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Monthly Archives: November 2006

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Birthday Haul #1: Girl Group Sounds Box

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This is coming a month late, but starting here I’m sharing my impressions from a year of unexpectly large birthday giftage. The parents answered my number one wish by gifting something that I’d been saving up all year to get: Rhino’s mammoth One Kiss Can Lead to Another: Girl Group Sounds Lost and Found box set. Soon after I opened it, Christopher chided me by saying “That is such a gay gift to ask for.” Indeed, gay it is: 120 songs spread out on four compact-shaped discs with a diary-shaped book, housed in a fruity hatbox-shaped container. Yeah, and so what? One listen will tell you the ladies collected here truly rocked every bit as much as the guys.

As for the individual tracks, the compilers have taken an expanded definition of “Girl Group Sounds” which encompasses gritty R&B, Soul, Garage Rock and several solo female performers. Although some were mid-level hits back in the ’60s, most didn’t chart at all which results in a set full of neat goodies (and one track by The Goodees, the Southern White Trash Shangri-Las). I had already owned about a third of these songs and was familiar with much of the rest due to diligent listening to the Spectropop’s Girl Pop online radio station, but that didn’t diminish my enjoyment of them. In fact, listening to this reminded me how much I appreciate a nicely picked and thoughtfully sequenced compilation — a rarity in this download-and-go era. It made even the most familiar tunes sound fresh. There are too many highlights to mention, although I was glad that they included several tracks by the amazing Cookies and their various aliases (including The Cinderellas’ “Please Don’t Wake Me” and “Baby Baby (I Still Love You)”, likely the most astonishingly great double-sided single ever pressed). Liner notes by Sheila Burgel of Cha Cha Charming are so fine, doo lang doo lang doo lang. Now I’m hoping Rhino puts together a similar package for the male artists who recorded in that style.

Stroll through the Daisies

I’m walkin’ on sunshine. My pal Patrick is sharing six Sunshine Pop compilations which he originally assembled in 2002. I never get tired of this kinda music, evocative of moony couples walking though sun-dappled fields. I’m particularly interested in hearing more from harmony-based vocal quartet The Arbors. These guys may have looked like accountants from The Bank of Squaresville, but in 1969 they released an LP of amazing contemporary rock covers which included their brief but gorgeous take on The Doors’ “Touch Me”. Take a listen and see if you agree.

The Arbors: “Touch Me”, from the LP The Arbors Featuring I Can’t Quit Her/The Letter (1969). Thanks Ion!

Election Day

Now that election day is almost over, it’s time for a few hopes. Firstly, I’m hoping people in my home state of Arizona actually vote and not sit on their collective butts watching Dancing with the Stars or whatever — action is always better than inaction. Secondly, I’m hoping that AZ gets a big dose of common sense and votes no on Proposition 107. This is our version those “marriage is between a man and a woman” bullcrap amendment proposals which have already gone through several states (and passed unfortunately). Thirdly, a hope for less confusion in the future. My state has two anti-public smoking propositions which cancel each other out — don’t make the same mistake we did and vote the wrong way (it should be yes on 201 and no on 206). Fourthly, I’m hoping that Maricopa County residents are good animal lovers and voted yes on prop 204. This one, if passed, would ban veal crates and other inhumane treatments at meat farms in the valley. Never mind that this prop only affects the one pig farm in our county — it’s the message that counts.

Onward to the candidates. We love our governor, Janet Napolitano, and voted for her to continue on for another term. Yeah, she’s likely a big dyke who needs to come out of the closet, but I’m hoping a more secure second term will encourage her to join the family. The other candidates were also no-brainers. Normally I vote from my head and not my gut, weighing the individual candidates’ merits and not toeing the party line. Not so this year. I voted straight Democrat, and hopefully others across the U.S. who are infuriated with the Republicans feel the same way. The Brady Bunch said it best: “When it’s time to change you’ve got to rearrange.” So true.

The Children’s Half-Hour

I got a couple of ’80s kiddie video tidbits to share here. Finding the original My Buddy commercial on YouTube was a distinct thrill for me. This jingle is comedy gold, folks, especially the razzle-dazzle way the unknown little boy (possibly a girl) singer delivers it. Pray tell, what is that kid doing now? Probably headlining the evening variety show on a Carnival Cruise somewhere, that’s what. My Buddy was one of the first dolls geared toward little boys, later serving as the inspiration for Childsplay‘s Chucky. Recently the jingle was given a Robot Chicken parody as “My Stalker”. Without further ado:

Our next bit is one of those “message” pieces that the FCC forced producers of kiddie programs to do in order to make their crappily animated shows appear less like toy commercials. In this case we have She-Ra and He-Man warning children about the dangers of sexual predators. Let the hilarity begin!

Hello Kitty

I’ve been holding off on this, but we now have a new member of our household. Meet Eero (pronounced “Arrow”), a nine month-old female siamese mix — that’s what the Humane Society told us at any rate. We adopted her on October 21st. We came to the local H.S. with an open mind, wanting to pick either a dog or a cat, but after looking around none of the critters really spoke to us. We returned to the cat section to find that they had put out several new felines — including Eero. For Christopher it was love at first sight, so we snatched her up and took her home. After brief bouts with vomiting and sneezing, it appears that she has adjusted to us pretty well. Where our old cat Eames was mellow, Eero is a rambunctious kitty full of energy. At the same time, she can be very sweet and gentle. They told us she was a stray, but she seems perfectly comfortable with humans (right now she’s taking a nap on my lap).

By the way, I heartily recommend visiting your local Humane Society if you’re looking for a pet. Our experience couldn’t have been better — nice staff, easy (and cheap) adoption process, and we were even supplied with free food, toys and provisions. The animals already come fixed and with the proper immunizations. One of the employees at our local H.S. told us that nearly every animal that comes through their doors gets adopted; they only euthanize in cases where the animal is no longer healthy enough to adopt out. With so many friendly cats and dogs (and other critters) ready for loving homes, you have a win-win situation. It certainly was for us.

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