I love animation. It’s part of my day job, and I don’t get to do enough of it. But I love watching animation from others, too. Have since I was a little kid. Saturday morning cartoons? I lived for that. Today, the best of the best in 3D animation is, indisputably, the work of Pixar. There, the story is the thing. From Toy Story to The Incredibles, Cars to Coco, they all have two things in common – great animation and story über alles. The Great Pandemic of 2020 screwed up almost everything, but movies were hit particularly hard. Who wants to go to a movie theatre and sit for two hours breathing other people’s germs, right? Even if you are (like me) someone who believes we all need to get on with our lives where we can, and go on living, a movie theatre seems like a big risk. So it’s particularly sad that Pixar’s latest will likely never get the attention it so richly deserves, because Soul is an absolute gem.[Read more…] about Got Soul?
Words. We writers live by ’em. And sometimes (if you offend the wrong Muslim lunatic) die by them. But they are the essential part of how we do what we do. Words mean things. But not all words mean the same things to all people. And living in the Age of Political Correctness, not all wordsmiths are created equal, at least as far as permission to use certain words goes. Allow me to give you some examples… [Read more…] about What’s in a Word?
I think it was humorist and co-founder of the Algonquin Round Table, Robert Benchley (not to mention forbearer of author Peter “Jaws” Benchley) who quipped, “There are two kinds of people in this world…those who put people into two groups, and those who don’t.” I’m definitely in the first group. And for the purposes of this essay, the two groups into which I’m dividing people can be thought of as “Makers” versus “Customers.” To put it another way, when something needs fixing, or you can’t find exactly what you want, “makers” do it themselves, while “customers” hire it done. Nothing wrong with that. Depends on the task, I suppose. If it’s something I can do myself, I’ll do it. If it’s something I can’t (major surgery springs to mind) I’ll hire it done. But some people delegate a lot more than I. For instance, when I couldn’t find an iPhone 6 Plus belt holster to my liking, I made one. No big. Not hard to do. And I enjoy working with my hands. But I’ve gotten lots of questions about the case. It usually goes something like this: [Read more…] about Blessed are the Makers…
When Meghan Trainor released “All About That Bass,” I saw the appeal. Catchy tune. Tight arrangement. Cute video. Appealing, “take me the way I am” message. I thought “Hey, cool…a positive message for girls/women that will counter the prevailing messaging in videos that women need to obsess about their weight/looks/sexuality to attract a man.” So I was curious to see what her follow-up video would be.
The King of Pop is Dead. I don’t know of anybody that is really surprised. Think of any other celebrity (except Amy Winehouse) and you’d at least register a blip on the emotional surprise meter. Not here.
Jackson was talented. He was also, obviously a tortured soul, regardless of the reason. From my experience in show business, being a child star is a tough road to travel. Being a child star in what has widely been reported as a dysfunctional family, then add all the pressures of superstardom, and throw in a bizarre addiction to plastic surgery, and you have formula for an unhappy life and a premature death. [Read more…] about The King of Pop Dies.
I’ll be playing a private party tomorrow, up in Dumas. That’s “DOO-mas.” (I know what you were thinking. And you were wrong.)
I’ll be gearing up for the gig most of tomorrow, so don’t expect another post until Sunday.
Until then, here’s one of my favorite commercials to keep you company:
My daughter – let’s call her “Private Digital” – is studying the violin. She played with her symphony orchestra this past Saturday. Way cool. I wish I’d been able to play with a symphonic orchestra when I was in grade school. (I got to play with a lot of jazz combos and rock groups, but that’s another story.)
What I find interesting is that in many ways, she’s much like most of my better students, back when I taught music lessons for a living. I found that the ones that were pretty sharp had more trouble with the mechanics of music, because they relied on their ears instead of their eyes. That may sound odd, since music is an aural media, but using your eyes (to read music) is essential. It’s what makes the difference between someone who plays violin and a violinist. [Read more…] about I’ve got rhythm. (And you can, too.)
I went back into the studio again today. Did some vocals. Tried to do some backing tracks on harp, but (believe it or not) I blew out my first reed ever on an A harp. If you’d like to read about my harmonica horror story, mosey on over to our sister blog: blog.grokmedia.com. Today’s story is an in-depth look at how a seemingly simple decision by a major manufacturer had an unfortunate effect on my recording work.
It’s come to my attention that I am like the cobbler’s children, shoeless, in spite of their father’s profession. I am a musician, without any recent recorded samples of my work. This is an inconvenient, but not insurmountable problem.
So today, I’m gonna fix it.
Of course, in my own, inimitable, Captain Digital fashion, I can’t resist a little feature creep, allowing the scope to grow past the prime purpose of the mission. [Read more…] about Once more, dear friends, into the studio…
To be perfectly honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of country music. I grew up as a drummer, and as far as traditional country music, a drummer is either unnecessary, or reduced to playing “boom-chick-boom-chick” kinda stuff that is mind-numbingly boring. I tended to agree with one of my idols, Buddy Rich, on the topic. When he was admitted to the hospital not long before his death, he was asked “Mr. Rich, are you allergic to anything?” He replied, “Yes. Country music.” When I began to play acoustic guitar, I discovered that there was actually some music that would qualify as “country” that I liked. I developed a taste for bluegrass, traditional folk music, newgrass, and even some pop country. (Still not that crazy about the Porter Waggoner/George Jones/Johnny Cash stuff. Your tastes may varry.) [Read more…] about This is “Country”?