Monday, April 30, 2007

I'm Sure I Was There

Thanks to Gwynn over at The Shallow End for this meme. I've been having some slow days recently so this Concert List thing is right up my alley. I claim the right to amend this list as my head clears fo the detritus lodged there since the 70's and 80's. I know there were concerts attended and not listed that can be truly embarrassing at this stage of my life. So, I'll plead for penance and for the chance to add them on at a later time.

In a stream of consciousness order. No dates provided to minimize the visitation of Father Time.

Stephane Grappelli (NYC)
Shadowfax (Philly)
Taj Mahal (Philly (A few times), Montreal, NYC, Jersey)
Bonnie Raitt (Philly (A few times), NC, Jersey)
Steve Goodman (Montreal, NYC)
Rory Block (Philly Folk Festival)
Moxy Fruvous (Philly, Jersey)
Stanley Jordan (NYC club and NYC streets)
Lyle May (Montreal)
Greg Brown (7-8 times, Philly, Jersey, NYC)
Iris Dement (Washington DC)
John Prine (Washington DC, Philly Folk Festival, Jersey)
J Geils Band (Montreal)
Thin Lizzy (Montreal)
Black Sabbath (Montreal. Ozzy was still quite thin and could walk with minimal assistance)
Loudon Wainwright III (10+ times, Philly, Montreal, Newark, DE, Jersey, NC)
Taj Mahal (3-4 times, Philly, Jersey, NC)
Little Feat (when Lowell George was still alive) (NYC, Raleigh)
Grateful Dead (Jersey, NYC, NC…and NOT counting the multiple times they canceled at last minute)
Allman Brothers Band (unfortunately never w/ Duane) (Jersey)
Grinderswitch (Jersey)
Rick Derringer (Jersey)
Johnny Winter (Philly, Jersey)
Edgar Winter (Jersey)
The Blasters (NYC)
Marshall Tucker Band (Jersey)
JD Souther (Jersey)
Orleans (Jersey)
Lynryd Skynyrd (Montreal, Jersey)
Jackson Browne (Jersey, NYC)
Genesis (w/ Peter Gabriel) (4 times, Montreal, NYC)
Genesis (w/ Collins) (Once and that was enough, Montreal)
Pink Floyd (Montreal 2 times, Jersey)
Leon Russell (Montreal)
Bob Dylan (NYC)
Bob Dylan w/ Rolling Thunder (Montreal)
Eric Clapton (Montreal)
BB King (Montreal 2 times, Philly, NYC)
Sarah Vaughan (NYC)
Joe Pass (Jersey)
Beach Boys ( NYC, Jersey)
Bruce Springsteen (5-6 times, Montreal , Ottawa, NYC, Jersey)
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown (Philly, Wilmington)
Magic Slim & The Teardrops (Wilmington 3 times, Philly)
Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers (Philly, twice)
Riders of the Purple Sage (Jersey)
McGarrigle Sisters (Montreal, Philly)
Dexter Gordon (Montreal)
Rush (Montreal)
Rory Gallagher (3 times. Montreal)
Preservation Hall Jazz Band (Montreal, NYC, NOLA)
Dirty Dozen Brass Band (NOLA)
James Taylor (Jersey)
Jerry Jeff Walker (NYC)
Wynton Marsalis (Wilmington)
Branford Marsalis (Philly)
Keb Mo (Philly 3-4 times)
Koko Taylor (NYC, Philly 2 times)
James Cotton (Philly, Wilmington (a month before he died))
Buddy Guy ( 3 times, 1 time he was actually good. Philly, Jersey)
Liz Story (Philly)
Bucky Pizzerrelli (Philly)
Dizzy Gillespie (NYC)
Cedar Walton (6-7 times, NYC, Philly, Jersey)
Charles Musselwhite (NYC, Philly, Wilmington)
Coco Montoya (Philly)
Jim Hall (NYC)
Shemekia Copeland (3 times, Philly)
Johnny "Clyde" Copeland (2 times. Philly)
Robin Trower (Jersey)
Richard Thompson ( 7-8 times. Philly, Jersey, NYC, Montreal)
Fairport Convention (w/ R. Thompson. NYC)
Frank Zappa (Montreal, NYC)
Savoy Brown
Uriah Heep
King Crimson (4-5 times. Philly, Montreal, NYC)
Rolling Stones (NYC)
April Wine (2-3 times. NYC, Montreal)
Keith Richards (Philly)
Stevie Ray Vaughan (Philly)
Cyrus Chestnut (Philly, NYC)
George Winston (Wilmington)
Ladysmith Black Mambazo (Wilmington, Philly)
Sweet Honey in the Rock (Wilmington, Philly)
Leo Kotke (Wilmington, NYC)
David Grisman (NYC, Wilmington, Philly)
Dr. John (Phily, Wilmington, Montreal)
John Mayall (Montreal)
Carla Bley (Montreal, Philly)
Keith Jarrett (Jersey)
Brad Mehldau (Philly)
Los Hombres Calientes (Philly)
Herbie Hancock (Philly)
Clark Terry (Jersey)
Sonny Rollins (Jersey, NYC, Philly)
Roches (Montreal, Philly, NYC)
Guy Davis (3-4 times. Philly)
Harmonica Fats (Philly)
Climax Blues Band (Montreal, NYC)
Jaco Pastorius (Montreal)
Marcia Ball (Philly)
Los Lobos (Philly 3 times, NYC)
The Meters (Philly)
Pat Metheny (Montreal 2 times, NYC, Philly)
Joni Mitchell (Jersey, Philly)
Blue Oyster Cult (Long Island, NYC)
Dan Fogelberg (Yes, I admit going to 1 concert in Jersey!)
Peter Frampton (Montreal. An old girlfriend is the only reason I went. What one does for love)
Cassandra Wilson (3-4 times. Philly, NYC)
Widespread Depression Orchestra (Montreal, NYC)
Elton John (Montreal way way way back in the day)
Al Jarreau (Philly)
Marah (Philly)
Subdudes (3-4 times. Philly)
Jimmy Buffet (Florida, way back before the Parrothead phenomenon)
Eagles (Jersey)
Joe Walsh (NYC)
Chico Hamilton (Jersey)
Christian McBride (Jersey)
3 Mustaphas 3 (Philly. No laughing; these guys are fabulous!)
Art Farmer (Wilmington)
Brian Blade (Philly)
Wallace Coleman Band (Wilmington) (Great harp playing. Catch him before he passes away!!)
Bobby Rush (Philly)
Bobby Blue Bland (Philly)
Mavis Staples (Philly)
Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials (Philly)
Big Time Sarah and The BTS Express (Philly)
Holmes Brothers (Philly, Wilmington)
John Mooney (Philly)
Cephas & Wiggins (4-5 times. Philly, Wilmington)
Joe Louis Walker (Philly)
W. C. Clark (Philly)
Lady Bianca (Philly)
Carey Bell (Philly)
Otis Rush (Philly)
Snooky Pryor & Pinetop Perkins (Philly)
Otis Clay (Philly)
Son Seals (Philly)
Irma Thomas (Philly)
Paul Delay (Philly)
Big Mama Thornton (Montreal)
Valdy (Montreal…don’t ask)
James Moody (Philly, NYC)
McCoy Tyner (Philly, NYC)
George Thorogood & the Delaware Destroyers (Chapel Hill)
Jefferson Airplane( NYC)..and then..
Jefferson Starship (NYC...not sure what I was thinking, except it was one of those free NYC in the Summer concerts)
Crosby, Stills, & Nash (NYC)
Neil Young (NYC)
Jason Moran (Philly. Twice)
David Bromberg (Raleigh)
Eileen Ivers (Philly, Wilmington) The latter time, it was a concert in a very old stone barn. One of the most memorable concerts I ever went to. She was devine.)
The Roots (Philly)
Common (Philly)
Chris Smithers (Philly, Wilmington)
Natalie McMasters (Wilmington Twice)
Regina Carter (Philly)
John Blake (Philly)
Claude Williams (Wilmington)
Bill Frissell (NYC, Philly)
Beausoleil (w/ Michael Doucet) (5-6 times. Philly, Wilmington, NYC)
Michael Doucet (Wilmington)
Shawn Colvin (Wilmington, Philly)
Youssou n'Dour (Philly)
Samite (Philly)
Head, Hands, & Feet (Montreal)
Rickie Lee Jones (NYC)
Southside Johnny (Philly)
Chico Freeman (Jersey)
Foghat (Montreal)
Jeff Beck (Montreal)
Stanley Jordan (NYC)
James CArter (Philly)
Johnny Cash (Newark, DE)
Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee (Philly)
Little Charlie & the Nightcats (Philly)
Ani DiFranco (Philly)
Hubert Sumlin (Philly)
The Who (Montreal, w/ Keith Moon)
Chicago (montreal)
Emerson, Lake, & Palmer (Montreal)
Jethro Tull (Montreal)
Manfred Mann (Montreal)
Steve Miller (Jersey)
NRBQ (Philly)
Poco (Jersey)
Lou Reed (NYC)
SAntana (Montreal)
Amazing Rhythm Aces (Montreal)
Commander COdy and his Lost Planet Airmen (Montreal)
Hawkwind (Montreal)
Jimmy Bosch (Philly)
Galactic (Philly)
Yes (Montreal. Twice. Rick Wakeman was still on keyboards)
Flash (Montreal)
Alice Cooper (Montreal)
Bette Midler (Philly) She was/is a hoot! This was the "Give Dubya Some S$@%" tour.

I’ll stop here, although I know I’m missing a bunch.

Reviewing this list, I was rather surprised that out of the soup of memories from my college days in Montreal, so much came back. I’m sure I’ve missed at least 30-40% of the concerts I went to during those days due to non-memorable performances, mis-firing synapses, and intentionally mis-laid memories of forgettable evenings.

Some of the acts I caught were playing at the Pocono Blues Festival, an annual 3 day blues festival that I've attended 4 times. So, it may be considered padding on my part to list the performers that I remembered from those four years. But, if the meme list is supposed to be performers at concert... well ?

What's left to do but to meme some other folks! I believe Whisky Prajer will have a long and interesting list and Xenoverse should provide much to ponder; I'm sure he'll be listing operas of the Sturm und Drang variety.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Those Familiar PC Blues.

My pseudo-Dell is cranky. It used to be a Dell 5 years ago, but after many continual problems, it was stripped and rigged with mainland China components, i.e., Dell parts w/o the nameplates. For $200, it was worth it compared to the prospect of buying a new pc/Mac at the time. Lately, though, it's been punking out. Must be the 110 volts running through it. I now have to unplug the cords for the mouse and for the keyboard so that the pc can start up, giving a whole new twist on the plug-n-play ease of working. My external HD also has to be unplugged and then plugged for it to allow the op system to engage. When loading my tax software, the cd drive mysteriously goes to sleep, bringing the whole system down with it. Only after multiple "naps" was the whole tax software fully loaded.

It's begging to be euthanized.

On the positive side of things, you know those Apple movies? Well, my pseudo-Dell seems to be getting brighter. As it downloads the movies, especially the one titled "Sabotage", the pc seems to be formaulating the inkling that by downloading these commercials it is mocking itself. So, what does the pseudo-Dell do? It locks up 3/4 of the way through, so that I miss the punchline. I have to slog on downstairs to catch the entire thing on my Ever Loving Wife's Mac. Oh, for the day when I'll be Back on the Mac again.


Friday, April 20, 2007

So, what's the Honey?

I've noticed that the traffic to this humble blog had picked up substantially in the last few weeks. Thinking it a minor blip, I've ignored any investigating. But, the traffic is still coming in, compared to previous months, strong. What's the draw? Wit? Insight? Emotional debacles?

Nope. Seems this site comes up as # 1, if you Google Borat Speedo and # 2 if you Google Speedo Borat. So, the aquatic clothing musings of a fictional character are the draw.

Some time ago, it used to be pics of Iceland that drew the Googling "mass" here (Specifically the amazing photographs of Layne Kennedy). Now, Iceland is a distant second. A shame; I'd much prefer looking at this than at this.

Perhaps, in time, the written entries will outnumber the photo-related ones, but I'm not investing in that stock anytime soon.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Feets, Planted

(Cincy Feet)
On a Westward (Ho!) expedition recently, ostensibly a road trip to see, smell, touch, and hear the progeny, added benefits of new museums and eateries to visit were thrown in. Here follows a very subjective travelogue.

The Ever-Loving Wife and I have been blessed. Blessed that neither of the kids went through that stage of the teenage years when Solipsism was the religion of choice for them. No need for missionary work on their sole-centered souls. They both have continued a fortunately un-natural curiosity in others. How they came upon this life view is beyond me; I recall with embarrassment and regret (for all of the lost days)of my own bellybutton gazing in the teen years.

All that wasted inward energy when I could have been running barefoot in the uncut grass. But, enough about me; let's talk about my trip.

Traveling of any sorts, especially on any trips extending past a couple of days, always results in a great case of what the French call "le espièglerie". A giddiness layered in thin coats of adventure topped with a dollop of childlike wonder. I can stare down at the
passing waters of a river in a strange city for hours while acknowledging I'd be ignoring the gurgling streams in my own city. It's what moving one's carcass a few hours from base will do to me.

Cincinnati, parked on the muddy (when we went) and swift and deadly currents of the Ohio, was one of our stopovers. Cincy has not been usually associated with positive national headlines in the 5 years or so, what with the 2001 riots and the travails of the Bengals. We spent 3 gorgeous days there, encountering only friendliness and pride from the folks we dealt with. From the over-the-top concern of the staff of the Underground Railroad Museum to the interactive staff of the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame (great exhibit was in place for Pete), to the can't-beat-working-here staff of the Montgomery Inn (sloppy ribs, great river view, and, did I mention, ribs), we were always greeted and engaged by folks who took an obvious pride in their city. The Purple People Bridge, one of many bridges spanning across the Ohio River to Kentucky, takes you from Pete Rose Way across to Newport, Kentucky. No cars, no exhaust fumes, all pedestrian power. Newport on the Levee is a painfully clean current mode of shopping center. Big on experiences of the dining variety with a faux village layout that suggests downtown shopping where no downtown exists. Worth a visit for a look, but then a quick return to Cincy via the Purple People Bridge is suggested to prevent the Mallaise that will surely strike you down if you stay too long.

Speaking of bridges, there is this one, the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, connecting Covington, KY and Cincinnati. Look familiar? Sounds familiar? Mr. Roebling went on to design and begin supervision of the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge after "trying out" his ideas in Cincinnati.

The Contemporary Arts Center, located in downtown Cincy, was fairly empty of visitors but packed with entertainment. John Pilson's visual works were on display. His take on life/work in the concrete stacks of NYC where he "reconsiders the banal, daily routines office workers as quixotic deviations into sublime moments", made for an interesting alternative reaction to the depression of fluorescent lighting and wall-to-wall grey carpeting. The museum itself, designed by the Iranian Zaha Hadid, winner of the Pritzker Prize in 2004, is relatively plain on the outside, blending in well with the business offices and skyscrapers on the same block. The first floor seems to be a bank lobby without the bank tellers. When you start climbing the long shallow steps to the second floor, however, an odd experience starts sinking in. You must really concentrate on your stair-climbing and what this concentration does is cleanse your mind of what you've seen on the previous floor. Unlike many staircases, the three in this museum are bathed in natural light from the glass ceiling three stories up. It was a cloudy overcast morning when we came in, but the light streaming in was intensified by the way only a shaft of rectangular sky illuminated the staircases. You won't trip but you will be lifting your feet a lot higher to the next step than is necessary. This high-stepping continues throughout the climb from floor to floor; a pleasant discombobulation.

The final museum we had a chance to visit was the fairly new Underground National Railroad Museum Freedom Center, located a few streets from the banks of the Ohio River. The ELW and I loved the museum. Two main levels provide informative layouts of interactive exhibits as well as a clear presentation of the historical beginnings and continuation of slavery and its depressing practices. There are quite a few spaces available before and after exhibit spaces where one can comfortably sit and mull over what you've just seen and read. There's an objectivity to the written/visual presentations that leaves one with a heavy heart. But, the light and space of the museum allows you to recover...or not; I noticed some folks go through the first few rooms and then just sit in the expansive glass-wall room on the second floor and just stare out at the Ohio River and the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge. The staff of the museum, right across the board, were one of the friendliest and most enthusiastic I'd ever encountered in a museum. They were as interactive as some of the cutting-edge technology the museum held. We left the museum in a jumble of emotions. Sadness, guilt, empathy and pride in the human condition.

In a few days, off to Pittsburgh and a new museum favorite, the Carnegie Museum of Art, located on one of the main drags, Forbes Avenue, between the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. The museum always has an interesting current exhibit in place. When we went, a modern Japanese print exhibition was on display. The permanent exhibits are laid out in a historical way as opposed to, say, the Barnes Foundation methodology where the date of the artwork is not as important as the resulting visual stimulation of parking pieces 400-500 years apart next to each other. I am not a self-educated museum buff like the delightful Mr. Donald Pittenger of 2 Blowhards is. While I use my brain as does he, my museum ratings are based on the level of headache pain I leave with when I exit a museum. It must be the lack of safety valves in my cranium that are the cause of my problems. I can still feel the head-pulsing and nausea I experienced after a Picasso show at NYC's MOMA back in the late '70's. Does that mean that if I leave a museum without my head throbbing that the exhibits were mundane, totally lacking in stimulation? Perhaps. I've gone to the Carnegie Museum quite a few times and I've left with a smile, questions, insights, and no headaches.

Michael Blowhard recently went to Pittsburgh and the Warhol Museum and posted his observations here. I'd agree with him entirely as to his experiences on Pittsburgh as a truly livable and interesting city and his take on the Warhol Museum. I had my own 2 cents about the museum here(if you like Yoko Ono even the tiniest bit, please don't click).
If you prefer cold to hot weather, meandering streets to long straight avenues, distinct neighborhoods to malled communities, then Pittsburgh is the place for you, if only for a visit or two,

Now home again, sitting at the desk, music spilling on the planted feet, it's a longer time spent regurgitating the 5 day 1,300 mile trip than I'd thought. Still have the sweet aftertaste of the Montgomery Inn's ribs rolling around the back of my throat and the smooth and rich gelato tastings of Madisono's dancing in my head.

Note Bene: clicking on all of the pictures, well not all at once, will allow you to view them as larger versions of themselves...if that's something you're in dire need of.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cinematic Rantings

On April 15th, usually a day of annual anxious madness but one which the IRS deemed to soften by adding 2 additional days for those us deeply into prolonging our pain, an article in the NYT appeared regarding one Mr. Slavoj Zizek .
To quote some quotes within the article, Mr. Zizek opines that:

"I am too emphatic,"he said emphatically. "Too expressive. I don’t think this works on screen. Even if I state something totally obvious, I say it with this intensity, as if I am saying the last truth."

Regarding a movie that he stars in, he emphasizes that cinema is "the ultimate pervert art.” As he puts it: “It doesn’t give you what you desire. It tells you how to desire."

"Out of the mess of me talking, talking, talking — you know, my friends call me Fidel — Sophie (the movie's director) somehow had to introduce order in the total chaos."

Elsewhere in the piece, "He’s also an engaging, if exhausting, conversationalist. During a 45-minute phone call, topics ranged from Darwin to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to his defiant admiration for "300" to the "incredible Stalinist classical musicals" he had just discovered on a Moscow trip."

All this has to do with a movie, Pervert's Guide to the Cinema, that will be playing in NYC at the Museum of Modern Art from Wednesday April 18 through April 23.

Not since his fellow countryman, Martin Strel, who is also afflicted with a peculiar Slovenian version of reality, climbed out of the Amazon after his 3,274 mile 66 day swim from its source to its end, has a Slovenian come to America's attention.

So, if you're planning on being in the Big City in the next week, you may wnat to stop over at MOMA to catch Slavoj Zizek in full tilt boogie mode.


One Day after 2006 Filing Deadline...

This, as announced by various news agencies,
Washington (April 18, 2007) - Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Mark Everson will leave the agency to become president and chief executive of the American Red Cross next month.

Everson, 52, has served as IRS commissioner since May 2003.
caught my eye.

From blood-letting to blood-staunching. Talk about doing a 180 on one's career.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Before You Accuse Me....

...take a look at yourself. I've heard and read about this type of thing happening. Something similar happened at the college I attended, but the dispute was one of a political nature (Quebecoise v. Anglaise) rather than a racial one. Searchie went through the ringer and I'm sure the life-long effects of the trauma, well actually trauma to the second power, are still reverberating.
One of the life lessons she's picked up, "What did I learn?
Never talk to an angry, disturbed person without a witness.
", is certainly apropos these days when anger so easily precipitates into violence propelled by bullets.

The only part of the entry that I have a problem with is the slim connection she posits of her own accusation with that of the Duke lacrosse team. In the latter case, the accusation of rape has not been legally substantiated....but the setting of the accusation, the amount of alcohol, and the hiring of strippers does not compare to the academic setting, fully clothed participants, and alcohol-free (assumption on my part) environment that Searchie's nightmare occurred in. While I believe that Searchie was in no way responsible for the vitriolic scenario where racial charges against a person seemed to presume actual guilt rather than guilt to be proven, I still can't say the same for the three young men at Duke. The team's reputation and substantiated previous actions laid out an inviting fecund bed for false claims.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Tumbling Pieces

Kurt Vonnegut died yesterday. Mr. Vonnegut suffered irreversible brain injuries as a result of a fall several weeks ago, according to his wife, Jill Krementz. I'd like to think he simply left the shell of his body after the fall, uncomfortable with the anchor of the flesh.

For me, he was a major building block of the edifice I've been constructing of myself. He was both the New NEW Thing back in the high school days as well as an old soul, so deeply connected to Mark Twain that he seemed to be his quirky grandson. Vonnegut's work lives on for me, although he has not been the popular author for the 15-25 set in many decades. A shame. Perhaps his death will rekindle an interest in his quirky view of the human condition.

Some other personal giant/heroes whose physical presence I'm missing.

"I've always despised old people. I got angry at my father when he began to show signs of age." - William Steig, who died in 2003.

"The difficulty with marriage is that we fall in love with a personality, but must live with a character. " - Peter DeVries, who died at a too young 83 in 1993.

"Destiny is a good thing to accept when it's going your way. When it isn't, don't call it destiny; call it injustice, treachery, or simple bad luck. " - Joseph Heller, who died in 1999.

"The Mandolin is the bottom four strings of the guitar, backwards ...
so a person with dyslexia has no problem learning to play the Mandolin.
" - Steve Goodman, who died in 1984.

NYT's reviews of most of Mr. Vonnegut's novels is here.

New Additions, 04/16/07:
From a 1997 New Yorker, here's this Talk of the Town piece.
Another New Yorker item, this time from 1976 as written by John Updike.
Three's a charm, from the New Yorker of 5/17/69, a review by Susan Lardner of Slaughterhouse-Five.

As pointed out by Bookslut,a small op-piece from 4/13/2007's NYT is here. The latter is especially intriguing and its main topic, "What happens to your attitude/response to an author, who you were crazy about in your teens and early 20's, when you're in your 40's-50's?", is worthy of an expanded essay. For any readers out there, are you willing to tag-team on this topic? WP? Mr. Sgazzetti? Hillbilly, Please?

Monday, April 09, 2007

Manly Advice #349

When planning any lengthy driving trips that would be incumbent with stop-overs at rest stations frequented by large, swarthy, spitting men with possible pre-Cambrian attitudes about what manliness does and does not entail, it is recommended that your vegetable of choice partaken of at the last meal before the trip is not that primitive-looking stalk known as asparagus. Things are dicey enough in a public facility what with the questionable colors on the wall, stall notations lacking in metaphors and literary allusions, and urinals challenging one's personal space feng shui without having to also concoct a rhetorical discourse to your fellow visitors on the olfactory issues possibly emanating from your body.

Especially when a long-haul truck-driver is parked next to your oh-too-close stall, humming a ditty and sniffing very loudly in your general direction.

A treatise on asparagus is not what he'll be attending his full displeasure on. No, not that. His attention will, my fellow gents, be paid to regaling loudly, I must add, to all of the other rest room standees of the malodorous emanations of your presence.

What started as a simple plan of relief when you pulled off of the highway will now result in a stroll down Junior High School Way. So, resist the temptation of the Asparagus Spear if it is the preservation of your shaky self-perception that is desired.


Sunday, April 08, 2007


It's a guilty pleasure, a badly kept secret that I'm just a sucker for these guys.

Yeah, yeah, I love the Jazz, the Blues and the Music formerly Known as World Music (but is now (thankfully) simply called music). And, yes, it's embarassing that their songs appear on the OC. And, o.k., some of the YouTube renditions are a bit lame or, you know, cute, in that "My Secret Life in the Basement" kind of way. Chris Collingwood and Adam Schlesinger, the song-writing duo come from Jersey, specifically around Piscataway, close to my old stomping grounds, so, youth's memory being what it is, a soft spot for anyone who'd grown up in Pavement Heaven kicked in.

Plus, these guys have a sense of Humour. From the band's name to their catchy songs, Fountains of Wayne are always kind enough to provide the lyrics on their cd releases, which, from the beginning (and here), were always clever in that They Might Be Giants or Eddie of Ohio way. For those trying to read in Canadian content rules, Moxy Fruvous would certainly be a great band for a double bill. All of these bands provide clever wordplay and catchy musical catches that have you humming for a while.

So, all this to begin a short review of their latest release, Traffic and Weather. Fourteen songs covering the gamut of topics from Tight Cash Situations ("Strapped for Cash), to Driving for Love ("I-95"), to Life Changes ("New Routine"), and Falling in Love at the DMV ("Yolanda Hayes"). As usual, it would be difficult to pin Fountains of Wayne (FOW) with a chronic case of aphasia. Instead, multple dictionaries and thesaurusi need to be consulted so as not to repeat the word "clever". Most of the songs invite you to concoct your own video of the lyrcis' passage. Like a hot potato, the characters in "New Routine" carry out small actions all attributing to life-changing actions to another character who then say/do minor things that.... You get the picture, a bit like Richard Linklater's Slackers, a loosely intereconnectd story line, but all within the confines of 30 lines of lyrics.
"Planet of Weed" needs to be listened to via headphones. No, no secret messages, just some interesting back noise that has you wondering how much looser a recording session can get.
As usual, displays of love in odd places (well, remember these boys are from Jersey) are represented here. You fall in love with "Yolanda Hayes" since that's the only act to prevent you from croaking while waiting at the DMV. Waiting for your luggage while at the airport these days? "Michael & Heather at the Baggage Claim" relate that "It's been a long, long day.
Can't we just be on our way?
Michael says, "Heather, have you had enough?"
Heather says, "Michael, you know that it's you I love.
Music fades away leaving you wondering about the back story on tha "It's you I love."
"Starpped for Cash", guaranteed to be the ear worm this time around from FOW, combines musical references to The Cars, Air, Billy Joel, and Philly's Wall of Sound.

When I listen to FOW, I tend to play the cd's over and over again until I'm thoroughly sick of hearing the quick-witted songs. I know they're lodged somewhere in the old cranium, waiting to come out at the most appropriate or inappropriate times. What's to complain about. These guys are serious about their laughs and observations. And in these most serious of times, studious laughs are what are called for.

If you feel an emptiness in the frontal lobe, I would recommend Traffic and Weather as the light-hearted and humorous filler. Sumnmer's coming and I'm with "Revolving Dora", who's
"..searching around the dial for a song that'll make her smile.
And she's turning out to be immune to gravity
And I don't know the degree
Of her grip on relaity
But she sure has got a hold on me.
Oh Yeah

Winter in New England andHiver au Quebec get a helping hand with their "Valley Winter Song".

And for gushy modern romance soundtracks, it would be heard to beat Hey Julie, playing in the background of the unexpectant heart-throb from The Office (American version), Pam.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Sanity, you're a madman!

Oh, this is not good. Well, actually, this is too good. As linked to by Erasing in this post, a Pandora's Box of Irritants will now be launched on anyone I happen to be speaking to. Succinct. Throw-away. Mull-away.

Yes, You, dear reader, may be " on a first-name basis with Lucidity. I have to call him Mr. Lucidity, which is no good in a pinch."

So, warning to all who dare cross spoken words with me, as "... my mind has always been my Achilles' heel! "

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Drinks...on Ice

From New Jersey, a landmark court decision has been reached regarding Drinking 'n Driving. Well, at least as regards Drinking, Driving, & Zambonis.

"Superior Court Judge Joseph Falcone on Monday overturned (John Peragallo's) (Zamboni) license revocation and penalties.

“It’s a vindication for my client,” Peragallo attorney James Porfido said after the hearing. “It’s the right decision.”

Mr. Peragallo, 64, noted at his trial that "he did drink beer and vodka, but not until after he had groomed the ice. However, he told police he had a shot of Sambuca with his breakfast coffee and two Valium-pills before work.". His blood alcohol content was measured at .12 %, 50% higher than Jersey's legal level of .08 %.

What with the NHL's rules tightening up in the last 2 years regarding fisticuffs and other manly indicators of displeasure, it seems it will have to be left up to the Zamboni drivers to provide some bumps and bruises during hockey games. No mention was made if there would be an uptick in ticket prices or if in the future Zambonis would be equipped with the Breathalyzer Interlocks that would prevent an inebriated operator to be operating a fairly large chunk of machinery.

Perhaps the repetitive circling of the Zamboni inside the confines of a rink is just too much to bear without the aid of an alcoholic stimulant. It'll be interesting to see if the case will be appealled, but, in the meantime, stay awake between periods or you may miss the Zamboni that transforms itself into the Christine model as it tools arounf your local ice skating rink.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Tuning into Romance

Jerry Jazz Musician posted the question, "What are four or five of the the most romantic tunes ever recorded? " and received the following responses. Bill Bruford, an always interesting kind of guy, answered with the following, crossing over a few musical barriers.

"Maybe romance, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, if you get my drift. It's such a personal thing. All that saying goodbye, all that rushing to be in the arms of the one you love, all that wishful thinking, dreaming, hoping. I like Carole's romantic insecurity and need to know the answer to her question ( Carole King "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?). Every time Ella says goodbye, I die a little, too ( Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye (Ella Fitzgerald ). When Whitney opens her throat and tells me she will always love me, the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. ( Whitney Houston: I Will Always Love You). Unbearably romantic also is Leonard Bernstein's "Somewhere" from West Side Story, although my favourite version of that is the lyric-less Cannonball Adderley club recording that I once heard. The lovesick Sinead O'Connor singing to her incomparable lover in Prince's song is hard to beat, too. ( Sinead O'Connor: Nothing Compares 2 U)."

Jerry Jazz Musician didn't ask me, but I'll attach myself to his jet stream and provide my choices, in no particular order. The only requirement I'm assuming for these choices is that they either create or help maintain the mood when your own words or actions are running counter to your intent. Some of the songs are also mentioned by the musicians in this entry.

1) John Coltrane's Naima, whether rendered by the genius himself, or the version by Cedar Walton.
2) Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time as done by Cassandra Wilson.
3) Greg Brown's You Drive Me Crazy, because a true romance lasts a long, long time, regardless of its confounding foibles and cracks.
4) Louis Armstrong's and Oscar Peterson's perfect rendition of You go to My Head.
5) Bill Evans' version of Porgy (I Love You, Porgy)... although Bill Charlap's version of One For My Baby would not be a lesser substitute.

So, what say ye? Any musical genre will do.

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