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Thursday, July 31, 2014

My Summer Playlist 2014

My Summer Playlist 2014

Here’s my Summer Playlist for 2014; twenty-seven songs that I listen to over and over again as I motor about.  They make for perfect road trip music or a musical score to, ummm, score!

I’ve reviewed most of these in the past few months.  The big surprise?  Several of the songs I initially disliked have grown on me big time.  Even the Disney Princesses and Nickelodeon Queens have won me over and have become guilty pleasures. 

Now, these aren’t in any particular order, but I guarantee if you pull these together on a playlist, you’ll have the perfect soundtrack for what remains of the summer.

Happy listening!

Cool Kids
Reductive pop (see Quarterflash), but goes down like a vanilla shake.  Love singing harmony on the chorus.

Break Free
Ariana Grande Feat. Zedd
Great little pop song with a bit of substance.  Zedd synths it up, old school.  Hate the ending.

Joywave Feat. KOPPS
Quirky, silly, fun.  “Speaking in tongues”, indeed.

Do It Again
Royksopp & Robyn
Simple, but unstoppable.  Love this. Every time I hear it, I want it to play again, immediately.  Great throb and Robyn nails the vocals.

I Will Never Let You Down
Rita Ora
Smartest pop song of the summer.  It’s cribbed from a few sources, but makes for a wonderful listen.

Aviation High
Semi Precious Weapons
Part of a whole new breed of power pop.  Cryptic, quirky, and unmistakably cool.  Gives one hope.

Morning Parade
See: ‘Aviation High’.

Bad Suns
See: ‘Alienation’

A Little Bit Faster
Miss Elvis Costello?  He could have given birth to Cocktails, an on the money homage with a genuine heart – they embody this sound.

Who Needs You
The Orwells
Brash, with a garage band esthetic that engages the ear. Cribbed, but with an authority that makes it their own.  Superlative vocals that make me think rock may not be dead.

Holding On
A gritty, throwback Stax song grafted onto an eclectic modern production. 

I Got U
Duke Dumont Feat. Jax Jones
Seductively lilting; Caribbean steel drums, a sweet pulse beat, and perfect vocals.

Habits (Stay High)
Tove Lo
Saddest song of the summer.  Haunting.  A pop nightmare fully realized and captured.

I Walk Alone (JRMX Club Mix)
Love this mix; very old school, but wonderfully so.

I Found Out
Bimbo Jones & Beverley Knight
Classic disco soul, al a the Philadelphia sound, with a modern, propulsive club beat.  Beverley Knight in perfect diva form.

Rather Be
Clean Bandit Feat. Jess Glynne
Enchanting.  Sweet.  Endearing.  Great strings.  Perfect arrangement.  Lovely vocals.

Cheap Sunglasses – RAC Feat. Matthew Koma
More steel drum fun with an Owl City aesthetic.  Very 80’s; a modernized Nu Shooz.

Really Don't Care
Demi Lovato Feat. Cher Lloyd
Demi takes over Kelly Clarkson’s tough pop territory.  The vocals, like Clarkson’s can be, are a bit shrill, but the song’s empowering theme rules the day, so who cares?  Sometimes to be heard you have risk being overbearing.

If I Fall
Cole Plante With Myon & Shane 54 Feat. Ruby O'Dell
Wistful, plaintive, yearning.  Love the message.  I am such a sucker for this waifish sort of dance music.

I'm Not Coming Down
Martha Wash
Powerhouse diva vocals? Check.  Empowering message? Check.  Sweet melody? Check?  On the mark production?  Check?  What more could a gay ask for?

Love Sublime
Tensnake Feat. Nile Rodgers And Fiora
Silky, slinky, seductive.  Be sure to get the original mix.  This will take you back to the glory days of Chic, in the best way possible.  Sublime, indeed.

Calling All Hearts
DJ Cassidy Feat. Robin Thicke & Jessie J
A bit earnest, but delivers the simplest of retro-disco fun. Jessie J has chops!

Sia – Chandelier
Delivering a searing, aching, over the top vocal, Sia does Rihanna in her own idiocentric style. 

Summer – Calvin Harris
Big, big synths teased higher than a hair hopper’s dream.  As predicted, a perfect summer theme, despite the novelty vocals.

La La La  - Naughty Boy Feat. Sam Smith
A very deep song wrapped around a childish taunt.  Great vocals, very unique.  A marvelous diss song

Latch - Disclosure Feat. Sam Smith
Incredible.  Propulsive.  Totally original.  Inventive vocals, engaged production.

Ain't It Fun  - Paramore
Yes, it is.  A delicious slice of power pop.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

TMI Questions - Classic Edition: Sophie’s Choice

TMI Questions - Classic Edition:
Sophie’s Choice

Decisive is one thing I am not.  If you know me at all, then you would know that I can rarely make a choice on my own.  Typically, I have to have other people weigh in on the situation before picking something. 

Sometimes that works to my advantage.

But usually?  It’s merely annoying for others.

See, building towards a consensus sort of leaves one liability free, as in, you’re not responsible for the outcome. 

Therefore, even when choosing a restaurant, I can be horribly wishy washy, not wanting to be on the hook for another person’s disappointment.

However, for today’s TMI Questions, Sean, its founder and creator, made it explicit that we are not to duck any of the questions, so, for better or worse, here are mine:

Questions designed to reveal Too Much Information

TMI Questions - Classic Edition: Sophie’s Choice

Save your daughter or son or all three of you will die?

Oh, my, so dramatic!

And such a difficult, awful question.

Fortunately (for them), I don’t have any human children (that I know of), so this question doesn’t really apply to me. 

But, for the sake of this post, let’s say you asked me to choose between my three current dogs.

Of course, optimum choice is that I would die so they all could live, but I couldn’t do that because they can’t take care of themselves at all.  I mean, it’s all I can do to get them to clean up their rooms once in a while, pick up the living room, or take out the trash.  They would be lost without me.

They don’t even know how to make macaroni and cheese!

Atula, my eldest, has outlived the typical lifespan for his breed.  He also has a number of health issues including painful arthritis, total hearing loss, and the gradual loss of sight.  While it would pain me, he would be the first one I let go of.  It would make me sad, but I know he’s had a good life these past couple of years, so I could let him go.

That leaves Hercules and Millie, both aged six. 

At 4.5 lbs., Millie is my little princess, a dancing queen who, after surviving a horrible first couple of years at the hands of people who should never own a dog, is totally blind among other things.  She is incredibly attached to me and lights up the moment I step foot inside the house.  I would never let anything happen to her.

Which leaves Hercules - also very attached to me.  He is blind in one eye (someone shoved a pencil in there) and not so smart because he got hit on the head a lot as a pup (he has the scars to show for it).  He’s my little football player – a real dog’s dog, and a friendly, happy guy.  His heart is as big as his understanding of the world around him is small.  I could never let anything happen to him.

This is too hard. 

I quit.

Oh, all right…

I’d save Millie.

But wait… how do they die?  If it isn’t humane and like going to sleep, then I say we all take our chances and die together. 

Next question.

Your arm or your leg?

Easy.   I would save my arm.

I love to write and to write I need arms, hands, and fingers.  Others may be able to do it without, but I am easily frustrated and would give up before learning how.

Plus, I could still play the piano.

I would miss dancing, running, hiking, biking, and wrapping my legs around my boyfriend.

I would not miss doing lunges or squats.

(My penis would still work, right?)

Yep, I would save my arm.

Sight, hearing or speech?
I could do without talking.  I don’t like to talk much anyway.  And when I do, I tend to talk too much and say little of any substance.  There are other ways to communicate.  Better ways.

I would miss music.  I would miss the sound of my boyfriend’s heart as my head lies on his chest. I would always feel like I was missing out on something, but I could do without hearing.

But I could not do without sight.

Art. Nature. Faces. 

I’ve been an observer all my life and without sight I could not see and therefore could not critique, relate, or interpret things. 

I could learn braille, but I have a feeling I would get frustrated very quickly and go sit in a corner somewhere, pouting. 

Without sight, the only other place I would want to sit is at my piano.

I love typing.  I love visual things.  I could never do without such things, so I would save my sight.

Taste or to physically feel anything (pleasure, pain, touch)?


I can’t imagine.

I know what it’s like to be emotionally numb, so I guess I would rather feel than taste.

Don’t get me wrong… I love food. Live for it.

But I would never want to go without feeling another person’s touch, or be unable to react to something, or to express my feelings – which, of course, one would have to be able to feel in order to express.

That is when words would become nothing more than letters on a page. 

And that is a loss I don’t think I could bear.

On your smart phone: text, data or call?

Easy.   Text.

I hate talking on the phone.

I prefer my laptop to my phone for data.

Texting is my primary form of communication these days.  It saves time.  I also don’t have to put up with other people’s inability to stay on topic.  There are a lot of time-wasters out there, and I know you don’t know who you are, but, trust me… two minutes into our first conversation; I will have you pegged as one.

Save your charming ways for someone else.  I want the basics.  Short sentences with periods in place.  Answer only the question asked.  Get to the point right out of the gate. Stay on topic.

All of that happens when you text with someone because typing on that tiny key pad is frustrating and time consuming, so people tend to get to the point quickly and succinctly.

Love of your life but life on welfare or no love and live in the top 40%?

Give me love.

Poor never bothered me, anyway.  Been there.  Bringing home $75 a week.  That was retail in the 80’s, babykins.  And I didn’t know any better.  What’s healthcare?  A mortgage?  Food?

I can live without much of a high life, but I cannot live without love. 

That would be like asking me which of my dogs I could do without, or whether I would rather live without my arms or my legs, or….

…oh, yeah.

So, honestly, and I can say this only because life recently revealed to me what I was living without: a life without love can cost you big time, only not in the way you think.

And money ain’t gonna make up the difference, hon.

It’s like that horribly drippy line from ‘Steel Magnolias’, “I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.”

Money is nothing special, kids.

The Kim Kardashian’s of the world can get money.  The Koch Brothers of the world can have money. 

But they don’t know love.

And their actions and priorities tend to make my case for me.


Love is…

Who do you save: Kennedy, King or Milk?


Martin Luther King. 

Worth more to us alive than dead. He may have eventually disappointed us as a human being, in small ways, but as an activist and leader he was the guy.  Smart. Insightful.  Eloquent.  Wise.  I think we would be living in an entirely different country had he lived.

Harvey is a great icon, and his assassination was a terrible tragedy, but, had he lived, there were limits to what he was going to be able to accomplish during that time in history.  Better that he died that way and lived on to become a lightning rod for gay activism than die of AIDS – which is something that might very well have happened to him.

Kennedy?  He had some great ideas.  Great vision.  But he was a deeply flawed, entitled, self-absorbed person whose issues would have eventually come to light and destroyed this country.  All one has to do is look at the effect that Watergate had on this country’s relationship to our politicos – how we feel about them, the loss of respect – and you can understand what kind of impact a less-than-perfect Camelot would have had on the American people.  And at that time in history, I don’t think this country could have withstood it, what with our irrational fear of communism, the prevalence of racial inequality, and the oppression of women still so rampant and seething.

So, better that Camelot was preserved and (most of) the Kennedy mystique remained in place for as long as it did. 

But Martin Luther King?

Man, the universe really let us down with that one.

You can only cure one: One kind of Cancer, AIDS or Heart Disease?


No doubt about it.

That is one biological scourge I would like to see wiped off the face of the earth. 

But I’m a realist.

Oh, I have a feeling it is possible, but as long as it is more financially beneficial to treat and prevent, the likelihood of having a cure? 

Pretty slim.

And damn them, for that.

Read only one: magazines, newspapers or books?


Big, moldy-smelling, too small print, grab a dictionary, buy them used, books.

I love them.  The way they feel.  Their weight.  The cover illustrations.  The dedication page.  The index.  I love it all.

I would never want to do away with them.

They look too damn good sitting on that shelf. 

And owning a bunch of them makes me, at least, appear smarter.

Sex of any kind (bad to great to wilder to j.o.) or the internet?

Sex, please.

For pretty much the same reason I would choose love over money.

I can’t imagine living without deep passionate kisses. 

Nothing beats flesh on flesh real time action.


Though I would miss blogging and my fellow bloggers.

And videos of cats doing crazy stuff.

(Ha, ha, ha… look at those silly cats.  They think they’re people!)