Thursday, November 30, 2006

Left, Right, or Center...still Watching the Wheels...

by Hector Diego



Take a trip through this website, and find out which one you are. It's just Wikipedia, not a complicated discussion, but it's more than enough to find and state your political bearings.

I find myself going left and right throughout the whole discussion, so does that make me a centrist? Somehow, I don't find that appellation appealing either. If you are "lost in confusion" and confronted by ideologies "designed to enlighten" you, I think you'll be in fairly good company.

I know far-leftists who favor pro-gun legislation, and far-rightists who say we should legalize all recreational drugs. And I think such political configurations are more the rule than the exception.

What about you?

A Look at Love.

by Jay Allbritton
Here's a look at the marriage of the Beatles and Cirque du Soleil.



Here's footage from the premier. We see reactions to the show by Ringo, Paul, Yoko Ono, Olivia Harrison and others.



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CHAPMAN STAYS IN JAIL

by Hector Diego


Knowing the stance of John Lennon through his music and public interviews, I believe that there is a good chance he would say, let Mark David Chapman--his killer--go from prison, if he were deemed to be no threat to society. For vengeance is the Lord's.

But those of us who do not wish to punish Chapman simply for punishment's sake, or our losses' sake, or even John's family's sake, must be conflicted. Where can Chapman go? For I would personally take the man apart, though it contradicts my principles. You see, it is quite possible that Lennon was loved even more than John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, or Mahatma Gandhi...as great as these men were. Lennon reached more people.

You will probably be happy to know that Chapman's parole review last month leaves him in prison for another two years. If he has access to a computer, he might read The Walrus Speaks and soothe his tortured soul by clicking on that good Beatles music. I would not deny him that.

But I would deny him parole.



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RILO KILEY---EXECUTION OF ALL THINGS

by Hector Diego


I like the Beatlesish ending on this one.



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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

REVOLUTION---NOITULOVER

by Hector Diego


There were two versions of Revolution, or rather three. There was the slower one on the White Album, and the faster one released as a single that was always played on the radio. Then there was Revolution Number Nine, toward the end of the White Album. If you were on acid or something, and survived Revolution Number Nine, you were treated to a very reassuring Ringo singing "Goodnight" at the very end...and while relishing Ringo's warm and common sense good humor, along with Martin's excellent orchestral arrangement, you might even imagine that the world was cool the way it was...no revolution needed.

I suppose we should admit that there were actually four Beatles Revolutions. There is a version where Lennon says that "if you go talking about destruction, don't you know that you can count me...in." I don't know if this version was for the album or for the single, and I don't care.

Apparently Lennon was in a mood that day, just like days you and I have had when we wanted to strangle someone. But we don't really, and to maintain that Lennon favored violence (overall) is not realistic. It's not Beatleistic.

For every statement Lennon might have made approving violence, I'll show you a hundred more where he abhors violence. You can count him out.

And if you want money for people with minds that hate, all he would really tell you is brother, you have to wait...forever.

Here are the album and single versions of Revolution.





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Elton John---Rocket Man

by Hector Diego

A KTWS Radio back-files repeat.


I'm on a roll here, so let's hear what Elton John has to say on the subject.

The Station Agent and I have completely different views on the space program. I wouldn't spit on it if it would do it any good, but the Station Agent believes in material progress...so naturally, outer space beckons.

The only progress I believe in is the progress of the soul, not that I'm any example of it.

But I do like Rocket Man.



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David Bowie---Ground Control to Major Tom

by Hector Diego



Subhadra mentioned she liked David Bowie. Here's my favorite of his.



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"I love the smell of naplam in the morning..."

by Hector Diego



Station Agent, are we in synch or what? It just so happens that I watched Apocalypse Now last night. Woke up sad...

There is no difference between the helicopter scenes in Apocalypse Now, where the crazy colonel is directing the destruction of a village full of civilians, including women and children--and the stupidity of our "smart bombs" in Iraq, which are constantly killing the wrong people, and all we can do is say, "sorry Charlie"...

But I guess that's exactly what we said in Viet Nam...

Here's the Animals with Sky Pilot. The title of the song is taken from US Army slang at the time. It refers to the chaplains that accompany troops to war. In my youth I had heard that it also referred to the colonels that led the helicopter teams in Viet Nam, exactly as portrayed by Robert Duvall's psychotic character in Apocalypse Now.



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Once Again, We're On the Eve of Destruction

by Jay Allbritton
Some very ominous signs from the Middle East bring Barry McGuire's hit "Eve of Destruction" and Stanley Kubrick's Vietnam War film, Full Metal Jacket to mind.

Here they are, juxtaposed:



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There Must be Some Kind of Way Outta Here

by Jay Allbritton
Said the joker to the thief...



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Donovan---Season of the Witch, Hurdy Gurdy Man

by Hector Diego


Donovan had a string of hits in the 60s worth listening to. He hung out with the Beatles in India and was drawn to Indian music, even trying his hand at the sitar. His fortunes declined in the 70s, being scorned by the punk crowd. On behalf of this gentle soul, I believe I will return the compliment. The punkers can clean my bathroom.





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THREE PIECES BY BEATLEMANIA

by Hector Diego
I've never seen this act perform in the flesh, but they are not bad. The guy that does Lennon sounds like him, but in a higher register. He even chews gum onstage, like Lennon did.

I FEEL FINE


I AM THE WALRUS


IN MY LIFE


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"Something from a bit left-field on the album..."

by Hector Diego


Here's a discussion of the production of Within You Without You. I find it amusing that George Martin calls the Western instruments "English instruments", as if a violin speaks the BBC's standard clip.

I am fascinated with this period in musical history, because it has far-reaching implications for world history. If the pen is mightier than the sword, it seems that music--especially in the modern context where music is everywhere, and easily reproduced--is at least as influential as print.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Blackbird.

by Hector Diego


I've been listening to the Old Mac now for over forty-two years. Here's Paul McCartney performing Blackbird at a recent concert.

He's a good man.



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Ken Burns' Civil War Theme Music, Ashokan Lament

by Hector Diego



The United States officially became a nation in 1776, but the conflict that provoked that development did not really end until 1814, when our Mother Country across the Atlantic said, OK. The new spirit of American national unity following the War of 1812 did not last very long, for the issue of slavery boiled and festered until the outbreak of Civil War in 1861. This was the real event that decided whether we were to be a nation, or not. Essentially, America gave birth to itself. It was not pretty.

Anyone who has ever seen Ken Burns' wonderful documentary on America's Civil War cannot help but be moved by the theme music, Ashokan Lament, composed by Jay Ungar.

India's Ashoka, you may remember, is one of the most famous monarchs in history, celebrated as a humane ruler. His pre-Christian era rock edicts commanding kindness and compassion for all creatures can still be seen today. Many do not know that before Ashoka found religion (he patronized Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism), he had engaged in a terrible, bloody struggle with the king of Kalinga, now modern Orissa.

Afterward, he lamented.



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I'M SO TIRED

by Hector Diego


Great stuff from the White Album.



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Bee Gees---I Started A Joke

by Hector Diego


Recently the Station Agent and I were discussing the Bee Gees. I don't do disco, plain and simple--new school or old school. But I love the Bee Gees prior to their disco period. No one beat them for pure melody.



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I SAW HER STANDING THERE

by Hector Diego

Capitalism Has Officially Jumped the Shark

by Jay Allbritton
It's all over. Art is dead. We're doomed.

Inspired by their successful merger with MBNA, Bank of America employees turn one of the finest songs of our era into... Just watch.



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Monday, November 27, 2006

LED ZEPPELIN---WHOLE LOTTA LOVE

by Hector Diego


Incredibly, Whole Lotta Love was Led Zeppelin's only top ten song in the US, peaking at #4 in the fall of 1969. I think it doesn't get better than this for the rock genre--if you don't like Whole Lotta Love, you don't like hard drivin' rock and roll.



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The Insanity Pepper

by Jay Allbritton
One of the most hysterical sequences from the finest show in TV history, The Simpsons.



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Sunday, November 26, 2006

An American Artist, Nat King Cole (1919---1965)

by Hector Diego



Nat King Cole's Nature Boy is one of my favorites. Such an interesting tune and lyrical theme. Beautiful arrangement.

Check it out.



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I'm Only Sleeping by John W. Lennon.

by Hector Diego


Did you know that Lennon has been apotheosized in Cuba?

But Castro and his commie cronies only like him for his revolutionary ideas, apparently, for that's all they mention. That's how foolish they are.

However, is there any statue of Lennon in Washington? That's how foolish we are.

Did you know that John Lennon's favorite color was yellow?



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GRATEFUL DEAD---FRIEND OF THE DEVIL

by Hector Diego




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Best. List. Ever.

by Jay Allbritton
Time Magazine has released its list of top 100 most influential albums. Time categorizes the albums by decade. This is a look at the albums from the current century that made the cut--excluding re-releases. I happen to agree that all five of these releases are monumental albums that did indeed receive enough attention to be widely influential.
The College Dropout by Kanye West (2004)
Kid A by Radiohead (2000)
Stankonia by Outkast (2000)
Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea by PJ Harvey (2000)

The Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem (2000)
Here's a few that might have made the list if only they would have asked me:
Elephant by The White Stripes (2003)
Fever to Tell by Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2003)

Give Up by Postal Service (2003)
Figure 8 by Elliott Smith (2000)
I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning by Bright Eyes (2005)
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American Artist---Louis Armstrong (1901-1971)

by Hector Diego


After my previous post, I felt we needed something more...upbeat.



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THE WHO---BORIS THE SPIDER

by Hector Diego



Studio version:



Live, 1982:

John Lennon---Come Together

by Hector Diego

Saturday, November 25, 2006

KENNEDY'S INAUGURATION SPEECH

by Hector Diego
It was a cold day in February, 1961. The young President asked Americans and the world to answer "...a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle...here on earth God's work must truly be our own."

President John F. Kennedy's Inaugural address seemed to transcend divisions of I, Me, and Mine. He asked, for instance, that the poor be uplifted, not because the Communists were doing it, but because it was the right thing to do.


First Part.



Second Part.



The music was there, too. These were the days of Peter, Paul, and Mary.

PAUL McCARTNEY---THE SPACE WITHIN US

by Hector Diego


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Are we simply two-legged animals?

by Hector Diego



In America the "Christmas season" begins immediately after Thanksgiving, partly because people like it and partly because THE BIG MONEY declares it so. Businesses routinely operate in the red, which is why the day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday.

What nonsense. The TV news has been showing people rioting to enter stores on Black Friday to purchase discounted Christmas items before they are sold out. 1) If these fools would shop throughout the year and keep the stuff for Christmas gifts, they would get even better deals and wouldn't have to risk life and limb; but 2) this American institution is shameful. And stupid.

What is the use of having a human body if such a consumer consciousness is the result? A holy man from India, observing American society, once quipped: "The dog is running on four legs, and you are running on four wheels. What's the difference?"

Indeed, if all we do with our human lives is consume--wallow in the business of eating, sleeping, mating, and war--then what diffentiates us from the animals? They make a bed of leaves or something, and we have luxurious beds. Animals wear a coat of fur, and we wear their coat of fur...what's the difference?

Well obviously, we cogitate as well as masticate and procreate. But if all we cogitate about is eating, sleeping, mating, and war, we are wasting this valuable human form of life. In the spiritual traditions of India the warning is there: to attain the human form of life is a rare achievement. There is no guarantee that our next life will be human if we use this life only for animal propensities--in fact, the opposite in indicated.

John Lennon was very aware of this problem. He addressed the Christmas season with more thoughtfulness than any artist before him, as far as I know. It is true that he did not concern himself with the next life as much as did George Harrison, but Lennon was by no means concerned only with the mundane. He knew that humans are designed for the sublime...but it's up to us.

War is over if we want it...badly enough.



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Friday, November 24, 2006

Hey Man, Get the Door...

by Jay Allbritton
A lot of pro-marijuana advocacy focuses on the medicinal attributes of weed. But what about civil liberties? What about the freedom of many Americans to express themselves openly as a member of a well-developed subculture the way alcoholics can?

If that doesn't work for you, then what about good old American profit motive?

From the Associated Press:
In a city where you can get just about anything delivered to your door--groceries, dry cleaning, Chinese food--pot smokers are increasingly ordering takeout marijuana from drug rings that operate with remarkable corporate-style attention to customer satisfaction.

An untold number of otherwise law-abiding professionals in New York are having their pot delivered to their homes instead of visiting drug dens or hanging out on street corners.

Among the legions of home delivery customers is Chris, a 37-year-old salesman in Manhattan. He dials a pager number and gets a return call from a cheery dispatcher who takes his order for potent strains of marijuana.

Within a couple of hours, a well-groomed delivery man--sometimes a moonlighting actor or chef--arrives at the doorstep of his Manhattan apartment carrying weed neatly packaged in small plastic containers.

(more)
By the way, maybe giving your 13 year old bong rips as incentive for doing homework seems like a bitchin' idea, but it's not--you're just high.

VIDEO: Even Stephen--Colbert and Carell take on medicinal marijuana.

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President Obama, 2008?

by Hector Diego


Everyone's talking about the viability of a Barack Obama run for the Presidency of the United States. He certainly has the chops. Ironically, if he were elected President, this would not mean that conservative forces have rolled over and croaked.

Oh no. American society and politics is very complex, with strands of social and political thought so tightly interwoven since the nation's beginning that it is difficult to untangle them. This has produced an extremely stable republic. I wonder, then, if there can be something good to say about political gridlock.

Naah. I want Obama and I want him to kick conservative butt. I am always hopeful that things can change for the better, even if it is two steps forward and one step back.

Here's a classic song by Bob Dylan. The times are definitely changing.



Here's a recent video of Obama on Iraq.

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God Only Knows---Dedicated to Station Agent

by Hector Diego

Wilson in 1965...still a pup.



Here's Wilson performing God Only Knows with the Corrs, a group I am becoming fond of. I must admit that I am startled by Wilson's appearance. We all have to grow old, but why must he dress like a church usher, for a concert performance?



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FOR NO ONE

by Hector Diego



Here's McCartney and his penchant for diversity. Check out his clavichord playing. John and George sat this one out.

One could have, somehow, not gotten the message that the Beatles were evolving spiritually with the album Rubber Soul (if you were brain dead), but with Revolver no one could misunderstand: the Beatles had outgrown the Fab Four phase, and were now the undisputed gurus of a whole new world of music.

I love the medieval sound of the clavichord on For No One. Currently, Revolver is considered the Beatles' best work by the non-geriatric crowd...is that correct, Station Agent?



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Cyndi Lauper---Time After Time

by Hector Diego



Much of the music of the 80s was known as New Wave. I have come to think of it as Second Wave, as a reflection of my thesis that the 60s represented an unprecedented flowering of melody built upon thousands of years of Western music. You classical buffs might be vomiting after reading this last statement, but I'll explain that further in another post.

The 60s represented THE WAVE, THE BIG KAHUNA (because it rules) of melody; the 70s wallowed in disco (although there were some high moments that come to mind, such as the Dead, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley) ; and the 90s STUNK TO HIGH HEAVEN with a perverted emphasis on dissonance. Dissonance is like horseradish...a little goes a long way. I'm sure I'll get some flack for saying this, but I'll stick to my guns. More than a smidgeon of dissonance is not music, it is anti-music.

It was from the vantage point of the 90s gutter sounds that I learned to appreciate 80s music, which I had previously reviled for its lack of lyrical content. I stand by my criticism of 80s lyrics, but the contrast between 80s and 90s music is clear--the 80s represent a Second Wave of melody comparable to the 60s. This wave was not nearly as tremendous, but if we could only return to it now...

Of course Rilo Kiley is the exception to all of this...



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New Evidence Implicates CIA in RFK Assassination

by Jay Allbritton
In this, our five hundredth post, I bring you this extremely convoluted and disturbing story--made all the more disturbing because the news outlet this is taken from is in the UK--of three senior CIA operatives spotted in pictures moments before and after the assassination of Robert Kennedy.

VIDEO: The BBC reports.

Bobby Kennedy was absolutely fearless, and while it sickens me that we haven't torn this country apart trying to find out the truth about his death, what is even more important is this sad fact--we have no one like Bobby Kennedy now. Not even close.

Watch:


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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Real Thanksgiving Music--All You Need Is Love.

by Hector Diego



Thanksgiving is a huge holiday in America, but people should realize that thanksgiving rituals and holidays are common the world over in various religions and cultures. You don't have to believe in God to take stock of your situation and feel thankful for what you have. It never killed anyone to count his or her blessings...for things could always get worse.

I really love this holiday, and to make it better, I give the turkey a reprieve. Upon request I will supply anyone with my wife's famous Tofu Turkey recipe. The struggling Puritans in 17th century America were well within their rights and general decency to eat the animals in their midst, but one wonders why such a rich nation, at this time, persists in such a habit. Thoughtlessness, perhaps?

What is the use of all this wealth if it does not lead to compassion for all life?

Please don't embarrass yourself with the "plants have life too" argument, unless you are also prepared to face humiliation in a debate, and I warn you, I've been studying this debate since 1974.

But let's inject some warm and loving sentiments here. It's a good day for it. In one sense all you need is love...unless you have a better idea.

I love all of my carnivorous friends, and I thank them for their tolerance of my strange ideas.



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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

WOODY GUTHRIE---BUFFALO SKINNERS

by Hector Diego

The man who was "bound for glory",
Woody Guthrie (1912---1967).



Everything in this world is a product of history, music no exception. To understand such a complex music and figure as Bob Dylan, for example, requires an examination of his influences.

Dylan made no secret of his indebtedness to Woody Guthrie, in fact he reveled in it, and it became part and parcel of his mystique. But Guthie had his own mystique, portraying an image of simple Americanness, an American citizen of the world. Dylan, who had visited Guthrie in his later years before Huntington's chorea left him paralyzed and mute, commented that Guthrie was no ignorant hick. He was a self-taught man, concerned with social justice and music. Those two things characterize this socialist who believed in God more than anything else we could say about his public persona. The difference in this connection between Guthrie and Dylan, though, was that Guthrie's persona and Guthrie the man were one and the same. He was a simple and intelligent American who cared for all, and expressed it through his music. The composer of This Land Is Your Land was indeed a citizen of the world.

In Buffalo Skinners, Guthrie takes us back to the wild west before the establishment ruled it. In those days it was just the land, the sky, the purple sage...and frontier justice, American style. Guthrie's smirky treatment of this justice is a thoughtful comment on injustice and its eventual consequences. It's not hard to see why Dylan idolized the man.




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GEORGE HARRISON---I, ME, MINE

by Hector Diego



We come into this world with nothing, and go out the same way we came in--with nothing. So why do we always think in terms of I, me, and mine?

In Indic traditions this is called moha, delusion. And that is why the world is the way it is. If we had a sharing consciousness instead of a hoarding consciousness, we would know God.

Even if there wasn't one.



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The Seekers---I'll Never Find Another You

by Hector Diego
You ask me why I'm "stuck in the 60's", and this song is my answer. If you think that melody is the bedrock of good music, as I do, there is no better time to get stuck in. The Seekers had the magic, as we can hear in Judith Durham's vocal.

If you think the music of the 60s is overrated, or that today's music is just as good, I dare you to compose a song as fine as I'll Never Find Another You.

I DARE YOU.

Of course, Jenny Lewis and Blake Sennett are the exception here, having taken the dare and won...






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DAWKINS IS NO FRIEND OF FREEDOM

by Hector Diego

Dr. Richard Dawkins
Oxford University


I must respectfully but sincerely disagree with my good friend the Station Agent about Dr. Dawkins, the atheist of the hour. Dawkins feels that science should take a page from religion, and fight religion as religion has fought science.

First of all, I believe it is stupid for religion to fight science, since it uses it all the time. Yet I feel that it is equally stupid for science to fight religion because the business of science is to discover and produce, not philosophize.

Let religion and science mind their own business.

Dawkins has a right to attack religion, as far as civil rights go. But his advocated program of systematically attacking religion in schools vis a vis science curriculum denies the civil rights of religion, which then has no means to defend itself. Dawkins is saying that only science--or rather, scientism--has civil rights. What's more, religious people would be paying for the attack on religion through taxes.

Why am I talking about social institutions, intellectual positions, etc, as having civil rights? The reason is that all of this stuff boils down to people. Dawkins is calling on his colleagues to endorse Dawkins and those who agree with him, as dictators.

If this ever happened, it could bring no good to science, for the backlash would be horrendous. Let science and religion go their separate ways, and when they should chance to meet, nod to each other like civilized people should, and leave it at that.

Dawkins is a living example that scientism can be as oppressive as any religious Inquisition, for if you don't agree with him that all things knowable are knowable by science alone, you are a fool according to Dawkins.

I know too many very intelligent people who would disagree with Dr. Dawkins, to go for his proposal. Some of my most revered professors come to mind here, and I know that these people are not the fools Dawkins would have me take them for. I respect his knowledge, and even his conviction, but his rhetoric and plan for scientistic--not scientific--education prove that it is he who is the fool...and a pompous, dictatorial one at that.

So the religious have trampled on science in the past. Do two wrongs make a right?

Just for a lark, here's Thomas Dolby's She Blinded Me With Science.


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The Clash - "Clampdown" and "Police on My Back"

by Jay Allbritton
My friend Jump to the Left (of the Unrulies) as a dedication to the horrible Military Commissions Act of 2006, pointed me in the direction of some good clips by the Clash, which I will, in turn, pass on to you fine people:

"Clampdown"


"Police on My Back"


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Always Room For Jello Biafra

by Jay Allbritton
Former Dead Kennedys singer Jello Biafra brings white hot rhetoric to his appearances.

In 2002, he spoke in Brooklyn about the coming Iraq War and the neocons who brought it about.



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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

She's Leaving Home

by Hector Diego



Here's a beautiful song, from Sargeant Pepper's. It's been listened to many millions of times by people on LSD. We're not recommending anything like that here at The Walrus Speaks. It's just as good without it.

You wonder how Paul McCartney thought of this theme...in 1967 he was a young man with no children, what to speak of grown children.

Simply put, the Beatles were deep. Lit up by the fire of inspiration. Old souls.

Of course, credit must go to George Martin too, who was able to decipher the Beatles' dreams and help them to become very valuable grooves in vinyl.

Hoser Music---Creedence Clearwater Revival

by Hector Diego
I heard the word hoser the other day for the umpteenth time, and figured I better get straight about what it means. Any 50 year old who knows all the current slang is probably a poser. According to Wikipedia, the term hoser originated in reference to backwoods Canadians who listened to Classic Rock. It seems a hoser is unsophisticated and might live in a mobile home, maybe even chew a little chaw now and then. Dip some snuff.

So I thought, Classic Rock...aren't the Beatles Classic Rock? As if the folks addicted to punk, grunge, rap etc. are by their very nature...sophisticated?

Anyway, Creedence Clearwater Revival went out of their way to pose as Southern hosers. And black hosers, at that. John Fogerty, their genius song writer who I have previously compared to Stephen Foster (1826-1864) , critically renowned as "the father of American music", was once asked why he sang like a black man. He replied that whenever he opened his mouth to sing, that's what came out--a black man's voice.

Fogerty was a good singer, but it is his simple yet enduring melodies to which I pay tribute.

Hoser music, indeed.



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DUANE EDDY---PETER GUNN

by Hector Diego



You youngsters out there may never have heard of Duane Eddy, so listen up. To say that this guy broke ground with his guitar and Lee Hazlewood's production is an understatement. Peter Gunn does not do justice to his guitar innovations, but it has a great sound for a detective show, like that classic theme for Perry Mason.

Dig that mean sax.



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Within You, Without You

by Hector Diego


This gem by George Harrison asks...are you one of them?



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Totally Unacceptable

by Jay Allbritton
I posted CNN's report on Michael Richards' now infamous diatribe. Well, CNN didn't really capture just how horrific Richards was. See for yourself:


Richards attempted to apologize on Letterman last night.


Clearly Richards is on another planet altogether. This pains me as a long time fan of this guy and Seinfeld. Hopefully he can turn this into something good.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

JOHN LENNON---OH MY LOVE

by Hector Diego


Here's another great track from John Lennon's 1971 album, Imagine. It's a classic love song.

A Professor's Daymare...

by Hector Diego
Have you ever wanted to break out in song in the middle of Intro to Western Civ? So the prof could know what was really on your mind?

Here, There, and Everywhere

by Hector Diego


And here's an anonymous dude doing a straightforward cover. He neither tries to imitate Paul, nor does he take any liberties with the music. He's just himself, and he looks like he's having a lot of fun. When was the last time you hauled out your old guitar...

St. Joan of California---Diamonds and Rust

by Hector Diego
Our good friend Pondering Pig likes to request excellent music--and we like to give it to him. If you can't dig Joan Baez, go back to your Britney Spears, and leave us in peace.



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Say it Ain't So, Cosmo

by Jay Allbritton
Michael Richards, the actor who played the beloved Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld reportedly spewed racist remarks in the midst of a stand-up comedy routine.

CNN reports:


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Sunday, November 19, 2006

JENNY, YOU'RE BARELY ALIVE

by Hector Diego


"It's all the treasures in the street, as we drive right over them..."

Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley is like all of us (or most of us, anyway)--she feels that life is passing her by, that she's practically dead...always looking for a new thrill...she's barely alive.

This is a brutally honest song. If you don't recognize yourself in it, either write a self-help book for the rest of us poor folks, or jump off a bridge.

Because you're barely alive.

An American Artist---Karen Carpenter (1950---1983)

by Hector Diego
Karen Carpenter and her brother Richard Carpenter were the unlikeliest pair of superstars imaginable for the 1970s. If you don't believe it, would do you think of their 100 million record sales?

Everything they did was pure corn and completely out of step with their era. Nevertheless, I believe my philosophy of music--the primacy of melody--is vindicated by the success of the Carpenters. As if melody were not enough, Karen was a songbird extraordinaire...who played drums!

Their normal image was dismantled when Karen died of anorexia in 1983. Brother Richard, it turns out, was addicted to Quaaludes.

But their music lives on as a testament to home and apple pie.



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Teacher Taped Preaching to Class

by Jay Allbritton
Here's part of the reason I have a problem letting religious discourse into the public schools--From the Star Ledger:
A Kearny High School student has accused a history teacher of crossing the line between teaching and preaching -- and he says he's got the tapes to prove it.

Junior Matthew LaClair, 16, said history teacher David Paszkiewicz, who is also a Baptist preacher in town, spent the first week of class lecturing students more about heaven and hell than the colonies and the Constitution.

LaClair said Paszkiewicz told students that if they didn't accept Jesus, "you belong in hell." He also dismissed as unscientific the theories of evolution and the "Big Bang."

LaClair, who described his own religious views as "non-Christian," said he wanted to complain about Paszkiewicz to school administrators, but feared his teacher would deny the charges and that no one would take a student's word against a teacher's.

So, he said, he started taping Paszkiewicz.

"I would never have suspected something like this went on in a public school," LaClair said yesterday. "If I didn't have those CDs, everything would have been dismissed."

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Goes to show what a little evidence can do, eh?

VIDEO: Atheist Richard Dawkins talks about Intelligent Design.

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Crossposted at Ice Station Tango.

BIG BAD JOHN

by Hector Diego
Here's Dean and Roy Acuff's Big Bad John, performed by Jimmy Dean, the sausage guy. The video is silly, but not the point. They have thrown in a bit of Johnny Cash at the end.

People talk, and talk, and talk, about great ideals: democracy, civil rights, socialism, love of God, etc. But in India's great epic, the Mahabharata, there is a refrain that makes sense on an intuitive level: heroes do not talk much.

Big John.





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CARRY THAT WEIGHT

by Hector Diego


Jefferson Airplane---Pretty As You Feel

by Hector Diego


There's no video, just classic music from a classic era.



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You look like a fool to me...

by Hector Diego


Here's an experiment that succeeded. My daughter number 2, almost 12, figured it out. I'll have it wired sometime in my next life...

Here's Avril Lavigne.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

"WE SWEAR IT ON YOUR GRAVE!"

by Hector Diego


There may be no one that I enjoy disagreeing with more than Karl Marx. I do not blaspheme the man for insincerity, for obviously he was anything but insincere. Nor would I misunderstand his obsession with economic injustice--I go around half the time saying much the same things myself. I just love to disagree with him because he is worth arguing with. At the very least his preoccupation with power is substantial. I've been beaten down enough to know about that.

His colleague Frederick Engels eulogized Marx at his funeral so elegantly that it sums up the life and work of his friend in a nutshell:

"...mankind must first of all eat, drink, have shelter and clothing, before it can pursue politics, science, art, religion, etc."

"...Marx also discovered the special law of motion governing the present-day capitalist mode of production and the bourgeois society that this mode of production has created."

The first quotation seems to be self-evident, and is the reason I respect the humanity of the man. The second quotation is the difficult part, for it requires much thought to understand. Having understood it, one needs to listen to counterarguments if reason is to have its day, and this too requires much thought. Whichever way you eventually come to see it, anything to do with Marx' views on economics is not a picnic--you have to crack some books and prepare to intellectualize with the best of them.

But my problem with Marx is far simpler. How much does any individual need before he can "pursue politics, science, art, religion", etc.? Abraham Lincoln and George Harrison went rather far in life, although they started with nothing at all...and what to speak of many of the world's great religious figures. I am not convinced that childhood prosperity would have made Lincoln a better president or Harrison a better Beatle.

Perhaps the argument may turn upon which emphasis we choose, the corporate or the individual. Of course Old Abe and Beatle George were successful, but what about oppressed groups in general--what are its overall levels of material prosperity in relation to others? This line of thought brings out the socialist in me. But when I think of the rights of individuals I think like Jefferson and Hamilton, not Marx.

I am not of one piece, so I leave you with more Ten Years After:



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Ken Wilber on Descartes

by Jay Allbritton
Ken Wilber fields a question about Descartes. Not the biggest fan of Wilber, but I love the discussion.



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BECAUSE

by Hector Diego



All of the Beatles played on the second half of Abbey Road, but John had washed his hands of its completion. George Martin and Paul McCartney finished it's production so nicely that Abbey Road is considered the Beatles' best work by the first generation of Beatles people (second generation Beatles people, statistics show, give pride of place to Revolver).

When you think about it, would it have made any sense for Lennon to finish McCartney's songs? No way. Paul McCartney sticks to a project until it is finished. His work with Martin on a piece like Because honors the genius of the editor of The Daily Howl more than any amount of words could ever do.

So here it is, John's rough gem, and Paul's tribute to John.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Simon and Garfunkel---The Boxer.

by Hector Diego



JULIA

by Hector Diego


For you pups out there that don't yet know your Beatles history--Julia was John's mother, killed in a hit and run accident when John was 16.

Rumsfeld rolls up.

by Hector Diego

ALVIN LEE---I'M GOING HOME

by Hector Diego
My recent posting on Johnny Winter inspired this one--Alvin Lee and Ten Years After at the Woodstock festival. Ten Years After is a band that deserves more notice than it gets. They were as good as Led Zeppelin in their way. No guitarist beats Alvin Lee. I drove my old man crazy with Ten Years After, playing them constantly and at full blast.

Alvin Lee is the kind of guy, he comes by to see your daughter, you throw him out immediately. But man, does this guy have the chops.



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I Never, Never, Never, Never...

by Jay Allbritton
Nicely done fan video of Rilo Kiley's, "I Never".



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Johnny Winter---Highway 61

by Hector Diego
When I was a kid no one in my crowd idolized astronauts, I tell you what. We talked constantly about guitarists. Johnny Winter was high on everyone's list.



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It's A Beautiful Day---White Bird

by Hector Diego


An unusual group, was It's A Beautiful Day.

Beatles outtakes.

by Hector Diego

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Behold, the Haka

by Jay Allbritton
I've never been to a rugby game, but I've seen my fair share on TV and it's great stuff. Super 14 rugby used to air at all hours on Fox Sports World. It got me through grad school.

Yet, for as great as rugby is, the best part of the game is when the All-Blacks fo the Haka (via Andrew Sullivan).



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JACKSON FIVE---I'LL BE THERE

by Hector Diego


They were slick, commercial, etc. but everyone of them had talent. Look at little Michael, a nice looking kid who didn't believe it. I believe it's only decent to feel compassion for little Michael.

That's right, and I'm not ashamed to say it--the Jackson Five made wholesome family music. At the same time they were not Pat Boone.

Little Michael.





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Norwegian Wood.

by Hector Diego

George Harrison in Hrishikesh, India.


Sitars in Western music...

We don't think anything of it these days, but George's sitar work in Norwegian Wood was a first in the history of recorded music: the marriage of guitar and the sitar. Why not?



No Empire, No Longer...

by Jay Allbritton
Eddie Izzard is perhaps the finest living comedian. The competition is tight, but Eddie is as good as anyone.

In this bit, he talks about the end of Empires, and though he may not have all the dates right, he knows enough (h/t to my fellow Unruly, Jump to the Left).



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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Led Zeppelin---Dazed and Confused

by Hector Diego


They are at the top of their form here. This early video starts subtly and turns into something really amazing. If you don't like this one, you just don't like Led Zeppelin.


Kula Shaker---You'll Be Grateful When You're Dead

by Hector Diego




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Is Love Real?

by Jay Allbritton
Not everyone is pleased with the upcoming mashup of the Beatles, Love.

From the AP (h/t Russ Weiss):
Of course, the idea for the album itself distorts songs that fans have been familiar with for 40 years, in some cases. "There will be a lot of people pissed off about this," Giles Martin said, "but it was all in fun."

Count Bob Spitz, author of "The Beatles: The Biography," among the unhappy fans.

"I'm disappointed," Spitz said. "Not by the end product but by the fact that they are the Beatles' songs and overdubbing them and massaging them allows other people to impose their own creative ideas on something that was so immediate and of a particular time. I thought that legacy was virtually tamper-proof, until now.

"Once you meddle with something so fixed in the public's mind you will risk having a failure on the proportion to Twyla Tharp doing Bob Dylan," Spitz said, in a reference to the musical that is closing Sunday after less than a month on Broadway

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I got no problem with this. My friend and Ice Station Tango collaborator Russ Weiss is uncertain about doing this to the Beatles music. Paul and Ringo okayed it. What says Hector Diego?

What say all of you?

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