Bookended by Cats was named after Milo and Otis. They are the short, orange, and furry brothers who, upon entering our lives in 2003, often bookended us on our couch. And who are we? We're a geek couple living in PA. We love music, movies, TV, comics, books, and comic cons. And, from time to time, we'll share our thoughts on these nerdy things.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for February 14, 2020

[An Awkward KISS  - redux] -- In February of 2011, I made my one and only post reflecting on Valentines of the 80s. Sure, it was a mere nine years ago, but with Valentine's Day falling on a Friday this year, I figure now is as good a time as any to repeat it.

I spent the first half of the 80s in junior and senior high school, so most of those "celebrations" can be filed under the category of awkward. That's just the nature of the pre-teen and teenaged experience. Now, the members of KISS, who had been the object of many teenagers' hero worship through the 70s, probably were not awkward (or even necessarily honorable) in their dealings with members of the opposite sex , but the start of the 80s did find them at an awkward point in their career. They entered the decade strong: To their credit, they had a string of eight Platinum-selling albums, the last five of which included the interesting gimmick of their four "solo" albums -- all released on the same day in 1978 -- and the disco-influenced Dynasty of 1979. But they also greeted the new decade with internal tensions, Peter Kriss and Ace Frehley being particularly dissatisfied, and musical identity issues. Kriss and Frehley were therefore less-involved with the recordings of this period and they eventually left the band in 1980 and 1982 respectively. KISS eventually experienced something of a rebound in the late 80s, probably due to the convergence of glam/hair metal rising in popularity and an increase in KISS nostalgia. But 1980 - 1983 were pretty much a low point for the band. So, what could I possibly choose as showcase songs for today's Flashback set?

Read and hear more after the jump.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for February 7, 2020

[Stay Awake (Redux)] -- In February of 2000, after we eloped, Mrs. Brainwise and I flew to Walt Disney World for our honeymoon. Shortly thereafter, we made the plan to return to the House of Mouse every five years to celebrate our anniversary. And so, this week, we are back at Walt Disney World to celebrate 20 years togeether. This week marks my fifth visit to Walt Disney World with my wife (and my seventh time here overall when I add in previous family trips). Seems like a good excuse for me to revisit Hall Willner's Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films (1988). Willner is an American music producer with several tribute albums and live events listed among his many credits, Stay Awake being his fourth tribute album. I was in college when it was first released, and I loved it because it made a somewhat adult soundtrack out of songs originally created for kids. More than 20 years later, I still love it for the milestone in my life that it represents. When I first blogged about this album in 2013, I wrote that our Disneyland guide had never heard of Stay Awake. It is possible that many of my fellow 80s-philes are likewise still unaware of this album. So, I figure this CD makes for a great Flashback. I've chosen three tunes from the 20+ songs represented on the album. You know the drill: Read and hear more after the break.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback on Saturday (for January 31, 2020)

[Bon Jovi in the Park] -- Sometimes the perfect post idea either into your lap, or you see it while scrolling your Facebook feed. Today, it is the latter. SciBabe shared a post: "Random Guy on Park Bench Starts Belting Bon Jovi and Everyone Joins In." It's short, sweet, and a perfect boost if you need one. Here is the park video on YouTube:

If you need the full song now, I'm happy to help you out there as well (I mean, I know I needed the full song!):

That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Friday, January 24, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for January 24, 2020

[Caterwaul] -- Caterwaul debuted in 1987 with The Nature of Things on Lost Arts Records. From the opening strains of "A Flower and a Stone," I was hooked. Based in Phoenix, AZ, Caterwaul was on the more alternative or post-punk side of the college radio scene. Kind of like a banshee leading a jangly punk troupe. Not to everyone's taste, but the late 80s was a time during which sloppier, less polished bands could thrive. Caterwaul was active through 1991 on IRS and Geffen, but it looks like they released one more album in 1996, which was a return to Lost Arts Records. The music video for their debut album's leading track, "A Flower and a Stone," was their first nationally played track. The video featured photocopied film frames with a colored in look, almost as though with highlighters or crayons. All three Flashback tracks today come from their debut album. Check them out after the jump!

Friday, January 17, 2020

Vertigo's Final Tweet

Vertigo has effectively shut down its Twitter as of today, 1/17/2020. Their new pinned tweet points folks to @DCComics. Full text of the tweet is:
Thank you for following along on this strange adventure. For future updates, please follow @DCComics.

It's just another step in this end of an era for DC Comics, who announced the shuttering of the once iconic imprint last June.

Friday 80s Flashback for January 17, 2020

A 1980s photo of David Bowie (1947 - 2016)

[Farewell Thin White Duke - REDUX] -- This Flashback was originally posted on Prophet or Madman on 1/15/2016.

David Bowie, who started performing music in 1962 and released his final album on 1/8/2016, died on Sunday, 1/10/2016 at the age of 69. I learned of his passing via a news alert early on the following Monday. In what must be the most impressive act of keeping a story under wraps, no one knew just how sick Bowie was until after his death. As this week has progressed, many people with greater verbal facility or better familiarity with Bowie's career have waxed poetic in their tributes. As I have neither, but have been a fan, I would like to mark this giant of an artist's passing. So I'll offer up a trio of selections from Bowie's 80s catalog. Read and hear more after the break!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for January 10, 2020

[Remembering Neil Peart] -- I learned today that drummer extraordinaire Neil Peart passed away. The announcement came today, but he passed on 1/7/2020, after battling brain cancer for the last three years. Neil provided the beat for the Canadian power trio, Rush, perhaps the greatest progressive rock band in music history. His bandmates were the phenomenal bassist, and nasally vocalist, Geddy Lee, and power-chording guitarist Alex Lifeson (who, though not as vaunted as his bandmates, did rank in Rolling Stone's list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time). Neil was also Rush's primary lyricist, crafting songs inspired from philosophy and science fiction.

Neil was bit by the drumming bug in his pre-teens. But before his parents would let him have a drum set, they gave him "a pair of sticks, a practice pad, and lessons" and told him he had to stick with the lessons for a year. And, wow, did his drum kit evolve over time. Rather than go through the details here, I'll direct you to Drum Magazine for their stellar rundown of the man and his drums ("Mean Mean Stride: The Drums Of Neil Peart;" September 12, 2013).

Rush debuted in 1974, but they had a strong 80s presence, releasing six albums between 1980 and 1989. Wikipedia refers to the bulk of this time as the band's "Synthesizer-oriented era." And it's probably the era I know and remember best as it covered my high school and college years. So, for this memorial Flashback, I'll pick two tracks from those years and ... a third track showcasing another side of Peart's skills. To find out what tracks I chose, read and hear more after the jump.