In which I play the part of Andy Rooney

You know what? I like Andy Rooney. Sure, he’s on a boring show (60 Minutes), and he’s basically that old guy who gets 5 minutes to complain about something…He’s kind of like professional journalism’s version of those hecklers from the Muppet Show (except, without the humor, and the laughing).

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Well consider this my 5 minutes to complain…without the grumpy old man creepiness…

I think much has been said about the economy. In fact, just when we thought “economic stimulus plans” were going out of style, Obama comes in and asks for even MORE money than Bush was asking for.  The media tells me it’s all about getting people to have money, so they can spend it again.  Sure, that might work, but I have to tell you…there are some specific things we really need to look at. For example:

Airline Food: A few weeks ago, I had a 5 hour flight across the country on an air carrier which will remain nameless so as to protect the innocent (it rhymes with Famerican Fairlines). Before getting on the plane, I bypassed the over-priced food peddlers in the airport thinking that I could probably survive on the stale pretzels and swallow of soda they offer.

Much to my dismay…when I got on the flight, I was informed that my stale pretzels now cost $4.00. And my swallow of soda would be an extra $2.  Yes, I am being serious. It’s piracy in the skies. You can buy a 5 Guys’ burger or you can get a bag of exactly 4 stale pretzels.

In this time of economic uncertainty and general depressing outlook, it’s nice to see that companies like American Airlines…er, I mean Famerican Fairlines, was nice enough to pass the cost on to us, their happy customers.

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Good Indie Downloads: A Few Highlights

I always pride myself in finding good free music online. Here’s a smattering of good stuff for your perusal:

1. Submarines: You, Me, & the Bourgeoisie (otherwise known as “That 3G Iphone Commercial Song”).

2. Calexico: Convict Pool. I’ve probably posted this before, but I just can’t get enough of this song…going on 2 years now.

3. Rodrigo and Gabriela: Tamacun. Now, I like good Spanish Guitar music, but THIS is GREAT Spanish Guitar music. Undoubtedly, you’ve heard this somewhere and will recognize it when you hear it. I know, for example, that they play this song in Disney’s California Adventure Theme Park in the eating area next to the Mission Tortilla Factory.

4. Ferraby Lionheart: The Ballad of Gus and Sam. Cool band name. Great song.

5. Band of Horses: Funeral. Otherwise known as “That Song on the Saturn Car Commercial”.

6. Band of Horses: No One’s Gonna Love You. Still love this song, and am still amazed that a band would offer it’s best stuff for free. Kudos to the Horse Men.

7. Arcade Fire: Black Mirror. My introduction to Arcade Fire..and I’ve never looked back. Fantastic song…and nice use of a Phantom of the Opera lick. Also, with this one, I wouldn’t stop at the free download. Buy the album. Neon Bible is probably one of the best Indie albums of the last 10 years.

8. PT Walkley: Somebody. Just found this one on Spinner.com’s Free MP3 of the Day. Fascinating piece. Best use of violins, IMO, since Jump Little Children’s “Cathedrals”.

Crowded House: They’ve still GOT it

For the better part of three decades, the Finn brothers have been some of the best song writers in the world–and yet, they’re some of the most unsung as well.  The 80s’ “Don’t Dream It’s Over” is still one of the best songs to come out of that time period, and I’ve had their “Together Alone” album (featuring the Reality Bites’ song “Locked Out”) on and off my playlist for the last 15 years.

I haven’t followed their career too much, but one would say that their 2006 Fairwell to the World album would be a nice “Adios” to the music business, but it wasn’t so. I’ve recently gotten a hold of their most recent release (2007) entitled “Time on Earth”.

While you’ll be hearing none of the songs on the radio, it’s a masterful album. Deep, lyrical, and moving. The melodies are haunting, and are hard to stop listening to. “Nobody Wants To” and “She Called Up” are vintage Crowded House (after all these years, it’s nice to see a band not abandon their sound…*COUGH* R.E.M)…and Pour le Monde is a moving piece that might just be one of the best songs they’ve written.  “Say That Again” is an eclectic ditty that is quite catchy, makes the CD worth buying.

All in all, good stuff from the Finn Brothers…AGAIN.