Friday, July 31, 2009

A Friday Song List

Giveaway: Really? No one? You're missing out...

I've been revamping my teeny iPod (and dreaming of a big one), so I think it time to see what comes up in a shuffle, don't you?

1. "Flame of the West" -- Big Country (Steeltown)

Scots dissing Reagan. I wore out my cassette of this album when I was 16 and found a German import a couple years ago to replace it. The album is as good as I remember it, and since it isn't that synth-pop that was so popular it still sounds fresh. Also. They so do not sound like U2.

2. "Marie's Wedding" -- Van Morrison & the Chieftains (Irish Heartbeat)

This is another CD I bought to replace a cassette, but it turned out I don't like the album as much as I did when it came out. I do really like the very traditional Irish songs though, Van Morrison's voice is so beautiful.

3. "This is Your Country" -- Luka Bloom (The Acoustic Motor Bike)

Luka Bloom was a minor obsession for me in the early 1990's. I saw him at the Blind Pig the night after a riot in Ann Arbor (the UM basketball team either won or lost, I don't remember or care). Bloom is from Northern Ireland (which, you may recall, was having some...troubles), he said Ann Arbor looked just like home. Very sweet.

4. "Three Hopeful Thoughts" -- Rilo Kiley (The Execution of All Things)

I don't know this album as well as I should, but I always like the songs when they come up in the shuffle. This one is kind of power pop.

5. "Last Night" -- Traveling Wilburies (self-titled)

I downloaded a couple of the hits for nostalgia's sake. You know, bunch a great musicians hanging out, having a good time.

6. "So Wrong" -- Patsy Cline (12 Greatest Hits)

I think listening to Patsy Cline is the first time I realized that having a great voice is not nearly enough to make someone a great singer, the phrasing matters so much more. Patsy's voice is fine, but the way she uses it is what makes her a truly great singer (and this is a truly heartbreaking song).

7. "Voice of Harold" -- R.E.M. (Dead Letter Office)

My knowledge of R.E.M. begins with Murmur and ends with Document (which roughly encompasses my college, depressed, hipster years). Dead Letter Office is a collection of alternate versions of songs, covers, and B-Sides (remember those?), and is worth having for the hilarious linear notes. "Voice of Harold" is a pre-lyrics version of "7 Chinese Brothers" (from Reckoning), they used the linear notes from some random gospel album as stand-in lyrics. Michael Stipes sings with great sincerity.

8. "One Night in Bangkok" -- Murray Head

This would be 1980's synth-pop. It's kind of terrible in a nostalgic way.

9. "Don't Pass Me By" -- The Beatles ("White Album")

I do so love The Beatles and the "White Album" is my favorite in all of it's out of control, messy, weird, indulgent, in-fighting glory. Revolver, Sgt. Pepper and Abby Road may be better albums, but for me, they don't top this one for it's sheer human-ness.

10. "Mr. Jones" -- Counting Crows (August & Everything After)

Even though the Crows are so not Seattle in the 1990s, this is what I was listening to and these songs always take me back there.

And now for something completely different. According to this week's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly, between the years 2003-2007 2,228 deaths occurred in the production of crops and animals; 108 of those deaths involved cattle as a primary or secondary cause. I wonder how many involved roosters?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Summer Madness Give-Away!

I'm dubious about the "summer" part, actually. I don't think we are really getting summer this year.

It's a meme by way of
Quixotic Pixels, but one with prizes! I know, be still your heart.

Here’s how it works:

The first five people to leave a comment on this post will get something from me.
But in return, you have to do the same thing on your blog and make something for five other people. The details are as follows, and if you want to play, copy the following onto your blog and leave me a post:

1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make. Whatcha get is whatcha get.
2. What I create will be just for you, with love.
3. It’ll be done this year (2009).
4. I will not give you any clue what it’s going to be. It will be something made in the real world and not something cyber. It may be weird or beautiful. Or it may be monstrous and annoying. Heck, I might bake something for you and mail it to you. Who knows? Not you, that’s for sure!
5. I reserve the right to do something strange.
6. In return, all you need to do is post this text on your blog and make 5 things for the first 5 to respond to your blog post.
7. Send your mailing address – after I contact you.

I know some of you do not have blogs, in that case you could use Facebook or invade someone else's blog (for example, your wife's while she is off at Creative People Camp). So, get to it!

And no, I will not be making you a queen sized quilt.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Lame Blogger

That's me. I thought I would be back in the swing of things after the 4th of July, but apparently not. I'd love to say I'm too busy, but no. I'm just lame.

Here is a pretty picture to distract you from my lameness:

Bright Orange Lily

So, what is going on that I haven't been posting?

I just started the fifth book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. Um. This is embarrassing, I'm addicted. They are stupid, but funny (mostly intentionally). Once you get beyond the awful of the first couple of books (which I did, because I was promised semi-incestous werepanthers, it turns out there is nothing "semi" about the incestuousness), her storytelling is really quite. You know. Good. There, I said it. If you want something fun and won't tax you too much while you nurse your sunburn, you could do worse.

I also finished Rethinking Thin:
The New Science of Weight Loss---and the Myths and Realities of Dieting by Gina Kolata. Kolata, a health journalist for the New York Times, compiles the history and research of dieting and obesity and reaches the conclusion that weight has far more to do with genetics than willpower. It's so well written, so readable, I had a hard time putting it down (even for Sookie).

It was Art Fair last week.


I ate a lot of very bad food.


I bought a piece of pottery (which I failed to take a picture of), I didn't realize until I was leaving the booth that it was by my old housemate (she wasn't in the booth, I'm not that lame). Kind of a coincidence, but I have always liked her stuff.

In other news, the dog got skunked Thursday night at bedtime. That's a smell that will bring tears to your eyes! Len gave her a bath before I got home on Friday evening. It didn't work. My brother and sister-in-law had looked up a natural de-skunking recipe, which mostly did (hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and a bit of dish soap). Then on Saturday evening she went out happy and came back broken. Her tail was between her legs and she was very very sad. We took her for a very expensive vet visit on Sunday, it seems she strained her back. She's on some anti-inflammatory and she should be better by tomorrow. At which time she will get another peroxide-soda bath, 'cos, seriously. She stinks.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Len's Cheesy Shirt

Cheesy shirt

In a crazed moment of silliness, I bought this flamingo fabric thinking I would make a 1950's style dress, full skirt and all. When I came to a few months later, I thought better of it. I showed the fabric to Len (who knows why) and told him now that the dress plan was out, I didn't know what to do with it all. He shrugged and said, "you could make me a shirt out of it". After I picked up my jaw, I did. And he wore public.

By the way, this does not give anyone license to gift us with flamingo-related anything. Just in case you are tempted.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Flowery Landscapes

Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne's Lace

Black Eyed Susan

Black Eyed Susan

I Arrived In Time to See the Firetrucks

It turned out the parade in Grass Lake was at 10:00, not 11:00. Oh well.

Fire Truck

Grass Lake Clock
Too late.

4th of July or Halloween?
The weather has been a bit loopy, but I don't think it's October.

So cute!
Gratuitous picture of super cute kid (C & A's kid).

Sparklers are always pretty

Silhouette with added filter in a misguided attempt to distract you from the lack of crisp focus.


Trippy fireworks

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Long Silence

Sorry for the long silence. It isn't that I haven't had anything to report, I've just been tired and cranky. Hopefully, I'll get back in the swing of things after the weekend.

In the meantime, here is a clip from the Colbert Report about the census.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Noncensus
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorJeff Goldblum

Around the 2 minute mark Colbert mentions the nominee to head the Census Bureau, Bob Groves. Groves is the director of the Survey Research Center, the largest center in the institute where I work. In case you are interested, the controversy around his nomination is because he is an advocate of using sampling to supplement the head count -- essentially a bit of statistical mojo (also known as "science") which allows a smaller group to stand in for the whole group. If the sample is large enough and random enough, it gives an accurate view of the whole. Sampling for the census is off the table, so really, those holding up Groves confirmation are just being big babies. Also, contrary to what Michelle Bachman implies in the clip, pretty much the only question you will be asked on the census is "how many people live here?". The long form questions have all migrated to the American Community Survey (which is a sampled survey and, if you happen to be called for one of these, it is part of your duty as a U.S. resident to respond).

See you in better days (as my stepmother's sister says).