Tuesday, October 04, 2011

New music (not new music) and Nessie (not Nessie)

While scrounging through some music CDs on a recent visit to my parents' home, I was surprised to find a Katy Perry CD. No, no, I said. This is not possible. My parents like old 1950s music, not Katy Perry. Katy Perry is too hip. Even I don't have a Katy Perry CD! How could my parents have one? This must be an episode of the Twilight Zone.

But no, it was reality. My mom says that she heard Katy sing "Firework" on TV and enjoyed the song so much that she bought the CD. It's far different from 1983, when I would have to beg for $1.69 to buy a 45 rpm single. Now, they just go out and buy the whole CD. As mentioned before, I don't know where you would even buy a music single these days. Today, if you don't use itunes, you just go out and buy the whole CD. I'm thankful my parents (and I) are in a position to do such things.

My trip home also gave me some exposure to some new music artists that I wanted to share with you (In this case, "new" means I'd never heard of them before, which means they've probably been around for several years. So I beg of your patience if you've already got five albums by these folks. I just enjoy what I enjoy, and here's some of what I enjoy). For examples of their work, the easiest option is just to watch them on YouTube. I'll also list a few music artists that I have more recently discovered elsewhere.

1. JACKIE EVANCHO. Like many others, I heard the voice and thought it belonged to a great operatic singer who'd been at the met for years. But no, it belonged to a little girl who hadn't really known of her talent until she began to sing along to the movie version of "The Phantom of the Opera." Jackie Evancho is a great singer for all ages and I enjoyed her recent PBS special.

2. STRAIGHT NO CHASER. These guys, like their suits, are very cool - they demonstrate that vocal harmony is very vital to musical success. I really enjoyed their show as well. Check out their Youtube videos for "Africa" and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." Great stuff.

3. MUSIC GO MUSIC. If you like Abba, you'll like them. They also use harmony to their advantage.

4. LA ROUX. Speaking of Abba, synth music plays a key role for La Roux as well. If you enjoy the single "Bulletproof", you'll enjoy their debut album.

In other music news, I was saddened to hear of the breakup of R.E.M. While it may be true that they've reached the "peak", it's just as true that we enjoyed having them there. Like many great bands, their best work is classic, and their mediocre work isn't too painful. As one of the band members once said, they have been able to do things their own way. That's a blessing for them. The fact that we liked it so much was a blessing for us.

What is not much of a blessing is the recent bankruptcy and closing of Borders bookstores. Remember my posts about making your own music CDs at Borders? Well, forget them! I believe it's still possible at some FYI stores, but none of them are near me, and it's just too much of a hassle to do it any other way but online. Nothing wrong with that per se - I just like to have options. It's like the idea of the Post Office closing on Saturdays. I understand the need to save money - but I don't like the idea of losing the option of mailing things on a Saturday. And I liked the option of making my own music cDs in a store. I'm obviously not against the Internet at all - but I hate to think of a world where there are no other options.


NESSIE SPOTTED IN UTAH: I took a very rare (for me) business trip recently which gave me the chance to fly over Nevada and parts of Utah. As I looked out the window, I saw several large lakes. In one of these lakes, I noticed a white object swimming in the lake which appeared to have at least three long legs behind it. A giant white squid? As I watched, I remembered the picture of the "Loch Ness Monster" that was reported on Google earth & that I had blogged about in the past. This creature looked almost exactly like it! A little while later, we flew over another lake, and I saw several more monsters that looked almost exactly the same! Wow! I must be the luckiest guy in the world!

Uh, no. They were boats. Clearly they were boats. And as I remembered the Nessie Google earth image, I can't believe nobody (including myself) ever positively identified it as a white boat with wakes flowing to the side and behind it! Surely people who do a lot of flying would have been able to say, "It's a white boat. That's how they look from an airplane." I guess it's just so much fun to believe in the Loch Ness monster that we overlook obvious solutions in favor of what we want to see. I kind of liked the idea of Nessie swimming butt-first in protest of everyone trying to bug her all the time.

Here's one site that got it right:



QUICK THANKS: To the few (and I do mean few) of you who know about all the garbage I'm going through right now, thank you for your continued prayers and/or good vibes. They are much appreciated, as are you.


PAST MINUTES: In keeping with our "all Carolyne Heldman all the time" mantra, I'd like to point out a new webpage dedicated to the MTV show "120 Minutes," which Carolyne hosted a few times. (Check out the year 1988 in the archives for a playlist from an episode that she hosted). They're seeking contributors (and so am I), so if you happen to have a video of an older episode, please contact them, and then contact me. :) I have a little bit of footage to trade with.