Sunday, December 21, 2014

In My Ears XI

Been exactly two months to the day since my last In My Ears post; here's what's been in them since that time:

Chris LeDoux - Whatcha Gonna Do With A Cowboy
A former rodeo cowboy, had been a recording artists since the 1970's but never achieved major success - until Garth Brooks mentioned him in a song and then championed for him. LeDoux passed away in 2005 but the music lives on.

Mark Knopfler - The Ragpicker's Dream
Mark Knopfler - Shangri-La
Mark Knopfler - Sailing to Philadelphia
Yes, just continuing to revisit the Knopfler catalog - it gets better with age.

Fountains of Wayne - Sky Full of Holes
Fountains of Wayne - Traffic and Weather
Fountains of Wayne - Utopia Parkway
Another artist whose catalog I am revisiting...such a fun band.

Bob Mould - Bob Mould
Bob Mould - Workbook
Ever since his WTF interview, I've been going back to his solo work. One of these days I'm going to revisit the Husker Du catalog.

Montgomery/Gentry - Back When I Knew It All
Been a while since I heard this one.

Sue Ellen - Sunday Hangover
I really interesting collection of covers. I stumbled across this on Spotify and love it.

Ramones - Subterranean Jungle
Just felt moved to hear some Ramones and randomly selected this one.

Against Me! - The Original Cowboy
Still learning about this band - late to the party but glad I got there.

Ace Frehley - Space Invader
Not brilliant by any means but it's Ace, so I had to.

Laura Cantrell - Kitty Wells Dresses: Songs of the Queen of Country Music
I keep referring to Cantrell as "authentic", here, she covers Kitty Wells, he definition of authentic as far as female country singers go; and she does so brilliantly.

Ages and Ages - Divisionary
Another find from NPR - watch the video, you'll wanna hear it too:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sorry for the Absence

Just wanted to check in reader, and say hi. Sorry I've been gone so long - but the road I was traveling through life left me without time or words for this space.

I'll probably have a few music based posts, some holiday reflections and perhaps a year in review type of thing and expect to be back in full force as 2015 draws upon us.

Thank you to all of you who have ever read my words and kept this space alive for over a decade.

Speak soon.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Missing in Action

Not as much time for commentary on the world right now - this blogger has fallen in love and has been spending time with his lady.

Back on October 1, I wrote a post called 25 Beautiful Songs. You can click on the link to see it or go back if you wish. The challenge was to "as much off the top of your head as possible, no real intricate thought involved, list 25 beautiful songs."

The list that appeared in that post were the first 25 and of course, after publishing, a number of others came to mind - I think I wrote down another 15 or so.

I know those of you that read this blog aren't much for commenting, but I'd love to get you to participate and perhaps comment here with the one or two at most "beautiful songs" that come to your mind right away.

In the the words of Ringo...Peace and Love.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Under a Texas Sky

I've never been to Texas and for a long time, I never really cared as the political landscape, at least as I perceive it, Texas was always too Texas for me. I have a great respect for some of the athletes and musicians that have come from there but it was not much of a big deal for me to visit.

Somewhere along the way, there had been a cultural movement, the hipster generation seemed to gravitate to the city of Austin and found some cross between the influences of the southern culture embroiled in the roots of the capital of the lone star state and created a cool hip vibe along with an interesting music scene to wrap around the wonders that mother nature gifted the landscape with; and of course, Willie Nelson got his two cents in on making that city cool!

In the last decade, I've had an increasing interest in visiting Austin and finally, that will happen next month. I am even more jazzed about this trip because I will get to share the experience with my beautiful girlfriend. I love the thought of us being able to see this through our own eyes and each others, it's going to make it all the more special!

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Election Day

I just looked back on on this date back in November 2004, the year I started this blog, it was also Election day. On that day, George W. Bush was somehow reelected as our president. This year, it's a slightly less dramatic election as we are in midterms.

As I write this, it's too early to tell what the results will be, I tend to feel utter disgust though when a republican is voted into office.

Instead of waxing on about it all though, I want to address one of the ballot questions in MA; at least briefly. Currently, we have a five cent deposit on certain beverages, mostly carbonated. There was a ballot question to expand it to uncarbonated beverages such as bottled water and sports drinks, etc.

I didn't think this was well thought out, I think we can encourage more recycling in a number of ways, one might be additional types of beverages, another, a higher deposit - which may be a better incentive to redeem them. The biggest problem I have with the current laws, which was not addressed in the new movement - and is the main reason I opposed, is the ease of redemption.

Currently, most stores will only redeem deposit products that they sell. I don't think this is fair - I shouldn't have to bounce around from place to place, or make a special trip to one local redemption center (which I happen to be fortunate enough to live near). I think if we are asked to participate in the process of recycling, that it should be made as easy as possible, everyone that sells products in redeemable containers should have to redeem all redeemable containers.

I will leave it there,

Thursday, October 30, 2014

R.I.P. Phil Mineo

Last Saturday night i got home to learn of the passing earlier that day of Phil Mineo. Phil is my old friend Rob's dad, he was a great man who was always kind and generous to all of us in our friend group.

Some of my memories of Phil include how much he loved his baseball card collection. during my brief stint as a collector, Phil and I had some marathon conversations. When I got older and eventually got into a career in public education, we found more common ground as Phil was a lifelong teacher in the public schools; again, some great conversations.

Much love to the Mineo family and all whose lives were touched by Phil...he will be missed!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Real Email

The above is an actual email I received from the customer service department after I emailed them requesting some specs on a hiking boot made by the company (Khombu).

While the greeting is entertaining, being called Mr. Christopher (which is my first name), I really enjoy the combination of the name of the person emailing me as it is followed by the department in which they work.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Flight of the Concorde

I remember when the Concorde first came out, all the hype, all the talk, and look at it - it's quite amazing to look at; that was especially true for a teenage boy when it was first introduced to the masses.

I was super excited that I lived in NY because I knew with JFK airport so close, I would get to see one every now and again. I recall the first one I ever saw, I can almost feel my jaw drop the way it did that day and hear the sound it made at it passed over.

It amazing to think of the engineering marvel that plane represented considering it was conceived and designed in the 1960's. Can you even imagine a cruising speed of 1350 miles per hour? Here's a link to an interesting account of a then 18 year old: CLICK HERE.

I found this video that someone shot on board. It's a bit longer than it needs to be but interesting anyway;

Do you have any Concorde memories, ideas, stories, etc?

Bearded Wunderkind

Not too long ago, I made the decision to grow back facial hair after about a two year absence. The decision was influenced this time by my girlfriend, who asked if I would grow it back - I was happy to oblige.

I used to grow it around every year or so but had slowed down in more recent times due to the heavy graying.

What I've learned though, is that the graying isn't a problem, it's what I chose to perceive the graying stood for...aging, and aging alone.

The reaction, for the most part, has bee positive - many have indicated that I look "distinguished". A old friend mentioned that I look better now than I did 20 years ago. The best part, my girlfriend likes it, and I too like it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In My Ears X

Two in one day? Why not just one long one? Simple...the one that posted earlier was typed in about a week ago and somehow I set it to publish in the future, that being today. Today's list is today's list...the things I've listened to since that list.

Peter & Gordon - Original Hits
All the songs that are on the greatest hits I listened to a while back but more songs in addition to those. This is a more robust compilation and better produced recordings and masterings.

Twin Forks - Twin Forks
Described as an "Americana Folk Rock Band", and accurately so. I first heard them on NPR and wanted to check out the whole record, glad I did.

Dum Dum Girls - Only In Dreams
Dum Dum Girls - Too True
Another NPR find.- unique but clearly influenced by a variety of popular musical acts. Very different, but nice.

Laura Cantrell - Humming by the Flowered Vine
Just the album title alone would hook me. I wanted to hear more after the CD I listened to a few weeks back. Again, authentic, and terrific.

Jeremy Messersmith - Heart Murmurs
I hope you don't tire of me saying, "NPR find", it's a primary source of new music for me, has been for some time. Minneapolis based singer-songwriter that makes music worth hearing.

Fountains of Wayne - Sky Full of Holes
Love this band a lot, didn't discover them until they had been around for years but glad that I did. This is one of those artists whose work I am going back to rediscover.

In My Ears IX

Here's what I've been listening to of late:

Jake Owen - Easy Does It
Jake Owen - Barefoot Blue Jean Night
Jake Owen - Days of Gold
I've heard Jake Owen on radio, seen him on TV a few times but never really listened to his records, so it was time.  It was all prompted after hearing him perform a single from his latest album (Days of Gold) called "What We Ain't Got" (song links to the exact performance I saw).

U2 - Songs of Innocence
This is the "controversial" newest U2 record that magically appeared in everyone's iTunes library. I was happy to receive it for free. First listen was too casual, not sure what I heard, second listen made me appreciate it. For me, it sounds like a U2 record, and I think it's a good one.

Todd Rundgren - A Wizard, A True Star
This is a very different kind of record, and when Todd Rundgren is the artist, different means different! Released three weeks before Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon", this record shifts from experimental through pure pop and pays homage to a number of Rundgren's influences, most notably, The Beatles. Fun to listen to after so many years.

Mark Knopfler - Kill to Get Crimson
There are a few artists, Knopfler being one of them, where I am slowly revisiting their catalog. Knopfler's music ages as gracefully as any and it's always nice to hear.

Laura Cantrell - When the Roses Bloom Again
A Nashville darling - authentic!

Bob Mould - Body of Song
Another of the artists I've been revisiting - inspired after hearing his interview with Marc Maron.

Against Me! - Searching for a Former Clarity
Against Me! - New Wave
Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria Blues
Against Me! - White Crosses
Though they have been recording and releasing music since 1997, I have only heard of them recently from hearing something on NPR's All Songs Considered. Wow! What I've missed all of these years - just great modern day American punk rock.

Monday, October 20, 2014


One of the thing I did this past weekend was go to our friends reunion. We haven't had one in about 3 years or so and it was really great to finally get back together and see everyone.

Instead of karaoke, there were some guitar players strumming, it was a nice change and lots of fun.

The kids are all growing so fast, but it was still fun watching them scamper around, and in some cases, mingle with the adults.

I was so happy to have my girlfriend with me, her first time meeting my friends from back home. I know that is not an easy thing to do, but she is a wonderful woman and it made me feel extra special to be there with her and share that time with me.

Oh yeah, the food kicked ass!

Much love to John and Jane who so often have graciously opened their home to us!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The "E" Word

Do you know the word I am speaking of? The "E" word...Ebola.

That word, Ebola, is everywhere you look, every day, 24 hours per day. Over the years, there have been many different times when such a word has had the same power of striking fear in the hearts and minds of everyone, everywhere.

Hard to imagine isn't it, that in this day and age where it seems almost anything is possible, that the mere mention of a word can stop us in our tracks.

It's a bit scary, isn't it?

I will tell you what concerns me even more than this disease, that is how the press has handled releasing information to the public. I think all of the fears and concerns and panic is because the information we receive is so sensationalized for maximum zazz, to attract viewers as opposed to being reported properly, in clinical terms and the simple interpretation of those clinical terms so every day folks can truly understand what Ebola is, what the real risks are and why instant panic only worsens the situation.

The Power of People

Sometimes, the most powerful experiences come from simple ordinary people that come together for a common purpose.

After reading that, I feel like a could write on an on and no matter what I write it will not be any more meaningful that that first sentence above this one; so this post will remain short, but all will have been said.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Post Script

The title of this post may not really relate to the content of the post but for some reason, the title hit me, even before writing this into, much lest the post that will follow - so I went with it.

I am serving on a search committee at work to fill a job position in my department. It's wild to see the variance in applicants and resumes. It's baffling that some have absolutely zero qualifications, and I say that just using the job description they are responding to, yet still apply and talk themselves up in their cover letter.I find this baffling!

At least the applicant pool is manageable. Only other search committee I served on had about 70 resumes to sift through, this one is less than two dozen.

This committee process we use is quite odd, first interview and these candidates are being bombarded by anywhere between 4 and 10 interviewers...daunting.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Follow Up and Something New

To follow up on yesterday's trash can thing, the morons who pick up my trash left it behind. before I continue, please don't think I just casually call them morons for one thing, they have proven time and time again to me and others in my town (as evidenced by posts on town discussion board) that they are indeed morons who take zero pride in their work.

For next week, I will put that garbage can inside of the larger recycle can and fill the rest with other recycles and it will probably be gone because they wouldn't have had to life one more item.
I had a parent of an autistic student come to me practically in tears asking for help to recover a paper that may have been lost. I am meeting with them after lunch - she was almost in tears and mentioned that she is in the midst of chemotherapy and spend more than eight hours working with her son to do this paper and will do it again but wasn't sure where she would get the strength to do it.

I can only hope that whatever happened to the paper that it is indeed recoverable, I want to be able to do that, though I know there is only a chance that it is possible and I made it clear to her that the chances were possible, but not necessarily probable.

Really beautiful weather here today, if you too are experiencing nicer weather than you expect, enjoy it and be grateful!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cat Got Your Tongue

Oliver, my cat, loves yapping. One of the times he gets particularly vocal, and this is a newer thing, is dinner time. Sometimes when my daughter and I are sitting at the dinner table, he'll go over to the basement door and start yapping until one of us cracks open the door so he can go down.

We have no idea what it is about the basement that appeals to him but we constantly joke about how he has a secret life down there, a girlfriend, perhaps he enjoys a workout...haha!

Today, as he torpedoed down the stairs, my kid yells (as the cat), "hurry, I gotta get to my daughter's recital!" Such laughter, I am only now catching my funny! 

Trash Can (No Picture)

I really think I should have snapped a picture of my trash waiting for pickup and then one post pickup to add a little (and I emphasize little) zazz to this post.

Last night, among my trash out for collection, I placed an old trash pail in hopes of it being taken away. Now, this is not a typical outdoor trash pail, I suspect that could be a bit tricky to dispose of, instead, it was an old (not very old, just older than the built in contraption in the new kitchen setup) step on the thingie and the top opens kind of deal. I just left the think next to the recycle pail.

There was a part of me thinking that some passerby may claim it, this has happened so often with other things I've left for trash, but as of around 7 am when I pulled out of the driveway, it was still there.

Of course, if it is gone when I get home, which is my hope, I will really have no idea if it was the less than competent trash people or some passerby who saw treasure in my trash. Ultimately, it matters not since my goal was to be rid of it but that will not stop me from some amount of wonder.