Saturday, May 30, 2009

Cover Song Saturday Night

In honor of REO Speedwagon and Styx in town this weekend, here is Cover Song Saturday Night, Classic Rock Edition.

The Lovely Lisa Loeb

Fans of The Big Lebowski will enjoy this take of Hotel California.

Is there such a thing as a 'Cover Video?' This is fantastic.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

News and Whimsy


Slow news week at The Skog Blog except for this one excellent nugget - GOMEZ is coming to SLC! Get your tickets now, my friends. Gomez never puts on a bad show.


Here are your weekly links of things to help you kill time.

A great collection of bad family pictures. I know what you are thinking and no, the link doesn't just bring you right back to the Skog Blog.

First Karate Kid and now another of the classic films of our youth is getting remade. As long as they keep the crucial 'Tune in Tokyo' scene then I guess I'll be ok with it.

It's an important time in the sports world, NBA playoffs, NHL playoffs and the most important championship in the world.

And finally, last week I brought you a cool cat well this week it's his cousin, El Gato Bueno.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday Night Playlist - Special Guest!

Tonight's special guest blogger is Mindy, a Skog Family friend of many years. Her older brother Todd taught me how to throw a split fingered fastball and her other older brother Rob tried to teach me how to hit a curveball. Sadly the student could never become the master. In a random twist of fate, Mindy's husband served with me in 'La Gran Mision Chile Osorno' and Greg and I have shared more Yerba Mate than I can even attempt to recall. Most importantly, Mrs. Dibble has an impeccable taste in music and it is with great pleasure I present tonight's playlist.


In my ‘other life’ I am a movie soundtrack director. I pick the songs that set the tone for the scene. I feel like the songs are some of the most influential characters in a movie. I mean, seriously, would you be afraid of Darth Vader if “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” pumped through the speakers? I love how music makes me feel and express emotion. So for this playlist you are stuck listening to some of the scene setters lately in my life. Granted, the music playing most of the time for me these days involves The Little Einsteins or the Jonas Brothers but I still sneak in a few of my own every now and then.

Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol.
I know that this song is not really talking about chasing cars but it plays almost every day on my soundtrack because I spend a good part of the day in a car chasing other cars to various locations. When I was a kid my family would take long trips in our suburban and to drown out the noise of 4 brothers and 2 sisters I would pretend like I was in a movie. The scene was me in a bus and it was raining and I am looking out the window to nowhere and a sad song is playing in my head and I would create a long backstory of why I was crying on the bus looking out the rainy window. Where was I going? Who was going to be there? I would look at people in the cars next to me and make up stories for them as well. And then, before I knew it, we were at our destination. So music and cars has always been a thing for me.
Plus it’s just a very cool song with great lyrics.

New Soul by Yael Naim.
I love spring. Right around January 15th I hit a winter rut and just cannot wait until the cold, ice and snow make their last appearance. I usually have bad hair, bad skin and a bad attitude around March 1st. I’m usually ready to do bodily harm by March 20th. And then something seriously miraculous happens. All of the cold, dead blah’s leave and new, happy joys take their place. Tulips poke through the ground, twigs become buds and I become a new soul.
This song plays in my head as I look in the mirror at my new, totally different haircut. It plays while I’m clearing out dead leaves and digging through dirt planting small flowers. It blares as I make it through the entire day without yelling at a child. It is my wake up and start fresh song. The world is full of possibilities and opportunities. It helps me get creative and happy.

Life in Technicolor ll by Coldplay (This video is uber cool)
All These Things That I’ve Done by The Killers (This video is just silly)
Ya know those songs that you hit repeat on about a thousand times? I couldn’t decide which one so you get both. It’s my playlist right? One of my favorite things to do is drive with the windows down and the wind rushing through my hair with the music turned up much louder than necessary. A song that just makes you dance like a crazy woman even though the guy next you is very obviously trying not to look at you. I always have to stifle a full on little girl giggle when I do this. The feeling of complete freedom from my normal inhibitions. I’ve even converted the kids to this practice. You can find them singing along at the top of their lungs and dancing so hard the van rocks. These are their two favorite songs to do this to and that makes me so proud.

Yellow Leadbetter by Pearl Jam.
Okay. This is one of those songs that has no rhyme or reason. It feels like Eddie Vedder is just sort of making it up as he goes. Nobody knows the real lyrics or what it’s about. He could be talking about anything. That may be the beauty of the song for me. This is the song that is playing in the background when I put the check for the gas bill in the water bill envelope, or when I give the PTA lady the blank stare as I try desperately to think of some excuse why I can’t run the dunk booth, or when my 3rd grader’s math homework just becomes too difficult for me. These ‘lyrics’ make me feel at peace as I feed my children Ritz crackers and leftover baby mush for dinner…again. And that guitar lick gently rocks me to sleep so I can avoid thinking of all the things I failed at that day. I hear this song frequently.

Fix You by Coldplay.
I know it’s another Coldplay song but again, my playlist so….yeah.
Most people try all day to make other people think that they are better than they actually are. That’s probably a good thing. Maybe if we try hard enough we actually will become better. But everyone has a person, their person. Someone that you go to and can be completely yourself with, there’s no pretending. The person who knows all the good, bad and ugly and loves you anyway. If you don’t have a person like this, do whatever it takes to get one. Mine is named Greg. No matter what kind of minor or major breakdown I am in or what trial I am going through, he is there. He may not be able to ‘fix it’ but he sure gives it a full throttle effort and usually knows exactly what I need (Dr. Pepper). He is my person. I hope you have one.

Story by Brandi Carlile
I couldn’t very well have a playlist without including my girl Brandi Carlile. This story plays in my mind when I meet new people and people I want to know better.
I love stories and no matter how you feel about your life, you have a story to tell. And it just might be a really good one. You may not think so but I guarantee that there is someone who would love your story, who could even be changed by your story. So get out there and open yourself up. There are reasons you are who you are. Tell someone. Ask someone else about their story. Find out why your clean cut neighbor drives a Harley. Ask your Doctor if she always wanted to be a Doctor. Where is the coolest place your great aunt has been to? The good Lord gave us experiences. He didn’t give them to us to keep to ourselves. We’ve all got these lines on our faces for a reason, we might as well tell the joke that put those laugh lines there. Let someone learn something from you and for heaven’s sake, go ahead and ask your kid’s coach if they’ve ever met anyone famous. It’s fun. Try it.

I hope you haven’t been too bored with my soundtrack. Hopefully you’ve heard one that you’ll hit repeat on. What’s playing on your soundtrack right now? You know you have one.

Thanks KG.

The Skog Family Week In Review

Sorry for the late update this week. The holiday weekend was pretty wild and crazy as you will soon find out...


P and her cousin Millie graduated from preschool this week. I was hoping to provide some video clips of their stirring renditions of Teeny Tiny Tim the Turtle or Skat the Cat but my camcorder and my laptop are not on speaking terms right now (another reason for the delay in this post). The girls were fantastic and adorable as usual and performed their songs without any fear or shame but sadly they were upstaged by their dear Papa J. Some of you may or may not know that Millie's parents were away and left the recording of this event in Big J's seemingly able hands. Try as he might he could not get Herms' camcorder to function and he gave up in disgust. After the performance we discussed his efforts and I mockingly said, 'Did you try taking off the lens cap?' and he stammered and said, 'Uh, uh, I think that might have been my problem.' High comedy. And you wonder where KG gets his mechanical aptitude...


P figured that since she is out of school she is grown up and is now ready to do her own hair. Here are her first attempts. The first one is very nice but I'm even prouder (more proud?) of the second.

On the second attempt it appears that she broke out an old Skog family beauty secret. The adjectives used most often to describe Skog hair after 'curly' are 'dry' and 'coarse.' Strangely enough that also usually describes our senses of humor but I digress. The secret formula to get fabulous Skog hair is this: shampoo your hair at night (preferably Head and Shoulders), wake up, throw a wet comb through it, add a few bows and voila! you are ready for the ball, Cinderella.

Not to be outdone, Toots broke out a new style that I will call The Brachel because it is some sort of hybrid of The Rachel and The Carol Brady. Kudos to you, Toots, for your creativity.


I don't plan on posting a weekly tantrum but as I went through the pics and videos on the camera last night I got a good laugh out of this. I wasn't home to witness it in person so it was new to me and I loved the strange dancing that Toots ended up doing with the strings to Wheels' pants. Good times.


I'm not sure if she is or not but she sure seemed to enjoy the crap out of this Burger King Spock toy.


With P now out of school we have wondered what activities we should sign the girls up for in order to make the most of their summer free time. Swimming? Dance? Tumbling? I wonder if they have a class called 'Stumbling?'


Memorial Day is always sad but fun for the Skog family. We had the opportunity to visit the graves of Wheels' Grandma Priscilla (joined by Wheels' sister, Marissa, her baby Jane, and their brother Jason) as well as my Grandparents Strat and Kay Loosle and Duke and Laurel Gyllenskog. All of them were great people that loved their families and it is always a pleasure to stop by and visit them.


When I stated above that Memorial Day was 'fun' you probably wondered where the fun was after looking at the cemetary pictures. Well the LFMGT brings the fun and then some. It's a great chance for us to see family that we grew up with but see less frequently as our personal families continue to grow. For the past four years we have staged this family tourney that involves some decent golf, a format that requires a two page set of rules contrived by Big J and plenty of laughs. Below are the teams in order of their finish:

Fifth Place - "The Heavyset Team" - Mike (Utah Fun), Flanksteak, and Big Al.

Fourth Place - "The Fun Team" as in these guys are not very good and just in it for the fun. Speaking of fun - here's another KG Fun fact - at the awards banquet KG was awarded a flask for 'Player Most in Need of a Drink After the Round.' Jeremy (cousin's husband), Herms, KG, Cousin Dave, and Dave's boy Lil' Strat.

Third Place - "2 Fathers and 2 Sons" - My nephew Brandon, his father Brad, my uncle Steve and his son Matt Strat. Do NOT be fooled by Matt Strat's age or tiny stature he won one of the long drive competitions.

Second Place - "The Young Guys" aka The Defending Champs - My cousins Scott and Eric and two husbands of cousins, Dane and Aaron.

First Place - "The Elderly Gentlemen" - Uncles Markus and Lyndon and my old man, the legendary Big J. This group's win was a bit controversial for a couple of reasons. First, the defending champs didn't fill out their scorecard correctly which cost them a few strokes and more importantly because Big J was the only one who understood the ridiculous rules. Congrats to them, however, for a victory nonetheless.

Congrats to Flanksteak as well, seen below posing with Commissioner Dave while accepting his award for the other longest drive hole. And finally, much thanks to the Commissioner for keeping the tourney alive and our families close.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Cover Song Sat Night

I've had a few busy/lazy weekends lately so my Friday Night Guilty Pleasure Confessions and Cover Song Saturday Nights have been sorely lacking. This one won't be much better but I wanted to come clean about something. Many of my readers, most specifically Brohammas and Corbie, think that I get a sick pleasure out of linking to a certain redheaded singer. Most of you probably know that linking to this singer created an Internet phenomenon a few years back, something called the Rickroll. I find it hilarious especially since so many of you get angry when I link to him but I also do it because I happen to enjoy Mr. Astley. Sure he's cheesy but I've already established my love for cheesy music from my youth. If you can get past the terrible dancing and ridiculousness of his bouffant and focus on the voice, the man can sing. I currently have an album of cover songs that he recorded on my mp3 player. I'm not ashamed to admit that. If loving Rick Astley is wrong then I don't wanna be right.

PS - Wheels has one last goal that will make her life complete and it involves us doing a shot for shot remake of the Never Gonna Give You Up video with my cousin Dave. Someday, Wheels, someday.

Here is a cover performed by the Internet legend himself, Rick Astley.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

News and Whimsy


The past several years the Salt Lake City Arts Council has put on free concerts during the summer at The Gallivan Center. This year many of The Skog Blog favorites will be playing there: Bon Iver, Jenny Lewis, Iron and Wine, M. Ward, Q-Tip and did I mention the shows are free? Cause they are free. Click here for the full lineup.

Coldplay is doing their part to help out fans during the recession by giving away a free live album at each concert. For those of us who can't make it to this leg of the tour, you can download the live album here.


Fun fact about KG - I love those terrible B-horror movies like the ones shown on the Sci-Fi channel. I was shocked to hear this masterpiece starring Deborah (Don't call me Debbie) Gibson and Lorenzo Lamas didn't get a theatrical release. It did come out on video this week and will be screening at the Majefstic Theatre soon.

For those readers who can't stand American Idol, here is ESPN Idol.

I am not really a cat person but this is one cool cat. And another cool cat.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday Night Playlist

Like myself, I'm sure all of The Skog Blog readers are excited for Memorial Day for many reasons. A day off of work (hopefully) and some relaxation possibly. More importantly, a chance to remember our beloved family and friends who have passed and perhaps reunite with those we don't see as frequently anymore. I assume many of these reunions will include some sort of a BBQ. You might have your meats already marinating, your fridge and freezer full of ice and assorted beverages and your lawn perfectly manicured. However, don't forget the most important part of your BBQ, the playlist. I'm here to help.

Some people might think it's okay to just plug in your personal listening device, turn on shuffle and 'shazam!' instant party! It's not that easy. The perfect playlist requires some planning so here are some instructions to make sure your Memorial Day BBQ doesn't suck. Most BBQs are going to go on for hours so consider this a template not the definitive list.



Just like in sports, singing, running, etc - you need to warm up. You don't start off your BBQ blasting Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N Roses right out of the shoot unless you want to frighten your guests. Remember that a good BBQ is a marathon. Most likely your friends and family will slowly trickle in so you want some mellow music that will be inviting and make your guests feel comfortable. Songs that will play in the background and provide a nice soundtrack for the introductions and reminiscing that will take place during the first hour of the BBQ.

Amos Lee - Ease Back - Really needs no introduction if you've heard it. If not, give it a listen and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Seu Jorge - Rebel Rebel - Fans of Wes Anderson films will recognize this tune. Seu Jorge did acoustic covers of David Bowie songs in Portuguese and they are friggin awesome.


At about the hour mark of the BBQ it's time to introduce your guests to some of your favorite bands. The key here is to take their most accessible tunes, not necessarily your personal favorites. Not everyone is going to love the obscure b-side from a single off their third album or a side project from your favorite singer with Pavarotti - keep it simple and upbeat. These songs might even spark conversation when the mood gets a little dull.

Gomez - See the World - Easily the least threatening song from my 2nd all time favorite band.

Ryan Adams - New York, New York - Ryan is the ultimate hit or miss guy but when he makes contact it's a home run.

M. Ward - Chinese Translation - Sounds like something you would have heard on your Grandpa's AM Radio back in the day.


At this point you want to start breaking out the hits. You want a good mix of all genres. Songs from every decade that will bring the BBQ back to life and carry it through the next few hours. For example, if you are going Classic Rock go with the big guns like The Rolling Stones, The Doors, etc. Tunes that might make people create an impromptu karaoke session. Throw in the occasional lesser known song to once again get people saying things like, "Who is this? They are really good..." These same rules apply to house parties and weddings.

Journey - Don't Stop Believing - I have heard rumors that this song has been at the top of the charts in Heaven since the 1970's.

Kenny Rogers - The Gambler - In the book/film High Fidelity they say when looking for a friend it's 'what they like' not 'what they are like' that matters most. Sadly, most of us do have friends that enjoy some country music. Stick with Kenny Rogers and nobody will be offended or get hurt. If for some strange reason your friends hate Kenny or his tasty chicken then Elvira by the Oak Ridge Boys will get you through in a pinch.

Stone Temple Pilots - Interstate Love Song - Do not be afraid to throw in some tracks from the high school or college days, in fact they are encouraged. This song might be the finest alternative rock song ever recorded and anybody who says otherwise is not somebody you'd want at your BBQ.

G. Love & Special Sauce - Cold Beverages - This song is required for all parties, BBQs and weddings. This is not optional.

Donavon Frankenreiter - Free - A pleasant little song that will get people saying, "Is this a new Jack Johnson song? No? Oh... cool..."


At this point you want to bring the crowd down from their frenzy. Find songs that are mellow yet familiar and people will leave with a smile. Hugs and good feelings all around.

John Denver - Country Roads - You give me a BBQ that doesn't end with a John Denver sing-a-long and that is one BBQ that I will not want to attend.

Happy Memorial Day to all.

New Music and An Oldie But Goodie

One of the first music websites that I ever followed was called 'Wall of Sound,' in tribute to the style of music popular in the 1960's. Wall of Sound specialized in reviewing obscure albums without being too pretentious. Unfortunately the website folded in the early 2000's but not before I was introduced to many classic albums such as Heartbreaker by Ryan Adams and also tonight's selection, the self titled debut album from Mishka.

Mishka was released in 1999 and after reading the stellar review I purchased it without even giving it a listen. One part in particular from the review sticks out in my mind where the author said something along the lines of, "This is an album you can turn on at a bbq in 20 years and not be embarrassed..." Now a decade later, just as the reviewer predicted, this album still holds up. Songs like Give You All the Love, Lonely, Happy, and Bring A Man Down are fantastic. In reality there is not one bad song on this album. Definitely one you can put on while working, relaxing, or as perfect background music for a party. An oldie but goodie indeed.

I listened to Mishka's debut so many times that I am actually on my second copy of the CD. However, news, tours and information about him were very hard to find and he basically dropped out of the scene for several years. Finally in 2007 I was reading the SL Weekly and stumbled across a notice that Mishka was opening up for a few other bands at a small club in Park City the next night. Big Al and myself headed up and loved every minute of his brief set and didn't mind the $30 we had spent to only see him play for 25 min. We stalked him afterwards and asked him where in the world he had been for the past 7 years and his reply was, "I be trying to raise me a family..."

Apparently Big Al, Brohammas and myself are not the only Mishka fans in the world. In 2006, Matthew McConaughey decided to create his own label and the first act that he signed was our boy Mishka. He finally released a new album this year, Above the Bones, which is solid but not as spectacular as his debut. I'm not sure anything would have been able to live up to the hype from waiting but regardless it's good to have him back.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Skog Family Week in Review


If there's one thing the Skog girls love, it's swinging. You've seen the photographic evidence. However, Wheels and I have not wanted to put in a swingset until we figured out what we were going to do with our yard long term. Saturday afternoon I got a knock on the door and my neighbor, Patrick, said he was putting in a new swingset and asked if we wanted his old one. I replied that I only know how to fix cars and I am not exactly a handy guy. We headed over to inspect the set and I figured it looked sturdy enough to hold up three tiny girls so we grabbed a couple more gents and carried the set across the street. My other neighbor, Mike, threw on a few pieces of wood to add support and 'voila' the girls have a new swingset. We live in a cul-de-sac with very cool people.

So usually we only show you the good things on the Skog Blog but this week I will show you the dark side as well. Above the girls are playing, laughing, and looking adorable on their new toy. This next video is somewhat disturbing, viewer discretion is advised. It is what happens when someone becomes addicted to 'outside' or 'swing' - you have been warned.


For those readers who don't live near the Skog Family, it really warmed up this weekend and it allowed us to break out every kids' other favorite toy - the homemade waterslide. We learned a few things from this activity - P definitely takes after Wheels and loves the water. Toots is more of a true blooded Skog and prefers not to be blasted in the face with a cold stream of watery goodness.


P and KG signed up for the local AYSO soccer program this week. Sadly the games do not start until fall but P is excited nonetheless. I decided to sign up as coach, even though I am not exactly a soccer expert. I feel like I should be good though since the peak of my sporting 'prime' was between the ages of 6-12. I just hope that I can be a great coach and live up to the other legendary coaches that have come before me.


I realize she might be a bit young for this but we let Lil' J watch The Sixth Sense this week and she got really freaked out. I mean really freaked out - just look at her eyes...


Since this week's review was both late and somewhat of a sorry effort here is a bonus slideshow.


Long time readers will recall that I was able to score some tickets to the Flight of the Conchords concert that sold out in less than ten minutes. Wheels, myself, Flanksteak and his lovely wife, and Vanwarmer and his Fellowship of the Geeks were all in attendance. The boys from New Zealand did not disappoint and played the hits as well as some new tunes that went over well with the crowd. Their between song banter was almost better than their tunes. Many laughs were had. Unfortunately, Wheels and I had to rush home to relieve my padres of their babysitting duties but Vanwarmer was able to stay after and stalk the Conchords and got this lovely little photo as proof:

My favorite part of the show was when the Conchords were joined on stage by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra that due to budgetary cutbacks now consisted of a cello player by the name of Nigel. Nigel came out to play my favorite song, Jenny, and then stuck around to add some class and depth to the Conchords' acoustic sounds. Great show.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cover Song Saturday Night

It's 10:30 pm and Wheels and I finally got three very tired girls to sleep. Rather than the usual cover song videos from youtube, I am going to share an entire album that will help wind all of us down after a long week. Now The Day Is Over is a record by The Innocence Mission that was shared with me by Vanwarmer several years ago. It is a cover album of lullabies, classical songs and standards. I hope you enjoy it as much as Wheels and I have over the years. Here's to surviving another week.

Friday, May 15, 2009

News and Whimsy - UPDATED!

I failed to make a list of the things that tickled my fancy this week so I only have a few items.

This story would make a lot more sense if the burrito in question was from Chipotle.

Looking for a cheap vacation/road trip this summer? This site can help.


This was brought to my attention actually during U2 week but I had forgotten about it until today. I just got back from McDonalds and saw something so disgusting... so evil... so entirely terrifying that I could barely finish my lunch. Checkout their current Happy Meal. You can go after my girls' guts, their taste in food but you stay away from their taste in music. I am calling for a boycott of the Golden Arches until this plague upon our children is defeated. Get thee hence, Satan, Lucifer, or Son of the Morning. For a refresher course on the evils of bad music, click here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wednesday Night Playlist

In honor of Flanksteak who has spent the week relaxing in Hawaii with his sweet wife, Mrs. Flanksteak (JK, Erin) and also tonight's season finale of LOST, here is a playlist of songs to listen to while laying (lying) or frolicking on the beach. The above photo was taken by Flanksteak while driving 75 mph on a Hawaiian freeway and he said, "I realize the photo doesn't do this justice but checkout the Hawaiian remake of Weekend at Bernies - the mustache, the sunglasses it's all there!" So grab a chair or hammock, some sunscreen and the beverage of your choice and give these tunes a listen.


Weezer - Island in the Sun - I know, I know, too easy but this little number is a perfect pop song taken from the 'Green Album' when Weezer had their return to glory. They have since lost it but let's remember the good times.

Coldplay - Don't Panic - The first Coldplay song I ever heard. I realize Coldplay doesn't exactly scream ISLAND PARADISE but close your eyes and this song will take you away faster than Calgon.

Badly Drawn Boy - The Shining - Cool out and give the song a chance to get through the intro. It's worth it.

Phoenix - Run, Run, Run - Perhaps an odd choice but a good choice for frolicking on a nice white sand beach. I love the subtle grooves of this funky yet mellow selection.

Elliott Smith - Let's Get Lost - If you thought you were getting out of this without a Ben Folds or Elliott Smith song then you don't know me very well. This one is pretty self explanatory.

Pearl Jam - Yellow Ledbetter - Even though I have heard it roughly 293 times in my life I have no idea what this song is about or what 65% of the lyrics are that come out of Eddie Vedder's mouth. One thing I do know is that I can listen to the guitar solos for hours at a time.

Nick Drake - Pink Moon and From the Morning - Haunting yet peaceful and beautiful.

Jens Lekman - Maple Leaves - My requisite Swedish pop song. Love the instrumentals and Jen's squirrely voice that is part Morrissey and part angel.

Simon and Garfunkel - Leaves That Are Green - Perhaps I need to change this list to songs that are heard while camping in the mountains but back off. Uh, let's say this is a song to help remind you of home while far away.

Jose Gonzalez - Heartbeats - This guy was born in Chile but of Argentine descent, land of the Yerba Mate, which would be my beverage of choice even on a hot island. One of my all time favorite songs and he didn't even write it. It's a cover of a song by a Japanese band. Too much back story. What is this a superhero movie? Just enjoy the song.

R.E.M. - Find the River - Probably in the all time R.E.M. top 3 which makes it a top 10 song of all time.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Oldies But Goodies

Tonight's Oldies But Goodies was a special request of my old man, Big J. I suppose since he just turned 63 years old this past week he is feeling a bit nostalgic and young at heart so he busted out As Time Goes By: The Best of Jimmy Durante and asked me to give it a spin and review this week and who am I to not allow this young man's dreams to come true?

Big J's eyes lit up as he handed me the broken cd case last night. The case was barely holding itself together by one tab and he asked me to handle with care. "Every single song on this album is a classic," he said, "well, everyone of them but 'Hi Lili, Hi Lo,' that one is pretty bad." We proceeded to discuss the career of Jimmy over a bowl of ice cream and I hate to be the Cliff Clavin, Crazy Sue, but I was right. Jimmy did indeed narrate and sing in the 1969 animated Frosty the Snowman. Burl Ives was Sam the Snowman, the narrator of the animated Rudolph, sorry.

As Time Goes By is an album of old pop and jazz standards. I have always been slightly amused and/or fascinated by the fact that every singer in the 40's - 60's would basically record the same songs and each have his/her take on a classic. I couldn't help but think of some other versions of these songs as I listened to Jimmy sing. His voice isn't going to win any awards for most polished or most pleasant to the ear but there is an endearing quality that makes his versions of these songs infectious and fun to hear. The title track as well as Make Someone Happy were both featured in the film Sleepless In Seattle. Smile is one of Wheels' all time favorite songs because of a brief obsession with Charlie Chaplin after taking a silent film class in college. Young At Heart and I'll Be Seeing You are staples of American Popular Music and I feel like his recording of Young At Heart might be the best ever put to tape or vinyl. His playful singing reminds us of the Grandpa we hopefully had and now desperately miss. Give these songs a listen and I'll be shocked if they don't put a smile on your face, some joy in your heart and a hop in your step. I was also kind enough to remove Hi Lily from the playlist, just as Big J would want it. Mr. Durante you truly are an Oldie But Goodie. And with that, all there is left to say is, 'Good night Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.'

Monday, May 11, 2009

New Music Monday Night

I had some technical difficulties last night. It looks like the file server that was hosting my mp3 files has deleted them. I'll save you the jokes and ball busting, this was not user error. Anyway, I'm going to see if I can find another place to put them up. Just wanted to give a heads up as to why the mp3 files are no longer working on the Skog Blog. Because of this I have decided to pick three new live albums tonight and post youtube clips of live performances. Most of them are not necessarily from the performances where the albums were recorded but we can all pretend, can't we?

The Hold Steady - Positive Rage

I have two of the four studio albums that The Hold Steady have released and although I like them I have never fallen in love with any of them. I had the opportunity to see them live a few weeks ago and my feelings for them grew ever so slightly. They are fronted by lead singer, Craig Finn, a guy who looks like he should be your 8th grade science teacher. When he strolls out onto the stage you don't exactly think "Wow this guy is a Rockstar" but then the band kicks in and he begins singing/screaming and the concert becomes some kind of revival with Finn playing the role of the crazed rock n roll preacher. His voice is definitely better live where you can hear every rasp and see the way he flails his arms in such an animated manner. Positive Rage is a fantastic name for this album because that describes their music perfectly. Here are a few of the standout tracks. Perhaps an acquired taste but give them a shot. Sequestered In Memphis, Stuck Between Stations, Constructive Summer, and Stay Positive.

Frightened Rabbit - Quietly Now!

Last year Frightened Rabbit put out The Midnight Organ Fight that was one of the honorable mentions for my top 12. I did put their song The Twist as my number 4 single of the year but I really wish I could take a mulligan and put the entire album on the list because it has never fallen out of my rotation and in fact I have listened to it more than most of the albums that did crack my top 12 last year. Quietly Now! was recorded at a small club in the band's hometown of Glasgow, where the band played The Midnight Organ Fight from start to finish. I once told Flanksteak that Frightened Rabbit sounds like if Shrek had a really kick ACE band and after listening he said, "who would have ever thought that was a compliment?" The Modern Leper, Old Old Fashioned, and Be Less Rude.

Elbow and the BBC Orchestra - The Seldom Seen Kid: Live at Abbey Road

How do you make a masterpiece better? Last year Elbow's The Seldom Seen Kid was the number four album on my top 12. In January of this year Elbow performed this album in its entirety at the famed Abbey Road Studios while accompanied by the BBC Orchestra and a London Choir. The performance was recorded and broadcast on BBC Television on January 31st. So let me get this straight - in England they show GOOD music on TV? What a strange concept. At least we have American Idol (nope). Many of these songs I still listen to on a daily basis. As cheesy as it sounds, One Day Like This is a very therapeutic song for me. Very upbeat, I love the line that is repeated "Holy cow I love your eyes!" because it reminds me of all of my girls (that means you too, Wheels) and the need for us to throw our curtains open in the morning and proclaim that it's going to be a beautiful day. On Mirrorball, I like the imagery of kissing my girls "the self same face that wouldn't let me sleep" and then sneaking out in the street to dance with Wheels while the moon serves as our mirrorball. I realize it isn't as good as sitting on the beach in Mexico but if Weather to Fly, doesn't lift your spirits then you are more cynical than the pre-heart grow Grinch. Grounds For Divorce and Bones of You are sing along classics. I think it's time for KG to move to England.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Skog Family Week In Review

SECOND UPDATE: All videos and pictures should be correct now. Good grief.

UPDATE: I've been informed that all of the video clips are of the same video. I will get that fixed.

May 3 - May 10, 2009


Monday was the day that we had been dreading since the Little Rockstar was born. Wheels officially went back to work part time. For those of you who don't know, Wheels is able to work from home writing the help files for an accounting software company. It's a blessing that she doesn't have to leave the home but also a curse. Just try and type anything, let alone something technical that requires concentration, with a newborn strapped to your chest, a one year old hanging on your leg and a four year old Kelly Kapoor asking you questions and telling you random stories. Good times for Wheels... Our routine was to have Wheels work during any 'free time' ie: naps, while the girls play outside, etc. and then work in the evening once I get home to help out with the girls and household responsibilities. Strangely enough the week went better than we had anticipated (I realize I have now just jinxed us for the coming week) until the weekend. Saturday and Sunday we were home only long enough to sleep and eat a few hastily thrown together meals. In my defense you can't clean the kitchen when Toots is asleep so here are the final images taken late Sunday night.

Here is a bird's eye view of the kitchen.

Measuring cups and Oreo wrappers from the homemade Ice Cream KG made for Mother's Day. Notice the crockpot still out from last Sunday's roast. Luckily the crockpot was clean.

The Skog Kitchen - where sippy cups go to die... I might have shirked on my duties a bit. Back off.


Even though we have our 'jumpy slide' as shown in a previous week in review, the girls have decided that while Wheels works they need to invent new games. This one is called 'fall on our faces and laugh and hope nobody misses the ottoman and requires a trip to the instacare' (Copyright Pending).


The men of the Skog Family are generally quite handy and/or mechanically inclined. However, my old man, Big J, did not receive this mechanical gene and therefore it was not passed on to myself or my brother, Flanksteak. When I was deciding on whether or not to go work for a construction company awhile back Big J had told me a story (probably in confidence but blogs are no place for secrets or dignity) about working in a plumbing store while going to college. Big J is a CPA and was working at the store as the bookkeeper but occasionally would be left alone to tend to the customers. Once in awhile someone would come in and ask for a certain part and Big J would say, "Let me check" go in the backroom, hang out for a few minutes, and then return and say, "Nope, we don't have any in stock, sorry." I had similar experiences at the construction company but after the customer had unsuccessfully tried to explain it to me I'd usually say, "why don't you come in the stock room and point it out to me..." So back to the point of my story. The Skogs are currently a three car family which is very savvy. Rather than keep one of the cars for when P is old enough to drive in twelve years we are attempting to sell one of them. The one to go is 'Duke #2' - the second Oldsmobile that I have purchased from my Grandpa Duke and named affectionately for him. The Duke 2 has required some maintenance over the years but is actually running quite well now except for one minor thing, sometimes it won't start. I knew the battery was good and it just required a little jiggle of the cables and would fire up. I decided I should probably fix this before I put the Duke 2 up for sale. I swallowed my pride and headed up to the local Checker Auto Parts. As I walked into the store there was not a clerk in sight so I headed to the battery section and began to peruse for solutions. My non-expert diagnosis was that the bolt was too stripped and wouldn't allow me to tighten the connectors onto the battery. My thoughts were interrupted by a "Can I help you?" and I turned to see Crystal, the store manager. This nice young lady pointed me in the direction of this handy tool and less than one hour later the Duke 2 had a new side post bolt, a tight connection and a real sense of accomplishment. Isn't that special? ha.


Wheels' brother Marc and his family are moving to Colorado this week. My initial response when I heard the news was to rent my clothes in anger and disown him. However, cooler heads prevailed and Saturday we traveled to Orem to bid them farewell. All joking aside, we will really miss Marc and his family. Wheels' Family is spread out across the country and he was the last holdout in Utah. I'm trying to do a better job of understanding how hard this will be for Wheels considering the longest road trip required to visit my family would be a 1.5 hour drive to Eagle Mtn and her family is located in Hawaii, Nevada, North Carolina, Colorado and in a few months, Uruguay. And yes that was a sorry attempt to try and guilt any of the Wheelers to move back to Utah. We miss and love them all. Here are a few clips from the park where we spent the afternoon with Marc's family, Wheels' sister Marissa's family, and their little brother Jason. A few fun facts from the videos - Yes - Priscilla out swung (??) Marc and he gave up the challenge, Yes - KG used to be a champion tetherball player, you can tell from the swing pushing technique, and Yes - these are the most exciting videos you will see this year.

Before I end my report of Saturday's trip I wanted to add this. I am often asked, "What is it like in the vehicle during a Skog Family Road Trip?" Well, thanks for asking. Here is a brief insider's view of an authentic Skog Family Road Trip. Just like in Sweden there are beautiful blue eyed girls, lots of laughter, and dancing to Swedish Pop music (clothing optional). We are a very European and progressive family.


I would be remiss if I didn't pay tribute to Wheels and report on Mother's Day. Toots started the day of right and joined us in bed at 1:16 AM and gave Wheels a nice gift of no sleep to start the day off right.

Why so sleepy Toots? It's 7:30 in the AM and you have had a full night's sleep... (nope).

Side profile mug shot of our offender.

P and Lil' J wanted in on the party. We do have a Queen sized bed for those scoring at home.

P made Wheels this adorable little card at preschool. She dutifully hid it under her bed all week and gave it to Wheels first thing in the morning.

I hope all of the Skog Blog Mothers had a great day and we wish Marc the best of luck on his move. Until next week.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Cover Song Sat Night

First up we have Skog Blog Favorite, Iron and Wine, doing a version of Such Great Heights from this week's playlist. This song can be found on the Garden State soundtrack.

Next up, in honor of Mother's Day - Here are a bunch of Dionne Warwick tunes. Let's be honest most of her songs are covers because she had songwriters. Regardless she is a favorite of my mom, Crazy Sue, so I was raised on these classics. Happy Mother's Day to Crazy Sue, Wheels and all Skog Blog Moms out there.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

News and Whimsy


Spammon and Lindsey welcomed a new baby girl, Piper Lane, into their family on May 3rd. She is also a little rockstar that wanted to come a bit too early and has to spend some extra time in the NICU. Everything I've heard is that she is doing well but please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

In much less important news, this Summer is shaping up to be one of the all time greats for concerts and music. Two legendary bands of our generation have reunited and will be touring and recording new music. Who are they? Led Zep? The Spin Doctors? Click here and here to find out. The Skog Blog is THRILLED! (nope) But if this guy decides to hit the road, KG will be there front and center.

Brohammas is guest blogging today here. Check it out and leave some comments.


A couple of fun facts that you may or may not know about KG. KG loves to play tennis. KG loves Will Ferrell. Put them together and you get something special.

The Summer Movie Season is open us. Last week Wolverine, this week Star Trek. Coming soon - Transformers 2 and G.I. Joe. But what about the girls who need a movie based upon their childhood toys? How about My Little Pony?

In other movie news I was reminded this week of a fantastic time waster - The Invisibles Movie Quiz. Some of you might have received an email a few years back with like 80 of these but they are still putting out a quiz each week. They take a shot from a movie, remove the bodies, and you are supposed to guess the movie by just seeing the costumes and scenery. Not a bad way to kill an hour or two.

And finally, the official Skog Blog music critic, Paul Shirley, was able to attend a Gaslight Anthem concert and reported on it at the end of this column.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wednesday Night Playlist

Back during the week of Valentine's Day I offered up a few mix tapes and since tomorrow (or today for most of you who will read this on Thursday) is the 7th anniversary of the marriage of KG and Wheels, I present the following playlist that will include one song from each year that we have been married.


2002 - Gomez - The Sound of Sounds - My love for Gomez is only topped by my love for Wheels. During the first month of our marriage we were broke, unemployed and after much pleading Wheels let me buy this album. This wouldn't be the last time either. Thank you Wheels for always supporting my nasty music addiction.

2003 - The Postal Service - Such Great Heights - As strange as this might sound, I think this is one of the most romantic songs I have ever heard. I love these lyrics: I am thinking it's a sign that the freckles in our eyes are mirror images and when we kiss they're perfectly aligned and I have to speculate that God himself did make us into corresponding shapes like puzzle pieces from the clay... I'm glad that we both feel like we were the perfect match for each other. In many ways we are the exact same yet we also have differences that balance out and make up for our weaknesses.

2004 - The Shins - Those To Come - It was a toss up between The Shins and The Strokes for this year. Both of these bands remind me of you attending their concerts while pregnant, standing outside, uncomfortable, freezing to avoid the second hand smoke, all because you loved these bands but more importantly loved being with me. I also appreciate you allowing me to continue to attend concerts while giving up a portion of something you love to do to take care of our girls. Be careful though, this song will change your life. That's for you Flanksteak.

2005 - Fiona Apple - Not About Love - Probably not the most romantic song ever but we both love it and anytime we are down we can always count on Zach Galifianakis to cheer us up.

2006 - Corinne Bailey Rae - Like A Star - This might come as a shock to Skog Blog readers but occasionally Wheels and I argue. I know, we are terrible people. Sometimes KG gets a tiny bit sleepy though and you won't like KG when he's sleepy. However, like this talented British gal sings, I can't think of anyone I'd rather argue with than Wheels. Many of my funniest memories are based on remembering some of our ridiculous arguments. Good times.

2007 - The National - Apartment Story - When we asked each other what we both wanted for our anniversary it was sleep. Not gonna happen with three kids under the age of 4 but someday we'll be able to stay in bed all day again.

2008 - Kings of Leon - Use Somebody - This is the closest thing to a cheesy love ballad that indie rock bands create these days. Our answer to REO Speedwagon or Journey. Kings of Leon has pretty much been our favorite band for a good portion of our marriage so they needed to make this list.

2009 - Bishop Allen - True or False - Our current favorite band. Another great song to make you smile when you have a bad day.

Thanks for seven great years Wheels are here's to seventy more.



Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Oldies But Goodies

I have previously mentioned that during my U2 experiment I had constant cravings to listen to REM. There was one other album that kept itching at me last week, especially during the early years of U2, that I finally got to scratch this weekend, Kick, by INXS.

When is the last time you broke out this cassette/cd or cued this up on your personal listening device? If it hasn't been in the past month or so then it has been too long, my friends.

INXS was the first alternative band that ever cracked my rotation. I didn't like U2, I wasn't a fan of The Cure or Depeche Mode. Yes, if you can believe it, Kick was able to dethrone such stalwarts as Billy Ocean, Madonna, and NKOTB and led to experimentation with Duran Duran and Erasure. Not sure if I should have 'experimentation' and 'Erasure' in the same sentence when discussing the early years of KG but I just did. In my opinion, INXS does not get the credit they deserve as a band not only from myself but from the general public. However, every few years something sparks my INXS flame, I break out this album and then many of their others and I am reminded of how great they were. The last time I really listened to them was when Rockstar: INXS hit the airwaves during the summer of 2005. Still the greatest reality show of all time. Each week as the contestants sang the INXS hits I couldn't believe how many truly great songs I had forgotten.

For me, Kick is like my Sandlot, a reminder of a simpler time. Playing baseball with my friends and then listening to Kick. Going to Classic Waterslides, watching INXS videos in the skating rink and then heading home to listen to Kick. First slow dances, courtesy of Never Tear Us Apart followed by a sleepover with friends that involved listening to Kick on repeat until 5:00 in the AM.

This album was released in 1987 and it was the perfect time for the band to really break on through to the mainstream. MTV was in its prime and the videos (although they don't hold up nearly 20 years later quite as well) were incredible. Michael Hutchence was the second coming of Jim Morrison - the ladies loved him and the guys wished they could be him. Although the videos now seem a bit cheesy- they are cheesy in a good 80's way. I have compiled as many of them that I could find. Checkout this murderer's row of hits from this album:

Guns In The Sky, New Sensation, Devil Inside, Need You Tonight/Mediate, The Loved One, Wild Life, Never Tear Us Apart, Mystify, Kick, Calling All Nations, and Tiny Daggers.

Seriously, not a bad track on that album. Not one. I suppose I should have warned about the outfits not holding up as well but seeing that it was the 1980's that should be assumed by the viewer. My favorite song on the album was The Loved One which apparently was a cover of a 1960's Australian Band called The Loved Ones. You have to wonder how many Abbott and Costello conversations this might have caused in the 60's.

DJ - That was 'The Loved One' by The Loved Ones

Caller - Who sang that?

DJ - The Loved Ones

Caller - No, not the name of the song...

You get my drift. Anyway, give this album a spin and see for yourself that Kick is definitely an oldie but goodie.

Monday, May 4, 2009

New Music Monday Night

To make up for last week I will be giving you a bonus fourth review tonight. All of these albums are excellent and three out of the four have a chance of showing back up on The Skog Blog for the Twelve Days of Christmas End of the Year Countdown.

The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound

This might be my favorite album of the week which is saying a lot once you continue down this list. However, this is the album that won't be on my Top 12, reason being that it came out in August of last year. I'm not sure how I missed the boat on this one so badly but it is fantastic stuff. I read a glowing review of it a few weeks ago and had to check it out for myself. I'm glad I did. The band describes their sound as 'Bruce Springsteen singing for a Cure cover band' and it is a formula that works.

Fiction Family - Fiction Family

Fiction Family is comprised of the lead singer from the band Switchfoot (never been a huge fan) and the guitarist from Nickel Creek (no, not Nickelback) - a folk, bluegrass band that is currently on hiatus. Although it seems like an odd pairing these two gents have combined to make an excellent debut album that I hope is not just a one time deal. The sound of Fiction Family hits folk, 1960's pop and a hint of rock. I had trouble narrowing the quality tracks to three so you get four samplings of this pleasant little album. When She's Near dabbles in Beatles Pop and Throw It Away channels early Coldplay. If you didn't know better you might actually think it was Chris Martin singing. Highly recommended for all.

Ben Folds Presents: University A Capella

This album just came out this past Tuesday and I was so dedicated to U2 week that it slipped under my radar for a few days. Usually when a new Ben Folds album is released I have downloaded it months in advance but then I am also at the store waiting 10 min before it opens so that I can be the first to get my hands on it. University A Capella is not your normal album by Mr. Folds. The story goes that Ben had seen many collegiate a capella choirs posting their renditions of his songs on youtube and rather than sue them or tell youtube to pull down his copyright infringed tunes he decided to hold a contest, select his favorites and then help the choirs arrange and record them. Pretty cool in my book. I had forgotten how much I love a capella crap. I decided this week that one of the greatest mistakes of my life was not joining some sort of a capella group while in college like Andy Bernard because deep down I am a choir geek. Oh well. I will admit that I'm not crazy about some of the voices on the lead vocalists of these groups but the album as a whole is really well done and these kids are quite talented. I have included the original Ben Folds tracks in order to see the creative takes on the songs. This one is for you, Broomhead, wherever you might be.

Jason Lytle - Yours Truly, The Commuter

I'm not quite sure why I left this album for last as I feel it will be the least well received of the bunch, but that's ok. Jason Lytle is the former lead singer of the band, Grandaddy, and this is his solo debut which is basically just another Grandaddy album. Grandaddy might be a bit of an acquired taste. I would describe their sound as the following. Let's say that John Lennon, Mozart, and Brian Wilson were all frozen when they passed away (I realize Wilson is still alive but go with me here) and were unfrozen sometime in the year 2327. Then they proceeded to write an album about computers and space travel - that would be Grandaddy. I guess. Something like that. Like a Space Age Beach Boys/Beatles hybrid with a hint of Pink Floyd. Anyway, KG loves them as do Wheels, Flanksteak, Vanwarmer, Dogface Boy and many others who have given them a chance. Listen to them more than once and I guarantee you can find some pleasure in Mr. Lytle's tunes.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Skog Family Week In Review

April 27 - May 3, 2009


Lil' J weighs in this week at just over 9 lbs. She is getting more active each day and is already getting the crap kicked out of her by her older sisters who are just trying to 'love' her. Many of you have stated that Lil' J has been getting the shaft so below is a slide show of nearly the same picture repeated 18 times. If you click through the slide show really fast it's almost like one of those flip book cartoons that you made out of a notebook or pad of post-it notes when you were 10.


Thursday Night Wheels and I had the opportunity to see Wicked which apparently was a big deal or something? I kid. It was a big deal. Every person I talked to this week either gushed about how awesome the show was or threatened to beat me and steal my tickets or pay me the equivalent of their mortgage payment for me to hand over my tickets. In my opinion the show was much better than The Phantom of the Opera but not as good as Les Miserables. We both loved the show stopper, Defying Gravity that ended Act One and wanted to bring home the actress who played Elphaba - the Wicked Witch of the West to be our personal serenader. Her voice was unfrigginbelievable.


As previously discussed on The Skog Blog, meal time is not our favorite time. This week Toots had a minor case of the sniffles so Wheels decided to give her some orange wedges which she pounded faster than a youth soccer team while the rest of us ate breakfast for dinner or 'brinner.' My favorite part of this first clip is the background noise - P spelling her name with her finger in the syrup on her plate and Lil' J's hiccups. Just an average dinner for us. The second clip is the aftermath of P's spelling bee.

P was supposed to be in her bedroom cleaning up the mess that she and her cousin Millie had made and after a longer than necessary time had passed Wheels decided she should go and inspect P's work and found this:

The picture doesn't quite do it justice, her carpet looked like she had stabbed Barney but luckily Wheels was able to remove most of the stains. P reluctantly handed in her markers and will get them back at a later date. A few days later while going through her art supplies cabinet, P found another set of markers and she responsibly brought them up to Wheels and turned them in. Hopefully she learned her lesson this time because we really don't need any more stains on our walls and carpet from our girls' 'creativity.'


Sadly, our week ended tragically as we said goodbye to an old friend. My mate was born in Temuco, Chile in June of 1995. He lived a good life and served me approximately 1349 beverages. It was a great run old pal, you will be missed.

This morning at approximately 9:53 he was knocked from the kitchen counter and died upon impact. Foul play is not expected at this time. Wheels claims that she is going to put the mate back together with some glue. I am skeptical but we shall see if the nine years she has spent watching CSI are finally going to pay off.