Saturday, January 30, 2010

A little melancholy this Saturday afternoon. Having some rare alone time, listening to the classic Turandot recording with Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti and Montserrat Caballe. Went to the library today and got a number of CDs: two Kiri te Kanewa aria collections (Greatest hits and Puccini), a complete Carmen (with Tatiana Troyanos, Placido Domingo and te Kanewa), and a recording of Die Dreigroschenoper (Three Penny Opera) done in the Weimar days in Germany (1929-1931). This last most is very intriguing. I'm not sure yet if it is a complete recording in the sense of it having a self-contained cast and conductor, or if it is a patchwork complete recording, or just highlights. But both Lotte Lenya AND Marlene Dietrich are featured. I look forward to finding that out. I also checked out Philip Norman's new biography of John Lennon, published in 2008. I am very curious to see what information Norman mined that was not available when, say, Ray Coleman wrote his "definitive" Lennon biography about 2o years ago. (Don't even ask me about Albert Goldman's hatchet job.) Here is a link to Amazon's page on this new Lennon bio.

Speaking of Lennon, I just finished reading the 2005 Beatles memoir by Tony Bramwell, "Magical Mystery Tours." He was apparently one of those hangers-on that became acquainted with the band in 1960, and stuck with them the majority of the time between then and the break-up 10 years later. He painted a picture of himself as being indispensable to the group for the most part--accompanying various Beatles on their various excursions. He also, according to his own account, perhaps even more indispensable to Brian Epstein. No reason to dispute it. (It was interesting to note that one of Bramwell's few appearances in Beatle filmdom is as one of the placard-wearers in the All You Need Is Love live video broadcast.) Bramwell's anecdotes are amusing, but he nearly lost me when he revealed a virulent hatred toward Yoko Ono -- a level of bitterness that may have been common in the immediate aftermath of the breakup, but inexplicable as recent as 2005, if you ask me. Bramwell hated Allen Klein too, naturally -- calls him a monster -- but saves his strongest language for Yoko.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

So the news is full of reports and images of Sam Alito mumbling "Not True" during the State of the Union address last night. He reacted in response to Obama's lambasting of the Supreme Court for their historic ruling last week that allows corporations unlimited power to contribute to campaigns. Ah, but was Alito responding to the President's dressing down, or to the portion of the speech that referred to foreign corporations?

Regardless, why are people up in arms about the lack of civil behavior in Congress? Joe ""You Lie!" Wilson wasn't proof enough of what congressional Republicans are all about? Get used to it. You know what the main difference between Democrats and Republicans are? There are two I'm concerned with tonight: 1) The Dem's #1 objective is to address the country's issues. The GOP's #1` objective is to screw the Democrats any which way. 2) The Republicans are much better at their #1 objective than the Democrats are at theirs. (Sure, the Democrats don't mind scraping the Republicans against it given the opportunity, and tending to the country is at least a high 2nd in priority for the GOP, but both objectives are still secondary.) And that's why we are where we are today, with the GOP returning to relevance in Washington both from their own gains and characteristic Democratic enabling. The one bright side? It's still 9 months till the midterms, and there is still plenty of time for the GOP to do themselves in by way of their own arrogance as they did in 06 and 08.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Start Me Up

I had a New Year's resolution I didn't know I had -- to start a blog for the first time ever. Leave it to me to submit to late '90s cyber-expression here in 2010. But here I am. Hello. Let's see what comes of this. Journal? Maybe. Diary? Not for the stuff I don't want to make public. Movie review? Sure -- that's one of my chief motivations for finding a venue to spew forth, blog-style. Sports? Yeah. Too late to comment on the 49ers 2009 season, trying to ignore yet another Warriors washout season (Sell, Cohan! Sell! Sell! Sell! Please!!), and oh, we're just weeks away from Giants Spring Training.

Getting late. Signing off for now.