K-Chuck Radio: Music for a Great American Eclipse

So the big day is tomorrow … tomorrow afternoon, to be precise.

And as I drive towards the line of totality, I think to myself about what kind of a soundtrack I could craft in terms of music for an eclipse.  Especially one as special as this one.

So crank up the speakers, here’s a K-Chuck Radio featuring songs about sunshine, moonlight, and eclipses.  And let’s start with the obvious track…

BONNIE TYLER
Total Eclipse of the Heart

Here it is, in its nearly seven minute glory.  Gotta give Jim Steinman credit, he can craft AOR rock ballad masterpieces with the best of them.

MADNESS
The Sun and the Rain

Here’s what I want.  Lots of sunshine and no rain.  No rain at all.

BLIND MELON
No Rain

Yeah.  Like I said, no rain.  No rain at all.

DRAGON
Sunshine

Yes, I need a sunshine-like track from my favorite Kiwi / Oz Rock band.  You know I do.

ERIC CARMEN
Sunrise

Somewhere inbetween his Rachmaninoff riffs and his sweeping ballads, Eric Carman sounds awesome when he channels his original power-pop Raspberries heritage.  Like this track, for instance.

LEN
Steal My Sunshine

Look, if I can get a chance to channel the 1970’s Andrea True Connection riff, I’ll do it.  Even for a one-hit wonder like Len.

JOHN DENVER
Sunshine On My Shoulders

There was once a time when John Denver’s music was so square, it could be divided by four.  Thankfully, today John Denver’s tracks – including this one – have a new appreciation.  Which is always a wonderful thing.

THE SUNRAYS
I Live for the Sun

Think about this.  This was the band Brian Wilson’s father Murry managed when the Beach Boys fired him as THEIR manager.  One hit that barely sounds like a Beach Boys out-take.

SMASH MOUTH
Walking on the Sun

Yes, I put Smash Mouth on this playlist.  Keep things going, and I’ll add some Nickelback.  Don’t call my bluff.

SOUNDGARDEN
Black Hole Sun

I mean, technically, doesn’t an eclipse create a black hole in the sun?  You’re still missed, Chris Cornell.  Any world where Chris Cornell and Kurt Cobain isn’t alive – and Courtney Love is – is a miserable world.

THE GRATEFUL DEAD
Dark Star (Beautiful Jam)

And let’s end our playlist with this totally amazing 21-minute sonic jam by the legends themselves. No more words.

Enjoy the eclipse on Monday, with a soundtrack brought to you by sunbeams at K-Chuck Radio.

7 and 7 on Saturday: August 19, 2017

As summer starts to wind down and our kids head back to class…

And we think about taking care of the garden and mowing the grass…

The struggles of the day, and we say, “This too shall pass…”

Let’s check out the 7 and 7 blog report – the blogs with plenty of class.

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Is there a Confederate general in my lineage? And would I be happy with that?

When I was younger, my mother would tell stories about how, through one way or another, I was related to a Civil War general.

Yeah, right.  Sure.  Next thing, someone’s going to tell me that because my last name is Miller, I’m related to the guy who sang “Fly Like an Eagle.”

No wait, hear me out.

Somehow, according to whatever story she spun at the time, my grandfather – Charles Bragg – was a direct descendant of some sort to Civil War general Braxton Bragg.

Yeah, I’m not sure how to react to that.

Continue reading “Is there a Confederate general in my lineage? And would I be happy with that?”

Results from the 2017 Iowa State Fair

When last we checked in, two of my four entries for the Iowa State Fair’s 2017 Photography Salon were accepted, and will hang on the walls of the Patty and Jim Cownie Cultural Center in Des Moines.  This is great.  This is exciting.  This is … still unknown.  Which two of my four entries got in, and did either – or both – win some prize silks and money?

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My 2017 Altamont Fair results

What a reversal of results for me.

Many years ago – 2009, 2010, 2012 to be more precise – my pictures couldn’t get a ribbon at the Altamont Fair.  It was emotionally rough.

At the same time, my artworks were appearing at the New York State Fair’s photography competition with regularity.

It’s certainly a reversal now.  While my Syracuse submissions have been returned three of the last four years (including the last two), my Altamont pictures have fared reasonably well.  Last year, one of my Dream Windows – Dream Window 17: Friday Night Fish Fry – claimed a blue ribbon.  Over at the sheep and goat barn, I’ve scored blue ribbons with pictures like The Jumbuck, Rutland the Goat and We Are Not Chickens. And I’ve also scored some silks in the Fine Art barn with pictures like Aerochrome Falls, The Lenten Meal and Star Trails of Brown Tract Pond.  So the success is there, for sure.

Now let’s see if it continues.

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My 2017 Altamont Fair entries are…

It’s that time again.  An opportunity for me to enter my photography into the Altamont Fair’s photo competition.  Each year I bring what I think are the photos that will stand out, the ones that have the best chance of claiming silks, the photos that will impress the judges.

I’m entering three different competitions this year – one photography competition, one in the “goat photography” category, and a third entry that took an entire year to prepare.

I’ve had success at Altamont, but I’ve also failed.  This is not unusual – for years, I would submit my best artworks, only to see them ribbon-less when the Fair began.  I half-joked about an “Altamont Curse,” and then one day three of my four artworks picked up silks.  No more curse.  At least not at Altamont.  Even though I’m not sure I can say the same thing in Syracuse.  😀

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“Were you checking out my ass?”

Sunday morning.  With all the depressing, horrible, unfathomable news – both in my life and around the world – I needed some private time.  And that “private time” meant bashing up a wooden crate for a future crate art project.

After taking out my frustration on the scrap wood box, I realized I would need some additional lumber.  Okay, Sunday trip to Curtis Lumber, I can do that.

Ugh.  Gas tank is low.  Better stop at a Speedway and fill up.

Luckily for me, Speedway is running an August promotion where they’re offering gas discounts for loyal customers – spend $3 in purchase and you receive 10c off your gallon.  Oh, you mean I’m paying under $2/gallon to fill up my car?  Yes please.

Continue reading ““Were you checking out my ass?””