Temples enshrine the psychedelic era…and more

Temples_-_Sun_Structures - wiki

“Sun Structures” – Source: en.wikipedia.org

I discovered Temples listening to Impact 89fm – Michigan State University’s student radio station when they played the richly 1960’esque “Shelter Song.” As the first track on their debut full-length album, Sun Structures, the song aptly introduces Temples and a whole new generation to the amazing guitar riffs and rhythms of great bands like The Byrds, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, early Led Zeppelin, the Moody Blues, and even in one song reminiscent of Heart. While this may sound like sincere flattery and a case of imitation, Sun Structures is also refreshing in its own right – for one it’s a hell of a lot better than most music being released today. It also exudes mesmerizing guitars.  Some may claim guitar rock is dying and/or dead – it sure isn’t when you listen to this album!

The great classic psychedelic rock sounds emanating from Sun Structures evoke memories of songs we Baby Boomers cut our teeth on and is far more enjoyable to listen to than the bass-thumping headaches of rap, the bubble gum schlock of modern pop, or the overtly corporatize and partisan blather of most modern country music.

For a band that formed just two years ago, Temples are a polished, poised, and immensely talented foursome from Kettering, England. So much so, that in 2014 they have already played SXSW, Coachella, and Glastonbury, with Lollapalooza next on their plate.

Sun Structures is my favorite new album to date in 2014 (Beck a close second). It contains 12 songs spread over 53 minutes – a welcome length compared to so many recorded sprint sessions. Of the dozen formidable tracks, my favorites include:

  • “Shelter Song”
  • “Keep in the Dark”
  • “Sun Structures”
  • “Mesmerise”
  • “A Question Isn’t Answered”
  • “Move with the Season” – a guitar riff eerily similar to “Love Alive” by Heart
  • “The Golden Throne”
  • “Sand Dance” – reminds me of Kashmir by Led Zeppelin
Who's Next - Source: en.wkipedia.org

“Who’s next” – Source: en.wkipedia.org

Lastly, I have got to say something about the album cover. Not only is it an uncanny reminder of Who’s next, but it is one of the coolest covers I have ever seen from an architectural and historical standpoint. According to the band’s interview on KEXP radio, Rushton’s Triangular Lodge, shown on the cover, is an historic structure built in 1593. Wow! – the building alone is worth a visit for architectural and historical junkies. Given its placement on this debut album, its place in British history has been secured for many centuries to come.

“The Gentleman From Finland” gets derailed

Source: goodreads.com

Source: goodreads.com

I really wanted to enjoy this book. The image of riding the Trans-Siberian Express across the width of the Soviet Union is a fascinating concept. Given how much I enjoyed Robert Goldstein’s more recent book, Riding with Reindeer, I figured this one would be loads of literary fun. It starts out that way, but in the last quarter of the book, it loses steam quickly and he gets caught up in too many dream sequences. It was almost like the author was not sure how to conclude the book, so he derailed the project instead. Don’t get me wrong, there are some quite enjoyable parts to The Gentleman From Finland, but in the end it falls flat leaving the reader wanting a more complete and descriptive travelogue and less tangential side tracks into the abstract.

Mirroring the Beatles in tribute

Kathy and I had a chance to see Michigan’s top-ranked Beatles tribute band, Toppermost last night. They were excellent. Close you eyes and you’d swear you were listening to the original band, even the British accents while talking to the audience.

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The first half of the show was performed in original Beatles regalia, while the second half was in Sergeant Pepper”s attire.

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Kudo’s to Toppermost for a great show!

 

DC’s stunning Chinatown friendship gate

0601140956One of my favorite activities while traveling is to make an effort to see the Chinatown friendship gates in cities that I visit. Among those I have personally observed are the friendship gates in Boston, Chicago, Sacramento, and San Francisco. From a human scale, Boston’s is hard to beat and San Francisco’s is certainly iconic, but the gate in Washington, DC’s Chinatown (just east of the intersection of H & 7th Streets) is simply stunning for its overall beauty, size, and artistic intricacy.

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Walking out of the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro Station, the friendship gate immediately captures your attention and holds it tight. It is quite an impressive visual treat. Next time you happen to be visiting our Nation’s capital, hop on the Metro and stop to take a look at the city’s Chinatown friendship gate – it’s worth the trip! Cheers!

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Ruining the net one ‘Mad ad’ at a time

Source: businessinsider.com

Source: businessinsider.com

I don’t know about all of you, but I find the increased blizzardization of advertising on the net to be quite annoying anymore. Given the trend lines depicted in the chart above, I fear it will only continue get worse. You can’t hardly watch any videos on YouTube without having to wait at least five seconds and usually much longer for Madison Avenue to bore you with some stupid advertisement. Then, as the video is playing, a pop-up annoyance opens at the bottom of the screen every 15 seconds or so. Some news websites would prefer to sell you something than warn the public of impending danger (say a tornado, earthquake, flood, etc.). Anything to make a freaking buck.

I can remember the good old days – just a decade ago, when you could watch videos or read stories online without being inundated with Mad ads. Some sites are so bad, you literally cannot find the “close” or “no thanks” icon to turn off the advertisement. Others keep popping up no matter how many times you hit the “back” or “refresh” button on your screen and/or keyboard. Sometimes, I just press control/alt/delete to get out of advertising purgatory.

My guess is that some enterprising young tech or marketing genius is going to figure out that buffeting people with the visually pollution of advertising only serves to dissuade them from using a website and will make a mint with less obtrusive advertising and marketing schemes. Or…a tech guru will figure out a way to avoid the ads altogether. Hopefully, one of these brainiacs comes along sooner versus later to save society from this scourge of Mad ads. You may now enjoy the advertisements appearing here on panethos.wordpress.com.   :)

A new era to begin!

As many readers of Panethos have probably noticed, a number of recent blog posts have dealt with bicycling issues. As my love for bike riding has grown, so has my interest in stories related to topics surrounding the bicycling culture. As a result, I happy to announce have started a separate spin-off blog on WordPress.com entitled “Bicycle Trax.” I hope it will delve into anything and everything about bicycles and the bicycle culture. Bicycle-related posts from Panethos will be copied/transferred there for continuity and as a database.

This does NOT mean an end to Panethos, but it will likely mean less frequent posts cluttering your mailbox. I’ll just have to play it by ear and see how it goes.

If you enjoy reading my bicycling-related posts, please consider signing up to receive “Bicycle Trax.” I hope to see you there and look forward to continued communications via Panethos. Let’s have some fun!

Cheers!

 

A heartbreaking image from Ukraine

Source: Reuters

Source: Reuters

It is said that pictures can tell a 1,000 words. The photograph of this bewildered bicyclist above from Ukraine does that and much more – it depicts what should be the joy of cycling set against a backdrop of death, chaos, and utter destruction. This gentlemen should be riding his bicycle for fun, fitness, and recreation. Instead, politics, greed, animosity, and violence have brought Ukraine to the precipice.

Please pray and hope that Ukraine can be brought back from the brink of Civil War, that political leaders both inside and outside of Ukraine will find common ground, that negotiators will forge solutions, that people will build the bonds of love, and that lasting peace can reign.

In the poignant words of Guns n’ Roses, “what’s so civil ’bout war anyway?”

{What we’ve got here is failure to communicate
Some men, you just can’t reach
So, you get what we had here last week
Which is the way he wants it, well, he gets it
An’ I don’t like it any more than you men}

Look at your young men fighting
Look at your women crying
Look at your young men dying
The way they’ve always done before

Look at the hate we’re breeding
Look at the fear we’re feeding
Look at the lives we’re leading
The way we’ve always done before

My hands are tied
The billions shift from side to side
And the wars go on with brainwashed pride
For the love of God and our human rights

And all these things are swept aside
By bloody hands time can’t deny
And are washed away by your genocide
And history hides the lies of our civil wars

D’you wear a black armband when they shot the man
Who said, “Peace could last forever”?
And in my first memories, they shot Kennedy
I went numb when I learned to see

So I never fell for Vietnam
We got the wall of D.C. to remind us all
That you can’t trust freedom when it’s not in your hands
When everybody’s fightin’ for their promised land

And I don’t need your civil war
It feeds the rich, while it buries the poor
You’re power hungry, sellin’ soldiers
In a human grocery store, ain’t that fresh?
I don’t need your civil war

Look at the shoes you’re filling
Look at the blood we’re spilling
Look at the world we’re killing
The way we’ve always done before

Look in the doubt we’ve wallowed
Look at the leaders we’ve followed
Look at the lies we’ve swallowed
And I don’t want to hear no more

My hands are tied
For all I’ve seen has changed my mind
But still the wars go on and the years go by
With no love of God or human rights

‘Cause all these dreams are swept aside
By bloody hands of the hypnotized
Who carry the cross of homicide
And history bears the scars of our civil wars

{We practice selective annihilation
Of mayors and government officials
For example to create a vacuum
Then we fill that vacuum
As popular war advances, peace is closer}

I don’t need your civil war
It feeds the rich while it buries the poor
You’re power hungry, sellin’ soldiers
In a human grocery store, ain’t that fresh?
I don’t need your civil war

I don’t need your civil war
I don’t need your civil war
You’re power hungry, sellin’ soldiers
In a human grocery store, ain’t that fresh?
I don’t need your civil war

I don’t need one more war
I don’t need one more war

What’s so civil ’bout war anyway?

SOURCE: Guns ‘N Roses – Civil War Lyrics | MetroLyrics

States that most (or least) like bikes

Source: bikeleague.org/content/ranking

Source: bikeleague.org/content/ranking

The lists (above and below) show the League of American Bicyclist’s 2014 state rankings for bike friendliness. Congrats to those states that made the top 10, which are shown in bold. Those states ranked near, but not in the top 10 have something to aspire to, while those in the in positions 26 through 50 have their work cut out for them.

You can review each state’s 2014 report card on the League’s website.

1. Washington

2. Minnesota

3. Wisconsin

4. Delaware

5. Oregon

6. Colorado

7. Maryland

8. Utah

9. California

10. Massachusetts

11. Illinois

12. New Jersey

13. Maine

14. Michigan

15. Arizona

16. Ohio

17. Vermont

18. Virginia

19. Pennsylvania

20. Idaho

21. Connecticut

22. Tennessee

23. North Carolina

24. New Hampshire

25. Iowa

26. Georgia

27. Rhode Island

28. Florida

29. New York

30. Nevada

31. Mississippi

32. Louisiana

33. Texas

34. Missouri

35. North Dakota

36. Wyoming

37. Indiana

38. Arkansas

39. South Dakota

40. Hawaii

41. New Mexico

42. Oklahoma

43. Alaska

44. West Virginia

45. Nebraska

46. Kansas

47. South Carolina

48. Kentucky

49. Montana

50. Alabama

Here’s a link to a fascinating chart that shows ranking for each years since 2008.

A vision of velo purgatory

0501140949 (2)I recently stopped by the Michigan State University (MSU) Surplus Store and had to take a couple of photos (above and below) of the many forlorn bicycles that are caught in what appears to be best described as “quasi-velo purgatory” – somewhere in between new ownership nirvana and being recycled for scrap metal and parts. With more than 25,000 bicycles tooling about campus in a given school year, many are unceremoniously  abandoned by their owners only to be gathered and garnered by the school for resale and/or recycling. It is actually quite a sad sight to see, as some of these rusting metallic skeletons were once quite nice steeds.

So, if you are looking for an inexpensive second bike, a unique gift idea, pieces and parts, or a fixer-upper, consider stopping by the MSU Surplus Store (or at a college campus surplus store near you) and nurture a forlorn velo back from perdition to its once proud cycle-riding glory.

Fyi –  One of my next posts will be of images showing the variety of bike head badges and decals that were observed while at the MSU Surplus Store.  Stay tuned!

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