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Idina nails it
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Published Tuesday, March 04, 2014 @ 12:25 PM EST
Mar 04 2014

Forget the Oscars. This is the best version.

(YouTube video: Jimmy Fallon, Idina Menzel and The Roots perform "Let It Go" on classroom instruments!)

The song as it appears in the film was undoubtedly assembled from multiple takes and enhanced electronically- a necessity when you're planning to exhibit it in huge IMAX venues with several thousands watts of audio amplification.

(YouTube video: Idina Menzel performs "Let It Go" in "Frozen.")

Frankly, her Oscar performance wasn't her best... having John Travolta mangle her name didn't help. Think about it- you're following Bette Midler, you're the last musical performer of the night, singing what everyone expects to win the Oscar for Best Song, the live orchestra is in a recording studio over a mile away, and "Let It Go" (which its authors say was specifically written to be "Idina's Badass Song") is the Power Ballad from Hell, ranging from F3 to E♭5.

Go ahead... follow along...

(YouTube video: Let It Go arranged by Larry Moore)

Anyway, it was nice to see her actually enjoying herself with Fallon and The Roots.


Categories: Frozen, Idina Menzel, Jimmy Fallon, Music, Video, YouTube


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Cleaning off the desktop
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Published Sunday, February 23, 2014 @ 7:58 AM EST
Feb 23 2014

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"Some people, when they're slightly feverish and taking strong antibiotcs, have exotic dreams. I dream of digital rights management."

"Sounds exciting."

"Not the way we implement it."

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They used a text-analysis program to measure the tone of articles in USA Today between 2007 and 2009, and found that especially positive articles predicted a downturn in the Dow Jones Industrial Average between a week and a month later. The researchers also analyzed all twenty-one U.S. Presidential inaugural addresses between 1933 and 2009, and found that Presidents who waxed optimistic about the future saw a rise in unemployment and a slowdown in economic growth during their terms in office. It’s perhaps too strong to suggest that positive thinking, alone, produced these large macroeconomic changes, but the staggering results in this most recent paper are consistent with more than a decade’s worth of studies in Oettingen’s lab. (The Powerlessness of Positive Thinking)

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Just a reminder- Abe Vigoda's birthday is tomorrow. Get your party supplies today.

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When the next crisis happens, and by the nature of markets, it will happen again, the government will do the only rational thing it can, and once again step in and save the institutions with taxpayer money. The economy will again be wrecked and the average family will again pay the costs.

The bankers won't suffer much, not personally. That's the real stupidity tax, and we are all paying. The Powerball lottery: Is it really a stupidity tax?.

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(YouTube video: a great Vivaldi/Disney mashup.)

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Beware the meeping angels.


Categories: Cartoons, Cleaning off the desktop, Music, YouTube


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Elvis!
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Published Wednesday, January 08, 2014 @ 6:17 AM EST
Jan 08 2014

Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 - August 16, 1977) was an American singer, musician, and actor. One of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as "The King of Rock and Roll", or simply, "The King". Presley is one of the most celebrated musicians of 20th century. Commercially successful in many genres, including pop, blues and gospel, he is the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music. He was nominated for 14 Grammys and won three, receiving the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36. He has been inducted into multiple music halls of fame. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

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Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine.

Don't let your head get too big, it'll break your neck.

Don't criticize what you don't understand, son. You never walked in that man's shoes

I believe the key to happiness is: someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to.

I don't feel I'll live a long life. That's why I have to get what I can from every day.

I don't know anything about music. In my line, you don't have to.

I have no use for bodyguards, but I have a very special use for two highly trained certified public accountants.

I was training to be an electrician. I suppose I got wired the wrong way round somewhere along the line.

I'd never do anything vulgar before an audience. My mother wouldn't permit it.

Music should be something that makes you gotta move, inside or outside.

My voice is ordinary. If I stand still while I'm singing, I might as well go back to driving a truck.

Rhythm is something you either have or don't have, but when you have it you have it all over.

Singers come and go, but if you're a good actor, you can last a long time.

Talent is being able to sell what you're feeling.

The image is one thing and the human being is another. It's very hard to live up to an image.

The Lord can give, and the Lord can take away. I might be herding sheep next year.

The only thing worse than watchin' a bad movie is bein' in one.

There is nothing more notable in Socrates than that he found time, when he was an old man, to learn music and dancing, and thought it time well spent.

Those movies sure got me into a rut.

Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain't goin' away.

When things go wrong, don't go with them.

When you're a celebrity, people treat you nicer. The bad part is, they also tell you what they think you want to hear, which ain't always the truth.

You only pass through this life once; you don't come back for an encore.

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Elvis Presley is the greatest cultural force in the twentieth century. He introduced the beat to everything, music, language, clothes, it's a whole new social revolution- the 60s comes from it.
-Leonard Bernstein

We're the Axis of Elvis.
-John Lileks

America is Elvis Presley- the most beautiful, talented, rebellious nation in the history of Earth. And now, you're in your Vegas years. You've squeezed yourself into a white jumpsuit, you're wheezing your way through 'Love Me Tender' and you might be about to pass away bloated on the toilet. But you're still the King.
-John Oliver

He was a unique artist… an original in an area of imitators.
-Mick Jagger

A lot of people have accused Elvis of stealing the black man's music, when in fact almost every black solo entertainer copied his stage mannerisms from Elvis.
-Jackie Wilson

On a scale of one to ten, I would rate him eleven.
-Sammy Davis, Jr.

Before Elvis, there was nothing.
-John Lennon

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Categories: Elvis, Music, Video, YouTube


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The most talented human on earth
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Published Monday, June 10, 2013 @ 11:29 AM EDT
Jun 10 2013

(YouTube video: "It's Bigger," the opening number from the 2013 Tony Awards.)

Watch Neil Patrick Harris' jaw-dropping performance at last night's Tony Awards show- eight minutes of stunning perfection that includes singing, dancing, a ten-second costume change, an acrobatic leap through a hoop, nearly having his ear bitten by Mike Tyson, a trick that mystifyingly transports him in under ten seconds to the back of the cavernous Radio City Music Hall, plus the choruses from every musical currently on Broadway.

Mr. Harris is unique. I know of no other performer with these stellar abilities, in addition to being intellectually brilliant, self-deprecating and dedicated to his family.

He turns 40 this Saturday- at 40, I began having difficultly bending at the knees.

Here's to his continued success.


Categories: Music, Neil Patrick Harris, Tony Awards


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Quotes of the day: Francis Albert Sinatra
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Published Tuesday, May 14, 2013 @ 4:58 AM EDT
May 14 2013

Baritone Frank Sinatra (December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998) was indisputably the 20th century's greatest singer of popular song. Though influenced by Bing Crosby's crooning, and by learning from trombonist Tommy Dorsey's breath control and blues singer Billie Holiday's rhythmic swing, Frank Sinatra mainstreamed the concept of singing colloquially, treating lyrics as personal statements and handling melodies with the ease of a jazz improviser. His best work is standards- Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, and the Gershwins- but Sinatra, despite his 1957 denunciation of rock & roll as degenerate, recorded songs by the likes of Stevie Wonder, George Harrison, Jimmy Webb, and Billy Joel. Not only did his freely interpretive approach pave the way for the idiosyncrasies of rock singing, but with his character- a mix of tough-guy cool and romantic vulnerability- he became the first true pop idol, a superstar who through his music established a persona audiences found compelling and true. (Click for full article.)

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Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy.

Being an 18-karat manic-depressive and having lived a life of violent emotional contradictions, I have an overacute capacity for sadness as well as elation.

Cock your hat- angles are attitudes.

Fear is the enemy of logic. There is no more debilitating, crushing, self-defeating, sickening thing in the world- to an individual or to a nation.

For years I've nursed a secret desire to spend the Fourth of July in a double hammock with a swingin' redheaded broad... but I could never find me a double hammock.

Hell hath no fury like a hustler with a literary agent.

How can a free people make decisions without facts? If the press reports world news as they report about me, we're in trouble.

Hunger is inexcusable in a world where grain rots in silos and butter turns rancid while being held for favorable commodity indices.

I believe that God knows what each of us wants and needs. It's not necessary for us to make it to church on Sunday to reach Him. You can find Him anyplace. And if that sounds heretical, my source is pretty good: Matthew, Five to Seven, The Sermon on the Mount.

I like intelligent women. When you go out, it shouldn't be a staring contest.

If you possess something but you can't give it away, then you don't possess it... it possesses you.

I'm gonna live 'til I die.

I'm not one of those complicated, mixed-up cats. I'm not looking for the secret to life... I just go on from day to day, taking what comes.

I'm not unmindful of a man's seeming need for faith; I'm for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, tranquilizers, or a bottle of Jack Daniel's. But to me religion is a deeply personal thing in which man and God go it alone together, without the witch doctor in the middle.

I'm supposed to have a Ph.D on the subject of women. But the truth is I've flunked more often than not. I'm very fond of women; I admire them. But, like all men, I don't understand them.

I've always had a theory that whenever guys and gals start swinging, they begin to lose interest in conquering the world.

People often remark that I'm pretty lucky. Luck is only important in so far as getting the chance to sell yourself at the right moment. After that, you've got to have talent and know how to use it.

Put your sunglasses on, because you ain't going home 'til the morning comes.

Stop worrying about communism; just get rid of the conditions that nurture it.

What I do with my life is of my own doing. I live it the best way I can.

Whatever else has been said about me personally is unimportant. When I sing, I believe. I'm honest.

When lip service to some mysterious deity permits bestiality on Wednesday and absolution on Sunday, cash me out.

You can be the most artistically perfect performer in the world, but an audience is like a broad- if you're indifferent, endsville.

You gotta love livin', baby, 'cause dyin' is a pain in the ass.

(YouTube video: "Fly Me to the Moon")

(Today is also the birthday of Gustave Flaubert)


Categories: Frank Sinatra, Music, Video, YouTube


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My faith in the 21st century is restored...
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Published Monday, May 13, 2013 @ 6:22 AM EDT
May 13 2013

The first Canadian commander of the International Space Station, Chris Hadfield, is scheduled to return to earth this evening with U.S. astronaut Tom Marshburn and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko.

Hadfield's been in orbit for 148 days, and during that time he's not only done whatever it this they do on the ISS, he's maintained constant contact with the people of this strange little blue ball via Twitter and other media. But he obviously saved the best for last.

(YouTube video: "A Space Oddity," from the ISS.

Godspeed, guys. May you have a safe and uneventful landing.

And eat your heart out, William Shatner.


Categories: Chris Hadfield, ISS, Music, NASA, Video, YouTube


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Chaka Khan is 60 today
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Published Saturday, March 23, 2013 @ 8:39 AM EDT
Mar 23 2013

(YouTube video: The Wrath of Chaka Khan)


Categories: Chaka Khan, Music, Star Trek, William Shatner, YouTube


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49 years ago today...
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Published Saturday, February 09, 2013 @ 7:41 AM EST
Feb 09 2013

The Beatles made their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964. The show was watched by 73 million people.

Trivia: The Beatles' performances and recordings of "Till There Was You," the love ballad from the Broadway musical "The Music Man," earned writer Meredith Willson more money than all of the show's royalties combined. The Fab Four wanted something in their repertoire that would appeal to parents and critics. Sir Paul McCartney now owns the publishing and performance rights to Meredith Willson’s music catalog.


Categories: Ed Sullivan, Meredith Willson, Music, Paul McCartney, The Beatles, Video, YouTube


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A pair of parodies
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Published Wednesday, October 24, 2012 @ 8:28 AM EDT
Oct 24 2012

It's the fiftieth anniversary of the release of Allan Sherman's first record album, My Son, The Folk Singer, which broke sales records and hit number one on the 1962 Billboard pop album chart.

I was eight when I first heard Allan Sherman.

I memorized all of the songs on all his albums.

That should explain a great deal.

Sherman is best known for his hit single Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah. My favorite Sherman pieces aren't even complete songs, but medleys comprised of two or four lines, or a single verse, concatenated, recorded before a live audience, and positioned as the last track on the record.

Herewith are Shticks and Stones from My Son, The Folk Singer, and Shticks of One and a Half a Dozen of the Other from My Son, The Celebrity.

For those of you not familiar with early 60s culture, you may need to click the links which following to appreciate the references to Levittown, David Susskind, Geritol, Billy Sol, and Metrecal.. As for the Medicare reference, the songs were recorded prior to the program's creation in 1965.

Also note my cats were fascinated by the pigeon in the second video. Turn down the sound, put it on an endless loop, and watch the ensuring hilarity.


Categories: Allan Sherman, Music, Video, YouTube


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Fifteen years...
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Published Friday, October 12, 2012 @ 8:42 AM EDT
Oct 12 2012

Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. (December 31, 1943 – October 12, 1997), known professionally as John Denver, was an American singer/songwriter, activist, and humanitarian. After traveling and living in numerous locations while growing up in his military family, Denver began his music career in folk music groups in the late 1960s. His greatest commercial success was as a solo singer. Throughout his life, Denver recorded and released approximately 300 songs, about 200 of which he composed. He performed primarily with an acoustic guitar and sang about his joy in nature, his enthusiasm for music, and relationship trials. Denver's music appeared on a variety of charts, including country and western, the Billboard Hot 100, and adult contemporary, in all earning him 12 gold and 4 platinum albums with his signature songs "Take Me Home, Country Roads", "Annie's Song", "Rocky Mountain High", and "Sunshine on My Shoulders".

Denver further starred in films and several notable television specials in the 1970s and 1980s. In the following decades, he continued to record, but also focused on calling attention to environmental issues, lent his vocal support to space exploration, and testified in front of Congress to protest censorship in music. He was known for his love of the state of Colorado, which he sang about numerous times. He lived in Aspen, Colorado, for much of his life, and influenced the governor to name him Poet Laureate of the state in 1974. The Colorado state legislature also adopted "Rocky Mountain High" as one of its state songs in 2007. Denver was an avid pilot, and died while flying his personal aircraft at the age of 53. Denver was one of the most popular acoustic artists of the 1970s. (Click for full article.)

Perhaps love is like a resting place
A shelter from the storm
It exists to give you comfort
It is there to keep you warm
And in those times of trouble
When you are most alone
The memory of love will bring you home

Perhaps love is like a window
Perhaps an open door
It invites you to come closer
It wants to show you more
And even if you lose yourself
And don't know what to do
The memory of love will see you through

Oh, love to some is like a cloud
To some as strong as steel
For some a way of living
For some a way to feel
And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go
And some say love is everything
And some say they don't know

Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of change
Like a fire when it's cold outside
Or thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you.

And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go
And some say love is everything
And some say they don't know

Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of change
Like a fire when it's cold outside
Or thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you.


Categories: John Denver, Music, Video, YouTube


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Lydia The Tattooed Lady. Annotated.
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Published Wednesday, October 03, 2012 @ 2:44 AM EDT
Oct 03 2012

(YouTube video: "Lydia the Tattooed Lady,")

Yesterday was Groucho's birthday, and every other year or so I post this clip of him singing Lydia, the Tattooed Lady from the classic Marx Brothers film At The Circus.

I was just about to re-post the video when I remembered an e-mail I had received from a reader the last time I published it. A 21-year-old college student asked if Lydia was a "gibberish" song, because many of the lyrics made no sense to him.

No sense?

Lyricist E.Y. "Yip" Harburg was at the top of his form when he wrote Lydia. It's fiendishly clever, invoking historical and contemporary references, and he effortlessly blends them with oblique asides describing Lydia's impressive physical characteristics. The result was an instant classic.

I watched the video again, and then it dawned on me... if my young reader had failed to pay attention during his history, literature, and geography classes, he just wouldn't get it.

So, if you've listened to Lydia and found yourself not only tapping your toes but scratching your head, here are the lyrics. With footnotes.

There will be a quiz later, so please pay attention.

Lydia The Tattooed Lady
(music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by E.Y. Harburg,
the guys who also did "Over the Rainbow.")

Ah, this meeting brings back memories. Childhood days... Lemonade! Romance! My life was wrapped around the circus... Her name was Lydia. I met her at the World's Fair in 1900 (marked down from 1940). Ah, Lydia...

She was the most glorious creature under the sun...
Thaïs!(1)
du Barry!(2)
Garbo!(3)
Rolled into one...

Oh......

Lydia, oh Lydia, say, have you met Lydia?
Lydia The Tattooed Lady
She has eyes that folks adore so,
And a torso even more so.
Lydia, oh Lydia, that encyclopedia.(4)
Oh Lydia The Queen of Tattoo.
On her back is The Battle of Waterloo,(5).
Beside it The Wreck of the Hesperus(6) too.
And proudly above waves the red, white, and blue(7).
You can learn a lot from Lydia!

La-la-la...la-la-la.
La-la-la...la-la-la.

When her robe is unfurled she will show you the world,
If you step up and tell her where.
For a dime you can see Kankakee(8) or Paree(9),
Or Washington Crossing The Delaware.(10)

La-la-la...la-la-la.
La-la-la...la-la-la.

Oh Lydia, oh Lydia, say, have you met Lydia?
Oh Lydia The Tattooed Lady.
When her muscles start relaxin',
Up the hill comes Andrew Jackson.(11)
Lydia, oh Lydia, that encyclopedia.
Oh Lydia the queen of them all.
For two bits(12) she will do a mazurka(13) in jazz,
With a view of Niagara(14) that nobody has.
And on a clear day you can see Alcatraz.(15)
You can learn a lot from Lydia!

La-la-la...la-la-la.
La-la-la...la-la-la.

Come along and see Buffalo Bill(16) with his lasso.
Just a little classic by Mendel Picasso.(17)
Here is Captain Spaulding(18) exploring the Amazon(19).
Here's Godiva,(20) but with her pajamas on.

La-la-la...la-la-la.
La-la-la...la-la-la.

Here is Grover Whalen,(21) unveilin' the Trylon.(22),
Over on the West Coast we have Treasure Island.(23)
Here's Najinsky(24) a-doin' the rhumba.(25)
Here's her social security numba.

Oh Lydia, oh Lydia, that encyclopedia
Oh Lydia the champ of them all.
She once swept an Admiral clear off his feet.
The ships on her hips made his heart skip a beat.
And now the old boy's in command of the fleet,
For he went and married Lydia!

I said Lydia...
He said Lydia...
I said Lydia...
We said Lydia...
La la!

Notes:

 (1) Thaïs, a stunningly beautiful and rich fourth century courtesan who lived in Roman-controlled Alexandria, Egypt. She eventually saw the error of her ways, converted to Christianity, gave her money to the church, spent three years immured in a convent cell as extreme penance, and died 15 days after her release.

 (2) Jeanne Bécu, a.k.a. Madame du Barry (August 19, 1743 - December 8, 1793), the stunningly beautiful and, alas, final Maîtresse-en-titre (chief mistress) of King Louis XV. She was convicted of treason for helping people flee the French Revolution and was beheaded on the guillotine.

 (3) Greta Garbo, born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson, (September 18, 1905 – April 15, 1990), the stunningly beautiful Swedish film actress and international star. She made fewer than 30 films during her 1920-1941 career, retired at the age of 36, and spent her remaining years shunning publicity.

 (4)A book or set of books containing articles on various topics, usually in alphabetical arrangement, covering all branches of knowledge or, less commonly, all aspects of one subject.

 (5)The military engagement in which an imperial French army under the command of Emperor Napoleon was defeated by the armies of the Seventh Coalition on June 18, 1815.

 (6)The Wreck of the Hesperus is a narrative poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow describing... well, bottom line, we're talking about a tattoo of a wrecked, ice-covered ship on a reef with a dead little girl tied to a broken, floating mast.

 (7)The colors of the U.S. flag, a reference to the flag itself, or a reference to the country.

 (8)Kankakee, Illinois, a city about 60 miles south southwest of Chicago.

 (9)Paree (Paris), France's capital and largest city.

 (10)German-American artist Emanuel Gottlieb's 1851 oil-on-canvas painting depicting, with numerous inaccuracies and anachronisms, then-General George Washington standing in a boat, leading his troops in the Christmas 1776 sneak attack against Hessian mercenaries stationed in Trenton, New Jersey.

(11)Andrew "Old Hickory" Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845), the seventh President of the United States, serving two terms from 1829 to 1837. He's best known as the guy on the $20 bill and the first President someone tried to assassinate. Prior to entering politics, he was a noted military leader whose exploits included leading his troops up a steep hill near Tohopeka, Alabama on the March 27, 1814 Battle of Horseshoe Bend during the War of 1812. (The War of 1812 lasted until 1815.)
The reader is encouraged to learn more about Jackson. His presidency makes the current situation in Washington look like a 60s' hippie love-in. Old Hickory was ill-tempered, unforgiving, and the target of vicious personal attacks. During the 1828 election, his opponents called him a jackass. Political cartoonist Thomas Nast later used the jackass to characterize members of Jackson's then newly-formed Democratic party, a symbol that remains to this day. Jackson had been involved in numerous duels and had so many bullets lodged in various body parts that it was said he "rattled like a bag of marbles."

(12)25 cents. The etymology is left as an exercise for the reader.

(13)An upbeat Polish folk dance.

(14)Niagara Falls, the three cataracts located on the border of New York state and the province of Ontario, Canada.

(15)The island in San Francisco Bay. Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary operated there from 1933 to 1963.

(16)William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody (February 26, 1846 – January 10, 1917), whose eponymous wild west shows toured the U.S. and Europe.

(17)Either badly-punctuated references to geneticist Gregor Mendel and artist Pablo Picasso, or lyricist Harburg coupling the last name of a world famous artist to a funny-sounding Jewish first name. You know, like Shlomo Warhol. Come to think of it, Shlomo Picasso is funnier.

(18)The character Groucho portrayed in the stage play and film Animal Crackers.

(19)The river in South America, not the website.

(20)In 1028, Lady Godiva repeatedly asked her husband Leofric (the Earl of Mercia) to not pass along to the impoverished citizens of Coventry the taxes levied on him by the King of England, Edward the Confessor. ("Trickle down" had a different meaning then.) Leo told Lady G that if she'd ride naked through the town market on a horse, he'd nix the tax hike. The next day she did just that. Leofric kept his promise and eliminated all taxes in Coventry except for those related to boarding horses. The bits about her covering her, uh, bits, with her long flowing hair- and the story that Tom the Tailor was struck blind when he took a peek as she passed by his shop (the origin of "Peeping Tom")- are later embellishments.

(21)President of the New York World Fair Corporation.

(22)One of two large structures located at the center of the 1939 World's Fair in New York.

(23)A man-made island in San Francisco Bay between San Francisco and Oakland.

(24)Vaslav Nijinsky (March 12, 1889 or 1890 – April 8, 1950), considered by many to be the greatest male dancer of the early 20th century.

(25)A style of ballroom dancing based on the Cuban bolero-son. Not to be confused with the terminal emulation software. Or the autonomous robot vacuum cleaner.


Categories: Groucho Marx, History, Lydia, The Tattooed Lady, Music, Video, YouTube


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Three decades of iconic wonderfulness
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Published Tuesday, October 02, 2012 @ 6:18 AM EDT
Oct 02 2012

Late Night with David Letterman observed the 30th anniversary of the iconic disco tune It's Raining Men yesterday with a big end-of-show production number featuring surviving Weather Girl Martha Wash; Paul Shaffer on keyboards; an augmented CBS orchestra; six(!) backup singers; three female dancers; and three male acrobats suspended from ceiling-mounted silk streamers.

No wonder it's Homer Simpson's favorite song.

Why Letterman, you may ask? The song was co-written by Shaffer, the late night host's sidekick/bandleader, and was featured early in the run of Letterman's late night show on NBC- episode 174, which aired on January 12, 1983.

Originally written in 1979 by Shaffer and Paul Jabara, the song was rejected by Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Cher, and Barbra Streisand. Martha Wash and the late Izora Armstead, originally performing as "Two Tons O' Fun," became "The Weather Girls" and released "Men" in October, 1982.

An international hit, it sold 6 million copies worldwide. While it reached #1 on the US disco chart, it only climbed to #46 on the Billboard Hot 100. In April 2001, Geri Halliwell released a cover version that was used in the film Bridget Jones' Diary. It was a big hit in the UK and Europe, but received little airplay in the US.

Used for decades in dozens of films and television episodes, "Men"'s most recent reincarnation is in the Broadway production of the stage musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert- The Musical. It was performed by the show's cast, plus Wash and Shaffer, at the 2011 Tony Awards.

The clip from last night is at the bottom of this post.

My all-time favorite version remains this one. The quality leaves a bit to be desired and the audio is slightly out of sync for the first minute or so, but it's, well, two tons o' fun. Watch the audience, especially when Martha heads into their midst and intimidates those in the aisle seats with her powerful gospel soprano. As Letterman commented later in the show, "They ripped the roof off the joint."

(YouTube video: The Weather Girls perform live on NBC's "Late Night with David Letterman" in January, 1983.)

(YouTube video: Martha Wash and Paul Shaffer lead a lavish (for late night TV) 30th anniversary performance on CBS' "The Late Show with David Letterman".)


Categories: David Letterman, It's Raining Men, Martha Wash, Music, Paul Shaffer, Video, YouTube


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Klingon Style
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Published Saturday, September 29, 2012 @ 4:17 PM EDT
Sep 29 2012

(YouTube video: Star Trek parody of "Gangnam Style")

You're welcome.


Categories: Music, Star Trek, WTF?, YouTube


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It's Raining Mitt!
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Published Saturday, September 22, 2012 @ 8:36 AM EDT
Sep 22 2012


(YouTube video: Martin Short sings "It's Raining Mitt")

He likes firing people
("I like being able to fire people...")
Doesn't care about the very poor
("I'm not concerned about the very poor...")
He's wealthy and good-looking
("My name is Mitt Romney...")
Yes, that's I guy I'm for

When campaigning in the Deep South
He pretends to like eating grits
Rick Santorum's gone post-mortem 'cause
It's gonna start raining Mitt

It's raining Mitt
Holy heaven
Everyone needs a hit- of Mitt
Under Romney
There's a future in sight
Where all our trees are the right height

It's raining Mitt
What a wager
I'll make you a ten
Thousand dollar bet
So white, rich and fit
It's stormin' for a moment Mitt

President Obama
Mitt Romney says you're to blame
For too much federal spending
Though your healthcare plans look the same
I don't know economics
But when Mitt mentions income tax
Then I guess he must know something
Since his wife drives two Cadillacs
(She drives two Cadillacs!)

It's raining Mitt
I ain't lyin'
It's raining Mitt
No s**t
It's raining Mitt
Let's show the kind of Mitt that we are
And tie the dog to the roof of our car
Mitt, hallelujah
It's raining Mitt...
Good God it's raining mitt, yeah...


Categories: David Letterman, Martin Short, Mitt Romney, Music, Politics, Video, YouTube


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Still waiting for the answers
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Published Tuesday, August 28, 2012 @ 10:04 AM EDT
Aug 28 2012

(YouTube video: Peter, Paul and Mary perform "Blowin' in the Wind" at the August 28, 1983 March on Washington.)


Categories: History, Martin Luther King, Jr., Music, Peter, Paul and Mary, Politics, Video, YouTube


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The King
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Published Thursday, August 16, 2012 @ 6:42 AM EDT
Aug 16 2012

(Video:"Viva Las Vegas")

(Video:"In The Ghetto")

---

Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was one of the most popular American singers of the 20th century. A cultural icon, he is commonly known by the single name Elvis. He is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King".

Presley is regarded as one of the most important figures of 20th-century popular culture. He had a versatile voice and unusually wide success encompassing many genres, including country, pop ballads, gospel, and blues. He is the best- selling solo artist in the history of popular music. Nominated for 14 competitive Grammys, he won three (surprisingly, all in the gospel genre), and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36. He has been inducted into four music halls of fame.

Presley was scheduled to fly out of Memphis on the evening of August 16, 1977, to begin another tour. That afternoon, he was discovered, unresponsive, on his bathroom floor. Attempts to revive him failed, and death was officially pronounced at 3:30 pm at Baptist Memorial Hospital.

Presley's funeral was held at Graceland, on Thursday, August 18. Outside the gates, a car plowed into a group of fans, killing two women and critically injuring a third. Approximately 80,000 people lined the processional route to Forest Hill Cemetery, where Presley was buried next to his mother. Following an attempt to steal the singer's body in late August, the remains of both Elvis Presley and his mother were reburied in Graceland's Meditation Garden on October 2.

Graceland was opened to the public in 1982. Attracting over half a million visitors annually, it is the second most-visited home in the United States, after the White House. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2006. (Click for full Wikipedia article.)

---

It was one of the handful of "where were you" moments that occur in a lifetime. In August, 1977 I was working in a now-defunct typesetting shop in Bethel Park, less than two miles from my current home. At the time, though, we were living hand-to-mouth in West Mifflin, with a 17-month old baby and another due in about two months.

I was getting reading to leave to catch the trolley to downtown when the phone rang. This could not be good news. A bill collector? A baby deciding to arrive ahead of time?

No- the voice on the line said The King was dead.

The trolley and bus ride home, usually a solitary activity, was instead a rolling conversation with fellow riders about Elvis' unfortunate demise and how a major contributor to the soundtrack of our lives was gone.

That was 35 years ago, and Elvis- who paved the way for all the one-name wonders that followed- is still The King.


Categories: Elvis, Movies, Music, YouTube


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Remembering "The best bass player ever"
(permalink)

Published Thursday, August 02, 2012 @ 2:24 AM EDT
Aug 02 2012

James Lee Jamerson (January 29, 1936 - August 2, 1983) was the uncredited bassist on most of Motown Records' hits in the 1960s and early 1970s. He is now regarded, along with fellow Motown bassist and Pittsburgh native Bob Babbitt, as one of the most influential bass players in modern music history. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.

Starting in 1959, Jameson found steady work at Berry Gordy's Hitsville U.S.A. studio, home of the Motown record label. There he became a member of a core of studio musicians who informally called themselves The Funk Brothers. The small, close-knit group performed on most Motown recordings during the 1960s. Jamerson's earliest Motown sessions were performed on double bass, but in the early 1960s he switched to a Fender Precision electric bass

Jamerson, like most of the other Funk Brothers, were jazz musicians who had been recruited by Gordy. For many years, they maintained a typical schedule of recording during the day at Motown's small garage "Studio A" (which they nicknamed "the Snakepit"), then playing gigs in the jazz clubs at night. They also occasionally toured the U.S. with Motown artists. For most of their career, the members of the Funk Brothers went uncredited on Motown singles and albums, and their share of record sales was considerably less than the artists or the label received. Eventually, Motown placed Jamerson on a $1,000 per week retainer.

Jamerson's discography at Motown is a catalog of the major soul hits of the 1960s and 1970s, including "Shotgun" by Junior Walker & the All Stars; "For Once in My Life", "I Was Made To Love Her" by Stevie Wonder; "Going to a Go-Go" by The Miracles; "My Girl" by The Temptations, "Dancing in the Street" by Martha and the Vandellas; "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" by Gladys Knight and the Pips, and later by Marvin Gaye; "Reach Out I'll Be There" and "Bernadette" by the Four Tops; and "You Can't Hurry Love" by The Supremes. According to fellow Funk Brothers in the 2002 documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown, Gaye was desperate to have Jamerson play on "What's Going On", and went to several bars to find the bassist. When he did, he brought Jamerson to the studio, who then played the classic line while lying flat on his back, a feat prospective Motown bassists had to duplicate if they wanted to join the Funk Brothers.

Some sources claim Jamerson played on roughly 95 per cent of Motown recordings between 1962 and 1968. He eventually performed on nearly 30 number one pop hits— surpassing the record commonly attributed to The Beatles. On the R&B charts, nearly 70 of his performances went to the top. (via Wikipedia).

This YouTube video consists of just the vocal and bass track of the Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell hit "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." The complex bass line was improvised by Jamerson during the recording session, and is one of the best examples of the bass countermelodies that helped to give Motown its distinctive sound. The recording isn't the best, but it reveals Jamerson's talent and personality.

From the mid to late 60s, Jamerson split recording duties with native Pittsburgher Bob Babbit, who died on July 16 of this year.


Categories: Bob Babbitt, James Jamerson, Marvin Gaye, Motown, Music, Tammi Terrell, YouTube


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Eligible for Social Security
(permalink)

Published Saturday, July 28, 2012 @ 6:36 AM EDT
Jul 28 2012

Jonathan Edwards (born July 28, 1946; Aitkin, Minnesota) talks about Sunshine:


Categories: Eligible for Social Security, Jonathan Edwards, Music, Politics, Video, YouTube


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Bob Babbitt (1937-2012): The Motown legend from Pittsburgh
(permalink)

Published Tuesday, July 17, 2012 @ 12:30 AM EDT
Jul 17 2012


Bob Babbitt
(1937-2012)

Bob Babbitt, the bass guitarist who provided the driving, iconic bass lines for "Cool Jerk," "Band of Gold," "The Tears of a Clown," and scores of other hits, died yesterday of brain cancer. He was 74.

Born Robert Kreinar in Pittsburgh on November 26, 1937, Babbitt was a member of Motown's house band, The Funk Brothers, from 1966 to 1972. He alternated with the legendary James Jamerson on most of the label's hits.

Babbitt's legendary performances include "Cool Jerk" by The Capitols; "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" by Stevie Wonder; "War" by Edwin Starr; "The Tears of a Clown" by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles; "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" and "Inner City Blues" by Marvin Gaye; "Band of Gold" by Freda Payne; "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)" and "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)" by The Temptations.

One of the most sought-after session musicians in the industry, Babbitt played on hundreds of recordings for scores of stars. His distinctive stylings helped to make many of those songs classic hits. A small sample includes "Little Town Flirt" by Del Shannon; "I Got a Name" by Jim Croce; "Midnight Train to Georgia" by Gladys Knight & the Pips; "Scorpio" by Dennis Coffey & the Detroit Guitar Band; and "(The) Rubberband Man" by The Spinners. His bass line in "Scorpio" was the standard by which bass players were judged in the 70s; those who couldn't duplicate Babbitt's performance didn't get the gig.

Babbitt is featured in the 2002 film "Standing in the Shadows of Motown," which documented the Funk Brothers' previously unheralded contribution to the label's success. He also performed on Phil Collins' 2010 Motown tribute album, "Going Back." In March, 2011 he appeared onstage in an episode of American Idol, backing up Jacob Lusk's performance of "You're All I Need To Get By" for the show's "Motown Week."

A full biography of Babbitt is available on his web site.

As a kid growing up in Homestead, PA in the 60s and 70s, Babbitt was an integral part of my daily existence, even though I didn't learn of his contributions- let alone his name- until decades later. Motown was everywhere then- and for me, it still is. I don't think I've gone more than two or three days without hearing something with a Babbitt bass line since I bought "Cool Jerk" at the little record store on Eighth Avenue in July '66.

Thanks, Bob, for all the memories.

(YouTube video: Cool Jerk, with Bob Babbitt on bass,
from the film "Standing in the Shadows of Motown")

(YouTube video: Love Is Like A Heat Wave, with Bob Babbitt on bass,
from the film Phil Collins' "Going Back" documentary.)


Categories: Bob Babbitt, Motown, Music, Video, YouTube


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"Sometimes I get this crazy dream that I just take off in my car...
(permalink)

Published Monday, July 16, 2012 @ 6:10 AM EDT
Jul 16 2012

...but you can travel on ten thousand miles, and still stay where you are..."

Harry Forster Chapin (December 7, 1942 – July 16, 1981) was an American singer-songwriter best known for his folk rock songs, including "Taxi", "W*O*L*D", and the number-one hit "Cat's in the Cradle". Chapin was also a dedicated humanitarian who fought to end world hunger; he was a key player in the creation of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger in 1977. In 1987, Chapin was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his humanitarian work. (Click here for full article.)

(YouTube video: Harry Chapin performing "W*O*L*D")

(YouTube video: Harry Chapin performing "Circle")

All my life's a circle, sunrise and sundown
The moon rolls through the night-time, 'til the daybreak comes around
All my life's a circle, but I can't tell you why
The seasons spinning 'round again, the years keep rolling by

It seems like I've been here before, I can't remember when
But I've got this funny feeling that we'll all get together again
There's no straight lines make up my life, and all my roads are bends
There's no clear-cut beginnings and so far no dead ends

I've found you a thousand times, I guess you've done the same
But then we lose each other, it's like a children's game
As I find you here again the thought runs through my mind
Our love is like a circle, let's go round one more time


Categories: Harry Chapin, Music, Video, YouTube


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Do you mean the satellite or the song? Yes.
(permalink)

Published Tuesday, July 10, 2012 @ 12:20 AM EDT
Jul 10 2012

Telstar is the name of various communications satellites, including the first such satellite to relay television signals. Telstar 1 was launched on top of a Thor-Delta rocket on July 10, 1962. It successfully relayed through space the first television pictures, telephone calls, fax images and provided the first live transatlantic television feed.

(YouTube video: Newsreel of Telstar launch.)

(YouTube video: Telstar by The Tornados.)

Telstar was a 1962 instrumental record performed by The Tornados. It was the first single by a British band to reach number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and was also a number one hit in the UK. The record was named after the AT&T communications satellite Telstar, which went into orbit in July 1962. The song was released five weeks later on August 17, 1962. It was written and produced by Joe Meek, and featured a clavioline, a keyboard instrument with a distinctive electronic sound. It was estimated to have sold at least five million copies worldwide


Categories: History, Music, Telstar, Video, YouTube


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Put on my blue suede shoes and I boarded the plane...
(permalink)

Published Thursday, July 05, 2012 @ 12:00 AM EDT
Jul 05 2012

(YouTube video: "Walking in Memphis" official music video.)

Born on July 5, 1959, Marc Cohn was raised in Cleveland, Ohio. Orphaned as a youngster, he was barely out of infancy when his mother died; his father died ten years later, when Cohn was 12. As a teenager in the 1970s Cohn was inspired by the plaintive voices of his generation, idolizing Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne and especially Paul Simon, whose music, Cohn says, can bring him to tears. Cohn learned to play guitar and started writing songs when he was in junior high school, playing and singing with a local band called Doanbrook Hotel. While attending Oberlin College in Ohio he taught himself to play the piano, then after transferring to the University of California at Los Angeles began to perform in the intimate coffeehouse and steakhouse venues popular in that locale.

Read more: Marc Cohn Biography


Categories: Marc Cohn, Music, Video, YouTube


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Superman's ghost
(permalink)

Published Saturday, June 16, 2012 @ 12:01 AM EDT
Jun 16 2012

George Reeves (January 5, 1914-June 16, 1959)

(YouTube video: Don McLean performing "Superman's Ghost")


Categories: Don McLean, George Reeves, Music, Superman, YouTube


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Gentle on our minds
(permalink)

Published Monday, June 04, 2012 @ 12:00 AM EDT
Jun 04 2012

John Hartford (December 30, 1937 – June 4, 2001):

(YouTube video: John Hartford performing "Gentle On My Mind")


Categories: John Hartford, Music, Video, YouTube


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It was 20 years ago today...
(permalink)

Published Tuesday, May 22, 2012 @ 2:42 AM EDT
May 22 2012

... and late night television's never been the same. Johnny Carson's last day as host of The Tonight Show. The video below is actually from the night before, but it's the one most people as Johnny's official "farewell."

(YouTube video. From the description: Bette Midler singing "One For My Baby (And One For The Road)" on Johnny Carson's final show with guest appearances (1992). On May 21, 1992, the eve of Johnny Carson's last show, he hosted his final guests, Robin Williams and Bette Midler. It was also the final show before a regular studio audience; fans, who had been camping out to get into the final shows, waited up to 35 hours to get into this one. Once underway, the atmosphere was electric and Carson was greeted with a sustained, two-minute ovation at the start. Williams displayed an especially uninhibited take on his trademark manic energy and stream-of-consciousness lunacy. Midler, in contrast, found the emotional vein of the farewell. When the conversation turned to Johnny's favorite songs- "I'll Be Seeing You" and "Here's That Rainy Day" -- Midler mentioned she knew a chorus of the latter. She began singing the song, and after the first line, Carson joined in and turned it into an impromptu duet. Midler finished her appearance from center stage, where she slowly sang the pop standard "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)". Carson became unexpectedly tearful, and a shot of the two of them was captured by a camera angle from across the set which had never been used before. The audience became tearful as well, and called the three performers out for a second bow after the show completed. This penultimate show was immediately recognized as a television classic, and Midler would consider it one of the most emotional moments of her life and would win an Emmy Award for her role in it.)


Categories: Johnny Carson, Music, Video, YouTube


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"Four dead in O-hi-o"
(permalink)

Published Friday, May 04, 2012 @ 3:42 AM EDT
May 04 2012

Egads. The Kent State killings were 42 years ago today...

(You Tube Video: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: "Ohio.")


Categories: From the archives, History, Music, Video, YouTube


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Eligible for Social Security
(permalink)

Published Wednesday, May 02, 2012 @ 6:05 AM EDT
May 02 2012

Leslie Gore: (b. May 2, 1946):

(YouTube video of Leslie on the Tamla Show)

(YouTube video of Leslie live at Lincoln Center in 2011.)


Categories: Eligible for Social Security, Leslie Gore, Music, YouTube


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The Prince of Motown
(permalink)

Published Sunday, April 01, 2012 @ 6:36 AM EDT
Apr 01 2012

Remembering Marvin Gaye (April 2, 1939-April 1, 1984):

(YouTube video: Marvin Gaye performs "I Heard It Through The Grapevine")

(YouTube video: Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell perform "Ain't No Mountain High Enough")


Categories: Music, YouTube


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Be Happy Birthday
(permalink)

Published Sunday, March 11, 2012 @ 12:02 AM EST
Mar 11 2012

Don't worry, be happy birthday, Bobby McFerrin

(YouTube video: "Don't Worry, Be Happy")


Categories: Bobby McFerrin, Music, Video, YouTube


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They were the world...
(permalink)

Published Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 12:07 AM EST
Mar 07 2012

March 7, 1985:

(YouTube video: "We Are The World")


Categories: Music, YouTube


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Trivia of the day
(permalink)

Published Monday, January 16, 2012 @ 7:11 AM EST
Jan 16 2012

Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. (January 27, 1919 – January 16, 1972), aka David Seville, creator of Alvin and the Chipmunks, was the cousin of writer William Saroyan. Bagdasarian and Saroyan wrote the song "Come on-a My House" in 1939, which became a hit when it was recorded by Rosemary Clooney in 1951.


Categories: David Seville, Music, Rosemary Clooney, Ross Bagdasarian, Trivia of the day, Video, William Saroyan, YouTube


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Happy Birthday to The King
(permalink)

Published Sunday, January 08, 2012 @ 12:00 AM EST
Jan 08 2012

Elvis Aaron Presley: (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977)

(YouTube video: Elvis Presley sings "In The Ghetto". Written by Mac Davis and included in his 1969 album "From Elvis in Memphis," it was The King's first non-gospel top-ten hit in six years and perhaps the last of the great "message" songs. The album also contained "Suspicious Minds," "Don't Cry Daddy," and "Kentucky Rain.")


Categories: Music, YouTube


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Songs of the season
(permalink)

Published Tuesday, December 20, 2011 @ 7:18 AM EST
Dec 20 2011

(YouTube video: "Hannukah in Santa Monica")

(YouTube video: "All I Want for Christmas is Jews")


Categories: Music, Tom Lehrer, Video, YouTube


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Remembering Kirsty
(permalink)

Published Sunday, December 18, 2011 @ 12:41 AM EST
Dec 18 2011

Kirsty MacColl (October 10, 1959 – December 18, 2000), a talented singer-songwriter who died saving her sons from a speeding powerboat.

(YouTube Video: Kirsty MacColl performing "They Don't Know")


Categories: Music, Video, YouTube


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A birthday fanfare for Sandy
(permalink)

Published Saturday, December 10, 2011 @ 12:02 AM EST
Dec 10 2011

Alexander (Sandy) Courage, who wrote the enduring, eight-note Fanfare for the Starship Enterprise and the theme to the television series Star Trek, was born on December 10, 1919 in Philadelphia. He died May 15, 2008 in Pacific Palisades, California. He was 88.

Fanfare, written in 1965 for the first of two Star Trek pilots, was heard throughout the three original seasons of the show, has been reprised in all of the Trek feature films and several of the TV series, and may be the single best-known fanfare in the world. When told by writer Jon Burlingame that more people knew his Trek flourish than Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man, "Courage- in his typically self-deprecating fashion- said that must surely be an exaggeration," Burlingame reported.

Courage was not the first choice to write the Star Trek theme. Trek creator Gene Roddenberry initially approached Jerry Goldsmith with the assignment. Goldsmith declined because of other commitments, and recommended Courage. Much later, Courage did the orchestrations for Goldsmith's scores for Star Trek- First Contact and Star Trek- Insurrection.

In addition to the fanfare, the series theme and the scores for the two pilot episodes ("The Cage" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before"), Courage composed the music for four episodes: "The Man Trap" and "The Naked Time" in the series' first season, and "The Enterprise Incident" and "Plato's Stepchildren" in the third. However, themes from first season score were frequently "tracked" in other episodes.

Jeff Bond of TrekMovie.com ended his comprehensive article on Courage with a quote by Michael Giacchino, who scored J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot:

"... Alexander Courage is responsible for the musical heart to the world of Star Trek. I feel that if you were to strip away everything, bit by bit, in order of importance, the last thing you would be holding in your hands would be the sheet music for the opening fanfare to the Star Trek main theme. To me, that small piece of music is and always shall be Star Trek."


Categories: Music, Star Trek, Video, YouTube


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Hallelujah, indeed
(permalink)

Published Sunday, November 27, 2011 @ 11:07 PM EST
Nov 27 2011

Paul Shaffer (b. November 28, 1949) is perhaps best known as late night talk show host David Letterman's band leader, a position he's held since the show's original premiere on NBC in 1982.

That year, a song Shaffer co-wrote in 1979 with Grammy and Academy Award winning composer Paul Jabara was recorded by a duo of plus-sized black women originally called Two Tons o' Fun. To tie in to the theme of the song, the group renamed themselves The Weather Girls. The recording, a disco tune with a driving beat and unusual minor chord progression, was It's Raining Men.

The rest, as they say, is history.

In 1982, I was working as the second-shift supervisor of a financial printing company on the fringes of downtown Pittsburgh, and I always tried to make it home in time to catch Letterman's show.

I vividly remember the night Men made its appearance. Letterman had repeatedly razzed Shaffer about his new disco tune, and when the two huge black women in glittering evening gowns appeared as the now-iconic intro began, I expected a clever disco parody sketch.

Instead, Shaffer's band and the vocalists gave a raw, spontaneous performance that had the audience clapping along and cheering wildly. Letterman admitted they'd "ripped the roof off the joint."

The original performance is here, and it's definitely worth watching. (The video's owner prohibits embedding it here.) It's a rare opportunity to watch the birth of a pop culture phenomenon.

Shaffer gives the history of the song in this interview,

and introduces it at the 2011 Tony Awards, where it's the opening number in the Broadway music adaptation of the film Priscilla, Queen of the Desert


Categories: Music, Video, YouTube


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Hi De Hi De Ho
(permalink)

Published Friday, November 18, 2011 @ 1:16 AM EST
Nov 18 2011

Remembering the great Cab Calloway
(December 25, 1907 – November 18, 1994)

Cab Calloway as Curtis in The Blues Brothers (1980)
"Boys, you got to learn not to talk to nuns that way."

(YouTube video: Audio track of Calloway's
"Minnie the Moocher" from "The Blues Brothers")


Categories: Music, Video, YouTube


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Political world
(permalink)

Published Monday, October 24, 2011 @ 11:23 AM EDT
Oct 24 2011

(You Tube video: Bob Dylan performs his "Political World")

We live in a political world
Love don’t have any place
We’re living in times where men commit crimes
And crime don’t have a face

We live in a political world
Icicles hanging down
Wedding bells ring and angels sing
Clouds cover up the ground

We live in a political world
Wisdom is thrown into jail
It rots in a cell, is misguided as hell
Leaving no one to pick up a trail

We live in a political world
Where mercy walks the plank
Life is in mirrors, death disappears
Up the steps into the nearest bank

We live in a political world
Where courage is a thing of the past
Houses are haunted, children are unwanted
The next day could be your last

We live in a political world
The one we can see and can feel
But there’s no one to check, it’s all a stacked deck
We all know for sure that it’s real

We live in a political world
In the cities of lonesome fear
Little by little you turn in the middle
But you’re never sure why you’re here

We live in a political world
Under the microscope
You can travel anywhere and hang yourself there
You always got more than enough rope

We live in a political world
Turning and a-thrashing about
As soon as you’re awake, you’re trained to take
What looks like the easy way out

We live in a political world
Where peace is not welcome at all
It’s turned away from the door to wander some more
Or put up against the wall

We live in a political world
Everything is hers or his
Climb into the frame and shout God’s name
But you’re never sure what it is

Copyright © 1989 by Special Rider Music


Categories: Music, Video, YouTube


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Thunderbolts and Lightning. And Shatner.
(permalink)

Published Thursday, October 20, 2011 @ 9:50 AM EDT
Oct 20 2011

Very, very frightening.

(YouTube video: Bohemian Rhapsody, with William Shatner.)


Categories: Music, William Shatner, WTF?, YouTube


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Still on the Eve
(permalink)

Published Saturday, October 15, 2011 @ 9:59 AM EDT
Oct 15 2011

(YouTube video: 2008 version of Barry McGuire's classic.)

Barry McGuire is 76, Eve of Destruction is 46, and they're both still valid.


Categories: Music, Video, YouTube


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Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr
(permalink)

Published Wednesday, October 12, 2011 @ 11:52 AM EDT
Oct 12 2011

aka John Denver, (December 31, 1943 – October 12, 1997)

(YouTube video of John Denver and Lene Siel performing "Perhaps Love".)

My favorite John Denver song. I prefer the simple acoustic versions to the hit arrangement with Placido DOmingo.


Categories: Music, Video, YouTube


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Phantom at 25
(permalink)

Published Sunday, October 09, 2011 @ 11:56 AM EDT
Oct 09 2011

The Phantom of the Opera officially premiered October 9, 1986 at Her Majesty's Theatre in London's West End. It opened in New York in January, 1986, and it's still playing- making it the longest-running musical in Broadway history.

The 25th anniversary performance at Prince Albert Hall was filmed- which means a complete recording of the show will finally be available on DVD and Blu-Ray. Here's hoping they collect and destroy the remaining copies of the 2004 film, which was nothing short of an abomination.


Categories: Music, Video, YouTube


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Eligible for Social Security
(permalink)

Published Sunday, October 02, 2011 @ 11:14 AM EDT
Oct 02 2011

Don McLean (b. October 2, 1945)

(You Tube video: "American Pie" live in concert.)


Categories: Eligible for Social Security, Music, YouTube


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Stop Forwarding That Crap To Me
(permalink)

Published Monday, September 26, 2011 @ 6:29 AM EDT
Sep 26 2011

(YouTube video: Weird Al Yankovic's "Stop Forwarding That Crap To Me")

Oh the sand keeps falling through the hourglass
And there's no way you're going to slow it down
You say we gotta treasure each moment
Who knows how long we're gonna be around

Yeah you keep on telling me life is short
And its hard to disagree with what you say
But if time is so precious why ya wasting mine
'Cause I'm always reading, always deleting
Every useless piece of garbage that you send my way

Every stupid hoax
All those corny jokes
Stop forwarding that crap to me
Well I don't need tons of cringe-inducing puns
Stop forwarding that crap to me

No it isn't okay if you brighten my day 
With some cut-and-pasted hackneyed Hallmark poetry
And I didn't request a personality test
Stop forwarding that crap to me

Ahhhh...
You're sending virus-laden bandwidth-hogging attachments 
To every single person you know
You're passing around a link to some dumb thing on YouTube
That everybody else already saw three years ago
And wacky badly Photoshopped billboards 
Were never that amusing to me
And I just can't believe you believe those urban legends
But I have high hopes 
Someone will point you toward Snopes
And debunk that crazy junk you're spewing constantly

No I don't want a bowl of Chicken Soup for the Soul
Stop forwarding that crap to me
Send more top 10 lists and I'll slash my wrists
Please stop forwarding that crap to me

Well I'm sorry i can't accept your paranoid rant
And I don't want the Neiman Marcus cookie recipe

Won't you kindly refrain 'cause it's hurting my brain
Stop forwarding... that crap to me

Like glittery hearts and unicorns 
And pictures of somebody's cat
Now tell me, in what alternate reality 
Would I care about something like that?

And by the way, your quotes from George Carlin 
Aren't really George Carlin
Mr. Rogers never fought the Viet Cong
And Bill Gates is never gonna give me somethin' for nothin'
And I really doubt some dead girl is gonna kill me 
If I don't pass her letter along

Well now I know you're wishin'
I'll sign your petition
But stop forwarding that crap to me
And I don't want to read your series 
Of conspiracy theories
Just stop forwarding that crap to me

And your two million loser friends
All have my address now, 
'Cause you never figured out the way to BCC

Now I gotta insist
Take me off of your list
Stop forwarding that crap to me
(Stop forwarding that crap to me)
(Stop forwarding that crap to me)
(Stop forwarding that crap to me)

(Stop forwarding that crap to me)
Just stop it now
(Stop forwarding that crap to me)
Oh, no
(Stop forwarding that crap to me) 
Ohhh...

(Stop forwarding that crap to me)
I can't take it
(Stop forwarding that crap to me)
Aw, please
(Stop forwarding that crap to me)

(Stop forwarding that crap to me)
You gotta stop
(Stop forwarding that crap to me)
Right now
(Stop forwarding that crap to me)

(Stop forwarding that crap to me)
I'm not kidding!
(Stop forwarding that crap to me)
At the risk of being slightly repetitious 
Gonna ask you now to stop! (Stop!)
Sending me that... (Crap!)
I don't want it!
Don't send it to me
Now don't send it to me!

(Stop forwarding that crap to me)
Just stop! 
(Stop forwarding that crap to me)
Ohh...
Stop forwarding that crap to me
To me

Categories: Music, Video, YouTube


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Bye Bye Bob
(permalink)

Published Friday, September 23, 2011 @ 4:23 AM EDT
Sep 23 2011

You can't think of Bob Fosse (June 23, 1927 – September 23, 1987) and not remember "Bye Bye Life," the spectacular ending of his semi-autobiographical All That Jazz (1979).

(YouTube video of the "Bye Bye Life" finale. Warning: contains brief nudity.)

When it's time to shuffle off this mortal coil, most just limp into an ill-defined tunnel with a light at its end. Fosse's Joe Gideon character does it with a Palme d'Or-winning Broadway finale.

The ending is abrupt and unsettling. Only Fosse could blend body bags and Ethel Merman and make it work.


Categories: Music, Video, YouTube


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Jazz for cows
(permalink)

Published Thursday, September 15, 2011 @ 3:47 PM EDT
Sep 15 2011

Needs more cowbell.


Categories: Animals, Music, Video, YouTube


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Remembering Hoyt Curtin
(permalink)

Published Friday, September 09, 2011 @ 7:19 AM EDT
Sep 09 2011

You may not know his name, but you've heard his music.

Hoyt Curtin (9/9/1922-12/3/2000) wrote most of the now-iconic music for all of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series from Ruff and Ready in the 50s through The Smurfs in the 70s- 145 themes in all.

Curtin is perhaps most remembered for his themes to The Flintstones and The Jetsons, but his music for Jonny Quest is perhaps the best example of great 60s jazz:


Categories: Cartoons, Music, Video, YouTube


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We can't make it here any more.
(permalink)

Published Friday, September 02, 2011 @ 8:53 AM EDT
Sep 02 2011

(You Tube video)

Vietnam Vet with a cardboard sign
Sitting there by the left turn line
Flag on the wheelchair flapping in the breeze
One leg missing, both hands free
No one's paying much mind to him
The V.A. budget's stretched so thin
And there's more comin' home from the Mideast war
We can't make it here anymore

That big ol' building was the textile mill
It fed our kids and it paid our bills
But they turned us out and they closed the doors
We can't make it here anymore

See all those pallets piled up on the loading dock?
They're just gonna sit there till they rot
'Cause there's nothing to ship, nothing to pack
Just busted concrete and rusted tracks
Empty storefronts around the square
There's a needle in the gutter and glass everywhere
You don't come down here 'less you're looking to score
We can't make it here anymore

The bar's still open but man it's slow
The tip jar's light and the register's low
The bartender don't have much to say
The regular crowd gets thinner each day

Some have maxed out all their credit cards
Some are working two jobs and living in cars
Minimum wage won't pay for a roof, won't pay for a drink
If you gotta have proof just try it yourself Mr. CEO
See how far five fifteen an hour will go
Take a part time job at one of your stores
Bet you can't make it here anymore

High school girl with a bourgeois dream
Just like the pictures in the magazine
She found on the floor of the laundromat
A woman with kids can forget all that
If she comes up pregnant what'll she do?
Forget the career, forget about school
Can she live on faith? live on hope?
High on Jesus or hooked on dope
When it's way too late to just say no
You can't make it here anymore

Now I'm stocking shirts in the Wal-Mart store
Just like the ones we made before
'Cept this one came from Singapore
I guess we can't make it here anymore

Should I hate a people for the shade of their skin
Or the shape of their eyes or the shape I'm in?
Should I hate 'em for having our jobs today?
No I hate the men sent the jobs away
I can see them all now, they haunt my dreams
All lily white and squeaky clean
They've never known want, they'll never know need
Their shit don't stink and their kids won't bleed
Their kids won't bleed in the damn little war
And we can't make it here anymore

Will work for food
Will die for oil
Will kill for power and to us the spoils
The billionaires get to pay less tax
The working poor get to fall through the cracks
Let 'em eat jellybeans let 'em eat cake
Let 'em eat shit, whatever it takes
They can join the Air Force, or join the Corps
If they can't make it here anymore

And that's how it is
That's what we got
If the president wants to admit it or not
You can read it in the paper
Read it on the wall
Hear it on the wind
If you're listening at all
Get out of that limo
Look us in the eye
Call us on the cell phone
Tell us all why

In Dayton, Ohio
Or Portland, Maine
Or a cotton gin out on the great high plains
That's done closed down along with the school
And the hospital and the swimming pool
Dust devils dance in the noonday heat
There's rats in the alley
And trash in the street
Gang graffiti on a boxcar door
We can't make it here anymore

Music and lyrics © 2004 by James McMurtry


Categories: Music, Signs of the Apocalypse, Video, YouTube


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Rewriting history
(permalink)

Published Monday, August 29, 2011 @ 8:28 AM EDT
Aug 29 2011

[Texas] students will learn about the contributions of Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority. Maybe the students will read Falwell's claim that feminists and homosexuals were partially responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Phyllis Schlafly, the Heritage Foundation and the NRA are all included. Students will also be required to "discuss the meaning of 'In God We Trust.'"

History in Texas classrooms will be decidedly different from when we were students. I never learned "both the positive and negative impacts of... country and western music" in my high school history class. Where would you rate Estée Lauder in terms of historical importance to our country? If you think she is one of the 68 most important historical figures, you agree with the board. Yes, the board included her in the state curriculum, but not George Washington.

I also never learned that the findings of the House Committee on Un-American Activities were confirmed, perhaps because it is not true. It puts teachers in an awkward position by asking them to teach something that is historically inaccurate. I will not have to deal with that issue in some of my classes because my Advanced Placement U.S. History classes are not required to follow the state curriculum. I am guessing that the Texas Education Agency realizes that students could never pass national exams while learning the state-mandated curriculum.

(Full article here)

You know the good part about all those executions in Texas? Fewer Texans.
-George Carlin


Categories: George Carlin, History, Music


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Eligible for Social Security
(permalink)

Published Wednesday, July 20, 2011 @ 12:13 AM EDT
Jul 20 2011

Kim Carnes, b. July 20, 1945.

(YouTube video of Kim Carnes singing "Bette Davis Eyes")

Truth be told, I prefer Eddie Murphy's version (stick around to the end of this short video). "Once Buckwheat sings a song, it's eternally his:"

(YouTube video of Eddie Murphy as Buckwheat singing a medley of his hits.)


Categories: Eligible for Social Security, Music, SNL, Video, YouTube


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