Friday, December 18, 2015

Protecting our children from Charles Schultz

                                 "That's not a Newton Tree, Charlie Brown!  It's a Christmas Tree!"

I was eight when A Charlie Brown Christmas first aired, and I remember being surprised by Linus' Bible reading.  "Can they do that on TV?" I wondered.  Apparently, yes.  My 81-year-old foster mother, Bev, says she was surprised at the time, too.

Seriously--this seemed daring.  The non-stop secular claim that our past pop culture was saturated by religion is a line of woo-woo.  It's baseless propaganda.  If faith was all over the place in 1965, why was this eight year old astonished to hear a Bible reading on network TV?  And I'm from the flyover state of Ohio, thank you.

Anyway, 50 years later, a Kentucky school district is censoring Charles Schultz in the name of ACLU's version of the establishment clause.  (File under, "You Can't Make This Stuff Up.")  Here's the story.  Per my consistent Googling, it appears that none of the usual suspects--Hufington Post, Atheism Rocks! (a.k.a. Religion Dispatches), Salon, Friendly Atheist, et al. are covering this story, probably because 1) it's true, 2) the behavior it documents is indefensible, and 3) because it's true and indefensible, they don't feel all that easy about ridiculing the situation in their usual fashion.

The tragic truth is that the left-of-center press (on line and off) tends to respond with mocking scorn to any story of this type.  It's the default response, and it's quite stupid, because a "laugh at the rubes" stance is not a sustainable one.  Why?  Because popular perceptions are not always incorrect, nor are the concerns of average folks always invalid.  So what do we do when, say, Bill O'Reilly (who broke the story) makes a valid point about something as absurd as censoring a beloved 50-year-old Charles Schultz text?  Well, if we're smart, we say nothing.

That, or maybe Huff-Po, et al. just haven't gotten around to the story yet.  Well, I wish them luck in concocting a good and snarky dismissal to this situation, because it's clearly a case of the down-on-faith attitude run amok.  I can't imagine how anyone could downplay this.

I eagerly await left-of-center coverage.

There's no war on Christmas--just on poor Charles Schultz, I guess!  My, my.  Write a cartoon that people are still loving half a century later, and have the state deem a portion of your script unfit for children!!

Gotta protect the kiddies from Peanuts.  In the name of preserving our democracy, ya know....

Update: Meanwhile, get your A Charlie Brown Christmas stamps here.  Hurry, before the Eastern Kentucky school district bans them!


Saturday, December 05, 2015

My foster mom, Bev

First off, thoughts and prayers for Bev, if you will.  (Unless you're one of those thoughts-and-prayers dissenters,)  We had to have her taken by squad to the local hospital on Thanksgiving eve for what turned out to be bleeding stomach ulcers, gastritis, and congestive heart failure.  Her blood oxygen was quite low, and her lungs had fluid in them.  She was treated for possible pneumonia, too, though her hospital doc is skeptical--he thinks it was the CHF masquerading as pneumonia.  Of course, they gave her antibiotics just in case.  Erring on the side of caution is standard procedure when your patient is old and frail.  (But, because she's Bev, also mentally sharp and fully alert.)

Apparently, while Bev's 81-year-old heart is strong, she tends to retain fluids, owing to her age and small size.  That, plus the drastic decrease in her physical activity since she broke her hip in 2013.  The fluid build-up prevents the left side of her heart from fully functioning.  Shortness of breath, plus other complications, result.

She's in nursing home rehab right now, and while some of the aides are terrific, others aren't.  The place has the usual moronic, corporate-dictated "get the patient up and moving" policy (hey, it's rehab), despite the fact that Bev is suffering a major sleep deficit right now.  Since there's absolutely no coordination between the various folks who visit her room, no one got the "Do not disturb" memo. For Christ's sake, if the woman can't get any sleep, how can she perform the various exercises they want her to do?  A bureaucracy is a dysfunctional organism wherein one limb has no clue what the other limb is doing (or not doing).  It's all about checking off boxes.

Update: Bev reports that she's up to the rehab requirements, now that they've been explained to her.  Things aren't as dire as I thought.  Which is always a good thing.


Friday, December 04, 2015

Thoughts and prayers--some thoughts

Apparently, a mass shooting over the holidays is the perfect occasion for select journalists, comics, and whoever to lecture the clueless masses on our heinous habit of closing our tweets, emails, etc. with the phrase "Thoughts and prayers."

To use this cliche is discriminatory. That's because there are people in our midst who want nothing to do with praying or thinking, and we need to respect their disposition.

Please modify your behavior accordingly.

Disregard and curses,

PC Lee

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day 2015--with your host, EW2 Hartsfeld

Your blogger, 29 years ago, when he was EW2 Hartsfeld:

It was the fourth year of my second enlistment, and I'd decided not to reenlist--this kid was heading to Ohio and Bowling Green State University.  When I got there, I had $225 a month to help me survive, thanks to the Navy's Veterans Educational Assistance Program.  And so I worked all sorts of part-time jobs--carpet cleaning, sweeping, busing tables, and like that.  Sometime during my senior year, I even had a car--a $300 Chrysler boat from the late 1970s that required ten minutes of gas-pedal pumping to start.  Prior to that, I had to walk everywhere I wanted or needed to be, so I was fairly fit--which, unfortunately, didn't put a dent in my asthma.

Anyway, how I missed the days of catching a train to Yokohama, cruising antique shops in Hong Kong, buying vinyl albums in Australia, and (in my first go-round) hopping the train to Edinburgh, Scotland to buy 78s.  At least I got to live off campus, and within walking distance of  a small, old fashioned convenience store.  (The closest supermarket was a bit out of the way.)

Also during my senior year, one of the profs in my major asked about my military service.  "This must be quite an adjustment," he said.  He was right, of course.  That shook me a little--no prof, in or out of my major, had ever asked me about my service!  Ah, well.  This was 1989, and no one had gotten the "Thank our vets for their service" memo.

Jump to 2005, and I'm hosting three or four blogs.  My second, Music You (Possibly) Won't Hear Anyplace Else, enjoys its share of popularity, and eventually I stick with it only, discontinuing Fields on Fire, LeeWorks, and Vintage Lounge.    Jump forward 10 years, and we're at this post, where I've just linked to seven great patriotic 78s, some from back when my late grandfather was a teen.  All but one of these is a fresh rip.  A few sides are fairly hammered, but, hey--they're 78s.

Click here to hear: Vets Day 2015

The Trumpeter (Descriptive Ballad)--Raymond Newell, Baritone; Ion Swinley, Narrator, 1929.
War Songs--Victor Male Chorus, with Orch., 1913.
Sailor Song--The Peerless Quartet, 1915.
American Fantasie (Victor Herbert)--New York Police Band, 1920.
We're Going Over--Medley--Pietro, Piano Accordion Solo, 1917.
Call to Arms (Descriptive)--Peerless Quartet, 1915
American Patrol (Meacham)--Howard Kopp, Xylophone w. Orch., 1915.

All ripped and destroyed--er, restored--by me from my collection.


Sunday, November 01, 2015

Ghost Cat Presents... Three last-minute Halloween pieces!!

Three original pieces, and with only minutes to spare (before it's Nov. 1).  The first, Thirteen Kitties, is a tribute to our thirteen cats.  Nothing like having thirteen cats on Halloween.  Next, Midnight at the Thrift Store.  Midnight at the thrift store has to be pretty spooky, especially on Halloween, when the ghosts of all the unsold thrift items come back to haunt whatever "new" items are taking their former shelf spots.  And, finally, Hauntovani Waltz No.2.  It's a waltz, and it's the second.

To the last-minute sounds: Three Last-minute Halloween pieces

Thirteen Kitties (2015)
Midnight in the Thrift Store (2015)
Hauntovani Waltz No. 2 (2015)

All composed and played by Lee Hartsfeld on his Casio WK-3800, with multi-tracking and effects.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Haunted Victrola returns!!--Isham Jones, Oriole Orch., Red Nichols, more!

What do you call a record thief?  A groove robber!  Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!

Sorry.  Anyway, the Haunted Victrola is wound up and ready to grind out the grim grooves of thirteen more terrifying titles from the cobwebbed corners of my 78 collection, or something like that.  I did some Googling to determine whether or not "witch hazel" (or, in this case, "Which Hazel"--ha, ha!) has a Halloween association in our pop culture, and, yes, it does.  So, we'll be hearing Al Herman's Which Hazel, whose lyrics include the phrase "padded cell."  My kind of lyrics.  Edward MacDowell's Witches' Dance was composed in 1883, and it contains many of the standard melodic and harmonic musical cliches of this season.  Which is to say, those cliches were around that early (and probably earlier), proving that nothing is new under the moon.  George L. Cobb's Peter Gink uses themes from Grieg's music for Peer Gynt (the source of the Halloween standard, In the Hall of the Mountain King), so that's why it's here.  Last time, we heard Zez Confrey's solo piano version of his Greenwich Witch--now we get to hear Frank Westphal's slower but just as jazzy band version.

And there are nine other jazzily jarring, creakily quirky, and disturbingly delightful dance doings and concert concoctions sure to keep the Halloween crowd crashing your crypt to join your Spook Age Boo-chelor Pad party.  Just don't send them over here--they're your worry!

Click here to hear: The Haunted Victrola, Part 2


Ah-Ha! (Clare-Monaco)--Paul Whiteman and His Orch., 1925
Jabberwocky--Joseph Samuels' Jazz Band, 1921
Peter Gink--Columbia Band, Dir. Charles A. Prince, 1918
Greenwich Witch (Confrey)--Frank Westphal and His Orch., 1922
The Sneak! (Nacio Herb Brown)--Club Royal Orch., 1922
Which Hazel (Abner Silver)--Al Herman, 1921
In the Hall of the Mountain King (Grieg)--Victor Symphony Orch., 1926
Eccentric--Red Nichols and His Five Pennies, 1927
Prelude in C Sharp minor (Rachmaninoff)--Victor Concert Orch., Dir. Rosario Bourdon, 1928
Dangerous Blues (Brown-Brown)--Bernie Krueger's Orch., Voc: Al Bernard, 1921
Eccentric Rag (J. Russel Robinson)--Oriole Orch., 1924
Danger (Kahn-Jones)--Isham Jones Orch., 1925
Witches' Dance (MacDowell)--Leopold Godowsky, 1921 or 1922


Friday, October 23, 2015

The Haunted Victrola--78s for Halloween 2015!

For Halloween, thirteen selections from my overflowing 78 collection, covering the years 1908 to 1934, and all ripped and restored by me.  What titles--Mummy Mine, Vamp Me, Spooky Spooks, Dance of the Demon, Greenwich WitchThe Loch Ness Monster....  This slaylist will have you tapping your toes all the way to the cemetery.  As the beatnik ghost said, "It's just tomb much, man."

Note that British radio comedian John Tilley's "humorous monologue," The Loch Ness Monster, hails from the same year (1934) as the famous Nessie hoax photo known as the "Surgeon's Photograph."  In this brilliant skit, not only does Tilley treat the Nessie legend as a joke (and then some), he presents it as the latest in a long line of tourist-baiting scams.  If Tilley could figure that out back in the day, why is the myth still afloat eight decades later?  Extremely abstract humor, and not unlike modern stand-up.  And I just discovered that Tilley died one year after this recording--he was only 36.  Damn.

Meanwhile, Joe Haymes' Little Nell sort of anticipates Spike Jones' 1945 send-up of Chloe.  Also Jones-style are the sound effects on the Columbia Orchestra's 1918 A Cat-Astrophe.  In the realm of corny humor, nothing is new, I guess.  And I should note that Eduard Holst, the composer of the awesome two-piano Dance of the Demon, is no relation to Gustav (The Planets) Holst.  The duo-piano team on the Demon disc, Victor Arden and Phil Ohmen, were one of the best of the 1920s.  Appropriately, our slaylist ends with the famous funeral march from Chopin's B-flat minor piano sonata.  One of the all-time "Where did that come from?" themes, of which we usually only hear two bars when it's quoted in cartoons and movies.  MY(P)WHAE is giving you the whole thing, and from a cracked 1908 78 (which I repaired with audio splices).

To the slaylist: The Haunted Victrola


Vamp Me (And I'll Vamp You)--Rega Dance Orch., 1922
Mummy Mine--Earl Fuller's Rector Novelty Orch., 1919
Ghost of the Violin (Two-Step; Snyder-Kalmar)--Prince's Orch., 1913
Little Nell--Eliot Everett (Joe Haymes) and His Orch., 1932
Variations on Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?--Jacques Fray-Mario Braggiotti, piano duet, 1934
Fire Dance (De Falla)--Hollywood Bowl Orch., Eugene Goossens, 1928
Dance of the Demon (E. Holst)--Victor Arden-Phil Ohmen, piano duet, 1922
Spooky Spooks (Edward B. Claypoole)--Prince's Band, 1916
A Cat-Astrophe (Daniel-Kopp)--Columbia Orch., Dir. Charles A. Prince, 1919
Greenwich Witch (Confrey)--Zez Confrey, piano, 1922
The Loch Ness Monster--Pts. 1 and 2--John Tilley, 1934.
Graveyard Blues (Woods-Caldwell)--Earl Fuller's Rector Novelty Orch., 1918
Chopin's Funeral March--Arthur Pryor's Band, 1908


Sunday, October 18, 2015

More Halloween sounds: "Telegram from Pluto," "Hauntovani Waltz No.1," and "The Deserted Launch Pad"

For our Halloween, three Lee originals, two of them new to the blog.  Wind-up Pumpkin Man commands you to download without delay:

More Halloween Sounds--Lee Hartsfeld


Telegram from Pluto (Hartsfeld, 2015)
Hauntovani Waltz No. 1 (Hartsfeld, 2000-something)
The Deserted Launch Pad (Hartsfeld, 2012)


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Halloween in Space Suite (2013)

From 2013, my Halloween in Space Suite, consisting of "Dangers, Thrills, and Monsters;" "Space Spooks;" "View from the Space Station;" "Meteors!!" "Memories of Earth," and "Peacocks in Space." I did a little bit of MIDI entry and even less pitch and time expansion/compression, but otherwise everything is "live."  What you hear is what I played.  That's not a take on Flip Wilson's once-famous "What you see is what you get, baby!  WOOOO!"  Okay, yes, it is.

I think my suite nicely shows off the terrific tones to be found on the Casio WK-3800, whether it's Halloween on Earth, or... HALLOWEEN IN SPAAAAAACE!!! (Space... space... space....)

Click here to hear:  Halloween in Space Suite, Complete

Danger, Thrills, and Monsters
Space Spooks
View from the Space Station
Memories of Earth
Peacocks in Space

Composed and played by Lee Hartsfeld on his Casio WK-3800, with assistance from Sonar X2 Essential and Magix Audio Cleaning Lab MX.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

"Stand by to catch fainting females!"--Sunset House catalog, late 1964

The 1964 Sunset House Christmas mail-order catalog has a number of creepy, Halloween-style gifts of the type also featured in the comic books of my youth.  I figured out the year from four clues: two 1965 calendars, a commemorative JFK bracelet charm, and a reproduction of the Beatles' Royal Command Performance poster ("complete with authentic autographs of Ringo, Paul, John and George," no less).  So this is probably Sunset House's Christmas 1964 edition.  (Another clue: the Ripley's--Believe it or Not! Sea Circus was copyrighted in that year.)

The order form and envelope are still there, so it appears no one sent for anything from this copy.  Maybe he/she/they already had multiple toe-warmer footrests, indoor hopscotch games, bobble-head car trolls, grenade lighters, 4" replicas of a genuine Amazon Jivaro native shrunken head, pocket-sized fortune tellers, electric back scratchers, and Gingerbread beanbag families.  Maybe their kitchen table was covered with the last five Sunset House orders.   Maybe they were under a court order to abstain from catalog ordering of any kind.  We have no way of knowing, so we're free to make things up.  (Or, describe the History Channel's format in a single phrase.)

Anyway, here are some of the more Halloween-specific ads, not counting the genuine shrunken head replica, from this priceless document of cheap gifts past.  Personally, I'm torn between the pants-falling-down Frankenstein monster, the creeping hand, and the winking skull turn-signal.  Pick your own favorites:


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Monsters on Mars!!

My latest Halloween composition, created last night.  Water on Mars means monsters on Mars, because, where there is water, there are monsters.  Somebody said that at some time, though I don't know who or when.  Maybe no one ever did.  But that doesn't mean it isn't true!

To the music:

Monsters on Mars!! (Lee Hartsfeld)--Lee Hartsfeld at the Casio WK-3800, Oct. 9, 2015.


Sunday, October 04, 2015

Beggars' Night Rag, and more!

More original Halloween compositions.  At this point in the Halloween countdown, I would be sharing David Rose, Morton Gould, Bob Hudson, et al., but you know how my vinyl and shellac sharing worked out.  If you don't, read this 2013 post for the whole horrible story.  This was a very different blog until that point....

Anyway, seven original Halloween pieces by me, with the first four extracted from my Ghoultide suite of 2011, which I have on disc in a confusing collection of complete and in-progress tracks.  At that time, I was multi-tracking with a method too cumbersome to describe--I have no idea how things came out so well.  The last three numbers are from my 2006 Halloween Suite (though "Phone Calls from the Dead" is a 2007 rewrite).  The "Herrmann" in "Herrmannesque" is Bernard Herrmann, and it was inspired by a Twilight Zone harp figure and a Herrmann radio soundtrack featured somewhere at some site.

"So, Lee what inspired your 'Herrmannesque"?"  "A Herrmann radio soundtrack featured somewhere at some site."  "Oh."

To the music....

Click here to hear: Beggars' Night Rag, and more!

The Looming Fiscal Cliff (2011)
Beggars' Night Rag (2011)
Flying Saucers on Parade (2011)
Ghosts on the PC (2011)
Phone Calls from the Dead (2007)
Herrmannesque (2006)
Ghosts on the Stairs (2006)

All composed, played, and/or programmed by Lee Hartsfeld.


Thursday, October 01, 2015

Godzilla Suite (Lee Hartsfeld, 2010)

From 2010, my eleven-part tribute to the big green guy, plus three bonus Godzilla tracks, including my 22-year-old "Godzilla Rag."

You'll be hearing both live and step-recorded sounds--some from my Noteworthy Composer program, others from my long-gone Casio CTK-551.  Some tracks, like Godzilla Stomps Into Town, have been heavily altered with echo, time-stretching, multiple sampling, etc., so expect some odd sounds.  But how to musically depict the life, deeds, and many moods of Godzilla without the occasional weird stretch of sound?  Whatever I just typed.

Godzilla says, "REOOOAAAARRRRRRRRRRR!!!!" ("I'm Godzilla, and I approve this music.")

Click where appropriate....

GODZILLA SUITE (Lee Hartsfeld, 2010)

1. Godzilla Disco

2.  Godzilla Rhapsody
3.  Godzilla Stomps Into Town
4.  Not Pleased By the Response, Godzilla Leaves and Stomps Back
5.  Godzilla in Therapy
6.  Godzilla in Show Biz
7.  The Godzilla Parade
8.  Godzilla Mystery Hour
9.  Godzilla Disco (Complete)
10.  Digital Godzilla
11.  Godzilla Rhapsody, Part 2


12.  Stairway to Godzilla (Hartsfeld, 2006)  
13.  Godzilla Rag (Hartsfeld, 1993)
14.  Godzilla vs. the Debt Ceiling (Hartsfeld, 2013)

Lee Hartsfeld on Casio CTK-551, Casio WK-3800, and/or Noteworthy Composer.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Rosie commands you to hear "Christmas at Halloween" (Lee Hartsfeld, 2008)

Today, my 2008 Christmas at Halloween suite.  Above is the original art I Photoshopped for it, with a young Rosie (right) looking highly Rosie.

This suite has been getting around cyberspace (without my input!), showing up, for example, here: Radio Relaxo Requests: C   (See under, "CAH" and "Christmas at Halloween.") No composer credit, I notice.  I'm not sure what "Radio Relaxo" is.  Oh, wait--"Affordable & Professional Radio Station live assist and automation software."  Ah, that explains it.

In 2013, selections from my suite were played on KDVS, 90.3 FM.  Cool.  I did not know that.

It's also at  kickasstorrents--again, minus composer credit.  I guess, to end up at kickasstorrents, my suite must kick ass.  Or at least it did in 2009, the year it was uploaded. (Whoa! Downloaded 10 times! Rock and roll!)

And you can buy it for .71 euros (78 cents!) at Music Bazaar.  (Is that all my music is worth??)  Genre: "Traditional pop music."  And Music Bazaar swiped my Rosie-with-pumpkin blog art, to boot.  However, they give my name!

OR you can opt to download my Christmas at Halloween suite here:   Christmas at Halloween                     

  CHRISTMAS AT HALLOWEEN (Lee Hartsfeld, 2008)

Misteltoes and Cobwebs
Santa's on His Way
Noisy Night
The Brittle Mummy Boy
The Little Train of Bethlehem
We Three Things Abhorrent Are
Call Dumb All the Faithful
Check the Halls
Door to the Weird
Desist Ye Scary Gentlemen
The First Noel
The Second Noel
The Third Noel
The Fourth Noel

By the way, not having the 2008 "Christmas at Halloween" image handy on disc or hard drive (or at this blog anymore), I searched for it on line, finding it at a blog(?) called Weeswaakzaam, which I believe translates to "Be vigilant."  The post in question is titled, "Als je Halloween afwijst, dan ook Kerst."  Or, "If you reject Halloween, then Christmas."  I tend to agree.  I can't see not being cool with both holidays.

I told Rosie that her likeness is up at a Dutch blog, but she has no idea what that means...


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The original Chia Pets?

Judging by the text, these "giant monsters" (which could be used in a "'science project' for home or school") were Chia Pet forerunners.  And don't you love the way my scan brought out all the age spots in the paper of this 1966 Charlton comic?


Monday, August 31, 2015

Dance and Jazz 78s, Part 2!!

Nine 78-rpm tracks, all ripped and restored by me from my collection.  A subset of the Paul Whiteman orchestra, the Virginians performed arrangements by Ferde Grofe and Ross Gorman, and they tended to sound more Dixieland than the larger orchestra.  Less big-bandy, anyway.  I've always wanted to type "big-bandy."  Her Beaus... is one of bandleader Fred Waring's jazziest sides of the post-acoustical era, and my copy yielded a great rip (I think).  Possibly the coolest of the set is Joseph C. Smith's remarkable Money Blues, penned by Hugo Frey, who, far as I know, was Smith's chief arranger.  Though recorded in 1916, in style the side sounds more like 1922 or 1923.  Meanwhile, its aggressive percussion is something we would expect from James Reese Europe or Wilbur Sweatman, not a white society band known for its genteel approach to post-WWI pop!  Totally cool.  The flip side, I've Got a Shooting Box in Scotland (penned by Cole Porter), is a far more typical Joseph C. side, and, like most of his Victor tracks, is fantastically well played.  Ted Lewis' very fun and corny Queen of Sheba is way-early jazz--stylistically, it harkens back to jazz when it was just on the brink of becoming so.  When jazz was a kind of ragtime music with the parts going their own way, ad-libbing but not exactly improvising, being that the rules of jazz polyphony had yet to be codified.  Or whatever the heck I just typed.  Actually, the traditional jazz-historical verdict on Lewis is far harsher--as in, Lewis' music as an inept parody of jazz, vice the almost-jazz I think it is.

Footloose is better in Paul Whiteman's version, but Carl Fenton's is quite a kick, too.  Too bad they couldn't have gotten Billy Murray to sing this one, too.  Enjoy!

Early in the Morning Blues--The Virginians, 1922.
Why Is Love (Arr: Grofe)--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1925.
Her Beaus Are Only Rainbows--Waring's Pennsylvanians (Voc: Tom Waring), 1926.
Humming--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1921.
Rosie--Medley--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1920.
Money Blues (Hugo Frey)--Joseph C. Smith's Orch., 1916.
I've Got a Shooting Box in Scotland (Porter)--Joseph C. Smith's O., 1917.
Queen of Sheba (Lewis)--Ted Lewis Jazz Band, 1921.
Footloose--Carl Fenton's Orch., 1925.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday morning gospel for 8/23/15

Me, on the Casio WK-3800, multi-tracked with Sonar X2 software.  Today's three gospel hymns are

Sound the Battle Cry (William F. Sherwin, 1869)
The Banner of the Cross (Chas. H. Gabriel, 1918)
Storm the Fort (John H. Tenney, 1879)

Click here to hear: SMG for 8/23/15



Monday, August 17, 2015

Sunday night/Monday a.m. gospel for 8/16!

That's me, from my beard(ed?) period of recent times.  I was able to sustain it for several months, but eventually my skin said no.  Always happens.  Sucks, because a beard is ideal for me, but no point getting hairy about it, I suppose.

The hand is mine, too, and I'll have to note that it's had far fewer dry-skin issues after we switched to Mrs. Meyers liquid hand soap.  This is not an ad, but give Mrs. Meyers a try.  Ditch the 409 and get her Multi-Purpose Everyday Cleaner.  Best stuff in the world.

This evening's gospel selections are, as ever, me on my Casio WK-3800, multi-tracked up to eight times via my Sonar X2 program--the one I gave up on at least four times in the course of learning it. I guess my favorite (after God Is Working His Purpose Out) is Hubert Parry's 1916 Jerusalem, which I first heard from Emerson, Lake and Palmer's Brain Salad Surgery (my brother's LP, not mine) and then on a Monty Python episode.  The tune shows up in the Methodist hymnal with the hymn text O Day of Peace That Dimly Shines, but it will be forever associated with the following awesome William Blake poem:

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On England's pleasant pastures seen!

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire;
Bring me my Spear: O cloud unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand;
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England's green & pleasant Land

I piled up a ton of tones on Jerusalem, because I like the thick sonic texture that results from doing so, even if some of the sounds end up slightly lost in the mix.  I'm thinking the three pianos, for example, which provide wonderful support but don't exactly dominate.  The cello and flute are the stars of this arrangement.

Be Strong! and Holy Is the Lord are killer tunes I've been using over my past 20 years as a small-church organist and pianist.  (They're in my "Old Standbys" folder, along with Vom Himmel Hoch and The Glory Song.)  Plus, six more, including a Lee Hartsfeld original from around 1990--my Offertory in F Major, in F Major.

Don't B-flat.  B-sharp.  B-natural.

Click hear to hear: Sunday Evening Gospel for 8/16


God Is Working His Purpose Out (Millicent Kingham, 1894)
Jerusalem (Hubert Parry, 1916)
And Can It Be That I Should Gain (Thomas Campbell, 1825)
Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah (John Hughes, 1907)
Infinite God, To Thee We Raise (Joseph Barnby, 1872)
Be Strong! (Carl Price, 1921)
Mighty God, While Angels Bless Thee (Francois Barthelemon, 1785)
Offertory in F Major (Lee Hartsfeld, 1990)
Holy Is the Lord (William Bradbury, 1869)

Lee Hartsfeld, on the Casio WK-3800.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday (shortly after) morning gospel for 7/26!

Six selections for our Sunday just-after-morning, all played by me on my Casio WK-3800 and multi-tracked and mixed on/with my Sonar X2 program, with audio effects added on my MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab MX and I think I'm missing a few commas here but what the heck it's cyberspace.  That's me, above, matted in front of some church (the photo was titled "pretty church").  Now you know.

These selections will make you feel all gospel-y.  Charles Gabriel's Thou Mighty to Save is my favorite, even if my Casio orchestration makes it sound like a Ferris wheel accompaniment.  I also love Ira Sankey's Go and Work! tune, a totally new one on me.  It does the once-standard routine of having the verse in 3/4 and the chorus in 4/4.  That was cutting-edge back in the day (late 19th and early 20th centuries).  1868's Christian, Dost Thou See Them? is a gorgeous tune which I'm playing a little too fast here. It's by the great John B. Dykes, best known for the music to Holy, Holy, Holy! and the magnificent Eternal Father Strong to Save, which I've always placed second on my Greatest Hymns list, after Martin Luther's A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (a.k.a. the Davey and Goliath theme).

The other three are church standards, but only at this blog can you hear me playing them in seven or eight combined tracks--hence, they don't betray the name of my blog.  That is, you (possibly) won't hear them anyplace else, unless the tracks are swiped, a la my SoundCloud tracks, and featured in various free-mp3 playlists--in which case, my blog title is a lie, and I'm a fraud, and Limon isn't really the secret of Sprite.

To the hymns:

Sunday morning gospel for 7/26

Thou Mighty To Save (Chas. H. Gabriel, 1917)
Go and Work (Ira Sankey, 1907?)
Spirit of the Living God (Trad., arr. Ralph Vaughn Williams, 1906)
Christian, Dost Thou See Them (John B. Dykes, 1868)
St. Thomas (Aaron Williams, 1770)
O, Master Let Me Walk with Thee (H. Percy Smith, 1874)

Played by Lee Hartsfeld on his Casio WK-3800.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Paul Whiteman and His Orch., 1926-1928

Bet you can't tell that I used a desk lamp to light this 78 sleeve.  (There's only the blatant right-hand glare to give it away.)  Song of India doesn't appear in the playlist--it just happened to be the Whiteman disc at hand when I took this shot.  It was an instance of grabbing the nearest Paul Whiteman 78.  Just another day in the Media Room.

Now that we've cleared all of that up, below are links to eleven sides by the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, all ripped by moi, that date from 1926 to 1928.  And all of which feature arrangements by Ferde Grofe.  Grofe is not liked by the jazz critics who write about Paul Whiteman, and ask me if I care.  ("Do you care?")  No, I do not.  To those critics: Pfffffthhht!  Grofe was a brilliant arranger.  The proof is in the 78s.


Collette, 1927.
Broadway, 1927.
Manhattan Mary, 1927.
When I'm in Your Arms, 1926.
I Always Knew, 1926.
Precious, 1926.
Moonlight on the Ganges, 1926.
Shanghai Dream Man, 1927.
The Japanese Sandman, 1928.
Lonely Eyes, 1926.
Ma Belle, 1928.


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Comfy Quiz

"I know this will make Paul Fidalgo uncomfy, but..."

CFI mouthpiece Paul Fidalgo isn't comfy with President Obama's eulogy for slain friend and pastor Clementa Pinckney.  Here's Paul:

"I'm clenching my teeth a bit, I have to say.  I'm not at all comfy with the president telling us what God's 'ideas' are, or telling African Americans that the church is and always has been at the center of their life."

Obama meant the black church.  I quote from the eulogy: "That's what the black church means.  Our beating heart.  The place where our dignity as a people is inviolate."

I'm not sure I've ever heard anyone argue with the claim that religion is central to the African American experience.  Especially when the claimant is African American, and the president, and he's making the claim in an African American church.  Just saying.

I'm curious to know--were you, dear readers, comfy with Obama's eulogy?  Me?  Highly comfy with it.  Moved and inspired, in fact.  But that's me.  How do you feel?

Please spare a moment to take the Comfy Quiz:


Obama's eulogy made me:

1.  Highly comfy
2.  Moderately comfy
3.  Only fairly comfy
4.  Slightly uncomfy
5.  My Comfy Zone was violated
6.  I'll never feel comfy again.

Thanks, and have a comfy day.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Humanist values on display, Part 2

The Center for Free Inquiry (CFI) has issued a statement about the Charleston shootings, titled "We Must Find Our Common Humanity on Our Shared Journey."  To be sure, it's refreshing to see a plea for tolerance from an outfit that routinely denounces religion and participation in same--it'll be interesting to see if this change of heart on their part proves permanent.  But how convincing does such a plea sound when, at the very same website, the group's mouthpiece is griping about how church shootings are cramping his blogging style?

Exact quote from CFI communications director Paul Fidalgo: "I'll be honest, I'm not quite sure how to pull off the whole wise-ass news blog thing when things like this happen, and they seem to keep happening.  I guess I'll play it by ear.  Bear with me."

No doubt, it's a major bummer when you're the mouthpiece of a secular organization that promotes "humanist values," and circumstances force you to be civil.  Such a letdown for your regular readers, too.  But we all have to make sacrifices, I guess.  The guiding principle in this situation is something we regular folk call common decency.  But the secular set, at least the on-line manifestation thereof, seems to harbor a rather aggressive contempt for all things common.

Filling in for Paul on Friday was Stef McGraw, who dug the hole deeper by posting, "I'll follow Paul's lead on (the church shootings) and not go for any jokes, because there really aren't any."

You know, sometimes it's best to simply not weigh in on such an issue, on the theory that the best comment is no comment, but I guess that's too big a challenge for egos as high-maintenance as the ones in question.  But what on earth do they think they sound like?

First guy: Thirty people just died in a horrible factory fire.
Second guy:  I could make some jokes about that, but I guess it wouldn't be the right thing to do.
First guy:  Indeed.  By the way, I'm glad we're not religious.  Those folks are morally challenged.
Second guy:  Aren't they, though?  Why can't they follow our example?

Well, my friends, it never even occurred to this believer to make light of the Charleston tragedy.  Or to expect any special credit for not doing so.  Then again, my sense of entitlement hovers in the normal range.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Humanist values on display

Paul Fidalgo is the communications director of/for the Center for Inquiry, which makes him, in his own words, "the mouthpiece of a major secularist organization."  When Paul isn't writing his third iMortal post about being kicked off of Amazon for excessive product returns, he's at his CFI spot, reporting on every piece of news that makes religion look bad.  Naturally, he's careful not to make himself or his major secularist organization look bad.  Well, except when he posts stuff like the following.  It's from yesterday, and it's about the church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina:

"I'll be honest, I'm not quite sure how to pull off the whole wise-ass news blog thing when things like this happen, and they seem to keep happening.  I guess I'll play it by ear.  Bear with me."

I can't bring myself to respond to this.  I'm too disgusted.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

San Francisco Suite (Ferde Grofe, 1960) on Youtube!

Courtesy of my friend Kevin R. Tam (who arranged) and the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, Ferde Grofe's San Francisco Suite, recorded on April 25, 2015 and posted at YouTube.  Grofe fans never had it so good!

 The Gold Rush

 Bohemian Nights

 The Mauve Decade


Thanks, Kevin!


Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day, 2015--Four awesome 78s!

Four great 78s for Memorial Day, 2015, all ripped by me from my overflowing collection.

E.T. Paull's Battle of Gettysburg march is a joyous affair, though something tells me the real thing was anything but.  However, I wasn't there, so....  We're hearing the beautifully performed (and recorded) 1917 Victor recording by Conway's Band.

Battle of Gettysburg--Conway's Band, 1917.

The lively and memorable American Army March was composed by Geraldo Iasselli (Google says "Iasilli"), and it's performed here by Giuseppe Creatore's band on a 1925 Victor electrical recording.  The fidelity is unbelievably advanced for 1925.  Listening to it through phones, I guessed 1929 or 1930.  I was wrong.  A closer look at the label before listening would have told me, but then my assessment of the fidelity wouldn't have been completely objective--my ears would have known it was 1925.  The preceding sentence was pure M(Y)PWHAE prose.  To the amazing fidelity:

American Army March (G. Iasselli)--Creatore's Band, 1925.

Finally, two 1921 sides (the Victor label, again) by the United States Marine Band: a superior Sousa march, Yorktown Centennial, and the complete Anchors Aweigh march, which I didn't recognize until it got to the famous "Anchors aweigh, my boy..." strain.  How many times did I hear that strain in the Navy?  Thousands.  Maybe millions.  Good thing I love it!  In other news, one of these days I'll learn to spell "Centennial" without Spell-Check.

Is it just me, or are there Johann Strauss, Jr. quotes happening in Anchors?

Yorktown Centennial--March (Sousa)--U.S. Marine Band, 1921
Anchors Aweigh (Charles Zimmermann)--U.S. Marine Band, 1921.


Link for entire playlist: Memorial Day 78s


Friday, May 22, 2015

Happy birthday to moi

I'm cheating with this selfie--I no longer have my beard.  The beard lasted several months, however, before skin irritation compelled me to expel it.  I was surprised it lasted that long.

Anyway, I'm 58.  One of the scarier things about birthdays is that we're always one year older than the age we declare.  To wit, at "58," I am in fact starting my 59th year.  Not only am I starting my 59th year, I am in fact in my sixth decade, not my fifth.

Think about it: when we're 10, for instance, we're starting our second decade.  20, our third.  And so on.  We age ahead of ourselves.  So, every time you ask yourself the birthday question, "Am I really that old?" you are, in fact, even older than that.  I have no idea what I just typed--it sounded good in my head.

Sirens.  The Italics Police are coming for me.  I mean, the Italics Police.

Lee, 58

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

This cat pees on TV monitors!!


There you have it--Wesley's confession.  Actually, he hasn't confessed to anything, nor has he shown an ounce of remorse.  (He's a cat.)  And, technically, he peed under the monitor, but that's all it took to kill the audio and video.  Now all we have, post-pee, is a fuzzy white image that just sits there, doing nothing.  The monitor is fairly new.  Was, I mean.

So I figured that some on-line shaming might work.  Let's just hope Wesley comes across this page, sees himself (and the account of his deed), and feels really bad.  In fact, I'll just leave this page up on Bev's PC, saving Wesley the trouble of a search.

Yes, Wesley.  That's YOU.  The cat who peed on the TV monitor.

YOU did it.  YOU.

This experiment in on-line cat-shaming was brought to you by MY(P)WHAE.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

John Blazo ("Ryan's Hope") sings on YouTube

The handsome character on the right is John Blazo, who was Pat Ryan #2 on Ryan's Hope, my favorite soap (of the two soaps I like--the other being Dark Shadows).  I wish they'd kept him longer than a year and some months, but they wouldn't listen to me, especially given that the show had been off the air for nearly 20 years by the time I saw it.  A little late to be protesting a recast decision, I suppose.  Anyway, I thought John was marvelous.

I'd read that John was performing cabaret-style jazz, and I've long been on the lookout for same.  No luck, but then Youtube came to the rescue with fourteen Blazo tracks, uploaded by John himself:

John Blazo 

John sings, backed by a virtuoso jazz trio (guitar, piano, and bass).  Great stuff!


Monday, May 11, 2015

My Mother's Day card to Bev, who just turned 81

The conga cats are (left to right): Wesley, James, Fidel, and Sarge.  That's the classic Sarge face.

Notice that this is the Max Raffler painting featured in the last post, only with modified mugshots.

Meanwhile, my Lots o' Cats Rag is at SoundCloud.  I wrote it circa 1992:

Lots o' Cats Rag


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Observations for Sunday

If Einstein were alive today, and he wanted to be taken seriously by Millennials, he'd have to do stand-up.  Relativity, Schmelativity.  Does he have a background in "improv"?

If Darwin were alive today, and he saw a FFRF "Praise Darwin" billboard, he'd say, "Freedom from Religion?  Are these people illiterate?"

If Jefferson were alive today, he'd say, "You're kidding!  Everyone gets to vote?  What country is this?"

If Birth of a Nation is such a bedrock classic of cinema, why would no one in his or her right mind remake it today?  I had to watch that wretched thing in a film class, and it had me rethinking my major (Popular Culture).

Whenever a reality-based person insists that his or her claims are "based on science," I'm not impressed.  You see, I only sign on to claims that are endorsed by 9 out of 10 doctors.

Science, of course, exists to endorse ideas and claims.  Some people think it exists to test things, but I don't know where they got that silly idea.

I was thinking of becoming a Faith Voter for Hillary, but then I remembered that the Establishment Clause forbids faith voting.  Unless MSNBC is pulling my leg.

Besides, is it "Faith Voters for Hillary" or "FaithVoters4Hillary"?  I want to know what I'm joining.

By the way, I think Hillary will win, but only despite the best efforts of my party (Democrats).  Nothing like two-party opposition to bring out the fight in a candidate.

Is one's opportunities for social mobility better as a U.S. citizen or a member of a bee colony?  According to studies, approximately the same.  I'm leaning toward bee colony.

I've been trying to pinpoint the exact moment in pop culture history when "The Beatles" became "John Lennon," but no luck so far.  Back in my day, "The Beatles" were John, Paul, George, and Ringo.  That dates me, I realize.

Getting old is not for sissies.  That's why sissies, on average, die around 30.

There's an "argument from evil" that's used to disprove God.  It's beastly clever, because it involves using arguments of faith against themselves.  That's an awesome strategy!  And original, too.

I remember when feminism had something to do with compelling society to take women as seriously as we take men.  Then came the Internet, and now "feminist" seems to mean "hooker."  As in, doing your best impression of one on-line.  Because acting that way is empowering.  Not to women, but to someone.

If Einstein were alive today, and he wanted....  Oops.  Already did that one.

By the way, I'm practicing the modern style of using short sentences.  Or trying to, anyway.  It'll take time.  Wish me luck.  See you.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Whoever said all kinds of crazy things

Whoever said life was simple?  Yes, in fact, he did.  "He" being James Whoever.  A total ditz, if you ask me.  He's said all kinds of nonsense.

I have no idea what I just typed, but that's to be expected, because I'm nursing bronchitis.  The culprit is the combination of high tree pollen plus high humidity.  I called the VA for a doc's appt. and the lady on the phone reported that "lots of people are sick."  Despite that fact, hopefully I can get in tomorrow.  Our local VA is incredibly efficient--so is our huge, big-city VA.  I'm lucky to live in central Ohio, I guess.

Being an old hand at respiratory infections, I can easily explain the connection between high pollen and bronchitis.  Bad allergies=extreme congestion.  Which easily leads to a sinus infection.  Which can progress into chest issues.  Been there, done that.  The great thing is that I'm NOT in the hospital.  I credit my not being in the hospital to the asthma-management meds I've been prescribed.  I like not being in the hospital.  I prefer it, in fact.

Perhaps the strangest thing about me, medically, is the way I can have a raging infection turning into bronchitis without registering an elevated temperature.  It's spooky.  I don't know how many times I've heard, "Well, you don't have a temperature."  My standard reply?  "I never do."

Which isn't true--every once in a while, I'll register a slight fever.  If I'm at 99 or 100, I'm waaay sick.  Trust me.  The better response, therefore, would be a qualified one, such as, "Typically, I don't (have a temperature)."  Or, "I hardly ever do."  Or, "If I had a dime for every time I've heard, 'Well, you don't have a temperature,' I'd have huge piles of dimes."

And what good are huge piles of dimes?  No one uses pay phones any more, and the days of dime phone calls are long gone.  I remember those days, though.  My Mom gave me and my brother an "emergency dime" in case we needed to call home.  In those days, young kids were allowed to ride buses by themselves in the big city, play in parks all day, and so on.  No one called the cops because your children were on the playground without adult escort.

Don't mind me--I'm just rambling.  Maybe I do have a temp.  Better check.

Update: Yes, I had a temp.  VA prescribed me Prednisone and antibiotics, and I got all better.


Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Europe's Society Orchestra, from 1914: "The Castles in Europe," a.k.a. "Castle House Rag"

Above: A Victor record sleeve I forgot I owned.  It features Irene and Vernon Castle, the Castles of "The Castles in Europe."

So, guess what?  SoundCloud reinstated The Castles in Europe after deleting it for copyright reasons!  I explained that the recording is question is a 101-year-old Victor label 78, and they wrote back and said:

"Good news! We’ve reinstated this track to your account.

We're constantly working on making our copyright processes better, but mistakes do sometimes occur. Thank you for your patience as we looked into things, and apologies for any inconvenience caused.


The SoundCloud team"

How cool is that?  So, of course, I'm glad I disputed the deletion.

And... here is the track.  It's an absolutely amazing ragtime-to-jazz performance composed and arranged by James Reese Europe, music director for Irene and Vernon Castle (see sleeve scan above).  The restoration is mine.  I tried to do justice to the incredible percussion on this track.

Actually, I decided to link you to the entire set of 78s I posted, 16 in all, starting out with the 1914 masterpiece in question:

Dance and Jazz 78s, Part 1--Late 1910s to early 1920s


Tuesday, April 07, 2015

It takes the "popular" out of "popular culture"

I was going to let it go, but Bev said, "Why don't you?"  So I filed a copyright dispute with SoundCloud, a process that involves jumping through multiple hoops and ends with me giving them permission to yank my account if my dispute is in error.  You get the impression they're trying to discourage people from taking that route?

Anyway, I had just posted sixteen 78s dating from the late 1910s to early 1920s.  "The Castles in Europe" (a.k.a. "Castle House Rag") was yanked--its owned by SMCMG, says the notice I received.  How can Sony Music Entertainment own a 101-year-old Victor label recording?  This is what I asked them.

Who'd have dreamed there would be any problem in 2015 with sharing a 78 made before WWI was over?  Then again, last year I got burned for posting a Merv Griffin Christmas single recorded when my late grandfather was younger (much younger) than me.

Oh, well.  We'll see what happens.  If my account doesn't get yanked, I'll be linking to my shellac uploads.


Sunday, April 05, 2015

Happy Easter!

Cats in suits never look happy.  And I have no idea how anyone managed the poses in the above image.  Must be trickery involved.  Please tell me none of the creatures are stuffed.

For today's post, some Easter music, all of it religious.  (Religious music on Easter???).  Christ the Lord is Risen Today (a.k.a. Jesus Christ is Risen Today) starts things out.  It's me on my Casio WK-3800, overdubbing two organ tones, plus a third organ track, plus tubas in octaves.  "Tubas in Octaves" could have been the same of a rock band in 1986 or so.  They could have been the opening act for the Oil-Wrestling Arc Welders from Hell.  Such band names are no more--nowadays, band names resemble isotope designations.

Christ the Lord is Risen Today--Lee Hartsfeld, Casio WK-3800

Next, from 1902, Sweet and Clear the Birds are Singing, with music by Frederick Bullard.  I've been using this on and off as extra Easter music for more than 20 years.  Such as at this morning's service.  Here, I've added Casio bells.  I used five or so tracks:

Sweet and Clear the Birds are Singing (Bullard, 1902)--Me, on Casio WK-3800.

Last, possibly my all-time favorite hymn (and an all-purpose one; no pun intended): God Is Working His Purpose Out, composed in 1894 by Millicent D. Kingham.  I added echo to an earlier recording.  I piled up eight or nine tracks here:

God Is Working His Purpose Out (Kingham, 1894)--Me, on Casio WK-3800.

Coming up soon: Really old dance and jazz 78s from my overflowing collection.  Well, digital rips thereof, to be precise.

Hoppy Easter!!!