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, May 29, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for May 29, 2020



[Sun City] -- In December 1985, Steven Van Zandt and Artists United Against Apartheid released "the most political of all of the charity rock albums of the 1980s" (per AllMusic). I wrote about it on the record's 30th anniversary, and revisited it in September 2017. And in the wake of the past 24-48 hours, I think now is a good time to revisit it once again. At any rate, it's a fair reminder of how far we've come ... and how much further we still have to go ... as a society.

That record was Sun City (1985), a protest album driven by Van Zandt (perhaps best known for his affiliation with  Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band) in partnership with Artists United Against Apartheid. The name pretty much tells you what the they were all about. They recorded two versions of the song, "Sun City," and other material for this album. The personnel assembled by Van Zandt reads like a who's who of popular and critically acclaimed artists of the mid-80s. For example:
  • Little Steven (Van Zandt) – vocals, guitar, drum programming
  • Kool DJ Herc, Peter Wolf, Pat Benatar, Joey Ramone, Jimmy Cliff, Daryl Hall, Lou Reed, Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan, Nona Hendryx, Kashif, Peter Garrett, Malopoets, Gil Scott-Heron, Afrika Bambaataa, RubĂ©n Blades, Bono, George Clinton, Peter Gabriel, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Bonnie Raitt, Run DMC, Bruce Springsteen, John Oates, Michael Monroe, Darlene Love, The Fat Boys, and others – vocals
  • Zak Starkey, Tony Williams, Ringo Starr – drums
  • Sonny Okosuns – talking drums
  • Keith LeBlanc, Benjamin Newman – drum programming
  • Pete Townshend, Stanley Jordan, Keith Richards, Ron Wood – guitars
  • L. Shankar – double violin
  • Clarence Clemons – saxophone
  • Miles Davis – trumpet
  • Herbie Hancock, Richard Scher, Robby Kilgore, Zoe Yanakis – keyboards
  • Doug Wimbish – bass; Ron Carter – acoustic bass
  • Jam Master Jay, DJ Cheese – scratches
Sun City didn't achieve great commercial success, but it did peak at #31 on the Billboard 200 pop albums chart. It did, however, receive critical acclaim in abundance, reaching #5 on the Pazz & Jop Critics Poll (yes, that's really the name) for albums for that year. What tracks will we highlight this week? Read and hear more after the jump!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Internet Famous by Danika Stone

Book review by Dangrdafne:


If you have ever belonged to a Fandom then this book might be for you. And even if not.

Madi runs a blog called MadLibs and basically this books tells her life story. 
It is a young adult themed book but I had no trouble identifying with the characters as it is about a family and growing up in these challenging times.

My favorite aspect of the book is Madi's sister. She is on the spectrum and I really appreciated the realistic coverage of her. I know some people just like her and it was nice to see them in this book and see them have real stories told about them. She is not just a side note or a passing fancy in the book she is an integral part of the story, one that lends so much heart and truth to the story.

I loved that the book brought out all my emotions. I was so angry at times with what was happening to Madi that I wanted to throw the book down. Then I would be so happy that I would just smile from ear to ear. But my favorite parts were the kisses. Oh the kisses. Danika has some special magical power to writing kissing scenes. My heart just melted every single time. 

I learned a lot of online lingo too which was unexpected. From the definition section in the front of the book to just the use of the lingo throughout, it was kind of hard to miss but I liked it. It made it more realistic and definitely of the times (man I sound old). It is a high school setting but I am serious when I tell you that I had no trouble identifying and understanding what was happening. I am also really happy that I do not have children. What these kids have to go through these days, it is at times so much worse than anything I had to live through. I have bullies but they were only in person. These days you get them both in person and online. It is never ending and all encompassing.

The hidden joy of the book is that it is also a mystery. There is a who dun it and it is quite the twisty turny situation that may have you guessing the whole time. I did not expect this mystery and that just added to my joy reading this book. Maybe it was just so different from any other books I have read that I just went in head first and ended up taking in my heart too.

I highly recommend this book. 

4 paws




Friday, May 22, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for May 22, 2020



[Birthday Train] -- I am observing what would have been my father's 74th birthday. Unfortunately, he breathed his last in May 2013, about two weeks shy of his 67th solar return. Anyway, Dad loved trains, particularly those involved in logging railroads. His favorite locomotive was the Shay. And he would often celebrate his birthday with a visit to the Cass Railfan Weekend which is run by the Mountain State Railroad & Logging Historical Association (you can donate in Dad's memory at their website, http://www.msrlha.org/). So, this confluence of the Flashback falling on Dad's birthday made me decide to focus on 80s songs about trains and railways. There's a whole slew of potential tracks, across a wide variety of genres, but I had to narrow it down to just three tunes. And I tried, really tried, to ensure I didn't pick anything my classic rock and jazz loving father would hate. Wonder what made the cut this week? Read and hear more after the jump. 

Friday, May 15, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for May 15, 2020



[Give Me Ten Good Reasons] -- Already a soap star in his native Australia, Jason Donovan embarked on a music career when his first single, "Nothing Can Divide Us," dropped in 1988. Donovan's subsequent debut album, Ten Good Reasons, dropped in May 1989. It was the biggest selling album in the UK that year, and it did pretty well in other European countries. It also peaked at #5 in Canada. It did not chart in the US. In the UK, the album yielded two #1 singles, making Donovan the first Australian male to simultaneously hold both a single and an album in #1 positions. Do you remember him? Do you have a favorite from his debut album? Can you guess which tracks I'll feature this week? There's more after the jump!

Friday, May 8, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for May 8, 2020

My own mother passed unexpectedly in October 2017. So, I'll take the money I would have spent on her Mother's Day cards and gifts, and I'll make a donation to A Woman's Place.  Also, in place of a new Flashback post, I am re-running my Mother's Day post from May 11, 2012. This post is largely, but not entirely, unchanged from its original incarnation.

[Word to the Mothers - Redux] -- This weekend we in the U.S. observe Mother's Day. I don't know if you've ever looked for "mother" songs before, but there are many, many songs with some variation of "mother" in the title or lyrics (mother, mama, mom, etc.). However, the subject matter of the vast majority of those tunes, particularly in the 80s, was not exactly fodder for Hallmark. And, on top of that challenge, two songs that I thought were perfect for the holiday were not recorded or released in the 80s. They both came out in 1991. So, I had to scramble a bit to fill out this week's playlist. I think I have successfully crafted a flashback set that honors mothers, recognizes folks who have less-than-perfect relationships with their mothers, and gives a nod to something that most mothers believe about their offspring at one time or another. So don't just sit there and wonder what three songs I have for you this week. Read and hear more after the break!

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for May 1, 2020 (Rewind from May 3, 2013)

In May of 2013, today was a Friday. So, "Goodbye Dad" was my 80s Flashback post for that particular weekend. I'll re-post it here. 



[Goodbye Dad (Rewind)] -- There was no Flashback post last week, and there isn't a proper one this week. Last week, I rushed to my Dad's bedside because his condition had worsened and the prevailing wisdom was that he was close to leaving us. He actually improved slightly, but not enough to really merit a celebration. It was simply a postponement of the grief to come.

Dad's condition continued to decline into the beginning of this week. There was an unidentifiable (yet treatable) infection, fluid continued to build up around and in his lung, and his liver was failing. As it turns out, the only diagnosis that could be made was that he was rejecting the transplant (bone marrow and stem cells) from 2010. Or, more technically accurate, the transplant was rejecting him. So, I picked a few songs to work through what we need to work through. If you care to join me, you can read and hear more after the break.