Month: February 2012

Sunday Jazz: First Cosins Jazz Ensemble, ‘For the Cos of Jazz’

Sunday Jazz: First Cosins Jazz Ensemble, ‘For the Cos of Jazz’

Music, Sunday Jazz
This album has been making the rounds on jazz .mp3 blogs for quite a few years, but I like it so much I feel compelled to share it myself. It's called For the Cos of Jazz, and it was recorded by a group called the First Cosins Jazz Ensemble. As far as I can tell the group was a one-off project put together just for this album. As the name of the group and album might hint, Bill Cosby was a major figure in putting this together -- which makes sense, as he was pretty involved in the music world in the '60s and '70s in addition to his acting and stand-up comedy career. Indeed, Cosby is listed as a musical consultant and co-arranger on the record. Musically, For the Cos of Jazz is pretty typical of the jazz/funk that was popular in the mid-to-late '70s. It brings to mind one of my favori...
If There’s Ever a Missile Command Movie, Don’t Act All Surprised

If There’s Ever a Missile Command Movie, Don’t Act All Surprised

Games & Toys
I loved my Atari 2600, and I sure enjoyed Missile Command. Not enough to sit through the entire Missile Command album, mind you. What's that? You didn't know there was a Missile Command album? There sure was. It came out on the Kid Stuff label in 1982 (KSS-5031), and was one of three Atari cash-ins for the label. The other two were Asteroids and Yars' Revenge. According to the back cover, the story goes like this: The planet Zardon is under attack! Only the brave men and women of the Missile Command can destroy endless waves of Krytolian missiles. Join the Command Team and help defend the universe as you fight back in Atari's Missile Command! Gripping, ain't it?! Here's a clip from the record -- featuring some of the finest acting I've ever heard on a video game album -- and the cover...
The Best and Worst Major League Baseball Logos (NL West)

The Best and Worst Major League Baseball Logos (NL West)

Sports
With the 2012 Major League Baseball season nearly upon us, now is as good a time as any to obsess once again on one of my favorite topics — logos. So I’m going to offer up my choices for the best and worst team logos for all 30 current MLB franchises. Primary, alternate, and cap logos listed on Chris Creamer’s outstanding logo website are all under consideration. My rankings for the American League West are here -- up next are the five squads of the National League’s West division. Arizona Diamondbacks Best I'm not a huge fan of any of Arizona's branding, but the current rattlesnake cap emblem (in use since 2007) beats the original one. The aggressive, desert-themed red background also looks snappier than than the original purple/green color scheme. Worst As much as I don't ca
The 1930s and 1940s in Living Color, Part 3

The 1930s and 1940s in Living Color, Part 3

History, Photography
It's been just over a year since the last installment of cool color photographs from the Library of Congress's Flickr page, so let's get a gander at some more! These photos were all taken between 1939 and 1944 by the United States Farm Security Administration (FSA) and later the Office of War Information (OWI).  Just click on a photo to see a larger version. (Part 1 can be seen here, Part 2 is here.) Not only is this a cool photo for its historical value, it's just a skillfully executed shot all around. The Boeing B-17 was widely used in bombing raids over Germany in World War II and became known as the "Flying Fortress." (Alfred T. Palmer, photographer) *** I find it interesting that the trucks are much more colorful than the cars. I would've figured all that drab
The Best and Worst Major League Baseball Logos (AL West)

The Best and Worst Major League Baseball Logos (AL West)

Sports
With the 2012 Major League Baseball season nearly upon us, now is as good a time as any to obsess once again on one of my favorite topics -- logos. So I'm going to offer up my choices for the best and worst team baseball logos for all 30 current MLB franchises. Primary, alternate, and cap logos listed on Chris Creamer's outstanding logo website are all under consideration. Up first are the four squads of the American League's West division. For more logo and sports-related lists and rankings, check out my this handy Sports Lists page. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Best Yeah, using an outline of your home state is a bit of a cop-out but this logo, used from 1973-1985, has a lot going for it. It's clean and simple but makes good use of the halo. I never cared for any of the Angels
Album cover of the week: Vaughn Meader, The First Family

Album cover of the week: Vaughn Meader, The First Family

Album Cover of the Week, Music
For a special President's Day edition of this series, let's take a look at a fairly innocuous but hugely popular album that was blasted into obscurity in the blink of an eye. Few people remember the name Vaughn Meader today, but for about a year in the early '60s he was one of the hottest acts in the world not from Liverpool. As you might be able to tell from this cover photo, The First Family concerns President John F. Kennedy and his family. It was a parody album, recorded in front of a live audience, and it featured Meader as Kennedy. He was sort of the Rich Little of his day. Thanks to Meader's spot-on impersonation and America's obsession with all things Kennedy, The First Family hit #1 on the Billboard album chart and won a Grammy award in 1963. Meader became an overnight s...
Trailer Trash — The Lorax, A Thousand Words, and 21 Jump Street

Trailer Trash — The Lorax, A Thousand Words, and 21 Jump Street

Movies
I don’t have time to go to the movies much any more. So instead I’m going to just review some new and upcoming films based solely on their trailers. Because let’s face it, most movies only have about two or three minutes’ worth of good material anyway. The Lorax I'm not familiar with the Dr. Seuss source material for this movie, so I don't care a whit about whether it deviates from the book or not. What I do care about is whether or not that stupid Polyphonic Spree song gets played in the movie. I hate that friggin' song and every commercial it infests. In any case, this looks like a lot of fun. I'm still not 100% sold on CGI animation in movies, but I think the world of Dr. Seuss is particularly suited to this type of visual approach. I can even overlook the inclusion o