Month: February 2009

Vintage ephemera: Best Western/AT&T Business Resource Guide

Vintage ephemera: Best Western/AT&T Business Resource Guide

Ephemera
Alright, I'm probably stretching the definition of "vintage" pretty thin here.  But here's the thing -- even though this magazine (found in a Best Western in Quakertown, PA just last year) was published in 1996, it sure seems like a lifetime ago.  That's because even more than clothes or hairstyles, few things can almost instantly date a publication like images of current technology. Don't believe me?  Well here's just a sampling of the pictures and ads scattered throughout the 1996 Best Western/AT&T Business Resource Guide, a publication for the modern executive on the go...into a time warp.  (for fun slideshow action, click here) (more…)
Album cover of the week: Beck-Ola

Album cover of the week: Beck-Ola

Album Cover of the Week
There's not much room for expounding on this week's entry, 1969's Beck-Ola, the second and final album from the first incarnation of the Jeff Beck Group.  It's a giant apple in a room.  Very simple, very cool-looking. The album art is a reproduction the second version of The Listening Room (1958) by the Belgian surrealist René Magritte.  The first (1952) has the apple in a wooden room.  Magritte's work enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in the '60s and '70s thanks to its inclusion on other album covers, as well as by album covers inspired by his work. Perhaps of even more interest is the note included on the original album's back cover - "Today, with all the hard competition in the music business, it's almost impossible to come up with anything totally original. So we haven't. Ho
Album Cover of the Week: Undercurrent

Album Cover of the Week: Undercurrent

Album Cover of the Week
Less than a month after playing a series of shows at New York's fabled Village Vanguard jazz club in June 1961 - that would be immortalized with a pair of live albums, Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debby - Bill Evans was rocked by tragedy when his bassist and musical partner, Scott LaFaro, died in a car accident at age 25. Devastated, Evans recorded and performed very little for the rest of 1961 and the beginning of 1962.  In April and May of that year he entered the studio with guitarist Jim Hall and recorded the first album with his name on it since LaFaro's death - Undercurrent. This is the original album cover as released on the Blue Note label.  It's a very simple shot and yet a very powerful one.  The original image was taken in 1947 by famed photographer Ton
You don’t like the Olympics?  Too bad.

You don’t like the Olympics? Too bad.

Sports
As cynical as I can be sometimes (most of the time), I find my interest in the Olympics is a lot higher than it used to be.  At least for the winter variety.  And now that the 2010 Vancouver games are less than a year away, my anticipation is growing bit by bit.  And I can't be alone on that. I'm all too familiar with the host of complaints that accompany the Olympic Games every time they're held - they divert money that would be better spent on more worthwhile things, local citizens are at best inconvenienced and at worst harassed or violated in some way, the organizers and even some of the athletes are crooked, it's an antiquated event that has no relevance for our modern, connected world, yadda yadda yadda. Are a lot of these complaints are valid?  Sure.  I'm not blind to that rea
Over 50,000 served

Over 50,000 served

Blogstuff
In a neat little coincidence, I surpassed 50,000 tracks played on my last.fm account right around the time this humble little web log logged its 50,000th visitor.  As I mentioned when I hit the 10,000-visitor mark in April 2008, the interest in this site continues to amaze me.  But don't worry, I won't let delusions of adequacy get in the way of posting album covers, random scans of old pieces of paper, and mildly funny original content on a haphazard basis. I just wanted to take another opportunity to thank all of you who have stopped by over the last few years, whether you're a regular in these here parts or just a drive-by visitor.  And I'd like to give a special shout-out to #50,000, coming to us from New York City and checking out the 2nd part of my Get to Know entry on Genesis.  H
Let’s talk A-Roid

Let’s talk A-Roid

Sports
For the past few days I've been mulling over this whole Alex Rodriguez steroids story, and the more I think about it the more I just can't bring myself to care all that much.  It's not that I don't think he's a cheating scumbag and I'm certainly not impressed by his weak defense, which basically relies on the fact that the substances he took weren't banned by Major League Baseball at the time.  So what?  Then why lie about it to Katie Couric? Nor am I bowled over by A-Rod's claim that he doesn't know what substances he took that caused him to flunk.  Barry Bonds used a similar defense, and it doesn't pass the smell test.  Am I seriously supposed to believe that a person whose career depends on their body being in peak physical condition would just blindly take substances without kno
Album Cover of the Week: Innervisions

Album Cover of the Week: Innervisions

Album Cover of the Week, Music
In a just world, last night's Grammy Awards telecast would have been dedicated largely to celebrating the 50th anniversary of Motown Records.  Instead, we got 'treated' to Stevie Wonder playing with the Jonas Brothers.  Ugh. So in an effort to remedy (in whatever small way I can) this musical travesty, I'm presenting not just one of Stevie's or Motown's greatest albums, but one of the greatest albums of any genre -- 1973's Innervisions. Innervisions was not released on the regular Motown label but rather on Tamla, the company Berry Gordy started in 1959 that morphed into Motown.  The album was a monster commercial and artistic triumph for Wonder, who picked up the first of his three Grammys for Album of the Year. As for the album art, the cover illustration is by Efram Wolff,
Vintage Tabletop: Touring

Vintage Tabletop: Touring

Ephemera, Games & Toys
For the deluxe presentation of Touring, head over to the Touring page on the main site. In 1906, cars were still considered a luxury item in the United States, well beyond the reach of the common folk.  And yet two years before the legendary Model T ushered in the era of affordable automobiles for the masses, the now-defunct Wallie Dorr Company figured the time was right to capitalize on what was still a niche product.  And to do so they unveiled a new card game based on the expensive, newfangled horseless carriage - Touring. You probably haven't heard of Touring but you've likely heard of its successor, Mille Bornes.  The idea is the same, really.  Players are engaged in a race of X miles (the figure changed over the years), and can play delay/hazard cards to stop or slow down their
In Concert: Andrew McKenna Lee and QQQ

In Concert: Andrew McKenna Lee and QQQ

Music
In celebration of two new CDs from New Amsterdam Records, four of the label's acts took to the stage last Friday night at Joe's Pub, located in New York City's über-artsy NoHo district.  Despite having already heard music from three of them, I still wasn't sure what to expect from the evening.  After all, classical guitarists and modern chamber groups are not the types of shows I usually see in the Big Apple. The evening got off to a rather interesting start as, one by one, the three members of opening act Janus took the stage and contributed a few lines to a spoken word loop that comprised the vocal foundation for a piece called "I Am Not (Blank)".  It was a rather startling way to begin a performance to say the least.  The trio's style (comprised of viola, harp, and flute) is not for