Friday, April 29, 2022

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines


It’s Spring and that means time to fire up the lawnmower. Unless you’re like me and sold it as part of a moving sale … 

In any case knowledge of all things mechanical is always interesting and potentially useful, and this video includes tips on the proper way to tip over your lawnmower. If you’ve ever tipped it over to the spark plug side — to drain fuel for winter storage, sharpen the blade, clean the bottom, etc — you quickly learn that was the wrong side to tip it over to when oil fouls the plug.

How to Tip Over Your Lawnmower

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Re-watching “Mad Men”


Ever since I watched “Mad Men” during its original run I have wanted to watch it again, from the beginning, to fill in more of the details I had missed due to starting in season 2, or 3 (or maybe it was late in season 1).

But it wasn’t important enough to pay for the privilege. Then recently I discovered a way to watch it for free (see end of post for details). 

This show is so unique and I like almost everything about it:  the early 60s vibe and visual details, the straight ahead no-nonsense dialogue, the classic men’s look of suits and ties and white starched shirts, the focus on adults doing adult things in an adult world, the peek into the old school Madison Avenue advertising world, the period piece feel with glimpses of New York City and therefore America at its cultural peak during the transition from the Eisenhower 50s to the JFK early 60s, before the decline that started with the JFK assassination in 1963 and continued with Vietnam, social unrest, riots, more assassinations, Watergate, impeachment/resignation, rampant inflation, etc.

I suppose whether that was a cultural peak or not is up for debate. Feels that way to me.

One of the many solid actors on the show is Robert Morse, who played Bert Cooper, one of the owners of the advertising firm, and who passed away on April 21 at age 90.

He was a bit of a character, an oddball really, especially for a managing partner. But this served as a useful counterweight to the relentless intensity of the Don Draper character. 

Morse originally made his name by starring in the 1961 Broadway hit play How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (and winning a Tony Award for it), and in 1967 played the same role in the film version.

This Mad Men scene is hardly typical of the show, or Bert’s character, or Don’s. But it’s memorable and remarkable because it is so different. 

To watch it for free, create an account with IMDBtv and watch on the IMDBtv app or via Amazon Prime Video (which includes IMDBtv).

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Mid-AB Adjustments

Now that he’s on the Yankees Anthony Rizzo would normally be included on the list of players I do not care for — it’s just in my DNA, there’s nothing I can do about it.

But he’s a tremendous teammate and leader, and on his off days from the day job he personally visits sick and dying children through his foundation, with no fanfare or advance publicity. That’s a strong clue to his character.

Plus he lives forever immortalized in Cubs history for catching the final out of the 2016 World Series, and has saved countless errors for his teammates with some of the best glove work at first base that you will ever see.

And then on top of all that he is an extremely smart professional hitter.

Seems to me there are many major league hitters too stubborn and wedded to their particular approach, preventing them from making such mid-AB adjustments, even though that limits your opportunities to grow individually and help your team in important situations. 

Rizzo is also known for choking up with two strikes, especially with runners on base or with two outs, a common sense move that nearly all hitters were coached to use for decades but rarely use today. This is not progress. It should be standard practice, because it’s a team-first approach.

He ended up 3 for 4 with 3 HR, a walk and 6 RBI in the game in the video above, a great week for any player at any level.

Okay fine he may be a Yankee but I still love the guy … please don’t let this get around.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Linda Ronstadt Became a Huge Star Almost Overnight in the 1970s (part 3)

After several years on the road playing stadiums she got restless and decided to try show tunes, and auditioned for a Broadway play in 1981, “Pirates of Penzance” with Kevin Kline. She got the role and was nominated for a Tony award, because of course she was.

Then in the mid-80s she got restless and pivoted again — pivot #4 by my count — and recorded some high quality pop/jazz standards with Nelson Riddle and his Orchestra.

Here’s a good example, “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered” from her first such album. Not quite Ella Fitzgerald or Sarah Vaughn — very few singers are, of course — but still really good. 

“Am I Blue”, the type of song Frank Sinatra made famous, and she’s fantastic on it.

Listening to these two tunes makes it obvious that she had the voice to have made a whole career in that vein, which is saying something, because such songs rely heavily on pure vocal chops. 

Very few singers have ever made this transition successfully, after starting in a pop/rock style and being hugely successful there and filling stadiums, rather than starting with gospel/jazz/show tunes — I cannot think of a single one. Can you?

But she was not done pivoting yet — she released country/bluegrass/Americana albums as a trio with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, and traditional Mexican music which was part of her family heritage, and duets with Aaron Neville and Cajun musician and singer Ann Savoy. 

She says that everything she sang professionally was something she heard often, and sang with her family, before she was 10 years old.

This tells us that she was authentic to the core, because her entire career was a tribute to her love of singing instilled by her entire family as a young child. Could there be a better better way to create warm lasting memories from childhood than to sing traditional cultural music in harmony with your parents and siblings, and extended family? I cannot imagine one.

Sadly she was diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy after discovering that her voice was deteriorating, sometime in the 2000s. She’s still with us, and can talk, but stopped performing in 2009. She turns 76 this year on July 15.

A very good 2019 documentary “The Sound of My Voice” about her career — and the substantial career risks she took by going solo, then to arena rock, then to Broadway, then to torch songs, then to the trio with Dolly and Emmylou, then to traditional Mexican music — is very much worth watching, and she is immensely likeable in it.

Over these last few weeks as I have learned so much about her, my respect for her has grown quite a lot, as not just an unbelievably great singer but as an artist who refuses to be confined to one style of music and is driven to stretch and take chances, over and over and over again — and yet is somehow nearly perfect at all of it. I really cannot think of anyone else quite like her, male or female. 

Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Pretty Clever


Van Gogh Down by the River

Via the Twitter

I blogged about the famous original here.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Chicago Tunnels Forgotten History


Thirty years ago Chicagoans learned all about this forgotten tunnel system on April 13, 1992 when the Chicago River would start draining into it after a crew installing wooden pilings in the riverbed accidentally punched a hole through the ceiling of the tunnel system.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Laughter is the Best Medicine


Drew Carey absolutely slays in his first Tonight Show appearance (Nov ‘91).

Enjoy your weekend and don’t forget to hug your loved ones.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Steely Dan on VH1 Storytellers



First rate musicianship across the board … guitars, drums, and bass especially.

Plus Walter Becker’s overall vibe, with the jacket and tie and the way he moves while he plays guitar, and those background singers sound great and look even better.

The Q&A with the audience is pretty funny, especially when the entire audience laughs at the question about where the band’s name came from, since they were already in on the joke. This band has always had a unique bond with their audience and it shows here, it comes across like a group of old friends who all get all the jokes and obscure references. 

The first two tunes are among my favorite Dan records, Peg (4:05) and Kid Charlemagne (9:50)

It’s 45 minutes well spent.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Life Changes Coming Up


We’re moving out of state next week and as a result our life has been a little chaotic recently. 

Boxes everywhere, always more stuff to throw out, calling utilities and insurance companies and movers, organizing changes to every service imaginable.

In some ways that extra layer of chaos, change, and uncertainty is a good thing to distract us from the vague sense of dread that we are all starting to feel, increasing little by little as the days pass. It’s not paralyzing, but it’s there.

Right now, at 7:44am on Wednesday April 20, we’re at exactly T - 7 days on the countdown. 

We all know that the move itself is the best thing we can do for our own future and important things like being close to family and a lower cost of living and a more secure future. We’ve talked about it a lot, my wife and two (remaining) adult children and me, and we are 100% on board with the goal and long-term benefits of moving away from our longtime home base. 

But the things you know in your head sometimes fight with your emotions, which have a stubborn undeniable power over your world.

To add to all that, our two young adult sons will stay behind — one has already moved out but lives nearby and the other will live with him for the Summer — meaning that my wife and I become empty nesters at the same time we move 3 and 1/2 hours away. Still, this is good for them, and they know that, and need that and want that.

We’ve lived here for 22 years, raised our three kids here, made friends here, put down roots here. We’re “dug in” as the Kevin Kline character explained to his friends in The Big Chill. 

But now we’re choosing to dig in somewhere else, where the future lies, for multiple reasons. 

The next few months will be a challenge for all of us in multiple ways, and there will be some tough days and unexpected emotions that bubble up out of the blue, but out of such challenges we learn and grow and sometimes find unexpected delights too.

If you’re not on the path towards the future you see, what are you doing?

Monday, April 18, 2022

Joe Pesci Was a Musician Before He Hit the Big Screen


Actor Joe Pesci always wanted to be a singer, played guitar in several bands, and helped put The Four Seasons together? 

I did not know that!

As the video notes, when The Four Seasons received a Tony Award for “Jersey Boys” they invited Joe up on stage in recognition of his import role in their history — he was the guy that introduced Bob Gaudio to Frankie Valli.

Joe Pesci played guitar for several bands in the 60s — here he is on guitar in “Little People Blues” with Vincent & Pesci from 1972. Pretty good stuff.

“Vincent” is Frank Vincent who was also a skilled musician (drums, keyboards, trumpet) and found steady work as a studio musician for several years in the 60s before teaming up with Joe in their own group, first as a “lounge” musical act, then as a comedy act, then both comedy and music, until 1976. 

Both Frank and Joe appeared in a relatviely unknown movie in 1976 named “The Death Connection”. Robert DeNiro saw it and told Martin Scorcese about them, Scorcese cast Pesci in “Raging Bull” in 1980, and that was the big break he needed.

Frank Vincent also played in several movies with Pesci. In “Goodfellas”, Pesci whacked Vincent. In “Casino”, Vincent whacked Pesci. Vincent later played a major part in The Sopranos.You’ve probably seen him before — here’s the two of them together, from “Goodfellas”.

The Most Important Map in “American” History is from 1755


The man who created it is John Mitchell who was a physician and a botanist before being asked to consolidate various smaller regional and state maps, ship journals, etc into one comprehensive larger map.

It was apparently, according to this video, a factor in starting the French and Indian War due to its depiction of French forts in British territory. 

It even helped to start the Toledo War over the Ohio-Michigan border in 1835 by showing the southern end of Lake Michigan too far north — and those folks still hate each other.

Technically it’s a map that belongs in British history because it was commissioned by the Earl of Halifax and America was still just a set of British, French, and Spanish colonies.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About President Lincoln’s Assassination



Just about everyone knows that John Wilkes Booth shot the president at Ford’s Theatre during a play and then broke his leg jumping down onto the stage and escaped but was later cornered and killed.

But here’s ten things I’ll bet you didn’t know … (I also didn’t know a few of these until now):

  1. President Lincoln and his wife had seen Booth in a play at Ford’s Theatre in 1863
  2. Booth was leader of a sizable conspiracy (7 men) to kidnap President Lincoln 3 weeks prior to the assassination that failed when Lincoln changed plans 
  3. This kidnapping plot had been planned since mid-1864 and while it sounds crazy it was intended to offer Lincoln’s return in exchange for Confederate prisoners, after General Grant had stopped doing prisoner exchanges that year as a way to pressure the Confederate side since they were more manpower-constrained
  4. After the Confederates surrendered on April 9, 1865, Booth changed the plot to assassinate Lincoln and Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward on the same night to throw the entire Union government into chaos
  5. The attack on Vice President Johnson never materialized when the man who was supposed to kill him chickened out
  6. The attack on Secretary Seward did occur but also failed since he was only wounded 
  7. Booth encountered no resistance since the president’s bodyguard had abandoned his post… in other words the president of the United States, widely hated by the side that just surrendered after a bloody and divisive 4 year war, was out in public completely unprotected
  8. Booth broke his leg because he landed his entire body weight on his left foot after the boot spurs on his right leg got caught in the flag attached to the presidents box above the stage
  9. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant was invited to attend but backed out because Grant’s wife had “recently been the victim of Mary Todd Lincoln’s acid tongue and wanted no part of a night on the town with the first lady”
  10. The other 3 people in the president’s box were killed or committed to insane asylums over the next 20 years — Mary Todd Lincoln and Major Rathbone both committed, and Clara Harris killed by Rathbone, her husband

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Celebrating Al Green Who Turns 76 Today

Probably the only pastor in history with a great YouTube channel full of classic Soul and R&B that also includes a playlist named “Babymakers” — it’s a pretty good bet that there are people walking around today who were conceived while Al Green was playing in the background. 

The many videos available on YouTube clearly show how seeing Al Green live in the 70s was very close to a religious experience. 

Exhinit (A) is “Sha La La (Make Me Happy)” live on Soul Train … and holy smokes this is a hot performance (the audio and the mix isn’t great but you can just see and feel the temperature in the room).

Watch Al starting at 1:40 and listen to him hit that high note and sustain it at around 1:50.

Mesmerizing. This guy could teach a master class on working a crowd into a fever pitch from the stage.

His band is the legendary Hi Rhythm Section plus the Memphis horns of Stax records — and clearly they could lay down a groove. 

But as great as those guys were, Al Green’s success was clearly due to his incredible singing voice and pure charisma and dynamic personality on stage playing to a crowd. He’s got a ton of videos from shows like “Soul Train” and “The Midnight Special” and they’re all pretty much like this: hot.

Here’s the studio version which is more dynamic and cleaner musically.  

The whole album is great, and starts with this tune followed by “Take Me to the River”, one of his most iconic and well known songs.

Happy Birthday Al!

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

What is Juneteenth?

The U.S. government declared “Juneteenth” a new federal holiday in 2021 to commemorate June 19, 1865 when Union forces ordered Confederate dead-enders on the remote western frontier in Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation, i.e. the abolition of slavery in former slave states.

For symbolic meaning I would suggest that a far more important date in history would be April 9, 1865 when Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virgina surrendered at Appomattox, because that day changed the course of history as the clear “before vs. after” date that history pivots on. The Civil War was over — although it took several weeks for other generals of other state armies in the field to stop fighting, but that’s the nature of wars in the 19th century, well before Twitter.

That day ended 4 years of an ugly brutal war that split apart families, villages, regions and states with a level of red-hot violence and hatred that led directly to the assassination of President Lincoln just five days later. It was pivotal in American history — and in world history too. 

But it wasn’t really over, despite 600,000 war dead and a fractured society, because it took another 100 years to address the more intractable issue: institutionalized racism in the halls of power, especially the federal and southern state governments.

The list of ways that the U.S. Supreme Court in particular, along with the various southern state governments, dug in their heels against treating blacks like human beings is long, varied and painful to review, and even worse, stretches well over a century.

Three examples to illustrate the point.


Dred Scott vs Sandford in 1857 declared that all persons of African descent — not just slaves — are not entitled to any rights that citizens enjoy, by definition:

“… are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word 'citizens' in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States”

Well. Good to know. Here’s a good video explaining why the decision was so epically awful. 


The Reconstruction amendments (13th, 14th, and 15th) in the postwar years 1865-70, specifically the Citizenship Clause of the 14th, were intended to restate the founding principles of the country and overcome wrong-headed decisions like the above — but went unenforced and essentially ignored in southern states where they were needed the most. Who has Constitutional oversight to force states to comply with federal law? The Executive Branch of the federal government. But they did nothing, probably because there was in fact no real way to enforce federal law at that time.


Plessy vs Ferguson — settled in 1896, over 30 years after the end of the Civil War — could have put all that to rest but chose instead to enshrine the caste system of “separate but equal” as settled law. This single decision ratified the “Jim Crow laws” era and set the course for almost 70 more years of enforced segregation.

It was not until 1954 that segregation and “separate but equal” were finally recognized as illegal with “Brown vs. Board of Education” — but even that was not enough to pull the dead-enders forward into the 20th century, leading to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

So it took 100 more years after the war ended to accomplish what the Emancipation Proclamation set out to do.

Juneteenth as a holiday makes sense, perhaps, as a Texas day of remembrance — and was declared a state holiday for that purpose in 1980. 

But as a national holiday? 

The days we choose to memorialize as a culture become the stories we tell in the future, and it’s not really that I’m against telling the Juneteenth story as much as I’m wondering who’s going to tell the story about government denying rights to black people for another 100 years. That’s the story that needs telling.

For completeness here is the actual text of the order of June 19, 1865.

Head Quarters District of Texas
Galveston Texas June 19th 1865.
General Orders
No. 3.

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.

The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

By order of Major General Granger

Monday, April 11, 2022

Leo Kottke and Mike Gordon


Fans of acoustic guitar may know the name Leo Kottke who released an amazing, original and groundbreaking album named “6 and 12 String Guitar” in 1974. 

He’s widely recognized as a fingerpicking legend, especially on 12 string, and has carved out a legacy for himself because of it.

In the mid-2000s he teamed up with Mike Gordon, former Phish bass player, to make incredible and original music like this. 

They have released two albums together, “Sixty Six Steps” in 2005 and “Noon” in 2020 (from which the songs in above video are taken).

I’m more familiar with “Sixty Six Steps” so here’s a few tunes from that one.

“Rings”, instantly recognizable to me but not sure who did it originally … turns out it was Lobo from 1974.

“Living in the Country”

“Sweet Emotion”, the Aerosmith classic. Takes awhile to get going but I applaud the effort to do something different to make a well-known song their own.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

3 Point Shot Breaking the NBA?


This video explains the evolution of the impact of the 3-point shot in the NBA but despite the title, it only superficially discusses whether it is breaking the NBA or not.

Analytics drove this change when the management of the Golden State Warriors — in Silicon Valley, dontcha know — decided to pursue this style of play around 2008-09

The reason for emphasizing the three-pointer: to increase offensive efficiency as measured by points per 100 possessions.

By essentially replacing some two-pointers with three-pointers, especially if you can shoot well above 33% on those threes, you can squeeze more points from an equal number of possessions. It’s just math: shooting 50% on two pointers is the goal, so if you can shoot sbove 33% on threes you get more points for a given number of shots.

This de-emphasizes the mid-range and low-post game across the league, causing changes in who teams draft and what skill sets they want, which means those changes have already rippled through the college game too.

All of that is expected as a natural consequence of making the three-pointer the focal point of the offense. 

But as always there are unintended consequences, which can change things in radical and surprising ways, and some of that is definitely happening here.

The following are just my observations, the way the game looks different to me, and listed in order of importance for me personally: 

  • Creates stagnation and reduces cutting and player movement away from the ball — many if not most posessions are four or five guys all standing 20+ feet from the basket near the three point line, with little cutting or movement away from the ball 
  • Reduces offensive rebounding opportunities and the effort and attitude that goes with that, which makes teams more passive overall and results in a lot of boring “one and done” possessions where no offensive player is within 20 feet of the rebound
  • Defense becomes less of a factor since closely defending players 24 feet from the basket is risky
  • Creates potential over-reliance on outside shooting, which some days is just not there, as every fan already knows has always been a risk — but now it’s even bigger

All big negatives for me. Others may disagree and I get that, but as a fan I have strong preferences for a very active style of play with lots of movement away from the ball (back door cuts etc), strong defense and high levels of effort and “want to” especially on the boards — and if you take much of that away, and there’s a lot of standing around, I start to lose interest.

For me, and many others I suspect, it’s just become a much different and less appealing game, even if others like it the same or even more.

Saturday, April 09, 2022

Today in 1865: Gen. Robert E. Lee Surrenders, Ending U.S. Civil War explains.

In retreating from the Union army’s Appomattox Campaign, the Army of Northern Virginia had stumbled through the Virginia countryside stripped of food and supplies. At one point, Union cavalry forces under General Philip Sheridan had actually outrun Lee’s army, blocking their retreat and taking 6,000 prisoners at Sayler’s Creek. Desertions were mounting daily, and by April 8 the Confederates were surrounded with no possibility of escape. On April 9, Lee sent a message to Grant announcing his willingness to surrender. The two generals met in the parlor of the Wilmer McLean home at one o’clock in the afternoon.

Note the extremely generous terms of surrender:

Lee asked for the terms, and Grant hurriedly wrote them out. All officers and men were to be pardoned, and they would be sent home with their private property–most important, the horses, which could be used for a late spring planting. Officers would keep their side arms, and Lee’s starving men would be given Union rations.

Grant said “[The Rebels] were now our countrymen. We did not want to exult over their downfall”.

It’s very apparent from reading Grant’s account of the surrender in his memoirs that his immense respect for General Lee and their shared West Point heritage got in the way here:

… I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse. I do not question, however, the sincerity of the great mass of those who were opposed to us ...

We soon fell into a conversation about old army times. He remarked that he remembered me very well in the old army; and I told him that as a matter of course I remembered him perfectly, but from the difference in our rank and years (there being about sixteen years' difference in our ages), I had thought it very likely that I had not attracted his attention sufficiently to be remembered by him after such a long interval. Our conversation grew so pleasant that I almost forgot the object of our meeting. After the conversation had run on in this style for some time, General Lee called my attention to the object of our meeting, and said that he had asked for this interview for the purpose of getting from me the terms I proposed to give his army.

Five days later President Lincoln was assassinated. Grant won two terms as president starting in 1868 and was a key leader in the Reconstruction effort, which Johnson (Lincoln’s vice president) had resisted.

I’m a little surprised that this day is not more widely known, remembered, and commemorated since the U.S. Civil War was one of the bloodiest and ugliest wars in our history. 

Thursday, April 07, 2022

German Unification, Prussia, and Napoleon


Following on my earlier posts on Prussia and Napoleon this video on German unification from 1805-1918 ties those together and hints at how unbelievably chaotic that part of the world was throughout the 19th century.

As with all History Matters videos, it throws a lot of details at you very quickly, so on first viewing it’s more important to absorb the major themes, which the narrator provides in a helpful summary at the end.

For me, growing up the United States in the latter half of the 20th century, it’s nearly impossible to comprehend how tribal and fractured Europe has been since … well since forever really.

The path to The Great War (WWI) always seemed so haphazard and indecipherable to me, before learning about this backstory of near-constant war, tribal, national and religious alliances, shifting kingdoms and borders, treaties signed and violated every 20 years, culture shocks from the American and French Revolutions, and regional power struggles.

This video lays it all out — the stage for WWI was set for decades, if not centuries. 

The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand was more a symptom of all the prior conflict than a cause of the conflict that followed, and the messy balance of power that existed after the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 turned into absolute German dominance by the 1870s and 1880s. At that point it was just a matter of time.

My earlier posts on Napoleon and Prussia:

Wednesday, April 06, 2022

A Few Artworks by Raoul Dufy


Raoul Dufy was a French painter born in 1877 at Le Havre, Normandy who was part of the Post-Impressionism movement and helped push it in new directions by emphasizing even brighter, bolder colors than Van Gogh, Gaugin and others, eventually leading to the “Cubism” of Picasso and many others.

Homage to Claude Debussy, 1952


Boats at Martigues, 1908

The Racecourse of Deauville, 1950


Trouville, 1907


Tuesday, April 05, 2022

Ted Lasso and his Epic and Often Hilarious Quotes


Jason Sudeikis is Ted Lasso, an American football coach with a relentlessly positive can-do attitude and a “down home” demeanor who talks a mile a minute and smiles 24x7 — and also somehow gets hired to coach a British soccer team despite zero knowledge of the sport. 

The reason for that has to do with the new owner, a divorced woman named Rebecca who becomes owner as a result of the divorce and wants to make the team as horrible as possible to get back at her ex. Rebecca might need a life coach, not just a soccer coach.

It’s really an ensemble cast with several supporting characters, all of them developed and explored in some depth over the two seasons released so far, and almost all of them very likable. Except Nate. You’ll see why if you watch it.

It’s my favorite type of show: comedy with real human stories woven into it. Like real life: comedy and tragedy all mixed up in a stew.

    His quotes have become one of the centerpieces of the show. Here’s a list of 65 Ted Lasso quotes from which I pulled a “Top Twelve” of my own below.

    Since he’s a coach, the main themes are leadership and putting the team first, but he delivers them with self-deprecating humor so it hits a little different. 

    This video shows examples of his leadership.

    Some of the best scenes from season 1.

    He does a few quotes in every show and at first they catch you off-guard because they seem so random and odd but after a few episodes you start looking for them in anticipation. 

    Top Twelve Ted Lasso Quotes

    1. Taking on a challenge is a lot like riding a horse, isn't it? If you're comfortable while you're doing it, you're probably doing it wrong.
    2. I feel like we fell out of a lucky tree, hit every branch on the way down, ended up in a pool full of cash and Sour Patch Kids.
    3. Be honest with me. It's a prank, right? The tea? Like when us tourist folks aren't around, y'all know it tastes like garbage? You don't love it. It's pigeon sweat.
    4. On Rebecca attending team branding meetings: I always feel so bad for the cows, but you gotta do it; otherwise, they get lost. That was a branding joke. If we were in Kansas right now, I'd just be sitting here waiting for you to finish laughing.
    5. For me, success is not about the wins and losses. It's about helping these young fellas be the best versions of themselves on and off the field.
    6. If I didn't have any confidence, I never would've worn pajamas to my prom and ended up in jail the rest of that night.
    7. You two knuckleheads have split our locker room in half. And when it comes to locker rooms, I like 'em just like my mother's bathing suits. I only wanna see 'em in one piece, you hear?
    8. You know what the happiest animal on Earth is? It's a goldfish. Y'know why? It's got a 10-second memory. Be a goldfish.
    9. I'm not sure what y'all's smallest unit of measurement is here, but that's about how much headway I made.
    10. On scones: It's like a muffin, except it sucks all the spit out of your mouth.
    11. Boy, I love meeting people's moms. It's like reading an instruction manual as to why they're nuts.
    12. Guys have underestimated me my entire life. And for years, I never understood why. It used to really bother me. But then one day, I was driving my little boy to school, and I saw this quote by Walt Whitman, and it was painted on the wall there. It said, 'Be curious, not judgmental.' I like that.

    Monday, April 04, 2022

    Rick Beato Talks with Buck Dharma about “Don’t Fear the Reaper”


    More Cowbell !!

    I liked this song the first time I heard it upon its release in 1976 — that guitar riff is killer and it only gets better from there — and later of course the tune grew to legendary status when SNL cleverly came up with the “more cowbell” skit, which they discuss on the video.

    Buck Dharma — real name Don Roeser — looks great for a guy in his 50s, especially since he’s 74. 

    An interesting interview, and Don is likable. He was born in 1947 and his father was a jazz saxophonist so he heard a lot of jazz as a child, and then decided to become a musician when the British Invasion hit our shores in early 1964. He went to college for Chemical Engineering but dropped out to start the band that would become Blue Oyster Cult.

    For “Don’t Fear the Reaper” he wrote the riff, the lyrics, and arrangement, so this is all him. He even recorded the demo himself on a multi-track TEAC tape deck that he had just bought.

    Here’s the original. As Rick notes, the cowbell is much more buried in the mix and barely noticeable in the song itself, as we would expect; it was only the comedy skit that makes us now think it’s so prominent.

    The SNL skit.

    Sunday, April 03, 2022

    Reminder: It’s Good to be Alive


    Jason Gray is here to remind us of this important fact.


    We all need a reminder about that sometimes. 

    So right here right now
    While the Sun is shining down
    I wanna live
    Like there’s no tomorrow
    Like I’m on borrowed time
    It’s good to be alive

    We are always living and loving on borrowed time, we just don’t realize it.

    Friday, April 01, 2022

    At Daryl’s House to Hear the Live Music


    About ten years ago I discovered that Daryl Hall (of Hall and Oates) had a cool idea for a TV show: invite musician friends, old and new, to play music at his home just for fun. 

    “Live From Daryl’s House” was born in 2007 as internet-only but moved to cable in 2011 where I discovered it soon after. The best places to watch it now are YouTube (of course) and the episode archive at the show’s website (click above link).  

    Lots of great music on this show: Daryl Hall’s band is top notch and can play any style you can think of, and so they mesh well with the guests who range from the O’Jays and Cee Lo Green to Joe Walsh and Jason Mraz to the Neon Trees and Elle King and Fitz and the Tantrums. 

    A little bit of everything, and the inevitable result is that you hear some musicians you’ve never heard before, always a good thing.

    Joe Walsh, “Life’s Been Good”

    One of the all-time great guitar intros, and then funny lyrics making fun of certain rock ‘n roll musicians whose lifestyle choices could have been better.

    I’ve got a mansion
    Forget the price
    Never been there
    They tell me it’s nice
    I live in hotels
    Tear out the walls
    I have accountants
    Pay for it all
    They say I’m crazy
    But it takes all my time
    I’m just looking for clues
    At the scene of the crime

    Here’s a tune with Kevin and Michael Bacon of “The Bacon Brothers”.

    I literally knew nothing about this band before — but they’ve done 10 albums over 23 years and Michael is a composer who made a name for himself as a singwriter in Nashville in the 70s. 

    Here’s Cee Lo Green doing “One on One” sounding like he was born to sing this song.


    Kenny Loggins, "This Is It".



    With John Oates and G.E. Smith, “The Weight”

    Fitz and the Tantrums, “Breakin’ the Chains of Love”.

    Here’s another tune from that show, “Picking Up the Pieces”. I like this band.

    There’s so much more but you get the idea: have some fun making music and creating something new and fresh in a relaxed setting. Highly recommended, obviously.