Friday, October 26, 2007


The new arrival at our house has a name: Zeke! Actually it should be spelled Zeak, which is short for Zeakafroid, which is a spoonerism of the word "freakazoid". But "Zeke" is the more conventional spelling for the name... although I suppose "Zeek" might also work. Anyway, Zeke he is! And I will probably refer to him from time to time as "Zeke the Zeak".

Zeke had his first trip to the veterinarian yesterday. According to the doc, Zeke is about eight weeks old, meaning he was barely weaned when we found him. He tested negative for feline leukemia, which was great news. He does have ear mites, though. That's nice to know, considering that Zeke has been sleeping next to my head for the last week... The vet treated his ears, we have washed his bedding and have also washed ours. Hmmm... my head has been itching lately... heh.

Baby Mackie and BonnieBird have been tolerant of Zeke so far. When he tries to play with them, they will view him with general disdain and then whack him a good one on the shoulder or on the top of his head. During the day when The Snavette has to sleep (she works nights, eight days on, six days off) Zeke sleeps in our downstairs bathroom and has a tiny litter box to use. The other day when I was in that bathroom cleaning around Zeke's dishes, Baby Mackie (Felis Giganticus) came in, pawed lightly at the litter box, then turned around, centered himself over the litter and took a gigantic piss. By not covering it when he was done, I think the message to Zeke was "This is just to show you who's boss around here." Anyway, Baby Mackie, BonnieBird and AbbyCat have not been spraying walls or furniture in response to the addition of Zeke to the household... so far so good on that front.

I'll provide more updates and include pictures as Zeke's life story unfolds. So far he has been an absolute joy!

Friday, October 19, 2007


I was going to write a post about how I think the apparently inevitable nomination of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic presidential candidate is a tragic mistake of historic proportions for the Democratic party, given that it appears to be uniting the GOP at at time when they are in disarray and that it allows the GOP candidates to avoid talking about issues as they shift the focus to Hillary Clinton and how awful things will be if she becomes president. I didn't think you all wanted to read about that, and I decided I sure as hell didn't feel like writing about it. So, I decided to write about something I have been enjoying as opposed to ranting about something that frightens me and makes me worry. Heh! Here goes...

Once in a while I discover a band I've never heard before and I think "How in hell did I miss this one?"

That's what has happened to me when I recently heard Lambchop's 2006 CD "Damaged" for the first time. I was intrigued by the CD cover and by how I kept reading good reviews of their stuff, so I took a flyer and bought "Damaged"... and I love it.

Lambchop is a Nashville band that has been around for at least 10 years, and while I tend not to go for stuff that is country-ish, this band has proven to be an exception for me. I'm not really sure they're country... I find them hard to describe, but let me try:

Lambchop's singer/songwriter is Kurt Wagner, who sort of sings and sort of whispers the vocals in a weary voice that suggests a tired melancholia but also suggests some humor. Wagner writes about life's minutiae, but he does so in a way that brings deeper senses of meaning to the ordinary. As for the rest of the band, they are impeccable in their patient, understated approach as they deliver an accompaniment that is at once simple and complex. There are anywhere from eight or nine all the way up to seventeen band members, but the music never sounds cluttered. There is nothing flashy about it, and as every note serves a purpose, there are no notes wasted. Take a listen, and what at first sounds simple is revealed as something deeply organic with many moving parts. Styles range from Chet Atkins-style "countrypolitan" to late 60's Nashville pop stylings ala Glen Campbell and Bobby Gentry to alt-country to folk to rock to jazz influences. You will hear nice string arrangements, tasteful and atmospheric pedal and lap steel guitars, good acoustic and electric guitar and bass playing, some great piano colorings, and lots of emotional energy.

In my opinion, "Damaged" is a work of art. The opening track "Paperback Bible" is based on a public radio program Wagner heard called "Swap Shop", and while that sounds like a rather risky lyrical adventure, it works well with Wagner imparting a sense of loss through his vocal phrasing and delivery. Spiritual loss, material loss? Both? Apparently Wagner has had some personal difficulties during the past year, and many of the lyrics on "Damaged" were written during those tough times. Nonetheless, he manages to add some humor here and there.

After hearing "Damaged", I found used copies of a twin-release from 2004, "Aw Cmon" and its companion album "No You Cmon". While not as consistently good throughout as "Damaged", these discs, both released on the same day but released as separate albums, do contain some gems. "Aw Cmon" features several spirited instrumentals, including one named "Timothy B. Schmidt" after the Poco and Eagles musician. The album's final track "Action Figure" evokes all kinds of thoughts and emotions. Lambchop uses occasional electronica that is included at a nearly subliminal level but to great effect, as in "Action Figure". A highlight from "No You Cmon is "About My Lighter", which sounds like it is really about a guy's lighter, but could be about much more than that. The lyrics during the musically-dramatic chorus are " Please don't worry, Guess that I'm worried, Don't be worried, You look worried, Lets not worry, We're not worried, Try not to worry, About my lighter." While that certainly doesn't seem profound when I read it, I only have to hear Kurt Wagner sing it to find myself peeling away layers of his AND my feelings, and finding that those feelings, combined with his music, twang a string or two inside me. Wonderful stuff, and lately I can't get it out of my CD player if I try.

Lambchop is a fairly widely-recognized band, from what I gather. It is probably one of those that is more critically acclaimed than one that sells lots of records. However, Lambchop and Kurt Wagner can now officially count me as an entusiastic follower, and I will buy more of their CDs. I recommend Lambchop's "Damaged", "Aw Cmon" and "No You Cmon" as a good rainy-day or late-night listen for anyone who likes thoughtful music, who doesn't mind having their brain tickled a little, and who likes a good quality musical production.

Now I need to go delve into their "back catalog"! There are still seven or eight of their CDs I haven't heard! If any of you have heard this band or heard of them and know about some of their releases I haven't mentioned here, please share!

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Things were going well for Baby Mackie, Bonnie, and Abby (not pictured) at the local water hole UNTIL:

...this little critter happened upon the scene!

Last night Kit was sitting at the upstairs computer and heard a kitten crying outside. We went to investigate, and ultimately located the source of the noise. The poor little feller was under the hood of our neighbor's truck, hiding behind the fan and beneath the fan belt. We got him out of there, brought him home, gave him food and water and a litter box (which he used right away), and he started to settle in.

I still haven't fixed the date on my camera, so while it might say these pictures were taken about seven and a half years ago, they were actually taken yesterday! Enjoy:

Awww, what a cute little kitty cat!

Why do cats and dogs lick themselves in the crotch? Because they CAN!

This one desperately wants Baby Mackie to play!

Baby Mackie is pretty pissed off. He's a senior citizen, and there's a toddler invading his space...

He will check out the toddler anyway.

We may not end up keeping the baby... it is a well-socialized kitten, and appears to have been handled a lot. I canvassed the neighborhood to see if anyone recognized it, and nobody did. Our neighbor said he heard a funny noise under his hood when he was at Safeway yesterday, and that's about a mile from here. So, we will put a "found" ad in the local paper, put up some posters, etc. If we don't find the owner, well... Baby Ricky Retardo might just have a home at Snave House.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


From the "For What It's Worth" department, Standard Deviation has risen from the dead and is actually going to do a show this evening, for the Eastern Oregon University homecoming celebration. We found a new guitarist, Scott, who plays just about any style and is a local veteran of numerous bands and performances. In a couple of weeks, we may be adding another very talented guitarist, Jon. Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 06, 2007


"Mystery Science Theater 3000" is one of the funniest shows I have ever watched on television. I had never watched an episode of it until this weekend... !

If you have never seen it, I think it isn't on television any more, and that you might be able to rent episodes at some video stores.

Each show features a bad movie, of B level or worse. The shows' commentators, Tom, Joel and Crow (pictured above in silhouette), make snarky comments throughout the movie. The comments are the kind I wish I could come up with even now and then, and the barrage is always so rapid-fire it has me in stitches. Comments are often made in humorous voices and consist of cliches, smart-ass stuff and general sarcasm about the crappiness of the film. Sometimes the commentators comment in unison, which is usually very precisely timed and is ultimately hilarious.

If you love "bad movies" as much as I do, you will probably love "Mystery Science Theater 3000", or "MST3K" as it is known to it's harder-core fans.