Christmas Tunesday video

Danielle LoPresti: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

Because it’s all about the kids when it comes down to it, right? One of my favorite covers of a Christmas classic.


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Photo Of People Falling Over Compared To Renaissance Art

This explosively viral image is cutting through the internet at outbreak speed, was made by Joel Goodman at the Manchester Evening News in Merry Olde England–very merry, by the look of things.  Well, huzzah!. Isn’t it beautiful?  I need a print. Follow this link to see an entire gallery of spectacular images from New Years Eve.


Converse Chuck Taylors Get A Make-Over. (Hiss.)

west-uda-photoI just read in CNN that Converse, which now a brand of Nike, is rolling out a new version of its venerable Chuck Taylor sneakers in hopes of invigorating both the style and the brand.  The new version will look like old Chucks, but instead of being made of cotton canvas they’ll be constructed by some sort of (synthetic?) “breathable materal.”  Because canvas doesn’t breath.  They will also (finally) have a paddle insole and an actual arch–oh brave new world!

I wore Chucks on outdoor basketball courts from 7th grade until I was nearly 30 years old.  In fact, I have a photo of my second to last pair of Chucks that I’ll post right below us here. I must have had 25 pairs over the years–it would have been more because I would occasionally go upscale for some other Old Scans_536bcanvas summer shoes, if I found them on sale, but not because any of them were cool.  I wore Chucks and their brethren because my dad had run off and I was I was poor.  I wouldn’t have dreamed of asking my mom for leather high tops to squander on asphalt courts.  Now, the Chucks were miserable at first, but a guy got used to them in the way, I

Ew, right?
Ew, right?

suppose that those people who jumped on the “shoes with toes” running fad got used to their flat, light footwear.  In fact, I contend to this day that what I lost in padding and arch support was more than compensated for by the proportional advantage in weight.  Chucks were super light and I always believed I could jump higher and run faster in them.

I always made do by buying them a size larger than I needed (size 14…) then, shoving in a cheap pair of insoles and, as I got older, my own homemade orthotic arch supports  (some pieces of leather cut and glued together) to deal with really bad arches.  I’d burn through two pairs a summer, for under $15 each. It’s great that trendogs are waxing all sentimental, but $75 for a pair of Chucks–all I can do is shake my head and smirk


Tunesday video

Tunesday: Lydia Loveless

Lydia Loveless–what a voice.  Classic, yet transcendent.

link Photo I Like sheer awesomeness

My Parents Were Awesome (Well, not my parents, but…)

Here’s a Found Summer Photo I can actually source.  I lifted it from a cool as cucumbers tumblr page called My Parents Were Awesome.  Sadly, my parents were not awesome–they took us on vacation in October because the crowds were shorter–visiting every restored Colonial Village from Saint Augustine (we had time to tour the fort, but not to actually step on the beach–mom hated sand) to Black Creek Village, Ontario.  I’ve seen more women in bonnets demonstrating spinning wheels than I care to admit.  Maybe the couple below would adopt me.


Itunes This Morning

Does music tell much about the man?

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Uncle Tupelo


I’m sitting here listening to Uncle Tupelo’s landmark album “No Depression” for the thousandth odd time–and I wanted to take a minute to thank Brian R. who introduced me to the band in it’s dying days back–oh–about 20 years ago. It took some urging–I thought Uncle Tupelo was a silly name and didn’t exactly rush out to the store, though I’m very, very glad that I finally did manage to pick up a used copy of No Depression down at the now defunct Paul’s Records on Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield, Pittsburgh’s “Little Italy”, in 1994 (Paul’s  lives on today as Sound Cat Recods, the coolest music store in the coolest city in the USA.)  Uncle Tupelo has since become one of the prime makers of the soundtrack of my life–I’ve got a couple of teenagers who, through no fault of their own, can sing along with I belt out “Give Back The Keys To My Heart” in the truck.

Scan11109Brian, I don’t think it’s possible to adequately thank you–those were a couple of good years, though….

Well, back on point, what I actually have my hands on here is the “legacy edition” of this album, which features 17 extra cuts–demos, alternate versions, and goodies like that.  The only thing that could be better is if I had a chocolate malted milkshake while I listen and type this.  For those not familiar with Uncle Tupelo, they were one of the best indie bands from the late 1980s uncle-tupelo-no-depression-legacy-editionand early 1990s.  A little country, a little punk rock, and a whole lot brilliant, they were gone before the mainstream could find them, leaving behind four absolutely genius albums and planting many of the seeds that grew into the wildly popular genre.  One of the reasons the band was so great was that it featured two fantastically gifted songwriters–Jeff Tweedy and Jay Fararr–and there just was just not enough room for both of them to fully express their different, though complimentary visions.  Tweedy went on to found the band Wilco, while Fararr led Son Volt, in one of those rare instances in which the parts turned out to be so nearly close to the whole that both bands flourished.

Here’s an historic video:

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My Favorite Christmas Recordings #4 Chieftans Christmas: The Bells of Dublin

Bitter, cynical, and borderline misanthropic for most of the year, I reform for the holiday season and from mid-November to the last minute of Epiphany I’m all about the season.  Readers of Old Road Apples will find themselves under a constant barrage of holiday fare this season–from themed essays to book reviews to a countdown of my very favorite Christmas recordings.


At best, I’m ambivalent towards Celtic music, if for no other reason than because a few close relatives of mine have, after a lifetime of identifying as descendents of snobby British folk, have become “just add water” deeply felt Irish.  When my mother bought a kilt a few years ago, that was pretty much the last straw–although it’s great at Christmas, because there is always some kind of crap they’re selling to people who wish they were Irish, whether it’s glossy photography books of rolling green hills and cold, shitty sheep farms, or CDs of hyper-melodramatic mediocre Irish musicians from PBS–like “Celtic Women” or “Celtic Thunder” or mom’s cheeseball (with nuts) favorite, Daniel O’Donnell.


The Chieftains, though, are the real deal–not some box of made for TV marketing tools, and this is one of the best Christmas albums out there, chock full of tradition and reverence.  My favorite track, the “St. Stephens Day Murders” isn’t what you might think if you know a little about Irish history–a hilarious and very familiar tale of internecine holiday conflict.