Katie's blog and Etsy shop are for real now, just in time for our "end of February" deadline we set 6 weeks back.
For now, her books for sale are mostly of the blank journal/sketchpad type, but books-as-art will follow soon, and we're always taking ideas for content. If you have a collection of, say, postcards, they might make a great book.
So please take a look and spread the word about these super cool handmade books!
Each Friday we share our Web discoveries -- culled (if "culled" had a positive connotation) from our RSS feeds and Twitter accounts, etc. If there's something we should know about, please write to thesadbear [at] gmail [dot] com.
James Summerlott, 27, was hunting pigeons in the backyard of his home on Pembroke-Oak Grove Road around 3:30 p.m. Monday when he noticed an unfamiliar vehicle in his driveway, he told the Kentucky New Era in a phone interview.
Summerlott went inside, carrying his shotgun, and saw his TV lying on the floor. He had left the front door unlocked. A man walked out of his bedroom, and Summerlott held him at gunpoint while Summerlott called 911, said Chris Miller, spokesman for the Christian County Sheriff’s Department.
“He seemed a little frightened, I’ll be honest with you,” Summerlott told the New Era. “I would be too.”
LEE 'SCRATCH' PERRY & THE UPSETTERS -- "Black Panta" I discovered this gem on Jonny Greenwood is The Controller and immediately wondered how Drew dropped the ball on never turning me on to it. Regardless, Katie piped in that it sounded like Gorillaz and I milked it all the way through. Great tune.
PAUL SIMON -- "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" If I had to pinpoint the root to my taste in music, I'd have to turn to Paul Simon. And while Graceland is my all-time favorite album (for reasons seasonal, musical and emotional), I picked this song because it really matches the mood for me these days. Not to mention, Simon's music reminds me of summer...and I'm really looking forward to the summer months. His music, if not airy and liberating, also tangles me into the stories he's sharing.
BOB MARLEY -- "One Drop" This song, I think, is what reggae is all about.
Kyle didn't have a specific song this week, but he sent along this email:Lately I've been listening to The Smiths and Neutral Milk Hotel without having any specific opinions of it, or of any particular song.That said, I got the idea to include a random Smiths song for your enjoyment— chances are, if you're reading this blog, you already know every NMH song there is to know, but might not be so savvy on the Smiths. "Handsome Devil" was the first song that came to mind. It's perfect because it's a great exemplar of the Smiths in general. Good song, plus the line "Let me get my hand on your mammary gland" pretty well sums up the life and times of Morrissey. -Jack
JOHN CALE -- "Andalucia" One of the best melodies in pop music. Unsurprising from roughly one half of the brilliance behind both The Velvet Underground and Nico and White Light/White Heat.
GUEST CONTRIBUTOR: Jay Gilligan Jay likes juggling so much that everyone who sees him juggle wants to do the same too. He travels the world -- and more impressive for a juggler, travels America too -- showing his craft. In fact, he'll be back this year with the tour he founded: Shoebox Tour! He also makes music on funny machines. - Tony
JóNSI -- "Go Do" I like this song because it has Samuli, the drummer from Múm, on it. And he's banging a suitcase.
Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of babies: God damn it, you've got to be kind. - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
We carried 'HELLO' in the left and 'BABIES' in the right; learned a new lingo and laid the good word of Vonnegut in a type with bite.
Mary Mashburn and Steve St. Angelo of Typecast Press in Baltimore helped me create an 11 x 17 letterpressed poster Saturday -- a birthday gift (with a trip) from Chase.
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"I'm upish," went my text message to Chase at 7:15 Saturday morning. He responded, I readied, and by 8 we were rolling for Baltimore -- bound for type and blight as we left blue ridges behind.
Interstate 95 carried us to the harbor town, where smokestacks and stadiums made for our first impressions. We flowed through the heart of downtown -- my navigation of course leading us onto a street of sin (oddly(?) located on the well-traveled namesake street of the city: E. Baltimore Street).
Residential streets meant row after row of rowhouses, differentiated across the city by brick and brightness, by broken windows and embellishments. Block after block, Chase squeezed us through streets piled high with snow. Dozens of chairs -- folding, rolling, plastic, and cracked -- saved shoveled parking spots.
We visited Atomic Books near the happenin' Hampden district (although we didn't know that 36th was the shit. Yet.)
Our first big-ticket destination was an exotic salvage warehouse on the city's southwest side. To get there, we lived out our Wire fantasy by rolling along North Avenue and Monroe Street in the Western District, where tacked teddy bears marked murders and second-floor windows were mostly broken if not already boarded. Hundreds of homes later -- and we're talking dense rowhouses -- the blight had barely subsided. It shocked me. Detroit? Charming place, next to Baltimore.
The booty at the end of our rundown rainbow was Housewerks, which behind gleaming barbed wire, greeted us with one of the largest mirrors ... ever left outdoors in the winter. A teeter totter later, we were inside one of the most arrestingly cool stockup spots we've ever seen. Beside the pirate ship-sized rope was a 40-foot freakshow banner. Stained-glass windows hang from the rafters, old metal letters above a fireplace mantel. A million-pound (or so) money safe lolled its door open. We bought the smallest items possible: a blue "walk" sign from a traffic signal, and a slew of small woodcut images for ink pads.
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Serendipity pushed our wandering toward South Baltimore, where we found at least one location recognizable from The Wire, season two: the mill where the stevedores worry about condominium revitalization. We looped through Locust Point, ate crab at LP Steamers, and watched the unloading of a Domino sugar ship.
Book Thing of Baltimore yielded 12 terrific books that might go toward Katie's projects. The great thing about Book Thing is you can take up to 180,000 books out for free per trip.
The crescendo of our travels came at Typecast Press, where despite a spongy 'K' and an 'N' a bit nicked, our frolicking among printing methods from days gone by led to an exceptional broadsheet.
Five hours can fly by when surrounded by nearly a dozen printing presses and drawers teeming with type. We could have spent days just marveling at the studio space. Instead, we worked diligently to set type, one letter at a time, while Mary shared stories of old pressmen and unbridled geeklove for the language of letterpress.
I've long dealt in picas and kerning, but never knew how literal "leading" could be. Strips of lead are used to separate lines of text. More lead means more space between lines. "Uppercase" and "lowercase" make more sense now too -- the words indicate where your hands should roam to pluck particular letters out of the large "case" that holds them. And I knew it before, but felt it firsthand Saturday when I literally was out of "sorts" (the lowercase 't,' in particular).
We hit it off really well with Mary and Steve -- fellow journalists -- who got the vibe that we are "young journalists who are still into it." We are. And we're into their type thing. We really enjoyed hearing Mary talk about newspapers and letterpress as an art of words.
By 10 p.m. we'd learned about furniture and Scrabble-boosting terms like "quoine key," "reglet," and "tympan" that play into securing our blocks of text into a Vandercook press. We'd also corrected a few backward apostrophes en route to rolling out our limited-edition series of Vonnegut posters.
I think we kept it simple and sincere.
One remains in Baltimore. Ours are signed and framed. And the last is bound for a better place.
Find the driver with the fewest teeth, the most gray hairs, and the thickest glasses. He's your man: Anyone who has survived to AARP age with these handicaps, on third-world roads, must have an abundance of caution, or perhaps just a jalopy that can't reach the hundred-mile-per-hour standard of Peruvian and Kenyan pistes.
Former American figure skater Timothy Goebel helped popularize the quad by performing it prolifically during his 14-year career ... his rotations per minute were clocked as high as 946; the average rotations per minute for an NBA player performing a 360-degree dunk is 100.
I've come into some monies thanks to a felon with the ironic last name of Cash. That's not a joke. I've committed no crime.
The great majority of the monies will go to praiseworthy causes in the land of personal finance and debt reduction. An enjoyable portion made for a spree:
The Routes of Man, Ted Conover Embryonic, Flaming Lips Face Control, Handsome Furs Dark Was the Night, various artists McSweeney's No. 33: The San Francisco Panorama Realism, The Magnetic Fields Jonny Greenwood is the Controller, Jonny Greenwood
Can't deny my interest in the Vancouver Olympics. Wondering about your observations, though, on a few points:
1. Bob Costas: second-best or best sports broadcaster of our time?
2. I'm sick of hearing about Lindsey Vonn, Jacobellis' blunder (and blunder 2(?)), the cafeteria love of Shen/Zhao, the fall Shaun White had earlier this month, and essentially every other Olympics narrative that NBC is milking. Mix it up.
HOT CHIP -- "Hand Me Down Your Love" I'd totally forgotten about thier new album until I saw this clip of them playing on Fallon with the Roots. They did two songs. (This is the other.... both were on YT for a while until NBC cocked blocked them. Sorry for the ads.). Both were tight as shit. And I mean that in the middle school sense of "Man, that's TIGHT!" as well as the sense of "Hot Chip and the Roots played very fundamentally sound music in this performance."
Anyway, neither of those songs is this song, but their Roots show reminded me to buy their album. Which I did on Saturday. And I like this song the best (so far) after a few listens.
TALKING HEADS -- "The Big Country" I try to get "Big Country" stuck in my head, mostly by using it as the alarm wake-up song. Goo goo ga ga ga.
THE DEADLY SYNDROME -- "Emily Paints" I'm still looking into this band's music, honestly. I can say I'm drawn to them, at the very least, because their sound is catchy and non-committal. Also, they use the xylophone a little in this song.
GUIDED BY VOICES -- "Motor Away" Barring long trips, I drive with the window down. I like the wind on my face, even if it's bitter instead of balmy. I like the sensation of hacking through my surroundings and being exposed to the traffic and absorbing the sounds as well as the scenes of the road. The sensory rumble makes me less secure, more aware. "Motor Away" is one of my favorite driving songs and is one that I think about often during winter. The line "When you motor away down the icy streets" conveys the frightening vulnerability that accompanies an epic escape -- this vivid picture liberates and unsettles and makes you feel alive. For a song that contains some of the most cynical lines I've heard in pop music (When you free yourself from the chance of a lifetime / You can be anyone they told you to), it's mightily refreshing as a whole.
MILES DAVIS -- "Pharaoh's Dance" I don't have a song in particular that I've been listening to intently or focused on, so I sent this one because I have been listening to the album Bitches Brew compulsively for the past year and half and haven't really mentioned or discussed it with any depth. It simply sounds like no other music I've ever heard or will probably hear - and that's not an overly self-involved, bullshit, cliched dramatization. It is in all honesty some of the most bizarre, original, and visionary stuff I've encountered - dreamlike, exotic, flowing, chaotic, aggressive, primal, sexual and improvised music. No genre really wants to claim it: It's too freakish, audacious, and experimental for jazz, but too sophisticated, elaborate, and expansive for rock or pop. It's too "solid", making use of concrete grooves, melodies, and themes to be considered out and out ambient, but too wrapped in it's own distorted, reflective atmospheric haze to be considered any sort of traditional improvised music. It can be sort of daunting, strange, and awkward music to try and get inside of, or even close to.
It makes me think about Marc Ribot, the experimental post-punk noise guitarist, who talks about how the question of What is this music? is not actually intrinsic in the music you're inquiring about. Some music, like 18th century classical, big band jazz, 90s grunge, etc. seems obvious to pin down in terms of classification as well as approaching it aesthetically. We know how to listen to it and what to call it. But the music that plants itself in these fringe areas doesn't seem to be so immediately understandable or relatable - It's the stuff that, when people ask you what type of music it is, it's such a complex response that you have to simply say "Forget it. You have to hear it." And so we define what the music "is" by association and context. You tend to lump it in with a tradition in order to make sense of it. In this case, Bitches Brew is often considered an avant-garde jazz album. But, some also consider it a progressive rock record. Some might even be able to consider it a "world" music album (though that vague and shitty genre probably doesn't deserve Bitches Brew within its categorical borders).
Ultimately, when this happens, the music itself becomes a part of multiple traditions and leaves traces of itself in the pathways of varied places. You can hear elements of it contributing to free jazz. You can hear trace amounts in the following steps of avant garde rock. Thom Yorke is quoted as saying that he wanted some of Radiohead's late 90's work to capture the sonic environments that he heard in parts of Bitches Brew, particularly with the track "Subterranean Homesick Alien". Again, that seems like a weird spot for Miles Davis's influence to pop up, but, well, it actually fucking happened. What I'm trying to get at is that I've been liking music of this kind lately, stuff that re-envisions particular traditions with new fathers and grandfathers inserted. Ultimately, in making the record, Miles Davis went through this same process, using eastern music, modal jazz, psychedelic rock, atonal classical, etc. as viable influences in the jazz tradition. He then, in turn, created a record that does the same thing and works itself into places where it doesn't necessarily and maybe even shouldn't belong in other future musical traditions.
. . .Also, there's a track on the record called "Miles Runs the Voodoo Down." How goddamned sweet is that.
GUEST CONTRIBUTOR: Papa Gonzalez He's my Dad. Raised me on Jimi Hendrix, Kings X, a bit of T-Rex. Lately he's digging on Them Crooked Vultures and anything that gets the positive nod from Jim Derogatis with the Chicago Sun-Times. We'll forgive my father for putting Wolfmother on his Christmas list. - Tony
JIMI HENDRIX -- "Hey Baby (The Land of the New Rising Sun)" This song would have been on Hendrix's final album that was never completed. He played it many times on his final tour in 1970, often experimenting with the lyrics, according to my Pops, who enjoys what Hendrix puts forth instrumentally for this track. He calls it the "best indicator" of where Hendrix was headed in his career.
Staying busy lately. I'm enrolled in a (miraculously cheap) beginners' American Sign Language course through a local rec & parks department. Yes, they say "Rec & Parks." Just like "they" don't pronounce the U in Staunton.
We've also joined a gym. Trips to Charleston (done) and Baltimore soon, then the Luray Caverns and the Newseum later this year. Maybe Philly too; NYC; Oatess in Athens, Ohio.
I wanted to post a few items as tips -- for lack of a better word -- and maybe calls to action.
One of Mr. Garner's favorite columnists is Ken Burger at the Charleston Post & Courier. Over the weekend he wrote about "ah-ha" moments when you realize that for many years you'd been thinking erroneously about something that is common knowledge to the rest of the world.
A friend of mine said he was in his 30s when it suddenly dawned on him, in a moment of clarity, that pickles and cucumbers were actually the same thing, only different.
These "aha" moments are usually kept secret. We all know that feeling when you realize that everybody else in the world knew something you didn't know. ...
Most recently, I came to understand that cup cakes were made from regular cake mix poured into little cups. I somehow assumed there was some kind of special cup cake mix.
Katie and I put together a list of our realizations:
:: That raisins are grapes (T) :: It's "human being," not "human bean" (K) :: Hybrid cars need not be plugged into an outlet (K) :: Boil water first, then add pasta noodles (T)
I seem to remember college bringing out these sorts of realizations in great quantities. But I can't seem to remember them (except for some arguments about pronunciation ... "copulate," etc.). Maybe you guys can remember some -- share in the comments (and at Burger's blog).
CSS -- "Off The Hook" I had another song that I was all ready to use. It was badass, but I've decided to save for another time. Instead, I'll go dancey on your asses. This song has been on loop for me lately. A few general observations: 1) Drumbeat + guitar riff = guaranteed "butt-shaking-in-office-chair" (a dance I am thinking about trademarking) 2) The way the lead singer pronounces "hook" (to rhyme with "spook" or "kook" rather than "cook") is sort of adorable. 3) She kind of reminds me of a nerdier Karen O who cares more about "being trendy." I don't care. 4) "The more I talk the more my bones get heavy" 5) If they were from New York or LA, there's no doubt I would hate them. But the fact that they are from Brazil makes the fact that they are hipsters somehow okay. 6) One of the band members has an "ironic" mustache that may or may not be so ironic, again due to the fact that he is not a hipster from America. 7) Don't forget their Death From Above 1979 shoutout as well as the song abut how much they suck.
BLIND MELON -- Three Is The Magic Number Probably the best CD Katie has brought into my life is Schoolhouse Rocks Rocks!, a compilation by artists including Pavement, Moby and Daniel Johnston. Its awesomeness is tough to describe, its magnificence drills down to the most minute details. Might be the most enjoyable album ever compiled. Bonus: The original song
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART -- "Diddy Wah Diddy" Sometimes a song is best played alone, when you can move your body in weird ways in the comfort of your own home...plus I've been listening to a lot of Nuggets lately.
THE KINKS -- "Sweet Lady Genevieve" For a long time, I was loath to give Preservation Acts 1 & 2 a chance, but Scribs helped me to put the albums into their proper context. For starters, I was ignorant of the fact that Preservation was supposed to be Davies' rock opera. Both Preservation albums were flops in every sense of the word, and it's taken them some time to claim their rightful places next to Ziggy Stardust, Tommy, and other commercially successful concept albums. At first, Preservation might seem like a reprise of Village Green minus the latter's authenticity and charm -- and to be fair, it does borrow some thematic material, not to mention part of its title. But Preservation is worldlier; its often devil-may-care temper contrasts with Village Green's bittersweet introspection.
Put the Kinks you know aside and run with it, and you’ll start to appreciate what it is. I think it's a paean to rock and roll, but it could be a lot of things. For the mix, I picked the song that allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine called the "real candidate for Davies' forgotten masterpiece". I chose "Sweet Lady Genevieve" not because it represents the album or because it's the best song, but because we all love Wes Anderson.
THE DARKNESS -- "Friday Night" Jon's comment was "no comment", but Jack finds the way he sings "extra-curricular activities" at the beginning of the song particularly amusing.
GUEST CONTRIBUTOR:Nick Tabor A college friend works as a cops and city government reporter in the Bluegrass State, this week's guest contributor is Nick Tabor, aka "The puppy who walks from Kentucky." He's got an ear for guitar, a funny bone for Arrested Development and the Simpsons and a nose for reading theology and really depressing books by Cormac McCarthy. And bourbon, beer and cigarettes. Enjoy.
SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE -- "Awaken" When you listen to Sonic Youth the first few times you depend on the conventional segments to anchor the album. Like “Kissability” on Daydream Nation. After you listen long enough the guitar harmonies start to sound harmonious, but if it all sounded like noise you’d stop listening before you got that far. I think this song has the same role on “Dark Noontide,” the fourth album by Six Organs of Admittance. Six Organs, which is essentially a solo project of Comets on Fire member Ben Chasny, sometimes sounds noisy like Sonic Youth. But Six Organs doesn’t alternate between noise and catchy rock. It alternates between noise and pretty guitar songs that sound a little like Fahey. This one is pretty.
I don't exactly know what they define as an "incident" (A bust? An explosion? A single guy spotted tweaking out on the street?), but apparently, I'm not the only one in a meth state.
And for the ninth straight year, Missouri had the most, with 1,774 incidents, up 19 percent from 1,487 the previous year. An “incident” includes meth lab busts but also any documented evidence of meth-making, authorities said Wednesday.
Indiana had the second-most meth lab incidents with 1,096, followed by Kentucky with 583, Mississippi with 577 and Michigan with 511.
That's right, SadBears: Our states (and those of our associates) are apparently meth-riddled hellscapes. Only Virginia is spared the wrath of a meth explosion. See chart here- the Show-Me State still has 700 more than the Hoosier State, and nearly TWO TIMES more meth than third-place finisher Kentucky.
Never mind the fact that more than half of Missouri's meth "incidents" come from two counties— we'll just have to take our "meth capital of America" title with pride. At least we don't contain the nations "murder capital" or "highest rate of black homicide victims."
PS Is it weird that we already have a tag for "meth"?
Also, if you couldn't tell, I actually like Missouri... and I think a lot of the statistics they present don't tell the whole story. Like the fact that Frankin and Jefferson Counties have such a large proportion of meth busts that they bring the whole state down. Things like that.
SUPER FURRY ANIMALS -- "The Very Best of Neil Diamond" I had trouble picking what I was going to submit. Nothing really stood out this week, so I decided to play some old stalwarts in the Super Furry Animals. The new album is good, but I hadn't spun it in a while. This changed when I read Nick Southall's blog post naming it one of his favorite of the year. I love the pseudo-Indian groove and the lyrics that most likely mean nothing. Par for the course for SFA, but this is still the jam.
THE MAGNETIC FIELDS -- "Underwear" Sharing a single Magnetic Fields song probably does little to describe the rest of their catalog, but this song was one of the first of theirs that I liked immediately. For many others, it took a closer listen to get a grip on all the hubbub. I wish I could remember which Magnetic Fields song made me realize their awesomeness -- particularly lyrical (though maybe not on this track). Exactly. One song won't cut it. I also recommend for starters: "Love Is Like A Bottle of Gin."
OF MONTREAL -- "Id Engager" It was between Spoon, Born Ruffians and Of Montreal this week...but I just listened to this song while showering.
THE AQUABATS -- "Red Sweater" If you don't enjoy this, we can't be friends.
GUEST CONTRIBUTOR:Mark Perkins A curly-haired chum from college with a special affinity for music, history, procrastination, sports and coffee. When Mark isn't reading John Lukacs he's either playing rugby, watching "30 Rock" or enjoying unemployment.
DESTROYER -- "3000 Flowers" After I said, “He’s a likeable guy, but he’s kind of an asshole,” Marshall said, “A lot of people probably say that about me.” Later I told him I didn’t listen to much Dylan, and he said, “I have trouble relating on a human level to people who haven’t spent a long time immersed in Bob Dylan.” I thought, I like you, but you’re kind of an asshole. He also said, “Destroyer’s Rubies is damn near essential.” I still haven’t listened to much Dylan, I couldn’t tell you what 'damn near essential' means, and he’s kind of an asshole. But I like him, and I really like this album.
I will be posting a new story on my much-neglected blog shortly. I plan to submit it to Glimmer Train's Short Story Contest for New Writers, the deadline of which is Feburary 28th. I'll be submitting it mid-month sometime, so if you get some spare time, please read it and tell me what you think. I'll be looking for specific, "this or that line or paragraph sounds bad" criticism, for any last minute edits I can make to the story before I submit it. Of course, anything you have to say about it is always welcome. By the way, two (or maybe more) passages are in bold. These are the parts I'm unsure of, as to their effect to the story as a whole and what they say about the characters, their place in the rythm of the story, and their sound. So pay close attention to those if you read the story.
"I enjoy any sporting event where nations get involved, I find it really interesting. - Jerry Seinfeld
I agree. And it's just one reason I'm excited this year is a FIFA World Cup year.
Now, the tournament occurs this summer...so I'm a little early. But maybe all this snow and ice has me thinking about warmer days ahead...
I remember back in 2006, without access to a television, how I crouched in my room, straining to imagine each play as I listened to the games via an illegal online live stream.
My nails were bitten. My voice was coarse. My mother yelled at me for cursing.
I like sports well enough...but with the exception of the White Sox, I'm pretty much a fair-weather fan. I like basketball during the NCAA championship. I like football during bowl season. I like horse racing during The Kentucky Derby. I like soccer during World Cup time.
Equally as exciting as the World Cup is that I'll be covering it this year, from Waynesboro. A special treat while working on a special journalism project. With any luck, I'll be watching this year...not searching for another illegal live-stream.
It's a major sporting event that occurs once every four years...and countries qualify during the three years in-between. There is always drama:
That Egypt-Algeria game is especially interesting, because this year will mark the first year the World Cup has ever been played on African soil. So just imagine: two already heated rivals duking it out for the chance to be in one of the most momentous global sporting events on their own continent.
Something you need to know going in: the Italians won last year. They also cheat (dive, dope and fix).