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It’s Sunday again.

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… and that means it’s time for the weekend check-in.

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I have now opened, I believe, 10 packs of the 1988 Fleer baseball cards previously chronicled here. Nine of the packs contained cards that were all-new to me; the tenth was mostly duplicative.

The method of randomizing printed baseball cards before packing is the sort of thing that would have fascinated my Hope Street grandfather. How do you ensure some kid doesn’t get a pack of all Mets, or all Ed Kranepools?

I’m sure an explanation of how it works is out on the Interwebs someplace, and maybe some other day I will track it down.

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I had a random idea while I was mowing the lawn the other day: What would it have sounded like if Brian Eno produced Lightnin’ Hopkins? I’m picturing feather boas and weird synth textures on one hand, and red-dirt blues guitar playing on the other.

I might have to explore this further.

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What have I been listening to?

Well, earlier today there was an hour’s worth of Southern jazz-funk from Sea Level, recorded live at My Father’s Place on Long Island in October 1977.

The instrumental tunes were pretty fuzak-y, but they were still better than the vocal numbers. Even though parts of this performance scratched my itch for Seventies studio-cat jazzy tastiness, I don’t think I’ll revisit either the show or the band.

From there I have veered wildly into the Internet Archive’s stock of recordings of unknown local bands.

Cued up right now are videos of two mid-1980s shows starring a Wichita, Kansas, band called the Blivets. One takes place outside an art gallery at the local state college. A young man and woman dance in front of the camera, then notice it. The band plays “Sweet Jane” with a friend singing backup. The guitarist wears a fedora. They reach the end of their half-hour, ask for “one more,” are denied.

A year later they are back in front of the camera, playing amidst the highly questionable acoustics of a bowling alley. People bowl behind them, poorly. The guitar player wears tie-dye. They stretch out and jam. The singer’s guitar amp is a Peavey, mainstay of budget-conscious rock n’ rollers everywhere. Halfway through the film abruptly shifts to another performer, playing another venue, in the dark.

These films have a low-rent coziness that brings me right back to playing in a small-time band around that same time period (although the Blivets were better than my band ever was). I can practically smell the rooms where they’re playing, and see them loading their gear into their cars afterward. It’s a fun trip.

(The Blivets’ self-recorded 1991 release Golly Damn! is on the Archive too, and maybe I’ll check that out. But for right now, I’m locked into the moving pictures, not the sound.)

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