The Onion On My Internet Belt

Archive for the ‘Essays’ Category

Book Signing at The Source 2 pm Oct 19, 2017 (and a midweek mix)!

Sorry for the brief intermission between posts. Been working on the house so I was away from my usual posting routine due to these projects.

But this post isn’t about remodeling! It’s about a book signing!

If you are in St. Paul, Minnesota on Thursday, Oct 19 (2017), you should stop by and say hello. I’ll be at The Source (2058 Snelling Ave N, 55113) starting at 2 pm, writing my name in books with my friends Dan and Kate.

source newsletter

Event details straight from The Source’s own newsletter!


You can find out more about the book here
You can also check out the Facebook event page here

And since I have a couple banked up, a mid-week podcast too…

Listen to and/or download this podcast! The Funkomaticjamatron Presents… originally mixed the week of 10.19.17

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
Maneater – Hall & Oates.
Party All the Time – Eddie Murphy.
Take Me Home Tonight (ft Ronnie Spector) – Eddie Money.
Take Me Home – Phil Colins.
Cruel Summer – Bananarama.
New Sensation – INXS.
Run To You – Bryan Adams.
Your Love – Outfield.
Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) – Eurythmics.
Material Girl – Madonna.
A View to a Kill – Duran Duran.
The Politics Of Dancing – Re-Flex.
You Can’t Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want) – Joe Jackson.
Everybody Wants To Rule The World – Tears For Fears.
Once In A Lifetime – Talking Heads.


In Print, Banality, and the mix for 9-29-17

If you are here that must mean that you are tolerant of my writing. Perhaps you are even here because you actually enjoy my writing. If either of those are true, you will be interested to know that I have a story in a book soon to be published (Oct 19, 2017). Proceeds from the sale of the book go to benefit the MS Society so if you aren’t doing it for me, do it for good. Pre-order here!


Dan Takes 30 for the Team.

Another thing to listen to: This is the BBC program called “In Our Time” which is a social sciences podcast. This episode is about the philosopher/political scientists Hannah Arendt. The section that struck me most is about 25 minutes in, on the banality of evil, and its relevance and accuracy in today’s political situation.

Listen to and/or download this podcast! The Funkomaticjamatron Presents… originally mixed the week of 9.29.17

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
Gone Gone Gone – Trip Shakespeare – Across The Universe.
Nightwatchman – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Hard Promises.
Little Dreamer – Van Halen – Van Halen.
One Rainy Wish – The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Axis: Bold As Love.
New Lines On Love – Sniff ‘N’ The Tears – The Best Of Sniff ‘n’ The Tears.
Night Flight – Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti [Disc 2].
Sleepy Time Time – Cream – Those Were The Days [Disc 1].
Ballin’ – Santana – Viva Santana! [Disc 1].
Blue Desire – The Silencers – A Letter from St. Paul.
Cat And Mouse – Gerry Rafferty – Sleepwalking.
Fascination Street – The Cure – Disintegration.
Oceans – Pearl Jam – Ten.

Rant, directions, and the mix for 5-5-17

I’m going to start with a rant so skip to the next paragraph if that isn’t your style. First off I’m in a foul mood because of the vote yesterday in Congress to move ahead with 45s disastrous “health care” bill. You see those pictures from after the vote? All old white people celebrating. The greed, hatefulness, and vast hypocrisy of it is staggering. I would shout more about it but I have a strong suspicion that if you are reading this you are in the choir already. Second, there is a process my place of work does once every few months and yet my coworkers can’t figure the fucking thing out. They literally have a 9” x 13” piece of paper covered in wonderfully precise instructions and act surprised EVERY TIME when I point out they are doing it wrong. Plus side: This is the very last time this process happens on paper. Next time there will be a whole new set of questions but at least 1500 less papers to shuffle.

I like media studies so here is a thing that occurred to me just a few days ago. The marketing juggernaut that is Disney/Star Wars has new fodder these days. As such there are a lot more images and merch from the franchise around. One interesting side effect of merchandising the Star Wars movies is that on balance there are more images of evil than of good. My guess is that since the bad guys all wear masks, it is easier to license a mask than someone’s actual image (you know, a real human being’s face). I find it at least a little dark amusement that the push to make the most cash by a giant company normalizes images of evil as commonplace. Thought experiment: How much more often do you see Darth Vader or a storm trooper instead of Luke, Leia, Finn, Poe, Han, or Rey?

In a scant eight days I am taking part in the MS Ride again. If you enjoy the weekly mixes a good way to show it is to donate to my fundraising efforts. Some of you loyal readers/listeners have already and I do vastly appreciate it! My fund raising page is here. I am very pleased to say I have raised $878 so far.

Listen to and/or download this podcast! The Funkomaticjamatron Presents… originally mixed the week of 5.5.17

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
Mrs. Cold – Kings of Convenience – Declaration of Dependence.
Mrs. Jack’s Last Stand – Adrian Legg – Guitar For Mortals.
Miss Gradenko – The Police – Synchronicity.
Look At The Lady – Trip Shakespeare – Are You Shakespearienced?
Mr. Soul – Buffalo Springfield – Retrospective: The Best of Buffalo Springfield.
Mr. Bellows – John Mellencamp – Mr. Happy Go Lucky.
Mr. Nichols – Coldcut with Saul Williams – Sound Mirrors.
Mr. Jones – Elvin Jones – Poly-Currents.
The Gentleman Is a Dope – Count Basie & Sarah Vaughan – Count Basie/Sarah Vaughan.
Sophisticated Lady – Billie Holliday – Compact Jazz Billy Holiday.
Oh Lady Be Good – Benny Goodman – Rare Recordings: 1935-1936 [Live].
Tally-Ho, Mr. Basie! – Count Basie & The Kansas City 7 – Count Basie & The Kansas City 7.
Lady Day And John Coltrane – Gil Scott-Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.
Little Miss Lover – The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Axis: Bold As Love.
Lady Cab Driver – Prince – 1999.
Blood, Milk And Sky (Miss September Mix) – White Zombie – Supersexy Swingin’ Sounds.

Guest Post! Kara talks music.

Today I’ve got something different for you: A guest post! My friend Kara and I have been talking music via twitter for years. When I posted my recent mixes of strange things I had come across in the previous year, Kara asked to chime in and I was glad to hear her thoughts. So, without any further ado…

Stuck in a Post-punk Rut
By Kara Martinez Bachman

I’ve been following Cory on social media for many years. Throughout those years, he’s always impressed me with his interest in–and passion for–music. Whether he’s sharing Twitter photos of the vinyl he’s spinning that day or blogging his latest music playlist, Cory stands out in my mind as a real music aficionado.

Recently, one of his blog posts caused me to ponder my music tastes of late, and truly realize how as each year passes, I become more and more resistant to new music. Cory impresses me with his willingness to stretch his tastes into various genres, and with the breadth of his collection, spanning from pop to classical.

He made me ask the question: why am I so set in my ways?

I, too, still own some of my old vinyl. I’d made the dire mistake of selling most of it off for a quarter apiece sometime in the late ‘90s (Why? WHY?), but I’ve still got a hundred or so of the old records that were either too obscure or too unpopular for the garage sale bargain-shoppers to snag (oh yes indeed, they went after my Prince and U2 with a vengeance).


When I recently spent some time sorting through and reading the liner notes on the old albums of thirty years ago, I was struck by how little my tastes have changed over the years. Back in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, I’d always loved what was on college radio — XTC, Siouxie and the Banshees, The Cure. Now it’s called “post-punk,” but of course, back then, we just called it “good.”

I’m not sure what attracted me. I could relate to the sometimes tech-infused melancholy of Dark Wave, and loved the aesthetic of the British New Wave and New Romantic movements. I enjoyed the popular and sometimes-maligned stuff (Duran Duran, Depeche Mode) as well as the lesser known aspects that lurked at the edges, at least here in the U.S. (think Echo and the Bunnymen, Aztec Camera).

As I looked over these old records, I realized how little has changed. I don’t have the time to listen to music much anymore. As a writer, I can’t work with the background distraction of music. But when I do, the playlist is sure to be from the more calming side of the old Dark Wave genre: Cocteau Twins. The Cure. New Order. Perhaps some Morrissey tossed in for good measure.


Unlike Cory–who has obviously stayed open over the years to a wide-ranging, eclectic playlist–anything “new” on my playlist somehow hearkens back to the same styles I used to love.

For instance, I’ll listen to Muse, which often has a symphonic post-punk sound and sometimes reminds me of Queen. I’ve enjoyed The Killers, which — let’s be honest — may as well be The Cure had Robert Smith been born into Mormonism. In perhaps the weirdest of the recent choices, I’ve got music by Adam Lambert, who at times feels like a fun throwback to the over-the-top pop years of the 1980s. Likewise, I actually like a few songs by Pink. But sadly, that’s the extent of my interest in this decade’s music.

In every case, I find my tastes looking back in a straight trajectory to the late 1980s. Never looking forward, and rarely glancing to the side. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to appreciate jazz and blues more, but I’m for the most part an old fogie. Kinda closed, and jealous of those who can stretch themselves into the nooks and crannies of music instead of always walking down the same exact aisle.


I wish it weren’t so. I wish I could embrace the new, or, at least, the “new to me.” But I’m set in my ways. I’m like the older people we grew up with, who tuned into the “golden oldies” stations that reminded them of sock hops. Except for me, the sock hops would be all-ages local punk shows, or high school dances where everybody flooded the floor when “Don’t You Forget About Me” came on.

I’m not ashamed of my penchant for nostalgia, but recognize its limitations. I wish my playlist were more inclusive. A little more like Cory’s.

Kara Martinez Bachman is author of the new humor essay collection, Kissing the Crisis: Field Notes on Foul-Mouthed Babies, Disenchanted Women and Careening into Middle Age published by Quill Driver Books. Her work has been heard on NPR radio and has appeared in dozens of publications, including The Writer, Funny Times, and the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Find out more by visiting

Sharks, Clay, and the mix for 1-15-16

Among many things, growing up and into adulthood means watching your heroes die. I remember when I heard the news that Hunter Thompson had committed suicide. I was reading “The Great Shark Hunt” but could never turned another page it that book.

Yesterday I was turning over a metaphor in my mind. Humans have a long history of being described as clay. In that mode, we can harden and shatter, we can be watered down to nothing. We can be formed, added to, subtracted from. I pictured many forms of clay, started as figures, and as they aged, pieces were removed and at the same time pieces were added but these simultaneous tasks left each figured deformed but not lessened. I turned the lights off on this workshop when I considered the accelerating deformity of my own clay form.

Both David Bowie and Alan Rickman died this week, both at age 69, both from cancer. I am saddened by this news as I found their complexity, pathos, and influence to be compelling.

Meanwhile, in a midsized town (for middle southern Minnesota), at the age of 92, my last grandparent is dying from an infection in his foot. My Dad called last night to tell me the news. Now it’s lessening options and waiting.

Electronic hard scrabble bass noise. Come get some.

Embed from Getty Images

Listen to and/or download this podcast! The Funkomaticjamatron Presents… Originally mixed the week of 1.15.16

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
Saints Row the Third – Malcolm Kirby Jr – Saints Row: The Third [Soundtrack].
Ignition Full Thrust – Debonaire & Exzakt – 25 Years Strong.
More Lazers – edit – The GTame Is Not Over / More Lazers single.
Beauty Of The Unhidden Heart – The Glitch Mob – Love Death Immortality.
The New Soma (Bass Science Remix) – STS9 – Peaceblaster (The New Orleans Make It Right Remixes).
Timestretch (West Coast Lo Fi Remix) – Bassnectar – Timestretch.
Encom Part 2 (Remixed By Com Truise) – Daft Punk – TRON: Legacy Reconfigured.
Sweden – Two Fingers – Stunt Rhythms.
Difference (Featuring Franky Perez) – The Crystal Method – The Crystal Method.
Crunch Rhythm – Two Fingers – Stunt Rhythms.
4 bit 9d api+e+6 – Aphex Twin – Syro.
Anvil Vapre (Second Scepe) – Autechre – Tri Repetae++ [Disc 2].