We've got a song in our heart this week in the editorial office. It's a bunch of songs, actually. We're recommending solid music by Ryan Adams and the Cardinals (pictured), Adele and Dennis Brown, along with a tasty pie, an incredible burger and, well, let's just say that no recommendation would be complete without a novelty condom.
"Cardinology" by Ryan Adams and the Cardinals -- Take a whole lot of Ryan Adams, toss in a touch of Neil Young and an incredible backing band and you've one of my favorite albums of the year. I would go into comparisons of this disc versus last year's "Easy Tiger" or add some drivel about how he is maturing as a songwriter and has broken loose of some demons or found some that has influenced his songwriting, but the fact is, I just like listening to this album. The songs are good. The production is elegantly simple and the cover is pretty cool. --Kevin Brandt
Obama condoms -- For anyone who really wants to celebrate Obama's victory, Obama condoms are the way to go. Available at The Tool Shed, 804 E. Center St., and online (www.practicesafepolicy.com), Obama condoms are one-size-fits-most and come in patriotic packaging. For Republicans who want to go out with a bang, John McCain jimmies are available, too. --Molly Snyder Edler
"The Best of Dennis Brown: The Niney Years" (Heartbeat) -- Dennis Brown was one of the many tabbed as "the next Marley" when Bob died in 1981.Although the internationally-aspiring A&M recordings didn't achieve that, Brown's '70s work already put him among the top stars in Jamaica. The best of that work was for producer Niney Holness' Observer label. Although Heartbeat issued two discs full of great Niney-produced Dennis Brown tunes, it revisits the catalog here and makes it valuable even to die-hards with the addition of two killer extended mixes featuring the inimitable I Roy -- "Here I Come (Love & Hate) / Jah Come Here" and "Wolf and Leopards / Step On the Dragon." --Bobby Tanzilo
Elegant Farmer's Apple Pie Baked In A Bag -- In a recent transmission, I was grooving on honeycrisp apples. Then, my much better half brought home a pie from the Elegant Farmer. Wow. I hadn't enjoyed one in years and t was better than I remembered. Located between Mukwonago and East Troy, the Elegant Farmer -- which bills itself as a farm kitchen, bakery, deli and market -- has been making this outstanding pie for decades and it has won raves from Gourmet magazine and the Wall Street Journal. The brown paper bag helps cook the apples without over baking and over browning the crust. When the apples are perfect, they cut a circle out of the op of the bag to get the crust brown and crisp. We bought one last week. Simply amazing. --D.O.
The heartbreak soul of Adele -- I'm really liking the smoky voice of English singer Adele. Her debut disc is wonderful and full of great songs. Her blog can be entertaining, too (an Oct. 28 post starts "my record company f@cked up ..."). Check out both here. She has a tour planned for early '09, maybe Milwaukee will make the cut. --Jeff Sherman
Watching sporting events "live" on your DVR -- Life isn't showing any signs of slowing down any time soon. As much I love to watch games on TV, I don't always have time to flop on the couch for an afternoon. The DVR has been a life-saver in that regard. If I can maintain a "cone of silence" about the progress of a game, I can sit down to watch it, zap through the commercials and non-essential parts, and cut the time requirement by at least a third, if not half. For special games, I'll make an exception. But, I always have the DVR running in case other duties call. --D.O.
Not talking gloom and doom -- Maybe it's the perfect storm of the election season and the economic downturn. Who knows? But, I'm just sick and tired of people talking constantly about gloom and doom. Forget the 401(k)s, gas prices, food prices, housing crunch, movie ticket prices, health care costs, etc. Shut up. Honestly, it's not that bad. Economics, after all, is defined as how to get the most out of life. If you spend your time and days complaining, you know what? I'm not listening, but I am recommending that you stop talking about gloom and doom, get to work, have some fun and lighten up already. --J.S.
The classic Big Boy burger at Kilawat -- If you're old enough to remember Marc's Big Boy, you should treat yourself to the rich, gooey goodness of the classic burger at the InterContinental Hotel's terrific restaurant. The burger -- a double-decker with two beef patties, lettuce and Thousand Island dressing on a toasted sesame-seed bun, is a $10 trip down memory lane. The Marcus Corp., which operates the hotel, used to operate the local Big Boys. --D.O.