Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ben Folds & Nick Hornby - Together Again

On the just released "Lonely Avenue" ,  musician and producer Ben Folds and writer and critic and scriptwriter Nick Hornby get tpgether for what some term a music-nerd heaven.  There have been some positive reviews (here as well), some not so much, and a noted blogger's lack of appropriate excitement.  The latter needling was intentional in hopes of a posting on his part to suss out the lack of musical sustenance.

Some college kid from some podunk college also makes some derogatory remarks regarding this fine release.  Hey Mr. Decker!  You better be boning up on the lyrics; you will be examined on this for next marking period.

Except for the fact that quite a lot of the 11 songs have radio air-play inappropriate language, thus sinking the possibility of playing the entire album on a (teeny-tiny) radio show I group-d.j., I've been listening to this album with a fat smile pasted on my face.  It's the lyrics.  It's the arrangements.  It's the entire cadeaux.

This isn't the first time Mr. Folds and Mr. Hornby have worked together,  On William Shatner's excellent "Has Been", the Ben Folds produced album features a song, "That's Me Trying", that was a lyrics-by-Hornby,  music-by-Folds collaboration.

I'm hoping to get back here later to fill out the suit of this review.  Suffice it ot say, that I'm a fan.  Production is crystal clear. Folds' voice and interpretation of the clever lines in the songs is dead on.  There is material here for laughing, crying, and even some light "sturm und drang"ing.  The deluxe package includes all of the lyrics plus four short stories by Nick Hornby for those of us in need of a fix since last year's "Juliet, Naked".  The whole package is put together by Nonesuch records, a recording company that just can;t seem to do wrong.  Think of Ry Cooder's deluxe package for "I, Flathead" and you get the idea.

For now, a strong recommendation and I'll be back with more filler.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Million Monkey March

Posted this New Yorker cartoon a while back, because it was the appropriately sized pin to prick anyone's Blog Balloon.

From Execupundit's post from yesterday, comes the following quote, just in case one's head has started inflating again.

"We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true.

- Robert Wilensky



Monday, September 20, 2010

The Witching Hours

Christine O'Donnell may just do for the Tea Party what the poison pill did for captured spies.  Folks, just keep in mind that she's only been in Delaware for a bit over 6 years.  She is a Jersey Gal and we all know about the Jersey Devil, right?  No!  No!  This guy is known as the Jersey Devil only to Phlyer Phans.

I'm just waiting to hear if her bad publicity will force the Wicca Church to disawow any connection with O'Donnell, as the Delaware Republican Party intially did.  Like a reluctant groom to an arranged marriage he had no say in, the Delaware GOP has now had to stand at O'Donnell's side with a grimace of a smile as it now supports a candidate it previously had placed in the "not electable as a dogcatcher in the state" category.

Hmm, now that witches, Karl Rove, rank and file Republicans, and dogcatchers have all been dissed in the campaign to get O'Donnell her first full-time paid (by unlucky taxpayers) job, what other groups will be denegrated by their loose association with Ms. O'Donnell?

The Delaware Car Wreck continues.......


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Delaware: Rotten & Shameful

First, let's get the facts straight.
Delaware is a dinky state, 2nd physically smallest of all of the 50 states and 45th smallest in population, with less than a million folks (around 885,000) scattered throughout our 1,953.56 square miles.   The majority of the folks, 534,634 or 60% , live in New Castle county, one of the 3 counties of the state.  We reside in what is known in The First State, as living above the canal.  This physical division of the state tends to reflect the political leanings of the state.  Above the canal, there are more registered Democrats while below the canal there are more Republicans.  For those unfamiliar with the state, Dover, its capital, is located dead center in the state in Kent County.

Christine O'Donnell won every district of every county below the canal, while Mike Castle carried the majority of New Castle County's districts, although he did lose all of the districts touching the northern side of the canal.  Geographically, it was a downstate v. upstate rout.

The results, upon closer inspection, look like this.
O'Donnell won the Republican primary to run for US Senator over Castle by a margin of 3,540 votes, 30,561 v. 27,021, or 53% v. 47%.  Now, assuming that in this primary all of the Republicans voting for their candidates all did cast a vote for either O'Donnell or Castle.  So, the total number of votes cast of 57,582, which was reported as an indication that 32% of registered Republican voters, would equate to a rough figure of 180,000 registered Republicans. (actually 182,796 but my math's close enough).  So... of the registered Republican voters, only 17% voted for the Tea Party candidate. Using the same logic, a 12%  (or 34,721 votes cast in the state-wide primary for Democratic Treasurer candidate) showing by the Dems in this election would rough out to 289,000  (actually 292,738, but you can see my math's close enough)

So, if 23.4% of the population is under 18, based on the latest population of 885,000, that would equate to about 673,000 possible voters, of which 180,000 Republicans would represent  27% and the 289,000 Democrats would be 43% of possible voters, leaving the balance of 30% or 204,000 age-eligible voters as Independents or un-registered and disinterested.  Aside from having the good sense to not involve themselves with O'Donnell, the Delaware Republican Party and Castle have seen their own version of the numbers and have opted not to support O'Donnell's further advance toward being one of Delaware's 2 U.S. Senators.  O'Donnell certainly hasn't helped herself.  She's a train wreck, all the more of a surprise that she got this far.....which only shows you how bizarre Delaware can be at times.

The worst part of this is that Mike Castle, a well-respected, decent, and honorable man who has served capably as Delaware's governor and US Representative for over 16 years has suffered his only major political defeat to O'Donnell of all people.  It is a sad State of affairs for Delaware, for the Republican Party, and the national political climate.  My hope is that in 6 weeks, Delaware's sentient registered voters will go out to cast their vote for someone who will actually represent our state and give the US Senate a responsible, proven, and thinking person.  Chris Coons.

To Mike Castle, thank you for all your years of service and wish things had worked out as most reasonable people had expected them to, with you being our next US Senator.  It seemed a perfect storm of bad timing and voters not capable of seperating wheat from chaff.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

30 Mosques in 30 Days

For anyone who listened to NPR over the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed themselves listening to this story, there's more to find out at their blog 30 Mosques.   My favorite post was this one on a certain Mr. Zeitoun.

Name sound familiar?  Yep, same guy on whom Dave Eggars based his book Zeitoun on.  If you haven't had a chance to read it, I recommend it heartedly and hesitantly, the latter based on the ever-sinking feeling I got as the main "character" of the book never got the benefit of the doubt in this post 9/11 tragedy in New Orleans.  How Mr. Zeitoun survived, kept his dignity, and actually opted to stay in New Orleans after surviving the worst that one man (in this case many men) can do to another is simply amazing.

Aside from this post, I found  the two narrators/writers, Mr. Bassam Tariq and Mr. Aman Ali incredibly engaging and perpetually upbeat and enthusiastic in what could have been, in less optimistic hands, a trying trip.

Please.  Read the blog AND read the book.


Thursday, September 09, 2010

It's Almost Fall & If You're In The Land Of Yinzers...

it means that it's Steelers Time.    A chance to get artsy about dem Steelers is here at one of the 'Burgh's finer places of Higher Learning.

**** No animals were harmed in celebration of the Black and Gold ****

..And, if you're an undertaker in Pittsburgh, you should be able to handle special requests.  Very special requests.  Action poses do NOT seem to be requested; that seems to be a Philly thing.


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Bugs as a Language Infiltrator

This piece was sent to me recently from a cousin in the Old Country.  The headline, "Srbi u šoku: Djeca govore hrvatski jezik zbog crtićaVećina crtanih filmova u Srbiju dolazi iz Hrvatske," translates as "The Serbs are in shock: Children speak Croatian language because the majority of animated cartoons that are broadcast in Serbia come from Croatia".  One especially irate parent wrote to a station saying his 4 year old son call him "tatek" now instead of "otac" ("daddy" as opposed to "father").  The war in the Balkans is still raging, though at a less violent rate.  Now nefarious agents of the animated sort are serving as conscripts in the battle of ethnic differences.

For those folks without excessive time on their hands to study the minutiae of the Croatia/Serbia/Yugoslavia conflict, I'm here to help.  Way back in the days of the mid 1800's, when the main ethnic groups that constituted what was to be, in the early 1900's, Yugoslavia, the major powers that were, namely the Austrians, Hungarians, and Turks noticed the similarities between the Croatian & Serbian languages.  A meeting, where the Vienna Literary Agreement was concocted, was held in 1850 wherein a combo artifical language of Serbo-Croatian was agreed to. (That must have been a hellacious meeting as only one Slovenian was invited and, as you can tell by the language name, his opinion was minimally included).  But the practioners of this "new" language never seemed to take it firmly into their bosoms, i.e., in some parts of the the areas affected it was called Croatian-Serbian, in others just (still) Serbian or Croatian.  Even though this part of the world was in perpetual change as invasion by various powers was seemingly a daily occurence, the occupants were not eager acceptors of change. (No surprise that the symbol for this part of the world is the magarac).  Any incursion was an effront.

So, these days, with the break-up of the artificially created Yugoslavia (think of the British-concocted Iraq except without the oil resources) permanent (...uhmmm, that is, for the mooment), the language thing is once again a point of pride and of conflict.  If you happen to be in Serbia or in Croatia (or any of the other former republics of the Federal Socialist Republics of Yugoslavia), you'd do well (and be safe) to NEVER use the term Serbo-Croatian in defining the language of that country.  It's either Serbian, Croatian, or Slovenian or...you get the idea.  So, now Bugs and his cartoon pals seem to be hired guns in the ongoing conflict of Slavic differentiation in the The Land of Croats and The Domain of Serbs.  Chillin' will never be a national pastime in either of these places.   Even the philosophy of fjaka takes a backseat to opportunities to moan.

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Monday, September 06, 2010

Sent to the Wood Shed

Well, when I misbehaved as a lad (could you believe it?!) or when I, in these modern times, am in the proverbial canine abode I wonder why, back then and now, I wasn't/couldn't be sent to a place like this (actually, exactly like this) to cool my heels or re-visit my actions.

It might have/may prove tough extracting me from the perceived place of punishment, I guess.

HT to Execupundit and Eclecticity.


Friday, September 03, 2010

Weekend Plans?

For anyone in need of early morning tuneage this coming weekend, it's my turn on the WVUD dj lazy susan to be hosting The Morning After, this Sunday, 9/05, from 9:00 'til 12:00 EST.  Hurrican Earl seems to have petered out, so no National Weather Emergency warnings will have to be issued during the show.  Simply, minimium me maximum music.

If you're not in the FM listening area, which is about a (very generous) 20 mile radius, you can always tune in via the Triple W's at WVUD Online.  The University of Delaware sponsored station is scheduled to be recieing a power boost from our current 1,000 Watts to 6,800 Watts.  Not being a radio engineer, I couldn't really explain what this means except to say that our FM listening radius will not be increased by a factor of 6.8.  It will bemore like a possible factor of 2, give or take the daily power footprint of the large stations around us.  At WVUD, we do not see ourselves as The Mouse that Roared, although some of us can do a mean Peter Sellers when pushed.

I'm still mulling over the 3 hour playlist, thinking it will tend toward the Last Hurrah of Summer format.   NRBQ, Trombone Shorty, Richard & Linda Thompson, Jimmie Vaughan, TV on the Radio, Worst Pop Band Ever, Kings Go Forth, (gotta have some!) Freddy Joe, She & Him, Charlie Hunter, some new Frisell, LaVette, Osborne and other tunes that will come waltzing in.

Drop on by and take a listen!  Usually there's something for everyone.

Addendum:  Playlist for the show has been posted here.

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