December 18, 2012

Ratty Christmas Mix No. 1

image
I won't do a full-out Advent Calendar of Non-Overplayed Christmas Songs again this year, but here's a nice Christmas mix, more probably to come:

Follow me on Spotify

December 13, 2012

iPad Drawings

I've just discovered gmail's drawing option on the iPad.
 
my first experiments:
 




 

November 13, 2012

Spotify Mixtapes: Gay Your Life Must Be, Volumes I thru X.

Hello. I have a series of fifty Spotify Mixtapes called Gay Your Life Must Be. Now, these mixes MAY NOT BE FOR EVERYONE, although there is a wide variety of songs on them. Therefore, in conclusion, if you wish to listen to them, I will put them up ten at a time here now. They can also be found on my Spotify profile here. Some have been appearing for awhile at The Manna Tease tumblr. The Flying Guacanos art is by Liam Golden.


September 04, 2012

The Dying Californian - Lyrics & Chords - The Blue Myself


This is my version of "The Dying Californian," a traditional American folk hymn. It's another homemade demo recording under the name The Blue Myself (a band alternately known as Friends Around the Campfire, Wizard Pit, Sandy Mary, and, very rarely, Pandoraz Kunt - an offshoot of The Manna Tease created for songwriting / workshopping purposes.) I used my Les Paul, my turtleback mandolin, and an ancient Yamaha PSR-500M for the recording.


The melody follows roughly the same shape as the folk hymn (410 in the Sacred Harp, pictured at the very top), but this version is in D minor key (what Nigel Tufnel calls "the saddest of all keys") and in a loping 4/4. 

The chords are basically:
Dmin / / Gmin / / Dmin / /  Bb / A7 / Dmin
In the Sacred Harp, the words are credited to "Ball & Drinkard, 1859" - my favorite lyrics-writing duo since "Koch & Tokup." 
Lay up nearer, brother, nearer,
For my limbs are growing cold,
And thy presence seemeth dearer
When thy arms around me fold.  
 I am dying, brother, dying,
Soon you will miss me in your berth,
And my form will soon be lying
Beneath the ocean's briny surf.  
 Hearken to me, brother, hearken,
I have something I would say,
Ere this veil my vision darken
And I go from hence away,  
 I am going, surely going,
But my hopes in God are strong,
I am willing, brother, knowing
That He doeth nothing wrong.

Please "like" The Blue Myself on facebooks:

August 28, 2012

Mitt Romney's father was born in Mexico. So how could he run for president?

This isn't meant as an expose or attack of any kind. It's just something I was thinking about during all the Romney biopics at the Republican Nation Convention (and CNN's Romney Revealed!) Mitt's father George Romney was a popular governor of Michigan and was briefly the front-runner for the Republican nomination for President when he ran in 1968. (He dropped out after a series of gaffes.) But George Romney was born in Chihuahua at a Mormon colony there. So how could he have qualified to be president if he was born in Mexico? 
When John McCain was running for president in 2008, congress quickly passed some sort of an exception allowing people born on U.S. military stations abroad to qualify for president. (McCain was born in Panama.) But that was in 2008, and a Mormon polygamous colony is hardly the same deal. Did anyone ever ask to see Romney's birth certificate? 

I'm just wondering because this seems to not make sense.

UPDATE: I just found this on Wikipedia
Questions were occasionally asked about Romney's eligibility to run for President due to his birth in Mexico, given the ambiguity in the United States Constitution over the phrase "natural-born citizen". His Mormon paternal grandfather and his three wives had fled to Mexico in 1886, but none of them ever relinquished U.S. citizenship. Romney's parents chose U.S. citizenship for their children, including George.The family fled Mexico and came to the United States in 1912 during the Mexican Revolution. By February 1967, some newspapers were questioning Romney's eligibility given his Mexican birth. In May 1967, the Democratic chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Emanuel Celler, said he had "serious doubts" about whether Romney was eligible, but had no plans to formally challenge the matter. Another member of Congress made a case against Romney the following month. In response, the New York Law Journal published an article by a senior attorney at Sullivan & Cromwell arguing that Romney was, in fact, eligible. The Congressional Research Service also came down on Romney's side, as did most other constitutional experts at the time. During the campaign, Romney was generally considered a viable and legal candidate for United States president. He departed the race before the matter could be more definitively resolved, although the preponderance of opinion since then has been that he was eligible.

That's pretty interesting that, 45 years ago, someone who was known to be born in Mexico - and four years ago, someone who was known to be born in Panama - was generally considered eligible to run for President. Or that the interpretation of "natural-born citizen" has changed over the years. Perhaps it's time to revisit how much sense that vague and xenophobic qualification makes in the 21st century, especially when it's only uses are to prevent qualified people from being president, and to fuel a racist conspiracy theory against a sitting president.

August 26, 2012

MLS: The Best and Worst Club Names in Major League Soccer

I ♥ Wondolowski
As a Profession Baby Names Consultant, I wanted to weigh in on sports teams' names, specifically, American Soccer. I've been subscribing to MLS Live all year, and indulging in and binging on matches from all over the country. I've noticed that if I'm describing some of these games to non-soccer-following friends, they're often amused or astonished by some of the NAMES of our teams. So, partially for the benefit of my friends unfamiliar with these teams, here are my opinions of the very best and worst club names for upper division soccer clubs in the U.S.

Many of the MLS teams have generic soccer club names, like FC Dallas or D.C. United. I respect these names (even if "Football Club" should really be "Soccer Club," right?) Clubs with names like "Colorado Rapids" or "LA Galaxy" sounds more traditional Americanny, and again, I like them. These are the ones that stand out to me for their awesomeness or their horribleness:

5 Best MLS Club Names:

5. Philadelphia Union - My friend Mr Aha's choice. "Such an abstract concept to cheer for at a sports match," he texts me. It's similar to United, which has old world footballing cred, but with a bit of patriotic flavor.
4. Chicago Fire - Naming your sports team after a famous disaster that your city suffered is highly encouraged. And the old school firefighter-inspired badge as their logo is very classy.
3. San Jose Earthquakes - See above, except tenfold... Because earthquakes continue to be a massive fear in the bay area. (Remember that the 1989 one happened during a World Series game between the two bay area baseball teams.) 
2. Sporting Kansas City - I don't know why the Kansas City Wizards rebranded with this name, but I love it. The retro / anglophilic "Sporting" seems almost ironic, but this excellent team owns it perfectly.
1. Real Salt Lake - Beautiful juxtaposition of European naming style (Real Madrid) with distinctive American place name. My favorite MLS name.

5 Worst MLS Club Names:

5. Houston Dynamo - What even is a Dynamo? Power? Houston strong! Houston powerful!
4. Montreal Impact - or, Impact de Montréal. I don't know if "impact" seems less dorky in French, but it has no poetry in English. We are a soccer club and we will slam into you, creating an indentation!
3. Chivas USA - Guadalajara-owned expansion team took Guadalajara's nickname, which means 'goats.' However the generic location - USA - makes it hard for Southern Californians to root for them. Goats USA? I propose they move to Las Vegas and change their name to Chivas Las Vegas. Then people will assume they're sponsored by top-shelf Scotch whiskey.
2. Columbus Crew - Their logo has always reminded of A Clockwork Orange or The Warriors, and the whole thing has an awkward feel of mid-westerners trying to act street (rather than the working-class thing I'm assuming they were going for... Their club logo just needs an Indian and a cowboy.)
1. New York Red Bulls - The unambiguous winner. What could be more horribly American than a product placement in the club name? Even if you had never heard of the energy drink, the idea of a bull that was red as a team name is lame. But it's association with taurine makes it creepy beyond redemption. Change your name, New York! If MLS gets a second NYC franchise, and it takes the awesome old fashion NY soccer club name Cosmos, how depressing will your name be in comparison?

These are just one man's opinion. I apologize if I've mocked the name of the club you support. Comments / discussion welcome. And opinions about names of other footballing teams from elsewhere also encouraged.

August 19, 2012

Two Feet Tall - Lyrics & Chords


Here's a new song I wrote in Tahoe last week, and took a quick youtube of my initial practicing of it. It started out as a folk song, but evolved of its own volition into folk-reggae.

Two Feet Tall - Lyrics & Chords

E Esus E F#min B7
She was fated to be eliminated.
Esus E F#min B7
She was bloated the day she was promoted.
A Bsus C#min
She was flailin’ like a Palin,
Dmaj7 A
And shining like a nickel,
Bsus C#min
And feelin’ like New Zealan’,
Dmaj7 B7sus6 B7 B7sus6 B7
While mining for a pickle.

She was grumpy and dressing pretty frumpy,
She was angry at silly Lily Langtry.
She was diving off the ivy,
Then crashing on the pavement,
And sobbing like a robin
Dmaj7 B7sus6 B7 B7sus6 D7/B  
While splashing cross the raiment.

G F#min
I love a girl who’s only two feet tall,
Bmin7 D7/B
Her eggs are barren, but she cares about toaster ovens.
G F#
I like the curls that hide her prayer shawl.
Bmin7
Her legs are buried deep in the earth’s crust,
D7/B B7  D7/B B7
And I lost in her bust.

She was psychotic, and half-auto-erotic,
She was mothering, so much so she was smothering.
She was flying neath the oceans,
While hiding from the fighting,
And crying crystal potions,
Confiding in the lightning.

I love a girl who’s only two feet tall, &c.

She was gorgeous as Florida’s mortgages.
She could plagiarize, and she had a teenager’s thighs.

She’s stalling to be famous,
She photo-bombed on Fox News,
She’s crawling to Uranus,
With Pluto on her socks and shoes.
I love a girl who’s only two feet tall, &c.
I love a girl who’s only two feet tall, &c.
© 2012 The Manna Tease



July 21, 2012

Frank Ocean - Forrest Gump - Lyrics and Chords


I was practicing this new Frank Ocean song, "Forrest Gump," after I heard it on Channel Orange a few days ago. Very beautiful song, and I include here the lyrics & chords as I was playing it for your convenience. (I'm playing it in 'Drop-D' tuning for the bum-bum-bums.)

D6 A
i wanna see your pom poms from the stands
Dmin6 A
come on come on

D6 A
my fingertips & my lips
Dmin6 A
they burn from the cigarettes forrest gump
D6 A
you run my mind boy
Dmin6 A
running on my mind boy forrest gump

i know you forrest
i know you wouldn’t hurt a beetle
but you’re so buff & so strong
i’m nervous forrest forrest gump

my fingertips & my lips, &c.

i saw your game forrest
i was screaming run 44
but you kept running past the end zone
oh where’d you go forrest forrest gump

my fingertips & my lips, &c.

forrest green, forrest blues
i’m remembering you
this is love, i know its true
i won’t forget you
you you, ah you you its for you forrest
you you, ah you you its for you forrest forrest gump
Is this the sexy gay Forrest Gump that Frank Ocean pines for?