Saturday, July 31, 2010

All Blacks crush the Wallabies in the early hours

Go ahead and call me crazy. I've heard it all before.
I woke up at 4:30 a.m. today to watch the BLEDISLOE CUP opener between AUSTRALIA and NEW ZEALAND, live on television from Etihad Stadium, Melbourne.

I'll be Down Under in less than a month, so I might as well bring myself up to speed on the sports happenings.

It just wasn't happening for the hometown Wallabies, who seemed to take two steps backwards for every forward step in the match won by the All Blacks, 49-28.

Australia's Drew Mitchell charged down a Dan Carter kick and carried the ball in for a try early in the first half, only for Carter to duplicate the feat two minutes later.

That sequence hinted at the opposing fortunes for the two players, and the two sides.

Mitchell was yellow carded in the 28th minute -- sent to the sin-bin for a shoulder charge.
Then, two minutes into the second half, referee Craig Joubert sent off Mitchell for delaying tactics.

Carter predictably starred for the All Blacks, scoring the aforementioned try, setting up another and kicking 14 points as New Zealand beat Australia for the eighth straight time -- their best run since 1936-1947.

Go ahead and call me crazy, but I am glad I woke up to the watch this match. From the anthems to the HAKA to Mils Mulianina scoring a pair of tries for the visitors, this spectacle was memorable in many ways.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Route 1: In need of a few good books

ROUTE 1 will spend 38 hours total on planes later this summer -- wait, what? -- and could use a good book (or five) to read.
That brings up a useful FRIDAY QUESTION:

"What book would you bring on a long, lonnnnng trip?"

RICK T. -- A road atlas!

ROSEANNE H. -- Get a James Patterson one. Great read.

BEKAH P. -- This question is SO easy! I didn't even have to remotely think about it... I would bring Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander." Now, I know the plotline sounds ridiculous (a World War II nurse stumbles into the middle of a stone circle and finds herself thrown into Scotland in the 1600s, where she is captured and forced to marry a guy she eventually falls in love with), but it seriously the BEST book I have EVER read (and that's saying a lot for how much I read.) This is the book I buy for EVERYBODY!

STEVE M. -- If you want to go on an armchair journey to Spain, try James Michener's nonfiction Iberia. It is long. I enjoyed it, and it is NOT a novel.

SANDYE V. -- If you haven't read all the Harry Potter books and you had an extra seat to fit them in (or a Kindle or something), I'd say J.K. Rowling would be good company for 38 hours.

KERSTIN H. -- That's easy! The entire Twilight series should only take you 94 hours.

LAURA C. -- I enjoyed The Given Day...and it's longish. Also Devil in the White City. But really? I'd get a Kindle and just load that sucker up.

JOHN S. -- Pillars of the Earth is 1,200+ pages and very good.

KERI M. -- Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, and the sequel (which counts as the same book, right?) Committed.

MIKE M. -- If I were jetting off to the Land of Oz, I'd probably take "Happy Isles of Oceania" by Paul Theroux, also "The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England" by Ian Mortimer, "Matterhorn" by Karl Marlantes, "The Imperfectionists" by Tom Rachman, and "Exposed" by Daniel Dundon, in which an unusual murder investigation takes readers from an Iowa pig farm to a Florida nudist resort and back to a Dubuque cathedral
STACEY B. -- Water for Elephants! It's the perfect book to escape from the boringness of a long trip to the eclectic world of a circus.

ERIK H. -- I could sit and thumb through The Sunday Times Illustrated History of Football (the British kind) for hours. 38 hours? That, I am not so sure about.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

INXS and a memory that never leaves

With ONE MONTH to go before our AUSTRALIA trip, and with sunny weather but low humidity (for a welcomed change), I listened to INXS while driving home tonight.
I can never listen to INXS without thinking of NOV. 22, 1997.

That's the day I arrived in IOWA to join JILL and KERSTIN, who had moved from OREGON earlier in the fall. It's also the day INXS vocalist MICHAEL HUTCHENCE took his life.

I was genuinely shocked at the time, thinking (as I do today) that Hutchence's passing was such a waste.

Hutchence is forever linked with SYDNEY. He was born there and met the Farriss brothers (co-founders of the band) at Davidson High School in the northern suburb, Frenchs Forest.

I'm sure I'll listen to more INXS as my trip nears and while we're in Sydney.

I'm sure I'll think about Nov. 22, too.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Garza joins Maloney, Seaver in exclusive group

Q: Who are the only FRESNO, CALIF.-area pitchers to have tossed MLB no-hitters?

Garza joined an exclusive, San Joaquin Valley club last night, joining Maloney (pictured) and Seaver as Fresno pitchers tossing no-hitters.

Garza's 5-0 victory over the Tigers was the fifth no-hitter this season but the first in Rays' history.

Here are a couple tidbits about the other Valley guys to have tossed no-nos.

* Maloney tossed a pair of hitless 9-inning games for the Reds in 1965, but only one would count as a no-hitter now.

Maloney lost a 10-inning game against the Mets, 1-0, on June 14, 1965, in which he held New York hitless through the first nine innings. The game was recognized as a no-hitter at the time, but the rules have since changed to omit games lost in extra innings.

He tossed a 1-0 no-hit win later that season against the Cubs.

* Although Seaver created an enduring legacy with the Mets -- and threw five one-hitters for New York -- his lone no-hitter came while pitching for the Reds in 1978.
Garza can claim his place in that elevated company after last night.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The man of many emotions

I've got too many emotions for one person this morning.
I'm relieved, because my mom and sister have promised to lend me spending money for my planned trip to AUSTRALIA.

I'm a little saddened, because our youngest daughter ANNIKA was upset last night when she spilled an entire container of leftover pasta sauce (sauce I had spent all day making).

I'm very proud, because KERSTIN practiced driving for the first time in a parking lot yesterday morning, then drove a few miles on a rural highway during the afternoon. That's a wonderful first day of driving!

I'm also a little angry, because the DOG woke me up at 3:40 a.m., and when I brought her downstairs to put her outside, I discovered one of her messy "accidents" in the kitchen. I hate days that begin with pre-dawn mopping.

The anger's subsiding, though, because now that I am awake, I may as well listen to some IVORY JOE HUNTER.

I'm putting together a "TEXAS JUKEBOX" playlist of Tejano music, country (including western swing), early rock-n-roll and rhythm and blues -- all from the Lone Star State. Hunter was one of the classiest purveyors of the latter musical style, and I am having a heck of a time paring down his songs for inclusion in the playlist. His classic songs cover so many of the emotions!

"Since I Met You Baby" is a no-brainer, and although "Heaven Came Down to Earth" was only a 1955 B-side, It is so beautiful I would chose it as a flip side to play in a juke box.
Hunter's "You Can't Stop This Rocking and Rolling" is prescient for 1956 and "Love's A Hurtin' Game" fits so well stylistically with some of the beery/weepy honky tonk songs I'll include on the playlist, so I feel like they should be included, too.
See, I told you my anger's subsiding. My obsessional approach to enjoying music is rising, though. Just like it always does.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Band Perry started young

My favorite story of THE BAND PERRY involves the three ALABAMA siblings' initial days spent making music.
We saw the country/pop group open for ALAN JACKSON last night at the GREAT JONES COUNTY FAIR.

Because I eschew most contemporary country music in favor of the honky tonkin' classics, I hadn't yet heard "HIP TO MY HEART," the Band Perry's catchy Top-20 country hit. (You can see the video by clicking here).

I was pleasantly surprised by the band's set. Powered by KIMBERLY PERRY'S strong vocals, I was reminded of the rockin' country band Lone Justice.

Kimberly (lead vocals, guitar, and piano) is joined in the band by brothers REID (bass guitar) and NEIL (drums, mandolin, and accordion).
Now, as for that favorite story. Kimberly hasn't always allowed her brothers to share the stage. She fronted a band when she was 15 years old, and used her brothers Reid (then 10) and Neil (then 8) as her roadies. I love the idea of a family of country rockers, and of pint-sized roadies scrambling to set up and take down equipment after a gig.
We'll have to see if The Band Perry can sustain their initial success. I think they have their debut full-length album coming out this fall.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Question just a-screamin' for ice cream

It's been a long hot SUMMER (and wet, too).
ROUTE 1 is in the mood for some ice cream, which brings us to this week's FRIDAY QUESTION:

"What's your favorite ice cream flavor and why?"

BEKAH P. -- Sooooo tough! My initial reflex is to go with Chocolate Fudge, but then, upon closer examination, I think I have to say it's Blue Bunny's Birthday Cake ice cream. It tastes just like the birthday cakes my mom used to make me when I was a kid. BUT for Christmas time, there's only one flavor --- Peppermint Ice Cream. So scrumptious! I look forward to it all year long.

INGER H. -- My friend Mark turned me onto Ben and Jerry's Phish Food... deeply unfortunate jam-band name notwithstanding, this stuff is seriously delicious. Its so sweet and rich though, that the "Light" version is actually better than the original.

MIKE D. -- I'm a vanilla man, but I usually order the chocolate chip cookie dough Blizzard at DQ. I did have regrets last week, though, when my wife had the mint Oreo. I prefer something with a crunchy cookie or candy added -- like the chocolate striped cookie and Kit Kat flavors that DQ had for a very limited time years ago. Why must they tease me?!

RICK T. -- Chocolate! Just the American way!

SASKIA M. -- I haven't seen it in the U.S.A yet, but whenever I'm in Germany I eat "Spaghettieis". The flavor does not have anything to do with pasta. It is a German ice cream specialty that looks like a plate of spaghetti. The variety I prefer consists of 1 scoop lemon-cream ice and 2 scoops vanilla that are pressed through a sieve of sorts to make it look like spaghetti. Then it's placed over whipped cream and topped with strawberry sauce and coconut flakes.

ANNIKA H. -- Chocolate birthday cake its so yummy!

STEVE M. -- Chocolate (Häagen-Dazs) - back to the basics, baby! but ice cream must be top quality.

SANDYE V. -- Anything homemade from a hand-cranked ice cream maker. Maybe it's the long wait that makes it always taste so good, no matter what the flavor -- that and the fact that it contains real ingredients. Once we made it on a friend's farm with fresh cream from their Guernesy cow and strawberries from their garden. That was the best.


JOHN S. -- Rocky Road. It's like a 'smore without all the risk of third degree burns or poking your eye out with a hot wire or stick.

MIKE M. -- My favorite is Häagen-Dazs Rum Raisin. I love the name Häagen-Dazs which is a combination of nonsensical words invented in the Bronx. Maggie claims Häagen-Dazs Rum Raisin is a special treat for her, sort of like bottles of red wine for me. But when I guzzle my wine as soon as I get home from the store, Maggie drives me crazy by leaving her Häagen-Dazs untouched in the freezer for weeks
KERSTIN H. -- Vanilla.

ERIK H. -- I'll go with Neapolitan. And if anybody really knows me, they'll know I eat the three flavors separately, usually in the order of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate. Yeah, I know... I have issues.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Testing the depths

How LOW can a person feel?
I've been testing those depths the past 12 hours or so, after a surprise bill from the INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE effectively scuttled my plans to accompany my sister INGER to AUSTRALIA.

We will probably work out a payment plan with the IRS, but even that adds an unexpected financial obligation to an already tight budget that makes it unlikely I could squeeze out enough funds for the trip -- which was to commence in about a month.

I feel worse for my sister. I feel terrible, in fact. I feel like I have let her down, particularly after all the fun we had visiting LONDON during the New Year.

I will offer to pay Inger back for my ticket, and for the hotel accommodation.

In the meantime, I'll keep testing these depths. It's the only journey that seems feasible these days.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A look back at Wadena: Mason Proffit

I plan on writing a story next week on the 40th anniversary of the WADENA ROCK FESTIVAL -- Iowa's answer to Woodstock.
To get in the mood, I have been listening to one of the acts of the festival, the now-sadly obscure MASON PROFFIT.

Brothers Terry and John Michael Talbot played together in several bands before forming Mason Proffit in 1969 in Chicago.

Imagine a slightly more "hippy" version of the Flying Burrito Brothers with a banjo.

The band released five albums between 1969-73 before disbanding.

Present-day critics call the band's country-rock-bluegrass style as "innovative yet difficult to place in a marketing genre."
That inability to fit into the recognizable music scenes of the early 1970s meant the band never reached the commercial heights potentially available.

Listening to the music last night, I wondered where they would fit in today's scene. I think Mason Proffit would have videos on CMT and songs on contemporary country radio.
Substitute their criticisms of Richard Nixon with something more topical, and I think Mason Proffit would fit much better today then they would yesterday.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Straight outta Stockton

ANNIKA and I spent the night with my MOM and STEP-DAD at their rented cottage in BELLEVUE.
This morning, we sat on the porch and my step-dad recalled his upbringing in STOCKTON, CALIF.

His dad worked for the inland port in Stockton, a city in the Central Valley, east of the Bay Area. Stockton was as mixed demographically after World War II as it is now, and my step-dad grew up among Filipino immigrants (who taught him to enjoy spicy food).
In honor of the city nicknamed "Mudville," Annika and I listened to "TERROR TWILIGHT" by Stockton's finest band, PAVEMENT, en route home in the fog.

I've had Pavement on my mind lately. My friend Justin saw the band Sunday at the Pitchfork Festival in Chicago. They were amazing, he told me.

Before heading to work, I am creating an iPod playlist based on the Pavement set list of the weekend show (Justin posted the set list on FACEBOOK).
As the fog lifts, I can continue listening to this great band -- probably the most influential musical export from my step-dad's hometown.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Listening to the details at sunset

We were driving home from visiting my mom and step-dad at their summer cottage in BELLEVUE, IOWA last night, marveling at a pink-and-purple sunset and singing along to THE EAGLES.
"You can't hide your lyin' eyes, and your smile is a thin disguise. I thought by now you'd realize there ain't no way to hide those lying eyes."

It was memorable because the sunset was so beautiful and the country rock of The Eagles has never been bettered -- although far too many contemporary country artists have certainly tried.

"LYIN' EYES," in particular, is such a well-arranged song, that's it's worth paying close attention as it plays. I listened closely last night.

The mandolins appearing briefly but effectively and the chords changing right at the end of the word "realize" in the chorus are among the tiny details that lend this 1975 single it's classic feel.

What's more, The Eagles are a great band to hear when the sun goes down. Of that, there can be no dispute.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The perfect morning for some Mississippi Fred

It's sultry out.
That's perfect for a morning spent listening to MISSISSIPPI FRED MCDOWELL.

Infamously overlooked when BLUES talent scouts scoured the South in the 1930s, McDowell's massive talent didn't come to light on a wide scale until his 1959 "discovery" by musicologists ALAN LOMAX and SHIRLEY COLLINS.

Collins memorably described their initial meeting:

"Towards dusk, a slight figure in dungarees and carrying a guitar appeared out of the trees and walked into the clearing. He was a 50-year-old farmer and he'd been picking cotton all day. Fred started to play bottleneck guitar, a shimmering and metallic sound. His singing was quiet but strong and with a heart-stopping intensity. By the time he'd finished his first blues, we knew we were in the presence of a great and extraordinary musician."

McDowell has a languid style that seems perfect for a cloudy, hot day where all I want to do is lay low until late afternoon.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

"El Beebop Kid" puts a smile on my face

There's some music so good that you don't mind when the light changes from yellow to red and you're stuck at an intersection.
I listened to some of that music yesterday, thanks to a wonderful album I purchased, "CANCIONES DE MI BARRIO."

Early in his musical career, before he became well-known for songs such as "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" and "Before the Next Teardrop Falls," FREDDY FENDER was an aspiring west Texas musician named BALDEMAR HUERTA.

Following an unhappy stint in the Marines, Huerta returned to Texas wanting to make music that broke away from the accordian-driven Tejano tunes that dominated Southwestern jukeboxes of the time -- the late 1950s.

Recording under stage names such as "El Bebop Kid" and "Eddie Con Los Shades," Huerta covered popular rock 'n' roll and R&B tunes of the day in Spanish.

"Ain't That a Shame" becomes "Ya Me Voy," "Since I Met You Baby" becomes "Desde Que Conosco" (featured in the soundtrack to the John Sayles film, "Lone Star") and "I Hear You Knocking" becomes "No Estes Sonando."

Huerta's songs filled jukeboxes throughout the Southwest, and Fender was soon a musical star.

These early tunes are so good -- music that brings a smile to my face so easily -- that when I heard "Diablo Con Antifaz (You're the Devil in Disguise)," it made me want to learn Spanish just so I could sing along.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Route 1 career day Friday Question

ROUTE 1 assistant speechwriter ANNIKA has been exploring the world of anthropology this week as part of a summer school class.
The exposure has given the future dance instructor an additional career aspiration, leading us to pose the following FRIDAY QUESTION:

"What did you want to grow up to be when you were a kid?"

BEKAH P. -- I wanted to be a reporter who covered disasters and crime. I think little kid me would have thought big kid me was pretty freaking awesome, actually!

JIM S. -- Well, of course, I was going to be a wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers, and my friend Ronny Vesterdahl was going to be the quarterback. After all, we were an unbeatable combination at Albion Park near the Yahara River!

ANNIKA H. -- Anthropologist.

SANDYE V. -- A ballerina/author/cowgirl/mermaid.

MIKE M. -- I wanted to be a potato chip salesman in Colorado. I've never been to Colorado, but I read about it in National Geographic, and I thought it'd be great fun to drive around in the mountains distributing tasty snacks.

KERSTIN H. -- When I was a kid I wanted to be a forensic psychiatrist.

RICK T. -- A truck driver! And I was one for 38 years!

BRIAN C. -- First basement of the Chicago Cubs. And they could have used me!

JOHN S. -- An astronaut.

STACEY B. -- I wanted to be an animal trainer at Sea World so I could play with the animals all day That would have been super fun!

ERIK H. -- Inspired by their efforts outside my childhood in Alameda, Calif., I originally wanted to grow up to become a black garbage man.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cool like Icehouse

When I listen to ICEHOUSE, like I am doing this morning, I recall a time when Linn drum machines and Fairlight CMI synthesizers were novel and hip.
Icehouse leader IVA DAVIES spent his late teenage years in SYDNEY, playing the oboe with the ABC National Training Orchestra.

The musical training shows in songs such as "Hey Little Girl," "Great Southern Land," "Crazy" and "Electric Blue."
I always looked forward to hearing Icehouse songs on THE QUAKE or its successor alternative radio station in the Bay Area, LIVE 105.
When I heard the start of an Icehouse song, I knew I'd hear a tune as cool as the band's name implies.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

You call that hot? This is CHAIN GANG HOT

Forecasters have issued a HEAT ADVISORY for today, warning that the heat plus humidity levels could make it feel close to 105 degrees by this afternoon.
If you can't beat the heat, I always say, try to celebrate with song.
That's why I spent part of the morning creating a "Steamy" playlist of RURAL BLUES to accompany my driving around in the heatwave respository otherwise known as our black car.
I opened the 32-song playlist with a memorable field recording by the pioneering ethnomusicologist ALAN LOMAX.
"I BE SO HAPPY WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN" is credited to ED LEWIS & GROUP and is the sound of a chain gang -- complete with rattling chains -- willing the hot sun to drop below the horizon.
When I hear that song, I start to sweat no matter how cool the air-conditioning makes me feel.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Live! from Steamy Dubuque

Well, the current relative humidity reading for DUBUQUE is 100 percent. Even though it's only 64 degrees outside, it feels like the inside of a greenhouse.
Yesterday, I listened to a steamy album to match the conditions.
"LOU RAWLS LIVE" was recorded in early 1966 before an invited audience at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, but Rawls' performance feels like it's emanating from the cozy inside of a club on a humid night on Chicago's South Side.

The great album leads with T-Bone Walker's classic, "(They Call it) Stormy Monday," a song that certainly fit the conditions yesterday afternoon.

Other tracks, such as "I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water," "Goin' to Chicago Blues" and the Leroy Carr blues classic, "In the Evenin' (When the Sun Goes Down)" complement the album's sultry atmosphere.
It's a perfect record to play when it's steamy outside. And for the past couple of days, we've known all about being steamy.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dutch disappointment... again

Heartbreak for HOLLAND, once again, as they lose for the third time in a WORLD CUP FINAL.
I initially thought Andres Iniesta was offside in the moments before his World Cup-winning goal in extra time.

He timed his run correctly, though, and SPAIN were deserved, 1-0, winners over the Dutch in extra time today.

With Dutch relatives, we were cheering hard for Holland. Our efforts ended in disappointment.
The Oranje had their chances, but they lacked the final edge -- the type of finishing Iniesta displayed in extra time.
Instead, the Dutch played a "physical" game, collecting nine yellow cards and having John Heitinga sent off in extra time.

And in the end, PAUL THE OCTOPUS was right again.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Lookin' at my Gucci it's about that time (to peel potatoes)

I just peeled potatoes to help prepare for dinner -- FRIED CHICKEN and some greens and corn on the cob and mashed potatoes -- while kickin' it old school by listening to a playlist of tunes by pioneering PHILADELPHIA rapper SCHOOLLY D (Jesse B. Weaver Jr.).
With DJ CODE MONEY (Lance Allen) by his side, Schoolly D created hip-hop classics like "P.S.K. (What Does That Mean?)," "Put Your Filas On," "Saturday Night" and my personal favorite, "Gucci Time" (memorably sampled by the Beastie Boys on "Time to Get Ill)."

I delved deep into hip hop during college, picking up cassettes by a variety of artists to play in my car as I drove around.
The music was relatively fresh back then, and it still sounded fresh to me today, as I peeled the potatoes.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Jill jinxed the jinx!

JULY 7 1990 - JULY 7 2010

Spare a thought this week for JILL HOGSTROM.

For 20 years, she has witnessed one of sport's most mysterious phenomena -- the SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS can't win when I am in their presence. See Game 2 of the 1989 World Series as proof.

This JINX usually extends to television and radio broadcasts as well -- see the 2002 World Series as proof.

Indeed, this jinx is so powerful, only similarly powerful jinxes can override it.

Here's where Jill enters the picture.

Yesterday, we continued our ANNIVERSARY celebrations by attending the BREWERS game against the Giants in MILWAUKEE.

"The Giants won't win," Jill proclaimed to my brother-in-law and others in the vicinity. "The Giants won't win because Erik is here."

Then, Aubrey Huff, Buster Posey and Andres Torres homered as the Giants beat the Brewers, 9-3, to complete the team's first four-game sweep in Milwaukee.
See what just happened there?
Jill effectively JINXED THE JINX!

I told you only a powerful jinx could override the famous Giants-Erik jinx.

Spare a thought for Jill this week. Powerful jinxes surround her.

FRIDAY QUESTION returns next week at it's regularly scheduled time.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Spending my anniversary with Cal, Henry, Rose, Fred and Don

JULY 7 1990 - JULY 7 2010
Spare a thought this week for JILL HOGSTROM.
For 20 years I have been bugging her by beginning conversations like this:
"Listen to this song, it's absolutely fabulous. It's called 'I'VE GOT FOUR BIG BROTHERS' by THE MADDOX BROS. AND ROSE. They were originally from the South but moved to MODESTO, CALIF., in the 1930s and got their start on radio stations in the Central Valley. Their songs just make me smile."
I am spending another day during this vacation listening to some old country songs, as I prepare a massive HONKY TONK playlist for my iPod.
My biggest challenge is trimming the number of songs. The Maddox Bros. and Rose make my task much more difficult: I adore so many of their self-styled "hillbilly boogie" classics.
I could listen to this music all day, except I need to switch on the television in time for today's WORLD CUP SEMIFINAL.
Spare a thought for Jill: She married a goofball.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

20 Years of putting up with my musical obsessions

JULY 7 1990 - JULY 7 2010
Spare a thought this week for JILL HOGSTROM.
For the past 20 years or so, she has been subjected to a rather unusual OCCUPATIONAL HAZARD of being married to me.
Example, from this morning in the car, as I drove Jill to work:
ME: "Listen to this great song. It's by CONJUNTO BERNAL & MANDO MARROQUIN, JR., and it's one of the original CHICANO ROCK SONGS. I am putting together a playlist of Chicano rock and Tejano songs that you might have heard on a jukebox in Del Rio, Texas, circa 1967 or so."
See? Why would someone subject themselves to that sort of obsessional blathering for 20 entire years?
That's going above and beyond the marriage vows, and that's why I think you should spare a thought this week for Jill.

Monday, July 05, 2010

A little Tejano before home improvements

Inspired after watching the JOHN SAYLES film "LONE STAR" last night, I am awaiting the start of a day of home improvement projects while listening to some classic TEJANO MUSIC.
The FREDDY FENDER Spanish version of Ivory Joe Hunter's "Since I Met You Baby" -- "DESDE QUE CONOSCO" is one of the musical highlights of the film's soundtrack.
This morning, besides the aforementioned Fender, I am playing Tex-Mex artists such as Isidro Lopez, Beto Villa and Balde González and thinking about clear skies and warm dry days. That's a combination we won't experience on this rainy day.
JILL just walked in the door from the hardware store. Time to quit blogging about Tejano music and get to work, I'm afraid.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Fenton on the Fourth

Happy FOURTH OF JULY everybody!
Today is shaping up to be a hot and sticky day -- it's already 71 degrees with 84 percent relative humidity at 7:25 a.m. -- so I am listening to some excellent BLUES music to match.
FENTON ROBINSON would provide a good introduction to the genre for people unsure if they like electrified blues.
I am listening to his 1974 album, "SOMEBODY LOAN ME A DIME" and his guitar playing and vocals are elegant.
"Somebody loan me a dime, I wanna call my old time used to be," he sings on the title track, a Robinson composition he originally recorded in 1967.
BOZ SCAGGS famously (infamously?) covered the song two years later (complete with a stunning DUANE ALLMAN guitar solo) without crediting Robinson, resulting in a legal battle.
Too many people might only remember Robinson for the controversy.
That would be a damn shame. His version of blues fits perfectly on those hot and sticky days, when you only want to move a little, but you want to enjoy your music a lot.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Were Europe's top stars too tired to shine?

Thanks to Bastian Schweinsteiger and the rest of DIE NATIONALMANNSCHAFT, ARGENTINA never looked likely to defeat DEUTSCHLAND today, let alone score.
As I watched today's WORLD CUP QUARTERFINAL (on UNIVISION, so I could enjoy the commentators shouting ¡GOOOOOOOOOOL!) all I could think about was the utter flop of some of the biggest stars in European football.

What happened to Kaka, Wayne Rooney, Didier Drogba and Lionel Messi -- among others -- in this tournament?

Why didn't the stars of the domestic scene shine on this bigger stage?

Messi looked sadly, pitifully out of his depth against Germany today.

Were Europe's stars too tired to compete?

Germany's strength up front comes from players such as Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose -- players who didn't exactly steal the spotlight during the Bundesliga season.

It hasn't really been a tournament for Europe's stars. Are their domestic duties to blame?

Friday, July 02, 2010

Say kids, what time is it? It's Friday Question time!

Ever notice how one song always seems to trigger a wave of nostalgia?
So do these ROUTE 1 readers answering this week's FRIDAY QUESTION:
"What song makes you nostalgic and why?"
RICK T. -- The songs, "A Fallen Star" and "Gonna Find Ya". They use to play those songs during the races at the old Dubuque Sports Bowl (where the dog track is now). Everytime I hear them I go back to the 1950's early 60's. GOD I miss that old race track! I was one of the last to drive on it when I was 17 years old.
BEKAH P. -- "In the Summertime" by Mungo Jerry. Each and every time I hear it, I remember it being the middle of this terrible Iowa winter. My four siblings and I were getting ready to go sledding, and this song came over the oldies radio, and we giggled and giggled and giggled. It's strange how growing up changes people. This song makes me nostalgic for simpler times, when we kids were able to just giggle for hours over some slight irony.
JEFF T. -- "Big City" by Merle Haggard makes me think of Montana... Good times!
SANDYE V. -- "Pomp and Circumstance" always makes me weepy, even if I don't know the people graduating. It's about time passing, kids growing up (or never growing up), me growing old.... WaaaWaaaaa!
KERI M. -- Any New Kids On The Block song because they were my boy band.
ERIK H. -- One day this week the weather perfectly matched the music playing on the car stereo.
Skies were clear, temperatures were in the mid-70s and Iowa 's summer humidity was noticeably absent.
"Hanging Out in California " and "Seven Summers" by SoCal Chicano rockers Cruzados blared from the speakers and it seemed like I had been transported back to the 1980s, driving around beautiful northern California . I was actually driving the car to get an oil change, but the moment felt magical.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

How do you say "Sorry, my bad" in Turkish?

I have just read in the latest issue of WORLD SOCCER about what must be one of the biggest "OOPS" moments in sports history.
On the final day of the TURKCELL SÜPERLIG season, BURSASPOR faced BEŞIKTAŞ needing a victory to claim the club's first title.

Challengers FENERBAHÇE faced TRABZONSPOR knowing they could claim the title if they at least drew and Bursaspor were held to a draw. The race was that tight.

Bursaspor led Beşiktaş, 2-1, and Fenerbahçe and Trabzonspor were level at 1-1.

That's when the "oops" moment occurred.

Word reached Fenerbahçe stadium announcer HAKAN BINGUL that Beşiktaş had scored a late equalizer. That would mean the title for Fenerbahçe!

Bingul announced the result, and the Fenerbahçe crowd went wild and the Fenerbahçe players eased up against Trabzonspor.

Once the final whistle blew, Fenerbahçe fans ran onto the pitch in celebration.

One problem: Beşiktaş had not equalized against Bursaspor -- Bursaspor had held on to win, 2-1, and captured the title.

Turkish riot police had their hands full containing the blinding wrath of the Fenerbahçe supporters, and sports history had one of its greatest "oops" moments.