Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Unsung Classic

Louie and the Lovers are one of the great under appreciated bands of the rock era, in my opinion.  Their one and only album is loaded with great songs, and Louis Ortega has one of the great rock and roll voices, which is very evident on this, the lead cut on the aforementioned album:

This Week's Top Five

We always have fun with the Top Five List on Dr. John's Record Shelf when there's a popular culture angle.  Such was the case this week:

A Tuesday Thought

A great line from the poet John Keats (1795-1821):

"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the 
heart's affections and the truth of the imagination. 
What the imagination seizes as beauty must be truth."

Monday, October 29, 2012

Good Song

An anthem for the henpecked out there.  It's a song called "Nag" by the Halos:

More Yellowstone Pics

Here are a few more shots from m y recent visit to Yellowstone National park.  I know the first one looks a bit fuzzy, but that's by design.  It's a double exposure with one shot in focus and one out-- I was trying for a slightly surreal feel.

Here's a view of the geyser fields near Old Faithful just as the sun was going down behind them. 

I can't remember which river this was, but they were all so darn photogenic I spent a lot of time shooting different spots on the Madison, Firehole, Gibbon, Gallatin, not to mention the Yellowstone itself.

Another part of the geyser fields. I was trying hard to capture the steam rising off the spring, but didn't quite nail it. 

More rivers.  The shot below was shot at dusk, and the sky was looking quite cool...

Monday's Quote

Paul Valery (1871-1945) was a French poet and essayist.  I think he was on to something with this observation:

"A man who wishes to impose his opinions on others is unsure of their value. He has to uphold them by all possible means. He adopts a special tone of voice, thumps the table, smiles on some and browbeats others. In short, he borrows from his body the wherewithal to bolster up his mind."

Friday, October 26, 2012

Classic Sing-Along

This is one of those songs that's hard to resist, from way way back in 1962.  See if you can keep from tapping your foot or singing along...

More Friday Family Blogging

My nattily dressed Dad, checking out the scenery in the Columbia River gorge in central Washington.

Friday Family Blogging

Thomas and Sara in the backyard. I wonder if they still remember how much fun they had on that old swingset?

Friday Philosophy

I'll buy this notion from the poet Dylan Thomas (1914-1953), but argue that it is equally true of a good painting or piece of music:

"A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone's knowledge of himself and the world around him."

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cool Song

Erin McKeown is a contemporary singer-songwriter whose work I really enjoy.  Here's a live clip of one of her best songs, done solo:

Toonerville Thursday

Even the merchants of Toonerville are a source of laughs (though they may not think so themselves).

A Thought for Thursday

Interesting thoughts from the great Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (1881-1973):

"Art is a lie that makes us realize truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies. If he only shows in his work that he has searched, and researched, for the way to put over lies, he would never accomplish anything."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Classic Comedy

I consider this one of the funniest scenes ever from the TV program Seinfeld.  The set-up is that George is cheating on an IQ test (Elaine actually takes it for him, but has a little mishap), and has to do some quick thinking to cover his little ruse.  Funny stuff...


This Week's Top Five List

Due to a technical snafu, I don't have this past week's Top Five List from Dr. John's Record Shelf.  But luckily, I do have this "classic" edition from back in 2007, you know, for your listening pleasure:

A Tuesday Thought

Keen insight from the mind of noted playwright Moss Hart (1904-1961):

"So far as I know, anything worth hearing is not usually uttered at seven o'clock in the morning; and if it is, it will generally be repeated at a more reasonable hour for a larger and more wakeful audience."

Monday, October 22, 2012

Cool Song

There are a few more clips of the Cash Brothers on YouTube (compared to the Mary Janes), but several are lacking in the actual video content (like this one). Luckily, once again the music more than makes up for the visual shortcomings:


I spent a couple of days in Yellowstone Park last week, and these are some of the photos I took as I wandered around.  Thursday was reasonably bright and clear, but Friday ended up being rather overcast.  Still, the scenery jumped out regardless of the light conditions. 

I tyhink my next camera will be one with a built-in GPS, so that I won't have to try and remember exactly where I was when I snapped a shot.  I'm pretty sure this is the Madison River on the west side of the park, but I could be wrong.

 This is, I think, the Gibbon River, and below is a picture of Gibbon Falls.

And here's one end of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.  I'll likely have some more of these up later this week.

Monday's Quote

Here's something to keep in mind as the current political campaigns wind down towards election day.  It's a line from Ted Sorenson (1928-2010), who was a key figure in the Kennedy administration:

"A speech is made great, not from the words used, but from the ideas conveyed. If the ideas, principles and values and substance of the speech are great, then it's going to be a great speech, even if the words are pedestrian. The words can be soaring, beautiful and eloquent but if the ideas are flat, empty or mean, it's not a great speech."

Friday, October 19, 2012

Great Song

I've gotten so used to finding pretty much everything on YouTube that it's kind of shocking when I can't find something I'm looking for on that site.  Here's a good example: this appears to be the only clip by a wonderful group called the Mary Janes, who never got much attention when they were active, and now appear to have been largely forgotten. It's sad too, because their two albums are excellent all the way through.  Anyway, here's the only thing I could find by them on YouTube:

More Friday Family Blogging

Maria and Joseph-- this is another processed photo that turned out pretty good (though I wish Joe had given us a smile). 

Friday Family Blogging

I had to do some work to make this picture somewhat presentable, but like how it turned out.  That's Benny in the foreground. This was taken at the old train station in Prague, with its Art Nouveau  decor.

Friday Philosophy

Kudos to Art Buchwald (1925-2007) for hitting the nail on the head with this comment:

"We seem to be going through a period of nostalgia, and everyone seems to think yesterday was better than today. I don't think it was, and I would advise you not to wait ten years before admitting today was great. If you're hung up on nostalgia, pretend today is yesterday and just go out and have one hell of a time."

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Good Song

I find this tune by Thelonious Monster to be a very nice listen.  Maybe you'll think so too...

Toonerville Thursday

Two more classic panels of Toonerville Folks-- and more evidence of the genius that was their creator, Fontaine Fox.

A Thought for Thursday

Something to think about from the pen of historian James Truslow Adams (1878-1949):

"We cannot advance without new experiments 
in living, but no wise man tries every day what 
he has proved wrong the day before."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cool Comeback

I haven't heard anything from Garland Jeffreys since the eighties, but this new song by him is fantastic with a real killer hook.  The visuals in the video clip are almost as good as the song.  I can't wait to hear the rest of his new album.

This Week's Top Five List

From this past Sunday's edition of Dr. John's Record Shelf, I hope you all enjoy this week's Top Five List (NY Yankee fans may not be too thrilled with some extraneous comments heard near the end of the bit, so be forewarned):

A Tuesday Thought

A great question, still relevant today, from the noted French mathematician Blaise Pascal (1623-1662):

"Can anything be stupider than that a man has 
the right to kill me because he lives on the other 
side of a river and his ruler has a quarrel with 
mine, though I have not quarrelled with him?"

Monday, October 15, 2012

Prime Stones

A cool live clip of the Rolling Stones from 1969 performing the great "Gimme Shelter."

What I Did Saturday

I was in Idaho Falls over this past weekend and stopped by the Treasures of King Tut's Tomb exhibit at the Idaho Museum.  Many of the items on display are actually replicas, but still worth a look.  Here are a few pictures of what I saw.

This is a replica opf the actual disinterred remains of ol' Tut himself. Kind of creepy, if you ask me. Below is the top end of the cover of the sarcophagus which holds the remains.

Monday's Quote

Here's something to think about from the former Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas (1898-1980):

"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air - however slight - lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness."

Friday, October 12, 2012

It's Bubblegum...

... but I like it!  Remember this from Boyce & Hart, a couple of guys who wrote a bunch of hits for the Monkees? (By the way, see if you can detect any difference in the instrumentation when Boyce gives up his guitar)

New Crowther Column

I consider Hal Crowther to be the best political commentator out there today. In fact his only competition to my mind is Matt Taibbi, another guy with some journalistic roots in Buffalo (is that a coincidence?).  I give the edge to Crowther because I find him a more elegant writer, whose cultural references run deeper than Taibbi's-- no doubt a function of age as much as anything else.  Anyway, you can find Crowther's latest analysis at this link, which I think is pretty close to dead on in summarizing the current presidential campaign. 

More Friday Family Blogging

Did I mention water balloons (see previous post)?  Here's Nik lining someone up for a soaking.

Friday Family Blogging

Looks like Helen was having a good time when I shot this (I think water balloons were involved).

Friday Philosophy

Great advice from the one and only Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882):

"Be not the slave of your own past ... plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so shall you come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience, that shall explain and overlook the old."

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cool Song

The video portion of this clip is not much to look at, but the song more than makes up for that.  It's the great Sir Douglas Quintet from their Nuevo Wave period...

Toonerville Thursday

It doesn't make me happy to admit that I have a lot in common with the Absent-Minded Professor of Toonerville. 

A Thought for Thursday

A truly profound insight from Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962):

"A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and in all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world no one is all knowing and therefore all of us need both love and charity."

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Funny Video

I always liked this song (composed by, if I recall correctly, Kimberly Rew of the Soft Boys and Katrina & the Waves), but don't remember ever seeing the viseo for it before.  Have to say, it really made me laugh, though I'd be hardpressed to say exactly why:

This Week's Top Five List

This week's Top Five List, aired during Dr. John's Record Shelf, demonstrates that the crack staff can rank pretty much anything.  You may not agree (like Art) with their order of things, but you have to acknowledge their yeoman like efforts to put everything in its proper place...

Tuesday's Thought

Firdtjof Nansen (1861-1930) was a Norwegian explorer and humanitarian, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922.  I really like the sentiment expressed in this quote:

"We all have a Land of Beyond to seek in our life, what more can we ask? Our part is to find the trail that leads to it. A long trail, a hard trail, maybe; but the call comes to us, and we have to go. Rooted deep in the nature of every one of us is the spirit of adventure, the call of the wild, vibrating under all our actions, making life deeper and higher and nobler."

Monday, October 8, 2012

Classic Rock

I don't think I've ever posted a clip by the Violent Femmes.  So let's rectify that situation right here and now...

Summer Movie Roundup 3

One of the most anticipated films of the summer for me was Damsels in Distress, marking the return of director Whit Stillman after a really long layoff (his last release was The Last Days of Disco way back in 1998).  His first two movies, Metropolitan and especially Barcelona are big favorites, as original as anything I saw on the big screen back in the nineties.  Stillman's work is almost as stylized as Wes Anderson's, though almost exclusively verbal while Anderson's idiosyncrasies extend to his visuals as well.  Stillman seems particularly enamored of the near obsessive values embraced by young people on the cusp of adulthood-- values they've only recently figured out how to articulate, but which prove less than ideal as protection against the complexities of growing up.  All of his films center on individuals whose moral certitude is close to absolute at the start (e.g. Greta Gerwig's Violet in Damsels), but is considerably battered by the end of the film.  What comes across quite strongly is that Stillman admires such idealism, and strives to demonstrate that much of it will survive (and deserves to survive) the trials he puts those characters through as his stories unfold. That he can tell such stories with great humor (all of his movies are clearly comedies) and heart is a real skill.  If Damsels in Distress seems somewhat lesser than his earlier work, its still preferable to most current films.  Maybe I just miss Chris Eigeman, who played central roles in all three of Stillman's previous films (generally as a somewhat amoral counterpart to the main character), and was quite funny in all of them.  There's no real comparable character in Damsels, which removes some of the edge.  Even so, it's an entertaining film that I'm looking forward to seeing again sometime.  It would not surprise me at all if my opinion only goes up on repeat viewings.

Monday's Quote

Today's quote is from The Pilgrimage by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho:

"Dreams nourish the soul just as food 
nourishes the body. The pleasure of the 
search and of adventure feeds our dreams."

Friday, October 5, 2012

Cool Song

The Corin Tucker band has a new album out, which I picked up earlier today.  Their first lp from a little over a year ago was an instant favorite, and the new one makes a great first impression (reminds me a bit more of Tucker's old group, Sleater-Kinney).  Here's one of the new songs:

More Friday Family Blogging

I know it looks like Sara has some kind of bouffant hairdo in this shot, but that's actually just the effect of catching her in mid-swing.

Friday Family Blogging

Theresa and Nik at Reinstein Woods a couple years ago.  We'll all have to go back there some time, as I recall having a really good time.

Toonerville Thursday (on Friday)

More Wortles behaving like the oddball clan they are for the entertainment of the other folks of Toonerville.

Happy Birthday Joseph!

I'm a day late on this, and I was going to blame computer problems. But no, I'm going to say its because I want you to feel like everyday is your birthday, and the good times and good wishes come whether or not its actually the anniversary of your birth.  Hope to see you real soon buddy!

Friday Philosophy

Insightful words from the late poet and statesman Vaclav Havel (1936-2011):

"A human action becomes genuinely important when it springs from the soil of a clear-sighted awareness of the temporality and the ephemerality of everything human. It is only this awareness that can breathe any greatness into an action."