An Ever-Expanding Universe

Music is very, very important to me.

In my life thus far, there have been several instances where my musical tastes have broadened, hit a plateau, then broadened again.

By plateau, I mean that I was enjoying music still, but I wouldn’t be listening to any unfamiliar music. Maybe I would come to the rather silly conclusion that there was nothing more out there, no more music that I could find to like, or no music that was worth the effort in searching out.

The last plateau happened when our eldest kids were born back in January of 2003.

This was a little different kinda plateau. It was more like all the sudden I had kids. I couldn’t necessarily play just any of the music I wanted. I couldn’t play Song X because its dissonance would make one of the kids cry, or couldn’t play Song Y because it had the word “motherfudger” in it — stuff like that.

Don’t get me wrong, I have played and still play a helluva lot of good music for the kids, but there *was* a limit to what I could play.

As I think about it, just the sheer upheaval that having children causes is probably the core reason why my musical tastes were put on pause. Yes, that last sentence rhymed. No, it wasn’t intentional.

So, my tastes languished a bit, until I started getting into music online. I feel that my exposure to unfamiliar music has grown exponentially with the use of the computer, and the use of a portable MP3 player.

In this post, I thought it would fun to share some of the songs I have only recently been exposed to with you, gentle reader.

Many of these songs are not new. You might know them, you might like them already, you might enjoy them if you give a listen. That’s the music player, over on the right. Pipe up and say something, dammit. Let’s talk about music, alright?

Long live music. Without further ado, here are some songs from my most recent taste-broadening. The links are just to the bands’ respective Wikipedia entries — the song “jukebox” is on the upper-right of the blog.

The Raincoats – Fairytale In The Supermarket
— from The Raincoats (1979)
Wow, this song is so damned snotty. I love it.

Boubacar Traoré – Duna Ma Yelema
— from Macire (2000)
It’s not in English. I have no idea what he’s talking about. It’s still incredibly powerful, even without knowing the words. Amazing guitar-playing, an amazing voice. It is the musical equivalent of melancholy, I think.

The Clean – Twist Top
— from Unknown Country (1996)
If I could be in any band, I’d be in The Clean. A pop band, but a pop band with great sensibilities, inventive musical playing, and the undeniable power of THE HOOK. “Three million people can be wrong, three million people can be wrong.”

Pugh Rogefeldt – Colinda
— from Ja dä ä dä (1969)
You won’t find this guy on the English version of Wikipedia. You haveta go on the Swedish one. This is such a pretty song, with a nice dissonant freakout at the end. Finding this artist was the equivalent of running into a movie theater to get out of the rain, only to discover a foreign film that affects you on a deeply personal level. And no, the foreign film isn’t dubbed in English, and it doesn’t have subtitles.

Can – Moonshake
— from Future Days (1973)
I had listened to German experimental bands like Faust and Neu!, but for some reason never gave these guys a try. Which was a mistake. Moonshake is a shorter, poppy song of theirs, but it’s all good, people. It’s all good.

We Look Like Girls – whap
Well, what the hell, I might as well as put a song recently done by Tim and myself, right? Tim and I have about ten or songs in progress, which are actually nothing like this one. But I like it, and I hope you do, too. No warbly vocals from either Tim or myself in this one! w00t, as the kids say.

Hello, Russia! I Have An Automobile Of Gold!

Check out the map of this site’s visitors at the bottom.

What the? Do people in Russia not *care* about my random thoughts? Or is it that they are unaware of them?

Perhaps a greeting to them in their native language, courtesy of Altavista’s Babel Fish translator is required to get me on the map there, literally.

Hello! Rainbows are pretty! I have a gold car. You are my friend, and will increase my hit counter. Thank you.

1st English-to-Russian Translation
Здравствулте!! Радуги милы! Я имею автомобиль золота. Вы будете моим другом, и увеличите мой счетчика ударов. Вы.

Translating the Russian back to English
To zdravstvulte!! Rainbows are dear! I have an automobile of gold. You will be my friend, and you will increase my of the counter of impacts. You.

Back to Russian
К zdravstvulte!! Радуги дорог! Я имею автомобиль золота. Вы будете моим другом, и вы увеличите мое счетчика ударов. Вы.

Back To English
To zdravstvulte!! Rainbows of roads! I have an automobile of gold. You will be my friend, and you will increase my of the counter of impacts. You.

Message In A Washer

The Police were my favorite band back in 7th and 8th grade.

On a nightly basis, I would sing along with the songs on Outlandos d’Amour, Reggatta De Blanc, Zenyatta Mondatta, etc. During my 7th grade year, they played in the Assembly Hall at the University of Illinois as part of their Synchronicity tour, about 80 miles east of my hometown of Springfield.

I sooooooooooo wanted to go, but I was not allowed. My brother *did* end up going, and brought me back a shirt.

It was nice, but you can imagine how it wasn’t quite the same as being there.

Earlier this year, there were rumblings that The Police were reuniting for a tour, and were going to roll into Chicago at some point in the summer, playing the best ballpark in the world, Wrigley Field.

As you are probably already aware, sure enough, the rumors were true.

I didn’t get around to purchasing tickets for the show, and figured they were sold out.

But yesterday, a coworker came up to me and said, “Hey, do you need tickets for The Police?”

“F*ck you!” I enthusiastically replied. “Are you serious?”

He was serious. He had four tickets he was willing to sell to me for four hundred and fifty bucks. Now, that sounds like a lot, but he was selling them to me for what he had paid for them.

I called my wife all excited about it, then she got all excited about it. As I was riding home on the train, the excitement kind of wore off.

$450.00. That’s a lot of cash. Plus, who were we going to get to babysit our three younguns? The show is at 7:00pm on a Thursday night, and we would probably have to leave Brookfield at least a couple hours earlier than that to make sure we could get there, park, all that crap.

We have had babysitters before, but it’s a big deal trying to get someone to feed your three under-fives and put them to bed.

After briefly discussing it, we both decided to call my coworker and regretfully decline his tickets.

My wife calls me today, finally at wit’s end with all the dirty dishes produced over the course of a kid-filled day (our dishwasher broke about six months ago), especially since she is busy taking a summer statistics class in preparation for her starting grad school in the fall.

So, we’re getting a dishwasher, which will probably cost about the price of the four Police tickets. I’m thinking a Synchronicity sticker would bring some color to our new, drab white appliance.

Beyonce Loves Fritz Lang!

So, briefly glancing at a local newspaper I happen upon a picture of Beyonce from the recent BET Awards, dressed as a robot from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.

Might I suggest for her next performance, that she dress as the whistling, tormented child serial killer from Fritz Lang’s masterpiece M?

‘Cause that’s a really good movie too.

It’s A Post Office, It’s A Bank, It’s A Police Station, It’s Batman

This apparently happened yesterday, but I just realized today that the folks of Rory’s First Kiss, (aka The Dark Knight) have once again set up shop in the old Chicago Post Office by where I work.

Not only has the “Gotham National Bank” lettering gone up to replace the chiseled “United States Post Office” on the front of the building, there is also a sign on the opposite side of the building reading “Gotham Police”. Apparently they are using the post office’s exterior for more than one set.

The windows to the large lobby of the US Post Office has been blacked out by large “flags” (essentially large swaths of black fabric on a frame). This was the same lobby that contained a yellow school bus during the previous filming that occurred there.

Here’s some linkage from Superherohype:

Crew coming back to the Post Office

On set pics, including the back of the Post Office, with the Gotham Police sign

Cheeseburger In Paradise Isolation

Tried to amend my carnivorous habits.
Made it nearly seventy days,
Losin’ weight without speed, eatin’ sunflower seeds,
Drinkin’ lots of carrot juice and soakin’ up rays.

In fear every day, every evening,
He calls her aloud from above,
Carefully watched for a reason,
Painstaking devotion and love

But at night I’d have these wonderful dreams
Some kind of sensuous treat.
Not zucchini, fettuccini, or bulghar wheat,
But a big warm bun and a huge hunk of meat.

Surrendered to self preservation,
From others who care for themselves.
A blindness that touches perfection,
But hurts just like anything else.

Cheeseburger in paradise (paradise)
Heaven on earth with an onion slice (paradise)
Not too particular not too precise (paradise)
I’m just a cheeseburger in paradise


Heard about the old time sailor men
They eat the same thing again and again
Warm beer and bread they said could raise the dead
Well it reminds me of the menu at a holiday inn

Times have changed for sailors these days
When I’m in port I get what I need
Not just Havanas or bananas or daiquiris
But that American creation on which I feed

Mother I tried please believe me,
I’m doing the best that I can.
I’m ashamed of the things I’ve been put through,
I’m ashamed of the person I am.

Cheeseburger in paradise, medium rare with muenster’d be nice
Heaven on earth with an onion slice.
I’m just a cheeseburger in paradise.


I like mine with lettuce and tomato
Heinz 57 and french fried potatoes
Big kosher pickle and a cold draft beer
Well, good god Almighty which way do I steer

But if you could just see the beauty,
These things I could never describe,
These pleasures a wayward distraction,
This is my one lucky prize.

For my cheeseburger in paradise
Makin’ the best of every virtue and vice.
Worth every damn bit of sacrifice
To get a cheeseburger in paradise;
To be a cheeseburger in paradise.
I’m just a cheeseburger in paradise.

I like mine with lettuce and tomato
Heinz 57 and french fried potatoes
Big kosher pickle and a cold draft beer
Well, good god Almighty which way do I steer