Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Rossini - William Tell Overture Part 2

Happy birthday to Gioachino Rossini, born February 29, 1792, which means today is either his 220th birthday or his 53rd, depending on how you count. This performance is by the Hallé Orchestra, conducted by Mark Elder at the Royal Albert Hall in 2004.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

RIP Jan Berenstain

Cultural icons come in many forms. If you've ever read a book or watched a TV show about the Berenstain Bears, you've seen the work that she (and her husband Stan, who died in 2005) did. The NY Times obit is here.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Little Walter - My Babe

Just so good. Little Walter was better known as a harmonica player than a singer, but proves he's no slouch with his pipes in this hit from 1955.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tito Puente - El Cumbanchero

From 1965, so he doesn't have the white hair that was such a part of his persona in later years.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Manfred Mann - Do Wah Diddy

Funny to watch this, since it looks like a stage performance but it's clearly lip-synced to the original studio recording. FWIW, Mann is using stacked keyboards before Ray Manzarek did by a year or two, since this is from 1964. Looks like it's a Hohner Pianet on top of the Vox Continental.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Linda Greenhouse on a "Citizens United" Challenge...Maybe

Interesting notes from Greenhouse, a longtime US Supreme Court watcher.

Is there really a chance that the Supreme Court might reconsider Citizens United?

A week ago, I wouldn’t have thought so, and I still think it’s an extreme long shot. But a provocative statement last Friday by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer makes this crazy idea worth pondering – which is undoubtedly what the two justices intended.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

T. S. Eliot - Ash Wednesday

I've posted this in the past on Ash Wednesday, but didn't last year. Time to do it again. Here's T.S. Eliot reading his poem Ash Wednesday, courtesy of blogger Tom Watson.

Monday, February 20, 2012

E.J. Dionne on Republican Consistency, or the Lack of It

Dionne puts things in a nutshell:

Can conservatives finally face the fact that they actually want quite a lot from government, and that they are simply unwilling to raise taxes to pay for it?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Little Anthony & The Imperials - " I'm On The Outside (Looking In)"

What a voice, accompanied by other great voices. Song, arrangement...everything. Members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Conservatives vs Fox News

Hunter at DailyKos mines a Politico article about CPAC for some nuggets, and comes to the same conclusion as others: the Republican party is splitting along ideological fault lines.

It does seem like Fox seems to toe the Republican line, and the Republican line is not necessarily always the most conservative line—at least, not when "conservatism" has devolved into the least common denominator of conspiracy theorizing, race-baiting, and the world's most pissed off costume parties. I think the real story here is that the Republican party itself decided that the tea partiers and assorted hangers-on were getting far too crazy for even them to be able to control, and Fox News made the exact same choice: Fox has always catered to the "Republican" version of conservatism first (even when that requires a dizzying array of rapid policy shifts on things like spending, the deficit and the like) and social conservatism only as necessary evil.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

TPM on Obama's Birth Control Decision

Interesting perspective from Talking Points Memo:

The shift is looking like an act of political jujitsu as Obama has not only unified his base but splintered the GOP coalition, which initially appeared united against the President’s rule. Obama won over the Democrats and moderate Catholics who criticized him, while maintaining the support of those who backed the original rule. As an added bonus, he has turned some Republicans who initially opposed his policy against their own leaders.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Krugman on Reality and Republicans, Part 2

Glad to see someone else saying this, especially Krugman.

How did American conservatism end up so detached from, indeed at odds with, facts and rationality? For it was not always thus. After all, that health reform Mr. Romney wants us to forget followed a blueprint originally laid out at the Heritage Foundation!

My short answer is that the long-running con game of economic conservatives and the wealthy supporters they serve finally went bad. For decades the G.O.P. has won elections by appealing to social and racial divisions, only to turn after each victory to deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthy.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Sad sad sad. This is her first credited solo performance, with Bill Laswell's band Material. Archie Shepp on saxophone, on a song first recorded by Soft Machine.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Slothrop Makes a Deal

Homemade video of a brief scene from Gravity's Rainbow. Don't know about you, but me, I love the twenty-first century.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Lambchop - If Not I'll Just Die

The newest from Nashville's finest lounge/alternative/cabaret/country band.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What Digby Said About the Masters of the Universe

Nice nice nice. Digby finds an article in New York Magazine about how the highest-flying of the financial high fliers are circling down.

The article features lots and lots of boo-hooing about how hard they work and threats to move to Silicon Valley and be the next Zuckerberg. But this article makes the case that Wall Street itself is in a very serious retrenchment the likes of which have never been seen before. The insane compensation structure is over and the industry is facing the unpleasant task of figuring out how to make money legitimately again.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Singin' The Blues - Bix Beiderbecke

If you've ever studied the history of jazz, you've probably heard this recording, since it features in just about every anthology of jazz from the 1920s. Bix Beiderbecke takes the second solo.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Krugman on Green Shoots Being Stepped On

One step forward, with the definite possibility of a move backward. Dr. K explains.

So this encouraging employment report shouldn’t lead to any slackening in efforts to promote recovery. Full employment is still a distant dream — and that’s unacceptable. Policy makers should be doing everything they can to get us back to full employment as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, that’s not the way many people with influence on policy see it.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Is Cultural Innovation Slowing Down?

Meant to post this sooner, but got sidetracked. Kurt Andersen has written an article in Vanity Fair in which the basic premise is that the kinds of changes in popular culture that used to be common seem to have slowed to a crawl. Between 1952 and 1972 the popular taste in music, clothing, movies, etc. changed so much that if you see examples from each of those times the differences are obvious. Same for 1972 to 1992. But 1992 to 2012...not so much. Why? You can read the article here.

H/t thereisnospoon at Digby's blog.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Wayne Shorter - Speak No Evil

What I've been listening to lately. Recorded in 1965, Shorter is joined by his colleagues from the Miles Davis band, Herbie Hancock on piano and Ron Carter on bass, as well as Elvin Jones on drums and Freddie Hubbard on trumpet.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Who - Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand

This sounds like a different mix from the album version, but the only version of the album mix I could find on YouTube wouldn't allow embedding. I had a friend who once met the real Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand, who had worked as a seamstress for the Who in the mid-sixties.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Johnny Cash - Joshua Gone Barbados

For several years I've posted Spirit's "Groundhog Day" on this date, so it's time for something different. February 2 also marks the passing of Eric von Schmidt in 2007 -- to commemorate him, here is one of his best-known songs, a true story of a strike by sugarcane cutters in the Caribbean in the 1950s. The power of the song lies in its structure: several characters appear and reappear, and their individual stories show the overall progress of the strike as it begins, falters, and fails. Like Mississippi John Hurt's "Louis Collins," it's a song about violence told in a sweet, sad voice. Johnny Cash does it justice in a recording from the 1980s.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Jethro Tull - Bourée

J.S. Bach rearranged. When I was young I didn't notice that Ian Anderson overdubbed a second flute part.