• An appreciation of “Fairytale of New York” from Michael Brendan Dougherty.
• The backstory from Wikipedia.
• An alternate version from Christy Moore.
So happy Christmas. I love ye, baby. …
As the Pestilence-Elect uses the economy as a sex toy, I expect FZ might perform the entire album “We’re Only In It For the Money.”
What would Frank Zappa play as Agent Orange assembles his Cabinet of tools, fools and ghouls? Why, “I’m the Slime,” of course.
WWFP at The Inauguration? I’m gonna go with “Dumb All Over.”
We interrupt our discussion of the decline and fall in order to tip the Mad Dog top hat to Leon Russell, who like Leonard Cohen has gone west.
I heard him first as half of Asylum Choir, with guitarist Marc Benno. Then there was the Mad Dogs & Englishmen Tour with Joe Cocker, the Concert for Bangladesh with George Harrison, et al. Saw him perform once at Folsom Field in Boulder, and wow, what a show. Dude never really stopped playing — he would chat to the audience between songs, tinkling the ivories.
Here’s one of his most popular tunes, and one of my personal favorites. Damn, that Next World Orchestra just keeps getting bigger and better.
Now and then I miss working in a newsroom. This is not one of those times.
Most days, daily journalism is like any other gig, only more so. Hours of tedium interrupted by moments of pandemonium.
But news in the era of what Charlie Pierce calls He, Trump, is a whole other ballgame. It’s like trying to sip delicately from a fire hose hooked to a septic tank. It can’t be done, and nobody should have to try, not even for money.
And certainly not for free.
Instead I’ve been trying — and mostly succeeding — in paying attention to the bicycle, may God save her and all who sail in her.
There’s Bicycle Retailer‘s big 25th-anniversary celebration, for example. I need to dash off a column and cartoon on that topic, which shouldn’t be too much of a stretch, seeing as I’ve had 25 years of practice.
And I’ve ridden four different bikes in four days — Sam Hillborne, Steelman Eurocross, Soma Saga, Jones Steel Diamond — and loved every minute of it. Well, not every minute — the Steelman’s low end of 36×26 is a tad tall on steep, sandy single-track for an auld fella — but still, it beats perching in front of the Mac, letting the shit monsoon wash over me.
This morning I got up, grabbed some coffee, and when Herself went out to walk The Boo, I shut off NPR’s “Morning Edition” and started playing some John Prine instead. Sometimes a fella needs a little country to restore his faith in a bigger one.
OK, I’ve been threatening to resurrect the Radio Free Dogpatch podcast for a while now, and the stars finally came into proper alignment this week, so here we go.
For the first time Radio Free Dogpatch is not a solo effort — my friend and colleague Hal Walter joined me for a chat of about 75 minutes that I boiled down in editing to just over an hour.
Call it “Two Dudes Mystery Theatre.” We talked about the passing of poets Jim Harrison and Merle Haggard; Hal’s autistic son, and what it’s like trying to do creative work while raising a child who is not “neuro-typical”; and cooking.
For anyone who’s interested in the nuts and bolts of this Frankensteinian project, we chatted via Skype (Hal lives in Custer County, Colorado, while I’m in Albuquerque). On my end I was using a Samson C01U USB condenser microphone and an old pair of Bose earbuds plugged into an equally old iMac; Hal went even lower-tech, using a $50 Kindle Fire and some Apple earbuds, the kind that include an inline mic’.
I recorded our conversation using Ecamm’s Call Recorder, then split the convo into two tracks and dragged both into Apple’s GarageBand for editing. Once the thing was more or less the way I wanted it, I uploaded it to Libsyn, which hosts RFD and sends an RSS feed to iTunes.
During our ‘cast I promised to provide links with more information about some of the topics we discussed, and here those are:
• Tom McGuane’s “Postscript” in The New Yorker.
• Mario Batali recalls mealtimes with Harrison in Time.
• Jimmy Buffett bids a fond adios to his hermano on Facebook.
• Doug Peacock on Harrison and the art of friendship at The Daily Beast.
• A recollection from Patrick Doyle in Rolling Stone.
• NPR’s “Fresh Air” reprises a 1995 interview with the outlaw country legend.
• The food of Apulia, from Florence Fabricant in The New York Times.
• Her recipe for orecchiette with cherry tomatoes and arugula (being a barbarian, I add hot Italian sausage).
If you find yourself interested in Hal’s writing, you can visit him at Hardscrabble Times (yeah, it’s been a while since he updated the ol’ blog) or order up one or more of his books (check the link in the sidebar).
Meanwhile, let us know in comments what you think. It’s a little rough around the edges, but so are we. Happily, the podcast can be improved.
A workin’ man finally clocks out. During one drink-and-drug-soaked road trip I played one of his “greatest hits” tapes so often that my copilot yanked it out of the deck and threw it out the window.
I let him live. I didn’t want to turn 21 in prison doing life without parole. ‘Cause Mama tried.
… aw, shit, there he goes.
Well, Ziggy Stardust may have left the building, but Led Zeppelin beat him to the door. The band broke up in December 1980 after the death of drummer John Bonham, but it was on this day in 1969 that they released their first album.
So with that in mind, here’s a little fiery Zep to hot you up on a cold January morning.