Musings @musicandmeaning.com

See, I've only had a photograph to drag around.
"He had a theory that musicians are incredibly complex, and know far less than other artists what they want and what they are; that they puzzle themselves as well as their friends; that their psychology is a modern development, and has not yet been understood." – E. M. Forster

Archive for March, 2003


Monday, 31 March 2003

WBE

Thankfully, I got to listen to quite a lot of KCRW’s Weekend Becomes Eclectic during the past two days. And yes, hearing it was a welcome relief from news and grim realities. I missed the program opening on Saturday, but on Sunday, when the second song started — "No More Running Away" by the Ben Taylor Band (from what I’ve heard, my favorite from the album) — there was no doubt that Anne Litt was at the helm. She’d played the track (and others from that CD) multiple times before, and hearing it was also like hearing a confirmation that she was there, spinning music. (In the past, there have been a few times when I’ve turned on the radio to WBE, heard a set of music, and thought, "This doesn’t sound like an ‘Anne Litt set’…" — and sure enough, when it was over, a substitute host ID’d the tunes! Litt’s true, eclectic, musical palate really gives the show her own unique and recognizable brand; and I admit: a couple of those times when someone subbed for her, I turned off the radio. It’s just not the same hearing WBE without Litt — sometimes a guest host’s musical direction simply doesn’t mesh with mine, and that’s no fault of anyone.)

What else brought a big smile to my face: hearing Stan Getz and João Gilberto from their classic album (one of my all-time favorites), back-to-back versions of Burt Bacharach‘s "I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself" (the White Stripes followed by Tommy Hunt), Goldfrapp‘s "Paper Bag" (I still am amazed that KCRW does not air an edited version of that song), new material by Daniel Lanois and the (now) good old KCRW favorites "Flowers in the Window" by Travis and "Walk On" from U2 (I remember Litt playing the latter two songs during the first weekend post-9/11).

Not to say that I didn’t enjoy the other tunes — those are just some that got my particular attention. I left out Beth Orton, Lucinda Williams, Badly Drawn Boy, Pete Yorn and many more. Unfortunately, I did miss maybe 30-40 collective minutes of the six hours of WBE (so if Litt played Richard Buckner, David Gray, Coldplay, Peggy Lee, Jack Teagarden, Oscar Peterson or anyone else I would really love to have heard, I missed that). But as always, hearing the show was an uplifting and calming experience. Thanks again Ms Litt and KCRW.


Saturday, 29 March 2003

A very welcome return

For the past week and a half — ever since President Bush gave the first order to attack Iraq — NPR stations and some television networks have been pre-empting their usual programming in favor of news. For nearly a full week, KCRW shelved many of its normally scheduled shows during the day to provide special coverage of the war. Today, the station returns to normal programming, with hourly news updates and reports of any breaking news.

Last weekend I found myself actually needing to hear some Weekend Becomes Eclectic music, but when I switched to 89.9 I realized that regular programming was still on hiatus. Understandably so, of course. I appreciated the decision, but a part of me still needed to hear the music, to get some reassurance and energy. It reminded me of when the last Bush-ordered war on Iraq began over ten years ago. During that time, my main hobby was in old-time radio, and I listened without fail to the Jack Benny Program every Saturday night on KNX. Well, the war happened and I found myself especially wanting to hear Jack Benny, but it and all the OTR had been nixed for news. IIRC, KNX didn’t reinstate its daily "Drama Hour" until weeks later.

Not being able to listen to WBE last weekend also got me thinking about how I felt when I listened to WBE on the first weekend post-Sept. 11, 2001. Selfish and unsympathetic as it may sound, I definitely missed hearing the show last Saturday and Sunday. But if you read that entry from 2001, maybe you’ll understand why.

I welcome back all of the shows, but am especially grateful for the return of WBE and its uncannily healing powers. I’m looking forward to hearing Anne Litt‘s playlists for today and tomorrow.

Quote for the time being:

But give me love over,
love over,
love over this…
and give me love over,
love over,
love over this…

– from Coldplay’s "Politik," A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002)


Wednesday, 26 March 2003

Goodbye Gio

Aww….

The Dodgers placed Giovanni Carrara on waivers.

They don’t even trade him? That must hurt. Carrara was a stable force for the Dodgers during the past two years as a relief pitcher and emergency starter. And without him, the team wouldn’t have gotten as far as they did last season…or the season before that.

There was an awesome, 16-inning marathon game the team played at Atlanta last year; Brian Jordan, in the first series back in his hometown and against his former team, slugged his second homer of the game to put L.A. up in the top of the 9th, 5-4. But Eric Gagne blew the save (his first of the season) in the bottom of the 9th by giving up the tying home run to former teammate Gary Sheffield. Well, Carrara came in from the bullpen and pitched five amazing shutout innings in relief. The Blue scrapped together another run and Carrara got the win (and, also meaningfully, Jesse Orosco notched his first save since 1999) of the game, which lasted five hours and 19 minutes. (You can check out the box score and story of the game courtesy of USA Today.)

So what if his spring hasn’t sparkled…that’s why it’s called Spring Training. Imagine a team dumping some big multi-million-dollar pitcher if he happened to have a lousy spring but had a good past record. [Okay, so the Astros just released Shane Reynolds...]

I guess it’s the pitfall of having too many pitchers before the season starts. The current popular theory is that Andy Ashby will be moved out of the rotation and into the bullpen as a middle reliever, but he hasn’t pitched in relief since 1993 (!), and frankly, I’m concerned about his consistency, since he won’t have time to get into a groove during a game as a starter. Another possibility is keeping Wilson Alvarez as a middle reliever, but his last truly good season was with the White Sox in 1996, and he had a 5.28 ERA last year with TB. If the team sees something in Alvarez, that’s one thing, but to gamble especially by releasing someone like Carrara…not something I would have done. But I guess that’s why the management gets the big bucks, and I sit here and just write about it.

Undoubtedly, some team will claim Carrara fairly quickly. I hope he does well, as he’s done in the past. Good luck, Gio.

[Update: the Mariners signed Carrara. He’s going back to the AL…I hope he makes the adjustment well.

Also, Wilson Alvarez did not make the Dodgers’ 25-man roster.]

Posted at 12:26 pm | Filed under Baseball, sports |  

Tuesday, 18 March 2003

Humor to help keep me sane

Laugh of the day: Bill Amend‘s Fox Trot comic strip (link expires in 14 days).

If you have time, also try checking out Bill Amend’s personal home page. I only recently started reading FT, after a very long hiatus, and it’s as funny as ever.

For single panels, I love Bizarro by Dan Piraro (be sure to check out the comic from March 2, 2003!) and Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller — I’ve read them fairly regularly for quite a while now. BTW, if you haven’t seen it already, there’s a fun feature on monkey‘s site (listed in the Links to the left) where monkey learns how to make a cartoon with Dan Piraro.

Posted at 12:24 am | Filed under Musings & everything else |  

Wednesday, 5 March 2003

How about fringe benefits at the baby store

Congrats to new father Nic Harcourt on the birth of his twins Monday night. :-)

I happened to be listening to KCRW when Morning Becomes Eclectic began at 9 yesterday morning, and was pleasantly surprised to hear Anne Litt‘s voice. She filled in for the understandably absent Harcourt and even played some Richard Buckner ("A Goodbye Rye" from his ’96 demo CD, which was recently released to the general public as a self-titled album — she played the song over the weekend as well). So Tuesday a.m. brought a sort of bonus three hours of Weekend Becomes Eclectic. :-)

Nic Harcourt always asks his guests what they listened to when they were young; no doubt the Harcourt twins will have an awesome musical diet as they grow up…

Posted at 1:06 am | Filed under Music, Radio, NPR, etc. |  

Sunday, 2 March 2003

Sunday tele notes

Tonight’s Gilmore Girls repeat (the first season’s finale, "Love, Daisies and Troubadours"): A

A great episode. Trademark GG banter, healthy conflicts, healthy resolutions, funny moments, warm + fuzzy moments, lots and lots of flowers and Grant Lee Phillips acting + singing (and doing well at both)! Good stuff all around.

Tonight’s new Alias episode, ironically titled "A Dark Turn": B+ for the first ¾ (best moment: Marshall implanting the tracking device…"You’re tough"); actually, B+ up until Irina gets into the limo, then after that a big F for the rest.

Why the low grade? Maybe I have high standards for the show, but the ending was completely unsurprising. I was expecting it to happen, and it’s no fun when what you think is going to happen actually happens. Maybe I have high standards for this show, because typically what I think is going to happen doesn’t. In this case, the ending was truly disappointing. I actually said "Lame" when the limo passed through the tunnel. I mean, come on, as a TV viewer I immediately suspected there might be a decoy, but Jack and the Delta Force don’t have a clue? Please. Maybe they thought it was too contrived: "That can’t be a second limo. It would be too lame for that to happen on this show."

It wasn’t surprising that Irina was Sloane’s ally — the last-minute, I-may-never-have-a-chance-to-say-this mom routine between her and Sydney was too suspicious, and her getting Jack to remove the tracking bug sealed it for me. Her escape was a plot point waiting to happen. But the whole bit with the Post-Its decoy and the limo decoy… that was just too lame. IMO it lessened Irina’s skill and manipulation. She didn’t have to do much to pull a fast one on everyone, since they obviously didn’t know the difference between Post-Its and a manuscript and never bothered to check to see if she was hiding the manuscript on her.

Unfortunately, this week I taped Alias but not GG. Ah well…

P.S. When Irina took the book out of the glass case, did anyone else think, "Okay, where’s the replacement sand bag? " ;-)

Posted at 11:53 pm | Filed under Television | 2 replies »