Category Archives: Music

You’ve got to hear this – Volume one


Today’s Music: Derek And The Dominoes – Layla (for comparison with the below)

Sometimes I hear a song from a genre I wouldn’t normally listen to, like Aloe Blacc’s single, I Need a Dollar

Sometimes, it’s from a band I like, and it’s exactly what I expect, Like Lynyrd Skynyrd’s album, Edge of Forever

And sometimes, an act I like puts something out that takes my expectations and sends them running for cover.
In a good way.
That was the case with Wynton Marsalis and Eric Clapton’s Play The Blues (Live From Jazz at Lincoln Center).
It’s all here – New Orleans blues, Chicago blues, Delta, some Ragtime, and a few dirges.
Eric Clapton has a growl in his voice on some of the tracks that I haven’t heard before.
Wynton Marsalis defies reality with a plunger at the end of his horn.

But it isn’t just the Wynton & Eric show. There’s plenty of room for some spectacular keys from Chris Stainton and Dan Nimmer. Fantastic rhythm from Ali Jackson on drums, Great upright bass by Carlos Henriquez. Victor Goines (clarinet), Marcus Printup (trumpet) Chris Crenslaw (trombone) round out a phenomenal horn section.
Taj Mahal even shows up at the end with his banjo for a couple of tracks.

From the opening rollicking track, led off by a playful ragtime riff and Eric Clapton shouting about ice cream, the album grabs and doesn’t let go.
Wynton and Eric trade vocals for most of the album, and their two instruments blend and play off each other incredibly well.

To give you an idea, here’s a song most people know, reworked for this show. As a dirge.

If you have any interest in either of these performers, or the blues with aNew Orleans tinge, you can do a lot worse than pick this up.
Two world class performers working with each other to create a level of music I don’t think either of them could have created on their own.

How could I not have expected that?

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Friday Foolishness – With a bit of Serious too


Today’s Music: Gossip (A great band that never caught fire. Check ’em out!)

First off – the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a great idea, with a terrible execution. It protects media producers, but goes way overboard – if a kid posts a YouTube video of themselves singing a Justin Bieber song, they can be sued for piracy and infringement.
While they are guilty of many things for singing Justin Bieber, piracy probably isn’t one of them. Congress should write a law that is more specific to the problem, instead of this, which is very general and can be applied almost anywhere.

If you agree, please click the black bar over the logo, or here if the bar isn’t above and sign the petition.
If not, hey, that’s cool too.

And on to the silliness…

Last week, we asked about jellybeans!
And The winner is “STEAK! (Because jellybeans suck)”. I couldn’t agree more.

Although, kudos to Brian the Kwyjibo, who actually used logic for this (really?!?) to not choose Black Licorice so that he wouldn’t be eaten, or as he says…
“I voted for black licorice after a little internal debate, because I also like pina colada. But then I thought, Wait, what does he mean when he asks “What flavor of jelly bean would you be?” If I wanted someone to eat me, I’d pick black licorice (or pina colada) since those are the best. But if I wanted to survive, I’d definitely NOT choose one of those.”

And now what you’ve been waiting for, This weeks Friday Foolishness Poll:

Again, voting ends Thanksgiving night at 23:59.

While you wait for the results, please enjoy some Cat Juggling.
Roll the ugliness…

Friday Foolishness – Jellybean edition


Today’s Music: Kina Grannis

First the old business – results of last weeks’ poll:
Other responses were
1 – not yet a problem
2 – When it grows long enough, I braid it with my nose hair. Looks like a mustache.

I like 2 myself, and may try it when the hair gets uncontrollable…
And the winner is
a tie between “Ear hair? Really? What kind of a freak are you?” and “Au Naturale”.

Thanks to all you voters.

And here’s this weeks’ “What the hell is wrong with him?” poll:

And while you wait for the answers (voting ends next Thursday at midnight), please enjoy a jellybean video from today’s Today’s Music artist.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

An Adventure – Learning to Sail


Today’s Music: Jimmy Buffett

WHEEEEE!!!!!!

In a June, quite some time ago, Ms. Diamond needed to get certified as a Life Guard.
So, one day in the cafeteria, she dropped the brochure for the place she was going for the lifeguard course on the table.
Being a nosy S.O.B. (though it’s possible sh offered it to me – not sure – been a lot of drinking between then an now), I looked through it.
Sailing! Learn to sail on a lake in Pennsylvania! One person Sunfish! Oh.My. God.

At the time, I was listening to way too much Jimmy Buffett. Parrothead, (mostly) recovered, that’s me.
One of the things Jimmy sings an awful lot about (besides drinking, and women, and food and islands and…) is sailing.
And here was an opportunity to learn it on the cheap!

So I went. My sisters came along to learn to Scuba Dive (in the same lake), but I was there for the sailing.

The first day, it poured. So they brought the sailing group (there was sailing, lifeguarding, scuba, and a bunch of other classes being taught that week) into a cabin. The instructors told us about themselves, told us about the boats we’d be using, and asked us what we wanted to get out of the class, and to draw a picture of it.
I wrote Sail like Magellan. The picture I drew wasn’t quite as bad as this, but lord, it wasn’t good:

Not even Magellan could keep this afloat.

Fortunately, making us artists wasn’t the point of the course. Making us sailors was.
They taught us how to put together a sunfish and take it apart. How to step the mast (insert it in it’s slot so it wouldn’t leave the boat when the sail was filled with wind), how to run the lines (ropes on a boat are called lines), how to tell where the wind was coming from and how to trim the boat (adjust sails and heading (direction) for the wind).
They taught us about the hardware on the boat – the stays and guys, tiller and running rigging, and how all of them held the boat together and made it go.
They taught us witty sailor sayings – “red sky at night, sailors delight, red sky at dawn, storm coming on”, “tiller to boom to avoid doom”, “rain before wind, better stay in. Wind before rain, soon set sail again”.
All phrases that I’ve found useful even in my daily landlubber-ous existence.

And they taught us how to sail.
Picture 5 newbies, each in our own boat, trying to sail in formation. Okay, we managed to get more or less to the same part of the lake, more or less at the same time. But when they told us to sail in close formation, we all managed to get in exactly the same part of the lake at exactly the same time. And had a massive pile up.
I think that was the first time I fell out of my boat, avoiding the nose of another that parked itself on top of me.

But slowly we learned. We understood the points of sail, learned how to trim a sail to take the most advantage of the wind. How to get out of irons, or steer for a buoy.
And we learned to not crash into each other. Unless we really wanted to.

On the last day, we were allowed to sail around on our own. When time was up, I steered in, coming up to the dock neatly against the wind. I put my hands on the dock – to hoist myself out of the boat – my feet still in it.
And the boat, which wasn’t tied down, started to drift…away…from the dock…

Which was the last time I fell in.

I’m sorry I couldn’t find it, because i really wanted to scan and post my Upside Down Award, for falling creatively out of boats. I earned it, dangnabbit.

And before you leave the post chuckling at how i wasted a week, several years later I was invited to crew on the Around Long Island Regatta on a boat something like this:

Image from Charterworld.com

I got here from a Sunfish.

Friday Foolishness, and Check. Your. Calendar.


Today’s Music: GWAR
The video is slightly disturbing, the music isn’t bad. Think KISS on a really bad high. Their guitarist passed away last night, so they are Today’s Music as a tribute.

Next, to the old business –
The hands down category winner to last weeks Friday Foolishness poll is Other.
The Written In answers are as follows:

– Are you suggesting that only bloggers should be responding to this poll?
– I ain’t admitting to nuthun.

In reference to the first answer, you know, it didn’t even occur to me to add a non-blogger answer. How silly of me…

And now, on to the new silliness!!! (even though there is rarely anything but silliness around here…)

I was going to go with a rant today, since there was Christmas music playing when I bought my coffee this morning. When I paid, I asked the girl if it was a one-off, but no, apparently that’s all they are playing now. And for the next. 8. weeks.
But I think I’ll save that for a more detailed diatribe, maybe this weekend.

So, in keeping with the theme of Friday Foolishness, another question.
This was going to be part of another entry, but I would like your thoughts on the matter.

And non-bloggers should be able to get in on this one too!
(If you write in an answer, please include contact info if you like)

‘Cause folks, it don’t get no foolisher than that.
Have a good weekend!

A conversation with IrishPaul


Today’s Music: Sammy Hagar

IrishPaul Instant Messaged me on my way to the train this morning.
Here is the conversation…

IrishPaul –
Happy 50th birthday to moody bastard Larry Mullins junior

El Guapo –
That’s why you’re up at 7 am?

IrishPaul –
Going to bed now. Was watching a movie.
Why are you up?

El Guapo –
You. Suck. I’m going to work.

IrishPaul –
What kind of a****le goes to work before 6pm? Don’t forget, we’re going to The Drums next Monday.

El Gupao –
Real world a****les. Haven’t yet found a surfing sponsor, so off I go.
Yeah, I’ll be there.

IrishPaul –
Right. I’m off to bed alone – bonus.
You going to Chickenfoot.

El Guapo –
Bah, not a big enough fan. Thought you hated Hagar.

IrishPaul –
I do but want to see Michael Anthony Hall and Joe Satriani. So I’ll bear with it.

El Guapo –
Have a good time.

And since I know he hates that crap, today’s music is Sammy Hagar. Because I had to be on my to work at 7 am. And he was finishing his day bartending form last night.

So there it is, a tiny snippet of my real life.

Bah.

Cut it out, Canada.


Today’s Music: Oh, Canada

I like Canada. A lot.
I’ve been there several times, most recently to see The Cars at Sound Academy in Toronto.
I’ve loved seeing the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Parliament in Ottawa.
I loved hanging out with Charles DeLint at the bar he plays at weekly. He invited me up onstage, and lent me a guitar so we could rip through a twelve bar blues riff with his band.
He took us out for lunch after we spent the day exploring the Byward market, a really nice indoor/outdoor shopping area filled with the products of local craftsmen and street musicians.
My wife (the most wonderful girl in the universe) and I spent a lovely afternoon strolling through the Ottawa government seat, and walking along the Rideau river.

Manhattan at noon, 29 October

I’ve skied at Tremblant and loved, and have nothing but nice things to say about Montreal.

More recently, I’ve enjoyed the tulip festival. They really are beautiful. The way you arrange them shows why you elevated the festival to a national event.
My wife and I loved your museums, and admired the clean orderliness of your street.

Brooklyn, 20 minutes after Manhattan

And on the same trip when we went to see The Cars, we also stopped at Niagara Falls. It’s true, the view is better from the Canadian side.
So all the times I’ve been to Canada, I’ve had nothing but fun.

Queens, 35 mjinutes after Brooklyn

But you have a dark secret.
Any architect building a freestanding home in an open area will tell you, build the hedges along the north.
During winter, the cold air comes down from the north. That’s how the jet stream works.
And what’s north of New York?
Canada.
That;s right. I said it.
Canada is sending us the snow.
I like snow. I like sledding, skiing, sitting on the porch watching it build up. I like driving in fields through it, catching it on my tongue, and making naked snow angels in it. Ok, that was once, and i was really drunk at the time. But I enjoyed it.

But now you’ve gone too far. It’s October. There are another 60 or so days of fall. Which I can’t enjoy. Because it’s snowing.
The snow Canada sent.

Look, I admit it, the U.S. can be mean to Canada. We ignore you, we run roughshod over your entertainment industry by selling you our music/tv/movies. And I know you have to pay more for those same books and dvds we insist on sending you.
But I’m begging you, please, turn off the snow.
I gave your anthem the “Today’s Music” slot.
I like real maple syrup.
I’ll even admit (under duress) that I own a Bryan Adams cd (it was a long time ago and I’ve no idea where it is anymore.)

So stop with the snow already. At least for another month or two.

The view out my window 15 minutes later.

Or we’ll send back William Shatner.