Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Suzie Cracks the Whip - Blues Traveler

I'm a pretty big fan of Blues Traveler.  I saw them in concert back in 1998 and I think I own every album they released, so I was happy when I finally laid my hands on their latest CD: Suzie Cracks the Whip.  I wasn't a fan of North Hollywood Shootout (their previous album), but with this one they're back in form.

Blues Traveler's sound is constantly changing and each album sounds different from the others.  With Suzie, the closest companion I can think of is Bastardos! - which is not a bad thing. The thing is a little funk, a little Blues Traveler, and has a pretty strong country influence in the second half (probably in part to the appearance of Crystal Bowersox).

Blues Traveler has never been a dour band, but I was astonished at how unrelentingly upbeat the whole album is.  I give it a solid B.

Standout tracks:
"Things Are Looking Up"
"You Don't Have to Love Me"
"I Don't Wanna Go"

Monday, April 29, 2013

Song of the Week: Things Are Looking Up

Blues Traveler!  This song is from their latest CD, Suzie Cracks the Whip.  Look for my album review tomorrow.

This song is "Things Are Looking Up":

Friday, April 26, 2013

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Getting Things Done by, David Allen

Getting Things Done by David Allen is one of the modern pillars of the executive/manager world.  This book and Allen's seminars have created legions of GTDers who approach management with a "mind like water" mentality.  Even without fully implementing GTD, there are a lot of tips and tricks here to get your professional and/or personal life under control.

I like his concept of a "tickler file", a file that helps you remember things on future dates, but it seems unwieldy for someone who does as little long-term planning as I do.  It involves creating 43 (43!!) folders, one for each day of the month (1-31) and one for each month.

Like a lot of help guides the advice is so simple that it borders on stupid.  But, you know what, it works.  Examples of Allen's wisdom

  • Always determine your "next action" on a project.
  • If the next action can be done in 2 minutes or less, do it now.
  • Write stuff down.  Your brain can only hold so much at once.
I've followed some of these in the past and listening to the audio book reminded me of how productive I was when I did.  I think this is a book that I should listen to at least once a year to keep myself focused.

Recommended...and not just for managers, but for anyone who just wants to get things done.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Song of the Week: Some Day My Prince Will Come

In 1957, Dave Brubeck and his Quartet recorded an entire album of Disney songs called, fittingly, Dave Digs Disney.  I remember first hearing about this from WBGO a couple years ago.  I distinctly remember that I was driving home at the time (and even which stretch of road I was on), and thinking "Hmmm..that sounds like an alto sax.  That sounds like Paul Desmond's alto sax.  That IS Paul Desmond's alto sax!".  Then Brubeck's piano came in and I knew I was right. The song was "Heigh-Ho" from Snow White (click here to listen) and I went out and bought the CD the next weekend.

From Dave Digs Disney, here is "Some Day My Prince Will Come":

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom II

"Political correctness is the fascism of the ‘90s. It’s kind of this rigid feeling that you have to keep your ideas and your ways of looking at things within very narrow boundaries, or you’ll offend someone. Certainly one of the purposes of journalism is to challenge just that kind of thinking. And certainly one of the purposes of criticism is to break boundaries; it’s also one of the purposes of art. So that if a young journalist, 18, 19, 20, 21, an undergraduate tries to write politically correctly, what they’re really doing is ventriloquism."

-Roger Ebert

Monday, April 15, 2013

Song of the Week: Tuesday's Gone

This week's song is an interesting one.  "Tuesday's Gone" is the second track off Lynyrd Skynyrd's first album.  This version is an acoustic cover by Metallica with Les Claypool, Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains, and the Hendrix of Harmonica - John Popper of Blues Traveler.

Friday, April 12, 2013

MST3K Friday: General Hospital 1

"Here are your headshots for the Young and the Restless audition."
"There is something wrong with me?" "Yes, you've been hospitalized."

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Movie Review: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Last night I saw The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with a couple friends. It was hilarious. Very faithful to the original book and the new elements added had the same tone as the novel (and radio series and TV show and game and….). A lot of the criticism from main-stream sources has hit the one problem with this film: it may be confusing to those who have not read the series. Douglas Adams and Karey Kirkpatrick (who finished the screenplay after Adams’s death) did a good job adding a more narrative structure to the story and inserting asides from The Guide for exposition purposes seamlessly with the original story. However with a story like this, familiarity with the source material is a clear help to understanding some of the jokes.

Fans of the BBC series will be delightfully surprised by some nods given to it by the directors. When viewers are first introduced to The Guide, the original theme music plays in the background. In a new scene (in a Vogon detention center), the TV Marvin can be seen. And the ghostly image that welcomes our heroes to Magrathea is Simon Jones (who played Arthur Dent in the BBC version). Unlike homages in other films, these are not blink-and-you-miss-them appearances, but prolonged cameos acknowledging the history of these characters.

From the opening sequence (featuring the delightful song “So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish”) to the final bow (stay till after the credits), The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a hilarious adaptation of Adams’s well-loved trilogy in five parts. And remember: Never leave home without your towel. And Don’t Panic.

**** out of *****

UPDATE: A friend of mine just found this link on the Hitchhiker's website. If you want to hear the "So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish" song, just click here.

Posted on the old blog 4/30/2005.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Song of the Week: The Sidewinder

This week's song is the classic "The Sidewinder" by Lee Morgan.  Personnel includes Lee Morgan on trumpet, Joe Henderson on tenor sax, Bob Crenshaw on bass, Billy Higgins on drums, and the great Barry Harris on piano.  Great tune that always leaves a smile on my face.  This weekend I heard a re-imagined version of this song by guitarist John Pizzarelli from his Double Exposure album.  It weaves the tune in with a popular Beatles tune and it works seamlessly.  You should check it out here.

Here is the classic "The Sidewinder":

Friday, April 5, 2013

MST3K Friday: The Phantom Creeps 3

"Ford Beebe."
"Oh, he used a smoking jacket."
"How come they kill all these people, but the credits don't get any shorter?"