Tuesday, December 27, 2005

THE BUTCHER'S BILL 2005 During World War II, Winston Churchill inquired about the day's casualties by asking "What's the Butcher's Bill today?" Here are a few of the noted personalities who left this mortal coil in 2005: Shirley Chisolm, politician Will Eisner, graphic novel artist "The Spirit", "A Contract With God" Rosemary Kennedy Ruth Warrick, actress "Citizen Kane" Virginia Mayo, actress Jim Aparo, comic artist "Brave and the Bold", "Batman" Johnny Carson, host of The Tonight Show John Vernon, actor "Killer Klowns from Outer Space" Max Schmeling, boxer Ossie Davis, actor Jimmy Smith, jazz organist Arthur Miller, playwright "The Crucible" Sammi Smith, singer "Help Me Make It Through the Night" Dan O'Herlihy, actor "Halloween III", "Macbeth", "Fail Safe" Hunter S. Thompson, author "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas" Sandra Dee, actress "The Dunwich Horror" John Raitt, singer/actor "Carousel" Harry Simeone, choral director "Little Drummer Boy" Martin Denny, musician "Quiet Village" Teresa Wright, actress "Shadow of a Doubt" Debra Hill, producer "Halloween" Andre Norton, science fiction author "The Beastmaster" Bobby Short, singer Paul Henning, TV producer "Beverly Hillbillies", "Petticoat Junction", "Green Acres" Paul Hester, drummer "Crowded House" Johnnie Cochran, lawyer Bass Wolf, musician "Wild Zero" Pope John Paul II Saul Bellow, author John Sichel, director "Someone at the Top of the Stairs", "The Avengers" Debralee Scott, actress "Welcome Back Kotter" Prince Rainier of Monaco John Brosnan, science fiction author Jaime Fernandez, actor "Santo vs. the Vampire Women" Kay Walsh, actress "The Witches", "Scarecrow of Romney Marsh", "Scrooge" Ruth Hussey, actress "Philadelphia Story", "The Uninvited" Sir John Mills, actor "39 Steps", "Gandhi", "Quatermass Conclusion", "Dr Strange", "Great Expectations" Maria Schell, actress "Superman" Frank Gorshin, actor "Batman", "Invasion of the Saucer Men" Howard Morris, actor "High Anxiety" Thurl Ravenscroft, voice actor "Tony the Tiger" Ismail Merchant, producer "Remains of the Day", "Howard's End", "Room With A View" Eddie Albert, actor "Green Acres" Anne Bancroft, actress "The Graduate", "Miracle Worker", "84 Charing Cross Road" Robert Clarke, actor "The Hideous Sun Demon" Paul Winchell, actor "Stop Look & Laugh" "Wacky Races (as Dick Dastardly)" "Winnie the Pooh (as Tigger)" John Fiedler, actor "Winnie the Pooh (as Piglet)", "Star Trek", "The Night Stalker" Shelby Foote, historian Luther Vandross, singer June Haver, actress "Love Nest" Frances Langford, actress "The Bickersons" Laurel Aitken, reggae singer Geraldine Fitzgerald, actress "Wilson", "Wuthering Heights", "Arthur" Edward Heath, British prime minister William Westmoreland, Vietnam general James Doohan, actor "Star Trek" Long John Baldry, musician Eugene Record, singer "The Chi-Lites" Pat McCormick, comedian Hildegarde, entertainer King Fahd, Saudi Arabia ruler Loulie Jean Norman, singer "Spike Jones In Stereo" Little Milton, blues singer Ibrahim Ferrer, singer "Buena Vista Social Club" Peter Jennings, TV news anchor Barbara Bel Geddes, actress "Vertigo" Mel Welles, actor "The She Beast" "Attack of the Crab Monsters" Robert Moog, inventor of the Moog synthesizer Brock Peters, actor "To Kill A Mockingbird" R. L. Burnside, blues singer Bob Denver, actor "Gilligan's Island" William Rehnquist, chief justice of supreme court Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, blues singer Robert Wise, director "The Haunting" Richard E. Cunha, director "Frankenstein's Daughter", "Giant From the Unknown" Simon Wiesenthal, Nazi hunter Don Adams, actor "Get Smart" Nipsey Russell, comedian Ronnie Barker, comedian "The Two Ronnies", "Open All Hours" Louis Nye, comedian Ursula Howells, actress "Dr. Terror's House of Horrors", "Torture Garden" Wolf Rilla, director "Village of the Damned" Shirley Horn, jazz singer Rosa Parks, civil rights pioneer Skitch Henderson, band leader "The Tonight Show" Link Wray, musician Moustapha Akkad, producer "Halloween" Ralph Edwards, TV host "This is Your LIfe" Chris Witley, blues singer Constance Cummings, actress "Blithe Spirit" Pat Morita, actor "Happy Days", "The Karate Kid" Stan Berenstain, author "The Berenstain Bears" Wendie Jo Sperber, actress "Bosom Buddies" Herbert L. Strock, director "The Crawling Hand", "I Was a Teenage Frankenstein" "Blood of Dracula" Jean Parker, actress "Little Women", "Bluebeard" Jack Colvin, actor "The Incredible Hulk", "Rooster Cogburn" Eugene McCarthy, former Senator/presidential candidate Richard Pryor, comedian Vincent Schiavelli, actor "Ghost", "Amadeus", "Batman Returns"

Friday, December 09, 2005

I LIKE FOOD! FOOD TASTES GOOD! JUICY BURGERS, GREASY FRIES... With the recent passing of Thanksgiving and the encroaching holiday season, I thought this would be a good opportunity to list my favourite songs about food! I figure the typing of this list will at least burn up a calorie or two and I can use all the help I can get. Pass the taters and peruse my menu of tunes. Feel free to add any of your own favourites! In no particular order . . . Weinerschnitzel by The Descendants Saturday Night Fish Fry by Louis Jordan Mashed Potatoes by Brak Savoy Truffle by The Beatles Chocolate by The Cheneille Sisters Malted Milk by Robert Johnson Fishing Blues by Henry Thomas Jambalaya by Hank Williams Struttin' With Some Barbecue by Louis Armstrong I Like Food by The Descendants Chicken Cordon Bleus by Steve Goodman All That Meat & No Potatoes by Fats Waller Ice Cream Song by The Dynamics Banana Split For My Baby by Louis Prima Ketchup Soup by The Teen Idols Pass the Peas by The J.B.'s Green Onions by Booker T. & the MGs Red Beans by Professor Longhair Corn Dogs by The Bobs Potato by Cheryl Wheeler St. Alphonso's Pancake Breakfast by Frank Zappa Hotcakes and Sausage by Ernie Kovacs Goober Peas by The Kingston Trio Ham & Eggs by Leadbelly Tater Pie by Ahmad Jamal They're Red Hot by Robert Johnson Vegetables by The Beach Boys Only Baloney by Big Daddy Graham Potato Chips by Slim Gaillard and of course there's Arlo Guthrie's stay at Alice's Restaurant having the Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat!!! Hmm. . . .I wonder if there are any more leftovers in the fridge????

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

THERE'S AN ARMY ON THE DANCEFLOOR! Since music has already been mentioned right outta the starting gate, I'd just like remain tuneful and mention Kate Bush's new cd. "Aerial" is the silver-throated songbird's first album since 1991's "The Red Shoes"; a somewhat uneven album but a terrific one that had a lot going for it. "Aerial" is an ambitious two disc-er consisting of a first disc (subtitled "A Sea of Honey") of individual songs and a second disc ("A Sky of Honey") consisting of one continuous song cycle (a la "Hounds of Love"; the greatest album of all time). Ahem. Anyway, the first time I heard Kate's new single "King of the Mountain". . . . well, I kinda went "eh". Having now purchased the cd, the song has grown on me. The song is, of course, about Elvis Presley and Kate does a pretty cute Elvis impression as she sings about "The King" still alive scooting down a snow slope on Charles Foster Kane's "Rosebud". A fun song, but I don't exactly get goosebumps. The rest of the album (and yes, ALBUM is the correct term for a collection of songs on cd much the same as a photo ALBUM is a collection of pictures. . .so there. . .it's an ALBUM on CD). . . so where was I? Oh yeah. The entire album is mainly a sparse affair musically (which is in no way a bad thing). Some songs feature merely Kate's voice with piano accompaniment. Having listened to the entire cd a few times, I cannot disguise my slight disappointment. Of course, after a 12 year wait, ANYTHING she released would have to be a letdown. However, I'm not ready to dismiss "Aerial" as a failure. It's not. Just read any of the reviews it's been getting: four or five stars is a commonality. For my part, I plan to reimmerse my ears in the album quite a few more times because I'm certain it's the kind of album that has to creep up on you after multiple listenings. Once I can discard all that baggage of 12 years of expectations, I may come to a better appreciation of "Aerial". One potentially scream-inducing factor is Kate's use of her seven year old son Bertie on a couple tracks. Eek, she's turned into Kathie Lee, I can hear you say. Hold on, don't worry. I am famously slightly less of a child-fancier than W.C. Fields and I find the sentiment "Get away from me, kid! You reek of popcorn and lollipops!" to just about cover it. However, Bertie is actually quite good on the album and is used to good musical effect without any overbearingly gratuitous baby-worshipping on Kate's part. She's obviously mad about her son but she doesn't let that fact destroy her artistic sensibilites. As for the songs themselves, I still haven't become sufficiently familiar with them to be on speaking terms with them. The song entitled with the mathematical symbol for "pi" has a nice groove to it but, being a lifelong numbers-hater I'm still a little gunshy when Kate sings the string of numbers making up "pi". It's a tribute to Kate that I didn't immediately hit the "skip" button in panic. "Joanni" is of course about Joan of Arc. Nowhere, however, does Kate utilize Joan's reported last words (as told on "The Young Ones"): "Loiks oh Lordy, my bottom's on fire!" "A Coral Room" is being singled out by many cd reviewers as a heartbreakingly beautiful song dealing with the death of Kate's mother. It is indeed a lovely song; whether it deserves such praise will require several more earfuls by yours truly. "Aerial Tal" is a frankly ingenious track featuring Kate actually singing birdsong along with a recording of a blackbird. Kate's ear is phenomenal as she exactly. . .and I do mean EXACTLY mimics the bird's song. . . so much so that I'm sure an actual bird would understand every word (while perhaps noting her English accent while tweeting away). This track sounds like it would be really annoying but it's definitely not (and at only a minute and one second in length it doesn't overstay it's welcome in the least). So anyway, this is not meant to be a sort of review in any way; only a smattering of my impressions upon first and second listening. In a recent interview, Kate was asked if she planned on taking such a glacially slow amount of time to make her next album. With typical mischief, Kate chuckled that she might just released two cds next year. That would surprise them, she laughed. Here's hoping for many more surprises from Kate.