#188: From Elvis in Memphis by Elvis Presley


From Elvis in Memphis by Elvis Presley (1969)

Favorite Tracks: "Only the Strong Survive" and "It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin'" and "I'm Movin' On" and "Power of My Love" and "Gentle On My Mind" and "Any Day Now"

Thoughts: Ah, Elvis. He's made it to the list.  Sure, we heard him back #304, but this is the first album that's all Elvis. Before we even get to the album, I feel I must tell you about my particular 'Elvis Journey.'  I think all of us have one, right? You had a friend who was obsessed with him, you've seen an impersonator, or grew up on his movies?

I never really attached myself to Elvis in a particularly personal way (but I'm young, so maybe my obsession is yet to come).  I think it was due to a viewing of the made for TV movie Elvis & Me during my formative years.  It does not paint a pretty picture of the man. Not that all my musical heroes have to be perfect, faultless people, but seriously, he came off as a real asshole.  (At least when John Denver only cheated on his wife.)

In high school I took a two-year AP US History course that required a 30+ page research paper citing original sources--the first one local, the second one national.  My first year I wrote about prohibition in Oregon, because for some reason I felt personally called by Jesus to bring back the Temperance movement.  For my second paper I was hoping to do something a bit more fun.  I asked my teacher if I my topic could be the British Invasion of the 60s, but she told me someone else had already picked it!  Just as I was about to propose a Beatles Trivia Showdown with said anonymous student to win the topic (and glory), my teacher said, "How about Elvis?"

I decided I'd take it.  It was still music history, and I knew there would be loads of material out there.  I think the paper was titled something like "Sexual Self-Gratification on Stage": Elvis Presley as the Harbinger of Cultural Decline in 1960s America or something like that.  I tried to find a copy of it online, possibly illegally uploaded onto one of the plagiarism sites, but no dice.

Anyway, digging into the controversy and personal life of Elvis shed a new, strange light on him.  I learned about his favorite snack (fried peanut butter and banana sandwich), that he had an identical stillborn twin named Jesse, the FBI assigned him a file, and he hated making all those movies...etc.  I enjoyed looking for 1950s/60s newspaper articles on old microfilm machines in the depths of the Multnomah Library.  Give me a topic I want to be well-versed in and research is a breeze (isn't that how it works for everyone)?

But enough about the paper.  More than I love Elvis, I love and am fascinated by people who adore him.  Their need to visit Graceland (if you haven't seen the This is Spinal Tap scene at Graceland, hop to, but with all love and respect to Rattle & Hum), the myth he's still alive, all the impersonators, etc.  I mean, even I get caught up in the magic when I hear "Walking in Memphis" (Marc or Cher's version)--especially now that I've seen THIS:

The noise that came out of my mouth when I first saw this scene was NOT HUMAN. Honestly, I can't even look directly at the screen when it's playing.

Ok, ok, the album.  Thanks for indulging me.  (For much better writing about Elvis, check out Sheila O'Malley's blog these days.)

At this point in his career he'd just had his successful 'comeback' special in 1968, and From Elvis in Memphis was his 9th studio album.  It doesn't feature any of my personal favorite Elvis songs, but it's a good, solid album.  I think my favorite song was "Any Day Now"--he sung the bridge with this higher, more vulnerable voice that I really enjoyed.

Is This Better Than Bad?: "In the Ghetto" is fine, but it's no "Man in the Mirror" to me.

#189: Fun House by The Stooges


Fun House by The Stooges (1970)

Favorite Tracks: "Down on the Street" and "Loose" and "T.V. Eye" and "Dirt" and "Fun House"

Thoughts: My Iggy Pop/Stooges knowledge is practically nonexistent beyond the fact that they're a rock band, Iggy was in Cry-Baby (was I only one that mistook Susan Tyrell for Jane Curtain?)and he's regularly topless in every photo I see of him.  I think I always assumed Iggy and the Stooges were a punk rock band, and British, though from what I can tell neither of those assumptions appear to be true.  I think in my rock-formative years Iggy always came off as way too hardcore or crazy for me (and I think "L.A. Blues" might be the only song on this album to confirm that suspicion), but a few years ago I came across this photo on the internet and was very intrigued. I thought, "Damn, he's a rock god.  Also he must have really strong abs.  And did he have to give instructions to the audience before he went out there?  And who is he pointing at?"  I had a lot of thoughts.  It's a great picture!

Sometimes I wonder if musicians like Iggy (and the rest of The Stooges) were born in, say, the 90s, their music would just be terrible noise to me, but because this album is from 1970, I can love it because this is my preferred era of rock.  Who knows, maybe they would have sounded exactly the same.

Is This Better Than Bad?: It was fun to rock out to this album, but I didn't feel like it needed to be added to my music library ASAP.  I liked it, but it didn't take up residence in my musical sanctuary.  That's a really weird metaphor but I'm keeping it.

Song of the day.


Not since I (finally) discovered Meat Loaf has a song made me want to disobey speed limits so carelessly.  (That sentence could have been formed better but it's Monday so give me a break.)  I heard it for the first time on My Mad Fat Diary. "The Riverboat Song" by Ocean Colour Scene:

Turn it up!

can we please talk about



And this:

And this:

And this:

And this:



#190: The Gilded Palace of Sin by The Flying Burrito Brothers


The Gilded Palace of Sin by The Flying Burrito Brothers (1969)

Favorite Tracks: "Christine's Tune" and "Sin City" and "Do Right Woman" and "Dark End of the Street" and "Juanita" and "Hot Burrito #1" and "Hot Burrito #2"

Thoughts: (Pre-Listening) 'The Flying Burrito Brothers' is not a household name to me, but Gram Parsons (an original member) is, so how bad can this be?  Besides, the album is from 1969 and is called The Gilded Palace of Sin. I think we're in good hands. This is their debut album.

(Post-Listening) I know they didn't write it (Chip Moman and Dan Penn did) or even make it famous (that was Aretha Franklin) but I am so thankful that this album introduced me to the song "Do Right Woman." A taste of the lyrics:

a woman's only human
she expects love like a man
so if you wanna do right all day woman
you gotta be a do right all night man

they say it's a man's world
but you can't prove that by me
so as long as we're together, baby
you better show some respect for me

LOVE IT. I also love to hear men singing it.  As for the rest of the album--superb. 70s alt-country-folk-rock. I never imagined a song called "Hot Burrito #1" could be so romantic.  Here's DeVotchka's cover of it:

Really sweet song. "Hot Burrito #2" on the other hand rocked really hard.  It feels way ahead of its time.  If I heard it on the radio and had to guess the era I would have said the 80s at the earliest!

Is This Better Than Bad?: Yeah, it's good.

art funk = art for sale

I haven't been in the mood to draw for a while now, as my focus has zoomed in on home decor lately.  So to get my butt into gear I opened a shop for my art...?

Even if no one buys anything it's fun to see the little hearts if someone liked it, so you can show your support just by doing that, too. :)

(Society6 prints the art and sends it to you, and my portion of the money goes to my PayPal account.   Personally, I really like the iPhone covers.)

The Kenny Loggins beard is back.


And there was much rejoicing.

I Wouldn't Thank You for a Valentine



I wouldn't thank you for a Valentine.
I won't wake up early wondering if the postman's been.
Should 10 red-padded satin hearts arrive with sticky sickly saccharine
Sentiments in very vulgar verses I wouldn't wonder if you meant them.
Two dozen anonymous Interflora roses?
I'd not bother to swither over who sent them!
I wouldn't thank you for a Valentine.

Scrawl SWALK across the envelope,
I'd just say 'Same Auld Story
I cannot be bothered deciphering it--
I'm up to here with Amore!
The whole Valentine's Day Thing is trivial and commercial,
A cue for unleasing cliches and candyheart motifs to which I
            personally am not partial.'
Take more than singing Telegrams, or pints of Chanel Five or sweets--
To get me ordering oysters or ironing my black satin sheets.
I wouldn't thank you for a Valentine.

If you sent me a solitaire and promises solemn,
Took out an ad in the Guardian Personal Column
Saying something very soppy such as 'Who Loves Ya, Poo?
I'll tell you, I do, Fozzy Bear, that's who!'
You'd entirely fail to charm me, in fact I'd detest it
I wouldn't be eighteen again for anything, I'm glad I'm past it.
I wouldn't thank you for a Valentine.

If you sent me a single orchid, or a pair or Janet Reger's in a heart-
            shaped box and declared your Love Eternal
I'd say I'd not be caught dead in them they were politically suspect
            and I'd rather something thermal.
If you hired a plane and blazed your love in a banner across the skies;
If you bought me something flimsy in a flatteringly wrong size;
If you sent me a postcard with three Xs and told me how you felt
I wouldn't thank you, I'd melt.

by Liz Lochhead

Happy Valentine's Day From the Most Affectionate Couple I Know

it was the hope of all we might have been

that fills me with the hope 
to wish impossible things

If you feel like you haven't seen (or heard from) me much in the last month, it's not you.


It's me. Just be glad you aren't any of the following things that have seen and spent time with me:

- my coffee table
- my kitchen sink
- my bed
- my kitchen garbage
- my carpet
- my clothes
- my blankets
- my bedroom garbage
- my car

Because I have thrown up in and on each of them, some more than once (or twice or thrice...).

Hurrah, illness!  I've been on antibiotics, inhalers, and steroids, but my cough just won't quit.  I'd be worried or scared or anxious, but really it's just annoying and ultimately a bummer to deal with alone.  The biggest issue has been what it reminds me of: the last time I was projectile vomiting like this it was from a horizontal hospital bed.

Believe me, I'd so much rather lose my cookies on my own belongings than on a hospital's.  I've been super into nesting lately, and I can't help but wonder if my compulsion to own and surround myself with bright, detailed, colorful, unique housewares and art and decor as--at least in part--a need to keep anything sterile or monochromatic at bay and outside and in the past.

I could enjoy a crisp, clean, all-white bed and room and dishes in a hotel or guest room as much as the next person, but only for a short time.  I understand how that kind of neutrality and simplicity would be calming and comforting to others, I do. In my own home, my own sanctuary and dwelling, I need purple lights and fake plants and cat fur and strong-smelling candles and every wall covered in art or photos and floral meets geometric meets bohemian meets nerdy meets nautical meets Southwestern meets retro meets Russian meets Scandinavian meets Chinese meets any family relic I can pry off my parents.

All my cleaning supplies must have a scent.  Same goes for personal care products.  The slightest whiff of regular smelling hand-sanitizer or bleach or soap is abhorrent to me at all times, but especially in my home.  At this moment I have Herbs Provence, Mango Mandarin, Iowa Pine, Ginger Clove, Lavender, Basil, Alpine Snow, Cinnamon Clove, and White Citrus scented cleaning supplies throughout the house.  I understand the need for sterility and sanitization within medical buildings, but when I was in one for multiple extended periods of time, my soul felt like it was enduring chemical warfare.

I hope to do another 'Around the House' post soon, but I've been hesitant because I worry they seem like showing off and saying, "Look at all the stuff I have!" But as someone who lives alone and who is trying to take care of and comfort and express herself through her home's appearance and 'vibe' and space, I hope it's much more than that.  I hope you read those posts and think, "This is Maryann trying to make herself a place in the world, a place that is kind and safe and warm and all hers," because that's how I mean it.

If I ever have to stay in a hospital again (knock on wood or any other substance), you can bet I'll be bringing my Beatles poster and Pendelton blanket and turtle lamp and flower rug and neon curtains and rainbow twinkle lights and at least 3 cats, a house musician, and some serious amounts of stinky Glade cinnamon apple air freshener (my favorite).  Plus, all my nurses and doctors will have to wear Mexican ponchos before entering my room.

(Surely at least one of you has missed me writing weird, depressing, over-sharing medical posts.  Yes, I think I see Nobody, No One, and Not Even One Person all raising their hands! Phew.)

#191: Dookie by Green Day


Dookie by Green Day (1994)

Favorite Tracks: "Pulling Teeth" and "When I Come Around"

Thoughts: (Pre-Listening) Um, yeaaaaaah. This could really go either way, guys.  I'm in the mid-90s episodes of The X-Files so I'm feeling a wicked nostalgia for that era.  On the other hand, Green Day has never been my bag.  Except for that one time when they sang with U2, and then when "Good Riddance" was sang by our choir at my junior high graduation celebration and I cried.  But other than that, I've always found Green Day to be obnoxious and juvenile.  Am I way off base?  Possibly.  Let's find out!

(Post-Listening) Yeah. It's not unpleasant to listen to but I couldn't barely distinguish any variation between most songs.  It's like the songs might start out with a unique intro, but then they'd launch into some dull hum and nothing stuck out to me at all.  Nothing moved me or caught my attention.  When a song ended it felt like coming out of a trance and thinking, "Oh, ok. I guess that's done.  Onto the next track."

The only song I recognized was "When I Come Around" and it was fun to listen to for nostalgic reasons, plus it has a good hook. The cover art is cute, too.

Is This Better Than Bad?:

Temple You


What is mysterious about loss,
flush of arm pulled from a wilted sleeve,

summer's urine-tang in autumn leaves?
Let John Keats light another fag.

Or Brontë refuse the doctor
on her black sateen settee.

For whatever part of you
may be taken away, you said,

is the scar I will visit first
with my mouth, each time,

as gold visits the thieved till,
sun the obliterated sill,

saying praise you for leaving
me this you, this living still.

- Lisa Russ Spaar, Poetry, February 2013

What I have to put up with every night.