Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Remembering Simon the Cat, 10 Years Later

Ten years ago today, our first cat, Simon, passed away. Today I present the photo collage I posted in 2004 to mark the one year anniversary of his untimely death.

Thank you, Simon, for 7+ wonderful years: 4/28/96 - 10/29/03

We love you and miss you

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday 80s Flashback for October 25, 2013

Cover Art by Brad from Running to Stand Still

[Joshua Tree Tour] -- I recently subscribed to Concert Vault,"The World’s Greatest Collection of Concert Recordings." I don't know if it's really the greatest, but it certainly is very extensive. From Count Basie and His Orchestra at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1959 to We Were Promised Jetpacks at Outdoor Stage On Sixth in 2012 (and a whole slew of recordings from the archives of Bill Graham Presents), Concert Vault's depth and breadth of recordings is impressive. Now, a subscription is required to download playlists (which are around $5 each), but you do not need a membership to stream the playlists. And, yes, they do have a decent collection of 80s artists. This is great resource for me because I wasn't able to see many concerts when I was younger (distance from venues and lack of money colluded to prevent my attendance). Case in point: U2. I loved this band but I never got to see them live until the 360 Tour. Thanks to Concert Vault, I can now virtually attend a seminal performance by U2: a live show at Madison Square Garden during The Joshua Tree tour! You can read and hear more about this show after the break.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Christianity commandeered humanistic values

Professor Jim Al-Khalili: Christianity hijacked human values (via Raw Story )
Professor Jim Al-Khalili, a theoretical physicist and science broadcaster, said Monday at The Cambridge Union Society that Christianity had commandeered humanistic values. In his presentation, Al-Khalili said he believed in the Golden Rule: One should…

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday 80s Flashback for October 18, 2013

Big Pig (photo credit: AllMusic.com)

[Bonk] -- First off, please accept my apologies for not posting a Flashback last week. Hopefully you'll feel this week's entry to be satisfying enough for two weekends. And I'm fairly confident you will, because this one is going to bonk you. Now, get your heads out of the gutter. I'm talking about Bonk, the 1988 debut album from Australian pop-rockers Big Pig.

In a decade of big synths and bigger hair, Big Pig bucked both musical and fashion trends (check out those leather aprons). The brainchild of drummer Oleh Witer, Big Pig traces its origins to 1983 after Witer bounded in and out of four different bands. After the fourth gig fizzled out with nothing tangible to show for his efforts, Witer opted to form his own band and to do it totally on his own terms. He wanted to write his own songs and create something without compromise. The first incarnation of Big Pig (1985) was inspired by Japanese taiko drummers -- around nine drummers creating a controlled chaos of rhythms. Members came and went as Witer felt he just needed to get the right people for his vision of orchestrated rhythms. When Big Pig made their concert debut in 1986, the necessary lineup had finally gelled. They self-released an EP that same year and generated enough interest for a label to get the band in studio to begin recording a full-length LP in 1987. Three EP tunes ( "Hungry Town", "Money God" and "Devil's Song") were reworked for the album and they recorded eight more tracks, one of which was a, ahem, "Breakaway" hit which also appeared on the Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure soundtrack. Despite this success, and all the hype, Big Pig's sophomore album made no dent in the charts or MTV, and the band all but disappeared after their 1990 tour.

To check out some Bonk tunes, read and hear more after the break.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Friday 80s Flashback for October 4, 2013

[Unrequited but Upbeat - Redux] -- This week's flashback recycles the Flashback post from the first week of October in 2010. Three years ago this week, we looked at upbeat songs about unrequited love. Every generation has them, but the 80s seemed to spawn some singularly interesting instances of happy beats with potentially depressing lyrical content. What toe-tapping tales of woe are on tap this week? Read and hear more after the break!

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Worldwide Heathen Census 2013

In major surveys of religious affiliation, heathens tend to get lumped into categories such as "New Age," "No Religious Preference," or the ever-so-helpful "Other." The Worldwide Heathen Census 2013 seeks to correct this oversight with an anonymous online survey. If you self-identify as a heathen and heathenry is your primary expression of faith and religion, please go to the Norse Mythology Blog for more information and the link to the survey.