Archive for the ‘Music that doesn’t suck’ Category

The news just repeats itself

August 19, 2016

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.

The Pod People

April 8, 2016

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.

RFD-BugCall 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:

Jim Harrison

• 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.

Merle Haggard

A recollection from Patrick Doyle in Rolling Stone.

• NPR’s “Fresh Air” reprises a 1995 interview with the outlaw country legend.

Cookery

• 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).

Final notes

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.

R.I.P., Merle Haggard

April 6, 2016

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.

 

No, Dude, don’t say it, not today …

January 18, 2016

… aw, shit, there he goes.

I need some Led in my pencil

January 12, 2016
ledzeppelin1

Boy, did I ever play the mortal shit out of this one on my parents’ Telefunken, which until the Sixties had been accustomed to a steady diet of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey and the like.

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.

R.I.P., Ziggy Stardust

January 11, 2016

ziggy

Put on your red shoes and dance the blues.

Mutiny from stern to bow

January 3, 2016

Huh. If memory serves, when a bunch of smelly hippies, Injuns and uppity colored people tried pulling this seditious shit they got shut down right fast, shot all to be damn, jailed, and vilified for decades afterward.

Even candidates for office were derided for having “palled around” with them.

Ah, but I was so much older then. I’m younger than that now.

 

Loading the Van

December 31, 2015

See you all on the other side of midnight.

This dump ain’t closed on Thanksgiving

November 26, 2015
Shut up, kid.

Shut up, kid.

But even if yours is, you can still get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant.

Privateering we did go

September 17, 2015
There. A photo of an actual bike, from the actual show. Happy now?

There. A photo of an actual bike, from the actual show. Happy now?

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (MDM) — Some people watched CrossVegas. Others tuned in to “Mister Trump’s Neighborhood” (“Won’t you be my neighbor? No, of course you won’t, we wouldn’t let you, because you’re a loser! And anyway, I’m building a great big beautiful wall!”)

Me, I enjoyed a Mark Knopfler concert.

interbike-bugThe Adventure Cycling Association’s King of All Media, Mike Deme, proposed the idea some months back and handled all the arrangements, so last night off we went to the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace.

Good show. The man still has it at 66, and the band was tight, although the sound was poor; the bottom was over the top, smothering the lesser stringed instruments (cittern, ukelele, mandolin); overpowering whistles, flutes and even the uilleann pipes; and at times nearly obscuring Knopfler’s voice entirely.

The two-hour show unearthed a couple of what Knopfler called “historical relics,” including “Sultans of Swing,” the first song of his most of us ever heard. But there was plenty of newer stuff, too, from “Privateering” and his latest album, “Tracker.”

There was another show, of course, involving bicycles. I paid it little mind, day one always being heavy on the how-y’doing, what’s-up, still-working-for-eejits-o-yes* side of the ledger.

But Mike, Adventure Cyclist boss-fella Alex Strickland and I managed to fall by Pearl Izumi; Bollé (which is now doing helmets); Nutcase (which is doing some cool scooter helmets); Brompton (slick build-to-order Brit folders); and Jamis (check out their nicely spec’d and affordable Renegade series).

More of the same today, including a chat with Novara manager Cyndi Mundhenk of REI and a big skull session with the Adventure Cyclist staff and contributors over dinner this evening. I’ll try to post something from the show floor today. **

Next: Not all those who wander are lost. Just me.

* No eejits were harmed in the making of this post, especially those eejits who are paying the tab.

** Notice how well that worked out? Yeah, me too.