Replacements

Purple Reignia

Minnesota, the land of 10,000 Prince stories. Pretty much everyone has one, including me. The last few days have been harder than I ever could have imagined and yet oddly comforting. The shock of his loss is palpable and everywhere but the outpouring of grief has been offset at least a little bit by the many public memorials, street concerts and all night dance parties that have happened across the city in his honor without any incidents because we’re classy like that up here in the north country. Forget Kevin Bacon and his six degrees of separation. No one in the Twin Cities has to go any further than two degrees of Prince separation. Everyone knows someone who either had an encounter with Prince at the state fair eating Tiny Tim donuts, or was in one of his many bands (two peeps from my high school for sure), or was an extra in Purple Rain (I’m just saying, if everybody who said they were in this movie really were than the credit list would be twice as long).

Unlike Dylan, the Coen Brothers or just about anyone else with an iota of fame, Prince never left us and for that he earned our eternal love and respect. He was a Minnesotan through and through. He went to sporting events (he loved the Minnesota Lynx), showed up at clubs (he had a permanently reserved table at the Dakota) and rode his bike around his Chanhassen neighborhood as if he were just a regular guy who worked at Target or Best Buy corporate. There was no drama with this one and there certainly could have been because he was a mega-genius wrapped up in a neat little pixie package.

The mid-to-late 80’s was a magical time to live in Minneapolis and be into the local music scene. Bands like the Replacements, Hüsker Dü, Walt Mink, Trip Shakespeare and Soul Asylum meant you could go out just about any night and not regret the loss of sleep (well maybe once or twice if the ‘Mats were having an off night). Thanks to Prince, Alexander O’Neal, The Time and the Flyte Time crew, the Minneapolis sound was getting huge and gaining world-wide attention. Then Purple Rain came out and suddenly we were cooler-than-cool, and not in the expected winter-weather kind of way. Prince put our city, First Avenue and the mind-boggling purification benefits of Lake Minnetonka on the map and for that we are forever grateful.

There are and were many reasons to love Prince. He was an icon musically and sexually for a generation that needed some guidance during the just say no years. He spoke out about HIV/AIDS when the president at the time could not even acknowledge its existence. He could wear a puffy shirt like nobody’s business and didn’t mind a little black lace or shoulder pads, mainstays of 80’s fashion mostly reserved for Limited Express shoppers. I love the fact that Prince was a devoted Joni Mitchell fan and I especially love the fact that he wrote Purple Rain the ballad, as a direct response to the in-concert popularity of Bob Segar’s We’ve Got The Night. With a 1% African-American population in Minneapolis when he was growing up Prince had to find his inspiration somewhere and it certainly wasn’t going to be by watching Soul Train since the market was too small for it to even air here.

I had many Prince sightings throughout my formative years, usually at First Avenue where he was either tucked behind the glass of the VIP section or blocked by burly bodyguards. One time I saw him as he was coming up the stairs and I was coming down. There was no one else around and I could feel myself holding back from wanting to say something lest I blew my whole “we’re cool” persona. When we both stopped on the same step I realized that I was finally taller than someone in Minnesota and that someone was Prince. We both had on heels but his were much taller than mine. I was doing my happy dance on the inside when our eyes locked and he gave me that sly, pants-meltingly sexy smile he had. Let me tell you Prince was HOT up close, scorching really. I about died right then and there and hadn’t even been to a high school reunion yet. I lived and would run into him occasionally after that, usually at the grocery store, but we would never have meaningful eye contact again. Thanks to a job I had at the time I was lucky enough to be invited to the grand opening of Paisley Park and that is one piece of direct mail I will never, ever recycle.

Sometimes unfortunately it does snow in April in Minnesota and sometimes, just like Joni Mitchell said, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Prince’s charitable donations were many and not widely publicized, partly because of his faith and partly because he was not that kind of guy. There are people with solar power in Northern California thanks to him and a charter school in Minneapolis would not exist without his financial support. He bankrolled school music programs across the country and probably bought more boxes of Girl Scout cookies than you or I could ever imagine (hey, it very well could be true). The Carver County sheriff said it best at the press conference last Friday. To the rest of the world he was a celebrity but to us he was a neighbor and a friend, and we will miss that friend terribly.

You Spin Me Right Round Baby Right Round

Forgive me dear blog friends, it has been far too long since my last post and I am totally willing to binge-watch season two of both Catastrophe and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt as punishment. (Since I have already finished Catastrophe this is going to one of the easiest penances ever.) For the last couple of weeks a local radio station has been asking listeners to send in their top ten essential albums. Essential to me means like the top ten records you would want to have with should you get stranded on a tropical island yet miraculously still had access to electricity or bucket loads of batteries to keep your Walkman powered up. I came up with a list but then I forgot my password and trying to remember what it could possibly be, or even resetting it, seemed like far too much work, hence this post.

Sometimes I feel a little sorry for the kids of today. They have no idea about one of the greatest ways ever to listen to music and no I am not talking about vinyl. Vinyl is the craft beer of music to hipsters and while I appreciate it, and still listen to records occasionally, my all-time favorite audio delivery system was and always will be the humble cassette. I loved just about everything about cassettes, their size, their portability, the familiar hiss and the sheer joy of spending hours on the floor in your bedroom, just you, a turn table and a couple of tape decks making the best mix tape ever. Sure you can make a mix CD but it is just not the same kind of DIY experience. Yes the tapes got eaten up by mean decks every now and again but unless the tape was completely torn apart you just needed a good ol’ number two pencil and some patience and that baby could be back up and playing sweet, sweet tunes in no time.

So here are the top ten essential albums I would have posted on the radio website if I cared enough to reset my password. These are the albums required for me to pass the time alone whilst stranded on a tropical island. FYI: I would also need some decent sunscreen, non-toxic bug spray and plenty of weather appropriate clothing because in my mind this is not some sort of wacky Naked & Afraid kind of scenario.

Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen: I have to be honest, I have not seen the Boss in concert since the 80’s and I am fine with that because I saw him many times up until Born in the USA came out which was about the same time all the dumb shits like Chris Christie and Tim Pawlenty started to be fans. Twenty years later when they found out Bruce was a progressive they were like what?? And I was like umm, have you ever listened to the words to ANY of his songs? I thought not. BTR was one of my most treasured record purchases ever and will definitely be coming along for the ride.

Horses, Patti Smith: Growing up in the 70’s there were not a lot of female artists to look up to that were not of the folksy variety. Patti Smith showed me and lots of others that girls could be punk rockers too and for that I am eternally grateful. The album cover photo by Robert Mapplethorpe is stunning and so was Patti. Interestingly a couple of years later she had her one and only “hit” song (Because the Night), which was penned by the Boss himself. Patti is not only a musician but also an accomplished artist, poet, writer and world-renowned cat lady. She is my spirit animal.

Appetite for Destruction, Guns & Roses: Not gonna lie, I am a rock chick through and through. When Appetite came out I was working in my first grown up corporate job with a bunch of middle-aged moms and ex-frat boy sales dudes. To say that I did not fit in is an understatement of epic proportions. Every day when I left my suburban office I got in my car and blasted GNR the whole way home. Don’t ask me to defend Axl Rose for any of his abysmal behavior throughout the years because I can’t but if I am going to be stuck on a tropical island without cocktail service (can there be cocktail service, pretty please?) then I am going to need to release some steam somehow.

Hysteria, Def Leppard: When I got my new car (that is no longer at all new), the one thing that I missed from my much beloved Accord was the tape deck. And in that terribly missed tape deck there was a cassette that had been in there for years, and years, and years, and it was this one. Hysteria was 80’s pop metal at its finest and I will fight anyone to the death who says otherwise. There was nothing like cruising around one of Minneapolis’s beautiful lakes at night, moon roof open, blasting a little Animal and remembering those times will help while away the time waiting to be rescued.

Don’t Tell a Soul, Replacements: I loved the ‘Mats like mad. I went to their shows whenever I could and even when they were bloody AWFUL (which often was the case) they were still ten tons of fun and twenty times better than the bands that were getting all the attention/money at the time. I only ever bought one of their albums (again, cassette) and that was part of the problem. Their fans did not buy their music and despite Paul Westerberg being on many critics BEST SONGWRITER EVER lists at the time, they made very little money. Don’t Tell a Soul has both I’ll Be You and Aching to Be on it, two songs that pretty much guaranteed Westerberg’s inclusion in the rock lyricists hall of fame. I will think of this often while listening to my cassingle of Alex Chilton.

Disintegration, The Cure: Robert Smith, he of the hair that has never seen a comb and proud graduate of the Whatever Happened to Baby Jane school of lipstick application. You were and still are my favorite depressed Brit (with Morrissey being a very close second). Pictures of You, Lovesong and Fascination Street are just three of the great songs off this one. When I am feeling sad and lonely on the island I will pop this baby in and pray desperately for a search party.

Nevermind, Nirvana: Remember how in my Appetite for Destruction listing I talked about working in suburbia with people I had nothing in common with? This came out during that same time period. I loved Nirvana from the get-go, finally music that I liked was not only getting airplay and attention but also making money. I specifically remember coming to work the Monday after Nirvana was on Saturday Night Live and all my co-workers were talking about was how awful they were and all I could think of was that I had to get the hell out of there stat. (That and the fact that they were moving to a suburb even further away, but the Kurt Cobain derision makes for a much better story.)

Rocks, Aerosmith: I grew up in a suburb where the houses were close together. The kind of place where you needed at least two people’s front yards to play baseball, three if someone was really good at hitting or the outfielder was really bad at outfielding. I went through a pretty severe Steven Tyler phase, I thought he was the BOMB and I played this record non-stop. So much so that my next door neighbor once told me that he never had to play his because he heard mine blasting through the window all the time. You are welcome ex-neighbor boy.

Seven Travels, Atmosphere: Hip hop is not my thing generally but there are a few exceptions and Atmosphere is one of them. My favorite song on this one is a hidden track Say Shh and when I am alone on that island I am going to be playing this one on repeat because of lines like “Minnesota is dope” and “I’m from Minnesota, land of the cold air” which is something I will probably be missing after all that time in the heat. (But then again probably not.)

Frosting on the Beater, Posies: There is almost nothing better to me musically than a perfectly crafted pop song. The Posies were one of the many underrated and overlooked bands of the 90’s who deserved so much better. I was torn between this and Matthew Sweet’s Girlfriend but the Seattle boys won out. There is not a stinker on this album anywhere and when I want to belt out a song or two for me and the monkeys to play air guitar on it will probably be one from this album.

Would any of these albums be on your list? What records would you choose to be stranded on an island with? Let me know in the comments!

 

Four Made in Minnesota Movies and not a one has the word purple or rain in the title

There have been scads of movies filmed in Minnesota throughout the years. The 90’s were particularly rife with them thanks to the super generous tax rebate given to Hollywood production companies to get them to use some of our very talented natives as both supporting cast and crew. A few of those movies were both critical and commercial successes like Fargo (hated it), some were successful only at the box office like Jingle All the Way (see the then new, now gone, Holidazzle parade) and some even became cult hits like Mall Rats (see Eden Prairie Shopping Mall in all its Contempo Casuals glory). These four movies are none of those and span more than a few decades besides the prolific 90’s but the one thing they have in common is that they were all filmed, at least partially, in the land of ten thousand lakes.

Airport: The movie that launched an entire genre of disaster films like The Poseidon Adventure, Earthquake,Towering Inferno, and The Swarm to name just a few. Think of disaster movies as Hollywood’s valiant attempt to keep their golden era stars employed for a couple more years until their SAG retirement benefits kicked in.

Lincoln International Airport, located somewhere near Chicago yet surprisingly not called O’Hare, is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. It’s a major blizzard, a big huge plane is stuck in a snow bank blocking a much-needed runway, an adorable 70-year-old stowaway (Helen Hayes, who won an Oscar for the role) is on the loose, the married pilot (Dean Martin, as the least believable airline pilot ever) has knocked up his WAY TOO YOUNG for him stewardess girlfriend (Jacqueline Bisset) and there is a mad bomber on board (Van Heflin, in his last movie role) who just wants his wife to get a little life insurance money.

Based on Arthur Hailey’s best-selling book Airport was a major box-office success and although it was a simpler time and movie expectations were rather low, it’s actually worth the whopping three or four bucks it could cost you to watch it. Between the airlines that no longer exist like Western, TWA, Pan Am, Northwest Orient (RIP little red tail) and the fact that you actually got REAL food on REAL plates in coach, it’s a nice little reminder of the way air travel used to be.

I had a teacher who had a bit part in this movie and told all her students about it for the six years we were stuck with her. Sort of like I always mention to everyone and anyone my being the first American rock journalist to interview Radiohead (according to their publicist at the time), except my claim to fame is way cooler, obviously.

Radiohead trumps reservations agent it part every time

Radiohead trumps reservations agent bit part every time Miss Engebretson, every time

They filmed the movie at MSP International because of our usually reliable snowfall but guess what? God decided to mess with their minds and it did not snow so they has to use colored sawdust until finally Mother Nature had pity on those poor Hollywood peeps and produced a good old blizzard just in the nick of time (it’s always the ladies who make it happen, AMIRITE?), see if you can spot the difference.

Most Minnesota thing about it: the snowstorm, duh. Just like in real life when all the other sissy airports in the country are closed due to a spot of bad weather MSP International just turns the lights on high and throws a little more salt on the runways.

Least Minnesota thing about it: it’s supposed to be some fictional airport in Chicago called Lincoln. Lame. (Amazon Instant, iTunes, Comcast On Demand)

Untamed Heart: Caroline (Marisa Tomei), an unlucky in love coffee shop waitress meets a dishwasher named Adam (Christian Slater), who thinks he has a baboon heart, they fall in love and you probably know the rest of the story because it is not at all original, except for the baboon heart part which is of course not true. However, every time this movie is on TV, which is a lot, I tend to watch it and sometimes even get teary eyed, and not just because of what happens to poor Adam and his all-too-human heart.

Between the cuter-than-cute-coffee shop that I never went to before it closed (insert sad Panda face), the old retail version of City Center back when it was chock-full of stores instead of chock-full of Target employees not considered hip enough for HQ, and all the lovely shots of northeast Minneapolis, I can’t ever say no to this movie. Don’t miss Minnesota’s own Vincent Kartheiser in a bit part as an adorable little orphan boy who later grew up to be that not-at-all adorable little twat Pete Campbell on Mad Men.

Most Minnesota thing about it: The North Stars hockey game that Caroline and Adam attend at the old Met Center. Sorry Minnesota Wild, no matter how very hard you try and no matter how very fancy the Xcel Center is, many of us (me in particular) will never love you like we did our Stars. Never.

Least Minnesota thing about it: Marissa Tomei’s allegedly Minnesota accent. The only Minnesotan’s that talk like that are fictional and come from a faraway place called Hollywood, see Marge Gunderson in Fargo. (Amazon, Comcast On Demand)

The Very Thought of You:  if anyone has seen this movie besides me I will be very much surprised. Originally called Martha-Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence (gee, I wonder why they changed it?) TVTOY is the story of one woman Martha (Monica Potter doing her very best Julia Roberts imitation), and three childhood friends, Daniel (Tom Hollander), Frank (Rufus Sewell)  and Laurence (Joseph Fiennes), who Martha meets separately in a single day only to have them all fall in love with her despite Martha not being a manic pixie dream girl since thankfully that character had not yet been invented.

I don’t think this movie ever played in a single theater in America. Between the crap title and lack of promotion the only reason I saw it was because of boredom and a little thing called channel surfing. This movie isn’t great but it isn’t terrible and I have spent two hours watching worse. The soundtrack is better than average and the fact the three male leads were at the peak of their combined hotness did not hurt this movie at all. Round up a few friends, order some pizza and take bets to see which one Sweet Martha ends up with in the end because I am not telling.

Most Minnesota thing about it: Once again MSP International’s star shines brightly even if we don’t see too much else as the film mostly takes place in London.

Least Minnesota thing about it: Linden Hills does not have high rises and is about as bad of a neighborhood as Beverly Hills is. (Amazon, iTunes)

Young Adult: Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) is a divorced, quite possibly alcoholic YA author with probable sociopathic tendencies. Struggling with writer’s block, Mavis decides to ditch Minneapolis and her fantastic apartment with its million dollar views of the Mississippi River and go back to her hometown of Mercury not only for creative inspiration but also to rekindle a relationship with her high school boyfriend (Patrick Wilson), not letting a little thing like the fact that he is married to someone else (Beth, played by Elizabeth Reaser) and has a new baby get in the way of her plans.

Mavis lets fellow classmate Matt (Patton Oswald) in on her crazy-ass scheme and he of course tries to talk her out of it. Because this movie was written by Diablo Cody, it has major hipster vibes tattooed all over it, most noticeably in the fact that Beth is in a mommy band called Nipple Confusion. Don’t let that stop you from watching this though, Charlize Theron is so good as an evil bitch that it’s almost like she wasn’t even acting or something. Maybe we should just ask former Sister, Sister star Tia Mowery about her SoulCycle experience with Ms Theron?

Most Minnesota thing about it: Mavis has excellent taste in music, anyone who has Teenage Fanclub and the Replacements on the same mix tape does have one redeeming quality, just the one though.

Least Minnesota thing about it: Mavis is definitely not very Minnesota Nice. It’s bad enough she thinks it is perfectly okay to break up a marriage but it is totally not okay to be an irresponsible dog owner, ever. (Amazon, iTunes)

Totally worth it–the life edition

I am a Taurus and like all Taurus’s we like material things much more than say the average Gemini or Scorpio. Taureans like to buy stuff, functional stuff, not so functional stuff, just a whole lot of stuff. When we find something that we want we generally have to have it sooner rather than later which is why none of us is named Warren Buffet, because while we are excellent at finding things to buy, for ourselves and even for other people, some of us are not so excellent at saving money to do so. I honestly can’t remember a time when there wasn’t something I wanted to have which currently is a rather pricey hair dryer, and given my poor track record with hair dryers is probably not a very good investment. I am intrigued though and that is not a good sign for my checking account.

The fact that there are so very many things out there to want kind of makes life worth living, in fact, if there ever comes a day that I don’t want something in the future than I am either brain-dead or dead-dead because that is precisely what keeps me going. There are many barriers to wanting many things, money being the biggest. Adding to that problem is that given the choice between say a passable, okay version of whatever I might want or the super-duper deluxe version I am pretty much going to want the latter. This started for me at a very young age. One of my earliest memories involves a red velvet coat with mink trim (no judging, I was only three years old), that was at a local department store, the one my father worked for so we got a discount (I learned to calculate 25% off  before I could read) and I remember being pretty upset when it seemed like they were trying to fob off an inferior coat on me. Long story short I got the one I wanted and wore it until I outgrew it and my mother gave it away. Since then there have been many metaphorical red velvet coats with mink trims in my life, some of which I though I would share because they are totally worth checking out. Not all of them are even expensive, but even if they do cost a bit more than their cheaper counterparts, they are better built, better looking and also a much better investment in the long run. Just not the type of investment Mr. Buffet probably recommends.

Loyal, artistic, independent, materialistic but only in a good way

Loyal, artistic, independent, materialistic and just a little stubborn when need be

Sonic Care Toothbrush: My Sonicare toothbrush and I go way back, in fact I can’t even remember how long I have had it, which only goes to prove that while it costs more than a regular electric toothbrush it is worth it. Mine hasn’t been able to hold a charge properly for about a year and now it can’t even make it through a two minute toothbrushing cycle without pooping out on me so it’s only a matter of days before it goes to that great big toothbrush heaven in the sky and I will be super sad because I can’t possibly live without my Sonicare.  That is not even me being all overly dramatic and all because if you ask any hygienist or dentist they will rave about Sonicare toothbrushes too. Did you know that human teeth were only designed to last about forty years, since that was about how long humans used to last before modern medicine, education and science practically doubled our life expectancy? Since forty is in my rear-view mirror I am not taking any chances and a new Sonicare is in my very near future.

There should be an adult version of the tooth fairy for these kind of things. Unless that is what my FSA is for?

There should be an adult version of the tooth fairy for this.

In the years since I bought my last one, the Sonicare offerings have become much more plentiful and even more impressive with prices running the gamut from the not-so-bad to the OMFG that much money for a toothbrush price range. But I swear they are worth it and since I am not really prone to cavities I have to be all worried about my gums and these toothbrushes can be your ally in the fight against the horrors of periodontal disease or your teeth expiring way before you do which would be majorly uncool. Now I just have to decide if I want the one with the UV sanitizer (one less thing for me to clean) or the Diamond one (more attractive but more expensive), hmm, it’s like the Sophie’s choice of toothbrushes. All I know is whichever one I end up with, one thing is for sure, I am going to accessorize the heck out of it.

Tiny Wigs – watch more funny videos

 

Fitbit: Yes it’s true, my Fitbit and I just recently celebrated our first anniversary and what a glorious year it has been. I am not sure what we are getting each other to celebrate (no cake or ice cream, please), but I am sure that this relationship is forever, no more unreliable bad boyfriend-like pedometers for me. The Fitbit was practically invented for people like me who are known to be a bit competitive and slightly obsessive. If I don’t get at least ten thousand steps in a day I will run around my house like a crazy person freaking out all the animals who can only assume that a tornado is imminent (we have practiced this when the sirens have gone off but the cats don’t cooperate and are not even nice about being saved so in the unlikely event there ever is an actual tornado they are on their own, like this kitty). I am not quite to the David Sedaris level of Fitbit crazy, I think the most I have ever had logged in one day was 23,000 and half of those  were done while I was terrified walking across hanging bridges in the Costa Rican rain forest, something I will NEVER do again. The hanging bridges that is, not Costa Rica, I would go back there in a heartbeat but next time I will keep my feet firmly planted on the ground, not swaying in the breeze thousand of feet above certain death.

 

Dualit Toaster: Never underestimate the power of good toast, and while you are at it never underestimate the beauty of a good-looking toaster. Sure, there are about as many toasters to choose from in the marketplace as a certain Minnesota football player with the initials AP appears to have children (roughly a thousand), but there is only one truly gorgeous toaster in the world and it will set you back a bit, $250 to be exact, However, just like Stonehenge, the MINI Cooper and Tom Hardy, there are just some things design-wise that the British do better than anyone else and the Dualit toaster is one of them.

How much for Tom Hardy AND a puppy?

Perfection. The puppy is not bad either

One of my friend’s father was very particular about his toast and would routinely send it back at restaurants if it was not up to his standards. He wasn’t rude about it, he just had toast expectations which I think we all do. Some people like their toast barely toasted, some people like theirs charred (I like mine somewhere in between) but no matter, this baby can handle anything, even bagels and other super chubby bread products, no problem. I have had mine for ten years and it still looks brand spanking new. If its good enough for the Barefoot Contessa it is good enough for you too.

Definitely cheaper than Tom Hardy but probably more expensive than the pitty

A little bit spendy but a whole lot of sexy

 

Madewell High Riser Jeans: shopping for jeans is not the most fun thing in the world to do and while perhaps not as self-deflating as swimsuit shopping can be it nonetheless requires a certain mindset. For the last decade or so the only jeans you could find were low rise, sometimes so ridiculously low that the zippers were about two inches long. Now there are only a few people in the world of billions who look good in those kind of jeans and none of them is named me. I don’t care what you weigh low-rise jean gives most people, even skinny ones, muffin tops. I am kinda short but I have a long waist and absolutely none of those jeans ever felt very comfortable to me. Really it’s no wonder people dress like slobs on airplanes these days, tiny space + uncomfortable pants = very low fashionability.

Low rise jeans were the bane of my existence and while they have gotten a bit less low over the years, they still were not my idea of perfection. That is until I got one of the seventeen emails a day I get from Madewel that said they had new high riser jeans. I was intrigued, could these new jeans actually come within the same area code of my belly button? I went to Madewell the very next day and tried on the Alley Straight High Riser jeans even though it was still hot out and I was not even remotely ready for fall let alone jean wearing weather.

Man, I have legs for miles in these things!

Man, I have legs for miles in these things!*

For the first time in forever I put on a pair of jeans that not only fit but were also super comfortable, it was like jean nirvana had finally been achieved. I hate to admit I have spent more on jeans than these cost me ($128) but I would rather not pay that much again so here is a tip for you, Madewell will give you $20 off a new pair of their jeans if you bring in an old pair of yours for them to recycle into insulation. They can be as low-rise and as ratty as you currently have shoved in a closet somewhere so while the low-risers might not have been very good at keeping your bottom warm they will soon turn into something that will keep multiple bottoms warm. And that my friend is a very good thing.

 

Roku: As you can tell by the amount of blog posts dedicated to non-American episodic television shows I am a major streaming queen. In a pinch I have watched shows on my phone (desperate), on my computer (less desperate, still not ideal) but I much prefer to use a Roku. Call me old-fashioned but I prefer to watch TV on a TV. I liked my original Roku so very much that I bought a second one when I replaced my big old tube TV this summer.

1000+ channels? What are you waiting for!

1000+ channels? What are you waiting for!

One of the nicest things about Rokus is that you can pick and choose from a bunch of different channels, some for pay and some for free. Lots of basic cable channels have their own Roku channels as well as PBS (Downton Abbey fans will love that feature), and there are also some obscure quirky little channels where you can find things you can’t on Amazon or Netflix. The new streaming stick is super cheap, less than fifty bucks ($49.99) which is pretty reasonable and half the cost of Apple TV, which I still want in the near future though so I can get rid of the great Satan in my house otherwise known as Comcast.

Replacements: twenty plus years and 150% worth the wait. Yes, it was a not-so-balmy 52 degrees out and there were now two replacement Replacements since I last saw them but that did not matter to me, the band or the other 13,999 people at Midway. The ‘Mats were so good that even if I would have had to pay a scalper to be there (which I did not), it would have been worth every penny and a privilege to do so, which is why if they ever play another show I highly recommend you attend.

 

 * not really Oh-Amy’s legs in Madewell jeans, but she can dream, can’t she?