Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Baroquen Record

Thirty some years ago, my father brought home an LP, Go For Baroque, a compilation of songs from the 17th and 18th centuries. Nestled among the various Bach, Vivaldi, and Handel pieces was this thing called Kanon, by some dude whose name sounded like Taco Bell. I thought it was remarkable.

Fast forward a decade or so and suddenly this song, the Canon in D, by Pachelbel, is everywhere; on commercials, in elevators, and, most regrettably, at every freakin' wedding for the last twenty years. With that kind of exposure it's lost a good deal of its charm.

Around the beginning of this year an otherwise anonymous guitarist calling himself funtwo put a video of himself playing the Canon on his electric guitar up on YouTube. His video has since been viewed nearly 7.5 million times. The video identified the arrangement as being by somebody called JerryC.

JerryC, it turns out, is a 25 year old Taiwanese guitarist who has been listening to the Canon since he was a child. Last year he set out to teach himself to play the piece on electric guitar, which he accomplished in two weeks, transcribing it is tabs as we went. He videotaped himself playing the piece sitting on his bed and uploaded the video to a website he'd set up for his band, to widespread acclaim (his video is also at YouTube). He followed this up by posting the tabs he'd transcribed on the web, as well. Soon guitarists everywhere were teaching themselves to play it, among them funtwo, who, it turns out, is a 23 year old Korean.

There are now dozens of different guitarists with their Canon versions posted at YouTube. Most have emulated JerryC, playing while sitting on their beds. The quality is uneven, but some are superb. I particularly like Symheris and Nick B. Check 'em out, but be prepared to get stuck there for awhile, and to get a searing guitar playing the dreaded Canon in D stuck in your head for a few days.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Summer in the City

Ah yes, I just gotta grab on to this fad of "creating" posts by linking to Youtube. So here you go, one of the greatest summer time songs by one of the sixties' greatest pure pop groups.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The World Alert Map

Here's a web site to remind you, should you start thinking that things aren't as bad as they seem, that somewhere in the world they're actually worse.

Via Erik of The Generik Blog.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Jason Kendall tonight has perfectly encapsulated his season for the A's; three singles in three at bats with nobody on base, ground into a double play with the bases loaded. Has there ever been a more useless .275 hitter?

Is This the Generation Gap?

The other night while we were watching the Pink Floyd Australian concert on PBS, my daughter said, in the midst of the "Money" guitar solo, that sometimes guitar solos just go on for too long.

Her reeducation takes place this weekend. A little dose of "Live at Fillmore East," followed by "Loan me a Dime" and "Europa" ought to set her straight. Any other suggestions?

But Who Will Show Them How to Get it in Their Mouths?

I remember the first time I saw ready-to-serve tomato soup, "with the milk already added!", in the grocery store I thought, "that's perfect, the perfect product for those who haven't mastered adding milk to tomato soup." Punkass Marc has a similar, though longer, reaction to Oscar Mayer's latest hot dog product.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

No-Hit Lore

During the first six innings of the Yankees-White Sox game last night the announcers repeatedly mentioned that Randy Johnson, who was then on track to pitch a no-hitter, was the last pitcher to complete a no-hitter in the major leagues, a perfect game he pitched against the Braves while a member of the Dianmondbacks on May 18, 2004. That got me wondering if anybody had ever pitched two no hitters with no other pitchers getting one in between them.

The obvious candidate to have pulled this off was of course Johnny Vander Meer, who pitched no hitters in consecutive starts for the Cincinnati Reds against the Boston Bees on June 11 (3-0) and the Brooklyn Dodgers on June 15, 1938 (6-0). In fact, nobody else did pitch a no-hitter between those two starts. Vander Meer was not the only pitcher to pull this off, though, nor was he the first or even the last. The first was the Washington Naps' Addie Joss, who no-hit the Chicago White Sox 1-0 on October 2, 1908 and again on April 20, 1910, with no other no-hitters being pitched in between. Next to pull it off was Vander Meer, followed by the Yankees' Allie Reynolds, who downed the Cleveland Indians 1-0 on July 12, 1951, then no-hit the Boston Red Sox (Yessssss!) 8-0 in the first game of a double header on September 28, 1951.

The following year, Virgil Trucks (who?), pitching for the Tigers, no hit the Senators 1-0 on May 15 and the Yankees 1-0 on August 25, so nobody else in the American League had a no-hitter between his two, but Carl Erskine of the Dodgers no-hit the Cubs on June 19. Next up was Warren Spahn, who pitching for the Milwaukee Braves at age 39 on September 16, 1960, no-hit the Phlllies 4-0 and the following year no-hit the Giants, 1-0, on April 28, five days after his 40th birthday. Sandy Koufax pitched no hitters on June 30, 1962, beating the Mets 5-0, and on May 11, 1963 against the Giants, winning 8-0, but two American League pitchers had no-hitters between those.

The last pitcher to pull this off was, quite aptly, Nolan Ryan, who, pitching for the Angels, no-hit the Royals 3-0 on May 15 and exactly two months later no-hit the Tigers, 6-0. Because he was Nolan Ryan, he did it again, still pitching for the Angels when he no-hit the Twins, 4-0, on September 28, 1974, and the Orioles, 1-0, on June 1, 1975. And that was it, nobody else has done it in more than 30 years.

(For more no-hitter info, check out Wikipedia and the Baseball Almanac.)

Finally, What I Think of Lebanon

Being one of the lesser liberal blogs, I've finally just now received my kos/atrios email instructing me that I can comment on the Israel-Hezbollah war (and oh, let me pause right here to correct a common misimpression of bloggers on the right - we don't get those memos from kos AND atrios. I mean, come on, we're liberals but even we're not that inefficient; we've learned some things since the 60s. We've got email trees now and the tree splits just above those two eminences. I can't tell you who our grand liberal overlord is, but his first name is angelic and his last name is full of accent marks. And I would never reveal who my contact is; let's just say he's a generik blogger.) So, with that out of the way, here goes:

I wish Hezbollah, a paramilitary proto-terrorist organization based in southern Lebanon, hadn't lobbed missiles into northern Israel, killing dozens of innocent Israeli citizens, including, of coursem women and children. I really wish Israel, a sovereign nation that's "our strongest ally and the only democracy in the middle east" (I'm sorry - my paper has become badly smudged over the years and the headings are unreadable; that may have been a wingnut and not a moonbat talking point. If it is, just mentally delete everything that comes after "nation."), hadn't responded to that by bombing cities, bridges, agricultural workers, and refugees throughout southern Lebanon, killing hundreds of civilians and destroying so much of the nation's infrastracture that the Lebanese have spent years rebuilding after the last time the Israelis destroyed it. (I'm just spitballing here, but it almost seems as if Israel wanted to make sure that any Lebanese who have been born or come of age after the end of its most recent occupation of Lebanon were aware that Israel must be their eternal enemy.) And I really really really wish that the President of the United States and the empty skirt sitting at Foggy Bottom possessed any kind of moral compass at all and would lean on Israel to cease making war on the people and nation of Lebanon for the actions of Hezbollah.

I also wish that Reuters photographers would not doctor their photos to give the impression that Israeli warplanes are firing three rockets when they're really firing only one and to give the impression that the shelling of Beirut has left the city under roiling clouds of black smoke when the smoke is really gray. And I really really wish that Israeli warplanes weren't firing rockets at Beirut in the first place, leaving the city under roiling clouds of smoke of any color.

That is all for now. Back to triviana.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Nothing Better to do with my time

This is as trivial as you can get and ideally I should have saved it to post two years from today, anyway (though who wants to take the chance that I would forget to do so?), but I always thought this was pretty cool: Eighteen years ago, on August 8, 1988, Jose Canseco led the major leagues with 88 RBI.

You could look it up.
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