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On the Shelf 152: Faith No More
When I was in an aspiring garage rock band in high school, we said we would defy genres. The ambition of youth. As the saying goes, we never left the garage, and doubtful would have defied genres, and if we had, we would likely been a mess.

It's a cliche, of course, but Faith No More is about as genre defying as it gets. The Real Thing was released in 1989. Though the band had a minor hit with "We Care a Lot", the band by this time had cranked their amps up, and this was considered a metal album. It earned the band an opening spot for Guns N Roses and Metallica as well as tours with Soundgarden and Voivod. From a genre point of view, it was lumped in with bands like Extreme, Mr Big, even Bon Jovi. Had the album come out five years later, it would have been considered 'alternative', but at the time, it was (pardon the pun) a fish out of water. Still it was loud and long hair, and thus there it was. It was also a smash.

The band followed it with what is probably their most perfect moment, the Angel Dust album. Even at the time, it felt like the band was on another plain. Looking back, few bands have been able to match it. It was also such an unusual piece of work, that it was embraced by the alt-rock audiences that generally wouldn't like such loud bands; though still not fully embraced.

Such genre constraints however cannot take away the band's masterwork and it's the memory of that album that i think much of the expectations of this year's reunion laid rest upon.

The band could not follow it up. I found 95's King for a Day Fool for a Lifetime an utter disappointment, to the point that I all but skipped Album of the Year in 97. Rear view has found critics coming back to praise King, but at the time it was a critical and commercial disappointment during the time the band needed it the most. The band was on the downward path.

There are a few points to make about FNM though, and Mike Patton specifically. Patton has spent the last couple of decades in an array of interesting side projects- Lovage, Fantomas, Peeping Tom, and Tomahawk to name a few. He has been one of the most artistically ambitious artists in the last 20-some years, To my ears, some of these records (looking at Peeping Tom and Tomahak) are as perfect at blending music that is accessible and inaccessible together- the perfect blend of avant garde and pop sensibility.

Indeed, some mention should be made of Mr Bungle- which may be the most avant garde record to have the level of success it has in the last 30 years. You would probably have to go back to the days of Zappa, Beefheart, and Rundgren to find records that pushed aural boundaries to the extent that it did and still sell.

So, high expectations lay on Sol invictus- album #7. Perhaps, it's their role as being one of the truly great loud bands, but I think there were some expectations here that I had not seen on any other band since the last Queens of the Stone Age disc.

The good news is that this album does meet those expectations. Certainly, there is a level of expectation much like they had in 95 and could not meet.

The album stands up as a worthy successor to Angel Dust and the Real Thing. The band still is hard to pin down from a genre pont of view, but they hit the marks of listenability and 'uniqueness'.

I should temper my review by saying that with repeated listens, I don't find my self returning to this album as much as maybe I thought. Time is the true test and as the dust settles, I suspect this album will still make my year end best-of, though where it falls may be closer to the bottom half of the Top 20 and not the upper half. It's mild disappointment, though, as it is a really good record and stamps Faith No More as still one of the planet's most important bands.

Oh, and there's a lot of adult language, like on this song "Motherf*cker", so you probably shouldn't play it around, friends, family, coworkers, etc but I am still going to post it.

Also similarly be careful playing this one at work. As in don't do it (unless you can).

2015 Where the Buffalo Roam tour
One thing that we had on our list of things to do, but did not was the Minutemen Missile Silo.

For those who remember such things, this was a silo used during the Cold War, now revealed and turned into a historic site, located just near Wall, South Dakota.  There's the launch center and the silo site.  The missile removed in 1991 and the tower deactivated in 1994.

Unfortunately, we did not go.

We had been warned that you need to go early as the tickets sell out quickly.  That was true.  We did not get there early, though even if we did, it's doubtful we would have wanted to wait all day for an available tour.

That said, I think as time goes on, maybe it won't always be like that.  Still, an interesting bit of history.  There was a bit of a museum here, though it appears still very new and needs to grow.

I suspect I will be back this way again, and if so, would like to stop and see it.

2016 Campaign Starts Now: So it's fare thee well, Scott Walker
The interesting part of Presidential politics is that things happen before anything really happen. Know what I am saying?

Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the last election because of abysmal poll numbers, though by the time the actual campaign came around, everyone had a look at the front runner status- Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich- and the Iowa caucus was won by someone with even worse historical numbers- Rick Santorum. Hindsight tends to think maybe things would have worked out for Tim.

So, while it's not surprising to see a Jim Gilmore and Rick Perry drop from the race, one tends to want to say to Scott Walker "Where's the Fire?". That seems like a pretty obvious reaction, even moreso when you're watching a bought-and-paid-for "Walker for President" TV ad about 2 hours after he announced he was dropping out.

I especially wish Hunter S Thompson was alive for this campaign. He would probably say something about 'peak'ing, and I think it is true.

There is a certain peak that a candidate hits and once they reach that top it's nowhere but down. For an easy example, look at Rick Perry and Chris Christie who spent time as sure-fire next Presidents. (I haven't quite thrown Jeb Bush in there yet, but the jury is out).

It's not always so drastic but it exists. Dick Gephardt had a promising first campaign, but a horribly desperate second. John McCain peaked around 2002 which was enough to get him a party nomination two years later but not enough to put him a formidable November fight. Giuliani was the first of many recent candidates who plateaued too early in the cycle.

Hillary of course hit her peak four years ago but thinks that being the only candidate in the field is enough (WE are finding out that might not be the case).

It is also the fear Trump should be feeling.

Lest we forget, two and a half months ago, Walker was a front runner. He wasn't the biggest name, but he had a sizable lead. Now, he is in tenth at three percent support in Iowa.

He won't win here now and he needed too.  I see a five person race now- Trump, Carson, Fiorina, Cruz and possibly Jeb.  There may be another - Kasich or Jindal or Rubio though, I have my doubts.

Hunter S probably would have given it a sports metaphor, perhaps a baseball team that barely makes the playoffs but gets hot and wins the World Series, or vice versa.

Which brings me to another thing Hunter S might have said.  Scott Walker's problems started when he tried to outcrazy crazy.  That probably should have been our sign.

Donald Trump wants to build a wall between us and Mexico, Scott Walker will do that AND he will build a wall between the US and Canada.

Walker had some less than likable ideas to begin with, but this made him look crazy (Note: though it may seem this way, I really don't want Walker to run for President.  I have strong suspicions Trump may be a Democratic plant, because this is exactly what Dems would want.  I agree with the head of the AFL-CIO who got in the zinger, Scott Walker is still a disgrace, at least now, he's not a national disgrace.  Hey-oh!)

Lastly, I want to invoke HST one more time, as I get the feeling this election cycle that the more campaign ads that a candidate runs, the worst their campaign is in.

Rick Perry (and it may be his PAC's fault not him) ran a lot of ads, and they just made me sad for Rick.  They came off desperate.  Hillary runs ads hourly, which seems unnecessary, but show that she is losing.  (Her ads are optimistic and bright, though they should just be 30 seconds of "Seriously, you are not going to vote for the self-proclaimed Socialist Jew?") .  So it was with Walker (and Jindal) who have started to run ads.

Meanwhile, Trump doesn't need to.  He is the brand name.  Bernie is sort of a different animal, but he has that Ron Paul kind of support- people making homemade signs and putting it in their yards.  It's incredible to see someone have success with that.

There's still a lot of ground to cover, of course, and the field will probably reset itself a few times before we get there, but it is always interesting.

New Music Initiative 064: Hooton Tennis Club
I haven't plugged a lot of new music here for a long time.

There may be a few reasons for that, and I am not sure which of those are correct.

In any case, it appears the only "new" artist I have plugged in 2015 here is San Cisco.

So I probably should add another one.

Right now, I am digging a British band called Hooton Tennis Club.

It's not quite life changing, but it's pretty enjoyable.

They play like the last 20 years never happened. Teenage Fanclub is the band that constantly comes up in band reviews, though it is easy to see why.

Also, Pavement get a lot of mentions as well, and again it's a pretty obvious touchpoint.

Their first big champion was the Farm's bassist, which again isn't too surprising.

In any case, that's the best I can do. Fun fact about the band: singer Ryan Hunter had a job selling those live post-minutes-after-the-concert discs, and so became pals touring with Robbie Williams and Olly Murs.

2016 Election Starts Now: Funky President (People It's Bad)
One of Des Moines's suburbs saw an internet request from a California school trying to get Tom Hanks to come to their Student Dance.

The government teacher got the idea of trying to get a Presidential candidate to come to theirs, and had a pretty great hashtag for it - Presidance.

Well, social media is full of requests trying to get Rhonda Rousey or Taylor Swift or whoever to the local shindig or getdown.

There's approximately a half million candidates in Iowa right now, so i thought it was a no brainer.

A fun idea- don't get me wrong, but should be like shooting fish in a barrel.

I mean what a great way of publicity. Most of the candidates are lonelier than Rick Perry and the most exciting thing they got booked this week is a trip to the Pizza Ranch.

No, seriously.

Baby, I got nothing to do, tell me the time and place, I will be there.  What you want?  You know no one loves you like I do.

So, I figured the candidates would be all over the free publicity.

Santorum and Huckabee who spent all their waking hours in the Hawkeye state (though the thoughts of a high school dance means a lot of pelvic thrusting, also possibly there may be mixed race couples).

There's rock star Kasich and George Pataki who surely could use anything right now.

There's, well, you seen the CNN debate, there's like 20 of them and if I listed them all, we'd be here all day.

So, you know who offered it up.

The Donald

You other candidates are idiots.  Bobby Jindal- this could have been you.  Scott Walker- this is how you fight a double digit drop in the polls,

But, no, I don't think anyone said squat until the Donald.

Which of course, he did.

He's friggin Batman.

Heck, I am not even mad.  I am cynical as it gets, and if you like my political writing, it means you are too; but at the end of the day, you have to admit this is kind of a heartwarming personal interest story.

Let's face it, politics and names aside, government teacher asks a politician visit her kids, and big name politician stands and delivers.  Heck, I may even start shedding a tear.

We always joked politics is becoming a circus and this year may indeed be the logical conclusion, boostered by a man supported by thousands of people who have spent the last eight years hunched in their basement  over laptops writing articles like "I am so gawddamn tired of the President acting like a goldurned celebrity"

2016 Election Starts Now: One of the Boys
As mentioned here in the pages of this blog, the Iowa vs Iowa State football game is one of the biggest moments in the state.  So much, that generally if you can't find a date or a venue for your wedding, the date of the football game will be open (though don't expect anyone to show).

Because we are knee deep (or more) in election season, this means that Presidential hopefuls can use the opportunity to mingle.

Or pander, as Michele Bachmann did, wearing a jersey four years ago showing that she supported both schools in the rivalry (My advice: should have picked a side).

Indeed, though, I don't remember anyone before Bachmann really making this such a big deal.

It was this year though, as the local county GOP set up a tent to partake in the tailgating and host local heroes Joni Ernst and Steve King. Because it's Caucus season, Rand Paul, Scott Walker and Marco Rubio showed up.

NPR covered it here (with pictures)

Of course, this cycle, it's less about the actual election and more about Donald Trump.

The Donald of course upstages all. I heard Local Conservative Talk Radio talk about the event (with little mention of recent favorites like Rubio) and they said Trump ran late which gave time for protests to form (which Local Conservative Talk Radio found inconceivable and improper).

In any case, the Donald mixed and mingled, and probably became inexplicably more loved.

SB Nation covered a day hanging out with drunk Trump fans, and is better than anything I could write up.

2015 Where the Buffalo Roam Tour: Sioux Falls
We stopped in South Dakota's biggest city- Sioux Falls.

Known for... the Falls. Hence the name.

There was a lookout and of course, you could get fairly close to the actual Falls.

The water looked really dirty which took a bit off the romance, but otherwise, what a beautiful park.

Iowa Cubs 2015 Wrap-up
I share quite a bit of Iowa Cubs info here as they are the local minor league team. The Cubs have taken one of the best minor league organizations and turned into a playoff contender. This meant I got to see some talented players play downtown (Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo). Because of the nature of the minors, talented players don't necessarily spend a lot of time in Triple A. Conversely, some of the stars in Triple A may end up little more than role players in the majors.

I saw three games since I last wrote about the team last. I also follow local coverage on radio and the Des Moines Register, so my insight comes largely from there, as well as my own observations.

Here are your 2015 I Cubs standouts as we move into 40 man rosters.

Mike Olt - 1B/3B- Olt gave some solid performances as a starter for Iowa. He has since been waived and picked up by the White Sox. While unlikely a major star (at one point, he was a top prospect in the Rangers organization), his dependability is often given as a reason for his high potential as a major league role player

Javy Baez - SS- Baez was supposed to be a big star like Kris Bryant but injuries seem to have slowed him down. Baez did well in Iowa when he was not injured. He was often talked about as trade bait, as the Chicago Cubs seem to have a glut of talent on the left side of the infield. Still, the Cubs GM said he likes to keep the best players and find positions for them, instead of dealing off good players who play positions that are already called for.

Taylor Teagarden- C - Dependable veteran catcher, played some games with the Mets

Rafael Davis C- Played with the Chicago Cubs last year, splitting duties with Teagarden

John Andreoli- CF- Outfielder with a lot of speed

Mike Baxter, Adron Chambers- OF - experienced minor leaguers and solid role players in Iowa

Christian Villanueva- 3B- despite playing the same position as Kris Bryant, Villanueva is one of the top prospects in the organization, and was a solid hitter for the Cubs

Chris Valaika- 1B- Valaika is an older player so may not have a lot of upside, but I have heard that he has done a great leadership role in getting people like Baez and Bryant ready for the big leagues


August 12- Iowa 3, Nashville 1- Dallas Beeler, who has spent some time in Chicago, though not very successfully- gave up only one run in 6 2/3 innings. Relievers (and possible future stars) Joe Ortiz and Bryan Schlitter helped with the hold and save. Arismendy Alcantara hit a homer, and baez a triple to power the Cubs.

August 29 (game 1 of Doubleheader) Iowa 5, Sacramento 1- Eric Jokisch (like Beeler, a heralded prospect who could break into Chicago's rotation of the future) went seven innings giving up five hits and only one run. Olt hit a home run, had 3 hits and 2 RBIs while Villanueva had 2 RBIs, Alcantara 1

August 29 (game 2 of Doubleheader) Iowa 2, Sacramento 1- This one went 12 innings with Teagarden, Villanuvea, and Baxter having multiple hits. Former Major League reliever Rafael Soriano gave up the lone run.

2015 Where the Buffalo Roam Tour: Deadwood
Deadwood was on my short list of places to visit while I was in South Dakota.

HBO has brought it recent fame,but even before it was famous as the Wild West's wildest town.  Home of CalamityJane.  Where Wild Bill Hickock was shot holding Aces and Eights.

Deadwood has a couple of museums.  We visited one that was more attuned to the 1800s history and was jampacked with some neat stuff.

Truth be told, 21st Century Deadwood isn't much more than a bunch of casinos.  Still, the history buff in me geeked out by just being there.

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Where Wild Bill Hickock was killed

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2016 Election Starts Now: Bad Year for Politicians, Good Year for Deez Nuts
It's been a bad month for politicos.

For a Mitt Romney 2012 campaign fundraiser, it was a bad week as he was busted in a prostitution sting.  While surely putting his money where his mouth is in supporting entrepeneurs.

For Jeb Bush, it was a bad week in which he said "When you thought I was being racist about Latinos, you had me all wrong.  I am not racist against Latinos.  I was being racist against Asians."

For Republican politicians, it was bad news when this weekend, the Des Moines Register poll said it was Donald Trump and Ben Carson and no one else was even close.

I get it, believe me.  Looking at myself, my family and my close friends - we've supported Anderson in 80, Ron Paul in 88, Perot in 92, and Nader in 00.

So, I get Deez Nuts.  Really.  I came of age to The Chronic (The 1992 Dr Dre album which is the high waterpoint until now of "Dez nuts" in culture via a skit by Warren G)

He has been all over the internet, but I thought I might share this interview via the Des Moines Register

It all began last month when the two brothers sat on the sofa, watching Comedy Central. Brady remarked that he might run for president.

“I didn’t think he was serious,” Tyson said.

But give the little brother due credit: He suggested the name.

The boys had noticed the popular online video meme that cropped up earlier this year, based on a rap album from the early 1990s.

It took Brady all of 15 minutes to file his candidacy July 26 with the Federal Election Commission.

“I can’t believe he came up with an assumed name but used our home address,” said Brady’s mom.

Brady did casually mention his candidacy to his parents before all this blew up. As I might have done, they shrugged it off.

“When your 15-year-old tells you that he’s filed to run for president of the United States,” Mark said, “you just kind of — yeah, this isn’t going to go anywhere. They probably won’t even accept it or really look at it.”

It wasn’t until the Huffington Post phoned that Mark and Teresa realized there might be broader implications.

“Sometimes we get upset with our kids for not listening,” Mark said, “and I guess we’re not a very good example sometimes.”

The authentic Brady describes himself as a political moderate — leaning Libertarian — being raised by a pair of strict Republican parents who attend the local Wallingford Lutheran Church.

Brady has said that among realistic candidates, Democrat Bernie Sanders, Republican John Kasich and Libertarian Gary Johnson are his favorites.

The family lives on a farm that has been in Mark’s family for nearly a century. He tends to about 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans and 1,500 head of cattle.

But Brady isn’t much of a “farm boy” — has no interest farming, doesn’t do a lot of farm chores.

He’s also not an aspiring politician. He’s been eyeing a career in sports administration.

He figures that half his Deez Nuts “supporters” are in it for the joke, and the other half to protest the political norm.

“I didn’t think it was going to catch on,” he said. “But now I’m sort of braced for impact.”

Copycat candidates

By this week there are nearly 900 candidates — including waves of joke candidates no doubt inspired by Brady — who have filed a presidential bid with the FEC.

Limberbutt McCubbins is a cat — and candidate — from Kentucky whom Brady has cited as a potential running mate.

Other pranksters courting your vote include His Majesty Satan Lord of Underworld Prince of Darkness (apparently a Texas Republican who filed Aug. 20), Captain Crunch (Aug. 20) and Cranky Pants (Aug. 24).

Even fictional “House of Cards” character Francis J. Underwood has signed up — with the White House already listed as his home address.

And of course there are plenty of more obscene candidate names that I can't reprint here.

Unsurprisingly, all this has renewed calls for even a modest filing fee ($5?) for candidates.

Speaking of hip-hop, Deez Nuts is yet another example of rapper Dr. Dre — whose N.W.A. biopic “Straight Outta Compton” is a huge hit — ruling the summer. His classic 1992 gangster rap album, “The Chronic,” includes a skit by fellow rapper (also his stepbrother) Warren G called “Deeez Nuuuts” in which Warren utters the phrase while on the phone with his girlfriend.

Brady isn’t a hip-hop fan. His mom doesn't listen to Dre, either.

“Never heard that before,” Teresa said. “Never even thought that it would be part of my vocabulary.”

Our political discourse has gotten to the point that Warren G has endorsed Olson/Deez Nuts for president.

“It was a trip just to know that something you just did on a humbug could just get taken 21 — over 21 years later — and made into something that has to do with the presidential election,” Warren G told MSNBC. “That’s crazy. But the kid is a cool kid and I just — that was pretty smart thinking. Reminds me of ‘Brewster’s Millions’ back in the day.”

Yes, a West Coast rapper has compared an Iowa "farm boy" to Richard Pryor.

The ultimate compliment for Brady probably would be an interview on “Last Week Tonight,” the comedy news show on HBO led by “Daily Show” alumnus John Oliver.

“As long as it stays light, we’ll all be happy,” Mark said of his son's newfound fame.


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