January rambling #1: Tower of Terror

50 Years Ago, the Wah-Wah Pedal Was Born

2016: The Movie

First BLOTUS Press Conference, Annotated

‘Gaslighting’ all of us

FLATUS Dossier Spotlights Russian History of ‘Kompromat’ – Diplomats, politicians and bureaucrats have been embarrassed by leaks of compromising material

The body language of FLATUS, and the 20 best nicknames; are you sorry yet?

FLATUS plan to keep his business is national embarrassment

How Populism Goes Bad

Gun silencers are hard to buy. Donald Trump Jr. and silencer makers want to change that

Regarding Simon & Schuster, Milo Y., and Booksmith

Nazis Celebrate As Ann Coulter Cites White Supremacist Code

The US has been hacking elections for more than a century

Transcript of Face the Nation book panel with Isabel Wilkerson (“The Warmth of Other Suns”; JD Vance (“Hillbilly Elegy”); actor Diane Guerrero (“In the Country We Love”); Amani Al- Khatahthbeh (“Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age”

Full Text Of Obama’s Farewell Address, or you can watch it

President Obama Awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Vice President Biden

ObamaWhiteHouse.gov is the future home of President Obama’s WhiteHouse.gov. This site will be maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration and will serve as an historical archive of Obama Administration content.

Decency Is Not a Dirty Word

This way to the egress

Our brain does not process information, retrieve knowledge or store memories. In short: your brain is not a computer

We don’t need Uber

The Prank of the Face: Unmasking the “Droeshout” Portrait of William Shakespeare

Actors seek posthumous protections after big-screen resurrections

RIP William Christopher; I watched him as Father Mulcahy for 11 seasons on MASH

Lord Snowdon dies aged 86; Anthony Armstrong-Jones was the first “famous” person who I knew shared my birthday of March 7

The Mysterious Virus That Could Cause Obesity


Shelterforce takes an in-depth look at the summer 2016 Sheridan Hollow mosaic project in which 3,000 City School District of Albany art students contributed their talents to help transform a city neighborhood.

Announcing a New Folger Fellowship in Honor of Margaret Hannay

The Waxhaws, on the border between the Carolinas

Arthur answers my questions about pop culture and Arthur, plus writes about his mom, who would have been 100

How Not To Write Like An Archdruid

Disney’s Twilight Zone Tower of Terror has taken its final plunge before it gets a Marvel Studio makeover

They surveyed Americans to see how familiar they were with the ten shows that were nominated for Best Comedy and Drama for the Golden Globes

Richard Thompson and the comic strip CUL DE SAC

Jim Cummings provides the voices for many cartoon characters

Now I Know: Selling a Better Way to Shop and Top Billing and The People That Have No Rights and McRefugees and The Lobster War

Obit: Mr. Oliver Larry Rickard, better known as “Paw Paw” the Clown, age 81, of Rome “Survivors include… a brother-in-law, the late Roger Green.”

Music

2016 Coverville Countdown of the best cover versions, Part I and Part II

Kubo and the Two Strings – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Highlights from “Bring It On: The Musical”

To Russia with Love – Matt Monro

If Moby Accepted Trump Inauguration Invitation, This Would Be His Playlist, plus Trump Is on Your Side – Moby and the Homeland Choir

Station to Station – David Bowie

Nat Hentoff, renowned columnist, jazz critic, free speech advocate, died at 91. I used to read him in the Village Voice for about 20 of his 50 years with the paper

Patti Smith Never Wanted to Be Famous (interview)

David Byrne on not being afraid to fail

The Kinks’ Ray Davies receives knighthood in New Year Honours List

50 Years Ago, the Wah-Wah Pedal Was Born in a Hollywood Hills Garage

Vinyl sales in UK reach highest level in last 25 years – with more than 3.2 MILLION LPs sold last year

A Fancy Guitar to Sell, but Hard to Play in Handcuffs

Why did CNN air a documentary about the band Chicago produced by band members?

If I Had a Ballot for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The band Yes was both a commercial AND critical success, so it made no sense to exclude them from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Last year, I specifically complained about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame failing to even nominate Yes, Chicago, Moody Blues, and Todd Rundgren. Then, this year, the former two are on the roster.
yes.fragile
Last year, two of my picks, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, actually got in.

The nominees for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016:

“To be eligible for nomination, an individual artist or band must have released its first single or album at least 25 years prior to the year of nomination. The 2016 nominees had to release their first recording no later than 1990.”

The Cars – worthy
Chic – what I wrote last year when I voted for them, still holds: “its sound still relevant, though if Nile Rodgers got in as a non-performer (songwriter/producer), I could accept that.”
*Chicago – those first two albums were great, and some of their later stuff was decent. They’ve gotten nicked for being too “commercial”, I suspect.
Cheap Trick – probably worthy
Deep Purple – when they got nominated a couple of years back, I admit not knowing them beyond their hits

Janet Jackson – possibly one of the most worthy. Yet, because she’s relatively young, I think she’ll get in eventually, if not this year.
The J.B.’s – James Brown’s backup group, and they should get in in THAT category, not here.
Chaka Khan – for both her music with Rufus and her solo stuff. And we share the same birth month.
Los Lobos – a friend said they are “such a watershed group” long before they “crossed over” to the Anglo market
Steve Miller – definitely worthy

Nine Inch Nails – sure, they’re influential and nominated last year.
N.W.A – also nominated last year, and with the Straight Out of Compton movie, this may well be the year they get in
The Smiths – likewise nominated last year, surely would vote for them down the road
*The Spinners – Motown did NOT know what to do with them, and they didn’t really click until they moved to Atlantic. I LOVE the Spinners. Nominated last year.

*Yes – The problem with the R&R HOF, as Chuck Miller noted, “is that so many deserving ‘rock’ artists were left behind in favor of inducting whoever [Rolling Stone magazine founder] Jann Wenner felt was more deserving.” Some of this had to do with the sense that “commercial is bad,” overcome somewhat by the induction of Hall & Oates last year.
But Yes was both a commercial AND critical success that, unless all of “progressive rock” was being punished, it made no sense to exclude them. Now that long-time bassist Chris Squire has died, it’s well past time for the group’s inclusion. I’d go as far as to suggest his passing affected their nomination, and I hope, their inclusion.

So, in part because of ageism, I’m going with Chicago, Chaka Khan, Los Lobos, The Spinners, and Yes. Especially YES. If I had a sixth vote, it’d probably be Steve Miller.

Which five artists would YOU vote for?
***
Harry Nilsson has been eligible almost as long as the Hall has been open, but he’s never even been nominated.

 

Guilty pleasure music QUESTION

Ah — Beach Boys harmony.


Some people, rightly, do not believe in the notion of “guilty pleasure” regarding one’s taste in movies, TV, music and the like. I use the phrase more as it’s understood as something the cool kids don’t watch/listen to.

Links included.

Could It Be Magic – Barry Manilow. First it was the piano intro (and outro) that was a direct, and apparently unconscious, steal of Chopin’s Prelude No. 20 in C Minor. But eventually I got sucked into the whole strings, especally as the strings build at about the three-minute mark.

I Haven’t Got Time For The Pain – Carly Simon. But especially the strings at the end. BTW, Lesley Gore – yes, THAT Lesley Gore – does her own version, pretty good, but without that great ending.

Wishing You Were Here – Chicago. It’s not the whole song; I find Peter Cetera’s vocals on the bridge occasionally grating. But it is that lovely Beach Boys harmony from Al Jardine, Carl Wilson, and Dennis Wilson that has always moved me.

Rosanna-Toto. You that part, “Not quite a year…”? Well, I love that bit. More than that, I love singing along in harmony vocal. If I think about it, there are a number of songs I enjoy specifically on that basis.

ABC-Jackson 5 When they first came out, they were considered “bubblegum soul”, and no song epitomized that more than this abecedarian tune. Thing is, I could always sing all the parts that Tito and especially Jermaine (second lead on most tunes) performed, so I always had a soft spot for the early J5,.

What are YOUR musical guilty pleasures?