Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Inherent Vice - Official Trailer [HD]

Okay, it's official . . . Joaquin Phoenix is definitely the guy to play Richard Meltzer in any and all movies based on that great writer's life and times.  Every scene here, I look at Joaquin and I see Richard. 

And, in a parallel universe, "Inherent Vice" is a great book, my approval rating is high and my recommendation is without reservation.  Funny, funny shit, atmospheric, a vigorous invocation of the Zeitgeist of the turn of the Seventies, an intellectual challenge, and eminently readable.   I can't swear by the movie, yet, but I'll swear by the novel.  It's a great read.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Marshall Crenshaw - Someday Someway - 1982 Letterman

A Facebook friend of mine just included this clip in a comment and wow, it's a beauty. 

All the way live too, I'd say. 

I discovered this guy in the late '80's, and he helped me to get over the bad habit of under-valuing chording and comping as aspects of guitar playing.  I mean, melody is nice, the whole "lead guitar" thing, but songs have structure, and it has to come from somewhere. 

Marshall is still great.  Check him out!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My Shout Out To The Stars

It is possible that right now, as we speak, some strange intelligence beyond time and space is monitoring our Internet.  If so, their capabilities are obviously strong enough to allow them to read every single word, every day.  So, they would be reading this blog post, right now . . .

Here's my greeting to those intrepid readers, those fabulous explorers of the radiological universe.  Greetings! Galactic Brothers!  Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me!  In dreams, if you have to! I love you! 

Yeah, that could happen too. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Questionable Tactics In Boxing

What I mean are dirty tactics, behaviors that may gain a boxer a reputation as a dirty fighter. 

There was a boxer in the 1980’s that I really liked.  Outside the ring he was a cheerful, personable man with a great backstory; inside the ring he was a terror.  One boxing site states with refreshing candor that he was known to “use his fists and elbows in novel ways.”  He did more than that.  He was a walking catalog of illegal boxing moves.  He was famous for it.  Every fight of his was a clinic in bad behavior, but it never seemed to affect his popularity or his statistics.  He won ninety percent of his fifty or so fights.  It begs the question:  Are the dirty tactics just part of boxing? 

Here are some examples of dirty tactics:

1. Laces:  boxing gloves are tied tight with laces on the inside of the boxer’s wrists.  These laces can be formidable weapons when rubbed against the eye of the opponent. 

2. Head Butting:  The human forehead is the hardest part of the body except for the teeth.  Using it to strike the opponent is often a game-changer.

3. Elbows:  some fighters master the art of throwing “accidental” elbows.  The punch misses, but the glove continues its forward progress until the elbow strikes the opponent in the head.  If the elbow misses too, there is often an opportunity to use the elbow on the back-stroke.  This is what in Chinese boxing (Kung Fu) is known as “the continuing and returning fist.” 

4. Thumbs:  boxing gloves, for some unknown reason, have thumbs in them.  These can be driven into the opponents eyes. 

5. The Ropes:  The ropes around the ring are elastic, like giant rubber bands.  Like rubber bands, they can be used for a sling-shot effect.  A clever boxer who has his opponent on the ropes may push the opponent back into the ropes and then punch him as the ropes propel him into the punch.  This is a real force multiplier.  Similarly, a boxer with his own back to the ropes may lean back into the ropes and then use the spring effect to add power to his own punch. 

6. Holding:  Many times a boxer is dead sure that if he lets the opponent hit him the results will be catastrophic.  Such a boxer might seek to keep the opponents hands tied up in tight clinches for most of the fight.  The frustrated puncher will seek franticly to free himself from such clutches, and an ingenious practitioner has a thousand ways to trap an arm as fast as it escapes his grip.  This can be exhausting for the man so tied up.  It can be exhausting to watch too. 

7. Kidneys:  kidney punches are illegal and dangerous.  That doesn’t mean it never happens.  Especially when the referee is standing where the behavior will be hidden from him. 

8. The Bell:  the rules state that a punch may not land after the bell has sounded.  You will often see boxers stopping punches short upon hearing the bell.  You will also frequently see punches that were launched arguably before the bell be allowed to complete their parabola and strike the opponent.  Sometimes you will even see punches planned and executed after the bell.  If you watch enough fights, you’ll see everything.

9. Below the Belt:  another game changer, like the head butts.

The referee may deduct a point for any of the above infractions, but that doesn’t seem to happen much.  There is a real problem with intent in the boxing ring.  How do we separate cause-and-effect from coincidence?  Accidents happen.  Things happen fast in the ring.  All kinds of things, funny things.  Where’s the mens rea?  The criminal intent?  The guilty mind?  If the ref thinks that it was an accident, he’ll just give the affected boxer a minute to shake it off. 

Boxers know this, and many of them exploit this weakness in the oversight. 

“. . . if I throw a right hand, in good faith, and you pull your head back, and my thumb happens to stick you in the eye, whose fault is that?”

“. . . if I bounce off the ropes with a good angle to throw a punch, should I refrain?”

“. . . if we are in a clinch, and the referee allows us to continue boxing, must I keep my head stationary?  Or may I continue to bob and weave, trying only to avoid your punches, of course.  And if my forehead should accidentally strike you on the eye brow, opening a nasty cut, whose fault is that?” 

I have a hunch that the judgment of these things has a lot to do with the popularity of the fighter.  It must be like life in general, mustn’t it?  If they love you, you’ll get away with anything; if they hate you, you’ll get points deducted for any little thing. 

Maybe it all falls under the heading of misadventure.   Maybe it’s like driving too fast in the canyons of Malibu.  You knew there was an element of danger, but you went and did it anyway.  If you take your car over the side, well, you knew that you were taking a chance of that happening.   

And this stuff does, without a doubt, liven up a boxing match.  That fellow from the ‘80’s, man, watching him fight was a real hoot.   

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Marshall Crenshaw Our Town (HQ)

This has been up on YouTube for three years and it's only had 8,481 hits.  That's criminal.

And no, I didn't only like him just because he looks kind of like me.  (Remember, the picture is from the early 80's, when I was thirty-something, and still had hair, and Marshall was only a few years younger.)  He's a great singer, a great songwriter, and a great guitar player.  That is what they call in hockey a "Hat Trick." 

I went so far as to share this to Facebook, with a reverse-psychology blurb to throw people off the scent.  No one listens to music shared on Facebook.  Sometimes I feel like the testifyingest fool in the Valley of the Damned, but if I could strap all of my Facebook friends down and make them listen to five or six cuts by this guy, I'd risk jail to do it. 

You, dear reader, are part of a more sophisticated group, I'm sure.  You, I am confident, are much more likely to actually listen to this cut.  Thank you, as always, for every minute that you generously squander on my bullshit obsessions. 

Jeff Beck - Surf's Up [Live - 2-11-05]

Reverent, subtle and beautifully musical.  How weird is that for a guy that we valued back in the day for being a musical anarchist and iconoclast who was famous for making a guitar sound like it had just been poked in the fucking eye? 

This career has been a long and winding road.  I loved Jeff's playing on first hearing, and I have always loved it, over the years.  You could say that we grew up together.

Three-fourths deaf by this time, he was still hearing it better than anybody.  Jeff, we love you, no ifs, ands or buts.  Thanks for everything.

Friday, September 19, 2014

THE CLEFTONES Heart and Soul [original]

I loved this music in the '50's, and I thank God for it on a regular basis.  Not only was it great music, but it also taught my generation a great lesson, without intending to and apparently effortlessly. 

Groups like this gave us the idea that black Americans were just like us.  To us, including boys that were not generally fans of racial equality, these groups were talented and entirely admirable.  Groups like the Del Vikings, groups that included black and white singers, showed us that we could all get along.  My favorite sports team, the Brooklyn Dodgers, was part of the lesson.  It was all very subversive, wasn't it?  Racial harmony was possible!  Amazing. 

Maybe someday we'll even get there.  It's more of a slog than I would have guessed.  From the evidence these days, I don't think that I'll see in my lifetime.  My granddaughter, maybe.