Some might find me borderline attractive from afar

But afar is not where I can stay and there you are

—-Sparks, Johnny Delusional
Sparks, Propaganda album cover.

There are so many thousands of streaming choices, yet it is so hard to find something to watch.

For some reason I chose the documentary The Sparks Brothers on Netflix. The title is a joke, of course, there are no Sparks Brothers. There are brothers – Russel (the good-looking heartthrob singer) and Ron (the odd-looking genius songwriter and keyboardist) Mael – and there is Sparks – a long running (25 albums and counting) and very odd band… but there are no Sparks Brothers nor Brothers Spark.

I have a little history of Sparks fandom. I missed their early years – we forget in this internet age how difficult it was to track oddball musical groups from Kansas and Nicaragua – no matter how interesting and good they were. I do think I saw them on Don Kersher’s Rock Concert in 1974 – but other than Ron’s Hitler mustache and strange demeanor – I didn’t remember much.

A decade later they re-invented themselves to fit in with the MTV generation and they had a hit song, Cool Places:

I hat a bit of a crush on Jane Wiedlen (at any rate, she was my favorite Go-Go) and I became a Sparks fan. My roommate was also a fan (and a more accomplished student of popular music than I) and we actually went to a concert at Tango – on lower Greenville – here in Dallas – probably in 1983 or 4. I remember the show and really enjoyed it – but Tango was my favorite spot in the world at the time (I was in my mid-to-late 20’s) and any concert there was a blast.

Not long after that I was married then with kids and any attempts at keeping up with alternative music was drowned out in a three decade long tsunami of art projects, soccer practice, and working my ass off to pay for everything.

Now, from watching the documentary, I discovered that the two brothers went through a number of dry spells – but kept reinventing their music and getting the occasional hit in the occasional country and have survived until this day. I think I’ll dial them up on Spotify and make up a playlist.

The fun thing about these documentaries that follow a band for decades is how you can watch and relate what the band was doing to your own life at that time. It actually manages to give a little more perspective on your time in this world of strife and pain.

I learned a few interesting things about the band. One, I had never appreciated their lyrics. Ron writes from the heart – and though the songs are often funny and quirky – they had a dark heart. I think I’ll copy some over, there might be something to learn, some inspiration in there somewhere. There sure are a lot of them.

Another tidbit is a live project they did – in 2007… at that time they had 20 albums out and were about to release their 21st… they performed all their albums in order, one per night, for 20 nights – culminating with their new album on the 21st. Think of how hard this would be – hundreds of songs – they rehearsed for months – how would you remember the songs from the 1st album while you were working on number 20?

Finally, I learned that Russell Mael had a brief affair with Jane Wiedlen back in the day. Lucky dog.

Here’s my current favorite Sparks song:

What I learned this week, June 3, 2022

FAILE uses the year 1986 in their work – the year of the Challenger Disaster.

The New Normal Is Failure

The clusterfark in Uvalde is just a symptom of a much bigger pathology. It is a symbol of the failure of every institution in our society. And the solution is never to revamp the institutions and eject the parasites heading them. It’s always – always – to take power from us and give it to the people who screwed up in the first place.

Mojo Coffee, Magazine Street, New Orleans, Louisiana (click to enlarge)

People who drink coffee daily live longer, study says.


This is ART!

Mona Lisa is attacked with custard pie by man disguised as elderly woman in a wheelchair screaming ‘think of the planet!’… before he’s dragged away by security.

“The man, who wore a dark black wig and lipstick, turned out to be an artist and climate change activist who said he pied the prized painting in protest. ‘Think about the Earth. People are in the process of destroying the Earth!’ he declared as he was led away by security guards. ‘Artists think about the Earth, that’s why I did this. Think of the planet!’”

As Karol Markowicz tweets, “An environmental activist trying to destroy the Mona Lisa is in line with what leftism is right now. They think their righteous cause means all of their behavior is OK and this is reinforced by a friendly media who covers riots as if they are peaceful protests. It’s wrong.”

Get Ready for $1 Per Egg: USDA Forecast Predicts Highest Food Inflation Since 1980. 

“All of the predictions in the May report from the USDA are subject to upward revision.”

Renner School House desks.

Harvard professor finds remote school led to massive learning loss

Remote and hybrid learning during the COVID pandemic led to large declines in academic achievements, especially in high poverty districts, according to a study from Harvard University economist Thomas Kane.

“High poverty schools were more likely to go remote and the consequences for student achievement were more negative when they did so,” the research team with Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research reported.

I have friends with school-age children. Every one of them says that the schools are a disaster post-pandemic and the kids have been irreversibly harmed. “We have destroyed an entire generation,” one parent of told meand keep in mind they were talking about their own children.

We Have Entered the Self-Pity Stage of the Biden Presidency.

There’s no doubt that Democrats are seeing a perplexing disconnect with the public: In one particularly daunting example, the onetime recipients of the now-expired expanded child tax credit have, according to polls, moved from supporting the Democrats to supporting Republicans—all despite the fact that no member of the GOP supported the expansion of the credit. But the carping over how the people are failing to truly see the distinction between the parties only underscores the self-pitying tone of the administration and its leader at the moment.

Real Americans prefer an economy with low inflation and increasing wages — like we had before the lockdowns — to an economy that practically requires child tax credits just to get by.

 One Man’s Case Shows Why the Looting Isn’t Going To Stop Any Time Soon: Serial looter committed serious crimes, never spent a day in prison.