Tuesday, February 02, 2016


If you follow the show, you know that we began naming our Winter Storms almost a decade ago. We began with BBC Radio Show Hosts, moved on to favorite British comedians and now we are naming storms after favorite authors. Which brings me to John Irving. I can truly say that he was the first author I read that I fell head over heels in love with and simply had to read everything he'd ever written. In 1984 I was a freshman in High School and it was a very big year for John Irving. Two of his books were released as movies that year, World According To Garp and The Hotel New Hampshire. I saw both of them and was attracted by the crazy characters  - and they made me laugh. After noticing these two films were based on John Irving's books of the same names, I quickly read them both.

After that I bought his first three books and quickly read those. I couldn't tell you exactly what attracted me to them in the beginning. In fact, I think at my young age some of the more mature content probably went right over my head. But there was one thing that I did identify with entirely, his main narrative characters. They always seemed to me to be completely unsure of who they were, where they were going, or what they wanted to do. At the time I was reading these books, I'd lost my Dad unexpectedly in a car accident and I, too felt much the same way as these characters. Life was simply happening around me, and I felt helpless to control any part of it. And then The Cider House Rules came out. A complicated story about an orphanage and it's oldest orphan Homer Wells. Through the tutelage of Dr. Larch and the loving nurses who become his surrogate family Homer learns that simply "trying to be of use" leads towards a life worth living. I could identify with that notion as well, and it hit me at the perfect time in my life, starting an ill fated pipe dream of wanting to be a small town doctor. It was a romantic notion on my part, and even though I started college Pre-Med, chemistry and Richard Leakey changed my way of thinking right quick.

And then John Irving wrote the book that I have read so many times that my copy is ear marked, highlighted, notes jotted in, and entire sections falling out of the binder. That book is A Prayer For Owen Meany. If you have ever questioned faith and fate, or wondered if we make our way in life or if it has already been chosen for us, this book will become one of your favorites too. And John Irving is a master story teller.To me this book has one of the best first sentences of all time;  "I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice – not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother’s death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany."

No matter how many times I read this book, I still laugh through much of it, and even though I know how it ends, I always find myself crying like a baby through the last few chapters. In fact it is almost worse knowing the heartache to come. If you read only one book by John Irving, then please read this one. You will be glad you did.

John Irving has written many books after A Prayer For Owen Meany, and I have read them all. Among my favorites are Last Night In Twisted River, Until I Find You, In One Person, and A Widow For One Year. At the end of last year I was able to see John Irving as part of MPR's Talking Volumes. He was as funny, thoughtful and well spoken as I imagined him to be, and such a delight to hear speak. Kerri Miller asked him how his story telling had changed over so many years of writing and he replied he didn't think it had, but she pressed him, not believing he hadn't changed. Irving was silent for awhile, and then said "You don't get to pick your nightmares. You don't decide what wakes you up in the middle of the night in fear. That is what I write about, and that hasn't changed over the years". I will never forget that answer. You can read about John Irving everywhere on-line, but the best place to start is his web site. You can find that here.

Tim just said that John Irving would be proud to have a storm as strong as this named after him and I couldn't agree more. It's going to be long storm, and it is of epic proportion, but it is beautiful to watch those big flakes swirling as the inches add up. So, without further adieu, I give you WINTER STORM JOHN IRVING!

oh - if you have some free time on your hands (and most of us do now) you can see his recent interview that I mentioned below.

Drive safe everyone. Winter Storm John Irving is not messing around.


Friday, January 29, 2016


Last week, when that big honkin' blizzard hit the East Coast, Bruce Springsteen was forced to cancel one of his shows at Madison Square Garden.  He realized that this was a pretty big deal, so he made a really cool gesture to make up for it.  For a couple of days he made his recent Chicago show available as a free download.  I hope you guys had a chance to grab it, because it's pretty awesome.  Anything Bruce is pretty awesome, though.

Miss out on it?  Well, if you go to nugs.net you can get the Chicago show and any of the shows he's playing on this tour as a download.  They're not free, but they're pretty inexpensive.  A standard MP3 download is under ten bucks, but you can go FLAC, HD Audio or CD if you like.  The prices go up with each format, but discerning ears will find the extra cost worth their time.

Right now there is a free Springsteen download on the site.  It's ten songs from the November 5th, 1980 show that he played in Tempe, AZ.  This is the same show that's included in the new The River box set that came up last year.  By all accounts this is one of the greatest Springsteen shows out there, so this is quite a treat.

Are you going to see Bruce and the E Street Band play on February 29th in St Paul?  You can pre-order it here!



There have been some fantastic movie remixes over the last few years, but I haven't seen anything as astoundingly weird as this hilarious defacing of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.  Hope you guys like chicken, weird inbreeding, and rapping spectral twins, because here's five minutes of it.  Visit thechickening.com for the amazing song that the twins do, too.  It's less than a minute long, but it'll be stuck in your head all day.



TV Horror Host Ghoulardi, played by Ernie Anderson (Paul Thomas Anderson's Dad!)

2016 is a Leap Year, you kids!  Does anybody have any special traditions for February 29th, other than taking an extra day to finish your end of the month paperwork?  We don't know any, and that's why we declared Leap Year Day Second Halloween!

Why Second Halloween? Well, Halloween is our favorite holiday here on Shuffle Function, so when a window of opportunity pops up to get even more Halloween fun in our lives we take it!  Leap Year Day is rare and unusual enough on its own, but there's nothing fun happening.  Now, however, there is!

Second Halloween is just what it sounds like.  It's a special bonus Halloween, and it only comes around every four years.  This is the third time we're marking Second Halloween, and we have to make this one last.  The next Leap year is is 2020, and it falls on a Saturday.  That means this is the last one for EIGHT YEARS!  Get your second Halloween kicks in now, because it'll be 2024 before it can be celebrated on the air.

How do you celebrate Second Halloween?  You celebrate it just like standard Halloween.  We'll have trick or treating, play Halloween music, dress in costume, etc.  You should dress in costume, too!  Why?  BECAUSE IT'S SECOND HALLOWEEN!  We also will have a candle burning and asking for the spirit of Harry Houdini to visit us in the studio, because Houdini.


if you have any Second Halloween traditions you want to begin, we're more than up for hearing them!  Remember, this is the last one for EIGHT YEARS, so we need to make this one last.  Send your ideas to shufflefunction@hotmail.com.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016


What is a Loss Leader record?  Well, kids, it's when a record label gets the bright idea to put out a compilation of artists on their rosters and sell it at a ridiculously low price.  They take a hit on the production and distribution costs, with the hope that people will love the bands and pick up full albums that the label has released.  Hence the name Loss Leader.

About 20 years ago Matador Records put out an amazing 2 cd collection called What's Up Matador, featuring a roll call of glory of legendary bands:  Yo La Tengo, Pavement, Teenage Fanclub, Liz Phair, The Fall, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion... I could go on and on, but I'll just give you THIS LINK with more information.  Needless to say, it was a damn good value, and if you see it you should pick it up.

Dangerous Minds posted something the other day related to What's Up Matador, and I had no idea that it even existed.  The label also released a companion home video, and the best part is that they put some effort into it.  Instead of releasing a compilation of videos from their bands, they created an entire children's show called "What's Up", with sets and a cheesy host and everything.  Even better, the production featured hilarious guest spots from the bands, and they did things like read story books to the audience of children, give demonstrations of how their instruments work, etc.  It's SUPER FUNNY, and worth your time.

Here's the home video of What's Up Matador (minus the music videos) for your lazy times enjoyment.  It's only about 25 minutes long with out the videos, so you can watch it on your lunch break.  Or not.  FINE!  WATCH IT WHENEVER YOU WANT!



BIKE TYPES!  Do you want to get involved with a really great bike organization?  Key City Bike in Mankato is what you're looking for.  Their mission is to educate people about how to take care of their bikes, and they allow people to work towards earning a bike of their own.  Key City Bike also accepts any bike donations, which they either fix for riding or recycle the parts for other projects. Pretty sweet, huh?

WELL... Right now Key City Bike is looking for an Executive Director.  This is a volunteer position, and it will involve scheduling volunteers, shop administration, record keeping, etc.  The full description of the position is HERE!

Interested parties should submit a letter of interest and a resume to Key City Bike at KCBexecdirsearch2016@gmail.com before March 18th, 2016.  The Board of Directors will be in contact with those interested once they have had a chance to review everything.


Thursday, January 14, 2016


"I used to be in a poker game with Neil Simon, Johnny Carson, Carl Reiner..."

I love hearing and reading stories from comedians.  There are a couple of great books by Mike Sacks (And Here's the Kicker and Poking a Dead Frog) that compile essays and interviews from professional comedy writers and performers that I can't recommend enough.  It's comedy as nuts and bolts.  Tina Fey's book Bossypants is one of the few books that has made me laugh to tears through the entire ride, and you can't call yourself a fan if you haven't read it yet.  Why are you reading this blog when you could be reading these books?

Steve Martin is as close to a true comedy rock and roll legend as you can get, and his book Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life is an essential read for comedy nerds.  You get the behind the scenes stories from a guy that turned comedy into an arena gig, and why he had to walk away from it.  It's also fascinating to read just how much thought goes into something like his comedy, which on the surface is so silly.  Again... why this... read that...

Martin appeared on the second episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee this season, and the episode is full of moments where your host Jerry Seinfeld and Steve talk about the craft of stand up and what it's like to be at the level of fame that these guys have.  It's a fun watch, as are all the episodes of CICGC.  You should watch them all, but start with this one.

Monday, January 11, 2016




David Bowie died this morning after an 18 month battle with Cancer.  Cancer can suck it.

I listened to Bowie's new album Blackstar all last week, and it was a thrill to be able to play it for you guys on his birthday last Friday.  It's inconceivable to think that it's his final album, but should it be any surprise that he went out triumphant?  That's how David Bowie rolled.

This week we'll probably be mourning together on the show.  That's what we do and what we want to do.  We want you guys to let us know how you feel, what you want to hear, and what you want to say about a guy that has made such an impact, not just on music, but on art, culture, and life.

I'm going to try and get back to sleep, as if I'll be able to do anything other than ponder this,


Sunday, January 10, 2016


Before the Vikings game today we stumbled across a gem on the RFD TV that you guys really must see.  We've been playing Jack Palance's Hannah on our show since we stumbled across the album years ago, but we never in a million years thought we would EVER see him actually singing something.  WE WERE WRONG!

Years ago Jack was on The Porter Wagoner show, where he sang two songs.  Neither one was Hannah, but they were both remarkably questionable.  Come for the Palance, stay for the Nudie suits and big hair.  Isn't that what the saying is?


If you guys didn't get a chance to watch Lemmy's memorial service, it's still available online at Motorhead's official channel.  There are a few other people that have reposted it, but the official video is the best quality (minus the out of synch audio).  It's a lovely service, and without fail every person that speaks gives testimony to what a kind and genuinely decent person Lemmy was.  He lived his life honestly and was as true to others as he was to himself.  Everybody should have a Lemmy in their life.

Saturday, January 09, 2016


Jerry Lewis prepping for The Day The Clown Cried

OH MY JEEZ!  We've been obsessed with Jerry Lewis' notorious unreleased film The Day the Clown Cried for years now, and it seems like every few months something new slips through the cracks to keep us fascinated.  Never the entire thing... never even close... but just a further taste to keep us wanting more.

The latest thing to enter the world of The Day the Clown Cried obsession is a brand new documentary produced by the BBC.  While it's short of footage from the production, it does have, for the first time ever, never before seen stills from the making of the film.  These films have been buried in the archives of the Swedish Film Institute for decades.  Again, it's not even close to giving us what we want, but it's a closer look at this notorious production.

Here are some previous posts regarding the film.  Unless the National Archives, which possesses the Jerry Lewis archives, actually releases it, this will have to do.