Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Saw this ‘Irrational Element Table’ just now and it made the iced tea come up my nose!

The Periodic Table of Irrational Nonsense!


For the full interactive version, click here!

I love nerd humour!

Thanks to the amazing Crispian Jago for this gem.



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Just in time for Halloween!

I ran across Marilyn Manson’s video of “Tainted Love”…

A lovely Halloween treat which is, of course, Manson’s cover of the 80’s classic.

For those who like to compare and contrast, I give you the 1981 video by Soft Cell.

But the version by Soft Cell is, in itself, a cover of the song.

Gloria Jones recorded the original version of “Tainted Love” in 1965, which was written and produced by Ed Cobb.


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Saw this disturbing article the other day at the Telegram.co.uk…

Chinese toddler’s karaoke tantrum ends in bloodbath

Now before you have visions of berserk toddlers going on a murderous rampage, let me assure you that is not the case. Well, at least not here.

(Somebody is NOT happy!)

It was more like…

“Toddler’s refusal to give up the microphone during a

family karaoke evening started a quarrel that left

two men hacked to death with a meat cleaver!”

(Are you ready to rumble??)

OK, here’s what happened. A couple were celebrating the Qixi Festival (i.e. China’s Valentine’s Day), with a singing session at a local karaoke parlour. So far, so good. Trouble starts when the parents’ four-year-old son hogs the karaoke mike and the doting parents were indulging him. [1]

(Beijing… we have a problem)

Mayhem ensues when two of the karaoke kid’s uncles berate the father for having raised such a spoiled child;  a “Little Emperor”, as the Chinese say [2]. Push literally comes to shove, then shoving proceeds to punching. A nephew grabs a meat cleaver and hacks the uncles to death.

(The problem solver)

Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. Karaoke-related violence is a real problem in the East.

Other karaoke massacres have taken place in the Philippines, where the Frank Sinatra song ‘My Way‘ has had to be removed from many songbooks after sub-standard renditions provoked a string of killings.

(Clearly a trouble-maker)

In Thailand, meanwhile, a man shot eight of his neighbours, including his brother-in-law, after tiring of their tuneless reprisals of John Denver’s ‘Country Roads.’

(An incitement to violence)

In the United States, a woman punched a man for continuing to sing Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’ after she had told him he was not up to the task.

(It would have driven Mother Teresa to violence)

In her defence… it WAS a karaoke version of Coldplay’s ‘Yellow!’

Ghandi would have punched this guy out!


[1] NB: Karaoke is taken very seriously, not just in China but throughout Asia.

[2] There is no shortage of criticism inside China for the bad behaviour of the Little Emperors, the children raised under the strict one-child policy and doted on by their parents and grandparents.

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Yes, I admit it. I am a Fanilow.

In fact, I’ve been one since the days I dated my first real girlfriend, LK, who also liked many of Barry Manilow’s songs. [1]

This was in the sunny, wonderful, joy-filled era before disco music cast a pall over the otherwise civilized world in the late 70’s.

And this very cultural tragedy forms, for me, the clear demarcation line in the Manilow Songbook.

1977 reared its ugly head and spit the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack at us, infecting our ears. The Brothers Gibb pounded disco into our brains. It was as relentless as it was repulsive.

But, I consoled myself, there is always Manilow… the romantic crooner… the master of the love song… the one who writes the songs that make the whole world sing.

E tu, Barry?

Even a betrayal of this magnitude was not enough to shake my love of his love songs.

I adopted a strict policy of active ignorage. I simple refused to acknowledge that Barry Manilow had anything to do with the song ‘Copa Cabana’ or other such musical abominations.

And yet, however dark a year 1977 was, for me the silver lining was that the year ended with Barry Manilow’s ‘Just Another New Years Eve’…

…a song I’ve sung to myself on each of the 35 New Years Eves since.

So yes… I am a Fanilow. Listening to ‘Weekend in New England’ is my idea of a good time.

And to this day, every once in a while I will put on an old Manilow love song… and maybe I’ll even sing along…

“And maybe the old songs will bring back the old times,” if even for a few minutes.

His music was such a part of me for so many years… and still is.

And yet to a part of me, he will always be that skinny, awkward Jewish kid at the piano. [2]

It makes him even more likeable… and me an even bigger Fanilow!


[1] I’d gone on dates before LK but she was my first official ‘going steady’ girlfriend.

[2] Barry Manilow (Barry Alan Pincus) born June 17, 1943.

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Until last year, I had never heard of the band Finger Eleven.

There is a song they did (Paralyzer) that does, however, sound familiar to me.

But the name ‘Finger Eleven’ did not become burned into my memory until one lovely Sunday afternoon when my dear friends Ray, JM and JM’s son were enjoying a lazy lunch at Mossimo’s, a local pizza place.

As sometimes happens, the topic rolled around to music and bands and who was on tour and what was coming to Toronto, Hamilton or Buffalo. We chatted about the bands we’ve seen and the concerts we’d attended.

It was about the point – mid-pizza, I would say – that JM’s son mentioned the band Finger Eleven.

The reaction was swift and severe.

“F#@k Finger Eleven!” Ray shouted.

Mossimo’s ground to a halt.

The three of us froze for a moment, shocked into silence and a bit stunned.

JM and I then burst our laughing. Poor JM’s son was still nonplussed which, of course, only made me and JM laugh even harder.

Ray, as always, put on his customary boyish smile, grabbed a piece of pizza and ate, enjoying the reaction to his over-reaction.

It is too easy these days to lose friends. Ray and JM are too important to me. I don’t want us to drift apart and find out that several months have gone by without one of us reaching out to the other, even to get together for a coffee.

So that is why, ever since that lazy Sunday afternoon, Ray and I have used “F#@k Finger Eleven!” (or FF11 for short) as a kind of rallying cry. It makes for a nice text message and is a fun way for us to keep track of each other and to remind ourselves of who our friends are.


Finger Eleven is a Canadian rock band from Burlington, Ontario, formed in 1989.[1] They have currently released five studio albums, with their album The Greyest of Blue Skies bringing them into the mainstream. The 2003 self-titled album achieved Gold status in the United States and Platinum in Canada, largely from the success of the single “One Thing“, which marked the band’s first placing on the US Hot 100 Chart at number 16. Their 2007 album Them vs. You vs. Me launched the single “Paralyzer“, which went on to top numerous charts including the Canadian Hot 100 and both US rock charts, as well as reaching #6 on the US Hot 100 and #12 on the Australian Singles Chart. They won the Juno Award for Rock Album of the Year in 2008.[2] (Wikepedia)

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Frankly, I blame it on the Bossa Nova.

I was eight years old in 1963, the year Eydie Gormé had a big hit with a song by the same name.

(JFK just before assassination)

Shortly thereafter, America experienced two events that shook the nation to its core… the Kennedy Assassination and the Beatles’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

(The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show)

The Fifties ended in Dallas on November 22, 1963. The Sixties began in New York City on February 9, 1964.

America and the world would never be the same.

Now, I like Eydie Gormé. I grew up listening to Steve & Eydie. I am a huge fan. And I am sure if she knew the strife and upheaval that would be unleashed upon the world by the release of that fateful song, she would never have done it.

How could she have had any idea that future generations would condemn her as the spark that set everything ablaze?

She had no idea. She couldn’t have.

(The face of innocence)

That is why I must stand up and with a clear, strong voice pledge my unwavering support for Eydie Gormé.

And to those detractors and haters who looked to blame her for the ills that beset the country for the next ten years, they get nothing from me except the pursed lips and the censorious glance.

Eydie Gormé is not responsible for what happened to JFK, despite crackpot conspiracy theorists who place her on the grassy knoll. She is not to blame for talking Ed Sullivan into booking the Beatles, whose music rotted the minds of our youth and left them defenceless against the ‘British Invasion’, rock music and ultimately to LSD, madness and death. I don’t hold her personally responsible, as so many others do, for the Tet Offensive, the Watergate burglaries and Kent State.

I don’t blame you, Eydie.

I blame it on the Bossa Nova.

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I love baroque music. Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Purcell. I can’t get enough!

I think one of the first pieces of baroque music I heard as a kid was Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, probably as a cartoon soundtrack.

When I was in college and later on when I was working, it seemed that Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons was everywhere.

In law school, my internal soundtrack was Bach’s The Brandenburg Concertos.

I must confess that in recent years, I don’t listen to baroque music as much as I’d like. Not sure why. I guess part of it has to do with the fact that all of my baroque music was on cassette tapes. Never did get around to buying any of it on CDs.

Whenever I do hear it, it lifts my spirits and transports me to another world.

When I was in high school, it began to dawn on me that baroque music, especially Bach’s fugues (e.g. his ‘Little’ Fugue [G minor])… was math. It was as if someone had taken a chalkboard full of mathematical figures and made it audible. By this time in my life, I was able to read and play music so in addition to hearing the math, I was able to see the math charted in the musical scores.

They say that over time, an artist will stop seeing the world as others see it and begin to view things in terms of planes and perspectives. I think that’s what happened to me at some point. Baroque music stopped being simply wonderful melodies and counter-melodies, themes repeated and overlapping one another… but became instead a fascinating arrangement of numerals and decimals, interweaving to produce a breathtaking result.

While you couldn’t pay me enough to live in Europe between 1600 and 1750, the music of that era sure was outstanding!

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