The Onion On My Internet Belt

This week’s effort was a real mess. Somewhere along the line I screwed up the file structure of how I build and track mixes. Would have been quicker to just start a new playlist than fix this one. It’s a strange thing to look at your own work and not know what a previous version of yourself meant by it.

Missed a couple weeks there for mundane reasons. Nothing untoward, just not enough time to pull something together and then not at the computer on Friday to post. If you feel put out by two empty weeks, let me know. Maybe I can do something special to make it up to you.

Last week I came into a surprise treasure trove of old new stock cassette tapes. Like 60 of them. Some good ones too. So, if you pine for the days of tape hiss, let me know and just maybe you’ll get a good old fashioned mixtape in the mail (providing you vouch that you have a working tape player). Also in that box was an unopened 5 Pack of minidiscs.

There is hope in the air. It’s a nice change of pace even if there are many miles left to go.

I fear that once I make a safe return to public interaction that the first few people who humor me (or feel trapped by Minnesotan Conversational Conventions) will have to endure me talking way too much and way too fast followed by random overwhelmed tears. Not sure how to avoid this, but I am aware of its probability.

In general terms I’m getting punchy. I’ve been sending out postcards whereby I make little labels that say “FART” and put them behind people, like speech bubbles. It’s the most joy I’ve had in the last year.

Listen to and/or download this podcast! The Funkomaticjamatron Presents 2-26-21

NOTE: New “The Funkomaticjamatron Presents…” podcasts are generally posted on Fridays. The show archives are around ten shows deep. Beyond that, if the link isn’t active, the mix has been deleted to make way for new material.

 Song – Artist – Album
 Talk to Strangers - Saul Williams - Saul Williams.
 Waiting for the Beat to Kick In - Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip – Angles.
 Eyesdown – Bonobo - Black Sands.
 Put Your Sad Down - School Of Seven Bells - SVIIB Ep.
 Brave Beyond The Call - Walt Mink – Colossus.
 How Wrong Can You Be? - Lloyd Cole – Antidepressant.
 Eminence Front - The Who – It’s Hard.
 To Live and Die in L.A. - Wang Chung - To Live and Die in L.A. Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.
 Estranged - Guns N' Roses - Use Your Illusion II. 

Making these mixes is a branching path. I get ideas for themes, or I hear a song I like, or I think of a song that resonates somewhere in me, and I starting piling up other songs that have something to do with that original song. This week there were three complete paths. One was discarded entirely upon completion as it is a theme I have visited before. One has been tucked away. It may or may not see the light of day. Doesn’t matter if it doesn’t surface. Everything is a remix from the same pool. I’ve done about 250 of these mixes and I while the pool is wide and deep, I think I revisit many of the same spots over and over. Anyway, you can thank my friend CRZ, who does a fun show on KFAI FM called “The Dollar Bin” for the David Holmes track in the mix.

Having an aggressive cold snap here in the Twin Cities. So far, through the vast bulk of the pandemic, I have gotten outside and walked every day. Being outside does me some good. I have the gear, but not so sure I have the motivation, for the current temps.

I read today that this week the number of vaccinations was ten times the number of new infections. That is some good news. I’ve also heard that some of my friend’s parents have gotten their first shot. My Mom will get her first dose today. We still have months of lock down ahead, but the tide is turning.

Here is a helpful article on mask wearing via MPR.

Listen to and/or download this podcast! The Funkomaticjamatron Presents 2-5-21

NOTE: New “The Funkomaticjamatron Presents…” podcasts are generally posted on Fridays. The show archives are around ten shows deep. Beyond that, if the link isn’t active, the mix has been deleted to make way for new material.

 Song – Artist – Album
 Love from a Stone - School Of Seven Bells - Lafaye (Single).
 Bring Me the Disco King - David Bowie – Reality.
 Rutti – Slowdive - The Shining Breeze (Disc 2).
 Bermuda – Fluke – Risotto.
 No Man's Land - David Holmes - Pi (Soundtrack).
 Protection - Massive Attack - Singles 90/98 [Disc 6].
 6 Underground (Fila Brazillia Remix #1) - Sneaker Pimps - Abstract Vibes 2 More Vibes. 

Been feeling very cooped up this week. I’m sure many of you feel the same. I, for one, don’t like it and am running thin on ways to combat the walls being so close.

This year two Christmas cards came back as having a dead address. One I was able to revive. A couple of short texts back and forth and the spreadsheet was updated. I wasn’t sure I should reach out as I haven’t had a meaningful conversation with this friend since their wedding some years back, but the thin silver thread is still intact, such as it is, and that is a comfort.

The other is more enigmatic. I’ve been sending this friend postcards about every other month for almost two years so the return was a surprise, but then a sad thought occurred to me. I bet a year’s worth of postcards are sitting in a dead letter office somewhere out west because they lack a return address. More confusing still is that I got a text on December 25th saying simply “Merry Christmas”. I texted back to no answer, but I wasn’t expecting one. When the letter came back a couple weeks later, I texted again. A day or two later I called. It was the default voicemail message so no indication of its ownership. I emailed too. Silence on all fronts. I’m worried about this person, but I think I have done what is reasonable and in my power to do. I can make some guesses, but I think the way is lost.

Been thinking about all the people that have come and gone on the various social media platforms I’ve been on. The people, that for s sliver of time, were regular conversationalists, that shared a common interest. Then one day aren’t there. No more posts or an account erased. I bet there are more people that fall into this shadowy range of friendship than is healthy to recall.

This same thing used to happen working retail. Work with someone day in day out for a year, then you never see them again, no chance to say “It was good to cross paths” or “Good luck on what comes next” or even just “goodbye”.

Reader, I am not good at navigating these waters. I don’t know how to be ok with these small (and sometimes not so small) losses.

There is a part of growing older (but not confined to growing old) that necessitates these temporary moorings, these stop overs with other vagabonds that you know only a little about and that fade quickly from sight as the current rushes you onward. I often feel that there are not going to be any shores as good as the ones I have already walked, that the stops will be shorter, rockier, less plentiful fishing under cloudier skies. Not sure if that is a natural state that all travelers have or if it is peculiar to me. I’m inclined to the first option.

Meanwhile, on other shores, there is hopeful news in terms of new COVID cases across Minnesota continuing to decline as vaccination rates continue to increase. I do wish there was a better plan to get the most vulnerable folks to the front of the line and not an ad hoc lottery system, but its hard to pivot from no plan to a good plan.

A sad note of context: There have now been more COVID deaths than US troops that died in WW2. Another way to understand that number is, if these deaths all happened in a single spot, it would equal the entirety of Minneapolis vanishing. That is a hard problem to get traction on as fast as we all want.

Listen to and/or download this podcast! The Funkomaticjamatron Presents 1-29-21

NOTE: New “The Funkomaticjamatron Presents…” podcasts are generally posted on Fridays. The show archives are around ten shows deep. Beyond that, if the link isn’t active, the mix has been deleted to make way for new material.

 Song – Artist – Album
 You And Me And P.B. Shelley - Ogden Nash - Ogden Nash Reads Ogden Nash.
 Miss You - The Rolling Stones - Some Girls.
 Real Real Gone - Van Morrison – Enlightenment.
 My Old Friends – Emot - Make You Electric.
 No Light, No Light - Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials.
 I Would Crash This Ship To Save My Friend - The Sevateem - The Caves.
 All My Friends - LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver.
 Still A Friend of Mine – Incognito – Positivity.
 Miss You Less, See You More – Faithless - No Roots.
 Missing (Ultramarine Remix) - Everything But The Girl - Missing: The Full Remix [EP].
 Galaxy of Emptiness - Beth Orton - Trailer Park (Bonus Track).
 #11 from "Pictures Of \The Gone World"  - Lawrence Ferlinghetti - A Coney Island Of The Mind. 

The world has been a busy place as of late.

There is too much to talk about in the smallness of this space. Too much to process in the monologue that happens here in a poorly lit corner of the digital stage. These events have been big enough to shake the foundations of my nation. The effects will take a lifetime to play out, both for good and for bad.

400,000 dead and counting across the country from COVID. 6000 in Minnesota alone.

White supremacy at the public level not seen so clearly in the harsh light of day since perhaps the Civil War.

I have learned that I am not well equipped to deal with grief. We all have a lot of mourning to do, a lot of reckoning, a lot of work ahead.

Yet, there is change in the air. And perhaps hope too. It will take time but I hope the will of people dedicated to stamping out hate is hardened and ready to get to work.

Listen to and/or download this podcast! The Funkomaticjamatron Presents Calendar 1-22-21

NOTE: New “The Funkomaticjamatron Presents…” podcasts are generally posted on Fridays. The show archives are around ten shows deep. Beyond that, if the link isn’t active, the mix has been deleted to make way for new material.

 Song – Artist – Album
 January V - Max Roach - M'Boom.
 The First Flower Of Spring (February 1856) For Mary Seacole - Courtney Pine - Europa.
 Vehicle - Ides Of March - Vehicle.
 Sometimes It Snows In April - Prince & The Revolution - Parade.
 The Lusty Month of May - Julie Andrews & Camelot Ensemble - Camelot soundtrack.
 Greens Of June - case/lang/veirs - case/lang/veirs.
 Unruly July - Underworld - From
 August Moon - Ottmar Liebert - Barcelona Nights: The Best Of Ottmar Liebert Volume One.
 Blue September - Gretchen Lieberum - Brand New Morning.
 Be My Druidess - Type O Negative - October Rust.
 House of Tomorrow (November Mix) - Twilight Archive - House of Tomorrow single.
 December - Collective Soul - Collective Soul. 

This week’s effort is by request.

I like Christmas music. Not in some ironic way, but generally as a genre, and have a strange and strangely large collection of seasonal LPs going. Here is a photo gallery of most of them :

This collection is stowed in my office. I trudge them (and a complete stereo system with two pairs of speakers) out, set it up, and run Christmas vinyl for a month in the office. People dig it. Even during lockdown I’ve picked up three more LPs. It’s possible I have a problem. Many of the versions included in this week’s mix are ripped from vinyl. I always gotta do it the hard way plus the genre is considered to be kind of disposable. Did you know James Brown made three Christmas albums? When was the last time you heard any of those tracks on the radio or XM? As such some of the stuff that makes me smile is just not readily available in the digital era.

Most traditional Christmas music is pretty simple. That’s on purpose. It’s suppose to be sung by a group of people during a church service. This simplicity (and my ability to carry the tunes) is perhaps why I like it so much. In terms of themes, the idea of peace, joy, and reconciliation are all themes I like too.

A note on the traditional Christmas song “I Wonder As I Wonder”. My Dad pointed out that in the song the narrator says “for poor, ornery people like you and like I”. We thought that was a really funny word choice! The idea that Jesus died for people who are mean spirited and puglisitic was kust so out of keeping with the mournful spirit of the tune. We chuckled about it for years. About ten years ago I picked up a “Firestone Presents…” Christmas album featuring Julie Andrews. On the back of the album, which featured this song, the lyrics were printed. Lo and behold we had heard correctly, but it was printed “as poor, or’n’ry people” as in short for “poor, ordinary, people” to keep the meter. Huh. Pretty poor day you don’t learn something.

The mix below of course has several novelty songs in play. I enjoy a good Christmas comedy song. In this list a particular favorite of mine (first heard on the Dr. Demento show in roughly 1987, and which I now own on 78 rpm) is Yogi Yorgesson. The flip side is “I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas” which is also very good. Not included in the mix is this tune, which I genuinely enjoy for the high weird factor:

Of the many sub-genres of Holiday tunes I think my favorite continues to be “Horny Christmas”. We’ve got Kay Martin & Her Body Guards along with Clarence Carter covering those bases.

If you are looking for an album that rides the line between comedy and classic, I would readily suggest Ana Gasteyer’s 2019 release “Sugar & Booze”. Here a song from the album that makes me laugh:

This particular song is, for my money, the greatest modern era Christmas song. It’s kiddo’s favorite song as far as I can tell. He knows all the words and sings it to himself (and his classmates/friends) on the regular.

Turns out I could keep going on this topic for quite some time but this post already has too many paragraphs and links so I’ll wrap up with this: The Chet Atkins tune is from a 1961 release (yes, I pulled it from vinyl) with a fantastic cover and it’s beautiful simplicity highlights just how awful the Elvis version is.

That is some CLASSIC cover art right there!

Listen to and/or download this podcast! The Funkomaticjamatron Presents A Christmas Spectacular 12-18-20

NOTE: New “The Funkomaticjamatron Presents…” podcasts are generally posted on Fridays. The show archives are around ten shows deep. Beyond that, if the link isn’t active, the mix has been deleted to make way for new material.

 Song – Artist – Album
 Do You Hear What I Hear? - Andy Williams.
 White Christmas - Bing Crosby.
 The Wren (Am Dreoilin) - Little Dublin Singers.
 Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow - Lena Horne.
 Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - John Denver & The Muppets.
 'Zat You, Santa Claus? - Louis Armstrong.
 Christmas in Hollis - Run D.M.C.
 Outer Space Santa - Lawrence Welk's Little Band ft Janet, Brian Cubby & The Lennon Sisters.
 R2D2 We Wish You A Merry Christmas - Org. Star Wars Cast.
 Jingle Bells - The Mistletoe Disco Band.
 Gospel Medley: Jesu Joy Of Man's Desire / Jesus Is My Kind Of People / Jesus Is Just     All Right With Me - Gladys Knight & The Pips.
 Sunny Bank (I Saw Three Ships) - Julie Andrews with Andre Previn.
 Come, O Come Emmanuel - Andrew Sackett: Tewkesbury Abbey Choir.
 Silver and Gold - Burl Ives.
 Blue Christmas - Chet Atkins.
 Snowfall - Enoch Light.
 Skating - Vince Guaraldi Trio.
 I Wanna Do More Than Whistle - Lawrence Welk and His Orchestra.
 Merry Christmas Baby - Chuck Berry.
 Back Door Santa - Clarence Carter.
 Santa's Doing the Horizontal Twist - Kay Martin & Her Body Guards.
 Yingle Bells - Yogi Yorgesson.
 Sleigh Ride - Stu Hamm.
 Jingle Bells - Jimmy Smith.
 What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? - Ella Fitzgerald.
 God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen - Oscar Peterson.
 Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto - James Brown.
 Oh Come All Ye Faithful - Rosemount High School Choirs.
 I Wonder As I Wander - James Galway.
 Silent Night  - Mormon Tabernacle Choir.