Month: November 2010

Get to Know…Vince Guaraldi

Get to Know…Vince Guaraldi

Music
Had he never recorded a note for any of Charles Schulz's Peanuts specials, Vincent Anthony Guaraldi's legacy as a brilliant composer and pianist would still be secure.  His joyful and supremely melodic style is as immediately recognizable as any in music, and more than thirty years after his death his admirers encompass a wide range of musicians and music lovers; from casual jazz fans to purists, and even to outright jazz haters who proclaim, "I don't really like jazz, but I love his stuff." For this primer of Guaraldi's recorded output, I've categorized his music into three main areas rather than go with a strictly chronological approach.  These categories are not meant to be rigidly applied, but for the novice I think it makes more sense this way.  There's great music to be found
Venture Bros. Wrapup: “Operation: P.R.O.M.”

Venture Bros. Wrapup: “Operation: P.R.O.M.”

TV & Radio
I know from reading Jackson Publick's LiveJournal that producing The Venture Bros. this season has been an arduous task.  He, Doc Hammer, and the rest of the AstroBase crew have been working on season 4 since at least summer 2008, and even at that there was a lengthy break in the middle and a shorter break before the season finale.  While I give the guys all the credit in the world for busting their ass to produce one of my favorite shows, I can't help but wonder when burnout will start to set in.  There's already talk in fan circles that "Operation: P.R.O.M." could just as easily be a series finale as a season finale. But speculation over the fate of the show can wait for another day.  Let's first take a look back at the first-ever one-hour Venture Bros. episode and try to figure out w
GFS at the Movies: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

GFS at the Movies: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

Movies
As delighted as Potterphiles were when it was announced that the final entry in J.K. Rowling's seven-part series would be split into two movies, so were non-fans and haters bemused and annoyed.  So I think the first question that needs to be answered about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 is, was it a wise artistic decision or a cynical cash grab? I think it's probably a bit of both, but as a fan I think it was definitely a good move.  There is simply too much story to be crammed into one, three-hour film, a lesson we all learned the hard way with the Half-Blood Prince.  By devoting an entire movie to the first part of the story, Deathly Hallows flows much more smoothly and I didn't feel like I had to have crib notes or keep my head on a swivel. Director David Yates a
Listening Booth – Waylon Jennings, “Rainy Day Woman”

Listening Booth – Waylon Jennings, “Rainy Day Woman”

Listening Booth
Even if you don't like country music, you owe it to yourself to listen to this.  It's but a sampling of the sub-genre of country now known as Outlaw, and it's a stark reminder that there once was life and spirit in country music. From the classic 1974 album The Ramblin' Man, enjoy "Rainy Day Woman" from the immortal Waylon Jennings. And hey, props to Ralph Mooney on the steel guitar.
Retrotisements: RIP Sony Walkman (1979 – 2010)

Retrotisements: RIP Sony Walkman (1979 – 2010)

Advertising, Retrotisements
You ever read an obituary on some famous, really old celebrity and think, "I thought that person was dead already"?  I reacted in much the same way when I read recently that one of Sony's most famous products, the Walkman, was discontinued from production in Japan. Who even listens to cassettes anymore, except hipsters wanting to look all ironic?  And more importantly, who would listen to one in public? Well at one time the Sony Walkman was the product to have, and I was a proud owner.  I can't say I'll miss them, even though I have fond memories of playing my cassette copy of Alive! on an endless loop as a youth.  But it's an important piece of music history, so the least I can do is throw some classic Walkman advertisements your way.  Check back in 30 years so we can wax nostalgic
Product warning labels we really need

Product warning labels we really need

Funny Stuff
Because the government refuses to just come out and ban cigarettes outright, we get brilliant programs like the recently announced FDA campaign to place more graphic warning labels on packs of smokes.  Here's an example of what they're planning to do: Effective and scary!  I guess.  I know I don't ever want to smoke Brand cigarettes, that much is certain.  Anyway, I suppose it's only a matter of time before the gubmint steps in and tries to scare us from buying all manner of products that can cause real harm, so I've whipped up a few labels to save the taxpayers a little money. Fast Food (more…)
America the Brave: A Selection of Veterans Day Images

America the Brave: A Selection of Veterans Day Images

History
This post was originally published on Veterans Day 2008, and has proven to be one of my more popular entries.  So I'm bringing it back as my small tribute for this year. Originally known as Armistice Day, the first Veterans Day was celebrated on November 11, 1938 -- the 20th anniversary of the effective end of World War I.  Starting in 1954 the scope of the holiday was expanded to commemorate all those who had fought and served for the United States. I don't have any stirring essays in me, so my small tribute to our armed forces is this collection of images portraying the history of major American military conflict.  Thank you all for your service! American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) The Battle of Trenton (December 26, 1776) was a turning point in the American Revo