Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Song of the Day: "Super Natural" by Turnover

My song of the day is "Super Natural" by Turnover, an indie rock band from Virginia Beach, Virginia that has embraced the dream pop ethos. This song is so soothing,

I recommend an experiment. Take your pulse before you listen to this song and then afterwards. Your heart rate will have slowed, just slightly but nonetheless perceptively.

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The upside of global warming

Global warming isn't all bad. Ladies, the parasol—that most elegant of accessories—is coming back with a vengeance.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Epigram of the Day: "The graceful breakup"

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Song of the Day: "Let's Dance" by David Bowie

Sitting down to do some writing stuff, I feel a slight depression and a sense of weight on my shoulders, hampering my creativity and forward movement. What should I do.

What if there were a song that could cure this malaise. Oh, yeah, there is. Wait for it. . .

My song of the day is "Let's Dance" by David Bowie. The lyrics are so bomb: "under the moonlight, the serious moonlight."

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Random Musings: Coca-Cola, playdates and a paintbrush. . .

A month into unemployment, I've acquired a bad habit I need to kick—drinking Coca-Cola—and a good one. I've arranged two playdates for Alex and Savanna.

Also, I'm getting creative, viz-u-ally speaking. Here's an in-progress mural on my bedroom wall.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Song of the Day: "Spinning on Blue" by Bien

"Spinning on Blue" by Bien is song of the day on Battlestar Eclectica. It's a sweet indie pop confection—pretty and ethereal.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Song of the Day: "Mirror" by The Drums

"Mirror" by The Drums, off their new album Abysmal Thoughts, is song of the day on Battlestar Eclectica. This indie pop band has won me over with its perfectly lovely guitar, which is reminiscent of Joy Division.

If you haven't listened to Joy Division lately, by the way, of course you'll want to listen to "Love Will Tear Us Apart." But don't forget to listen to lesser-known songs in their catalogue like the dark symphony that is "Disorder."

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Random Musings: That suicidal duck. . .

I feel like that suicidal duck on "Tom & Jerry' would respond very well to a combination of therapy, exercise, supplements like St. John's Wort, medication—perhaps a mild dose of an SSRI—and some dietary changes.

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Song of the Day: "Girls Girls" by Icona Pop

"Girls Girls" by Icona Pop is song of the day on battlestar eclectica. I really like the video because it has so many real-looking girls and women, just hanging out and having fun.

There's so much strength and coolness to females, even amid turmoil and moodiness. For me, feminism is a no-brainer. If it wasn't a word, I've have to invent it. Sometimes a soul wears a skirt.

I knew that "I Don't Care" song by Icona Pop. In fact, I believe I have danced to it at a wedding. It's lively, and so is this song.

Wikipedia informs me that Icona Pop is "a Swedish electropop duo that formed in 2009 with electro house, punk and indie pop influences" and that it is comprised of Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo. You go, ladies.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Song of the Day: "All I Can Think About Is You" by Coldplay

"All I Can Think About You" by Coldplay, which has a way psychedelic lyric video, is Song of the Day on Battlestar Eclectica.  It's mesmerizing and echoing, reminiscent of early U2 in a good way.

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Epigram of the Day: 'Make a Little Homestead" by Sarah Torribio

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Random Musings: Change is scared-citing, I can assure you

I've got a job interview today. I'm scared-cited.
What I've learned in the last few weeks is that if you don't make change, it'll come looking for you. That's a not-so-oblique reference to my recent, sudden and unexpected unemployment.
I have to drop a name here. (lights cigarette)
True story. When I was acting as a freelance entertainment writer for the Reno Gazette Journal, I interviewed Mike Tyson. Maybe 13 minutes on the phone with the man.
Hearing his words was almost impossible, between his manner of speaking, a poor connection and the fact that I was interviewing him outside my workplace with planes flying over my head.
I could understand a few key phrases. One of them was his response to what it's like having his own cartoon. He said, "It's marvelous, I can assure you."
I kind of like ending a sentence that way: I can assure you. It has an earnestness that I want to be a part of.

He also said this about his trials and tribulations. He was promoting his one-man show, by-the-bye. He said, "If you're not humble, life will humble you."
True that, Mike. True that.
End of tangent. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, job interview. So send me some good vibes, homies. I can always use them.
Also I'm an energy vampire so I'm already always slurping up your good vibes for my own use with a straw, metaphorically speaking.
Wait. Did I write that last part aloud?

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Random Musings: Hot digital dog!

I just had one of the most pointless conversations in my life. I boasted about the strength of my social media presence to a dog.
I was in the kitchen and I heard someone behind me. I assumed it was Brian Hall and, having just been perusing my phone, said, with more than a touch of pride, "I have 319 instagram followers."

I turned to find that the recipient of this information was our one-year-old husky Cody. I'd like to say there was some comprehension or interest in his eyes, which are blue and appear to be lined with kohl. Instead, he just had that jolly, slightly mad look that all one-year-old huskies have.

The Magpie Diaries: I went to a thrift store and there found high culture

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Song of the Day: "Mr. Somewhere" by This Mortal Coil

Today's song of the day is the lovely "Mr. Somewhere" off Blood, the final LP by This Mortal Coil, a 1980s, early '90s gothic dream pop group.

It was a loose collaboration of musicians, which at times included Elizabeth Frazer and Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins. This song was balm to my angst-ridden soul when I was a teenage goth.

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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Random Musings: Skidding down the information superhighway

As a digital immigrant rather than a digital native—(shut up, Sarah. You're revealing your age)—I'm throwing myself into this instagram situation.
As Chrissie Hynde sang, "Don't Get Me Wrong." 

I'm enjoying myself. (And why does that song make me feel like I should be in a movie montage trying on dozens of hats and outfits?)
It just seems all seems so. . .extroverted. You post lots and lots and lots of photos and updates on your doings and viewings or, if you're daring, add things like meaningful words or funny memes. I think you can even post video. That's how green I am.
Really, though, I've had some time to get used to this. My continuing technological bewilderment could on some level be compared to the act of that rare and much maligned geographic immigrant who doesn't take the time to learn the language.
Friends, I'm scared. All this rapid communication strikes me as hasty. What if I say the wrong thing? Why am I saying so much? Who am I talking to? And I holding a conversation or just shouting in a megaphone.
And also how the f*@& can I make myself so intriguing that I nab a million followers. Because I hear when you become an instagram celebrity someone hands you a bunch of money.
Who will hold my hand on this journey? Who will help me learn the importance, and the process, of making myself look like a woodland animal or like i'm wearing a crown of roses on snapchat? Who will tell me if vine still exists?
Who will hand me one of those weighted blankets that's good for people with autism or who, like myself, have general hysteric tendencies when I get overstimulated by all the digital bells and whistles?
And which of you bitches has seen my new iPhone case? It's straight bling all day.

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Random Musings: Hollywood Medium Rare

Current mood: Having watched "Hollywood Medium" for the first-time—nay, having binge-watched three episodes—I want Tyler Henry to be my best friend.
I may have to get famous so he'll give me a reading. But I don't like too much attention, so I don't want to be on TV.
I'm contradicting myself, but then again I'm a cancer sun, leo rising, astrologically speaking, so my inner tension is as thick as pea soup.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Song of the Day: "More Than a Feeling" by Boston

When I was in college, I got turned onto the song "More Than a Feeling" by Boston. It was already about 1993 or so—I believe I've established I'm generally a cultural latecomer. I'm just now finding myself amused by this comedian named Buster Keaton and yesterday I attended a protest demonstrating against the Spanish American Civil War.

Anyhow, a tiny snippet of "More Than a Feeling" is played in a flashback of when the Kevin Bacon, Elizabeth Montgomery characters meet in the movie "She's Having a Baby." The movie is a really charming—and I consider to be vastly underrated—John Hughes movie.

The soundtrack includes gems like "Haunted (When the Minutes Drag)" by Love and Rockets; "This Woman's Work" by ephemeral songstress/ goddess Kate Bush; the title track by Dave Wakeling of English Beat/The Beat/General Public fame, the tear-jerking "Apron Strings" by Everything But the Girl and the bizarrely awesome post-punk masterwork "Full of Love" by the intriguingly named music project Dr. Calculus.
And the aforementioned snippet of "More Than a Feeling." I acquired a Best of Boston tape back in the day and as I commuted would sing along to tunes like "More Than a Feeling" and "Peace of Mind" by Boston."
Whenever I hear "More Than a Feeling" or, for that matter, anything by the supergroup,  I'm transported back to my early adulthood, on my way to Citrus College, running late and more likely than not gunning for a parking ticket.
What's on your college soundtrack?

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Random Musings: On the elder first son. . .

Shhhhh, Eric Trump. (puts finger gently to his mouth). Don't talk. Nobody likes you. Partly because you're a Soc from Pretty in Pink.

And partly because you went big-game hunting and peed on the universe.

Just shhhhhhhh.

There's still hope for Barron, though, who has turned into a Japanese icon of youthful handsomeness and sensitivity.

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Eric Trump on father's critics: 'To me, they're not even people'

President Trump's son Eric Trump used striking language Tuesday night while accusing Democratic lawmakers of obstructing his father's agenda. "I've never seen hatred like this," the younger Trump told Fox News' Sean Hannity. "To me, they're not even people. It's so, so sad.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Song of the Day: "Perfect Places" by Lorde

Of course, "Perfect Places" by Lorde is song of the day on Battlestar Eclectica. It's off her upcoming album "Melodrama," which drops on June 16.

I'm hearing this tune described as a summer party anthem, which is fair enough. It's sort of the thinking man's "California Girls."

Her voice sounds like frozen lemonade as she croons drunk and disillusioned diatribes like: "I hate the headlines and the weather/I'm 19 and I'm on fire/But when we're dancing I'm all right. It's just another graceless night." Brilliant, as always.

It's all just further proof of Lorde's precocious cool factor. She is from New Zealand, which may explain why she was smart enough to write lyrics like the words to "Royals" and "Team" before her 16th birthday.

Between hobbit homes, majestic Maori culture, a haunting colonial past and the terrifying and electrifying storytelling of native Kiwi filmmaker Jane Campion, New Zealand is the stuff of dreams. (Disclaimer: I have not been to New Zealand. Yet.)

Check out  Jane Campion's "The Piano" and "Wide Sargasso Sea" if you can handle movies that are dark and lovely.

Now, Lorde is a ripe old 20. I look forward to hearing this strange indie alt electropop songbird make music and develop and grow for many, many years to come.

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Random Musings: Kids do the darndest things

I used to judge the heck out of Kathy Lee Gifford when she was on "Live! With Regis and Cathy Lee" because she was always sharing anecdotes about her son Cody.
It was all, "Cody did this!" and "Cody did that!" and I was like, "Stop, you self-obsessed woman. iIm sick of Cody!"
That was before I had kids.
Now I get it and then some. I spend much of my time foisting anecdotes about my children on people I meet at Walgreens or on the street or while with friends and acquaintances.
I use Facebook as a megaphone allowing me to brag or kvell to my social media circles about my amusing, endearing and ingenious offspring.
I'll cut to the chase.
Today, Cody—I mean Savannah—saw the refrigerator repairman working in the kitchen while my dad stood nearby.
Savannah, 3 1/2, came running to us delightedly and said twice in quick succession: "Wook! [That's phonetic to indicate her baby speech impediment, or should I say baby speech enhancement.] Grandmpa's got a friend!"

That cool quote by Bill Nye, the Science Guy. . .

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Epigram of the Day: "Spicy" by Sarah Torribio

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Song of the Day: "We Live for Love" by Pat Benatar

Currently on my Victrola?

"We Live for Live" by the great Pat Benatar. It's song of the day on Battlestar Eclectica. Did you know Pat studied opera before going full rock goddess. It's everywhere and especially evident in this song as well as her tremulous version of Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights."

I cut my teeth on Pat Benar as a child. My sister acquired her Get Nervous album from the old Columbia Record Club. I doubt if she ever paid for it—it was a crazy scam targeting preteens with more cool factor aspirations than pocket money.

Anyhow, I pretty much co-opted the album because I liked it more. My go-to song to belt out when I was at home being a latch-key kid with secret rockstar aspirations was "Shadows of the Night." Sometime when I'm feeling brave, cheeky or drunk, I may even post a vid of my a cappella version of the aforementioned treasure.

In the meantime, I give you a taste of '80s transcendence.

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Epigram of the Day: "Intolerant"

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Song of the Day: "Ouija Board" by Morrissey

You know how some songs are just the perfect chasers for other songs. Of course, we all associate "We Will Rock You" by Queen with "We Are the Champions," because they were composed as companion pieces and are often played one after the other on the radio.

However, I just listened to one of my previous songs of the day, "I Wanna Be Adored" by the Stone Roses and something about the way the song ends absolutely begs it to be followed up by "Ouija Board" by Morrissey.

It's one of his earlier solo efforts, before he went a bit rockabilly. I had the single but left the vinyl orphaned to put the pic up on my Smiths- and Morrissey-plastered walls. To say I was a super-fan is an understatement, and to use the phrase "was a super-fan" is inaccurate, because while Morrissey and crew are less a part of my decorating scheme, they are no less a part of my heart.

And "Ouija Board," which I somehow simultaneously enjoyed and dismissed as a throwaway effort has only gained in my estimation over time.

It's song of the day on Battlestar Eclectica.

By the way, my google feed tells me people are outraged and angry at Morrissey about something he said about the Manchester terrorist attack.

Dude. He's not a politician. He's a humorist, a songwriter, a singer and, like all of us, flawed. The guy got your through your adolescence, sniping critics. Say thank you and if you hear him saying something off the cuff and emotional, put your fingers in your ears and say, "la la la." End of opine.

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Friday, May 26, 2017

Random Musings: On the cheesey allure of "Ghost Adventures"

Two weeks into unemployment. My new resume is almost ready and I'm organizing my newspaper clips. Far more importantly, I have become a fan of the show "Ghost Adventures."

The guys are hilarious. The lead guy in the Ed Hardy shirt with the bulging biceps.

The nondescript guy with the camera whose face I can't remember. And the other guy with the camera and the beard whose face goes full Neanderthal when something scares the bejeesus out of him.

I just watched a recorded episode where they went to this old abandoned munitions factory. It was the second time I watched it but, in my defense, I was sharing the wonder with Brian. 

Number-one, there is some weird stuff that goes on in the building, particularly sounds and voices. Number-two, I can't believe how ernest and monosyllabic the guys are. 

But they're such bros that it's comforting. If I were every to submit myself to a lockdown in a haunted place—other than my own mind—I would want that trio there. 

I will say this. If there is such a thing as ghosts and the lore is true that they need to be coaxed off the earth, it's kinda sad that the guys just check out the paranormal activity but don't try to help. 

Couldn't they, shouldn't they, do something like throw holy water on the ground or tell the ghosts they're not dead and encourage them to go into the light? I dunno. 

Also, I think even a McDonald's Play Place or an orchid hothouse or a carwash or a dog-groomers would look freaky when illuminated by a night-vision camera. 

So there it is. I wanna hang ou with the guys from "Ghost Adventures." I also kind of wanna sleep in the lead guy's Ed Hardy T-shirt. Just kidding on that last note. I juste wanted to see if you read this whole post. 

And now I give you a few choice "Ghost Adventure" memes:

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Random Musings: Ariana Grande and the Family Circus

The article below this post—about an open letter from a "redneck" father of three girls encouraging Ariana Grande after the terrorist attack in Manchester at her concert—is really sweet and brought a tear to my eye.

I've become increasingly sentimental due to motherhood or just admitting, astrologically speaking, that I'm a Cancer.

Pretty soon I'll be taking a leaf from my Great-Grandmother Marcia. She would clip out especially adorable "Family Circus comics" from the funny pages and then dig them out of her voluminous purse to share them with whoever might get a kick out of them.

                                                                                          >>next random musing

Everyone has fallen in love with this dad's letter to Ariana Grande

A father of three Ariana Grande fans has penned an open letter to the pop star, offering some "redneck love from a daddy of daughters" following the heartbreaking events at Manchester arena. The letter by Patrick Millsaps from Georgia, U.S. has since gone viral, gaining almost 20K retweets and over 40K likes.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Song of the Day: "Keep it Close to Me" by Yumi Zouma

This quiet indie dream pop outfit Yumi Zouma, which is part of what I'm learning is a burgeoning New Zealand scene, proves you don't have to kick and scream to make an impression. As for those of you into the romancing, this just might be the Sade of 2017.

This song is called "Keep It Close to Me." The beats be dropping like rain on a drum-kit left in the garden, and vocalist Christie Simpson is compelling and, dare I say, soothing. The vid captures the untamed and unexpected soul of childhood. I'm reminded of a quote from "Slingblade," which is a lovely movie despite the chill of violence.

Carl, seemingly the slowest of men, understands the vulnerability of the movie's youngest protagonist. As he prepares to leave town in the most dramatic of ways, he asks standup guy and standup gay Vaughan Cunningham, played in a virtuoso turn by the late great John Ritter, to take care of the boy.

"That Frank, he lives inside of his own heart. That's an awful big place to live in."

Back to my song of the day. I know. I'm a Letsloop.com evangelist, and it's possible my mention of the music sharing site grows tiresome. But I can't take a serious ramble through this digital depository without finding something special.

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Song of the Day: "Johnny & Mary" by Bryan Ferry & Todd Terje

A new-ish song (2015) featuring legendary Roxy Music frontman Brian Ferry? Is this the real life or is this just fantasy.

There's a bit of a rasp to Mr. Ferry's previously angelic vibrato, but it's not unwelcome in this moody but pretty tune.  And while the music was likely created by Todd Terje, whom I'm told is a DJ and multi-instrumentalist, there's a touch of Brian Eno in here—moments replete with the ambience of "Dance Away" or "Slave to Love."

Todd is bearded and Norwegian and, as everyone knows, when it comes to ethereal coolness nowadays, all signs point north. Way north.

As far as looks because, as a former coworker, gay if that matters, has told me, "You just want to kiss all the boys," weathered looks good on Brian Ferry, who during his youth could edge towards fey.

Did you know, by the way, that Brian Ferry was dating Jerry Hall when that scamp Mick Jagger stole her away?

 Well, not everyone has moves like Jagger.

The song builds slowly towards epic and is crying to be in a David Lynch scene, but not a creepy one, per say.

Yes, song of the day on battlestar eclectica is "Johnny & Mary" by Brian Ferry & Todd Terje.

Postscript: I thought this song was a remake but I couldn't place it. It turns out that it's a cover of a song by Robert Palmer called "Johnny and Mary." While the Robert Palmer version is more new wave and poppy, it still has deep lyrics and a lovely melody.

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Random Musings: It's your happy birthday!

Yesterday, while I was engaging in one of my favorite hobbies, feeling sorry for myself, Savannah, 3, proffered this declaration:

"It's your happy birthday!"

She then handed me some kind of plastic trinket wrapped in Play-doh as a gift.

I think she's onto something and, in fact, all young children—if they have the happy homes they deserve—are onto something. Enjoy the moment and when life hands you lemons, knead some clay.

In fact, that is going to be my new daily mirror affirmation. "It's your happy birthday!"

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

That Cool Quote by Dolly Parton. . .

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