Techno-links

I get an e-mail weekly from e-week magazine. Sometimes it’s a lot of technobabble for this poor Luddite, but the batch today caught my attention, and might be helpful or interesting to you:

Xbox 360 Crashes, Defects Reported

Xbox 360 Review

Ten to Avoid—the Worst Products of 2005

Firefox 1.5 REVIEW

Free Show Cuts HDTV Confusion

TiVo Handheld Device Software Draws Ire at TV Network

Supreme Court to Hear eBay Patent Appeal

Malicious Keyloggers Run Rampant on Net

Cyber-crime Yields More Cash than Drugs

REVIEW: Royal Albert Hall: London 2-3-5-6 2005-Cream


Pretty much from the beginning, I was a fan of the group Cream. From junior high, when my good friend chastized our history teacher for referring to the group first as Fresh Cream (the title of the first album), then The Cream. “No, it’s Cream, just Cream!” Well not “just” Cream, but a remarkable powerful sound coming from just three players.
The group really took off with the second album, Disraeli Gears, which featured “Sunshine of Your Love”, subject of the trivia question below. Unfortunately, the group was together for only 4 albums (all of which I owned and own) and about three years. (I’m not counting the posthumous stuff.) Much of that small body of work was live, half of the double album Wheels of Fire and 3 of the 6 songs on Goodbye Cream.

I felt excitement and not a little trepidation when I heard about new Cream music. Royal Albert Hall turned out to be both. I know “I’m So Glad”, the 9-minute anthem from Goodbye Cream, practically note-for-note. The RAH version, while good, simply would not compare, would it? No, and the next track, the oft-recorded “Spoonful” didn’t meet my impossible standards either. But as I listened on, I found the album turned out to be rather enjoyable. And on subsequent listens, even those tracks I knew so well in different incarnations took on a pleasurable tone for me. In fact, the only thing I could have done without is the 10-minute drum-laden “Toad”, but I wasn’t into extended drum solos in 1968, either.

So, if you’re very much versed in the Cream sound as I am, you’ll find the package to be good, but for those who didn’t grow up with the music, and I’ve talked to some of my younger office colleagues, they are blown away by the collection.

I’m guessing the American reviewer is younger than the Canadian one.

Well, that was what I thought of the CD. For the DVD, I had a totally different feeling: I loved it. Maybe it’s the knowing nods the bandmates give each other, but this concert is definitely better seen and heard than just heard. I can only compare it, strangely, with the 1960 Presidential debate. People hearing the debate on radio thought Nixon had won the debate, but TV viewers thought it was Kennedy who was victorious.

We’re talking largely about the very same music, though the DVD has an extra song and revealing interviews that show the origin of the reunion. My advice: see it first, THEN listen.

You may also be interested in the Cream media player, where you can see some of the Cream videos here.
***
Now for the rest of the story. I get this e-mail that reads:

Hi,

I just found your blog: http://rogerowengreen.blogspot.com/2005/09/my-darth-tater-contest-selection.html and I think you may be of some help to me. I’m reaching out to you on behalf of M80 & Rhino regarding Cream London Royal Albert Hall CD and DVD. Since you are a fan of The Yardbirds, I thought that you might be interested in posting the press release and/or an entry on your blog? You seem like a reputable influencer, and I love your blog, so I think you’d be a big help to us

Please let me know if you’re interested!

Thanks!

I’m thinking it might just be spam, but then I reread it. He found a post I wrote about a CD I sent to Lefty. An innovative way to get the word out.

“A reputable influencer?” Yikes!
So, I wrote back, was sent the first review copies I’ve received since I got some comics in the 1980s.

Got stuff for me to review? I’ll promise to review it. (Won’t promise to like it, though.)
***
Now, for a trivia question: The guitar break in “Sunshine of Your Love” is swiped from what song which was a hit many times since 1949, and reached #1 in 1961? (Block the BLANK space for the answer.)

Blue Moon, recorded by (according to Whitburn):
Mel Torme (#20, 1949)
Billy Eckstine (#21, 1949)
Elvis Presley (#55, 1956)
The Marcels (#1, 1961)
Herb Lance (#50, 1961)
The Ventures (#54, 1961)

Lost

There were two men of note who died last week, very different. The thing they had in common in my mind is that I watched them on television a lot.

Noriyuki “Pat” Morita played Arnold on Happy Days. Most of the Asians I saw on TV were servants. Sammee Tong playing “helpful, but often inscrutable Oriental houseboy” Peter Tong to John Forythe’s Bachelor Father (1957-1962). Victor Sen Yeng played the often befudled cook Hop Sing on Bonanza (1959-1973). Miyoshi Umeki played Mrs. Livingston, Tom’s (Bill Bixby) “dependable…. but sometimes confused housekeeper” on The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (1969-1972). (Quotes from the Brooks and Marsh “Directory to…TV Shows”.)
I watched some Happy Days reunion show on Nick at Nite recently, and one of the clips was of “Arnold” saying something like “Does this face look like an Arnold?” Well, no, but it was an Asian face that stood up for himself, to Richie and his pals, even the Fonz, at least that year (1975-1976) when he was first on, and I was watching. He left the show to star in the short-lived “Mr. T. and Tina,” then returned in 1982 to Happy Days at a point I had stopped watching.
Later, he would become the first Asian-American nominated for an Academy Award for The Karate Kid, losing to Dr. Haing S. Ngor for The Killing Fields.

The other person was Hugh Sidey, who covered nine Presidents for Time magazine, and I’m sure I’ve read his words often. But I knew him best for being a panelist on a news program called Agronsky and Company. Not only must I have watched it a lot, it must have been well-known that I watched it a lot, for Raoul Vezina made me a birthday card referencing the fact, sometimes in the early 1980s. Martin Agronsky was the moderator, Carl Rowan was the guy who was left of center, James Kilpatrick represented the right of center, and Hugh Sidey was generally the centralist. (There were others over the years.) They seldom talked over each other, talking louder to make their point. It was all rather civilized. They, particularly Sidey, were gentlemen, in the traditional sense. It was though other opinions actually MATTERED. A period largely lost in televised discourse.

And in other media news, expect an interesting wiriters’ strike.

Finally, I REALLY want to know: who ARE the 29% of Americans who still think Dick Cheney is honest and ethical?

A Plan B Thanksgiving

The Plan A Thanksgiving involved getting up early on Thanksgiving morning, packing up the car to ride five hours to central Pennsylvania. That’s five hours of driving time. With a not-yet-two year old, one should calculate at least two stops.

Lydia would get to see her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins with whom she’d get to play. Perhaps on Friday someone would watch Lydia so that Carol and I could go to the movies. It certainly would involve board games such as Scrabble.

On Saturday, we would be driving back the five hours plus back to Albany.

But Lydia was under the weather, and so was I (although I didn’t want to press this point, since it was Carol’s family that she’d want to see). But those factors plus a dodgy forecast of snow, not so much for where we are as much as where we were going, killed the deal.

The Plan B Thanksgiving: Roger goes to the store to buy a 10-12 pound fresh turkey on Thursday morning. There are NO 10-12 pound turkeys; there are only 15-16 pound turkeys at $1.69 a pound and a 20 lb. turkey at 89 cents a pound. (If you do the math, the bigger bird is cheaper.) Plus buy cranberry sauce, stuffing (Stove Top, in honor of its inventor, who died recently), and various other accouterments; Carol makes most of the meal, while I watch Lydia. I manage to see the entire first half of the Dallas/Denver football game while Lydia napped, and saw most of the fourth quarter and the OT after dinner. (Dallas lost! Yay!) I clean up/put away/take out the garbage.

Friday, I manage to catch up on newspaper reading, much of my television viewing. While we trade off watching Lydia.

Saturday: I watched enough recorded TV so that the DVR which was at 98% full two weeks ago, and over 70% even last week, is down to zero by the end of Saturday. Likewise, I read the Thursday through Saturday newspapers on the actual day they came out.

So, all in all, it wasn’t a bad Thanksgiving, not what he had envisioned. Lydia likes pickles and cranberry sauce, but would not eat beans and turkey, which she had previously liked. That was Lydia’s second Thanksgiving.

The Lydster Part 20: Filling my shoes

I remember walking around in my parents’ shoes when I was 4 or 5. (How DO women wear high heels, I’ll never know.) I wasn’t aware that kids started doing “dress up” as young as Lydia is. She’s been regularly wearing the shoes of her mother and me for a couple months now. It’s amazing how well she maneuvers in them.

She also wears my gloves

and other apparel.

She’s understood language for months, but she’s really increased her spoken vocabulary a great deal in the last month. I’m particularly pleased that she likes to say “thank you”; may it always be so.

It’s starting to hit me, just a little, that “how they grow so fast” thing that every parent I’ve ever met has told me, almost always unsolicited.

Happy 20 months, Lydia. Daddy loves you.