The Beatles, 1967

Pop Culture Capsule: The Evolution of the Beatles

You’ve probably seen the neat infograph depicting the evolution of the Beatles, as told by their hair. If not, here it is:

History of The Beatles as told by their hair
(credit for this goes to DeviantArt user mozzarellapoppy)

But I thought it might be equally as neat to take a look at the growth of the Fab Four with actual photographs. So here we go!


The Beatles in Hamburg, Germany 1960

In Hamburg, Germany, 1960. The band had just dropped the name The Silver Beatles. (left to right: Pete Best, George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Stuart Sutcliffe)


The Beatles, Cavern Club 1961

Performing in the famous Cavern Club, 1961. Dig the leather! (left to right: Harrison, McCartney, Best, Lennon)


The Beatles, 1962

The classic lineup is now complete. Sorry Pete Best. (left to right: McCartney, Ringo Starr, Lennon, Harrison)


The Beatles, 1963, London, England

The band was so tight at point, they even read the newspaper together.


The Beatles with Ed Sullivan, 1964

Beatlemania is in full swing, as the group appears on The Ed Sullivan Show.


The Beatles, 1965, Shea Stadium, Queens, NY

The Fab Four play Shea Stadium before a crowd of more than 55,000, one of the seminal concerts in rock history.


The Beatles, 1966, Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California

The Beatles played their final commercial concert in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park on August 29…


The Beatles (1967)

…and emerged in 1967 as a very different band, musically and visually.


The Beatles, 1968 Yellow Submarine promo shot

A promo image for the animated film Yellow Submarine, released in July.


The Beatles, 1969

The year it all fell apart. Here’s an image from the very last Beatles photo session, taken on August 22, 1969, just two days after their last recording session together. This is from the grounds of John and Yoko Ono’s home in Tittenhurst Park.

The Beatles, 1969

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1949 Ford

Retrotisements — The 1949 Ford

1949 Ford

I’ve never been a big car guy. Sure, I love to go to car shows and look at all the chrome, fins, and white walls, but I couldn’t tell you the difference between a flathead V8 and a glass of V8 if my life depended on it. But I do know this much — I love the 1949 Ford full-size car and have for years. When it was introduced it gave Ford the shot in the arm they so desperately needed, and that freshness of design is still evident more than 60 years later.

One of these days I’m going to own a ’49 Ford, but until then I’ll just have to gaze lovingly at these classic advertisements.

(To see other car lineup advertisement galleries, click here. Got a request for other years and makes? Let me know in the Comments section.)

1949 Ford advertisement

1949 Ford Country Squire station wagon ad

1949 Ford advertisement

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The Kitchen Krackpots

Kitchen Kabaret, the show that has the whole town cooking!

Kitchen Kabaret logoI used to visit my grandfather in Florida every summer when I was a kid. One of the first years I went was not long after Disney’s EPCOT Center opened in October 1982. I remember being fairly disappointed with EPCOT, which seemed like a bunch of boring stuff only adults would be interested in.

At the top of my “lame” list had to be Spaceship Earth (aka the Giant Metal Golf Ball). I didn’t give a rat’s ass about patting myself on the back for humanity’s achievements, I just thought escalators were more exciting to ride. Elsewhere, I remember there being way too much talking and way too many boring films to make it a very good theme park experience. I did think Figment was pretty neat, and brought home a stuffed toy in his horned, purple image.

One thing that resonated with me immediately, however, was an exhibit in a now long-gone section of EPCOT called The Land. No, not the greenhouses. It was a musical revue featuring animatronic food called Kitchen Kabaret.

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Mocean Worker - Candygram for Mowo

Album cover of the week: Candygram for Mowo!

I knew nothing about Adam Dorn, aka Mocean Worker (pronounced Motion Worker) before last week, but one glance at the cover for his latest album — Candygram for Mowo! — was enough to make me want to check him out. It’s been a long time since I decided to listen to an album just because of its cover, but this did the trick.

Mocean Worker - Candygram for Mowo

Luckily for me, Candygram for Mowo! is actually a good album. Some of the songs evoke the Big Band/Swing era nicely, just like the repurposed photo on the cover. Witness the outstanding lead track, “Shooby Shooby Do Yah!” (linked below) and “Hoot and Hollah.”

“Shooby Shooby Do Yah!” | MOCEAN WORKER by Calabro Music Media

Listening booth — Kiss, “Escape From The Island”

Legend has it that before the album that became Music From “The Elder” turned into Kiss’s half-baked attempt to imitate Genesis, it was supposed to be a straightforward hard rock LP. But then producer Bob Ezrin (fueled by massive amounts of cocaine) and Gene Simmons (fueled by massive amounts of ego) thought that what Kiss fans really wanted was a concept album with a threadbare “plot” and lots of orchestra. Oops!

We’ll never know if Music From “The Elder” would have sold more in 1981 had it contained more songs like Ace Frehley’s kickass instrumental blast “Escape From the Island,” but it sure would’ve been less reviled. And fans might have gotten more than one album out of the fairly potent Simmons/Stanley/Frehley/Carr lineup.

Mob with torches and pitchforks

Facebook and the social contract

It’s hard for me to get worked up into a nice lather over the most recent renovations to Facebook, aka The Site You Just Can’t Quit. For one, my main interaction with it these days is through TweetDeck, which very nicely strips away all the irrelevant layout and advertising to show me just the status updates, ma’am. And for another, ever since I quit playing games like Farmville and Mafia Wars cold turkey — both more addictive than heroin or crystal meth I’m told — I really have little reason to go to the site proper anymore.

Mob with torches and pitchforks

Zuckerberg you soundrel! Show yourself!

While it’s been interesting to observe the backlash against the latest Facelift, I’ve developed a greater interest in the predictable backlash against the backlash. People who have taken to the internets to complain about Facebook are derided as lacking perspective, or of bitching pointlessly about a free service making changes that its entitled to.

This misses the point completely. Just because we’re not paying to use Facebook doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have expectations as to the user experience it provides. The point of the site (aside from generating mountains of profit) is to allow its users to interact with each other as easily as possible, is it not? So when sweeping changes are introduced at random intervals and with little warning or explanation, how are users supposed to feel if not pissed off? Is this not a violation of Facebook longstanding (but obviously unwritten) social contract?

And really, it’s not the fact that Facebook changes that people object to, so please let’s dispense with the tired comparisons to MySpace. MySpace didn’t fail because it stagnated, it failed because it never grew beyond being a haven for attention-starved teenagers and lousy bands. And it looked like shit.

No, it’s partly because these changes are so ham-fistedly introduced and simply rammed down users’ throats. It’s a manifestation of what I call George Lucas SyndromeYeah we know that people loved the ease of our old layout and are incredibly loyal to our brand, but we know what’s best for them and gosh darnit, isn’t this newer technology just swell! Oh and by the way, you’re not going to be able to go back to the way it was before so just deal with it.

At least give users the option of sticking with a particular layout, or even better, give them a set of preferences with which to customize their own user experience. Of course that might impeded the delivery of all-important advertising, so that ain’t gonna happen. Except this time, there may be a penalty for Facebook to pay for annoying their customers – migration to Google+.

I'm OK, You're OK

Airplane thoughts

I’ve always wondered why airport bookstores always seem to have a larger-than-normal display section devoted to self help books and guides to becoming a better business-human. Do people flying on planes have a greater need for affirmation or for tips on impressing their boss and climbing the corporate ladder?

And then it occurred to me last night as I flew home to New Jersey from Texas — at 35,000 feet, anything seems possible. When your gravity-assisted tether to terra firma is temporarily snapped, it really does seem like you have the power to change your personal or professional life for the better, and all you have to do is put that simple five-step plan into action!

I'm OK, You're OKI’m sure there are countless thousands of us who’ve stepped off an airplane full of ideas and plans to finally make a change for the better, and to start right away. But then of course the mundane reality of daily life slaps us full in the face, and all those books and plans get discarded like so much overpriced garbage from the SkyMall catalog.

Well all this is to say that I did a little thinking and scheming myself, and there are some changes I’m going to make that will actually stick. No, nothing truly important like organizing my schedule more effectively or learning how to wow the boss during my next presentation. It’s about what you’re reading (or not reading) right now — this site.

Running this site isn’t really much fun for me, and hasn’t been for some time. I’ve approached it as something more akin to a part-time job or, worse yet, an obligation. I’ve strayed from my original vision from six or so years ago (back when this was just another Blogger destination under the nom de guerre of Attack of the 15.24 Meter Blog) to just write about whatever I wanted, no matter how arcane or trivial.

Worse yet, I became a slave to my statistics. At some point along the way I got a few tastes of minor “success” (in terms of visitors) and started to develop a craving for it. And so I stopped writing for myself first, and started writing in the hopes of attracting traffic. And when that traffic didn’t materialize, the ridiculous validation I guess I was seeking never happened. That ends now.

What does this mean for you, Loyal Reader? Well in the short-term, not a great deal. Except that for right now, perhaps fewer updates. If I don’t feel compelled to write about something, I simply won’t. So weekly features may not run weekly anymore, or I may kill them entirely.

Eventually this place will get a major facelift, and the blog will become but a section of a larger internet concern. I will devote more of my energy to larger, more static sections detailing my more ridiculous obsessions (if you have no clue what I’m talking about, picture something along the lines of

The blog will in turn be more devoted to crap I just want to talk about (I gotta lot of problems with you people, and now you’re gonna hear about it!), whether that be current events, old stuff, or my life in general. Don’t worry, I promise not to bore you with tales of my work commute or of suffering witless cashiers at Panera Bread. I said in the beginning of my blogging career that I wouldn’t do that, and I will hold that promise.

All this is going to take time, but I believe that in the end The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit will be a more fun and interesting place for everyone. So if you’ve slogged all the way through this post, I do want to thank you for supporting my efforts in the past and I hope you’ll keep coming back. But if not, that’s OK, I have this totally awesome Voice Activated R2-D2 on the way that will keep me company.

Listening booth — Gabe Dixon, “Even the Rain” Live at Room 5

Since its release, Gabe Dixon’s solo debut album One Spark has been receiving positive reviews from fans and critics alike.  The Nashville-based piano man recently performed his catchy single, “My Favorite,” on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and he received two notable picks in USA Today.  Elysa Gardner of USA Today said of his track “Even the Rain:”

“(A) twinkling, chiming gem, a slice of love in stormy weather featuring (Alison) Krauss’ unmistakably radiant vocal harmonies.”

Dixon explained to US Magazine that he and co-writer Tia Sillers (who wrote Lee Ann Womack’s hit “I Hope You Dance”) “wanted to capture that exact moment when two people are falling in love,” and that after performing in the past with Alison and her band Union Station, he was thrilled when she agreed to sing on the song.  Though Krauss doesn’t make an appearance in the clip, listeners can still get a feel for the ballad in a new live video from a recent LA show.

For more performance clips and to see the official video for single “My Favorite,” visit  Find him on Twitter for the latest updates from the road, as he performs on the 10 Out Of Tenn showcase tour.

Commercials I love — Bugs Ruin Everything (Western)

These ads have been out for awhile but I’m suddenly noticing them more and more on TV. They’re part of a series for Western Pest Services called “Bugs Ruin Everything,” and while they’re clearly inspired by some similar commercials by Orkin, they take a much more in-your-face approach. Witness my two favorites:

Trash-talking bee interrupts a tender basketball moment

A randy mouse ruins snuggle time with a feather

And speaking of Orkin, here’s my favorite spot of theirs. Quoth the roach, “Are we… dipping skinny?”