Monday, January 31, 2011

John Barry Orchestra - James Bond Theme (From "Dr. No.")

RIP film composer John Barry. Here's the original version of one of the most memorable musical motifs ever written for film.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Frank Rich on the Republican Response(s) to the State of the Union Address

This Rich fellow nails it again.

It tells you all you need to know about [congressman] Ryan’s tilt to the right that, for all his professed disapproval of increasing the debt limit during an Obama administration, he voted to do so twice himself during the gushing deficits of the Bush years. Funny he didn’t mention that Tuesday night. It tells you all you need to know about the G.O.P.’s overall tilt to the right that not just the Tea Party is making barely veiled threats to play dangerous political games with the debt limit. Mitch McConnell and Cantor did so last weekend, as have a plethora of potential 2012 presidential candidates, from Tim Pawlenty to Gingrich. The Bachmann-Beck-Palin tail is now firmly wagging the Republican dog.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Kinks - Phenomenal Cat

From Village Green Preservation Society. Mellotron, studio tricks on the vocals -- must be the psychedelic era. And in fact it is.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Krugman on Reality and Republicans

Sometimes I feel like there are people saying the same thing over and over. But if your adversary does that, it's hard to avoid doing it yourself. Krugman here discusses the Republican view of the current state of the economies of Europe.

American conservatives have long had their own private Europe of the imagination — a place of economic stagnation and terrible health care, a collapsing society groaning under the weight of Big Government. The fact that Europe isn’t actually like that — did you know that adults in their prime working years are more likely to be employed in Europe than they are in the United States? — hasn’t deterred them.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Way You Look Tonight - Fred Astaire (Swing Time, 1936)

Today marks the anniversary of composer Jerome Kern's birth in 1885. Here's the original version of one of his best-known melodies, with lyrics by Dorothy Fields.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sam Cooke - You Send Me

Sam Cooke would have been eighty today. Here he lip-syncs one of his best-known songs on American Bandstand. He was a better singer than pantomimist. Much much much better.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Joseph Spence - Yellow Bird

To follow up on yesterday's post, here is some Joseph Spence himself, performing a standard. A wonderful guitarist and unique performer.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Van Dyke Parks - On The Rolling Sea When Jesus Speak To Me

There's nobody quite like Van Dyke Parks. Here he performs a song by Joseph Spence, the Bahamian singer and songwriter.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Krugman on Right Wonkery

Krugman has depressed me again, and it simply wouldn't be fair if I didn't share it with you.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Temptations - I Wish It Would Rain

Today would have been David Ruffin's seventieth birthday. An outsize personality and a beautiful voice, he struggled for years with his demons, but left behind a recorded legacy that shows a man who obviously knew what it meant to love.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Frank Rich on the Lessons of Tucson

Mr Rich nails it again. Sometimes the truth is the most depressing thing of all.

If we learn nothing from this tragedy, we are back where we started. And where we started was with two years of accelerating political violence — actual violence, not to be confused with violent language — that struck fear into many, not the least of whom was Gabrielle Giffords.

For the sake of this discussion, let’s stipulate that Loughner was a “lone nutjob” who had never listened to Glenn Beck or been a card-carrying member of either the Tea or Communist parties. Let’s also face another tragedy: The only two civic reforms that might have actually stopped him — tighter gun control and an effective mental health safety net — won’t materialize even now.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Gail Collins on What Congress Could Do After Tuscon

Collins is understandably circumspect about what might actually happen.

All John Boehner, the speaker of the House, has to do is say that in the wake of the Tucson tragedy he wants to demonstrate that Congress is open to a serious and mature discussion of ways that it might have been avoided, or mitigated.

That might include proposals to better identify people with potentially violent mental illnesses. And it certainly would also have to involve a conversation over a technology that can turn a pistol into the equivalent of a somewhat slow-moving machine gun

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

Krugman on Tuscon and Fueling Hate

Krugman speaks so much sense that he is bound to be ignored.

It’s important to be clear here about the nature of our sickness. It’s not a general lack of “civility,” the favorite term of pundits who want to wish away fundamental policy disagreements. Politeness may be a virtue, but there’s a big difference between bad manners and calls, explicit or implicit, for violence; insults aren’t the same as incitement.

The point is that there’s room in a democracy for people who ridicule and denounce those who disagree with them; there isn’t any place for eliminationist rhetoric, for suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Gail Collins on the New Republicans' First Week in Congress

Collins is turning into quite the com-men-ta-tor (rhymes with oar).

And kudos to Representative Darrell Issa, the incoming head of the powerful House Oversight Committee. This week Issa turned over a new, more collegial leaf by taking back, sort of, his recent claim that Barack Obama is “one of the most corrupt presidents of modern times.”

Which was certainly not charitable. Particularly from the party that gave us Watergate, the Iran-Contra Affair and Warren Harding.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Krugman on the Texas Budget

Dr Krugman on the state that was supposed to be managing its money, unlike California. So much for that.

For Texas is where the modern conservative theory of budgeting — the belief that you should never raise taxes under any circumstances, that you can always balance the budget by cutting wasteful spending — has been implemented most completely. If the theory can’t make it there, it can’t make it anywhere.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

What Digby Said About What Cynthia Freeland Said

This is actually a link to a link, which may seem unnecessary, but I want to be sure that Digby gets credit. It's an article about how our rulers (the rich, not the government) are becoming even more unhinged from the reality that most of us know. Please read it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street

Seventies power ballads are not my usual thing, but what can I say? It's a great song. And the lines:

He’s got this dream about buyin’ some land
He’s gonna give up the booze and the one night stands
And then he’ll settle down, in some quiet little town
And forget about everything.

But you know he’ll always keep movin’
You know he’s never gonna stop movin’...

keep it from mawkishness. It's a song about life's losers, and the triumphant saxophone lick is somehow the sound of someone being buried alive. RIP GR.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Joan Baez - One Too Many Mornings

A Bob Dylan song interpreted by one of his old colleagues, backed by Nashville's finest, circa 1968.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Meters - Look-Ka Py Py, Jungle Man

From the same 1974 Dr. John special as the post I did a couple of years ago. In memory of David Mills.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Band - The Rumor

Don't know why I've got this song on my mind on New Year's Day -- maybe because one key line is "It's a-coming, a brand new day." But the song is about some of the worst human behavior: destructive behind-the-back talk. However, the "brand-new day" line is in there. So maybe it's like a Cormac McCarthy novel, in that we see the evil that humans can do, but see a flicker of hope. In any event, it sounds great, with some wonderful multi-part singing.