Monthly Archives: December 2008

ABOFAL

You may already know this, but before Hugh Laurie rocketed to superstardom in House on American television, he was half of a comedy duo over in England. Silly stuff.

He also plays a decent piano and guitar. Good singer, too.

Here’s a great video from A Bit of Fry & Laurie (lovingly referred to by the British public as ABOFAL), on the subject of the importance of the English language. I know some people don’t appreciate British humor, but I think it’s hilarious:

(Digression #1) This is hysterical. Michael (RtB poster and drummer friend in Florida) found a picture from what I think was our freshman year, judging from my memory of the dress. This would have been, what…1974-75? Check out my pointless shawl (but I did love it so) and Michael’s towhead blond hair (which, through the miracle of the peroxide weave, I now have myself). Thanks for sending that, Michael! Oh yeah, almost forgot — here it is.

(Digression #2) Last night, the Thriller and I had dinner while watching the news. In an interview, the “plus size” model who won on the reality show America’s Next Top Model said that she’s happy being larger. Larger. She wears a size 10.

Size 10 is now “plus size.” I’m going to shoot myself now.

Wait, check that. I’m actually going to meet my pal Bando for breakfast at Panera. Yay – I haven’t seen her in a long time.

Happy Tuesday. And oh yeah, happy anniversary to the Fink and the Thriller. :-)

As the prophets foretold…

…Phil and Romeo are gone.

Crennel and Savage get the bum's rushIf you root for a consistently losing team, you know the feeling. The only term I can think of for it is “hopeful unease.” Now that Bill Cowher is apparently out of the running to replace Romeo as the head coach of the Browns, I fear that owner Randy Lerner and the Berea Boys will do what they’ve always done: just find whoever is available and offer him a contract.

~

Of course, every Browns fan with a shred of loyalty will still hope against hope that whoever they do hire will change things around and start winning.

But if history is any indicator, we’re screwed there, too.

I mean, the Browns had Bill Belichick when he sucked as a head coach. They fired Marty Schottenheimer because we didn’t make the Super Bowl (was it bad coaching that caused “The Fumble” and “The Drive?” I think not). The Browns were sold off — lock, stock and barrel — by Art Modell. At least we got to keep the name, colors, mascot and archives. But lately, it seems that’s all we have left.

Still, hope springs eternal in the hearts of those accustomed to saying, “Wait till next year.” In my 30-year tenure as a Browns fan, and 20-some years rooting for the Indians, I can tell you that although it does get old (the constant disappointment), it never really gets old enough to make me throw the teams out the window. I still love them. Say what you want about how college ball is “more exciting” or “done for reasons other than money” (although I could argue that point and win) — I still love pro sports, and I am an unequivocal, shameful contributor to the outrageous salaries its players pull down. Meh. It is what it is.

Hey, I get to see Jakey in exactly one hour. I better get a move on into the showers. Yay!

Go Browns. Go get someone decent this time. Sheesh, Randy.

Image credit: Cleveland Plain Dealer

Various & Sundry IX

Yikes, I overslept this morning. Had a great time with fiends last night, watching The Godfather II. Awesome.

So, Vince Gill’s still got it after all these years. I’m not a huge country music fan (not that country is bad, mind…I just don’t listen to it so I don’t know lots about it), but this voice has impressed me since “Let Me Love You Tonight” from 1980, when he was with Pure Prairie League.

Anyway. He’s been married to Amy Grant (yawn) since 2000, and they’re both still recording, which is cool. I read this morning that Gill was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame a couple of years ago. Also impressive.

But this is how I remember Vince Gill:

Ten years ago, he released what I think is one of the most beautiful ballads I’ve ever heard. The style reminds me of the music my mother loved — lazy, heartfelt country songs with lots of strings and tinkly piano. Classic stuff.

I carved out a clip of the song if you want to hear it:

If You Ever Have Forever in Mind

(Boom-Boom — is this tune in your rep? If not, it should be! You’d sound great on it.)

I leeched this vid off Gill’s website — looks like Amy is attempting to cross genres again. But Vince’s weightless tenor is still there. Very nice. (Sorry about the commercial…I’m too lazy to edit this morning.)

OK, enough stalling. Time to study. Have a fab Monday.

Fink out.

Photo credit: cmt.com

Stuff that can go away now

Yes, I’m feeling a bit snarky this morning. Can you tell? Please wait here while I go make coffee.

There. Now, seeing as how it’s the end of the year and all, here are some things that I wouldn’t mind seeing fade into obscurity.

Stuff That Can Go Away Now

(Listed in No Particular Order)
  1. Oprah Winfrey, apologizing and yammering on about her weight. I mean, I appreciate it, luv. But sheesh, get on with it or not. In the final analysis, it’s what you decide to do about it that matters, and it’s nobody else’s business anyhow, so please move along.
  2. Beatboxing. I know, I know; it’s supposedly a cappella in its most basic creative form. Some of my best friends direct ensembles that use beatboxers. It’s the koolest, cuz old-school accompanied jazz is just so, you know, ten years ago. Sorry…don’t want to shoot arrows at anyone’s creativity, because I’m all for people finding that outlet and making the most of it. I just hate the poom-pa-chit crap, and the messy spitting and windscreen slime that goes with it. I make no apologies. Next.
  3. Reality shows of every conceivable (and often inconceivable) premise. Yawn.
  4. The teacher union. Heh, fat chance, fellow sheep.
  5. The seven pounds I gained over the holidays. Arg.
  6. The movie, Burn After Reading, which features vapid, hollow characters (played by Coen film veterans George Clooney and Frances McDormand — Lawd that girl gets on my nerves) in an unfunny story with a stupid and insulting ending. But, of course, since it was written by the Coen brothers, people are dutifully awed by its inherent “brilliance” — much like if Picasso had white-washed a piece of canvas and called it Nothingness or some such nonsense. No picture — just a white surface. Legions of Sycophantic Kool Kids Who Patronize Hip Art would have stood at the gallery in front of the “work,” silently marveling at its raw power or disarming simplicity or stark honesty. (And where is Picasso? Hiding in the back of the room, chain-smoking and laughing his butt off.)
  7. The 40 MPH wind gusts that keep knocking out the dang power.
  8. All the housework I need to get caught up on today.
  9. The second week of holiday break. Two weeks is too long. I get antsy to start second semester (which is always the more insane half of the year).
  10. The fact that I’ve already broken one of my Christmas resolutions. Nuts.

Other than all the above, I’m in a great mood. But enough about me…

Hey RD, how’s the week in sunny Florida treating you?

My friend G just got back from a week in Vegas. I hate him. (OK, that’s about me.)

BoomR, did you get that garage cleaned out?

TRO — congrats to your son on his ACT score – wow!

Michael — how are the gigs going? Gearing up for New Year’s Eve?

Bando — let’s get together before the break gets away from us, k? Can’t wait to see you.

Kay called me yesterday from Slovenija. That was a day-maker.

Nightmare on Piedmont St.

Years ago, I saw a special on TV — probably on PBS — about the horrifying fire that destroyed the Cocoanut Grove Nightclub in Boston on 28 November, 1942. I can’t remember the name of the TV program, but the memory of how it scared the living bejayzus out of me is still fresh, even 30-some years hence.

The tiny club, with a capacity of 600 between the restaurant and adjoining lounge, was packed that night with close to 1,000 people. Half of them met their end that very evening, in unthinkable ways.

Imagine seeing flames spreading across the ceilings, and smoke filling the small, windowless room. Panicked patrons racing all over the place, flying towards the emergency exits…only to find them all chained shut.

Imagine finally reaching the only emergency exit not chained, and finding (along with a crushing press of hundreds of other hysterical, screaming people trying to push their way out) that the doors only open inward. Towards you.

And this was how they died. According to the Boston Herald reports, when firemen finally broke through the chained emergency exits, they were greeted by a stack of crushed bodies, piled chest-high.

Believed to have been started by a busboy who lit a match in the basement so he could see to change a lightbulb, the fire totally engulfed the cellar in five minutes,

and many people died stacked up at the one stairwell. The exit door at the top of the stairs was bolted shut. The fire spread to the ceiling on the first floor, and totally engulfed it within another five minutes. Many people died trying to exit through the revolving door–pushing from both sides and preventing escape. Some diners in the restaurant never even had a chance to leave their seats, having been asphyxiated by smoke and toxic gases. (Celebrate Boston.com – The Cocoanut Grove Fire)

I hate, hate, hate revolving doors. Always have, for that very reason. What if I got stuck? What if I were trapped in that little space? I experience a Godfather moment whenever I see one. Shudder. When I was a little girl, I’d walk on tippytoe through them really really fast, for fear that the part of the door behind me was going to creep up and run me over.

I also hate, hate, hate staying on upper floors in a hotel. I always ask for the ground floor, or at least nothing higher than the highest floor a fire department rescue ladder can reach. [I know. I’m weird.]

Anyway, if any good can come out of a tragedy like Cocoanut Grove, it was that fire regulations were tightened up bigtime. No more blocking off or chaining of doors, and no more emergency exits that opened inward. You’d think that something that horrible would teach everyone a lesson. But, alas…not so.

More on that another day.

I can’t believe this week is over. For the past 5 days, we’ve had my nephew staying with us. It’s been great. Jean-Claude and I have lots of common interests, as he’s the full time music director here . (What a gig, lucky dog.) Anyway, he leaves today, and we will miss him.

However, I am excited about having friends over tomorrow night to watch The Godfather, parts II and III, on the new television beast. Fun.

Fink out.