March 31, 2006

We All Come From Somewhere

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about heredity. Genetics are fascinating when you realize there are little things good and bad about yourself that are merely fingerprints of the past. I spent some time digging through a few boxes of family photos last night. It's quite a trip to see photos of your parents and grandparents; aunts and uncles; even cousins. I'm going to put together a few posts over the next week or so with some ideas about where I came from.Grandpa George
Hamburg High School (Hamburg, Iowa c. 1929)

MK in Motion

Brown Junior High School (Hillsboro, Oregon c. 1989)

March 29, 2006

Mitch Hedberg (Feb 24, 1968 - Mar 29, 2005)

In honor of one year after Mitch Hedberg died, here are some quotes...

"I was in a casino, minding my own business, and this guy came up to me and said, 'You're gonna have to move. You're blocking a fire exit.' As though if there was a fire, I wasn't gonna run. If you're flammable and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit. Unless you're a table."

"An escalator can never break; it can only become stairs. You would never see an 'Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order' sign, just 'Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience. We apologize for the fact that you can still get up there.'"

"My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them. "

"I opened up a yogurt, underneath the lid it said, "Please Try Again" because they were having a contest I was unaware of. But I thought I might have opened the yogurt wrong, or maybe Yoplait was trying to inspire me. "C'mon, Mitchell, don't give up. Please try again. A message of inspiration from your friends at Yoplait. Fruit on the bottom, hope on top." "

"I wanna hang a map of the world in my house. Then I'm gonna put pins into all the locations that I've travelled to. But first, I'm gonna have to travel to the top two corners of the map... so it won't fall down."

Thank you, you've been great.

March 28, 2006

What Were You Doing a Year Ago?

What Were You Doing a Year Ago? Can you remember? I can, and this is why...

I woke up in a hotel room in Anaheim, California with a sunburn and saw the biggest Rock Band in the world in San Diego. Where were you?

Incidentally, it was the opening show of the Vertigo tour. In December I got to see the boys close out the North American Vertigo Tour in Portland. Bookends. I posted a few pictures from March 28, 2005 on flickr. Lightning Jack can't keep his eyes open for pictures.

Called Out

I received an email today from someone who will remain nameless. They called me out. The main point of their email was that it has been a while since I've posted anything and that I keep saying "more on that later" or mentioning that I will post something that I don't. Specifically a few weeks ago I mentioned that I would post another edition of MKinMotion Q & A and I didn't. Looking back, it looks like I even said that I would do it that night and the RSS feed stayed silent. I apologize to those of you who expected something...who am I kidding, I apologize to the person that noticed and called me out for it...but I already did in a reply to their email, so I'll just move on.

Q & A with MKinMotion

Q: How's the "next great american novel" coming along?
A: I have been writing, but nothing seems to be going anywhere. If someone could make a living writing short stories, I'd be golden. So, I'm trying to take a short story and instead of it being just a glance into someone's life, to expand it. One of my writing professors once said to always cut by 1/3 but to know 3 times as much as you write. I could expand on that more, but I think I've already lost most of my visitors.

Q: What are you watching on TV these days?
A: As most of you know I'm a huge fan of TV. I've of course been watching Lost...this year I was encouraged to watch 24 (even though I haven't watched previous seasons) and I'm totally engaged with Jack Bauer now. I've been watching West Wing as it closes out the series. I've got mixed feelings about the end of the show, but I'll spare you. I've never watched The Amazing Race, but it hooked me one night. I enjoy The Unit. Which, the Unit and Amazing Race are on tonight on CBS...though, I don't work for CBS or any advertisers...or anyone.

There are more questions to answer, but I fear I've already bored most of you stiff.

Send your questions to mkinmotion(at)gmail(dot)com.

March 24, 2006

Because It's Going Around

Red is where I've been, blue is where I've still got to go.

NOTE: No political statement is being made by the uses of Red and Blue.

March 23, 2006

The Next Larry Or The Next Luke?

Adam Morrison, 6'8" G/F played his last game as a college player tonight. And it was a tough one. Quite amazing actually if you have UCLA in your Final Four. Morrison led the NCAA in scoring and has been compared to Larry Bird (obvious skin pigment and peach fuzz mustache not withstanding). The guy can shoot, handle and pass. But does the comparison really stick?

Luke Jackson, 6'7" G/F of the Cleveland Cavaliers occasionally makes the highlight reel by being on the same floor as LeBron James. At the University of Oregon, he was a superstar. He led the Ducks in scoring and rebounding and was constantly making the Sportscenter reel with his dunks and shots. Thought of so highly, he was taken number 10 overall in the 2004 NBA draft. Going from 21.2 points and 7.2 rebounds a game, to his career average in the pros of 2.7 points and 1 rebound a game. Bird, while at Indiana State, racked up TSN's Player of the Year, the Naismith Award, the Wooden Award, and with only 3 years of college play ended his career 5th in all time scoring. This doesn't even cover his pro career where he won the Rookie of the Year, the MVP 3 years in a row, and won 3 championships. You tell me, is Adam Morrison really the next Larry Bird or his he the next Luke Jackson?

Send hate mail to mkinmotion(at)gmail(dot)com.

March 22, 2006

Episode Nineteen: Hall of Fame

Although I have a lot of respect for this year's inductees and although I have a lot of their music floating around in the iTunes mix, it is a little bit of a let down from last year. Last year saw U2 and The Pretenders, 2004 saw Jackson Browne, George Harrison, Prince, Seger, Traffic...this year? Here you go...

Black Sabbath, Paranoid (1970)

Originally titled War Pigs, the record company convinced Sabbath to change the name. They kept the cover of the acid trip cop in spandex with a sword and shield. That's their War Pig, the record company thought it would be interpretted as an anti war statement against the Vietnam War.

Blondie, Autoamerican (1980) & Plastic Letters (1978)

Sex Pistols, Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols (1977)

Miles Davis, Kind of Blue (1959)

Kind of Blue is not only one of the greatest jazz albums of all time, but it's also one of the most accessible albums for the non-jazz listener. John Coltrane plays sax, and Miles does something almost no one else could do...he makes trumpet sexy.

Lynyrd Skynyrd, Street Survivors (1977)

Most everyone knows about the plane crash that killed three members of Skynyrd. Street Surviviors was released within days of the tragedy. The original cover featured the band standing in flames, the record company and surviving members wisely changed it. I've included both. Incidentally rock lore has it that Aerosmith looked at buying the plane that went down but their manager passed on the deal. Aerosmith fired their manager because he didn't get them the plane.

March 21, 2006

Episode Eighteen: By Request

Living Colour, Vivid (1988)

Pearl Jam, Ten (1991)
Pearl Jam's initial band name was Mookie Blaylock, who at the time was playing point guard for the New Jersey Nets. When the band was signed by Epic, there was concern about the name, so the band settled on Pearl Jam, but in honor of their first name, they titled their first album Ten (Mookie Blaylock's jersey number).

Primus, Sailing the Seas of Cheese (1991)

Sailing the Seas of Cheese was recorded in Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA where I saw INXS play earlier this year.

AC/DC, Back in Black (1980)

Requested as a great album cover "because of what is not there."

Prince and the Revolution, Purple Rain (1984)

U2, Rattle and Hum (1988)

This album put Sun Studios back on the map. Requested because of the use of the silhouette.

March 19, 2006

Episode Seventeen: 50 Years

In March of 1956, Elvis Presley released a self-titled album. The opening track of the album was "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Blue Moon." Elvis had already made a name for himself with singles recorded at Sun Studios in Memphis, not to mention his work with the "Million Dollar Quartet" (Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis). In January of '56, "Heartbreak Hotel" was released as a single and quickly spread across the country. Two months later his first full length album was released without "Heartbreak Hotel" on it. The cover of the album features a frenzied Elvis stumming his guitar. It was mimicked by The Clash with their London Calling album.

March 18, 2006

Plug In

I've set up a guest map associated with MKinMotion. Do me a favor and click the button on the right and put a push pin where you are. It's the one on top. Thanks!! Keep those questions coming, I will be answering a few of them this evening.

MKinMotion (at) gmail (dot) com

Tournament Talk and More

So things have gone downhill since the 14/16 first day. I ended up with 25/32 for the first round. In the process of those 7 teams being eliminated, my second and third round picks were hurt as well. And to make things worse, it hasn't helped my elite eight. My final four are still in it, though only two of them have played in the second round so far.

Terrell Owens signed with the Cowboys. It should be pretty interesting to see him interact with Parcells.

The Cubans beat the Dominican Republic team today to advance. I definately thought that the Dominicans would be in the final, but similar to the US team, lots of great individual players, not a lot of chemistry together.

March 17, 2006

A Sports Post

As mentioned in a previous post, I mentioned my Final Four for the NCAA tournament. BC survived in 2 OT's, so I'm still safe on my Final Four. There were 16 games yesterday and I got 14 right. I missed UW-Milwaukee upsetting Oklahoma and Montana upsetting Nevada, though I was close to writing Montana. So what that means is I successfully predicted the A&M upset of Syracuse and Alabama over Marquette. Today should be a another great day of games...hopefully without as much drama as yesterday. Is Adam Morrison amazing, or what?

The US team got bounced from the World Baseball Classic. Maybe they learned their lesson about A-Rod.

Episode Sixteen: Happy St. Patrick's Day From Dublin

March 16, 2006

Q & A with MKinMotion

Here are a few questions I've received over the last couple of weeks.

Q: What are you listening to that I might not be?

A: At this second, I'm listening to Shawn Mullins' 9th Ward Pickin' Parlor. I've been listening to a lot of The Elected, KT Tunstall, and a lot of random things. You can always view what I'm listening to up to the second by clicking here.

Q: Who do you have in the final four?

A: I have Duke, UCLA, UConn and Boston College. But that just means that only one of them will make it.

Q: What can I do to get started blogging? How do I get people to read my blog?

A: Blogging is easy. It requires no real technical skills, and where it does you can easily steal from others. I'd suggest going to Blogger and just start. The second part of your question is a little more complicated. First I would reply with "Content, Content, Content." Your content must be interesting, original and personal. Consistency is a big one too. This is starting to sound like a seminar "The 3 C's of Blogging Success." If you are inconsistent with posts, people will forget and lose interest very easily. Now I have to think of a third C, because there are always 3. Connections. There it is. You can't be ashamed of your blog, if you truly want to drive traffic to your blog, you're gonna have to let people know about it. Those people, if they enjoy it, will tell others about it. Make connections with other bloggers. If they enjoy your stuff, they'll generally add a link on their blog to get to your blog.

Q: What are some of your favorite blogs?

A: I use Bloglines to subscibe to a lot of blogs. I've also installed a notifier so that when someone updates their blog, it pops up and tells me. But it doesn't take much for me to subscribe to a blog. I don't however subscribe to some of the big popular blogs. I have a lot of friends that blog, so I subscribe to their blogs. What I didn't mention above when I mentioned connections, is the "Six Degrees of Blogging." If you follow a link on my blog to another blog, then a link from there, then on and on and on, you will discover something new, guaranteed. So in answer to your question, I regularly visit:

The Mad Fishicist
WWdN (Wil Wheaton)
Super Special Questions Blog (Mike Doughty)
American Copywriter
Savage Chickens

As always, questions can be sent to MKinMotion(at)gmail(dot)com.

March 15, 2006

Episode Fifteen

Halfway through 1972, Pink Floyd entered Abbey Road studios to record a concept album they had been performing in it's entirety during their concerts. Initially titled "Eclipse: A Piece for Assorted Lunatics," Dark Side of the Moon has become an interesting peice of rock and roll history. The cover depicts a prism which is meant to represent the light shows that the band was known for during their performances. Alan Parsons had made a name for himself engineering The Beatles' Abbey Road, but Dark Side of the Moon was what put him on the map. He allegedly swapped shifts with other employees in order to be involved with as much of the album as possible. The album spent 741 weeks in the Billboard Top 100...that's not a typo, 741 weeks (591 consecutive weeks was the longest run it had). With songs like "Time," "Money," "Brain Damage," and the opus "Eclipse," it's no wonder. This was the first album that featured all the lyrics written by Roger Waters, who would go on to craft several concept albums on his own and with Pink Floyd.

Episode Fourteen: "We've got to make room..."

"We've got to make room..."
Those are the words that must have gone through the production geniuses sessions when they whittled the history of music down to their 50 greatest album covers. Maybe it's because I'm a fan, but does it seem weird that the Beatles didn't make the cut? Well after all, they had to make room for these gems. With this evidence, I rest my case against VH-1 and based upon your support will re-initiate the MKinMotion album cover project.

March 14, 2006

All It Takes

I happened to be flipping through channels yesterday afternoon and I stopped on VH1 long enough to see that they were counting down greatest album covers. Not only were most of their choices poor ones, but it has made me re-think continuing with mine.

March 12, 2006

Episode Thirteen: The Mad Fishicist Strikes Back

Let this be a lesson to all of you. Sending not only suggestions, but the pictures along with them is not always a good idea. Here are The Mad Fishicist's submissions. There were two others that I'm not going to post...believe me, I'm protecting you all.

But in all seriousness, Bolokai Ikonus T. T. The Mad Fishicist, wished for me to revisit an album cover I merely passed over in a previous post. I can't say enough about Johnny Cash's American Recordings. It relaunched the career of Johnny Cash and became a staple for MKinMotion and The Mad Fishicist. The 1994 album cover features "The Man in Black" with his two dogs. The names of the dogs are "Sin" and "Redemption" and Cash noted that neither is completely black or white. Pretty profound for a man who found both. The album that featured Johnny Cash with just a guitar and several cover tunes won the 1995 grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album.

As always, comments, suggestions and questions can be sent to MKinMotion(at)gmail(dot)com. I've aquired enough questions to put together another Q & A post. So look forward to that and get your questions in. Please make sure to note if you wish to remain anonymous.

March 9, 2006

Episode Twelve

The University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia has produced some pretty impressive things. And while I'd love to get into Bill Mallonee, Herschel Walker, Ryan Seacrest, Mystery Girl, Debra Norville, or Zell Miller; I'll focus on one of the biggest bands of all time. Between 1983 and 1988, R.E.M. released an album a year (and that's not counting Eponymous a greatest hits album released in 1988). In 1988, they released Green. Previous to Green, R.E.M. had released their albums through IRS Records. In 1988 they went big time and signed with Warner Brothers. The album was their ticket from obscure college indie band to major music contributor. Green contained the hits "Stand," "Pop Song 89," and "Orange Crush." The cover, contrary to the title isn't green. One theory is that if you stare at the cover long enough, you will see the color green when you look away. Another theory is that they sold out with Green and green is the color of money. Even another theory is the idea that the album focused on more environmental and political topics. All good theories.

Incidentally, Athens also produced the B-52's, Drive-By Truckers, Vic Chesnutt, Neutral Milk Hotel, Chickasaw Mud Puppies, and the previously mentioned Bill Mallonee and his Vigilantes of Love. And that, Mad Fishicist, is how you get traffic from Google searches on your blog...because you asked.

This Day in History

1916 - Pancho Villa leads 1,500 Mexican raiders in an attack against Columbus, New Mexico, killing 17.
1933 - Great Depression: The U.S. Congress begins its first 100 days of enacting New Deal legislation. President Franklin D. Roosevelt submits the Emergency Banking Act to Congress.
1943 - Bobby Fischer, American chess player is born
1943 - Charles Gibson, American television journalist is born
1945 - World War II: Bombing of Tokyo - American B-29 bombers attack Tokyo, Japan with incendiary bombs. The resulting fire storm kills over 100,000 people.
1954 - McCarthyism: CBS television broadcasts the See It Now episode, "A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy," produced by Edward R. Murrow.
1957 - Aleutian Islands register a 9.1 magnitude earthquake.
1959 - The Barbie doll debuts.
1964 - The first Ford Mustang rolls off the assembly line at Ford Motor Company.
1964 - Juliette Binoche, French actress is born.
1965 - Brian Bosworth, American football player is born.
1965 - Benito Santiago, Puerto Rican baseball player is born.
1971 - Emmanuel Lewis (Webster), American actor is born.
1973 - Aaron F-ing Boone, American baseball player is born.
1975 - Construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System begins.
1975 - MKinMotion is born.
1986 - United States Navy divers find the largely intact but heavily-damaged crew compartment of the Space Shuttle Challenger. The bodies of all seven astronauts were still inside.
1987 - Rock band U2 release the album The Joshua Tree.
1987 - Bow Wow, rapper and actor is born.
1996 - George Burns dies at age 100.
1997 - Notorious B.I.G. is killed.
2005 - Dan Rather presents his final broadcast of the CBS Evening News.
2005 - MKinMotion turns 30.

Happy Feast Day of St. Frances of Rome!
Happy Baron Bliss Day!
Happy National No Smoking Day!

March 8, 2006

Episode Eleven: 1975

Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run

Bruce Springsteen had released two albums and had found moderate success. In 1974, Jon Landau, after seeing Bruce perform, wrote "I saw Rock and Roll's future, and its name is Bruce Springsteen. And on a night when I needed to feel young, he made me feel like I was hearing music for the very first time." In 1975, Springsteen teamed up with Jon Landau and released one of his most successful albums. When producing Born to Run, Bruce and longtime producer/manager Landau set out to make an album that resembled "Roy Orbison singing Bob Dylan" while employing the Phil Spector "Wall of Sound" technique. This was the first album to feature Max Weinberg of Conan O'Brien fame. What came out of these sessions was "Thunder Road", "Born to Run," and an album that remained in Billboard's top 100 for over two years. The cover featured Bruce with his signature Fender Telecaster. He's leaning on Clarence Clemons.

The Who, The Who By Numbers

By 1975, The Who were huge. Coming off of the success of rock operas Tommy and Quadrophenia, Pete Townsend composed a confessional. Alcoholism, lust, fame, self-loathing, and midlife crisis are the major themes of The Who By Numbers. The cover features cartoon charactures of the band ready for the listener to connect the dots and paint by numbers.

Elton John, Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy

Believe it or not, a concept album. The concept? The struggles of Elton John and Bernie Taupin early on in their career together. If you don't already know, the two collaborate on songwriting. Elton writes the music and Bernie writes the words. I'm sure you can figure out who Captain Fantastic represents. Allegedly, the album's hit single "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" (again, one of the greatest songs ever) is about Elton's suicide attempt in 1969. John Lennon appears on the album to contribute guitar, but records under an alias. Captain Fantastic has a wonderful cover.

Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here

Largely a tribute to former member Syd Barret (see 1968), Wish You Were Here was a five track album released in 1975. Syd Barrett showed up in the studio unannounced on the same day David Gilmour got married. He wasn't recognized by the band initially. He lent his voice for background vocals on "Shine On..." Featuring famous songs "Shine on You Crazy Diamond," "Have a Cigar," as well as the epic title track. The band wanted to release the album with a completely black cover with no writing; essentially an anonymous release. The record company balked at that and the burning man handshake concept was born.

Honorable Mentions for 1975:

Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffitti

Jackson Browne, Late for the Sky

Bob Dylan and The Band, The Basement Tapes

Tom Waits, Nighthawks at the Diner (Based on the Hopper Painting, Nighthawks)

Episode Ten: The Quiet Beatle

Fans and non-fans have to admire at least one thing about U2: The fact that they have stuck together for 30 years. It's not easy. When creative minds collaborate it can be, much like your 7th grade chemistry experiments, either beautifully wonderful or dangerously volatile. I think of Uncle Tupelo's split, the Chili Peppers' split and reunion, Peter Gabriel leaving Genesis, Pink Floyd, even David Lee Roth.

All Things Must Pass, 1970

As I mentioned in the previous post, George Harrison struggled with his role in the Beatles. He was a musical genius, not just for being a great guitar player, but his songwriting was top notch. George Martin, longtime producer of The Beatles even stated that he overlooked much of Harrison's songs. The Beatles albums featured a Harrison written song here and there. John Lennon even said to McCartney "George's songs are at least as good as ours." When Frank Sinatra performed "Something" (written by Harrison), he even said mistakenly called it his favorite Lennon-McCartney song. When he released All Things Must Pass very soon after the break-up, it was clear that he had built quite a large catalog of material. Later, Harrison admitted that many of the songs on the triple album would have been Beatles songs, but he had trouble getting everyone on board to record them. All Things Must Pass was the first triple album from a solo artist. George called in the help of friends to make it. Eric Clapton played on the record but went uncredited for over 30 years because of contractual committments. Bob Dylan collaborated on writing the opening track. A 19-year old Phil Collins played drums on a couple tracks. Peter Frampton, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Dave Mason, Ginger Baker and members of Badfinger all contributed to the album. Considered one of the greatest albums of all time, the cover featured George and garden gnomes dressed similarly. In 2001, George Harrison oversaw the remastering of the album. As they remastered the album, the original master tapes were erased intentionally. Sadly, George Harrison, singer, songwriter, guitarist, activist, film producer, and Wilbury, lost his battle with cancer in 2001. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist in 2004. In 2002, a year after his death, a charity concert was put together in his honor. The concert featured his son Dhani filling in for George with the remaining members of the Wilburys. The concert ended with an ensemble dubbed "George's Band" included McCartney, Starr, Clapton, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Dhani, and others performing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and other Harrison classics.

March 7, 2006

Episode Nine: Paul is Dead

Definately one of the most famous album covers in Rock and Roll history, but did you know that it almost didn't happen? The original title of the 1969 Beatles album was Everest and the cover photo would've been the Beatles in the Himalayas. Instead what we got was Abbey Road with the fab four strolling across a crosswalk in front of the Abbey Road studios where they recorded the album. Lots of theories surrounded the album cover. Many had to do with the rumor that Paul McCartney had died several years before and been replaced by a lookalike. The license plate on the VW in the background is 281F which was translated to "28 if" meaning that Paul would be 28 if he were alive (he was actually 27 at the time). The same theorists that came up with this interpreted that John Lennon represented Jesus with his white suit, long hair and beard; Ringo Starr represented the undertaker in his black suit; Paul represented the dead man with his bare feet, eyes closed, and cigarette; George Harrison represented the gravedigger with his work clothes. An interesting theory, but Paul McCartney is alive and well. There's a man standing just behind John's head on the sidewalk, his name is Paul Cole and he was an American tourist who had no idea what was going on. He later figured it out when he saw the album cover in a store. If you know anything about the history of the Beatles, you know that tension ran pretty high during the last few years. In an effort to tame tempers, the record was produced very different than their previous few albums. What came out of the sessions was a bigger separation between Paul and John as well as George feeling like he was left out of the creative process (Stay tuned for more on George). The two sides of the album (remember it was vinyl) were put together in a way that Paul and John each had their side. Side One was John and Side Two was Paul. Side Two consisted of several short songs meant to be a medley. Still to this day, radio stations play the songs together. If you listen to the album as a CD or digitally, you can hear a pretty abrupt change from the end of "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" to "Here Comes the Sun." Ironically Side Two (remember Paul's side) started with a George Harrison tune and George and Paul were at odds. Other hits on the album are "Come Together," "Something" (seriously one of the greatest songs ever!!), "Octopus' Garden." Always towards the top of lists of greatest albums, Abbey Road deserves it's praise. I know it has mine.

Not only has the album cover been parodied, but the entire album was covered by George Benson a month after it's release. The album cover was parodied by not only Benson (The Other Side of Abbey Road), but The Red Hot Chili Peppers (The Abbey Road EP; yep just socks), Booker T and the M.G.'s covered songs from the album and mimicked the cover (McLemore Avenue; the street outside of Stax Records in Memphis) and even by McCarney himself (Paul is Live; note the VW).