The Lydster, Part 89: Beatles 1

I’m afraid she already knew Hello Goodbye from one of those Glee soundtracks her mother owns.

You might think that, since I have so many Beatles albums, that when my daughter expressed interest in the band, I might have given her some of mine; you would be mistaken. Instead, I ordered for her the most popular album in the first decade of the 21st Century, Beatles 1. I figured she ought to have something of her own, and if she lost it, it wouldn’t bug me as much. In fact, she has misplaced the CD case, but not the disc.

I never owned #1 myself; I have all the albums. Some purists think it’s a terrible intro to the band, merely picking the songs that made it to #1 on the US and/or UK charts. But it includes many songs she was previously familiar with.

Love Me Do she knew vaguely before. It is a simple song and she now knows all the words.
A Hard Day’s Night she knows so well, she now intentionally muffs the lyrics, switching ‘dog’ and ‘log’ in the first two lines as she’s singing along.
Help is probably her favorite song, as she knows all the lyrics and asks me to sing with her, even when the recording isn’t playing.
Unbidden, she will sing Eight Days A Week, Penny Lane, and more interestingly, parts of Come Together.
She is particularly fond of the “Life is very short” bridge of We Can Work It Out.
Yesterday she knows well. At some level, I think she gravitates mostly to the more melancholy songs.
Yellow Submarine allows her to imitate the nautical noises. She loves the ‘sea of GREEN’, as well she should.
Eleanor Rigby she calls ‘Lonely People’; I attempt to correct her, and she replies, “Whatever.” She knows most of the lyrics to this song.
She is specifically fascinated by the reprise of She Loves You within All You Need Is Love.
I’m afraid she already knew Hello Goodbye from one of those Glee soundtracks her mother owns.
When she hears Hey Jude, she’ll substitute, “Hey, Jules” ever since I explained that the song was written by Paul McCartney to John Lennon’s elder son Julian, after John’s breakup with John’s wife and Julian’s mom, Cynthia.

The only songs not on the album that she had previously expressed interest in are Tell Me Why and, again to my surprise, I Am the Walrus.

So yes, I’m indoctrinating my daughter with music from my favorite band.


No, the Help does not solve the issues of race in America; it was not designed to do so.

The Wife and I went to see the movie The Help a couple of Saturdays ago in a very crowded room at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany. We had been looking forward to seeing it since we caught the trailer. Our anticipation was further enhanced by happening to catch Bryce Dallas Howard, who plays the primary “villain”, for lack of a better term, on CTV while we were in Toronto a couple of weeks back, describing her role as “delicious.”

And I was going to write my impressions right away, but I got distracted by issues in the press surrounding the movie and the book upon which it was based. They are that essentially it’s a white woman who wrote about the black experience, with the film being the latest example of Hollywood’s historically lunkheaded, white-guilt appeasement genre.

Well, I’ve not read the book. As for the issues of the movie, I don’t think they were making a documentary, so if the moviemakers didn’t get it 100% correctly, that’s OK; most Hollywood films don’t. Beyond that, though, there were some well-meaning white people in America in 1962, even in the South, even in Jackson, Mississippi, so making the one of the white leads as heroic (in vast contrast to most whites in the film) doesn’t make it some sort of sellout. No, it does not solve the issues of race in America; it was not designed to do so.

Anyway, let me tell you how I immediately felt after seeing the film: the first 1/5 was interesting but not particularly engaging. The last 80%, though, I either laughed or gasped or cried. I enjoyed it on that level; actually, I liked it quite a bit. The acting was universally fine, but especially Viola Davis, who just might get an Oscar nod.

From Rotten Tomatoes: The Help stars Emma Stone as Skeeter, Viola Davis as Aibileen, and Octavia Spencer as Minny-three very different, extraordinary women in Mississippi during the 1960s, who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk. From their improbable alliance, a remarkable sisterhood emerges, instilling all of them with the courage to transcend the lines that define them, and the realization that sometimes those lines are made to be crossed-even if it means bringing everyone in town face-to-face with the changing times. — (C) DreamWorks

This was a film about people who were invisible, black maids who often raised white children, eventually finding a voice through a crazy notion of college-grad-returns-home Skeeter, who is faced additionally with the mystery of why her family’s maid (played by the terrific Cicely Tyson) had suddenly left. At 145 minutes, it IS too long, but I didn’t find it histrionic as some did. Perhaps this is true, though: “It is a formulaic Hollywood feel-bad and then feel-good work, one in which beautifully bathed-in-sunlight characters say Very Important Things while the music swells.” As I said, I liked it anyway, especially with smaller roles by Alison Janney, Jessica Chastain, and others.
Yet another movie controversy: Is gaining 15 pounds really “torture”? Actresses pack it on and lose it again for “The Help” — what’s the big deal?

Stormy Weather

There was an earthquake 28 km (17 miles) W of Albany yesterday morning.

Here’s the current expected trajectory for Hurricane Irene. If all goes as this map suggests, the Category 3 hurricane will be hitting around Fayetteville, NC Sunday at 2 a.m., about 135 miles (217 km) from Charlotte, NC, where one sister and niece live, and where my wife and daughter will be visiting, starting on Thursday.

Meanwhile, there was that 5.8 earthquake yesterday at about 2 pm. EDT near Louisa, Virginia, less than 100 miles from Washington, DC. And I sure felt it in my office in Albany, NY. I was sitting at my desk and I thought I was having leg tremors, or something terribly physiologically wrong with me until I saw a cubicle neighbor’s picture swaying.

Last week, a 3.6 earthquake in Maryland hit, which was the largest recorded within 50 kilometers (31 miles) of Washington since a database was created in 1974.

Oddly, there was also an earthquake 28 km (17 miles) W of Albany yesterday morning. It was a 2.2, and I’m not sure that I felt that one.
I Feel The Earth Move-Carole King
Like A Hurricane-Neil Young
Good Night, Irene-Leadbelly


F is for Fire

The other fire songs here, which I also own, are about passion, romantic passion.

Here’s another look at a word that has, either alone or in combination with other words, has several meanings.

The most common meaning of fire, of course, is that chemical change that creates heat and light, and usually smoke, which can evolve into a “destructive conflagration”. It was one of four substances thought in ancient and medieval cosmology to constitute the universe, along with earth, air, and water; five, if you count spirit.

But fire also means:

*enthusiasm, passion e.g., “all fired up”
and in one is at work and NOT “fired up” one could be subject to dismissal from employment, “getting fired”

a severe test; a trial or torment, “under fire”
the discharge of firearms or the like, “ready, aim, fire!”
to bake in a kiln, such as with pottery
to throw with force and speed; “fire a ball at a batter”
to ask questions, “fire away”
exposed to attack, “under fire”
*a burning sensation sometimes produced by drinking strong alcoholic liquor, “firewater”
and a whole lot more

Word History: Primitive Indo-European had pairs of words for some very common things, such as water or fire. Typically, one word in the pair was active, animate, and personified; the other, impersonal and neuter in grammatical gender. In the case of the pair of words for “fire,” English has descendants of both, one inherited directly from Germanic, the other borrowed from Latin.

As is often the case, I have found some songs that address the issue.

First, by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, a reference to hellfire. This song actually went to #2 in 1968 in the US, and somewhere I have it on some LP.

But the other fire songs here, which I also own, are about passion, romantic passion.

The Ohio Players, a #1 song from the winter of 1974-75.

Bruce Springsteen. His live 1978 version went to #46 in 1987. (I don’t know the vintage of this video.) And here’s a studio version. This Boss song was a big hit for the Pointer Sisters, #2 in the winter of 1978-79.

ABC Wednesday, Round 9

Things you didn’t know you didn’t know


I was catching up with my blog reading when I discovered that LisaF over at Peripheral Per­cep­tions had called me out in one of her posts with this chal­lenge. So I’m giving it a try.

If you could go back in time and relive one moment, what would it be?
I suppose winning my JEOPARDY! game. I would have breathed, instead of hyperventilating.

If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be? Just one?

There are so many. I suppose there was a friend with an illness, and I didn’t realize how significant it was, and I should have. If I had, I would have gone there to visit.

What movie/TV char­acter do you most resemble in per­son­ality?
I have no idea. At some level, I suppose it’s one of those characters on that show the Big Bang Theory – which I don’t watch because I just can’t stand the laugh track – who knows a few things but is socially inept. I’m not as smart as those guys, but not as much of a dweeb either. Or Drew Carey on the Drew Carey Show.

If you could push one person off a cliff and get away with it, who would it be?
I hon­estly don’t think I could bring myself to push anyone off a cliff unless someone was trying to push me off a cliff and it was self-defense. Or I was defending someone else. Yeah, I might be able to do that.

Name one habit you want to change in your­self.
Going to that negative place. there might be five great things and one bad thing, and guess which one gets too much of my attention?

Describe your­self in one word.

Describe the person who named you in this meme in one word.

Why do you blog? (In one sen­tence)
Can it be a really LONG sentence?
I blog because I have found it useful, even necessary to write what I’m thinking and feeling, lest I interrupt my mental processing with ‘noise’; yet I’ve found it more beneficial through the interaction that has evolved with other, usually distant, people, not occasionally more meaningfully than those with people I see on a daily basis.

Now I’m sup­pose to pass this on and share the brain-racking insightful fun. So, I decided on YOU. You know who you are; if you think it’s you, it probably is. If you don’t, it’s probably you, too.

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