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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Roger's Auto Loan

Sometime late last month, there was a message from a local car dealership wanting to verify my information "for the car loan you had applied for". seems reasonable except that I had not applied for an auto loan. I called the number back when I got home, got the voice mail of the woman who called me, and left a message that I didn't request an auto loan.

A couple days later, another representative from this same car dealership called me with the exact same message. This time, I called back, asking the woman to call me at work - I gave her my number. the next day, she called me back - at home - noting that she had gotten my call. So I called back, got a supervisor and let it be known that 1) I did noty want a car loan, and that 2) apparently, no one communicates in therir company.

On July 3, I got yet ANOTHER call. I had gotten home early from work that day so I called back, got a real live person and asked why I had gotten these THREE calls. She looked on the computer and saw only one notation, the one for that day. Apparently, the dealership gets leads from some online service, for which the dealership pays a commission. When it doesn't pan out, the dealership expunges the record from the system. The representative gave me the phone \number of the online network.

I laid out this now annoying scenario to the online company's rep, and he says that "anyone can put in the information." They don't trace it, or have verifiable passwords. I asked what information he had on "me":
Name - check
Address - check
Phone number - check
Date of birth: January 4, 1987. Yeah that's right, I'm 21. That picture I post now and then is doctored to make me appear older.
Monthly rent paid: $7000 a month. Yup, and I make more than thrice that. Librarians are rich, I tell you, rich!
I did laugh out loud with that one.

The rep gave me a website of the Social Security Administration dealing with fraud, but I called the number and it did not appear to be the place I wanted to be.

So, I went to the FTC website and found this nugget:

1. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports, and review your credit reports.

Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening any more accounts in your name. Contact the toll-free fraud number of any of the three consumer reporting companies below to place a fraud alert on your credit report. You only need to contact one of the three companies to place an alert. The company you call is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your report, too. If you do not receive a confirmation from a company, you should contact that company directly to place a fraud alert.

I called Equifax and sure enough, I soon discovered I had a fraud alert from Experian and TransUnion.

Once you place the fraud alert in your file, you're entitled to order one free copy of your credit report from each of the three consumer reporting companies, and, if you ask, only the last four digits of your Social Security number will appear on your credit reports. Once you get your credit reports, review them carefully. Look for inquiries from companies you haven't contacted, accounts you didn't open, and debts on your accounts that you can't explain. Check that information, like your Social Security number, address(es), name or initials, and employers are correct. If you find fraudulent or inaccurate information, get it removed.

Getting the free credit report was increasingly difficult as I went from reporting company to reporting company. Experian was trying to sell it to me, and TransUnion asked questions about what type of credit cards and loans I had, some of which I didn't have on hand or didn't jibe with what they were looking for. Really, I have a VISA that ends with XXXX; why don't you believe me?)

I have received my three FREE credit reports. Apparently, no harm was done to me. The initial fraud alert lasts 90 days, at which time I need to document a need for a seven-year one.

Meanwhile, don't expect to see me in a new car anytime soon.
Equifax (1-800-525-6285),; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742);; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289;; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Songs That Move Me, 30-21

30. Sixty Years On- Elton John
Just great use of strings. Too bad Elton's vocal's mixed too low, but the instrumentation is a fair representation of the recording.
Feeling: old.

29. The Mercy Seat- Johnny Cash
This is a nice little Nick Cave song about an upcoming execution of the protagonist, for a crime he did not commit (maybe). It is the Benmont Tench keyboards on this song, like his keyboards on Johnny's version of Hurt, that really stand out for me. I particularly appreciates how it builds sonically. From the third American Recordings CD.
Feeling: a-feared.

28. How Cruel - Joan Armatrading.
"I heard somebody say once I was way too black
And someone answers she's not black enough for me"
Just for that couplet there. And the piano.
Feeling: a tad ticked off.

27. A Salty Dog - Procol Harum
The sound effects, the building of the sound.
Feeling: adrift.

26. Tempted-Squeeze
Near-perfect pop song, with great background singing and that classic Paul Carrack groan.
Feeling: inappropriate.

25. I Saw Her Again- Mamas and the Papas
This is enhanced by an accident of technology. On a greatest hits LP I had growing up, the lead vocal all but drops out, revealing the intricacy of the harmonies.
Feeling: inappropriate.

24. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow - Carole King
It's the Mitchell-Taylor Boy and Girl Chorus that really makes this. This arrangement practically begs for a cappella singing. From Tapestry, which I played so much, I wore out the LP.

23. Rain - the Beatles.
Not sure i really liked this song on first listen. It was, "What the heck is THAT?" But later, the tape loops and steady beat won me over.
Feeling: wet.

22. Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter
Not only great guitar playing, but the Merry Clayton vocal really shreds it.
Feeling: alone.

21. Lay Down (Candles in the Rain) - Melanie
I had a friend inn the music business mock me when a mutual acquaintance, a radio DJ, let her know I had requested a Melanie song from him. I protested, "But it's Lay Down!" the clash between her sometimes homely voice and the Edwin Hawkins Singers creates such wonderful music tension.
Feeling: too tired to sleep.
or HERE.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How Sweet the Juice

I love the Internet.

Nearly three years ago, Scott asked me what my favorite book was, and after acknowledging my appreciation for reference books such as the World Almanac and the Joel Whitburn Billboard books, I noted my affection for The Sweeter the Juice: A Family Memoir in Black and White by Shirlee Taylor Haizlip.

Here's the Library Journal account of the book, as published on Amazon:
In Haizlip's dramatic account of her search for her mother's multiracial family, race is less a matter of genetic endowment than of social and psychological perceptions. Her mother and her mother's siblings could all pass for white; Haizlip recounts their differing choices with considerable narrative force. The life-long consequences of these decisions, combined with vivid details of her family's success in claiming position and power in a race-conscious society, and above all, the emotional pain caused by the conflicting perceptions of race, give this account an almost novelistic quality. We learn of Haizlip's numerous prominent positions in public service and the media. In the final analysis, Haizlip raises the issue of identity itself--who is black and who is white? How do we know, and what does it mean? Highly recommended for all Americans desiring to come to terms with who we are.
- Marie L. Lally, Alabama Sch . of Mathematics & Science, Mobile
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

So, I check my e-mail Friday, and who should be writing me but Shirlee Taylor Haizlip! She thanked me for my kudos of her work, and noted that HBO had optioned her three books, for which she is currently working on the screenplay. Then she pointed out this YouTube piece running a (5 minute) interview she did when the book came out.

I watched this and I was reminded that in some fundamental way, race is as complicated in America now as it was 40 years ago when my mother, who is a black woman fair of skin, told this story. She and my father went to a business meeting in San Francisco. Well, OK, the men did, and the wives did other things. At some point, the women were talking about various subjects. The topic segued to race, and the civil rights movement - my mother didn't bring it there - and one of the women asked, "What do you think, Trudy?" She said, "Well, being a black woman..." Apparently, that was a bit of a shock to the system of her compatriots. But knowing my mother, this was no "gotcha!" moment, but merely an honest response.
I should note that my mother, at that time, was rather fond of wearing a red wig, and it was coiffed but not in an "Afrocentric" way. In the right setting, my mother could have passed, but like Shirlee Taylor Haizlip, she had no interest in doing so.

Coincidentally, or probably not, I ran into my friend Mary Liz Stewart at the CVS on Saturday. She and her husband Paul do the Underground Railroad workshops in Albany, and she noted that a woman named Viola Haizlip had help arrange their table at the African American Family Day event this coming Saturday (August 2) at the Empire State Plaza; I'm working the table from noon to 2 pm, though the event runs until 7 pm. Haizlip is not that common a name, and Shirlee confirmed that her husband Harold has family in the Albany area.

In any case, I'll need to seek out Harold and Shirlee's book In the Garden of Our Dreams.


Monday, July 28, 2008

EW's Top Films of the Past 25 Years

Tackling Entertainment Weekly's "new classics. And I'll agree with many: no Shawshank Redemption?
Won't comment on films I noted on the AFI list (unless I feel like it).

*I saw it.

*1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03) -saw the first third
*3. Titanic (1997)
4. Blue Velvet (1986)
*5. Toy Story (1995)
6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
*7. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) - on my top three list of Woody Allen films
8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) - I was at my parents' house. They had HBO. Started watching; bailed.
*9. Die Hard (1988) - good if you like that sort of thing.
*10. Moulin Rouge (2001) - I think I like the effort of the film more than the movie itself. I do have the soundtrack, though.
*11. This Is Spinal Tap (1984) - saw several times in the 1980s, but not at all in years. Seems I recorded off TV; definitely need to see again lest I set the dial to 11.
*12. The Matrix (1999) - saw on commercial TV in the last couple years, which probably didn't do it justice.
13. GoodFellas (1990) - saw parts of it.
14. Crumb (1995) - had planned to see at the time, but never did.
*15. Edward Scissorhands (1990) - liked it well enough, but seems too high on this list.
*16. Boogie Nights (1997) - I really liked the first part of it, appreciated the middle section, but that part at the end felt so contrived.
*17. Jerry Maguire (1996)
*18. Do the Right Thing (1989) - great, and dare I say, important film.
19. Casino Royale (2006)
*20. The Lion King (1994)
*21. Schindler's List (1993) - probably should be in the Top 10.
22. Rushmore (1998) - keep meaning to see.
23. Memento (2001) - ditto.
*24. A Room With a View (1986) - I've seen a lot of Merchant/Ivory films, and this is clearly the best.
*25. Shrek (2001)
*26. Hoop Dreams (1994) - Roger Ebert is right. Devastating, yet oddly hopeful.
27. Aliens (1986)
28. Wings of Desire (1988)
29. The Bourne Supremacy (2004) - never seen a Bourne film in its entirety.
*30. When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
*31. Brokeback Mountain (2005) - I said it before - that stuff on the mountain was boring. Much more interesting after that point. I'm talking about the ranching stuff.
32. Fight Club (1999)
*33. The Breakfast Club (1985) - I saw a bunch of Hughes films in a short period, and they all blend together in my mind.
*34. Fargo (1996) - on the strength of McDormand and Macy's performances, a winner.
*35. The Incredibles (2004) - this was on NBC in the past year, and it was unwatchable to me. The commercials ruined any rhythm I got from seeing it in the theater. Still, my father-in-law stayed with it and appreciated its charms; I was too impatient. Such great social satire!
*36. Spider-Man 2 (2004) - a great superhero movie.
*37. Pretty Woman (1990) - stood in a long line at the Madison Theater in Albany to see it. I liked it just fine. Not great "cinema".
*38. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) - said before, but bears repeating. Watched this on video, but was too tired to finish. Got up in the morning, finished watching it. A terrible way to see a film. Yet I LOVED it. As someone said, "A very, very sweet movie masquerading as something else."
*39. The Sixth Sense (1999) - Soylent Green wait, wrong film. No, I didn't know the big reveal, and I'd like to see again, now that I do now.
*40. Speed (1994) - the first movie Carol and I saw together. Trashy fun.
41. Dazed and Confused (1993)- must see.
*42. Clueless (1995) - pleasant enough.
43. Gladiator (2000)
*44. The Player (1992) - loved it at the time, but now, except for the ending, fading from memory.
*45. Rain Man (1988) - Tom Cruise is amazingly good in this movie in a thankless role against the Hoffman performance. Own the soundtrack; like the soundtrack a lot.
46. Children of Men (2006)
*47. Men in Black (1997) - saw it, didn't hate it, but wouldn't bother watching again.
48. Scarface (1983)
*49. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) - this Ang Lee film was amazing.
*50. The Piano (1993) - was quite impressed at the time, yet this movie is also fading from memory.
51. There Will Be Blood (2007) - people are appalled that I actually watched the last 10 minutes of this; someone on my blogroll posted it from YouTube. It'll be years before i see it, and it'll have faded.
*52. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad (1988) - VERY funny.
*53. The Truman Show (1998) - I adore this film.
54. Fatal Attraction (1987)
*55. Risky Business (1983) - it's fine, but it didn't move me as much as it did my wife and many others.
56. The Lives of Others (2006) -wanted to see this.
57. There’s Something About Mary (1998)
*58. Ghostbusters (1984) - quite excellent. Based in a library, which is always a plus. And fun video for the title song, put together so quickly that Ray Parker, Jr. didn't know it was out until a friend told him how great it was.
*59. L.A. Confidential (1997) - saw Washington's Birthday weekend 1998 along with The Queen at Crossgates Mall, one of the last times I was there. It really worked for me.
60. Scream (1996)
*61. Beverly Hills Cop (1984) - fine, but probably not worthy of inclusion on the list.
*62. sex, lies and videotape (1989) - along with Do the Eight Thing, my favorite film of that year.
*63. Big (1988)
64. No Country For Old Men (2007)
*65. Dirty Dancing (1987) - it was OK, but not worthy of inclusion on this list.
66. Natural Born Killers (1994)
67. Donnie Brasco (1997)
*68. Witness (1985) - probably my favorite Harrison Ford performance.
*69. All About My Mother (1999) - liked it.
*70. Broadcast News (1987) - worth it just for Albert Brooks.
*71. Unforgiven (1992)
*72. Thelma & Louise (1991)
73. Office Space (1999) - I NEED to see this film\; my co-workers reference it too often.
74. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
*75. Out of Africa (1985) - bored me silly.
76. The Departed (2006)
77. Sid and Nancy (1986)
*78. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
*79. Waiting for Guffman (1996) - like this movie a lot, love the ensemble in just about everything they've done.
80. Michael Clayton (2007)
*81. Moonstruck (1987) - THAT'S amore.
*82. Lost in Translation (2003) - never warmed to this film.
83. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
*84. Sideways (2004) - great performances.
*85. The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005) - my wife was really hesitant to see this, as she thought it'd be stupid. So it ended up being astonishingly good, and should be ranked much higher.
*86. Y Tu Mamá También (2002) - it was pretty good, but didn't love it.
87. Swingers (1996)
88. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
89. Breaking the Waves (1996)
90. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
*91. Back to the Future (1985)
92. Menace II Society (1993)
93. Ed Wood (1994)
94. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
95. In the Mood for Love (2001)
96. Far From Heaven (2002) - I had forgotten about this movie which was quite fine when I saw it in the theater.
*97. Glory (1989) - there's a scene with Denzel that pains me just thinking about it. Have on video, have the soundtrack.
*98. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) - clever enough, but I don't think it has legs.
99. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
100. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)
Roger Ebert writes The Balcony Is_Closed. Made me sad. Hope he comes back in a different format, if his health allows.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Librarians Of The Apocalypse

Star Wars, stand aside! Doctor Who, you're a piker!

"There IS a wise and wonderful plan... of tomes and talismans!"

Mississippi educational television put out a series of instructional videos in the mid-1980s called Tomes & Talismans, meant to teach children about how to use the tools in the library. Described by my friend Dan, who tipped me off to this classic: "It revolves around a low budget apocalyptic science fiction plot that is generously interrupted to, for instance, explain the Dewey Decimal System. The story is that everybody that matters is abandoning the Earth, while lunatics are running around trying to destroy books and beat up TV newscasters. Time is running out, but the heroine of the story MUST RETRIEVE THE LAST OVERDUE BOOK. And there is no indication whatsoever that they were being funny or ironic. Absolutely delightful."

The whole Tomes & Talismans series is posted on YouTube, described there as a "Post-apocalyptic library science educational show from the mid-eighties. Learn all about the Dewey decimal system, card catalogues, and microfiche! And the fate of the Earth, of course." Dan had only watched the first episode, which was was broken down in three sections, and said the real action is in the third part. I, who had never heard of it before this week, watched all 13 episodes, roughly four hours, over two days; each of the 13 episodes runs just under 20 minutes each.

1. Tomes Entombed— overview of library/research skills and concepts
Part 1 - noisy and a bit garbled in the first couple minutes, but it clears up
Part 2
Part 3
2. Fact or Fiction— fact and fiction; alphabetical shelving
Part 1
Part 2: she IS a librarian
Part 3
3. Under Cover— parts of a book
Part 1
Part 2
4. In the Cards— card catalog
Part 1
Part 2
5. The System— Dewey Decimal Classification System
Part 1
Part2 : has most of the Dewey Decimal system laid right out for you
6. Information Quick— encyclopedia; typographical clues
Part 1 music to read your encyclopedia by
Part 2: the apparently famous watermelon episode
7. Hidden Meaning— dictionary; thesaurus
Part 1
Part 2
8. Preference for Reference— special subject reference sources
Part 1
Part 2
9. Direction Unknown— maps; atlases; world almanac
Part 1
Part 2
10. SOS: Skim or Scan— skimming; scanning; paraphrasing; taking notes
Part 1
Part 2
11. Guide to Light— Reader's Guide; Children's Magazine Guide
Part 1
Part 2
12. Show and Tell— audiovisual resources
Part 1
Part 2
13. Final Report— summarizing reports; concluding research; bibliographic sources
Part 1
Part 2

Reportedly, it's coming to DVD this year.
Fear the Librarian


Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Lydster, Part 52: Bachelor Father

Bachelor Father was a television show in the late 1950s starring John Forsythe ("Dynasty", the voice of Charlie on "Charlie’s Angels") as a single man who ended up raising his niece (Kelly Corcoran) with the assistance of his houseboy, Peter (Sammee Tong). I used to watch it, though I'm fairly sure it it wasn't very good.

That’s the source of the title of this piece, but it has nothing to do with MY actual existence. When Carol went away to college late last month, it meant that I would take Lydia to daycare and have friends of mine pick her up and take her to their home from where I would pick her up and take her to our home. It, at least for a time, broke her of the habit of trying to decide on which was the preferred parent at any given time; she was stuck with me. On July 3, I got out of work early to pick her up, but the bus was extremely late, and I nearly had my nervous breakdown.

On July 4, Lydia and I took the bus to Oneonta to visit the grandparents. The bus stopped in a village called Cobleskill, where we unintentionally had the opportunity to watch the Fourth of July parade for about 45 minutes. After the parade ended and we followed the trailing police car through town, the citizenry waved at those of us in the bus as though we were part of the procession. Naturally we waved back. I stayed with Lydia over that weekend but left on Sunday by myself. Lydia did not want me to go, and was weepy as her grandfather drove off with me en route to the bus station.

The next day, I called her at about 8:30 p.m. and read her bedtime stories. This seemed to be working until I finished reading when she started negotiating her desire to have "someone from Albany" stay with her. She sounded so forlorn that I felt like hopping the next bus and picking her up. What I discovered subsequently, though, was if I called her earlier in the evening when she wasn’t so tired, she became less needy and coped with me hanging up after our conversation much better. That Friday, I called her around 7, which was fine, but then she called ME around 8:30, asking for stories. I complied, and she was OK because she knew i was coming soon.

I went back to Oneonta the next day, went with her and her grandparents to the family reunion in Binghamton, and then on Monday, Grandma and Grandpa drove Lydia and me back to Albany so we could have a reunion with my wife/Lydia’s mom, and go out to dinner.

I did miss Lydia when she was away, but I’m really happy that she found a way to have a good time going to the playground every morning and going swimming most afternoons, and then telling me about it at the end of each day. Now I'm done with those long-distance talks between her stuffed creatures that made the trip and those that didn't. The goodbyes alone rivaled the Waltons'.


Friday, July 25, 2008


Now that my wife is home from school, and off for the next four weeks, we've come up with a way for us to enjoy the same theatrical releases - see them separately. So I went to the Spectrum Theatre, the "art" theater in Albany to see Young@Heart; Carol went on Wednesday. I tend to be immediately suspicious of a movie that uses punctuation other than question marks and exclamation points in the title.

More to the point, I worried about this being one of those "Oh, isn't it cute how the octogenarians are singing Coldplay?" type of films. Largely, it is not. It's primarily about these folks in their 70s, 80s and 90s relating to each other and the music that their 53-year-old musical director is offering them. As someone who sings in a church choir, I know that choirs can be balky when attempting music not in their comfort zone but that ultimately, they tend to appreciate being stretched.

The movie is funny and poignant. A group of elderly people doing the BeeGees' Stayin' Alive, the Clash's Should I Stay or Should I Go or the Talking Heads' Road to Nowhere adds a certain urgency not experienced in the originals.

As of Monday, the movie had a 88% positive score in Rotten Tomatoes. Naturally, I gravitate towards the negative reviews. One writes: "Young@Heart plays like a 100-minute version of one of those 'on the lighter side' news feature segments that end a local newscast." Meh. If that were so - if there was no investment that the audience makes with these performers, then that assessment might be fairly accurate. That it transcends what a positive critic feared would be "dubious and cutesy" that makes it worth recommending. If I did stars, it'd be three and a half out of four. The fact that it takes place around Northampton, Massachusetts, where I've been a number of times, is just a personal bonus.
Estelle Gtty, best known for Golden Girls, died at the age of 84. By contrast, Bea Arthur, who played her daughter, is 86, as is Betty White; Rue McClanahan is a mere 73.
This got me to wonder about, of all things, the Beverly Hillbillies. Irene Ryan, who played Daisy Moses, a/k/a Granny, was born in 1902, while Buddy Ebsen, who played her son-in-law, Jed, was born in 1908. Certainly, this is plausible, if Jed was much older than Granny's late daughter.
Old fool: The often arrogant Robert Novak> is 77 now; what was his excuse for his foolishness when he was younger?


Thursday, July 24, 2008

The 1987 San Diego Comic Book Convention

The San Diego Comic Convention starts today, or maybe started yesterday. I'm not going, but I have gone in the past, on behalf of the retailer/publisher FantaCo. For the first of two times I attended, the details had left me. However, I seem to have written it down in painfully precise detail, only some of which I will share with you now. If the details are wrong, it's not from a failing memory, as much of this is verbatim from my journal. [The stuff in brackets are asides from a more current perspective.]

Day One (August 11)
The first session I attended was for retailers. It was called "Fear and Loathing in San Diego – the Chain Store is Coming!" It was about how to survive the onslaught of regular bookstores carrying comic books and how to position comic stores to look more like "regular bookstores." [I was thinking that as long as FantaCo is selling horror comics, this model won't work for the store.]
After lunch, I went to an exhibit room and talked to a number of distributors. I kept coming back to the Marvel Comics table because Lou Banks, Dale Kanzler, and Ann Eagan were such a fun bunch. [Hey, they were!] I helped the Marvel crew learn how to run a cash register.
I saw Denis Kitchen of Kitchen Sink Enterprises, and I’m afraid I thoroughly gushed when I talked to him about the Chronicles.
I got into a debate with Bob Wayne of DC over the $2.95 Dark Knight format going to $3.50. His point was that if we knew our customers better, we wouldn’t have a problem. [This really ticked me off.] I also complained about the Millennium and crossovers.
Met Mike Friedrich, who is very instrumental in supporting the comic industry’s self-examination. Talked Chronicles with him as well. The Malibu people acted as though they were on the beach – lawn chairs, and laid back. I took an immediate dislike to Ron Turner, who owns Last Gasp, especially when he said, referring to FantaCo, "You still around?" But he bought three cases of The Amazing Herschell Gordon Lewis.

Day Two
Met the people from Comico, CBG (Ann Goetsch, who had just recently married John Koenig). They’re both charming. I also met Chet Krause, who was in San Diego for a car show. He indicated that CBG was a lot bigger project than he thought it would be. He suggested that he probably paid Allen Light too much money for TBG and that CBG was losing money until two years ago. He has nothing but admiration for Don and Maggie, who I unfortunately didn’t meet, and Ann and John. I had just missed meeting Billy Mumy [who I wanted to meet not so much for Lost in Space, but for a couple episodes of The Twilight Zone}.

Day Three
Talked with Cat Yronwode and Dean Mullaney (Eclipse Comics) and Walter Wang (comics distributor) and others. Also met artists like Tina Robbins, Steve Leialoha, Scott Shaw! Hung out a little with Cat’s bored 16-year-old daughter. Saw bits of a couple of movies, and went to a panel on how to break into comics, which was really lame.

Day Four
Caught a snatch of a panel on social relevancy in comics.
Went to Stan Lee’s soapbox. He and Tom DeFalco had an embarrassing interlude when DeFalco reminds Lee that Lee and Jack Kirby DID sign some papers when Marvel was sold in the early 1970s.
Met Steve Webb, who used to write for the Knick News in Albany but who now writes the entertainment insert for a Phoenix newspaper.
There was a panel on gentrifying the ghetto of comics narrated by Gerald Jones. The panel included Joyce Brabner (Real War Stories, Harvey Pekar’s wife), Max Allen Collins (Ms. Tree), Carol Kalish (Marvel), Art Spiegelman, Heidi MacDonald. It occurred to me, and I told Art later, that it is the ghettoization which has allowed these good things in comics to flourish unobserved, and that the good stuff will show through. [I had forgotten this, but I had talked with Art before because FantaCo was buying RAW comics, this oversized comics he was involved with.]
Gerald Jones then moderated "Black and White Comics: The Gray Future." with Denis Kitchen, Scott McCloud, Gary Groth, David Olbrick, Wendy Pini, Stan Sakai, and Will Eisner, who took exception to the observations (including mine) that the marketplace should have some standards. [I was in an argument with Will Eisner?] Groth and Collins were defending the standards when I left. Other people I saw at the convention: Leonard Rifas, who I met back in ’83 when he was traveling the country - he gave me some African comics; Tom DeFalco; Ward Batty (he and I hit it off instantly).


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The middle child's birthday

My sister Leslie sent me this video, with a note: "Who does this remind you of ???" well, her, of course. She was near-legendary for her multiple sneezes; after she hit five, everyone count aloud: "Six. Seven. Eight." It was usually 7 or 8, virtually every time.

Since my sister seems to have a sense of humor about herself, I thought I'd share this story about our childhood. She and I got along famously well, oh 98% of the time. We sang together, confided n one another, etc. I'm only sixteen and a half months older.

But that other 2% was always the same: I wanted to be left along and she would goad me into finally chasing her away. One time, I was probably 10 and she was 9, and I just wanted to read, but she'd hit and poke me repeatedly, Finally, I chased after her. She was wearing a bathrobe, and I stepped on the back of it. She went straight down to the ground and chipped one of her upper front teeth. She cried; I was mortified. Oddly, I don't recall getting punished for this, perhaps because my explanation of my sister's M.O. was plausible. Anyway, for about the next two years, she had a silver tooth in her mouth. The good thing: she hardly bothered me at all during that time.

Happy birthday, Leslie.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hell, yeah

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July Ramblin'

There is this guy I see on the bus; saw him yesterday. He is what one would call in the vernacular unbalanced. Sometimes he talks to other people, but usually it's to himself, running down a bizarre checklist. In my professional building, I saw this woman walking towards me yesterday, also engaged in conversation. Initially, I thought she was talking to me, but then I surmised she was talking on one of those tiny communications devices.
Or was she?
There were only two TV shows on my summer schedule. No, The Greatest American Dog (or whatever it's called) is not one of them. The one running currently is the return of The Closer, so recent that when I saw my DVR trecording last night, I didn't remember why initially.
The other, I'll admit, was Million Dollar Password, now on hiatus. I loved the show with Allen Ludden, and still like it, but its real flaw is that no one in his or her right mind would ever go for the million dollars. To do that, one would have to have succeeded at the $250,000 level, which no one has done yet, then risk all but $25,000 of that to get five passwords out of five, with no errors, offering no more than three clues each.
If-Then Contingencies and the Differential Effects of the Availability of an Attractive Alternative on Relationship Maintenance for Men and Women (PDF)
Yes, this is heterocentric, but I SO love the title.
"Temptation may be everywhere, but it’s how the different sexes react to flirtation that determines the effect it will have on their relationships. In a new study, psychologists determined men tend to look at their partners in a more negative light after meeting a single, attractive woman. On the other hand, women are likelier to work to strengthen their current relationships after meeting an available, attractive man."
I love adjectival forms of place names. a person from Albania is an Albanian. A person from Albany is also an Albanian. Make of that what you will.
Another canard foiled:
Evidence Shows That Tax Cuts Lose Revenue from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
"The claim that tax cuts 'pay for themselves' — i.e., cause so much economic growth that revenues rise faster than they would have without the tax cut — has been made repeatedly in recent years and is one of the many tax policy issues that is likely to receive renewed attention in light of the upcoming election. As explained, this claim is false. The evidence shows clearly that tax cuts lose revenue."
Interesting Scientific Experiment
I'll probably see The Dark Knight at some point. It's only playing at least 12 screens in the county. My wife wants to see it, mostly because her high school kids will likely have seen it and she wants to keep up on their influences. Question: Do I need to, or ought I, see Batman Begins before seeing The Dark Knight? Lots of positive reviews, so I'm more interested in the negative ones, such as this one and this one, the latter with 300+ comments, most of them not appreciative of the reviewer's POV. There's also this mixed review in Salon; of particular note to me is the first starred comment.
I saw this a couple months ago: Wedding Album [IMPORT] by Yoko Ono and John Lennon.
I own this on vinyl, that is the first two, album-side-long cuts. #1 is Yoko saying "John!" then John replying "Yoko!" sometimes talking, sometimes yelling, for about 25 minutes. #2 is an interview and is at least interesting.
Add-ons #3, #4 and #5 are B-sides of Instant Karma, Merry Xmas, and Cold Turkey, respectively, performed by Yoko. Heck, why not add Remember Love and Sisters O Sisters, other Lennon B-sides done by Ono?
1. John & Yoko
2. Amsterdam
3. Who Has Seen the Wind? [*] - John Lennon & Yoko Ono, John Lennon & the Plastic Ono Band, Yoko Ono
4. Listen, the Snow Is Falling [*]
5. Don't Worry, Kyoko (Mummy's Only Looking for Her Hand in the Snow) [*]
In any case, at $76, no way in heck do I buy this.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Where Is Lefty Brown?

One of the first persons I "met" in the blogosphere was Chris "Lefty" Brown. I think his musings about comic books were linked to Fred Hembeck's site. I enjoyed those, but I also appreciated his rants about music, politics and other topics. In fact, I've been listening to some of those mixed CDs he made over the years this past week.

Lately, though, he has a new love: the Married Gamers blog and podcast, which he does with his wife Kelly. I appreciate that people evolve, but most talk about gaming just makes MEGO.

So, on your birthday, Lefty, this is MY wish: give your non-gaming fans a couple pieces a week. Your three questions on Friday, and your Top 10. Heck, your Top 10 can be heavily game-oriented, but I can take that in bite-sized portions. In fact, I did listen to about 45 minutes of your last gaming podcast, and I thought that that bit about the Playstation War in the Congo and RAID would have an interest to your broader audience. And I should also note that you, and especially Kelly, are REALLY good at it, much improved over your initial attempts in the medium.

When you're giving us non-gaming stuff, you might talk about the last CD exchange that I don't think you've mentioned in a couple months, when you announced the participants I have been waiting here with a worm in my mouth ever since for your reaction to my and others' contributions.

So, Lefty, I'm really happy you've found your niche in the gaming world, but anything else you've got to share that would remind me of "Left Handed. Left Coast. Liberally Lefty" would warm my heart.

Have a great natal day! (And be glad I didn't use that OTHER picture of you.)


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Dealing with Stuff

Saw a couple people yesterday that reminded me about my war with stuff. There was a period, once upon a time, when I coveted stuff - new music, new books, pretty much what every good American has been trained to do. Yet at the same time, I admired people who had a better handle on stuff. I knew this couple from my former church who lived in a small house, and they had a rule that for whatever came into the house, something of equal size had to go out. Music, books, magazines were purchased, but something else had to be passed along.

This is why I have rules about playing music; if I own it and am not playing it, what's the point? To "have"? (Whereas I'm keeping my Warner Brothers' Loss Leaders LPs for a reason.)

Alan David Doane, noted comics blogger, and former FantaCo customer, came by my house yesterday morning and took a comics magazine-sized box of periodicals out of my house. It included early Amazing Heroes (back when it WAS mag size), about 30 Comics Journals, and various and sundry other bits of comics journalism from the early 1980s. As I looked through the box, I had a twinge of nostalgia, especially for a square-bound CJ featuring the Pinis and Elfquest. But an even stronger sensation was this: I will never read these magazines again. ADD will enjoy having them much more than I at this point. And, if he finds any FantaCo-relevant info in there, ADD will tell me, making it a win-win.

Less than an hour later, I had lunch with Mitch Cohn, who used to work at FantaCo and edited 2/5 issues of the Chronicles, Gates of Eden and Deja Vu. (Mitch says hi to Fred and Rocco.) In the course of catching up on our lives - he's teaching English in NYC - Mitch wondered whether Tom Skulan, former FantaCo owner, still had this copy of Abbey Road purportedly signed by all four Beatles. I said no, he gave it to me for Christmas or my birthday in 1984 or '85. Here's the weird thing about that; I often forget that I have it. There was a show of Beatles memorabilia to which I had contributed some pieces, but the Abbey Road, which was/is NOT with my Beatles' materials, totally slipped my mind. So,I'm thinking that I probably should just sell it. Of course, this would probably involve authenticating the signatures. The Beatles were notorious for letting their surrogates sign on their behalf. But having it to "have" it just isn't making sense anymore.

It's not that I'm immune to wanting stuff altogether. Sure I'd like a stereo HDTV some day. But my now 21-year-old, pre-SAP, pre-V-chip TV still works, and I'm not throwing it to the curb (probably not literally; there are rules in this city against that) for something I want but just don't need.
Things that are bugging me:
*the way the US Census discounts, or more correctly, uncounts married gay couples
*this cartoon featuring Barack Obama; I think it's racist. No, it's not the New Yorker cover.
*and I feel rather callous about this one, but after Martha Raddatz, the ABC News White House correspondent reported on the death of former White House press secretary, who died of colon cancer at the age of 53 earlier this month, anchor Charlie Gibson thanked her, adding "I know how hard this story was for you." Undoubtedly, some affection develops for someone one talks with on a near-daily basis, but hearing "how hard" it was for Martha, who was showing no visible signs of emotion, made me wonder how aggressively the network was in dealing with the Bush administration. (No, that's not the ONLY thing that made me question that.) And it made Martha's reaction part of the story, which made me uncomfortable.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Songs That Move Me, 40-31

40. Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart - the Supremes.
Much of Motown lived on the bottom, and this did too, but had lots of other elements, including a great vocal.

39. Got to Get You into My Life - the Beatles.
The Fabs get soulful. I'd play the (US) Revolver album once through this song, then, if my parents weren't home, play the song again very loudly. This made Tomorrow Never Knows particularly noisy.
Feeling: hopeful.

38. Barabajagal - Donovan (With The Jeff Beck Group)
It's jazzy, it rocks, it has those sexy female vocals.
Feeling: love IS hot.

37. Hurt-Johnny Cash
If I included my feelings about the video, this would be even higher, maybe even Top 10. Still that insistent keyboard is quite affecting.
Feeling: sadness.

36. Season Of Hollow Soul - k.d. lang.
Very sad, very autumnal song from her pop breakthrough album, Ingenue. Unfortunately, this anime video cuts off.
Feeling: hollow.

35. Church-Lyle Lovett.
I feel like I've BEEN to church after this. The second song from the CD named after the sixth, seventh, and eighth books of the Bible, Joshua Judges Ruth.
Feeling: righteous.

34. Maybe I'm Amazed-Paul McCartney.
A song on the first solo LP as good as anything his old group did. the bridge and the end are especially strong.
Feeling: joyful.

33. Sunshine of Your Love - Cream
Of course, there's that quintessential opening hook. But it's also the shared lead vocals, the oddly effective harmony, and the Blue Moon bridge.
Feeling: good.

32. ‘Til I Die - Beach Boys
While the verse and chorus structure is evocative, it's the end part stating the title, and the vocals wrapped around it that is most moving.
Feeling: reflective.

31. Can’t Get Next to You - the Temptations
After David Ruffin left the group, it was the wisdom of producer Norman Whitfield to cop the shared vocals motif from Sly Stone, to great effect.
Feeling: mind-blowing.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Roger (Finally) Answers Your Other Questions, Eddie

Answering Eddie, lest he slap me down:

You’ve done some writing about biking, including a really good post a while back with tips and such. As someone very new to biking, I had some additional queries I wanted to bounce off you. I started riding again last year, and currently ride just about every day, usually to work and back, if nothing else. I’ve started doing lots of my errands and running around on the bike as well. Anyway, I’ve had some questions related to things that come up when I ride. So, here goes:

1. Distance-wise, how much do you ride on an average day? What is the most you’ve ever ridden in one day? (Either all in one stretch or in smaller increments with stops in between?) When you ride a lot in one day, how tired are you the next day?

First, less since the child. Used to just go around town. Occasionally, a trek to the neighboring towns (Troy, Delmar, Colonie). I'd start in March or April and get really exhausted, but as I rode more and more, not so much a greater amount, but just the repetitions, it was easier in October/November. Of course, this has been bollocked by the accident. Doubt I ever went more than 20 miles in a day. Well, maybe in rural Jamestown when I was on country roads.

6. Does Carol ride too? Keith and I have a lot of fun riding together.

She did a few times. But she had this big, heavy bike that she hated. When my last bike died (or was stolen; I've had enough in each category, I don't remember), I purloined hers, with her blessing. She keeps threatening to get another bike. Maybe when Lydia starts to ride.

2. Speed-wise, how fast do you go, on average? Do you feel pressured to try and go faster than you are able to or than you feel is safe when you are riding in traffic?

Again, much slower on her old bike than my previous vehicles. I used to go on Albany's bike path and pass about four times the number of bikers that passed me; now the numbers are reversed. No, I don't feel pressured. That's the kind of thinking that would just lead me to road rage. And you know what Bruce Banner says about anger.

3. How do you deal with nerves when you’re riding in traffic? Do you ride on streets that are typically very busy? Do you try to plan routes around heavy traffic areas?

I avoid crossing highway entrances (Everett Road in Albany), though I have walked through there with the bike occasionally. I don't feel nervous unless I don't have a helmet for some reason. Generally, I look for roads with shoulders. From experience, drivers are more aggressive on four-lane roads than two, so, unless they have shoulders, I tend to avoid the latter when possible. (Heading to my house, Western Avenue is generally safer than Washington, for that very reason.) I've been know to zigzag through residential neighborhoods, which tend to be saner.

4. Do you look at weenies like me, who will ride on some streets but not the ones that are really busy, with contempt?

Well, I never could think ill of you, Eddie, but no. The southern end of Lark Street in Albany is narrow, yet has parking on both sides; I work hard to avoid it.

5. I have a hard time keeping a steady course when I have to look over my shoulder to check traffic and sometimes when I signal turns. It’s gotten better the more I ride, but do you have any advice? I’m afraid of drifting into a parked car or into the other lane on narrow streets due to this.

Unless you buy a mirror, which I have never used, you may have to stop pedaling when you look. I seem to have pretty good peripheral vision, so I'm usually only looking at about 20 degrees off center. Someone told me you can "train" your peripheral vision, but I've never done it. You may need to practice this, but I lean ever so slightly to the right when I put out my left hand.

7. Why is it on windy days, that no matter which way I turn, I'm always riding directly into the wind?

God has a sense of humor. At least I think She does.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

My life in music

I am going to pick my favorite album from each year of my life, selecting them from Wikipedia's "year in music" because I don't have them all in iTunes, especially the stuff I have only in vinyl. If the years are wrong, blame the wiki people. I did have to add the 1996 item, because it wasn't listed - for shame!

Rules say that I have to own it or would most likely have owned it, as I understand them.

1953 - Jazz at Massey Hall - The Quintet. Own on CD.
1954 - Songs For Young Lovers - Frank Sinatra. Don't own, but have Capitol Singles box set.
1955 - Oklahoma! - Original Broadway Cast. Own a later iteration of this.
1956 - Ella and Louis - Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong. Own on CD.
1957 - Ella and Louis Again - Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong. Own on CD.
1958 - South Pacific - Original Soundtrack. My mother owned it on LP.
1959 - Kind of Blue - Miles Davis. Own on CD. Adore.
1960 - Joan Baez - Joan Baez. My father owned, and I own her LP from the previous year.
1961 - Judy at Carnegie Hall - Judy Garland. I think my mother owned LP; in any case, saw the TV special.
1962 - West Side Story - Original Soundtrack. Mom owned on vinyl; I own on CD.
1963 - With the Beatles - The Beatles. Own on CD.
1964 - A Hard Day's Night - The Beatles. Own both US and UK versions on CD.
1965 - The Sound of Music - Original Soundtrack. Owned on vinyl, own on CD.
1966 - Daydream - The Lovin' Spoonful. Owned on vinyl, own on CD. Sure I could pick Beatles for every year the rest of this decade (this year, Revolver), but what's the fun in that?
1967 - The Supremes Sing Holland-Dozier-Holland - The Supremes. Own on LP.
1968 - Bookends - Simon and Garfunkel. Own on LP.
1969 - The Band - The Band. Own on CD.
1970 - After the Gold Rush - Neil Young. Own on CD.
1971 - Jesus Christ Superstar - Various Artists. Own on LP.
1972 - Fragile - Yes. Own on CD.
1973 - Piano Man - Billy Joel. Own on LP, saw him on tour in New Paltz.
1974 - Endless Summer - Beach Boys. Own on vinyl. Actually really discovered early Beach Boys then; my first Beach boys album was Pet Sounds.
1975 - Still Crazy After All These Years - Paul Simon. Own on LP and CD. Defines old relationship.
1976 - Songs in the Key of Life - Stevie Wonder. Own on LP and CD. My old record player would automatically return before the 45 that comes with the LP was over.
1977 - "Heroes" - David Bowie. Own on LP.
1978 - Saturday Night Fever - Original Soundtrack. It is what it is. Own on vinyl.
1979 - Squeezing Out Sparks - Graham Parker & the Rumour. Own on vinyl.
1980 - Peter Gabriel ("melt", the 3rd album with Biko) - Peter Gabriel. Own on LP in German and in English, and on CD in English. A MOST prodigious year! I had to pass on Empty Glass - Pete Townshend and London Calling - The Clash, among MANY others.
1981 - Discipline - King Crimson. Own on vinyl.
1982 - Night and Day - Joe Jackson. Own on vinyl.
1983 - Genesis (the one with "Mama")- Genesis. Own on vinyl.
1984 - Purple Rain - Prince and the Revolution. Own on LP and CD.
1985 - Soul to Soul - Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble. Own on vinyl.
1986 - Bring On the Night - Sting. Own on vinyl.
1987 - The Joshua Tree - U2. Own on LP and CD.
1988 - Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 - Traveling Wilburys. Own on CD.
1989 - Spike - Elvis Costello. Own on CD. My favorite Costello.
1990 - Shooting Straight in the Dark - Mary Chapin Carpenter. Own on CD.
1991 - Out of Time - R.E.M. Own on CD.
1992 - Ingénue - k.d. lang. Own on CD. Also tied to a relationship.
1993 - I'm Alive - Jackson Browne. Own on CD. A thin year.
1994 - Wildflowers - Tom Petty. Own on CD.
1995 - Now That I've Found You: A Collection - Alison Krauss. Own on CD.
1996 - Unchained - Johnny Cash. Own on CD.
1997 - Time Out of Mind - Bob Dylan. Own on CD.
1998 - Mermaid Avenue - Billy Bragg and Wilco. Own on CD.
1999 - Play - Moby. Yeah, I know everyone tired of it. Own on CD.
2000 - American III: Solitary Man - Johnny Cash. Own on CD.
2001 - Love and Theft - Bob Dylan. Bought on September 11. Own on CD.
2002 - American IV: The Man Comes Around - Johnny Cash. Own on CD.
2003 - Unearthed - Johnny Cash (Box Set). Lots of songs my father used to sing. Own on CD.
2004 - Van Lear Rose - Loretta Lynn. Own on CD.
2005 - Chaos and Creation in the Backyard - Paul McCartney. Own on CD. By this point, Lydia is 1 and I'm hardly getting ANYTHING.
2006 - We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions - Bruce Springsteen. Own on CD. Out of the fog of new parenthood.
2007 - Raising Sand - Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. Gave to my wife on CD.
2008 - Liverpool 8 - Ringo Starr. By default. Own on CD. i tend to buy more in the second half of the year. I have at least $50 in gift cards, so Costello, Hiatt, E. Harris and Mudcrutch are among the possibilities for purchase in the near future.

This took at least 67% longer than it did Tosy.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

After 2009/1/20

Something I got from a United Methodist listserv, even though I'm no longer a UM; the date of the originating post is after May 2: Methodist Ministers Launch PR Campaign To Stop Bush Library At SMU»
Earlier this month, at the United Methodist Church’s (UMC) Quadrennial General Conference, the UMC’s governing body, voted overwhelmingly — 844 to 20 — to refer a petition to its South Central Jurisdiction. The petition urges the rejection of President Bush’s presidential library which is set to be housed at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. The library has received significant criticism from SMU faculty, Methodist ministers and the public because of an attached institute —
independent of the university — that will sponsor programs designed to "promote the vision of the president” and "celebrate" Bush’s presidency. The South Central Jurisdiction, which owns the university property where the library is set to be built, will vote on the petition this July. In anticipation of the vote, some Methodist ministers have launched a public relations campaign to highlight the partisan nature of the library: [T]he opponents have hired a Maine public relations firm to design ads for Methodist publications and do other strategies, said the Rev. Andrew Weaver of Brooklyn, N.Y. He said the goal is informing people about the partisan think tank, which won’t be under SMU’s control and will promote the Bush administration’s policies — such as the war with Iraq and harsh interrogation techniques of military prisoners — that some Methodists feel conflict with church

Which begs the question, where does one get to sign up?

Actually, though, it seems as though we can be out of Iraq in practically no time. Maliki wants a timetable, Bush seems to want a drawdown, so we can just declare victory and leave.

Meanwhile, Dennis Kucinich is trying to get Bush impeached. A quixotic, though understandable, effort, but all I really want is this:


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

She'll Be Home for Birthday

I’ve missed my wife.

Carol has been attending the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, MA for the past two weeks. She is seeking an Advanced Certificate in Educational Administration. Carol has no interest in being a school principal, but would like to be able to help mold the curriculum for English as a Second Language. She left on Sunday, June 29 and returned home only yesterday. And it’s not as though she just took a couple of classes a day for two weeks. Prior to her arrival there, she had to read seven books and write three short papers based on the material in those books.

Her typical day started with breakfast at 7 a.m., classes that began at 8 a.m., and various activities that could run up to 9 p.m., including weekends and the Fourth of July. This coming school year, Carol will be doing an internship of 300 hours, and then next summer she will repeat the two-week marathon. The internship means that she will be working at only an 80% teaching capacity, which will put a bit of a crimp on our budget, but I’m very happy that she has decided to take on this educational process because 1) she has a great passion for it, and 2) I believe she will be very good at it.

So she’s made it back home, just in time for her birthday, taking her parents, Lydia and me out to dinner to celebrate. Happy Birthday, sweetie, and welcome home.


Monday, July 14, 2008

ROG on EW on TV

"The 100 best shows from 1983 to 2008", which I assume explains the absence of St. Elsewhere (1982-1988) and Cheers (1982-1993).

1. The Simpsons, Fox, 1989-present: I watched religiously for nine or ten years. Spotty since then. Have the soundtrack, saw, and liked, but didn't love, the movie.
2 The Sopranos, HBO (1999-2007): saw the last four minutes on YouTube. Unless you count all the clips shown at the Emmys. For a show I've never watched, I know an awful lot about it. I could be watching it now on non-pay cable, but didn't.
3 Seinfeld, NBC (1989-98): See, I liked it when it really WAS about nothing, getting lost in a parking lot and whatnot. I did enjoy the TV pitch about the show about nothing and the second spitter. But George and the Yankees? Eh. Susan's death? Hated. Went from must see from the get-go to catch in reruns the last three seasons.
4 The X-Files, Fox (1993-2002): saw maybe four times, including a two-parter. Liked it when I saw it.
5 Sex and the City, HBO (1998-2004): whereas when this went from HBO to TBS, my wife and I DID watch it. Mostly liked it, though the first half of the first season, it struggled to find is voice.
6 Survivor, CBS (2000-present): watched the first season, which I enjoyed, and the second, which largely bored me. Then started watching the first episode and the finale for a few seasons. Last couple years, haven't even bothered.
7 The Cosby Show, NBC (1984-92): watched religiously, even though it started losing its mojo at the end.
8 Lost, ABC (2004-present): have seen maybe five minutes of it. At this point, I can't commit to a serial with such a complex back story.
9 Friends, NBC (1994-2004): watched it in the beginning and at the end. Periodically, it'd irritate me as too cute and I'd bail, but a storyline would pull me back in.
10 Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The WB (1997-2001); UPN (2001-03): saw one musical episode.
11 The Wire, HBO (2002-08): another HBO show I've not seen.
12 South Park, Comedy Central (1997-present). Saw a few episodes to see what the fuss was, bailed.
13 Freaks and Geeks, NBC (1999-2000): watched every episode. Loved.
14 The Daily Show, Comedy Central (1996-present): usually see in clips on someone or other's blog.
15 The Oprah Winfrey Show, Syndicated (1986-present): See infrequently. I remember one episode when she brought together the black kids who integrated the high school in Little Rock in 1957 and those who jeered them; great show. Probably watch thrice a year, such as when she had Paul McCartney on.
16 Arrested Development, Fox (2003-06): didn't much like when I watched the first season and gave up. Fellow bloggers sang its praise and I tried again at the beginning of Season 2 and watched to the end.
17 The Office (U.K. version), BBC2 (2001-03) - never saw.
18 American Idol, Fox (2002-present)- watched it from the third to the last episode in Season 1, through all of Seasons 2 and 3. Watched just the Top 24 in season 4, top 12 in season 5, and not at all since.
19 ER, NBC (1994-present) - watched the first six or eight seasons before I bailed.
20 Beverly Hills, 90210, Fox (1990-2000) - didn't watch.
21 Roseanne, ABC (1988-97) - watched the first six or seven seasons before it lost me.
22 The Real World, MTV (1992-present) - saw the first three or four seasons. Since then, watched the first episode of the season a half dozen times, but that was all.
23 The West Wing, NBC (1999-2006) - watched the first five seasons, gave up, watched most of the last season.
24 Star Trek: The Next Generation, Syndication (1987-94) - saw every episode.
25 Miami Vice, NBC (1984-89) - saw a lot of it early; may have given up after three or four seasons.
26 Chappelle's Show, Comedy Central (2003-06) - saw a couple episodes.
27 Law & Order, NBC (1990-present) - watched religiously from the middle of the first season until Jerry Orbach left, almost not at all since then.
28 The Larry Sanders Show, HBO (1992-98): had HBO for the first couple seasons and watched, but then I didn't so I didn't, though I did see the last episode in a hotel room in Boston.
29 The Shield, FX (2002-present): saw a season or two.
30 Late Show With David Letterman, CBS (1993-present): occasionally.
31 The Civil War, PBS (1990): watched it all.
32 Gilmore Girls, The WB (2000-06), The CW (2006-07): caught in reruns the first season, saw the rest. Almost lost me with the Rory/married Dean affair.
33 My So-Called Life, ABC (1994-95): saw it all.
34 24, Fox (2001-present): saw the first season, which was 13 great episodes, followed by WTF. The last episode, though, really got to me. The beginning of the second season turned me off, though I did see parts of that and the next season. Not only gave it up but have railed against it in this blog almost from its inception.
35 CSI, CBS (2000-present): saw one episode, hated it.
36 thirtysomething, ABC (1987-91): watched most episodes.
38 Beavis and Butt-head, MTV (1993-97): watched once, hated.
39 Six Feet Under, HBO (2001-05): never saw; probably would have watched.
40 Mr. Show, (HBO, 1995-98): don't know what this is.
41 Frasier, NBC (1993-2004): watched every episode.
42 L.A. Law, NBC (1986-94): watched most episodes.
43 Late Night With Conan O'Brien, NBC (1993-present): rarely.
44 Jeopardy!, Syndicated (1984-present): since I owned a VCR, almost never miss.
45 Curb Your Enthusiasm, HBO (2000-present): haven't seen; probably would if I could.
46 Homicide: Life on the Street, NBC (1993-99): favorite show of the decade.
47 30 Rock, NBC (2006-present): tried it early, didn't like.
48 Ally McBeal, Fox (1997-2002): one of those shows I watched whether it was good (Robert Downey Jr.) or not (Hayden Pantitierre as Ally's daughter).
49 Twin Peaks, ABC (1990-91): watched the first season but lost interest.
50 Baywatch, NBC (1989-90), Syndicated (1991-2001): never saw a complete episode.
51. Melrose Place, Fox (1992-99): ditto.
52. Felicity, The WB (1998-2002): ditto.
53. Will & Grace, NBC (1998-2006): watched sporadically, such as Gene Wilder's first appearance.
54. Moonlighting, ABC (1985-89): another show I watched from its great beginning to its lousy post-"Maddie-and-David succumb" end.
55. Pee-wee's Playhouse, CBS (1986-90): saw a couple times.
56. Desperate Housewives, ABC (2004-present): never saw a full episode.
57. The Amazing Race, CBS (2001-present): ditto.
58. The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, NBC (1992-present): generally not.
59. Battlestar Galactica, Sci Fi (2003-2008): never saw.
60. Xena: Warrior Princess, Syndicated (1995-2001): never saw a full episode.
61. The Office (U.S.), NBC (2005-present): watched from the beginning.
62. House, Fox (2004-present): watched once or twice.
63. Mystery Science Theater 3000, Comedy Central (1989-96), Sci Fi (1997-99): tried it, bored me.
64. The Osbournes, MTV (2002-05): watched two or three episodes before giving up.
65. Family Guy, Fox (1999-2002, 2005-present): watched about a season in its first incarnation, quit.
66. Grey’s Anatomy, ABC (2005-present: have watched far too many episodes.
67. Planet Earth, Discovery Channel (2007): don't think I have.
68. Jackass, MTV (2000-02): never saw.
69. The Colbert Report, Comedy Central (2005-present): rarely.
70. Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS (1996-2005): one episode.
71. Friday Night Lights, NBC (2006-present): never saw a full episode; I'm sure it's very good, and I'd like it, but it was a matter of time.
72. NewsRadio, NBC (1995-99): watched maybe a half dozen episodes when Phil Hartman was on.
73. Oz, HBO (1997-2003)" another HBO casualty.
74. Wiseguy, CBS (1987-90): watched religiously.
75. Project Runway, Bravo (2004-present): never saw.
76. In Living Color, Fox (1990-94): watched for most of a season.
77. The Golden Girls, NBC (1985-92): probably saw 75% of the episodes; hey, it had Betty White!
78. I'll Fly Away, NBC (1991-93): watched religiously.
79. The Comeback, HBO (2005): don't know this.
80. King of the Hill, Fox (1997-present): watched it religiously, for about three seasons, then stopped. Don't know why.
81. Murphy Brown, CBS (1988-98): probably saw every episode.
82. The Hills, MTV (2006-present): actively not interested.
83. Absolutely Fabulous, BBC2 (1992), BBC1 (1994-2004): saw a run of this somewhere (PBS?)
84. Northern Exposure, CBS (1990-95): watched religiously.
85. The Kids in the Hall, HBO (1989-92), CBS (1992-95): saw a few episodes, almost certainly on CBS.
86. Prime Suspect, ITV (1991-2006): watched most seasons in the 1990s, but sorta forgot about it.
87. Deadwood, HBO (2004-06): another HBO no-show.
88. Malcolm in the Middle, Fox (2000-06): a handful of times.
89. SpongeBob SquarePants, Nickelodeon (1999-present): watched for maybe a couple seasons BEFORE Lydia was born, seldom since.
90. Dawson's Creek, The WB (1998-2003): saw the last episode, maybe one or two others.
91. Mad Men, AMC (2007-present): until it got Emmy love, off my radar.
92. The Ben Stiller Show, Fox (1992-93): probably saw most of it.
93. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Bravo (2003-07): watched a couple seasons with my wife.
94. Married...With Children, Fox (1987-97): saw once; hated.
95. Designing Women, CBS (1986-93): one of those shows that followed something I was watching and ended up seeing occasionally.
96. The Arsenio Hall Show, Syndicated (1989-94): saw much of one season, not much more, though I did watch Bill Clinton.
97. Party of Five, Fox (1994-2000): saw the pilot, little else.
98. MacGyver, ABC (1985-92): once in a great while.
99. The Bachelor, ABC (2002-present): never a whole episode.
100. Saved by the Bell, NBC (1989-93): never a whole episode. And what I did see was really bad.

MIA: Once and Again (saw every episode EXCEPT THE PILOT!); NYPD Blue (yes, really).


Sunday, July 13, 2008

FantaCo 1987

In looking for more FantaCo-specific material, I started leafing through a my journal from 1987. Ah, John Hebert comes over to my house a couple times to work on Sold Out #2 in March. Let's see, what else?

May 1987: A friend of a friend of mine (more like an acquaintance of a friend of mine) came into the store looking for a job. Let's call him Jacques. Apparently, I had met him before at a party, but he didn't leave much of an impression. He shows up without calling first and is ticked off that I'm at lunch when he arrives. He uses the phrase "Oh great, boychik" a lot. Jacques gave me a bad-looking copy of his resume. He criticized the Atari we had in the store (HE had a Commodore) and says he knows "more about comic books than anyone" because he's been reading them for years - as though I'd never heard THAT before. Jacques tells me the other places he's already applied today - doesn't THAT make us feel special, if we even hiring! He then told me FantaCo was owned by Fantagraphics and that Matt, the guy behind the counter, was "stupid" for not knowing that the store was owned by the people who put out Amazing Heroes. (For the record, FantaCo was not owned by Fantagraphics, Fangoria or any other entity). I wish we had had a job to offer so I could have turned him down.

July 30, 1987: There was a boy of about 12 patiently waiting outside the door of the store at about 10 a.m. The sign clearly noted that the store didn't open until 11, and that early morning is when I did mail order, stocked the shelves, organized the bank deposit, etc. As it turns out, the boy had come from Belfast, Northern Ireland to buy a set of Fangoria magazines ($249) plus $225 of other horror-related merchandise. His mother, who I hadn't seen waiting - worried that he was spending so much money and wondered whether the material would even get through Customs. The boy said something to the effect that at least you don't have to worry about getting shot all the time. I had the sense that, based on the wide range of products offered in the Fangoria ads, the store would be physically larger, but still I sensed that he felt as though he had come to Mecca. Had I known how far he had traveled to be there, I might have let him in earlier.
We sold four Fangoria sets in two days, two in the store, two in the mail.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Songs That Move Me, 50-41

50. Indiscipline - King Crimson.
"I repeat myself when under stress, I repeat myself when under stress..." Tom, my boss at FantaCo, described this song as his description of the store. Last song on the first side of the Discipline LP.
Feeling: feeling: feeling: feeling:

49. Would I Lie To You - Eurythmics.
There's the insistent beat, the horns, the vocals, the guitar line, specially on the bridge.
Feeling: truthful.
It's HERE.

48. High School- MC5.
A decade before the Ramones, the MC5 from Detroit, a three-chord band. This live version doesn't exude the sheer raw energy of the original.
Feeling: you better get out of the way.

47. Tell Me Something Good - Rufus.
Chaka Khan! Has that wonderful descending chromatic scale. Stevie Wonder-penned funk. Love the Bob Hope intro.
Feeling: good.

46. Logical Song – Supertramp.
I love the way the sound gets fuller on the verse before the break, the doubling of the vocal on "a vegetable" and the sax solo.
Feeling: paranoid.

A better video but lesser sound here.

45. Uptight - Stevie Wonder.
My first all-time favorite Motown song. First that bass line with drums, then the horns. I'm also fond of the background vocals, and that machine gun-like drunm fills. So good that Bill Cosby, long before Weird Al, copped it for "Little Old Man".
Feeling- joy.

44. Tomorrow Never Knows - the Beatles.
Insistent bottom, weird tape loop sounds, odd vocal, strange bridge. Oh, I love it.
Feeling: floating.
It's here.

43. Our Prayer – Beach Boys.
About 68 seconds of stunning vocalese.
Feeling: reflective.
A snippet here.

42. Satisfaction - Rolling Stones.
Anthemic, copped by lots of other bands.
Feeling: as though I tried and I tried.

41. (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace Love and Understanding?-Elvis Costello.
I STILL hear this both as the driving anthem it is and as an a cappella doowop. From a greatest hits CD.
Feeling: like begging for peace.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Condolences the family of Muriel Kubert, who died this week on her 57th wedding anniversary to Joe. Steve Bissette, who attended the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon & Graphic Art, gives his take here. ROG

Eddie Mitchell Makes Me Go Country

Eddie called me out to comment on EW’s top 25 country albums you have to hear, even if you don't like country music. Since I pretty much do whatever Eddie requests - he asks so nicely - I could do naught but respond, albeit reluctantly. I am not what I'd call a big country fan; I don't dislike it, just don't follow it much.
Once, though, I did. Back in the days when AM radio was king, there were many stations that operated pretty much from sunrise to sundown. Then there were these mega "clear channel" stations that one could hear from a great distance at night. From my home in Binghamton, NY, I could hear stations in New York City and Cleveland. I could also get WWVA, Wheeling, West Virginia, a country station.
Also, my grandfather brought home this album "50 Stars, 50 Hits" on "two long-playing albums", as the pitchman said it.

Now to the list:
*means I Have It

*1. Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison, Johnny Cash
Maybe it's because I heard it first, but I prefer San Quentin. Not that this is a bad album. I also liked the American Recordings John R. did later in his life. In fact, if you considered that best of American Recordings album that came in the posthumous box set, I might pick that.

*2. Home, Dixie Chicks
As I mentioned recently, bought this to protest the protest of the Dixie Chicks. Ironically, this album has one mighty patriotic tune in particular that was on the charts when the controversy developed. I like it, but it seems terribly high in the pantheon of all country music.

3. Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc., Dwight Yoakam
I like him when I see him on TV or when he appears on a compilation album I have, but have none of his albums.

*4. Van Lear Rose, Loretta Lynn
I'm quite fond of this Jack White-produced disc.

5. Red Headed Stranger, Willie Nelson
Have some Willie, not this.

6. Carnegie Hall Concert, Buck Owens and His Buckaroos
No Buck except on 50 Stars.

7. Modern Day Drifter, Dierks Bentley
Don't know him. See he already has a greatest hits album.

8. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Miranda Lambert
I heard her name mentioned in a positive review on CBS Sunday Morning, I believe.

9. The Complete Reprise Sessions, Gram Parsons
The only Gram I have is on the expanded version of the Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo CD.

10. Time Well Wasted, Brad Paisley
Know the name. He's playing around here soon.

11. Coat of Many Colors, Dolly Parton
Eddie will probably hate me, but I own no solo Dolly.

*12. Elite Hotel, Emmylou Harris
Own it on LP, haven't played it in years. Prefer Blue Kentucky Girl from that era.

13. Georgia Hard, Robbie Fulks
Don't know.

*14. Trio, Dolly Parton/Linda Ronstadt/Emmylou Harris
Bought unheard based on all those great Emmylou harmonies on Linda's albums, and Dolly's harmony on Linda's "I'll Never Be Married". Very fond of this album.

15. Gold, Hank Williams
For all the covers of Hank Williams songs I own and songs referring to Hank, from Johnny Cash to Neil Young that I have, unless I got one in the end days of my LP collecting, I just don't have any collections.

16. Hag — The Best of Merle Haggard, Merle Haggard
I think that I didn't get the parody that was "Okie from Muskogee" and dismissed him out of hand. Know better now, but haven't rectified the void in my collection.

17. Come On Over, Shania Twain
I do remember some sultry video from this, which I did hear as country particularly. And that "Man, I'm a Woman" song's from here, too. The album sold 20 bajillion copies. My feeling: meh.

*18. Guitar Town, Steve Earle
My first Steve Earle was a live album I didn't much like. The second was I Feel Alright, which just love. Guitar Town is a really good album, but it was so hyped in my circle of friends, it couldn't bear the weight.

19. These Days, Vince Gill
Own none Like to watch him on TV occasionally.

*20. Almost Blue, Elvis Costello
It was an acquired taste for me. Grew to like and respect it, rather than embrace it.

21. Here for the Party, Gretchen Wilson
I know who she is, but not this album.

22. The Definitive Collection, the Flying Burrito Brothers
Know them, have heard them on FM radio, but own none.

23. Revival, Gillian Welch
If there's one artist on this list I'm mostly likely to purchase, it's Gillian Welch. I've heard her music at other people's houses.

24. Horse of a Different Color, Big & Rich
Know them only by reputation, not all good.

*25. Raising Sand, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
My wife loves Alison Krauss, and we saw her in April 2003 at the Palace Theater in Albany. There are tracks of hers on albums I like but I haven't loved a whole album since that greatest hits album she put out back c. 1994 when she was still brunette and more zaftig, until this one. But is it country?

I have eight out of 25.

What, no Patsy Cline? I would also found room for Lyle Lovett, Mary Chapin Carpenter and maybe Rosanne Cash.

Your turn, Eddie.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Art jam

There is a gentleman named Jeff Kapalka, who sent his newspaper review of Fred Hembeck's new book to Fred recently. With Jeff's permission, Fred forwarded it to me.

Jeff also attached this item, forwarded by Fred:

Jeff describes it to Fred: "I’m also sending along a scan of a piece you participated in about two decades or so ago. Remember when we’d meet up at conventions, and I’d be toting my big-ass piece of poster board around, getting all and sundry to contribute to a mammoth character jam? Well, it finally got filled up in the mid 1980s, Karl Kesel got roped into inking any penciled characters, and I’ve kept it ever since.

"In the bit I was able to cram into my scanner, we’ve got Cartoon Fred interviewing an Al Milgrom Firestorm (who for some reason is wearing a Clyde Caldwell clown puppet on his hand). Meanwhile, CF is being crept up upon by a Steve Bissette Swamp Thing ("Let’s see if you can grow YOUR arm back.") with Vince Giarrano’s Haywire lurking in the background. Just out of shot, a Paul Smith Storm is forming a little storm cloud over Firestorm. He doesn’t notice, as he’s busy trying to pal around with a rather disinterested Jughead, a la Stan Goldberg. That’s Brent Anderson’s Shanna in front of a Ron Frenz Spidey, and you can just about see E-Man’s outstretched hand, courtesy of Joe Staton. Can’t remember for the life of me which character from Arion, Lord of Atlantis Jan Duursema sketched, but there’s no mistaking Raoul Vezina’s Smilin’ Ed."

"Ahh...those were the days."

Yes, they were. It's interesting that three people who did work for FantaCo appear in this panel:
Steve Bissette, who was in Alien Encounters, Gore Shriek, Deep Red and other horror projects.
Fred Hembeck, who, in addition to his eponymous series, also contributed to Smilin' Ed, the Chronicles series, Gates of Eden and Alien Encounters.
And of course, the late Raoul Vezina, who, in addition to Smilin' Ed, worked on the Chronicles and had stuff in the first four FantaCon programs.

Jeff notes to me: "I loved Smilin' Ed. (The issue where he heads off to Hollywood, obsessed with cinematic cheese, spoke volumes to me. Even today, when I think of the poster for Angry Red Rabbit, or poor Ray Merrymausen working on his stop-motion project, I smile.)

"We probably have already met, of course. My cohorts and I made many a trip to FantaCo back in the 1980s, and we were always treated right. The feeling there was like the Cheers bar, but with comics. It was there I first found out about the redoubtable Mr. V and his critter creations. Sadly, I have no real memory of any conversations with either him or you, but I do have the sense of having talked comics with fellow fans.

"FantaCo also introduced me to the awe and mystery that is Blotto, but that's going off on a tangent." Not really. The FantaCo folks were big Blotto fans, too. I was singing 'Metalhead' in the shower just yesterday.

"The piece also features a Dave Sim Cerebus, Wendy Pini's Skywise, Iron Man by Bob Layton, John Byrne's Rog-2000, Mike Grell's Warlord, Walt Simonson's Manhunter flanked by George Perez' Starfire and Mary Wilshire's Firestar, a Totleben Demon squaring off against a Simons Ghost Rider, and an Incredible Vampire Balloon. (The last is a critter from my Cranberry: Certified Public Avenger series. Never heard of it? You're not alone...) And there's still more!"

Jeff indicated that if he gets a chance to scan some more, I might be able to share more with you fine folks. Thanks, Jeff.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

EW's best 100 albums of the last 25 years.

I find myself sucked into these things. Back in 1987, rolling stone magazine put out a list of the best LPs of the prior 20 years and I had 56 of 100.

*1. Purple Rain - Prince and the Revolution (1984): Tosy wrote: "I have a hunch this is going to be one of those albums where I know most of the songs without realizing it." Yes, Tosy, I'm sure it is.

*2. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill - Lauryn Hill (1998): I like, not love it.

*3. Achtung Baby - U2 (1991): only my 2nd favorite U2 album.

4. The College Dropout - Kanye West (2004): Not a big rap fan.

5. Madonna - Madonna (1983): Only have her greatest hits

*6. American Idiot - Green Day (2004): the problem with individual downloads is that one loses the sense of the album. This is an ALBUM, which I got from ADD.

7. The Blueprint- Jay-Z: (2001)

*8. Graceland - Paul Simon (1986): one of those albums I own both in vinyl and CD. Not always happy memories of two relationships, but that's not the album's fault.

*9. Back to Black - Amy Winehouse (2007): Someone gave it to me, listened a couple times, not bad. But her personal drama, I think, overwhelms an objective listen.

10. In Rainbows - Radiohead (2007)

*11. MTV Unplugged in New York - Nirvana (1994): the Nirvana I used to play at work, before Cubicleland.

12. Stankonia - OutKast (2000): I actually have had this on my Amazon want list for a while. (Note to self: update Amazon want list with new releases by Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, and others.) I have "Hey Ya" on a mixed CD from Fred Hembeck.

13. You Are Free - Cat Power (2003)

14. Disintegration - The Cure (1989). I have one Cure album, not this one.

15. The Marshall Mathers LP - Eminem (2000)

16. Rain Dogs - Tom Waits (1985)

17. Odelay - Beck (1996). I have a mixed Beck album, which I like.

18. People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm - A Tribe Called Quest (1990)

19. Dangerously in Love - Beyoncé (2003)

*20. Tidal - Fiona Apple (1996): have to be in the mood.

21. The Emancipation of Mimi - Mariah Carey (2005)

22. 3 Feet High and Rising - De La Soul (1989): have some De La soul, not this.

23. The Soft Bulletin - The Flaming Lips (1999)

24. Come On Over - Shania Twain (1997)

25. Turn On the Bright Lights - Interpol (2002)

*26. Time Out of Mind - Bob Dylan (1997). Only my 2nd favorite late Dylan album.

27. Funeral - Arcade Fire (2004)

28. Illmatic - Nas (1994)

29. Breakaway - Kelly Clarkson (2004). Bought her debut album for my wife.

30. Appetite for Destruction - Guns N' Roses (1987). Only have the double CD, which I listen to about 60% of.

*31. FutureSex/LoveSounds - Justin Timberlake (2006): given to me. Wouldn't have bought for myself, but more enjoyable than I would have thought. Still, don't play it much.

*32. Life's Rich Pageant - R.E.M. (1985). Better than I had remembered.

33. As I Am - Alicia Keys (2007)

34. Is This It - The Strokes (2001)

*35. Jagged Little Pill - Alanis Morissette (1995): by this point, I'd stopped listening to much radio and STILL heard three of these songs quite a bit.

*36. CrazySexyCool - TLC (1994)

37. The Moon & Antarctica - Modest Mouse (2000)

38. Raising Hell - Run DMC (1986)

*39. Sheryl Crow - Sheryl Crow (1996): probably haven't listened to for a while.

40. Ready to Die - The Notorious B.I.G. (1994)

*41. Legend - Bob Marley and the Wailers (1984): it's a very fine greatest hits album.

42. Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)- Wu-Tang Clan (1993)

43. Paul's Boutique - Beastie Boys (1989)

*44. Car Wheels on a Gravel Road - Lucinda Williams (1998) - Top 5 album of the 1990s for me

45. If You're Feeling Sinister - Belle and Sebastian (1996)

46. Homogenic - Björk (1997): no Björk, though I do have a Sugarcubes aklbum

*47. Exile in Guyville - Liz Phair (1993): listened to this in the car ride to Virginia in April. Still like it.

*48. American IV: The Man Comes Around - Johnny Cash (2002). Have all five John R. albums; which one of the first four I favor tends to be changeable.

49. A Rush of Blood to the Head - Coldplay (2002)

*50. Sounds of Silver - LCD Soundsystem (2007): bought this solely on the basis of bloggers I respect. Like it, but haven't played it enough to have imprinted into my soul.

*51. The Score - Fugees (1996). Love and hate in equal measure.

52. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga - Spoon (2007)

*53. King of America - Elvis Costello (1986). Have on vinyl. Not the first EC I would have thought of.

*54. Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 - Janet Jackson (1989): in spite of those perhaps silly attempts to be "relevant", I really like this album.

55. It Takes a Nation of Millions... - Public Enemy (1988)

56. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot - Wilco (2002): still on my Amazon wish list. Have earlier Wilco.

*57. Harvest Moon - Neil Young (1992). at least Top 10 album of the 1990s.

58. Surfer Rosa - The Pixies (1988). I have Pixies on vinyl; will have to pull out.

59. Ray of Light - Madonna (1998)

60. Crooked Rain Crooked Rain - Pavement (1994)

61. Paid in Full - Eric B. & Rakim (1987)

*62. OK Computer - Radiohead (1997): don't love it.

*63. The Joshua Tree - U2 (1987). I put this on my desert album list in 1988 and it remains.

64. Mama's Gun - Erykah Badu (2000): have her first album.

65. Elephant - The White Stripes (2003): have White Blood Cells.

66. The Chronic - Dr. Dre (1992)

67. Metallica - Metallica (1991)

*68. Wrecking Ball - Emmylou Harris (1995): I have this friend who loved Emmylou, but hated this Daniel Lanois-produced album. I have a lot of Emmylou on vinyl, but this, my first Emmylou on CD, I quite enjoyed.

69. Give Up - The Postal Service (2003)

70. My Life - Mary J. Blige (1994)

71. Rock Steady - No Doubt (2001): have an earlier album.

72. 1984 - Van Halen (1984): have some VH, not this.

73. The Queen is Dead - Smiths (1986). No Smiths but I do have a Morissey.

*74. Play - Moby (1999). Could have seen him live in 1998 for free, but I had never heard of him. My loss.

*75. Born in the U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen (1984): my late brother-in-law bought me about six Springsteen CDs for Christmas in 2000, so I have this in two forms.

76. Heartbreaker - Ryan Adams (2000)

77. Dummy - Portishead (1994)

*78. Vs. - Pearl Jam (1991): have four Pearl Jam albums, but this is my favorite.

79. Let It Be - The Replacements (1984). Like the Don't Tell a Soul album; should get this.

80. Back to Basics - Christina Aguilera (2006)

81. The Downward Spiral - Nine Inch Nails (1994)

82. Grace - Jeff Buckley (1994)

*83. Learning to Crawl - The Pretenders (1984): at some level, I suppose I like this album because the band managed to survive the loss of two of its members.

84. Low-Life - New Order (1985): have some earlier remix.

*85. Home - Dixie Chicks (2002): about a week after the political controversy, I was so annoyed with the backlash that I went out to the Rite Aid at lunch and bought this CD. I probably would have eventually - I had the first two Natalie Maines-led discs - but I was prompted to buy it right away. That I liked it was a bonus.

86. Loveless - My Bloody Valentine (1991)

87. All Eyez on Me - 2Pac (1996)

*88. So - Peter Gabriel (1986): one of those annoying things record companies did to promote the new CD technology was to put an extra song on the CD. Since I didn't have a CD player, I bought the vinyl, but was annoyed. Years later, bought the CD. Ditto on this with #94.

89. Bachelor No. 2 - Aimee Mann (2000)

90. Toxicity - System of a Down (2001). Have their debut album.

91. Siamese Dream - Smashing Pumpkins (1993)

92. The Writing's on the Wall - Destiny’s Child (1999). Have the follow-up, Survivor.

93. Either/Or - Elliott Smith (1997)

*94. Synchronicity - The Police (1983): Tosy wrote: "Easily their best, even with 'Mother'." Sounds right.

95. Trap Muzik T.I. (2003)

96. Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea - PJ Harvey (2000)

97. Britney - Britney Spears (2001)

98. Transatlanticism - Death Cab for Cutie (2003)

99. Live Through This - Hole (1994)

100. Faith - George Michael (1987)

33 out of 100 this time, if I counted correctly.