(This video may not be viewable from your handheld device.)
Here are the CDs I’ve acquired since I returned from Seattle back in February. Most of these were purchased at Everybody’s Records, but I mail-ordered a few and picked up a handful of $2 discs at Half Price Books. Highlights include a repurchase of the Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy tour CD I stupidly sold on eBay many years ago, the rare self-titled debut by Gretchen Parlato, a Rileys comp with pathetic liner notes, a surprisingly good Jackson Browne tribute, and new CDs by Paul Buchanan, the Baseball Project, and Fauna Flora.
And here are the vinyl acquisitions. Included are twelve records from Everybody’s and three from the Jigsaw Records Singles Club. A couple of these already appeared in an earlier post, but the rest of them are new. I would specifically like to draw your attention to the two Old 97′s records down at the bottom. I didn’t even know those things existed..and they both came signed by all four band members!
By the way, the title of this post comes from what the little injured boy is saying on the Chris Ware-drawn cover art for the Five Style record (as seen in the second picture). The music on that record didn’t do much for me, but the sleeve made it worth the $2.99 price tag.
I flew home from Seattle back in February with two new books from the Elliott Bay Book Company. The first–which shall not be named–was a collection of highly regarded short stories released by my favorite publisher, NYRB Classics. Although I enjoyed reading the book on the plane, the collection became dreadfully dull once I got home. I read about 20 pages over the next two weeks and eventually decided to set that book aside for awhile. I then picked up the other book from Elliott Bay, Flora & Ulysses.
Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures–Kate DiCamillo
Flora & Ulysses is a children’s book about a squirrel named Ulysses who develops super powers when he accidentally gets sucked into a vacuum cleaner. His super powers include the ability to fly, understand English, and communicate via typewriter. He also uses the typewriter to write poems. And Ulysses looks absolutely adorable in K. G. Campbell’s illustrations. I was sold.
Flora & Ulysses made for a welcome respite from the short stories I’d been struggling with, but I wouldn’t call it a good book by any stretch of the imagination. There was hardly any plot to speak of, and once you got past Ulysses and Flora (the girl who befriends the squirrel), the book was full of annoying characters. The worst offender was a neighbor boy named William Spiver. Not only did he go around faking blindness–an offense that I was rightfully punished for back in the first grade–but he spoke like a pompous professor. It wasn’t long before I wanted him to get hit on the head with a shovel and buried in the woods.
What’s all this about a shovel and burying somebody in the woods? Well, the book’s thin plot mostly revolves around whether Flora’s insane mother is going to bash Ulysses in the head and bury him in the woods. How is this appropriate for children? How is this appropriate for me? Unless I’ve got a Stephen King novel in my lap, I don’t want to read about shovel murders.
I might be willing to overlook the threat of human-on-squirrel violence in a children’s book, but the final straw for me was when the big climax featured one of the human characters beating another animal with a lamp. I consider it a disgrace that this garbage won the prestigious Newbery Medal.
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series–Maryrose Wood
Depressed from reading Flora & Ulysses, I decided to revisit my favorite children’s series of recent years, The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place. The books are about a young governess named Penelope Lumley who accepts a position caring for and educating three children found living in the woods on a huge English estate. The books also feature a wonderful little squirrel character named Nutsawoo…who is hardly ever threatened with violence.
I reread the first three books to familiarize myself with the backstory and then read the most recent installment, The Interrupted Tale, which came out last December. I’ve already written about the first three books, so I won’t go into much detail on those…just a couple sentences mostly cut and pasted from my original write-ups.
Book 1: The Mysterious Howling
Miss Lumley gets her first governess job and is surprised to find that her new charges were literally raised by wolves. Now it’s her job to break the Incorrigibles of their bad habits, teach them English, etiquette, and dancing…all in time for the Ashton’s big Christmas party. Uh oh, here comes Nutsawoo!
Book 2: The Hidden Gallery
Miss Lumley and the Incorrigibles take up residence in London. They explore the city, meet a spooky fortune teller, become friends with a playwright, break into the British Museum, and get chased by a parrot and a band of pirates. They also begin investigating their own mysterious backgrounds, as well as those of Lord Ashton and the enigmatic Judge Quinzy.
Book 3: The Unseen Guest
Lord Ashton’s mother shows up on the scene with a new suitor, a man named Admiral Faucet. When the Admiral’s racing ostrich is mysteriously released into the woods of Ashton Place, he forms a tracking party consisting of Miss Lumley and the Incorrigibles. Penelope makes a shocking discovery out in the forest, but that pales in comparison with what comes to light during the séance at the end of the book.
Book 4: The Interrupted Tale
Miss Lumley and the Incorrigibles head off to a reunion at Penelope’s alma mater, the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females. It’s here that some of the mysteries are finally solved. Lord Ashton has a frank discussion with Penelope about his monthly disappearances, the truth about Judge Quinzy is revealed, and family trees get all rearranged. This is a six book series, though, so there are still a lot of unanswered questions floating around.
I’m happy that Maryrose Wood finally got around to answering some of the questions that had been bugging me since the beginning of the series. I remember being frustrated when I originally read The Unseen Guest, as it felt like the she was just dragging it out and adding too many new layers to the already complex series. Sure, The Interrupted Tale ended with something of a cliff-hanger, but the author began solving some of her mysteries and it feels like things are now moving toward what I hope will be a stunning, satisfying conclusion. I look forward to Book 5!
I recently purchased the Lego Parisian Restaurant set to celebrate Beth’s upcoming trip to Paris. I bought the set as a gift, but I knew going in that I’d end up putting the 2,469 pieces together myself. I also knew that I’d most likely keep the thing as Beth doesn’t really have enough room for a foot-tall Lego building. So I basically bought it for myself, I guess.
The main problem with a 2,469 piece Lego set is that it takes about eight nights to build. The other problem is that my box only came with 2,468 pieces. I was missing a white post thingie! Fortunately, I was able to order one at no charge from the Lego website. It arrived yesterday. Here’s Lego M—–l bringing the missing piece to the restaurant:
That’s not entirely accurate as it makes it sound like the werewolf head is the one floating around. It also makes it sound like the ink is red. Neither of those statements are true. The werewolf head is stationary; it’s Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s head that floats around and covers up the werewolf head. And I should be saying heads because there are two of each. Yes, four heads altogether. And the ink isn’t actually red. The pen itself is red, but the ink inside is lavender. So I should’ve called this post: “It’s the floating Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy heads werewolf lavender ink pen!”
Either way, I found this strange item for sale in the glass case at Everybody’s Records over the weekend. It rang up as “audio accessories”.
I apologize for the fact that the images in this post look like they were formatted by a raccoon. WordPress seems to have removed all the advanced image settings options, so I’m left with either gigantic photos or miniature ones.
I spent much of this evening scanning the covers of 7″ records. Why would I do that? Well, as this website continues to die its slow death, I’ve been forced to look for other ways to waste my time online. After trying and rejecting a few of the usual places, I eventually decided to contribute to a place called Discogs.com. It’s a music discography database where nerds submit track listings, cover art, label info, etc. for audio recordings. I’m enjoying myself so far, but I doubt I’ll keep up with it. The site’s capitalization policy is so infuriating that I suspect I’ll blow a gasket and quit before the summer hits. Until then, I’m having fun.
Tonight I created an entry for a 7″ record I recently picked up by Tim Easton’s old band, the Haynes Boys. I used to be a big Tim Easton fan. I liked him so much at one time that I actually watched him perform an entire concert in the reflection of a bar mirror. That’s another story, though. Let’s just say I’m not a big Tim Easton fan anymore–you know what you did, Tim!–but I couldn’t resist when I found the Maryhaven Family 7″ for 99 cents. I was surprised it didn’t have an entry on Discogs yet, so I put one up. But anyway…
Blah, blah, frickin’ blah.
Here’s the cover. It was hand-colored in crayon. And yes, that dog totally has a bowl of weed.
Another cover I scanned tonight was this one by an outfit called Like Swimming. They were one of Mark Sandman’s side projects (you know, the guy from Morphine). I didn’t actually submit this image to Discogs as I wasn’t so keen on the price sticker being there. I post it here just because my brain tells me it goes well with the Haynes Boys cover. You know, rudimentary cover arts or something.
(This post was written under the influence of two beers. I only weigh 172 pounds, so that’s enough to make my cheeks numb.)
I get a black Moleskine daily planner every Christmas for use as a journal during the upcoming year. I forgot to specify the dimensions last year and ended up getting a pocket-sized book instead of the big one I needed. Instead of returning the little journal, I decided to keep it and use it for some sort of daily creative exercise. I eventually settled on keeping a book of lists. The lists can be about anything…whatever’s in my head on any given morning. Here are a couple pages from earlier in the year with two of my lists: Good Internet Videos and Least Favorite Words.
I’ve only written 73 lists so far this year, but I’m finding it increasingly difficult to come up with ideas each morning. So I decided that today’s list topic will be Ideas For Future Lists. I also decided that I’d open up things to you in case you’d like to contribute to my project. Got any ideas for potential lists? If so, list them in a comment.
There’s a squirrel named Squirrel who lives in my front yard maple. I sometimes go out there and leave a walnut or a berry for her on the tree’s lowest hanging branch. Squirrel waits until I’ve gone back inside before coming down for her snack. Then she looks at me through the window with what I swear is gratitude on her little squirrely face.
This is probably as close as I will ever come to having a pet.
But anyway, I was happy to learn that I’m not the only person who has developed a friendship with a rodent. This kind of thing was going on all the way back in 1952…as this photograph will attest:
The handwriting on the back of the picture shows that these people took things a step further than I have. Their squirrel had house privileges. I think that’s going a bit far.
(An internet search has revealed that there are at least three 124 Catalpas in the United States. The closest one is just a few miles south of me in Covington, Kentucky.)
Have you ever wondered what Beemo has on underneath that molded plastic exterior of his? Well, just click on the following picture and everything will be revealed. And I do mean everything!