Just One Darn Thing After Another

Decade 2K    In addition to my favorite sources of pop culture stimulation, found elsewhere, this page will be periodically updated to include additional running off of the mouth.

September 30, 2002    Having just returned from the 20th Annual Floating Jazz Festival (aboard the QE2 to Bermuda) I am compelled to call your attention to several wonderful performers:

  • The Moonlighters - - I am tempted to describe this quartet as the "Boswell Sisters Go Hawaiian," but they are much more than that.  The Moonlighters do focus on popular music of the 20s and 30s with Hawaiian-style accompaniment, but they also feature a selection of engaging original material, much of which is presented in either an uptempo, syncopated, or slower, dreamlike, manner.  The group is headed by Bliss Blood on vocals and ukulele, and includes Carla Murray on guitar, the terrific Henry Bogdan on National steel guitar, and Andrew Hall on bass.  For those who are looking for something a little different, well, this is it.  Check out the Moonlighters' CDs and web site or, better yet, catch them live in the New York City area.

  • Karrin Allyson - - This amazing jazz vocalist has been around for more than 10 years, but is not nearly as well known as she should be.  Why she is not a major star, I'll never understand.  Easily the equal of highly promoted jazz vocalists like Dianna Krall and Jane Monheit, Miss Allyson is a pure delight, whether experienced in stereo or in person.  Visit her own web site and buy all her CDs, starting with "Daydream," the wonderful "From Paris to Rio," and the 2002 Grammy-nominated "Ballads, Remembering John Coltrane."  Trust me, you'll be bragging to everyone about the great new singer you've discovered.  Miss Allyson is appearing October 1 - 6, at the Blue Note in New York City.

  • Paul Bacon and his New York Jazzmen - - Better known as a graphic artist with many album covers and book jackets to his credit, Paul Bacon also plays a mean "comb" and vocalizes some great old jazz standards.  Look for him and his "Jazzmen" at any of their regular appearances in New York City.  A good time will be had by all.

June 25, 2002    There's a really nice movie from Argentina currently playing at your favorite foreign film or art theater. Treat yourself to "Nine Queens" and you can thank me later. There's enough character study and twists and turns in this charming con game film to keep you busy talking about it all summer.

June 14, 2001    If you haven't yet seen the new Australian film "The Dish" it's time to do so.  Trust me, you will not see a better movie this year.  Don't let this touching and amusing fact-based account of the first telecast from the surface of the moon get lost in the hoopla of the other Summer films.  Be aware, however, there are no car crashes or explosions and nobody gets shot.  Unlike so much else, watching this film is a truly life affirming experience.

February 5, 2001    Now that you've enjoyed watching the Ken Burns Jazz series on Public Television, you should know that, in addition to the commonly promoted 5-CD set of recordings by artists featured in the series, there are also 22 separate "Ken Burns Jazz" CDs each of which is devoted to a single artist.  All the names you would expect (Armstrong, Basie, Ellington, Brubeck, Davis, Parker, Goodman, Monk, etc.) and they are not skimpy on time either.

August 26, 2000    It is with a heavy heart that I report the passing of Carl Barks, age 99, at his home in Grant's Pass, Oregon, August 25, 2000.  Someone more eloquent than I will write the lengthy remembrances.  Mr. Barks was a unique genius, occupying a class by himself.  When a gentleman has brought everlasting joy to so many, there is little that mere words can convey.  He was a giant.

July 10, 2000    I am sad to report that Carl Barks, is in failing health.  Quoting from a letter to me from his caretakers, dated July 3:

Carl would like to thank all of you who sent cards, letters, or called after hearing of his illness.  He regrets that he could not answer each and every person personally.  His declining health does not permit that.  His sickness makes him extremely weak. . . . Carl appreciates your generous and flattering comments and knows that if it were not for all of you that he would not be famous today.

May 3, 2000    Several fans of the The Comedian Harmonists have been disappointed to find that the VHS video tape of "The Harmonists" movie lists at $80 or so.  This certainly was a disincentive when it first came out, but I notice that copies are now selling in the eBay auctions for prices ranging from $16 to $30.

May 2, 2000    Yes, I've been neglecting this page for quite a while.  Anyhow, for any of you sentimental old fools (like myself), who are looking to spend a couple of hours munching buttered popcorn in a dark room, don't let The Cider House Rules or My Dog Skip get away from your local second run movie house without your seeing them.

July 23, 1999    Those few of you who have ventured to the personal vanity section of this site, may have noticed that several of Stanley Kubrick's films are among my all-time favorites.  So, how about "Eyes Wide Shut," the highly anticipated last masterpiece?

Aside from an exceptional scene featuring a weaselly hotel desk clerk, a similarly entertaining after-hours visit to a costume shop, and the obvious voyeuristic interest that those males who are still maintaining body temperature will have in the lovely Miss Kidman, I found the film to be quite disappointing.  I liked all the inexplicable too-bright lamp shades and other incandescent effects that popped up in nearly every scene, but, frankly, if I hadn't known going in that it was a Kubrick film, I'm not sure I would have suspected it.

July 8, 1999    On this date, 50 years ago, at the Blackstone Hotel in New York City, the famous cartoonist Harold H. Knerr died at the age of 66.  For the previous 35 years Knerr had drawn the Katzenjammer Kids Sunday comic strip that provided the primary inspiration for the creation of this web site.

June 3, 1999    I see that controversial televangelist and self-proclaimed faith healer Benny Hinn is moving his base of operations from Orlando, Florida, to the Dallas, Texas, area.  I wonder if he's had any luck healing those afflicted with megalomania?

May 24, 1999    If you enjoy historic adventure, you won't read a better book this year than "Endurance" by Caroline Alexander.  It's the incredible story of Ernest Shackelton and his party's attempt to become the first to cross the Antarctic continent.  But their ship, Endurance, was trapped in the drifting pack ice, eventually splintering and leaving the expedition stranded on ice floes---a situation that seemed "not merely desperate but impossible."

The story of their survival, illustrated by wonderful photographs, also surviving, is literally a "can't put it down" tale.  Visitors to New York will also want to see the related exhibit at the Museum of Natural History.

I'm making it easy for you, folks.  Go ahead and order a copy from Amazon.com while you're thinking about it.  Trust me, you'll thank me for this one.

May 4, 1999     Fans of the film "Pulp Fiction," who also enjoy the progeny that it has inspired, will want to see two current films that may be getting lost in the shuffle of other releases.  "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels," is the latest oddball film from the British isles, and is an absolute delight, if you can keep track of all the players.  Also, "Goodbye Lover," has enough twists and turns to satisfy those who enjoy this sort of thing.  I went not expecting that much, but found that it just kept getting better as the plot rolled along.

May 3, 1999     Comic book collectors, take note!  A new edition of "The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide" has just been published.  Order yours from Amazon.com and save a bundle (It's only $16.00).

May 1, 1999     Don't miss "The Harmonists," now playing in distinguished multiplex cubicles around the country.  The German language movie tells the story of the 1930s singing group, The Comedian Harmonists.  More about the group may be found in the European Jazz and Close Harmony Vocal Groups section of this site.

April 30, 1999     Ever been on a music theme cruise?  You may be missing the very thing that will make your year.  We've been aboard the S.S. Norway in recent years for both the blues and jazz theme cruises.  This year's "Floating Jazz Festival" is something special.  It's aboard the QEII, leaving Miami November 2, 1999, for a 10-day transatlantic crossing to England.  The legendary performers scheduled to be aboard include: Clark Terry, Oscar Peterson, Shirley Horn, Lou Donaldson, and Junior Mance, among many others.  See your travel agent before all the affordable cabins are snapped up.

Archival Favorites     Your webmaster's all-time favorite movies, records, books, and insights may be found on a separate page.  Yes, vanity-type stuff of the sort that has made large portions of the World Wide Web so tiresome.

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