April's 13

Book I, “Free: The Future of a Radical Price“: Chris Anderson, the author of the truly-engaging mass comm/business book “The Long Tail” is back this summer, with a title that’s going to appeal to anyone figuring out how to make a dime in modern day media; you can probably glean the book’s topic from the title, alone. The blips written about the work, to date, make this sound like a must-read. So much so that I plan to buy the book. For money. Day it comes out. Cash money.

Book II, “Masters of Reality“: There’s no series that I find more variable that the 33 1/3 collection of titles on individual records. Pick up one and it’s an in-studio look at the recording process. Pick up a second and it’s a review of the genre spawned by said album. Pick up a third and it’s a novella loosely-based on the work. That’s kinda the approach of this one, which is penned by Mountain Goats member John Darnielle. It tells the story of a youth, coerced into an institution, who reacts poorly when his cassette copy of the titular Black Sabbath release is confiscated. Readable, yeah, and about 50-times more enjoyable than the dreadful mess that paid tribue to PJ Harvey’s “Rid of Me,” but I’m still not sure I can throw down $10.99 for every, slim, 100-page, interesting idea that comes along from the press. (Times are tough; don’t know if you’ve heard.) Nonetheless, glad to see this series clicking along, with books that you can devour in the smaller part of an afternoon, if so moved.

Pimping, Silver Tray: Speaking of cash, I think this is the point in the proceeding when I’m supposed to solicit friends, acquaintances, random passersby and all others to chip into the KDHX till, with a timely (and generous) pledge to the spring membership drive. Me? I’m coming in with a robust $35 this Friday, so match my cheap ass, at least.

Band, Rare Bird: Fact of the matter is this: if punk and progressive rock were lined up right now, vying for my attention, I’m gonna my back out on punk for a little more fling-time with prog. Sorry, just the way it is right now. And I’m somewhat miffed that no one, ever, told me about the most amazing Rare Bird. What a completely delightful bit of overwrought ’60s/’70s musical fare! Cannot stop thinking about buying their whole collection, an expensive proposition, considering that virtually nothing’s available on iTunes and their LPs are generally in the $20 range, for original vinyl. In time, they will all be mine. Don’t take my word, though. Watch and listen.

Snack cracker: ak-mak 100% whole what stone ground sesame cracker: I dig the all-lower case naming. And the remarkably flavorless taste! Delicious, in a completely benign way.

Guilty plesaure, Octomom: At some point, you just give in and realize that you’re no longer following a news story “for class conversation purposes.” You’re simply hooked. So much so, that your secret shame eventually Googles you over to a Fox News culture blog named (no lie) “Pop Tarts” and that said blog used the word “sordid” in a headline in relation to Octomom. Man. Can’t make it up. Glad that cable subscription’s still off, or there’d be real trouble.

Phrase, “getting you (blank) on”: Here’s another entry inspired by classes. Students laugh when middle-aged white people say things in the classroom like, “let’s get our study on” or the slightly-varied “let’s get our discussion on”; or when reaching for a sip, “let me get my green tea on.” The variations are endless and there’s never a time during which the uncomfortable chuckles won’t be there. Go ahead, be someone’s embarrassing uncle. The half-hearted titters will warm your ears and tickle your heart, trust me. Can’t wait for next semester’s post-ironic, intentionally “dropped” catch phrase of the moment.

Field trip, Michael Reese Hospital, Chicago: Got UE on the brain and this hot-spot in the Windy City’s got me all a’twitter. Dig the pics and you’ll understand why.

Sought I, eBay dealer: I thought, in this economy, that every 10th person was on the web, selling other people’s crap. Not so, it seems. My hookup seems uninterested in my current load of unwanteds, so… readers, please recommend me somebody in the game. In the meantime, I just scored two Nov. 9th CDs, so make a bid directly to me, on those; if you know what they are, you know how nice a find they are.

Sought II, photos of burnouts: I’m working on documentary about St. Louis AOR bands from the golden age of KSHE and we need some photos of, quite honestly, white STL kids with mullets, drinking beer from tin cans of Busch Bavarian, while leaning against their Camaros. Well, that’d be the super-all-star shot, but if you know of someone with any stash of righteous Sweetmeat-styled kids from our town’s run of the 1970s, please let me know.

Sought III, lottery info: You can’t win it, if you’r not in it. So, help a brother out: what lottery games are the ones to play for big payoffs? I don’t wan to play my $1-a-week for a potential $50-100 payoff. I want millions. And, yet, I really haven’t a clue as to how any of this stuff works. Something anecdotal would help. And something that I can play and win between now and April 15 would be best. Thanks, in advance; best info gets a cut.

Uh-oh-should-be-good-but-oooh-it’s-been-awhile-new, Coumadin down/alcohol okayed: Been cleared to imbibe. Let’s get our drink on!

Inside joke/YouTube video, Beatnik Herman: Well worth 90-seconds of your life:

The Power of a Word

When Bloc Party’s promoter moved last Saturday’s show to the Aragon Ballroom, opening up hundreds of tickets, I quickly snagged one, Ticketmaster surcharges and a five-hour drive be damned. Lucky me, as the group’s canceled a St. Louis show for this week, owing to what vocalist Kele Okereke was complaining about up in Chicago: a lingering throat issue.

It was a great gig and I won’t go into details here, other than to share one anecdote that’ll stay with me for awhile. I owe the impact of it, in large part, to not having had a drink since 11/11 of last year. The resultant (popularly-termed “sober”) mental state, allows one to view situations in new and unique ways. For example…

Despite the bad pipes, Okereke was in a relatively talkative mood during the band’s one-hour-plus-four-songs-for-an-encore set. At one point, he began talking about how Chicago’s fans were great. (“Yay!” cheered the fans.) Better than the Miami fans of the day before. (Cue up more: “Yay!”) Then the proverbial house came down. Deadpanned the charismatic frontman, after a moment’s pause: “I’ve never seen so many douchebags in one place before.”

What followed was this: the crowd losing its collective mind for the next eight-10 seconds. Sheer pandemonium and glee. As if every giddy emotion a group could feel crystallized into one moment: the ball had dropped at Times Square on New Year’s Eve, in the exact moment that the biggest firework had gone off on the Fourth of July, while the best Christmas presents ever had just been delivered to each attendee by giant, talking unicorns.

All around me, people paused their cell-phone photography and pumped their fists in the air, they hooted and howled and engaged in small dances. I didn’t imagine this. It happened. In Chicago. On Saturday. In front of a sober me.

Nearly undone by confusion, I sorely needed a drink.

Is there something especially funny about a Brit saying that line? Is there a relatively-unspoken competition between Miami and Chicago? Are Chicagoans prone to moments of mass hysteria? If Okereke and friends had played St. Louis tomorrow night, would he have dropped the same line on Chicago, calling it the Unquestioned D-Bag Capital of America? And, had he done so, would St. Louisans have partied like it was 1999?

Ah, hell. Many of the best answers are left to the imagination.

I’ll ponder it all while listening to/watching my third favorite B.P. track, if I had to, you know, make a list of such things:

1976

Involved as I am in a weeks-long housecleaning operation of some major scope, there’s still surprise when a find of notable, historical curiosity presents itself. So it was recently, when the summer reading club checklist of seven-year-old Thomas Uhlander was unearthed. The youth had used the Carpenter Branch Library to secure these fancifully-named bits of literature:

15. when water animas are babies
14. Jokes to enjoy draw and tell
13. Sam the minuteman
12. The pig war
11. Binky borthers detectives
10. Kick pass and run
9. Sophie and Gussie
8. Mr cat’s wonderful surprice
7. Glaciers
6. Fishes
5. Wild animals
4. More riddles
3. Crazy horse
2. Steven and the green tutle
1. Fables of aesop

What to deduce of such reading habits?

March's 13

Zine blog, Duplex Planet: Way back in the 1990s, some of my favorite days were those when a package of zines arrived in the mail, sometimes with hand-written notes or personal ephemera from the publishers and editors. One of favorites of that era, Duplex Planet, arrived at my house in just such a way once, with some jotted words from David Greenberger, who was on my list of zine heroes. He is still, I suppose, as his zine’s allowed him access to something very rare: a real career, born purely from the zine. This essay on his Duplex Planet blog does a fine job of introducing you to his work, which is funny, poignant, even important.

YouTube video(s), “Star Trek“: Did you realize that the entire run of original “Star Trek” episodes is now available on YouTube. With, may I add?, limited commercial interruptions. I’m tempted, truly, to watch a show, or two, this weekend. In the mood for a laugh.

Bootlegs, Pavlov’s Dog: Went to the Record Show on Sunday, no particular piece of news, but I only bought one item. Namely, a bootleg DVD of three 1983 shows by Carver, Scorfina and Friends, or, a version of the splintered Pavlov’s Dog. Now, for many, this may not seem like a huge find, but as I’ve met and talked to many of the band members over the past two years, it was like finding a needle in a haystack; had never even heard them talk about this boot. If nothing else, it’s also got a wicked time capsule feel to it. Think about rock’n’roll fans in St. Louis in 1983. Picture them? Yeah, they look just like that!

Trend I, Facebook fatigue vs. Faceook need: For my mass comm class, there’s been no shortage of material to discuss on social networking, with almost every media outlet chiming in on Facebook fatigue, Facebook need or variants thereof. It’s a veritable cottage industry right now.

Trend II, voter apathy: Every time there’s an election that fires up the various bases, there’s certain to be another election just down the pike that reminds you that people really just can’t be bothered to spend 10-minutes in the encouragement of democracy. This past Tuesday, a whopping 14.3 of eligible City voters cast a ballot. One-in-seven eligible voters? Really? How ’bout that Obama Effect, eh? As a naturalized Amurrican, who came to this country on a boat, this really grates. (Admittedly, it was a really nice boat. But, still.)

Readings I, digital overloading: Have you caught yourself recently/simultaneously: watching a film from Netflix, texting on a recharging phone, ripping CDs into your laptop, all of them done somewhat absent-mindedly? Yeah, me too.

Readings II, graffiti: Thanks to a pal, for sending along a reading on sociologists studying urban graf. It’s an entertaining read, via the New York Times.

Foodstuff, Builder’s Bars: I’m a handy guy, as anyone who knows me could confirm. Why, just recently, I hung a small painting, using a hammer and nail! Upon completion of this task, I enjoyed a delicious Builder’s Bar. With this power-packed snack and some lengthy rest, I recovered from my chore, feeling even better than before.

Venue, City Art Supply: I’m really jazzed by the fact that another music venue I can walk to has come into existence. The feisty City Art Supply, run by pal Dana Smith, is booking an eclectic array of musicians now, including .e this Saturday, March 7 and Gringo Star on Sunday, March 22. Even if there’s not a live event, may I recommend a trip by this fine example of independent retail in the City of St. Louis?

Baseball player, Brian Barton: Truth be told, I lost interest in baseball at exactly the same time that the St. Louis Cardinals magazine stopped using me as a freelancer. By that point, my childhood love of the American pastime had really been all-but-sapped already, but meeting Major League players is the last thing you ever want to do if you enjoy the game. What a group of jackasses; no lie. Have to say I’ve found Brian Barton, the fringe Cardinals outfielder, to be cut from a different cloth. He’s studied rocket science, he’s got a great head of dreads and he just seems to march to the beat of a slightly different drummer. He might drive a Corvette, but he seems an otherwise cool cat, as evidenced by an interview in today’s STLtoday.com.

Christian radio, KXEN 1010: Why would anyone set their alarm clock to a station they enjoy listening to? It’s a recipe for keeping that eight-hour nap going, man. For me, there’s not better way to get hopping in the a.m. hours that to set the alarm to KXEN. The station’s got a mix of different voices in the morning, but all of them are looking for something: a little bit of cash for their church, a prayer from you (the listener) against abortion, homosexuals or the liberal media. Sometimes, there’s some financial planning mixed into the recipe, or some tongues being spoken. But the effect’s always the same. After a minute, or two, of some honey-voiced hypocrite quoting Corinthians and trying to get me to tithe, I am hitting that clock and on the way to a better day.

Freelancing, the Beacon: Ah, I’m back in the good graces of the Beacon and I couldn’t be happier. One piece up now and another coming this week. Thaaaaank goodness.

Video, “Hitten,” Those Dancing Days: Went into diabetic shock for the duration of the video, but it was worth it. I think.

Lo! Blogs!

As it’s already deep into the new month, there are certainly dozens of readers breathlessly anticipating the appearance of March’s 13, America’s first choice for Thomas Crone-endorsed things and thangs. Those folks will have to wait until Wednesday, or so, when spring break officially kicks in, save for the showing of a film on Thursday. ‘Til then, this elf slaves away in the toy factory with no (okay, little) chance to blog.

Since this blog is about pimping other blogging, let’s get to the meta…

Set up a blog for Mangia Italiano. That’s a bar and restaurant. On Grand. Maybe you know it.

Set up a blog for Natural Life Therapy Clinic, where I get pins stuck in me. Some of the content goes a bit above my head, even, but I’m happy to provide the service.

There’s some new stuff over at 52nd City.

Oh, yeah, soccer season is on.

This blog and 52nd City have also been added to the blogroll of a new blog, St. Louis Design Community Connections. We appreciate the links and wish that endeavor well, while encouraging folks in the design field to peek at that one presently.

My close associate Franklin Jennings, St. Louis’ favorite cyber imp, is also blogging now, on the topic of urban exploration in St. Louis. He’s already posted a half-dozen times.

This elf needs a class in monetizing all those fabulous, synergistic project ideas. Or, at least, one or two of them. Back to the workshop…