Friday, December 29

A Diamond in the rough.

An artist I know but don’t know. Leonard Cohen. For some reason, I thought he was much older and certainly had nothing to do with rock/pop music. From a different time and place. Now I now better. I’ve heard his songs but never associated them with anyone. I appreciate them more listening to them, knowing he wrote them.

One by one the guests arrive
The guests are coming through
The open-hearted many
The broken-hearted few
And those who dance begin to dance
And those who weep begin
Welcome, welcome, cries a voice
Let all my guests come in
Part of "The Guests"
by Leonard Cohen

"Hallelujah," covered by Jeff Buckley, John Cale, Bono, Allison Crowe, k.d. lang, Bob Dylan, Rufus Wainwright, Regina Spektor, Kevin Max, The Dresden Dolls, Jazz Mandolin Project, and Imogen Heap. Cale's vLeonard Norman Cohen, CC (born September 21, 1934 in Montreal, Quebec) is a Canadian poet, novelist, and singer-songwriter. Cohen began his career in literature, publishing his first book of poetry in Montreal in 1956 and his first novel in 1963. Following his breakthrough in the music industry in the late 1960s,
I’m impressed with all the covers for the next song. That includes being music in the TV show House.

Beth Orton is great. I don’t honestly know the song, but wanted to include it. Sisters of Mercy

O the sisters of mercy they are not
Departed or gone,
They were waiting for me when I thought
That I just cant go on,
And they brought me their comfort
And later they brought me this song.
O I hope you run into them
You whove been traveling so long.

Yes, you who must leave everything
That you cannot control;
It begins with your family,
But soon it comes round to your soul.
Well, Ive been where youre hanging
I think I can see how youre pinned.
When youre not feeling holy,
Your loneliness says that youve sinned.

Well they lay down beside me
I made my confession to them.
They touched both my eyes
And I touched the dew on their hem.
If your life is a leaf
That the seasons tear off and condemn
They will bind you with love
That is graceful and green as a stem.

When I left they were sleeping,
I hope you run into them soon.
Dont turn on the light
You can read their address by the moon;
And you wont make me jealous
If I hear that they sweeten your night
We werent lovers like that
And besides it would still be all right
We werent lovers like that
And besides it would still be all right.
Cohen's songs are often emotionally heavy and lyrically complex, owing more to the metaphoric word play of poetry than to the conventions of song craft. His work often explores the themes of religion, isolation, sex, and complex interpersonal relationships (eloquently from Wiki).

"Everybody Knows," covered by Concrete Blonde, Don Henley, Dayna Kurtz, Rufus Wainwright, The Duhks and famous Norwegian singer Kari Bremnes.

My personal favorite because of the lyrics. They tell a story. And make sense (to me anyway). Two interpretations:

Concrete Blonde.

Bryan Adams and Don Henley

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
Thats how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died

Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that youve been faithful
Ah give or take a night or two
Everybody knows youve been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
Thats how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
Thats how it goes
Everybody knows

And everybody knows that its now or never
Everybody knows that its me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah when youve done a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old black joes still pickin cotton
For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows

And everybody knows that the plague is coming
Everybody knows that its moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past
Everybody knows the scene is dead
But theres gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows

And everybody knows that youre in trouble
Everybody knows what youve been through
From the bloody cross on top of calvary
To the beach of malibu
Everybody knows its coming apart
Take one last look at this sacred heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
Thats how it goes
Everybody knows

Oh everybody knows, everybody knows
Thats how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows
Love and sex are common enough themes in popular music; Cohen's background as a novelist and poet brings an uncommon sensibility to these themes. "Suzanne," probably the first Cohen song to gain broad attention,

"Suzanne," covered by Graeme Allwright, Judy Collins, Fabrizio de André, Neil Diamond, Fairport Convention, Roberta Flack, Peter Gabriel, Françoise Hardy, Geoffrey Oryema, and Nina Simone. R.E.M. recorded a song called "Hope" which they admit was indebted to "Suzanne"; Cohen received co-songwriting credit for the song.

His song Chelsea Hotel No 2, about Janis Joplin, may be the only song overtly written by one pop star about sex with another. "You said to me then, you preferred handsome men, but for me you would make an exception ... giving me head on the unmade bed, while the limousines wait in the street." (interesting take on the lyrics by the way from Wiki, giving credit as due)

Rufus (he does a lot of Cohen).

As of December 1, 2006, the site had counted a total of 1,200 published cover versions of Cohen's songs. Talented.

Sunday, December 24

Christmas Eve.

Rama: "Hey Bob (the cat), you watch for him by the window, I'll do the fireplace. Bob? Bob, you there?"

Merry Christmas. Wish we had snow.

Wednesday, December 20

Read it in the Sunday papers. (or Wednesday)

Northwest Herald. Local paper. Joe Jackson song at the bottom. He's great.

Olson: Readers find humor in Christmas gag gifts

By Eric Olson
Comments (0)
Last week this space featured thoughts on ways to use the Christmas gift-giving ritual as a way to get a good laugh.

If you suffered through the entire column, you might have thought, “That’s great, gag gifts are funny, but I haven’t found any headless dolls in the street to dress up lately, and my brother already has burned all of his New Kids on the Block paraphernalia. What can I do that will be both devious and humorous at the same time?”

Luckily, some mischievous Northwest Herald readers sent stories of their own.

“Many years ago, in our teens, I think, my brother and I would take the worst albums we had and wrap them up to give to our cousins visiting from Chicago,” wrote Rob Peterson of Hebron. “We never felt they had much taste in music. We would really laugh if they liked them. Cruel.”

Sure. But hilarious when you’re in on the joke.

Peterson’s nieces and nephews were his more recent targets.

“Sometimes we would include a can of soup or dog treats or something like that in with a big gift,” he wrote. “Or sometimes we would just wrap it by itself. It's funny to see the kid open it. Some were puzzled but still said thanks. ... Some were buzzing through the presents so fast they didn't even notice. It was always funny.”

I agree. As soon as I have my own nieces and nephews, they’re getting soup. I don’t think that my wife will let me give my daughter dog treats, though.

Susan Hagerty of Marengo is another one you have to watch. Especially if she visits your house.

“Throughout the year, when visiting friends’ homes, I would sneak around and find something bizarre to steal,” Hagerty wrote. “It had to be something they wouldn't miss. Lo and behold it reappears at Christmastime as their gift. Funny to see the look on their face when they think, ‘Wow. ... I have one of these.’ Well, you do, ’cause it’s yours.”

Nothing like receiving your own stolen property for Christmas.

Hagerty said she and her friends also had a tradition of passing around an “ugly” painting of a naked woman incorporated into different items, like in the center of a holiday wreath.

Because nothing says Christmas like a badly drawn nude portrait sewn into a jean jacket.

Those of you with children might want to borrow an idea that Geri Stockwell of Wauconda used on her 11- and 12-year-old sons years ago.

“I wrapped 2 snow shovels in Christmas paper weeks before Christmas,” Stockwell wrote. “My boys knew where the gifts were and kept trying to guess what they were. A rocket, skis, were a few of the things they thought they were. They still talk about those shovels and that Christmas.”

Given that Stockwell’s children now are in their mid-40s, that’s quite an accomplishment. And really, what’s better than a gag gift that keeps on giving – back to you?

– Eric Olson is the Northwest Herald’s metro editor. Reach him at (815) 459-4122, or by e-mail at

Link to article. I feel obligated. All true by the way. And these are not the quirkiest things my family does at holidays. We have even better ones. Trust me. Ha.

Appropriate song Link. (Bolt - no video)

I see a theme here.

Norah Jones? And who's that girl next to her? Cute and she looks like me? Weird. Anyway, Matthew and Mario? Sure. Fine by me.

I always thought these lyrics were more risque than most people noticed. Different meanings. I can obviously have that opinion since I most resemble her. We're buds now. Ha..

I waited 'til I saw the sun
I don't know why I didn't come
I left you by the house of fun

I don't know why I didn't come
I don't know why I didn't come

When I saw the break of day
I wished that I could fly away
Instead of kneeling in the sand
Catching teardrops in my hand

My heart is drenched in wine
But you'll be on my mind

Out across the endless sea
I would die in ecstasy
But I'll be a bag of bones
Driving down the road along

My heart is drenched in wine
But you'll be on my mind

Something has to make you run
I don't know why I didn't come
I feel as empty as a drum

I don't know why I didn't come
I don't know why I didn't come
I don't know why I didn't come

Monday, December 18

Merry Christmas, Com Ed.

Yesterday was unseasonably warm. Amy convinced me to put up the upper swags. It was a 10 minute job that took over an hour. Damn wires were all tangled up. Looks good though. Amy put up all of the rest.

Merry Christmas.

Notice there is no snow? Fifteen inches melted in two weeks. Strange winter so far.

Saturday, December 16

Christmas wrapping.

I heard this yesterday. It's stuck in my head.

The Waitresses; Christmas Wrapping. Have a hot chololate and enjoy.

Video by melon38.

"Bah, humbug!" No, that's too strong
'Cause it is my favorite holiday
But all this year's been a busy blur
Don't think I have the energy

To add to my already mad rush
Just 'cause it's 'tis the season.
The perfect gift for me would be
Completions and connections left from

Last year, ski shop,
Encounter, most interesting.
Had his number but never the time
Most of '81 passed along those lines.

So deck those halls, trim those trees
Raise up cups of Christmas cheer,
I just need to catch my breath,
Christmas by myself this year.

Calendar picture, frozen landscape,
Chilled this room for twenty-four days,
Evergreens, sparkling snow
Get this winter over with!

Flashback to springtime, saw him again,
Would've been good to go for lunch,
Couldn't agree when we were both free,
We tried, we said we'd keep in touch.

Didn't, of course, 'til summertime,
Out to the beach to his boat could I join him?
No, this time it was me,
Sunburn in the third degree.

Now the calendar's just one page
And, of course, I am excited
Tonight's the night, but I've set my mind
Not to do too much about it.

Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
But I think I'll miss this one this year.
Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
But I think I'll miss this one this year.
Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
But I think I'll miss this one this year.
Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
But I think I'll miss this one this year.

Hardly dashing through the snow
Cause I bundled up too tight
Last minute have-to-do's
A few cards a few calls
'Cause it's r-s-v-p
No thanks, no party lights
It's Christmas Eve, gonna relax
Turned down all of my invites.

Last fall I had a night to myself,
Same guy called, halloween party,
Waited all night for him to show,
This time his car wouldn't go,

Forget it, it's cold, it's getting late,
Trudge on home to celebrate
In a quiet way, unwind
Doing Christmas right this time.

A&P has provided me
With the world's smallest turkey
Already in the oven, nice and hot
Oh damn! Guess what I forgot?

So on with the boots, back out in the snow
To the only all-night grocery,
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
In the line is that guy I've been chasing all year!

"I'm spending this one alone," he said.
"Need a break; this year's been crazy."
I said, "Me too, but why are you?
You mean you forgot cranberries too?"

Then suddenly we laughed and laughed
Caught on to what was happening
That Christmas magic's brought this tale
To a very happy ending! "

Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
Couldn't miss this one this year!
Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
Couldn't miss this one this year!

Written by Chris Butler
(c) 1981 Future Fossil Music, BMI

Friday, December 15

Why can't we be friends?

Cubbie and Rama this morning. They were sleeping just before I took the picture. Rama usually sleeps on my feet, preventing me from moving at night. Cubbie sleeps with Amy. She was up early for work so the two pets made their own arrangement I guess.

Tuesday, December 12


Wilco is based in Chicago Illinois.

The band was formed by musician and songwriter Jeff Tweedy in 1995 after the breakup of group Uncle Tupelo.

Here is a sampling of Wilco, the first being "Handshake Drugs" from A Ghost is Born. It's got that off-kilter, herky, jerky,shaggy sound that totally fits with the lyrics. I can just picture middle class suburban kids making the trip into the city to pick up some stuff.
It's got great lyrics. (underneath video)

"Handshake Drugs"
I was chewin' gum for something to do
The blinds were being pulled down on the dew
Inside, out of love, what a laugh
I was looking for you
Saxophones started blowing me down
I was buried in sound
Taxicabs were driving me around
To the handshake drugs I bought downtown
To the handshake drugs I bought downtown
They were translated poorly, I felt like a clown
I looked like someone I used to know
I felt alright
And if I ever was myself
I wasn't that night
Oh it's okay for you to say
What you want from me
I believe that's the only
Way for me to be, exactly
What you want me to be
Oh it's okay for you to say
What you want from me
I believe that's the only
Way for me to be
Exactly what you want me to be
Oh I was chewin' gum for something to do
The blinds were being pulled down on the dew
Inside, out of love, what a laugh
I was looking for you
Saxophones started blowin' me down
I was buried in sound
The taxicabs were driving me around
To the handshake drugs I bought downtown
To the handshake drugs I bought downtown
Oh it's okay for you to say
What you want from me
I believe that's the only
Way for me to be
Exactly what do you want me to be?
Exactly what do you want me to be?
Felt like a clown
They were translating poorly
I looked like someone I used to know
And if I ever was myself,
I wasn't that night
Exactly what do you want me to be?
Exactly what do you want me to be?

This is "Can't Stand It" from SummerTeeth. This song got a lot of air-play around here. I like it. Has a familiar sound to it.

The last is "Jesus, etc" from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. I'ts sooo good. Smooth.

Another CD worth noting is Being There. (named after the Peter Seller's movie of the same name). I've seen them at the Taste of Chicago. They just recently played Lollapalooza in Chicago. I wish I knew you could bring in video cameras. Next year.

Saturday, December 9

Little Red Rooster.

Pictured is the backside of the cover of my "The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions" album. Howlin' Wolf (made in 1970) with Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Bill Wyman, and Charlie Watts. The record is long gone but I replaced it with a CD version. The original hangs in my LR (not too Martha Stewart, but so what).

The thing I like best about the video is at about 2:58 into it, Jagger gives Clapton a look after he finishes his solo. Priceless. (I thought it was only me that noticed it, but looking at youtube comments, I guess not.)

Thursday, December 7

Roads to nowhere.

I'm cheating a bit. I took these last spring.

I remember little Kevin from the Wonder Years in a movie called "Little Monsters". This was one of the main songs on its soundtrack.

Talking Heads: Road to Nowhere.

Well we know where were goin
But we dont know where weve been
And we know what were knowin
But we cant say what weve seen
And were not little children
And we know what we want
And the future is certain
Give us time to work it out

Were on a road to nowhere
Come on inside
Takin that ride to nowhere
Well take that ride

Im feelin okay this mornin
And you know,
Were on the road to paradise
Here we go, here we go


Maybe you wonder where you are
I dont care
Here is where time is on our side
Take you there...take you there

Were on a road to nowhere
Were on a road to nowhere
Were on a road to nowhere

Theres a city in my mind
Come along and take that ride
And its all right, baby, its all right

And its very far away
But its growing day by day
And its all right, baby, its all right

They can tell you what to do
But theyll make a fool of you
And its all right, baby, its all right

Were on a road to nowhere

Wednesday, December 6

It's classified.


Pleasant surprise though it seems to have lost some of it's purple / lavender colo(u)r.

A different picture each day. And I was lucky enough to be selected on a good news day.

Example: Local man, 42, shoots at two young men loitering around his car at 3:00 a.m. after calling out "What are you doing?"

He hit one of them with three .22 slugs. The two ran off to the local hospital where the youth was being treated for non-life threatening wounds. No charges yet because it hasn't been determined whether they did any thing wrong other than being out on the street.

The shooter just went to bed. Never even called the police. He was arrested and now is out on bail. The best part of the story was when the next door neighbor was quoted, "I'm sure going to think twice before borrowing any sugar from my neighbor."

Anyway, I think there were getting to be too many pictures of kids playing in leaf piles or sitting on bales of straw in pumpkin patches.

Late Edition:

This was in the same set of pictures. Everything came out so clear I had to post it.

One of the two chairs holds my floodlight for dog softball workouts after work. I hit Cubbie softballs from this tree ( bat leaning on it). The hanging rag is for wiping your hands of dog drool. The rag hangs from the combo squirrel feeder, drink holder.

The small trees are the ones from the previous picture. Then, there is the cornfield with the new subdivision intruding in from the left.

Monday, December 4

Red and White.

Backyard, neighbors trees in a Christmas tree shape triangle.

Garden sunflower.

We got socked with snow just after Bob Seeger. Just after. Five hours after going to sleep, we awoke to over a foot on the ground. Here are a couple of snow pictures, probably the first of many for this winter.

Doing this in reverse. I couldn't get the snow pictures to work on the bottom without errors. Oh well. Saturday we saw Geneva Red at a local bar just 2 or 3 blocks from home. A local artist that plays all over the country, I had read about her but never saw her and was unfamiliar with her music. Not anymore.

She's six feet tall, slim, with long red hair and a harmonica. She does the blues. As a harmonica player, she is considered world class. She tours with a band (Geneva Red & the Roadsters) and sometimes, like Saturday night, just performs with one other person. That would be Jack 5 and dime. (Woolworth). He plays the drums, banjo, guitar and anything else needed while Red does the harp.

Funny thing. We had a front table. During warmup, he came up to me and introduced himself. I guess I had known him about 30 years ago. He was a friend of my sisters and I helped them procure hard to obtain beverages as well as partied with him. Lost memory. Ha.

She played in high heels. Liked the lights low. The music loud. One song was from the top of the bar, other times just walking among the tables. She also had a selection where she plays the harmonica(hands free) while clapping her hands to the beat. Damn.

Geneva Red

They didn't have anything on youtube but she did this selection from the Duane Allman Anthology. Loan me a dime. (close your eyes - stupid video comes with it). Sung by Boz Skaggs. She amplified the sound from her harmonica and almost sounded better than the guitar did. It's a long song and unfortunately the best guitar get cut off at the end. It gives you a taste of the sound and type of music she played.

Friday, December 1

Bob Seeger roadtrip.

Snow was forcast, but what do weathermen know? We were supposted to get a big one for the last couple of days and instead it was rainy and in the high 50's.
Four of us, Amy; looking quite Veronica Mars-ish, Clint, Shanda, and I headed out. The Allstate arena is just outside of Chicago. Medium size venue with no bad seats. No let me rephrase that. Medium sized venue with small seats. Very small. We stood at the end our row which was much better anyway.
Our seat were upper deck left facing the stage. Drinks were available just off the aisle. I don't think smoking was allowed but Bob's fans seem to do what they want. Ha. The average age was about 40 to 60 though there were a lot of younger fans. As a review in the Trib mentioned, there were more people holding up lighters than cellphones. Flashback.
Bob looked a bit grayer and has picked up a few pounds (ok, who hasn't in the last 10 years) but his voice was all there. I think he sounded great. Amy said he dances like I do. I take that as a left handed compliment. I'm glad she was there though. She knew the words to the songs better than I did. Brought her up right.
He played all the songs I wanted to hear. The Sax player excelled. You can never have enough sax in rock ballads. I'm terrible for remembering all the names of them or in what order they came so although I coundn't find a playlist, I copied a review I found in the Chicago Tribune.
To me, he brought back many memories and nothing could beat hearing Turn the Page live.

By the way it was snowing when we left. After driving north about 60's the snow quit. Thought we had dodged a bullet (Silver Bullet of course). The ground was clear and dry when I went to bed at 2:00AM. I woke up to a foot of snow on the ground. Snow day. On a Friday. (That's a picture of our cars Friday morning in the collage.)

Perfect ending after being:
on the road again...
strung out from the road...

Turn the Page:

On a long and lonesome highway, east of omaha.

You can listen to the engine moaning out its one lone song

You can think about woman, or the girl you knew the night before,

But your thoughts will soon be wandering, the way they always do.

When your riding sixteen hours and theres nothing much to do

And you dont feel much like riding, you just wish the trip was through.

Say, here I am, on the road again. there I am, up on the stage.

Here I go, playing star again.

There I go, turn the page.

Well you walk into a restaurant, strung out from the road,

You can feel the eyes upon you as your shaking off the cold

You pretend it doesnt bother you, but you just want to explode.

Most times you cant hear em talk, other times you can.

Oh the same old cliche, as that woman on her a man

You always see my number, you dont dare make a stand.

Here I am, on the road again. there I am, up on the stage.

Here I go, playing star again.

There I go, turn the page.

Out there in the spotlight your a million miles away,

Every ounce of energy, you try and give away,

As the sweat pours out your body like the music that you play.

Later in the evening as you lie awake in bed,

With the echo from the amplifiers ringing in your head,

You smoke the days last cigarette, remembering what she said.

Now here I am, on the road again. there I am, up on the stage.

Here I go, playing star again.

There I go, turn the page.

Here I am, on the road again. there I am, up on the stage.

Ah here I go, playing star again.

There I go, there I go.

The following is from the Chicago Tribune so I don't get in trouble:

Seger still sings the blues, has right moves

By Greg Kot

December 1, 2006, 1:40 PM CST

This was arena rock the old-school way. You could tell, because the lighters far outnumbered the cell phones when it came time to decorate the joint in honor of another classic song that evoked the feeling of being young, restless and bored in 1962.

Bob Seger was the perfect host for such a gathering. At the sold-out Allstate Arena Thursday, the Detroit hard rock 'n' soul warrior wore the years with affable pride. He has gone gray, he wears glasses and a few extra pounds, and his black T-shirt, blue jeans and headband might as well have been a business suit.

"Sweet 16's turned 61!" the 61-year-old Seger roared with a smile during "Rock and Roll Never Forgets." After a decade away from the road to help rear his children, the singer has returned with a solid album, "Face the Promise," and the grit still clinging to his voice. But he never really went away. His hits collections remain perennial best sellers, and his songs have become part of the fabric of at least two generations. From "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" to "Roll Me Away," with stops in between for "Night Moves," "Hollywood Nights," "Old Time Rock and Roll" and "Katmandu," Seger roared the blue-collar blues.

The set list occasionally lagged when he leaned too heavily on songs from "Face the Promise" and resurrected "Satisfied," a love song tacked on to "Greatest Hits 2." But otherwise, it was a two-hour-plus concert devoted to durable songs about misfits and vagabonds, the type of characters who value freedom over success. The first set closed with three of the best road songs ever written: "Travelin' Man," "Beautiful Loser" and especially "Turn the Page," with Seger at the piano and Alto Reed blowing bittersweet empathy on the sax.

Early on, he revisited his cover of Chicagoan Otis Clay's old soul hit, "Tryin' to Live My Life Without You." With a five-piece horn section and three backing singers joining a rocking rhythm section, Seger affirmed that he has always been steeped in R&B and Motown as much as Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones.

"Just pull those old records off the shelf, I'll sit here and listen to them by myself," Seger sang. Those old records, with their emphasis on groove and unvarnished directness, are the foundation of his 40-year career. Along the way, he became a great songwriter by writing about characters essentially like himself: The son of a factory worker who lived in near poverty after his father left home, then found a way out.

The line between the characters in the songs and the performer on the stage melted away. Seger's made his millions, but he still looked and sounded like he'd be right at home at the end of the bar with a beer in hand, a few stories to tell and a motorcycle waiting for him outside.

Copyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune