Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hypothetical Tacoma, Washington 7 in 7

Some of you may know that I sponsored an event in San Francisco from 2005 to 2011 (each July) called the 7 in 7 ( The idea was fairly simple: 7 bars on 7 consecutive nights in 7 different San Francisco neighborhoods. Danielle and I have moved to Seattle now, but due to the hospitality of Bid Daddy, we were able to spend four months this year in Tacoma as we got ourselves squared away in the Pacific Northwest. And, as my mind does wander, I began to think about what a 7 in 7 Tacoma would look like. No, it will likely never happen (so why would you keep reading? Honestly, I have no idea), but could it kill a person to have a week long Tacoma specific drinking adventure tucked into a back pocket in case of emergency? I think not...

Sunday Morning, 7:00 - Knapp's: a brilliant breakfast menu, reasonably priced and huge portions. The bar is from another era, low-slung tables and chairs, comfortable half-booths.
Monday Evening, 5:30 - Bob's Java Jive: beer and wine only, but a huge space, and the damn building is shaped like a teapot. Outdoor seating available.
Tuesday Evening, 5:30 - Beach Tavern: friendly people and, as the name might indicate, down by the water. Lovely views.
Wednesday Evening, 5:30 - Crown Bar: Wednesday is Burger Night; a recreation of a pub in Belfast, drab on the outside but beautiful in. Also, the consistently best music I've heard in any bar in a long time.
Thursday Evening, 5:30 - Lucky Silver: Rainier in the can, Wild Turkey shots and, I believe, shuffleboard. All you need to know, really.
Friday Evening, 5:30 - Harbor Lights: tucked into a restaurant whose name escapes me, the entry to the bar is a tiny hallway with two steps going up that gives you the feeling you've come aboard a small boat. I actually MISSED the bar the first time and I was looking for it. Beyond nautically cute, one whole wall is a giant window facing the water.
Saturday Afternoon, 4:00 - Joeseppi's Italian Restaurant: Happy Hour in the lounge till six with the fabulous Andy. Have him make you a Martini or two and order up, oh, I don't know, two meatballs and one Italian sausage for a total of FOUR American dollars. Joe, the owner, will even come by and shake your hand; among others, he coached Ahmad Rashad and Ron Cey in high school football.

(Note the First - four months in Tacoma with somewhat limited funds did not allow for the comprehensive research that I prefer, so this list is fairly North/Northwest centric, as that's where we were located. But you'll have to trust me when I say it's a solid line-up.

Note the Second - Seattle 7 in 7? Let's just say it's crossed my mind...)


Sunday, December 25, 2011

"Grateful For Christmas", Hays Carll

The first time I heard Hays Carll was late 2009 or early 2010. The song - She Left Me For Jesus ("the last time we made love/she even called out his name"). I knew immediately Hays and I were going to get along just fine.

An excellent singer and songwriter (that you likely have never heard of), this one comes from his outstanding album KMAG YOYO (2011; I was able to see him live in San Francisco on this tour). Beautiful, sweet and sad...

"But the ladies from the church said they might stop by/I brought you this picture, aw Mama don't cry..."

Grateful For Christmas...


Saturday, December 24, 2011

"Merry Christmas From the Family", Robert Earl Keen

Because it's infection by light's favorite Christmas song, and for no other reason. Also, because it's who we are here at IBL, all the best to you and yours...

Merry Christmas From the Family



Thursday, December 22, 2011

Apparently There's This Thing...

...where if you bring water to a boil and then add something to it (wheat noodles, say, or brown rice), the water, just like that, can't remember how to boil anymore, and you have to wait for it to boil again. To be fair, it seems to have some kind of Strasbergian sense memory thing working, in that it does happen much faster the second time, but still - once I boil some water I expect it to stay fucking boiled. I'm not running a charity here.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Wait So Long", Trampled By Turtles

So, as far as I'm concerned, this is as good a "new" song as I've heard in awhile (not that I know exactly what constitutes "new" - Wait So Long is certainly new to me (I'd heard it maybe a half a dozen times over the past four months, but then twice this week which lead me to investigate further), though it was released in April, 2010). It may not be representative of everything I'm listening to, but it's certainly part of the pie. I can't help but think of the Pogues when I hear this, and clearly there is a familial relationship here to speed metal and/or punk. This MIGHT even fall under the classification of "cow punk", but I'm not sure how hard and fast the rules are there (or, to be honest, exactly what the rules are, if any). When Hank III talks about his mixture of country and speed metal he refers to it as "hellbilly" (his speed metal band is called Assjack, and I kind of wish I could tell you I was making that up). In any event, this is my first and only TB Turtles song, but I will be digging deeper.

Bonus Trivia - there is a sort of power pop/rock cover of this song you can peep on youtube by a band called Motion City Soundtrack. I know nothing about them but would appreciate any information anybody might have...

Wait So Long...


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Lover's Cross" and "Operator", Jim Croce

When I did my 30 songs in 30 days in September, I knew I was likely to forget an artist here and there, so here we have two from Jim Croce. I was ten when his plane went down and it devastated me; I Got a Name was just going into massive airplay and I thought to myself, every time I heard it, "This guy CAN'T be dead, he has a brand new song on the radio." (The second guitarist here and four other people also died.) A lovely and emotionally honest voice to my mind. Mr. Croce would have turned only 69 in January, yet he's been gone nearly 40 years. Hardly seems possible...

Lover's Cross...



Sunday, December 18, 2011

"I'd Rather Go Blind", Rod Stewart

Pursuant to the previous post, it dawned on me that Rod Stewart had a version of I'd Rather Go Blind as well. It's from 1972, the Never A Dull Moment album, and though it's technically credited to "Rod Stewart", I think it is, in essence, a Faces album. (Steve Goldstein, can you weigh in on this, please?)

In any event, it's sometimes hard to remember now what a great singer Rod Stewart was then; this demonstrates that nicely, I should think...

I'd Rather Go Blind...


"I'd Rather Go Blind", Etta James

Speaking of beautiful songs and a beautiful voice...

We will lose Miss James in the very near future as she is terminally ill; thanks to George Angel for putting this one back in my thoughts again...

I'd Rather Go Blind...


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Infection By Light's Fun Fact O' the Day About the Planet Venus

Reading a short article by Alan Lightman in the December Harper's, I learned that on the planet Venus it rains sulfuric acid. You may have known this, I did not. But it got me to thinking...

When we were planning our move to Seattle, and while the move was occurring, and even after we got here, I can't tell you how many people who didn't live here said to me, you know, "How can you stand all that rain? I couldn't stand all that rain." Or, even better - "You do know it rains a lot there, right?" (Seriously: somebody said that to me, as though we would pick up and move our entire lives WITHOUT FIRST INVESTIGATING as much as we could (yes, including the weather) about our new home.) Anyway, to the first quote, what you want to say is, of course, "Well, it's a good fucking thing you're not the one moving there, then, isn't it?" But you don't; instead, you patiently explain that cities such as New York, San Francisco, Dallas (yes, Dallas) get more annual rainfall in a typical year than Seattle. You kindly explain to them that what they mean to say is that it's overcast a lot in Seattle.

But now if somebody starts going on about all the rain in Seattle, I think I'll try a different response, something like, "Well, it DOES rain a lot, you're certainly right about that; but did you know that on Venus it rains sulfuric acid? So, you know, we thought, what the hell, Venus isn't going to work, we'll move to Seattle and split the difference." Then I would smile at them beatifically.

So we'll see how that plays out...


Friday, December 16, 2011

"Dublin Blues", Guy Clark

Honestly, I think this is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard, and this arrangement is particularly striking. I don't have much more to add except to say that Steve Earle - who surrounded himself with Texas songwriters at an early age, including Townes Van Zant - considers Guy Clark to be his teacher.

"I have seen the David, seen the Mona Lisa, too/and I have heard Doc Watson play Columbus Stockade Blues."

Dublin Blues...


The Obama Administration Stands Up for LGBT Rights - Speech by Secretary of State Clinton

The speech is thirty minutes long, but it's outstanding, I think. This link also provides a transcript if you want to dip in here and there.

Secretary of State Clinton on LGBT equal rights...

Everybody in, nobody out.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

(In Which I Talk A Little About Some of the Upcoming Music I May Well Be Talking a Little About...)

So, back in September, I did the 3o Songs in 30 Days bit, including songs that had some kind of impact/influence on me from, say, childhood to my very early 20s. I believe at the time I threatened to follow that up down the road with some music that may have had an impact on me since then, including, you know, stuff I may have heard just this week. Consider this fair warning, then - that threat is well nigh upon us...

So, although I will likely reminisce about songs from my youth as they occur to me, I'm also going to start talking about songs that I did not become aware of until my "mature" years (aw, shut up!). Of course, many of these songs could well have been recorded before I was born; certainly others will be of a more recent vintage. And, again, I hope you will consider adding any recent discoveries you might have made (old or new) that will help round out my musical knowledge. Or, really, any song you'd care to share, recent discovery or not. I'd sure appreciate it, and we could put it right here in the main feed should you feel so inclined...

Thanks in advance...


Monday, December 12, 2011

Introducing "The Discriminating Homophobe", An Original IBL Production...

1. The Discriminating Homophobe At Work

Sharply dressed he is: dark slacks and a brilliantly white shirt, thin black tie with flecks of gray, Varvatos coat tossed casually over one shoulder, an air about him that asserts Destination. The Discriminating Homophobe glides through the revolving door and into the lobby. He has a dozen roses in one hand – two red, five each white and pink, baby’s breath adornment. He wraps his knuckles smartly on the security guard’s desk. The security guard, a Filipino named JoJo, is on the phone; he waves in return and rolls his eyes, pointing at the receiver. The Discriminating Homophobe nods knowingly and mouths ‘Keep the Faith’, then steps into a waiting elevator and up, up, up.

So, then, it’s his floor, 18, and he bounds into the hallway and swipes security card, and he’s through the frosted glass doors shining with twin company logos. He deliberately slows his gait as he approaches his secretary’s desk (Brenda, he shares her with two other associates), flowers behind his back. Though it’s early, Brenda, like JoJo, is already on the phone. He hovers patiently, doesn’t exude pressure; in a moment she’s off the phone and smiling up at him like the cutie pie darling she is. He flourishes the roses and wishes her a happy anniversary, her third with the firm. She blushes deeply and lowers her gaze, then comes out from behind her desk to give him a quick hug and a (surprisingly) dry peck on the cheek.

“I’m just going to put these in water.”

And she’s off to the kitchen, and he contentedly strides down the hall to his office, not a corner but very near a corner (give him time) and, as this is the 18th Floor, he has a lovely view of the bay. Already there are a few boats out on the water.

On weekends he favors sailing.

There are no photos on his desk (he’s between girlfriends at the moment), but here again fresh flowers (daffodils, all sunny and yellow), because clients generally favor fresh flowers, unless they are allergic; but by some magic he does not pretend to comprehend, Brenda knows who’s allergic and who isn’t, and schedules the flower-free mini-conference room as appropriate. This morning, a Thursday, he has no client meetings, just some free time to get caught up on paperwork and make a few phone calls.

Yes, a Thursday, the weekend right around the corner. Sometimes people get booked early, he knows that, but he likes to keep his options open – can you blame a guy? Don’t want to organize a Sunday morning sail for six when a young lady met on a Friday evening at, say, Elephant and Castle, precipitates the need for a more private excursion on the Steely Dan, his nautical pride and joy. Brunch afterward on the deck. He can whip up a frittata or something.

His phone buzzes and it’s Brenda on speaker, thanking him again for the flowers (“No, thank you,” he says), but there’s more – he has a call, his best friend, Yves.

“I’ll put him through.”

He picks up the phone, delighted.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

"Jolene", Dolly Parton; then, by White Stripes

Jolene, written by Dolly Parton, and originally recorded by her in 1974. To my mind, a fairly haunting and heartbreaking song, and an indicator that her talents are not limited to singing, and being an all-around in general sweetheart. The first link below is to her studio version. There have been many covers of this song over the years (I heard a new one by Nora Jones yesterday), but the one that stands out for me is by White Stripes (there's a studio version, but I chose a live version from 2004). First, Jack White does not change the pronoun, which I like in general because, you know, those were the lyrics. Second, as he is (obviously) a male vocalist, it provides a different take on the original endangered relationship. And I think the vocal itself is really fine and emotional in all the right ways.

I don't know that much about White Stripes - I've heard three albums but have not "followed their career" - I know he gets in fights and might possibly (people have intimated) think quite highly of himself. I'm still not sure if that drummer is his sister or his ex-wife or something else. But none of that matters to me, I only care about the songs; he is a good lyricist, at times very good, and has written songs that are funny, sad, sweet, angry and more adjectives I won't bore you with here. Now, whether you care for his style of music is another matter, of course. At any rate, I can tell you he produced a come-back album for Loretta Lynn in 2004, and another for Rockabilly Queen Wanda Jackson last year, exposing those fine ladies' voices to whole new generations of fans, so he certainly can't be all bad.

And, so, two Jolenes, and please note - on the White Stripes' version the song starts 30 seconds in...

Dolly Parton...

White Stripes...


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Most Gorgeous Hunk of Savagery on the Face of the Earth

The Little Red Hen, a country western bar in Seattle's Green Lake neighborhood, is our favored local (undoubtedly I've made that perfectly clear by now in a variety of other posts). Over the last month we have met quite a few regulars, and one of them, a gentleman named Kary, has become quite fond of Danielle. Kary is in his mid-50s, I would guess, slightly built, and with long gray hair and a bushy beard that hangs down to the top of his chest (the first night we met him he noticed my hair and said, "You mean you can have long hair and still get a beautiful woman?"). He always wears a Guinness ballcap (American flag pin attached); his voice is a bit squeaky (can't help it, I invariably think elf); and he orders multiple dinner items to go, but never eats there ("You don't want to see me eat; that's not a pretty sight").

Last night Kary won $100 on a pull tab game (I couldn't begin to explain how it works), and not only bought everybody at the bar a round of drinks, but he bought our dinner, too. Now, in the past, we have had short conversations with Kary - maybe once or twice a week - and often I've not been exactly sure what we were talking about (I think there may have been drug use in the past (his, not mine)). So, at one point last night, he was (you'd have to call it) flirting with Danielle, and in the process he referred to her as The Most Gorgeous Hunk of Savagery on the Face of the Earth (right, I don't either). Of course I was compelled to write those words down, which Kary noticed. He asked me what I was writing. I repeated his words back to him. He denied that's what he'd said. Then, he asked me to read it again, which I did. He paused for a moment and said, "Yeah, that's right" (at one point he also referred to her as The Most Silliest Hunk of Savagery in My Whole Life).

At any rate, Kary seems like a good guy, even if he's a little bewildering (and/or bewildered) at times, and he's certainly generous when his ship comes in. The general schtick now is that he tolerates me and teases me pretty hard about how I don't deserve Danielle; for the most part (or at least last night, at any rate), he addresses Danielle in conversation, and much of the conversation has to do with the troubling fact that I'm in the vicinity, which apparently puts something of a damper on he and Danielle "getting to know each other".

Or, to put all this another way? Yes, I'll be keeping an eye on him.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Fictional Lesbian Pairings (II)

Dolly Dagger hearts Molly Hatchet with a love that has no qualms about speaking its name. Molly seconds that emotion with extreme prejudice.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Because We Like William Carlos Williams Very Much - "This Is Just To Say"

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

Because We Like W.H. Auden Very Much - "Epitaph on a Tyrant"

Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.