There Is No Cat

As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Tall Dwarfs are coming!

Tall Dwarfs are coming to America for the first time in 13 years! Last time they came, I missed them because I didn't get tickets in time and their show at Maxwell's in Hoboken sold out. Not going to make that mistake this time. Not even for a show in the city on a school night. (Fortunately, their second show in New York is the day before a day I was going to take vacation for already anyway....)

I've seen erstwhile Dwarf Chris Knox on a number of occasions, and he puts on a hell of a show. This is going to be fun....

Posted at 7:57 AM
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Friday, June 24, 2005

The British are Coming

The BBC and Sirius have signed a deal for Sirius to air BBC's flagship pop and rock music station, BBC Radio 1. Pity they didn't do this back when John Peel was still alive; most of what airs on Radio 1 is crap compared to the World Service. (The report of this on Pitchfork Media's web site, where I first read the news, seems to lift a bunch of information straight from the web site of the Coalition to Save the BBC World Service, incidentally....)

Posted at 7:11 PM
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Monday, June 13, 2005

Where have I heard this before?

In news today, Michael Jackson promised not to rest, to leave no stone unturned, in his search of the amusement parks and secluded ranches of the world to find the real molester.

Posted at 11:17 PM
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Sunday, June 12, 2005

We Jam Econo

I had heard rumors that there was a documentary coming out about The Minutemen, one of the greatest bands of all time ever. Until tonight, though, I didn't know it was actually finished, and that it was going to be showing this coming week here in New Jersey. Thursday night, at Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park, We Jam Econo: The Story of The Minutemen. Mmm, incredible music and documentary film, two of my great passions mixed up like peanut butter and chocolate....

Maybe it will come to a town near you, too.

Posted at 11:34 PM
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Friday, June 10, 2005

How many languages?

This one's kind of frightening. Jason Kottke asks how many languages you have in your record collection. This could take weeks to figure out, but here's a first cut based on a couple of hours looking through my CDs.

  1. Albanian: 3 Mustaphas 3
  2. Amharic: Alemayehu Eshete, Mahmoud Ahmed, several other volumes in the Ethiopiques series
  3. Arabic: Khalifa Ould Eide and Dimi Mint Abba, Rasha, 3 Mustaphas 3
  4. Azmari: Volume 2 of Ethiopiques
  5. Balinese: Kecak
  6. Bamanan: Rokia Traore
  7. Bambara: Super Rail Band
  8. Basque: Negu Gorriak
  9. Belarusan: Pesnyarok, Neuro Dubel, Lyapis Trubestskoy
  10. Bemba: Alick Nkhata
  11. Beti: Les Têtes Brulées
  12. Bulgarian: Mystere de Voix Bulgares, Ivo Papasov
  13. Catalan: Dusminguet
  14. Chewa: Kamwendo Brothers Band, Alan Namoko & Chimvu Jazz, Kasambwe Brothers, Alick Nkhata
  15. Czech: Plastic People of the Universe, Matadors, Olympic, Vladimir Misik & Etc. Band, Sto Zvirat, Uz Jsme Doma
  16. Dioula: Les Zagazougou
  17. Efik: E. T. Mensah
  18. English: er....
  19. Estonian: Kirile Loo
  20. Ewe: E. T. Mensah
  21. Fante: E. T. Mensah, The Kumasi Trio
  22. Finnish: Värttina, dozens others
  23. French: Serge Gainsbourg, Francoise Hardy
  24. Fulani: Baaba Maal
  25. Ga: Saka Acquaye and His African Ensemble, E. T. Mensah
  26. German: Blumfeld, Wir Sind Helden, Die Goldenen Zitronen, Attwenger, Hundsbuam Miserablige, Die Knödel
  27. Greek: 3 Mustaphas 3
  28. Hausa: E. T. Mensah
  29. Hebrew: 3 Mustaphas 3
  30. Hindi: 3 Mustaphas 3
  31. Indonesian: Detty Kurnia, Sabah Habas Mustapha
  32. Italian: Alan Lomax Italian Treasury
  33. Japanese: Shonen Knife
  34. Kreyole: Coupe Cloue
  35. Latvian: Ingrid Karklins
  36. Lingala: Franco & O.K. Jazz, Tabu Ley Rochereau, Grand Kalle, Wendo Kolosoy
  37. Luhiya: Abana ba Nasery
  38. Luo: D. O. Misiani and Shirati Band
  39. Macedonian: 3 Mustaphas 3
  40. Magyar: Muszikas
  41. Malagasy: Tarika, Tarika Sammy, Jean Emilien, Jaojoby, Rossy
  42. Mandarin: Cui Jian
  43. Mandinka: Orchestra Baobab, Boubacar Traore
  44. Myene: Pierre Akendegue
  45. Ndebele: African Renaissance - Vol 5
  46. North Sotho: African Renaissance - Vol 5
  47. Norwegian: Kirsten Braten Berg, Annbjorg Lien
  48. Nubian: Ali Hassan Kuban
  49. Nyanja: Alan Namoko & Chimvu Jazz, Alick Nkhata
  50. Okinawan: An Chang Project, Shoukichi Kina
  51. Peul: Ali Farka Toure
  52. Pidgin: George Telek, Not Drowning, Waving
  53. Polish: Klinika, Magic Carpathian Band, Warsaw Village Band
  54. Portuguese: Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66, Os Mutantes
  55. Pulaar: Baaba Maal
  56. Punjabi: Bally Sagoo
  57. Rapa: The Tahitian Choir (Rapa Iti)
  58. Rom: 3 Mustaphas 3
  59. Russian: Vladimir Vysotsky, Kino, Aquarium, Sergey Kuriokhin, Popular Mechanics, Leningrad, Tri Debila
  60. Sami: Mari Boine Persen
  61. Serbo-Croatian: Boban Markovic Orkestar, Sviraj, 3 Mustaphas 3
  62. Shona: Thomas Mapfumo, Oliver Mtukudzi, James Chimombe, Bhundu Boys
  63. Sonrai: Ali Farka Toure
  64. South Sotho: African Renaissance - Vol 3
  65. Spanish: Manu Chao, Buena Vista Social Club, too many others to mention
  66. Swahili: Abana ba Nasery, Mlimini Park Orchestra, Simba Wanyika
  67. Swazi: African Renaissance - Vol 4
  68. Swedish: Garmarna
  69. Tajik: Oleg Fesov
  70. Tigrigna: Volume 6 of Ethiopiques
  71. Tolai: George Telek
  72. Tswana: African Renaissance - Vol 3
  73. Turkish: 3 Mustaphas 3
  74. Tuvan: Sainkho, Yat-Kha
  75. Twi: Koo Nimo
  76. Ukrainian: Vopli Vidopliasova, Oleg Skrypka, Mandry, Pawlo Humeniuk
  77. Urdu: Nusrat Ali Fateh Khan
  78. Uzbek: Yulduz Usmanova
  79. Venda: African Renaissance - Vol 2
  80. Vietnamese: Ho! Roady Music from Vietnam
  81. Wassoulou: Oumou Sangare
  82. Welsh: Gorky's Zygotic Mynci
  83. Wolof: Orchestra Baobab, Yousou N'Dour
  84. Xhosa: African Renaissance - Vol 4
  85. Yoruba: King Sunny Ade
  86. Zulu: Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Malathini & Mahotella Queens

Note that our albums are still in boxes, so there are probably more, and I couldn't reach some CDs. Plus, some of the CDs I did look at, I wasn't sure what languages they were in. So this is, at a rough guess, maybe 70-80% of the languages in my collection. Or maybe less.

Posted at 12:19 AM
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Sunday, June 5, 2005

Five musical questions

I'm not a big fan of memes running around the net, but Elaine is a nice person and tagged me, so it would be rude not to participate. What the heck.

Total volume of music on my computer:

28.52 GB. I would have more, but my iPod only holds 20 GB, and I'm running out of space on my main computer anyway. I figured I've ripped maybe a third of my CD collection. There's another 3.73 GB of files on my Linux server, accessible to iTunes throughout our house thanks to Rendezvous Bonjour, the technology Apple developed to allow autodiscovery of services on IP networks.

Last CD I bought:

I generally don't buy CDs one at a time. I just picked up four this afternoon:

Go-Betweens, Tallulah

My friend Shirley is flying from Ohio to NYC to see these guys next weekend in Brooklyn. Given her impeccable taste, I figured I should find out why.

Buck 65, This Right Here Is An EP

My favorite track on the most recent MetaFilter CD Swap CDs I received was "Wicked and Weird" by hayseed Canadian rapper Buck 65. It's hilarious stuff.

Sloan, A sides win: singles 1992-2005

Since I was going back and picking up on bands that never made it to the center of my radar screen, I figured I would buy this. Also, they're Canadian. Can't say I've ever heard them; just picked this one up on a whim.

Sufjan Stevens, Greetings From Michigan, The Great Lake State

I remember reading reviews of this a couple of years ago. As a born-and-bred Michigander, I couldn't pass this up. I have no idea what to expect from song titles like "Detroit, Lift Up Your Weary Head! (Rebuild! Restore! Reconsider!)".

If I hadn't gone out this afternoon, my list would consist of CDs from Germany or New Zealand, both of which I've received packages from in recent weeks. Best of the New Zealand CDs was Toy Love, Cuts, a comprehensive CD made up of this seminal band's one album, all their singles, and assorted rare tracks. Chris Knox and Alec Bathgate went on to have a long and interesting career as Tall Dwarfs after Toy Love imploded in the wake of many months confronting the indifference of Australian punters as they tried to break Australia. Australia broke them instead. The best of the German CDs is the anarchist band Kapelle Wlodek, Aus Glücklichen Tagen, which sounds like the soundtrack to a movie about Swiss clocks of the 1930s. Near as I can tell, this 1999 work is the only album they ever released. There's very little information about them on the web in English, but true to form, John Peel played them on his radio program back in 2000. There before everyone else again.

Favorite song from that album:

No favorites from the ones I bought today, since I haven't had a chance to listen to most of them.

From the Toy Love CD, it would have to be "Frogs", an apocolyptic tale of insanity that was different every time the band played it, and which gave free reign to Chris Knox's id, foreshadowing some of his work with Tall Dwarfs.

From the Kapelle Wlodek CD, "Wilkommen daheim!" It's not about anything, per se, given that it's instrumental.

Song playing now:

As I write this, Kapelle Wlodek's "Das Kino mit dem Gesicht zum Dorf!", because I had to figure out something to write about "Wilkommen daheim!" and I just let the CD keep playing. But if you go by what was playing when I first started writing this, it was "The House That Jack Kerouac Built" by The Go-Betweens.

Songs I listen to a lot or that mean a lot:

Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, "I Know You Will"

I met my wife because of the album this appears on.

Chris Knox, "Not Given Lightly"

Knox wrote this for his partner Barbara. It's one of the greatest love songs ever written. And he's willing to record a version especially for you. He did for our wedding, and all it took was to send him a few DVDs that he can't get easily in New Zealand.

Ass Ponys, "Dollar A Day"

I could include any of dozens of the Ass Ponys songs, all of which are incredibly well written, but this one gets my vote for including the immortal lines "In the right light she looks like a girl you remember from summer camp / who reached through your rib cage and tore out your heart with a postage stamp". I don't think there's a better songwriter around than Chuck Cleaver. Laura and I sing Ass Ponys songs to each other all the time.

Fela Anikulapo Kuti, "I.T.T. (International Thief Thief)"

This song was my entree into the world of African music. A classic indictment of the intersection of western corporations and third world politicians. From the interest generated by this record came a huge percentage of my record collection.

Log, "Who Is The Silliest Rossi?"

This cover of a Bird Nest Roys song was almost included on Log's first album Light Fuse And Get Away under the wrong name, but my friend Shirley (see above), their bass player and fellow kiwimusic fanatic, had the foresight to ask me what the name of the song was. I corrected their misimpression, and saved them from great public embarrassment. This album was the first, and I think only, time I've been thanked on a record cover, making it a very important record for me. (I think they thanked Laura as well.)

Okay, now it's my turn to irritate five other people by roping them in. Tara, Steve, Kelly, Deb, and pjm, go to it.

Posted at 10:47 PM
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Saturday, June 4, 2005

Small world, small town

Here's something that will probably be of interest only to members of my immediate family (and maybe not even to them). Danica Patrick, the woman who almost won the Indianapolis 500 this year, is from Roscoe, Illinois, a village of about 1500 people that I spent some of my teenage years in. She went to Hononegah High School in Rockton, the next town over, and the high school I attended for about seven months before we moved to New Jersey.

I can't say I knew her (or, since she was born after we moved away, that I knew her parents), but Roscoe is such a small place that I kind of notice when people from there hit the national stage.

Posted at 11:44 PM
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The perils of Photoshop

Oooh, I like this. Perennial right wing nut case slash NJ goober-natorial candidate Bret Schundler featured on the front page of his web site a photo of himself standing in front of a crowd of wildly cheering supporters. Only one problem: they're supporters of Howard Dean....

Posted at 8:25 PM
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This site is copyright © 2002-2017, Ralph Brandi. (E-mail address removed due to virus proliferation.)

What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio


There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

Sylvester (the Dorito Fiend), who died at Thanksgiving, 2000.


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