Just Say Uncle


The Impossible Whopper

The latest trend among burger joints is The Impossible Burger. It’s a burger that isn’t really a burger at all, but a plant-based concoction that isn’t all that bad. Hang on, sporto, it ain’t all that good, either.

Burger King’s version does look like a Whopper, but its taste is something else altogether. Whereas the regular Whopper does have somewhat of a flame-broiled taste to it, The Impossible Whopper tastes more like the liquid smoke that crockpot barbecuers use.

The secondary taste is that of a high school cafeteria hamburger, which is probably 80% soy. If that sounds even remotely pleasant to you, then you might find this to your liking. 

As for me, I just kept wishing the faux burger was the real thing. 

Short of some sort of weird, fast-food, apocalyptic scenario, I doubt that I’d ever have another.*

Van Dyke Brown

*My editor insists that I will “have another.” Damn.

Uncategorized Video of The Day

Shovel Some Kindness

I’ve been lucky in that I’ve had two neighbors with snowblowers that almost always helped me out when the white stuff got deep, here in Wisconsin. I always appreciated the helping hand.

With lighter snowfalls, my family & I often shoveled their walks in return. Though they might not have ever realized that it was us, I still feel good knowing that we were able to return the favor a little.


Quick Spins

Marshall Crenshaw Miracle Of Science

Marshall Crenshaw

Miracle of Science (Shiny-Tone)

With the release of 1996’s Miracle of Science, alt-pop favorite Marshall Crenshaw had a bit of a career renaissance. Comparisons were immediately drawn between this new record and his stellar 1982 self-titled debut. Much to the delight of guitar-pop fans everywhere, he seemed to have rediscovered his muse, and in a big way.

Here, Miracle of Science gets the reissue treatment from Crenshaw’s own Shiny-Tone Records label. In edition, Shiny-Tone will give another go ‘round to 1996’s #447, 2003’s What’s In The Bag? And 1998’s The 9 Volt Years. All will be welcome to this writer.

“What Do You Dream Of” and “Who Stole The Train” are two of Crenshaw’s best, indeed, he almost sings them with the energy he had in ’82. “Twenty-Five Forty-One” is a great warning song about the downside of getting a place with your girl. The cover of Billy Page’s “The “In” Crowd” is peppy and fun, as is the imaginary TV theme song, “Theme From Flaregun.”

For Crenshaw’s collecting fans, Shiny-Tone adds three additional unreleased tracks; “Rouh Na Selim Nevers (Seven Miles An Hour backwards)”, and demos of “What The Hell I Got” and “Misty Dreamer.” Even without the extra added tracks, Miracle of Science is one of his absolute best, and well worth another listen.



Just Say Uncle


Rob Paravonian, Comedian

It’s probably no coincidence that comedian Rob Paravonian comes from the same place as another famous everyman, Jack Benny, Waukegan, Illinois.

Paravonian deftly wonders at the fly in the ointment, while Benny himself actually was the fly. His hilarious “Baby In A Bar” is a prime example. Taking note of the strange hipster phenomenon of bringing their babies to taverns, the song is less of an indictment and more a general curiosity.

When he’s not hosting and performing at showcases in his current climes, Brooklyn, NY, Paravonian can be found doing everything from touring the country to entertaining families on Disney cruises.

One of his greatest skills, however, is his ability to craft music videos for his satirical songs. “Pachelbel Rant,” his anthem for frustrated cellists everywhere, became an internet sensation a few years ago, garnering over 15 million YouTube views.

Other standout videos include the “Driving With Grandpa” and “The Other Property Brothers.” Also of note is his series “52 sellout,” featuring a year’s worth of commercial parodies guaranteed to produce far more than 52 laughs. You can connect with Rob on YouTube, or at .


Father of The Brood


I’m In Love With A Sound

By Carl Cafarelli

You love music. But what do you really, really love about music?

I have a sound in my head.

If you want to be highfalutin’, you could say it’s an audio equivalent of Plato’s Forms, an abstract ideal that represents the perfect sound, beyond human realization, just outside our mortal ability to craft and replicate in this mundane real world. If you prefer to remain grounded to the planet we inhabit, you can call this sound a mere (?!) joyous reflection of every song I’ve ever heard, every tune I’ve ever loved, and every fantasy I’ve ever entertained of the promise of pop music.

But it’s neither. It’s an AM radio, tuned to an imaginary station that never existed. It’s as real as dreams, as corporeal as passion, and as timeless as memory, experience, grace, hope, ambition, disappointment, and love. It kinda sounds like The Beatles in 1965. Also James Brown. The Ramones. The Bay City Rollers. Otis Redding. Chuck Berry. The Everly Brothers. The Sex Pistols. Paul Revere & the Raiders. Prince. The Go-Go’s. The Isley Brothers playing “Summer Breeze.” KISS singing “Shout It Out Loud.” The Monkees being The Monkees. The Flashcubes. God, The Flashcubes!

What do I really, really love about music?


I can’t narrow it down more than that. I love the way music makes me feel, even when the feeling is melancholy, like how The Kinks’ “Days” reminds me that I recited the lyrics of that song at my Dad’s funeral, or when some random tune recalls past betrayals, lies, or heartbreak. Lyrics. Hooks. Harmonies. The drum, the bass, the guitars. “It’s My Life” by The Animals blows me away every time I hear it, its self-assured wall of melody unerringly prompting me to marvel at the precise, perfect placement of each note, each lick. Everything in its place. “Twenty-Four Hours From Tulsa.” “On Broadway.” Badfinger’s “Baby Blue.” Bowie’s “Life On Mars?” “God Only Knows,” and the entirety of Pet Sounds.  “In The Midnight Hour.” “Laugh, Laugh.” “Freedom” by Wham!, ferchrissakes. “I Only Want To Be With You.” “I Wanna Be With You.” “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend.”

I’m writing a book called The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1). Notice the singular rather than the plural “records;” an infinite number of records can be The Greatest Record Ever Made, as long as they take turns. (“September Gurls.”) You live your life within each song as it plays. (“The Tears Of A Clown.”) Your faith is fully invested, without reservation, and your belief is rewarded with each never-ending spin. (“Kick Out The Jams,” muthas and bruthas.) The allegiance is eternal, immortal…at least, until the next song plays.

Do you believe in magic? I do. And that means I’m unable–unwilling–to dissect music’s appeal. That would be like trying to tell a stranger about rock ‘n’ roll. Well, actually, I’m eager to do that.  But my discourse will retain its reverence, its delight, its wonder, its awe. My cranial transistor is tuned to Sly Stone, Alice Cooper, Suzi Quatro, Rotary Connection, Patti Smith, Janis Joplin, The Shangri-Las, P.P. Arnold, The Smithereens, The Four Tops, and to a bunch of singers and groups I haven’t even heard yet. But I will. I’ll hear ’em all. What do I really, really love about music? My God, what is there not to love? And how would we even know how to love if we didn’t have it?

The beat’s cool, too. I do dig the beat.


Just Say Uncle

Video of The Day

A Side of Kindness

The best part of this story is that deaf people are going to this specific Taco Bell, because they know they’ll be able to sign their order.