Media’s Cock Roach

Living in Trump’s dystopian nation (if you haven’t ingested the Kool-Aid), sometimes you can forget that this American life sometimes delivers treats, too.

Last week, it was #InternationalClashDay. This afternoon, while listening to Maine Calling, hosted by Maine media vet, Jennifer Rooks, I found out it’s #WorldRadioDay. Hot damn! I love radio, so why not celebrate the hell out of the day? The verdict of Rooks and her guests was that radio’s still going strong and will continue to survive.

I grew up when you could still hear rock and roll on the AM dial. Now it’s the domain of conservative talk dirges and hosts positing an alternative version of America vastly different than the one I grew up in. Wanna’ make America great again? Flush Rush from the airwaves and play some music!

Happy families listen to the radio.

When I’m home and working, I stream music via several dial-based stations that I can’t pick up in Maine. This is one of the wonders of the internet and technology in my opinion. Here are my top four.

  • KEXP (Seattle, Washington)
  • WMFU (East Orange, New Jersey)
  • WMBR (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
  • WMPG (Portland, ME)

I can pull in WMPG’s signal on my stereo receiver and of course, in my car. I am a fan of their weekday afternoon “rock blocks,” especially Wednesday’s Radio Junk Drawer, with David Pence. More and more, I’m apt to be streaming KEXP most afternoons that aren’t Wednesday. Continue reading

Selling Insurance

Not much of a “ring” to insurance salesman. Writer is more romantic and sounds better. The latter doesn’t always deliver and leave you flush with ka-ching—or with any cash at all, for that matter.

The fall has been a blur. Readying a house for sale and then closing on the domicile that was your home for half of your life is a big change. So is acclimating to a new town. Of course that’s just part of the story. I also decided in August to become a volleyball ref, followed by enrolling in an online course designed to prepare me to pass the state exam leading to getting licensed to sell insurance. Yes, the cares of this world have been right there in my face each and every day for the past three months. Sorry if I haven’t returned an email or your phone call.

Can I be totally honest here? There were many mornings during the past three months when I just wanted to stay in bed, rather than get up and turn off the alarm clock when it went off at 4:00 am so I could shoehorn studying into what was my usual get-out-of-bed and brew some coffee period of the morning before shuffling of to work time. But as they say, sometimes perseverance pays off.

Driving into Westbrook yesterday prior to my scheduled Maine Life, Accident & Health Producers exam set for 8:00 a.m., I tried to steer my mind clear of any craters of negativity or sinkholes filled with anxiety. WMPG playing some vintage John Coltrane kept me focused on the road and task looming ahead.

Whole life, or term?

Continue reading

Fridays Are For Music

The JBE loves music. Aspects of the JBE brand are embedded with and influenced by many DIY aspects inherent in music from both the punk and post-punk eras of rock music history.

I still listen to “what’s new” via streaming audio, most often, KEXP, based in Seattle, WMBR (based at MIT), especially Saturday’s James Dean Death Car Experience, and WFMU, one of America’s last free-form radio stations, what’s become an oddity in this age of corporate media consolidation. Continue reading

Get Funky

It’s been a long week; government shutdowns, training to begin my end-of-the-year moonlighting, projects being finalized—sometimes you just have to end the week with a little funk.

When my sister and I were coming up, we had this expression we’d break out on one another. We’d say, “funk is toe jam.”  We’d laugh. I don’t know where the hell this came from. I’m sure we heard some singer talking about it, or we read it in Rolling Stone, or some other social arbiter of the times. Continue reading

Music in the House

Readers of this blog know that I love music. My musical tastes are predicated on many things, various influences, but generally center around rock and roll and the subsequent tributaries that branch out from that originally subversive shoot.

I love live music, but like many of us as we get older, going out and seeing  live rock and singer/songwriters doesn’t happen a fraction as often as it did for me in my 20s, 30s, and even into my early 40s. While not unfamiliar with house concerts and the movement of some artists to adopt this vehicle for playing out and even touring, I had never been to one. That would all change on Tuesday night. Continue reading