May 28, 2009

Two From MGMT

There's a hot new band. Two friends from college started The Management in 2002. Since then they're known as MGMT. This is off their first album Oracular Spectacular called "Time to Pretend". Every song on the album is just as good as this one. They'll probably be around for a long time. I like 'em.



I was a kid, around fifteen years old, when our family went on vacation out west and among the many states we visited I loved the Black Hills of South Dakota the most, in particular, the city of Deadwood. We saw the saloon where “Wild Bill” Hickok was shot and the cemetery where he’s buried. You could almost feel the ghosts of Calamity Jane and Wyatt Earp still wandering the streets.

We recently started watching the HBO series “Deadwood” the last few evenings. I love period pieces and this series, which ran three seasons from ’04 to ’06, is authentic in every way. It is a story of a new civilization coming together after gold was discovered there. You feel as if there was a film camera there in 1876 filming the action.

From its debut Deadwood was controversial for its use of extreme, modern profanity, especially from the more coarse characters. It was a deliberate anachronism on the part of the producer, David Milch. He had explained, originally the characters were to use period slang and swear words. Such words, however, were based heavily on the era's deep religious roots and tended to be more blasphemous than scatological. Instead of being shockingly crude (in keeping with the tone of a frontier mining camp), the results sounded comical. As one commentator puts it "… if you put words like "goldarn" into the mouths of the characters on "Deadwood," they'd all wind up sounding like Yosemite Sam. It was decided the show would use current profanity in order for the words to have the same impact on modern audiences as the blasphemous ones did back in the 1870s.

After watching so many episodes, you become somewhat desensitized to the cursing. While having dinner just the other night, I asked wife if she could “pass the fucking green beans please.”

May 27, 2009

The Child

Apparently this video has been around for awhile which a guy named Alex Gopher made called The Child. I've never seen it before. Pretty cool.

Sky Starts Falling

I came across a Doves music video of "Sky Starts Falling". A surreal and dream-like beauty.

May 26, 2009

James McMurtry

Larry McMurtry is a teller of stories through writing such novels as “Lonesome Dove” and “Brokeback Mountain". His son, James McMurtry, is a teller of stories through song.

The Sound of Music

Hailee spent the night with us Sunday night and we watched “The Sound of Music” which we bought for her ninth birthday. It occurred to me that I was ten the first time I saw it, not on DVD but in a theater, when it first came out in ’65 (do the math). I loved that movie and I had the biggest crush on Julie Andrews.

I’d forgotten just how good the movie was and Hailee loved it. Nowadays all the kids, especially the little girls, love Hannah Montana and all those Disney channel kiddy shows, which is just pure (excuse me) vapid crap.

Interesting facts about the film…

While shooting the dramatic shot near the start of the film of Maria singing on the mountaintop, the downwash of the helicopter used made it exceedingly difficult for Andrews to remain standing.

The nighttime scene between Maria and the Captain in the garden gazebo, where they confess their love for the first time, should have been one of the easiest to shoot in the production. Actually, it took around 30 takes. The cinematographer used one or more arc lights to simulate moonlight, and back in 1964, arc lights used a technology that, as the filaments heated up, gave off an almost human sound. While Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer were standing within inches of each others' faces expressing intimate sentiments, the arc lights would "squeal," as if on cue, sounding like "objections" to their love. Andrews and Plummer, and eventually director Robert Wise, were "on the floor" laughing, tears rolling down their faces. Finally, after 30 takes, Wise decided to remove the arc lights and shoot that particular moment in silhouette. The change, while pragmatically motivated, worked very good artistically.

The Sound of Music is credited as the film that saved 20th Century Fox, after high production costs and low revenue for Cleopatra nearly bankrupted the studio.

Every year starting in 2005 the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California holds an annual Sound of Music sing-a-long, where the film is played with song lyrics underneath the screen. The actors who played the Von Trapp Children in the film along with the real Von Trapp children have made appearances at this event. Called "The Rocky Horror Picture Show on Prozac", this event has sold out every year since its inception.

May 22, 2009

The Knife

I was listening to the World Cafe on NPR last night in my pick-em-up truck and this song came on and it floored me. It was techno/electronica music, which I don't really like all that much. I didn't catch the name of the group so I had to do some digging to find out who it was.

The Knife is a brother and sister band out of Sweden. The album is Silent Shout recorded in 2006. The song I heard is the title song "Silent Shout". You've got to give a listen to this, performed live in Sweden.

These Kids Today

LCD Sound System with "North American Scum"

78 rpm's

My grandmother had a bunch of 78 rpm records that I had come across when I was a kid. I brought a few home to play on my stereo. On the radio this morning they played a song by the Inkspots and I found it on YouTube played on a record player. What a hoot.

The Inkspots with 1941's "I Dont Want to Set the World on Fire"

May 20, 2009

Flowers & Plants

Nice Weather We're Having, Isn't It?

I'd hate to post something as trite as the weather but I feel I have too. After two weeks of almost constant rain, this week has been nothing short of spectacular. It's been sunny with nary a cloud in the sky and very low humidity. As soon as the sun slants towards the horizon there's a delicious coolness that almost imperceptively steals in. I relish it while I can, 'cause Summer's coming with the high temperatures and smothering humidity.

Wife and I have been doing alot of gardening work while it's still enjoyable to do. Next post will be pics of flowers, flowers, and more flowers for another fluffy post.

Harland Sanders

The man in the KFC logo was a real person. His name was Harland Sanders. His father died when he was five years old and since his mother worked, he was required to cook for his family. Jobs he had during his lifetime included a steamboat pilot, insurance salesman, and railroad fireman

When Sanders was forty he owned a service station in Corbin, Ky and would serve customers his fried chicken and after it grew in popularity, he bought a motel and restaurant that seated 142 people. Over the years he perfected his method of cooking his chicken which included the eleven secret herbs and spices.

He was given the honorary title of "Kentucky Colonel" in 1935 by Governor Ruby Laffoon (rhymes with buffoon). Anyone Kentuckian can become a Kentucky Colonel by request to the Governor's Office. My wife's a Kentucky Colonel. I have to give her the secret handshake whenever Colonel McClain dresses in her white suit, string tie, and fake goatee.

After the construction of Interstate 75 reduced his restaurant's customer traffic, Sanders took to franchising Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants, starting at age 65, using $105 from his first Social Security check to fund visits to potential franchisees. Sanders allegedly had 1,009 rejections when trying to establish his franchise, until he founded the now international restaurant chain KFC. You've got to admire the man's perserverance.

Sanders sold the Kentucky Fried Chicken corporation, in 1964, for $2,000,000 to a partnership of Kentucky businessmen headed by future Governor of Kentucky, John Y. Brown, Jr. Sanders stayed only as the spokesperson.Back in the 70's I made an acqaintance with the man who drove Colonel Sanders around to his various public relations jaunts. He said the Colonel cussed like a sailor and was always cranky.

In 1973 he sued Heublein Inc. (the KFC parent company at the time) over alleged misuse of his image in promoting products he had not helped develop. In 1975 Heublein Inc. unsuccessfully sued Sanders for libel after he publicly referred to their gravy as "sludge" with a "wallpaper taste".

Sanders later founded the Colonel Harland Sanders Trust and Colonel Harland Sanders Charitable Organization, which used the proceeds to aid charities and fund scholarships.

Sanders died in Louisville, Kentucky, of pneumonia on December 16, 1980. His body laid in state in the rotunda of the Kentucky State Capitol. His funeral was attended by more than 1,000 people. He's buried in his characteristic white suit and black string tie in Louisville's Cave Hill Cemetary.

May 18, 2009

Cassandra Wilson

Who said The Monkees can't sound good? They can when Cassandra Wilson sings "Last Train to Clarksville".

Justin McClain Johnson

This is my nephew. He cleans up pretty good, doesn't he?

May 16, 2009

The Surface of The Exterior

Wife and I went downtown to Charlie Wilson's Appliance & Electronics today to buy a TV. Charlie Wilson's has been on Market Street a very long time. Daniel Boone bought supplies there when on his way to explore the Falls of the Ohio, back when Charlie Wilson sold salt, traps, and flintlock rifles. You can't say that Charlie hasn't changed with the times.

Every city probably has a store similar to this. A store where you get very good personal service, the prices beat every store around, and beats shopping at all the mega-chain stores hands down.

When I was around thirteen years old my parents took me there to buy my first TV set with the money I earned delivering newspapers. It was a nineteen inch B&W Sylvania. I was thrilled. When we remodeled our kitchen a few years back, we bought all our new appliances there; fridge, microwave, oven, and dishwasher.

We came home with a thiry-two inch LCD flat panel to replace the TV on our back porch room. We practically stole the thing from old Charlie. He's so INSANE, he's practically giving them away! While taking it out of the box and assembling the swivel stand, I came across a square of pastel green cloth in a cellophane bag.

The instructions for use of this cloth read:
"Slightly wipe stained spot on the exterior only with the cleansing cloths for the product exterior if there is stain or fingerprint on surface of the exterior."

Our new TV is nice. I threw the cloth away.

May 15, 2009

Things That Cross My Mind

Gross National Product
Milk shakes
Shake ‘n Bake
Easy Bake
Barbie & Ken
Yin & Yang
Elephants & Asses
Holy cow
Holy Grail
Holy Ghost
New Age
Ice age
Stone Age
Emotional age
Artificial Intelligence
Active Directory replication
Dynamic hosting
Host names
Forward lookup
Reverse lookup
Static IP’s
Password enabling
Password disabling
Network drop offs
Rogue laptops
Site spoofing
Computer viruses
Human viruses
Muscle mass
Muscle loss
Bone loss
Blood pressure
High Density Lipoproteins
Low Density Lipoproteins
Coronary arteries
Slick 50
Beta blockers
Blow holes
Blow hards
Rush Limbaugh
Limburger cheese
Bleu cheese
Information leaks
Cover ups
Cover alls
Plastic lattice
Wood lattice
4 x 4’s
2 x 4’s
Crown mold
Shoe mold
Miter saws
Chain saws
Laser levels
Cedar mulch
Hardwood mulch
Synthetic mulch
Irrigation leaks
Child abuse
Drug abuse
Korean war
Vietnam war
Ho Chi Mien
Mao Tse Tung
General Tsao’s Chicken
Egg drop soup
Parachute drops
Desert Storm
Enduring Freedom
Generation X, Y & Z
Abstract Expressionist
Post Modern
Stream of consciousness
Southern gothic
Mental illness
Hissy fits
Historic districts
….And the band played on.

I heard this song on the way home from work yesterday. It sounded so good. And it kinda goes with this post.

The Temptations "Ball of Confusion"

May 14, 2009

On Tour in America

Michelangelo's "David" brought to you by corporate sponsors McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

May 13, 2009

Chris Isaak

The first time I heard this song on the radio I thought it was The Moody Blues.
"Wicked Game"

May 12, 2009

Crash Test Dummies

Some guy from work was playing this song today. I haven't heard it in a long time. It's a weird little tune but I always liked it.

Crash Test Dummies with "Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm" live.

May 11, 2009

Birthday & Baseball

I think something is wrong with my camera. It's someone's ninth birthday today and the pictures I took make the birthday girl look taller and there's a shadow of teenager peaking out from her face. I'll either have to get my camera repaired or put a brick on top of this birthday girl's head.

And the birthday girl's cousin played in his T-ball game.

Michael Franti & Spearhead

"Yell Fire"

May 7, 2009

Chris Whitley

Whitley was born in Houston, Texas. He spent the first decade of his career in Belgium, where he recorded several albums and saw moderate success.

Though relatively unknown to the mainstream, he worked with many top named musicians throughout his career. In 1991, U2/Peter Gabriel producer Daniel Lanois and his protégé, Malcolm Burn, recorded Whitley's Stateside debut album Living With the Law. Two of his singles charted in the United States on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts: "Big Sky Country" and "Living with the Law" Others like Dave Matthews and Bruce Hornsby also appeared on 2001's Rocket House. Whitley played a brand of confessional acoustic and electric blues, mixed with modern rock. His lyrics often contained overt sexual references and sometimes bordered on the surreal. An avid fan of jazz legend John Coltrane, Whitley played the National/Dobro, made famous by many of the great Mississippi delta blues players of the 1930s.

In fall 2005 it was revealed that Whitley was terminally ill with lung cancer. He died on November 20, 2005; his brother, Dan, and daughter, Trixie, publicly announced his passing.

Although Whitley wasn't a mainstream act, his passing resonated throughout the music community and garnered coverage and press throughout the world, ranging from Time, the New York Times, and National Public Radio to a tribute mention at the 2006 Grammy Awards. His albums Living With The Law and Dirt Floor are regarded as classics, and passionate advocates abound for any of his dozen or so other releases, from the hard rock driven Din Of Ecstasy to the somewhat more experimental sound of Rocket House to the dark, jazzy minimalism of Hotel Vast Horizon. Bruce Springsteen, Bruce Hornsby, Tom Petty, Don Henley, Iggy Pop, Alanis Morissette, John Mayer, Gavin DeGraw, and Keith Richards all count themselves admirers of Whitley's music. Dave Matthews has said, "I feel more passion for his music than I do for my own.

Lost and the Digital Video Recorder

We were late getting to the TV to watch Lost last night. I told wife not to worry because I had it set to record on the fancy schmancy downstairs DVR. Our upstairs DVR can record two different shows that are on at the same time. It’s a dual recordable DVR. I didn’t know the downstairs DVR was not dual recordable, but I was about to find out because I had recorded another show on another channel, on at the same time as Lost. I pressed the “my DVR” button on the remote and Lost wasn’t on the list. WTF? We had missed the first twenty minutes. The show is confusing enough as it is.

Lost involves a lot of shifts in time, in real-time, flash-back’s and flash-forward’s. DVR’s have the same similarities, in pausing live TV, fast-forward, and fast-reverse. I found out last week that if you haven’t set Lost to record and you pause the show for, say twenty minutes while on the phone with some idiot who dares call you while “your” show is on, and then resume watching, you’re going to miss the last twenty minutes because when the show ends, it ends. I’ve had to go to a few times to watch parts of Lost that I had missed due to these mishaps.

I’ve gone to bed after watching the show, wondering if I was my past self or future self. Maybe if I enrolled in the advanced physics doctorate program at Oxford University, I’d be able to figure out the relativity between the present time, my DVR and Lost.

Rare White Deer