Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Roadrunner Records is having a sale through Sunday - 15% off of new stuff and 20% off of new. They mailed me a postcard and by returning it along with my email address I got an additional 5% off. So this afternoon I went and bought used six LPs and only spent fourteen bucks and change! I haven't listened to all of 'em yet - the turntable is in the living room and here in the writing office I just have iTunes, online streaming, and a regular ol' radio.

And I think this is the year that for the most part purchased CDs come to an end for me. I was hesitant to buy too much off of iTunes because the lack of liner notes freaked me out. But you know what? Liner notes in CD booklets are getting too tiny for my old eyes to read, and I just got a new eyes prescription last fall. Plus booklet designers are hung up on the white-type-on-black-background thing, and that is tough enough to read even if you have young eyes. So I think 2008 will bring up an interesting combo in my music purchasing: Old-school vinyl (cheap and fun!) and digital downloads (easily be burned to a CD to play on the stereo or in the car.) Now I understand those "CD, RIP" articles I saw earlier this year.
New Game

Randball has come up with a Twins/office game. Today may be the only time since heading to self employment that actually wished I worked in an office. (Then again, I slept past noon today so there goes that theory.)

My contribution would be these:

- When Joe Mauer slaps a single to the outfield, slap a co-worker.

- If Justin Morneau hits a home run, crack open an oil can of LaBatt and say: "Ah, good ol' trustworthy beer. My love for you will never die."

- When Carlos Gomez gets on base, make a The White Shadow reference. If he steals a base, hum the show's theme song.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

From Looking At The Potential Source Material, This Sitcom Could Run Forever

I finally got around to watching The Accountants, the 2006 mini-episodes web-only spinoff of The Office (which is merely the best sitcom since Seinfeld.) They were pretty good, two thoughts:

- In the last episode, we see that Dunder-Mifflin logs accounting entries into ledger books. Personally, I haven't seen this type of accounting in twenty years as pretty much everything has been done with software since the late eighties. I was wondering why it took them so long to find a $3,000 gap in the books.

- Accounting boss Angela is so hot! Five-foot one (she shops at Gap Kids and American Girl), blonde, and always angry. If she were my boss, she would drive me nuts and I'm not talking about work here.

- Accountant Kevin is really starting to grow on me, the kicker was when he took money from petty cash to bet on The Detroit Pistons. Plus he's the one who refers to the five tenants of the building as "The Five Families" and to the company heads as "bosses." If I worked with him I guarantee you that I would have seen his bands Scrantonicity and Scrantonicity II, and I don't even like the Police that much. He could be a candidate for the Accounting Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"What's So Civil About War, Anyway?"

Guns n' Roses performing "Civil War" at Farm Aid IV. Last performance by the original GNR lineup. Most GNR attention goes to Axl Rose and Slash, but Steven Adler played better funk/disco beats than the guy who replaced him and Izzy Stradlin was easily their best songwriter. Anyway, great song and cool to hear a metal band performing an anti-war song in the Midwest halfway through Bush I's first term. My research indicates that this edition of Farm Aid occurred in April of 1990, but I swear being dragged away from this performance at my parents' cabin that summer to go to the bar. It must have been a repeat on Fargo PBS or something. Yeah, that is probably it - pre-Internet days and I had read about GNR playing this song at Farm Aid and was trying to watch the repeat when bar time came.

Also from same show: GNR covering the UK Subs "Down on the Farm." (Any punk rockers sniffing over a metal band covering a punk song should consider how GNR's Appetite album out-punks just about all comers plus it swings also, care to say the same about the Ramones?) Rose introduces the song by saying something about being from the Midwest and that it's the only "farm song" they know. Farm Aid IV was held in Indianapolis and Axl and Izzy Stradlin were both from Indiana - wonder what kind of homecoming this was for them?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Go Gomez Go

I became a Carlos Gomez fan once it was decided (by Ron Gardenhire, I think) to call him "GoGo", because that is what Kenny Reeves called Ricky Gomez on The White Shadow. (I also called Scott Gomez "GoGo" during the 2006 Winter Olympics.) The Twins will probably end up around .500 this season, but this Gomez kid will be fun to watch for years. Yesterday's catch indicates what to expect. GoGo, yes!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

What Would Be Great Is Schlitz Returnables Cases For Under A Sawbuck

The big-boy article on the front of today's Strib business section was about Schlitz and how Pabst Brewing is bringing it back in bottles in an attempt at retro marketing. Last year they started selling it in bottles in Tampa, Florida and in the Twin Cities. I saw the Schlitz bottles a couple of times last fall - at the MGM near Lake Calhoun and at McDonald's Liquors near Lake Nokomis - and bought a twelver at the MGM. The article touches on how I felt: The beer is too damn spendy for what you are getting. I believe the twelver was $10.99, hard to swallow (pun intended) when I used to buy Schlitz in cans for less than six buck a twelve-box. For $10.99, you are in the Summit and Sam Adams range plus Red Stripe or other imports when they are on sale. (Red Stripe and St. Pauli Girl regular and dark is always $9.99 a twelver at Chicago-Lake Liquors.) As for Pabst's claim that they have brought back the 1960s formula that made Schlitz the country's top-selling beer, I swear they said this years ago when I was buying it in cans at a much cheaper price.

This year business has been great. I'll stick with the Heineken eighteen-box bottle special at Chicago-Lake. The price works out to be less than a penny more per bottle than Schlitz.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Top 30 Rock Books I Own: #9 Country: Living Legends and Dying Metaphors in America's Biggest Music

Title: Country: Living Legends and Dying Metaphors in America's Biggest Music
Author: Nick Tosches
Year Originally Published: 1977
Edition I Own: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1985

What They Say: 1) The Village Voice: "What makes Tosches' opus so fascinating is that much of the esoterica he reveals has never been printed anywhere before. As a result, almost any page you look at leaves you stunned. Crazy-brilliant." (No link, this is on the back cover of my edition.) 2) The Houston Post: "An absolute steamroller of a book (with some of the juiciest, grittiest passages ever found in any C&W study). Goes for the jugular of what the music is really about." (Ditto on linkage.) 3) The editors of The Rolling Stone Record Guide (the first red one): "Tosches is one of the most hilarious writers who has ever commented on American pop ... Breaks every one of Nashville's social taboos, with as much panache as Presley and Lewis did with musical ones."

Tosches in his preface to my edition: "Full of half-forgotten country stars, faded honky-tonk singers, obscure rockabillies, and black musicians of bygone generations." And: "I had wanted to explore the darker areas of country music's history, not its current popularity; to write a book for those who were interested more in where country music came from and what it was than in what it had lately become."

Tuomala's Attempt At A Take: I bought this at Rag & Bone circa 1998. The blurbs above say enough - I've read this book twice (maybe three if you count all the times I've picked it up and just start reading random chapters or pages) and it's awesome.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

How I Spent My Vacation

Late last night I was bored. Not tired enough yet for bed and having already finished a book in the afternoon, I didn't feel like starting the one I had bought that night. I'm taking some time off and figured I deserved some late nights watching nothing much so I cruised through the cable guide, looking for something to kill my time for a couple of hours. I found a perfect candidate - 54, a movie about Studio 54 that came out in 1998 was showing on the Indie Plex channel. I had never had any hankering to see this movie before, but the guide said it was only ninety minutes long (meaning no commercial breaks) and Salma Hayek was in it.

The movie turned out to be a sub-Boogie Nights exercise in mediocrity. Working-class teenager (Ryan Phillipe) goes against his parent (this time the father) and moves to city and finds a surrogate family (the exact phrase used in the cable guide) when he becomes a bartender at the hottest disco in the country, a decadent scene filled with sex and drugs. The rest of the movie goes like this: The bartender does coke, the disco owner is piling money away tax-free but taunts the IRS on a talk show, bartender returns home for Christmas but is rejected by his father, he meets the girl of his dreams (a soap star) and they hit it off, a few days later at the disco's New Year's Eve party the bartender is rejected by the actress in the prescence of her boyfriend, same night this elderly lady who is a regular at the club dies on the dance floor from a coke OD - this of course symbolizes the end of the club and the era. The owner has the body removed from the dance floor and immediately fires up the party again, the bartender thinks that they should take time to grieve the old chick and refuses to go take care of VIP guest Princess Grace which is a big deal as his understanding sister back home is named after her, the IRS shows up this same night also (time is running short in the movie) and busts the owner for tax evasion. As the bartender leaves the disco the soap star pulls up in her limo and apologizes for snubbing him. Postscript: The disco owner does time and returns for a party at the club where we find that the bartender and his friends have cleaned up and lead straight lives.

Ryan Phillipe is a total blank, boredom personified. Nobody else in this movie can act except Hayek and Mike Myers as the club owner, whose role is wasted (pun intended): Is he the bad guy or the meanie with a heart of gold, or a Do What I Gotta Do Burt Reynolds-in-Boogie-Nights-type? He gives a little speech at the end of the movie that I think was supposed to sum up the movie and What It Taught Us, but I was bored by then and doing physical therapy stretches and not paying the best of attention.

Despite having that era's prime time family soap hottie (Neve Campbell), that era's prime time MILF hottie (Sela Ward), and a slamming hottie in ANY era (Salma Hayek); none of them get naked. Sela Ward comes closest with a reverse cowgirl scene with Ryan Phillipe. Salma Hayek wears some awesomely sexy outfits - the best one is when she is giving disco dance lessons - and always does something different and great with her hair, so there is a little compensation.

And if I've learned anything from Boogie Nights, Behind the Music, and every bio-pic of a musician made in the past few years (which are pretty much Behind the Music anyway); Ryan Phillipe should have acquired a crippling drug habit and he should have had sex with Salma Hayek, thereby betraying his friendship with Breckin Meyer. After checking the web this morning, I see that scenario #2 did happen in the director's cut version of the movie and this scene took place in a bathroom. Of course.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tuomala Joins The TV Haves, Could Care Less About People With Old TVs And/Or No Cable

Last night's Wild vs. Avalanche game was a tough one to watch. Because the Wild once again didn't score until the third period? No. Because the game once again went to overtime? No. Because it started at 9 pm and didn't end until after midnight? No.

The game was tough to watch because it was on channel 45 and wasn't offered in HD. I bought myself an HDTV for Christmas and sports looks amazing in HD. How does a regular cable sports airing look now? As I sniffed last week at my sister's while watching the Kansas vs. Memphis championship hoops game: It's tough watching sports on a regular definition TV.

To make it worse, channel 45's picture looked even grainier than a normal cable picture. In fact, I don't think I've seen such a grainy picture for a hockey game on TV since watching Sioux games in the dorm in the mid-eighties with a beat-up Zenith using rabbit ears. C'mon channel 45 - enter the 21st century and get an HD channel! Or else the Wild/NHL/whoever decides these things should take up Joe Anderson's suggestion today on Dan Barrerio's KFAN program - don't black out the Versus HD broadcast and let Twin Cities viewers watch that one if they choose.

No problem tonight: The even-numbered games in the series are on FSN HD.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Or Else They Are Wayyyyy Early

I don't make many jokes about the postal service as I think being able to mail a letter anywhere in the USA for 41 cents is a pretty good deal. However, this came in the mail on Friday.

Update: On Monday, the postal service jammed all my mail into my tiny mailbox and used extreme prejudice in doing so. This resulted in a fat check (fat dough-wise, not letter-wise) from a client getting ripped and my bank not accepting it. The kid gloves are off now, USPS: What kind of clown outfit mails a "Get your holiday stamps" flyer in April??

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Don't You Think This Guy's Overdoing It A Bit?

This was the opener of Neil Justin's column today in the Strib:

Imagine dating someone for more than a decade, falling madly in love, convinced you'll be together forever and ever. And then, one night, it's over. No goodbye kiss, no phone call, not even a text message.

That's how lots of fans felt about how WCCO seemingly handled the dumping of popular meteorologist Paul Douglas ...

As someone who hasn't regularly watched any local news in years, being a fan of a meteorologist seems downright silly. Especially when that meteorologist is a bore like Paul Douglas. Growing up in North Dakota on WDAY and WDAZ I was blessed by an honest-to-goodness "weatherman", Dewey Bergquist. He was a weatherman because that's what they were called back then and if memory serves me correctly, Dewey wasn't a certified meteorologist anyway. Dewey was odd and goofy. He gave the next day's weather a letter grade, accompanied by a wacky cartoon. He hosted the Saturday afternoon matinee movie and/or showing of The Little Rascals, we're talking real Floyd Robertson territory here. Once at a keg party across the hall in the dorm, those suitemates and a few other of us turned off the music so that we could watch Dewey's weather segment. There was an outcry about the music until we yelled: "Fuck you! We gotta watch Dewey!" This resulted in another handful of guys yelling "shit yeah!" and joining us with beers around the TV set.

Dewey Bergquist, now there's a weatherman to fall in love with.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Dr. Phil (Hey I Didn't Say It, The Grand Forks Herald Did)

Phil Jackson is returning to UND this summer to receive an honorary doctorate degree. The Herald story has an interesting nugget of a quote from the vice president of UND's Alumni Association that is left unexplored:

"Phil said he was looking forward to spending time with students in the classroom.”

So will Phil Jackson be spending time in the classrooms at UND or is he going to get his honorary degree and then immediately fly back to La-La Land? C'mon Herald!
The Baby Shower Issue: I'm Further Vindicated

I have stated that I don't have to go to a baby shower I'm invited to because I'm a man. Miss Manners gives us all a blanket exemption, saying you don't have to go at all:

Nor need you worry about not attending. However overblown showers have now become, they are not ceremonial occasions.

In your face, societal pressure!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Finnish For Beginners

A note to those who work the broadcasts of NHL games:

"Teemu" is not pronounced tee-moo. It's tay-moo.

"Mikko" is not pronounced meek-oh. It's mick-oh.

And in Finnish the accent always comes on the first syllable. Always.
I Give Up

From now on when the Sioux play Boston College or Denver University in the postseason ... I might as well turn off the game, fire up three or four episodes of The White Shadow on DVD, go to and check how much UND lost by, then email Craig (BC) or my brother (DU) and congratulate them on how well their team played.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Top 30 Rock Books I Own: #8 The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll

Title: The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll
Author: Various, Edited by Jim Miller
Year Originally Published: 1976
Edition I Own: Rolling Stone Press, First Edition, 1980. The book was originally published in '76, but revised and (only parts?) rewritten in '80. It has since gone through more permutations, but I don't keep up with 'em.

What They Say: My edition is out of print, hence no reviews to be found on the Internet. But I did find editor Jim Miller's comments on the book, in an excerpt from his book Flowers in the Dustbin:

As the original editor of The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll. I structured that volume by inviting prominent critics to write essays on a pantheon of distinguished musicians: within this framework, Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson and Otis Redding and Buddy Holly and the Beach Boys got equal billing with the Rolling Stones and the Doors. Like the subsequent institution of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The Rolling Stone Illustrated History made it seem as if the music revolved around an admirable group of natural geniuses. To some extent, of course, it has: without Elvis Presley and the Beatles, there might not be a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

(BT interjects: As I get older and the rock 'n' roll map shows even more unexplored frontiers, I worry about thoughts like the above that are canonical in nature. But Miller addresses that in the next paragraph ...)

Still, a survey only of heroic musicians cannot help but leave a misleading impression of what rock and roll is, and of how it has evolved. By breaking apart a familiar and essentially romantic narrative, and exploiting the latest memoirs and research to look again more closely at a handful of events, one can see the story of rock's global triumph more clearly for what it is: an enduring puzzle that has yet to be properly appreciated, much less explained.

Tuomala's Attempt At A Take: I bought this at Magers & Quinn used in the mid-nineties. Always a favorite to read on free periods in my high school's library, this book also served as the primary source material for my final speech ("The History of Rock 'n' Roll") in spring 1982 speech class. I'm sure the speech was horrible and I would laugh at my youthful stupidity if I heard it today. Though I remember it being one of only two in that class that I gave where I wasn't cringing with total nervousness.

My edition's heavy metal chapter was written by Lester Bangs and here is where we find the MC5 and the Stooges ... in your face, punks! This chapter also has great photo captions no doubt written by Bangs also. He also wrote the sections on garage rock, bubblegum, and the Doors. There is other fine writing by Dave Marsh, Greil Marcus, Robert Christgau, Peter Guralnick, etc. Nik Cohn's chapter on Phil Spector is remarkable.

I still pick up the book and read chapters now and then. It's interesting in how it attempts to define twenty-five years (at the time) of rock 'n' roll. When I was sixteen, I felt this was something I needed and probably did in order to get some perspective. At this date, the concept seems either noble or naive. Or both.