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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Goodbye Davy Jones

I learned of the death of Davy Jones today on my way home. The radio was playing Valerie and I had it up loud enough to drown out my flat notes as I sang along. Then the bomb was dropped: Davy Jones died of a heart attack at the age of 66.

I can't explain the joy I have received throughout my life because of the Monkees. Yes, I know. Naysayers, begone. I don't care that they didn't write their hits or play instruments on their records. The TV show was a Saturday fvorite of mine, I still have my Monkees lp that I bought a billion years ago, and I own a couple of hits digital packages. The Monkees Theme was a favorite from day one; I remember my brother and I hunching our shoulders and singng it in the middle of the street when we were little. The Monkees always were, and always will be, a favorite pop band.

So long Davy Jones. Thank you for bringing a little more light into our world.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bogota! Street Art Photos, February, 2012

I am no artist, but I know what I like. I like big paintings on walls. I think murals on the street are among the most beautiful and engaging of the arts that are expressed in public places. They are frequently anonymous, which I find even more engaging. What follows are photos I took in Bogota of street art. I cannot tell you who these talented people are because I have absolutely no idea. Enjoy.

These were on the side of a public school

These we saw on a wall leading to Monserrate


love the balloons


from the facade of a business






Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day. What a weird mind-boggling howliday. I have never quite understood it. For whatever reason, I have always found it to be more tragic than celebratory. Like that Police song- the one that everyone thought was a love song, but was more a song of spite than an expression of affection- Valentine's Day is an irony, a tragedy, and open to every misperception imaginable. I suppose it doesn't matter what the intention is, it all rests in the interpretation of the recipient, and in the case of music- that is the listener. It is up to the perception of listener  what you walk away with in the end. 

I know that it sounds so typically male- to not jump feet first into sappy sentimentalism..... it even feels like a typical stereotyped guy thing. How dude of me. You'd almost expect me to be at a tailgate party with a kegger hanging out with the bros- but it's not really like that. I just can't get behind the pink teddybears holding a heart that says "I love you"  and the hastily assembled last minute Valentine's Day road stops along the highways and the bad pre-wrapped chocolate that is supposed to show the appointed one that he or she is, indeed,  the annointed one. That shouldn't imply that I want it to be that way. It also shouldn't imply that I don't recognize an extremely long run-on sentence when I see one.
There is something ironic in having to sell the concept of love as a bi-product, and something genuinely offensive in having to feel some measure of guilt or shortsightedness in failing to jump through the hoops of love. There is something cute in mistletoe, but there is nothing cute about turning the idea of love into a trivial marketing campaign. The whole crass commercialism part aside- Valentine's Day is second only to Christmas in wasted revenue on bullshit like dead roses- there is something I find truly offensive in having to remind people to show affection on any single day, as opposed to every single day. It's a Hallmark Holiday.

It wouldn't be Hallmark, but a car dealer to finally embrace the Buzzcocks. Don't ask me why- I have no idea. I have seen the Buzzcocks probably more times than I recall, and further back than I care to- but I am a sucker for pop hooks and love songs, so there you go. The last time I saw them was when the Adolescents played as direct support for them in Sao Paulo. What was originally pitched as a South American tour was trimmed down to a night- but what a night it was. The bands were great, a storm cam and flooded out the club during sound check, and it was packed to the gills. But back to love songs and the theme. Imagine, a world in which the Buzzcocks are only listened to one day a year. That would be a real drag.

So, the origin of Saint Valentine's Day is some unknown, forgotten saint that even Catholics don't give a crap about. I guess that it makes perfect sense that he has been devalued to the point of being symbolized by cupid- a naked little cherub wrapped in a toga shooting arrows at the unsuspecting. Where was cupid on February 14, 1929? Certainly not in Chicago, although the thought of Cupid in a fedora, holding a tommygun, and chomping on a cigar does make me chuckle a little bit. "Awright you mugs, this is a love note from Al."  (I have chosen to decline to post the picture of dead mobsters with blood and brains spilling out. I'll leave that icky Valentine's Day post for our pals at creepyguydotcom.)

In any event, nothing says Valentine's Day like the collateral damage that was Badfinger. I revisit Badfinger every few months. Outside of the uplifting lead in what is easily the coolest bridge this side of the Beatles, Baby Blue sums up the bummer side of love pretty well. It just sounds so distant to me. Pete Ham did that so well. What a talent. Most of the Badfinger history just sounds like a tragic and ironic love story. Bad management and money issues aside, they wrote the heartbreakers that everyone on earth but they themselves benefited from. When the smoke cleared and the lawsuits were almost finished there were two dead. A tragic end for such wonderful music.

Speaking of tragic love songs, there is always Joy Division. Most of their catalogue just sounds hollow and empty.... like a cavern. Even on the Warsaw demos, love songs never sounded so far, far away.  I suppose the transformation to New Order made sense; it would be impossible to look toward a brighter tomorrow while living in the eternally dark past.

Happy Valentines Day. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Wherefore Art Thou, Delaware Punch?

Ice cream, soda, Delaware Punch,
Tell me the name of your honey bunch,
Does it start with an A, B, C, D, E.......?
(Schoolyard jumprope rhyme, circa 1940's)

I have a thing, I think,  for syrupy red punch drinks. I love Hawaiian Punch and I can drink tons of it....... so much that I end up with a cool red mustache- but by far my favorite punch of all was Delaware Punch. Delaware Punch was sold in California for a period of time in the 1980s, and then poof! It disappeared, rarely to be seen again. Like the wonderful Quisp cereal, Delaware Punch essentially disappeared- but unlike Quisp- Delaware Punch has pretty much stayed gone.

The definitive source for Delaware Punch is really found online at which is the unofficial location of information on Delaware Punch. That's where I found this picture:

Come back Delaware Punch! 
Delaware Punch was created in 1923 by Thomas Lyons. The brand is currently owned by Coca-Cola. According to Coca-Cola it is available in the United States and Mexico. Like any great punch, it is non-carbonated, with the base flavor for this one being grape. It is caffeine free, and sweet sweet sweet. The "Delaware" in its name refers to a type of grape, not to the state, from which it came-  Delware County, Ohio. According to Wikipedia the drink is difficult to locate in most of the United States due to the coloring agent used (allura red.) It is currently bottled in Guatemala and Mexico. 

It is no doubt an additive that offers no nutritional value to things it is put into, and according to what I could find it make kids run in circles and bounce off of walls.

A Pretty Convincing Imitator

I spent the better part of two years trying to buy it, but have given up the search. With the exception of Texas and Louisiana, it is impossible to locate at a reasonable price, though there is a wonderful substitute available called Red Ribbon Pennsylvania Punch made by Natrona Bottling Company that comes pretty close. Although its color is closer to brown than purple, it is pretty amazing. For those of us in undeserving states, this is as close to the real deal we are going to get. And so it goes. Here's to the FDA and their protective guidelines.