Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas wishes

Todd the Blogger reminded me it's been awhile since I've posted some dead musician recordings.

We were able to close up work early today.  On the drive home, I heard this song, which I've heard a zillion times on our office radio this season, but for unknown reasons it caused the windshield wipers on my SUV to turn on.

I thought that ventricular rupture had mended.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Note to elf...

So, as we careen from crisis to [manufactured] crisis, pondering the effects of ACA/Obamacare, Duck Dynasty, and debit cards, it's natural to reflect and ask oneself¹: Where in the world are there fewer idiots?

This being my train of thought - with most of the cars on the tracks - I was reading an online article about Iceland.  With a total population of 320,000 (less than half of Fort Worth's), beautiful views, and a population density 1/13 of Texas', maybe there'd be less freeway traffic, junk on the TV, and more time to read.

I predict good Caribou/Reindeer hunting here.

Little House on/of the Prairie

Aurora, not in Texas or Colorado.

An ice cave to keep your beer cold.

E.T. - phone home. 

Maybe the elves, or Sasquatch, live here.

Did Newbury ever see this?

This looks like it could've been taken near Wizard Wells.

I don't know if all Icelandic women are beautiful - and yeah, I'd be looking for one more, um, age appropriate for me...

Elf house

Be sure to tune in to my next travelogue - destination Bolivia.

¹ Acceptable use of oneself vs one's self, according to the Grammarist.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday's snippets

We seem to have gotten a bit of ice last week - this chunk stretched almost to the driveway:

Where's the watermelon wine?

Home-baked - not store-bought - Angel Food cake is a family tradition. If those had been individual candles, it would've been a fire hazard...

Yes, we have no bananas:

One of the areas for our Christmas party last night.

And a room next to it.  It looked like it had some sort of sunroof or something.  I'm told that legions of Romans people spend huge sums of money to watch Christians fed to the lions disappointment here every Sunday.

 Since I was out last night, I went to church this morning.  This is one of the Christmas trees in the lobby:

I wouldn't buy this brand of coffee:

Seen in a close-out type of store - bra and panties display, with a try-on mirror.  I waited around for a couple of minutes, but no one did.  Probably for the best.

Is this cutting edge, or just dopey, architecture?

Is E.T. gonna come home for Christmas on that roof?  Is it a heli-pad?  A plate warmer for the Jolly Green Giant?

Sign of the times

Based on Todd the Blogger's expert translation of Mandela memorial interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie's performance, I borrowed this bit from SNL:

Saturday, December 7, 2013

I'm starting to get cabin fever

While it's interesting to see north Texas blanketed in snow or ice, staying home isn't all it's cracked up to be.

This wouldn't be a bad cabin to be confined in.

I was glad to get home though, after some precarious driving on the slick stuff.

Ms. Yearwood probably makes Garth glad to be back home again, assuming he doesn't bring Wayne.

This song's composer was 53 when he left this life.  Damned mortality.

Now, after I found the above version of John Denver's classic, I also found this. Being my blog and all, of course I had to include it, right?

  • Sheesh, it was only after watching this a second time I noticed who the Walkaway Joe actor was.  Apparently one of his early appearances, before he started selling electronic thermostats.

Sending Glad Tidings Your Way

Stick with it through 3:20 or so...

Friday, December 6, 2013

'Cause I'm feelin' groovy...

Seems that today I have something in common with Herbie.

Uh, no, I didn't catch a love bug. See, for that to happen, I'd have to...well, nevermind.

  • Watched the live version of The Sound of Music on NBC last night,with Carrie Underwood.
  • When I first heard of the project, I thought it was a movie remake, and therefore heresy. But then I learned it was a live performance on a huge studio soundstage on Long Island.  I can live with that.
  • It wasn't perfect - Captain Von Trapp was a bit stiff for most of the performance - but overall it was an excellent production, much better than the garbage usually on TV these days, and an object lesson of what television once was, and can still aspire to be.
  • And apparently it drew an amazing number of viewers.
  • As we left Vienna in March 1975, via Pan Am or TWA 707, not across the Swiss border, I'd admired a set of cufflinks with the Austrian crest in der Flughafen gift shop.  About 15 minutes into the flight, my Dad presented me with these.  The talons do not have the hammer & sickle and broken chain, but instead hold a banner that reads 'Österreich':
Hey Carrie/Maria, look what I'm wearing...
  • No, that was not intended in a creepy way.
  • I awoke about every hour-and-a-half last night, checking the weather forecasts, and for emails/texts to see if my office would open today. About five minutes before I was to leave the house, my boss phoned to tell me I could stay home if I wanted, since I live a fair distance from work.
  • Yeah, I went anyway - and arrived first.  I had one employee show up.
  • Before he arrived, I shoveled ice from the front walk for about 15 minutes, and put out some ice melt.
  • I ended up with a mild pain between my shoulder blades afterward.  Maybe a small adult beverage before bedtime will assist in that regard.
  • Just a wee dram, of course...
Small & smaller
  • Despite there being easily 10 restaurants within walking distance from where I work, none was open.  I had to go to the Albertson's - hoping to get some hot deli chicken or somesuch - and ended up with pre-wrapped sandwiches, chips and bananas for my employee and me.
  • We closed early. 
  • After researching and checking sales for about 6 weeks, I bought an Android tablet (on sale) this afternoon.  I tried to get the sales guy to throw in a memory card as a deal sweetener - he wouldn't do it - but he did discount the card by 60%.  Fair enough.
  • Hey, ya don't get what ya don't ask for.
  • Driving in this morning wasn't too bad.  By the afternoon, the bridges were covered with moguls (not the Bill Gates and Warren Buffet kind).  You couldn't go faster than 5 mph - the bumps were 4-6" tall and rocked vehicles to and fro.
Phil Spector, rockin' a 'fro...
  • TxDoT signs on I-20 and Loop 820 today said "Winter Weather Warning - Travel Discouraged".  
  • What the heck business is it of TxDoT's to care about my traveling state of mind?
  • I mean, maybe I want to travel light, or travel joyfully, or travel with a caravan; but it sure sounds like a bummer to travel discouraged.  
  • Are TxDoT's messages now sponsored by the makers of Prozac or Zoloft?
  • Here,  discouraged traveler Tom Joad (Hank Fonda) tends to some automobile issues.  Having leveraged his 401-k, he's planning a boutique winery in Napa Valley, hoping for a better life on the left coast - at least until all the hippies take over and plunge the Golden State into financial ruin.

  • Earlier this week, Cabela's advertised 'Free Shipping' for online orders. Noting that I had a stack of gift cards accumulating, I ordered some of these lil' beauties.  They travel fast:

Ain't they pretty?

58 GR. HDY V-MAX Hodgdon H380 .243" 2.600" 46.0 3721 47,500 CUP 49.5 3874 51,000 CUP 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

It's the Christmas Season!

How about some Elves?  Elvi?  Here, Mr. MacManus does one of his own, as well as one from that other guy:

Is anyone cooler than this?

BTW, Declan, it's not whether it's one 'L' or two, it's just Alyson.  From someplace near Beaumont.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Let's say money, it's a shorter list

Going retro...to the '70s:

Sorry for the gratuitous sax.

And, uh, yeah, the keyboard is ghey.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Que Sera

This is probably a re-boot.  Just happened to think of this song...so mesmerizing.

I believe this is the equal of Rundgren's original - and she's so much easier on the eyes.

Afterthought/edit - just to prove the above statement:

I mean, sure, Todd the Dog Blogger Pastor had/has his skunk pelt motorcycle driver hat, but he doesn't wear, uh, butterfly feather eyebrows.

At least not to my knowledge...

Monday, November 11, 2013

And too soon becomes yesterday

Mr. Shane (née Schoen), with the late Messrs. Reynolds and Stewart, performing possibly the best version of Bobby Zimmerman's Tomorrow is a Long Time, circa 1966.

The above photo, right to left, depicts the second iteration of the Trio (following Dave Guard's departure), usually referred to as: Nick, Bob and John. Shane's breathy baritone and Stewart's haunting vibrato harmony make this one of my favorites.

It probably wouldn't surprise you that I first heard more Dylan songs from the Trio, PP&M, Baez and the Byrds, than from the Minnesotan himself.  Positively 4th Street, Tangled Up in Blue, and Rainy Day Women #12 &35 being notable exceptions.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I shall stand up no more forever

Now that Sybrina Fulton - mother of deceased Arizona Iced Tea drinking, Skittle-eating, hoodie-wearing Trayvon Martin - has testified on Capitol Hill that states' 'Stand Your Ground' laws don't work and should be changed, I am turning over a new leaf.  On account of the high regard I hold for Ms. Fulton as a recognized expert in criminal justice and constitutional law, I am going to make a pointed effort to buy a dozen daisies every day at the Kroger, and place them in the barrels of passing Open Carry Texas demonstrators' rifles and shotguns.

Oh, and I'm also gonna sing kumbaya to my dog each night before bedtime.

Since I've vented my sarcasm, I'll be more serious.

Trayvon Martin wasn't the angel most in the media made him out to be - but neither was he public enemy #1 as many character assassins attempted to portray him.  He was, likely, a fairly typical 21st century teen.  He didn't deserve to die, but he did make a tragically dumb mistake.  It's not fair, but mistakes can be terribly unforgiving.

If I were wearing dark, concealing clothing, and traipsing between buildings in Southlake Town Square, shotgun houses in Polytechnic Heights, or mansions in Westover Hills, and was confronted by a homeowner, rent-a-cop, or police officer, it would be in my best interest to comply with the person, no matter my level of righteous indignation at being accosted.  Trayvon instead chose to punch Mr. Zimmerman.

Eliminating 'Stand Your Ground' laws won't bring back Ms. Fulton's son, and would be a step in the wrong direction, as it's every individual's inalienable right to self defense.

Where Trayvon's mother could more effectively direct her efforts would be campaigning for additional Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) content in states' firearm carry courses, and in criminal justice contexts.  I have taken CHL training that emphasized when a permit holder may lawfully discharge his firearm.  And I've taken instruction underscoring the preference for preventing situations that would require shots to be fired.  As a resolute 2A supporter and ardent champion of the right to self defense (and of others), my preference is for the latter.

Monday, October 28, 2013

µ² Bus

That's micro micro Bus.  This one's missing 4-1/2 feet from its midsection.

The cheese sampling chick told me it's a 1966 model, standard shift, and it's street legal - although it's trailered from town to town.

In 1983, I bought a normally sized 1975 VW microbus, with auto transmission - same orange color, sans cheese graphics. Three weeks later, the sucker threw a rod through the right crankcase half on 114 near the present-day Solana complex. After jacking around with a shyster mechanic - who promised to find a replacement engine - for about 3 weeks, I bought a used fuel-injected 1800cc powerplant from a 411 Fastback at a junkyard on Elliot-Reeder Road for about $350, and painstakingly transferred all the sheetmetal baffles to the 'new' motor.  It saw infrequent use until I sold it, in 1986, I think.

If I'm not mistaken, I believe Todd the Blogger told me that 
the Dew had just such a ride to school, back in the day.

It's still my contention that driving a VW Microbus is a uniquely fun experience, being fore of the front wheels.

Until, of course, you find yourself in a situation where you personally comprise the 'crumple zone'.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Here's to creativity...

Owing, I assume, to her mother, my daughter is tremendously creative. I, on the other hand, possibly having built too many Revell models as a kid, tend toward the more mundane, and, at times inane, such as you frequently encounter in these posts. With great excitement Saturday evening, Daughter beckoned me to the back yard, whereupon I saw the following sight, giving me a flashback to The Blair Witch Project, or maybe Close Encounters of the Third Kind:

It seems every lighting device extant from the house - from small lanterns and headlamps, LED flashlights to glow sticks and tea lamps - had somehow ended up outside.

Here's the view the next day:

As I understand it, this is a fort, as evidenced by the clear area in the middle.  A circular ring of sticks and smooth stones - the significance of which was carefully explained to me - delineates the perimeter, and a welcome mat/sidewalk of twigs can be seen in the lower right, leading to the threshold/entrance.  Leaves have been scattered within the perimeter as decoration.

Sienna was just happy to be soaking up some sunshine.

Now, while this may not look to be a heavily fortified area, it must have had some special powers, as we were able to sleep most peacefully, undisturbed, about 25 feet away on the deck - under the stars - that night.

Monday, October 21, 2013

People are cray-cray

God is great, and there are several beers I like (I pursued homebrewing for a while, several years ago).

But, still, people are crazy.  Like, for instance, parents of a murdered grown woman, who because of their beloved 28 year old daughter's love for SquareBob SpongePants (don't try to correct me, just play along), decided to memorialize her thusly:

I mean, seriously?  In the military and 28 years old - and idolizing a cartoon character?  Or is this a case of the parents failing to grasp the notion that their daughter was a grown woman?

"Why, good evening, Mr. and Mrs. Nit-Wit - it's so good to see you!  Won't you please step this way - yes, into this room - lovely Nurse Ratched has been kind enough to pour some warm milk for you.  Yes, yes, that's it, step into the room - Dr. Sanderson will be by to visit with you shortly..."

I'm a huge Leave it to Beaver fan, but I've no desire to spend eternity in a billboard soup bowl.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Catgut Fever

And another video from the Tiffany¹ Network, regarding the Titanic bandleader's violin, recently sold at auction:

Not bad for a waterlogged fiddle...but can it play San Antonio Rose?

¹ The 'Eye' Network, not the '80s pop-chick cutie.

Do unto others

While the video piece doesn't speak to Dan Dewey's outlook on faith issues, I've got a feeling he understands Jesus' commandment to 'love one another':

...and I'm not even a fan or customer of the Starbucks.

h/t: Steppenwolfie, a/k/a John K.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Love's Lost Labours

Ya know, sometimes it just don't work out.

The Bard - who wrote plays and poems prayers and promises,  as well as an episode of Moonlighting - recognized this in the 1950s, er, I mean the 1590s (I must have sexdaily dyslexia).

Then, in the 1960s Jimmy Webb wrote (and Richard Harris popularized), the following elegant elegy (and maybe a bit trippy) to lost romance:

Spring was never waiting for us, girl
It ran one step ahead
As we followed in the dance
Between the parted pages and were pressed
In love's hot, fevered iron
Like a striped pair of pants

MacArthur Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it
Cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again
Oh, no!

I recall the yellow cotton dress
Foaming like a wave
On the ground around your knees
The birds, like tender babies in your hands
And the old men playing checkers by the trees.
There will be another song for me
For I will sing it
There will be another dream for me
Someone will bring it
I will drink the wine while it is warm
And never let you catch me looking at the sun
And after all the loves of my life
After all the loves of my life
You'll still be the one.

Well, what's old is new, and vice-versa.  In 2007, a Texas-born songwriter who has possibly been mentioned on these pages from time to time, with collaborator Steuart Smith, wrote these lyrics in a similar vein using many of the same images and metaphors, but recognizing the endurance of weathering life's seasons; acceptance, healing, and steadfastnest - and the hope of renewal:

I've been biding time with the crows and sparrows
While peacocks prance and strut upon the stage
If finding love is just a dance
Proximity and chance
You will excuse me if I skip the masquerade.

And I've been waiting in the weeds
Waiting for the dust to settle down along the
Back roads running through the fields
Lying on the outskirts of this lonesome town
And I imagine sunlight in your hair
You're at the county fair
You're holding hands and laughing

And now the Ferris wheel has stopped
You're swinging on the top
Suspended there with him.

And he's the darling of the chic
The flavor of the week is melting
Down your pretty summer dress
Baby, what a mess you're making.

I've been stumbling through some dark places
Now I'm following the plow
I know I've fallen out of your good graces
It's all right now.

And I've been waiting in the weeds
Waiting for the summer rain to fall upon the
Wild birds scattering the seeds
Answering the calling of the tide's eternal tune
The phases of the moon
The chambers of the heart
The egg and dart
A small gray spider spinning in the dark
In spite of all the times the web is torn apart.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Ride the Musical Carousel - An American Songbook

A seemingly disparate set of tunes.

So hippie-dippy Sixties...yeah, I only lasted about 30 seconds viewing it.

Probably not the version you remember - and certainly no Donna Summer. (Thankfully)
I think it's my new favorite arrangement/performance of this song.
More on that later¹.

If you don't remember this song, by heart, from the Sixties, you just weren't there.
Probably wasn't a jukebox in the whole USA that didn't have this song.
He's a pretty good guitarist, too, isn't he?

The Chairman of the Board/Ol' Blue Eyes brings this meeting to order.

Simon-less, Garfunkling, from Artie's debut album. What a voice.

In the mid '70s, it was Waylon & Willie that turned me on to country music.

And with these other two made it as big in the genre as any.

So, what ties all these songs together, you may ask?

All were composed by Jimmy Webb (seen performing in the second video), who also wrote The Last Unicorn, Galveston, By the time I Get to Phoenix, and The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.

Courtesy of a now nearly lifelong friend (going back to 1970), I was priviledged to see Mr. Webb perform last month at the Kessler Theatre in Oak Cliff, seated about 8 rows from the musician, with a clear view down the center aisle.  It was an absolute blast to - at times on the request of the performer - sing along with a couple hundred others to tunes we all know by heart.  ¹ With the passing of four-plus decades, he still struggles with those high registers - only now he invites the audience members to assist, and they gladly oblige.

Mr. Webb was amused when I told him of my elementary school days, when I would serenade my parents from my room until I fell asleep - or Dad told me to shut up - by singing two or three of his compositions nightly from The Glen Campbell Music Book.

Not responsible for any earworms that may result from viewing this blogpost.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Exorcising the earworm

So, for the past several days, a phrase from this song has been rattling in my head - prolly cuz they ain't much else there.  So, of course, in order to free myself of said demon, I must send it your way.

Y'all enjoy, now, y'hear?

Like the Three Amigos, I suppose everyone has their own personal El Guapo Austin.

Edit:  Shelton sure looks young and dorky in that video.

The specific earworm that I couldn't shake was: 

She heard but she couldn't believe -
What kind of man would hang on that long
What kind of love that must be.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Choose Trojans

The USC Trojan marching band, that is.

With special note of a young and beautiful Stephanie Lynn, twirling a baton.

J-Mac is represented by a cardboard cutout as he was in Tahiti during the recording of the video.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sunday Snippets

Reviewing my phone pics - random thoughts:

It's said to take ten At-Attaboys/At-Attagirls to make up for one "Oh, $----!"
I guess these folks are halfway there...

Hi-Yo!  Is this Clayton Moore's truck?

Goodwill hunting - A Nambé three section server (proprietary aluminum alloy
 functional art, from New Mexico), with one badly tarnished section.

When I finished with the white and brown polishing compounds, mine looked 
like this one offered on Ebay for $72, though I'd paid just 1/9th of that.

Except for the blind spot, I think the Veloster would be a blast to drive.

Others brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh -
this wise man brought the Force...and unusual syntax.

El Jefe's boss did not really die on the dusty plaza of Santa Poco,
 and now markets a plethora of ethnic cuisine spices.

He returns...after reloading, of course.

Some things are self-explanatory.

Meet Señor Scion - but really, shouldn't this be on a
Fiat 500...or at least a Ford Fiesta?

Following a recent managers' meeting, executive management
treated us to a catered event at Top Golf.
Conclusion?  I suck at golf.

Daughter's friends keeping vigil over a pair of teeth
(in the plastic container) left for the TF.

Hey, whaddya know!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Here's a band I'd like to hear..

...excepting Gov. Moonbeam, of course!

I plucked this photo out of one of the Ronstadt tributes.  Pictured L-R behind Linda and Moonbeam are David Lindley, Eagles, Dan Fogelberg (between Meisner & Walsh), and, obviously, Jackson Browne.

For those who may think they don't know David Lindley, he's a multi-talented maxi-instrumentalist musician, who contributed the high falsetto you've heard hundreds of times on Jackson Browne's Stay.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Лео Толстой в 1909 году

Accustomed to sitting on top of unsold copies of War and Peace as makeshift booster seats in the dining room of the patriarchal dacha, Leo Tolstoy's grandchildren, circa 1909 are entertained by the writer, but not before asking the octogenarian: "Дед, это будет долгий рассказ?"

Monday, August 26, 2013

Poor, Poor Pitiful Me

Linda Ronstadt has announced that she has Parkinson's Disease, and the condition has left her unable to sing a note.

Some may be too young, or simply too uninterested, to remember, but LR pretty much owned the pop airwaves in the 1970s, releasing a succession of chart-topping albums featuring revived early rock, Motown, country, and covers of  various singer-songwriters (JT, Bonoff, Zevon, Souther).  In preparation for this post, I uncovered some material I'd never seen before.

Here, with the Wichita Lineman (Rhinestone Cowboy for you young 'uns/replacement Beach Boy for oldsters) himself:

A couple of guys apparently formed some sort of band while playing in Linda's:

Obscure trivia tidbit: Mr. J. Fidler Walsh was one of the models
for the Easter Island maoi stonecarvers.  Or so I heard.

And an absolutely beautifully orchestrated (love the cello) cover of The Left Banke's Walk Away Renée:

This Karla Bonoff song, one of three of the songwriter's on Hasten Down The Wind, and its opening track, showcases the power of Linda's voice (and is one of a few from that era not recorded at the Offenbach, Deutschland concerts).  Despite a mild bit of tape hiss, it's clearly the best of three I found of this song, and closest to the recorded version, though seemingly lacking the Aphex Aural Exciter punch and clarity.

Finally, a lovely a cappella Rivers of Babylon (Ps. 19:14):

Sunday, August 11, 2013

OK, so I guess it didn't work out, huh?

Seen at a local Goodwill store - a sign of the times - not sure who's gonna buy that.

Sorry, Jules & Jus - guess it just wasn't meant to be.

I suppose Dee or Zin just figured sometimes it's best to do as Joe the Journalist did and just forget the psycho, and move on.