Friday, December 28, 2007

Happy Birthday Stan Lee

Stan Lee is 85 years old today. Stan is the co-creater of Spiderman, Avengers, Ironman, Hulk and many other great Marvel comic book characters.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ho Ho Ho

Christmas has come and gone. It's been a crazy season, but hopefully things will calm down shortly. The next few days are pretty busy with returns and such. Just wanted to post a note and thank everyone that left me good words for this first Christmas without my Dad. It meant a lot to know that there are so many good people out there thinking good thoughts for me. Thank you all.

Christmas was a good time for all. Mom enjoyed it and many gifts were exchanged. My brother went all out with the meal, cooking a turkey and ham. I hope to post pictures this weekend.

I hope everyone else had a great Christmas and that the new year will be good for everyone.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mom's Coming

My Mom's driving down from Tennessee tomorrow to spend Christmas with me and my brother. She's going to spend a few days here and than head across the lake and go to my brother's house. I'm glad she's coming down. My Dad loved Christmas, he was like a little kid waking up early on Christmas morning, so this is going to be a hard holiday. I know I haven't been posting as much as I normally do or visiting everyone, but this time of the year is so busy with my job and I think it's just been extra hard with this being the first Christmas without my Dad. I don't normally make New Year's resolutions, but this year I promise to get back to blogging and visiting everyone more.

Christmas Music: Beatles

Buddy Miller at VOICES TO HEAR

I know I missed a week, but I'm back. Over at VOICES TO HEAR we feature Buddy Miller this week. Go check it out.

Christmas Music: Run DMC

Happy Birthday James Booker

I'm running a little late on this one, as his birthday is Decemeber 17 and I'm slipping into the 18th now, but it's been a long day at work.

James Booker was born in New Orleans on December 17, 1939. Mr. Booker died November 8, 1983. He was a gifter pianist that could play in any style of music.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Music: Faith Hill

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

For anyone that has read the final Harry Potter book the Tale of Beedle the Bard will be familar. JK Rowlings has hand written seven copies of this book. The first six went to friends that were helpful during the writing of the Potter books. The seventh was auctioned off and the procedures are going to a charity for children. Amazon.com won the auction, the book went for close to four million dollars. You can see more about it here. (Actual pictures of the book and the pages.)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Happy Birthday Arthur C. Clarke

Arthur C. Clarke turns 90 today. Mr. Clarke is the author of such science ficiton greats as Childhood's End, 2001: A Space Odyssesy, Rendevous With Rama and too many to list here. He's considered one of the Big Three of Science Fiction writers, the other two being Robert Heinlien and Isaac Asimov and the only one of the three still alive. When I was growing up I read everything of his I could get my hands on. He has been living in Sri Lanka since 1956. In 1988 he was diaganosed with poilo and is confined to a wheelchair. His many predictions in articles in the 1950's were of radar, satellites and many other at the time science fiction but we now consider science fact.

Mr. Clarke's stories fell into that camp of science fiction known as hard science, where the science in the stories always was as accurate as could be. His most famous "law" is: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

If you've never read anything of his give it a try. He has a large body of novels as well as short story collections out there. I remember the first time I read Rendevous with Rama and just being in awe of the story.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Music: Bruce Springsteen

The video on this isn't the best, especially at the start, but than it gets better.

Christmas Music: Benny Grunch

This singer was featured yesterday in my New Orleans' memories, but this is a classic New Orleans' Christmas song so I had to feature it.

Daughty

Billboard has named Daughty's self titled album the number one selling album of the past year. It sold 3.2 million. The next up was Akon's "Konvicted" which sold 2.7 million. Now I know I'm in the minority here (obviously if 3.2 million people bought it) but I did not care for Daughty's album. I found his album represented everything I dislike about a lot of today's music. I found it so generic, drop it in the midst of half a dozen other "hot" hard rock groups of today and they all sound alike. He takes great pride in the fact that his album was so often compared to Nickleback and how much alike they sounded. Whatever happened to originality?

When Chris Daughty first appeared on American Idol I liked him. He and Taylor became my two favorites very quickly. (I never cared for Katherine McPhee. She always came off to me as thinking she was too good for everyone else. I'm not saying that's how she really was, just how she came across to me on the show.) I lost a lot of respect for Daughty though after he did the Johnny Cash song. When I first heard it I thought it was great and a very original take on the classic. The judges all agreed and he didn't say anything to make anyone think he didn't come up with the arrangement. The next week it was discovered that he copied the band Live's version of the Johnny Cash song. Which isn't bad, except for letting everyone think it was your arrangement. After that I wasn't as big a fan of Mr. Daughty.

I did buy his album when it first came out. It's probably the only album I have (and I have a lot of albums) that I have not listened to completely. I just couldn't get through it. I've tried a few times and everytime I find myself hitting the eject button before it makes it halfway through.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Writers Strike

Bush Vetoes Kids Health Plan

No child left behind, right, George?

Ike Turner Dead

Ike Turner was found dead at his home today at the age of 76. Best known as half of Ike and Tina Turner he was presently on something of a comeback. Last year he won a Grammy for best blues album. What was the first Rock and Roll record? The answer to that question could take a lot more time than we have here, but his record "Rocket 88" in 1951 is one of the strongest contenders for that honor. The record was credited to Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats. Jackie was the sax player and lead singer, but the song was written by Ike.

Later he met a teenager from Nutbush Tennessee named Anna Mae Bullock and the Ike and Tina Turner Revue was born. Ike and the former Anna Mae, now known as Tina, were soon married and on the road. But Ike proved an abusive husband and eventually Tina left him to go on her own.

While Tina had a hugely successful career on her own Ike's career spiraled downwards and he ended up on drugs and eventually in prison. The last decade of his life he was on the road and recording new music.

Here's their version of "River Deep, Mountain High."

Memories of New Orleans

There's not much more I can say about this video and song, but it describes people I know, the people who live in this small town we call New Orleans.

Christmas Music: Kelly Clarkson

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas Music: Darlene Love

In 1963 Phil Spector, back when he was known for being a genius record producer and not a murder suspect, put together a Christmas album that is one of the landmark Holiday albums of all time, A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector. One of the main singers on the album was Darlene Love. Ms. Love was the singer for such gems as "He's A Rebel" credited to the Crystals and she was the lead singer for the group Bobbie Sox and the Blue Jeans. Starting in 1986 Darlene Love has sung this song on the last new show of The David Letterman show before he breaks for the Christmas season. This version she has the USAF singing with her.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Music: John Lennon

One of my all time favorite Christmas songs.

John Lennon 1940-1980

I've been offline for the last week and didn't get a chance to post on December 8. That date is the day that John Lennon was gunned down by Mark David Chapman in New York City. It's one of those days that I will always remember. I was still living at home, I had just turned on the television and the end of the news was on. I caught just the end of someone being shot in New York. I hadn't watched tv earlier that night, so I missed Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football interrupting the game to announce it. After the news MASH came on. I sat down to watch the show. Within about ten minutes they interrupted the show to announce that John Lennon had been shot and killed in New York City earlier.

I was stunned. For me music begins with the Beatles. The first 45 I purchased was the Beatles' "Eight Days A Week." The first album I bought was "Beatles 65." I grew up on the Beatles. And while I thought all four were great, John Lennon was always something of a hero to me.

John was a flawed man and he was the first to admit it. He said and did things that he knew were hurtful. He wasn't the best father or husband. But he tried. He tried to make the world a better place. He wasn't afraid to appear foolish or dumb in that quest.

I have a pile of magazines and newspaper clippings from that time that I have not looked at since. I haven't been able to bring myself to go back and look at them since that day. Maybe one day I will. I have tapes of interviews he had done just before his death. It's heartbreaking listening to him talk about how happy he was and how much he looked forward to the future. He and Yoko had just released "Double Fantasy," his first new music in five years.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Still Here

Just wanted to let everyone know that I'm still here, just with work and not really feeling that well lately combined with the internet being out for a few days and it all adds up to me not being online much. Hopefully things will change soon and I'll be back to making more posts than most of you want to read in one sitting. b

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

New VOICES TO HEAR


I'm running a little late with the new Spotlight over at VOICES TO HEAR. My internet connection was down for the weekend so I haven't had a chance to get it done, but it's up now. Go check it out, the Spotlight this week is on the rock group Marah.

Writers Strike

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