Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Morning Thanksgiving Shuffle!

Our song/video of the week is a bluesy horn-inflected shuffle called 'Holding On To Black Metal' by the ever-fascinating My Morning Jacket (pictured right). I love how the song stops cold 2/3 of the way in and then resumes..

What began in 1998 as an indie jam band from Kentucky with roots in Southern rock and psychedelia has morphed, gaining a sweet soulfulness, and tinging their roots rock with r&b and even reggae.

Their songwriting skills grow leaps and bounds each time out, and their latest outing, 'Circuital,' is terrific, brimming with life and tunefulness.

The group's name was inspired by a discarded coat lead singer Jim James found while sifting through the remains of his favorite bar when it burned down.

The coat was embroidered with the letters "MMJ" on it, and the rest is history.

James is the singer/songwriter/guitarist at the core of MMG, and his bassist goes by 'Two Tone' Tommy.

Circuital is their 6th album- they release about every 2 1/2 years.

Here's their unassuming clip for 'Holding On To Black Metal,' really just concert footage to accompany their studio version...

Here's the clip for 'I'm Amazed,' a song which sounds sweeter each time I hear it...

Here they are live in Texas performing the spare, haunting title track of 'Evil Urges...'

From 2005, their 'breakthrough single,' the reggae-inflected 'Off The Record' performed at Shoreline last year...

Cartoons du Jour:

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Forbidden City

Our China tour started in Beijing. Though still somewhat jet-lagged during our Forbidden City visit, that sure didn't dampen our enthusiasm...

It really does seem to go on forever, in a maze of symmetric and similarly spectacular chinoiserie...

Here's Mom in one of the City's many courtyards..

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Ethereal But Muscular

'Peripheral Visionaries,' this week's terrific musical offering, is about equal parts ethereal pop, rhythmic synths, and indie intelligence, transitioning in its final minute from a melodic glide to an anthemic finish.
It's by Canadian indie rock/dream pop/dance quintet Young Galaxy, formed in Vancouver six years back with influences as broad as Galaxie 500, Pink Floyd, and Spiritualized - believe me, that's broad... The band's warmed up for such acclaimed indie bands as Arcade Fire, Death Cab For Cutie, and Peter Björn and John, all of which I've featured here at one time or another..

Young Galaxy turned to a Swedish producer for their latest, best album, aptly titled 'Shapeshifting,' and they even shifted themselves over to Gothenburg, Sweden to record it.

First up: the cartoon clip released for 'Peripheral Visionaries...'

More cartoons and great songs... Here's 'We Have Everything'... the vocal reminds me a bit of Cranberries' Dolores O'Riordan, but infinitely livelier, prettier, and more richly produced than that band's work...

Here's some earlier work, 'Come and See' from 2009's 'Invisible Republic' album...

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Choosing A Toy

..is a happy errand indeed, as Karl and Bruno saw last week...


once again, Bruno goes with Star Wars....

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

He May Be Married Now

For nearly 22 years, I've been supporting a series of Indonesian schoolchildren and their villages through The Children's Fund, very similar to Save The Children.
TCF is especially good at developing an economic infrastructure in each village so that they prosper and grow independently. Once a year I get a picture and a lovely progress report. This is Nus, and it was sent a decade ago, so he's likely all grown up now...

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Picturesque Ålesund...

I visited this gorgeous Norwegian coastal town back in 2000, a treasury of buildings of Art Deco and classic 18th and 19th century styles spread over a peninsula at the foot of mountains..
Ålesund also boasts a midsummer jazz festival...

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thick and Thin

In one year - 2003 - I reached my high and low weight of the last 20 years.. I gained 10 lbs eating my way through wintry Europe with my family, but ten months later I had lost 30 lbs and visited my Mom in Arizona, thin as a rake.

Thin in Arizona (with Mom), December 2003...

Thick in Switzerland, February 2003...

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Structures of Beijing

My Mom and I went to China in 2002, here are some sights from our first day, I'll be damned if I can remember what this first one is..

This pagoda is near the Forbidden City complex...

And here's Red Square...

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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

In A Balinese Forest

Here I am in 1997 in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia... I'm 37 in this picture, and I look like such a kid!


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Monday, November 07, 2011

Welcome Home, Mom!

It's so nice to have you back where you belong! Hi, everyone - with Mom back on line, I resume daily postings!
And to celebrate Mom's return to form, we'll be revisiting our awesome 2002 China trip in the days to come... Here's Mom at a typical meal on that trip, in an elaborate gilded setting with a dozen delectable dishes before us....

We mostly moved about Chinese cities by bus,
so I have no mental map in my head.. This was the entrance to a beautiful park...

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Sunday, November 06, 2011

Blue-Eyed Soul, In Shades

Today's treat is 'The Walk,' a brand new midtempo delight. from geek/retro soul man Mayer Hawthorne. This infectious number belies its 2011 birthdate with its pitch perfect Motown/Stax melody, falsetto, groove, and horn section.
Hawthorne channels Smokey Robinson in a smooth-as-silk vocal that's light years away from the Prince inflected guest vocal he contributed to SebastiAn's 'Love in Motion, ' which was Song of The Week just nine weeks ago...

Hawthorne hails from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and he has deftly sung, written, arranged, produced, engineered, and even rapped his way through two very convincing albums to date.

Here's 'The Walk,' live on Letterman..

Again live, Peforming 'Mr Blue Sky' on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic...

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Saturday, November 05, 2011

Snow On Green Leaves

When you see snow on green, the green is usually pine needles.. Not so last weekend in the odd snows of October...

From our slow car ride on a Westchester highway...


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Friday, November 04, 2011

Bruno Haunts The Earth...



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Thursday, November 03, 2011

Bacon and Egg

JP and I in Halloween garb, for those who missed it. We celebrated his birthday and Halloween a week in advance this year, with a daytime bagel party.. The following weekend was all booked by a bar-mitzvah and special work at JP's soup kitchen...


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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Think About It

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