I feel like 2013 is shaping up to be the BIGGEST YEAR EVER for GOAT APPRECIATION! Today, I'd like to bring you some springy Eastery themed videos featuring the epic nature battles of BUNNIES VS. GOATS! Please to enjoy! GOATS!

This is one BADASS bunny, but look at that BADDERASSER goat! Wow!

But this bunny DOMINATES.

Deranged Rabbit Vs. Goat

This bunny is clearly enjoying making the small goat dizzy.

Bunny Vs. Goat Loop

This Peyton-Place-style barnyard is tense with bunny and goat drama! Notice how the fancy chicken bows out almost immediately, too fancy to engage in direct conflict.

Bunnies Vs. Goats (Fancy Chicken too)

And finally, this bunny doesn't give one tiny PELLET that Julie Andrews in the shape of a stuffed goat is sitting next to it and singing. NOT ONE.

Bunny Vs. Julie Andrews Goat


It is a happy day INDEEDY when the always-awesome "outsider music" blog The Other Side Of Music releases one of their holiday-timed compilation albums. The Easter 2013 comp is bursting at the seams with peculiar, pious, and ponderous tunes and if you have a sense of humor or just like to think about the endless variants of creative humanity, you can download it for yourself right HERE. I like doing what I can to get these unusual artifacts to a wider audience, so today I've slapped together a little video for P.A. Weaver's cover of Blue Oyster Cult's rock stomper, "Godzilla." I believe this was recorded on a keytar, Instrument Of Gods. My GOODNESS. Please to enjoy!

P.A. Weaver, "Godzilla"


I've been down and out all today with a hovering fever, which makes me very MAD and SAD because I am at this very second missing a fantastic show in Seattle that I have been waiting to see for months. I have rolled out of my flaming bed, armed with a fruit smoothie, even more Advil, and a fan pointed at my face to deliver this post. Since all I can think about is this ruinous stupid FEVER, here I shall bring you five lousy-ass attempts by peoples on the YouTubes to sing the classic jazz torch song, "Fever," made most popular by Peggy Lee. Sung well, "Fever" is a smoldering, lustful, cooler-than-cool croon; sung poorly, it is about as sexy as a nit-picking spider monkey in a bustier. Please to enjoy, and bring me bags of ice.

Sometimes, before the person sings a note, you just KNOW. You just KNOW.

Ms. Tracey Bullock, "Fever"

This vocal artist is going off of Elvis Presley's version of "Fever," although I feel he may have had his tongue removed at some point in time.

pattarasila59, "Fever"

This is more jarring than sultry.

Mia Marchese, "Fever"

Here is what "bappreciated" had to say about his cover version: "Song for the day.. one take strange version of very classic, classy song by Peggy Lee. Lots of folks try to copy her..but it can't be done! Cloning works ok for sheep. This attempt should have been peppier, but just took my Prozac. :)" OK.

bappreciated, "Fever"

And I have saved the BEST for last. Waiting for all the partygoers to leave, this young woman decides to OWN her version of "Fever" REAL REAL HARD. WOW!

mitsymagicful, "Fever"


It's always particularly disheartening when ignorance and bigotry is on display in young people. No baby is born with the idea that some people are superior to others; that concept is purposely injected into a child's character by their parents and other figures of authority, daily syringes of hatred and intolerance mainlined, the brain feeding on the powerful feelings of rejecting the "other." I used to feel that this poisonous behavior could be changed over time, that we could and should evolve over time as a better model of humanity, more positive, peaceful, and productive.

I don't believe that now. Or, to be more accurate, I don't believe in a permanent social evolution or an upwards trajectory of reasoned integrity. It's never going to happen. Things can and will get better for some, and it is imperative that we always -- always -- strive towards a strong vision of equality and kindness, for even small increments of change can make life better for so many. But I know now that we will always be fighting a bitter battle, and the fight will never end until there's no one left on the planet to argue with anyone else. We will never be able to overcome our brutal base instinct to exclude, to deny, and to rank in order to feel like we have a higher status, hardly different than animals. Organized religions exploit and spread these hostile hierarchies with spectacular ease and success.

Since I was a very small girl, the exclusionary rules of organized religion have rankled me, and I could never make any room in my life for the cognitive dissonance that religious belief provokes. Fortunately for me, I am an American citizen, and I have a Constitutionally-protected right not to believe in or follow any religion or god. Whew. But, Houston, we still have a massive, massive, massive problem in that we have far too many citizens and legislators whose religious beliefs cause them to bring those rules into American government.

Which brings me to a post on Buzzfeed today by Matt Stopera: "20 Young People Who Believe That Marriage Should Be Between One Man And One Woman." Simple enough: Stopera asked these 20 kids at a Nation For Marriage rally why they think "traditional marriage" should be the law of the land. Go ahead and take a look. I'll be here when you get back.

Sigh. Aside from a nation of poor spellers and ponderous grammarians, we also have millions who cannot seem to understand the fact that


I totally do not understand why this is not made crystal-clear to everyone. If you want to live in a country where religious laws take precedence, then you should go to another country. This one is not for you. Nope, in protecting the right to worship as you wish (or not worship) the government cannot give any kind of preference to any one kind of religious belief. It is not only unfair and burdensome on those who do not share those beliefs (which we should hasten to point out are BELIEFS, and not FACTS), but destroys the entire concept of freedom of religion. Your interpretation of a religious text, your belief that that particular God's laws must also be United States law, cannot cause anything but chaos, division, and gross discrimination -- which is something America is supposed to be against, eh?  A common horse-blinder vision is that if America does not legislate Biblical pronouncements (or ones from the Koran or the Torah or anything else), religious freedom is being trampled. Nothing could be further from the truth. ALL citizens are protected from the misuse of religion when we insist on the proper separation of church and state. 

When this is not followed, we get messes like the ridiculous Defense Of Marriage Act. There is absolutely no basis within our Constitution to deny any two consenting sane adult American citizens the right to enjoy the substantial legal benefits afforded by marriage. The State can prove no compelling interest in denying gay couples full marriage rights, and the facts stand solidly that it would even improve the health, economy, and stability of the nation. The only reasons anyone can come up with to deny homosexuals a marriage license are -- you guessed it -- because they think God said so...or that it's not "right"... or that they think children are better off with a female and male parent that are married. All weaksauce. With the 60% heterosexual divorce rate, with marriage not at all always something that includes kids, with years of solid social science reporting that gay couples can and do raise healthy children...for anyone at this point fired up enough about homosexual marriage to try to once again exclude, deny, and rank is


Angry religious folk, take heart. Your church will never have to marry a gay couple if it chooses not to. Never...unless we decide to tax and regulate your church as we should, considering the money religious lobbyists throw at our lawmakers. And Girl #1 on Buzzfeed? Don't freak out -- no one will ever make you marry a girl, or a guy, or anyone. If you want a traditional marriage, you will have the blessing of the government to give it a go. But here's the deal: you aren't any more important than any other citizen, and how you use your genitals or who you use them with is of no business to government. For you to insist otherwise is a losing battle. Mind your own business and your own love life, try to find something in your belief system that doesn't hurt other people, and grow up. If you can't do that, like I said, go find yourself a theocracy where you might feel more comfortable. It's working out really well in Egypt these days, I see.

Think long and hard, parents, about the cost of that intolerance you infect your kids with. No good will ever come of it, nor ever has.


1. There is a definite Facebook "posting hierarchy," where a significant amount of people will only interact with those who have some kind of perceived higher status. This could be anything from trying to chum up to a Kardashian to brown-nosing a college admissions officer to trying to get the attention of a hot chick without having to deal with potential face-to-face rejection. A reverse subset of these posters will only try to knock down or upset more prominent people. Some people never type a word, but go on "liking" sprees of all content that a celeb posts.

2. Content slows down very late at night, but also gets WAY more interesting. In the wee, wee hours, we see the posting results of drunken evenings out, late-night loneliness, intractable insomnia, and some surprisingly smart micro-essays.

3. People like their dogs and cats much more than their family and friends.

4. There are folks who, almost every day, take essentially the very same photo of themselves and post it.

5. People get frothing-mad about other people who don't think the same political or religious thoughts.

6. There are many straight single dudes who only post negative and bitter things, seem to enjoy cutting other peoples' thoughts, preferences, and work output to shreds, seem pissed off all the time, and then morosely wonder why they don't have a girlfriend.

7. There are many straight single women who only post whining medical or relationship complaints, use, "I, "me," "my," or "mine" in nearly every sentence, take duck lips photos of themselves, talk shit about former boyfriends, and then morosely wonder why they don't have a boyfriend.

8. An astounding number of people still do not realize that once you post something online, it lives forever.

9. Facebook is always up to some kind of shenanigans with tweaking the site and "your optimal user experience" there.

10. You can tell an awful lot about people by analyzing their profile and posting style. That college admissions officer, that hot chick, and your next potential place of employment already knows that, though. SUH-NAP!


Miss Ten and I went out after school today to buy her some new clothes and shoes. We found out that she is now wearing adult-sized shoes, she doesn't like glitter or shiny stuff on her clothes, loves anything purple or teal, and will accidentally ram our shopping cart into my heels approximately every 20 minutes. After all this learning and pain, we decided to recharge our batteries by stopping by one of our favorite conveyor-belt (Kaiten) sushi restaurants. I am always a little surprised to find out how many people don't know about the glories of kaiten sushi, as it is especially great for families. You sit down at a booth or counter and BAM! Your food choices are RIGHT THERE in yo' face, coming by one small plate at a time on the conveyor belt. You just pick the ones you like or you can also order directly from the wait person or the sushi chef. It's delicious, healthy, fast, and fun. Here is a video from the YouTubes showing you what it is, what it be:

Kaiten Sushi

If you have never had sushi, man, are you missing out. Great sushi -- even good sushi -- is one of the planet's finest foods. I know some folks are a little freaked by the whole idea of raw fish (don't worry; I have a cruelly-sensitive gut and I have never gotten ill from sushi in 30 years) and maybe are also intimidated about how to order and how to eat it. There's a video for that, too:

How To Eat Sushi At A Restaurant

And here's a video showing you the English and Japanese names for several common types of sushi!

Names of Sushi

So, now that you know what to do, Miss Ten and I would love to have you come with us the next time! Especially if you PAY!

Here are a few images we took today. Please to enjoy!

By me...


Here we continue on from PART ONE with the big find of weird records from the thrift store last Saturday! Enjoying you are, please!

This Is The Day...we shall harvest powder blue suits and orange maxi-dresses.


HOO EE BUDDY! I found so many weird and wonderful old record album covers today at the St. Vincent De Paul thrift store in Kenmore, Washington that I have to break this post into two parts! We are divinely gifted this time with a large number of DIY evangelical Christian LPs from the '60s and '70s. I also want to let you know that while I was taking photos of these, a large man sat to my right and tried to put together an old Star Wars puzzle while muttering, "It's missin' pieces, it's missin' pieces," and there was an elderly gentleman fast asleep on one of the couches in the furniture sale room. At least, I think he was asleep. Oh, well, please to enjoy PART ONE!

I am pretty, pretty certain that you will NEVER achieve the truly epic levels of vision and confidence as has Dr. John Furbay, "Jet Age Circuit Rider." I don't know exactly what a "Jet Age Circuit Rider" is, but it has to be far better than anything you or I do, EVER.


I wish I could explain this to you mo' betta, but my 30 minutes worth of research is just causing my brain to fry. OK. I THINK this is a clip from a 1972 movie called "Krai Thaong Krauper Charavan" from the "Golden Age" of Cambodian (Khmer) filmmaking. I THINK the subtitles are in both Chinese and English, AND IT MAY BE that this version is being sung in the Khmer language...

Jup Krauper Charavan #1

...and I THINK this nearly-identical one was dubbed for the Chinese market.

Jup Krauper Charavan #2

In any case, the English translation of the lyrics includes gems like, "The Great God exists with me/Lovely Girl exists with me," and "You monster, you are a clever liar/I'm the clever snake catcher from India," and "Me, eat glass and bowls/I'm alert, like a mouse." The dancing and acting is sublime and very silly, very reminiscent of Bollywood. 

Justin Timberlake, TAKE NOTICE!


Wow! As a student and fan of psychology, I love coming across cultural artifacts related to the very fascinating history of mental health care, and this one is a doozy! This is 30 minutes of FREUDIAN FUN from the Michigan Department of Mental Health -- one of the many government-sponsored social PSA films that were released post-WWII in order to shape a healthier (or some might argue, more conformist) population. "Angry Boy" deals with a 10-year-old student named Tommy caught stealing money out of his teacher's purse, and his family's subsequent entry into the local "child guidance" clinic for treatment from a very weird psychologist and his zombie-like assistants. OF COURSE, the boy's mother and the mother's mother ARE THE PROBLEM, as per ol' Sigmund -- misguided, miserable, migraine-suffering nags, all. Dad is a total wimp, OF COURSE, who doesn't even account for much of the dysfunctional dynamic.

My favorite scene is when, during "play therapy," the psychologist gives Angry Tommy Boy A TOY GUN so they can both enjoy a little target practice while discussing ANGER PRODUCING THINGS. Nice link-up there, DOC!

So, sit right down, grab a cool beverage of your choice, or a crossbow, whatever, and please to enjoy!

"Angry Boy" (1951)


I have never fully understood how the Christian holiday of Easter morphed from the reverent and somber recalling of "The Crucifixion & Resurrection of Jesus," into a springtime mass intake of chocolate and jellybeans delivered by a rabbit, the coloring and painting of chicken eggs, and gathering for yet another gluttonous and wholly delicious meal, traditionally featuring a glazed ham. I'm all for it, though, because it is absurd and I am a Certified Absurdity Appreciator! Today, I thought I would share with you some very weird vintage Easter cards I dug up on the interhaps. I wish someone would have sent me one of these, but I am not umpti-billion years old.

Chick Soul Train Line! And what's the song? What else? -- the Funky Chicken!


Well, people are complex, are they not? We all agree that honesty is an important thing, vital to nurturing trust, which is the foundation of any successful human relationship. Yet we have such trouble with the concept of truthfulness when it comes to the realities of expressing it regularly. We begin our lives as utterly honest beings -- we cannot help but think and react just as we see things. Think about stuff you said as a small child, or words your own kids have blurted out: "MAMA, WHY IS THAT LADY SO FAT?" or "I HATE YOU! YOU'RE MEAN!" or "GRANDPA'S BREATH SMELLS LIKE POOP!" After we are shushed and shamed by the adults in our life for being too honest, we then have to figure out how to be "appropriately" truthful, and also figure out how to break the news to Ben Franklin that honesty is not always the best policy. Sorry, Founding Father Dude. Here are ten types of "Honest Folk" I have observed.

1. The Ben Franklin: This is the person who really does live the dream --  the "say what you mean, mean what you say, don't hold back, take it or leave it" truth bomber. This man or woman offends every single person they come into contact with at some point in time, which means they are generally disliked. People will put up with them if they have to and if their "cut to the chase" honesty can actually be of help in business. When they leave the room, others often mutter, "JERK." Does well as a comedian; racks up multiple divorces. Also may have dementia.

2. The I Love Everything And Everyone: This person is the exact opposite of the Ben Franklin; he or she believes that old adage of "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all," but instead of remaining silent, their brains implode and say they like things when they don't at all. They want to be liked by even awful people. They need to avoid hurting others' feelings so much that they won't even tell the dentist if they need more Novocaine and will explain the tears rolling out of their eyes as the drill hits a nerve as "seasonal allergies."

3. The "Well, Honestly...": People who say "honestly" and "truthfully" and "in fact" and "in reality" a LOT are often unsure of what they are saying and IN FACT probably are lying.

4. The Surpress-N-Blurt: This tightly-wound person resents not being able to be a Ben Franklin. When emotionally pushed too far or at a certain level of drunkenness, they will spew out all the bitter honesty they've had to repress with the force of a AK-47. Later, they will backtrack and say they didn't mean it or don't remember a thing. Delightful company!

5. The Serial Confessor: This person has absolutely no honesty-sharing boundaries, but not in the same way as the Ben Franklin. The Serial Confessor is compelled to vomit out every last detail of their personal lives to anyone around to listen -- classmates, co-workers, neighbors, and strangers on the bus.  Often, this honestly has something to do with some kind of intense medical or domestic situation but is told in the most boring, lengthy way possible. It is an attention-seeking device cloaked in the misappropriation of "connecting with others." Oy.

6. The Topper: This one has some trouble with delivering any information without first exaggerating it in order to dominate and impress. If you say you got a good deal on a car, he will say his saved $500 more than your deal and got 0% financing for 6 years. If you show photos of your cute kids, she will show photos of her cute kids and mention that one of them was approached by an international modeling scout. If you broke your leg, he'll say he broke his in 4 more places and still finished a marathon. In the rain. Carrying a limping puppy he found abandoned on the side of the road at the 5 mile mark. The Topper knows to only indulge in toppery when she's sure you can't check to see if it's the truth.

7. The Interventionist: This one is kind of like the Ben Franklin, but less general. They focus on telling other people exactly what they are doing wrong, because of their "deep concern" and "desire to help." An Interventionist will nag you incessantly to stop smoking, never wear that unflattering color, dump your lazy spouse, fix your grammar, go vegan, stand up straight, attend their church so that you might be saved, and tells you also that you load the dishwasher the wrong way. They are sincere in their perception that they are only doing this for your own good, but end up as repellent as wolverine urine in a salted margarita glass.

8. The Internet Persona: Relatively new to the honesty line-up is the Internet Persona. If you knew how many of your family members, friends, and co-workers have totally separate and fully-fleshed out internet identities, often completely different than their "real life" details, and exactly what they are doing with those personas, you would FREAK OUT. Enough said.

9. The Application Liar: I'm really glad I don't have to assess resumes for a living, because I've written plenty of them for people and am now way too sensitive to the buzzwords and phrases that scream, "THIS APPLICANT IS FULL OF THE WASTE PRODUCTS OF 1000 RHINOS." Of course, when applying for a job or college or a grant, you should always take great care to present your skills and experience in the best light. But there are people who are just not satisfied with the plain 'ol truth in this specific case and become inexplicably fanciful. Trust me here, you don't really want to say "managed an eight-member entry-level team, taking each to the next level of personal and professional development" when you actually just raised a batch of your dog's puppies.

10. The Balanced Bullsh*tter: Most of us fit into this category, and should not feel too bad about it. I do agree with Ben Franklin's quote and its intent -- honesty builds trust and lessens unnecessary complications. But you never need to be the person who "pisses on flowers" or indulges herself in pointless narcissistic puffery. It is sometimes better to say nothing, say something that is not quite what you actually think, or sometimes just flat out lie to a giant angry man and say naww, dude, I didn't eat the last of the Thin Mint cookies, not me, nope, no way. Nooooooo.

The most important thing and also the hardest thing regarding honesty, should it need to be said, is to always to be true to yourself. Sorry, Ben Franklin...Willie Shakespeare get the last word. And the Castaways!

The Castaways, "Liar Liar"


Let's all take a moment right now -- RIGHT NOW, YOU LAZY PEOPLE -- and express our gratitude for Our Friend Internet. Even despite all the virtual kudzu of unstoppable ugliness that one encounters in the digital universe, it is surely one of the greatest achievements in human history for the rapidity and depth of knowledge that can now be shared by almost everyone on the planet, from resourcing rare diseases to tracking national revolutions in real time, to finding that awesome chili recipe you loved and thought was lost for good. Take a sec and flood your brain with the overwhelming AMAZE-O of it all, won't you?

Our Friend Internet came through for me again today (like it does multiple times each and every day, really) with the coolest thing -- with my late-ish discovery of a studio demo tape of one of my favorite singers and composers of all time, Harry Nilsson. I don't use the word "gifted" very much because it is so grossly overused, but whenever I listen to Harry's voice, I am just awestruck by the easy grace and cleverness of his musicianship -- he was so exceptional. I feel better when I listen to anything he did; why, I don't know, but his recordings make my heart all warm and my spirits soar. And that, my leetel frens, is quite a lovely thing.

In March of 1967, Harry had just been signed to RCA Records, but was still working at a local bank. After coming to the attention of Monkees producer Chip Douglas, Harry was invited into the studio to preview some songs of his that might be suitable to use on the pop TV group's next album. Tape was rolling, and we hear in Harry in fits and starts performing pieces of the songs; it is in wonderful sound quality and is the most damn charming thing, short and sweet. Here's a YouTube playlist of all the songs:

Harry Nilsson, "The Monkees Demos," RCA Studio C, Hollywood, California, March 17, 1967

The Monkees did indeed end up recording and releasing one of the songs from this set as a single the next year, "Cuddly Toy." When the Monkees record one of your songs, you get to quit your bank job. The Monkees and then the Beatles starting singing Nilsson's praises to anyone who would listen, and his career took off at last. Harry became close friends in particular with Mickey Dolenz and John Lennon, and campaigned tirelessly for gun control laws after Lennon's murder in 1980. Harry died in 1994.

The Monkees, "Cuddly Toy"

I hope you ENJOY THESE as much as I did!


If there's a hot youth fad, you can count on someone to write a song about it and CASH IN. Today I thought I would bring you three songs from the '50s and  '60s, written about some of the sporty toy crazes from my consumer-oriented youth. Please to enjoy!

I recall begging one year for a fluorescent orange "Shoop Shoop Hula Hoop," but that was probably a good ten years after this 1958 song by that sunny little imp with the window-shattering voice, Teresa Brewer.


The good and bad thing about the late hours I keep is that I tend to get an idea rush at about the 1AM mark, and then have to stay up later to complete whatever goofiness I am compelled by. Last night I was going through some of my photos looking for a particular image and ended up looking at the raw files from a show by one of my fave local punk bands, wimps. They have recently released a very nifty album called "Repeat" on End Of Time Records, and are also a blast to see live. Anyway, as I was toggling back and forth between the photos in Lightroom, I got an idear for a video, so I grabbed the lead track from "Repeat," called "Slept In Late" and with some lo-fi trickery, made this video! Please to enjoy and I sincerely hope this does not trigger any seizures. Safety first!

The irony outcome is that today after finishing the video...I slept in late.

wimps, "Slept In Late"



This morning, as I was rushing around getting ready to go out, I had the pleasure of hearing one of my favorite Kinks songs played on SIRIUSXM's "Underground Garage" radio: "The World Keeps Going 'Round," originally released in 1965. As I listened to it once again, I began to understand how my interpretation of the song had changed throughout my life, what the lyrics said to me, and I once marveled at how a simple set of words can bring so much to us. A gifted artist, such as composer Ray Davies, has the skills to offer us work that has shades and nuance, things we often cannot appreciate on a first listen.

When this song was written, Davies was a young man of 21, overwhelmed with the demands of new pop music stardom and the responsibilities of caring for an even-younger wife and their newborn daughter. "The World Keeps Going 'Round" is an early example of Davies moving away from the typical pop love song -- something he seemed to have mixed feelings about, anyway -- towards more reflective, personal material. At 21 years of age, the lyrics are a somber statement; the inevitable disillusionment with the world and its systems and people, the fall from a youthful "we can change things, we can do better than the generation before us" to "why care, why bother, why try?" The arrow of hope shot high into the sky from a child lands with a deep, predictable thud by young adulthood, sometimes driving far into the ground. Seeing things as the are and not how you imagined them to be is a bitter lesson for us all.

You worry 'bout the sun
What's the use of worrying 'bout the big ol' sun
You worry 'bout the rain
The rain keeps falling just the same
You worry when the one you need has found somebody new

But the world keeps going round
The world keeps going round
You just can't stop it
The world keeps going round

You worry 'bout yourself
What's the use of worrying now you're almost grown
You worry 'bout your own
What's the use of worrying 'cause you'll die alone
Times will be hard, rain will fall
And you'll feel mighty low

But the world keeps going round
The world keeps going round
You just can't stop it
The world keeps going round

Times will be hard, rain will fall
And you'll feel mighty low

But the world keeps going round
The world keeps going round
The world keeps going round
The world keeps going round
You just can't stop it
The world keeps going round
The world keeps going round

Almost 50 years later, both Ray Davies and I qualify for membership in AARP, and have been around the block plenty of times. With every corner rounded, it is always a hope that you learn and grow from your experiences, both pleasant and challenging. In "The World Keeps Going 'Round," my years have stacked well and strong, so that I can see more of the big picture within it. I no longer think of the endless patterns and routines of the world as impersonal and cold, going on without me, making my worries, my joys, and my entire existence meaningless. The cycle of days that turn into weeks and months and years and decades no longer seem to be a terrifying, heartless steamroller. No, what I hear now in this song is this: yes, bad things are going to happen to you, yes, you can't always count on people, yes, you will never have control over everything in your life...but...

Every time the world goes 'round, you get another chance. You get another day to make things better, to get move towards the life you want to have and to become the person you want to be. Some things fade and die, but others form and bloom. Along with all the harshness, life will always also bring you absolute beauty, grace, kindness, and delight. That the world keeps turning and keeps  giving us the opportunity to be refreshed and renewed rather than wearing us down is actually a tremendous gift, and, I think, a more accurate perspective to trust in.

As I finished listening to the song while brushing my hair and thinking about it all, the next song began to play. It was Little Richard's "Rip It Up," which I thought was rather perfectly timed. I smiled.

Well, it's Saturday night, indeed.

Little Richard, "Rip It Up"


One of my first toys as a child was a guitar...a little plastic guitar, sure, but it was a guitar! I think all my friends had them, and I know all my children had them, and all of their pals. Guitars are cool, even in plastic miniature. Prior to the rock 'n roll age, sales for kiddie toy guitars were primarily driven by "Singing Cowboys" (like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers) in Western films and TV shows. But interest in guitars of all kinds -- real and toy -- exploded when Elvis Presley came to world prominence in the mid-'50s and the Beatles a few years later. Rock 'n roll and electric-guitar based music was thought of at the time as a "teenage fad" in music, but quickly trickled down to the younger set, and then just kept on going. Merchandisers were quick to hop on the bandwagon to manufacture toys to sell to these new rock 'n roll babies, and I thought I'd show you a few examples from the '50s and '60s.

Let's start off with Elvis. The one with the "Hound Dog" on it is adorable, but it does remind me of rock music foe Steve Allen, and how he made Elvis sing to a dog wearing a tux.


One of my favorite movies of all time is "Amelie," the Academy-Award winning French film from 2001. There isn't a piece of it I don't love; I soak up every scene in delight. It is a genuinely charming movie. I'd like to share a tiny example of life imitating art.

This is a heart-tugging scene in the film where our heroine, Amelie, secretly reunites a lonely man with a tiny box filled with some of his childhood treasures, which Amelie discovered hidden in her flat bathroom decades after the man stashed it away and forgot it.

Amelie -- The Treasure Box scene

As it turns out, I too, had a treasure box. My mother recently unearthed it from her vast archives of stuff,  and sent it to me. Like in the film, all the memories came rushing back as I saw things I loved and played with over 40 years ago. The kitten box -- once filled with candy from England, one of the things my dad brought back for me from one of his long trips to the UK. There is a tiny bark canoe from a trip to Green Bay, Wisconsin, a felt Superman cape lost off an action figure, a puce-colored Gumby from a ten-cent toy dispenser machine. A little plastic spaniel, a little plastic Halloween cat from a cupcake. From Germany, a little girl standing on a magnet -- you'd put it on a table and put another magnet underneath and she would spin and spin. And finally, a "coin" commemorating the Apollo 11 moon landing, marked July 20, 1969.

I am so glad that my mom understood the value of this collection of mine, and kept it safe. To be able to access again the simple but encompassing joy of little childhood treasures, to be able to time-travel back even for a moment, is indeed priceless.


"A Rube Goldberg machine, contraption, invention, device, or apparatus is a deliberately over-engineered or overdone machine that performs a very simple task in a very complex fashion, usually including a chain reaction."

Today I bring you Miss Ten's school project, which is a Rube Goldberg Dog Feeding Machine! She (and her father) worked very hard on it, re-purposing tubing previously used for a school project catapult. My job was making the video. Ellie the Dog's job was eating the dog food. Please to enjoy!

The Rube Goldberg Dog Feeding Machine


These days, I very rarely drink any kind of soda, sticking more to coffee, water, and beer, but in days past I had a pretty obsessive relationship with both Pepsi Light and Fresca. I think I actually burned myself out on soda. I don't enjoy it as much now, which is just as well because I don't think it's good for ya. Anyway, probably not very many of you are with me here; the carbonated beverage market shows no signs of slowing down here in good ol' 'Merica, even if New York City's Mayor Bloomberg is trying his best.

Soda was a treat when I was growing up, something that we didn't have in the house unless we were having a party or had company. When I could get my hands on a bottle (yes, a BOTTLE) of Coca-Cola or Fresca or Pepsi-Cola or Orange Crush or Dr. Pepper or even a Diet Rite or a Tab, my day was made. But there was one soda that was particularly HOT when I was a little kid in the '60s, and that was Mountain Dew. It was first made in 1940 in Tennessee, but wasn't available nationwide until the Pepsi folks bought the brand in 1964. I can remember the ad campaign well, sort of linking it in my mind with "The Beverly Hillbillies" TV show. I can't tell you how many times we kids ran around yelling "YAHOO! MOUNTAIN DEW!" for no reason.

Original '60s TV ad for "Mountain Dew"

My tiny tastebuds then honestly couldn't distinguish one cola brand from another, Sprite from 7-UP, or Fresca from Squirt. But Mountain Dew was unique. It was an almost-fluorescent green-yellow color, with a dense, sweet-sour taste. It almost felt like you were scandalously drinking actual moonshine in a way,  which of course was what the term "Mountain Dew" meant originally. I love Grandpa Jones.

Grandpa Jones, "Good Old Mountain Dew" (1961)

So here's where the first question of mine came up: HOLY CRAP, WHY DO I FEEL SO WEIRD AFTER DRINKING MOUNTAIN DEW??? No joke, even as a soda-starved CHILD I eventually self-selected off drinking Mountain Dew because it made me feel jittery and dizzy and wired and upset my stomach, which no other soda ever did. Well, here's WHY: Mountain Dew is loaded with caffeine, 54 mgs as opposed to Coke's 34mgs (and I'll bet Mountain Dew used to have even MORE back inna day). That's a lot of caffeine for a little body. BUT, when you add in Mountain Dew's Yellow Dye #5 (tartrazine), guess what? EXTRA CRAY! A recent scientific study showed that children with and without ADHD who ingested tartrazine showed an increase in ADHD-like symptoms. Yikes! So all the kids I knew who would slam down the Dew cramming for tests...probably didn't do so well, huh?

Many, many years later as an adult I decided to try Mountain Dew again, just for nostalgia's sake. I was very disappointed to find that it just didn't taste the same at all -- it was far more generic-citrus, and I didn't like it. Which brings us to the answer to my second question: WHY DINT IT TASTE SAME? Because in the '90s, the company decided to replace the original recipe's sugar with the very evil HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. I guess I wasn't the only person who thought that was lousy, because eventually they decided to produce "Mountain Dew Throwback," using sugar.

My two long-standing questions answered, my curiosity sated, I will now enjoy a long, cold, refreshing sip of store-brand bottled water.


I always feel a little disappointed when there's a song I really dig and either there's no video for it on YouTube or a really super bad one. I know that zillions of people discover new music (or new to them) via YouTube, so it's my total pleasure to once again mine the interhappenings for some cool old footage to make something fun to watch so when the NEXT music fan goes looking for that song on YouTube, THERE IT IS THERE IT BE! Creatures of the Golden Dawn was a Pennsylvania band that just got everything right about garage punk -- snotty vocals, wicked guitar and organ, and really, really well-written songs. "Satan's Love Slave" was from their 1994 release, "1000 Shadows," which you can purchase on Amazon MP3 or iTunes (CD copies are now pricey collectors items).

This video features both real and pretend ladies of the evening from the mid-'70s, with some grindhouse/horror and documentary films raided to provide you with some...intriguing visuals to go along with the sexy swagger and beat. Please to enjoy!


In one of my thrifty outings a few months ago, I picked up a 1967 copy of the Bear Cub Scout Book, published, of course, by the Boy Scouts of America. Intended for the 9-yr.-old Cub Scout, it is a manual outlining all the steps, called "Achievements," that young lads need to take to earn their "Bear Badges" and to continue on to become actual Boy Scouts. The handbook is richly illustrated, and I thought I might share a few of them with you here. Let's Bear!


Once again I have mined the cassette tape archives to bring you another Kinks cover version from '80s Midwestern punk rock legends, The Performa-Chords! This time, we have a Dave Davies composition --  the sweet folky moper "Wait 'Til The Summer Comes Along" was released by the Kinks in the fall of 1965. It's certainly a favorite Kinks song of mine to this day. Anyway, in introduction please allow me to remind you of the UNBREAKABLE RULES of The Performa-Chords:



3. Use whatever instruments or non-instruments are around.

4. Anyone can play. If you are in the room, playing is MANDATORY.

5. Alcohol will be served. A LOT OF IT.

6. After a song title is announced and the cassette recorder is turned on, BEGIN PLAYING!

The Performa-Chords cheerily mangled "Wait 'Til The Summer Comes Along" in the fall of 1981. The instrumentation is as follows:

Kevin: Acoustic guitar and vocals
Marianne: Electric guitar and vocals
Dena: slide whistle
??? - tambourine and drumsticks

If you want to listen to this over and over again on your iPod, by GOD you can download this for the FREES over at my Soundcloud!

Forgive us, Dave. See Rule #5.


The Performa-Chords, "Wait 'Til The Summer Comes Along"


It occurred to me today, for absolutely no reason whatsoever, that there aren't many songs written about bathrooms and things in bathrooms and things that go on in bathrooms. I find this very odd; I feel this area of life is underrepresented in musical expression and urge songwriters to consider composing a bidet ballad, a tub tune, a shower song, or anything related to this vital area of hygiene. Therefore, I am going to spotlight the efforts of a few bathroom-related songs off my iTunes archives from the pioneers of the genre. I would be extra-pleased if you might watch these videos in the privacy of your very own loo.

Let us begin with a bathroom classic from the Beatles, part of the sweet B-side suite of songs from Abbey Road.

The Beatles, "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window"

I have a complicated relationship with my bathroom mirror. In the early morning, it is a cruel reminder that during sleep, I am apparently run over multiple times by a fleet of tractor-trailers. But later on, after coffee, a shower, and the application of lady spackel, the mirror reflects at least something fairly palatable. Funny how that works.

The English Beat, "Mirror In The Bathroom"

This video featuring a very clumsy infomercial spokeswoman has nothing to do with bathrooms, and you shouldn't watch it if you are squeamish-ish. However, we must applaud Pissed Jeans for writing a song with "bathroom" in the title. This is new on Sub Pop Records, you fans of punk metal.

Pissed Jeans, "Bathroom Laughter"

This is one of my favorite songs from Robyn Hitchcock and the Soft Boys, because it's so subversive -- it starts out as a mid-'70s standard rock anthem chugger and then starts talking about toilets. I am betting a fair amount of cash that it was written solely for the idea of getting a bunch of fans to fire up their concert lighters, fist-pump the air, while shouting "Rock n' roll...rock n' roll...rock n' roll...ROCK N' ROLL TOILET!"

The Soft Boys, "Rock n' Roll Toilet"

HAHAHAH! OK, so this is a marginal inclusion for the theme, I DON'T CARE! "Bird Bath" is a smokin' surf rocker that rips off the Trashmen's own hit "Surfin' Bird," and is so wonderfully stupid it made me laugh aloud.

The Trashmen, "Bird Bath"

Johnny Cash should have been President of the World! Now we're talkin'!

Johnny Cash, "Flushed From The Bathroom Of Your Heart"

You might be able to call British actress Joan Sims the "Godmother of 'Go'" for this 1963 novelty song complaining that her grandmother is totes hogging the can, man. It's...sprightly.

Joan Sims, "Hurry Up Gran"

Tell it to the people, Brother Hawkins!! Screamin' Jay for Vice-President of the World!!

Screamin' Jay Hawkins, "Constipation Blues"

Forgive me.

Jingle Smells

And to END with, this very genuine, very peculiar track from a 1969 "concept album" from the American Standard Company -- you know, the people who make toilets -- given away to customers and employees. My only other comment here is that I believe, in 1969, everyone in the world was high.

American Standard, "My Bathroom Is A Private Kind Of Place"


Ladies and gentlemen, I admit it: I've been trolled. I've been trolled by local musician and writer John Roderick via his essay in Seattle Weekly with the shiny, sharp, silver hook of a headline, "Punk Rock Is Bullshit." I am not the only wriggling fishy on the line; as of this writing, there are 619 comments on his piece, something that must make Roderick and Seattle Weekly's advertising department proud of their day's catch. As much as I am tempted to not reward either with more attention or cash, I will encourage you to read the piece in order to fully appreciate my points here -- but at least scroll down and click "View All" to register fewer page loads. So why am I choosing to further illuminate something that I think is a misguided, pretentious, bitter hack job? John Roderick has provided us a perfect example of how a writer can blame a vast group of diverse musicians and fans for, as his subtitle asserts, "...a toxic social movement (that) poisoned our culture," while being absolutely, astoundingly unaware of his own venomous, aggressive lack of integrity and perspective... which is the the real downfall in modern journalism and in our culture as a whole. It's worth dissecting and dismantling. There are so many things just flat-out wrong with what Roderick has done here that I need to break it up into sections.


Oh, brother. "Punk Rock Is Bullshit" is such a showcase of what I find to be an intolerable and painfully-common writing style. Oh, if I had a buck for every ten-dollar word and lofty over-wrought metaphor in Roderick's prose! Let me use plain, everyday words to state clearly that such writing is produced only to impress the writer himself and Grad School Writing Program students with his sparkling vocabulary and grandiose proclamations. What is the purpose of writing? Not that. It is to communicate with all your readers, to make your points and your meanings flow without having to overburden each sentence with a dense fermentation of pseudo-intelligence. Words can be used as a kind of distancing mechanism, forming a club that is exclusionary -- think of legal writing, medical journals, marketing jargon. Roderick tries so, so hard to show people that he is smarter than you and your little dog, Toto, too, which is why people hate Pitchfork so much. There are plenty of sour brainiacs around who don't know when to wean themselves off the thesaurus. They lose themselves in narcissistic ardor, trying to top themselves with each exquisite turn of phrase, losing a huge chunk of their intended audience in the process. Barf.


This piece was an excruciating read not only for the preciousness of Roderick's style, but his lack of expertise and understanding of his topic, a fatal flaw when contemplating a troll essay. He falls flat right in the first paragraph, using the beyond-the-beyond tired complaints that Baby Boomers are all hippies-turned-Bush-Yuppies and ruined the world for him, a Gen X-er. He then, after complaining about the generation of people before him, proposes the theory that people who like "punk rock" and what it supposedly stands for are immature, contemptuous haters, jealous and suspicious of anything successful or pleasant or happy in any way. If I could set my eyes to infinity rolleyes at this point, I surely would do so. Where do I begin?

It's totally fair and fine if Roderick doesn't like punk music. It's not for everyone, of course, which is why there are so many other types of musical genres for people to enjoy, like Roderick's own "indie folk" with his band, The Long Winters. I'm not sure what kind of "punks" Roderick has been interacting with in his lifetime to form such sweeping, damning conclusions about what we think and believe. Yes, you read right -- I said, "we." I love punk rock, and consider myself a "punk" in my heart of hearts. Yet, if Roderick would take the time to know more about those he directs his acrimony towards, he might find me. I am older than him, and belong to the tail-end of those awful, awful Baby Boomers. I live in the suburbs in a nice house, and have three lovely kids and a sweet dog. I am thrilled when my friends are successful, had a happy childhood, have no tattoos nor piercings, avoid moshing so my glasses don't get broken, am a college grad, don't smoke or drug, and am generally cheerful and laugh frequently. I enjoy many types of music, from Basie to Bach to Brubeck to Beatles to Black Flag. I don't buy into "lifestyle manifestos," other than "you shouldn't buy into a lifestyle manifesto."

More importantly, I have found with very few exceptions that people who truly love punk or garage rock are far from the acidic nihilists that Roderick paints them to be. It just isn't true that we hate everything and everyone and ourselves and want to die, really! I fear he is a "Quincy"-level appreciator of us...remember this?

"Quincy, M.E." Punk Rock Episode

The "punks" of TV were fake, as well as the real-life people who called themselves punks just by putting a safety pin through their lapels, getting a mohawk, and using the pit as a excuse to be a violent jerk. That isn't what "punk" IS, no matter what the media has fed anyone. What I can tell Roderick and all of you is that the people that I know who are devoted to punk and the garage are some of the nicest and most down-to-earth folks you'd ever want to meet, funny and friendly and who time and time again will bend over backwards to help their community. I could give example after example of charity gigs, buying band merch when money is too tight to mention, and smaller acts of kindness that few people see. On the other hand, some of the chilliest and most uptight music people I have encountered, especially in Seattle, are the "indie folk" hipsters who take irony-worship to heavenly heights, read music blogs to figure out what to wear each day, and produce music of exceeding sameness/dullness, crimes Roderick claims for punk rock devotees. In formulating his concept, his "carpet doesn't match the drapes."


I can appreciate that John Roderick has a fine, clear voice and is a skilled musician. Yet the music he produces fills me with profound indifference. There is nothing there that stands out over what feels like hundreds of similar bands here. For me, the value in art that is made public is that it is unique enough to provoke some kind of thought or reaction, whether it makes you dance or sing or think about the lyrics, be it positive or negative. For art to effect nothing whatsoever...well, oof, sir.

It is a hallmark of a closed view of the world when, even given facts or differing perspectives, one cannot learn and grow. For Roderick to declare that punk "... only tells us what it hates. It has never stood for anything; it stands against things. It is not an intentional indictment; it is a reactionary spasm," shows with no doubt that he doesn't fundamentally understand what punk rock is. Certainly, punk music can be brash and pessimistic and vulgar and stupid; so is a chunk of life. But the real spirit of punk music is so much more, and holds great value. To typify punk only as people spitting on each other and hating the universe, thereby causing a toxic cultural cloud that wipes out more tender beings, misses the point by a mile. Bear with me here -- this is going to be tough going for the Quincy folk. 

I believe that "punk rock" is at the core of music, all music. It is the thing that makes us want to create, to express how we feel, say who we are, to tell about what makes us different. It exists in the recordings of Bessie Smith and Louis Prima, Jerry Lee Lewis and Bob Dylan, the Sonics and the Stooges. It isn't blindly hating every authority source; it reminds us to examine who we choose to follow and why, and maybe consider forging a better path ourselves. It is sometimes music of anger and disillusionment, and sometimes music of tremendous primal headbanging-happy joy. I feel a bit sorry for Roderick in that I don't think he will ever be able to truly know how much we gain, how good this kind of music is for us. He seems like an uptight dude and not very cheery. Maybe he should rethink some of his own choices in life, eh?


I've already devoted more time to this than I really have available, so I will finish up this post by pointing out that Roderick's essay, rather than proving his point or even illuminating an issue, must be viewed with proper suspicion. For when taken as a whole, it doesn't matter that he chose "punk rock" to rag on -- that was just a topic that he figured would rile up plenty of people. For all his pundit-piss serves is what passes now for paid music journalism: something aggressively critical, with little other than the writer's own opinions and psychological issues on display, designed to DRIVE PAGE VIEWS which increases publication ad rates. How terribly and hilariously ironic that the guy who is whining about punks being nasty meanies and Baby Boomers being insufferable navel-gazers interested solely in profit and attention, is guilty of ALL of the above. 

Long live punk rock. Time for this little fishy to swim in more friendly waters.

The Damned, "Fish"


(The Intelligence, The Croc, Seattle WA., 6/18/11)

(Ed. note: as of 4/19/13, Roderick's original essay, as well as all the comments, have been removed from Seattle Weekly. Interestingly enough, Roderick is scheduled to present a talk at Seattle's EMP Pop Conference tomorrow, entitled "How To Survive A Firestorm." HOW ABOUT THAT.)