Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Didn't Make the Cut Part 8: Weird Al

"Weird Al" Yankovic was the first musician that was "mine" apart from my parents. I was probably 9 when I started listing to Al's classic albums "Weird Al Yankovic in 3-D" and "Dare to Be Stupid." Weird Al's parodies and polkas were a good primer and introduction into popular music for me as a pre-teen. And I still enjoy hearing his parodies like "White and Nerdy"! Over his 25 years of recordings he's produced a couple of Christmas songs. Christmas at Ground Zero was from his 1986 album "Polka Party!" The second song, "The Night Santa Went Crazy" is one I didn't know of until pointed out to me by my sister-in-law Dawnielle. It's from 1996's "Bad Hair Day" album.

Christmas At Ground Zero:

The Night Santa Went Crazy (for Dawnielle)

Didn't Make the Cut Part 7: Ben Folds

I used to be a big Ben Folds fan. I've seen Ben solo once and saw him with the "Ben Folds Five" twice. His latest album, "Way to Normal" does nothing for me. Ben has released two very odd Christmas songs that have never made the cut onto our CD. "Bizarre Christmas Incident" is an obscenity laden song about Santa getting stuck in a chimney. The second, "Lonely Christmas Eve" is from the soundtrack to the remake of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." It's sung from the perspective of the Grinch, pre-reform.

Bizarre Christmas Incident live (Chicago, December 16, 2005):

Lonely Christmas Eve:

New Heroes Webisodes: Hard Knox

Another new series of webisodes started Monday as part of NBC's Heroes. Unlike previous webisode series, this one featured main characters form the TV show.

Part Four:

Part Three:

Part Two:

Part One:

Friday, December 19, 2008

New U2 for my birthday!

U2's new album finally has a release date. Their 12th studio album, "No Line on the Horizon", will be released on March 3rd, the day after my birthday! This'll be their first since 2004's "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

2008 Roach Christmas CD

The 7th annual Roach Christmas CD is finally done. I think this is the latest we've finished one so far. But hey, we've had a lot going on, right? I think it turned out really well. We always try to have a good balance of songs. A balance between spiritual and secular, classics and modern songs, rock and county, upbeat and mellow, crooners and soul singers.

This mix has a couple of new favorites of mine. The track by singer/songwriter Brett Dennen is a good one. You may have heard his latest single, "Make You Crazy", on the radio. "Spotlight on Christmas" by Rufus Wainwright is a great one as well as "Christmas Must be Tonight" by The Band. And of course the new U2 track.

  • Christmas Times A-Comin' - Emmylou Harris
  • The Reindeer Boogie - Hank Snow
  • Christmas Must Be Tonight - The Band
  • Christmas Time All Over the World - Sammy Davis Jr.
  • The Holidays Are Here (And We're Still at War) - Brett Dennen
  • Behold That Star - Pete Seeger
  • Christmas in Killarney - Bing Crosby
  • Jolly Old St. Nicholas - Chet Atkins
  • All I Want For Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey
  • Merry Christmas Darling - The Carpenters
  • Spotlight on Christmas - Rufus Wainwright
  • Love Came Down at Christmas - Jars of Clay
  • Angels We Have Heard On High - Sixpence None The Richer
  • Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - Nat King Cole
  • Do You Hear What I Hear - Andy Williams
  • O Come, O Come Emanuel - Belle & Sebastian
  • The Star Carol - Aaron Neville
  • O Holy Night - Sheryl Crow
  • I Believe in Father Christmas - U2
  • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas -Melissa Etheridge
  • Auld Lang Syne - Roger McGuinn

You can download a .ZIP file here for a limited time.

Send me an e-mail if you have problems with the file or would rather have a hard copy.

Bourbon Balls

Since I'm on the topic of Christmas candies, I made a batch of bourbon balls for the party also. My Mom used to make bourbon balls around Christmas almost every year when I was growing up. She had a bottle of Canadian Club whiskey she used and that was the only liquor we ever had in the house. Over Thanksgiving we finally said goodbye to that bottle after probably 20 years. We poured some into the gutter and then George mixed some strong whiskey and juice. The recipe I made was nothing like Mom's. Hers was more of a candy in the Rebecca Ruth or Ruth Hunt style. These are two prominent candy companies in Kentucky that make a bourbon ball that has a creamy center, covered in dark chocolate and topped off with a pecan. The ones I made required no cooking. Bonus.

  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/4 c. Jim Beam
  • 1/4 c. light corn syrup
  • 2 c. crushed vanilla wafers
  • 4 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 c. chopped pecans

Stir together powdered sugar, cocoa, Jim Beam and corn syrup. Then add the crushed wafers and chopped nuts. Mix until evenly moistened and pinch a walnut sized piece and roll it firmly between the palms of your hands, repeat until all balls have been made. Roll the balls in additional powdered sugar until evenly coated. Refridgerate a couple of days before serving.

Visions of Sugar Plums....

...dancing in my head. Cathy's boss made a batch of sugar plums from a recipe from the newspaper last week. I've always wondered what sugar plums were and way kids would dream about them and why they would have a fairy queen. I had to try them myself for the office Christmas party. They're good, especially if they are small enough to pop them in your mouth whole. Kind of like a miniature fruit cake, but they won't break your toes if you drop them.

Here's the recipe, with a couple of minor variations by me:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup pistachios
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup dried plums
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons Triple Sec

Combine the sugar, cardamom and cinnamon in a bowl. Mix well, then set aside.

In a food processor, pulse the pecans until roughly chopped. Add the pistachios and pulse again until both nuts are finely chopped. Transfer the nuts to a bowl and set aside.

In a food processor, combine the dates, apricots and plums. Pulse briefly until roughly chopped. Add the raisins and cranberries, then continue pulsing until the fruit is evenly chopped and begins to clump.

Return the nuts to the processor and add the Triple Sec. Pulse until just mixed. If the mixture does not stick together, add additional Triple Sec. A teaspoon at a time, roll the mixture into balls, then roll each ball in the sugar until well coated.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

X-Men Origins: Wolverine trailer

After the rather lackluster "X-Men: The Last Stand", I didn't think much of the promise for this movie, but the trailer looks intriguing. Especially with the inclusion of Gambit. He's a great character. He was created by Chris Claremont & Jim Lee right around the time I stopped collecting comics. "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" opens Memorial Day weekend.

As interesting as this trailer is, it pales in comparison to the Watchmen trailers. Opening March 9th.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Heroes Webisodes: The Recruit

New webisodes are starting today as part of NBC's Heroes. "Vol. 3: Villains" finished last night, with "Vol. 4: Fugitives" starts in January. Heroes has been good this season, but I hear the ratings are now. Syler, Hiro and Peter Petrelli are all great characters, but Nathan Petrelli changes sides way too often for my liking.

Part Five:

Part Four:

Part Three:

Part Two:

Part One:

Monday, December 15, 2008

Didn't Make the Cut Part 6: "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer"

Next up on my list is the Christmas novelty song everyone loves to hate, "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." (I'm posting this one for Brad Hasler. I hear it's his favorite.) The song was written by Randy Brooks and was originally performed by the husband and wife comedy team of Elmo and Patsy Shropshire in 1979. After the Shropshire's divorce, Elmo re-recorded the song several times as "Dr. Elmo." This novelty song has spun several parodies including a pseudo rap version of the song by Dr. Elmo himself from 2008! This one was a favorite in the Roach house when George and I were about 10. My parents also liked Ray Stevens, so that explains things a little.

Original (not sure if this is the 1979 version with Patsy or one of the subsequent re-recordings without her):

Story of the song:

Irish Rovers cover:

Da Yoppers' parody "Grandpa Got Run Over by a Beer Truck":

Cledus T. Judd's parody "Grandpa Got Runned Over by a John Deere":


Grandma got run over by a reindeer
Walking home from our house Christmas eve.
You can say there's no such thing as Santa,
But as for me and Grandpa, we believe.

She'd been drinking too much eggnog,
And we'd begged her not to go.
But she'd left her medication,
So she stumbled out the door into the snow.

When they found her Christmas morning,
At the scene of the attack.
There were hoof prints on her forehead,
And incriminating Claus marks on her back.


Now were all so proud of Grandpa,
He's been taking this so well.
See him in there watching football,
Drinking' beer and playing cards with cousin Belle.

It's not Christmas without Grandma.
All the family's dressed in black.
And we just can't help but wonder:
Should we open up her gifts or send them back?


Now the goose is on the table
And the pudding made of fig.
And a blue and silver candle,
That would just have matched the hair in Grandma's wig.

I've warned all my friends and neighbors.
Better watch out for yourselves.
They should never give a license,
To a man who drives a sleigh and plays with elves.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Didn't Make the Cut Part 5: "Father Christmas"

Next up on the list is "Father Christmas" by "british invasion" group The Kinks. This was released as a single in 1977. This song get a lot of play in December on rock radio stations, but it certainly isn't very cheery. It's about a gang of kids who beat up a department store Santa and tell him to give them money instead of toys. It could be viewed as a tongue in cheek reminder to help the less fortunate: "But remember the kids who got nothin', While you're drinkin' down your wine," but like "Santa Baby," I think any positive message is lost in the song.


OK Go cover:

When I was small I believed in Santa Claus
Though I knew it was my Dad
And I would hang up my stocking at Christmas
Open my presents and I'd be glad

But the last time I played father Christmas
I stood outside a department store
A gang of kids came over and mugged me
And knocked my reindeer to the floor

They said:
Father Christmas, give us some money
Don't mess around with those silly toys.
We'll beat you up if you don't hand it over
We want your bread so don't make us annoyed
Give all the toys to the little rich boys

Don't give my brother a Steve Austin outfit
Don't give my sister a cuddly toy
We don't want a jigsaw or monopoly money
We only want the real McCoy

Father Christmas, give us some money
We'll beat you up if you make us annoyed
Father Christmas, give us some money
Don't mess around with those silly toys

But give my daddy a job cause he needs one
He's got lots of mouths to feed
But if you've got one, I'll have a machine gun
So I can scare all the kids down the street

Father Christmas, give us some money
We got no time for your silly toys
We'll beat you up if you don't hand it over
Give all the toys to the little rich boys

Have yourself a merry merry Christmas
Have yourself a good time
But remember the kids who got nothin'
While you're drinkin' down your wine

Father Christmas, give us some money
We got no time for your silly toys
We'll beat you up if you don't hand it over
We want your bread, so don't make us annoyed
Give all the toys to the little rich boys

Didn't Make the Cut Part 4: "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas"

Next up on the "didn't make the cut" list is the novelty song, "I Want a Hippopotamus." The song was written in 1943 by John Rox and performed by Gayla Peevey (10 years old at the time). Peevey was a regional child star in the Oklahoma City area. This one pops up on Christmas MP3 blogs from time to time, but I find it excruciatingly annoying.


Jonas Brother cover:

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
Only a hippopotamus will do
Don't want a doll, no dinky Tinker Toy
I want a hippopotamus to play with and enjoy

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
I don't think Santa Claus will mind, do you?
He won't have to use our dirty chimney flue
Just bring him through the front door, that's the easy thing to do

I can see me now on Christmas morning, creeping down the stairs
Oh what joy and what surprise when I open up my eyes
To see a hippo hero standing there

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
Only a hippopotamus will do
No crocodiles, no rhinoceroses
I only like hippopotamuses
And hippopotamuses like me too

Mom says the hippo would eat me up, but then
Teacher says a hippo is a vegetarian

There's lots of room for him in our two-car garage
I'd feed him there and wash him there and give him his massage
I can see me now on Christmas morning, creeping down the stairs
Oh what joy and what surprise when I open up my eyes
To see a hippo hero standing there

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
Only a hippopotamus will do
No crocodiles or rhinoceroses
I only like hippopotamuses
And hippopotamuses like me too!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Didn't Make the Cut Part 3: "Santa Baby"

Santa Baby is the song that got me thinking about songs that didn't make the cut. Over Thanksgiving, my sister-in-law suggested that we put a version of this song on the CD. We chatted about the merits of the song and the performer she liked. I've never really liked the song. It always reminds me of commercialization of Christmas and greed and it's always associated with the latest sexy Hollywood starlet (or Muppet). The song was written in 1953 by Joan Javits, Philip Springer, and Tony Springer and was originally recorded by Eartha Kitt. It turns out, my sister-in-law wasn't even thinking of this song, but got it confused with "Baby, It's Cold Outside" which appeared on the 2002 CD!


Kylie Minogue cover:

Madonna cover:

Pussycat Dolls cover:

Miss Piggy cover:

Kellie Pickler cover:

Santa baby, just slip a sable under the tree, for me
Been an awful good girl
Santa baby so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby, a '54 convertible too, light blue,
I'll wait up for you dear
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Think of all the fun I've missed,
Think of all the fellows that I haven't kissed
Next year I could be just as good
If you check off my Christmas list

Santa baby, I want a yacht and really that's not a lot
Been an angel all year
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa honey, one little thing I really need, the deed
To a platinum mine,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa cutie, and fill my stocking with a duplex and checks,
Sign your x on the line
Santa cutie, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Come and trim my Christmas tree,
With some decorations bought at Tiffany's
I really do believe in you,
Let's see if you believe in me

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing, a ring,
I don't mean on the phone,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Hurry down the chimney tonight
Hurry, tonight.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Didn't Make the Cut Part 2: "Fairytale of New York"

Here's another song that's never made the cut. I'd never heard this song before starting to put together Christmas mixes and exchanging mixes with people. The song, "Fairytale of New York", is by The Pogues and featured Kirsty MacColl. It was released on thier 1987 album, "If I Should Fall from Grace with God." The Pogues were a Irish and English band that played "traditional Irish music with influences from punk rock", according to Wikipedia, and "reached international prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s." It's a fun song, but it isn't right for one of our CDs. It's about a drunken man's Christmas Eve memories of Christmases past while sleeping off a binge in a New York City drunk tank and contains some coarse language. Watch for Matt Dillon playing a cop in the video.


Christy Moore cover:

K.T.Tunstall & Ed Harcourt cover:

It was Christmas Eve babe
In the drunk tank
An old man said to me, won't see another one
And then he sang a song
The Rare Old Mountain Dew
I turned my face away
And dreamed about you

Got on a lucky one
Came in eighteen to one
I've got a feeling
This year's for me and you
So happy Christmas
I love you baby
I can see a better time
When all our dreams come true

They've got cars big as bars
They've got rivers of gold
But the wind goes right through you
It's no place for the old
When you first took my hand
On a cold Christmas Eve
You promised me
Broadway was waiting for me

You were handsome
You were pretty
Queen of New York City
When the band finished playing
They howled out for more
Sinatra was swinging,
All the drunks they were singing
We kissed on a corner
Then danced through the night

The boys of the NYPD choir
Were singing "Galway Bay"
And the bells were ringing out
For Christmas day

You're a bum
You're a punk
You're an old s--t on junk
Lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed
You scumbag, you maggot
You cheap lousy f----t
Happy Christmas your a--e
I pray God it's our last

I could have been someone
Well so could anyone
You took my dreams from me
When I first found you
I kept them with me babe
I put them with my own
Can't make it all alone
I've built my dreams around you

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Didn't Make the Cut Part 1: "Merry Christmas from the Family"

Cathy and I are putting the finishing touches on our 7th annual Christmas CD. Hopefully we'll have that out to friends and family in about a week. Over those 7 years we've amassed quite a Christmas MP3 collection. I'm charged with the task of whittling them down into a CD of about 20 songs or so. So far we haven't repeated a single song except for Auld Lang Syne and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."

Over the next couple of weeks I'm going to highlight songs that have never made the cut. Some of them are favorite novelty songs, some are classics I don't really like and some I do like, but aren't really appropriate for a kid and family friendly mix. The first song matches that last category. It's Texas singer/songwriter Robert Earl Keen's "Merry Christmas from the Family" from 1994. The song is about a dysfunctional family Christmas. While the family members are over the top caricatures, anyone with a big family can probably relate to one or more of the situations described. Keen also recorded a squeal of sorts called "Happy Holidays Y'all." Hallelujah, everybody say cheese!

Jill Sobule cover:

Montgomery Gentry cover:

Dixie Chicks cover:

Mom got drunk and Dad got drunk at our Christmas party
We were drinking champagne punch and homemade eggnog
Little sister brought her new boyfriend
He was a Mexican
We didn't know what to think of him until he sang
Feliz Navidad, Feliz Navidad

Brother Ken brought his kids with him
The three from his first wife Lynn
And the two identical twins from his second wife Mary Nell
Of course he brought his new wife Kay
Who talks all about AA
Chain smoking while the stereo plays Noel, Noel
The First Noel

Carve the Turkey
Turn the ball game on
Mix margaritas when the eggnog's gone
Send somebody to the Quickpak Store
We need some ice and an extension chord
A can of bean dip and some Diet Rites
A box of tampons, Marlboro Lights
Hallelujah everybody say cheese
Merry Christmas from the family

Fred and Rita drove from Harlingen
I can't remember how I'm kin to them
But when they tried to plug their motor home in
They blew our Christmas lights
Cousin David knew just what went wrong
So we all waited out on our front lawn
He threw a breaker and the lights came on
And we sang Silent Night, Oh Silent Night, Oh Holy Night

Carve the turkey turn the ball game on
Make Bloody Mary's
Cause We All Want One!
Send somebody to the Stop 'N Go
We need some celery and a can of fake snow
A bag of lemons and some Diet Sprites
A box of tampons, some Salem Lights
Hallelujah, everybody say cheese
Merry Christmas from the Family

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Wiggles cover U2?!

Who's a more over the top caricature? The Fly or Captain Feathersword?

We used to watch a lot of Wiggles. Every morning we'd watch The Wiggles and JoJo's Circus with Parker before starting our day. Parker's tastes have moved from the Wiggles to Speed Racer so we don't see much of those wacky Australian "brothers"and their friends anymore. We stopped watching around the time Greg Wiggle was replaced with Sam Wiggle.

I ran across this video today on Youtube. It's the Wiggles, featuring Sam and Captain Feathersword, performing U2's classic song "Angel of Harlem" for Australian TV. Very surreal and fun.

Early Christmas present from U2

Just in time to make the Roaches' annual Christmas mix CD and to usher in the new (RED) WIRE online music subscription service, U2 has released a cover of Greg Lake's "I Believe in Father Christmas" from 1975 It's an interesting take on a somewhat cynical song about the commercialization of Christmas written by the prog-rocker and former member of King Crimson and Emerson Lake & Palmer. As far as I can remember, this is the first Christmas song U2 has recorded since their take on Darlene Love's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" from the 1987 "A Very Special Christmas" CD to benefit the Special Olympics.

U2's version:

Original version:

Greg Lake talking about the song:

They said there'll be snow at Christmas
They said there'll be peace on Earth
But instead it just kept on raining
A veil of tears for the virgin birth
I remember one Christmas morning
A winters light and a distant choir
And the peal of a bell and that Christmas Tree smell
And eyes full of tinsel and fire

They sold me a dream of Christmas
They sold me a Silent Night
And they told me a fairy story
'Till I believed in the Israelite
And I believed in Father Christmas
And I looked to the sky with excited eyes
'Till I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn
And I saw him and through his disguise

I wish you a hopeful Christmas
I wish you a brave New Year
All anguish pain and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear
They said there'll be snow at Christmas
They said there'll be peace on Earth
Hallelujah Noel be it Heaven or Hell
The Christmas we get we deserve

Monday, December 01, 2008

When I'm 18.........

Every since we took Parker with us when Cathy voted, Parker has been very aware of things he can't do because he's too young. So far the list of things he has to be 18 to do includes:

  • Vote
  • Drink coffee
  • Ride in the front seat of the car
  • Be a Dad

Today I tried to tell him you have to be 18 to play with Star Wars light sabers. Parker response? "No you don't, Dad. Those kids (on the commercial) aren't 18." I can't put anything over on this kid!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Office Webisodes: The Outburst

NBC is all about the web episodes this season. First Heroes, now The Office. These could be pretty funny.

Episode 4 (final):

Episode 3:

Episode 2:

Episode 1:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Heroes: Destiny

Brand new Heroes web series was premiered on Monday. I thought Monday's episode was fantastic. Left me wanting more. The Office has a new webisode series premieres on November 20th, titled "The Outburst."

Episode 4:

Episode 3:

Episode 2:

Episode 1:

Tubes in, Adenoids Out

The Roaches are back from the Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St. Vincent's in Indianapolis. Parker's been having chronic ear infections since.....well....since he was born. He had ear tubes inserted when he was 8 months old and they helped for a while, but this summer he's had one infection a month. One tube was still in and not functioning correctly and the other one was long gone. Tuesday morning, bright and early, Parker had a second round of ear tubes inserted and had his enormous adenoids removed. Apparently his adenoids were so large they were blocking his Eustachian tubes and not allowing for proper drainage of the ears. It was all around a pretty good experience. Parker and I toured the hospital the day before and that helped a lot. That plus him being able to drive a Bat Mobile ride-on car from the prep room to the operating room. He was good to go, barely even noticing we weren't coming with him! He had some trouble with disorientation in the recovery room and that was probably the worst for Cathy and me. But after a good 5 hour nap he was back to his usual happy and bright self in no time. He was ready to go home yesterday morning though! The doctors and nurses at St. Vincent's were fantastic. They made everything very easy.

Also, a big thank you to everyone who's called or e-mailed their concerns!

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's a new day

We started out the election season back in February with's amazing video "Yes We Can." It's only appropriate to close out the election with his new video "It's a new day."

Friday, November 07, 2008

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Dawning of a new day in America

It's a beautiful day, Don't let it get away

Friday, October 31, 2008

Wilco the song

From last night's Colbert Report. It's a fun little one-off. thank goodness for the DVR. I can't stay up that late anymore!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

New Cars Toon cartoons start tonight

For all of you out there with pre-school and school aged boys (and girls!) you probably know all about the Disney/Pixar movie Cars. We at the Roach house are up to our eyeballs in Cars!

As our 3 year old neighbor told us a couple of weeks ago, Cars 2 is coming out in 2011. To keep kids and fans interested, Pixar has keep the toys and merchandising going strong. And suckers like us keep buying it! The latest is the Cars Storytellers book and toys from Target. Starting tonight, "Toon Disney" begins to air a series of short Cars cartoons, appropriately titled "Cars Toon." The first three which air this week fallow the general theme of "Mater's Tall Tales." I'm sure Parker will love these!

Monday, Oct. 27 (6:56 p.m. EDT)
Rescue Squad Mater. Mater is a fire truck that rescues Lightning McQueen from a burning building. When McQueen is rushed to the hospital, he discovers that Mater is a doctor, too.

Tuesday, Oct. 28 (6:57 p.m. EDT)
Mater the Greater. Mater is a famous daredevil who does all kinds of stunts. And Lightning McQueen becomes an unwilling participant in Mater’s greatest stunt ever.

Wednesday, Oct. 29 (6:57 p.m. EDT)
El Materdor. Mater is a famous bulldozer fighter in Spain. He’s so good, he’s able to fend off multiple bulldozers at once. Lightning McQueen joins Mater in this tall tale just as things are at their worst.

Check out a sneak peak on the Jim Hill Media website.

Yes we carve!

Yes we carve! #2
Yes we carve! #2,
Originally uploaded by jcroach.

We carved our Halloween pumpkins on Sunday. surprisingly, for a kid that loves playing in mud and dirt, he didn't want to have anything to do with the "guts" of the pumpkin. Maybe next year. This is the second time we've done a political themed pumpkin. The first was a "VOTE" pumpkin in 2004. Maybe we should have been a little more specific because people didn't vote the way we intended!

Yes we carve! #1
Yes we carve! #1,
Originally uploaded by jcroach.

If you look closely, you can see Parker's Obama button and his shirt says "Vote for my better tomorrow." Looks like great trick-or-treating weather for Friday. Parker and our neighbor are both going to be Buzz Lightyear this year. Look out neighborhood, here come the Space Rangers!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Congratulations George and Dawnielle!

The Roaches spent last weekend in the Windy City helping my brother George and Dawnielle get married. By "helping" I mean Cathy helped make the corsages, I gave a best man's toast and Parker slept through the ceremony. It was a beautiful ceremony and it was great to meet George's Chicago friends. They are probably wrapping up their honeymoon in sunny Sedona, AZ right about now. When they get back they'll be moving into their new apartment in Carol Stream, IL. (Weather in Sedona: 78 and sunny, weather in Carol Stream: 53 and showers). We wish the newlyweds lots of luck and love in their new life together! See you guys at Thanksgiving?!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Front to Back: Ben Folds Five Reunited

Check this out on Ben Folds Five reunited recently to perform their last album, 1999's The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner. I never really cared much for this album, but it is good to see "The Five" performing together again. Cathy and I saw them at the IU Auditorium on this tour. Check out the performance below:

Ben Folds Five - MySpace Front To Back concert

Cardinology Streaming

The new album from Ryan Adams and the Cardinals is streaming on Check out Cardinology here. It'll be released next Tuesday, October 28th.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Parker and Mommy

Parker and Mommy
Parker and Mommy,
Originally uploaded by chmcelwee.

I love this shot. Parker is getting an early Halloween trick in on his Mom. The other day he told me "I'm just joking, Daddy. I love jocking people. it's fuuuuuunny."

Turning Indiana Blue

There's a great new article on about Barack Obama's campaign in Indiana. Indiana hasn't voted for Democratic President since LBJ. Let's hope this is the year Indiana turns Blue!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Parker and Uncle George

Parker and Uncle George
Parker and Uncle George,
Originally uploaded by chmcelwee.

How cute are these two? Parker and George spending some time together at his wedding this weekend!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Yes We Carve!

Latest great web find: Yes We Carve, a site devoted to all things Barack Obama and Halloween. It's full of stencils, instructions and pictures of uploaded jack o' lanterns. We were planning on doing our own election themed jack o' lantern even before finding this site. I'll post picture hopefully next week!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Coming to a drive-in near you.

I can't tell if it's a comedy or a horror film. If only it was all a joke.

The Cardinals, Live in Indy

Ryan Adams and the Cardinals (or as the marquee billed them "The Cardinals featuring Ryan Adams") put on a fantastic concert at the Murat Theater in Indy last night. This was the first concert Cathy and I had been to together since a John Mellencamp show in 2002, I believe.

The band was in great form, performing hard edged "rock" versions of songs, with lots of extended jams. Jon Grayboff's pedal steel was mostly lost in the mix; only really shining in a couple of songs. Only two songs featured piano. The new songs were great. Thank goodness for YouTube and tapers or I might not have enjoyed them quite as much. Although I thought "Evergreen" fell completely flat. I was surprised they didn't play "Fix It," which is going to be their first single from their new album. Most of the songs were from Easy Tiger, Jacksonville City Nights and Cold Roses, but they threw in a couple of older gems too. Nothing from Ryan's Whiskeytown days, however.

Ryan wasn't much on the stage chatter. They took the stage, with no opening act, without as much as a "Are you ready to rock, Indy?!" About 40 minutes into the show, they started having monitor problems. Ryan said that his voice in his ears sounded like Darth Vader. They left the sage to correct the problem and we were treated to an odd opera track and what sounded like some of Ryan's "rap". At least it wasn't any of his death metal. Thankfully they fixed the problem and we weren't witnesses to any of Ryan's infamously temperamental stage antics. I've heard he's much more even tempered now that he's clean and sober.

Pretty cool stage design, with two big neon "cold roses" logos that Cathy had seared into her eyes the whole ride home and the strange new "Cardinology" logo that doubled as a gong holder for the drummer, Brad Pemberton. Here's the set list, courtesy of the official Cardinals Cave Blog, with edits.

  1. Cobwebs (new song)
  2. Wonderwall (Oasis cover)
  3. Mockingbird
  4. Goodnight Rose (VIDEO)
  5. Off Broadway
  6. Natural Ghost (new song)
  7. Please Do Not Let Me Go
  8. I See Monsters
  9. Let It Ride
  10. Desire
  11. Sun Also Sets
  12. What Sin Replaces Love (rather obscure bonus track from Jacksonville City Nights)
  13. Like Yesterday (new song)
  14. Games (VIDEO)
  15. Everybody Knows
  16. Sink Ships (new song)
  17. Come Pick Me Up
  18. When the Stars Go Blue
  19. Oh My God, Whatever Etc. (VIDEO)
  20. Beautiful Sorta
  21. Evergreen (New song)
  22. Bartering Lines (a blistering performance of this originally rather subdued song) (VIDEO)
  23. Rescue Blues (featuring Ryan on piano)
  24. La Cienega Just Smiled
  25. Two (VIDEO)
  26. Easy Plateau (capped with a feedback barrage that left Cathy's ears bleeding)

Listen to the show here:

Check out 3 live in studio tracks (Two , Fix It, and Everybody Knows) from The Cardinals at the WTTS web site. These are all acoustic tracks, unlike the all electric set at the Murat.

Photos from Nuvo.

Here's a recent Rolling Stone interview with Ryan.

There's also a great new Ryan Adams article in the latest Paste Magazine.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Way to Normal

Ben Folds' latest album "Way to Normal" was released yesterday. You can hear it all streaming on AOL. Click HERE. A word of warning, the site requires a ActiveX plug-in for Firefox that isn't compatible with version 3.0. I think I'll spin this for a while before I think about buying it. I haven't been too impressed with what I've heard so far.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Parker was in the doctor's office yesterday (pink eye) and they weighed and measured him. He came out at 36 inches and 36 pounds. I just thought that was kind of cool. ............carry on.............

Monday, September 29, 2008

Obama to win Indiana in a landslide!

The Roach Polling Institute predicts a Barack Obama landslide victory in Indiana. On Saturday, we conducted a completely unscientific study of voters in Monroe, Owen and Putnam counties. We drove from Bloomington to Greencastle to see the DPU Tiger beat the Sewanee Tigers 27-20. We didn't however get to eat at Marvin's. Why on earth would Marvin's be closed for lunch on a football Saturday? It was even Family Weekend! But I digress. On this approximately 48 mile trip through conservative southwestern Indiana, including the towns of Elletsville, Spencer and Cloverdale, we counted 12 Obama yard signs and only 5 John McCain signs. That leads us to predict a 71%-29% Obama victory. Only time will tell if we're correct!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cardinology 101

New Ryan Adams and the Cardinals album out on October 28th titled "Cardinology." I had heard that Ryan wanted to drop "Ryan Adams and the" from the band name but was contractually obligated to give himself first billing. Who knows if that's true. They've been playing a lot of these song already at their live shows. Cathy and I have tickets to the Oct. 2nd show at the Murat in Indy. Let's hope they still play lots of old favorites too!

Track listing

  1. Born Into a Light
  2. Go Easy
  3. Fix It
  4. Magick
  5. Cobwebs
  6. Let Us Down Easy
  7. Crossed Out Name
  8. Natural Ghost
  9. Sink Ships
  10. Evergreen
  11. Like Yesterday
  12. Stop

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

2009 Pennys

Look for new pennys in your change in 2009. The US Mint revealed the designs for the obverse of the often maligned $0.01 piece Monday. The temporary redesign is in recognition of the bicentennial of President Abraham Lincoln's birth and the 100th anniversary of the first Lincoln cent. The four designs represent four phases of Lincoln's life.

  • Birth and early childhood in Kentucky (1809-1816)
  • Formative years in Indiana (1816-1830)
  • Professional Life in Illinois (1830-1861)
  • Presidency in Washington, DC (1861-1865)
After 2009, there will be a new design to replace the current one, which until now had not changed in 50 years.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Parker as "The Hulk"
Parker as "The Hulk",
Originally uploaded by jcroach.

Parker loves the Hulk. A little too much. When he gets in the mood, no piece of furniture is safe. He loves to paint his face green with whatever is available. Finger paint, frosting, etc. This is his serious smashing face.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Ok, weekend's over. Back to politics. Cathy tells me I was talking in my sleep last night. I said something about the "Straight Talk Express." I must have been having a nightmare.

Found this on The Washington Post today.

According to a new analysis by the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain are both proposing tax plans that would result in cuts for most American families. Obama's plan gives the biggest cuts to those who make the least, while McCain would give the largest cuts to the very wealthy. For the approximately 147,000 families that make up the top 0.1 percent of the income scale, the difference between the two plans is stark. While McCain offers a $269,364 tax cut, Obama would raise their taxes, on average, by $701,885 - a difference of nearly $1 million.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Some U2 to tide us over until 2009

OK, enough politics for the week. U2 has delayed release of their upcoming album, that fans speculate will be called "No Line on the Horizon," until early 2009.

So, in the meantime, I found this classic concert film at has streaming video of U2's first live TV appearance, at "Rockpalast" in St. Goarshausen, Germany. This is a great "War" era show from August 20, 1983.

I also found this interesting "interpretation" of the U2 classic "I Will Follow" by American singer-songwriter Waz on Scatter 'O Light Blog


Monday, September 08, 2008

Wilco and Obama

Jeff Tweedy, Pat Sansone, and Glenn Kotche of Wilco introducing Sen. Barack Obama in Chicago.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Signs of Hope and Change

New Obama campaign video.

Music by The National.

Civics 101

Jon Stewart Says it Best!

I love it!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

180 degrees

I just had to post this. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) has done quite the about face since 2006.

Found on the

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Class of 2012 Mindset List

Beloit College in Beloit, Wis., has released their College Mindset List for the Class of 2012. I love reading the list every year, even though it makes me feel old. The list was designed to help college professors understand the worldview of their new students, most of which are 18 year olds, born in 1990. Check out the list here.

A couple of items on the list struck me.

3. They have always been looking for Carmen Sandiego.
7. Gas stations have never fixed flats, but most serve cappuccino.
9. Electronic filing of tax returns has always been an option.
15. Martha Stewart Living has always been setting the style.
22. Clarence Thomas has always sat on the Supreme Court.
28. IBM has never made typewriters.
29. Roseanne Barr has never been invited to sing the National Anthem again.
31. They have never been able to color a tree using a raw umber Crayola.
32. There has always been Pearl Jam.
33. The Tonight Show has always been hosted by Jay Leno and started at 11:35 EST.
34. Pee-Wee has never been in his playhouse during the day.
36. They may have been given a Nintendo Game Boy to play with in the crib.
37. Authorities have always been building a wall across the Mexican border.
46. The Green Bay Packers (almost) always had the same starting quarterback.
49. Soft drink refills have always been free.
58. Radio stations have never been required to present both sides of public issues.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

2008 DePauw Football schedule

Football season is fast approaching! We always try to go to at least one DPU Tigers game at beautiful Blackstock Stadium. Maybe this year Parker will enjoy watching part of the game. And if not, that's ok. We'll get out on a fall day and enjoy a Marvin's GCB. Still a winner.

We likely won't be able to make the Sept. 13th game. we'll be busy getting ready for Parker's 3rd Birthday party on the 20th. If you're interested in joining us, let me know!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Parker's pick up line

We visited Lebanon a few weeks ago to help Cathy's Mom re-roof her house. While we were there, Cathy and Parker visited with Kary Hill and her family. While the kids were playing, Kary's youngest, Molly, who's about 7 months or so older than Parker, can downstairs wearing one of her Disney princess dress up gowns. Parker proceeded to tell her "Molly, you're a pretty princess. Wanna see my underwear?" When Cathy told me this, I just about died laughing. Watch out ladies, here comes Parker!

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

Ok, so I'm a 33 year old Harry Potter fan. Sue me. If you're a fan, you probably read about's purchase of a hand written original work of J.K. Rowling's called "The Tales of Beedle the Bard." This fictional book played heavily in the final novel of the series, The Deathly Hallows. payed $3.98 million for it, with the proceeds going to one of Rowling's favorite charities, The Children's Voice Campaign. This is an organization that fights for the rights of children living in institutions.

Well, Potter fans will finally have their chance to read these wizard "fairy tales" on December 4th. Proceeds from the book will also go to The Children's Voice Campaign. It comes in a standard hardcover version and a exclusive deluxe version, featuring a recreation of the handwritten version owned by, for a mere $100!

A 800 word "prequel" to the series was also recently auctioned for charity. The auction raised $48,910 for English PEN and Dyslexia Action. You can read it here.

Another new song for Monday, Ben Folds!

More new music for today! Ben Folds has posted the first track off of his upcoming Album on his Facebook page and elsewhere on the web. The album, due out September 30th, is called "Way to Normal" and the song is "Hiroshima (B B B Benny Hit His Head)." Wasn't blown away by it. Now, if only part of the upcoming U2 album would leak..........

Hiroshima (B-B-B-Benny Hit His Head) - Ben Folds

New wilco song!

Wilco premiered a new track, tentatively called "One Wing" over the weekend at Lollapalooza in Chicago. They're playing in Indy tonight and the White River State Park. Maybe I'll catch them the next time through town, or maybe I'll try to hit the Ryan Adams and the Cardinals show at the Murat on Oct. 2nd.