Can’t stop listening

Sorry to hit you with back-to-back posts about bands, but I can’t help it, I’m just a music nerd.

I mentioned Superchunk’s new album What A Time To Be Alive about a month ago. NPR First Listen is streaming it now. 32 minutes of powerful, poppy punk. Righteous anger… with catchy hooks. Check it out.

And then there’s Brandi Carlile, another dubbatrubba favorite. NPR is also streaming her latest album By The Way, I Forgive You. 

It’s a real beauty. Brandi’s voice is like no other, and the new release is helmed by Nashville superproducer Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton and pretty much any other “twangy” artist who doesn’t cater to the bro-country masses).

A live in-studio performance of the lead track is below (twin brothers Tim and Phil Hanseroth add so much – they are her not-so-secret weapons). The rest of the album is just as stellar.

OK, I’ll put my headphones back on and quit prattling about music now.

 

 

New England winners… obviously not the Patriots

Another week, another new Buffalo Tom song to feast your ears upon. Premier Guitar has the exclusive, along with a nice article. The song, “Lonely, Fast and Deep” is also below. It’s my favorite track from the new album.

Premier Guitar article author Rich Osweiler puts it nicely when describing the new release:

….dynamic power-trio rock that drips with hooks, blends beauty with aggression and crunch, and adds more tunes to the band’s catalog that have an uncanny way of turning on the emotion faucet.

Two-thirds of Buffalo Tom also sat in with DJ Jonathan Clarke on New York’s Q104.3 for a nice interview, and did a cover that also appears on their new album. Simon & Garfunkel, meet Janovitz and Colbourn:

Check out the entire interview/video.

And one-third of Buffalo Tom (lead singer/guitarist Bill Janovitz) also did an interview and acoustic in-studio set with Nic Harcourt on 88.5 FM, a station in Southern California. That set is here.

Yes, I’m obsessed. I don’t care. Their music makes me happy. Pre-order the new album and get on board the Buffalo Tom bandwagon.

Addicted to this Pot, Instantly

My named is dubbatrubba, and I’m addicted to the Instant Pot. 

It’s a combination slow cooker/pressure cooker/rice maker/steamer/yogurt maker… I think it might even play karaoke tunes – I’ll have to check the manual.

I couldn’t help myself – all the cool kids were doing it, and I succumbed to the peer pressure. Oh, and there’s also the fact that a lot of recipes that used to take hours now take mere minutes. Hence the “Instant” part of the name.

A co-worker was the one who introduced me to it. She kept bringing in her lunches and raving about how good they tasted, and how easy they were to make. Her recipe for lentil chili is killer, dude! Of course, she’s a darn good cook even without the Instant Pot.

Now I can’t go a day without using it. As a veg-head, it comes in very handy. I make a big ol’ batch of black beans every week. I used to have to make them on weekends, because they take 10 hours in the crock pot. Now it takes less than an hour. I’ve also whipped up red beans with veggie sausage, the aforementioned lentil chili, curried lentils, mashed potatoes and a batch of veggie chili. It comes in handy when cooking for my 16-year-old son (the fitness freak) too. He eats chicken for lunch and salmon for dinner every doggone day, and it used to be a laborious process of thawing and baking. Now we can go from frozen to finished in less than an hour. We also use it for brown rice and hard-boiled eggs. And I’ve merely scratched the (cooking) surface of what it can do. Seriously!

I think you might even be able to make brownies, but searching for Instant Pot Brownies might get me busted in Ohio.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m jonesing. I need to go make another meal. Be back in an Instant!

 

 

 

You can learn a lot from viewing P.B.S.

In this case, P.B.S. doesn’t stand for Public Broadcasting System. Sorry Elmo.

Elmo sad. Elmo need hug.

P.B.S. = Pearls Before Swine, a great comic strip. This past Sunday, PBS creator Stephan Pastis went a bit deeper than he usually does, and I loved it.

 

That’s a pretty profound pig!

Don’t worry, the very next day Stephan — and his character Pig — did a 180:

Now that’s just plain funny. Check out a week’s worth of strips at this link — Pig is just one of the many animal characters in the strip. I think you’ll find yourself laughing more… and maybe you’ll get some food for thought too.

 

Savor your screen saver

If you’re like me (and heaven help you if you are… seek professional help immediately), you probably spend a fair amount of your workday staring at a computer screen.

This posture is recommended by optometrists and chiropractors… the ones that need business.

And if you’re like most people, you probably still have some sort of default background on your screen all day.

Bill Gates isn’t known for his artistry.

 

Why not add a smile or three to all that screen-staring, by personalizing your desktop background. I have double monitors (it looks like “multi-tasking” but really it’s just ADHD) and this morning when I logged on, here’s what I saw:

Screen #1: Replacements, circa 1986      

Screen #2: Inspiration from Hugh MacLeod

I have an entire album of desktop background photos, ranging from the profound:

… to the ridiculous:

There are 66 photos in the folder now, and the photos rotate every 30 minutes, so every day is a new grab bag of visuals. Bands and artists I love:

A picture of my childhood home:

Deep thoughts (most courtesy of the brilliant Hugh MacLeod):

Nostalgia:

Sports shots:

Goofy photos of my co-workers:

Goofy shots of me with co-workers too:

Screen shot from a buddy cop spoof video we did for a company meeting. I’m “Cheese” but you probably could’ve guessed that.

 

It’s just a little something to make me think or make me chuckle, and keep The Man from getting me down. Give it a shot… or give it 66 shots. Here’s how for PCs: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/17144/windows-10-change-desktop-background

And here are instructions for a Mac (but if you own a Mac you are an artsy-fartsy person and you probably already have done this): https://support.apple.com/guide/mac-help/personalize-your-desktop-mchlp3013/mac.

Happy viewing!

The best decision on Super Bowl Sunday

Game over, Eagles win.

Our 18-year-old leaves his friend’s house to come home. Light snow had melted but then froze into a thin sheet of ice on the main road to our house. It caught folks off guard… and the salt truck drivers must’ve been watching the game instead of hitting the roads.

Our son sees cars slipping, sliding, spinning, careening, crashing into each other like a demolition derby.

At least six cars got dinged. He’s less than two blocks from our house, but it’s enough of a downhill slide to make continuing risky business, especially with a couple of crashed cars up ahead in his lane. He pulls over, hits the hazards and calls home.

“Patience is a virtue, Possess it if you can, Seldom found in woman, Never found in man.” 

When you’re 18, the waiting is the hardest part.

But it can also be the smartest part. Wait it out. Call for backup. This too shall pass.

Here’s to Gabriel, our Super Bowl MVP.

 

 

It’s Groundhog Day…

It’s Groundhog Day…

… so enjoy some ground hog…

… then get in your ground hog…

…and this weekend, root for the team with a grounded Hawg.

Eagles offensive lineman Jason Peters, a 14-year veteran who played tight end at the University of Arkansas, tore his ACL in October. 

 

 

Ticketmaster? More like Ticketbastard!

I still go to a fair amount of music concerts, though not nearly as many as when I worked at a radio station and could get free tickets… and not nearly as many as before kids came along (their “school night” is my “school night” too… 5:45 a.m. alarms don’t mesh well with a rock and roll lifestyle).

My wife and I both like Lyle Lovett and Shawn Colvin. When I saw they were playing an acoustic concert together at the Taft Theater, a downtown Cincinnati venue, getting tickets was a no-brainer.

Except for the Ticketmaster fees. Oh, the horrible, hideous, insidious fees! Tickets in the “cheap” seats were $32. But ordering just two tickets online would cost me another $32 in fees – basically you get two tickets for the price of three… what a bargain!

There’s the service fee – per ticket, mind you – then an order processing fee tacked on for your payment pleasure.

I love how those Ticketbastards put an exclamation point behind the “Free” in the Delivery method. I’m surprised they haven’t figured out a way to charge folks for using their own printer and ink to print tickets, or their own mobile phone for e-Tickets. If I’d chosen the snail mail option, I’m sure they would’ve charged me $4.90 for a 49-cent postage stamp.

It’s ridiculous. It’s outrageous. It’s usurious. And there’s not a darn thing I can do about it. Especially since Ticketmaster merged with LiveNation, a company that owns and/or operates hundreds of concert venues across the country. They own the theater (or at least have exclusivity rights on performances therein). They own the ticket seller. So they have a monopoly on the music (80%+ market share). Wanna see Lyle and Shawn? It’s gonna cost you. Dearly.

T-shirts: $25 + $10 “sizing fee” and $5 “hangar removal fee”

Thankfully, I was able to walk over to the concert venue’s box office, which is five blocks away from my work. That 10-minute jaunt saved me $27. I should’ve charged Ticketmaster a “pedestrian fee.”