Monday, February 8, 2016

Manic Monday

Departure Day

My best friend Skip's visit ended today, as I regretfully got him on his plane back home to Philadelphia this morning. We are hopeful of getting together again in Kansas City sometime in April for a Royals game or two.

Skip's plane taxis to the south end of the runway

In the meantime, I'm tickled to death he was able to come for a visit, even if the weather was shitty the whole time he was here, and even though the !@#$% Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl (Skip and I both hate the Broncos).

"You both ate a bunch of unhealthy food and drank a bunch of Scotch, am I right?"

I will neither confirm nor deny such speculation...

Wild Kingdom Bed & Breakfast Update

Things have been pretty busy lately, now that the harsh winter weather is here to stay for awhile. In addition to the usual avian customers, I spotted my little mouse friend yesterday morning, and late last night I noticed a cat I hadn't seen before having some food. When she was done eating, she actually went into the box I have tucked into the corner of the patio (with a small blanket inside) and went to sleep. That made me feel pretty good.

I do worry about my clientele in the nasty weather...

"They'd get along fine without you, you know."

Maybe, maybe not...but helping makes me feel good, so zip it...

Run for Your Life, Kid!

From the hilarious comic strip Zits, by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman, which you should read every day, as I do.

Until Next Time...

As the 1980s were getting under way, I was in the market for a favorite band because my longtime favorites The Who had lost one of their founding members and gone into something of a creative funk. Unfortunately, most of what dominated the radio and pop music charts at that time didn't appeal much to me.

That changed when R.E.M. showed up. Based in Athens, Georgia, the band was something of an anomaly at the time: A classic trio + singer, their style leaned toward atmospheric arrangements and obscure (some would say unintelligible) lyrics, married to jangly guitars reminiscent of '60s folk-rock groups. R.E.M. was the vanguard of what eventually came to be called "alternative" rock. I fell for them right off the bat, and remain a devoted fan to this day, even though the group disbanded for good in 2011 (not long after being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame). I was lucky enough to see them perform live in Kansas City in 2003.

Original 1981 45 rpm single sleeve
On January 8, 1981 the band went into Drive-In Studios in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to make a demo recording they hoped would attract the attention of a record label.

One of the songs they recorded that day was "Radio Free Europe," which would be released as a single in early summer on the independent Hib-Tone label based in Atlanta. The single did well enough to earn the band a recording deal with I.R.S. Records.

The band would eventually re-record "Radio Free Europe" for their first full-length album Murmur, released in 1983. The re-recorded version was also released as a single, and became the band's first chart success, reaching No. 78 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. It was also selected for the National Recording Registry curated by the Library of Congress.

For many of us die-hard fans, though, the original Hib-Tone version still has its charms. It was the recording that launched the band's career.

Today's send-off is the original version of the song as released in 1981 by Hib-Tone, along with its accompanying video (the usual '80s music video disclaimers apply). Enjoy...

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