Saturday, January 21, 2017

That Certain Lack Of Control

Life could be so easy, if only we could exercise more control over it. Often this lack of control is blamed on the presence of others.

For instance, here’s a quote from Jean-Paul Sartre:

“In football, everything is complicated by the presence of the other team.”

I’m pretty sure that I’ve shared that one before, but it came to mind last week when I came across another quote expressing the same sentiment. This one was from Vice Admiral Matome Ugaki, who was Admiral Yamamoto’s chief-of-staff in the Imperial Japanese Navy:

“There is an opponent in a war, so one cannot progress just as one wishes.”

This phenomenon is true not only for sports and warfare, but also for life in general. We can never quite get our way, because the outside influences are so powerful.

Planning, industry and discipline are, of course, the remedies to this lack of control. They are always to be recommended. Employ them liberally if they are not intellectually or emotionally denied to you. The only thing that can be done about the actual lack of control is to accept it.

I’ll wager that neither Mr. Sartre nor Admiral Ugaki was happy about accepting that fact, but it does appear that both did accept it. 

Hank Ballard & The Midnighters - "The Twist" ORIGINAL VERSION (1959)

I love Hank Ballard, and all of that Twist money was his to lose. I don't know how it all went down, but the money flowed in another direction, not exactly an unusual result in the music business.

Maybe it was partly because Hank was, let's say, an abrasive personality. I mean, I love him, I don't give a shit if he leaned a little to the tough side. I had plenty of friends over there. But maybe some folks just didn't take to him.

He did a promo for a radio show that I loved one time. It was a show called "the Cool and the Crazy," on KCRW, "Corsair Radio West" from Santa Monica Community College in California. What a great show. Hank's promo went like this, "Listen to the Cool and the Crazy on KCRW, on Saturday night, or Hank Ballard will break your fingers." He sounded like he meant it, too.

Hank was a friend of James Brown's; James was a tough man, too. I'm pretty sure that Hank wrote the copy himself.

Now we live in a gentler age, for a few more years anyway. I'm wondering if by 2025 or so it won't be more like "The Book of Eli" out there in Bum-Fuck, America. You know, Old Rag, Kentucky; Kick-Stump, Missouri. And that's the optimist's version, I hate to tell you. In the pessimist's view, by 2035 it'll be like "The Road."

French Foreign Legion

Speaking of marching and the French Foreign Legion . . . wasn't I speaking about marching recently? Last week or something? Well, here's a nice video of some of the lads doing their slow-march around some town in Afghanistan (I believe).

These guys aren't worried about precision; they're just getting some exercise. Maybe showing some class for the locals. Doing their eighty-eight beat per minute march (Trademark).

There are many videos of the Legion marching up on YouTube. Usually they have the engineers out front (aka pioneers or sappers). The engineers all have beards. Sometimes they carry shovels; sometimes axes. Generally all Legionnaires appear to have bad attitudes.

The comments on YouTube are typically funny. There are big arguments about the relative toughness of U.S. Marines and the Legion, and major disparagements of European soldiers in general. Mostly from armchair-generals and game players, you know, real experts. My own opinion? There are a half-dozen or eight outfits around the world that I'd consider the last guys you'd want coming after you, and the Marines and the Legion are both on the list.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Miroslav Kefurt - Pauken Twist 1963

I heard this earlier today on a compilation of East German "Twist" songs from the early/mid 1960s. You find the strangest things on YouTube.

The collection was mostly horribly square, as one would expect from the Osties. This was the exception. This is a very accomplished piece with some real swing to it. Miroslav can really play.

The Germans are a hit-or-miss people when it comes to music. They seem to catch fire sometimes, but does it last? I'll leave that up to the real musicologists. There's Beethoven, of course, and Bach, and so many others, back in the day. They weren't only composers, either, they were players. Beethoven, in his youth, was like a combination of Frank Sinatra and Jimi Hendrix. The women swooned and the guys wondered, "how the fuck is he doing that?" Then there's the flash of wild inspiration that gave the world Krautrock in the 1970s. Guru Guru; Can; Amon Duul II; Kraftwerk; etc. They'll be back, that's my guess.

But this Miroslav character . . . boy, can he play, or what? And look at those fingers! It was either the guitar or become a surgeon.

Justin Hinds & the Dominoes - The Higher The Monkey Climbs

This is a great song to begin with, but particularly apt in our current circumstances.  "He that exalteth himself, shall be abased." Go ahead, guess who I'm talking about.

And note that the term "monkey" is used here in a socially responsible way. It's perfectly okay to call an white American a monkey if he spins around the room making noise and throwing his own shit at perceived antagonists. He's acting like a  monkey; go ahead and call him a monkey. White people take note: never refer to a black man as a monkey, that's never cool. Justin Hinds could get away with it, because, you know . . .

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Otis Redding & Carla Thomas - Tramp (1967)

This was a real power-couple, back in 1967. Carla Thomas was a beautiful woman, probably still is. Otis Redding was a handsome dude, and a real man-and-a-half. Big shame, him dying young.

Julie Driscoll - Tramp

I've got a cold, so I'm not feeling very witty or informative. Talk to you soon.