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December 16, 2011

Music in Memorium, 2011

Way too many people died this year. Here are some whose music has given me a kick.

Amy Winehouse
Andrew Gold (see Maria Muldaur)
Benton Flippen
Bert Jansch
Big Jack Johnson
Bill Morrissey
Bill Tapia, ukulele master, 103 (see photo)
Billy Grammer
Bob Burnett (of the Highwaymen)
Carl Gardner
Charlie Craig
Charlie Louvin
Clarence Clemons
Dan Peek
Dan Terry
David ‘Honeyboy’ Edwards
Dobie Gray
Don Kirshner
Doyle Bramhall
Eddie Kirkland
Gerry Rafferty
Gil Scott-Heron
Harry Jackson, cowboy singer
Hazel Dickens
Jack Hardy
Jerry Leiber
Jerry Ragovoy
Jessy Dixon
Jimmy Norman
Jimmy Roselli
Jody Rainwater
Joe Morello (Brubeck’s drummer)
John Barry
John Walker
Kenny Baker
Marv Tarplin
Milton Babbitt
Myra Taylor, 94
Nickolas Ashford
Nilla Pizzi
Phoebe Snow
Roger Williams
Sam Rivers
Suze Rotolo (Dylan’s girlfriend)
Wade Mainer, old-time banjo master, 104
Warren Hellman (Hardly Strictly Bluegrass)
Wild Man Fischer (street musician)
Willie “Big Eyes” Smith (Muddy Waters band)
Wilma Lee Cooper

Non-musical deaths:
Andy Rooney
Cliff Robertson
David Nelson
David S. Broder
Giorgio Bocca
Harry Morgan
Jack LaLanne
José Pagan
Ken Russell
Matty Alou
Owsley Stanley
Peter Falk
Richard F. Pedersen  (Uncle Dick)  (see obituary at
Sidney Lumet
Steve Jobs
Theodore Roszak
Tom Keith
Tom Wilson, Sr. (Ziggy)
Vaclav Havel

Edwin Honig
Eleanore Ross Taylor
Hugh Fox
John Haines
Lucille Clifton (2010)
Peter Reading
Piri Thomas
Ruth Stone
William Kloefkorn

Happy trials, Martin

December 13, 2011

Picks of the Flicks, 2011

This is my incomplete list of the best films I saw in 2011 (I watch films on Sky television, so they will likely be from past years):
Crazy Heart
El secreto de sus ojos (The Secret in Their Eyes)
Fair Game
Henry Poole Is Here
Love and Other Drugs
Moby Dick (2010 mini-series)
Motel Woodstock
Reindeer Games
Shutter Island
The Adjustment Bureau
The Concert
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest (Swedish)
The Girl Who Played with Fire (Swedish)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Swedish)
The Road
*The Tree of Life
Too Big To Fail
Up in the Air

*Best ever

That's it, whatcha gonna do?

Happy trials, Martin

Mutt: Good day, my fine feathered friend.
Jeff: Same to you but more of it.
Mutt: Ready for the funny stuff?
Jeff: When's it start?
Mutt: Now. When women enter middle age, it gives men a pause.
Jeff: So funny I forgot to laugh. How about: Prison walls are never built to scale?
Mutt: Not bad. The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.
Jeff: Glad to hear it. If you don’t pay your exorcist you get repossessed.
Mutt: Oh yeah. There was a guy who was fired from the orange juice factory for
lack of concentration.

Jeff: When I was a kid, we were so poor we couldn’t even afford to pay attention.
Mutt: I used to be a tap dancer until I fell in the sink.
Jeff: Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
Mutt: The poet had written better poems, but he’d also written verse.
Jeff: There was a ghost at the hotel, so they called for an inn spectre.
Mutt: Ancient orators tended to Babylon.
Jeff: The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.
Mutt: You didn’t hear about the three big holes in the ground? Well, well, well.
Jeff: It was raining cats and dogs. There were poodles all over the road.
Mutt: When chemists die, we barium.
Jeff: And last but not least ... Santa’s helpers are subordinate clauses.
Mutt: You told that one last year.
Jeff: Hoppy Cassidys to you too.

December 10, 2011

This Year of Books

This year I read some books I liked a lot, life-changers, teachers of writing. I also started a number of books that just didn't sock it to me. It may be rice wine to you, but it's still sake to me! I gave 'em the standard fifty pages, then retired them to the basement. Reading's too much fun and life too brief to read books that don't zing to your zoul.

Try keeping score yourself, a reading log can mark the paces of your passage through your years. You might take little steps of mildly enjoyable reads or you might mark your life into before and after X.

Plus reading can help you lose weight and keep in shape if done on a treadmill.

Here are the gooduns, excepting research and work stuff.

A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole *
bird by bird, Anne Lamott
Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather
Demonology, Rick Moody
Dude, Where’s My Country? Michael Moore
Many Lives, Many Masters, Brian L. Weiss
Moran of the Lady Letty, Frank Norris
Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs
On Moral Fiction, John Gardner
Plan B, Anne Lamott
Ron Carlson Writes a Story, Ron Carlson
The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing Songs That Sell, Eric Beall
The Challenge of Space, Arthur Louis Joquel II * (my former prof)
The Elements of Storytelling, Peter Rubie
The Inferno, Dante (John Ciardi translation)
The Maytrees, Annie Dillard
The Pacific Crest Trail, National Geographic Society
The Road to Wellville, T. Coraghessan Boyle
The Sot-Weed Factor, John Barth *
The Sweetheart Season, Karen Joy Fowler
The Watch, Rick Bass
The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston
Vineland, Thomas Pynchon
Wild Mind, Natalie Goldberg
* best

Happy trials, Martin

Mutt: Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
Jeff: When an actress saw her first strands of gray hair she thought she’d dye.
Mutt: A scientist doing a large experiment with liquid chemicals was trying to solve a problem when he fell in and became part of the solution.
Jeff: If you leave alphabet soup on the stove and go out, it could spell disaster.
Mutt: When they bought a water bed, the couple started to drift apart.

Jeff: A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was a nurse said ‘No change yet’.
Mutt: What did the grape say when it got stepped on? Nothing – but it let out a little whine.
Jeff: A criminal’s best asset is his lie ability.
Mutt: Be true to your teeth, or they will be false to you.
Jeff: If you give some managers an inch they think they’re a ruler.
Mutt: She was only a whisky maker but he loved her still.
Jeff: The optician fell into the lens grinding machine and made a spectacle of himself.
Mutt: Gravity is studied a lot because it’s a very attractive field.
Jeff: Old lawyers never die they just lose their appeal.
Mutt: Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.
Jeff: So how are you today, my friend?
Mutt: 'Bout the same, 'bout the same. And you?
Jeff: Ditto likewise.