Kennedy Center Honors 2016

James Taylor: “I had no concept of where I might be next week, never mind 16 years into the next century.”

martha-argerichAs I’ve noted often in this space, I watch the Kennedy Center Honors every year. It’s like a well-oiled machine, with the event taking place in early December (this year Sunday, December 4), then edited down for broadcast in a two-hour slot on CBS-TV the week between Christmas and New Year’s (this time, Tuesday, December 27. 9-11 p.m. EST).

The host of CBS’ Late Show, Stephen Colbert, will return to emcee the Kennedy Center Honors 2016; this is his third consecutive year. This year’s honorees are Al Pacino, Martha Argerich, Mavis Staples, and James Taylor and the Eagles.  Generally, the President and First Lady sit in the box seats with the honorees, while others sing, dance, or speak in tribute to the honorees.

Martha Argerich – the one person I must admit I did not know about. This Washington Post title is interesting: Martha Argerich is a legend of the classical music world. “But she doesn’t act like one.” She says:

“‘But I don’t understand, because I think I haven’t done much in America.'”

“Not much, that is, apart from appearing with most of the country’s leading orchestras: the Boston Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic… Argerich always plays with other people now; she never enjoyed the loneliness of appearing solo on a concert stage, and around 1981 simply decided not to do it anymore… She strides out on stage like someone in a tremendous hurry and plunges right into the music, often leaping up as soon as she has finished.”

LISTEN to Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 1. Martha Argerich, piano – Charles Dutoit, conductor (1975)

James Taylor – he’s James Taylor. He has helped honor previous winners such as Yo-Yo Ma, last year’s winner Carole King, and, with Mavis Staples, Paul McCartney. Taylor wrote on his page:

“Having grown up in the confines of Chapel Hill, NC in the 1950’s, I found myself, at the age of 18, on my own in Greenwich Village in the mid-60’s. It was a time of great change, many dangers and near complete freedom, purchased at the cost of any sense of a secure future. I had no concept of where I might be next week, never mind 16 years into the next century. So the prospect of attending the Kennedy Center Honors again, but this time as an honoree, is astonishing. I am deeply moved to be included in such august company and hugely grateful to the Kennedy Center Honors for the gift of this great award.”

LISTEN to James Taylor ༺♥༻ Greatest Hits (1976)

Mavis Staples – I wrote about her in 2011 and about the Staple Singers in 2014 (her, her sisters, and her father).

Al Pacino – I have actually seen him in relatively few films.
The Godfather (1972), Serpico (1973), …and justice for all. (1979), Sea of Love (1989), Scent of a Woman (1992) – which I did not much like, The Insider (1999), Danny Collins (2015)

WATCH Top 10 Al Pacino Performances

The Eagles – in anticipation of their award, I wrote about them this past summer

The Kennedy Center Honors 2016 is the 39th annual event.

E is for Eagles

Liking Eagles music is uncool in certain crowds.

Eagles - Walsh, Henley, Frey, Schmit
Walsh, Henley, Frey, Schmit

The Eagles was an American rock band based on Los Angeles who became one of the most successful musical acts of the 1970s. In 1971, Linda Ronstadt her then-manager recruited local musicians Glenn Frey and Don Henley for her band. They, Randy Meisner, and Bernie Leadon played on her eponymous third album, before recording the first Eagles’ album. The songwriting partnership of Frey and Henley really was established with the group’s second LP.

The country-folk-rock band had some hits but wanted a bit of a harder sound. Leadon’s childhood friend Don Felder played on a couple of songs on the third album and then joined the band full time.

But it was the fourth studio album, One of These Nights (1975) that really broke through on the charts, the first of four albums to reach #1. The title track also went to #1, Lyin’ Eyes reached #2 on the charts, and won the band their first Grammy. The final single, Take It to the Limit, went to #4. The song reached number 4 on the charts. The album was nominated for a Grammy award for Album of the Year.

At this point, they released the Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) album that has challenged Michael Jackson’s Thriller as the all-time best-selling album in the United States.

Bernie Leadon left the band, unhappy with the harder edge of the music. He was replaced by Joe Walsh of the James Gang. The next album was the massively successful Hotel California. It contained two #1 singles, New Kid in Town and the mysterious title track. But after an exhausting tour, Randy Meisner left the band, replaced by “the same musician who had succeeded him in Poco, Timothy B. Schmit.”

The 1979 album The Long Run was successful, less so than its predecessor, and the band went “on hiatus” for 14 years until they reunited in 1994, and put out a popular live album, Hell Freezes Over, and a profitable tour. “In 1998, the Eagles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. For the induction ceremony, all seven Eagles members (Frey, Henley, Felder, Walsh, Schmit, Leadon, and Meisner) played together for two songs.”

One last album, Long Road to Eden, came out in 2007, without Don Felder, who had been involved with lawsuits against the band.

The band was “slated to receive Kennedy Center Honors in 2015, but this was deferred to 2016 due to Frey’s medical problems. Then on “January 18, 2016, founding member Glenn Frey died in the Washington Heights section of New York City at the age of 67, leaving Don Henley as the only remaining original member. According to the band’s website, the causes of his death were rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia while recovering from intestinal surgery.” in short order, Henley confirmed the dissolution of the band.

Liking Eagles music is uncool in certain crowds. I appreciate their sound, particularly their tight harmonies.

Some favorite songs – links to all:

10. Take it Easy (Eagles) – written by Frey with his then-neighbor Jackson Browne
9. Already Gone (On the Border)
8. Heartache Tonight (The Long Run) – sounds like a Bob Seger song, in the good sense; written by Henley, Frey, Seger, and J. D. Souther
7. Desperado (Desperado) – particularly hated for its alleged faux profundity; whatever
6. Life in the Fast Lane (Hotel California) – some rockin’ Joe Walsh

5. Tequila Sunrise (Desperado) – one of my drinks of choice in college
4. I Can’t Tell You Why (The Long Run) – I think it’s lovely and sad
3. Take it to the Limit (One of These Nights) – written by Meisner, Henley, and Frey, the only Eagles single to feature Meisner on lead vocals; reminds me of a coffeehouse in my college town that I lived in, and a young woman with long light brown hair, with whom absolutely nothing happened
2. Hotel California (Hotel California) – the Stairway to Heaven of the Eagles’ oeuvre, it shouldn’t be diminished because it was overplayed
1. Wasted Time (Hotel California) – I gravitate towards songs about lost love

ABC Wednesday – Round 19

January rambling #2: JEOPARDY!, and recess

‘I feel like a dime among nickels.’

Abe Vigoda.Spidey

I received one of those recorded scam IRS phone calls this month, threatening to put me in jail. Mine came from the Syracuse, NY area from a known scam phone number.

2015 Was Hottest Year in Recorded History.

No boots on the ground… What does it mean?

Abortion Is as Old as Pregnancy: 4,000 Years of Reproductive Rights History.

No relation: The Green brothers explain January 1 and Oregon “militia”, the latter before the recent arrests.

Fiscal Woes Drowning Clearwater: Iconic Festival May be Scrapped.

I saw this moving piece (90 seconds) on CBS Sunday Morning: The Man and the Dog.

The decline of play in preschoolers — and the rise in sensory issues. Conversely, Recess four times a day is good for learning.

Now I Know: Behold the Power of Cheese and One of These Things Just Isn’t the Same (about twins).

WHATEVER happened to the laptop computer? (1985).

Rejection: A Wilderness Guide for Writers (Evanier) and Jaquandor.

Sharp Little Pencil: Bright Brit (For Alan Rickman).

Frank S. Robinson: Joe Krausman, Monkeyshines, and heightism. Joe writes on Facebook: “Carlos Rommulo, once president of the General Assembly of the UN, was very short. He went to Texas, and when asked how do you feel being short among so many tall men, he said, ‘I feel like a dime among nickels.'”

Watch Bill Nye Weigh In on ‘Star Wars’ vs. ‘Star Trek’ Debate.

Yankees without number (1.9999…).

Dustbury’s Six Degrees of Separation.

Tweets from Gettysburg.

The strange life of Q-tips, the most bizarre thing people buy.

Don’t believe that splashy finding that 10 percent of college graduates think Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court.

A Venezuelan beetle named for SUNY chancellor.

Celebrity anagram illustrations from illustrator Steve Rampton and

RIP, Abe Vigoda

Mark Evanier, and Abe Vigoda’s Dead (Premortem Mix).

The Godfather – Tessio is taken away to be killed.

The graphic above is from here.


3-day winning streak on ‘Jeopardy’. Not only is Amelia Hershberger from Albany, NY, reason enough to root for her, she attended Greenville Central School (as did my wife), she graduated from SUNY Albany (as did both my wife and I, albeit us in grad school), and she was a political science major (as was I).

Final ‘Jeopardy!’ clue stumps all 3 contestants, who all bet everything. The two people tied for first bet rationally; the woman in a distant 3rd could have bet nothing, or $5,999, or anything in between, and won. (Some really uninformed comments here.) BTW, would you have gotten the Final? I did, but I am of a certain age.

This has passed, but ‘Jeopardy!’ hopefuls can try out online features quotes yours truly.


I was looking through my draft posts. From 2008, and the original source is lost to me:

And to that end: IllumiBowl is a night light for your toilet.


Coverville 1109: A Tribute to David Bowie. Plus David Bowie on Extras, and SamuraiFrog has some Bowie links; he’s right re: Kayne.

Renaissance Geek: Music for MLK Day.

Chuck Miller: Shane Howard and Lawrence Welk.

Of course, you can do mashups of classical music.

Muppets: She Loves You.

I linked to this before, as part of the Kennedy Center Honors, but it’s Aretha, FCOL.

HuffPo: A Shade of Jade: Interview With Rebecca Jade. That would be niece #1.

In Defense of the Eagles, and Not Being a Jerk About Recently Deceased Musicians.

Old music is outselling new music for the first time in history.

Google alerts (me)

Shooting Parrots: Sunday round-up and The Art of a Scammer.

Chuck Miller: Where rejection is growth.

Google alerts (not me)

Top teams win as Hucknall Wednesday Pool League heads for a tight finish. “Station B’s winners in their 8-0 romp at home to Chequers were George Roy, David Butler, Jason Smith, Danny Butler, Roger Green and PJ Singh on singles and the pairings of Andrea and Roger Green and Danny Butler and Jason Smith.”

Regional journalist turned TV wrestler dies aged 76. “Tributes have been paid to Roger Green…, who started out at the Portsmouth Evening News before working simultaneously Fleet Street and as a grappler in the ring.”

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