1. The televisions at the gym are often turned to the local Time Warner/YNN channel, and it seems like every other time I look up at them, they are showing choppy live footage of cars creeping or racing along on a variety of regional roadways. And I always wonder: Why?!? The only people for whom this is particularly relevant (i.e. drivers in the traffic) can’t, by definition, be watching this action-packed news on television. Is this kind of thing sexy for some sort of traffic trainspotter community of which I’m blissfully unaware?
2. As a long-suffering Washington Capitals fan, I’m used to post-season disappointments, as my favorite hockey team is now in its 36th season without a Stanley Cup. First round upset? Losing with a 3-1 edge? Ho-hum, just another day in the life of a Caps fan. That being said, I am shocked and dismayed to find us all on the cusp of one of the most unimaginable and unforgivable evils in the universe of hockey: the Stanley Cup going home with the Philadelphia Flyers, easily my most loathed professional hockey team. So if you aren’t rooting for the Chicago Blackhawks against the Flyers for the Cup this week, then I’m going to have to assume that you also hate freedom, apple pie, moms, justice, bacon, puppies, Nelson Mandela, fair play, democracy, Lost and America. And you also probably like The Dave Matthews Band and put sugar in your grits. How, sirs and madams, do you sleep?!?
“Summer Is Almost Here” by PAS/CAL (One of many brilliantly frothy, elaborately arranged songs from the Detroit group’s 2008 debut album, I Was Raised on Matthew, Mark, Luke and Laura, a delicious and delightful disc, soup to nuts).
“The Praying Slave Lady” by Shirley Caesar (An unbelievably tense and dramatic gospel performance, this piece is all build and virtually no resolution. The first 1:45 serves as a sort of invocation before the First Lady of Gospel gets into the story of titular old slave woman and her cruel master, her voice carrying more drama and emotion than I would have imagined it was possible to capture in a recording. A true gospel masterpiece).
“Breaking Into Heaven” by Heaven and Hell (The last song on the last album recorded by the late, great Ronnie James Dio, who was eaten by a dragon last week. Marvel at the fact that Dio was 65 years old when he recorded this track with Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice, but still sang with all the power and majesty he’d always offered).
“II B.S.” by Charles Mingus (An extraordinary ensemble performance from the great bassist’s monstrously talented 11-member band of the period, including Eric Dolphy at the peak of powers, before his untimely early death; this is one the best jazz arrangements I’ve ever heard).
“Poodle Rockin’” by Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci (A gifted and creative young band from Wales who played bizarre pop music way beyond their years and experience, before flaming out well before they delivered on the crazy promise of their early recordings, alas).