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So, Golly Gee, Fellas

Posted on January 5th, 2018

Dave!Yesterday I had to go to the post office, which is always a guaranteed interesting time here in Small Town America. After a boring wait to buy stamps, I thought I was going to be denied any entertainment until I was leaving and passed a woman (mid 40's?) who kept singing "Hello, Dolly! Well hello, Dolly! La da da da da da da da da da daaaaa!" I stopped to look through my mail as an excuse to see if she knew any of the lyrics other than "Well hello, Dolly" but she did not. It was just "Hello, Dolly! Well hello, Dolly! La da da da da da da da da da daaaaa!" over and over until she left.


Not that I know what the hell the lyrics are. I can't stand Broadway musical type stuff, so she knew as much as I do.

I thought it was an odd song to be singing until I was driving home from work today and saw a banner advertising a local high school production of Hello Dolly! that's happening later this month.

After singing "Hello, Dolly! Well hello, Dolly! La da da da da da da da da da daaaaa!" all the way home, I finally Googled the lyrics. I also Googled what in the hell the play is about and ended up on Wikipedia. The Hello Dolly! article itself is Too Long, Didn't Read... but get a load of the character names! Horace Vandergelder? Cornelius Hackl? Barnaby Tucker? Ambrose Kemper? Ernestina Money? Rudolf Reisenweber? ERMENGARDE?!??

Hilarious. Maybe I need to buy a ticket to the high school play just to be able to hear today's teens call each other "Horace" and "Ernestina."

Just kidding. Sitting through a high school production of Hello Dolly! is what I imagine Hell must be like.

For the record, here are the actual lyrics I Googled...

Hello Dolly
This is miss Dolly
It's so nice to have you back where you belong
You're lookin' swell, Dolly
I can tell, Dolly
You're still glowin', you're still crowin', you're still goin' strong
I feel the room swayin'
While the band's playin'
One of our old favorite songs from way back when
So, take her wrap fellas
Find her an empty lap, fellas
Dolly, never go away again
I feel the room swayin'
While the band's playin'
One of our old favorite songs from way back when
So, golly gee, fellas
Have a little faith in me, fellas
Dolly, never go away
Promise, you'll never go away
Dolly, never go away again

So... apparently Dolly went away, came back to sit on somebody's lap, now everybody is begging her not to leave again?

I don't know why Wikipedia couldn't have just said that. Would save everybody who doesn't want to go see the play a lot of time.

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Posted on December 30th, 2017

Dave!I have a select few friends who just get me, musically. They are always sending me tips about great new music they know I'll freak out over, and I could not be more blessed. This year one of those friends left us, and it's been very hard for me to enjoy the many, many bands and songs we enjoyed together because it's impossible to separate him from the music. And yet... in so many ways he is still with me because the music we loved is still here. Love and miss you Howard.

Below are my favorite albums of 2017.


#1 About U by MUNA
I can't remember how I discovered MUNA, but I do remember rushing to iTunes to purchase their album before I had even finished the first track I ever heard (the achingly beautiful Winterbreak which is my favorite song of 2017) (UPDATE: It was Aaron, of course). About U turned out to be one of those rare albums where I love every single song and was aching for more once I got to the end. If you heard of them, it was probably with the catchy I Know a Place which got some traction in early 2017. I'd list my other favorite tracks, but it's all of them, so I'll just post some YouTube videos and shut up now.


#2 What if Nothing by Walk the Moon
There was criticism laid at the feet of Walk the Moon for becoming pop sellouts with their latest album. Well, as somebody who lives for pop music, that just made me love them even more. What's so puzzling is that there are songs like Headphones that are hardly bubblegum pop anthems, so I'm not quite getting the hate. Regardless, there's a lot here to love for fans new and old... including their first single and my favorite track, One Foot which is catchy in a way that never quite leaves your head. And then there's the haunting Surrender which proves the band can craft a haunting love song for the ages.


#3 Wonderful Wonderful by The Killers
If you like The Killers, this album is more of the same. For many bands, that would be a criticism, but it's all I want from a new album from this band. Lead by the sublimely beautiful Some Kind of Love, it's just track after track of The Killers doing what they do.


#4 Silent Science by B•R•A•U•N
The dreamy vocals of Mackintosh Braun have made them one of my favorite bands. So when one-half of the duo drops a solo album, I take notice. Turns out that Ben Braun can churn out a beautiful album all on his own, feeling very much like an extension of his band. Beautiful dreamy pop from beginning to end.

#5 The Punishment of Luxury by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Say what you like about OMD, but they are one of the most consistent pop bands in my arsenal of 80's favorites. Unlike too many others (I'm looking at you Depeche Mode) who tried to change what made them great, then stagnated in a place that nobody wanted, McCluskey and Humphreys (with few exceptions) stick to what their fans want to hear. And that'e exactly what you'll find in The Punishment of Luxury. Yes, there's a few (ahem) "artistic diversions," but the rest is synth pop magic.


#6 Beautiful Trauma by P!nk
P!nk lives and dies by her live performances, and all I really want from a new album are tracks that will work perfectly when she tours. And here's an entire album filled with songs that she's sure to absolutely kill live. The title track is all you could want from new P!nk, but she didn't stop there. Entirely too much material for great videos like these...


#7 Evolve by Imagine Dragons
While I'm not exactly sue I would call this album an "evolution" for the band, it is a darn good album. Perhaps less dark than previous efforts, there's enough here to ensure great sing-along material for their amazing live shows. If you're a fan of Imagine Dragons, Evolve won't disappoint.


#8 A Moment Apart by ODESZA
It's tough to put a pin in what it is I like about ODESZA. They churn out some really good elctro-pop beats, but a lot of bands do that. I think what puts them on another level is that they know just what to do with those beats, pairing them with artists who accompany them so beautifully. Back in 2014 they wowed me with the beautifully-constructed All We Need... and their third album elevates that kind of intricate future sound sensibility to even loftier heights. It's an album that was played on repeat for a good chunk of my Fall music rotation, and doesn't diminish as time goes on.


#9 Zombies on Broadway by Andrew McMahon In the Wilderness
After the hiatus/breakup(?) of Something Corporate, Andrew McMahon went on to form Jack's Mannequin. After the hiatus/breakup(?) of that band, he had some solo stuff... then started releasing music as "Andrew McMahon In the Wilderness" and this is his second album with that "band." I have a tough time getting into it as easily as the first, but it's still a beautiful effort. The video for So Close is probably my favorite video of 2017, and I didn't see it until I was visiting the Hard Rock Cafe in Ushuaia, Argentina!

#10 More Life by Drake
While I loved Drake when he debuted, his subsequent albums felt like an investment of diminishing returns. And now we get More Life which is, in my mind, the best album of his entire career. None of it panders to the pop charts explicitly, but he has a pop sensibility imbued in some of the tracks that's impossible to deny once married to the flawless vocals that make Drake be Drake. While Kendrick Lamar was getting all the accolades in 2017 for DAMN. (and rightfully so, the track DNA is everything you could want in a rap track), this was where my focus was. I've listened to the song Passionfruit entirely too many times this year.

#11 Concrete and Gold by The Foo Fighters
Gotta hand it to Dave Grohl, with each new Foo Fighters album, he seems intent on reviving classic rock anthems from yesteryear. As he abandons the pop-rock beginnings of the band in favor of metal-tinged hard rock, I can never decide if I like his band more or less. Regardless, I listened to Concrete and Gold quite a lot over the Summer of 2017.

#12 Pop 2/Number One Angel by Charli XCX
And now, at the closing of the year, we get Charli XCX going full-on 80's synth pop in an album that would make Missing Persons proud... Pop 2. An effort I enjoyed so much that it made me take another look at her full release from earlier in the year, Number One Angel. While not exactly groundbreaking, it's a darn good pop album with catchy tracks that I found myself listening to on repeat.

We Could Be Beautiful (EP) by Wrabel
This year, thanks to Aaron, I got to see Wrabel in concert which was, as expected, amazing. He has become one of my absolute favorite musical artists, and I'm dying for a complete album of music that I can immerse myself in. But all he seems to do is tease us with EPs and singles. My favorite song of 2016, 11 Blocks can be found on We Could Be Beautiful with four other fantastic tracks. We also got a beautiful and important single The Village in 2017, but still no album. Here's hoping 2018 is the year.

American Dream by LCD Soundsystem
I had thought that James Murphy had called it quits years ago, but apparently the demise of LCD Soundsystem was temporary. While I didn't fall in love with every track on this album, the pure nostalgia of half the songs here were enough to keep me listening. First among them was oh baby, which is so painfully 80's throwback as to feel like a lost track from an abandoned burned down disco...

Wall of Goth (EP) by Rey Pila
Mexican pop rock band Rey Pila may not have the most imaginative lyrics, but their beats are pure 80's joy. This four-song EP is more of the same, and a welcome addition to their discography.

Younger Now by Miley Cyrus
It's no secret that I've loved Miley since her Hanna Montana days and never stopped... even when she went nuts. I just love her voice. So when I got my hands on Younger Now, I found myself listening to it... a lot. Poppy with some country elements (and a duet with Dolly Parton!), so what's not to like? I dunno. It just didn't last for me. Despite liking it well enough over the Summer, I rarely find myself listening to it now.

I dearly wish that Jai Wolf would set aside some time for a proper album but, alas, he seems content to keep dropping beautiful tracks on us with no album in sight. This year we got Starlight which only serves to make me want a full album even more. My favorite version of the song is the "Goldroom Remix" which is slower, more purposeful, and ever so dreamy and beautiful.

I may not have cared for the album much, but I sure liked the single from Bleachers titled Don't Take the Money...

I may not have cared for the album much, but I sure liked the single (and the amazing video) from Katy Perry titled Chained to the Rhythm...

The Valley by Betty Who
Betty Who's EP and debut album was on continuous repeat for months after I found it. To say I was anticipating her return with The Valley is a huge understatement. It all began in Summer 2016 with the amazing I Love You Always Forever cover that had me chomping at the bit. Then I was underwhelmed with the next single, Human Touch, but remained hopeful. The album finally arrived this year (on my birthday, of all days) and I just could not get into it. The best tracks have these weird interludes that completely disrupt the flow of the song and I can't wrap my head around why Betty and her producers felt a need to inject them where they weren't needed. Some Kind of Wonderful? Wonderful. Until there's this misguided plunging rap interlude. Mama Say? Fantastic. Until some heavy breathing is dropped into the song from nowhere for no reason. It goes on and on. It's as if she felt she had to "be different" by crafting these weird hodgepodge tracks, when I Love You Always Forever illustrates so flawlessly why that's just not the case. Oh well.

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Being Petty

Posted on October 2nd, 2017

Dave!59 people dead in Las Vegas. So far. We won't know the final toll until the 515 injured are in the clear.

It's not like anybody can find words to make this situation better. There just aren't any. Though the fact that everybody seems to increasingly accept mass-shootings as "the cost of freedom" in this country is a horrific ideal to subscribe to. No matter which side of the "gun debate" you're on, it's insane that one person should be able to lay waste to 574 human souls like this.

But that's America for you.

Back when I could handle firearms... back when I was a member of the NRA... back when Ronald Regan was President... attitudes towards gun ownership were very different than they are today. The NRA advocated reasonable restrictions. President Regan advocated reasonable restriction? But now? The NRA is a psychotic organization that advocates unlimited access to whatever weapons their munition company backers want to sell. And the president... well... the president is just plain psychotic.

As are the people who think that starting a discussion on curbing this madness is "exploiting a tragedy." It's when tragedy strikes that you devote time and resources towards finding a way to make sure it doesn't happen again. That's when you do it.

Except when government lobbyists are dictating the actions of the government, of course.

In other tragic news... Tom Petty died today.

The first song I ever recall hearing by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers was You Got Lucky, which was on non-stop rotation on MTV. Back when MTV played music videos...

I hated that song. Stupid Tom Petty and his stupid hat. And this reaction insured that I wouldn't give any Tom Petty music a listen for years.

Until the Traveling Wilburys super-group happened.

My love of Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, and George Harrison canceled out my loathing of Tom Petty and Bob Dylan enough that I became a fan of the group...


It was then that I decided I was too quick to judge Tom Petty. I liked his contribution to the Wilbury's, and decided to see if I was missing anything.

Of course I was.

Including my all-time favorite Tom Petty track... Learning to Fly...

When it came to music videos of the day, few could compare to Petty's creativity in the medium...


Then, of course, there's one of Petty's most well-known tracks... American Girl, made infamous(?) by the movie Silence of the Lambs...

So Tom Petty.

A musical artist that was quintessentially American, he will be missed.


Princess Di is Wearing a New Dress

Posted on September 18th, 2017

Dave!After I got back from Spokane last week, I had people asking me about the mass shooting at a high school there. Problem is... the school isn't in Spokane. It's a half hour away in the city of Rockford. Some news sources are saying that it's in Spokane... assumably because it's the closest major city... but they are essentially misreporting the facts. President Trump is right for once... FAKE NEWS is everywhere!

And I don't say that lightly.

Except, whereas President Trump means "Any news that is critical of me and doesn't agree with me is fake news"... I'm talking about news that is actually fake.

Everybody makes mistakes. We're human, and news agencies are staffed by humans. But what makes news "real" is that they print retractions or corrections or updates when they make a mistake. That's what news is supposed to be. FAKE NEWS is not when newspapers make an error. FAKE NEWS is when they cover up that error or even refuse to correct it.

Take, for example this story, as reported by The AP via Yahoo!...

Altered Headline

The headline of "1 dead, 3 injured Washington State high school shooting" may be shitty grammatically, but is accurate. Problem is... that's not what the headline originally read. When I posted it to my Facebook account, it said "Spokane high school." I believe they even listed the location as SPOKANE, WA instead of ROCKFORD, WA (I wish I had screen-capped it). At some point, they changed it. They realized they made a mistake and they posted a correction. Good, that's the way it's supposed to work. Except when I click through to the story, the only correction noted is that they spelled a sheriff's name wrong. NOTHING about the headline being changed.

THIS is fake fucking news.

And it's not just The AP/Yahoo! Here are screen-caps I did take of other news stories that said the shooting took place in Spokane as well...

Fake News Headlines

Fake News Headlines

Fake News Headlines

Fake News Headlines

Yes, you read that right... that last one is from the fucking bastion of "honest news reporting"... CNN!

But when you search now? Most of them have changed from "Spokane" to "Spokane Area" or "Washington State" or "Eastern Washington." And the couple I checked made NO MENTION that they had revised the headline because the original headline was incorrect. They're still listing Spokane as the story origin though...

Fake News Headlines

Fake News Headlines

This may seem a little thing. "Rockford is close enough to Spokane, so what's the big deal? It doesn't matter!" Well, it does matter. Not only because an incorrect location for a school shooting could cause undo panic and stress for anybody with school-age relatives who read such a headline... but because it is indicative of things far worse. In the rush to report the news, agencies are misreporting the news. And this has consequences.

I will now be quoting from the song New Dress by Depeche Mode...

You can't change the world
But you can change the facts
And when you change the facts
You change points of view
If you change points of view
You may change a vote
And when you change a vote
You may change the world

The lyrics are what... 30 years old? And yet... more relevant than ever. It's as if they predicted our last presidential election. Listen to the whole song, it's quite a revelation...

You can't trust anything you see or hear in the media. Everybody has an agenda. Everybody is lying, exaggerating, distorting, or concealing the truth... or even presenting opinion as fact. Some of the offenders (like FOX "News") are obvious. Most are not.

But pay no mind to that!

President Trump is wearing a new hat!


Bullet Sunday 521

Posted on August 27th, 2017

Dave!The seventh season of Game of Thrones is over... but all is not lost, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

• Thrones! Welp... that was a riveting finale. At the very end, I mean. Despite having some great moments (I LOVE YOU ARYA!), it was actually kind of slow until that point.

I was disappointed we didn't get more Beric in this episode. He is my favorite character on Game of Thrones by a wide margin, and it was this scene that made it thus...

The fact that he can ignite a sword in flames with his blood is just icing on the cake...

Beric with his Flaming Sword

Here's hoping he somehow manages to survive the show. Because...

Ice Dragon!

Holy crap!

• Grrrace! I never watched "Will & Grace" when it was on TV because Deborah Messing plays characters that are neurotic messes, and this looked to be more of the same. Then I saw the Election Special, liked it, and decided to buy the first three seasons when they went on sale at iTunes to prepare me for the return this Fall. Karen Walker is one of the best comedic characters to ever appear on television. Without Karen and Jack, this show would have been a total bomb.

Beric with his Flaming Sword

I despise Will and Grace, finding them selfish and uncaring... yet seemingly unaware of how horrible they behave. They think themselves to be better people than they are. Karen and Jack are selfish and uncaring too, but have no illusion about it. Hard not to respect that. Especially when Karen is so damn funny.

• Never Gonna Give You Up! Probably the best thing I've seen all week...

As if I didn't have enough reason to already love The Foo Fighters.

• Assholery! If I don't know somebody's gender or how they identify, I use "they" and "their" and "them." It's not hard, it's not a big deal, and I'd rather be unspecific than be wrong. If your way of referring to people in this situation is to use "he-she" then you're an asshole. What do you get out of being an asshole to people you don't even know? Seriously, I'm dying to know. People are just trying to get through life as best they can with the cards they were dealt. They don't need your bullshit assholery heaped on them too.

• Rich and Powerful! HEADLINE: A Federal Judge Put Hundreds of Immigrants Behind Bars While Her Husband Invested in Private Prisons. This should surprise absolutely nobody. This is the way our corrupt system works. Wealthy, powerful people continue to exploit their privilege and position at the expense of everybody else. Just as they've bought our government, they're buying our freedoms, our liberty, and our justice. Because if we actually HAD justice, this judge would be FUCKING EXECUTED and her husband IMPRISONED FOR LIFE. But, by all means... continue to buy into the system that gives ZERO SHITS for you and allows people like this to prosper. This hasn't been a country "of the people, by the people, for the people" for a long time now. It perished from the earth the minute money became more important to us than ideals.

• Still More Assholery. Even if you are willing to put aside his many, many atrocities against people... Joe Arpaio is still a fucking inhuman piece of shit that deserves a hell of a lot worse than jail.

And here's Trump pardoning him from a mere six months of jail time. HE WON'T EVEN DO SIX FUCKING MONTHS.

• Violence! I really do try not to advocate violence... but sometimes you need to take out the fucking trash, know what I'm sayin'? "A racist lady made some disparaging comments about black people and Colleen, who has a biracial child, decided to beat the brakes off her..."

Garbage is as garbage does.

And enough of that mess. See you next week!


Every Day is Like Sunday

Posted on August 10th, 2017

Dave!The smoke pouring into the valley since I got back has made breathing increasingly challenging. Even worse, the Flonase that gets shot up my nose so I actually can breath is now causing nosebleeds. As if that weren't enough, all the above is making it impossible to sleep.

Now I'm home from work just laying here... waiting to die...

Come, come, come, nuclear bomb...


Howard and The Love You Take

Posted on August 5th, 2017

Dave!My long-time friend Howard died today and I am lost.

We first found each other through blogging a decade ago, but our friendship went far beyond that. Last night I was sifting through hours upon hours of texts, messages, emails, and comments, and realized that we have been in near-continuous contact since we first found each other. Our taste in music, movies, anime, and so many things were in perfect sync so there was always something to talk about.

And I guess sometimes you just know, you know?

We met in person a half-dozen times, usually when I was in Denver for work. The first was at my "Daveorado" event back in August of 2009...

Tug, Me, Hot Doctor's Wife, and Howard at the Hard Rock Cafe Denver!

And then there was that time we flew to L.A. so we could catch a rare US appearance by anime god Hayao Miyazaki, truly one of the best moments of my life.

And then there was the time we went to see Duran Duran at Red Rocks.

And then there was the time back in May when I flew to Denver to celebrate Howard's 50th birthday.

But most of our contact was just everyday stuff. Like when I first got Jake and Jenny and he decided to make them into a meme...

Jake and Jenny Darth Vader

He was forever sending me stuff like that.

And forever talking about music. We have text conversations that go on for hours that are nothing but Pet Shop Boys. But it wasn't just our love of 80's tunes that made for good music talk. Every once in a while he'd turn me on to new music too. Most notably Holy Ghost! and Postiljonen. One minute I'm reading an innocent text... the next minute I'm obsessing over a band I'd never heard of before...

Take a listen to Postiljonen...

Along with music was the movies we loved to talk about. All kinds of movies... but mostly our shared love of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli films. Back in February a new one was released, The Red Turtle, and I got more than just his thoughts on the film...

Howard and Josh...

And then this past Monday, Howard and his "understanding guy" got married! I will be forever grateful for Josh bringing light and love into Howard's life these past six months.

Another thing I'll be forever grateful for is that Howard always knew how I felt about him. I loved him dearly, and told him so...

I love you, Howard

I could write volumes about how much Howard meant to me, but that text probably does a better job of it.

He was a soul mate.

It's as simple as that.

What's not simple is trying to find a way to carry on with life after a chunk of your heart has been ripped out. But I will find a way, because anything less would be an insult to somebody who fought so bravely every day to carry on...

It's Howard!

Goodbye, my friend. I will always love you. I will always miss you.

And you don't have to be embarrassed about liking that Katy Perry song in heaven.

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