TW3, or how Johnny Depp wrecked my Friday

There was this TV show in the 1960s called That Was The Week That Was. It was on NBC TV, in 1964 and 1965, based on a 1963 British show of the same name, which satirically summarized political events. Sometimes, life feels particularly out of kilter, maybe like a Tim Burton movie.

Saturday: I spent shopping with my father-in-law. I must say that I almost never shop in malls – they make me verklempt – but went to two of them that day. One, the evil Crossgates, I had been to only once in the past decade or more, and that to a free movie. It’s unfortunately the only place around here with an Apple store, which did fix my father-in-law’s computer problem. Then we went to Colonie Center. Both of these places were amazingly crowded, especially in the parking lots, which makes me think the financial crisis must be over. Continue reading

March Rambling: Accidental Racism, Verb Tenses and Marvel Movie Boycott

The Kind Of Intellectual

(From The Bad Chemicals; used by permission)

God is a second-rate fiction writer. “There are true stories, short stories, fabrications, misrepresentations, novels, insurance reports, family sagas, testimonials, memorials, fairy tales, myths and arguments, the point of all being some kind of narrative persuasion. It’s a kind of stubborn, human-nature way of insisting things be seen from my point of view because that particular point of view is more entertaining, or more valid, or funnier or more beneficial.”

“When the news broke that ‘This American Life’ was retracting the episode ‘Mr. Daisey Goes to the Apple Factory,’ Ira Glass made an effort to be clear that the show has verification standards, but that they fell short in this instance.”

The sequence of verb tenses: “You get to decide which verb forms to use based on your intentions and your understand of the language from reading, speaking, and hearing it.”

Dangerous Konymania, and that was before the story got really weird
On the other hand, Carl Weathers is not your enemy, Continue reading

Scott’s questions about Romney’s Veep, baseball and travel

Scott of the Scooter Chronicles, who is BACK blogging after an understandable hiatus – asks these questions:

1. (The Usual) Who do you think ends up in the World Series this year?

Interestingly, it feels more like parity to me this year. It’s not that ANYONE could win the Series – it won’t be the Royals or the Mets, e.g. The AL East will be very competitive, unless the BoSox don’t recover from their epic collapse. Will the Rangers represent the AL for a third year in a row? Not feeling it; the Angels, with Pujols, should win the West. And the AL Central remains a mystery to me.

Washington will be better, Philadelphia will be worse. The Braves Continue reading

K is for Keltner, Jim Keltner

Do you know what is generally lost for me in downloading digital music? Reading the liner notes. That’s the info on the LP or CD that tells you who wrote the songs and who played on them, and often a narrative about the artist and/or the recording session.

As an active liner note reader, I well know the name Jim Keltner. If you are not, you probably do not. Here’s just an excerpt from the page about him on Wikipedia.

Keltner is best known for his session work on solo recordings by three of The Beatles Continue reading

The Lydster, Part 96: Happy natal day

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: when it comes to parenting, I have no idea what I’m doing, save for my basic intellect and common sense. Still, I guess The Daughter is turning out all right.

Lydia is at least four and a half feet tall. Ballet moves are created in our living room each week after her class. While she is still shy around grownups she doesn’t know, she’s quite good with children unknown to her. I believe she’s rather good at math, and she seems to enjoy spelling. The things she can do physically on the playground I could never do at her age Continue reading

Aretha, QoS, is 70

When Aretha Franklin burst onto the music scene in 1967, I suspect many people thought she was an overnight success. In fact, she had been signed by Columbia Records back in 1961, but because of the songs she was given to sing (“Rock-a-bye My Baby With A Dixie Melody”?), the producers she had and/or the label’s promotion, she was unable to break through.

It wasn’t until she moved over to Atlantic Records, and recorded with the Muscle Shoals Sound Rhythm Section, that her true gift came to fruition. And when her period at Atlantic came to an end, changing over to Arista Records in the early 1980s, had a few more hits.

Most of my favorites are from the Atlantic period, though one was from the Columbia era, and one was something else altogether. Continue reading

Old Fogey Music QUESTION

I’m trying to figure out that moment when I stopped following current music.

Surely, I remember the start was when I was maybe three, in the 1950s. But the coming of age music was in the 1960s, with the Beatles and Motown, et al, and later Cream and Aretha, and the like. Still active in the singer-songwriter 1970s, and revived in the early 1980s with the Clash, the Talking Heads, the Police, and so forth.

Was it the 1990s when I didn’t “get” Nirvana initially? Continue reading

Peace, Peace, When There Is No Peace

Amy, the lovely singer/poet from Sharp Little Pencil, asked a few questions, only one of which I will address presently:

Do you think we should pull out of Afghanistan immediately to avoid engaging Iran if/when Israel sends the bombs flying?

Here’s the conundrum: one can appreciate the sacrifice that US military personnel make every day, and still have no idea what we’re fighting for in Afghanistan.

Joe Conason explains:
What keeps the United States engaged is a plausible concern that our departure will permit the Taliban to claim victory, and that our troops are making progress, slow but measurable, in recapturing territory from the enemy. There is no longer any illusion among Pentagon leaders or in the White House Continue reading

A Question of Murder

Chris Honeycutt, who interviewed me for the NYADP Journal, noted I wrote about Into the Abyss, about homicide and the death penalty, notes:

That’s the end I started from on the anti-death penalty work. I was more interested in crime and killers than just about anything else. Particularly their psychology: everybody covets. Everybody gets angry. Everybody has moments of blind rage. But some people are missing that fundamental “wall” in their mind that says “Don’t physically hurt someone.”

It’s lead me to other questions: if a man can hit someone out of rage, not in a sporting way or in a fight but just out of nowhere slug someone, is that on the continuum?
Continue reading