Archive for New York Times

Rakim, minus Eric B., of course, but not all by himself

Posted in Journalism, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2018 by macmystery

https://www.npr.org/templates/event/embeddedVideo.php?storyId=622595890&mediaId=622597776

While procrastinating late Monday night, as I so often do when I have a viable writing topic, I found myself listening to music.

It’s not an uncommon activity in my life. A large percentage of my disposable income (and a lot that should have never been disposable) has been spent on music, not to mention my time, both disposable and indisposable, as well. Concerts, records, tapes, CDs, road trips.

But I’ll admit that over the last few years of my marriage, which LEGALLY ended in 2016, aside from time spent in the car, music had all but disappeared from my life. And maybe that should have been a sign. But that’s another story for another day.

Anyway, as I said, I was listening to music, something I do again, typically late at night. A strange mix … Dierks Bentley, the Cowboy Junkies, Henry Mancini, Metallica and Dave Brubeck. (I’ll admit, there was 10 minutes of George Carlin mixed in there, as well.)

I was listening to this strange mix as I put off writing something more substantial than my Facebook post from earlier Monday evening about former two-time National League Most Valuable Player and longtime Atlanta Braves standout Dale Murphy. Ironically, I’m still going to write that post, but it’ll be another day now, at least.

That’s because, while perusing Facebook, I came upon the New York Times story (How an Affair Between a Reporter and a Security Aide Has Rattled Washington Media) about the relationship between its reporter Ali Watkins and a man who handled security for many years for the Senate Intelligence Committee.

So, of course I was going to write about that. Being a former journalist — being a former journalist is like being a former Marine … there’s no such thing — the story presents some interesting and frustrating dilemmas during a time when the press is badly needed, as well as badly maligned.

And then Rakim happened.

Someone I know from high school, a lifetime ago, had shared the latest installment of National Public Radio’s Tiny Desk Concert. Featured for June 25, 2018 was Rakim, initially, at least, of Eric B. & Rakim fame.

I’ll admit it. Aside from straight up classical music, the least represented major genre in my music collection is rap. Or hip-hop, if you will. Old school Run D.M.C., some Sir Mix-A-Lot, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar … but not much else. A lot of it doesn’t interest me. A lot of it I respect but simply don’t enjoy.

I have read a lot about Rakim. But I haven’t listened a lot to Rakim.

But I did Monday night.

And I was treated to 9 minutes and 37 seconds of brilliance that maybe I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for 30 years ago, when Eric B. and Rakim were on top of their game. Kind of the same way I have a different appreciation for jazz now than I did as a young man.

And in a lot of ways, comparatively, Rakim’s style is jazz, at least vocally. His lyrics and voice are his instrument, and while aggressive, he is not necessarily loud and not in a hurry. Much as Willie Nelson brought jazz phrasing and guitar to his otherwise solid country gold lyrics, Rakim in some ways does the same thing.

It’s evident with the live band, rather than a DJ, backing him in the small NPR studio. The musicians are tight and work infectious grooves through three songs, allowing Rakim’s lyrics to shine as his instrument.

I was impressed. I had a moment, really. Usually, though, it’s when I hear something new that blows me away. I am admittedly not used to, at this point in my life, hearing songs more than two decades old, performed by the original artists, that pique my interest so completely.

My son, Dylan, possibly in the wrong place at the wrong time, can attest. He walked in the room in a moment of boredom after his computer crashed, expecting to wander in and wander out.

Instead he was detained by me and forced to surrender 9:37 of his evening, too, to sit and watch this Tiny Desk Concert. Not surprisingly, to me, he found himself, like I did, enjoying the video, foot tapping and hands popping.

The final two songs of Rakim’s three-song set, were “Paid In Full” and “Know The Ledge,” … classics and songs I will now seek out. But they followed “King’s Paradise,” a song released a few days ago and featured in Season 2 of Marvel’s Luke Cage on Netflix.

“King’s Paradise” is Rakim’s first new release in a decade. Suddenly, seemingly, I’m hoping it’s not his last.

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Save My Love

Posted in Music with tags , , , on November 1, 2010 by macmystery

Bruce Springsteen’s new video for the song “Save My Love” from The Promise, the soon-to-be-released collection of outtakes from the Darkness on the Edge of Town sessions was posted on Monday by the New York Times.

Sunday night election smorgasbord

Posted in Odd, Politics, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2008 by macmystery
Sensing the campaign is sinking with 10 days before the election, the Republicans have replaced John McCain with what they hope is a superior candidate, a cardboard cutout of McCain.

Sensing the campaign is sinking with 10 days before the election, the Republicans have replaced John McCain with what they hope is a superior candidate, a cardboard cutout of McCain. When asked, the RNC responded, "Hey, it's worked with Keanu Reeves' acting career."

Since I don’t want to make 100 different posts, I figured I could bunch all of this in one big one.

First, if you buy the rhetoric from the right, it’s only natural that virtually every newspaper in the country would endorse Barack Obama and Joe Biden. That crafty, slimy, liberal mainstream media! (If there was a sarcasm font, I’d use it here)

Back to reality, it might interest most that far more papers in this country endorsed Bush than Al Gore. Oops. There goes that theory/right-wing talking point/pile of horse shit. In addition, I work at a paper that would endorse Mussolini over Jesus Christ if the Italian were a Republican and the messiah a Democrat.

But you’d think McCain and Palin might get a break from the biggest paper in Palin’s state, a Republican stronghold.

Nope.

The Anchorage Daily News endorsed Obama/Biden. Just for kicks, here’s a link to the Fox News blog reporting the endorsement. As if the story isn’t interesting enough, try reading the Fox News readers comments at the end of the blog post. If the comments seem remotely rational to you, please get help as soon as possible, for your safety and others.

Next, speaking of endorsements, former White House press secretary Scott McClellan, a President Bush ally-turned-enemy, endorsed Obama on D.L. Hughley’s new CNN show on Sunday night.

And sticking with endorsements, here’s one you don’t want: Al-Qaeda. More bad news for McCain. Here’s a news item and here’s a New York Times piece on why it makes sense. Take it with a grain of salt.

So Sarah Palin’s hairstylist is the highest paid person on the McCain campaign team, making twice as much as his foreign policy adviser? Haven’t they learned you get what you pay for?

Rush Limbaugh … what a piece of work … he first says that Obama really wasn’t in Hawaii visiting his ailing grandmother, but instead was on some secret mission to cover up birth certificate fraud, or something almost as absurd.

Then, in nearly the same breath, he criticizes Obama for not going to visit granny sooner. Well, Rush, if she wasn’t ill, why would he have needed to leave earlier? I wonder if Rush wears his brownshirt to bed at night, or only under his white sheet at Saturday night get togethers.

And last but not least, something fun.

Sarah Palin dropped the puck at another NHL game this week. This time in St. Louis. There were some boos, but nothing like in Philly, the armpit of classiness in America. (Not that, admittedly, I wouldn’t have booed.) For the most part, St. Louis fans were like they always are, polite and enthusiastic.

But maybe she ought to not go back to St. Louis for a while. Goalie Manny Legace caught his skate on the carpet laid on the ice for Palin and injured his ankle. He departed Friday’s game after surrendering two goals in the first period and didn’t return. The Blues fell to the L.A. Kings, 4-0.

Legrace didn’t play in Saturday’s game. The team doesn’t know how long he’ll be out.