NEWS, UNFIT AND OTHERWISE
22 October 2019 - New episode in the ongoing taco chronicles - Chapter 8 – Of Time and Motor Control - Fiesta Cafe, Walker’s Point, Milwaukee.
21 October 2019 - Sometimes a bar of soap is like a time machine, that folds the time-space continuum, touching the moments of starting a new soap to when it’s a nub. No it’s not - it’s early on Monday, and I just wanted to use the word “continuum” and the word “nub” in the same sentence. I’ll probably never do that again. New soap review - Zum Bar – Clove-Mint - on the Soap Exotica page.
18 October 2019 - Happy Farraginious Friday! - new record review - Joy of Cooking “Closer to the Ground” - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
16 October 2019 - Short book review - The Secret at Lone Tree Cottage, by Carolyn Keene, which is a Dana Girls Mystery. See Books, under the LISTS tab.
15 October 2019 - Check out the Taco page, under the LUNCH tab - new episode - Chapter 7 – Should Have Asked - a visit to Mexic 103, in Cudahy.
13 October 2019 - Yet another soap review - Anatolia Daphne – Olive Oil Soap - at Soap Exotica, under the LISTS tab.
11 October 2019 - A review of the in-theaters-now movie, Joker - on the Movies page, under the LISTS tab.
10 October 2019 - International Holiday - Thelonious Monk’s Birthday (listen all day to WKCR New York) - so here’s some brief thoughts on a record - Thelonious Monk “Underground” (1968) - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
8 October 2019 - Next installment of the Taco Chronicles - Chapter 6 – The Day After Oblivion - Taqueria La Guacamaya Taco Truck – where it sat at Wisconsin and Van Buren, Milwaukee, lunchtime a couple of days in the last week. (“Taco Chronicles” is not the official title, but that’s how rumors get started!)
6 October 2019 - Soap review number 75! Hemani – Turmeric Soap - at Soap Exotica, under the LISTS tab.
4 October 2019 - Another Farraginous Friday - today, an emotional trip down memory lane with The George Shearing Quintet “Burnished Brass” - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
3 October 2019 - We’re trying to get the new Taco review page (under the LUNCH tab) off to a good start, so here is another chapter - Chapter 5 – Good Garbage - this time visiting Highland House, just north of Milwaukee, in Mequon, “Where You’re Always On Vacation” - Highland House, that is, not Mequon, but maybe Mequon, too, why not.
1 October 2019 - Happy October 1st! You might navigate to the Taco page this Tuesday (it’s under the tab heading LUNCH), for a new chapter in the Milwaukee area taco saga - and though this one includes no tacos to speak of, there is related subject matter, both heavy and light.
28 September 2019 - The third installment of the new Taco page explores the strange blue drink mystery at Applebee’s (see LUNCH, in navigation). Also, a new soap review - Nagchampa Banana Soap - at Soap Exotica - under LISTS.
27 September 2019 - Happy Farraginous Friday! - and that means a new record review - Arthur Prysock “I Must Be Doing Something Right” - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
24 September 2019 - It’s two for Taco Tuesday - the first two chapters are up on the new Taco page (under the LUNCH tab) - they’re short, they’re to the point, some would say pointless, but see, that’s the point, do you know what I’m saying? Also, new cover page (above) - and if you can’t figure out the name of that place you’re not trying very hard. It would be pointless to have contest. I just hope it’s still open, and I hope it hasn’t or doesn’t change much, and more than anything else I hope they still have rice pudding.
23 September 2019 - Happy Autumnal Equinox! A few new things to read today: under the MEMO tab, the usual seasonal ruminations, as well as possible invention of a new word? Clovering —and also, the announcement of a new project! PLUS, a restaurant review: Slick Willy’s, a kind of all-out neighborhood bar in South Milwaukee —see the Eat page under the LUNCH tab. And even more: a movie review of the new in theatres sci-fi film Ad Astra, at Movies, under the LISTS tab. Happy Monday.
19 September 2019 - Short book review - Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury (1957) - see Books, under the LISTS tab. Also, updated Reading list.
18 September 2019 - New Podcast! - with guest host Renée Muza - talk about Keith Busch, Johnny Phlegm, and the past, ghosts, nightmares, insects, jobs, and other odd things like the service dog fake credentials underground. See Podcast tab, or download via Apple Podcasts or the Stitcher app.
15 September 2019 - Soap Review Saturday! (yesterday) - see: Soap Exotica, under the LISTS tab, for a write-up of Duke Cannon Supply Co. – Big Ass Beer Soap.
13 September 2019 - Sonny Criss / Gerald Wiggins / Erroll Garner / Stan Getz - 1963 record, at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
8 September 2019 - Fresh, fragrant soap review - Chami Soap – Laurel Soap - at Soap Exotica, under the LISTS tab.
7 September 2019 - Sloppy, messy, rainy-day review of Electric Light Orchestra “Out of the Blue” album, along with a lot of excessive, obsessive philosophizin’ - on an otherwise grim Farraginous Friday - at: DJ FARRAGINOUS.
6 September 2019 - a book review (The Case of the Gone Goose - some heavy reading!) and updated Reading List - all under the LISTS tab - on National Read a Book Day.
4 September 2019 - Happy September! New record review: Michael Dinner “The Great Pretender” (1974) - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
27 August 2019 - A fresh soap review - see Soap Exotica, under the LISTS tab - this time it’s Upper Canada – Maple / Erable.
26 August 2019 - New podcast! (see PODCAST tab) - a two hour epic - an examination of the 1967 Frank Sinatra movie, Tony Rome, and the phenomenon of the “Captain’s hat” - with guest host, “George” Ruschhaupt.
23 August 2019 - I realize there’s been nothing but record reviews here lately, but as Kim Fowley says, “Summertime’s here, kiddies,” and no matter what anyone (usually selling gloom insurance) tries to tell you, it’s just starting. The world is full of horror, no denying that, and sometimes the only way to deal with it is to take a trip. Oh yeah, here’s a review of Dave Major & the Minors “Second Record Album” - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
17 August 2019 - Another epic and brilliant vinyl review - The Addrisi Brothers “We’ve Got To Get It On Again” - but don’t take my word for it, look at: DJ FARRAGINOUS.
14 August 2019 - A fairly epic - (one of those song by song examinations that no one should really ever do) - review of the Sharon Van Etten album, “Tramp” - from 2012 - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
10 August 2019 - A dessert epic! - see the Dessert page, under the LUNCH tab. A post called Dessert Dreams (which comes from that old joke about a guy doing a presentation (slide show?) called “Desert Dreams,” and he spelled it wrong (Dessert), much to everyone’s amusement. This post is so long I gave it chapters with chapter titles. Well, that wasn’t really necessary, I’m just a goofball.
9 August 2019 - New book review, 10:04 by Ben Lerner, and updated Reading list. Also, today is National Rice Pudding Day, and I didn’t write a review, but I did kind of do a brief one, mostly visual, on my main Instagram (look for that IG logo, on this page) - which I ate last weekend. It’s a big ol’ bowl of of Kheer I ate at Indian Delight, a little place down in Oak Creek I visited for the first time. Okay, I’m going to go post that now, but it will be several minutes after I post this that I post that - we’re in real time here. I make this distinction just because in a kind of voodoo way, it makes me almost believe someone might be reading this at all.
7 August 2019 - New entry in the old memoirs - a dream from November 1998 that is frankly really kind of fucked up. What especially freaks me out is that it’s about a pillowcase, and someone mentioned something about a pillowcase on my Instagram post from yesterday - of course this is just a coincidence - but still… Also, the mention of the media and the “counter-media” - I don’t know - when I open myself up too much to the haunted continuum, sometimes it makes me want to shut down and just find a bar-stool somewhere. You can find this entry under the MEMOIR tab, at Notebook Journals (follow the link from there to that site) - or just follow the link here: Notebook Journals.
4 August 2019 - New soap review - Castelbel “Always Be A Unicorn” Cotton Breeze Scented Soap - at Soap Exotica, under the LISTS tab. Also, for the first time all year, a new movie review! Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - at Movies, also under the LISTS tab.
2 August 2019 - Happy Farraginous Friday in August - here’s a review of Lionel Hampton “Silver Vibes” - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
31 July 2019 - Vinyl record review: Neko Case “The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You” - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
28 July 2019 - New soap review! Pré de Provence – Starflower - at Soap Exotica, under the LISTS tab.
27 July 2019 - New, very brief (I find it hard to write much when I’m not being ironic or just plain goofy) review of the book, The Apology by Eve Ensler, on the Books page, under the LISTS tab. Even more briefly, I’d like use a word I try to seldom ever use, “should,” and say, you should read this book. Also, as ever, updated Reading list.
21 July 2019 - Please see Soap Exotica, under the LISTS tab, for a new soap review: Pacha – Pines & Needles. It’s like Christmas in July. Which, incidentally, I just watched, again! - as it’s one of my favorites. (Preston Sturges, 1940.) The next time I see either a new movie, or an old one I somehow missed, that I like better than that movie, I will announce it HERE, and very loudly!!
20 July 2019 - I celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing by having some rice pudding for breakfast at Ma Fischer’s. Only then did I notice that, in my new website cover photo (you might not be able to see this on your phone) there’s a sign for Rice Pudding on the wall of the place (the name of which hasn’t yet been guessed by anyone, and so the contest is still open! The grand prize is a rice pudding date!). I’d like to say all of these things are connected, including the new vinyl review, at DJ FARRAGINOUS, of the Eagles 1975 record, One Of These Nights, but honestly, I can’t really make out any kind of connection at all. Maybe there’s just something comforting in that.
17 July 2019 - New cover photo, (untitled, c. 20-something) Contest: guess the place, and win! Also, fresh 1978 record review, The Doobie Brothers “Minute by Minute” at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
3 July 2019 - New podcast! Stacy Szymaszek is a poet, and arts administrator/organizer, and teacher. She was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where in 1999 she started working for Woodland Pattern Book Center. She founded and edited seven issues of GAM, a free magazine featuring the work of poets living in the upper midwest. In 2005, she moved to NYC to work for The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church, where she served as Executive Director from 2007-2018. Szymaszek is the author of the books Emptied of All Ships (2005), Hyperglossia (2009), hart island (2015),Journal of Ugly Sites and Other Journals (2016), which won the Ottoline Prize from Fence Books and was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award in 2017, and A Year From Today (2018 ). She is the recipient of a 2014 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, and a 2019 Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant in poetry. She has taught for Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program, and been a mentor for Queer Art Mentorship. Szymaszek was the Hugo Visiting Writer at the University of Montana-Missoula 2018-19 and was a Poet-in-Resident at Brown University in fall 2018. She will be a visiting poet for the Fire Island Artist Residency this summer. She is currently writing new poems in Tucson, AZ. Her books are available via Small Press Distribution at spdbooks.org.
26 June 2019 - Happy Wednesday, why? you say? Because of a new post, for Random Song Sunday - better late than Thursday, as I always say. It’s a double-header, “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes and “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys. See the Songs page, under the LISTS tab.
23 June 2019 - Under the LISTS tab, at Soap Exotica, there is a new soap review - Nature's Blend – Walnut & Sandalwood - from New Zealand.
21 June 2019 - I wish I could say I’ve been immersed in the board game lab project studio, but… Oh, well, I can say it, no one will believe me anyway. It is however another happy farraginous Friday, which means a new record review - this time the random system picked: Paul Horn “Visions” - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
16 June 2019 - It’s finally another Steely Dan Sunday, so you may want to check out the meditation on “Don't Take Me Alive” from The Royal Scam (1976) - at Steely Dan, under the LISTS tab.
15 June 2019 - Soap Review No. 66 - African Black Soap - at Soap Exotica, under the LISTS tab.
14 June 2019 - Jimmy Swaggart “I've Got Nothing To Lose” - and a request unto the past - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
12 June 2019 - Happy rainy, reading Wednesday - new book review: Ready Fire Aim by Kevin Triggs - see Books, under the LISTS tab. Also, updated the already too long Reading list by adding something new!
11 June 2019 - New memoir entry at NOTEBOOK JOURNALS - and all I can say is, “Oh, boy.” Maybe an emoji would be more descriptive - it would have to be one with oversized teardrops, or maybe virtual waterfalls coming from the eyes. A big grin, because you have to laugh. Maybe with the eyes rolling, subtly.
9 June 2019 - Once again, my real life’s work - new soap review - Castelbel Porto – Joy! – Elderflower & Prosecco Scented Soap - see Soap Exotica, under the LISTS tab.
7 June 2019 - Everything you didn’t want to know about Jon Astley : The Compleat Angler and never got tired of asking - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
5 June 2019 - It’s Reading Wednesday, but I’m so stressed out I’ll probably just sadly go to sleep! Still, there’s a review of the latest Dixon, The Shore Road Mystery - Books, under the LISTS tab, and also the already too large Reading List has been made larger.
4 June 2019 - After nearly a month (ironically, Memoir May) since the last NOTEBOOK JOURNALS post, finally a new one - and it happens to be later the same day as the last one! I don’t know if I was camping downstream from the Benzedrex Inhaler factory, if you know what I’m saying, back in November 1998, but I was sure filling up the old notebook!
31 May 2019 - on a moist Farraginous Friday, perhaps peruse my review of the 1993 Fuzzhead LP, “LSD” at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
29 May 2019 - Even though I’ve recently been appointed Chairman of the Board (games) (see Memo from yesterday) doesn’t mean I’m not recognizing Reading Wednesday by adding a new book to the list - This Planet Is Doomed by Sun Ra. So, at first I thought it was This Planet Is DOMED (you know, as in The Domes, or Logan’s Run (movie). But, no, he’s talking about Earth (not Saturn, where he’s from) and DOOMED. But Trump says we’re okay, and considering he’s probably just thinking about the extent of his lifetime, he might be right. Ha! Does he think we were BORN YESTERDAY? Well, there WERE people born yesterday, and by the time they’re old enough to to break the news to that we’re fucked, we may already be fucked. Depressing, I know. But maybe this book will bring me up, since I saw Sun Ra once play at a bar, and I’m still feeling hopeful from that experience! Music may or may not save us, I don’t know, but it can for sure help you feel better, and maybe that’s the first step.
28 May 2019 - Like two full moons in one month (Blue Moon) a second Memo in May? (Would that make it a Blue Memo? And what does that mean, blue… anyway, if not this, and not that, and some people think it’s green?) Regardless, now for an unlimited time, complete strangers (as if) are welcome to read about my newest, personal obsession and obsessive approach to it - see: May(be) Not Memo, under the MEMO tab of this website.
25 May 2019 - There is a new Randy Russell Podcast (see PODCAST tab) with guest host Peter Batchelder, and there is talk about music, art, filmmaking, The Razor’s Edge, and Irritating Rainbow, among other things. Also, a new record review at DJ FARRAGINOUS of Mickey Newbury’s “Heaven Help the Child” - though it’s more about the album cover, which needed to take up the bulk of the word count allowance.
22 May 2019 - New (not) Rice Pudding review (Tapioca) at the South Milwaukee Cafe - see Dessert, under the LUNCH tab. And a review of the 1892 story, The Yellow Wall Paper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman - Books, under the LISTS tab. Also, updated Reading list.
21 May 2019 - Already nearly through May (the shortest month) so I’m going to just extend Memoir May through the whole summer, while I struggle with heat, motivation, 40 hours a week just trying to get by, and trying to figure out, “What’s next.” See Memoir page for the next excerpt of the 1981 Garbage Memo, the secret journal of Garbage Inc., typed with alcoholic abandon. It’s been suggested I implement a rating system, so this entry gets: A, E, I, O, and U (the vowels). A for Alcoholic Abandon, E for Explicit, I for Idiotic or Imbecilic (take your pick), O for Obnoxious, and U for Unrated, I guess. Enjoy! (at your discretion).
19 May 2019 - It’s not Sunday until I have my weekly Saturday bath and have written a new review for Soap Review Saturday - this week it’s: La Saponeria Firenze – White Roses - which you can read about at Soap Exotica, under the LISTS tab. Now, Happy Sunday.
17 May 2019 - Whatever else today might be, it’s also Farraginous Friday, and you can read a new review of Television’s 1977 record Marquee Moon at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
15 May 2019 - It’s Reading Wednesday! Though unfortunately also laundry day, tax day, a work day, and something else, I forgot. Still, here’s a brief review of a book I just finished, Notes of a Native Son, by James Baldwin, at Books, under the LISTS tab. Also, a new book on the Reading list: The Earth Dies Streaming - Film Writing, 2002—2018, by A. S. Hamrah.
14 May 2019 - More Memoir (under the MEMOIR tab) - and more drunken typing while running the Garbage store.
12 May 2019 - Love and more love to mothers, in all their forms. Probably not much love left over, but I’ve managed to soap-sliver a little bit more for Cinthol – Confidence+ bar soap, which you can read about at Soap Exotica, under the LISTS tab.
11 May 2019 - IS May traditionally the fastest-zipping-by month for you? It is for me - I wish I could bottle it. Here’s a new record review - of Average White Band “Cut the Cake” - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
8 May 2019 - After many, many months, a return to the Garbage Memo (another Dag Nabbit entry) even though in 1981 time, it’s just the next day! At Memoir, under the MEMOIR tab,
7 May 2019 - See MEMO tab for the new May Memoir Memo - where I attempt to explain why this might be interesting (recommended for those obsessed with dates and numbers). Or for a much more fun time, the latest Randy Russell Podcast (PODCAST tab) is up, and guest host Amanda Tollefson and RR discuss making stuff (crafts, art, or as a job), in both their own experience and as connoisseurs.
6 May 2019 - It’s Memoir Monday, so now it can be told. (New NOTEBOOK JOURNALS entries!) If that didn’t get your attention, get ready for a big announcement - this kicks off MEMOIR MAY - new Memoir entries almost every day! The roaring silence is almost palpable.
5 May 2019 - very late on Soap Review Saturday, posted a fresh soap review - of Vatika DermoViva – Aloe Vera Soap - at Soap Exotica (under the LISTS tab).
4 May 2019 - Farraginous Friday was yesterday, but you can read this review of Kris Kristofferson’s 1972 album, Jesus Was a Capricorn today, at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
1 May 2019 - for Reading Wednesday, a short book review - Good Old Archibald, by Ethelyn M. Parkinson (Books page, under the LISTS tab). Also, as I saw the first dandelion of the season, last weekend, I have continued with an annual ritual of reading Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine. (I don’t actually re-read it all every summer, but just pick up where I left off, year to year—I’m such a slow reader!)
30 April 2019 - it’s Cafe Tuesday, for a change, and you can find a new review - of Fuel Cafe, Center Street - on the Coffee Shop page, under the LUNCH tab.
29 April 2019 - later in the day - a little late for Soap Review Saturday, nevertheless, please check out Soap Exotica (under the LISTS) tab, for a review of Goldfish-in-a-Bag.
29 April 2019 - It was a rough week last week, continuing a rough month, of a rough year, or few years, of… whatever. Here is what I am hoping one might find an entertaining review of a Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond record, even if not particularly a fan of Brubeck, Desmond, jazz, or records, or old stuff. At DJ FARRAGINOUS.
24 April 2019 - Someone said it’s Reading Wednesday, so here’s a new book review - The Missing Formula, by Ann Wirt, from 1932, see Books, under the LISTS tab. Also, updated Reading list, under, where else, the LISTS tab.
21 April 2019 - Sober Easter everyone, in the sobering world. Maybe stop and appreciate a new growth from the earth - sometimes that’s enough, and sometimes it’s the only thing that makes sense. If you’re looking for a little more, or something to take you back into the working (or looking for work) week, there’s a new Randy Russell Podcast (under the PODCAST tab) - with guest host Susan Bandusan - and a conversation about many things, including the instances you heard certain music for the first time and the way it affects you. On a similar tack, on the Steely Dan page (under the LISTS tab), there is a new groundbreaking entry of SD scholarship in the form of an excessive rumination on the song “Black Cow.”
20 April 2019 - Happy 420! Sorry to not review the new Edibles movie or something, but anyway, it’s also Soap Saturday, so there’s a new review of an old soap, Caswell-Massey – Newport - at Soap Exotica, under the LISTS tab.
19 April 2019 - Happy Farraginous Friday with a review of Allan Sherman’s record, “My Son, the Folk Singer” - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
17 April 2019 - for Reading Wednesday, new book review - Do Not Sell At Any Price by Amanda Petrusich, in Books, under the LISTS tab. Also, Reading list is updated to include The Shore Road Mystery, by that Franklin W. Dixon.
14 April 2019 - I am still struggling to come up with a new “Memo” for April, and Spring, and the near future, plans, and “new way” and changes - too tried to finish it, but in the meantime, I’m changing the cover page image - it’s a photo of my old apartment. Previous cover page image(s) can be found in Photos, under the MEMORABILIA tab.
13 April 2019 - For Record Store Day and Soap Review Saturday, an extensive review of Ivory soap - at Soap Exotica, under the LISTS tab.
12 April 2019 - TGIMFGDFF (Thank something something something etc. Farraginous Friday!) Jazz at Monterey with Virgil Gonsalves and lots o’ horns - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
10 April 2019 - for Reading Wednesday I managed to write a very brief review of Trixie Belden and the Secret of the Mansion by Julie Campbell - at Books, under the LISTS tab.
8 April 2019 - On Memoir Monday, new entry in No Memory (under the MEMOIR tab), and under the PODCAST tab, Randy Russell Podcast Episode 9 with guest host Robert Couchman III - the conversation is about, among other things, bees, bees, bees, beekeeping, and more bees!
6 April 2019 - New soap review - Stoney River Patchouli - at Soap Exotica, under the LISTS tab. And new record review - Julie London Calendar Girl - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
1 April 2019 - Big announcement! I’m changing the name of this website to: bigfuckinloser.com!!
31 March 2019 - Last day of Reading March Month - added some more books to my Reading list, Good Old Archibald by Ethelyn M. Parkinson, and Atomic Time by Elissa Rashkin. Also, in Songs, under the LISTS tab, a random song review, “The Middle” by Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey.
30 March 2019 - It’s Soap Saturday, so a new review - in Soap Exotica, under the LISTS tab - Mystery soap from URSA. Also, for Reading March, updated Reading list - added Cat Parade - cartoon drawings by Jeff Curtis.
29 March 2019 - Review of the LP, The Best of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross at DJ FARRAGINOUS. Also, updated Reading list - added Universe City, which is by Randy Russell, a contributor to this site.
27 March 2019 - Click on the Books page - under the LISTS tab - for a brief review of Ruth Fielding at Briarwood Hall by Alice B. Emerson.
25 March 2019 - It’s starting to get embarrassing, and it promises to get much worse. I probably wouldn’t be making this stuff public if I actually thought there was anyone reading it! Ha! NOTEBOOK JOURNALS. Also, updated Reading list (under LISTS tab) - added Tender Buttons, by Gertrude Stein.
24 March 2019 - Postponing Soap Review, Steely Dan, Podcast, Random Song, and Coffee Shop this week - Speen-regular, check back when things quiet down! National Reading March includes comic books - there’s a review of The Amazing Spider-Man – Enter Dr. Strange (1972) - click on Books, under the LISTS tab.
22 March 2019 - Happy F. Farraginous Friday! Review of the soundtrack of the movie, The Sweet Ride - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
21 March 2019 - Updated reading list! (under the LISTS) tab.
20 March 2019 - Happy Vernal March Reading Super Madness Full Equinox Worm Month Wednesday! I wish I could say I wasn’t freaking the fuck out!! Anyway, here’s an attempted coherent review of my favorite thing I read all year, The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson - click on Books, under the LISTS tab!!!
19 March 2019 - Later the same day (as yesterday’s post) - NOTEBOOK JOURNALS.
18 March 2019 - Happy Memoir Monday! (This is the ONLY thing that made me happy all day!) We continue with the epic month of November 1998, at NOTEBOOK JOURNALS. Also, started a new book, The Missing Formula, by Ann Wirt (1932) and updated my Reading list, under the LISTS tab.
17 March 2019 - Soap review! Pré de Provence – Cashmere Woods - at Soap Exotica, under the LISTS tab.
15 March 2019 - T G I Farraginous Friday! Short review of “Tamiko” by Tamiko Jones, a 1968 LP - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
13 March 2019 - Brief review of the 33 1/3 Series book, Aja, by Don Briethaupt - see Books, under the LISTS tab.
12 March 2019 - Here is a notebook entry from a little over 20 years ago that I particularly like - I feel like it really gets at the feeling I had hanging out at the Laurelthirst Public House in Portland, and it’s trying to get at the idea of how I feel most comfortable as a terminal outsider. - at NOTEBOOK JOURNALS.
11 March 2019 - New Steely Dan article (under the LISTS tab) - “Hey Nineteen” from Gaucho (1980). New soap review - Al Wazir “Soap-on-a-Rope” - at Soap Exotica, also under the LISTS tab. And updated Reading list - just started Anita O’Day’s autobiography, High Times, Hard Times (1981).
8 March 2019 - New Randy Russell Podcast is up, with guest host Kate Balsley - a conversation about places they live and have lived, including Milwaukee and Atlanta. Also, filmmaking and film school - under the PODCAST tab. Also, new record review, The Partridge Family Album - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
7 March 2019 - The next day, 1998 - at NOTEBOOK JOURNALS.
6 March 2019 - Since it’s National Reading Month I thought I’d try to post a book review every day, but seeing how I’m an exceptionally slow reader, and working over full-time, and I’m just tired all the time - that’s just not going to happen. But I’ll do my best. Today there’s new book review - of A Journey to the Centre of the Earth - see Books, under the LISTS tab. Also, I updated my reading list (Reading, under the LISTS tab).
5 March 2019 - New Memo! (see MEMO tab) called: Uncanny Valley and the 12 Seasons - which has nothing to do with “The Uncanny Valley” (or the band(s) Uncanny Valley - it’s just a BAD PUN). It has a lot to do with the 12 Seasons, though. See you all at Real Chili on Friday, if it warms up a little.
4 March 2019 - Happy Memoir Monday. While it was my intention to keep up my Notebook Journals entries to a time about 20 years in the past, I fell behind, and looking at the notebook from November 1998, it seems I must have been going through a midlife crisis or something, because there is a LOT of writing - much of it embarrassing. So I’ll just keep digesting, typing, and posting it a little at a time at: NOTEBOOK JOURNALS - while in the present, time marches on, and the current crisis is much more dire.
2 March 2019 - New Randy Russell Podcast - under the PODCAST tab - Episode 7 - “Tiki” with guest host, Evan Lipson - subjects include: Improvised music, touring, uncanny valley, memory, The Museum of Jurassic Technology, noise, ASMR, Diamanda Galas, Andrei Tarkovsky, Tiki bars, The Kahiki, and more. You can find Evan Lipson HERE.
2 March 2019 - It’s Soap Review Saturday - new soap review: Pacha – Pipe Tobacco & Coffee - at Soap Exotica, under the LISTS tab.
1 March 2019 - So ends Farraginous February - but wait! Today is Farraginous Friday - thus another record review, of Mountain “Flowers of Evil” - at DJ FARRAGINOUS
28 February 2019 - Sadly, no leap-year, so we conclude Farraginous February with a review of an inspiring record, Richard Harris “Slides.”
27 February 2019 - Sammi Smith’s 1977 record “Mixed Emotions” at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
26 February 2019 - An overly long review that is admittedly primarily not even about the record (since when is that unusual) buy nevertheless I fully recommend you read, can be found here: Randy Newman “Sail Away”
25 February 2019 - The last week of Farraginous February gets off to an oldball start with this oddball LP, “Alec Templeton and his Music Boxes.”
24 February 2019 - Farraginous February coincides with Song Review Sunday one last time - Kay Starr “Rockin’ Chair / Stroll Me.”
23 February 2019 - On Soap Review Saturday please find a review of Hemani Black Seed Soap on the Soap Exotica page, under the LISTS tab. Also, today’s installment of Farraginous February is a review of the Skeeter Davis LP, “The Closest Thing To Love” from 1969.
22 February 2019 - It’s the last Farraginous Friday in Farraginous February so enjoy a record review! Today’s selection is: B.J. Thomas “Everybody's Out Of Town.”
21 February 2019 - On the celebration of the anniversary of her birth, listening to a Nina Simone 45 - “I Loves You, Porgy / Love Me or Leave Me.”
20 February 2019 - later in the day (halfway to 4/20) - Farraginous February continues with a lengthy review of the Jefferson Airplane “Bark” LP.
20 February 2019 - Make sure you check out the latest Randy Russell Podcast (under the Podcast tab) - with guest host JW Balsley (check out devilshenchmen.com ) - and subjects that include drawing comics, LA (Los Angeles), yerba mate, kava, garlic, and cats. Also, there’s a new review of Sip & Purr Cat Cafe (on the Coffee Shop page, under the LUNCH tab).
19 February 2019 - If you like watching a clown-like, comic struggle, the spectacle of a man flailing around and knocking breakable stuff off the shelves, maybe you should read my review of (David) Bowie’s 1974 LP, DIAMOND DOGS - seriously one of my 10 favorite records ever, thus, maybe why so hard to write about!
18 February 2019 - I’m going to put more specific links here on the news page, since Farraginous February has so many different records in question. Today’s is “Gene Krupa.”
18 February 2019 - Memoir Monday continues with more from the Garbage Memo (including some re-thinking, re-assessing of the project, and the approach) (as well as some re-typed drunken rambling from Dag Nabbit) - on the Memoir page, under the MEMOIR tab. Happy Monday.
17 February 2019 - I’m not going to use that phrase “kill two birds with one stone” anymore, because I am neither able to nor want to kill a bird with a stone. Nevertheless, it’s Song Review Sunday, and so here is both a song I reviewed and a record I reviewed - continuing my project to review a record a day in February. This one is a 45 - Slim Dusty (“The Dusty Trail Yodeler”) (and His Bushlanders) “The Answer to a Pub with No Beer / Winter Winds” - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
16 February 2019 - Soap Review Saturday - click on Soap Exotica, under the LISTS tab, for a review of CINTHOL - Original. And at DJ FARRAGINOUS, find a review of the 1971 LP, “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” by Traffic.
15 February 2019 - An investigation into the mysterious local (Milwaukee) record, The Bon Aires - La Versatile, house band at the Rams Head Inn - as FARRAGINOUS FEBRUARY continues.
14 February 2019 - New Randy Russell Podcast! (under PODCAST tab) - with guest host, JW Balsley.
14 February 2019 - For the longest time I thought “Be Mine” was “B-9” and I wondered why Bingo on Valentine’s Day was a thing. One thing I didn’t mishear was the LP, Sérgio Mendes & Brasil '66 “Look Around” - and you can read about that here: DJ FARRAGINOUS.
13 February 2019 - As luck would have it, two things from 1958! For Reading Wednesday, a review of Henry Reed, Inc. - click on Books, under the LISTS tab. And a short bit on a 1958 Jimmie Rodgers 45, at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
12 February 2019 - A probably overly harsh review of the Ten Years After album,“Cricklewood Green” — at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
11 February 2019 - As it’s Memoir Monday, please read the latest nutso 1981 Garbage Memo post on the Memoir page. As it’s still February, please check out the unusual take on Stan Kenton’s “Cuban Fire!” LP, at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
10 February 2019 - Since it’s Song Review Sunday and the 10th day of FARRAGINOUS FEBRUARY - I decided to “kill two birds with one stone” with a review of this scratchy old Dick Lee single from 1953.
9 February 2019 - It’s Soap Review Saturday - read about Barr-Co. Soap Shop – Willow soap - at Soap Exotica - under the LISTS tab. Also, a record review of Bernie & The Invisibles LP, All Possibilities Are Open - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
8 February 2019 - Celebrate FARRAGINOUS FEBRUARY and FRIDAY (as well as, perhaps, the end of this 14 hour work day and 10 day work week, it seems like) with a brief but glowing appreciation of Thelonious Monk, via this solo piano recording.
7 February 2019 - No Podcast today - but the next one is coming soon! There is a new installment of The Garbage Memo (written by a gentleman named “Toad”) on the Memoir page. Also, continuing with FARRAGINOUS FEBRUARY - a review of the mysterious 1957 album “Easy Does It” by Easy Williams. (By the way, click on that “Instagram” logo on this website and it should take you to the R.Speen Instagram, where you’ll see the album cover in question - coinciding with the day of the review!)
6 February 2019 - It’s Wednesday, AKA “Tired as a Rubber Hoop Wednesday” - and you can read a short review of the 1958 Jonah Jones record, “Swingin’ at the Cinema” - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
5 February 2019 - We continue Farraginous February with a Tony Bennett 45, both sides of which express variations on broken hearts. And in NOTEBOOK JOURNALS, a personal and odd expression of a broken heart (or maybe it was just sadness about coming to the end of the notebook).
4 February 2019 - The next Garbage Memo (this one by Dag Nabbit) is on the Memoir page (under the MEMOIR tab) and today’s DJ FARRAGINOUS is the album: Variety Is the Spice of Gale Garnett.
3 February 2019 - New Steely Dan Sunday review, “Bad Sneakers” (under the LISTS tab) and next Farraginous February review (The T-Bones) - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
2 February 2019 - Happy Groundhog Day! I complain a lot about popular culture, so it feels good to admit that a Hollywood movie (Groundhog Day) from that dismal year (1993) immensely improved, even gave reason for continuing to exist, this most pointless of holidays. New soap review - Parrot Botanicals Green wrapper - at Soap Exotica, under the LISTS tab. And continuing Farraginous February, a review of an old Muggsy Spanier 45 - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
1 February 2019 - Welcome to Farraginous February! My project this year is to attempt to write about one record a day. The reason? Because I like challenges, I guess. Also, I’d like to weed out my record collection, and this is a good way to randomly pick records to play, and if don’t like them I can then get rid of them (to make room for new ones!) Each day this month, check back here for my excuses, or else a new review at DJ FARRAGINOUS. Today’s record is The Chico Hamilton Quintet playing jazz themes recorded for the motion picture, The Sweet Smell of Success (1957).
1 February 2019 - It’s very late on Thursday (actually 3am on Friday) - just a quick note to let you know there is no Randy Russell Podcast this week, and for that we apologize. I don’t know who “you” are, but I’m pretty sure there’s at least one person reading this - this is for you! “We” are the Podcast Teem (like the soft drink) - we are teeming with podcasts! But we’re taking this week off, partly due to the weather - it’s been a hard week for all of us in the vortex - even with “snow days” and “dangerous cold” days, it has felt like TWO WEEKS. (I know logic should dictate that means there should be TWO PODCASTS, but it don’t work that way.) The person who DID have two podcasts was Marc Maron (his WTF podcast always comes out on Monday and Thursday - hardcore in its consistency). I don’t usually do this (here), but I’d like to recommend those two episodes - the first a funny and down-to-earth conversation about acting and other things with Allison Janney (a Ohioan! I knew nothing about her), and then a talk with Allan MacDonell (who I’d somehow never heard of!) an old LA punk from Slash magazine. Interesting timing for me, as I’ve just begun re-visiting (on the Memoir page, here) the “Garbage Memo” - a four month long drinking and typing group experiment from the Garbage Inc., punk record store in Kent, Ohio, 1981. We no doubt carried Slash magazine, and just prior to the store opening (and the beginning of the “Memo”) I remember calling Slash Records on the phone to order stuff (Chris D. of The Flesh Eaters answered). The other funny thing is - in Maron’s intros to each of those episodes, he discusses how he possibly “might be coming around to” Steely Dan - and then some listeners’ irate reactions to that admission. It’s all very funny, but as you few special readers of my Steely Dan obsessions on this website know, Dismissal, Hatred, Ridicule, Parody, and Obsession are the five stages to all-consuming Steely Dan fandom, of which there is no known cure. Anyway, Happy Friday! - don’t go hog-wild because it’s up to 3 degrees and go out in a T-shirt. We’ll see you next Thursday for the next podcast!
31 January 2019 - End of January already, but my focus on memoir is going to continue. New entry in No Memory, and Memoir (both pages are under the MEMOIR tab). The wind-chill has gone up from minus 50 to minus 30 - a virtual heat wave! So I guess it’s back to work, today.
30 January 2019 - It is my good fortune that a stuck-inside-due-to-weather day fell on Reading Wednesday. New book review, of Chronic City, by Jonathan Lethem - see the Books page, under the LISTS tab. Also, new Reading list - under the LISTS tab.
29 January 2019 - No Cafe Tuesday review, but an above-average journal entry written IN a cafe, two years ago (kind of interesting in that it’s a similar experience to just LAST SUNDAY - at the Plaza Cafe. You can read it at No Memory (under the MEMOIR tab). Even more interesting, a journal entry from over 20 years ago discussed the same themes - that of the level of intimacy I could achieve writing in notebooks at restaurant counters, and its relation to both my private, personal life and my very memory. This one was written in Portland, Oregon, at a place called Renner’s Grill - the first time I had visited there - and a place that seems to have closed now. Read this one in NOTEBOOK JOURNALS.
28 January 2019 - I wanted to make January “Memoir Month” just to get caught up with No Memory, which is my documenting of journals, roughly two years in the past. I just posted the latest one, from October 1, 2016, so I’m behind. Also, there is a new entry in Memoir, which is from October 2, 1981 - a chapter of the Garbage Memo, this one written by the late Keith Busch (AKA Dag Nabbit). There’s still a week of January left - a good time of year for introspection, and typing, and other indoor activities, but right now I have to head off to work in the snowstorm, and we’ll see how the week progresses with possibly record cold temperatures! Take it easy, everyone, and be aware of people who might need your help!
26 January 2019 - For Soap Review Saturday we have a review of Pistachio scented Goat’s Milk Soap, at Soap Exotica, under the LISTS tab, and yesterday’s Farraginous Friday review, of Chicago’s second album, “Chicago” took two days to write, but is finally in the world, at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
25 January 2019 - A new Randy Russell Podcast is up (under the PODCAST tab) - with guest host J.E. Sunde, talking about a wide range of topics, including songwriting, playing music, recording, making records, and more! You can find out more about Jon Sunde at JESUNDE.COM and THEDAREDEVILCHRISTOPHERWRIGHT.COM.
24 January 2019 - A particularly engaging notebook entry from 1998, at NOTEBOOK JOURNALS - trying to understand the mysteries of Hellmann’s vs. Best Foods, and Mayonnaise vs. Malaise.
22 January 2019 - Happy Cafe Tuesday - and please find a review of the Blooming Lotus Bakery on the Coffee Shop page, under the LUNCH tab.
21 January 2019 - A diner entry (No Memory) from a couple years ago, and more Garbage Memo (Memoir page).
20 January 2019 - Coldest day of the year (so far) - time for a hot bath! And nothing goes with a hot bath quite like a new soap review - this time it’s: Nubian Heritage – African Black Soap - on the Soap Exotica page, under the LISTS tab.
19 January 2019 - I am thankful for the beautiful snowfall! Also, it’s no excuse, but I’ll use it regardless, as to why I’m a day late with the latest Farraginous Friday vinyl review, the Audiophile record, “Echoes of the Storm” - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
18 January 2019 - The first installment of The Garbage Memo (this one written by Dag Nabbit) is now posted on the Memoir page. Also, the next Randy Russell Podcast is available (you can listen under the PODCAST tab, or download it from Apple Podcasts or the Stitcher app). The guest host for this episode is Stephanie Somers, and she and Randy talk about many things, including cheese.
17 January 2019 - In what is going to be a substantial (in volume) and extended Memoir experiment, the next many, many entries (on the Memoir page, under the MEMOIR tab) will be the documentation of the Garbage Memo, a massive, group writing experiment that happened at the record store, Garbage Inc., in Kent, Ohio, starting October 1981. This will be the only time (I think, probably) there will be additional memoir material written by people other than me. I think it’s all pretty funny, often disturbing, and generally interesting stuff, and some of the people involved are sadly no longer with us. Enjoy in immoderation!
16 January 2019 - This is something I look forward to every year and should be a major news event (at least for excessive list makers): Steven Soderbergh posts a list of all the movies, TV shows, books, and plays he’s seen and read during the previous year. It’s on his website, Extension 765 (and there are previous years, as well). Here is this year’s, last year’s SEEN READ 2018.
15 January 2019 - Continuing with kind of an epic month of October in 1998, here is the next journal entry, describing a visit to the Polar King in Gresham, Oregon - at NOTEBOOK JOURNALS.
14 January 2019 - New entry in No Memory (under the MEMOIR tab) from 2016, here on Memoir Monday. Also, I’m continuing to focus on old notebooks, because January is Memoir Month!
13 January 2019 - Check out Soap Exotica (under the LISTS) tab for a review of Disney Resorts H2O+ Beauty – Sea Salt Facial Soap - for Soap Review Saturday.
11 January 2019 - Another Farraginous Friday - go to DJ FARRAGINOUS for a review of Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality.
11 January 2019 - New Randy Russell Podcast (under the PODCAST tab) - a conversation with free improvisation musician and writer, Jack Wright. His book, The Free Musics (2017) can be found on Amazon, and his website is: SpringGardenMusic.com.
9 January 2019 - More Memoir entries (from November 1980) - including a disturbing dream. Whatever I was eating before bed on that night - don’t eat that before bed!
8 January 2019 - Continuing to sort out October 1998, in Notebook Journals, and a very strange dream recorded, in No Memory (under the MEMOIR tab).
7 January 2019 - This morning’s thoughts, under the Memo tab, is titled: 500 Words or Less, which it is, so I’m going to also put it right here: NEW WAY! I usually write a note to myself with that title in sign-style block letters, hi-lighted with at least two colors, a note on paper that usually ends up buried in a box marked “To Do.” If you wait until January 1st each year for your “resolutions,” you're already sunk, and everyone knows that, but there is something about feeling like you're on the farthest north, darkest, coldest apex of the spinning ball that makes a fresh approach to simple things feel actually possible. Though, on this morning, I don't know, it's not the icy 0 degrees it should be, but instead: moist, with Dorothy Gale force winds and no balm-like snow in the forecast (I like snow, okay?)—but still, back to the brutal Monday thru Friday fluorescent office schedule, no day-off holidays until Memorial Day, and I'm officially “pushing 60” but glad, really glad, to be alive. I want to go back to writing fiction, which means up every day at 4am, which means I can maybe go out to dinner some evenings, but I will turn into a pumpkin (only slightly resembling a person) at about 9pm. Making things (drawing, sewing) maybe. We will hope for a new Randy Russell Podcast here, once a week; it's one thing I can do that doesn't cause this intense pain in my hands and arms! (not to mention involves lovely people!) As for the monthly theme (a way of asking to be excused to neglect everything that doesn't fall under the monthly theme)—January is Memoir Month—so I'm going to concentrate on looking back, as well: No Memory is a revealing of journals written just over two years ago, while Notebook Journals is unearthing these same journals that are about 20 years old. Memoir is going way back, to the sporadic days of writing or not, but the next thing there is going to be revisiting “The Garbage Memo”—a document kept during a punk record store lifestyle experiment in 1981. The “jury is still out” about returning to the slightly fictionalized remembrances of The Golden Pineapple, or the new one, revisiting online journals: Blog Day Afternoon (if I can get away with using that title). And, of course, about this “fiction writing”—because “does anyone care” isn't as crucial a question as “do I care”—and in a world of “you couldn't make this shit up,” I guess the question is whether to sit in the tenth row with popcorn, or else: “make stuff up”— and the answer, “we'll see,” comes with no promises except for the promise of (in spite of occasionally being obtuse and confusing) sincerity and love.
6 January 2019 - Very, very late on Soap Review Saturday (i.e. it’s now Sunday) a review of Pre de Provence – Almond (Horseshoe) soap - click on Soap Exotica, under the LISTS tab.
5 January 2019 - Late on Farraginous Friday - very, very late - when cocktail time and coffee time mix and become one - here is a review of The Walter Wanderley Trio’s 1966 Cheganca LP - at DJ FARRAGINOUS.
4 January 2019 - The second installment of of The Randy Russell Podcast is now up (under the PODCAST tab) - it’s a conversation with RR and Didier Leplae about places we used to live that are either long ago, far away, or have been demolished.
3 January 2019 - A No Memory post, journal entry from 2016 (under the MEMOIR tab) was written at the Pleasant Kafe, recently referred to in a Coffee Shop post (under the LUNCH tab). Also, The Randy Russell Podcast (under PODCAST tab) is now up, and also available on Stitcher, and can be downloaded from the Apple Podcasts app. Episode 2 coming soon!
2 January 2019 - Reading Wednesday - I finally read the book my favorite movie of all time is based on - The Sweet Ride - for my brief thoughts on it - click on Books, under the LISTS tab.
1 January 2019 - Happy New Year! Sorry to start out 2019 with a bummer, but here’s a little In Memoriam for some cafes that closed last year - click on Coffee Shop, under the LUNCH tab.