Thursday, October 20, 2016

the fat babies

band  members

Beau Sample- string bass / leader
Andy Schumm-cornet
Dave Bock- trombone
John Otto - reeds
Paul Asaro - piano
Jake Sanders - banjo
Alex Hall - drums

For those of us who feel we've been wasting away in a culturally valueless universe this past half century, 'never fear,' b'cuz the cavalry is here. Fat Babies, drawn from the 20-40 age cohort, play a scholarly, wonkey, square jawed, and restrained version of the music that started in Chicago and migrated to New York City in the 20's. They render it carefully, with great precision, but leave plenty of  room for individual expression.

The Babies' organizaton is key to their approach; it's the brain child of bassist and front man Beau Sample. On the bandstand, the front line of horns appears to be directed  by Cornetist Andy Schumm, a talented & dedicated Beiderbecke devotee. 

It's the cornet which provides Z energy that propels this precision instrument called 'fat babies.' Check out the sounds AND the sources, and I think you'll agree.

"Stampede" by Miff Mole's and Red Nichols's Stompers  (1926) highlights the New York style at it most idiosyncratic.

Monday, October 03, 2016


Seems like to me the single politucal  party which dominates our daily lives these days consists of the "in" & the "out" crowds, and that the only real action occurring any more is the struggle of these two remaining elements for hegemony and domination.

The half called Demolicans have been on the outs 4 16 yrs, having been tarred with  the "liberal" label and brushed off immediately after the 9/11 attack. According to Dr. JOHNSON, This method of observation shows all religions 2 B equally false, whereas for the remnant of New Dealers they are equally true, and to ordinary American photojournalists, equally silly and childish.

Now  another election yr has come, and we've never seen a worse one. I plan 2 vote on all the down-ballot races; for the big prize, I plan to keep my opinion 2myself.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

1,000 words

Thass wass a picture (pix) is said to be wurf, HOMES!

However, in the cases we see here, because of the peculiar nature of the subject, Mike Pence, one of the crowned heads in this  years'  political beauty contest (yay, hooray), there's so much content, indeed narrative  in each shot that considerably fewer than 1,000 words is necessary to convey the topic to a state of utter redundancy.

At 57, Mike Pence is a very  good-looking man -- you'd have to be blind to miss it -- and he's good looking in a particularly politician-conservative kind of way. Although he's easily
 the best appearing of the four crowned heads this year, Mike hardly ever wears a crown. To  do so would draw attention away from his most important feature -- vice-presidential  hair, and not a single one is out of place. (74 words) As you can se it's my best feature 2, even when wet. 10Q  bubbles, every noche.

And on occasion, storm clouds pass over the veepish visage, rendering it stony & cold, and not belonging 2 one who is wanted in the White House except maybe 4 security detail.   

The picture in this case says "Mike Pence is pissed -- and we're told it happens frequently." (9 words).

Here's another possibly less obvious but I've been told more typical Pence anger routine, the one that begins with "I'll bet you didn't know this finger was loaded, Buckwheat!" in this case it's aimed at George Stephanopoulos, who refused to abandon a line of questioning re: Indiana's new anti-gay-and-lesbian law minted under Pence's governorship. He insists it's for their "equal protection" and ordered George S. to cease his line of questioning or face a discharge from the incident...

To his credit, that's the only finger I've seen 
Gov. Pence use. He's a clean-cut, middle-class white boy, polite and not given to profanity. His homicidal instincts are buried deeply enough that Mom will never notice.

Friday, September 16, 2016

the water thief

Water never  tastes as good as when it comes from a free-flowing source such as a creek or natural spring, and it belongs to someone else.

To illustrate this principle, Sammy takes a big, satisfying drink from Kit's cup.This  underscores her motto, "Su casa es mi casa."

Friday, September 09, 2016



Eram quod es;

Eris quod sum.

use 2 bee & spoze 2 bee

 Let me apologize once again for promising this op-ed (what should I call these things other than blog pieces?)11 days ago-- almost 2 wks -- that I promised a compare-and contrast between modern forms of entertainment and the primitive Punch & Judy shows you can see on the streets of London 
town in season. 

The problem is that we're talking about such vastly different species there's hardly any room for comparison. I chose Milli Vanilli, the great pop phenomenon of the late 80's, not least because they turned out 2 B fraudulent -- a verdict I have trouble accepting even today.

The late-80's duo called "Milli Vanilli," hit show business with tremendous impact in 1987 with their first and as it turned out, best big hit, "Girl you know it's true" If it had just been a simple matter of a couple kids from the neighborhood getting a band together and doing their own songs, they'd have never come to grief as they did, but this was the late 20th century, and neither Rob Pilatus (l) nor Fab Morvan was from the US; both grew up in Munich and neither even spoke English when the project began. Even though they were universally vilified for fakery in selling a lip-sync job under false pretenses, I tended then as now to see them as naive, modestly talented victims, ground up in the SoCal production machine.

Frank Farian, the producer of this piece, and also the true founder of Milli Vanilli, is a shadowy figure who had ambitions of his own, but also but also felt he lacked the looks or dynamism to beome a level 1 star. When he heard "Girl you know it's true" he bought it, then began looking for front men to deliver the song. He did a lot of the lead singing for the  the "product" as it took shape, but was both too old (early 40's) and too white to appear on camera.

He got really excited over the appearance of Morvan and Pilatus, but decided working on their English skills was not worth it, as he was contracted to deliver a record by a certain date.

In 2011 Morvan claimed that Farian manipulated the two by giving them a small advance when he signed them. The pair spent most of it on clothes and hairstyling, then several 
months later Farian called them back and told them they had to lip sync to the prerecorded music or, per the contract, repay the advance in full. "We were not hired, we were trapped" Morvan recalled. (Wikipedia, s.v. MIlli Vanilli) 

("[GRIL you know it's true] - -awoo woo woooo - I love ayou hooo!). Yes !U know its true!!  (GRI*I*I*IL*LL)    Awoo hoo hoop, I LOVE YfsOU-HU!

official video of "Gril (sic) U know it's true" here.

However I feel the best and 'truest" version of this song is the one the producers of the grammy awards uncorked in 1990, starring the original quintet, but weighted down with all the enormous impedimentia of the era --backup singers, a dozen or so dancers, extra musicians and imported sound effects. Watching, you may realize you know the exact date the era of bread and circuses arrived.

It just as quickly departed.

(Charles) Shaw, a US Army veteran, was reportedly paid $6,000 to perform the rap on Milli Vanilli's hit "Girl You Know It’s True". In December 1989, Shaw disclosed to New York Newsday writer John BLeland that he was one of three singers (The other two were John Davis and Brad Howell) on Milli Vanilli's hit debut album, and that Milli Vanilli frontmen Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan were impostors. Milli Vanilli producer Frank Farian reportedly paid Shaw $150,000 to retract his statements.[1]
Morvan and Pilatus went on to win the 1990 Grammy Award for Best New Artist, but rumors about Shaw's involvement persisted. Eventually the true story of the band was exposed in November 1990 when Farian broke the story himself, and the duo's Grammy Award was subsequently withdrawn. (Wikipedia, s.v. MIlli Vanilli) 
After 1990 the duo, formerly kings of the world,were driven from door to door.
The real tragedy of Milli Vanilli didn't occur until 1998--the year Rob Pilatus took his life, with an overdose of opiates and alcohol. The other guy, the pretty one in the red jacket with the outrageous shoulder pads, is still plying the rocky shoals of showbiz, knowing how badly they can injure and that they're occasionally fatal. Looking at various current interviews with Fab, who is now in his late 40s, He seems to have adopted a middle-aged philosphical outlook on past disasters and  takes his biggest pleasure from gaining credibility the hard way -- by getting up on stage and singing -- and with some commercial success.  KFC is the beneficiary of Fab's newfound vocal abilities, which he comes by as honestly as any singer who ever sang an ad jingle.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

my cat, count wallerstein, und all z other devils

I really like the photo. taken by my wife during our most recent road trip, which ran here yesterday. (Scroll down -- thru Z magic of blogging it's still here.)

Then aggressiveness of the black/white contrast, a motif the cat fits into perfectly, is what I like.

The funny thing about great photos is they're almost all accidental, or at least their effect is untintended. What a great composition though intentional or not, is Sammy the travelin' cat relaxing.

Reminds  me of some of the 17th century portraits of military types I've seen; those devils who ran the 30 years war, such as yr famous Count of Tilly, Johannes Tserklaes, whom we see impaling us on the evil beam of his one good, right eye.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Weekenders quadruped blog

From a Motel 6

Deep in Utah,

Sammy the travelin' cat 

relaxes on a pile  of luggage.