Monday, December 28, 2015

MATTHEW SWEET "BY HERSELF"


I probably haven't listened to a Matthew Sweet album in ten years.  I certainly haven't listened to Sweet's debut "Inside" in twenty years.  So imagine how surprised I was to find it still in my collection and discover what an enjoyable album this 1986 release was.  Yeah, the '80s production sound hasn't aged well, but most of the songs are great.  And parked in the middle of the album was Sweet's strange collaboration with no-wave starlet Adele Bertei - 'By Herself'.  Geez, I didn't even remember the tune.





I'm still at a loss to figure how Sweet and Bertei managed to come up with a track that was as insidiously catchy as this one is. Strumming acoustic guitars, a hook that won't let go.  Pumping bass ...  Not only that, but Bertei and Valerie Simpson provide backing vocals !!!  The stupid song has been bouncing in my head for three days.  I may have to download it from iTunes.

Friday, December 25, 2015

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL ...

A quiet Friday morning - 7 am and nobody else but the cat is up yet.  Listening to Joe Walsh (strange Christmas choice), and reflecting on how lucky I have been.  Wife and kids who I adore.  Job I like.  Physical comforts.   I pray that someday everyone can have as much.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

MAGICAL SONGS - LITTLE FEAT "EASY TO SLIP"

Every now and then I'll be focused on something else when a song will suddenly hit me out of nowhere.  That experience hit me Saturday morning.  I was on my way to mail some record albums and drop off Christmas cards for the Post Office staff (yeah, I spend way too much time at my local Post Office), when out of the blue Little Feat's 'Easy To Slip' came blaring out of the car speakers.   Suddenly I wasn't a middle aged, overweight, balding member of the middle class, rather was in my 20s getting ready to go out and party.   It only lasted a moment, but it was a breath of fresh air.


What a great song. Recognizable from the opening chords, it was worth hearing just for George's wonderful guitar - it sounds like an acoustic, but it was an electric with some strange effect slapped on it.  The tune was one of the most commercial things the late Lowell George ever wrote (along with collaborator Martin Kibbee).  The song was apparently Kibbee's idea, though George's name came first on the credits. 

  


 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

A TEN YEAR OLD'S PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE

My 12 year old is a member of Boy Scout Troop 1018.  We're not the biggest Troop in the area and we're not an Eagle production line.  We're just kind of a middle-of-the-road Troop that puts the emphasis on the boys running the group and trying to ensure everyone has a good time. This weekend the troop held a training/recruiting event for local cub scouts.  About 20 cub scouts showed up and under the "guidance" of our scouts they went through a series of "training" events (tying knots, fire safety, etc.) that got them their outdoorsmen merit badges. 

The Boy Scout in Ryan's troop did a nice job of running the training, getting the 20 cub scouts from one place to another and even keeping the relatively engaged in the program.  

Anyhow, one of my parental assignments was to take pictures of the event and while I was doing that I happened to be standing next to two of the young Webelos.  They had apparently just come off of an overnight camping trip and weren't happy with one of their campmates - hearing one of them tell the other "players gonna play, play, play; haters are gonna hate, hate, hate, baby ..." just made me smile.  What a great philosophy to live by.  Taylor Swift would have been proud.



Go Troop 1018 !!!

ELEVEN FAVORITE ALBUMS I LISTENED TO OVER THE LAST YEAR

I probably listened to 200 albums over the last year.   Admittedly most of it was '60s and '70s material (we tend to gravitate to material we grew up with), but there was one 2015 release - Charlie's ""Elysium" (which nobody in the world seems to have noticed).  Moreover looking at the list I was surprised by how musically diversified the listing was.  Classic rock, English folk-rock, soul, new wave, pop ...  it is all represented here.  Anyhow, here are the ten LPs that caught my eyes and ears; got played multiple times, and got at least four out of five stars on my rating list.

They're in alphabetical order, rather than and other sequence.


Madeline Bell "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" (1968)
An amazingly talented American singer who simply couldn't break out of the crowd of other talented mid-'60s African American singers.  She headed for England where she made a name for herself, though in the States she remains best known as a back-up singer.  Shame since Bell had everything needed to be a breakout star.  Awesome LP that more people should be aware of.  Review at: http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/BELLmadeline.htm



Buffalo Springfield "Again" (1966)
Frankly I can't remember why I pulled this one out - I think it might have been related to the band reforming for a performance at the 2011 Bonnaroo festival.  All I can say is I'd forgotten what a fantastic band the Springfield were before going down in a trail of personality conflicts and hate and discontent.   There literally is not a bad song on this album.  My review of the LP is found at: http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/BUFFALOspringfield.htm





Charlie "Elysium" (2015)
Terry Thomas with help from a couple of friends and former Charlie members ...   Reportedly the final Charlie release and if it is it captured Thomas a his angriest.   Nobody and nothing gets out of this set unscathed and virtually every one of these 14 tunes was wrapped in a to-die-for rock melody.   And virtually nobody knew the album was even released.  Just a crime that Thomas and company did not become household names..





Sandy Denny "Sandy" (1972)
I sold the three copies I owned and regretted it the minute the last one was gone.  Simply her best solo effort and rivals her work with Fairport, Strawbs, etc.   Worth the price of admission just for the stunning David Bailey album cover ...   Review at: http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/DENNYsandy.htm







Fat Mattress "Fat Mattress" (1969)
Another album that took a long time to make an impact on me ... It was originally hyped for the fact Jimi Hendrix sideman/bassist Noel Redding was the founder and front man (well that was the theory behind the band).  Anyone looking for a slice of Hendrix-styled psych will be disappointed.  In fact this is one of those albums that's hard to accurate describe, but given a chance the collection's charms reveal themselves to a patient listener.   Review at: http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/FATmattress.htm





Agnetha Faltskog "A" (2013)
It only took me two years to discover I'd missed the release of this album - and I always considered myself to be a closet ABBA fan.  Overlooking that criminal behavior I'll simply say "A" was the best post-ABBA release any of the four members have issued.  If you are going to buy one post-ABBA collection, this is the one to go out and find.  My review is at: http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/FALTSKOG.htm




Van Morrison "Avalon Sunset" (1989)
Probably the biggest surprise (for me) on the list.  When this originally came out I was totally bored by it.  It seemed ponderous, plodding, and self-indulgent.  Listening to it for the first time in decades I was dumbfounded by how far off the mark I was.  One of Morrison's undiscovered gems.  Review is at: http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/MORRISONvan.htm





Otis Redding "Love Man" (1969)
You simply can't go wrong with an Otis Redding album and this was one of the posthumous collections that's been largely overlooked.  Review at: http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/REDDINGotis.htm








Allen Toussaint "Southern Nights"
I'd owned this album for at least five years and simply never gotten around to listening to it.  Anyhow, I pulled it out and was shocked at how good it was - soulful, but way more than that.   Sadly, within a couple of weeks of having "discovered" this album, Toussaint passed on.   My review can be found at: http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/TOUSSAINT





Was (Not Was) "Laughing At Tornados" (1983)
I remember playing this one while in college ...  Sweet Pea Atkinson and Sir Harry Bowens had two of soul's finest voices and the were in full display on this LP.  Anyhow, listening to the album for the first time since 1985  I was surprised at how pleasant and innovative the collection was.  Not everything on it is a homerun, but there are some dandy hits across the two sides.  Review at: http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/WASnotWAS.htm




 

The Windows "Running Alone" (1987)
One of the best purchases I made this year - 50 cents at a yard sale.  I had no idea who these guys were, but led by brothers Alan (drums) and Larry (vocals and guitar) Brewer, "Running Alone" offered up a wonderful collection that managed to mash-up AOR and new wave energy.  It's one of those rare albums that gets better each time I hear it.   Review at: http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/WINDOWS.htm


Thursday, November 26, 2015

EMITT RHODES - BACK AFTER FOUR PLUS DECADES

Now that I'm a senior citizen (anyone over 55), I seldom get excited about new music these days.  Here's one of the few exceptions - Emitt Rhodes is recording his first new solo album since 1973.   Emitt who?  Well you can look him up at your convenience.  I'll just say he recorded some of my favorite early-'70s albums and has been sorely missed


Rhodes is raising money to record his comeback album and here's a link to a promotional YouTube video about the project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwklFEv0Z68

And here's a link to the website where you can pre-order the album in MP3, CD, or vinyl formats:  http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/emittrhodes


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

THE CUSTOMER IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT - SOMETIMES THEY ARE JUST A PAIN

Grading used records is part art, part science. A record can look brand new and have a pressing defect. A record can look like someone skated over it with sandpaper and still sound okay. Unless you literally listen to the whole album (paying attention), you can't be accurate in your descriptions. I make an effort to be a fair an accurate grader. I also have a guarantee on sales. If you're not happy with the condition you can sent the album back and I'll pick up the return media mailing costs.

A couple of months back I sold an album to a person on Amazon. It wasn't a particularly expensive LP and it looked to be in good shape - it was a band I didn't particularly like so I'll admit I didn't play grade the album.

Anyhow, I shipped it out and a couple of days later, without bothering to contact me, the seller poster the following feedback on Amazon:

"Dude?! That record is scratched beyond listening! Sounds awful and skips every 10 seconds. Is this a joke? - Kyle"

The same day I sent Kyle an email apologizing and telling him I would send a replacement album out that day. (Turns out  I had a second copy of the LP, though I thought I'd shipped out the one in better condition.)   I packed it up, shipped it out USPS priority with tracking, and waited ... and waited.  I knew the LP got there since it was priority shipping. Finally after two weeks I sent the customer an email asking if he had received the replacement album.

The response was "Yes I got it. I didn't know who it came from."

Seriously? Are you the stupidest customer on Amazon?  This person doesn't have the brains to realize the seller sent him a replacement ...  He just thought a replacement album showed up out of the blue?  Some generous soul took pity on him and shipped a copy to easy his pain?  Anyhow, I pointed out I had shipped the replacement and asked if he was happy with the replacement.  The answer was yes.  Did he change his feedback?  Of course not.  Obviously there's little chance this moron is going to update his crappy feedback. On the other hand, if this person is that friggin' stupid, maybe I'm better off without any additional contact. Thank goodness this idiot is the exception to the rule. Hope his stylus cracks ...     I can feel my blood pressure rising as I type this.    Serenity now ...   LOL

Saturday, November 7, 2015

GERMAN GOURMET FALLS CHURCH VIRGINIA

I don't use usually use my time to advertise on behalf of local companies, but I'll make an exception for German Gourmet.  The store is small, nondescript and from Columbia Pike you are liable to miss it entirely since the entrance is on the side of the building.   So don't let the exterior fool you.  This place is amazing - everything German (except automotive items), you could ever want ... beer, wine, chocolate, meats, bakery good, magazines, and candy, candy, candy ...
















It's not big; imagine the size of a large living room, but I could spend hours poking around the place.  Virtually everything the sell is interesting.  The only downside is I spend way too much money with these folks.   I'd actually paid off my credit card Friday evening and after visiting German Gourmet on Saturday morning I was back in debt to the tune of $120.   Ah, but I have some great German beer in the fridge and a ton of German candy hidden away in the closet.



http://www.germangourmet.com/

Monday, October 19, 2015

ANOTHER TUNE THAT I CAN'T SHAKE - ERIC STEWART "FRIENDS LIKE THESE"

I have to admit I didn't even know Eric Stewart had released another solo album until six years after the fact.  I feel bad about it because I've always loved Stewart's material and "Viva La Difference" is a great solo collection.  Great, but unfortunately all but unknown, though I've tried to do my part to spread the word:  

http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/STEWARTeric.htm

Anyhow, buried in the album you'll find the tune "Friends Like These".  

Here's what I originally had to say about the track: "Love the slinky slide guitar that opens the tune and kicks it along  ...   Slow builder with an almost hypnotic feel and one of the album's spotlight numbers.   Months later this one is still bouncing around my head."

Every word of that was true.  The damn thing is still in rotation in my head.  Stewart's almost lysergic delivery is truly hypnotic and that little slide riff is simply addictive.   What do I have to do to get this one out of my head?

And here's the YouTube link to the audio file: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7PhHb4goU0

Sunday, October 4, 2015

BAD MANNERS AGAIN - SOUTHERNGARAGEBANDS WEBSITE

Sunday morning and I was trolling around the internet looking for some information on an obscure album I'd bought the day before at a yard sale.  Anyhow, I clicked on the southerngarageband website and happened to start reading a page on Rodney Justo.  It was one of those strange experiences where the words sounded familiar.   Sure enough, these guys seem to have "borrowed" parts of a write-up I'd done years ago on the Atlanta Rhythm Section.   I know "borrowing" is a part of modern life.  I've done it myself.  The difference is I try to credit sources.   These guys are pawning it off as their own original work.   Seriously ...   poor manners at best.  

Makes me wonder how much of their site is lifted from other sources.

Friday, August 14, 2015

SUE ME, SUE ME BLUES - A REGGAE STAR DECIDES TO SUE ME

I have a pair of used Burning Spear LPs for sale on my website and listed on a couple of websites that specialized in used music.  I've owned these albums for about a decade and simply don't like them enough to keep them.  They're both pretty common , mainstream releases.  I found them at yard sales, but with a little bit of effort, anyone could find a copy with 10 or 20 minutes of research.

Anyhow, out of the blue I got this threatening email from the artist:


Burning Spear Copyright and Trademark Infringement Notice.

Re : Cease And Desist - Burning Spear - Catalog.

To Whom It May Concern,

This office of Winston Rodney professional known as “Burning Spear’ It has come to our
attention that Bad Cat Record (You) are currently distributing and other wise exploiting
Burning Spear entire catalog on your websitehttp:Musicstaack. The work including many
unauthorizes releases Burning Spear People Of The World and other illegally manufactures
singles. Please be advised that Mr Rodney at no time granted any entity, including you, the
rights to create is entire Catalog (or any other physical reproduction) of any of his work you
have listed. Accordingly ,you, your designees and affiliates have no right whatsoever to
exploit the Work in any manner. Your exploitation of the work constitutes an infringement of
Burning Spear rights, including copyright infringement under Title 17 of the United States
Code and appropriation of Burning Spear Likeness in violation of his rights under the law
World wide.

Base on the foregoing. Burning Spear demand that you immediately cease & desist from any
further exploitation or other use of the work. Demand is further made that you account to us
for all sales of the Work and provide the name (s) and contact information for third party
distributor (s) that have utilized to distributor the Work.

If you fail to comply with the aforesaid demands, then please be advised that Burning Spear
will take any and all action necessary or appropriate in the circumstances to vigorously
enforce his rights and remedies at law or in equity. Without limiting the foregoing, to the
extent you have knowledge of the facts set forth herein and fail to comply with the demands
set forth herein we intend to seek any and all punitive damages available as the result of
your actions undertaken in bad faith in connection with this matter.

Nothing contained herein or omitted here from shall constitute an admission of any facts or
a waiver of any of Burning Spear rights or remedies, whether at law or in equity, all of which
are hereby expressly reserved. See you and your illegal partners in Courts all over the world.
Artist have rights too.

Very truly Yours
Winston Rodney Aka Burning Spear


So what to make of it?   I guess I can understand an artist wanting to protect their rights.  On the other hand, we're talking about a pair of $10 used LPs.  These are not bootlegs, nor am I pressing and releasing illegal copies of the man's work.  While I'm not a lawyer,I'm pretty sure that I'm protected by the first use doctrine.  You also have to wonder if any lawyer would really waste their time and effort going after $20?   You can only hope they have bigger fish to fry.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

POLITICS

I'm not very political, but having watched the initial Republican debate, all I can say is Gawd help us since the ten candiates seemed collectively determined to let the Democrats run the country for another four years.

Donald Trump leading the polls?  I'm thinking a lot of folks must be in on some sort of private joke.  Remember the playground bully back in grade school.  The kid who came from a dysfunction family; had all the personal problems and tried to solve them by taking his anger and frustration out on the people around him - yeah I'm thinking there are some major similarities here.



Anyhow, I have to admit it was fun watching Megyn Kelly kick Trump's butt.  She's certainly smarter and better looking than the Donald.   Come to think of it, maybe she should be running for President.

Friday, April 3, 2015

BADCATRECORDS GETS INTERVIEWED

Thanks to Rich Sheppard at After the Day of the Sabbath for interviewing BadCatRecords for his interesting blog.  Rich had apparently stumbled across some of the BadCat music reviews on the Rate Your Music website and then trolled around the BadCat website.  You can read the short interview at:

Monday, February 16, 2015

SNL 40th Anniversary - what a disappointment

I'll keep this short - the 40th Anniversary was probably the longest three and a half hours I've ever endeared.   For all the hype that went into this, there were few highlights:

- Paul Simon's stark performance of 'Still Crazy After All These Years'  - would have been even better had he done it in a turkey suit.

- Will Farrell's revisit of the Alex Trebek and Jeopardy parody

- Chevy Chase and Garrett Morris repeating their help for the hearing impaired

Pretty much everything else was dull, plodding, and disappointing.   I expected so much more.

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE - THE DEBUT

I had never seen the 1975 SNL debut, so when NBC decided to re-run it as part of the show's 40th anniversary, I decided to check it out.  Maybe it was me, but I have to admit I found it dull, plodding, ponderous, and hardly funny.  Yeah, it was the debut show and like anything, it took awhile for the show to find its groove.  About all I can say is Lorne Michaels and company were lucky to not get cancelled after their first show

George Carlin was the host.  Carlin can be funny in an unpredictable, grumpy man way.  Assuming this 1975 segment represented him at his prime; well he wasn't particularly funny, or endearing.  He seemed nervous, unsure of himself, and you could see him quickly shifting gears to a series of dumb one liner rants that did little to win the affection of the audience.  Here's a segment of his monologue:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xico7QxW7js

Two musical guests - Billy Preston's 'Nothing from Nothing' was actually pretty good.  Preston and his band were enthusiastic and turned in a version of the tune that stuck close to the studio version, but demonstrated some of the man's charm.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-b3b_HcdKL0

Janice Ian - I can only guess she was selected as the second act for her laugh-a-minute, party girl image.  Yeah, 'At 17', her ponderous, navel gazing slice of self-hatred was going to make any crowd get up and dance, or at least look for a sharp object to plunge through their eyeballs.   Forget the need to invent a Debbie Downer character when you had this segment in the can.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMUz2TNMvL0

The actors themselves made little impression.  They seemed uncertain, unsteady, or in the case of guest Andy Kaufman, plain weird. I don't care how many times tell me Kaufman's Mighty Mouse segment was comedic genius, it was just plain scary.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-wUe5aEwHM 

Even though he didn't get all that much spotlight time, the lone exception was Jim Belushi. You could just tell he had that "it" factor.  The comedy skits themselves were almost uniformly boring.  Really the only one that made me snicker was the end-of-show bee-fathers.  

If you're always wanted to check SNL out, don't start with this episode ..

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

DON'T DO THIS AT OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE

Valuable lesson

If you go to Outback Steak House, don't try to order the Victoria's Secret.  
What you want is a Victoria's Filet.    My wife and eleven year old almost wet
themselves they were laughing so hard.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What was the first album you ever got and why is it special?

Simple question for anyone who stumbled on to my small blog:

What was the first album you ever got and why is it special?

I grew up with older parents and popular music simply wasn't part of my family's
everyday life. I can't remember my parents owning any records, let alone buying
music.   In hindsi9ght that was kind of strange since my father had started his
professional career working for a radio station and he had a lifelong passion
for audio equipment. He owned a surprisingly impressive stereo system, including
a preamp, tuner, turntable, reel-to-reel, and speakers.  I just don't remember
him ever using any of it.   My mother played violin and had sung in the church
choir.  Yeah, we all listened to the radio, but that was different than actually
going out and buying music.  Against that backdrop, my first album purchase
remains a clear memory; almost a rite of passage.

My family had just moved back to the States after five years in Germany (my Dad
worked for the Department of Defense and we moved a lot).  I had just entered
high school and one of our new neighbors had two sons.  James my age (and just
as dorky as I was).  The other son Chris was a couple of years older.  He owned
a decent stereo system, had a nice looking girlfriend, drove the family's old
Jeep Cherokee, and had accumulated at least 100 albums.  Hanging out with James
brought me into Chris' realm of influence and he took notice of my fascination
with his stereo.  He was nice enough to show me his stereo and introduce me to
some of the bands he liked.  In hindsight there was a bunch of MOR dribble in
his collection.  I remember he was a big John Denver fan and had a bunch of the
man's albums.  No criticism intended, but not my cup of tea.  He had some more
contemporary stuff; James Gang, Paul McCartney and Wings, and he owed ... 



"The Beatles 1967-70" ...  The Blue Album.  I'd heard Beatles
songs over the years; I'd even seen "Yellow Submarine",
but I'd never heard their catalog in such a concentrated
form - 28 classic tunes, spread over four sides.  And Chris
was generous enough to let me borrow the LP.  I remember
slapping the LP on the family stereo and just being mesmerized by the sound.   I kept it about a week and the returned it, knowing I had to get my own copy.





The closest record store (yes they existed in the mid-70s) was in Herndon,
Virginia.  I remember grabbing a $10 bill out of my piggy bank, hopping on my
Schwinn 10 speed bike and riding the old B&W bike path to the Herndon Penguin
Feather.   My school bus drove by this establishment every day, but I'd never
actually been in the place.   The store was actually in an old converted,
ramshackle white house.  About half of the space was devoted to music and the
other half was what you'd refer to as a head shop.  As a 15 year old I was
pretty clueless about that part of their business.   Well, I got to Penguin
Feather, walked in, started pawing through their stacks while trying not to
choke on the overwhelming scent of patchouli and there it was.  A sealed copy of
"The Blue Album".  I think I paid $7.00 for it.  I hadn't been smart enough to
bring a backpack with me, so I stuffed the album in my shirt and peddling home. 
When I got home, I  opened it up and can still remember the s
hock and pleasure discovering my $7 had bought me a clear blue vinyl copy of
the album.  It just looked so cool.

My first album.   I owned it for forty year.  I played it dozens of times over
that period; each time with loving care.  Along with thousands of other albums,
I  had actually listed it for sale years ago.  When it finally sold right before
Christmas I felt a deep sense of regret packing it up for shipment.   I almost
cancelled the order, but ultimately did not.  The irony is a couple of weeks
later I stumbled into a used LP store (there are still a couple in Northern
Virginia), and found a VG+ copy of the album, complete with blue vinyl.   I
snapped it up and think this one will stay in my permanent collection.   It's
hard to explain, but I'm now in my mid-50s, but holding "The Blue Album" in my
hands can take me back to a different time.  A time when I was young, stupid,
and carefree.   It's nice to occasional revisit that life.

Friday, January 23, 2015

AREN'T AMERICANS GREAT TOURISTS ?

I try to avoid posts that simply send you to another website, but this one was funny enough to make an exception to the rule.  And yes, this is the kind of smarts and behavior that makes Americans so popular in other countries.  Guy gets his dumb as* stuck in a sculpture entitled Chac├ín-Pi (Making Love). Wonder if his school has ask for the guy's diploma to be returned.  You can read the whole story at:

http://news.artnet.com/people/32-ton-marble-vagina-traps-us-exchange-student-46442

Thursday, January 15, 2015

WAKING UP TO DISCOVER I'M CULTURALLY OBSOLETE

So Wednesday morning I took my eleven year old to the dentist for a six month check-up.

While waiting for the dental technician to finish the cleaning and X-rays, I picked
up a copy of People Magazine that was lying in the waiting room.  It happened to be their 2014 best and worst issue.  I don't subscribe to People, but since I'd already read the six month old copy of Sports Illustrated and had no interest in the Southern Living magazine, People appeared to be my best bet.

What I quickly discovered is that at 56 I have become culturally obsolete and irrelevant.

Look at their list of Top 10 movies, I was aware of all ten flicks and even knew the rough plotlines for all of them.   Number I had actually seen ...  zero

Top 10 television shows.  Most are on premium cable which I don't subscribe to. I had heard of seven of the ten shows, though a couple were complete unknowns to me -    How to Get Away with  Murder,  Happy Valley ... never heard of them.  Seven out of ten would seem to be a passing grade except for the fact I had not seen one of these shows.

Top 10 songs.  Again, I take some comfort in having known all  ten of these artists, to say nothing of the fact I'd actually heard seven of the top-ten songs   I did check out Dierk Bentley's "Drunk on a Plane".   The title was too good not to check it out.   Sadly. I don't own a single one of the top-10 songs. 

Top 10 books - Was aware of six of the books; had read reviewed for most of them, and might actually read three of them at some point.   Number I had read to that point - zero.

Top 10 viral hits.   I had seen two of these clips the selfie taken at the Oscars selfie and the clip of President Obama being interviewed by Zach Galifankis

Top 10 breakups and weddings.   I recognized a couple of the names - I think Jennifer Lopez was on their continuing her long standing streak of marital disarray.  Thing is I really didn't care about either of those categories.  The break-ups aren't something to be proud of and  I suspect most of the folks on the wedding list will be on a future break-up list.

Anyhow, at that point my kid was done with his check-up (no cavities) and I had reached the end of my 2014 best and worst span of attention.  Culturally irrelevant and 56.  Bummer.

Friday, January 2, 2015

36 HOURS INTO THE NEW YEAR AND AMAZON HITS MY LIST

Wow, I actually made it a day and a half into the new year before something
pissed me off.   In this case Amazon.com.  Guess I'm not the only one with
gripes against this mindless entity.

I have a couple of thousand vinyl LPs listed on Amazon.  All of them are
original pressings, as opposed to reissues.   And that's where the problem
starts.

Amazon apparently runs some sort of background algorithm that looks at pricing. 
If the software detects that your asking price is outside of normal boundaries,
the company disables the listing until such time as you adjust your price to
bring it back down to an "acceptable" price range.  The software apparently
can't tell the difference between an original and a reissued product.

Here's the email I got from the company:

Dear Seller,

We are contacting you because we have detected potential pricing errors in your
Amazon.com product listings. To avoid a potentially negative customer experience
caused by mispriced items, we have deactivated these listings.

These deactivated listings are marked in Manage Inventory with a Status of
"Inactive (Pricing Error)".

To reactivate your listings, click on "Fix Price Alerts" and then on "Potential
Pricing Error" on the left menu to:

- update  your offer price, or
- confirm your offer price by setting "Your minimum price" and "Your maximum
price" in the specified columns so that your offer price is within the minimum
and maximum price range. We will alert you in the future if your price falls
outside your price range. If you do not use the minimum and maximum price
settings, our systems will continue to use internal data to help detect
potential pricing errors.

If you have a Professional selling account, you can also use the Inventory
Loader file or the Price & Quantity file to update your prices as well as your
minimum and maximum prices. For more information, search in Seller Central Help
for the terms "Unblocking Your Listings", "Inventory Loader", and "Price and
Quantity".

If you have questions or need assistance, log in to your Seller Central account
and click the "Contact Seller Support" link at the bottom of the page. For
feedback about this pricing error program, please send an e-mail to
listing-error-feedback@amazon.com.

Thank you for selling on Amazon,

Your Amazon Services Team

--------------- Listings with Potential Pricing Errors ---------------

Note: If you have more than 100 listings with potential pricing errors, only the
first 100 are listed here.

ASIN    SKU    TITLE    PRICE
B000VL1TYO    EV-1NOK-P13U    LACEWING [LP VINYL]    150.00
B001I3GMTQ    NX-2ALO-UHTD    Stereoequipe [Vinyl]    200.00
B002XDE4CW    P4-CHV7-E1NC    Ultimate Prophecy (Ogv) [Vinyl]    80.00


Out of curiosity I decded to see what was actually listed on Amazon for these
three items.

Again, my three are all original pressings.

Lacewing;  There are nine copies; all reissues ranging in price from $14.95 to
$23.72.  

Stereoequipe; There are four copies; all reissues ranging in price from $30 to
$48.99   The only original was mine. 

Ultimate Prophecy; one copy and it is a reissue with a price of $14.98. 

Again, in each case my listings were the only original copies.   Hard to believe
that Amazon would force a seller to lower their prices to match the lower price
of something that is inherently different.

Anyhow, I responded with comments trying to explain the differences between an
original and a reissue.  I'm thinking I wasted my time.

Happy New Year everyone.