Sunday, March 30, 2008

I Did Take Sniper Fire, I Did, I Did...

“So? Go Fuck Yourself"
Dick Cheney, vice president

Hillary Clinton did take sniper fire and shows nerves of steel in this clip from her Bosnia trip. Obviously the media is again showing favoritism.

A tip of the hat to Shockfront

Ray Davies in Concert

“A live concert to me is exciting because of all the electricity that is generated in the crowd and on stage. It's my favorite part of the business, live concerts.”
Elvis Presley (1935-1977) singer

All the singing you might of heard in mid-Los Angeles came from the Wiltern Theater last night because Ray Davies alternately rocked the crowd as well as turned the 2,000-seat venue into an even more intimate setting similar to a pub sing along.

Here is the set list:
“I’m Not Like Everybody Else”
“Where Have All the Good Times Gone?”
“Till the End of the Day”
“After the Fall”
“Well-Respected Man”
“Next Door Neighbour”
“Celluloid Heroes”
"The Tourist"
“Working Man’s Café”
“20th Century Man”
“No One Listen”
“One More Time”
“Vietnam Cowboys”
“The Real World”
"I, The Victim"
“Sunny Afternoon”
“Come Dancing”
“Tired of Waiting”
“Set Me Free”
“You Really Got Me”
“Low Budget”

Our seats were at the back of the floor, but with a straight center of the stage view. All the seats in our area were bar stools right on top of each other. Daughter and I rocked out in our seats playing air guitar and singing. When our section stood then we danced. Yes, I was the old guy in the back who danced like Al Gore on inauguration night in 1992. We all had a great time. Daughter and I were a bit surprised that we weren’t called up on stage to lend additional vocal dimension and depth to the show, maybe next time.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

My Favorite Ray Davies & Kinks' Songs

You make me laugh and you make me smile
And after a hard day sorting out the files
You make it all worthwhile.

Ray Davies, singer/song writer, lyrics from the "You Make it All Worth While"

In honor of our going to see Ray Davies here are my favorite songs, which include the Kinks:

1. 20th Century Man – This is my absolute favorite. I recognized the power and meaning of this song in high school

2. “Apeman” – The original is very good, but the version that became a favorite is from the “To The Bone” CD, which is more of a reggae feel to it and it’s a great sing along for kids, including nieces and nephews who you pick up from the airport

3. “Lola” – Simply a fun classic about guys who used to hang around Hollywood Boulevard and other similar places

4. “Celluloid Heroes” – A Kinks classic about strolling down Hollywood Boulevard

5. “Low Budget” – This could have been written today:
Circumstance has forced my hand
To be a cut price person in a low budget land
Times are hard but we'll all survive
I just got to learn to economize
I'm on a low budget
I'm on a low budget
I'm not cheap, you understand

6. “When I Turn Out Living Room Lights” – Many of us had dates when this was probably a good idea

7. “Rush Hour Blues” – Ring any bells:
He gets up early about seven o’clock,
The alarm goes off and then the house starts to rock.
In and out of the bathroom by seven-o-three,
By seven-ten he’s downstairs drinking his tea.
So put a shine on your shoes,
Put on your pin-striped suit.
Can’t lose those early-morning-cant-stop-yawning,
Push and shoving rush hour blues.

8. “Have Another Drink”/“Alcohol” – these are two separate songs but together they are part one and part two

9. “Thanksgiving Day” – This captures the American holiday perfectly

10. “You’re Asking Me” – A song that is my daily refrain

11. “Working Man’s Café” – How the world has changed:
Everything around me seems unreal
Everywhere I go it looks and feels like America
We've really come a long way down this road
Improving our surroundings as we go
Changing our roots and culture
But don't you know
Long ago there was a working man
Don't you know we were all working men
And we'd sit and pass the time of day
At the working man's café

12. "Days" – This is the song that I asked Daughter to play to remember when I am gone:
Days I'll remember all my life,
Days when you can't see wrong from right.
You took my life,

But then I knew that very soon you’d leave me,
But its all right,
Now I'm not frightened of this world, believe me.
Thank you for the days,
Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me.
I’m thinking of the days,
I won’t forget a single day, believe me.

I don’t want to go through the entire Ray Davies and Kinks' catalog this will have to do, but there are many great ones not included in this short list.

Friday, March 28, 2008

More Rolling Stones

“Exiles from the Retirement Home.”

When the Rolling Stones turn it on they are tremendous. This is an example of them at their best. On The Mark, Daughter and I watched them a few years ago when they were on because they were filming an HBO special in Madison Square Garden. It was -12 outside, but inside we were rocking out.

Daughter and I will venture out to see the movie the first week of April and I will buy the CD/soundtrack. Yes I am pretty much a sucker for all things Rolling Stones.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

On The Mark -- MLB Has Ruined Opening Day

Even as I pass the half century mark, opening day in major league baseball was still like Christmas morning when I was a kid. Just simple, innocent, pure joy. A chance to always be a kid. In fact, until just recently, when I watched baseball players on television or on the field they still looked older than me, even though most of them are some 25 years younger.

But MLB has ruined this special moment. It's been happening progressively. For some time, opening day has started on a Sunday night, on the same day as many teams were still playing their last spring training game. Once upon a time, opening day started at 1 p.m. (at respective time-zone stadiums) across the country. Sitting at Dodger Stadium, you knew the same pageantry was happening all across the country. Sunday night opening "day" tainted this.

But it's even worse now. This year, baseball opened up in Japan with a game between the Red Sox and A's. (They've done this sporadically a couple previous seasons.) If one even knew about the game (featuring last year's world champions), you had to watch it at 3 a.m. (on the West Coast). What's worse, is that the teams come back to the U.S. to continue their spring training games -- after their season has already started! -- with the Red Sox, for example, playing three practice games against the Dodgers (one in the old Coliseum). Plus the opening game and results get relegated to page 8 (or something like that) in the sports section.

It's just awful. All for the sake of marketing the game and making more bucks (of course). I guess what makes me most mad is that I'm one -- a longtime huge baseball fan -- who didn't know about opening day until it was too late. So it ruined a tradition The Misanthrope and I have shared for many years: picking the winners for each division, league and the championship before the first pitch of the season is thrown.

Now opening day is just another day at the ballpark.

What a shame.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Graphic Design vs Fine Art

LA denizens should check out the small art gallery at REDCAT (the theater attached to the Disney Hall downtown). Now through April 6 you can see the work of acclaimed design superstar Ed Fella and rising star Geoff McFetridge.

Why? One would think Fella's recent work is recent enough, but the truth is that there's just TOO MUCH in the gallery to enjoy in one viewing. It's his older work that astounds the visitor familiar with his recent typographic forays... because once upon a time Fella was just a commercial artist doing exactly what everyone else was doing. Or so it seems.

The McFetridge side of the gallery is fresh and exciting, and showcases his fine art as well as "hired gun" graphic design work. A few samples to whet the appetite:

Tuesday through Sunday, from noon to six pm, for free -- check out the website for more details.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Did You Know...?

Dick Cheney, vice president

You probably knew that the federal law known as RICO stands for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations. What you didn’t know was that Robert Blakely, a law professor at Notre Dame who write it in 1970 for the Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs. He named the law after Edward G. Robinson, who played a racketeer named Rico in the movie Little Caesar.

You no doubt heard the term swag as it is the goody bag (filled with coupons for expensive vacations or luxury watches, etc.) celebrities receive when they attend industry ceremonies or require from charity organizations when they make an appearance. But did you know first it was a mafia term for stolen goods? The word used today seems very apropos to how it’s used in regards to celebrity.

These tidbits are courtesy of the book “The Good Rat, A True Story” by Jimmy Breslin.

*Cheney, responding to ABC News’ White House correspondent Martha Raddatz, after she cited a recent poll showing that most Americans do not believe the Iraq War was worth fighting, as sited in Newsweek.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Working Man’s Café

“If you’re asking me don’t take my advice.”
Ray Davies, singer, songwriter

Ray Davies new CD Working Man’s Café is truly wonderful. I am even rather partial to the CD’s title. However, it may not be obvious right away because it takes time for the songs to grow on you. By that I mean the songs require more than just a casual listening. Nothing too complicated, just not pop fluff.

“Vietnam Cowboys” tackles the topic of a global village and all the jobs that have disappeared and how the world has morphed into a U.S. city:

Mass production in Saigon
While auto workers laid off in Cleveland
Hot Jacuzzi in Taiwan
With empty factories in Birmingham

My favorite song on the CD is “You’re Asking Me:”

You’re asking me What’s it leading to
Will we live a long life will it treat us fare
No point asking me because I haven’t got a clue

I like this song because when I am asked a question I give the same advice.

He tackles about a hospital ward in “Morphine Song,” being shot in New Orleans, as Davies was, in “In a Moment.”

Davies will be in Los Angeles March 29 at the Wiltern.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

David Letterman's Top Ten
Messages Left on Eliot Spitzer's Answering Machine

“If it were absolutely necessary to choose, I would rather be guilty of an immoral act than of a cruel one”
Anatole France (1844-1924), writer

I found this at The Kentucky Democrat:

Top Ten Messages Left On Eliot Spitzer's Answering Machine
10. Hey, what's new?
9. It's Barack Obama. Remember our conversation about being my running mate? Nevermind.
8. Ralph Nader here, glad to hear I'm not the only politician who has to pay for it
7. I'm calling from the 'New York Post.' Would you rather be known as 'Disgraced Gov Perv' or 'Humiliated Whore Fiend'?
6. This is John McCain, if it makes you feel better, I once got caught having sex with Lincoln's wife
5. It's Dr. Phil, call me if you need any horse**** advice
4. This is Senator Larry Craig. Do you ever go through the Minneapolis airport?
3. It's Wolf Blitzer. Call me if you ever want a hot Spitzer-Blitzer three-way
2. Paris Hilton here. I would have done it for free
1. It's Arnold Schwarzenegger. Thanks, I'm no longer America's creepiest governor

Bush Gangs Hides Unfavorable News
(that's not really news)

As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air - however slight - lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.
Justice William O. Douglas (1898 – 1980), the longest serving Supreme Court Justice, thirty-six years and seven months

I just discovered the news blog Talking Points Memo. I found it while reading the Paper Cuts blog of the New York Times. Here is one of the articles from Talking Points Memo that caught my eye:

Pentagon Tries to Squelch Report Showing No Link Between Iraq-Al Qaeda
By Paul Kiel - March 12, 2008, 3:20PM

Did you think that just because taxpayers funded a study that showed conclusively there was no operational link between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and Al Qaeda that it would be released without a fuss? Well, this is the Bush administration we're talking about here -- a group who've shown themselves over the years to be masters at disappearing inconvenient information. It looks like we've got another addition to our ever-growing catalog.

Click on the Talking Points Memo link highlighted in bold red to check out the article the Bush gang doesn’t want you to see.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Six Word Memoirs

You and I are stuck with the necessity of taking the worst of two evils or none at all. So-I'm taking the immature Democrat as the best of the two. Nixon is impossible.”
Harry S Truman (1884-1972), 33rd President of the United States

I was informed by Bradley at The Ethical Exhibitionist that I was tagged for the following six word Memoir. Until Bradley left the note I still was not in the mood to blog, but no one can say that I am not a good sport.

The Misanthrope in six words: Immature, but not so much now.

I am not crazy about this TAG stuff, but four that come to mind are: Chandira, Sporks, Teresa, Alice, and... .

1. Write your own six word memoir

2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like

3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere

4 Tag five more blogs with links

5. And don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Joshua Redman at Catalina's

“Whatever with the past has gone, the best is always yet to come.”
Lucy Larcom (1824 – 1893), poet

The occasion was On The Mark’s birthday. We had a nice steak dinner at Monty’s and then on to Catalina’s in Hollywood for the jazz of Joshua Redman. The maître d' Manny recognized us immediately and seated us up front. It had been a while since OTM and I spent an evening listening to jazz, because now he has a wife, a young child, and another on the way, so last night was very enjoyable.

Redman played for an hour and opened with a rousing version of "Mack the Knife." As OTM said, when watching Redman (this is the second or third time we have seen him there), he imagines this is what it was like in the ‘50s and ‘60s listening to jazz in a intimate club setting. The trio included bass player Reuben Rogers and drummer Gregory Hutchinson. Among the songs "Birds and Roots," "Ghost," "Indian Song" composed by Wayne Shorter, and "Identity Thief" that he premiered just for the 7:30 p.m. show.

Happy birthday and many, many more!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Humorous Reply
to the Fake John Cleese Letter

“A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce, or a tragedy, or perhaps both.”
James Madison (1751-1836), former U.S. president

This is one of the popular responses (I found at Honestly Dead):


We welcome your concern about our electoral process. It must be exciting for you to see a real Republic in action, even if from a distance. As always, we’re amused by your quaint belief that you’re actually a world power. The sun never sets on the British Empire! Right-o chum!

However, we regretfully have to decline your offer for intervention. On the other hand, it would be amusing to see you try to enforce your new policy (for the 96.3% of you that seem to have forgotten that you have little to no real power). After much deliberation, we have decided to continue our tradition as the longest running democratic republic. It seems that switching to a monarchy is in fact considered a “backwards step” by the majority of the world.

To help you rise from your current anachronistic status, we have compiled a series of helpful suggestions that we hope you adopt:

1. Realize that language is an organic structure, and that you aren’t always correct in your pronunciation or spelling.

Let’s use your “aluminium” example. Sir Humphrey Davy (an Englishman) invented the name “aluminum” (note spelling) for the metal. However, in common usage the name evolved into “aluminium” to match the naming convention of other elements. In 1925 the United States decided to switch back to the original spelling and pronunciation of the word, at which point we dominated the aluminum industry.

We’d also like to point out that the process of actually producing aluminum was developed by an American and a Frenchman (not an Englishman).

However, we’d like to thank you for the Oxford English Dictionary. It’s an interesting collection, considering that over 10,000 of the words in the original edition were submitted by a crazy American civil-war veteran called Dr. William Charles Minor.

2. Learn to distinguish the American and Canadian accents, and then we’ll talk about the English and Australian accent issue.

3. Review your basic arithmetic. (Hint 100 - 98.85 = 1.15 and 100 - 97.85 = 2.15) (Editor’s note: I think this author missed their annual eye check.)

4. If you want English actors as good guys, then make your own movies. Don’t rely on us for your modern popular culture.

We liked “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels”, “Trainspotting”, and “The Full Monty”. We’ve also heard good things about this “Billy Elliot”. But one good movie a year doesn’t exactly make a cultural powerhouse. However, you’re doing pretty well with music, so keep up the good work on that front.

5. It’s inefficient to have a national anthem that changes its title whenever your monarch dies. Let’s not forget that your national anthem has an extremely boring tune. We suggest switching to that Rule Brittania ditty, it’s toetapping. Or maybe Elton John could adapt “Candle In The Wind” again for you guys.

6. Improve at your national sport. Football? Soccer? This just in: United States gets fourth place in men’s soccer at the 2000 Summer Olympics. United Kingdom? Not even close.

By the way, impressive showing at Euro 2000. You almost managed to get through the tournament without having your fans start an international incident.

7. Learn how to cook.

England has some top notch candy. Salt ‘n’ Vinegar chips are quite yummy. However, there’s a reason why the best food in your country is Indian or Chinese. Your contributions to the culinary arts are soggy beans, warm beer, and spotted dick.

Perhaps when you finally realize the French aren’t the spawn of Satan they’ll teach you how to cook.

8. You’re doing a terrible job at understanding cars. The obvious error is that you drive on the wrong side of the road. A second problem is pricing, it’s cheaper to buy a car in Belgium and ship it to England than to buy a car in England.

On the other hand, we like Jaguars and Aston Martins. That’s why we bought the companies.

9. We’ll tell you who killed JFK when you apologize for “Teletubbies”.

Thank you for your time. You can now return to watching bad Australian soap operas.

PS: regarding WW2: You’re Welcome.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Message *Not* From John Cleese
to the Citizens of the
United States of America

“Fools are more to be feared than the wicked.”
Kristina Wasa (1626-1689), Queen of Sweden

An update I discovered by checking in at Poliblog this morning:
"I must confess, however, that it didn’t seem all that Cleesesque, and since neither posting had a link to a source, and because it read and looked like an e-mail more than a published piece, I took a quick trip to Google, and found this at Snopes:

The genesis of this article is a long and convoluted one. It evidently originated on with one Alan Baxter of Rochester, U.K., who wrote and posted a much shorter, four-item version to an internal newsgroup hosted by his employer in November 2000 as a wry commentary on the recently concluded (but far from decided) U.S. presidential election.

The following is not from John Cleese, but made me chuckle nonetheless

A tip of the hat to my friend Chandira at Diary of a Hope Fiend for this great piece.

In light of your failure to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).

Your new prime minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a governor for America without the need for further elections.

Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.

A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. You should look up 'revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up aluminium, and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.

2. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'favour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix -ize will be replaced by the suffix -ise.

Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (Look up 'vocabulary').

3. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as 'like' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.

There is no such thing as US English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of -ize. You will relearn your original national anthem: God Save The Queen.

4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent.

Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.

6. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. A permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

7. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and this is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean.

8. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

9. The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline)-roughly $6/US gallon. Get used to it.

10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call 'French Fries' are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.

11. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting Nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of British Commonwealth - see what it did for them.

12. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie McDowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.

13. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full Kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies). Don't try Rugby - the South Africans and Kiwis will thrash you, like they regularly thrash us.

14. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.

15. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.

16. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).

17. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 pm with proper cups, never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; strawberries in season.

God save the Queen. Only He can.'