O Canada Day music

Take Off

It’s Canada Day, and so I need some Canada Day music. And there’s a LOT of it. I came across this list of the Best Canadian Musicians: 25 Icons From The Great White North.

I’m eliminating anyone whose music I don’t own, which is not a knock on the artists. I don’t have any albums by Shawn Mendes, Drake,  Ron Sexsmith, Blue Rodeo, Justin Bieber, Feist, Bryan Adams, Rush, or Rufus Wainwright (though I have music by each of his parents). And I was not familiar with Broken Social Scene, Joel Plaskett, or Al Tuck.

I do have Bob & Doug McKenzie with Geddy Lee from Rush doing Take Off.

That leaves:

Diana Krall. My wife and I have seen her live, though not simultaneously. Maybe a quarter century ago, I caught her open for Tony Bennett at Tanglewood. We have about a dozen and a half of her albums.  She is one of my wife’s K girls, along with Alison Krauss. Popsicle Toes

Daniel Lanois. I LOVE his album Acadie. Of course, I have several albums he’s produced for others, including U2, Peter Gabriel, Robbie Robertson, the Neville Brothers, Emmylou Harris, and Bob Dylan. The Maker

Gordon Lightfoot. I have a couple of his LPs. But this is the first song of his I ever heard. If You Could Read My Mind

Cowboy Junkies.  I’ve opted for the last song on The Trinity Session. Walkin’ After Midnight

Arcade Fire. I have two of their CDs, which I’ve been playing every July 1 since. No Cars Go

The Guess Who. I have three of their LPs, plus the greatest hits on CD.  The last song on the original GH. Hang On To Your Life with that ending from Psalm 22

Kathryn Dawn

k.d. lang. I have a LOT of her music, from her country roots to her more MOR material. She is one of the reasons I don’t organize my music by genre. Season Of Hollow Soul 

The Tragically Hip. Road Apples is an album I play on July 1. Twist My Arm

Bruce Cockburn. I bought several used albums from my roomie Mark in the 1980s.  I’ve already written about The Trouble With Normal. Lovers In A Dangerous Time

The Band. I loved the second (brown) album back in high school and then got all of their studio albums. King Harvest (Has Surely Come)

Joni Mitchell. I’ve seen Joni twice, in 1974 in Saratoga Springs, NY, and in 1981 in Philadelphia. I bought her early albums on CD in 2022. People’s Parties/The Same Situation

Leonard Cohen. I had one LP years ago. I have songs of his covered by Judy Collins, Jennifer Warnes, and others, but in the past thirty years, I’ve come to appreciate him as a teller of his own tales. If you get a chance, see the 2022 movie about him. Almost Like The Blues

Neil Young. I have scads of Neil Young, from Buffalo Springfield to CSNY to at least 20 solo albums; here is the list from 2010, and I’ve gotten some since then. Mr. Soul from Trans, because why not?

Fellow Pisces, friend Mark

comic books

There are very few people for whom I can tell you the date we met. Friend Mark is one of them.

On Sunday, September 12, 1971, my parents dropped me off at the State University College at New Paltz (NY). There was a meal in the basement of Bliss Hall, and I met Mark while standing in line.

We discovered we were both staying at Scudder Hall, he in 110, me in B2. We hung out in each other’s room a lot that year. He would perch on his desk like Snoopy sometimes did on his doghouse, looking like a vulture.

The next night at a mixer, he introduced me to his high school friend, the Okie, who I would marry.

I discovered he collected comic books. For a time, I thought this was strange, but eventually, I started buying my own at the convenience store in nearby Highland. Eventually, we frequented the Crystal Cave, an actual comic book store in downtown New Paltz, where we met future FantaCo dudes Raoul Vezina and Tom Skulan.

In the spring and fall of 1972, he and I went to several antiwar demonstrations in New Paltz, Poughkeepsie, Kingston, and New York City. He was part of the auto brigade that tried to block the New York State Thruway; I was in his car. He was present when I got arrested in May.

At least once, he tried to teach me to drive on that same Thruway stretch between New Paltz and Kingston, but he said it was a terrifying experience.


He and his then-girlfriend MK52 were in the car on August 22, 1974, when the Okie, by then my wife,  chastised me for the 110 miles (177 km) from New Paltz to the  Saratoga Performing Arts Center when we were going to see Joni Mitchell.

I was the best man at his October 1976 marriage to MK52. When I was adrift in late 1977, I ended up staying at their apartment in Schenectady, NY, from December 1977 to March 1978.

In the early 1980s, Mark worked part-time as a bartender. This helped him to appreciate sports and dance music far more than he did when I first met him.

He, along with his cousin Lawrence, started a Mid-Winter tradition almost every February for decades, usually at Mark’s or his friend Barry’s house. The photo is from an event a few years ago. I’ve been to at least two dozen of them over the years.

Mark was a groomsman in my final marriage in May 1999, despite hating wearing a tux. For the record, he looked nice.

In the buildup to the Iraq war, there were massive antiwar demonstrations in over 600 cities all over the world on February 15, 2003. I came down on a bus from Albany to New York City, where between 100,000 and 500,000 people showed up. Somehow, I ran into Mark and his child, who had come down from the Mid-Hudson.

Friend Mark and I see each other regularly; generally, he drives up to Albany from the Mid-Hudson. We talk and solve the problems of the world in a few hours.

There’s undoubtedly other stuff I’ve either forgotten or do not wish to incriminate one or both of us.

Julyish rambling: in search of meaning

That’s Life

HTETEOTW Chapter 3: Energy, Complexity, and Civilization

Inflation: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Pope apologizes for ‘catastrophic’ school policy in Canada

As Monkeypox Spreads, US Vaccine Access Is Pitifully Inadequate

How Much Household Income Is Required To Be Considered ‘Rich’ In These US Cities

Journalists Sense Turmoil in Their Industry Amid Continued Passion for Their Work

Five journalists covering the Internet in search of meaning, not viral trends

When Mixology Meets Medicine

LIVE: Around the World Cams / Beautiful Earth Webcam

The story we tell ourselves about today’s Stars and Stripes is a lie. The truth is much stranger.

John Green: Has this artist ever seen a baby?

Now I Know:  The Herd Mentality That’s Actually Rather Democratic, and  Maybe Monday Should Still Be the Weekend and The World Record That Will Definitely Stick and Hungry Hungry Hero Dog?

Defending democracy

Trump doesn’t have a side of the 1-6 story; there is no ambiguity 

The Jan. 6 Hearings Utterly Embarrassed Trump and All Involved. The final January 6 hearing of the summer spotlighted Trump and allies like Kevin McCarthy and fist-pumper to fleeing coward Josh Hawley. It should serve as a reminder of their humiliating but dangerous thirst for power.

Mark Leibovich’s new book, Thank You For Your Servitude, pillories a party whose leaders remain (at least publicly) in the 45th president’s thrall. e.g.,  Elise Stefanik Attacks NYS Department of Education

The Secret Service Has Managed to Locate Only One Coup-Related Text Message

If Trump Wins in 2024, Christian Nationalism – which MTG has suggested for the GOP – Could Reign Supreme in Government. Also,
Authoritarianism 101: Trump Plot to Purge Civil Servants If Reelected Draws Alarm – “Do not underestimate the destruction this will cause”

Roberts’s Attempt to Keep “Roe” Intact Fell Apart After Alito’s Draft Leaked 

Matt Birk (R-MN) Warns Abortion Leads to Women Having Careers and Claims Pro-choice Advocates Are Always Playing “the Rape Card” 

“Pro-Life” Idaho Republicans Declare Women Should Be Left to Die to Save  Fetuses

Primala Jayapal Shares Her Own Abortion Story — and Why Abortion Rights Are Vital

Why did Republicans vote against legal condom use?



That’s Entertainment

Comic-Con 2022 Trailers

Marvel’s Movie Math: Comic Creators Claim It’s “Bait and Switch” On Payments 

Kennedy Center Honors Will Fete George Clooney, Gladys Knight, and U2

 Whatever happened to Sandy Duncan?

Discover the late Peg Lynch, a woman who, in the early days of television, wrote 11,000 scripts and starred in her own TV network hit sitcom for six years

Emma Allen, the New Yorker cartoon editor, makes history as the youngest and first woman in the role

Permanent JEOPARDY hosts and second chance contestants

How I Became the Fake Tom Cruise

There was a CBS-TV series called That’s Life (2000-2002)  about “Lydia DeLucca, a 30-something, a blue-collar underdog who turns her life upside down when she ditches the guy she’s about to marry and goes back to college. Now, Lydia must juggle her classes, work, family, and friends, all the while trying to make ends meet.” I watched it because of Ellen Burstyn and Paul Sorvino, who played Lydia’s parents. Sorvino died at the age of 83.

Burt Metcalfe, Producer on Every Season of ‘MAS*H,’ Dies at 87

Mary Alice, Actress in ‘A Different World, I’ll Fly Away, Sparkle, and much more, dies at 85

Alan Grant, Legendary Batman, Lobo, Judge Dredd Writer, Has Died

Actor David Warner has died

Aaron Latham, Screenwriter, Journalist Dies at 78. Husband of CBS News’s Lesley Stahl

Taurean Blacque, Det. Neal Washington on Hill Street Blues, Dies at 82


There’s a guy named Maxwell Frost (D-FL) running for Congress. Every time I see his name, I think of this song by Mann and Weil

Coverville 1407: Cover Stories for Imagine Dragons and Joan Osborne and a Fast Times Tribute and Coverville 1408: The Don Henley Cover Story

Jan A.P. Kaczmarek’s score to Finding Neverland

Audra McDonald sings Climb Ev’ry Mountain from the 2013 televised version of The Sound of Music

Playing for Change: King Clave featuring Mickey Hart

All That Jazz – Bob Fosse Tribute, with scenes from Chicago, Cabaret, and Sweet Charity

Celluloid Heroes – Blackmore’s Night

We Both Reached For The Gun from the show Chicago in Korean

The Music Man with a partially deaf cast

Joni Mitchell Surprises Fans With Her First Full Concert In Nearly 20 Years

“I would eventually know everything”

Joni Mitchell and Joe Rogan

World Almanac 2016Once upon a time, as I’m sure I’ve told you, I thought that, if I kept learning, I would eventually know everything I wanted to know. I read the local newspaper and watched the local and national news, first Huntley/Brinkley on NBC, then Cronkite on CBS.

Mostly, I read reference books. A lot. The Encyclopedia Americana, which my parents bought and probably couldn’t afford, I devoured over maybe three years. There was also an annual, updating the information.

Also, from about when I was nine, and for more than a half-century, I would receive the World Almanac for Christmas, and I would read it. Early on, it was cover to cover, but even after I’d largely mastered the tallest mountains, longest rivers, and whatnot, I would read the Year In Review material of the most important stories. It was largely November to October, actually, for its publishing deadline, but it would always capture the Presidential and Congressional elections.

Of course, information exploded. Three TV networks became 373. They keep discovering more moons in the solar system, and more elements for the Periodic Table. Of course, the Internet. The World Almanac used to have a list of Celebrities and I knew who most of them were. If there’s such a list now, I have no idea how they would limit it.

Joe and Joni

All of this to say that, until a couple of months ago, I had no idea who Joe Rogan was. My daughter tells me that she has been listening to lots of podcasts to understand different points of view. This is like when I would read William F. Buckley or watch George Will on TV. So SHE knew who Joe Rogan was and, in fact, says she recommended him to me – this is possible. But she says I said, and this sounds accurate, that I didn’t have time for more podcasts.

NOW I know who he is. Recently, my daughter asked me if I knew who Joni Mitchell is. Oh dear, I have failed this child. I told her that I’d seen her twice in person and bought four of her CDs in 2021. Obviously, she brought her up over Neil Young (who she also doesn’t know) wanting to be removed from Spotify because of the info about vaccines on Rogan’s platform, and Joni following suit.


One of the interesting things I learned about Amy Schneider, 40-time JEOPARDY champion, is that she has a younger partner, which is how she knows more current popular culture references.

I’m fascinated how she missed her last Final. COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD: The only nation in the world whose name in English ends in an H, it’s also one of the 10 most populous. One of my friends deduced, “I thought about what might precede ‘h’ and could only think of ‘s’. From there, my brain ambled over to Asia and found Bangladesh.”

My process was more mundane. I mentally traveled around the globe for the most populous countries, besides the US (#3). Mexico (#10), Brazil (#6), Nigeria (#7), Indonesia (#4), Japan (actually #11 because of a declining population), China (#1), India (#2). Oh, what’s near India? Pakistan (#5). And Bangladesh (#8). (I forgot Russia, #9.)

I have to conclude that Amy did NOT read the World Almanac every year. But she learned a LOT of other info, mostly of recent vintage, that my brain just doesn’t absorb.

Kennedy Center Honors 2021

Justino, Berry, Lorne, Bette, Joni Dec 22

Kennedy Center Honors 2021The Kennedy Center Honors 2021 are back in December! “The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is proud to celebrate the 44th Honorees for lifetime artistic achievements: operatic bass-baritone Justino Díaz, Motown founder, songwriter, producer, and director Berry Gordy, Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, legendary stage and screen icon Bette Midler, and singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell.”

The program was recorded on Sunday, December 5. It will air on CBS-TV on Wednesday, December 22 at 9 pm ET.

There is occasionally one person on the list with whom I am not familiar. Can you guess which one? Justino Diaz originated the role of Francesco in the September 10, 1971 world premiere of Ginastera’s Beatrix Cenci, performed for the… now Washington National Opera), which inaugurated the Kennedy Center Opera House.

Don’t forget the Motor City

Whereas Berry Gordy I’m VERY familiar with. Not only did he establish Motown, but he is a songwriter and producer. His Songwriters Hall of Fame resume identifies just some of the songs he created or co-wrote. These include All I Could Do Was Cry -Etta James; and Lonely Teardrops plus others for Jackie Wilson even before he started the label.

Also, Shop Around – Miracles; A Do You Love Me – the Contours; Try It Baby – Marvin Gaye; You’ve Made Me So Very Happy – Brenda Holloway; I’m Livin’ in Shame – Diana Ross and the Supremes. As part of The Corporation, he co-wrote a string of hits for the Jackson 5, such as I Want You Back, ABC, The Love You Save, and I’ll Be There. Listen to a few.

In 1998, I made a pilgrimage to Detroit. 2648 W Grand Blvd was the home of Hitsville, USA, and is now the home of the Motown Museum, where the Motown Sound was recorded from the late 1950s until 1972 when the label moved to Los Angeles. The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Martha and the Vandellas, the Four Tops, and most of the aforementioned artists recorded there.

In the 1970s, Gordy was involved with movies, such as Mahogany and Lady Sings the Blues, starring Diana Ross, who was nominated for an Oscar.

Live From New York

I watched Saturday Night Live, almost every episode from its beginning until 1999. Show creator Lorne Michaels was at the helm from 1975-1980, and from 1985 onward. These days I tend to catch clips from the show on YouTube rather than watch the whole thing. But it is amazing that over 45 years after it was created, it still mines relevant material.

Some of his other credits sometimes involve SNL alums. TV executive producer: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, 30 Rock, Portlandia. Movies: Wayne’s World, Tommy Boy, Mean Girls, and MacGruber. Broadway: he produced and directed Gilda Radner – Live From New York. He also produced several TV specials.

“Michaels’ 93 Emmy® nominations are the most ever for an individual. He received the 2004 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.”


Bette Midler is an Oscar away from an EGOT. She has three Emmy Awards®, including for her performance on the penultimate episode of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, which I watched, plus six other nominations. Her four Grammy Grammy Awards® include Best New Artist (1973). She was considered 11 other times, including for ALBUM OF THE YEAR: The Divine Miss M, which I just played this month, and the BEST POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE, FEMALE: the single from that album, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.

One of her two Tony awards was for Hello, Dolly! (2017). But the other was a Special Award in 1974, “for adding lustre to the Broadway season” with her dozen and a half performances of a one-woman show. Twice she was nominated for an Academy Award®: For the Boys (1991) and The Rose (1979), neither of which I saw. But I did catch Ruthless People and The First Wives; Club. And yes, I saw Beaches.


In 2021, I purchased a box set of the first four Joni Mitchell albums. I had never owned the first album, Song To A Seagull; so THAT’S where Judy Collins found Michael From Mountains. Nor the second, Clouds. The third, Ladies of the Canyon I have on vinyl; I wrote about getting castmates to listen to it. The fourth is Blue, the Top Five on many people’s lists, which I own. Even Joni admitted, “There’s hardly a dishonest note in the vocals.”

I have, in some form, For The Roses, Court and Spark (rebound album), Miles of Aisles (the pictured venue reminds me of the first time I saw her perform), The Hissing Of Summer Lawns (which I had coveted)… Actually, I own every non-compilation that is listed here through Turbulent Indigo.

Check out Joni discussing her health issues. “I’m hobbling along but I’m doing all right.” Also, Rick Beato’s What Makes This Song Great? Episode 91: Joni Mitchell’s Amelia and My Dinner With Joni Mitchell: 3 hours with an Icon.

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