Wednesday, May 23, 2018

It Takes Until the Fourth Paragraph to Learn Her Name

Openly gay, Hispanic ex-sheriff wins nomination

This is the problem with Identity politics.  Her actual name seems far less important than the boxes she ticks.

What Will They Think Of Next?

“Bowl food” is hot new trend where you eat food out of a bowl

Photo File Clean-Out, Part VII

Ernest Shackleton's library aboard the Endeavor

Cousin Rafer [left] with a couple of friends in North Africa, 1941.

Could be.

That pile of rubber and carbon fiber was, moments before, a Formula One racing car.  The driver got out, walked away, and was giving interviews about fifteen minutes later.
The safety features developed in auto racing eventually make their way to passenger cars.

Ah, the late, very lamented card catalog.  No one under the age of forty knows how to use one.

The Intoxication of Willful Ignorance


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Really? You Never Heard of Albert Speer? This Isn't New, Bubba.

Even Architecture Has Been Overrun by Politically Correct Babbling

Hint: Stop Using Facebook and Twitter

Man Reports Police Visitation After Posting Pictures of Morel Mushrooms on Facebook

Also, know that the role of the police in the 21st is not to protect and serve, but to sit at a desk and scour social media to see if you are in compliance with the law.  Big Brother is now watching, and he's too puzzle-witted to tell the difference between a psychedelic mushroom and a morel.  It also means that Johnny Law doesn't vary his appetite much.

How About We Do What We Want, Earn as Much as We Can, and You Can Get Stuffed?

Men should work less to close gender pay gap, says thinktank

The Continuing Adventures of Ohio Man

Ohio man calls police to report he's being followed by a pig

Secular Institutions Don't Have "Moral Authority", So No Worries

The steady drumbeat of sexual scandal is eroding the Left’s moral authority.
I truly don’t think the Left understands how the relentless drumbeat of sexual scandal looks to Americans outside the progressive bubble. Left-dominated quarters of American life — Hollywood, the media, progressive politics — have been revealed to be havens for the worst sort of ghouls, and each scandal seems to be accompanied by two words that deepen American cynicism and make legions of conservative Americans roll their eyes at the Left’s moral arguments: “Everyone knew.”

So Withers Individual Moral Agency

Freedom means being free even to make dumb decisions, too.
It’s good to see that for all their bickering over Brexit and war of words over austerity, the Tories and Labour are firmly united on one point of view: that the poor must be saved from themselves. That the wretched are incapable of making sensible choices and therefore their betters must step in and make choices on their behalf. Behold the great bipartisan belief of 21st-century British politics: paternalism.
How else do we explain the cross-party effort to reduce the maximum bet one can place on a fixed-odds betting terminal — or FOBT — from £100 to £2? The government unveiled this state-mandated reduction in how much of our own money we can put inside a fruit machine this morning. The language ministers are using to justify these bureaucratic controls on dumb people’s desire to gamble is deeply patrician. These machines ‘prey on some of the most vulnerable in society’, said culture secretary Matt Hancock, as if the machines were monsters and ordinary people unthinking creatures easily sucked into a vortex of dependency.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Harry "Sweets" Edison

"See, music is about style. Like if I were to play with Frank Sinatra, I would play the way he sings, or do something complementary to the way he sings. But I wouldn't go and play with Frank Sinatra at breakneck speed. (...) So, the way you play behind a singer is like the way Harry "Sweets" Edison did with Frank. When Frank Stopped singing, then Harry played. A little before and a little afterwards, but not ever over him; you never play over a singer. You play between." - Miles Davis 

I have played the bass and sung backup with a number of bands through the years.  They were named "Zen Maniacs of the Orient", "The 98 Decibel Freaks", "The Auto Glaziers" [yeah, that wasn't my idea], "Botch and the McCools", the "Son 5 Blues Band",  and a number of others that I've forgotten, mostly on purpose.  The first to enjoy local success was named "Meetings With Remarkable Men", improbably made up of a collection of theology and philosophy graduate students who were reading a book by that title at the time.

Some offered purely instrumental music and others featured a singer, sometimes called the "front man".  As tricky as it can be to learn to play in ensemble, it can be even trickier when the band backs a singer.  If the singer is good, he or she knows how to blend their voice with the other instruments and sing with the band; if the singer is limited or egomanical, they try to get the band to play with them, rather the other way around.  They never even attempt to blend.  Those bands, or at least those singers, tend not to last very long.

As prominent as the singer can be, they are rarely recognized unless they have some true talent backing them up.  When they find musicians with whom they can synchronize during a performance, the singer becomes famous and the musician...well, he or she can make a living.  Within the odd community of musicians, though, they can have a status that approaches canonization.

Harry Edison, born in Columbus, Ohio in 1915, was one of those musicians with whom a number of singers, composers, and other musicians found that magic synchronization.  As there wasn't much in Columbus in the early 20th century, Edison lived with relatives in Louisville for a time, where there was a very hot early jazz scene of which his uncle was a part.  That introduced Edison to the trumpet and what would become the remainder of his long life.

After returning to Ohio, and realizing that if one wants to be a real jazz musician in the decade before World War II one must do so in Cleveland, Edison moved north to play with the well-known Jeters-Piller Orchestra, a band popular not only in the pre- and post-Prohibition nightclub scene, but also featured on Saturday night radio.  As their popularity grew, they moved from Cleveland to St. Louis, but without Edison.  Instead, he wisely moved to New York City, eventually gaining a seat with the Count Basie Orchestra in 1937.

Lester Young, the famous saxophonist, was his band mate and the one to give Edison his nickname of "Sweets".  In public, Young said it was because he played like a "sweetie-pie".  In private, he said it was because Edison was attractive enough to command the attention of the women in the audience who would often proclaim, "That man sure looks sweet."  Either way, "Sweets" Edison became a recognized musician in the tight world of jazz trumpeters, mainly for his solos with Count Basie.

With the changes brought forth in the post-war era of Be-Bop, the Count Basie Orchestra re-formed in 1950, but without Edison.  After playing for a variety of bands, including one or two bearing his name, Edison was invited to the sweet life in southern California in the 1950's to become a studio musician.  As his reputation was great, he was sought to enrich the vocals of performers as differientiated as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Redd Foxx.  However, it was the impression that he made on Nelson Riddle that brought "Sweets" into the court of Frank Sinatra.

Riddle was a master at arranging music for small bands that had the impact and complexity of a larger orchestra.  His sound became the one preferred in this era of jazz and American standards, yet required a certain talent and instrumental intelligence to attain.  Riddle found that in Edison, for whom he did not even bother to compose parts in the ensemble, instead just letting him find his way between the intonations of the singer.  Sinatra, too, found an easy interplay with Sweets that enriched every recording they made together.  In fact, while the other musicians would see their specific notations in the sheet music, the section for the trumpet solo would only bear the name "Sweets" scribbled across the lined page. 

Here is a short list of recognizable Edison solos; I'm confident that readers will be able to immediately recognize at least a few:
Angel Eyes - 1966
Best Is Yet To Come - 1964
Come Fly With Me - 1966
End Of A Love Affair - 1956
Get Happy - 1954
Good Life - 1964
Hello Dolly - 1964
How Could You Do A thing Like That To Me - 1955
I Can't Stop Loving You - 1964
I Got Plenty O' Nuttin' - 1956
I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan - 1956
I Thought About You - 1956
I Wanna Be Around - 1964
Ill Wind - 1955
It Happened In Monterrey - 1956
Jeepers Creepers - 1954
Lonesome Road - 1956
Love Is Here To Stay - 1955
Mood Indigo 1955
Old Devil Moon - 1956
One For My Baby - 1966
Shadow Of Your Smile - 1966
Sunday - 1954
Swingin' Down The Lane - 1956
We'll Be Together Again 1956
Wives And Lovers - 1964
Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams - 1954
You Brought A New Kind Of Love To Me - 1956
You Forgot All The Words - 1955
You Make Me Feel So Young - 1966
You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To - 1956
Your Cheatin' Yourself - 1957

Sweets would play until the very end, his "lip" never weakening, and even after he left the West Coast to return to the simplicity and quiet of his hometown in Ohio.  He would surrender mortality in 1999 at the age of 83.

Since I began this reminiscence because I wanted to listen to some late-era orchestra jazz, I leave the reader with Edison's discography, in case you, too, find yourself in the mood for this style and era of music, and with this perfect collaboration between Nelson Riddle, Frank Sinatra, and the man known as Sweets.

Thursday, May 17, 2018


So, on Tuesday, I realized that the birds had stopped singing and the other animal sounds that are a natural part of the environment, so natural that they aren't noticed until they stop, had ceased as well.  The air was heavy and still and I started to become alert.

You see, I'm not native to the Nutmeg State.  I'm from this town.

When the sky turned green, I knew it was time to find the three-day survival bag.  When I heard the freight train sound and saw that the sudden rain was horizontal, seen blowing to the east from the front windows of the house and to the west from the rear windows, it was time to get in the basement.

The worst thing about this?  The weather-dweeb on the local news with his Sears and Roebuck tie and painted-on hair telling me that this wasn't "technically" a tornado.  Uh-huh.  Just admit that you didn't call it correctly, weather-dweeb.

NOAA has now informed us that it was an F1.  No kidding, Sherlock.  Just look at my cemetery.  "A severe thunderstorm", huh?

Anyway, the power's back on.