The most enlightening ten minutes and thirty-nine seconds I’ve spent in a long time.

The brilliant Tim Minchin, ladies and gentlemen.


A greeting card I sent about 13 years ago

Image from tomserv0.blogspot.com

I think we should go bowling in Canada. That way, when we’re old, we can say, “Remember that time we went bowling in Canada?”

I found this birthday card in a store about 13 years ago. (The front is pictured, the inside reads simply “Happy Birthday.”) I nearly doubled over laughing, and ended up sending it to about five friends.

It was a Hallmark card, from their “Saturdays” sub-label. Hallmark’s website says that Saturdays is their “edgy humor” line. I don’t know how edgy it is, but it resonated with me and I still remember it 13 years later.

Apparently I’m not alone. I googled and found at least a dozen blog entries devoted to this exact same card.

The concept of bowling in Canada must resonate with a lot of people, and must tap in to something in all our psyches. Maybe it’s the idea of going somewhere else and sharing something ordinary, but fun, that we can all reminisce about years later. Little things like that are memorable, and bond friends.

Bowling in Canada sounds like a lot of fun right now. We should go.


Kindly do the needful.

Image from geekswithblogs.net

I love Indian English. By which I mean English as spoken by people of India. It’s been referred to as “Hinglish” as it’s sort of a duke’s mixture of Hindu and Punjabi and the Queen’s English, spoken there by those Brits those many, many years. Some Indianisms I tumbled upon through a column by writer Donald DeMello, which has made the rounds of the Intertubes. They are so useful that they need to be part of every-day language in the rest of the world. Some of these are from DeMello’s column, some from other places.

This commercial is a great example of Hinglish, I think.

“Doing the needful”: This is considered archaic in many regions of India, but I think it deserves a resurgence. To do the needful means to just do it, do what is necessary, take care of bidness, get ‘er done.

“What is your good name?”: Apparently this is the greeting tourists will often receive in Indian business places. Like you also have a bad phony name, but they don’t want that one.

“Sleep is coming”: That just says it all. “Let’s take rest now, sleep is coming.”

“Updation”: Being updated, brought current, upgraded.

“Entry from backside only”: A traffic direction commonly found in urban areas, indicating the way to an access point. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

“Prepone”: To cancel something before it begins. If you can postpone something, why can’t you prepone it?

“Take tension”: To be stressed out.

“Do nuisance”: Take a leak, especially in public.

“Airdash”: Going somewhere in a hurry.

“Badmash”: Hooligan, wild-hair, bad mofo.

“Timepass”: Something to pass the time, like reading this blog for instance.

“Felicitate”: This is probably my favorite. It means to make very happy, to delight, to express joy or pleasure, and/or to congratulate someone. One source wrote that India is the only place the word is used like this.

Someone I know works with many people of Indian descent (in the IT field, not surprisingly). She has commented often about how her co-workers seem to love the word “damn.” They sprinkle it throughout their conversation, in places we would not usually expect it: “Pass the damn ketchup, please.” They think it’s the greatest English word of all.

My dad, therefore, would have been the king of India.


Desert Island Discs: “Drink A Toast To Innocence: A Tribute To Lite Rock” (2013)

Image from kickstarter.com

If you’ve read this blog very long, you’ve seen that I work in radio. I help my sister Colleen run the small-market radio station she owns.  It’s the thing that gives me the most joy in life. She and her late husband John first went on the air right about this time of year back in 1995, eighteen years ago. John was not only my brother-in-law and my boss, but also my oldest friend – – since grade seven, when Lyndon Johnson was President. Yeah, we go back a ways.

John was a man of convictions. One of his most consistent was that his radio station should never, ever play cover versions of songs. Only originals. John and I butted heads about this many times over the years: he said he had heard too many awful, misguided, washed-out covers through the years, and wanted none of it. He appreciated good production values in music, so couldn’t stand it when an artist covered one of his favorite songs and mangled it beyond enjoyability. (He nearly suffered apoplexy over Patti LaBelle and The Blue Belles’ R and B cover of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.”)

He had a moment of cognitive dissonance when I observed that the chart singles by his all-time favorite band, Herman’s Hermits, were virtually all covers. But he stood firm, and through skulduggery and time I snuck some well-crafted covers onto the playlist.

So why bring this up? Because, despite his no-covers pronouncements, John would have loved this album: “Drink A Toast To Innocence: A Tribute To Lite Rock.” Bill Sammons in his excellent blog “Kool Kovers” writes something my friend would have endorsed heartily: “The best cover versions are, as my wife says, different enough so it’s fresh but the same enough to where you can sing along if you want.”

Executive producer Andrew Curry drew inspiration from a Facebook thread that nominated the greatest lite rock songs of all time: the soundtrack of his youth, as he put it. The idea of a tribute album began to germinate, under the umbrella name “Monsters Of Lite Rock,” and Andrew successfully pitched the project on the fund-raising website Kickstarter.

Mad props also to the lovely and talented Elizabeth Racz (“Miss Klaatu”), who served ably as Associate Producer. Nobody could have done better.

A while back I wrote about the project, and was gratified to see Andrew achieve his funding goal in just a few weeks. There was a definite buzz around this project, especially in the power pop community. Thanks to Andrew, by the way, for the go-ahead to stream a few of the songs on this blog. Trust me, I’m confident that you’ll want the whole album. Go to Bandcamp.

In different hands this album might have become an exercise in campy excess and parody. Andrew avoids that, as everyone’s genuine affection for these songs comes through from the very first track. To quote reviewer Jaimie Vernon: “This is not a joke, folks. The recreations are done with love and devotion. The result is top notch! Highly recommended.”

Image from thetimemachineradioshow.blogspot.com

Long-time Facebook pal and KBEK-FM favorite Eytan Mirsky conjures up a cinematic rendition of one of the quintessential lite rock hits, “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” by Rupert Holmes. Eytan brings the right element of wry humor to this chronicle of… well, thwarted two-timing. (A shout-out to fellow FB pal, producer Jon Gordon.)

 

 

 

Image from powerpop.blogspot.com

One of the many stellar tracks on this album comes from Vegas With Randolph, with their take on Little River Band’s “Cool Change.” Once again, from Bill Sammons’ “Kool Kovers”:

THIS, my friends, is how to do a cover! It completely respects the song, keeping all signature parts intact. Yet it sounds like the band who’s playing the song: putting their identity on it, but not in an overwhelming way.

 

Image from purevolume.com

Back in the day, lite rock bore the (occasionally deserved) mantle of being too saccharine. And let’s face it, some of the originals were a bit milquetoast and begged to get the wimpiness knocked out of them. The Davenports do just that – they bring drive and energy to Randy Vanwarmer’s “Just When I Needed You Most” that the original needed in the worst way.

 

 

Image from thetimemachineradioshow.blogspot.com

One of my most pleasant discoveries is Lisa Mychols’ turn on “Don’t Give Up On Us.” Lisa adds crunch and punch and multiple layers to the song, and you believe it in a way that David Soul never quite pulled off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like greatest-hits albums, tribute albums are a hit-or-miss affair. Many are bland, a few are innovative, and a very small handful approach excellence. “Drink A Toast To Innocence” is in that category. It’ll catapult you back to a happy time.

Bandcamp is the place to go for this album. Also check out the Monsters Of Lite Rock website.

And by the way: all these tracks are now in hot rotation on our station. I’m sure John concurs. Somewhere out there, he’s probably rockin’ out to “I’m Henry VIII, I Am.” A cover, by the way.


Song of the day: “We Don’t Talk Anymore” by Michael Carpenter

Image from kickstarter.com

This is a “cover” version of a ’70s pop classic by Cliff Richard. It’s part of a new music project called “Drink A Toast To Innocence: A Tribute To Lite Rock.” The good folks at Kickstarter are helping to make it happen; I don’t have a stake in it, except that I dig the hell out of these songs and want this to succeed.

Check it out. It’ll bring back some good memories. Contribute if you can.

PS: I already got the green light from the station owner. All of these songs will be in hot rotation on the home of the hits, KBEK 95.5 FM.

PPS: A nice shout-out from Andrew Curry!


One of the most clever TV ads I’ve seen in a long time.

Warning: this song may become an earworm and stick with you for the rest of the day.

This is clever. The Idea cellular phone network in India recently expanded its coverage across virtually the entire country. They wanted to emphasize (a) how fast and thoroughly a song or meme can reach everyone in a whole nation, and (b) that their cell network is the one that can do it.

From Devesh Gupta at afaqs.com:

The film showcases people from different parts of the country humming the tune while they follow their daily routines. The funny, soothing tune relaxes their mind and gives them a chance to share a laugh with friends.

Ashwin Varkey, creative director (for Idea’s ad agency Lowe Lintas), says, “Idea wanted us to come up with an ad that showcases its footprint all across the country. It is like saying ‘wherever you go, there is an Idea network’. The idea was that if you have the network, your phone will ring.” Varkey is confident that people will stick to it for a long time. He says, “If it was not a sticky tune then it would not have been successful.”

It’s a sticky tune indeed. They released this ad in December and it’s already taken the country by storm. And as you can see, it’s even being seen and heard and enjoyed all over the globe. I don’t know much about Indian geography, so this wasn’t apparent to me until I read Gupta’s article. But the last scene in the restaurant portrays an Indian man visiting a foreign country, and the “Honey Bunny” tune gets taken up by a waiter, presumably to spread across that new land too.

Clever and well crafted. And the song is simple and innocent enough to make everyone smile. It also shows that the English language is somewhat of a unifier in India.

“You’re my pumpkin pumpkin.. Hello honey bunny.. toko toko..”

Add: a subsequent Google search tells me that “toko” is a Hindi word for “close acquaintance.”


Reblog: Aaron’s ‘last wish’ granted at Berea restaurant

This is just awesome.

Aaron’s ‘last wish’ granted at Berea restaurant.

Family makes the 35th $500 tip since July 2012

BEREA — “Back in July, my brother Aaron passed away and he worked here when he was 18,” Seth Collins told Nikki Moore, a server at Pizza Hut in Berea on Wednesday.

“In his will,” Seth continued, “the last thing was that he wanted us to leave an awesome tip for a waiter or waitress. Thanks to the response we got from everyone around the world, we’ve had the opportunity to do that 34 times, and today is the 35th. So today, for Aaron, I have a $500 tip for you.”

“Really? Thank you so much,” said Moore in disbelief while covering her face, her hands trembling. “I’m so sorry for your loss. God bless you guys.”

Since the sudden death of his brother in July, just weeks after his 30th birthday, Seth has given $500 tips at 35 locations in eight states. His goal is to visit at least 100 locations in all 50 states within the next year, he said.

In Aaron’s will, created several years before his death, he wrote: “Leave an awesome tip — and I don’t mean 25 percent; I mean $500 on a [freaking] pizza — for a waiter or waitress.”