Amoeblog

Happy Birthday Thelonious Sphere Monk

Posted by Whitmore, October 10, 2009 12:37pm | Post a Comment

 “I'm famous. Ain't that a bitch?”
 
“Wrong is right.”
 
“Sometimes it's to your advantage for people to think you're crazy.”
 
“If someone wants to play music you do not have to get a ruler or whips to make them practice.”
 
“Be-bop wasn't developed in any deliberate way.”
 
“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”
 
“All musicians stimulate each other. The vibrations get scattered around.”
 
“If you really understand the meaning of be-bop, you understand the meaning of freedom.”
 
“Man, that cat is nuts.” (Monk’s comment about Ornette Coleman.)
 
“Jazz is my adventure. I'm after new chords, new ways of syncopating, new figures, new runs. How to use notes differently. That's it. Just using notes differently.”
 
“Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.”
 
“I don't have a definition of jazz... You're just supposed to know it when you hear it.”
 
“I say, play your own way. Don’t play what the public wants -- you play what you want and let the public pick up on what you doing -- even if it does take them fifteen, twenty years.”
 
“Miles’d got killed if he hit me.”
 
“Where’s jazz going? I don’t know? Maybe it’s going to hell. You can’t make anything go anywhere. It just happens.”
 
“Those who want to know what sound goes into my music should come to New York and open their ears.”
 
“I like to sleep. There is no set time of day for sleep. You sleep when you’re tired, that’s all there is to it.”
 
“I don’t consider myself a musician who has achieved perfection and can’t develop any further. But I compose my pieces with a formula that I created myself. Take a musician like John Coltrane. He is a perfect musician, who can give expression to all the possibilities of his instrument. But he seems to have difficulty expressing original ideas on it. That is why he keeps looking for ideas in exotic places. At least I don’t have that problem, because, like I say, I find my inspiration in myself.”
 
“At this time the fashion is to bring something to jazz that I reject. They speak of freedom. But one has no right, under pretext of freeing yourself, to be illogical and incoherent by getting rid of structure and simply piling a lot of notes one on top of the other. There’s no beat anymore. You can’t keep time with your foot. I believe that what is happening to jazz with people like Ornette Coleman, for instance, is bad. There’s a new idea that consists in destroying everything and find what’s shocking and unexpected; whereas jazz must first of all tell a story that anyone can understand.”
 
“Well, I enjoy doing it. That’s all I wanted to do anyway. I guess, you know, if I didn’t make it with the piano, I guess I would have been the biggest bum.”
 
Thelonious Monk was once asked what he thought of Downbeats jazz polls, he thought for a moment and replied, “I have a lot of respect for the Polish people, especially the way they can drink vodka.”



Elephant Appreciation Day

Posted by Whitmore, September 22, 2009 07:40pm | Post a Comment

Here we are again, celebrating yet another odd and perhaps, on the surface, ridiculous holiday that most people don't even know exists. September 22 is Elephant Appreciation Day. I know it sounds like an internet hoax but it's a real holiday, more or less.

Back in 1996, September 22 was declared Elephant Appreciation Day by Mission Media, a graphics and publishing firm who got the day included in Chase's Calendar of Events, making the holiday, I guess, official. Mission Media says elephants deserve a day of their own because they are the largest land mammal of our era and are undeservedly threatened with extinction. Sounds good to me, I’m just a bit surprised they didn’t pick a more endangered species like the Alabama Cave Shrimp, the Camiguin Forest Mouse or the Ethiopian Banana Frog. How about the Asian Small-clawed Otter Appreciation Day?
 
So of course one of the first questions posed to me when I mentioned this over breakfast, “how do you celebrate Elephant Appreciation Day?” Take a trip to the zoo, look at the elephants? Drink Carlsberg Elephant malt liquor? Plan ahead and take an African safari on Elephant Appreciation Day? What can children do to celebrate? For the most part, I haven’t a clue.
 
But for the kids, I suggest baking a cake in the shape of an elephant, or if you parents are short on time make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich cut out to look like an elephant. Maybe have the kids draw or paint elephant pictures and look up interesting elephant facts. Did you know, for example, elephants can live for up to 70 years? They walk about 4 mph but can run for short distances up to about 30 mph. Elephants are able to swim for long distances. They spend about 16 hours a day eating, consuming almost 500 pounds of food per day. Elephant's eyes are small and their eyesight is poor but they have the largest brains in the animal kingdom. One more thing, adult African elephants, the ones with the big ears, weigh about 15,400 pounds, whereas the Adult Indian elephants, small ears, weigh a mere 11,000 pounds.

Of course the elephant is the symbol of the Republican Party. Not my thing, needless to say. Of course, this is the point I often write some snarky tea-bagging remark, but these are dangerous times, too dangerous for tea. So here are some delicious cocktails to help save the day, and perhaps our nation, on this holiday.

Pink Elephant Cocktail
 
Ingredients
1 part white cranberry juice
1 part berry vodka
1/2 part raspberry liqueur (recommended: Chambord)
1/2 part Limoncello
 
Directions: Fill a shaker full of ice, add all ingredients. Shake well and pour into chilled martini glasses, sit and relax.
 
Elephant Lips
 
1 1/2 oz. Dark Rum
1/2 oz. Creme de Banana
1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
 
In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine all of the ingredients. Shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass. Repeat as often as necessary.
 
As for a snack:
Fried Elephant Garlic Chips
 
6 cups canola oil, for deep frying
1 cup very thinly sliced elephant garlic cloves (about 1/8-inch slivers)
4 rosemary branches
Salt
 
For the Fried Garlic: In a heavy 2-quart pot, heat the oil to 350 degrees F over medium heat. Carefully skewer some of the sliced garlic onto the rosemary skewers. Carefully add the garlic-rosemary skewers to the hot oil and fry until golden brown and crisp, about 45 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season with salt to taste. Pour another cocktail.

Guiding Light 1937 – 2009

Posted by Whitmore, September 21, 2009 08:45pm | Post a Comment

The longest-running drama in US broadcast history, Guiding Light, has wrapped it up after 15,762 episodes and an incredible 72-year run. This past Friday, September 18th CBS aired the final episode. Because of its high production costs and falling ratings, it was decided last April to pull the plug. Though there was a huge outcry over the decision, viewership over the last year was still down to about 40 percent of the audience it captured a decade ago. CBS plans to replace the soap opera on October 5 with yet another, newer version of Let's Make a Deal, hosted by Wayne Brady. That sounds like a winning idea!
 
According to what I heard by the water cooler this afternoon, the daytime Soap icon went out big and tearful, with most of the characters gathering for the perfect picnic on the perfect day. Meanwhile back in the town of Springfield, in front of the old light house, the incessantly on-again-off-again romance between Reva and Josh met Fate one more time, one last time, where finally, once again, they reconfirmed their love for each other. This time -- it was best of times, music filled the air tenderly as a beautifully slow moving, gauzy camera shot gazed over the lovers driving off into the sunset in Josh's pick-up truck, no doubt destined for bliss and wedding bells and living happily ever after in the foggy Neverland of cancellation.
 
Some fans complained the ending was rushed. Other fans are still in denial, thinking this must be an elaborate and misplaced April Fools joke, a publicity stunt. Some are saying CBS is crazy, out of their minds, that CBS and their collective heads are up their collective asses, and though it’s great Reva and Josh are finally together again, what about Jeffery, nobody mentioned Jeffrey, what happened, is he still alive, where’s Jeffrey?
 
Nonetheless, millions of devout fans are having to bid adieu to those wonderfully dysfunctional Spaulding and the Lewis families and the seemingly infinite number of marriages, scandals, divorces, affairs, remarriages, re-divorces, the missing, the found, the dead, the back-from-the-dead, little white lies, big bad lies, secrets, shames, gossip, cheats and scoundrels, lusty scoundrels and cheats, the innocent, love gone bad, gone mad, temptations, taboos, mind boggling miracles and mind bending seductions, steamy and sexy story lines heating up kitchen tables and kaffeeklatsches across this star spangled land of ours where old and young hearts skip beats in odd polyrhythmic patterns.
 
Created during the Depression, The Guiding Light debuted January 25, 1937 as a 15-minute program on NBC radio. It was the original soap opera; being owned by Procter & Gamble, most advertisements spotlighted P&G’s line of products like Ivory, Tide, Mr. Clean, Cascade, Zest and Crest toothpaste. The Guiding Light first moved to the CBS radio in 1947 and later premiered on the same television network on June 30, 1952. No American Television show has come this close to spanning the entire history of the medium.
 
So as we fade to black, stay tuned for the award winning drama The Edge of Night, next over most of these CBS stations. This program was recorded.”



International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Posted by Whitmore, September 19, 2009 06:30pm | Post a Comment
Avast me mateys! By the powers this day be, a good day to pour ye self a tall, deep grog, get loaded to the gunwales, raise the Jolly Roger and scare the livn’ bejesus out of them landlubbin’ scurvy dogs, argh! Aye! On the account, today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, no son of a biscuit eater goin’ to put up with them lily-livered scallywags, or them sprogs! Aye, I might toss a wee bit wi' a wannion on them scurvy asses, toss em into Davy Jones' Locker. Tell the tale me heartys! Slight no black spot on me troubled soul! Us gentlemen o' fortune need more than doubloons and booty before sailin’ into Fiddlers Green ... aye the sweet trade! Ahoy, ye need a furner to sail thar, wenchs ands the gates of Hades starboard to grabs at ye gods own swaggy golden pieces o’ eight! Yo ho ho ho!
 
Shiver me timbers, I think I was momentarily possessed by the ghost of some long dead privateer, or more likely a B-movie screen writer from the 1930’s!
 
Every September 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. The day was created back in 1995 by John Baur, AKA ol' Chumbucket and Mark Summers, AKA Cap'n Slappy as an inside joke. But the holiday didn’t achieve any real media attention until 2002 when Miami Herald syndicated columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning writer of "distinguished commentary," Dave Barry, wrote about it. Today there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,500 “Talk Like a Pirate” videos on YouTube, and millions of websites dedicated in one way or another to Talk Like a Pirate Day. According to Summers, he chose this particular date because it would be easy for him to remember; it’s his ex-wife's birthday. Aargh! I hoist a tankard to ya and spit in yer eye, ye ol’ stinkin’ blaggards!

Hey! It's National Biscuit Month

Posted by Whitmore, September 10, 2009 09:14pm | Post a Comment

It’s September, which of course everybody knows is National Biscuit Month. But wait, what’s a biscuit without a little gravy? Probably dry and sawdust-like, unless you’ve lived a charmed life amongst bakers. Well, not only is it National Biscuit Month, but the second week in September is always observed -- and religiously so in some circles -- as National Biscuit & Gravy Week. So for the next few days, add a little flavor to that otherwise boring brick biscuit. This celebration is obviously not for the weak of heart; participants must of course be cleared by a cardiologist. But B&G week is more than permitting credence to an angio-edge life style, B&G week is here to help us remember good old fashion homemade fixins’. And since cooking at home has gone the way of indoor smoking, Betamax, pull tabs, floppy discs, and glaciers, take some time out in your marathon commuter mornings, hit the local diner, whether it’s a Denny’s or a faux-bohemian hipster dive or a Mom & Pop’s greasy spoon off the health department’s radar, sit down to a breakfast of hot biscuits & gravy, a cup of coffee, ignore your cell phone, leave the laptop in the trunk, and read an actual morning paper, and not a Weekly ... a real daily newspaper with real smudgy newsprint. And as long as you avoid the articles on American politics, you won’t regret the respite!
 
Biscuits and gravy was once just a popular breakfast dish in the South, but its popularity has spread nationwide and is now served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Think about it, a buttermilk biscuit covered in a piping hot thick "country" or "white" gravy made from the drippings of cooked pork sausage, a little white flour, milk, with bits of real sausage, bacon, or ground beef, flavored with lots of black pepper. I’m heading out right now, and just to keep a balance between my health and my bent for ruin, I’m biking to my favorite greasy spoon. Biscuits & gravy ... live on the edge!
 
Sausage Gravy Recipe
8 ounces breakfast sausage
2 tablespoons shortening or lard
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups milk
salt and pepper, to taste
dash cayenne pepper, optional, but damn good
 
PREPARATION:
Cook sausage in a medium skillet over medium-low heat, stirring and breaking up with a spatula. With a slotted spoon, remove the browned crumbled sausage to a paper towel-lined plate. Add 2 tablespoons shortening, vegetable oil, or lard to the drippings in the skillet.
 
Add flour, stirring until blended and bubbling. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups milk; continue stirring and cooking until thickened and bubbly. Add the crumbled sausage. If too thick, add a little more milk. Taste and add salt and pepper. Stir in a dash of cayenne pepper, if desired.
 
Serve over hot split and buttered biscuits.

BACK  <<  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  >>  NEXT