Monday, December 31, 2012

Jimi Hendrix - Auld Lang Syne

Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Donovan - Poor Love

From the movie Poor Cow. Sometimes life doesn't give us what we want. Sometimes life doesn't even give us what we need. Can't stop anyway.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

NASA Images 2012

A gallery of the most striking NASA images of 2012, from the Guardian. Here's Europe, Africa, and part of Asia at night.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Krugman on the Latest Economic Anxiety, Part 87

I link to K's postings because I think they're accurate, not because they make me happy.

One of the enduring fantasies of the pundit class – most dramatically demonstrated by the ludicrous Politico piece on What Insiders Know – is that all we need to fix our economic problems is to get the great and the good together and bypass those pesky elected officials. Business leaders, in particular, are presumed to have the know-how to deal with all the important issues.

But the reality is that the business leaders intervening in our economic debate are, for the most part, either predatory or hopelessly confused (or, I guess, both).

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Steve Cropper - With A Little Help From My Friends

If you're looking for guitar pyrotechnics then Steve Cropper is not your man, but there are probably few guitar players so respected by his peers. He falls in the "never a wasted note" category. Everything is executed flawlessly, and every guitar player's true unique feature, the touch, is unbelievably clean. This arrangement of the Beatles' tune is clearly based on Joe Cocker's version, but Cropper nails it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Magical Mystery Tour Trailer 2012

It was forty-five years ago today that the Beatles experienced their first real public flop, after five years of a charmed existence. (Not coincidentally, it was their first big project after the death of their manager Brain Epstein, who among other skills was good at reining in their most extravagant impulses.) The showing of their film Magical Mystery Tour on Boxing Day 1967 drew at best a response of bafflement from their devoted fans. Still, it had a certain charm, and of course the music was fantastic. Here's a trailer from the 2012 Blu-Ray edition, in German or some reason. Let's pretend that's part of its quirky charisma.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

White Ghost Shivers - Santa's Sack

Be aware: this is pretty much double-entrende from beginning to end. Happy holidays.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Jeff Beck - Cause We've Ended As Lovers

I've actually posted another version of Jeff Beck doing this Stevie Wonder song, but that was a while ago, and, well, this is really good. Bassist Tal Wilkenfeld gets a solo as well, and makes the most of it. This is an amateur clip made, according to the YouTube page, on Feb 23, 2009, in Saitama, Japan.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Iron Butterfly - Soul Experience

To mark the passing of Lee Dorman, the bassist in this clip, here's one of Iron Butterfly's post-"In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" singles. It's obviously lip-synched, but so what, it's an artifact of a now-vanished era.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Krugman on the Breakdown in Fiscal Cliff Negotiations

It's both simple and complicated, as these things often are. Dr K explains.

Once again, the Republican crazies — the people who can’t accept the idea of ever voting to raise taxes on the wealthy, never mind either fiscal or economic reality — have saved the day.

We don’t know exactly why Mr. Boehner didn’t respond to the president’s offer with a real counteroffer and instead offered something ludicrous — a “Plan B” that, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, would actually raise taxes for a number of lower- and middle-income families, while cutting taxes for almost half of those in the top 1 percent. The effect, however, has to have been to disabuse the Obama team of any illusions that they were engaged in good-faith negotiations.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Choose Something Like a Star

A poem by Robert Frost set to music by Randall Thompson. This piece is apparently well-known among choral singers, but I had never heard of it until the other day.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

James Gang - The Bomber: Closet Queen/Bolero/Cast Your Fate to the Wind

From Joe Walsh's first well-known band. Sort of a period piece from 1970, but nice guitar work.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Krugman on the Potential Fiscal Cliff Deal

As must be obvious, I trust Krugman on economic issues. He's now saying that the currently rumored deal is still bad but not horrible, and may be the best we can hope for. I've got my fingers crossed...for what, I'm not sure.

But is this rumored deal better than no deal? I’m on the edge. It’s not clear that going over the cliff would yield something better; on the other hand, those benefit cuts are really bad, and you hate to see a Democratic president lending his name to something like that. There is a case for refusing to make this deal, and hoping for a popular backlash against the GOP that transforms the whole debate; but there’s also an argument that this might not work.

Monday, December 17, 2012

King's College Cambridge 2011 Easter - O Sacred head Sore Wounded (JS Bach)

I posted Beaver and Krause's "Sanctuary" a couple of days ago. Here is another setting of the same melody. The ending is abrupt, but it's still worth hearing.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Katia Ricciarelli - Pergolesi - Stabat Mater (Dolorosa)

I've posted this before, but it was several years ago. It's part of the traditional Catholic work Stabat Mater, and seemed appropriate because it's partially about a mother mourning over the death of her child.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Beaver and Krause - Sanctuary

When I heard about the shootings in Connecticut, this is the music that came into my head.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

RIP Ravi Shankar

This is the end of the movie Monterey Pop. Shankar himself apparently felt this was one of his best public performances.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Madness - Our House

A classic song and video from MTV's glory days in the early eighties.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Krugman on Robots vs. Workers

Very interesting stuff, because it reminds us that economic analysis of a situation must change if the technology influencing that situation changes enough.

Robots mean that labor costs don’t matter much, so you might as well locate in advanced countries with large markets and good infrastructure (which may soon not include us, but that’s another issue). On the other hand, it’s not good news for workers!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Politics and Geography

This article in the Atlantic provides an interesting and useful perspective on the correlation between red/blue and rural/urban.

The gap is so stark that some of America's bluest cities are located in its reddest states. Every one of Texas' major cities -- Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio -- voted Democratic in 2012, the second consecutive presidential election in which they've done so. Other red-state cities that tipped blue include Atlanta, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Birmingham, Tucson, Little Rock, and Charleston, S.C. -- ironically, the site of the first battle of the Civil War. In states like Nevada, the only blue districts are often also the only cities, like Reno and Las Vegas.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Republicans and Reality

From Gary Younge in the Guardian. H/t Meteor Blades @ DailyKos.

For some time now [Republicans] have been bingeing on everything from climate change denial to creationism. But in the last four years they outdid themselves with birtherism and death panels, insisting Obama was a Kenyan imposter imposing European values. Believing they were entitled to their own facts, they started to believe their own spin....Finally it appears defeat has sobered some of them up, forcing a rift between those willing to engage with the world as it is and others who prefer dystopian visions, woven from whole cloth. Over the past few years Republicans presented a united, impenetrable front guided by the latter. Now the party's pragmatists, who laid low for fear of Tea Party retribution, seem to be slowly finding their voice.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Nat King Cole - Lush Life

Billy Strayhorn's masterwork, as recorded by one of the great interpreters of the American songbook.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

John Lee Hooker - Burning Hell

Time for a theology lesson. Hooker's original version came out in 1949; this version is from 1970's Hooker 'n' Heat album, with the band Canned Heat backing Hooker. This is something of a showcase for Alan Wilson on harmonica. Wilson died shortly after recording it.