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, August 31, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for August 31, 2018

[Black N Blue] -- The 80s spawned a very strange creature: The Hair Metal genre (also called Glam Metal). I've previously written that this genre was possibly the result of controlled efforts to crossbreed Heavy Metal (for its energy and intensity) with Pop Rock (for its relative safety and accessibility). And it was responsible for a boat load of record sales in the 80s. In August 1986, one of those records was Nasty Nasty, the third studio release by Black N Blue. This record is spirited. It's aggressive. And ... it's not for everyone. I have to throw that "not for everyone" caveat out there just in case I'm the only one who still relies in an inner 13-year-old to rate hard rock from this period. Oh! And here's an interesting note: KISS bassist Gene Simmons produced this album. Anyway, Nasty Nasty didn't make a dent. And there was only one single, but it didn't really chart. In fact, I'm pretty sure it quickly ended up in the discount bin. And, yet, I still have mad love for this album. Then as well as now. So, what tracks have I chosen to share with you? Read and hear more after the break. 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for August 24, 2018

[When Corey was a Young Man Running] -- You know Corey Hart as the guy who wears his "Sunglasses at Night." And you know he's a man who'll "Never Surrender." But do you know what he did after those seminal 80s songs? Did you know he released three more 80s albums (counting his 1990 release). Well, yes, there was life for Mr. Hart even after the U.S. record buying public dropped him like shiny new day on the day after Christmas. In fact, in his native Canada, he remained a top 40 artist more or less through the late 90s. His 1986 release, Fields of Fire, earned him several nods at the 1987 Juno Awards. And this week in 1988, Hart released his fourth studio album, Young Man Running. Although you might never have heard of it, this record featured some of Hart's most mature songwriting to date. The record did chart in the US, and it spawned a top 40 single, it quickly faded and is all but forgotten here, with no other singles charting. But in Canada, the first three singles hit the top 40, with the first one even peaking at #2. It's a pleasant album featuring a variety of genres. So, if you'd like a taste of it, and I recommend that you do, you can read and hear more after the jump.   

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Lilac Girls - book review

Dangrdafne review

Tomorrow I head to Poland for my adventure. My Mother had read this book and told me I should read it before going on the trip. Since I always listen to my Mother, I read the book... in 2 days and loved the book.

It is a very rough read at times as it is about the Holocaust... but it is about so much MORE than that.

It is three distinct narrators, Kasia a Polish teen, Herta a German doctor and Caroline an American. Each chapter is from one of their points of view. It is a very different way to write and out a novel together but after 20 or so chapters I feel into the groove and could almost tell who was speaking without seeing their name on the chapter title.

I want to tell you all about the book but you really need to read it yourself to capture the beauty of it all. Even the Holocaust horrors. It is a quite disturbing write up at times but it is required so that you can appreciate the strength, the heart and the magic of these women.

If you are Polish or if you care about the women of the Holocaust or if you are intrigued by a true story about history that is rarely known, then I recommend this book and even if you think you are none of these things... I recommend this book.

4 paws

Friday, August 10, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for August 10, 2018

[Goodbye Mom redux] -- I'm kind of dreading tomorrow, August 11. It will be the first time in my life that I'll observe my mother's birthday ... without her being physically present in this world. If you don't recall, or if you're new to this blog, my mother passed unexpectedly last October. As far as we can tell, she passed peacefully, and without pain, overnight. It was a little more than six months away from the fifth anniversary of my father's passing.

So, my one and only flashback song for this weekend is the one I posted the weekend she passed, nad it is for her memory. I'm cribbing both the tune and the write-up from a previous Flashback post, but so be it. It is probably no surprise that I could reliably turn to Disney for a song that honors the very heart of motherhood. Well, I sort of turned to Disney. I turned to Hal Willner, an American music producer with several tribute albums and live events listed among his many credits. In 1988, Willner released his fourth tribute album, Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney FilmsStay Awake featured new recordings of Disney tunes by a whole range of performing artists, from Sun Ra to Michael Stipe, and from Buster Poindexter to Ringo Starr. This is still one of my favorite CDs from the 80s. At the time, I loved it because it made a somewhat adult soundtrack out of songs originally created for kids. Almost 30 years later, I still love it for the milestone in my life that it represents. The second track on Stay Awake pairs Bonnie Raitt with Was (Not Was) on "Baby Mine" from the 1941 film Dumbo. And it never fails to make me think of my own mother. In fact, I'm tearing up as I type these words. So, I'll wrap things up with a lyric and then the video.

"You're so precious to me | Cute as can be | Baby, you're mine."

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.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Ready Player One movie

Dangrdafne review

Please note I have not read the book, I have only seen the movie.

When having to choose the rating of 1 to 5 stars on Vudu, where we watched this movie, I was going to leave it up to Brainwise but he told me to pick. So I slowly clicked each star, waiting for his response. When I ended up at the fifth star, Brainwise exclaimed “I’m so happy you liked it.”

And like it I did. It was different, it was clever, it was interesting, it was fun and it was really well put together and done.

I liked the casting for each role and while I don’t play many video games it wasn’t beyond me and I did recognize a lot of the characters in the movie. The only part missing for me was they did explain the title, Ready Player One. Now I did know it before the movie but for people who watch that don’t know it is a shame they didn’t include it.

I loved that the movie was a love letter to video games and their creators.

I also loved that it was all about depending on each other, creating a team and a family in the process and finding your true selves. Stories we can all use right now.

Since I didn’t read the book I can not comment on the complaints people had about this movie. I don’t have any overall. I recommend this movie. Since I only have 4 paws as the max on this blog, I give it 4 paws and a tail.

Ready Player One

Friday, August 3, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for August 3, 2018

[Lawyers Need Love Too] -- 35 years ago this week, Jackson Browne released his seventh studio album, the humorously titled Lawyers In Love (1983). Despite its trio of successful singles, Lawyers In Love did not fare all that well with critics, although the Rolling Stone review was a notable, positive exception. Looking back, I would have thought that Browne's non-album single, "Somebody's Baby," released one year prior, might have helped pave the way for this 1983 album. But, maybe I'm trying to impose my own misconceptions about the music industry. Anyway,  the first single off this album was the title track, and when I first heard it cut across the airwaves I could not believe it. Up to this point in his career, Browne wasn't necessarily known for humor in his songwriting. But his lyrical jabs here mark a subtle shift from the personal to more political context.

Lawyers in Love, the album, spawned four hit singles from its eight tracks. It was a short album, even by 1980s standards. So, which three tracks have I selected to share with you this weekend? If you'd like to know, then I invite you to read and hear more after the break.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Celebrating Cartoonist Jackie Ormes (8/1/1911 – 12/26/1985)

Jackie Ormes (8/1/1911 – 12/26/1985)
Today would have been Jackie Ormes' 107th birthday.

She was the first African-American woman cartoonist. She created the Torchy Brown comic strip and the Patty-Jo 'n' Ginger panel. She was posthumously inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame in 2014. And earlier this year she was inducted into the Eisner Award Hall of Fame as a Judges' Choice.

Image Source: Comic Riffs on Instagram

Torchy Brown -- an independent Black woman in a nationally syndicated comic strip!

Patty-Jo ‘n’ Ginger