Playing Favorites #4: “Rio” – Michael Nesmith (1977)

(originally posted 4/23/2007)


“Rio” by Michael Nesmith (1977)
Written by Michael Nesmith

I’ve never really understood why Michael Nesmith wasn’t embraced more warmly as a solo artist after the end of The Monkees. Maybe because he made such an issue of not wanting to be a part of any reunion projects for several years when nearly every band from the 60’s was launching reunion concerts. (Although he did join the surviving Monkees – after the death of Davy Jones – for a brief tour in 2012.) That’s not to say Nesmith wasn’t successful – he certainly was both as a musician and an innovator in music videos in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s. Some even refer to Nesmith as “The Father of the Music Video,” which isn’t quite accurate, but I’m willing to give Mike the nod.

Continue reading

Playing Favorites #2 & #3: “Dear Someone” and “Red Clay Halo” – Gillian Welch (2001)

(originally posted 3/31/07)


“Dear Someone”
“Red Clay Halo”
by Gillian Welch
written by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings (2001)

Gillian Welch writes contemporary songs that sound like they were penned fifty, sixty, even a hundred years ago. You can hear elements of various styles in her music: country, gospel, mountain, roots, old-time, rock, and blues, to name just a few. But with “Dear Someone” what you get is pretty straightforward: a slow waltz that’s in absolutely no hurry at all. Yet at just over three minutes, it’s over far too soon.

Continue reading

Playing Favorites #1: “No Expectations” – The Rolling Stones (1968)

The other day I was going through my mountain of CDs, trying to figure out which ones to keep (or store digitally) and which ones to toss. This exercise (mostly an exercise in futility) reminded me of a project I started years ago and never kept up with: blogging about my favorite music. I thought it might be fun to revisit some of those entries and maybe create some new ones. This initial entry was first posted in March 2007 on another blog. Here it is:

Continue reading

Black River (2015) Josh Simmons


Black River (2015) Josh Simmons (Fantagraphics)
Josh Simmons, writer and artist
Trade paperback, 6.6″ x 8.6″, 112 pages
ISBN 9781606998335
Retail $18.99

Let’s get this out of the way right up front: Black River is one of the most uncompromisingly brutal, bleak and violent books I’ve read in quite some time. It certainly won’t be for everyone. I wasn’t sure if it was for me. In fact, I almost didn’t review it. No, that’s not accurate: I almost didn’t finish it, not because it wasn’t good, but because it made me so uncomfortable. Yet the fact that it makes me so uncomfortable also prompts me to write about it.

Continue reading

Spotlight on Conundrum Press


Derek and I recently read and discussed five titles from Conundrum Press, an excellent Canadian publisher of graphic novels. Those books are:

The Disappearance of Charley Butters – Zach Worton

Moose – Max de Radiguès

Towerkind – Kat Verhoeven

The Adventures of Drippy the Newsboy: Drippy’s Mama – Julian Lawrence

Don’t Get Eaten by Anything – Dakota McFadzean

I hope you’ll give a listen to the podcast and check these books out!

Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure (J NF 2015)


Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure (2015) TOON Books
Nadja Spiegelman, writer
Sergio Garcia Sanchez, artist
Hardcover, 7.8”x10”, 52 page
ISBN 9781935179818
Price $16.95
Ages 8 and up
(also published in a Spanish edition)

Pablo’s first day at a new school is not off to a good start. Not only does he have to deal with the problems of a new school, new teachers, and new classmates, his mom has put Pablo’s teddy bear in his backpack to keep him company.

Fortunately Pablo’s classmates don’t hassle him too much about the bear. One of his new classmates, Alicia, offers to act as Pablo’s partner for the class trip to the Empire State Building. Pablo reluctantly accepts, feeling he really doesn’t need anyone’s help, but when he chooses the wrong subway train, he wonders if he’ll ever rejoin his class. Not only does he have to navigate his way through a new set of friends, Pablo also has to learn his way around the NYC subway system.

Continue reading

The Quiet Gun (1957) William F. Claxton


The Quiet Gun (1957)
Directed by William F. Claxton
Produced by Earle Lyon
Based on the novel Law Man by Lauran Paine
Adapted by Eric Norden, Earle Lyon
Screenplay by Eric Norden
Cinematography by John Mescall
Olive Films (library DVD)

There was a time when westerns were so popular and such a huge part of the American consciousness that it seems inevitable that some would become cinematic relics buried in a trunk somewhere deep in the deserts of the Southwest. That’s almost what happened to The Quiet Gun (aka Fury at Rock River). I couldn’t find the film in any of my movie review books (which go back quite a few decades) or even on Rotten Tomatoes. The Quiet Gun might’ve remained buried in the graveyard of forgotten westerns had it not been for Olive Films.

Continue reading