Saturday, December 26, 2015

FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2015

2015 was the Year of Psychedelia for me.

Here is a list of some of the things I listened to and enjoyed during this past year.

1. HOLY WAVE - The Evil Has Landed EP - Six great neo-psychedelic tunes.

2. FOALS - What Went Down - One of my favorite bands keeps putting out quality material.  Great album, lots of movement in the songs.

3. THE CHURCH - Further Deeper - Hard for me to believe this band has been around for as long as it has, and still has it going.  A great record, lots of moods and textures, and lots of atmosphere.

3. MY MORNING JACKET - The Waterfall - Another Jim James masterpiece.  Dreamy, druggy, and daring.

4. BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE - "+-" EP - Only three songs, but I love all three.

5. KURT VILE - B'lieve I'm Goin' Down - Took me a few listens, and I still don't like it quite as much as his last one, but it's very good.

6. NEW ORDER - Music Complete - I'm a fan, and had been waiting a long time in hopes the band would release something new.  It's a very rewarding album most New Order fans should appreciate, as it draws on all the phases of their long career since the ending of Joy Division.

7. LOW - Ones and Sixes - This is a return to form for Low.  It is more reminiscent of "The Curtain Hits The Cast" and "Things We Lost In The Fire" than their other recent albums.  Slow, dreamy, and beautiful.

8. MAGIC CASTLES - Starflower - Great psychedelic rock from this band, which records on the "A" records label (of Brian Jonestown Massacre's Anton Newcombe).

9. WILCO - Star Wars - The first couple of tracks didn't grab me, but everything after that did.  This album has a more spontaneous feel than some of their other recent releases.  It's a lot of fun.

10. TAME IMPALA - Currents - Not what I expected, but instead a more smooth, polished product of stuff that's more like Pop music.  Complete ear candy!

11. ISRAEL NASH - Silver Season

12. BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE - Mini-Album Thingy-Wingy - This is not as enjoyable for me as "Revelation" was, but it's good.  Anton Newcombe rocks.  

13. STEVEN WILSON - Hand.Cannot.Erase. - More great stuff from the master of modern Prog rock.  Keeping the Prog flame alive!

14. POND - Man It Feels Like Space Again
15. JOE JACKSON - Fast Forward
16. VERUCA SALT - Ghost Notes
17. VIET CONG - Viet Cong
18. THE ARCS - Yours Dreamily
19. JOE JACKSON - Fast Forward

Others:
BLUR - The Magic Whip - Somewhat disappointing, but still enjoyable
FETTY WAP - Fetty Wap - I'm not a Hip-Hop fan, but I do like this one.
BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE - Musique de Filme Imagine - Anton Newcombe ought to stay away from writing soundtrack music and stick to rock and roll

Ones I didn't get around to hearing yet:
MUSE - Drones
COURTNEY BARNETT - Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
SWERVEDRIVER - I Wasn't Born To Lose You
COLDPLAY - A Head Full of Dreams
SUFJIAN STEVENS - Carrie and Lowell

Thanks to Jim Marquis of Major Conflict for turning me on to a number of these excellent recordings!

TEN MONTHS LATER

Ten months later, nothing had happened.  Nothing worthy of mention, anyway.  So he decided to post something, even it it was very little, if anything at all.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

A FEW PICTURES FROM MY HIKING TRIP

I thought I'd share a few pictures of a hiking trip I took this past week in the Wallowa Mountains of NE Oregon.  These pictures were all taken in the magnificent Eagle Cap Wilderness Area.















My 57-year-old body handled the trip.  Getting in a lot of good exercise off and on during the last year helped a lot!  My friend Rand and I hired some great people to haul our gear in for us on horseback, so we didn't have to carry more than what was in our daypacks, which was about 20 pounds each.  We were camped about a quarter mile beyond Moccasin Lake.



















The first day was an 8.5 mile walk to the camp site.  There was an elevation gain of 1,600 feet in the first 2.5 miles, which is steep.  After that it was pretty easy though, with a gain of 700 feet in the next 5 miles.  The last mile and a half was up and down to an excellent (and remote) campsite our packers found for us:






















We hiked to Razz Lake on Day 2, a 900-foot climb in one mile after a 3-mile walk to where we left the main trail to head up the mountainside.  We futzed around for a while trying to find the old trail to the lake, and finally found it about halfway up the hill after working our way up through steep hillsides and boulders.  The lake is a gorgeous spot, and it was nice to see it again after being away for close to 30 years.

















Razz Lake

















Razz Lake


Day 3 featured an all-on-trail hike through Glacier Pass to Glacier Lake.  It was a climb of 1,000 feet in about a mile and half, fairly steep to the pass.  Another half mile and 400 feet down the other side and we were at Glacier Lake, another place I hadn't seen in years.  On the way back we tried to replicate an off-trail side trip I did 40 years ago, and found that it looked pretty impossible...  how did I do it way back then?  We decided to save it for the next day.

















The Matterhorn as seen looking north from the Glacier Pass trail


















Me and Rand near the top of Glacier Pass

















Glacier Lake as seen looking south from Glacier Pass

















Glacier Lake



















Rand at Glacier Pass



Pocket Lake was for Day 4.  It was only about a 5-mile round trip, but none of it was on established
trails.  The lake sits in a cirque 1,000 feet up a hillside strewn with boulders ranging in size from wastebaskets, chairs, and tables to VW bugs.  There was a fair amount of scrambling near the top, including a section that involved crawling uphill along the top of a fairly high snowbank.  But all that was worth it for the chance to spend some time at the lake.  The way back down was marred by a couple of falls, but I got back to camp with nothing more than a sore shin and numerous rock scrapes.






















Me at Pocket Lake

















Pocket Lake 

The area around Pocket Lake























I got banged up but the trip to Pocket Lake and back was worth it!


On the last day the packers came to get our gear, and we hiked the 8.5 miles back to the trail head.  All in all, it was worth the soreness.  I was proud that I was able to do things that I think at least 80% of people my age would not be able to do, proving to myself that all the exercising I did during the past year has helped my strength and endurance.  Fun stuff!  :-)



Eagle Cap Mountain as seen from the East Fork Lostine River Trail 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

CRUELTY

"We cheer for cruelty and say that we are asking for personal responsibility among those people who are not us, because the people who are not us do not deserve the same benefits of the political commonwealth that we have. In our politics, we have become masters of camouflage. We practice fiscal cruelty and call it an economy. We practice legal cruelty and call it justice. We practice environmental cruelty and call it opportunity. We practice vicarious cruelty and call it entertainment. We practice rhetorical cruelty and call it debate."

- Charles Pierce 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

UGH



Right-wingers/"libertarians" might want to think twice about worshiping this troll, or even before saying nice things about her.

Think about this the next time you think of Paul Ryan...  he is a big fan of hers.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

"DOUBLE DUMB-ASS ON YOU!!"


http://www.macleans.ca/politics/america-dumbs-down/

This is some pretty sad stuff.

Anyone who doesn't believe religious conservatism and its use by the Republican party is a problem in our country hasn't been paying attention for the last 20-30 years.


Wednesday, May 07, 2014

WORD


Tuesday, May 06, 2014

WHAT GIVES?

First, here is a Civil War map of the United States.


The red states are, of course, "The South".  And in the American political vocabulary of today, most of the states in the South are red (Republican).

Here is a map of states considered worst in the U.S. for health care...


...and the accompanying article:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/05/05/1297121/-The-best-and-worst-states-for-health-care?detail=email

Now, take a look at this following map, which shows which states have the highest rates of smoking:


And one for highest rates of child obesity:



Here's one for teen birth rates:


A map of U.S. gun deaths:


And a map of non-payers by state:


Here is a map of educational segregation in the U.S. prior to "Brown v. Board of Education:


How about which states are the most religious?



Estimated percent of population in poverty:


What about levels of high school graduation?


And finally, here is one for incarceration rates:



What gives?

What do you think the reasons are for the South leading America in as many negative categories as it does?

To the South's credit, that region is lower than most other areas of the nation in alcohol consumption and drug use.  Not all the militia groups are in the South; it does have quite a few, but there are many in the Northeast and in the American West.  There also is not really a concentration of Southern states taking federal money, nor is there a concentration of people accessing public assistance.  "Tea Party" adherents are spread around the United States too, not all necessarily in the South.

But it seems the South leads in more negative areas than positive.

Is it time for them to secede, or for the rest of the country to cut them loose?  :-)
RichardDawkins.net