Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

I just wanted to drop you all a quick note:

I hope all of you out there in the Pomona blog world have a very Merry Christmas!

Even with all the financial mess that we read about each day, next year HAS to be better than this one.

I hope that all of us have a terrific, safe and healthy new year!

Love to all, Mark

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'm Already Tired Of The Rain

I always frown when people say "We need this rain".
It drives me crazy because I am not a fan of rain. I don't like driving in it because people do not know how to drive in good weather let alone on wet pavement.
Having three dogs, the rain is also a pain for them. They hate being out in elements and I don't blame them. I also hate it when my fur is wet. Ha Ha.
I will say that it is good for the trees that need a deep watering after months of dry weather.
I know that this isn't the best posting that I have ever done but in about an hour I have my 42 mile drive home and it doesn't look like it's going to be all that fun.
I'll let you know how it was.

Well, here it is the next day and I must retract a portion of last nights posting.
It did take me an hour and forty-five minutes to get home BUT it was not as bad as I had expected. I get off work in Gardena at 4:30 pm and I am generally a cheerful guy if I pull into the driveway by 6 pm to watch Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.
If not, watch out, I am a total bitch on wheels... literally!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Graham Parker "The Mona Lisa's Sister" 1988

If I had to make a list of ten albums that I couldn't live without (which would itself make a great post) I would include Graham Parker's "The Mona Lisa's Sister" on it. This album topped many best of lists in 1988. Graham Parker while critically acclaimed in the US he has not sold many albums. He is generally lumped in with Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson because there is a similarity to their music.... snarly and acid tongued but his music has changed from the initial new wave tinged rock n' roll. On this album he favors a stripped down acoustic sound but don't worry it rocks.
On the incredible single "Get started. Start a fire" he tells the tale of three victims, including Marilyn Monroe, and recommends the purifying power of revenge over passive suffering.
While not exactly politically correct it is searing.

The Mona Lisa's sister doesn't smile
She tried to pose but only for a while
Leonardo sent her home since then she has lived alone
With her few belongings and a copy of a painting of herself unhappy
She is going to burn it when she's ready

Get started, start a fire

Marilyn was lying all alone
with an empty bottle by the phone
Kennedy was not around
She was cold when she was found
But she'd gone where goddesses are sleeping
Where the molten tongues of flame are leaping
Or where the angel's hearts are beating

Joan of arc was burning at the stake
somebody had made a big mistake
She had lit a cigarette
in an airport where you get
Your fingers taken off for smoking.
Meanwhile up the road a factory's choking
The ones who killed her work there I'm not joking

The album is infused with Parker's struggle with self doubt and the creative process. Parker had notorious run-in's about artistic freedom with his previous record company Mercury Records. His send off to them was the withering song "Mercury Poisoning".
You get the idea just from the title.
This is a classic album from the 80's, a time that many people feel that not a ton of quality music was released.
This one is a doozy!
Check it out.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Grace Jones "Hurricane" 2008

The Guns n' Roses CD was not the only artist we have had to wait for 17 years for new music.
Grace Jones new CD is "Hurricane" and it friggin' great. I have been a fan for years and while some of her past music can be a tad frivolous this new CD is a sonic blast. Always a great visual artist she has 9 new songs to put forth a whole package. Check out her new video "Corporate Criminal" on It is incredible. To me it sounds very industrial, like she had been listening to Nine Inch Nails. Never the best singer (I admit that half of her appeal is presentation) her voice has been layered to great effect on this CD. Former Prince protege's Wendy & Lisa also contributed a song. The CD is great.
The bad news is that it is, so far, only being issued in Europe but is available as an import. For the life of me I never understand how music is marketed. It is obvious that a lot of money and effort went into the project, why not make it available for those that want to experience it?
Worth your while.

New Music Tuesday!

Okay, maybe not Tuesday but whatever.... growing up I always looked forward to Tuesdays as the day that all albums were released. Way before the Internet I would watch in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday for the list of what was going to drop (see, I'm hip).
These days an album can show up on any given day or in any given store. Example: the latest AC/DC CD "Black Ice" is a Walmart exclusive. You can only buy it there. Another example: The Eagles last CD "Long Road Out of Eden" was also a Walmart exclusive. Guns n' Roses new "Chinese Democracy" was supposed to be a Best Buy exclusive but I bought mine on Itunes. Go figure.
These days a CD can be pirated on the Internet so easy that an artist will go to great lengths to protect their music. Many an album just "shows up" for sale on say, a Thursday. Times have changed. It's not as much fun for me as it used to be. I have always had music as a sort of a hobby. Not being all that athletic I tended to ingest all I could know about an album and how it was created..... who wrote all the songs, who produced it etc.
I estimate that I own around 2500 Cd's. That is a conservative guess. It's probably more. A bunch more. I admit I buy a lot of music. I always have. It is not unusual for me to spend a couple of hours looking through a record store. A record store to me is Ameoba records in Hollywood and not Best Buy. At Best Buy you can get the latest mega seller CD from a Britney/Beyonce' type but you will not find the remaster of Kiki Dee's second american release that was produced by Elton John in 1974. It is that kind of minutiae that I like about music. There are not that many people that like to sit around and TALK about something that you listen to. I do have a couple of friends that, like me, are REALLY into the music that they listen to.
When I started this blog thing my intention was to include this aspect of my life in it. It will not just be Pomona-centric. Maybe I can turn someone onto some music that they wouldn't generally listen to. I hope so, for there is a huge amount of music that gets passed on by the masses. It would probably surprise you that many, many of the albums that make up say, the Rolling Stone 500 best albums list were sold in paltry numbers. Example: both of the debut albums by the Ramones and The Sex Pistols have sold less than 500,000 copies in 30+ years. Those albums have been cited as influences by groups that have sold millions of albums, such as Green Day. Their "American Idiot" has sold over 15 million copies. I own two copies myself.
Anyways...... stop back for my take on some cd's that you might like to get yourself. I will review some new releases and write about some of my old favorites. My taste is all over the place, lately I have been on a cheesy 70's kick. Stuff that you NEVER hear on the radio such as "Chevy Van" by Sammy Johns and "Doctors Orders" by Carol Douglas. Stupid fun songs that were huge hits back in the day.
You never know what I am listening to. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It ain't easy being green (or gay)!

"I'm concerned about having to educate children," Sharon Smith said after she voted in Altadena.

Smith and other African American voters played a crucial role in the outcome. An exit poll of California voters showed that black voters sided in favor of the measure by margins of more than 2 to 1. Not only was the black vote weighted heavily in favor of Proposition 8, but black turnout -- spurred by Barack Obama's campaign for president -- was unusually large, making up roughly 10% of the voters.

So... they just passed the discrimination on.
How quick they forget.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Undecided ?

Some insist that there’s very little difference between candidate A and candidate B. Others claim that they’re with A on defense and health care but are leaning toward B when it comes to the economy.

"I look at these people and can’t quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention?

"To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”

"To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked." - David Sedaris,

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Super Freaks!

This election can't come quick enough for me and I think, our nation.

Polar opposites are staring each other down right across the streets that we walk and drive.
Campaign signs have sprung up in every place imaginable. Street corners are so filled with these signs that the message is I think watered down. I have no idea who many of these people running for office are or even if they are haggling for my specific vote. They are just red, white and blue pollution to the eyes that we will soon forget. When they are on street light poles it's easy to not place them in the political context that they are meant for.

Being in Pomona, the Lincoln Park area has always seemed to turn it's back on the rest of the city. It is an oasis of beautiful vintage homes that call to a certain kind of person that wants to live in them. Lincoln Park people, to me, are similar to Phillips Ranch people, who like to think that they are not part of the crime riddled city that is nationally known as a gang filled mecca of problems.

Walking around my neighborhood I see these campaign signs that spring up every election in yards and shake my head. This year I am both shocked and yet not surprised how many McCain/Palin signs there are in my neighborhood. People that have paid big money to move into Lincoln Park seem to be a more conservative and church going crowd. I can live with that. I have to live with that.

My point in all this is the past couple of weeks the "vote yes on Prop 8" signs have started to show up in yards in Lincoln Park. When we take the dogs out for a walk we see a few more each night. I think they are being given out by the church that people go to. I guess I can also see some people seeking out these signs to do their part to protect marriage. Some of these signs have gone into yards of homes across the street. I can't tell you how pissed off I am by these signs staring me in the face when I walk around my area. It is all I can do to not kick these signs down, tear them up.

Mike and I have lived on Jefferson Avenue for three years now. We don't have crazy orgies and wear drag to mow the yard. From what I can see, the only evidence that we are gay is our rapier wit. Certainly we are not the leather wearing flamboyant people that are always shown on the news as representative of gay people. I seems these days, that if you went to a dictionary and look up "homosexual" you would see a picture of the Village People.
"Live your life as an example" is a motto that I have silently told myself for years. Living across the street from people that want to take away my rights really shows to me that assimilation doesn't really work. I feel that we need to remind them who we are. We are a couple that have been together so long that I have lost count (17 years I think) of years. We have a mortgage and three dogs. We are people that care about our home and our area.

We are your gay neighbors. Get to know us.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hello... is there anyone out there?

I was feeling left out of the cyber-world so I decided to set-up my own blog.

I am not sure that anyone will be all that interested in my thoughts but that is okay with me.
This years election is on my mind constantly and the world is seemingly falling apart so I will use this space to vent, laugh and possibly weep uncontrollably.

Please join me but you'll need to bring your own tissues.