fast.

18. Red Hot Chili Peppers "Catholic School Girls Rule"

Nice early Chili Peppers. Can't go wrong with that.

19. Elliot Smith "Easy Way Out"

Ok, this is a hands down gosh darn gorgeous song. Why DON"T I have any Elliot Smith in my collection? Is it all pretty good? He killed himself recently right? Talk about taking the Easy Way Out.

20. Travis "Driftwood"

This was a pretty good Coldplay song but I'm not gay...oh it isn't Coldplay? Then yeah it was a pretty cool song. Makes me want to lay out a blanket at night and stare at the stars.

21. U2 "The First Time"

Some friends of mine knock Zooropa as being U2's worst album, but I continue to disagree. There are many a find fine song to be found on it, and Greg here highlights just one of them. Nice going Greg.

22. Violent Femmes "Old Mother Reagan"

Ah the Violent Femmes, this song was mercifully short but enjoyable while it lasted.

23. The Who "Love Ain't For Keeping"

That's what I'm talking about. A lot of people when they include The Who on their mixes automatically pull out Baba O'Riley or Pinball Wizard or one of their "rock out" songs. But Greg throws in a great Who song that changes things up a bit. Bravo.

24. X "Los Angeles"

My local comic book store employee and musical guru turned me onto X a year or so ago. I dig them, but sadly only have 1 live show and no studio albums in my collection because I keep looking for their CDs that have two albums on one disc. Still this is one of my favorite X songs.

25. "Wierd Al" Yankovic "Yoda"

This song is the mix's weakest link. Not because I don't like it, it's just that the sound volume it too low so I could barely hear it. So after turning up the volume, I had fun singing along to this great song.

26. Andy Z "Happy And You Know It"

Yes I did clap my hands. While driving no less. A "different" way to end a mix.

All in all this is a very good mix, definitely in the running for the grand prize of a Darth Tater and $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble. Greg included an insert that gave me the titles and songs. Nothing too fancy. I liked the groove throughout most of the mix, and while I didn't care for every single song all the tracks didn't feel forced in and had a life of their own. Good stuff Greg.


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Darth Tater Contest Reviews #4

Come on down! The next contestant on the Darth Tater Mix contest is Gordon Dymowski with his A to Z artist mix:

1. Adverts "One Chord Wonders"

Cool. This song grabbed me, sent me into an audio mosh pit and got me excited to hear the rest of the mix. Well done.

2. Boomtown Rats "She's So Modern"

Thanks for reminding me that I need to get a Boomtown Rats greatest hits. I like this song a lot and the mix is off to a fine start.

3. Creation "Through My Eyes"

I can honestly say I've never heard of Creation, but I am bowled over. Sounds like something I would hear on my XM Radio station Deep Tracks. I'm intrigued. Must learn more.

4. Drifters "There Goes My Baby"

Sometime I forget how much I love the Motown sound of the 1960s. Thanks for reminding me. This song disrupts the groove of the mix, but still this is a great song.

5. Eve's Plum "Jesus Loves You (But Not As Much As I Do)"

I've heard of Eve's Plum, but haven't been too exposed to them. The song is pretty good, and keeps my interest.

6. Faces "Cindy Incidentally"

I loooooooove the Faces. This is cool song, has a sort of bohemian rhythm to it. Laid back and groovy.

7. Gilltte "Mr. Personality"

Cool. I liked this song.

8. John Hiatt "She Love the Jerk"

John Hiatt doing his best Elvis Costello impersonation. I gotta pick up some Hiatt, he has always impressed me.

9. Icicle Works "Understanding Jane"

I don't know, the song just didn't do much for me. I has an 80s sound to it, but I just couldn't get into it.

10. The Jam "Billy Hunt"

The Jam rocks! As the faces is to classic rock, the jam is to punk. Both bands fly under the radar to most folks, but they both remain some of the finest examples of their respective genres. I only have a greatest hits collection of the Jam so it was cool to hear something that wasn't on it.

11. Kelis "Milkshake"

God bless you Gordon! I've wanted a copy of this track for a long while ever since everyone was singing it annoyingly on Xbox Live. I can understand whey they sing it, it's lyrics are infectious.

12. Lush "Ladykillers"

I liked this song, not enough to make me run out and by an CD by them, but it was good. It also, amazingly flows well from the Kelis song thanks to the drums.

13. Madness "House of Fun"

My favorite 80s song is a Madness song (Tenderness), so it was cool hearing another song by this group. I liked it a lot. SO far this is a fun mix.

14. Mojo Nixon "Have Love Will Travel"

Okay song, didn't wow me, but listenable.

15. Oingo Boingo "Little Girls"

Okay song as well. Oingo Boingo is hit or miss for me.

16. Ann Peebles "I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down"

Nice horns, a decent song that evokes the Memphis Sound, and falls juuuuuust a bit short.

17. Queen "Killer Queen"

Yes! One of my favorites Queen songs. Hands down. I loved it.

18. Cliff Richard "The Young Ones"

Okay song. I had one of their weird experiences, like when you drink milk but your taste buds are expecting orange juice. Well for some reason my head was expecting to reggae from Jimmy Cliff.

19. Squeeze "Another Nail In My Heart"

Suprisingly good. Didn't bowl me over, but I didn't expect much from Squeeze so they surprised me.

20. Three Degrees "When Will I See You Again"

Nice song, is this a remake? I ask because this sound very much like a 1960s girl group, but the band's name sounds very much like a 90s band.

21. Underdogs "Love's Gone Bad"

Cool song. I've never heard of the Underdogs, but I dug their Rolling Stones meets the Who like vibe. Must learn more about them.

22. Van Halen "Ain't Talking About Love"

Nice song that hardly sounds like "classic Van Halen". I was pleasantly surprised.

23. Wire "Outdoor Miner"

Didn't care for this song. I got bored with it quickly.

24. XTC "Dear Madam Barnum"

Ah my guilty pleasure, I say that because one of my favorite songs by them is directly opposite my beliefs (Dear God), however this song is very good. I can't remember ever hearing an XTC song I didn't like.

25. Young Fresh Fellows "Right Here"

Umm no didn't care for it. Move along.

26. Zombies "I'll Call You Mine"

Not too bad. It didn't bowl me over but makes for a fine final song...but Gordon just had to sneak this in...

27. Secret Track

Umm, okay. Sounds like something my wife would like, or can be found on a Mike Sterling mix.

All in all a very good mix. Gordon also included a cover to the mix, and named the mix "Rockin' Da Alphabet with Bender & Klugman" (sadly neither is present on the mix). This mix is definitely in the running for the grand prize. The mix had a lot of songs that kept my attention. Several tracks made me want to listen to more from the bands, and maybe pick up a CD or two by them. Sure there were a few songs that didn't do much for me, but for the most part this mix was very enjoyable. Definitely something I'll listen to again and again. Kudos Gordon!


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Darth Tater Contest Reviews #3

Now bow before the long lasting bulk of the 4 disc Comic Music Collection from Ed Stewart:

Disc 1: A to G

1. AFI "Girl's Not Grey"

Good choice on leading off a mix CD. Can't go wrong with a driving rock song. I liked it. And it's a band I haven't heard of to. I liked the vocals as well. Must find out more. I really, really liked it.

2. Blink 182 "New Hope"

Um, I also dug this song. I know I know, I liked a Blink 182 song, but as the bible says, "Let he without sin cast the first stone." Or something like that.

3. Buck O Nine "Irish Drinking Song"

An okay song, Celtic songs are hit or miss with me. This one was borderline for me.

4. Beastie Boys "Maestro"

I always dig the Beastie Boys, but only have one of their CDs. So I was glad to see their inclusion here.

5. Cut Chemist "Moon Base Alpha"

Another cool hip-hop group. I liked it a lot.

6. Johnny Cash "Desperado"

When most musicians start to do covers it's usually a signal that they're out of any magic. On his final album, Johnny Cash shows that he's forever Back in Black. This is a great cover, and dig that Don Henley joins him on this track.

7. Dizzee Rascal "Fix Up, Look Sharp"

Ed has been raving about this CD for a few weeks now to me. I loved this track a lot. It'll be on my list of things to look for when I go hunting for music. It's really a great hip-hop song that evokes the Black Eyed Peas without out being the Black Eyed they don't suck ass.

8. Dresden Dolls "Girl Anachronism"

What a freakin' cool song! I loved this song. It's a bizarre rock/theatre song that reminds me a little of the Cure tripped out on coffee and cigarettes. Very cool stuff.

9. Dizzee Rascal "Jezebel"

Another cool song from Ed's new find! Good stuff. I just may need to borrow this CD.

10. Dizzee Rascal "Face"

Yo! What he said. (See above) For the record I think Fix Up Look Sharp is the best o the three Dizzee Rascal tracks but they are all pretty good.

11. Dr. Dooom "Dr. Dooom's in the Room"

I loved the laid back feel of this track. Excellent song, but I expect no else from the ruler of Latveria.

12. EPMD "Crossover"

An okay song, has a good vibe to it. Got my head bobbing.

13. EPMD "Last Man Standing"

Didn't like this song as much as the first EPMD song.

14. EPMD "Dungeon Master"

But this EPMD was fairly good. I enjoyed it, and I didn't even have to drag out my 20-sided dice.

15. Five Iron Frenzy "Arnold & Willis Drummond"

This is Five Iron Frenzy? I was expecting some dumbed down Christian band, but instead I got hip hop. Nice change. Oh oh, I guess Ed forgot a track in the track listing, because track 16 sounds more like what I imagined Five Iron Frenzy would sound like. I'll change the other numbers so I don't confuse myself. So what WAS the real track 15?

17. Fatboy Slim "Sunset (Bird of Prey)"

Booooring...but at least it wasn't "Praise You", one song that I never want to hear gain.

18. Marvin Gaye "Save the Children"

I absolutely love this album...and this track.

19. Gorillaz "Dracula"

I like the Gorillaz, but this was a tad too slow for me.

Disc 2: H to M

1. House of Pain "Life Goes On"

Nice song. So nice to hear something different from Insane in the Membrane or Jump Around. I think if I ever picked up a House of Pain CD all I would ever need is a best of disc.

2. Lauren Hill "Superstar"

Cool song. I think I still have the CD this came from. Not my favorite track on that album, but it was all pretty much really good if I remember right.

3. Ill Harmonics "Hi-Fidelity"

Cool hip-hop tune. Simply composition yet enjoyable.

4. Incubus "Battlestar Scralatchitica"

Interesting song. I liked it, particularly the fat (or is it phat) bass line. Plus a like a good "scratch" brings me back to the 80s.

5. Ice Cube "No Vaseline"

Cool song, I liked the background rhythms. I didn't exactly like Ice getting "all up in NWA's hood" (as the kids like to say), but still the song was catchy.

6. Jimmy Eat World "Polaris"

I'll just chalk this up to other bands that the rest of the population has deemed "kool" or what not but just leave me cold. Didn't care for it, and I got musical whiplash coming off of Ice Cube' song into this.

7. Joey the Jerk "Average Joe"

I dig this song. The guys voice reminds me Snoop's voice, but the song is trippier than anything Snoop would do.

8. Jurassic 5 "After School Special"

Blink and you'll miss this track.

9. Jurassic 5 "DDT"

Why don't I have ANY Jurassic 5 in my collection? I need to rectify that. A cool freestyle.

10. K-os "Superstarr Pt. Zero"

I liked the jazzy background to this song.

11. Korn "Shoots and Ladders"

Bagpipes should be used for Celtic bands and AC/DC records. Korn sucks balls. I laugh in your face Ed for including this Bakersfield band on your mix. Bwahahahahahahaha!

12. L.A. Symphony "Power Converters"

Another band that I know some folks, including Ed, loves, but just leaves me cold.

13. L.A. Symphony "San Diego"


14. L.A. Symphony "Charlie Brown"

Ditto Ditto. Pizza Pizza.

15. Curtis Mayfield "Superfly"

Another one of those artists that I NEED to have in my collection but don't. Shame on me. I love this song too. Please don't take away my music critic hat and badge.

16. Massive Attack "Angel"

I liked the track. If I remember right these guys teamed up with a favorite jam band of mine, Widespread Panic a while back.

17. Method Man "Mr. Sandman"

Didn't care for it, I know this may piss off several Rap blog readers. (All three of you)

18. Mix Master Mike "Rebel Enforcer"

I guess I'm more of a Hip-Hop guy than straight out rap, because I dug this track a lot.

19. Mos Def "Ms. Fat Booty"

Another artist I need to look into. I liked the track.

20. MXPX "The Wonder Years"

Yeah, I know it's MXPX, former (and still?) Christian punk band, but I still love 'em, even if I only felt compelled to pick up only one of the CDs. I dig them.

21. MXPX "The Downfall of Western Civilization"

Yep, still like 'em. This is the better of the two tracks Ed put son his mix.

Disc 3: N to S

1. No Doubt "Detective"

I liked this track, particularily because it doesn't have a lot of that ska sound do it. Or how I define that genre of music: former high school band geeks that can't move on.

2. NoFX "Johnny Appleseed"

I've heard of NoFX, but never HEARD them. I think one (or more) of its members are a part of the fantastic group, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, a punk band that vows never to do an original song. This track is pretty good.

3. Outkast "Player's Ball"

I like Outkast, and need to pick up their entire catalogue...when I have some dollars to through around on Ebay. I dig it.

4. Prodigy "Firestarter"

I'm so glad Ed chose this song and not Smack my B*tch Up. I like Firestarter, and their other hit. Remember when techno was supposed change the face of rock music, and instead managed to produce one crappy U2 album.

5. Project 86 "The Spy Hunter"

File Under Scream Rock Bands Lefty doesn't care for. You know, I take that back. I enjoyed the Sabbath-esque guitar and drum background, but didn't care for the vocals.

6. Parliament "Mr. Wiggles"

I think what I like most about this mix collection from Ed, is how it exposes me to several bands that I know I need to own someday. Parliament is no exception (although I have heard a few of their songs).

7. The Police "Peanuts"

A few months ago I picked up the Police box set for cheap on Ebay, and am really starting to like some of their early stuff. I dug this song.

8. The Police "Demolition Man"

Okay song, you hear the reggae influence in this song.

9. The Police "Omegaman"

Good song. I like this song for its tempo changes and the way Sting's voice floats around the lyrics.

10. The Postal Service "Clark Gable"

Good song, but I think my wife will pick this album up before I would because of their connections to her new favorite band Death Cab for Cutie.

11. Pennywise "Pennywise"

I can't believe I never heard a Pennywise song before. I dug it. I enjoy that kind of punk music.

12. Quicksand "Simpleton"

This song didn't do anything for me.

13. Rage Against the Machine "The Ghost of Tom Joad"

I love RATM. This song is no exception. Another band that broke up because its members personalities. Damn. One of the best covers of a Springsteen song.

14. R.E.M. "Daysleeper"

I used to love R.E.M. but in the last few years/albums that love has faded. This however is one of the better songs from one of their recent albums. It's a cool song.

15. The Roots "Pussy Galore"

I didn't really care for this song.

16. Stone Temple Pilots "Army Ants"

Ahh STP. One of these days I'll bite the bullet and pick up their CD/DVD best of. This song is okay, but not great.

17. Stone Temple Pilots "Daisy"

Song filler. Move along.

18. Stone Temple Pilots "Silvergun Superman"

Now THIS is the STP I know. Very cool song.

Disc 4: S to Z

1. Scratch Vs. H-Bomb "The Red Pill"

An okay song for an okay movie.

2. Seventh Vision "Quicksand"

Didn't care for this song which was rocking but I was not rolling.

3. 2 Skinnee J's "Pluto"

Not too bad. This group is someone I would listen to but not necessarily hunt down to add to my collection.

4. 2 Skinnee J's "Ball Point Man"

Another good song, but I think I enjoyed "Pluto" more, which had more of the classic hip-hop feel to it.

5. 311 "Jackolantern's Weather"

Interesting song. It has an almost Oasis vibe to it. 311 is a band I don't mind, but just haven't felt the need to pick up a CD by them. Still this was a really cool song.

6. Unwritten Lay "Walrus"

A lot of empty space that made me check constantly to see if there was something wrong with the disc. When the song finally began I have to say I enjoyed it.

7. Unwritten Law "Geronimo"

Another good song, but they started to sound a little bit like the forgettable music I see on any WB show.

8. Value Pac "Preacher Man"

An okay frenetic song, but after a while the drumming got to me.

9. White Stripes "Jimmy the Exploder"

I love, love, LOVE White Stripes. I love this song. I love how bad Meg plays drums with such an intensity that matches Jack White's creativity. Awesome.

10. War "The Cisco Kid"

I've never been a big War fan. I'm mean god god y'all what were they good for? Absolut....aww forget it.

11. Xzibit "Shroomz"

When nothing else is on I enjoy watching Pimp My Ride, but I have to say I'm not bowled over with his musical skillz.

12. Xzibit "Jason"

Ditto here.

13. Pete Yorn "Burrito"

Ah this is more my speed. I dug this song. I've heard of Pete Yorn, but this was my first listen to one of his songs. I am now interested in hearing more from him.

14. Zero 7 "In the Waiting Line"

Another mix that has this band. Again I didn't dislike the song, and parts of it I liked, but not enough for me to do an search to hear more.

15. DJ Q-Bert "A Word from Fresh Breath Mouthwash"

Um. Okay.

Ed is a friend of mine, so I know I'll probably catch shit from him latter because I dissed some of his tracks. I guess my biggest problem is that this mix feels more like an archive or jukebox of songs rather than a mix. A mix can and should have a life of its own, and by Ed including so many songs and some multiple tracks by the same artist it loses that life. I know Ed worked hard selecting songs that both fit into the A to Z format, and also picked songs that fit tangetically into a life of a comic book nerd (including "shout outs" to nerdy TV, sports, and films). For that I give him props, but I wish he would have parsed down the collection, trim the fat so to speak.

He also gets props from me because he made cool little covers for the discs, and each track had short comments that revealed how they were connected (in some fashion) to comic book fanboys. I also liked that I found a lot of artists that I haven't heard of including some I know want to pick something up by them (like Pete Yorn or Dizzee Rascal). Good job...but you're just not right for our band INXS. (sorry Ed and I share a love for Rockstar INXS.)


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Darth Tater Contest Reviews #2

Next up in the Darth Tater contest is Tosy & Cosh's Mellow Mix for a Lazy Summer Day:
1. Louis Armstrong "Summer Song"

The track sets up the mood and theme for this mix. It's a laid back mix. It's a nice song that brings forth a lot of images in an almost Rockwellian way.

2. Audra McDonald "Stars and the Moon"

The first of several appearances by the former Fresno native. The songs okay but not my kettle of fish.

3. Elvis Costello "God Give Me Strength"
I have to say this is a beautiful song. Actually there are a lot of beautiful songs on this disc, but this is one of my favorites on this mix.

4. Bob Dylan "Sugar Baby"

One of the highlights on Dylan's last record.

5. Ella Fitzgerald "Love is Here to Stay"

I love the sound of Ella's voice, and this happens to one of my favorite Gershwin covers. I love how her voice seems to twist at the end of a line reaching into the next line.

6. Audra McDonald "How Glory Goes"

A little better than the first McDonald song, but still not doing much for me.

7. K.D. Lang "Hallelujah"

I will go to my grave that I've not heard a better cover of this Cohen song than Lang's cover...even Jeff Buckley's, God rest his soul.

8. Audra McDonald "Tom"

Still don't like it. It's weird, I like the tone and strength of her voice just not the play (or plays) these songs are coming from. I am salivating just imagining her sing songs of Man of La Mancha, one of my favorite plays.

9. Audra McDonald "You Don't Know This Man"

I did however enjoy this song.

10. Sinead O'Conner "Sacrifice"

I usually like Sinead O'Conner, but she comes off a little too weak and quiet for this song.

11. Mandy Patinkin "Loving You"
Nice song, and I'm convinced I need to hear Mandy and Audra do Man of La Mancha together. Didn't he already do it once before?

12. Queen "Who Wants to Live Forever?"

I really like how the last song fades into this Queen song. It's the coolest thing about this disc.

13. Radiohead "True Love Waits"

Didn't know that Radiohead was into abstinence. 'kidding. Still it's an okay song, although I was drawn more to the sound of the acoustic guitars more than what-his-name's voice.

14. Nina Simone "Little Girl Blue"

I kept turning this song down at work, lest anyone thought I had lost my mind and started playing Christmas tunes just a wee bit early.

15. U2 "Miss Sarajevo"

Love this song. Love it. You know when I think about how much the Pope was involved with ending the Cold War, I can't help but think how much Bono and his mates were responsible to making Europe finally get involved to stop the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. Who says Rock & Roll can't change the world?

16. Cassandra Wilson "Shelter from the Storm"

Hands down my favorite Dylan song...and the cover of it is good too. It just took me sometime to get used to it with the change-up in pace. Lovely guitars backing her up as well.

17. Neil Young "Harvest Moon"

This comes from my first ever Neil Young CD I ever picked up. At that time my ears weren't ready for Neil. Now years later I absolutely love his work. It's interesting ending this disc with Cassandra Wilson followed by Young's Harvest Moon, because Wilson does a really fine cover of that same song on the one CD I have of hers. It's a terrific cover to a terrific song.

There's a lot of great songs on this mix. Not just good. Great. But sadly somehow the disc gets bogged down in the mood and now resides as good background music. I will give it further plays at home like on Sundays when I'm fooling around at the house. I would have avoided going to the Audra well so many times, but I'm been known to highlight a person work in a mix from time to time. I will have to track down that Elvis Costello disc that Tosy uses a track from here. Not too shabby.

Update: Tosy has posted about his mix on his site. It's always interesting to me to hear the "director's commentary" on the rhyme and reason certain tracks pop up in people's mixes. Also I started thinking that on all my future mixes I'm going to include the album title they comes from in case anyone wants to eventually pick up certain CDs. I certain could have used that reference material on some of the Tater mixes.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Tale of the (Video)Tape

Tonight I was digging through old videocassettes just seeing what I happened to record 3, 5, 9 years ago. Some of it was crap, I mean, why DID I need to record the NBC show "Jesse"? Some of it was historical crap, like the Clinton video disposition, which made me long for when the worst thing in government was debating what the definition of sexual relations was/is. But I also came across some piece of rare video footage. Some anonymous person mailed it to me, and to this day I don't know who sent it. I've forgotten about it really, because at the time it was taboo to have. It was footage of a musical jam that happened after the funeral of former Gov't Mule (and Allman Brother) bassist Allen Woody. Sometimes it hard to make out who's who on stage because the performance area is bathed in baby blue light. Thankfully the audio is just superb, and the playing is dang beautiful.

This led to me to start thinking. What is it about tragedy that leads to intense creativity. I remember while I was still grieving for my mother, I wrote some of my best poetry. Others have written their better known work after a period of grief or sadness...well except for maybe Toby Keith and that damn 9/11 song.

Anyway, it reminds me of the Woody Allen film "Melinda & Melinda" (which I haven't seen yet) in which he examines both tragedy and comedy to see which has more depth and meaning to it. If I heard right, Allen suggests tragedy comes out on top. I think it's because tragedy forces one to look both inward and outward. On one hand they feel as if they are alone and set apart from the rest of humanity, which opens a doorway to look back on society with almost a seers eye. On the other hand, that person may find how much their grief connects them to a deep well of humanity, and they thirst unbeknownst to themselves to draw from it.

What an interesting creature humanity is! We take delight in both joy and sorrow, but grow more in sorrow than in joy. I think it is partially why I find a connection in my Christianity. It is great tragedy do we become reconciled (some say bought) to God if we only believe. I think the only difference the tragedy of Christ and tragedy in everyday life is that I don't celebrate tragedy nor welcome it, but once it happens to open my heart and soul to it and embrace it.


Darth Tater Contest Reviews #1

If all goes well on Friday I will review the winner and runner-up for the Darth Tater Mix CD contest. In the meantime in no particular order, I will be giving short reviews of all the entries beginning with Dave Hovenden's 2 disc "Abecedarius" vol. 1 & 2. For those who don't know, Abecedarius is a poem having lines beginning with letters of the alphabet in regular order.

Disc One

1. Aimee Allen "Revolution"

Great way to start off a disc, got me in a mood to hear the rest of the disc. Very nice song that reminds me of a rock and roll ocean of ebb and flow.

2. Shirley Bassey "Goldfinger"

First of all this leads me to wonder if there has been any collection of every song from a Bond film. This is without a doubt one of my favorite Bond theme songs. I love the way Shirley Bassey's phrasing, making every line drip with intensity. Another good song.

3. The Clash "Rock the Casbah"

Sure this song is Clash's most well-known, but it works on this collection. I like the transition from "Goldfinger" to "Rock the Casbah" as if it's serving notice to me that I'm going to hear many types of songs and they're all going to be fabulous.

4. Deep Dish "Say Hello"

I like the back beat to this song for about a minute and a half. I found it interesting, but not compelling.

5. Everything But The Girl "Downhill Racer"

I like the jazzy flourishes on this song that is very British of them. I really did not know what to expect out of this band, but I have to say I came away impressed. I like how the vocals seem to just float over the drumbeats and the horn.

6. Faithless "Addictive"

I'm starting to get worried, here's a song that I didn't care for, and I'm finding my attention wandering. At this point I'm hoping the disc will regain it's momentum.

7. Gorillaz "New Genious"

I'm beginning to like the Gorillaz, and this song is no exception. I like the trip hop feel of the song.

8. Hoobastank "Remember Me"

No. No. No. There are some bands that make me want to stick red hot needles in my ears. This is one such band. On first listen I found inner strength to weather the storm, but on subsequent listens I couldn't hit the fast forward fast enough. At this point I check the track listing to see if my other "needle in the ear" band, Dave Matthews Band was in my unfortunate future. (It wasn't, praise Jesus!)

9. Injected "Dig Me Out (Rough Cut w/vocal)"

Well this isn't boding well. Another song I didn't much care for.

10. Jimmy Eat World "Firestarter"

And another. Geez, what fun I had in the beginning of the disc is now being dashed on the jagged rocks of throwaway rock bands.

11. Killing Heidi "Superman/Supergirl"

Okay, this is a little better, and I like the nod to superheroes on this track. I like the change-up in tempos on this songs as well.

12. The London Metropolitan Orchestra "The Saint-Main Title"

Ouch. Way to ruin to mood. After having a great song, only to be followed by a dull somber piece just kills any momentum.

13. John Mayer "Neon"

I once owned a John Mayer CD. I think this song was on it. He is one of those artists that I have a feeling he could be better if he just threw off the studio demands and make music that rough around the edges.

Disc Two

1. N-Trance "Staying Alive"

Dave certainly knows how to start a disc off. I dug this track a lot. Made me want to dance, and that's a sight you DON'T want to see.

2. Olive "You're Not Alone"

Another nice song that is soothing and yet avoids being boring. My interest in Dave's mix is reawakening.

3. Poe "Not A Virgin"

Working at a Christian university this song isn't exactly kosher, but I did listen to it in my car. It's an okay song, but didn't do much for me.

4. Queen "Princes of the Universe"

I have a secret love in my heart for Queen. I dug this song a lot. Remind me to rent this awful movie just so I can bake in the radiance of the Queen soundtrack.

5. Real Life "Send Me An Angel '89"

Yum! Eighties music I can eat up with a spoon. Loved it, and wins bonus points for using the greatest invention to 80s music, the synthesizer. Nice transition from Queen into this song. So far this second disc is very very good.

6. Seal "Get It Together"

I think I could benefit by including a Best Of Seal disc in my own collection. I love the sound of Seal's voice, and don't think I ever heard a song of his that I hated. For some reason I was never compelled to pick up anything by him. I really liked this song, enough that I may have to rectify my sans Seal musical archive.

7. Tiesto "Just Be (Antillas Radio Cut)"

Light europop that did little for my ears, but does make for a good set-up for the next track...

8. U2 "Discotheque (New Mix)"

Man, that takes balls! Of all of the U2 tracks Dave could have used, he goes for the title track of U2's worst album. Somehow he pulls it off, partly because this song works well sandwiched between the throwaway euro-pop song the preceded it, and the exciting Veruca Salt song the proceeds it.

9. Veruca Salt "Volcano Girls"

One hit wonder? Sure, but man what a hit. I still like this song, so I'm thankful that Dave threw it into the mix. Fun, bombast song. Man this disc two is really, really good.

10. Tammy Wynette w/the KLF "Justified and Ancient X"

This isn't the Tammy Wynette I'm familiar with. I got to give credit to Dave for this track, however that song never really grabbed me.

11. Xero Slingsby and the Works "Shove It"

Really nice song. I liked it.

12. Yeah Yeah Yeahs "Bang"

Some people love the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, some people hate them. I happen to like them, so I dug their inclusion in this rather good second disc.

13. Zero 7 "Passing By"

Dave ends his mix with a bit of a downer. The song is okay, but nothing that grabs me by the ears and kisses me goodbye.

Dave chose to create an A to Z mix, but what I really like is that for the most part the A to Z doesn't seem forced. Sure I didn't like all the songs, but there were songs that really flowed well into each other while staying in the alphabetical artist order. The second disc of his two disc mix was very good and one that I'll listen to again in the future. Well done!


Friday, September 02, 2005

Short Update

Remember when yesterday, I said I would post more later? I lied. We had an employee take a fall which has left him out of work for the next two weeks, so yours truly is now manning the front desk while we can hire and schedule returning student workers. So with all the chaos at work, and all the chaos at home, I for one can't wait for a perfectly boring day.

So I will give y'all a brief update on my wife. This morning she went in for her X-Ray and her big giant shot (to hear her talk about it it was the size and dimensions of one of those giant, plastic Pixey Sticks). She is still in some pain, but the shot is supposed to take a few days to kick in, so we have our fingers crossed, and have assumed the prayer position.

On the Darth Tater contest, I think I have decided the winner, but here's the thing, would you , oh loyal readers, prefer for me to keep it to myself until after I review each entry? Or should I review each entry, leaving the winner for last? In any event I hope everyone had fun putting these together. I decided that there is a second place prize, which I'll announce as a surprise to the runner-up.

In other news, I need to write up a review to the Smoke & Guns which I had a blast reading while waiting for my wife to get her big shot. It got me thinking how AiT/PlanetLar is a lot like looking at an high-budget action flick through a clear glass of water. You see all the big explosions and car chases, but it's all a little 'off' (in a bizarre good way). Where else can you read a story about gun-packing cigarette waitresses? I don't even think Frank Miller had that idea floating around in his unconscious mind.


Thursday, September 01, 2005

This Post Has No Title

*Well that should get at least one comment or email from Roger Green, self-appointed comic blogosphere editor letting me know that this post does indeed have a title entitled "This Post Has No Title". Roger, please for the love of God, Buddha, and Aquaman; please lend your talent to the thousand of teens with livejournal accounts that replace every single "s" with "z", and whose devotion to Jesse McCartney knows no bounds. (Just kidding, Roger, I wouldn't wish that job on anyone)

This post is basically me dipping my toe back in blogger-waters. I've been listening to several of the Darth Tater Mix CD participants, and I should start reviewing some of them on my blog as early as today (or tonight). This is going to be a hard contest to judge because nearly all of them are very good, and a few are just damn impressive.

Also, again thanks for all the kinds words about our recent trauma.

Additionally, I have to say I was bowled over when despite my frothing at the mouth and nashing of teeth over Best Buy and their idiotic Rewards program, I noticed I got $70 worth of coupons to redeem for all my trouble. It's now burning a hole in my pocket, but I'm doing my bestest* (*for you Roger!) to wait until the Lost DVD set to use them.

Lastly, before I return to checking in journals, I have to say I freakin' love Bob Dylan. I've been O.D.-ing on the No Direction Home soundtrack (Bootleg Series v.7) and the "Live at the Gaslight 1962". The latter is exclusive to Starbucks for several months and is the only reason I go to Starbucks, preferring shops that support Fair Trade coffees...well I also use their restrooms when I'm traveling 'cause they are easier to find than Wal-Marts it seems.

More later...