Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Another Chapter in Life

When I look back at my life thus far, I can definitely define certain chapters...such as Chp 1-Childhood, Chp 2-Teenage Years/Getting Driving License/Becoming Interested in Girls; Chp 3-College; Chp 4-Dating the Soon to Be Wife; Chp 5: Getting the First Job; Chp 6: Marriage. It appears that Chapter 7 will begin officially tomorrow..entitled Fatherhood. This will likely be the longest Chapter in the book of my life. As most everyone knows, my wife and I have not chosen to discover the sex of the baby. Either way it goes, it will be a blessing. Needless to say, today I am very nervous and apprehensive. Probably not nearly as much as my wife. She has been sleeping less and less because the baby has gotten so large that it keeps her up..making trips to the bathroom every hour. We have been cleaning the house, organizing lots of things (or as my wife says...Nesting), and charging all the batteries for the various cameras, Ipods, etc. Betsy's parents drove up this afternoon to help her take her mind off all the events of tomorrow. We will likely go out to dinner tonight and Betsy will have her last good meal for a few days. It's not like she gets to enjoy the food for very long considering that the doctor has instructed her to take an Enema tonight in order to clear her out. With her stomach messing up like it has lately, it's almost as though she doesn't need the enema. Tomorrow morning we have to be at the hospital at 7:15 a.m. and they plan to induce at 7:30 a.m. I hope and pray that the baby comes quickly and we are not still waiting for it to arrive at 8 p.m. As of right now, we have narrowed the name of the baby down to a few of both sexes. If the baby is a girl, we're thinking of either Jessica Caldwell Allison, Grace Caldwell Allison, or Elizabeth Caldwell Allison. If it is a boy, we've pretty much decided on James Caldwell Allison. I'm sure that you can see the consistency with the middle name of Caldwell. This was my grandfather's last name (on my mother's side). My grandfather had only daughters and I wanted to give this name to the baby in order to carry on the name for future generations.

Well, I'm off to dinner with the folks. Hopefully I will have pics of the new baby when I post next. What a new and exciting Chapter is about to be written. I'm sure my blog posts will be more exciting and humorous with a little child in my life. This chapter is where all the meat of my life story begins.

Currently listening to:
The Slider (Remastered 2-disc set)
Released on: 7-16-02

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A Rush to the Finish

My wife was given the unfortunate news last Tuesday (5/23/06) about the pregnancy (dont' get worried...there's nothing wrong with the baby). Betsy was told that she was going to have to wait another week to have the baby. The doctor continues to play this cruel joke with my wife getting her hopes up that he will either induce with each upcoming visit or will decide to perform a C-Section. We went into Tuesday's appointment expecting the doctor to perform a c-section considering that the baby had measured 8 lbs 9 oz during the previous week's visit. On Tuesday, my wife had another ultrasound and we found out that the baby only weighed 8 lbs. 13 oz. This weight did not reach the cut-off point for a C-Section (which is 9 lbs 3 oz.) and the doctor told her to hold out another week to give the baby more time to develop its lungs. This was not the news my wife wanted to hear. She had come expecting to be told to go to the hospital that afternoon to deliver the baby. Needless to say, Betsy was about in tears in the examination room and appeared to want to do something unpleasant to the doctor. The doctor appeared to slip out the room quickly while I told him that I would blame him if she attempted to kill me over the next week. Luckily the doctor did inform us that if the baby did not appear within the next week then he would definitely induce during the week of May 29. Betsy made an appointment the afternoon after she left the office and we are currently scheduled to be at the hospital on Wed. morning (5/31) at 7:15 am.

Well, today is Saturday (5/27) and Betsy has not had the baby yet. She has done everything she can think of to bring the baby forth into the world (including walking on the treadmill, walking at the mall, eating, sex..heck, you name it..we've probably tried it). Betsy's hormones are definitely getting worse as the due draws near. I was trying to help out around the house today (washing clothes, vacuuming, dishes, etc) and she about wanted to kill me for no reason. She told me sternly to get out of the house and go to the gym so that she didn't say something mean or attempt to take my life. I took the hint and got out of dodge. She has chilled out as the night has progressed. She's getting tired of being cooped up in the house and can't sleep well or eat what she wants without having horrible bouts of indigestion. We should buy stock in Maalox after all we've bought during the term of the pregnancy. I think we're gonna drive to my parents' house tomorrow and sit by the pool. Maybe this change of scenery and some socialization will help things. Just keep your fingers crossed that either the baby comes soon or my wife has the strength to make it to Wed. morning.

Currently listening to:
Jon Auer
Songs from the Year of Our Demise
Released on: 5-2-06

Friday, May 26, 2006

My Emmy Thoughts (Comedy and Drama)

Earlier I posted a link to a dream Emmy ballot on TV Guide (http://community.tvguide.com/thread.jspa?threadID=700002499#comments) . Not that award shows are really that big of a deal, but it never fails that the nominations each year are so one-sided (aka, almost every woman from Desparate Housewives, alot of people from the West Wing (which is finally gone thank heavens), Will & Grace (has anyone really watched this show in 4-5 years), and a host of movie actors that appear on Sunday night TV drama/movies. It appears that lesser watched shows (on smaller networks or on cable TV) are usually ignored (the Sopranos is about the only show I can think of that is regularly nominated). Let's cross our fingers that some lesser know names get at least nominated this year. Here's my reaction to the emmy list:

Best Comedy:
One of my friends turned me on to watching Entourage this year. I've caught up on the past 2 season while my pregnant wife snores at night. I have to say that this series is top rate. I can't wait til the new season starts up in June. If you follow the entertainment industry, then you'll likely find the show hilarious (that and it will make you wish you could live the life of an actor or musician). Thought Entourage is deserving, I have to reiterate that Scrubs is the funniest thing out there today. With Turk and Carla being pregant this year, my wife and I have had so many laughs. Alot of the writers have recently had children and they have absolutely pegged the experience (from both a male and female perspective) of the 9 months leading up to the child's birth. The winner should be Scrubs, but alas, Will and Grace will likely win just because this is the last year and people feel nostalgic.

Best Drama:
I regularly watch 3 of the 5 nominated drama series (Grey's Anatomy, The Shield, and the Sopranos). I wish the Sci-Fi channel would start over and re-run all the Battlestar Galactica episodes because I've heard nothing but good about this series. The show 'Lost' never really grabbed me and I feel that trying to catch up may take awhile. From the 3 shows that I do watch, I have to pick the Shield. No show this season has made me wait in anticipation from one episode to the next. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about what the writers are gonna do (Shaun Ryan is great..another Buffy alumni that deserves mucho props). The Vick vs. Kavanaugh verbal battle all season has been top rate. I can't say that I'm dying to see each week's Sopranos. This season has been rather slow (I understand that it's about character development, but I thought they would be attempting to tie up story lines considering that they only have 8 or 9 episodes left after this week's season finale.) Grey's Anatomy was introduced to me by my wife. I've grown to like the show, but it's a soap opera. Everwood is about 100 times the drama that Grey's is..too bad the WB is becoming the CW and Ostroff (the CW head) axed this show in favor of 7th Heaven (or should I say the 7th layer of hell...a fitting abode for Ostroff). If the decision was up to me, I'd pull for the Shield (though it likely won't get nominated and some shit like West Wing will win).

Well, I'll continue my opinion spill later on. I have to go check on the pregnant wife (Wed. can't come too soon for her).

Currently listening to:
Massive Attack
Released on: 4-4-06

TV Guide Emmy Ballot

Over the past few years without the burden of studying every waking second, I have come back to one of my favorite past times...watching TV. At this time of year, the Emmy nominations are announced. In preparation for the list of nominees, TV guide online has provided a list of nominees that they'd like to see. Of course, TV guide offers alot of nominees that are on TV shows that are not watched by the American populace. Of course, this fact begs the intelligence of many Americans when they would rather tune into American Idol, rather than something of quality such as the Sopranos, the Shield, Big Love, Scrubs, or Everwood. I'm proud to say that I go against the grain and attempt to expand my mind rather than pollute it with reality TV trash. Here is the link to TV Guide's dream emmy ballot:


I'll return later to offer my opinions concerning this ballot.

Currently listening to:
The Elms
The Chess Hotel
Released: 5-2-06

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Nascar Ladies

A few weeks ago I was watching some news story about how NASCAR has been influencing about every realm of pop culture, including women's fashion. I was out tonight and I noticed a woman in her mid-40's walking around in her tight blue jeans, NASCAR t-shirt, and of all things, a freaking NASCAR purse with the 28 number emblazened all over it (for those who don't follow racing, that's the number of the late Dale Earnhardt). I've grown up my entire life in the south and have yet to really understand the appeal of NASCAR. People are more fanatic about this sport than most people are about college football. More people show up at a NASCAR race than show up at an SEC football game. Back to the lady I saw today, what's the deal with the Dale Earnhardt purse? All I can say is...another weird day living in the south.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Video Try

I went to youtube.com tonight to experiment with uploading video to my blog.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Trip to the Grocery Store

One of my many tasks since my wife has been pregnant is to roam the grocery store in search of the powdered (or chocolate) bag of donuts for the wife. Of course she likes me to buy other items (such as Diet Coke), and I never complain. It's funny how many other men you end up seeing at the grocery store. I guess I've gone quite a bit more than many of them have considering their lost gazes and their wish for a map. It's funny how most of the lost men end up in the area either near the beer or near the already prepared fried foods (I guess they are nostalgic for the days when they were in college and unable to cook..why not let my friendly neighborhood Krogers cook me some fried chicken for the fourth night in a row).

I ran into a very scary sight as I rounded the corner of frozen foods (where the ice cream is located)...a Kroger employee handing out free ice cream drumsticks...not just a small drumstick..but the whole 500 calorie treat. Free ice cream in the frozen food aisle is like an unspoken alert to the many fat heffer cows that are grazing the grocery store aisles. As I turned the corner into the frozen foods..I thought Kroger's had put up a 'old fat heffer lady grazing' sign. I walked toward the free ice cream and I swear that I ran into about five to six 250 -300 lbs women in their 50's or 60's with a drum stick in their mouth. They looked hungrier after walking a few aisles of Krogers than an ugly hooker on a well lit street corner. I didn't bring my lasso to Krogers and therefore I chose to walk down another aisle to avoid the ice cream grazers.

Well, I got my shopping done and made my way to the checkout lane of Krogers. One of the ice cream heffer cows and her 16 yr old calf jumped in front of me in line. The heffer's cart was so piled down that you would have thought that the wheels would have been giving off sparks. Before the woman handed over the Kroger card, she handed the cashier 2 empty bottles of Diet Coke to scan..I guess they thought that the Diet Coke helped mask the effects of the Drum sticks. For some reason, the heffer must have thought the ice cream was delicious because she proceeded to unload 10 boxes of ice cream sandwiches, about 7 twelve packs of regular Coke, 2 or 3 Super size bags of Doritos, and the kitchen sink. The woman bought so much that the poor bag boy had to go find a second cart to put all the brown paper sacks in. Needless to say, after my Krogers experience, I wanted to go run 10 miles. I'm not the most in-shape person, but damn people, don't you heffers ever look in the mirror or watch your car sink to the ground when you get in? Guess they all drive jacked Ford super duty trucks.

Hope that someone gets a kick out of my grocery store rant. It's amazing to see the crazies every week. Grill up a steak for me...and open a box of ice cream sandwiches.

Currently listening to:
The Stills
Without Feathers
Released: 5-9-06

Monday, May 08, 2006

Raise A Glass To the Go Betweens

I woke this morning to some unsettling news. If you don't follow indie music and only listened to the radio in the 80's, then you likely missed out on an integral pop/rock group from Australia by the name of the Go Betweens. I didn't really learn much about them until around 2000 at the suggestion of a musically inclined friend. I started listening to one of their albums called 'Before Hollywood.' Needless to say, this album is essential. Most recently, the group released an album in 2005 called 'Oceans Apart,' one of my favorite albums of last year. Back to the unsettling news..the lead singer of the group Grant McLennan died of unknown cause over the weekend. If you've never checked out this group, I would suggest opening your mind and music selection beyond the radio..the Go Betweens won't disappoint you.

In the event one of my children reads my blog in the future, I have provided a description of the group from allmusic.com:

The Go-Betweens were perhaps the quintessential cult band of the '80s: they came from an exotic locale (Brisbane, Australia), moved to a major recording center (in their case, London) in a sustained bid to make a career out of music, released album after album of music seemingly tailor-made for the radio in spite of their having little use for contemporary Top 40 musical/lyrical formulas, and earned considerable critical praise and a small but fervent international fan base. Although the Go-Betweens were absent throughout the '90s before re-forming in the new millennium, both of the band's songwriters embarked on respectable solo careers in the interim and, while rarely reaching the heights the Go-Betweens scaled, they still managed to uphold the group's legacy.

Robert Forster and Grant McLennan began as a pair of teenagers obsessed with the earthy rock of Dylan, CCR, and the Velvet Underground and encouraged by the Australian punk of the Saints. As collected on The Able Label Singles, their first two singles show a fondness for scruffy, British Invasion/new wave-influenced pop/rock. Picking up permanent drummer Lindy Morrison, they recorded their debut LP, moved to England, and signed a short-lived deal with Rough Trade. Going for a lush, tuneful sound crammed with nonstandard rock instrumentation, they went on to record five more excellent LPs. Though their pre-Beggars Banquet albums were traditionally hard to find in the States, that label finally reissued all six albums on CD in 1996.

In 2000 the band reunited and released a new album, The Friends of Rachel Worth, which also featured all three members of Sleater-Kinney. It wasn't just a fluke, as the band recorded follow-up albums released in 2003 (Bright Yellow Bright Orange) and 2005 (Oceans Apart). Documenting a 2005 concert in their hometown, the DVD/CD package That Striped Sunlight Sound arrived in early 2006.

Currently listening to:

Released 5-2-06

Friday, May 05, 2006

Another Music Lesson...

Thought that I would offer up another music lesson to my future children. Today I will introduce you to the Rolling Stones..the group that never wants to die. Enjoy the article:

By the time the Rolling Stones began calling themselves the World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band in the late '60s, they had already staked out an impressive claim on the title. As the self-consciously dangerous alternative to the bouncy Merseybeat of the Beatles in the British Invasion, the Stones had pioneered the gritty, hard-driving blues-based rock & roll that came to define hard rock. With his preening machismo and latent maliciousness, Mick Jagger became the prototypical rock frontman, tempering his macho showmanship with a detached, campy irony while Keith Richards and Brian Jones wrote the blueprint for sinewy, interlocking rhythm guitars. Backed by the strong yet subtly swinging rhythm section of bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts, the Stones became the breakout band of the British blues scene, eclipsing such contemporaries as the Animals and Them. Over the course of their career, the Stones never really abandoned blues, but as soon as they reached popularity in the U.K., they began experimenting musically, incorporating the British pop of contemporaries like the Beatles, Kinks, and Who into their sound. After a brief dalliance with psychedelia, the Stones re-emerged in the late '60s as a jaded, blues-soaked hard rock quintet. The Stones always flirted with the seedy side of rock & roll, but as the hippie dream began to break apart, they exposed and reveled in the new rock culture. It wasn't without difficulty, of course. Shortly after he was fired from the group, Jones was found dead in a swimming pool, while at a 1969 free concert at Altamont, a concertgoer was brutally killed during the Stones' show. But the Stones never stopped going. For the next 30 years, they continued to record and perform, and while their records weren't always blockbusters, they were never less than the most visible band of their era — certainly, none of their British peers continued to be as popular or productive as the Stones. And no band since has proven to have such a broad fan base or far-reaching popularity, and it is impossible to hear any of the groups that followed them without detecting some sort of influence, whether it was musical or aesthetic.

Throughout their career, Mick Jagger (vocals) and Keith Richards (guitar, vocals) remained at the core of the Rolling Stones. The pair initially met as children at Dartford Maypole County Primary School. They drifted apart over the next ten years, eventually making each other's acquaintance again in 1960, when they met through a mutual friend, Dick Taylor, who was attending Sidcup Art School with Richards. At the time, Jagger was studying at the London School of Economics and playing with Taylor in the blues band Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys. Shortly afterward, Richards joined the band. Within a year, they had met Brian Jones (guitar, vocals), a Cheltenham native who had dropped out of school to play saxophone and clarinet. By the time he became a fixture on the British blues scene, Jones had already had a wild life. He ran away to Scandinavia when he was 16; by that time, he had already fathered two illegitimate children. He returned to Cheltenham after a few months, where he began playing with the Ramrods. Shortly afterward, he moved to London, where he played in Alexis Korner's group, Blues Inc. Jones quickly decided he wanted to form his own group and advertised for members; among those he recruited was the heavyset blues pianist Ian Stewart.

As he played with his group, Jones also moonlighted under the name Elmo Jones at the Ealing Blues Club. At the pub, he became reacquainted with Blues, Inc., which now featured drummer Charlie Watts, and, on occasion, cameos by Jagger and Richards. Jones became friends with Jagger and Richards, and they soon began playing together with Taylor and Stewart; during this time, Mick was elevated to the status of Blues, Inc.'s lead singer. With the assistance of drummer Tony Chapman, the fledgling band recorded a demo tape. After the tape was rejected by EMI, Taylor left the band to attend the Royal College of Art; he would later form the Pretty Things. Before Taylor's departure, the group named itself the Rolling Stones, borrowing the moniker from a Muddy Waters song.

The Rolling Stones gave their first performance at the Marquee Club in London on July 12, 1962. At the time, the group consisted of Jagger, Richards, Jones, pianist Ian Stewart, drummer Mick Avory, and Dick Taylor, who had briefly returned to the fold. Weeks after the concert, Taylor left again and was replaced by Bill Wyman, formerly of the Cliftons. Avory also left the group — he would later join the Kinks — and the Stones hired Tony Chapman, who proved to be unsatisfactory. After a few months of persuasion, the band recruited Charlie Watts, who had quit Blues, Inc. to work at an advertising agency once the group's schedule became too hectic. By 1963, the band's lineup had been set, and the Stones began an eight-month residency at the Crawdaddy Club, which proved to substantially increase their fan base. It also attracted the attention of Andrew Loog Oldham, who became the Stones' manager, signing them from underneath Crawdaddy's Giorgio Gomelsky. Although Oldham didn't know much about music, he was gifted at promotion, and he latched upon the idea of fashioning the Stones as the bad-boy opposition to the clean-cut Beatles. At his insistence, the large yet meek Stewart was forced out of the group, since his appearance contrasted with the rest of the group. Stewart didn't disappear from the Stones; he became one of their key roadies and played on their albums and tours until his death in 1985.

With Oldham's help, the Rolling Stones signed with Decca Records, and that June, they released their debut single, a cover of Chuck Berry's "Come On." The single became a minor hit, reaching number 21, and the group supported it with appearances on festivals and package tours. At the end of the year, they released a version of Lennon-McCartney's "I Wanna Be Your Man" that soared into the Top 15. Early in 1964, they released a cover of Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away," which shot to number three. "Not Fade Away" became their first American hit, reaching number 48 that spring. By that time, the Stones were notorious in their homeland. Considerably rougher and sexier than the Beatles, the Stones were the subject of numerous sensationalistic articles in the British press, culminating in a story about the band urinating in public. All of these stories cemented the Stones as a dangerous, rebellious band in the minds of the public, and had the effect of beginning a manufactured rivalry between them and the Beatles, which helped the group rocket to popularity in the U.S. In the spring of 1964, the Stones released their eponymous debut album, which was followed by "It's All Over Now," their first U.K. number one. That summer, they toured America to riotous crowds, recording the Five by Five EP at Chess Records in Chicago in the midst of the tour. By the time it was over, they had another number one U.K. single with Howlin' Wolf's "Little Red Rooster." Although the Stones had achieved massive popularity, Oldham decided to push Jagger and Richards into composing their own songs, since they — and his publishing company — would receive more money that away. In June of 1964, the group released their first original single, "Tell Me (You're Coming Back)," which became their first American Top 40 hit. Shortly afterward, a version of Irma Thomas' "Time Is on My Side" became their first U.S. Top Ten. It was followed by "The Last Time" in early 1965, a number one U.K. and Top Ten U.S. hit that began a virtually uninterrupted string of Jagger-Richards hit singles. Still, it wasn't until the group released "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" in the summer of 1965 that they were elevated to superstars. Driven by a fuzz-guitar riff designed to replicate the sound of a horn section, "Satisfaction" signaled that Jagger and Richards had come into their own as songwriters, breaking away from their blues roots and developing a signature style of big, bluesy riffs and wry, sardonic lyrics. It stayed at number one for four weeks and began a string of Top Ten singles that ran for the next two years, including such classics as "Get off My Cloud," "19th Nervous Breakdown," "As Tears Go By," and "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?"

By 1966, the Stones had decided to respond to the Beatles' increasingly complex albums with their first album of all-original material, Aftermath. Due to Brian Jones' increasingly exotic musical tastes, the record boasted a wide range of influences, from the sitar-drenched "Paint It, Black" to the Eastern drones of "I'm Going Home." These eclectic influences continued to blossom on Between the Buttons (1967), the most pop-oriented album the group ever made. Ironically, the album's release was bookended by two of the most notorious incidents in the band's history. Before the record was released, the Stones performed the suggestive "Let's Spend the Night Together," the B-side to the medieval ballad "Ruby Tuesday," on The Ed Sullivan Show, which forced Jagger to alter the song's title to an incomprehensible mumble, or else face being banned. In February of 1967, Jagger and Richards were arrested for drug possession, and within three months, Jones was arrested on the same charge. All three were given suspended jail sentences, and the group backed away from the spotlight as the summer of love kicked into gear in 1967. Jagger, along with his then-girlfriend Marianne Faithfull, went with the Beatles to meet the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi; they were also prominent in the international broadcast of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love." Appropriately, the Stones' next single, "Dandelion"/"We Love You," was a psychedelic pop effort, and it was followed by their response to Sgt. Pepper, Their Satanic Majesties Request, which was greeted with lukewarm reviews.The Stones' infatuation with psychedelia was brief. By early 1968, they had fired Andrew Loog Oldham and hired Allen Klein as their manager. The move coincided with their return to driving rock & roll, which happened to coincide with Richards' discovery of open tunings, a move that gave the Stones their distinctively fat, powerful sound. The revitalized Stones were showcased on the malevolent single "Jumpin' Jack Flash," which climbed to number three in May 1968. Their next album, Beggar's Banquet, was finally released in the fall, after being delayed for five months due its controversial cover art of a dirty, graffiti-laden restroom. An edgy record filled with detours into straight blues and campy country, Beggar's Banquet was hailed as a masterpiece among the fledgling rock press. Although it was seen as a return to form, few realized that while it opened a new chapter of the Stones' history, it also was the closing of their time with Brian Jones. Throughout the recording of Beggar's Banquet, Jones was on the sidelines due to his deepening drug addiction and his resentment of the dominance of Jagger and Richards. Jones left the band on June 9, 1969, claiming to be suffering from artistic differences between himself and the rest of the band. On July 3, 1969 — less than a month after his departure — Jones was found dead in his swimming pool. The coroner ruled that it was "death by misadventure," yet his passing was the subject of countless rumors over the next two years. By the time of his death, the Stones had already replaced Brian Jones with Mick Taylor, a former guitarist for John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. He wasn't featured on "Honky Tonk Women," a number one single released days after Jones' funeral, and he contributed only a handful of leads on their next album, Let It Bleed. Released in the fall of 1969, Let It Bleed was comprised of sessions with Jones and Taylor, yet it continued the direction of Beggar's Banquet, signaling that a new era in the Stones' career had begun, one marked by ragged music and an increasingly wasted sensibility. Following Jagger's filming of Ned Kelly in Australia during the first part of 1969, the group launched its first American tour in three years. Throughout the tour — the first where they were billed as the World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band — the group broke attendance records, but it was given a sour note when the group staged a free concert at Altamont Speedway. On the advice of the Grateful Dead, the Stones hired Hell's Angels as security, but that plan backfired tragically. The entire show was unorganized and in shambles, yet it turned tragic when the Angels killed a young black man, Meredith Hunter, during the Stones' performance. In the wake of the public outcry, the Stones again retreated from the spotlight and dropped "Sympathy for the Devil," which some critics ignorantly claimed incited the violence, from their set. As the group entered hiatus, they released the live Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! in the fall of 1970. It was their last album for Decca/London, and they formed Rolling Stones Records, which became a subsidiary of Atlantic Records. During 1970, Jagger starred in Nicolas Roeg's cult film Performance and married Nicaraguan model Bianca Perez Morena de Macias, and the couple quickly entered high society. As Jagger was jet-setting, Richards was slumming, hanging out with country-rock pioneer Gram Parsons. Keith wound up having more musical influence on 1971's Sticky Fingers, the first album the Stones released though their new label. Following its release, the band retreated to France on tax exile, where they shared a house and recorded a double album, Exile on Main St. Upon its May 1972 release, Exile on Main St. was widely panned, but over time it came to be considered one of the group's defining moments. Following Exile, the Stones began to splinter in two, as Jagger concentrated on being a celebrity and Richards sank into drug addiction. The band remained popular throughout the '70s, but their critical support waned. Goats Head Soup, released in 1973, reached number one, as did 1974's It's Only Rock 'n' Roll, but neither record was particularly well received. Taylor left the band after It's Only Rock 'n' Roll, and the group recorded their next album as they auditioned new lead guitarists, including Jeff Beck. They finally settled on Ron Wood, former lead guitarist for the Faces and Rod Stewart, in 1976, the same year they released Black n' Blue, which only featured Wood on a handful of cuts.

During the mid- and late '70s, all the Stones pursued side projects, with both Wyman and Wood releasing solo albums with regularity. Richards was arrested in Canada in 1977 with his common-law wife Anita Pallenberg for heroin possession. After his arrest, he cleaned up and was given a suspended sentence the following year. The band reconvened in 1978 to record Some Girls, an energetic response to punk, new wave, and disco. The record and its first single, the thumping disco-rocker "Miss You," both reached number one, and the album restored the group's image. However, the group squandered that goodwill with the follow-up, Emotional Rescue, a number one record that nevertheless received lukewarm reviews upon its 1980 release. Tattoo You, released the following year, fared better both critically and commercially, as the singles "Start Me Up" and "Waiting on a Friend" helped the album spend nine weeks at number one. The Stones supported Tattoo You with an extensive stadium tour captured in Hal Ashby's movie Let's Spend the Night Together and the 1982 live album Still Life. Tattoo You proved to be the last time the Stones completely dominated the charts and the stadiums. Although the group continued to sell out concerts in the '80s and '90s, their records didn't sell as well as previous efforts, partially because the albums suffered due to Jagger and Richards' notorious mid-'80s feud. Starting with 1983's Undercover, the duo conflicted about which way the band should go, with Jagger wanting the Stones to follow contemporary trends and Richards wanting them to stay true to their rock roots. As a result, Undercover was a mean-spirited, unfocused record that received relatively weak sales and mixed reviews. Released in 1986, Dirty Work suffered a worse fate, since Jagger was preoccupied with his fledgling solo career. Once Jagger decided that the Stones would not support Dirty Work with a tour, Richards decided to make his own solo record with 1988's Talk Is Cheap. Appearing a year after Jagger's failed second solo album, Talk Is Cheap received good reviews and went gold, prompting Jagger and Richards to reunite late in 1988. The following year, the Stones released Steel Wheels, which was received with good reviews, but the record was overshadowed by its supporting tour, which grossed over 140 million dollars and broke many box office records. In 1991, the live album Flashpoint, which was culled from the Steel Wheels shows, was released. Following the release of Flashpoint, Bill Wyman left the band; he published a memoir, Stone Alone, within a few years of leaving. The Stones didn't immediately replace Wyman, since they were all working on solo projects; this time, there was none of the animosity surrounding their mid-'80s projects. The group reconvened in 1994 with bassist Darryl Jones, who had previously played with Miles Davis and Sting, to record and release the Don Was-produced Voodoo Lounge. The album received the band's strongest reviews in years, and its accompanying tour was even more successful than the Steel Wheels tour. On top of being more successful than its predecessor, Voodoo Lounge also won the Stones their first Grammy for Best Rock Album. Upon the completion of the Voodoo Lounge tour, the Stones released the live, "unplugged" album Stripped in the fall of 1995. Similarly, after wrapping up their tour in support of 1997's Bridges to Babylon, the group issued yet another live set, No Security, the following year. A high-profile greatest-hits tour in 2002 was launched despite the lack of a studio album to support, and its album document Live Licks appeared in 2004. A year later, the group issued A Bigger Bang, their third effort with producer Don Was.

Currently listening to:
Beth Orton
Comfort of Strangers
Released: 2-7-06

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Time is Ticking Away...

My wife and I went to the OB on Tuesday of this week in order have the regular weekly check-up for the upcoming baby. The baby appears to be healthy, but it appears that it also enjoys eating. According to the OB, the baby is weighing in at 6.8 lbs., which is a little heavier than he wanted. Because of this news, it appears that my wife may be induced in about 2 weeks (possibly 3 depending upon the baby's development during next week's visit). With the sudden news that the baby may be coming in 2 weeks, my wife suddenly has become stressed with trying to get all the 'little things' done (such as getting the baby's room put together and buying little things). Some of my wife's friends from work are throwing her a baby shower this weekend and alot of both sides of the family are coming up. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone and I'm looking forward to people bestowing gifts on my wife so that my pocketbook can rest for a little while. My father in law is definitely going to relieve my wife's stress by putting together the baby's crib (since God did not provide me that gift).

Next week I have to go to Huntsville in order to do some testing at a client I've had for the past 3 years now. I'm a little apprehensive about traveling with the baby so close, but I'd rather do the work now than directly after the baby arrives. I just hope that my company is able to keep me in town more often once the baby arrives. I've traveled heavily for the past 3 years now. I also have the annual consensus meeting next week where my raise will be determined. I hope that my superiors provide me some positive feedback and I get a decent raise. The combination of the travel situation and the consensus meeting outcome will likely determine how much longer I stay with this company. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Currently listening to:
Destroyer-Destroyer's Rubies
Released 2-21-06