Now liking: Langhorne Slim

I can’t remember where I originally picked this band up – maybe on Sirius’ awesome radio station CBC 3 out of Canada. I’m liking Langhorne Slim’s self-titled album. Not sure how to describe him – but he fits in with people who like Spoon or Okerville River. Great instrumentation – fun album.

Check out the songs: Spinning Compass (iTunes) or Rebel Side of Heaven (iTunes).

Free Daytrotter Session Tracks.

 (Image links to Amazon MP3)

Random Ten: Thanksgiving 2008

I’ve done this list already, but through the magic of shuffle it’s all different.

Happy Thanksgiving and don’t knock me over on Black Friday.

  1. Give A Little Love – Rilo Kiley
  2. Give Me What I Want – The Donnas
  3. Never Give Up – Melissa Ferrick
  4. American Girl – Tom Petty
  5. Got to Give it Up – Marvin Gaye
  6. The Gift that Keeps Giving – Supper Furry Animals
  7. Can’t Give Up – Sebadoh
  8. Rainy Day Parade – Jill Sobule
  9. America – Throwing Muses
  10. We’re An American Band – Yo La Tengo
  11. If I Could Give You More – Harry Connick
  12. American Car – Mike Doughty
  13. Pilgrim – Josh Rouse
  14. Do Miss America – Ryan Adams
  15. American Crawl – Dave Garza
  16. Rose Parade – Elliott Smith
  17. American Terrorist – Lupe Fiasco
  18. Indian Summer – Chris Whitley
  19. Don’t Give Up – Peter Gabriel
  20. Parade – Lucious Jackson

Where is my Spenser for Hire on DVD?

Saturday nights from 1985 through 1988. Since I didn’t have a great social life, I got to watch most of these live. Spenser for Hire, based on the books by Robert B. Parker, would become one of my all time favorite shows. Along with Magnum P.I. and The Equalizer, it was a show that attempted to bring more to the private investigator genre than just guns, girls, and blood. Spenser was intelligent (he would tell people his name was spelled with an “S” like the poet); he more than cooked for his  psychiatrist girlfriend, he was a gourmet; and he was sympathetic to and helped those in need; and he carried a gun and could take care of himself. It’s every boy’s fantasy to be just like him. He had beautiful smart woman, could take on anyone – and wasn’t afraid to do so, and was  independent  in all ways.

Robert Urich was Spenser – he said before his untimely death that it was his favorite role. I read all of the books, and as I read them, it was as if the role was written for him. When the show was cancelled (in part due to the high cost of filming on scene in Boston – part of the show’s character), he went on a tour to try and revive it. There were 3 post cancellation movies that were good, but by then, it was gone.

Then there was Hawk, played with a fevered heat by Avery Brooks – he wasn’t a bad guy, but he certainly wasn’t good. To this day I want a six series BMW like Hawk drove and to look as good in sunglasses and a shaved head. And even though he was a thug, he was a smart guy and was principled.

What Parker did was take the stereotype, and turn it on it’s head. The P.I. that quoted poetry, kicked ass, solved the mystery, and made it home in time to cook dinner for his girl. If only I could literally kick ass.

I’m not sure if the show would hold up to watching it some 20 years later. Some shows are better left to the memory (as I found out with Magnum).

I’ll have to let you know – I can’t own the DVDs, but AOL Video does have Spenser for Hire on demand. Let’s hope I don’t ruin the memory.

The Post Election Blahs

Two weeks after the big day, which was just a week after my Phils won a World Series, and I am struggling to find things to write about. I could blame work or home, but I’ve found reasons to write before. It hasn’t been for lack of subjects; one of my favorite subjects is customer service, and I have good and bad saved up to write about. You’d think that with my guests blogging for me over the past couple of months, that I would be rearing to go.

Quite the opposite. Everything seems to pale in comparison. Everything seems to be less important. I only half joke about 2012 – but I can wait.

One thing I haven’t done is formally thank all the guest bloggers for participating. I truly believe it helped. It was our own little piece. I am happy we had a chance to make A Rubber Door more of a community; less me talking at everyone, and more talking with people.

I’ve thought about changing this blog to arubberdoor.com and making it a group blog, but I realize how much of a  commitment  that would be, and at least with my blog if it’s silent I have no one to blame but myself. That said, I will make it a normal practice to invite others to write here. And maybe some will decide to slum it here.

Thanks to (in order of appearance):

Their posts can be found forever at the Not Spencer Archives.

Anyone own a Zenith TV?

My parents have a 28 year-old Zenith television in their family room. It had space age technology – like a phone built into the TV (that was more annoying than helpful).  Zenith was the company that invented the modern remote control. The idea of buying a Zenith television these days is more than quaint, it’s near impossible. The Zenith brand is now owned by the Korean electronics manufacturer LG and distributed in some stores as a lower end brand.  The same fate as the RCA and GE brands. Once a manufacturing center of electronics, most, if not all, consumer electronics are now built outside of the U.S. In search of cheaper labor and better products, these companies left the U.S.

Ladies and Gentlemen, there lies the fate of the big three U.S. automakers: Chrysler, Ford, and GM; and I say let them die.

The CEOs of the big three along with their potential partner in crime, the head of the United Auto Workers union, showed up to beg the U.S. government for more money. It didn’t go well. Due to years of mismanagement, greed, arrogance, these automakers are no competition to the likes of Honda and Toyota. Add that to the fat cat contracts the UAW backed them into signing, they can’t do anything about it.

Congress should turn them away and tell them to figure it out on their own. If they can’t, then it’s capitalist darwinism. Everyone knows the arguments as to why they shouldn’t get any help – building more and more SUVs while Toyota was building hybrids. Fighting against increased fuel standards. Building cars with laughable quality. In short, they’ve made poor business decision after poor business decision. But that isn’t the reason they shouldn’t get help. The government was at least complicit in their failure by bowing to the pressure of lobbyist, and not leading. No the reason they don’t deserve help is that they haven’t changed, therefore any money we give them is good money after bad.

Why do I say they haven’t improved?

Fuel Efficiency

Toyota is prepping their third generation of the Prius, sells a hybrid Highlander, along with subcompacts like the Yaris and Scion XD.  Honda has the Civic Hybrid, a hydrogen car, and a lineup of cars known for their fuel efficiency. The americans are rushing to catch up. Ford: one hybrid car, the Ford Escape SUV (with it’s Toyota engine) and another on the way.  GM are all giant SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade or mild hybrids (which means they get slightly better mileage than a regular car). Chrysler? They barely have a fuel efficient car, much less a hybrid.  Their first two hybrids will be the mega-SUVs the Durango and the Aspen.

Quality

American cars get a bad rap – I drive a Mercury Milan, a Ford product that gets great reviews for quality, that said, the good cars are few and far between. Case in point, the Dodge Avenger – built to take advantage of consumer’s penchant for retro styling, it looks great. It also has been recalled 6 times in it’s first year.  And it’s equipment isn’t any better – a sporty looking car that comes with drum brakes? Buying this car is a waste of money. And while American cars are better, it’s faulty praise due to the history of American cars (look up the Ford Pinto).

 

It’s time the federal government take the training wheels off of the bike. We need to let these companies compete without on even ground, and if they can’t, then they fail. Continuing to prop them up after they make bad business decisions only guarantees that they will continue to make bad business decisions. I believe that these companies can become relevant again, but they need to get smaller, faster, and smarter. This won’t happen with the safety net they now have.

 


Throwing Muses – Bright Yellow Gun

I always find it amusing that I gravitated to Throwing Muses in the early 90′s and never listened to the Pixies for another 10 years after discovering the Muses. Throwing Muses University (Amazon MP3) was a high point in the early 90′s indie-rock thing that was happening.

Here’s Throwing Muses most known song “Bright Yellow Gun”. (I cringe about the “Bright Yellow Gun” t-shirt I often wore to work). Kristin Hersh is doing her snake charmer dance proud here.

Throwing Muses is touring again and will be at The World Cafe Live Tuesday, March 10, 2009.