June rambling #1: love and math

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Nation Wishes It Could Just Once Be Reminded Of Preciousness Of Life Without Mass Shooting.

Get Visual: On passing.

Everything Doesn’t Happen For A Reason.

NY Gov. Cuomo signs “unconstitutional, McCarthyite” pro-Israel exec. order punishing BDS boycott movement.

Chuck Miller: The Blackbird: 2006-2016.

John Oliver: Debt Buyers.

Dan Rather on a free press.

Dear Journalists: For the Love of God, Please Stop Calling Your Writing “Content”.

A Progressive Agenda to Cut Poverty and Expand Opportunity.

Meditations of an Anxious Baker.

Christine Baxter: We Are Singing For Our Lives. The sights of her experience at the United Methodist General Conference.

Love and math.

New Yorker: Frog and Toad: an amphibious celebration of same-sex love. “Arnold Lobel… was born in 1933 and raised in Schenectady, New York.”

A Long-Lost Manuscript Contains a Searing Eyewitness Account of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, a topic I wrote about here.

Arctic greening not a good thing; low-income assistance doesn’t make people lazy. And Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) is a schmuck.

Having It All Kinda Sucks. “Only women would sign up for this much crap.”

Jaquandor is dee-you-enn with the first draft of another book.

8 Important TV Shows That Were Lost Or Destroyed.

Bruce Dern, at 80, Reflects on His Career, Working With Clint Eastwood and Alfred Hitchcock.

Deconstructing Comics Podcast: #500 – Stephen Bissette: Comics, Movies, and Creator Credits.

Trouble with Comics #40: Party All the Time.

Bats In The Bedroom Can Spread Rabies Without An Obvious Bite, something I learned firsthand.

Your Ramadan beverage.

Period. Full Stop. Point. Whatever It’s Called, It’s Going Out of Style.

Now I Know: Watching What You Say and Decipher This and The Land Down Under in the Land Down Under and How to Take Turns, International Treaty Edition.

Peter Shaffer Dies at 90; Playwright Won Tonys for ‘Equus’ and ‘Amadeus’. Pronounced SHAFF-er. Amadeus: Peter Shaffer’s Enduring Portrait of Genius (and Mediocrity).

Gordie Howe, hockey legend, R.I.P. at 88. Howe played more than 1,700 games in the NHL and scored more than 800 goals. He was widely known as “Mr. Hockey.”

Irv Benson, R.I.P. at 102.

SamuraiFrog answered a bunch of questions from me, including about the Cincinnati Zoo.

Muhammad ALI

Pentagon learned from the epic mistake of making a martyr of the world’s most gifted and famous athlete.
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Cassius Clay sings Stand By Me.

Remembering Cleveland’s Muhammad Ali Summit, 1967. Bill Russell, Jim Brown, Lew Alcindor and others.

World Heavyweight Champion of Peace, Justice and Humanity.

Ali Understood the Racist Roots of War and Militarism. And he called them out fearlessly.

The Political Poet.

How Muhammad Ali helped Tavis Smiley heal a father-son rift.

The champ on That’s Incredible.

Man and Superman.

Muhammad Ali’s other big fight.

The 1996 Olympics.

When Muhammad Ali fought at the Washington Avenue Armory.

‘Ali! Ali!’: The Greatest is laid to rest in his hometown.

Pieces by Dustbury and Ken Levine.

A bunch of articles from Slate, including Billy Crystal’s Homage at the Champ’s Memorial. Plus Billy Crystal’s Muhammad Ali tribute – 15 Rounds (1979).

Muhammad Ali documentary ‘When We Were Kings’ to screen at Madison Theatre in Albany 6/23.

MUSIC

Big Daddy’s new video is a mash-up of “New York, New York” with classic Doo-Wop styles of the 1950s…most notably “Blue Moon” by The Marcels.

Marcia Howard: A voice from the past brings the past to The Voice.

Carpool Karaoke with James Corden, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Audra McDonald, Jane Krakowski, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

Lin-Manuel Miranda Freestyles about RAMEN.

Classic guitar riffs.

Bobbie Gentry and other classic music photographs from the BBC archive.

Paul McCartney talks about the early days.

As Dustbury knows, this IS bad: Court Says Remastered Old Songs Get A Brand New Copyright.

Now I Know: Faking Fakin’ It.

50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time

In the Court of the Crimson King I played a great deal in high school AND college, preferably very loudly

fragile.yesYeah, another Rolling Stone list, this time of “progressive rock” albums that I own. I’m not sure what the term “prog rock” means, precisely, but I hope, now that Rush has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013, that Emerson, Lake & Palmer; King Crimson; and especially Yes get in one of these years.

17. Mike Oldfield, ‘Tubular Bells’ (1973): 45 weeks on the charts, getting to #3

I never actually SAW the movie The Exorcist, yet I associate the album with the film’s foreboding theme. There’s so much more to the album.

My favorite part is that weird section “where ‘master of ceremonies’ Vivian Stanshall mock-pretentiously introduces an array of instruments — ‘glockenspiel!’ and ‘two slightly. . .distorted guitars’ — à la the Bonzo Dog Band,” which I think is a hoot. And Oldfield wasn’t even 20 yet!

LISTEN to Tubular Bells intro.

12. Emerson, Lake and Palmer, ‘Brain Salad Surgery’ (1973): 47 weeks on the charts, getting to #11

That first ELP album, the one with Lucky Man, whose synthesizer I could replicate, I listened to A LOT in college. I haven’t heard this album in a while, though, as I have it on vinyl. For years, my secret fantasy was to have ELP play ‘Jerusalem’ at my former church, which has a fine organ.

LISTEN to Jerusalem and
Still You Turn Me On.

10. Yes, ‘Fragile’ (1971): 46 weeks on the charts, getting to #4

I also listened to this album A LOT at college, probably once a week during my freshman year. It was/is hypnotic. I didn’t know, or particularly care, what the lyrics were.

LISTEN to Roundabout and
Long Distance Runaround.

7. Jethro Tull, ‘Thick as a Brick’ (1972), 46 weeks on the charts, getting to #1 for two weeks

This album I didn’t play very often, though I love that introductory narrative. Not nearly my favorite Tull album, as I preferred Aqualung and especially Songs from the Wood.

LISTEN to Thick As A Brick intro.

5. Yes, ‘Close to the Edge’ (1972), 32 weeks on the charts, getting to #3

Actually, I much prefer ‘Fragile’. This album consists of only three very long songs that were so exhausting to record that “when recording for the album finished, drummer Bill Bruford had grown tired of the band’s style and songwriting methods and left to join King Crimson.”

LISTEN to Close To The Edge, which took up all of Side 1 on the LP.

2. King Crimson, ‘In the Court of the Crimson King’ (1969), 25 weeks on the charts, getting to #28

Now, THIS album I played a great deal in high school AND college, preferably very loudly. I especially loved the first song, and the title track, the two songs my friend put on a six-CD set of 1960s music.

I also related to the sentence in another song, “Confusion will be my epitaph.”

A few years ago, around Christmas, I heard Power by Kayne West, which samples the vocal from “Schizoid Man”; I thought was DREADFUL. The original version, incidentally, was dedicated to Spiro Agnew, Vice President of the US under President Richard Nixon.

LISTEN to Side one of the album In the Court of the Crimson King: 21st Century Schizoid Man, I Talk to the Wind and Epitaph (including March for No Reason and Tomorrow and Tomorrow)

1. Pink Floyd, ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ (1973): 741 weeks on the charts!, only 1 week at #1

The group’s eighth LP was one of the best-selling albums worldwide, ever, with an estimated 50 million copies sold. It was on the Billboard charts from 1973 to 1988. It’s often considered one of the greatest albums of all time.

But I didn’t buy it right away. In fact, I may have purchased The Wall in 1980 or 1981 before finally picking up Dark Side. I liked the single Money (#13 in 1973) but was turned off by the album’s seemingly cultish admiration. But I DO like it.

As Rolling Stone noted:
“From its sync-up with The Wizard of Oz (press play after the lion’s third roar) to the Flaming Lips and friends’ track-for-track covers project to Krusty the Clown’s lost Dark Side of the Moonpie to the endless hawking of the prism-and-rainbow logo, the album has endured as a pop-culture touchstone since its release.”

LISTEN to the whole album HERE or HERE or HERE.

I own albums by FM, Electric Light Orchestra, Kansas, Renaissance, Supertramp, Genesis, and Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, but not the ones listed.

August rambling #1: Jon Stewart, and Roz Chast

the root of all evil
Nuclear arsenals.

Thanks to Reliance on “Signature” Drone Strikes, US Military Doesn’t Know Who It’s Killing.

John Oliver: Subpar Sex Education in U.S. Schools. Plus: DC Statehood; stay for the song at the end.

Here are 7 things people who say they’re ‘fiscally conservative but socially liberal’ don’t understand.

Senator Elizabeth Warren to the GOP: This is 2015! Also, Jeb Bush’s Grandfather Was A Founding Member Of Today’s Planned Parenthood.

FactChecking the GOP Debate.

What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong?

Children’s illustrator Mary Engelbreit is losing fans because of her anti-racist art. “There are no words to express how little I care if I lose every bigoted, racist, homophobic and/or sexist follower I have.”

Key & Peele: What if we were as crazy for teaching as we are for sports?

The Cop: Darren Wilson was not indicted for shooting Michael Brown. Many people question whether justice was done.

Is this true? 2015 is the year the old internet finally died.

Michael Moore talks about his new movie.

Dealing with Diversity: Awesome Kid Graphic Novels.

David Brickman reviews Roz Chast: Cartoon Memoirs at Norman Rockwell Museum.

Dan the Man writes about Her Eighth Triathlon. The Wife competes in what might be the last Pine Bush Triathlon, but she did not compete barefooted like some.
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Jaquandor’s tools of the writing trade.

1000 Candles, 1000 Cranes by Small Potatoes.

Jon Stewart Started Small, Became Voice Of A Generation, and Exit, Stage Left. Also, from the last episode: Uncensored – Three Different Kinds of Bulls**t, and Our Moment of Zen.

Bob Crane, radio legend.

Cannabis discovered in tobacco pipes found in William Shakespeare’s garden

After Frank Gifford died last weekend, someone wrote, “Many happy memories sitting on the couch with my dad watching Gifford and the New York Giants on a Sunday afternoon.” True of my dad and me as well. Later, I watched him co-host Monday Night Football.

SamuraiFrog’s Weird Al rankings 20-16. I missed this: Weird Al gets Whiplashed.

From Bill Wyman, (correction) NOT the bassist for the Rolling Stones, All 74 Led Zeppelin Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best. And The ESQ&A: Keith Richards Explains Why Sgt. Pepper Was Rubbish.

One of the very first CDs I ever bought was Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits, but this commercial for Farxiga, a Type 2 diabetes medicine, is wrecking my enjoyment of the song Walk of Life.

An escalator for a Slinky.

Muppets: Sesame Street on HBO. Plus Harvey Kneeslapper and Jungle Boogie and Cookie Monster in “Jurassic Cookie.” 1974: Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog visit Johnny Carson’s show. The new Muppet TV show is a top pick for the fall, even though Kermit and Miss Piggy have split up. Not to mention a PBS special, An overview of the highlights of Muppet creator Jim Henson’s life and career, which premieres Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at 8 p.m. ET. Check local listings.

K-Chuck Radio: Tony Burrows versus Joey Levine versus Ron Dante.

Dancing with the Renaissance Geek.

Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are being chased by Elmer Fudd and escape into paintings in a museum, from the 2003 movie Looney Tunes Back in Action.

GOOGLE ALERT (me)

Arthur answers my questions about seeings things from the other side of the political and philosophical spectrum.

The near-twin is taking questions for Ask Gordon Anything through August 24.

I made Jacquandor’s brief trip ’round Blogistan, along with some other interesting pieces.

Dustbury notes The bigot on the front line.

Last Week at Trouble With Comics, plus this week’s edition.

Dustbury: Our fits grow ever hissier.

50 Country Albums Every Rock Fan Should Own

kristoffersonSomeone on Facebook pointed to this Rolling Stone list and being the lazy blogger, I use it to comment on the albums I actually own.

45. Lyle Lovett, ‘Lyle Lovett’ (1986)

First time I saw Lyle was on TV after his third album came out, and Bryant Gumbel of the Today show said, “That’s country?” I bought that album, Large Band, but subsequently virtually every album he’s put out, including this eponymous one. In fact, in my collection, which is arranged alphabetically, I have two albums in a row with the great song “God Will,” one by Patty Loveless, and the version by Lyle.

LISTEN to God Will
and You Can’t Resist It

31. Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris, ‘Trio’ (1987)

Some of the most glorious harmonies ever. I have a couple albums by Dolly, over a half dozen by Emmylou and over a dozen by Linda, but this may be my favorite one for each. Moreover, some of the songs they did together in the years before the album was finally released – e.g., I Never Will Marry, the Parton-Rondstadt duet on one of Linda’s albums, are also great songs.

LISTEN to To Know Him Is to Love Him
and Telling Me Lies

19. Dixie Chicks, ‘Taking the Long Way’ (2006)

This is the album that the Chicks put out after Natalie Maines said some unkind things about George W. Bush about going into the war in Iraq; I bought it nearly as soon as it came out. It didn’t do that well with country radio, if I recall correctly, but it had greater crossover appeal, quite possibly more for its politics than its music, though it has some great songs.

LISTEN to Not Ready To Make Nice

16. Kris Kristofferson, ‘Kristofferson’ (1970)

This album, which I’ve had on vinyl since I was in college, got renamed for its most famous song, Me and Bobby McGee, in 1971, and has a nicer picture of Kris. The album contains many of the songs he wrote that were hits for other people.

LISTEN to Blame It On The Stones
and The Law Is For The Protection Of The People

14. Garth Brooks, ‘Ropin’ the Wind’ (1991)

All of Garth Brooks’ six albums at the time were released as a limited series with an extra track on each disc. The whole collection was less than $20. What’s not to like?

LISTEN to Shameless – this is a live recording, not from the album.

12. Loretta Lynn, ‘Van Lear Rose’ (2004)

Much to the chagrin of my buddy Eddie, this is the only Loretta Lynn album I own, no doubt influenced by Jack White’s participation. It is a great collection, and she still had the pipes.

LISTEN to Have Mercy
and Portland, Oregon

11. Johnny Cash, ‘American Recordings’ (1994)

This began the third, and my favorite, phase of Johnny’s career, after being in the musical desert for a number of years. I was given this album, but bought all the subsequent albums (American 2-6, and the box set). I became obsessed with this period of John R.’s music.

LISTEN to Down There By The Train
and Drive On

1. Johnny Cash, ‘At Folsom Prison’ (1968)

And this began the second phase in Johnny’s career, which included the TV show I watched religiously. Getting seeped in his later career got me to get the 2008 Legacy Edition of this album, 2 CDs/1 DVD, even though I own the original release on vinyl.

LISTEN to Folsom Prison Blues

This list inspired me to pick up 22. Dwight Yoakam, ‘Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc.’ (1986); 20. Steve Earle, ‘Copperhead Road’ (1988); 4. Willie Nelson, ‘Red Headed Stranger’ (1975); 3. Ray Charles, ‘Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music’ (1962) and 2. Hank Williams, ’40 Greatest Hits’ (1978).

I should note that I have a Patsy Cline greatest hits collection, but not the “definitive” one. I also have albums by Jerry Lee Lewis, Brad Paisley, Randy Travis, Bobbie Gentry, Rosanne Cash, Kenny Rogers, Emmylou Harris, and Dolly Parton, but not the ones listed.

U2, Bob Crewe, Fab Four, plus more

Bob Crewe died at the age of 83. You may not know the name – I’ll admit I did – but you surely know the songs.

u2If you’ve read this blog long enough, you know I can have some strong opinions. But with the U2/Apple thing, I feel ambivalent. On one level, I’m oddly entertained by people freaking out over Apple’s forced iTunes download of U2’s new album, and wonder if it’s just a first world problem. I particularly loved how it ruined someone’s “carefully curated collection.” I’m impressed how well the secret was kept, with the release date of the next U2 album still unclear to the media as of last month.

Then there’s the Why U2? contingent epitomized by this quote: “It’s true that Apple’s wine-drinking, plane-flying user base probably overlaps with U2’s cool-dad core audience more than most bands.” Ah, U2’s not cool enough; here’s the album should have given away instead, and maybe they’re right. Fortunately, I’ve read plenty of suggestions about how to delete it.

The result of this apparent misstep is that the album, Songs of Innocence, is crap. 24 hours after release, it was deemed the worst U2 album ever, as though one could decide something like that so quickly. I still haven’t hear the thing, so I have no opinion.

The bulk of the criticism, though, has to do with lack of choice in the matter, that was fascistically foisted upon millions of users. Maybe that’s true, I dunno. Read the Rolling Stone article about the event.
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Bob Crewe died at the age of 83. You may not know the name – I’ll admit I did – but you surely know the songs. There are nice pieces by Rolling Stone and Dustbury.
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Without much effort, I keep finding Beatles-related stuff, some e-mailed to me, for some obscure reason.
*1964 – the menace of Beatlism
*their 1st US TV Appearance?
*Someone Uploaded the Entire ‘Beatles’ Cartoon Series to YouTube – it’s not “long-forgotten” by me
*Kids React to the Beatles.
*Apple scruff Lizzie Bravo: the girl who sang with the Beatles
*It Don’t Come Easy by George Harrison
*Paul McCartney ‘Early Days’ behind-the-scenes blues jamming.
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Jay Z Steps Up To The Plate To Argue That Tiny Music Samples Are Unprotected By Copyright As TechDirt said, Good for him.
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Early Simpsons: a hymn by I. Ron Butterfly.
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Arthur points to the drinking song that we sing when we present the US national anthem. No, it isn’t that easy to sing either. I’ve been REALLY liberal when people do the Star-Spangled Banner (Jimi Hendrix, Marvin Gaye, Jose Feliciano are all fine with me, but Rosanne was not). I hear it as a swing version myself.

Oh, here’s version (of SSB, not the drinking song) by niece #1, Rebecca Jade, if I’m doing that FB embed thing correctly: