Monday, August 31, 1992

A Review (Don't Look Back)

In answer to the question Daryl Lanz asked in last week's newsletter, for the record my favorite local band is Tina and the B-Sides (Movement). As the man would say, she's a close personal friend of mine plus she was kind enough to offer some encouraging words about my great unpublished novel. And the band sounds good too. Off the record, and I don't know if he qualifies as a local band because he's from the Iron Range, the only person I "Have" to see if he's in town, strangely enough is in town.

Bob Dylan wandered on to the Orpheum's stage Saturday looking every bit as confused and old as he did on David Letterman's Anniversary Show last February. He stumbled through two songs from Oh Mercy, "Everything is Broken" and "Man in the Long Black Coat" uttering some unitelligable rhyme to the word "trip." but the band kicked it up a notch with "All Along the Watchtower" and Dylan sang "Just Like a Woman" with so much authority, one had to believe someone was on his mind.

The highlight of the show was the acoustic portion where his performances on "Boots of Spanish Leather" and "John Brown" were spellbinding. "Boots..." of course is one of his better love songs full of self pitying lines like "I know your mind is a-roamin, I know you're thoughts are not with me but to the country to where you're going" which he milked for every ounce of feeling he could. "Joh Brown" is a still unreleased song (it appears on several bootlegs, Ten of Swords among them) about a mother proudly sending her "soldier son" off to war. It is every bit as powerful song as "Masters of War" and the embelishments from the band (three acoustic guitars and a non-electric bass) made the song sound as relevant today as it did back in the 60's. Dylan's vocals were inspired.

Although as his custom, he didn't say anything to the audience during the entire show, he was more animated than his last appearance here (at the 1990 State F word) and at times was downright playful. (He rapped a verse of "Tangled Up in Blue.") the band was gith, the arrangement of the songs and the song selection was comparable to other concerts on the Never Ending Tour. "Simple Twist of Fate" was given a countryish, Hawaiian style reading complete with a slide guitar.

Dylan closed the show with a three song encore which will give the people who analyze everything he does, some ammunition. Two of the songs, "What Good Am I?" and "It Ain't Me Babe" were among those that can be interpreted as written both to a woman friend and to his audience and critics. One has to wonder if there was a message he meant to deliver to the authors of the articles which appeared in the Twin Cities press last week bemoaning his "continuous decline" into self parody. "What good am I if I'm like all the rest?" "You say you're looking for someone who promises never to fall..." Dylan proved Saturday night he may not be the legend anymore, a title he never wanted in the first place, but he can still put on a meaningful show.

Monday, August 24, 1992

Conventionally Speaking

I'm not one who usually aligns himself with either one of the two major political parties (like there is a major difference between either one) but after witnessing this past weak's (too easy to pass up) convention, I was just about ready to sign up for a lifetime membership in the Michael Dukakis fan club. ("Yes honey, I've been Dukakarized.") In face of some serious economic troubles, I wonder how one party can attempt to frame itself as "pro-family" while labeling the other party as "anti-family." Even my even keeled ethical balance was exasperated by the repetitive mention of the words "family values." How can the party that through the years stated it is the party which wishes to keep the government out of the lives of the people put in its platform such sweeping language on its moralistic religious beliefs especially when it comes to the issue of abortion? Even the wishy washiest members of the audience could see a bit of hypocrisy in the Republican's words.

One having proclaimed Pat Buchanan as my favorite member of the McGlaughlin Group, I would now have to say Pat's speech at the convention almost single handedly (with a little help from his friends Ronald Reagan and Marily Quayle-yikes!) spurred me to want to vote for the other side; a protest vote I will call it. Buchanan proved he doesn't just play a lunatic on TV, he actually is one. No Pat, we shouldn't be proud of how "our" patriotic young "white" military force of men clubbed back that unruly, angry, "black" mob in L.A.- that sort of misses the point altogether.

Our alternative of course is putting Tipper Gore in the White House which doesn't seem like much of an option. That it is probably the better choice says a lot about our current state of affairs.


If Rush's Alex Lifeson would have been a member of Styx, the 70's would have been an entirely different decade.

In a poll of elementary school girls, the professions of "nurse" and "teacher" remained the most popular choices for possible careers. Surprisingly, in third place was the dream to be the tambourine player for the Fall.

Nowhere on any Bachman Turner Overdrive records will you hear the words "deep thought" spoken or sung.

Monday, August 17, 1992


JOB OPENING: Last week Melodye wondered if 280 was going to be open by Fair time. As a resident of that area I have wondered the same thing all summer. As a person who works near downtown St. Paul (the city construction has made it all but impossible to get into and out of), the various detours and one lane roads caused by construction is getting a wee bit frustrating. I'll also have to admit I've never been to the Minnetonka Cheapo becaues the last time I tried to get to Ridgedale the construction on the freeway was so bad I just gave up. thus we here at the newsletter decided what we rally need is a traffic reporter. The job includes giving us updates on the various road projects MNDOT has started and finished or started and not finished. You don't get a helicopter but you do get free paper and a pen to use. Anyone interested should contact David immediately.

The editorial staff would also like to bid a fond adieu to Kevin O'Connor who is one hell of a human being and a nice guy to boot. We wish you good luck Kevin although we feel some trepidation for your departure. It's merely speculation but we have to wonder if part of your decision to leave was caused by our cow report last week which made you itch to head back out west...


The visitor met his second cousin in Seattle. He was given a tour of the city by the 71-year-old woman. She asked him what he wanted to see and he responded in his typcial mono-syllabic manner, "Uh record stores I guess." So she showed him to as many stores as she knew and after having visited a few she asked the visitor a question. "Why do you like records?" she asked. It was a farily straight forward question and the visitor, never one to give straight forward answers scratched his hatless head in utter bewilderment. How do you answer such a question? What is a good explanation for a life long interest?

As a child the visitor called anything round "a record." he even read his first words off the label of a Burl Ives' 45. He looked at the woman in front of him and said, "I like to watch things go round and round." it didn't seem like much of an answer but it did its job. It ended the conversation.

Upon hi sreturn to Minnesota, the visitor's favorite mother of two told him her youngest daughter was spending a lot of time sitting in her room listening to a Randy Travis tape, reading the small lyric sheet insert, while singing along. (Who did this remind him of? the visitor wondered.) That a metropolitan child of eight could relate to and find enjoyment in the music of a multi-millionaire "traditional" country singer provided a little more insight into the question the visitor had skillfully avoided. Music while universal is also individual, bringing together people together in a personal way.

Presumably all of us working here have some type of interest in music on "records." Is there an adequate answer to the question why? "It occupies my time..." It's a diversion... an expression... a release..." "It makes me dance..." "I don't know what it means Mervyn but it sure makes my feet tap." Maybe some things are better left unknown. Do we know why a cat purrs? Why a saw buzzes? Why the mega mall was built?

The visitor spent an hour or so watching the wheels spin round and round and decided his next step was to write an Andy Rooneyish (emphasis on the word "ish") column. He was tired but it was a good kind of tired.

Monday, August 10, 1992



Thanks to Al for putting together the newsletter and maintaining the tradition last week during my absence. Last week's issue was far and away the most informative. Good job Al.

All of us here at the newsletter staff also wish to congratulate Denise and her husband on their recent marriage. At the risk of taking a controversial stand on an issue (heaven forbid) the editorial staff has decided to declare we are pro-marriage and beyond that pro-love.


Las Vegas, Nevada- Life on the road teaches one how dependent on others one is while away from home. While flying in here from San Francisco, your friendly neighborhood editor had a bit of an anxiety attack. I came upon the realization my life was literally in the hands of complete strangers. What did I know of my pilot Bob and his first officer Dennis? What if they had been drinking? What if one of them held a grudge against the city of Las Vegas for his gambling debts and decided to take it out by driving a large aircraft into a populated casino? What if one of their hearts had been broken in Vegas and the return trip was too much to handle? My heart raced like a little bunny rabbit.

On a more sensible level, when one is in a foreign city, the businesses you rely on are most likely stumbled upon by nothing more than outward appearances. Yet you depend on their services to make your trip more enjoyable. One nice thing I found in Seattle was the general friendliness of the retail personnel. It impressed me that in nearly every store I found myself in, someone would greet me and ask if I needed any assistance. (Most have been my naturally confused look.) I've never been one to get excited about all these "new" retail philosophies where clerks are trained how to treat their customers. I've always been one to stick to simplicity and treat the person across the counter the way i wish to be treated. But you really notice a difference in your perception of a city, or a business when the help you receive is indifferent and lacking in the most basic courteous behavior. For example, in a Berkeley book store while purchasing a book, the salesperson maintained a conversation with another employee the entire time he was ringing me up not even interrupting himself to give me the amount of my purchase. The entire experience left me bitter for days.

While in Renton Washington, my family and I checked into a Motel 6 where we found the sheets in our room full of hair and food crumbs. My sister called the front desk and requested new sheets. The manager came up in a storm, "Those sheets were changed this morning. I was here when they did them. It's only dog hair... if you don't like it here you can stay at the Red Lion..." By the time he was finished changing the sheets he was screaming at my father and even I, usually the last to catch on, realized this probably wasn't the best way to treat a customer. So if you're ever in Renton, I would suggest staying at the Red Lion. It might be a little more expensive but I think clean sheets are probably worth it....