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Found 12 results

  1. Five years ago when the literature section was unveiled I asked about posting about Pat Conroy, my favorite American novelist. I never got around to it. I don’t think my words can do his words justice. Kathleen Parker, the editorialist, fellow denizen of the low country of South Carolina, and good friend of Conroy just wrote a wonderful piece about her late friend. She gives examples of his prose. His descriptive powers were magical. After first reading his literature so many decades ago and having the time I visited the South Carolina Coast just to breath be same air and walk the same paths. I was not the only person to do so specifically inspired by Conroy.
  2. Yeah, Elvin: got to watch him while he was with the Bullets. Elvin had a variety of skills that contributed toward winning. While he played here the Bullets were in the NBA finals 3 times winning once. He shared big man responsibilities with Wes Unseld and those two made that team one of the best in the league over that era. Elvin was also a “black hole” as a shooter. Get him the ball in that down low position and he never passed back- shooting all the time. IIRC he was also “indestructible” virtually never missing games. Come to think of it. if he didn’t play with Unseld so long he would have accumulated lot’s more rebounds. So much for pure stats, in that case, as the two were a formidable big man tandem that made the team strong. Here is a link to tremendous research on Hayes, his development, his “prickly” personality, and life provided by a a hard working DC sports fan. Great research: I pulled that “black hole” comment from memory, but the article gives it perspective of which I was unaware. Interesting that Hayes and Unseld were a phenomenal historically strong big man combo but their personal relationship was far less than ideal.
  3. Okay, who was lucky enough to see the legendary Danny Gatton play live? His reputation is not just local - my Lyft driver in LA not only knew who he was, but put on a recording of Gatton playing after getting *very* excited that I mentioned his name. "Danny Gatton: World's Greatest Unknown Guitarist" by Phil Harrell on npr.org Tom Principato talks about Danny Gatton (I've seen Tom Principato play - he's no Danny Gatton, but I *love* his sound and stage presence). "The Humbler" is a documentary about Danny Gatton in the works. IndieGoGo page. "New Film Reveals Mastery, Tragedy, of D.C. Guitar Hero Danny Gatton" by Neil Augenstein on wtop.com You can just tell by the way Gatton *perfectly* imitates Chet Atkins - with a super-clean base line accompanying the upper register in two distinct voices - without even trying, that this guy had licks coming out every pore of his body.
  4. The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was formed during WWII in 1942, was dissolved in 1945, and is the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), formed in 1947. During the war, it was essential for espionage, propaganda, subversion, and post-war planning. Wikipedia, while not being "the last word" on this important department, certainly has enough to get you going. One day, I hope to have a conversation about the Office on this thread, but we'll need to get some interested parties first. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck, Jim.
  5. It's funny - back in 1970, I think that in many ways, I knew more about Major League Baseball than I know today. In my eyes, Dave McNally was the club's ace, followed by Jim Palmer and Mike Cuellar in no particular order. Put yourself in that time period: There was no internet, no "online stats," and only The Washington Post, Channel 13, my older brother, and a slew of baseball cards as resources to form an opinion - this was mine, when I was nine.
  6. Known variously as Look on Yonder's Wall, Look over Yonder Wall. Which of these is greater than another?
  7. I have a young friend, 30-something, with whom I've been sharing my old musical loves for the last several years, as an educational exercise. He's been very patient about it. When I sent him off to listen to the song "A Salty Dog" by Procol Harum (1969), with a vocal by Gary Brooker that I've always considered breathtaking, he instantly jumped to talking about the drumming, which was by the late B.J. Wilson. And when I listened to the song again, it struck me that without that gob-smacking drum part, the recording would have been unbearable, pretentious drivel. So listen to Gary Brooker's soaring vocal peformance, with a big orchestra and the rock drumming of B.J. Wilson:
  8. I was kind of immune to Creedence Clearwater Revival during their heyday, but in retrospect, John Fogerty was among the rock-n-roll singing gods, and "Have You Ever Seen The Rain" one of the great classics of rock-n-roll songs and rock-n-roll singing. I don't think I could live very well without this.
  9. Those familiar with Rod Stewart's later career might be surprised to find his name in this context, but early in his career he was certainly one of the greatest rock singers. Stewart represents to me more wasted potential than just about any other performer I can think of. Here with the Jeff Beck Group on their 1968 debut album Truth with Bonnie Dobson's "Morning Dew." Here's the title track from Stewart's second solo album, Gasoline Alley, released in 1970. The writing credit is to Stewart and his long-time collaborator Ronnie Wood, later of the Rolling Stones.
  10. Vladimir Horowitz claimed the opposite problem occurred with "Stars and Stripes Forever" - this whole 1977 interview with Mike Wallace (and Horowitz's wife, Wanda Toscanini Horowitz) is worth watching, especially for context, but if you want to get straight to the quote, skip to 9:30. Here is a recording of Horowitz playing it live - he wrote the piano transcription to celebrate becoming an American citizen (he immigrated from the Soviet Union), and played it at the "I Am An American Day" all-star concert in Central Park - it was broadcast over the radio to over 2 million people. It's a pretty breakneck performance, but I'm sure it was something to behold. I have the score to this (I bought it just to see how it was possible for one person to play it), and it is unplayably difficult for all but a select few, needless to say. The way Horowitz imitated the piccolos - at one time, he was the only person in the world who would dare even attempt it, and was even accused of falsifying the recording with multiple pianos - he hadn't even written the music down. As concert encores go, this is about as good as it gets, especially taken in context of World War II.
  11. William Onyeabor is a somewhat obscure 1970s-1980s Nigerian musician who self-produced and pressed his own records. His music is probably best described as afro-funk-centric with heavy synths, tinged with a little disco/soul and drawn out jams...many songs stretch to the 8-10 minute mark. After releasing 8 albums, he became a born-again Christian and apparently disavowed music. He has been recently gaining recognition in the press, this week's New Yorker has a short piece on him in the listings section. David Byrne's Luaka Bop has released a compilation cd of his music. And Byrne is putting together a very brief four stop tour playing his music (NYC, LA, and San Fran) William Onyeabor - Good Name William Onyeabor - Something You'll Never Forget
  12. This is one of the few novels it took me over an entire year to read, and one of the few that I can say made me a better person for having done so. "The Bridge on the Drina"� is a rough-going, 300+ page book that spans almost 350 years, and therefore can't be threaded together by "traditional"� methods - the "rock,"� quite literally, that bonds this tale is the bridge itself, the Mehmed PaÅ¡a Sokolović Bridge (a UNESCO World Heritage site - there are 981 on Earth), spanning the Drina River, the Drina running northwardly through Bosnia and Herzegovina, connecting with the Rzav, and then flowing into the "Beautiful Blue"� Danube - the second longest river in Europe after the Volga. But these geographical facts are pedagogical, as nearly the entire story takes place right in the town that houses the bridge, ViÅ¡egrad - a town that will feel like your second home when you're finished the book. At times brutal (there is one chapter in particular that may upset you for the rest of your life), at times beautiful (the lovely Fatah hurling herself from the bridge, rather than facing forced marriage to a man she didn't love), this book is perhaps the definitive way to "get to know"� the cultural history of the Balkans - the point at which World War One officially started via the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand, and ended up killing over 9 million people - while technically considered fiction, the novel is very much based on fact. Why did I select such a difficult project to tackle? Because I'm an idiot, that's why. Because I knew relatively little about Balkan history, because Andrić won the Nobel Prize for Literature in the year I was born, and because this book is considered the singular reason he won: it's his magnum opus. Despite the rather superficial reason I chose it, I am a better person - a better human being - for having read this book. Jews, Christians, and Muslims living together for centuries in relative harmony - how appealing that was for me. They are building a town-within-a-town - Andrićgrad - near the foot of the bridge, slated to be completed next year - and, they are talking about making the book into a movie. If they finish the town, and perhaps even if they don't, I want to go there, to pay my homage, and to look at this undoubtedly tiny bridge which served such an incredibly large part of the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I would be interested in discussing even the tiniest, seemingly most unimportant aspect of this - or any - book, with anyone who is interested (and I can say the same about any book, film, song, or whatever other medium I might have experienced) - I'm happiest going deep into the depths, and hearing new theories and possibilities about *why* someone might have done what they did. If you want superficial conversation, you won't find it here - I want content, substance, and depth to be our driving forces. Hint: I'm currently reading William Shakespeare's "Troilus and Cressida," Alice Munro's "Runaway,"� and will soon be starting Oscar Wilde's "The Important of Being Ernest."� Bring it, my friends! I want your best in this forum! I want to be challenged, dammit! And if it's a book, poem, essay, play - anything - that you're reading and wild about, post about it. I'll read it, and I'll discuss it with you. Just please don't make it that odious symbol of every middle aged woman in America trapped in a lonely marriage, "Fifty Shades of Gray"� which I've now had presented to me, in various forms, about ten times, as an apotheosis of cutting-edge literature. Please. Meet a friend for a drink, see a counselor, get divorced, do *anything* but *please* don't post here about it expecting serious discussion (*). If you want to post about Gilbert Gottfried's readings of it, that's fine. If you're one of "them,"� please, start reading heavy, and I mean *really* heavy. Coetzee's "Disgrace,"� Saramago's "The Cave,"� Pamuk's "My Name Is Red," or hell, Bryson's "A Walk In The Woods"� or Steinbeck's "Travels with Charley"� if you want to declench with some NPR-level laughs or escapism, respectively. I also don't mind listening to, and analyzing a 4-minute long pop song, or even a two-hour movie, or a one-hour art exhibit, but literature is different: I simply can't invest a month into a NY Times Bestseller which is going to be just awful and a complete waste of my time - my life is worth more than this. I've done it several times before, mainly when the books were gifts from friends (I read them out of respect for my friends), but I don't want to do it anymore. Oh, God it's a waste of life. (*) I'm kidding. And I guarantee *hundreds* of our readers have read it, and probably liked it. Post away - I don't want this forum to be snobby.
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