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.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Jingle Jangle

Dangrdafne review:

If you watch any new Christmas movie this year please make it Jingle Jangle on Netflix. 

It is a glorious film. It is eye candy, ear candy and best of all soul candy. 

The costumes are incredible, the music is spectacular with moving and inspiring lyrics and the story warms the soul. 

Each actor is perfectly matched to their character and the singing is amazing. Every child should see this movie and they should pay special attention to the Possible song sung by the young girl. Tears come to my eyes just remembering this beautiful moment.

I remember reading the review in Entertainment Weekly and being so excited to see this movie. The writer was so enthralled with the movie that it came through directly to me and made me want to see it too. This was the first night hubby and I had time together to watch. It was worth the wait! And I’m ready to watch it again already. 

I am not going to discuss the story at all as you should experience all the wishes and wonder for yourself. Please treat yourself and your family and watch Jingle Jangle and believe in the impossible. 

4 paws and a tail!!

Friday, December 11, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for December 11, 2020


[And now for... ] -- In celebration of their 20th anniversary, comedy troupe Monty Python released the compilation album, Monty Python Sings. That was 31 years ago this week! That record featured tracks recorded between 1971 and 1989, all culled from previous Monty Python records and their films. The original collection had 25 tracks; the 2014 reissue had 31 tracks. Now, with the possible exception of "Christmas in Heaven," this isn't exactly a holiday record. Still, maybe you need a bit of a laugh to help you through the weekend. If so, these songs might do it. I found a YouTube playlist with 14 of the tracks, and they're lyric videos to boot. Enjoy! 

FlashbackAnd now for something completely ... lyrical.

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, December 4, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for December 4, 2020

[Trombipulation] -- Trombipulation arrived on the scene in December of 1980, forty years ago this very week -- according to Wikipedia, so I might be a little off on the release date. Trombipulation was Parliament's ninth studio release, and their last to include all original material (until Medicaid Fraud Dogg in 2018, 38 years later). AllMusic says there's not much of interest on this record. Just last year, however, uDiscoverMusic's Rashad Grove offered the contrarian view that this Parliament effort actually re-imagined funk for the 80s, and that Trombipulation stands as the template for 80s electro-funk. Either way, George Clinton dissolved the band shortly after this release. Before dipping into the album itself, you should prepare and view these 1980 promo clips and (sort of) interview celebrating December 1980 as "funk month" and "the season to be funky" (though, to be clear, there are no holiday tracks on Trombipulation). I didn't find any music videos or performances for tracks on Trombipulation, so here's the full playlist courtesy of YouTube:


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, November 27, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for November 27, 2020


[Black Friday -- Redux 2] -- As I often do during a holiday, I'm re-using a previous Flashback post (with a few corrections/updates). This one was originally posted in November 2012 and then revamped for November 2018, but the tunes are just as fresh, and the topic just as relevant, today. Here we go!

It's the day after Thanksgiving, colloquially known as Black Friday here in the States. It's a special, special day when all those prices that have been steadily jacked up over the past few months are lowered (just a bit). Some folks could not even wait for this morning, and began shopping last night or at least camped out (2015 link | 2018 link | 2020 links) in the hope of nabbing huge deals. As the 80s are often considered the decade of materialism during which "shop till you drop" became a mantra, I thought I could find a few tunes to reflect the inanity of Black Friday. Read and hear more after the break.

Monday, November 23, 2020

New Holiday Single: Shortest Day of the Year

"Shortest Day of the Year" -- by Paul Dake

Our friend, singer-songwriter Paul Dake, just released his latest single today: "Shortest Day of the Year." Jill Macchiaverna, who composed the track, describes the song's content as follows (quoted from Bandcamp):

"I stayed away from saying Christmas explicitly because I think the sentiment extends to any family gathering where you actually like your family. I focused on the shortest day of the year because there are so many different kinds of celebrations around winter solstice time-frame and because after I had kids time seemed to speed up exponentially. They bring so much light and it's hard to balance between being present with them and dreading when they get bigger and won't want to talk to parents anymore. It will happen before I know it, and I'll definitely be feeling like, 'When did it get dark again?'"

Give it a listen over at Bandcamp. And, if you like it (we do!), it's a mere $1 to purchase. Oh, and while you're over there, be certain to check out the rest of Paul's catalog!

Friday, November 20, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for November 20, 2020


[Play Me! A Guess-The-Theme Edition of Flashback] -- I often use release dates, events, or artists as a theme when selecting tracks for the Flashback. And sometimes the title is a direct reference to the theme, while at other times it is a bit more vague or just something that amuses me. All that is to say that I do indeed have a theme this week, but I'm not going to come right out and tell you what it is. I thought it might be fun to ask if my fellow 80s-philes can guess what I had in mind when I compiled this week's trio of tracks. These tunes were not released in the same month or even the same year. And the theme is not related to the artist or songwriter either. But if you really need a hint, I'll just direct you to dig down into the lyrical content. I don't think I made it all that difficult. Leave your guess in the comments, or tweet it (either to @bookendedbycats or @brainwise). So, if you're ready to give this week's theme game a shot, you can read and hear more after the jump.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Stories, myths, legends (Crossover #1)

[Crossover #1, pages 2-3; click for larger view]

"Stories, myths, legends... they are not fiction." I love this two-page spread from Crossover #1, the latest collaboration from the team that brought us GOD COUNTRY -- Donny Cates, Dee Cunniffe, and Geoff Shaw!
#comics #stories #myths #legends #fiction

Friday, November 13, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for November 13, 2020


[The Status is not Quo] -- I know today is Friday the 13th. But it's your lucky day because: (1) No stabbing here, and (2) I'm bringing you some tunes from a possibly overlooked gem of the 1980s. In November 1983, English rock band Status Quo released their 16th studio album, Back to Back. I don't know when it was released in the US because I caught it featured on a late night radio show several years after its UK release. I'm pretty sure that if it was released in the states, it didn't chart. And I also know it was a top ten album in its native UK, where it was also certified Gold. The album was home to four singles, one of which was "A Mess of Blues," which was originally a hit for Elvis Presley in 1960 (and his recording peaked at #32 on Billboard Hot 100). All four Status Quo singles were top 40 hits. You can check out the full album if you'd like. And I'll drop three tracks for you here after the jump.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for October 30, 2020


[Halloween!] -- Though not quite as rare as a full moon falling on Halloween, this year the spooky holiday also occurs very close to Friday. That means it's time for a very special Halloween edition of the Friday 80s Flashback. Now, I'm sure you've all been good little ghouls and ghosts. So, to ensure you get the most 80s goodness possible, and that you receive it in a timely manner, I'm revisiting the mega-Flashback I originally posted for Halloween 2011. I thoroughly checked it and updated any video or text links that were broken over the last several years. And, just like in 2011, you can check out all the tunes featured in this week's flashback as a single video playlist! And it's six tracks, twice the content of my usual weekly offerings! Of course, you can still check out the songs one at a time, the option which includes my comments and recollections. But either way, you're getting great 80s music for the Halloween weekend! So, if you are opting for your flashbacks one-at-a-time, you can read and hear more after the break.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for October 23, 2020

[Goodbye Mom - Redux] -- By Friday, October 20, 2017, I was more than two thirds of the way through writing a Flashback post, but I no longer wanted to use it. My sister had called me around 5pm the prior day and told me that our mother was gone, that she had unexpectedly died overnight. Sis had gone over to Mom's house to check on her, as per usual, but instead found ... well, she found that Mom never made it out of bed that day.

So, my one and only flashback song for that -- and this -- weekend is for the memory of our mother. 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 Films. Stay 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. 

"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, October 20, 2020

Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop by Roselle Lim

Dangrdafne book review 

So for my 50th birthday last year I wanted to go to Paris and see Notre Dame as my birthday trip. But then, on the same day, Notre Dame burned and I received a letter that my passport was lost when it was sent for renewal. I was devastated on both counts and didn't know what to do. 

Many months have passed and my passport have never turned up but I did get my renewal one and Notre Dame is hopefully being restored and I will get there at some point. And now we are in a pandemic and travel is on hold no matter what for me. An author friend of mine posted a retweet of Roselle Lin's tweet announcing her book release a few months ago and as soon as I saw the title and read Roselle's tweet I knew I had to get the book: Vanessa Yu's Magical Paris Tea Shop.

I ordered it immediately from my local bookstore and waited for them to let me know it was ready for pick up. I waited a week and then finally it was ready. My hubby went to get the book for me but upon his return I found that they had placed the wrong Roselle Lin book on the pick up shelf for me. I was so sad and I had to wonder, am I ever meant to go to Paris... even in a book?? They corrected the error and another week later I had my book.

It was worth the wait for sure. I can still see all the sights, hear all the sounds of Paris, smell all the glorious foods and feel all the wonderful emotions of the book. A truly beautiful read.

It is a story about Vanessa Yu and how she searches for love, a life and herself. She has an incredible family, if not a little overbearing but certainly full of love. Roselle's writing is simply beautiful. Her descriptions are real and easy to imagine. Especially when she writes about food. Oh the glorious food. Make sure you are not hungry when you read this book and even if you are full, you will still want all the food. Roselle has an affinity for describing all the smells and tastes of the food in Paris. 

This was truly a wonderful book to get lost in and it was so easy to lose yourself to the streets of Paris and the lives of the Yu's. I love stories about family and this did not let me down. The family is crucial to the entire story and I would love to know them in real life. Their loyalty to each other is something to aspire to in our own lives.

Will Vanessa find love? Will she find a life? Will she find herself? You will have to take the journey with her and enjoy all the twists and turns in the book to find out. So grab a snack and strap yourself in for a ride through Paris and Vanessa's Yu's journey.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for October 16, 2020


[Mysticism for the People!] -- I realize that not many of our regulars will be familiar with this band. Hel, I wasn't aware of them until very recently. So, while my sonic palette has been expanded, my gain is also your gain. I hope. Anyway, Vox Populi! ‎was a French group who billed themselves as "ethno-industrial." Influenced by industrial music and power electronics, Vox Populi! worked with heavy synth, droning, studio wizardry, and effects to create atmospheric, trance-like audio experiences. This style has several other descriptors such as ambient, darkwave, and coldwave. Vox Populi! made around 108 recorded appearances (according to discogs), 12 of which were their own albums released between 1982 and 1989. (They also released records in 2009 and 2019, but I'm uncertain if that qualifies them as being currently active; perhaps someone can let me know). This week, I'm looking at their 1985 release, Myscitismes, which was recently rereleased on 140 gram vinyl LP, a favorite format for coldwave enthusiasts. So, if you need some background music for reading, writing, or just winding down, this 12-track recording just might be something you should add to your listening rotation. My favorite tracks are "Trois Gouttes De Sang," "Omid," and "Myscitisme II."

Flashback: Vox Populi! ‎– Myscitismes (full album playlist) 

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!

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Folklore - Taylor Swift

 Album Review by Dangrdafne

I never thought I would do an album review but I just can't keep quiet about this album. I am enthralled with it and I can't stop listening to it.

About 3 weeks ago someone mentioned how much they missed listening to an album from beginning to end and I realized that I also have not done this in quite some time either. 

Then 2 weeks ago on a Zoom call someone mentioned Taylor Swift's new album Folklore and how much they loved it. That it wasn't typical Taylor and it was very soothing in fact. I was intrigued and downloaded the album while on the call.

For the past week, I have had the album pretty much on repeat and I still can't stop. 

It is glorious. It is ethereal. It is soothing and calming. It is angry and quiet. It is sweet and lovely. It is everything I didn't know I needed in an album.

I would love to write up and dissect each song but the album isn't about that at all. It is all about getting lost in the sounds and the words and the FEEL of the album. I just sink into it each time it starts and it wraps itself around me and soothes my soul. Even the angry songs just pierce right into me and free the tension. 

I bought the explicit lyric version of the album and I am glad I did. It feels honest and it certainly is not overly explicit and I feel the lyrics are valid and necessary.

My most favorite song is exile featuring Bon Iver. Their voices are spectacular in this song and the harmony and lyrics are divine.

"...there's nothing like a mad woman" is my other most favorite song if just for the title alone. I even had to buy the shirt with this lyric on it from her online store. I already own a Shake It Off shirt and sticker on my computer, as that was and probably still is my theme song. NOTHING on this album is like that song, though, so do not go into this album expecting anything like that song. This is reflective Taylor Swift and I adore it and her.

4 paws and a tail!!

Friday, October 9, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for October 9, 2020


[Still 1981] -- Still was released on 10/8/1981, 39 years ago this week, but it was originally intended for an August 1981 release (that's why "1/8/81" appears on the center labels). This double album compilation is considered something of a posthumous release -- the 1980 suicide of Joy Division's lead singer, Ian Curtis, led to the band's dissolution (three of the remaining members would go on to form New Order). 

Discogs and Wikipedia each have a good listing of the tracks and their source, indicating what was previously released, or unreleased, and which tracks were from a live recording of Joy Division's last concert at Birmingham University (the entirety of sides C and D). Upon release, Still reached #5 on the UK album chart. The compilation was remastered and re-released in 2007 with a 14-track bonus disc. You can enjoy all 21 tracks of the entire original playlist, in order, via this YouTube playlist. If you just want a sampler, I've made three selections and you can read and hear more after the jump.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Educated A Memoir by Tara Westover

 Dangrdafne book review

What a difficult read. I truly disliked the people in this book but I shouldn't because really they all have untreated mental illness. This was one of the hardest books I have ever stuck with. My psychology mind was reeling from it all but it couldn't let it go.

It is the memoir of a young woman who grew up in Idaho with a very different upbringing than many people. The major influence of the story is that she does not got to school or even receive home schooling as a child. I know schools are not perfect but I can't help but feel that without it you miss out on so much about the world. There is something to be said for understanding things outside of yourself and I believe this book shines the light on that.

Her schooling does change as she gets older and she does end up in college and beyond, which is quite an incredible feat based on her family history. The human spirit really can take someone further than you could ever imagine.

This book was so frustrating to me and I feel like it is all because of me and that others might truly enjoy this book. The person who recommended the book and lent it to me really liked it but actually was not surprised that I had issues with it. 

I just felt so horrible for this whole family but they lived the lives they wanted and knew and who am I to say anything about it. I just know I would not read this book again but I would not stop anyone else from reading it just because of my issues with the book. It is an overall good book and very interesting. 

2 paws 

Friday, October 2, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for October 2, 2020

[Basically Chameleons] -- 35 years ago this week, English post-punk rockers The Chameleons released their sophomore studio album, What Does Anything mean? Basically. With only one single, "Singing Rule Britannia (While the Walls Close In)," this album was well liked by many critics. However, its wall of sound -- featuring digital delays, pedals, and other studio wizardry -- was a bit too much production for some fans, and other critics (even as recently as 2003, it has been called "as half-baked as its title"). I find it to be a great record to have spinning in the background. Speaking of finding the record, I'm pretty certain I found my copy in the discount bin at a record store that used to be on College Ave. in downtown State College, PA. Yes, I bought it on vinyl. And, yes, I still have the LP record (and it's not scratched). So, to celebrate this album's 35th anniversary, let's spin the whole thing!

FlashbackWhat Does Anything mean? Basically (full album)

01. 00:00 Silence, Sea and Sky 02. 02:01 Perfume Garden 03. 06:41 Intrigue in Tangiers 04. 11:59 Return of the Roughnecks 05. 15:27 Singing Rule Britannia 06. 19:47 On the Beach 07. 24:01 Looking Inwardly 08. 28:35 One Flesh 09. 33:02 Home Is Where the Heart Is 10. 38:57 P.S. Goodbye Bonus Track 11. 42:02 In Shreds 12. 46:14 Nostalgia

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! 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens

Dangrdafne book review:

Not at all what I expected!

What a gorgeous book about some not so gorgeous times.

A simple story about a female from childhood to adulthood in the deep south.
It tells the tale of her life and all that she goes through on her own, truly all.on.her.own.

It is disturbing at times, glorious at times and wholly real throughout.
You want to protect her, fight for her, yell at her, yell with her and be her at all different times in the story.
Her tale is long, sad and victorious but maybe not in the ways you think.

This story was not at all what I thought it would be but it was everything I needed it to be.
I feel stronger for having read it and more knowledgeable too on topics I would not have thought about otherwise.
This book took me two days to read and it's been two weeks and I am still not past it.

I loved that I cried both tears of sadness and of joy throughout this book.
It touched me on so many levels.

I know I don't say too much about the actual stories when I write my book reviews but that is because I want each person to be able to experience the story in the book on their own. You don't need me to give you the play by play, that is what you read the book for. I just offer my thoughts on how the book affected me. This one was pretty amazing and I really hope that if you haven't ever read it, you will seek it out.

4 paws

Friday, September 25, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for September 25, 2020


[Forever Furs] -- 38 years ago today, the Psychedelic Furs' third studio album, Forever Now, hit the stands. This was a seminal release for the band for three reasons. First, it included the hit single "Love My Way." Second, the band trimmed their personnel from six to four. Third, this marked the first time Todd Rundgren worked with the band, both as producer and guest musician. The album would reach #20 on the UK album charts, and then peak at #61 in the US. It didn't exactly garner glowing reviews from critics, but it has long been popular with fans. I mean, I love it. I love it so much that I'm featuring the entire 10-song track list rather focusing on a handful of tracks. Enjoy! 

FlashbackSwallow all your tears my love | And put on your new face | You can never win or lose | If you don't run the race (from "Love My Way").

I hope you enjoyed that album. 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!

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Summer Island - Kristin Hannah

Dangrdafne book review: 

The perfect end of summer read. 

The book's location is set in the Pacific Northwest, one of my favorite areas in the world. I could see the places that were described in the book and it is a character unto itself.

A story of a family specifically a mother and daughter plus a second daughter and lesser so the father and how they are dealing with turmoil and unresolved feelings and a definite lack of communication. This is a female centric story and it is glorious. I definitely see my mother, myself and my sister in this book - thankfully not as separated as these three are but we are definitely the characters in many ways. It was nice to have my Mom and Sister near me as I read this book.

The ups and downs, the laughter, the tears, it is all worth every second of it. The writing is superb and I could see, hear, smell and feel everything. I truly want to go to Summer Island and see these places and feel it all for myself.

If you have ever had issues with your mother, this is a wonderful book to use to work through them. I do not have any issues with my mother but I could understand and empathize with what was happening. You always need to hear the other side and the other side has to be willing to tell. Keeping quiet, keeping secrets, keeping up appearances will get you nowhere. If people would just be honest and talk, the amount of trouble in the world would reduce so much. And the mother/daughter bond is an incredible power, one that should never be taken for granted.

There is even a love story hidden amongst all the turmoil and it is deep and lovely. A long unrequited love that needs nurturing and release. To find out if there is happy ending you will have to read Summer Island by Kristin Hannah.

4 paws

Friday, September 18, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for September 18, 2020

[Into the Fall  - Redux] -- With the latest autumnal equinox rapidly coming upon us, and while we're still in the midst of a pandemic, I looked to my previous Flashback posts. I wanted to remember what other falls -- the season, not the collapse of our civilization -- looked like. And I found one in my 9/20/2013 Flashback which originally appeared over at Prophet or Madman. I'll share the whole thing here, and it looks like I need to make only one edit to account for the passage of the last seven years. See if you notice the change (hint -- it's not the remarks about football and baseball, which seem remarkably quaint today). 


I don't know about you, but I find September to me a month of contradictions. Football has started, but baseball has yet to yield the spotlight. The days are warm, but the nights become cool. Speaking of days, as summer vacations give way to what students perceive as long, tedious school days, the days are actually becoming shorter in length. I have a nostalgic hankering for pumpkin spice (lattes), but that particular treat hasn't even been around for 20 years. And, finally, I have this strange urge to hurry and complete even while the world around me is getting ready to slow down and sleep (Autumn Equinox this weekend).

Seems like a good time to do a Flashback featuring The Outfield.

The Outfield is a power-pop band that was founded in the early 80s, and they, too, are somewhat contradictory: They are from the UK, yet they took their name from part of the playing field for America's pastime (note: they started out as The Baseball Boys). They had huge hits in the US, but they couldn't quite win commercial success in their homeland. Two band members had the look of new romance while the other two looked a bit more glam. And, finally, they continue to perform and record (their last album was released in 2011), but they have not charted since 1990. What Outfield tunes got off the bench and onto the playlist this week? Well, read and hear more after the break.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for September 11, 2020

This is a reworking of a 9/11/2015 post that itself was a reworking of the original post that appeared on 9/9/2011 (and both of those prior posts were on Prophet or Madman).

[I Love NY, on September 11 and Always -- Redux 2] -- On September 11, 1981, the top song in the U.S. was "Endless Love" by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie (#1 on the Billboard Hot 100 from August 9 to October 10). In baseball, the Detroit Tigers defeated the Cleveland Indians at Tiger Stadium. Movie goers were about to lift Arthur to the role of top-grossing movie for that weekend. Confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Sandra Day O'Connor ended. On the world stage, the U.S. accused the USSR of using poison gas in Laos, Cambodia, and Afghanistan. The Soviets began amphibious landing exercises on the Polish coast as part of naval training in Baltic Sea even while pressure for democracy was mounting within Poland. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat claimed Referendum results supported his crackdown efforts against opposition forces, and the Ayatollah Khomeini's personal representative was assassinated in Tabriz, Iran. And a private plane crashed into the Swing Auditorium, a legendary concert venue in San Bernardino, California, damaging it beyond repair.

Just shy of 40 years later, we are once again remembering the aftermath of a trio of plane crashes that occurred on the East Coast, destroying an architectural icon in downtown New York and devastating our national psyche. I have previously written about 9-11 (The Real "Never Forget," They Crashed the Planes and Changed the Rules, and Visit to United Flight 93 Memorial for example). But I have yet to do so from the lens of 80s music. So, this week, the Friday 80s Flashback celebrates New York City. Wondering what songs we have for the Big Apple? Read and hear more after the break.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for September 4, 2020

File:Lewis Hine Power house mechanic working on steam pump.jpg
Power house mechanic working on steam pump 
by Lewis Hine, 1920. (Wikipedia)

[Music for Labor Day Weekend 2020] -- I haven't had a full time job since I was laid off in February 2019. And, thanks to a global pandemic, I know many others are likewise unemployed, at least for the foreseeable future. Still, many others are in the difficult position of having work but not necessarily a safe working environment. And we should be mindful of the issues that were already impacting Working America prior to the pandemic. So, as we enter our latest Labor Day holiday weekend, how about a few songs from our 1980s catalog that highlight work, labor, and unions? Read and hear more after the break!

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for August 21, 2020 (on a Saturday)

[Last Exit] -- I previously shared one track from today's Flashback artist, Last Exit. This weekend, however, I'm sharing over 30 minutes of material from them. Someone was kind enough to upload their appearance at the 1986 Deutsches Jazzfestival in Frankfurt. So, Last Exit was a ferocious and uncompromising free-jazz band formed in 1986. They remained active to about the mid-90s, disbanding after their guitarist's death. Upon joining forces, they were considered something of a supergroup due to the pedigree of the musicians involved: Bassist Bill Laswell (also known for his work with Material and as a producer), drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson (who didn't know the meaning of "false modesty"), guitarist Sonny Sharrock (no stranger to precise distortion), and saxophonist Peter Brötzmann (giving aggressive breath to reed instruments since the 1960s). These guys were chaotic and loud, louder than many rock bands at the time. They released several live records, but only one studio album, Iron Path (1988). Iron Path found the foursome displaying more restraint than on their live efforts, and it seemed to focus more on textures and experimentation. Still, even on Iron Path, Last Exit could improvise with a tension matched only by two large ships passing in complete darkness, far from the shore. What does that even mean? I'm not sure; I just remember the line from a review I read for the record back in '88. And I bought the CD because of that review (I think it was in Musician magazine, but I cannot find it online). The reviewer referred to their playing as being akin to the tension of a boat bracing an incoming storm. My late father, as I recall, could only comment that Brötzmann sounded like he was playing with a split reed. Anyway, read the liner notes for Iron Path and that might give you some idea of what to expect from this performance. I'm not saying it will prepare you, but at least you'll be informed.

FlashbackLive and loud experimental jazz

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, August 7, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for August 7, 2020

[A Cult Jam] -- I found three separate release dates for Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam with Full Force, the 1985 debut album by, well, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam. Wikipedia's list of 1985 releases cites 8/8/1985 as the release date, but the Wikipedia page for the album has the release date as 3/17/1985 in the intro paragraph and 9/17/1985 in the sidebar. Even more confusing, has a release date of 12/17/1985. Whatever the actual release date was, the bottom line is that, before the end of the year, no one outside of Lisa Velez's family probably used her last name anymore. She was Lisa Lisa, the voice and face of the hit song, "I Wonder If I Take You Home." That hit and the other two singles await you after the jump. 

Friday, July 31, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for July 31, 2020

[KooKoo] -- On July 31, 1981, Debby Harry released her solo album, KooKoo. This date info is from the blog Inside the Rock Era which posted the following note on their 7/30/2011 summation of This Date in Rock Music History: July 31 -- "some websites claim the album was released July 27, and others say it was released August 8, but according to the book 'Punk Diary:  The Ultimate Trainspotter's Guide to Underground Rock:  1970-1982' by George Gimarc, it was released July 31." KooKoo was the solo debut of Blondie's lead singer, and it featured some sweet cover art by Alien artist H.R. Giger. Giger even directed promo videos for two tracks, "Backfired" and "Now I Know You Know." Both videos are embedded in the Giger link. For this week, I'm sharing the entire playlist rather than selecting a few tracks. But for your reference, the album had two official singles, "Backfired" and "The Jam Was Moving" which peaked at #43 and #82 respectively on the US Billboard charts. No jump this week; go right to the tunes!

Friday, July 24, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for July 24, 2020

[Comics and SDCC!] -- I was, of course, planning to be in San Diego for San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) this week. And this would have been the 10th SDCC in a row that @dangrdafne and I attended! But then, the COVID-19 pandemic claimed the convention in its wake of cancelations. So, this venerable Nerdhalla, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, conducts its first-ever virtual convention in 2020. If you are unfamiliar with the event, here's some background: It was founded in 1970 as the Golden State Comic Book Convention. As it grew, this convention was later rebranded with the name we have come to know and recognize. SDCC bounced around to several locations in San Diego until it landed at the San Diego Convention Center where it has been held since 1991. SDCC is now widely recognized as a juggernaut of TV and film events. So much so that critics regularly complain it's "not about comics anymore!" However, there is still plenty of comic book related activity at SDCC, as Comic Spectrum pointed out in 2018 and in 2016.

Last year, to celebrate SDCC, I selected several 80s tunes inspired by, or about, comic books. There were several tracks that did not make that list, so I'm using them this year. What made the latest playlist? Read and hear more the jump.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for July 17, 2020

[Serendip Covers] -- Earlier this week, I discovered the four-piece ensemble known as Sons of Serendip. They were set to be featured guests in an upcoming webinar, and the email invite linked to the group's cover of "Bridge Over Troubled Water." I liked it. I looked for more of their music. And I might have become a little obsessed with them. Now, Sons of Serendip are not an 80s band -- this classical crossover ensemble has been active since about 2014. But while looking into their catalog, I quickly found that they had covered at least one 80s tune. Where there's one 80s cover, there could be more, right? Right! You can read more about how Kendall Ramseur (cellist), Cordaro Rodriguez (pianist), Mason Morton (harpist), and Micah Christian (lead vocalist) came together while in graduate school at Boston University by visiting their webpage. To find out which of their covers I've highlighted this week, you can read and hear more after the jump.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

SDCC 2020 - Comic Con @ Home

So as you all know there is no in person SDCC this year. And while I will miss all my friends terribly and miss all the fun that is SDCC, but I am ready to enjoy Virtual SDCC or Comic Con @ Home.

I like the idea of not having to pick what to do or figure out what room I can get to for a panel... they are all in MY room. And if I really miss the run between the rooms, I can walk around my block between the video panels.

I like that I can even do more than one panel at a time if need be or I just want to. The very first day of panels, Wednesday, I had a conflict and I got my normal anger at first and then I realized, I can do both! I have a pretty packed schedule of panels for all the days now and it makes me so happy.

I loved seeing some names on the panel lists that I didn’t know were going to be there and I know I will get to see them. There were also some missing names but hopefully I will catch up with them in other areas.

I also got to add some panels I know I wouldn’t normally get to for various reasons.. hello Kevin Smith.

One very real part of Comic Con @ Home is that I still feel like I am going to miss out on things. I already feel like I am missing things. There is so much that can be done for this SDCC Virtual and so many places to find information that it still feels overwhelming, like I am really going to SDCC. I was hopeful for more quiet but apparently not.

Every day I turn on more Twitter feeds to get their tweets so I can follow along and try not to miss out. It is a lot of people :)

@CrazyForComicCon is tweeting SDCC lists for this year. One of the items is what will you miss? Besides the obvious of seeing my friends I only see during SDCC, I realized it would be missing out seeing the Legion of Superheroes table on the mezzanine. We visit them every year now and they are awesome! We always end up spending a hour or so talking to them and sometimes every day... as you have to pick up a pin every day. I will miss their smiling faces and catching up on our lives. It is a quiet respite and a perfect example of SDCC friendship. I hope they are all happy and healthy.

So I ask what will you miss most about SDCC this year?

And if you know of any special information I might be issuing out on, please let me know :)

Lastly, if someone could mail me the gluten free turkey burger with large fries and a Lavender Mint Lemonade from Burger Lounge, I will owe you big time!

Friday, July 10, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for July 10, 2020

[Lemony Goodness] -- In 1988, The Mighty Lemon Drops released their second studio album, World Without End. This record yielded only one single, "Inside Out," which peaked at #74 on the UK Singles Chart. Still, that one jangly single was as catchy as anything else released that same year. And World Without End, as a whole, is a damn fine example of British post-punk ... with just a hint of late-'60s psychedelia for good measure. And while I can't be certain of this, I do have a feeling that the music video for "Inside Out" is the band's jab at being labeled part of the shoegazing genre. Check out my three selections from this record after the jump!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Runaways panel from Wizard World online

On Sunday June 28th, our good friend Tony Kim, owner of Hero Within, was the moderator for the Runaways Wizard World panel online. A free panel put together to ease the lack of in person comic conventions not happening right now. I love these free panels and I am grateful that they offer them. I also enjoy them just a little but more if Tony is the moderator. You can buy things from the website but the panel itself is free to stream and watch.

I have not watched the show but after this panel I will seek it out.

Two of my favorite vampires are in the show and were on the panel: Annie Wersching (Momma Salvatore on The Vampire Diaries) and James Marsters (Spike on Buffy The Vampire Slayer). It was nice to see them and they both seemed very happy with the show and their experiences with the cast.

I also recognized quite a few of the other panelists and spent some time on IMDB to catch up on names and other things I would have seen them in. It is quite a cast and they all talked of how much they missed the show and each other. They all seemed to hold their characters in high regard and when asked what super power they would love to have, it was very interesting to hear many of them choose the ability to heal.

I wish such a large panel could last more than 40 minutes, though, because there definitely was not enough time to cover everything. Tony did a great job moving things along and getting some questions in from the viewers in the chat.

It felt like being at a con, just from the comfort of my couch. I highly recommend checking out these panels as they really do fill the void of canceled comic conventions. Also you may find some new shows to binge during quarantine.