Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tuesday Tuneage
The Dirtbombs - "I'm Through With White Girls"

Tuomala Triumphant: 2015 In Review

Credit Card Laundry Machines: For a moment, I thought my one and only highlight of the year was going to be my building getting laundry machines that take credit cards. No more counting quarters for laundry, no more going to the bank to get two or three rolls of quarters, NO MORE PLANNING MY LIFE AROUND QUARTERS (which should be for pinball anyway.) The Tuesday Tuneage would be the above sentences paired with The Pretenders' "Watching The Clothes". Quick, easy, done. But I did end up having a semblance of a life ...

Muse Prep: Wednesday is Writing Day and to start off the day with doing Magnetic Poetry on the fridge or studying a great coffee table book while pounding mug after mug of joe are great ways for me to loosen up the writing brain. Beats the low panic/one more game of backgammon on the phone/bleep-it-go-for-Netflix stumble that had taken down many a Wednesday in the past.

New Orthotics: And I got 'em a couple of weeks before I turned fifty. Classic Old Guy!

Whiskey River aka Whisky River: This was the year I made the move to higher-quality "brown stuff" (vodka-swiller Roger Sterling's term) like Tullamore Dew (my current Saturday late afternoon/early evening writing companion) and Laphroaig 10 Year (buy-it-when-you-can-afford-it damn good scotch.) But what if my scrappy slacker self-employed financial situation FALLS APART AGAIN?? There's always Old Overcoat when strapped for cash.

Podcast Reduction Act: Apologies to everybody (and their brother, sister, neighbor, and bookie) who now has a podcast. I vastly cut down my podcast listening time this year due to the reassertion of a lifelong motto/retort: "I'd rather read a book."

Teeshirt Breakthrough: 1) Turning fifty meant I could cash in on my right to buy a Ron Jon Custom Surfboards teeshirt. Check out the shade of blue! 2) ShirtManDude.com - This online shop has many gems, the shirts fit perfectly, and they have great pricing. Yes, I'm the guy in south Minneapolis sporting the Citizen Dick teeshirt. 3) New wardrobe - Losing weight means old teeshirts you bought when you were thinner fit once again. I turned that clothing savings into buying my own blood pressure monitor. (And then charged said monitor to my HSA.) (Tax break, y'know.)

Apple Music: This one deserves a separate essay down the road, because streaming music will likely change the way I deal with music. Before, buying an album generally demanded multiple listens of it because dammit I spent eight to sixteen bucks on that album and if it didn't do much for me on the first listen, there was still a wish to recover some of that investment. Paying a nominal monthly fee to stream music? If the album isn't doing it for me it's easy to pause, click, find another album/track/playlist to check out. Yeah, you all went through this with Spotify. But I'm not going to sign up for any service for which I need a Facebook account as I continue to avoid that social media hassle. Baby pictures just don't do it for me.

Naming Rights: Two weeks after I turned fifty (and hence four weeks after receiving my beloved orthotics), I was carded at a neighborhood bar. The pretty young thing studied my ID and said: "Nice to meet you, William." And she called me William for the rest of my stay there. I never bothered to correct her that she could use the familiar "Bill", because the way she said my Christian name sounded so much better than it does at the doctors' offices. The cute young black girl who works at my YMCA's front desk calls me "Will". Of course I have never corrected her either, as SHE bothered to learn how to pronounce my surname.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tuesday Tuneage
Pat Travers Band - "Snortin' Whiskey"

Who let Pat Travers down?

1) Apple Music. Hey, it's "Pat Travers Band" NOT "Pat Traver's Band". Many of us who don't want to log into - or in my case, create - a Facebook account go to Apple for our streaming music needs. We value correct spelling and proper possessive vs. plural usage. Let the slobs over at Spotify mess that stuff up.

2) The designer of Pat Travers Band's Crash And Burn album cover. The orange mist that takes up most of the cover denotes some kind of explosion, but what the hell is going on here? It's almost like they took the cover of The Jimi Hendrix Experience's Electric Ladyland and removed Jimi's face.

3) The copywriter for PolyGram Records, who wrote the back cover notes to Boom Boom … The Best Of Pat Travers. (The only Travers album I own and hence the only one whose notes I have read.) It's like reading a book report from a mailing-it-in kid in junior high:

"Two of his songs have become legend, like rock and roll anthems…" LIKE rock and roll anthems? Show some conviction, scribe!

"(although he detests the term 'guitar hero')" Find me a guitarist who digs this term, it would be refreshing. If you got it, flaunt it.

"Pat Travers can be described as the thinking man's hard rocker, a master of no-frills rock and roll. Pat Travers and his breed of hard rock, are timeless." Rewrite please! YAWN. And what's with the needless comma in that last sentence? IT SEEMS LIKE A FRILL.

Below all of this is a declaration that this album is DIGITALLY RE-MASTERED, but if it's a vinyl LP, isn't that analog? I'm confused.

4) Canadian whisky. Our neighbors to the north spell this distilled beverage "whisky", as do the Scots. But Americans and the Irish spell it "whiskey". Pat Travers is a Toronto native, but "Snortin' Whiskey" is spelled the latter way, meaning that the song likely pays tribute to the superior American brands or maybe Old Crow at the worst. Heck, maybe it was the vastly underrated Old Overcoat that triggered the inspiration for this tune. What we do know is that this group of Canadians wanted nothing to do with their inferior sweet/ugh labels such as Windsor, Crown Royal, Canadian Club (sorry, Draper), Canadian Mist, Black Velvet, McAdams, McWhatever*.

Who did not let Pat Travers down?

1) Pat Thrall, Travers Band guitarist. According to Wikipedia: The inspiration for ("Snortin' Whiskey") came when Thrall showed up to a studio session late. When asked why Thrall was late, he fumbled his words saying that he was “snortin’ whiskey” and “drinkin’ cocaine” the night before. A Jeff Spicoli-like moment inspired a monster monster rock song and Travers took it to the hilt. Bravo.

*Or maybe the song title merely used clever placement of an "e" to gain acceptance in the massive American market?

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Tuesday Tuneage
The Uniques - "Mother And Child Reunion"

How I made it through the past fifteen years without hearing about or reading Colin B. Morton and Chuck Death's collection of rock 'n' roll comic strips Great Pop Things, I'll never know. But Greil Marcus is a big fan, and he referenced it in his latest book The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs, and I ran out logged onto Amazon and bought a copy. Cue the hyperbole:

Riffs upon riffs, cheap shots, inside jokes, mangled names (on purpose) … a comic strip so searing that it got Morrissey to go on record and complain. (I can think of no higher recommendation.) This is the best rock book since Psychotic Reactions & Carburetor Dung, if not Rock Dreams. Mostly because it's the funniest rock book since Psychotic Reactions & Carburetor Dung, if not Rock Dreams. - Bill Tuomala, (foot)noted also-ran

Wait? Did I say "hyperbole"? Because I mean every word of the above. If I try to repeat the authors' jokes here I'm gonna fail, so instead look at the illustration that accompanies the title of this piece above. But I will relate how one of the Great Pop Things strips hit home and had me pumping my fist, grinning in solidarity:

In the late eighties, I stated to baby boomer coworkers that the way to make a Paul Simon album was to "strum an acoustic guitar over a bunch of third world music." This was met with eyerolls and I resumed stewing over the fact that I couldn't get Z-Rock on the radio in my office. In Great Pop Things, page 129, Morton and Death describe a "Do It Yourself Paul Simon Kit" that includes "one map of the third world and a selection of romantic, ethnic LP sleeves." Sample album titles are Eskimo Hunting Songs and Pygmie-Beat Revival! You are assured:

"Now you too can be Paul Simon in the piracy … OOPS we mean privacy of your own home."