March 31, 2005

Song of the Day - 3/31

Heard this guy and thought, why is this voice so familiar. Oh, right, I heard it in a freaking car commercial (I think it's called "Ariel Ramirez"). Yikes. Still, this one is a great song, "Faithful Shooter" by Richard Buckner.

Faithful Shooter

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March 30, 2005

Yahoo Blogging Beta

I'm starting to play around with the Yahoo 360 beta. Here's my site over there.

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Song of the Day - 3/30

The summer creeps inexorably closer. Time to get the backyard ready for some serious barbequing. Here's an iMix set to cook by.


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March 29, 2005

Song of the Day - 3/29

Today's song is a testament to sticktoitiveness. Petra Haden, daughter of the coolest white man on earth, Charlie Haden (spot him on this album cover if you can), spent something like four years recording a note-for-note remake of The Who Sells Out, but using only her voice. The result is singularly stunning. Check out "I Can See for Miles".

I Can See for Miles

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March 28, 2005

Song of the Day - 3/28

Spent a lovely weekend with the family, hence "I Know Love is All I Need" by the great Rodney Crowell. And yes, I am as pathetically sentimental as it would seem.

I Know Love is All I Need

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March 27, 2005

Song of the Day - 3/27

Happy Easter to all my goy'she friends! "Mr. Rabbit" by Paul Westerberg.

Mr. Rabbit

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March 26, 2005

Song of the Day - 3/26

I'm not sure if we really will all be "Portions for Foxes", but I can't stop listening to this song. Rilo Kiley, folks.

Portions for Foxes

And if you like this one, you can listen to entire albums on their site.

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March 25, 2005

Nobody loves you like an albino

Throughout my years of living in Germany, no one cultural icon struck me as more odd, or more quintessentially German, than Heino. An albino who sang traditional German Schlager (lit. hits, but actually this is code for easy listening), Heino was everywhere and nowhere. There was even a Heino tribute artist called The True Heino, who hung out in the Berlin underground music scene in the mid-80s when I was playing in a band there.

Hadn't thought of him in years, but suddenly, there he was. Be sure to listen to the music, too.

To the creators of the Heino Worship page, I worship you.

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Song of the Day - 3/25

Another rebel song. "Johnny Law", by the criminally underappreciated Wayne "The Train" Hancock.

Johnny Law

The rest of the songs are here.

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March 24, 2005

Song of the Day - 3/24

Feeling old today. So here's the ultimate song about feeling old before your time. "Waterloo Sunset" by the Kinks.

This Is Where I Belong - The Songs of Ray Davies & The Kinks

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March 23, 2005

Song of the Day - 3/23

I can't think of anything else to say. Every writer-ly impulse is being directed toward my thing in progress or a book proposal, or, mainly, work. So let's continue the dialogue this way:

Thinking alot about the whole Terri Shiavo thing. Anyone who has not been in the husband's shoes and had to make a decision to let someone go, well they can just sit their asses down and shut up.

Here's the most beautiful, terrible song I know, if only for the associations. "After You're Gone" by
Iris DeMent.

After You're Gone

The rest of the songs are here.

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March 22, 2005

Song of the Day - 3/22

Passionate declaration of sacred devotion or profane love song? You decide. The sublime "King of Carrot Flowers, Pts. 2&3" by Neutral Milk Hotel.

The King of Carrot Flowers, Pts. 2 & 3

The rest of the songs are here.

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March 21, 2005

Song of the Day - 3/21

I once made fun of this song, thinking it was beneath Richard Thompson's best. Now I realize it may be the greatest motorcycle rebel song ever written. "1952 Vincent Black Lightning", Ladies and Gentlemen.

1952 Vincent Black Lightning

See all the Songs.

The links require iTunes. Click the logo below to get it.

Download iTunes

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March 20, 2005

Song of the Day - 3/20

This one kills me, don't know exactly why. "Dance Me to the End of Love" by The Klezmer Conservatory Band. If you're not Jewish now, listen and you will be.

Dance Me to the End of Love

You can get an RSS feed of the Song of the Day Category here:

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March 19, 2005

Song of the Day - 3/19

Today's stick-to-your ribs selection:

Knock Yourself Out by Jon Brion.

Knock Yourself Out

More Songs of the Day(s) here.

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March 18, 2005

Oh, good. I was worried.

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence
You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well. An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly. You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view. A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

What Kind of Intelligence Do You Have?
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Song of the Day - 3/18

Consider it a public service, or perhaps a public nuissance. First in a series. Collect them all.

Today's song that I can't get out of my head is The Curious Thing About Leather by Irving. File under: Pop.
The Curious Thing About Leather

You can get an RSS feed of the Song of the Day Category here:

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March 17, 2005

Doomed to Repeat Ourselves

A very apropos reminder from The Runner-Up about those who forget history...

The writer is Sophie Scholl, one of the members of a group of anti-Nazi propagandists from Munich who called themselves Die Weisse Rose (The White Rose). Naturally, they were silenced by the Gestapo in 1942, but not before they took deadly aim at their countrymen and -women who just wanted to survive the Nazi-regime.

"The real damage is done by those millions who want to 'survive.' The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who donít want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who wonít take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who donít like to make wavesóor enemies. Those for whom freedom, honour, truth, and principles are only literature. Those who live small, mate small, die small. Itís the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, youíll keep it under control. If you donít make any noise, the bogeyman wonít find you. But itís all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn."

Read the whole piece at The Runner-Up

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March 15, 2005

Whence does "Emmanate", uh, emanate?

Michael, all fired up from a few (I'm assuming, or projecting) alcohol-hazed days at SXSW, wants to know where my domain name comes from. Or maybe he means my blog name?

And he suggests a rel tag in there to make it easier to find everyone else's posts. So, clicking on should find more folks who are equally lemming-like in their blind obeissance to Herr Doktor von Cruft.

Emmanate is quite simply my kids' names, and makes a nice pun, too. I also appreciate the somewhat passive sense of emanation vs. broadcasting.

Ink-Stained Wretch is a rather old sobriquet applied to writers who used a substance called ink to compose their works. Since I am neither using ink, nor particularly wretched, this name would fall into the category of irony. But just barely.

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March 13, 2005

Get it On! or, The Gods of Ronco Whisper to Me

My piece from the Lost in the Grooves reading yesterday at Vroman's. Nice turnout, nice readings. I should point out that I originally remembered this record as having been from K-Tel, and the title sounded much nicer. So, as someone pointed out yesterday, research sucks.

'Get It On!' Exclamation point. The gods of Ronco want to get it on with me. There is a motorcycle on the cover, jumping over something, like Evel Knievel. If that's getting it on, I need to do it, now. I am ten years old and the universe opens before me.


I buy it at Zody's because of 'Spiders and Snakes' which I find very funny. Note that I also find 'The Streak' funny, but it isn't on this record. It may not even have come out yet. I listen to 'Spiders and Snakes' a whole bunch of times, never letting the needle stray too far beyond that one song. Play, reset, play. There are 19 other Original Hits by the 19 other Original Artists, but I only want 'Spiders and Snakes'. A couple of them are straight off my AM radio station, 93 KHJ, but I don't play them from 'Get it On!'

I buy Jim Stafford's record. There aren't any other songs as good as 'Spiders and Snakes'. I grow tired of 'Spiders and Snakes', even though it has a 'wacka-doo, wacka-doo' chorus, like on Wonderama. The universe has taught me its first great lesson: Sometimes the single is the best thing on the record.

'The Cover of the Rolling Stone' means nothing to me, as I have not yet actually seen Rolling Stone. 'The Morning After' is lame, even if it is from 'The Poseidon Adventure'. 'Love Train' is not my favorite O'Jays song. If pressed, I probably don't have a favorite O'Jays song, but it wouldn't be 'Love Train'.

One day while playing 'Get it On!', the needle strays into 'Drift Away'. Damn that's a great song. I listen, I sing along, but I don't buy Dobie Gray's album.

'Me and Mrs. Jones' is on there, but it's too sophisticated for me, I can't hook into it. I am ten and the universe that is open before me doesn't contain the idea of having a 'thing' going on. But the song is encoding itself on my DNA, and thirty years later I hear it and see gold shag carpet and Peter Max prints on the walls.

There are other songs on the record which I don't like very much, but it's my only record and I'm tired of 'Spiders and Snakes'. Both B.B. King and Jerry Lee Lewis are there, but the songs are mediocre and I move on, not knowing that B.B. King and Jerry Lee Lewis are supposed to be cool. 'The Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A.' is fun for me now, but ten year-olds don't know from kitsch. All in all, 'Get it On' is pretty lame, and I experience my first twinge of buyer's remorse.

'Smoking in the Boys' Room' is the only real rock 'n' roll song on the disc, but it doesn't grab me for two reasons: 1) I like school, and I don't mind the teachers' rules. They seem reasonable and logical to me. 2) I see Brownsville Station on TV and they wear makeup. Not in some strange, scary way like Bowie'a couple of years hence I will spend hours staring at the cover of 'Aladdin Sane' trying to understand where the makeup ends and Bowie begins'no, this is clown makeup. And one of the guys has leather suspenders over his hairy, bare chest like Derek Smalls or Peter Kris. Brownsville Station look like dorks.

But 'Get it On' is in the wire rack under the stereo next to 'Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player'. I think the guys from Brownsville Station must be talking to Elton John. It's my brother's album, one of his 12 records for a penny from Columbia House. He just has to agree to buy seven more records at three times the going price at Zody's. Eventually, he will get out of it because he was underage when he signed up. 'Daniel' is on the Elton John record, so is 'Crocodile Rock' which full of the kind of fake nostalgia that is just around the corner. I hate the song, but we all dance to it.

Francesca, our babysitter who lives next door, brings over 'Tapestry' one night while our parents are out and she sets it down next to 'Don't Shoot Me'. She puts it on and promptly ignores us. I watch her listening. I am neither 15 years old, nor female, but the universe is still beneficent and reveals another law: For every person on earth, there will be music which whispers its secret language through ear drum, along semi-circular canal down to spinal column and you cannot disregard the power of that direct pathway. Eventually, I learn the corollary to this law: If you *do* disregard the power of that direct pathway, or worse, if you make fun of the music whispering its secret language down someone else's neural pipes, you will not have sex with that someone. (See: 'Some People Think Kate Bush Is a Genius'.)

My brother does not know this law and while Francesca is putting our sister to bed, he takes off 'Tapestry' dropping it down next to Edgar Winter Group's 'Shock Treatment'. Edgar and the gang float in space across the cover, pouting, strutting, more makeup. Rick Derringer holds his guitar in a way which is not altogether wholesome. For some reason, I wind up with 'Shock Treatment' in my stack but I never play it. Eventually it winds up next to 'Pretzel Logic' but they can't co-exist peacefully. 'Ricky Don't Lose that Number' exercises a pull like the steam from a just-baked cartoon apple pie set out to cool on the farmhouse window sill. The song taps me on the shoulder, beckons with it's steam-finger and I rise up into the air, following it, nose cocked, imaginary snake charmer music playing in the background. I am twelve years old and the universe is flashing me hand-signals from the wings: 'Things aren't what they seem'don't fight the cartoon-pie steam, it will lead you places you can't get to on foot.'

I go away to school for a couple of years. My grandmother has no stereo and my music stays behind in California. My uncle who has Downs syndrome listens to records on a small portable record player which he brings home from his school on weekends. Mostly, it's Peter Pan records, with the yellow label, but one time my grandpa buys him a few discs from Zaire's, which is just Zody's on the other side of the country. One of the records is from a movie by Coppola, 'You're a Big Boy Now,' music by The Lovin' Spoonful. I have never seen this movie, but the soundtrack beat the hell out of 'Mickey and the Beanstalk'.

Eventually, I return to my records in California. But my friends and I are mobile now. My friend Frank's car has an 8-track, but 8-track is already dead so we only have two tapes and Rodney on the ROQ to get us through 2 years of driving. When Rodney's not on it's either the Kinks live album, which we learn by heart, or 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap'. Let me tell you, AC/DC sounds so good blasting out of the windows of a '76 El Camino that they ought to give one away with every copy of the album, but the Kinks, and especially 'Lola', is pure pie steam for me. I find a copy of 'Powerman vs. Lola and The Moneygoround, Part One' and bring it back home. The next year Lola makes friends with Madame George, who eventually snuggles up next to Alison. I don't really know exactly what 'Johnny Hit and Run Pauline' is about, but it burns'in a good way. Lesson time, evidently: 'It's good to get kicked in the balls, as long as you learn from it'.

I carefully select the records I will bring to college with me. I decide that I can live without the Eagles, Tom Petty, Pat Benatar, Jim Croce. My roommate, Chris, likes reggae and Talking Heads, and we bond over the Clash's version of 'Pressure Drop'. My friend Eileen visits my dorm room, bringing 'Give 'em Enough Rope' and I get the wind knocked out of me, but she also lets me make a tape of 'London Calling' which pushes it front and center: Some people have their eyes open and some people need that kick in the balls.

I have money and a used record store nearby and the Clash find themselves sharing space with Phil Ochs, who introduces me to Kim, who leads me to Nick Drake and Television and Alex Chilton. I eventually return the favor with Townes van Zandt, so I figure that makes us even.

I am eighteen and the Ronco Gods reveal themselves in all their polyphonic glory. The universe is multi-casting: 'Not everything moves in a straight-line. You have to learn to parallel process in a serial world.'

My brain just naturally makes aural stew, I've lost the ability to separate music the way some of my friends seem to. It either hits me or it doesn't. Butch Hancock and Robyn Hitchcock and Iggy Pop hit me. Van Dyke Parks hits me. The Buzzcocks hit me. The Replacements, Randy Newman, the Carter Family, Minutemen, XTC, The Chills.

And finally, finally, one day I hear 'Me and Mrs. Jones' and the last synapse goes pop. It's all there in one breathless moment: the Peter Max prints, the Pachinko machine, the swag lamp. I am lying on a verdant field of gold shag, staring at the cottage cheese ceiling, Getting it On with the Gods of Ronco.

copyright, 2005, Kenneth A. Rudman, do not reproduce without permission

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March 10, 2005

Ode to a Cheese

There are some things in this world that you can't believe you ever did without. And when you encounter them, you feel as if they've been with you all your life. My wife and kids for instance (awww), suit me to a tee and I can't now imagine my life any differently.

Some foods are like that--they taste exactly the way they should the first time you put them in your mouth. I had that experience about three months ago with Montgomery's Cheddar and now I find I long for that taste constantly.

I know, it sounds freakish to be longing for the taste of a cheese, but admit it, there's some food out there that has your number, too. Is it a Double-Double? A '90 L'Hermitage, or a nice Chateauneuf de Pape? Kalamata Olives?

And just so we're clear, I am not talking about just any cheese. It's certainly not the "cheese" they sell in big vacuum-packed blocks at Costco. No, this is the real deal, handmade, bandage-wrapped, and geriatric (well, for a cheese it's pretty old).


What makes it so amazing that I am going to send you out in search of it right now? Well, for one thing, it's a true farmhouse cheese. That means it's made entirely by the milk of the farm where it's made in Sommerset, England. Like an Estate Wine, this puts total control of the raw material in the hands of the artisan. This wouldn't mean a thing if they didn't know what they're doing with that milk, but they do, let me assure you.

So, what does it taste like? For one thing, what it doesn't taste like is the "cheddar" cheese from Costco. It's not orange, either, it's a pale yellow. It's not rubbery, it's more crumbly, a sign of its age. Shot through with the occassional vein of mold, it reminds you that cheese is living food. If that grosses you out, then you need to stop eating yoghurt and wine, too. Oh, yeah, the taste. In a word, it tastes nutty. More accurately, the flavor will remind you of peanuts. But with a sharp, almost lemony note to it. And there's a sense of earthiness.

The complexity is pretty mind-boggling, and the cheese takes on the personality of its accompanyment--a slice of tart apple, some dried fig, a nice red wine like a Claret or Meritage, maybe a decent Pinot Noir.

And where can you get it? Well, if you're in L.A., I buy it at The Cheese Store of Silverlake. It's available mail order, too from Artisinal, the Vatican of cheese in America. Now, if you'll excuse me, I gotta go get some cheese.

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March 03, 2005


My boss asked me the other day whether I write about work on my blog. But despite the strange feedback loop that now seems to be tying my personal and work lives, it's not what this blog is about.

It's not that I don't appreciate some of those "take this job and shove it" blogs out there. But they're mostly written by people who hate their jobs, and who resent having to show up to work every day. Usually they're written by smart, funny people who have taken a job that doesn't allow you to be smart and funny. Luckily, my job isn't like that but, as previously stated, I'm not talking about that here.

Nothing would make me happier than to be able to support my family from my writing. But even back when I could support a family of two (spouse and I) in a much more modest house (all 800 square feet), where the schools sucked and we got burglarized--even then it was a struggle to get enough work all the time. And the work that I did get usually wasn't very satisfying. And, honestly, I sucked at writing bad TV. I'd much rather write well for little pay and supplement with my "day career". So, I go to work gratefully, and I do a good job for them. And in exchange, they let me be smart and (somewhat) funny, and my family eats steak from time to time.

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March 01, 2005

More Me

Back in November I was part of a reading for Lost in the Grooves:

Well, we're at it again. Saturday, March 12 at the fabulous Vroman's in Pasadena at 4:00 pm. I'll be reading a new original piece along with many of the other contributors.

If you haven't seen the book yet, it turned out really well and people seem to like it (first printing sold out). And even if you're not a music geek, you can still read it and laugh at music geeks. God knows we do.

From the press release:

Participants include Tosh Berman (Billy Fury Tribute),
Kim Cooper, David Cotner (Elke Ka-Spel), Brian Doherty, Ron Garmon (Curtis
Mayfield, Swervedriver), Max Hechter (Silver), P. Edwin Letcher (The Buggs,
Lou Christie), Domenic Priore (beatnik-themed LPs), Ken Rudman ("Get it On"), Gene Sculatti (Tony Bruno, Muddy Waters' "Electric Mud"), David Smay and Matthew Specktor.

Should be fun, so stop by if you're in the neighborhood.

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