Friday, December 18, 2009

Photos from NYC trip

I've been meaning to post some photos from our NYC trip. Here are a few:

Lincoln Center plaza, where we saw The Met doing Tosca.

 Coltrane performing at The Village Vanguard

Grand Central Station.  One of my all-time favorite buildings.  If I had to take just one building with me to a deserted island, this would be it.

On the outside of a fire station mid to upper West side.

Bryant Park.  Spin sponsors this free outdoor table tennis venue (in addition to having a swanky indoor club with a bar that they wouldn't let me take pictures of).  The NY Public Library is in the background.

One of my favorite NYC activities is oggling stone work.  Gorgeous stonework is everywhere.

Another sample of stonework. The Alwyn Court Building.

Maybe this is where Scrabble is played in Central Park, but it was closed when we were there so I didn't get to find out.

Tried to see the Daily Show, but it was off for the night following the Emmy Awards. The entrance to the studio is on the left side of this building.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Oh no. UPDATED with AfterElton response

Peggy Noonan goes after Adam for his AMA performance.

Pretty sure she's already on her Christmas vacation and just copy/pasted this from an opinion piece from the 1950's about Elvis.

Update 12/18/09: AfterElton responds to Noonan:
Noonan isn't a stupid woman and I don't really think she believes the tripe she writes here. She's part of the Washington Beltway that she and other conservatives like to pretend they have nothing to do with, and what she's doing here is classic Republican sleight of hand. Is your party mostly responsible for the worst economic collapse in 80 years? Did your party start two failed wars? Did your party run-up massive deficits? Is your party responsible for killing the health care reform the vast majority of Americans want?

Well, then you better find a way to distract the Average Joe from what's going on or they might keep you out of pwer. And what's been better at distracting folks than dragging out the tired old cliche of the gay boogeyman!

Update II 12/18/09: Steve Benen at copied me:
It was more than a half-century ago, but I suspect a similar column must have run in 1956, when Elvis swung his hips a little too much on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Happy Birthday, Michael


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Time's Person of the Year (OR My dreidel spins the other way)

was not Adam.  (No, I wasn't expecting him to be; I'm not quite that delusional.) But he did make their list of People Who Mattered.
He was not the winner of American Idol. He was not even the first Idol runner-up to later make the thoroughly unsurprising announcement that he is gay. (See Aiken, Clay.) But Lambert came first in generating attention: that eyeliner, that voice — ranging from a husky smolder to a granite-splitting glam-rock shriek — and those glittered-out, magnetic performances. And there was the way Lambert treated his sexuality, which reflected the tricky path of gayness toward mainstream acceptance. Lambert never confirmed his being gay until finishing Idol, but, importantly, he never denied it. And unlike Aiken's, his performances had an unmistakable erotic charge — he was a man, not a man-child. After Idol, he infuriated some viewers with a raunchy, grinding show at the American Music Awards on ABC. Rather than apologize, he charged a double standard for gay men while keeping a smile on his face: when Joy Behar told him, on The View, that he was "not exactly a nice Jewish boy," he quipped, "I'm a little different. My dreidel spins the other way." Lambert ended 2009 out, proud — and loud.
— James Poniewozik

(It's a dubious honor, since Jon and Kate Gosselin made the list too.)

He also came in first in the Rolling Stone Reader's Poll for Top Artist of 2009.  He topped Lady Gaga, which is just wrong, and Adam would be the first one to say so.

And, as you may have heard, he was on Barbara Walter's list of the Ten Most Fascinating People of 2009. (Again with Kate Gosselin.  My disinterest in the Gosselins rivals LJ's disinterest in Adam.)

Update:  Adam is also on Forbes list of Music's Biggest Breakout Stars.

Update II: Adam was the third-most trended person on Twitter in 2009, after Michael Jackson and SuBo.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Tomb of Tutankhamen

Another Half Price Books purchase. I was listening to the sports talk station here in DFW and one of the morning guys was talking about his fascination when he was a teenager with King Tut. He eventually got this book at a library and was captivated by the story and the life of the man who discovered the tomb, Howard Carter. As he was talking about this book and the story, it got me interested. It took me a few months to find this. The original edition of this book was published in 3 volumes (Volume I in 1923, Volume II in 1927 and Volume III in 1933.) Those volumes were condensed into this edition that was published in 1954. The story of the tomb discovery is, of course, captivating. However, that is only a small portion of the work. The book goes into great detail describing each object found and their significance, if any. At times it is too technical and I found myself struggling to get through it. The issue, at least for me, was that this work is written in a textbook/academic type style which is very dry.

Almost as interesting as the story are the pictures - many of which were taken at the time of the discovery. Those pictures are combined with color plates of many of the treasures. If you can fight through the lengthy descriptions of beads, of mummies, of statues and of archaeological techniques, you'll be rewarded with a compelling and fascinating adventure story.

Nazi Hunter: The Wiesenthal File

I picked this up at Half Price Books many, many months ago when I was on a Nazi kick. This book details the life of Simon Wiesenthal and chronicles some of searches for ex-Nazi's, some of whom were quite famous (Eichmann and Mengele) and some I'd never heard of (Franz Stangl and Hermine Braunsteiner Ryan). I found it intriguing how these persons were tracked down, as well as how they escaped and disappeared in the first place. Who helped them and why were they helped? Wiesenthal has his own theories, some of which I agreed with; some I didn't. It also chronicles his feuds, most famously with Eli Wiesel. Certainly held my interest as I read it (which was abnormally a long time for me) and at the price I paid, a bargain.

"Conservatives have no voice in the media"

While I sometimes find KO's rants a bit over-the-top, the last 3 or 4 minutes of this one had me laughing so hard I was crying...

(He probably shouldn't quit his day job and become an impersonator though)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Deserted island: Music Edition

Question 1: You're going to be dropped alone on a deserted island for the rest of your life with one album/CD, a device that plays albums/CDs and a magical power supply for said player that will last your lifetime. What's the album?

Question 2: Same thing, but you get 5 albums/CDs.

You're invited to edit into the post, so the answers are on the main page instead of being in the comments.

[Update] LJ: - My 1 album/CD would be U2's "U218 Singles". My 5 album/CDs would be:

1) U218 Singles - U2
2) The Allman Brothers at Fillmore East - The Allman Brothers Band
3) The Downward Spiral - Nine Inch Nails
4) The Singles 86>98 - Depeche Mode
5) Evita (1978 Original Broadway Cast)

[Update] Stephanie:  One CD:  Garrick Ohlsson's The Complete Chopin Piano Works, Vol. 3, Ballades

1) The Complete Chopin Piano Works, Vol. 3, Ballades - Garrick Ohlsson
2) Greatest Hits - Journey
3) Ballads - Dexter Gordon (coming in 2nd for the jazz slot:  Standard Time Vol 3, Resolution of Romance, Wynton and Ellis Marsalis)
4) Icky Thump - White Stripes
5) . . . and Serenity - Glenn Gould

I'll change my mind tomorrow.

Favorite Christmas Music?

Nothing says Christmas like the Roches.

Just ordered these three:

Down the Rabbit Hole

The best song on Adam's album isn't on the album proper. It's a bonus track, available on iTunes, here. Hear the whole thing here, while watching someone's attempt at transcribing the lyrics.

The mystery to me is why this isn't the centerpiece of the album, rather than a bonus track. It's funk, it's glam, it's disco. It's catchy. It's just a little bit weird. It's more Adam-y than the songs that made the album. Adam is clearly having a blast singing this. (Aural trivia: can you catch the vocal hat tip to his Ring of Fire?)

I think the lyrics in the above-linked youtube video are almost accurate, but the line at 0:31 "If it's getting high fee" should be "Hippies gettin' hyphy", I believe. Urban Dictionary defines HYPHY thusly:
San Francisco Bay Area, shortened perhaps from English dialect "hyperactive"; other sources cite a combination of "hype" and "fly." Popularized by E-40 and the Federation's song "Hyphy" (2004); first known use on record by Keak Da Sneak in 1998 (on "Cool," from his LP Sneakacidle).
1 : dangerous and irrational: CRAZY;
2 : amusingly eccentric; without inhibition: GOOFY
"They were getting hyphy up in the club Saturday night."
Also, others have opined that the line at 1:52 is "It starts in the bass and ends in the crystal ball", rather than "It starts in the vase and it ends in the crystal bowl".

Adam is a co-writer on this, along with E. Kidd Bogart and Greg Wells.

My new obsession is....

Not much difference between this and fresh ground & brewed (or maybe our coffee maker needs cleaning).