Friday, October 31, 2008

Appliances-SFB: For Kids' Sake

As any regular readers of this blog are undoubtedly aware, I once played in a group called Appliances-SFB. For me, playing with A-SFB was an experience unlike any I've had before or since. Once drummer Meredith Young joined the group, we played with the same personnel for, I think, 16 years or so. When a group plays together for that long, it develops a level of familiarity which can resemble musical telepathy. Every show we played was an experiment in chaos. Sometimes we were able to control the chaos, sometimes the chaos controlled us, and in those cases we would follow it and see where it led. The end result was sometimes brilliant, sometimes not, but it was always an adventure and an awful lot of fun. Well, whatever, it's all ancient history now.

I recently acquired a copy, on DVD, of a video made in, I think, 1991 for the show Alternative Playground on Madison's public access station, WYOU. I thought it would be easy to edit it into individual songs and post it on the intertubes. Hah! I assumed it would be easy to find people who knew how to perform such feats of digital wizardry. Hah! I had no idea how difficult it would be to figure out how to transfer from DVD to any other video format. At first, I didn't even know it was necessary. In the absence of actual instruction, advice or information, through trial and error I have finally, I hope, succeeded in getting one song edited and encoded in a format where the audio and video will actually play in sync once uploaded. (From the previous sentence, you might surmise that other attempts were made which were less than successful. If so, you are correct.)

It's not the best performance, and I'm not entirely sure what the videographers were attempting to achieve, but here it is in all its imperfect glory. I hope to post other songs from this session as I get around to editing and encoding them for the intertubes. For the time being, this is, as far as I know, an Enriched Geranium exclusive. I hope you enjoy Appliances-SFB playing For Kids' Sake.

[Note: Appliances-SFB was a LOUD rock band. As such, it simply isn't possible to achieve anything remotely resembling the live experience unless you play this loud. Very loud. Ear-splittingly, chest-thumpingly, wall-rattlingly loud. I know, we're all older than we used to be (funny how that works) so don't hurt yourselves. Since this recording was mixed for television back in the days before home entertainment centers with surround sound and stuff were very common, if you listen to it through a good sound system, the bass will be louder than it was intended to be relative to the other instruments. Using the vocals as a reference point, I think the bass is too loud, the drums just about right and the guitar and keyboards too quiet, but, unfortunately, that can't be helped.]

Appliances-SFB are/were:
Tom Laskin: vocals
William Siebecker: guitar
Meredith Young: drums
Bill Feeny: keyboards
Ed Feeny: bass

Unfortunately, I don't know the names of all the people responsible for the making of this video. To the best of my recollection, Frank Miale was one of the producers/mixers/somethingers. There were others. My apologies to all those who are uncredited. If I find out more names, I will add them.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

It's baa-aaack!

It was up. It was down. Now it's up again. Enjoy it while you can.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Dang. I posted a video in an attempt to lighten things up a little bit, and the video has been removed from the YouTubes. It showed Adolf Hitler and his staff planning a party. The band they had hired had to cancel. Someone on Hitler's staff hired a jazz band instead, and Hitler hates jazz. Humorous dialogue, in subtitle form, ensued. I thought it was pretty funny. At least Jess Wundrun got a chance to see it. Sorry about that.

Adolf's Party

Sorry if that last post was too much of a downer. I'm very concerned about the upcoming election and hope that if enough other people are concerned, it won't be stolen.

Now it's time for a little levity! Apparently, the following video has been making the rounds amongst jazz musicians. Thanks to my bandmate Greg for passing it on to me. Warning! Contains adult language.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

McCain will "win" the election.

I hate to say it, but McCain is going to "win" the election. At least, if you can call stealing the election winning. I hope I'm wrong, but I fear I am not. The following video gives details of how the election in 2004 was stolen as well as evidence that it is happening again. For example, early voters in West Virginia are reporting that their votes cast for Obama showed up on the computer screens as votes cast for McCain. Also included is a report of photographic evidence that in 2004, in 18 precincts in Ohio, approximately 200,000 ballots for Kerry were doctored to show votes for Bush. These ballots, despite a court order to the contrary, were later destroyed. Sarah Palin and others belittle such findings as "backward finger-pointing." Many people, particularly those who were happy with the end result (republicans) as well as those who don't want to believe such things are possible, are quick to say we should get over it and move on. As I see it, if there is definite proof, and it sounds like there is, that illegal activity took place, the responsible parties should be in prison and steps should be taken to guarantee this never happens again. Here is Mark Crispin Miller on Democracy Now! detailing some of the techniques the Republican Party is using to ensure a McCain "victory." Transcript here.

What can we do? I don't know, but maybe if you're going to be voting somewhere where they will be using computerized voting machines, you could bring a video camera with you and take some footage of the screen while you vote. Any other ideas?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Whiskeymarie had a post where she said, if people sent her their addresses, she would send them some mail. Oh, yeah, and she would sell their addresses to the CIA. I figured the CIA already knows where I live, so what the heck? I sent her my address and a few days ago this arrived in the mail.

It's one of those postcards where, when you move it around, you see two different pictures. It didn't scan all that well (I tried moving the scanner around while it was scanning, but it didn't seem to work, nor does moving your computer screen from side to side, so don't bother,) but one view says "ROCK 'N" at the top and shows a picture of Elvis standing up while singing soulfully into the mic, and the other says "ROLL" at the top and shows Elvis kneeling in a very rock 'n' roll pose, while still singing into the mic. Whiskymarie clearly put some thought into her choice of cards, seeing as I'm a musician-type, and all. Getting a piece of mail that isn't a bill or solicitation brightened up my day. Thanks, Whisky!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Nick Lowe @ The Barrymore, Madison, WI, 10/12/08

Ms. Geranium and I went to see Nick Lowe last night. Third-row seats, to boot (thanks, Pam & Mike!) I enjoyed it quite a bit. I must admit, when I was younger, I didn't really appreciate Lowe's music. Tastes change, however, and I have come to believe that Nick Lowe is one of the world's greatest living song writers in addition to being a good performer. It was a real treat to see him in person. He has a gift for writing catchy, memorable songs and is a very clever lyricist. His songs about lost love, loneliness, etc, often have a humorous twist and he isn't afraid to write songs that might seem a bit creepy and twisted to some listeners (I Trained Her To Love Me, for example.) He played a number of songs I hadn't heard before and many of them caused me to chuckle. There were moments when, half a phrase away, the realization of the rhyme he was leading up to made me laugh.

Ms. Geranium pointed out that it was a little odd to watch a performer who, aside from his sneakers, was dressed like an elementary school principal (I think the effect would have been complete if he had been wearing a bow-tie.) Then he would strike a tongue-in-cheek rock 'n' roll pose.

These days, I find I particularly enjoy seeing, let's call them "mature" artists. In the case of Nick Lowe, he's been playing for a long time, doesn't have anything to prove and appears to be very comfortable with who he is. He was clearly having a good time and appeared quite relaxed. He doesn't get to these parts very often (he said the last time he was in Madison was when he was palling around with Cheap Trick, probably in the mid to late seventies) so I'm glad we had this opportunity.

A word of advice to concert goers: Try to control the impulse to clap along with your favorite songs. Unless you have a really good sense of rhythm, it usually ends up sounding pretty lame, particularly when you get off the beat.

Here are a couple of my favorite Nick Lowe songs. (I have lots of other favorites, but one can only spend so much time scanning YouTube.) First, Without Love, performed in 2007.

Now, just to contrast the new and the, umm.... not so new, here is I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass, probably from the mid to late seventies.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Top 5 Myths about John McCain

I saw this on FranIAm's blog and thought it was worth trying to spread it around. It's a short little video by Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone magazine that describes what Dickinson considers to be the top 5 myths about John McCain.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A chip off the old block.

Like father, like daughter. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. A chip off the old block. Etc.


My daughter.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Mavericky Reformer?

Learn to be a mavericky reformer in 13 minutes and 26 seconds. Just watch this video. Many of you may have already seen this at Luminiferous Ether, where I first saw it, but I figgered I'd put it up here. The more people who know about this, the better. Will the corporate "news" outlets pick up on this? I doubt it. Can you believe that anyone is actually going to vote for this guy? You betcha, 'cuz he's a maverick outsider who's gonna, also, too, reform Washington!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I tolerate you.

It's comforting to know that Sarah Palin tolerates gay people. Now people all across the country should be hugging their gay friends and acquaintances and telling them "I tolerate you!" I think I need to make a bumpersticker out of this.

Name your baby!

Try out the Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator. It's good for a chuckle or two. I'm Spackle Camshaft Palin. Thanks to my lovely and talented wife, Hump Gizzards Palin, for finding this in an essay by Anne Lamott on

Thursday, October 2, 2008

VP debates.

Everyone in the blog world is probably tippety-tapping away right now, or has already posted something about the debates, but I just have to put in my two cents about two things, too.

One: Aside from the question about gay marriage, which she answered directly and clearly (I didn't like her answer, nor did I like Biden's, but I give her credit for being direct) Palin never answered a single question.

Ifill (moderator): How do you intend to handle the current financial crisis?

Palin: Obama's gonna... ya know, the tax increases. John McCain's a maverick and I'm a maverick, ya know. We're both mavericks. We're talkin' about energy independence here, cuz I'm from Alaska. And the nukyular.... ya know, bipartisans on.... yer lookin' backwards again.... it's about Main Street. Ronald Reagan. We gotta, ya know, keep growin' our tax cuts. I'm a maverick and a hockey mom. And so is John McCain. Like me.

Two: When, oh when, is someone going to point out that McCain, Palin, Obama and Biden are all the recipients of ..... SOCIALIZED HEALTH CARE!!! Paid for and administered by the government, to boot! Do you think any of them would give it up in exchange for a $5,000 tax credit toward the health plan of their choice? "Gee whiz, people don't want government handlin' their health care, that would be disastrous, ya know, cuz families make the best choices." Okay, Sarah, give it up now, since we all know you don't want government intruding on your health care choices. And if I really get to choose, then I choose your health plan. You know, the socialized one you get that is administered by the government. (Actually, I'm not certain that Palin is currently benefitting from socialized health care, as I don't know how that works for the governor of Alaska. I'd be willing to bet she is, and McCain, Obama and Biden definitely are on the government plan.)

Okay. I'm done. I think I need to stop thinking about that mean, stupid Palin for a while.

Follow the money, pt 2

Posted below is an interview with Dennis Kucinich on Democracy Now! about the Wall Street bailout. He's talking about the version that failed to pass in the House on Monday. From everything I've read so far, the new version that passed in the Senate yesterday isn't any better, although it is 400-some pages long and includes somewhere around $150,000,000,000 ($150 billion) in tax cuts (but not for you or me) in addition to the $700,000,000,000 ($700 billion) in cash that they expect us to pay with our un-cut tax dollars. Grrrrrr....

Among other things, Kucinich says:

"It seems to me there's a possibility that this crisis has a little bit of manufacture to it."

Anyone surprised? Here are some other excerpts:

"It has provisions in it where it talks about helping homeowners, but when you read the fine print, you see it has language like 'may' instead of 'shall' and 'encouraging' instead of 'mandating' help for the millions of homeowners who are worried right now about whether they're going to lose their home. There's no help for them in this."

"I reject the underlying premise that we needed this bill... We haven't looked at any alternatives..."

"Well, what we have is a transfer of wealth, actually. It's a continuation of a transfer of wealth. This whole government has become nothing more than a big machine that transfers the wealth upwards with our tax policies, our energy policies, with this fiscal policies, with the war. All the wealth of the country goes from the pockets of the people into the hands of a few. This is a very dangerous moment. You know, it's the biggest amount of injection of capital by the government in a single time since the New Deal. And frankly, there is no trickle down here. There's just rewarding bad behavior."

"There's 400 economists and three Nobel Prize-winning economists who have said, 'Whoa, wait a minute! What are you doing? Why are you rushing this?' You know, this thing doesn't smell right, frankly."

"Goldman Sachs is struggling to survive. And, you know, their former chief is now the head of the US Treasury. He's in a position to be able to direct assets in a way that would help enhance his own financial standing. I mean, that's a clear conflict of interest. And, you know, that's something that needs to be said."

The biggest theft in the history of our country, that's what I say, and both Obama and McCain support it. We need to look at the basic premise of bailing out Wall Street before we decide how we're going to do it. As I understand it, in Britain, the government is nationalizing failing banks and, in the process, is acquiring both the good and the bad debt, unlike the proposal here, where the government will only be purchasing bad debt. Hmmm....

Read the full transcript here or watch video: