« May 2008 | Main | July 2008 »

June 30, 2008

George Carlin, RIP

Last week's passing of George Carlin has led many to reminisce about his gift for comedic social commentary. Check out Jerry Seinfeld's discussion .

Growing up, I remember Carlin's capacity for irreverence. When discussing the nature of both organized religion and organized politics, he remarked: "I'm completely in favor of the separation of church and state. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death."

Vincent Miller, RIP

International Society for Individual Liberty founder and president, Vincent Miller, passed away late last week. I never met Vince, but we emailed each other on occasion and spoke a few times on the phone. He was always in good humor, and worked very hard to build ISIL. My condolences to his family and close friends.

Further details are available at Classically Liberal.

June 28, 2008

Song of the Day #899

Song of the Day: This is My Life, words and music by Bruno Canfora and Antonio Amurri, with English lyrics by Norman Newell, was a huge hit for Shirley Bassey. (It was also recorded by Joanne Barry for her debut album, "This is Me.") The Bassey rendition has been on the lips of many a lip-syncing drag queen for eons. And it was also a perennial favorite on the jukebox at the Stonewall Inn, the bar that was raided by police on this date in 1969, leading to a series of violent reactions from its patrons. And so was born the modern gay liberation movement. Check out the site of the STONEWALL Veterans' Association. And then visit YouTube for a Bassey performance clip and the ever-classic disco version.

June 20, 2008

Song of the Day #898

Song of the Day: Afternoon (full-length mp3 at that link) features the music of Philip Verdi and the lyrics of singer Joanne Barry, who provides the jazzy melodic vocals on this summery samba. This opening track to the album, "Holding On," which features a scintillating solo by guitarist Carl Barry, asks: "Can you feel summer's coming soon?" It sure is! It will be here at 7:59 pm EDT. Happy Summer Solstice!

June 16, 2008

Song of the Day #897

Song of the Day: Everything's Coming Up Roses, music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, is one of the highlights of "Gypsy," suggested by the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee. This is one of the great American musicals and Patti LuPone as Mama Rose gives the performance of a lifetime in today's Broadway revival, for which she won a much-deserved Tony Award last night (and brought down Radio City too with a terrific performance of this song!). Listen to an audio clip of LuPone, as well as renditions by Ethel Merman from the original 1959 Broadway production, Annie Ross, Rosalind Russell from the 1962 film version, Angela Lansbury from the 1970s revival,Tyne Daly from the 1989 Broadway revival, Bette Midler from the 1993 TV production, and Bernadette Peters from the 2003 revival.

June 15, 2008

Happy 60th Birthday, WPIX-TV

WPIX-TV, Channel 11 in New York City, celebrates its 60th birthday today. It was on this day in 1948 that the station began transmitting. This is a station that I grew up watching: Officer Joe Bolton, Jack McCarthy, Chuck McCann, "The Three Stooges," "Superman," the "Little Rascals," Bozo the Clown, Popeye, Sheri Lewis and Lamb Chop, and, of course, "The Honeymooners." And let's not forget the seasonal favorites: "March of the Wooden Soldiers" for Thanksgiving, the Yule Log for Christmas Eve, and, from the Spring to the Fall for many, many years, the home of Yankee baseball... with the classic musings of Phil Rizzuto.

Happy Birthday, WPIX!

Song of the Day #896

Song of the Day: How Long Has This Been Going On?, composed by George and Ira Gershwin, is from the 1927 Broadway musical, "Funny Face," which starred the great Fred Astaire. Tonight the 62nd Annual Tony Awards celebrate the best of today's Broadway; this song helps us to remember the grand tradition of the Great White Way. Listen to audio clips of renditions by Boz Scaggs, Doc Severinsen and the "Tonight" Show band, Joe Pass, Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, and, one of my all-time favorites, Sarah Vaughan.

June 14, 2008

Tim Russert, RIP

There have been countless obituaries of Tim Russert, host of NBC's "Meet the Press," who passed away on Friday, June 13, 2008, at the age of 58. There is not much I can add to what has been said about him, but I sure did enjoy many of his Q&As on "Meet the Press," which I have watched on a weekly basis for many years. He will be missed.

June 09, 2008

Song of the Day #895

Song of the Day: Dark Eyes derives from the poetry of Yevhen Hrebinka and the "Valse Hommage" of Florian Hermann. It has been performed by so many artists in so many settings (from Joe Venuti to Itzhak Perlman, audio clips at those links). But today we throw the spotlight on that remarkable innovator Les Paul, who celebrates his 93rd birthday. Having worshiped at the altar of the great gypsy jazz guitarist, Django Reinhardt, he is truly an "American Master." Check out the birthday boy at Iridium on Monday nights in New York City! Listen to an audio clip of Paul and take a look at YouTube (with some comic relief).

June 07, 2008

No Brown Crown, No Jim McKay

I guess we were spoiled back in the 1970s; in 1973, I saw Secretariat, the greatest of them all, in my opinion, take the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. Seattle Slew followed in 1977, and Affirmed beat out Alydar in three successive thrilling races to take the Crown in 1978.

But Da' Tara beat Big Brown in his bid to be the first horse to take the Triple Crown in 30 years. Having won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, Big Brown came up short at New York's Belmont.

I sometimes wonder if we'll ever see another Triple Crown winner!

On a much sadder note, it is perhaps ironic that on this day, another great voice of sports broadcasting was silenced: Jim McKay, who passed away at the age of 86. I will always remember his stints at the "Wide World of Sports" and his remarkable reporting from the tragic Munich Olympics. He will be missed by sports fans the world over.

June 04, 2008

Sudha Shenoy, RIP

There is something about aging that must lend itself to looking back; of recent, I've been doing lots of "looking back" on this blog, noting the passings of many people, some of whom have been famous, some of whom I've known personally, all of whom have touched my life in various ways. (I suppose one knows that one is getting a little older when for the first time in one's life, one is older than one of the major party candidates for President of the United States.)

Still, though this blog is much more than songs and obituaries, there have been too many passings to note in recent months. And today is no exception.

I have just learned that Sudha Shenoy passed away after a long bout with cancer. Sudha was a colleague of mine on the Liberty and Power Group Blog, and a sometimes commentator on my work. I am so sad to hear of her passing, and I will always remember her as one of the great, and gentle, voices of the Austrian economics revival.

My condolences to her family and friends.