Month: May 2010

Economic Meltdown, Transitions, and Roots Music: Recent Books on the Nightstand

My last post said More to Come… was going on sabbatical, but in cleaning up the  nightstand today I realized I’d been holding four recent books that I planned to review on the blog.  These represent my eclectic interests (which is what More to Come… is all about) as well as priorities in my life at the moment.  So in the hope that I can now hold to my promise to take the blog on sabbatical,  I’ll pass along thumbnail reviews of the four and put them in my mental “checked off” category. The first is Michael Lewis’ terrific (as in well-written) and sobering (as in scary) The Big Short:  Inside the Doomsday Machine. This is, by far, the best known of the four and much has been written about the story of three small hedge fund managers and a bond salesman who knew what was coming before the economic meltdown of 2008. I don’t need to elaborate because Steven Pearlstein said it all in a Washington Post review I highly recommend.  As Pearlstein  writes, …

Twenty Dollars Per Gallon

The pace has picked up with my day job, so More to Come…the DJB Blog will go on sabbatical while I focus on other priorities.  But before that happens, I want to share with you the work of Chris Steiner, an engineer-turned-journalist who has been writing about society’s relationship to energy. I had the opportunity to spend time with Chris recently while he was  speaking at the National Main Streets Conference.   A writer for Forbes and The Steiner Post, Chris is the author of a thoughtful book entitled $20 Per Gallon:  How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline Will Change Our Lives for the Better. This 2009 work takes the “inevitable rise” in oil prices over time and imagines how each $2 increase in the price of a gallon of gasoline will change our lives. Perhaps counter-intuitively, he sees the change as largely positive.  The rise is inevitable because oil is a finite resource and demand worldwide is escalating at an unsustainable pace.  For instance if China – which now has 4 …

Lena Horne, RIP

One of my father’s favorite singers, Lena Horne, passed away yesterday at age 92.  My father can’t carry a tune in a bucket and he can play only two songs on the piano – St. Louis Blues and Teddy Wilson’s Body and Soul – but my father had a great collection of 78s from the pre-war era and he knows his jazz singers.  TB was so right about Lena Horne. As the web site The Music’s Over but the Songs Live On noted, Lena Horne was a popular and influential jazz vocalist and actress who broke many color barriers over a career that spanned nearly seven decades, and her 1943 recording of “Stormy Weather” is arguably the most recognized song of its era.  Horne was not only a multi-Grammy award-winning singer, she was also an award-winning star of stage, screen and television. She was also an activist during the Civil Rights era, which is where I encountered her after the introduction by my father.  The New York Times obituary recalled the difficulties she faced as …

Oklahoma City National Memorial: The Power of Remembrance

When in Oklahoma City last week, I made the time to visit the national memorial dedicated to the memory of those killed, wounded, or changed forever by the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. It was a powerful experience that would  be moving at any time.  In these days of bombing attempts in Times Square and daily cable television rants against government, the power of remembrance seemed all the more important.  This place – forever altered in horrific ways 15 years ago by the act of an individual angry at the federal government’s actions at Waco and Ruby Ridge – is a somber counterpoint to the hysteria that counts as civic discourse in parts of America today. One enters the outdoor symbolic memorial through a gate marked 9:01 – the minute before the bombing – to represent the innocence of the city.  At the other end of a reflecting pool, the west gate is marked 9:03, after everything changed.  The best known feature of the memorial is the field of empty …

Muriel Anderson: Day Tripper

Okay.  I’m officially in love. I posted a video earlier this morning of Muriel Anderson playing harp guitar.  When the video ended, it did the normal YouTube thing and gave me an offering of related videos to view.  I clicked on “Day Tripper” – one of my favorite Beatles tune – and within about 20 seconds I was mesmerized. Here’s Muriel Anderson, playing this wonderful and complex pop tune while explaining the thought process that went into the arrangement.  She’s copying McCartney’s bass line (never an easy thing to do even when you aren’t talking) but then she has the melody going, and then she switches to play in B, and then…well, see for yourself. Amazing. More to come… DJB

More Harp Guitar

After writing the post last evening on the harp guitar article in the Spring 2010 issue of  The Fretboard Journal, I kept looking around on YouTube for other players mentioned in the article…and I came across this wonderful video of Muriel Anderson that I had to share. Anderson’s harp guitar is a classical-style model which has a beautiful sound.  I hope you’re able to listen to these videos on a computer that has a good bass speaker, because the sound of those ringing bass strings turns a beautiful tune into a magical tune. (As an aside, check out all those beautiful harp guitars on the stage behind Muriel at the opening of the video.  Guitar eye candy indeed!) Here’s “Lady Pamela” by Muriel Anderson.  Enjoy. More to come… DJB