Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cool Stuff

It's the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain covering the classic Nirvana tune, "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Enjoy:

Saturday Morning Cartoon

Nowadays kids don't have the patience for black and white (heck even my college students complain when I show something that isn't in color). But I remember getting a kick out of "old" Popeye cartoons-- because they weren't in color, they seemed more exotic. Though, now that I think of it, I probably first saw these on a b&w TV, so I wouldn't have known the difference anyway. Oh well...

A Saturday Quote

Here's a great line from the inventor R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983):

"If humanity does not opt for integrity we
are through completely. It is absolutely
touch and go. Each one of us could
make the difference."

Friday, April 29, 2011

Soul Classic

Solomon Burke, one of the giants of soul music starting back in the 1960s, passed away recently. Here's one of his best known songs, in a somewhat latter-day performance. This guy could really belt them out:

Friday Family Blogging Quiz

Okay, here's something a little different, and might require a little bit of imagination to solve. What is Nik poking at with his right index finger (neatly cropped out to eliminate any hints)? Put your guesses in the comments section.

Last week, I asked who Richard was high-fiving, and I only got one, incorrect guess. So I'll leave that open for another week too. C'mon folks, let's put on our thinking caps!

Three Pictures: Roman Colosseum

I initially started this blog for the purpose of sharing photos from a trip to Italy back in the fall of 2008. Of course it eventually morphed into something more, but I like to occasionally revisit those roots. Here are three pictures I took on that trip from in and around the Colosseum in Rome.

The Arch of Constantine is just outside the Colosseum, both of which are adjacent to the old Roman Forum.

Here's a shot of the outer corridor surrounding the seating area. Doesn't look all that different from contemporary sports arenas, does it?

More Friday Family Blogging

Tom, Ben and Natalie at the Fremont experience in Las Vegas. They look like they're having a good time, don't they?

Friday Family Blogging

My nephew Gerik will be graduating from high school this year. This picture must be from when he was a freshman-- or maybe even a little earlier than that.

Friday Philosophy

Here's a wonderful line from the poet T. S. Eliot (1888-1965):

"We shall not cease from exploration,
and the end of all our exploring will
be to arrive where we started and
know the place for the first time."

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Eighties Memories

I'm not going to argue that this song is a classic, but it certainly does evoke that mid-eighties period. Feargal Sharkey was much more compelling (to me) as the lead voice in the Undertones, while his solo stuff represented a pretty clear pop move. Still, his voice is kind of distinctive, and this tune would certainly fit nicely on any John Hughes movie soundtrack:

Toonerville Thursday

I always like when the kids are featured in Toonerville Folks. Fontaine Fox really captures the imagination and animation of children at play. In fact, I think that Fox's young'uns are the model for Calvin in Bill Watterson's classic Calvin and Hobbes.

Thursday's Quote

I think this is great advice from the American playwright Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953):

"A man's work is in danger of deteriorating when
he thinks he has found the one best formula for
doing it. If he thinks that, he is likely to feel that
all he needs is merely to go on repeating himself...
so long as a person is searching for better ways of
doing his work, he is fairly safe."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cool Song

I think Darker My Love is one of the top four or five bands out there right now. Here's a song from their last album Alive As You Are, so you can determine if you agree with my assessment:

The Last Movie I Saw

I started seeing ads for The Conspirator, Robert Redford's new movie, just a couple of days before I had an opportunity to see it. I also managed to see a couple of reviews (though non from mainstream sources), and between the advertising and those few critical comments I wonder if anyone really got what this movie is about. The reviews I read seemed overly concerned with trying to figure out if Redford's story was more sympathetic to the North or the South, and the ads made it appear to be some kind of mystery-thriller. After watching it though, it seems like none of that is the least bit relevant to the filmmakers intentions (though superficially they are suggested by elements of the plot). This is pretty clearly intended as an allegorical critique of the use of military tribunals, as in the case of those incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay, and the obvious threat posed by stripping individuals of their rights when accused of criminal behavior. The film falls well short of making the case one way or the other about the guilt of purported subject Mary Surratt, and it's fair to say that virtually all the characters, regardless of their wartime sympathies, come across as either deluded fanatics or ruthless opportunists. In fact, it's almost essential to Redford's thesis that Surratt come across as compromised as everyone else, the better to throw the principle of systemic virtue into stark relief against the lesser concept of individual virtue. It's a compelling idea, and I wish that the movie was up to the challenge it sets for itself. Unfortunately, it comes across as overly melodramatic, and never really captures the gut the same way that it does the brain. I know that Redford can pull that kind of combination off-- he did exactly that in his film Quiz Show, which similarly dealt with moral conflicts and institutional corruption. There are several strong performances in The Conspirator that make it worth seeing, but it would appear that, given the responses noted above (including it's own marketing campaign-- check out the poster above), it is not likely to prompt the kind of debate over current affairs it seems to want to spark.

Quote of the Day

Here's a compelling thought from the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926):

"Believe that with your feelings and your
work you are taking part in the greatest;
the more strongly you cultivate this belief,
the more will reality and the world go
forth from it."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Classic Rock

This is one of those songs that makes me think of summer, as it seemed to be coming out of every radio in the neighborhood back in 1971. This was the last big hit by Paul Revere & the Raiders, and they had a whole bunch of them. Check it out:

Soup Diary 110426

I really should know better. I learned long ago that as famous as Buffalo Style Wings have become over the years, the farther away one gets from Buffalo itself, the less likely you are to find an even reasonable facsimile of the real thing. I don't know why that is-- presumably if you mix the ingredients properly, you ought to be able to replicate the flavor, texture, etc. of a well-done chicken wing. But it doesn't seem to work that way. So it's no surprise to discover that the same principle applies in relation to Buffalo Chicken Style Soup. There are a couple of places in Western New York that specialize in this concoction, and have even won awards at the Taste of Buffalo festival. That soup is really good-- hot and tangy and calling to mind a plate full of wings. But the cup I tried in an Idaho Falls eatery a couple days ago was a pale imitation. It was orange, and it did have chicken in it, but potatoes? I guess that was supposed to be the Idaho twist, but it really undercut the flavor, creating more of a chicken stew with a hint of garlic Tabasco added. It's sad that folks out west don't know the real thing, and it makes me wonder if they think that those of us who have are crazy to think it's so great (that goes for the soup as well as the wings). Here's hoping that someone, someday figures out how to export or create something as good as what Buffalonians can get at the Anchor Bar or Duff's.

This Week's Top Five List

This week's Top Five list from Dr. John's Record Shelf has a kind of travel theme:

Today's Quotation

Ansel Adams (1902-1984) was one of the most accomplished and famous of American photographers, known especially for his stunning landscapes. Here's a statement he made that I agree with:

"Millions of men have lived to fight, build
palaces and boundaries, shape destinies
and societies; but the compelling force of
all times has been the force of originality
and creation profoundly affecting the
roots of human spirit."

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Classic Song

They were also-rans in the Battle of the Bands on Dr. John's Record Shelf, but the Who lasted into the semi-finals (tying the Kinks for third spot overall). Here's one of my favorite performances by them, from the Rolling Stones' Rock and Roll Circus circa 1969. This is often credited as the first rock opera:

Happy Birthday Thomas!

Congratulations to my nephew Thomas who turns-- yikes! can this be right?-- sixteen today. I hope you have a great day Thomas!

Battle of the Bands Finale

I'm sure that it will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone that the Battle of the Bands on Dr. John's Record Shelf has determined that the Beatles were the greatest British rock and roll group of the era 1960 to 1974. After a grueling competition that began with 64 groups eight months ago, the Beatles rather convincingly defeated the Rolling Stones in the final round, by an 8-3 vote by listeners. I think that next season we'll try something else on the program, as this year's Battle produced few upsets and became something of a foregone conclusion as it played out. It gave us the opportunity to play a lot of great music, but we do that anyway. So, thanks to all who voted or offered comments on the contest, and I'll keep you posted on what we do next.

A Quote for Monday

I like this sentiment from the American writer E.B. White (1899-1985):

"I would feel more optimistic about a bright
future for man if he spent less time proving
that he can outwit Nature and more time
tasting her sweetness and respecting
her seniority."

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Prime Mingus

Charles Mingus really knew how to rock-- his "Hora Decubitus" is ample evidence of the fact. Here, that tune provides a soundtrack for scenes from Martin Scorsese's classic New York City fable, After Hours. The two go really well together:

Sunday Funnies

I always liked Otto Soglow's Little King strip, but I never knew about The Ambassador until I discovered some examples at the I Love Comix Archive. Here's a sampling, and you can find more at the link for the Archive.

Apparently, The Ambassador was created as a kind of knock-off of the Little King, albeit by the latter's creator. There was some kind of issue about bringing the King from the New Yorker (where it originated) to the funnie pages, and this was Soglow's solution. Once the copyright issue was resolved, the Ambassador disappeared, and the King became a Sunday mainstay. I can't imagine any strip today sparking those kind of controversies.

A Sunday Quote

Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374) is often considered the father of humanism, one of the earliest examples of a Renaissance man. Here's something he said worth remembering:

"True, we love life, not because we are used
to living, but because we are used to loving.
There is always some madness in love, but
there is also always some reason in madness."

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Cool Song

The Dream Syndicate was one of the great bands of the eighties. I remember seeing them open for REM at the Beacon Theater in New York back in 1984-- an all around memorable show, and I'm pretty sure DS played this song:

Saturday Morning Cartoon

Just as The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show included additional segments like "Dudley Do-Right" and "Fractured Fairy Tales," so too was George of the Jungle augmented by supporting features like "Tom Slick." All were marked by the signature wit of the Jay Ward production team. Here's an example of "Tom Slick:"

A Saturday Quote

I really like this comment from the American author Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888):

"Conceit spoils the finest genius. There
is not much danger that real talent or
goodness will be overlooked long; even
if it is, the consciousness of possessing
and using it well should satisfy one, and
the great charm of all power is modesty."

Friday, April 22, 2011

Classic Soul Music

"Sugar Sugar" by the Archies is one of my all-time guilty pleasures. Almost as big a pleasure, without the guilt, is this version by the Wicked One, Wilson Pickett. Enjoy:

Friday Family Blogging Quiz

Alright, this week I have a new kind of question (at least I don't recall one like this before): who is Richard high-fiving in this shot? It's a cropped photo, so I can provide photographic evidence of the correct answer next week. If you think you know (or even if you don't), you can put your guesses in the comments section.

Last week, I asked you to identify the owner of a very large tongue. The correct answer was birthday girl Raechelle, which was what everyone guessed. But Lil Sis was first, so she gets credit for the "win." Best of luck to everyone this week!

More Friday Family Blogging

Here's a picture of Natalie striking something of a Hollywood pose. Or am I reading too much into the sunglasses?

Friday Family Blogging

It's a little fuzzy, but I really think that Emma's personality comes through in this shot. Also, she looks cute in overalls.

Friday Philosophy

A great a true insight attributed to the immortal Greek philosopher Socrates (c469 BC- c399 BC):

"True wisdom comes to each of us when
we realize how little we understand about
life, ourselves, and the world around us."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cool Song

I'd love to see a clip of Jackie Wilson doing this song live. But in the absence of that, I'll take this neat little animation:

Toonerville Thursday

Today the spotlight is on "Tomboy" Taylor, just one more of the interesting characters who populate Toonerville.

Something to Think About

Here's a question worth pondering from the famed expert on mythology, Joseph Campbell (1904-1987):

"Is the system going to flatten you out and
deny you your humanity, or are you going
to be able to make use of the system to the
attainment of human purposes?"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Favorite Performer

Ted Hawkins had one fo the most distinctive voices I've ever heard, mostly performing other people's material and making it his own. Here's a good example-- see if this doesn't get under your skin:

Three Pictures: Sunnier Climes

Winter just doesn't seem to want to end here in SW Montana. Every day is cold, gray and usually wet. wet or snowy. So, naturally I'm thinking of warmer places, especially southern California where I was lucky enough to get away to last about six weeks ago. How I long to see some greenery, like the palm trees in Santa Monica seen above.

I can't imagine when I might see some flowers blooming around here, but the gardens were very colorful at the Huntington Library complex.

The last shot is also from the grounds at the Huntington center. I can easily imagine whiling away an afternoon with a good book, sitting under the trees. Unfortunately, at the moment I can only imagine it.

Words of Wisdom

Here's a great quote from Robert Kennedy (1925-1968):

"All of us might wish at times that we lived
in a more tranquil world, but we don't. And
if our times are difficult and perplexing, so
are they challenging and filled with

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cool Song

Here's a nice relic of the psychedelic era-- Country Joe and the Fish performing "Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine" at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967:

This Week's Top Five List

I'm afraid we might've been guilty of a lack of originality with this week's Top Five-- but it was worth it to honor the holder of the top slot:

Quote of the Day

Here's a pretty famous line from William Shakespeare (1564-1616), a line that first appeared in his play As You Like It:

"All the world's a stage, and all the men
and women merely players: they have
their exits and their entrances; and one
man in his time plays many parts, his
acts being seven ages."

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Favorite Movie Scene

Anybody who saw the absolute gem of a movie Beautiful Girls, directed by Ted Demme back in 1996, had to know Natalie Portman was destined for great things. I frankly am surprised it took her fifteen years to win an Oscar. The rest of the cast in that film is just as good, and it's one of those movies that rewards repeat viewing. Anyway, here's my favorite (well, one of my favorite) scenes...

WestFest 1

Last Friday, the radio station for which I broadcast, KDWG in Dillon, celebrated its tenth anniversary with what we hope will become an annual event called West-Fest. It was supposed to be a big outdoor party, but inclement weather forced us indoors. Even so, it was a great time, with live music from 3 to 10, along with a barbecue, beer garden, and assorted art demonstrations and booths. Here are a few pictures I took at the festivities, starting with the Black Rose Band above.

Kayli Smith performed a nice acoustic set.

Landlocked got the crowd moving with their patented Polynesian reggae mix.

Unfortunately, the light was such that I couldn't get a sharp image of the crowd, but I think this conveys a bit of the action on the dance floor.

Headlining was The Dirty Shame, and they put a nice country cap to the evening. Great show overall-- and I can't wait for next year!

Battle of the Bands Update

Well, I don't know if anyone could have possibly predicted this (sarcasm intended), but in the Battle of the Bands to determine the greatest British rock and roll band of the era 1960 to 1974 unfolding on Dr. John's Record Shelf over the past few months, the two finalists ended up being the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. The former edged the Who for their berth in the final, while the latter knocked off the Kinks.

Songs in competition were "Sympathy for the Devil" by the Stones, "Won't Get Fooled Again" by the Who, "Hard Day's Night" by the Beatles, and "Tired of Waiting For You" by the Kinks. Next week, for the final, I'll play three songs by each group, early enough in the program that we can take phone call votes. But if anyone wants to post a preference in comments here, I'll add that to the tally.

Monday's Quote

I find this line from the founder of the American Red Cross, Clara Barton (1821-1912), rather inspiring:

"I have an almost complete disregard of
precedent, and a faith in the possibility of
something better. It irritates me to be told
how things have always been done. I defy
the tyranny of precedent. I go for anything
new that might improve the past."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Tribute to Curly

This was actually something of a novelty hit about twenty-five years ago-- and I remember that we had boxes and boxes of the 12" version on consignment cluttering up the back room of the record store where I worked. Like a lot of novelties, after its initial burst of popularity, you couldn't give the thing away. But now that it's been awhile, it was kind of nice to hear again...

Battle of the Bands Final Four

Our Battle of the Bands is winding down on Dr. John's Record Shelf. Tonight, we have the final four semi-finals, with the finals to occur next week between this evening's winners. Here's the lineup if you want to try and get in a vote:

Mod vs. Teddy Boy Bracket:
"Sympathy for the Devil," Rolling Stones v. "Won't Get Fooled Again," the Who
Empire vs. Pop Bracket:
"Tired of Waiting For You," the Kinks v. "Hard Day's Night," the Beatles

I'll post the results tomorrow.

Sunday Funnies

Last week I posted some examples of Gasoline Alley from 1937. A couple of those included a bonus Frank King strip focusing on Corky, the little brother of Skeezix (the main character of G.A.). There was a time when just about every Sunday funny page had a main strip and another to fill out the page ('cause they actually were full pages). So here are a few more examples of the Corky strip, and if they whet your appetite, there are a whole bunch more at the I Love Comix Archive.

Sunday's Quote

You know, I think there may be something profound hiding in the midst of this joke by Demetri Martin:

"A lot of people like lollipops. I don't
like lollipops. To me, a lollipop is hard
candy plus garbage. I don't need a
handle. Just give me the candy."