Friday, September 15, 2006

This Week I'm Listening To...

Kate Wolf : Weaver of Visions (Anthology) ***** ***½ (out of 10*) A fabulously-talented folksinger and songwriter who died before her time in 1986 of leukemia. KW is in the same genre as, and influenced Nanci Griffith and Emmylou Harris. In fact, you'll find a KW song, "Across The Great Divide" on Nanci's "Other Voices" album. Unfortunately, she never had a commercial hit, which makes finding used LP's and/or new CD's by her very difficult. But Amazon has a decent selection, and her family has a website at Anthology is a double-CD, with a nice cross-section of (early) acoustic stuff, live tracks, and (later) bluegrass-picking songs. The music is honest and straightforward; but it's the lyrics that will stay with you. And if you're from Arizona, listen to the words of "Old Jerome", and you'll find that its about the ghost-town up by Cottonwood.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

This Week I'm Listening To...

Yeah, the image above is "Volume 1". But actually I'm converting "Volume 5" from LP to CD for a friend, and there's no image available of this out-of-print album. This is classical piano. Paderewski playing Chopin, Debussy, Brahms, etc. Originally recorded in 1930, and then issued on an LP in 1981. The LP is in bad shape, and there's a noticeable "hiss" throughout the tracks. But I've figured out a way to remove the hiss, which makes my homemade CD of better quality than the LP. Paderewski is a fascinating person. In addition to being perhaps the most successful pianist ever, he was a leader in Poland's post-WW1 independence movement, and was her first Premier. Google him for more details. We'll give the album ***** ** (out of 10*), mostly because of the poor quality of the recording. If classical music from a lone piano isn't your schtick, then you won't like this. And although Paderewski misses a note here and there, it is a historical treat to hear the music of a long-dead (he passed away in 1941) genius.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

NCAA Football - Week 1 (Monster Cupcakes)

Week 1 NCAA football means one thing - big-name schools bringing in "cupcakes" to get kicked around in exchange for a lucrative payday. Most of the cupcakes rolled over and played dead (excuse the mixed metaphor) , but there were a few that forgot the script.
The winner of this year's "Monster Cupcake" award. A Big Sky school goes into Colorado and whomps the Buffalos. The "Honorable Mentions" include...
As mentioned below, it was 14-14 after three quarters. Don't look for the Sun Devils to make this a year-after-year rivalry.
Oklahoma narrowly avoids an opening-week upset for the 2nd straight year. Not a good sign for Sooner fans.
Yeah I know, Army sucks again. But they should at least be able to beat Arkansas State.
Lehigh is a traditional doormat football team, but they have been good (relatively) the past couple seasons. Alas, this year it looks like its "back to tradition".

Friday, September 01, 2006

ASU 35 - NAU 14

NCAA football has started! #24 Arizona State won by a convincing score of 35-14 over Division II-A Northern Arizona. So why are we worried? Well first of all, NAU was only 3-8 last year. Hardly a powerhouse even in their own conference. Second of all, the problem areas for ASU last year - scoring defense, the defensice secondary, and the rushing game (particularly the short-yardage rushing) all looked bad in this game. After three quarters, it was 14-14. Hardly a statement-game by ASU. Most bizarre play was by NAU. On 4th-and-27, from their own 2-yard line, they elected to run a fake punt. It gained two yards. ASU then took over, first and goal, at the 4 yard line. And after 4 rushes, they still hadn't scored. Against NAU. What's going to happen whern we play USC?