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. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Discovered sweet movie site

Hey check out this very cool web site.  I'm just getting into it, but I can already see that I'm going to spend some time there in the future.

For instance, for Netflix subscribers, by all means check out 18 Best Movies on Netflix You Haven't Seen.  I am surprised that I have not seen more of them, but now I have a nice list of movies to watch at my leisure.  My track record on these movies?

18.  Nowhere Boy - Nope
17.  Tell No One  - Sorry
16.  Francis Ha - No
15.  Broken - Another no
14.  Ice Storm - At last, one I've seen and liked a lot
13.  I Saw the Devil - No, but I actually have it waiting on my Netflix list
12.  Samsara - I'm guessing most, like me, have not seen it, but sounds cool.
11.  Mr. Nobody -  I'm a nobody on this one.
10.  Boy - Geez, where have I been?
09.  Get the Gringo -  Missed this one too.
08.  Gattaca -  Hooray.  One of my favorites.
07.  Headhunters - Striking out again
06.  Exit Through the Gift Shop - Yes, yes, yes.
05.  Detachment - Alas, no
04.  The Station Agent - Two huge thumbs up.  Dinklage is awesome
03.  Dear Zachary - Negatron
02.  Senna - Loved it
01.  Short Term 12 -  No, but the list-maker says one of best in last 20 years.

I'm kinda hanging my head in shame, but I'll try to find time to watch these flicks.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Shout out for Paula Malcomson

I've been busy the last few days, and am still a bit short of time.  Anyway, a couple of nights ago I watched the season 2 finale of "Ray Donovan," a  terrific Showtime series that I have watched from its beginning.  One of the characters is Abby Donovan, the protagonist's wife.  The part is a juicy role, played by Paula Malcomson.  She is simply mesmerizing in this role, especially in the last several episodes where the character gets amped up and hubris closes in on her.  It's some of the finest acting I've seen.

I have always enjoyed Paula Malcomson, starting with her major role as "Trixie" in 36 episodes of the legendary "Deadwood" series.  Then I saw her later playing the part of an Irish woman in "The Sons of Anarchy" in a 10 episode story arc taking place mostly in Ireland.  It turns out that Paula is indeed an Irish actor, having been born in Belfast.  I was totally on board with her performance in that milieu. You can read all about her and her filmography right here.

As you can see, she also plays the role of Mrs. Everdeen in the Hunger Games movies.

But, circling back, it was her role as Abby Donovan that in the end had me shaking my head and saying to myself, this woman is a fierce, powerful actor, with a range of emotions that merits our admiration.  Some of the scenes with Liev Schreiber (Ray) are so intense they are almost unbearable.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Nostalgia comes in many forms...

There is certainly something to be said for this!