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Allen Stern »

December 15, 2008

Don't let the fear of striking out hold you back
Babe Ruth

Football Pin up by Al Moore
Click images for desktop size: "Football Pin Up" by Al Moore
The giant dog is feeling better. Much better.
In fact I don't think he recalls a second of how ill he was. This was reinforced after he woke me at The Day the Earth Stood Still 4:30 to go outside. His urgency wasn't related to anything internal. The rain had started and the sound of rain on the ice made him think the house was being stalked by thousands of dangerous kittens.
It was raining so hard the cat that lives here decided to come inside with the dogs.
So he's fine. I will probably collapse sometime today from lack of sleep. Can't afford to do that. Too much to do today.
Spent yesterday watching some pretty poor excuses for football Christmas Tree
Click image: "Christmas Tree" by Unknown
games, seeing Pete Carroll on "Sixty Minutes" (I was impressed with him. Very impressed.) And falling downstairs.
I'd been searching for two movies - the Japanese "Dog Star" DVD, which is very cool movie about a dog who dies. Because he led such a great dog life he's allowed a request. He returns to earth as a human being shape so he can be close again to his female mistress, so he can tell her how much he loved being her dog.
The other movie was "Bobby of Greyfriar", a Disney flic. I don't much care for Disney movies. Not sure why. Perhaps its the consistent stable of directors and cinematographers. For whatever reason I find Disney flics as appealing as McDonalds.
Finally sorted through the stacks and found them. Actually I didn't, my friend did. What I managed to find were some live Stevie Ray Vaughn DVD's which I'd semi-forgotten about.
After sorting through the disks I decided to move them downstairs, to make room under my desk. Since I'm converting everything to H264 they've become more of a back up than a watching media.
I was carrying about 200 of them down the stairs when I slipped on the steps. I was falling and Brocal by Remohi
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Brocal Remohi
trying to catch the movies as I slid down the stairs.
I wasn't hurt much. The disks didn't do well. About 4 of them just split or cracked. Lucky for me these were all movies I had good back up of already. I'm nervous about the others. The basement is not a clean room and concrete skidding plastic is pretty short lived.
There was nothing "vital" in the disks, no last copy extant of the missing footage from "It's A Wonderful Life" where George Bailey throttles Uncle Billy and then sends Zazu out to sell matches on the street corner. But stuff I enjoyed having.
Maybe its all fine. I remember when CD's first game out. One of the approved selling methods was to throw a disk on the floor and then watch the salesman tread on it, pick it up and have it play Destroy All Monsters perfectly. Why did I believe that?
The only other noteworthy event was that the couple that adopted one of my puppy's foster dogs, and whom I'm fond of, STILL HAVE NOT HAD THEIR BABY!
One of my puppy's litter mates is scheduled to have her first litter at almost the exact same time. This is more strain on me than is fair!
My friend wants to start new Christmas traditions. Private traditions . . . Barring a last minute invite from her parents we're going to go to the Chinese buffet for Christmas dinner. I like that for far too many reasons.
The unambiguous ones are that they'll have turkey! With Chinese stuffing? And dog bacon! And neither my friend or I have ever gotten sick there! Has me stoked. I'm working on a better way to line the plastic in my inner jacket pockets to load up on serious dog treats.
The other tradition we should start is to get a dehydrator. While shopping she saw a bag of sweet potato dog treats for $16.00! The plan is to dehydrate a mess of sweet potatoes and then to leave them Christmas eve at the door steps of all of our neighborhood dog friends!
I like that tradition a lot!
The final new tradition is that she should change her birthdate to whenever I arbitrarily decide it should be. I never remember things like that especially when your birthday is after Christmas and Not for Sale
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas is Not for Sale" by Unknown
before the New Years. This year I've decided her birthday is on Boxing Day. Since she won't, or can't, contradict me. It stays and is official.

Doo wop is maybe the purest urban music. Four or five guys hanging around a street corner singing some of the hits off of the radio, learning how to apply church modal harmonies with gospel emotion to a pop ethos.
Doo wop was the streets. There were black bands, white bands and Hispanic doo wop groups, just people raising their voices in song from New York to LA they thrived and made some sounds that are now pure standards. In the pre civil rights days its remarkable that there were several integrated doo wop groups. The odd part is that they recorded and toured with no big fan fare or any particular notice being taken.Dr Jekyll and Mister Hyde
One of the most successful doo wop groups were the Temptations. They got so big that they stopped being thought of a a doo wop vocal band and were seen as the vanguard of the MoTown sound. They recorded what is possibly the definitive doo wop Christmas record with their stellar version of "Silent Night". The only complaint is that it might be too slick and over produced and lack the spontaneous bite that makes vocal music great.
The song builds from the doo wop sound pioneered by that ultra slick and smiling cool of the Platters. The Platters were definitely alright even if they were more geared towards night clubs than flat bed truck stages. Their version of "Silent Night, Holy Night" is worth a listen and carries its own chilly warmth to it.
The Orioles "(It's Gonna Be A) Lonely Christmas" is closer to the roots and has a rough primitive feel that suits the holidays well. While The Cadillacs "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" is nicely ebullient and totally secular reminder of Christmas being fun.
southern group with the awesome moniker The Harmony Grits do a cool version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" that threatens to, but never quite explodes in your face.
The Four Seasons were a 60's hit machine, with pretty good reason. They did a pretty forgettable Christmas album that had a few decent moments, on of them was their pure urban version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town".Vaughn Bode
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Vaughn Bode
While the Harmony grits version reeks of the delta and road side diners the Four Season's version smell of Philadelphia and Gimbels Christmas Parades. Good stuff.
One of the great innovators in doo wop was Dion of The Belmonts. Dion DiMucci reinvented himself nearly as often as Madonna. But he followed a musical line not simply fashion. Presently the "King of the New York Streets" is playing acoustic country blues! Its listenable stuff. When Dion was with the Belmonts they never really did any Christmas stuff. I don't think you can talk doo wop without talking about Dion, so here's one his his later tracks, doing that cool Phil Spectre song The Evil Dead "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)". Its more rock than doo wop but it still sounds nice Christmas week.
Doo wop still hasn't died. It continues in a lot of styles and samples. One of the strangest are the large 80's looking acapella groups. Rockapella got famous by doing the title song for some PBS kids show, "Where In the World is Carmen San Diego" . . . they also did a pretty lamentable Christmas album. The track, "Silver Bells" is inoffensive and lilts as nicely as any song ever taken from a Bob Hope movie . . .

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