As 2009 draws to a close, the Dirt Rag staff shares some of their favorite things. Places to go; things to read, listen to, eat, drink and see.

Inspiration by Amanda Zimmerman
I’m always a little torn between the beauty of well-executed graphic design and the visual viscosity and drama of pictorial art. I try my best to balance the two. Here are a few sites that I turn to for inspiration:

Image credit: “Death Horse” by Min Yum from

death horse

Chile Spiced Mangos by Matt Kasprzyk
Before getting this job as art bitch at Dirt Rag/Bicycle Times and moving to a new city over a year ago I was unaware of the greatness that is Trader Joe’s. It’s true that there are stores all across this large union of ours, but were I’m from it was another deprival like losing Super Bowls and taxes. This Recommendo comes straight from my desk, literally. Well, Trader Joe’s first. Before that, perhaps some farm.

The Chile Spiced Mangos from Trader Joe’s is a crowd favorite here at the office. Among the myriad of dried fruit and trail mix found along side this unlikely favorite one can find several healthy and delicious snacks. But the dried mango slices lightly covered in chile powder is a fantastic sweet and spicy combo that is hard to put down once you pick it up. There are 110 calories a serving and some other things like sugars and carbs and sodium, which make the re-sealable chile spiced mangos a wise choice for a trail-side snack on your next ride. These chewy spicy sweet slices of dried mango I admit seemed a bit odd at first, but once you try one you’ll surely be a believer. Great for the office or your next ride.

chile mango

What Problem? by Karl Rosengarth
It started innocently enough. An album here, and an album there. Just the gotta-haves at first.

Record shopping was good clean fun! With price wars between the campus record shops, a ten-spot in the pocket was the price of admission for an afternoon-killing album hunting excursion. Half the fun was digging through the crates, hoping to be at the right place, at the right time. I didn’t plan to accumulate 700+ albums—nor go on to amass a comparable collection of CDs after that. And, when the music world was rocked by the mp3 revolution, well, the floodgates went full-open.

I’d rather not discuss all the impulses that motivates a guy with 105.31GB of music on his hard drive to while away countless hours browsing the iTunes store, adding to his collection. I will, however, share my most recent motivation—I decided to track down some music from my youth. Songs that I grew to love, before I started collecting albums. Wanted to fill in the gaps in my collection, so to speak.

The following playlist, which will conveniently burn onto one CD (for your old-school friends), is my humble recommendation for an hour’s worth of catchy tunes from the ’70s. If so inclined, log onto your favorite music shopping site, and treat yourself to some holiday shopping:

  • Brand New Key – Melanie
  • Little Willy – The Sweet
  • Brother Louie – The Stories
  • Garden Party – Ricky Nelson
  • Come and Get Your Love – Redbone
  • Spirit in the Sky – Norman Greenbaum
  • O-O-H Child – The Five Stairsteps
  • Will It Go Round In Circles – Billy Preston
  • One Toke Over The Line – Brewer & Shipley
  • Jim Dandy – Black Oak Arkansas
  • 96 Tears – ? & The Mysterians
  • Liar – Three Dog Night
  • Sweet City Woman – Stampeders
  • Funk #49 James Gang
  • Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress – Hollies
  • Jackie Blue – Ozark Mountain Daredevils
  • Any Major Dude Will Tell You – Steely Dan
  • Rock On – David Essex
  • Midnight At the Oasis – Maria Muldar

karls 70s faves

Recommendo Roundup by Eric Mckeegan

What I’m Listening to Right Now by Andy Bruno

  • My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges – MMJ’s most recent studio album from 2008
  • My Morning Jacket – Okonokos – Awesome Live album and DVD from 2006 recorded during the band’s fall 2005 Z Tour, over two nights at The Fillmore in San Francisco, CA.
  • Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest, 2009
  • Sesame Street – Songs From The Street – 35 Years of Music (3 disc set) – My son loves this and I do too. Some great musicians appeared on Sesame Street, like Johnny Cash, B.B. King, Steven Tyler, Los Lobos, Ziggy Marley, and Bobby McFerrin, Stevie Wonder, Keb’ Mo’, and Tony Bennett.

Funk-a-mendo by Frank “Le Freak” Wuerthele

  • Parliament Funkadelic
  • Cameo
  • Bootsy’s Rubber Band
  • Tower of Power
  • Isley Bros.