Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Fowler album

Sorry I have not posted more recently.  I have been in the throes of scanning photos from a photo album that belonged to my great grandmother, Edith Fowler.  It's been quite a job.  I got the album from my cousin Kris, who with her mother Norma charted out and identified all of the photos.  Norma is my late mother's sister. There are over 250 photos and I have finished scanning them all and am working on making making an index from Kris's charts..that correlates to the file names of my scans.

Some of these photos go back to the early twenties so they are pretty interesting, if not amazing.  I have decided to share some of them with you.  Here is the first, a picture of me as a toddler.  Sure wish I had all that hair now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

In praise of "words"

I had a father who persistently yet gently corrected my grammar and use of the English language.  It sort of annoyed me at the time, but after I got to high school English and college courses that required any sort of writing, I was grateful for his guidance.  Later came law school and then teaching writing to law students.  With such a background, you can see why I came to love the language and all its twists, turns and colloquialisms.  Thus, I was totally taken with this homage to language, which also soundly rejects those who have become self-styled language policemen.  It may not be your cup of tea, but if you love to read and write, you should watch it in its entirety.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Ah, Bertrand....

"The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd."

~ Bertrand Russell
An apparently widely held opinion:  Republicans and the right wing will fairly and competently run the country based on the needs and desires of the many, not the privileged few.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Obama may not be perfect, but .......

Please take the time to check out this link.  How come we don't hear about these things?  And just think about all the additional accomplishments that could have been realized if the right wing had not sabotaged his presidency from day one.  What a shame.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pullin' your coats to James Brown

For those of you who have HBO, I STRONGLY recommend that you tune in to "Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown, " premiering this coming Monday at 9:00 pm.  I had the good fortune to see James Brown twice in the years between 1966 an 1969.  Those were some of the most electrifying live shows I've ever seen, each culminating in the the "six-cape finale."  (Those who saw him live will know what I'm talking about. )

I read about this documentary in David Wiegand's column, which appears in today's SF Chronicle.  I'm dying to see this show, especially because Wiegand says that unlike a lot of musician documentaries, this one is heavy on the music and light on the talking heads.

People make documentaries about musicians all the time, and some of them are rich with insight. But even among the best of the bunch, few are as thorough about the artist’s music as Alex Gibney’s “Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown,” airing Monday on HBO.
The basics of Brown’s early career, from the time he and the late Bobby Byrd formed the Famous Flames, through his rise to singular prominence through the mid-’70s, are amply covered in the two-hour film, produced by Mick Jagger. But what sets it apart from other films about musicians is how deeply Gibney explores Brown’s music through extensive interviews with band members — Maceo and Melvin Parker, Jabo Starks, Clyde Stubblefield, PeeWee Ellis, Martha High and Bootsy Collins — and other musicians such as Christian McBride and Questlove.
Sounds awesome, right.  I'm hoping they show a condensed version of the six-cape finale at some point. (Maybe is was less then six capes, but I know it had to be at least four in the shows I saw)

As a closing treat, here is James at the TAMI's with  a four-cape finale.  If this doesn't charge you up and put a smile on your kisser, you need to check in at the mortuary.

***  (Looks like the fourth cape was ready to be put on him, but being the TAMI show they settled for what I would call three-and-a half.  However, at the regular live shows he would stretch it out to what I recall to be five or six)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pentatonix makes the big time...

Entertainment Weekly October 17, 2014, Chart Attack section:

Top albums [10 listed]

Number 7:  PTX, Vol. III,  PENTATONIX


You can hear a terrific track from the album right here, presently at 6,331,559 YouTube views.  Looks great on full-screen view.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A shout out for Yogi

When I was a kid, I spent first grade through fourth grade in Bend, Oregon.  There was no TV, and the only sports teams were fielded from the town's high school.  Thus, the only sport I grew up with, (and played in Bend's Little League) was baseball.  And, the majority of games we got on the radio were Yankee games.  So, I became a pretty rabid little Yankee fan continuing through our move to the Bay Area in California where I started fifth grade.  Like a lot of my buddies I was an admirer of Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford, but unlike those buddies, my favorite Yankee was Yogi Berra.  Even though I was not deeply into statistics at that time and age, I sensed that Yogi truly was a great ball player who was especially productive in clutch situations.  He was the MVP in 1951, 1954, and 1955, which today most people don't remember.  But let's  dig a little deeper.  Here are his stats for 1950, the year before his first MVP.  The reason I'm choosing 1950 will be explained later.

At Bats =597
Runs = 116
Hits = 192
Doubles = 30
Triples = 6
Home runs = 28
RBI's = 124
Stolen bases = 4
Walks = 55
Strike outs = 12
Batting average = .322
On base percentage = .383
Slugging percentage = .533
On base + slugging (OPS) = .915

These are stats today's ball players would kill for.  An OPS even in the low eight hundreds is considered excellent. Yogi's is in the nine hundreds!  But, you may have overlooked the most amazing stat he put up in 1950, which was:  Strike outs = 12!!  That amazes me every time I think about it.  Out of 597 times at bat he only struck out 12 times.  True, Joe Sewell of the 1925 Indians struck out only 4 times in 608 at bats, but it was a different game than it was in 1950.  Any way you slice it a mere 12 strike outs in a season is very rare.

Yogi was an awesome player, and as we all know, his "Yogi-isms" are legendary. For instance:

"You should always go to other people's funerals, otherwise, they won't come to yours."

"You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going because you might not get there."

 Recall most of them right here.