~~~

  • Celtics Defeat Cleveland ?

    You have to hand it to the Boston Celtics. This team is unselfish. They move the rock. Every night they are busting their butts for each other. The scrappy Celtics seem to listen to their young Coach, Brad Stevens, in his first foray into the pro ranks. If all that weren’t enough, these guys are almost always out-hustling their opponents. Diving for balls. Grabbing rebounds. Stealing basketballs. Making the extra pass. Plus, they seem to check their egos at the door. Those are adjectives that describe a Winner. This team fits that description.

    Many teams wear down from the long regular season, Not these kids. The reason for mostly fresh legs is depth. They play a lot of guys every night. The minutes are spaced out between them. Brad Stevens is lucky that his team has so many interchangeable parts, due in fact to their lack of a star on the team. Late in games, the Celtics seem to usually find a way to win. This may all be a big surprise to NBA fans. We kind of sneaked up on everybody. For a team that wasn’t expected to win many games, our record ends up at 40 wins and 42 losses.

    In the last 36 games of the regular season, the Celtics were 24-12. That’s almost the last half of the season there.
    I think the Celtics will beat the Cleveland Cavs. Not too many people believe that is going to happen. It’s just my opinion, but I think every member of the Boston Celtics team expects to actually win the series. I’m going out on a limb, but I say Boston will beat Cleveland, and advance in the NBA playoffs. LeBron James is going down!

    Harry, 4-17-15


    _________________________________________________

  • 2nd Anniversary

    rosesToday is the 2nd anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing.

    4  died, 3 at the scene.  Several hundred were maimed.

    Boston Stronger.


    _________________________________________________

  • SELMA
    I just watched President Obama speak, standing in the sunshine next to the Edmund Pettus Bridge, a National Civil Rights Landmark. It was, to me, one of the finest and most important speeches of his Presidency; a glorious and proud moment, and a time to reflect on what was, what is, and what is still remains to be done.

    I wish that I had been in Selma, fifty years ago, lending my voice for justice, but at the time, in 1965, I was fifteen, not yet old enough to have my drivers license, living in Tuscaloosa, an hour and a half north of Selma, Alabama. I might just as well have been 3000 miles away.


    Estimates now say there were only 300 to 500 marchers who attempted to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River, on their way from Selma to Montgomery, the Alabama State Capitol, located about fifty miles away. There were three separate attempts made by Dr. King and the marchers (March 7, 9, and 21).

    Back in 1965, fifty years ago, there were just three TV channels (ABC, CBS, NBC). No DISH, no FIOS, no Direct TV.

    Cable TV had not even been invented yet. Of course, no TIVOs or DVRs. There was 30 minutes of local TV news, followed by 1/2 hour of national TV news to watch each day. In fact, all of the TV networks went off the air around midnight and returned early the next morning. In between you could sit in silence and watch a static test pattern. Everyone my age and older will remember this very well.

    Of course, there was no internet. There were no cellphones. No social media. No Twitter. No Facebook. No CNN. No Fox.
    It was a different time, looking back one-half a century later. – Harry


    _________________________________________________

  • HARRY’S RULES OF THE ROAD:

    HARRY’S RULES OF THE ROAD:

    1. DO NOT FRIGHTEN.
    2. LIKE WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK.
    3. DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU THINK IS TRUE.
    4. DON’T GET FOOLED.
    5. CLEAN AS CLEAN CAN BE.
    6. HONOR EVERYONE WHO COMES IN PEACE.
    7. BE KIND AND GRATEFUL.
    8. SAFETY FIRST IS MANTRA ONE (the healthier the better).
    9. UNDERSTAND HISTORY AND FOLLOW THE NEWS.
    10. SLEEP HAPPENS WHEN SLEEP HAPPENS (no alarms).

    MORE RULES OF THE ROAD:
    1. DON’T GET FAT OR STAY THAT WAY FOREVER.
    2. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.
    3. BELIEVE IN SOMETHING ELSE BESIDES YOURSELF.
    4. SPEAK UP. SPEAK OUT. MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
    5. DON’T JUST FOLLOW THE LEADER.
    6. WHAT YOU THINK MIGHT NOT BE RIGHT.
    7. SEE THE NIGHT SKY, SUNRISES, AND SUNSETS.
    8. FIND BEAUTY IN FLOWERS AND POWER IN TREES.
    9. LOVE YOUR CHILDREN ALL YOUR LIFE.
    10. GOOD BBQ AND CORNED BEEF HASH ARE HARD TO BEAT.

    MORE GOOD RULES:
    1. STOP FOR THE NIGHT AFTER DRIVING ALL DAY.
    2. TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOUR FEET. BUY N.B. 1080s.
    3. THE PRIUS IS A DAMN FINE CAR.
    4. DON’T SPEND IT ALL. (is your homepage Amazon.com?).
    5. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BACK.
    6. DON’T SMOKE.
    7. EASY ON THE MAYONAISSE.
    8. JOHN PRINE IS SHAKESPEARE’S COUSIN.
    9. IF YOU AIN’T HUNTING FOR FOOD, DON’T BE HUNTING AT ALL.
    10. NYLON TRICOT SLEEPWEAR IS A POOR MAN’S SILK PAJAMAS.


    _________________________________________________

  • Doug Ashford. – R.I.P.

    daProducing a FolkTree concert at Carnegie Hall. The FolkTree Team, circa 1989 (well, part of it, anyway). L-R, Richard “Gidge” Villeaux, Doug Ashford, Kristin Kunhardt, and Harry Lipson.
    —————————————————————————

    On the 26th of February, 2015, Doug Ashford (2nd from L) passed away after a quietly courageous battle with cancer. Doug was a friend and colleague, and a fount of musical knowledge. I never knew anyone with a better cd collection. And Doug knew every record, every track. He absorbed the liner notes.
    It was music that connected Doug, not just to me, but to a lot of his friends.
    With a passion for live music, If there was a good show in the vicinity, you’d probably find him there in the crowd. If there was an interesting festival across The Pond, or in some far flung outpost, you might very well find Doug there, as well. He made these musical pilgrimages to be present when alchemy connected everyone and everything through the incredible power of song.
    Intelligent, organized (his event calendar was the best such resource in New England), and kindhearted – are some of the things that come to mind as I remember Doug. When the grieving is over, we will have fond memories of all the good times we shared. – Harry


    _________________________________________________

  • High Heels?

    Tell me that high heels aren’t Big Fashion’s war on feet and ankles.
    If it is just image that you are bringing to the party, perhaps vanity is driving Miss Daisy.

    Notably, orthopedic surgeons overwhelmingly agree. You aren’t doing yourself any favors, and wearing them indicates that you are a slave to fashion’s demands at the expense of you own comfort.

    It is not a secret that some are wearing spiked heels because of height insecurities. Point is, it is quite ok to be whatever height you are. What is the first thing you do when you get home? You kick off the heels. Right?

    While they undeniably make you taller, you don’t need them to be perceived in whatever way you want to be seen.
    It is time to say no to those stilettos. And men who wear elevator shoes because they want to be a few inches taller than they really are; well, not to blow your cover, but you aren’t fooling many people.

    Body image has become such a big deal. Thin, fat, tall, short. We pay a lot of attention and money in pursuit of popularity and self confidence. Psychiatrists couches are filled with worriers.

    I’m not a shrink. I am not a fashion plate or a guru offering the latest and greatest, whatever that may be. Note to the liberals out there: Think of all the cows that will be saved if they aren’t bred, raised, and slaughtered for their hides that get strenuously processed to turn them into your next pair of polished leather high heels. Think of the money to be saved. Think of the extra closet space you’ll have by liberating your under-represented toes.

    You can be fashionable all you want, but high heels look, to me, like someone is trying too hard. – Harry



    _________________________________________________

  • DANICA

    I am a racing/motorsports aficionado.

    Be it Formula One, Indycar, NASCAR. TUDOR United, Rolex, LeMans- I follow them all. I will get up early and I will go to bed late, watching races from Australia, to the streets of Monte Carlo (The Principality), from Motegi, or Abu Dhabi, to the high banks of Talladega.

    For more than forty years I been following the men who put the pedal to the metal, and for the past ten years, I have been following Danica Patrick, as well.

    In Indycar Danica had a rain-shortened win and three poles.
    In NASCAR’s Nationwide, Xfinity series, she earned a pole.
    In NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, Danica has one pole (a Daytona 500), but she has neither won, nor finished in the top 3 in any race.

    Tomorrow, Danica lines up on the 10th row of the grid, for the 2015 Daytona 500. Like always, it’s a big deal.

    I am here to tell you that Danica Patrick is a gutsy driver who gives as good as she gets. She belongs.

    Some, however, think otherwise, including some of the very same drivers she rubs fenders with in NASCAR every week.
    To make matters worse, Richard Petty, the aging NASCAR legend, doesn’t hide his misogynistic disdain for all things Danica.

    On the other hand, the legendary Darrell Waltrip has not been shy in defending her. And DW is, of course, a mensch.

    If you go through the history of women who have raced in the upper echelons of motorsports, there are pioneers such as Lyn St. James and Janet Guthrie who paved the way. There were quite a few others, like Denise McCluggage, wo raced over the decades, going all the way back to the 1920s.

    These days, Katherine Legge pilots the experimental and semi-competitive DeltaWing in the Tudor United racing series, Jennifer Jo Cobb races in NASCAR’s Truck series, while Susie Wolff is slated to see track time with Williams, in F1, this season.

    Still, Danica stands out among them. For one thing, she is photogenic and chooses to market herself, or be exploited (depending on your viewpoint), as an object of desire and attention. She has gotten pretty rich being pretty.

    I think that Danica Patrick is among the best “interviews” in all of sports. Answering questions directly and usually unfiltered, you can tell that she is a hard-nosed competitor who wants to win every time she straps in.

    There are rumors floating out that Danica will be headed to Formula One in 2016 with Carl Haas’ Racing. If and when she goes, I’ll be cheering her on, as always.
    – Harry


    _________________________________________________


    br>

  • David Carr: 1956-2015. Media columnist at The New York Times

    carr I am extremely sad to hear that David Carr passed away tonight at age 58, dying while at work, shortly after moderating a New York Times podcast. This tragic news comes on the heels of Bob Simon, of CBS, dying when his limo crashed in Manhattan 24 hours ago.

    Great losses both. And all this within the same week that Brian Williams is banished, for good reasons, from NBC’s Nightly News and then the announcement that John Stewart, resident genius of the Daily Show, will be walking away later this year, ending an incomparable 17 year run which had an influence beyond easy measurement on our culture and society. 

    Now more than ever, we, the public, need fearless reporters/newspapermen/TV anchors who aren’t afraid to find the unvarnished Truth and give us informed analysis on politics, politicians, breaking news, as well as the latest information regarding health, energy, business, and technology.

    We need intrepid reportage that can be found on battlefields, and in far flung outposts. We need the news, good or bad; determined and explained by those we come to trust in media, in print, on the web, or on TV.

    Farewell to Bob and David. So long Brian. Thank you, John.
    It has been a terrible week.

    -photo of David Carr courtesy of Chester Higgins/The New York Times.


    _________________________________________________


    br>

  • Brian Williams

    I stand in modest defense of Brian Williams.

    I am not eager to hop on the bloodsport bandwagon’s career destroying “gotcha-ness” of the Vox Populi.  A feeding frenzy has surrounded Brian Williams and the damage is likely irreparable.  In Brian’s case his “misremembering” and exaggerations have been self-destructive, so the scorn and ridicule are well earned, so it seems.

    Brian, projecting a likable guy-next-door casualness, now tenuously holds on to a very shaky seat as the longest serving of the three network news anchors, where he is also the Managing Editor of the Nightly News on NBC.  He is on a “self imposed” short break from the Nightly News, to which he likely will never return.

    Nonetheless, through momentous occasions, Brian Williams has been a steadying and comforting presence.   I don’t know whether he merits, or will be thrown a lifeline, a second chance, a get out of jail free card.  But I think we will be missing him long after the tarring and feathering ceases.

    We are no longer a society that forgivingly appreciates the better qualities of a lifetime of work and competency.  Brian Williams screwed up.  We caught him.  Now all that is left to do is decide whether he will be thrown overboard to the sharks, or tossed off the mountain from an unsurvivable height.   We, the Circus Maximus, are pointing  thumbs down.

    There is joy in Mudville tonight.  Another man done gone.  Perhaps we would be better, and better served, by having a humbled Brian Williams sitting at the anchor desk, rather than starting again with the next one up.  Whether it is Savannah Guthrie or Lester Holt, or Jerry Springer, we might look ourselves in the mirror and study the reflection.

    Harry Lipson,  2-8-2015


    _________________________________________________


    br>

  • P1030194



HarryShotsRadioIcon

Harry

canons

There’s only so much history to go around.” - Edward Ayers, President, University of Richmond,  regarding the limited parameters of each panel during day long discussions celebrating  The Civil War’s Sesquicentennial.

Celtics Defeat Cleveland ?

You have to hand it to the Boston Celtics. This team is unselfish. They move the rock. Every night they are busting their butts for each other. The scrappy Celtics seem to listen to their young Coach, Brad Stevens, in his first foray into the pro ranks. If all that weren’t enough, these guys are almost always out-hustling their opponents. Diving for balls. Grabbing rebounds. Stealing basketballs. Making the extra pass. Plus, they seem to check their egos at the door. Those are adjectives that describe a Winner. This team fits that description.

Many teams wear down from the long regular season, Not these kids. The reason for mostly fresh legs is depth. They play a lot of guys every night. The minutes are spaced out between them. Brad Stevens is lucky that his team has so many interchangeable parts, due in fact to their lack of a star on the team. Late in games, the Celtics seem to usually find a way to win. This may all be a big surprise to NBA fans. We kind of sneaked up on everybody. For a team that wasn’t expected to win many games, our record ends up at 40 wins and 42 losses.

In the last 36 games of the regular season, the Celtics were 24-12. That’s almost the last half of the season there.
I think the Celtics will beat the Cleveland Cavs. Not too many people believe that is going to happen. It’s just my opinion, but I think every member of the Boston Celtics team expects to actually win the series. I’m going out on a limb, but I say Boston will beat Cleveland, and advance in the NBA playoffs. LeBron James is going down!

Harry, 4-17-15

2nd Anniversary

rosesToday is the 2nd anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing.

4  died, 3 at the scene.  Several hundred were maimed.

Boston Stronger.

 

“You Really Got A Hold On Me” by Percy Sledge

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perceOh my.  Just heard that Percy Sledge, the great Percy Sledge, has passed away.  What a voice.  Percy Sledge defined soul music and the likes of the Rolling Stones lay credit at his feet for their music.  Percy Sledge is right there on Soul Music’s Top Ten Greatest Artists of All Time, along with Otis Redding, James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Sam & Dave, Smokey Robinson among others.

Here is “You Really Got A Hold On Me,” a cover of a song, first written and performed, by Smokey Robinson and the finest version ever recorded of this great tune.   Percy had one huge mega hit with “When A Man Loves A Woman.”   R.I.P.

“Speed of the Sound of Loneliness” cover by Amy Black

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amyblackI think so highly of John Prine that whenever I run across covers of his music, I take time to listen to them. Most aren’t up to John’s high standard, but occasionally I find something that is worth adding to my personal library. So I came across Amy Black, a friend of Sarah Borges’ and to boot, Amy is from Alabama. Nice coincidence. And she lives in Boston. Another coincidence. Actually she just moved from Boston to Nashville, the home of Americana music.

Here is John Prine’s “Speed of the Sound of Lonliness.” I can see John and Amy doing duets.  Well, we can dream.

Boston’s loss is Nashville’s gain. Good luck, girl.
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Tuscaloosa & U of Alabama 2009 142To be a leader, you have to make people want to follow you, and nobody wants to follow someone who doesn’t know where he is going.” – Joe Namath

“Like A Rolling Stone” by Mike Bloomfield

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mbYou know the song.  But you might not know this very pleasing cover from the late, great Mike Bloomfield.  No vocals here, just a lot of fine musicianship.

Hope it rings your bell like it did mine.     – Harry
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“Kokomo Blues” and “Buckets of Rain” by John Renbourn (1945-2015)

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  KOKOMO

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  BUCKETS

John Renbourn died today, age 70, of a heart attack while at home in the UK.  A founder of Pentangle and an amazing guitarist who also had a wonderfully musical voice, Renbourn was an anachronism and an innovator, simultaneously, it seems to me.   The American Delta blues also captivated and interested him.  So here are two tunes, excellent examples of the talent and the gift of John Renbourn.

Kokomo Blues” is originally associated with Scrapper Blackwell, circa 1928, but is attributed most of the time to Mississippi Fred McDowell.  Following that is Bob Dylan’s “Buckets of Rain.”

My musical tribute to the late, great John Renbourn.  –

Harry, 3-26-15br>

“Steam Powered Aeroplane” by Robert Earl Keen

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rekI rank John Hartford up close to the top of my all time favorite artists and acquaintances. So it is great to have Robert Earl Keen cover John’s ” Steam Powered Aeroplane” with the sheer enthusiasm that “Aeroplane‘ deserves as most covers don’t quite get it right enough for my semi-jaded tastes.   Well REK delivers as he pretty much always does.

This is a GREAT record and it comes with my finest recommendation.  There are 20 tracks in the “deluxe” cd and S.P.A. is only on the deluxe version which was released mid February, 2015.   Keep up the good work, Roberto, I know John would approve.

This HarryShots.com Song of the Week is dedicated to the memory of Doug Ashford.      –       Harry 3-17-15

SELMA
I just watched President Obama speak, standing in the sunshine next to the Edmund Pettus Bridge, a National Civil Rights Landmark. It was, to me, one of the finest and most important speeches of his Presidency; a glorious and proud moment, and a time to reflect on what was, what is, and what is still remains to be done.

I wish that I had been in Selma, fifty years ago, lending my voice for justice, but at the time, in 1965, I was fifteen, not yet old enough to have my drivers license, living in Tuscaloosa, an hour and a half north of Selma, Alabama. I might just as well have been 3000 miles away.


Estimates now say there were only 300 to 500 marchers who attempted to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River, on their way from Selma to Montgomery, the Alabama State Capitol, located about fifty miles away. There were three separate attempts made by Dr. King and the marchers (March 7, 9, and 21).

Back in 1965, fifty years ago, there were just three TV channels (ABC, CBS, NBC). No DISH, no FIOS, no Direct TV.

Cable TV had not even been invented yet. Of course, no TIVOs or DVRs. There was 30 minutes of local TV news, followed by 1/2 hour of national TV news to watch each day. In fact, all of the TV networks went off the air around midnight and returned early the next morning. In between you could sit in silence and watch a static test pattern. Everyone my age and older will remember this very well.

Of course, there was no internet. There were no cellphones. No social media. No Twitter. No Facebook. No CNN. No Fox.
It was a different time, looking back one-half a century later. – Harry

HARRY’S RULES OF THE ROAD:

HARRY’S RULES OF THE ROAD:

1. DO NOT FRIGHTEN.
2. LIKE WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK.
3. DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU THINK IS TRUE.
4. DON’T GET FOOLED.
5. CLEAN AS CLEAN CAN BE.
6. HONOR EVERYONE WHO COMES IN PEACE.
7. BE KIND AND GRATEFUL.
8. SAFETY FIRST IS MANTRA ONE (the healthier the better).
9. UNDERSTAND HISTORY AND FOLLOW THE NEWS.
10. SLEEP HAPPENS WHEN SLEEP HAPPENS (no alarms).

MORE RULES OF THE ROAD:
1. DON’T GET FAT OR STAY THAT WAY FOREVER.
2. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.
3. BELIEVE IN SOMETHING ELSE BESIDES YOURSELF.
4. SPEAK UP. SPEAK OUT. MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
5. DON’T JUST FOLLOW THE LEADER.
6. WHAT YOU THINK MIGHT NOT BE RIGHT.
7. SEE THE NIGHT SKY, SUNRISES, AND SUNSETS.
8. FIND BEAUTY IN FLOWERS AND POWER IN TREES.
9. LOVE YOUR CHILDREN ALL YOUR LIFE.
10. GOOD BBQ AND CORNED BEEF HASH ARE HARD TO BEAT.

MORE GOOD RULES:
1. STOP FOR THE NIGHT AFTER DRIVING ALL DAY.
2. TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOUR FEET. BUY N.B. 1080s.
3. THE PRIUS IS A DAMN FINE CAR.
4. DON’T SPEND IT ALL. (is your homepage Amazon.com?).
5. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BACK.
6. DON’T SMOKE.
7. EASY ON THE MAYONAISSE.
8. JOHN PRINE IS SHAKESPEARE’S COUSIN.
9. IF YOU AIN’T HUNTING FOR FOOD, DON’T BE HUNTING AT ALL.
10. NYLON TRICOT SLEEPWEAR IS A POOR MAN’S SILK PAJAMAS.

Doug Ashford. – R.I.P.

daProducing a FolkTree concert at Carnegie Hall. The FolkTree Team, circa 1989 (well, part of it, anyway). L-R, Richard “Gidge” Villeaux, Doug Ashford, Kristin Kunhardt, and Harry Lipson.
—————————————————————————

On the 26th of February, 2015, Doug Ashford (2nd from L) passed away after a quietly courageous battle with cancer. Doug was a friend and colleague, and a fount of musical knowledge. I never knew anyone with a better cd collection. And Doug knew every record, every track. He absorbed the liner notes.
It was music that connected Doug, not just to me, but to a lot of his friends.
With a passion for live music, If there was a good show in the vicinity, you’d probably find him there in the crowd. If there was an interesting festival across The Pond, or in some far flung outpost, you might very well find Doug there, as well. He made these musical pilgrimages to be present when alchemy connected everyone and everything through the incredible power of song.
Intelligent, organized (his event calendar was the best such resource in New England), and kindhearted – are some of the things that come to mind as I remember Doug. When the grieving is over, we will have fond memories of all the good times we shared. – Harry

“The Weight” by the “Love For Levon” Ensemble

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Amazon.com mp3 download-  $0.99

This stirring encore song from theLove for Levon concert/live album recording is a fitting tribute to Levon Helm and his seminal group, The Band.  Recorded in East Rutherford, N.J. in October, 2013, performers included:  Roger Waters, John Mayer, My Morning jacket, Ray LaMontagne, Eric Church, Dierks Bentley, Joe Walsh, Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes, Bruce Hornsby, Grace Potter, John Hiatt, Lucinda Williams, Jakob Dylan, Jorma Kaukonen, Mavis Staples, John Prine, Garth Hudson, Allan Toussaint, David Bromberg, Joan Osborne, Robert Randolph, Marc Cohn, Amy Helm, Larry Campbell, Don Was, Kenny Aronoff, Greg Leisz, The Levon Helm Band.  

 

High Heels?

HIGH HEELS?  REALLY?

Tell me that high heels aren’t Big Fashion’s war on feet and ankles.
If it is just image that you are bringing to the party, perhaps vanity is driving Miss Daisy.

Notably, orthopedic surgeons overwhelmingly agree. You aren’t doing yourself any favors, and wearing them indicates that you are a slave to fashion’s demands at the expense of you own comfort.

It is not a secret that some are wearing spiked heels because of height insecurities. Point is, it is quite ok to be whatever height you are. What is the first thing you do when you get home? You kick off the heels. Right?

While they undeniably make you taller, you don’t need them to be perceived in whatever way you want to be seen.
It is time to say no to those stilettos. And men who wear elevator shoes because they want to be a few inches taller than they really are; well, not to blow your cover, but you aren’t fooling many people.

Body image has become such a big deal. Thin, fat, tall, short. We pay a lot of attention and money in pursuit of popularity and self confidence. Psychiatrists couches are filled with worriers.

I’m not a shrink. I am not a fashion plate or a guru offering the latest and greatest, whatever that may be. Note to the liberals out there: Think of all the cows that will be saved if they aren’t bred, raised, and slaughtered for their hides that get strenuously processed to turn them into your next pair of polished leather high heels. Think of the money to be saved. Think of the extra closet space you’ll have by liberating your under-represented toes.

You can be fashionable all you want, but high heels look, to me, like someone is trying too hard. – Harry

USA“You can’t turn a ‘no’ into a ‘yes’ without a ‘maybe’ in between”     – President Frank Underwood, House of Cards (season 3, episode 3)

“50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” cover by Miley Cyrus (on Saturday Night Live)

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snlAs I listen to more music and my mental library expands every year, I, increasingly, tend to like covers of extraordinary songs.   Especially when a great voice takes on an equally great song.   And it’s even better if it’s a one-shot live performance, with millions watching, and I can think of few better examples than Miley Cyrus taking on Paul Simon’s “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” on the 40th Anniversary of Saturday Night Live.

Miley Cyrus just flat out nails it.   Creatively and powerfully delivered, “50 Ways” slows down on the verses, speeds up with contained power on the choruses, and has a vocal range from conversational speech, on one hand, to screams and growls, crescendoing when Miley exhorts her stout band with  “Come on boys” as she leads into another chorus.

For what it is worth, I only like Miley’s cover songs and not her own music.  It’s probably a generational thing, and maybe it is my loss.  If you like Bob Dylan, check out Ms. Cyrus’ version of “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go.” –  Harry

DANICA

I am a racing/motorsports aficionado.

Be it Formula One, Indycar, NASCAR. TUDOR United, Rolex, LeMans- I follow them all. I will get up early and I will go to bed late, watching races from Australia, to the streets of Monte Carlo (The Principality), from Motegi, or Abu Dhabi, to the high banks of Talladega.

For more than forty years I been following the men who put the pedal to the metal, and for the past ten years, I have been following Danica Patrick, as well.

In Indycar Danica had a rain-shortened win and three poles.
In NASCAR’s Nationwide, Xfinity series, she earned a pole.
In NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, Danica has one pole (a Daytona 500), but she has neither won, nor finished in the top 3 in any race.

Tomorrow, Danica lines up on the 10th row of the grid, for the 2015 Daytona 500. Like always, it’s a big deal.

I am here to tell you that Danica Patrick is a gutsy driver who gives as good as she gets. She belongs.

Some, however, think otherwise, including some of the very same drivers she rubs fenders with in NASCAR every week.
To make matters worse, Richard Petty, the aging NASCAR legend, doesn’t hide his misogynistic disdain for all things Danica.

On the other hand, the legendary Darrell Waltrip has not been shy in defending her. And DW is, of course, a mensch.

If you go through the history of women who have raced in the upper echelons of motorsports, there are pioneers such as Lyn St. James and Janet Guthrie who paved the way. There were quite a few others, like Denise McCluggage, wo raced over the decades, going all the way back to the 1920s.

These days, Katherine Legge pilots the experimental and semi-competitive DeltaWing in the Tudor United racing series, Jennifer Jo Cobb races in NASCAR’s Truck series, while Susie Wolff is slated to see track time with Williams, in F1, this season.

Still, Danica stands out among them. For one thing, she is photogenic and chooses to market herself, or be exploited (depending on your viewpoint), as an object of desire and attention. She has gotten pretty rich being pretty.

I think that Danica Patrick is among the best “interviews” in all of sports. Answering questions directly and usually unfiltered, you can tell that she is a hard-nosed competitor who wants to win every time she straps in.

There are rumors floating out that Danica will be headed to Formula One in 2016 with Carl Haas’ Racing. If and when she goes, I’ll be cheering her on, as always.
– Harry

David Carr: 1956-2015. Media columnist at The New York Times

carr I am extremely sad to hear that David Carr passed away tonight at age 58, dying while at work, shortly after moderating a New York Times podcast. This tragic news comes on the heels of Bob Simon, of CBS, dying when his limo crashed in Manhattan 24 hours ago.

Great losses both. And all this within the same week that Brian Williams is banished, for good reasons, from NBC’s Nightly News and then the announcement that John Stewart, resident genius of the Daily Show, will be walking away later this year, ending an incomparable 17 year run which had an influence beyond easy measurement on our culture and society. 

Now more than ever, we, the public, need fearless reporters/newspapermen/TV anchors who aren’t afraid to find the unvarnished Truth and give us informed analysis on politics, politicians, breaking news, as well as the latest information regarding health, energy, business, and technology.

We need intrepid reportage that can be found on battlefields, and in far flung outposts. We need the news, good or bad; determined and explained by those we come to trust in media, in print, on the web, or on TV.

Farewell to Bob and David. So long Brian. Thank you, John.
It has been a terrible week.

-photo of David Carr courtesy of Chester Higgins/The New York Times.

“Gentle On My Mind” by The Band Perry

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bandperrySomewhere John Hartford got lost in the shuffle, but he’d likely be pleased with the anthem he wrote being covered by The Band Perry.  This 2015 Grammy winning track is from the album,  I’ll Be Me – Glen Campbell.  It’s not the first time the song has Grammied, a word I think I just invented.  Anyhow, at the 1968 Grammys, John picked up two Grammys and Glen Campbell picked up two more for this amazing song.  According to Wikipedia, Gentle On My Mind is the #16 song in the top 100 songs of the 20th century.  That, my friends, is a lot of royalty checks in John’s mailbox.

To me, John was a genius several times over.  He wrote the song in the early part of his career and in some sense, it made his career.   Others may quibble and rightly so, but Gentle On My Mind sure helped him.  He was deserving of every accolade he received.  “Gentle” was a huge-ass hit for Campbell and he made it his theme song on his popular TV show, way back when.  Course, we all wish Glen Campbell the best as he battles dementia.

Here is The Band Perry and they do a bang up job.  Great effort. It’s the HarryShots song of the week.  Enjoy. - Harry

 

Brian Williams

I stand in modest defense of Brian Williams.

I am not eager to hop on the bloodsport bandwagon’s career destroying “gotcha-ness” of the Vox Populi.  A feeding frenzy has surrounded Brian Williams and the damage is likely irreparable.  In Brian’s case his “misremembering” and exaggerations have been self-destructive, so the scorn and ridicule are well earned, so it seems.

Brian, projecting a likable guy-next-door casualness, now tenuously holds on to a very shaky seat as the longest serving of the three network news anchors, where he is also the Managing Editor of the Nightly News on NBC.  He is on a “self imposed” short break from the Nightly News, to which he likely will never return.

Nonetheless, through momentous occasions, Brian Williams has been a steadying and comforting presence.   I don’t know whether he merits, or will be thrown a lifeline, a second chance, a get out of jail free card.  But I think we will be missing him long after the tarring and feathering ceases.

We are no longer a society that forgivingly appreciates the better qualities of a lifetime of work and competency.  Brian Williams screwed up.  We caught him.  Now all that is left to do is decide whether he will be thrown overboard to the sharks, or tossed off the mountain from an unsurvivable height.   We, the Circus Maximus, are pointing  thumbs down.

There is joy in Mudville tonight.  Another man done gone.  Perhaps we would be better, and better served, by having a humbled Brian Williams sitting at the anchor desk, rather than starting again with the next one up.  Whether it is Savannah Guthrie or Lester Holt, or Jerry Springer, we might look ourselves in the mirror and study the reflection.

Harry Lipson,  2-8-2015

 

“Wherever I Wake Up” by The Suitcase Junket

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sjOne man bands are quite the uncommon thing.   Matt Lorenz is just that.  He bills himself, or should I say he bills his band, The Suitcase Junket, as “Nationally touring, slide guitar playing, throat singing one man band.”  MAKE TIME is his/the band’s third album.  As of this writing I have not listened to his earlier records.  But, wow.  This cat is great.  Underplayed instrumentation with the vocals brought clear, I can’t say that I like everything on this record, but that’s what mp3s are for, right.  

What we have here, to paraphrase Strother Martin, is something that communicates with me, for damn sure.  And I hope with you.  The whole deal here is that I pick songs that I consider worthy, and you get to pass judgement by listening, or not, for as long as you’ve got.  It’s all free and nobody’s going to want your email address or come back to you with some kind of offer or another.   We’d like it if you LIKE us on the ol’ FB.

So here is “Wherever I Wake Up” which I have unilaterally subtitled, “Where the Fuck Am I?”  – HL

 

P1030194

FINAL GAMEDAY THOUGHTS

I am pumped up for the Super Bowl. So come ON New England! On the other hand, I am a little deflated about you know what. Tom Brady may have made the first mistake in his life. We’ll have to see.
I will always love the Patriots, Tom Brady, and Bill Belichick. Winners, Winner, Winner. I grew up with Bear Bryant so when I say that Belichick is the real deal, you can take that to the bank.
I am not apologizing for Deflategate but I will wait for the NFL head office to let us know what happened and what didn’t. If they broke rules, then they will be penalized pretty harshly.
Nonetheless, I wear Red, White, and Blue and I am a Pats Fan – last century, this century, next century. Let’s Gronk this thing.

A Super Bowl Ramble

P1030194I live in Boston.   Like Tammy Wynette said, I am standing by my man.   I am standing by Tom Brady and The New England Patriots.   Now, would I rather be cheering a football team that all of you admire and respect?   You betcha.   Am I a tad bothered by some of the things we’ve been accused of doing?  Yes.

On the eve of the Super Bowl here are my thoughts. First, what I know is that the New England Patriots are the winningest NFL team in the 21st Century.

On “SpyGate”: – The Pats were caught taping the sideline signals being relayed by the hand signals and gesticulations of our opponent’s assistant coaches.  This was in 2007, in the first week of the football season.  In our defense, I will say three things.
1.  We did this.   2.  We did not hide the fact that we were taping them since it was done in plain sight.  3.  Many other teams were also doing exactly the same thing. That doesn’t make it right, but we had a lot of company, we got caught.  

The practice of taping opponents sideline signals was shut down after that first week of that season. New England went on to win it’s next 17 games, and were 18-0, undefeated, and played in the Super Bowl.  We did that without spying on anyone for those final 17 games, and we won them all.  Should we have been taping and did it really make much, if any, difference?   The answer to both is No. It was small potatoes, no big deal in actual fact. But, for that we were labeled “cheaters.”  That was SpyGate.

Fast forward 8 years and here we are in the Super Bowl, and it was determined that our footballs were a bit low on air pressure in a game we played against Indianapolis two weeks ago.   I don’t know what happened but here is my guess.   It has been 15 years since Tom Brady became our quarterback.   Way back when, I suspect that Tom Terrific told some equipment manager who prepared his game day footballs, that he preferred footballs that weren’t over-inflated (FYI, Aaron Rogers of the Green Bay Packers has said he liked them on the over-inflated side).   Tom liked the football a little under-inflated. That was his preference and that was all very legal.  League rules allow for footballs to be legal and in regulation if they have between 14.5 and 12.5 psi (pounds per square inch).  

Nonetheless, I can’t justify or entirely explain how some of, or most of, the Patriot game footballs were up to 2psi off, when checked during halftime.  None of our opponents footballs were off when they too were simultaneously checked.  Our amazing coach, Bill Belichick, says that atmospheric conditions could have caused this. As the rules allow, each team brings their own game balls that are prepared ahead of time to the liking of the quarterback.   This is legal and all teams do it.  Depending on whether a game is going to be played in rain/snow or in dry conditions, each time provides either 12 or 24 balls to the referee several hours before every game.  It was a rainy game so each team in this case supplied 24 footballs to the refs, who supposedly inflated all the footballs to the legal preference of the two opposing quarterbacks.   We don’t know yet what the psi of Andrew Luck’s footballs were.   The legal range was anywhere between 14.5 and 12.5.   Let’s say he preferred 14.5psi.   If, at the half, his footballs, when checked again by the officials, was say 12.5psi, they were legal still, but they had already lost 2psi.   Now if Tom Brady’s footballs started out at 12.5 and they too lost 2psi, then they were at 10.5 and were therefore underinflated and no longer legal.   Still and all, both teams footballs would have lost the same 2psi.   There is a tape, apparently, that shows a ball boy retrieving the Patriot game football and then disappearing for 90 seconds in a bathroom, before taking the footballs out on the field. Could the footballs have been tampered with right then? Maybe. This is DeflateGate.

Belichick has said, as has Tom Brady, that nothing illegal was done by us to the game footballs.  Belichick went further and said that he, personally, had little interest in and was unaware of football psi and Brady’s personal preferences.   I believe Belichick on this.   He had many other, more important, things to worry about. I believe him.   He may be cranky and have a dry sense of humor.  He may not suffer fools gladly.  But he is at the top of his profession and to some extent, lives in a fishbowl during football season.   He and Tom Brady are the two most recognized and famous people, outside of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, in all of New England.

As for Tom Brady, who has had a squeaky clean image for his entire career, I believe Tom, but I also think that the equipment managers knew and were aware of how Tom liked his game day footballs.   Sticky, not sticky.  The breaking in of footballs is apparently a multi-day process that every team, every quarterback goes through and ends up with footballs that are handpicked by each QB.  All perfectly legal. Every team every quarterback does this.   I don’t think that Tom was always reminding the equipment guys how he wanted the game balls prepared.   Over the years, they became familiar with his preference and proceeded accordingly. Maybe his preferences changed over the decade and a half he had been playing. Maybe finger strength lessens as you age. I don’t know.   So somewhere along the line, what Tom liked was understood by the equipment managers and they always set things up on the lower end, say 12.5psi, of the scale, all perfectly within the rules. I believe Tom chose his 12 or 24 game day footballs by throwing each of them and finding some he liked and others he didn’t.   That is what every QB does.

So I stand by Tom Brady.   I stand by Bill Belichick.  As a result of all of this, Belichick has said that in the future, we will overinflate our game day footballs to the maximum legal limit of 14.5psi, so that if the footballs naturallly deflate a couple of pounds that they will still remain legal. I also stand by Robert Kraft.   It may not surprise you that I also stand by my New England Patriots.   Was some air let out of the footballs by some equipment guy?   Could be.  We await the NFL’s final jugdement when the investigation in Deflategate is finished. Finally, I have never known a more friendly, goodhearted, well-spoken athlete than Tom Brady.   I have seen him interviewed a few hundred times. He wears the white hat.  He is a good guy.   He remains my guy.

I know that many of you will root against New England because of perceived notions about our coach and about our quarterback.   I wish that were otherwise. – Harry

“Feelin’ Alright” by the Black Crowes

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bcJust heard that these cats are calling it quits.  Here is a live version of “Feelin’ Alright” by the Black Crowes (1989-2015).  For almost a quarter century, this Southern rock band from the Georgia laid down a blues tinged sound that featured wild keyboards and skyhigh guitar solos. Hey DA, this is for you.

CAP

The Equalizer

Alabama’s less than stellar New Years performance left me in a less than stellar mood. When our football season is over, it flat out is.
I love the wonderful expression “I was just beside myself.” That is pretty much where I was for most of January 2nd. Beside myself, or is it “besides my self.” I think the former.

Anyway, I was just going through the motions for the better part of the day, and when I get that way, what I have to do, sooner or later, is push the refresh button and get back to being myself, as they say.

What does it for me, these days, is an action movie. Once I watch it, I push the refresh button and pick up where I left off, before the ballgame started. I think it is one of Newton’s Laws.

Coincidentally, I just read one of my friend’s FaceBook posts in which he (Leigh Montville) mentioned that he’d enjoyed The Equalizer, Denzel’s current movie.

Now I happened to think that Denzel deserves an Oscar on an annual basis, just call his name, let him walk up there, hand him a statue, let him flash his world class smile, say a few offhand asides, and we can send his extraordinary ass off to make another fine film. Denz got my vote for Flight, a really cool, Oscar nominated effort, starring the coolest actor since Jack, Brando, or Bogey. Come to think of it, that would be a pretty good Mount Rushmore of actors. I would make that pilgrimage.

If you consider the leading women actors… Hepburn, Kidman, Blanchett, and Streep, would make a nice foursome. Of course, that’s off the top of my head, you know, bang, bang, slam bam thank you m’am. Equal pay for equal work. Just the way it oughta be.
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In fact, The Equalizer equalized my equilibrium and now I can completely accept that Ohio State just ate our lunch and it’s time now for the NFL playoffs. I have moved on. The page is turned.

Still, Alabama should have run the ball down their throat for two and a half quarters which would have opened things up for Amari Cooper, and we could have closed the sale in the last third of that game, and we’d be on to the Fighting Ducks of Nikeville. And I would not have seen The Equalizer yet, which happens to have been filmed in my current hometown of Boston.

Since The Tide didn’t win, and since I wanted to move on, let the pain go, I went and watched Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down, one right after the other. Olympus was a lot better, but neither one will win a popularity contest, unless it’s just against each other, and then Olympus takes that one. This further helped me clear my head and bring me back to being a reasonable semblance of what I normally pass for.

It’s not hard to be a Bama fan, but when we lose with such a lousy effort, I have to go to the movies, a triple feature, to make life, once again, worth living. -

Harry, January 3rd, 2015

Some Thoughts and Wishes

hl3The GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, Wes Anderson directing, is a wonderful little respite, a magical little movie.

SONY CAMERA REPAIR is beyond terrible. I love their pro-cameras, but the service department sucks.

I am going to watch (live probably, or possibly TIVOed) Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin in Times Square on CNN, New Year’s Eve. It is funny, risque, and fascinating every year. I have not yet tired of the interplay between a respected reporter/Anchor and a crazy, funny, free-spirited comedienne.

I sure like the musical resonance of the accordion. More and more I hear them in the music I listen to, which is primarily “Americana.”

I recommend Austin SUN RADIO if you are a fan of Americana. Jessie Scott has a show weekdays that reminds me of Cross Country XM 12, the now defunct satellite radio channel that had a cult following, myself among them.

Thinking about losing weight. Of course I am, it’s New Years. Checked out some elliptical machines and rather liked the NordicTrac A.C.T. Elite from Sears. It turns out that Sears is now the exclusive sales company of all NordicTrac stuff.

If you have HBO, and if you don’t I recommend it highly; check out the HBO Sports documentary “Glickman.” What a life, what a guy.

DON LEMON at CNN. I watch CNN regularly and like them. But Don Lemon is less than brilliant. He has minimal grasp of facets of what he is discussing. Good looking guy. Good voice. But he does not ask probing, intelligent followup questions. He is a lightweight without a shred of gravitas or expertise. And he seems to think it’s all about HIM. Don, it isn’t. It’s about the NEWS, the ISSUES, the EVENTS. He needs a lot of seasoning and CNN gives him a prize time slot which he does not merit, at least at this point in his career. May I suggest Jim Schiuto in his place or Hala Gorani, or Candy Crowley, if they can convince her to unretire. I also could recommend Richard Quest. He is bombastic and seems to have swallowed the Energizer bunny, but he knows of what he speaks and he deserves a prime time slot, whereas Don Lemon does not. CNN would be better for reading this blog post.

I wish you a Happy New Year. A healthy one too. If you have wealth, share some of it with others. If you send some to me, I will be eternally grateful and will try to pay it forward. You will be forever anonymous and unmentioned, but an angel you will be.

I hope you will love yourself, something I need to be better at doing.
Good luck in 2015. Let’s be safe out there.
Harry
PO Box 245
Arlington, MA 02476

My 2014 Dear Santa Letter

 

MY DEAR SANTA LETTER 2014
These are my Christmas Wishes, my New Years’ Hopes, Etc.

OK, Santa

Hopeful Harry writes….
P1020345I am a long way from perfect, so it’s hard to say precisely whether I’ve been entirely good or bad, naughty or nice. As time passes, I don’t see much in black and white. I see greys, nuances, shadings, gradations, arguments, plusses and minuses in living, in the world, in my life, in the way things are, etc., etc.

So with random thoughts in my head, maybe a vision of a sugar plum or two, here we go:

Can we feed everybody. Can’t we end world hunger. I know that’s a biggie Santa, but heroic effort is required. I see this as black and white, no grey area. Starvation shouldn’t happen.

OK, Santa, ready for more? How about referees not getting assaulted, battered, threatened. Whether it’s pee wee football or FIFA World Cup, fans have to respect the refs, umps, and officials. A lot of us are intensely loyal fans, but I humbly ask that you, dear Santa, bring sanity to the sports world, even though we call ourselves “fans,” which is shorthand for fanatics, which brings into question our sanity; big ask, but a civil society is one of my wishes.

I wish freedom was available for all that are oppressed.

I wish freedom was available for all that feel depressed.

I wish freedom for all that live in fear.

I wish that the world’s religions could bask in harmony and equality.

I would like to see illiteracy wiped from the face of the earth.

Maybe fracking isn’t such a hot idea, Santa. Illness and earthquakes that seem to result, as a by product, are reasons to give pause.

I wish prescription medicines were available, at no cost, to all of us.

I wish that we could cure cancer, heart disease, lupus, asthma, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and all known diseases.

Santa, I think you should promote brussell sprouts as excellent in many ways, and a good source of natural health. A little butter, some chopped garlic, a dash of salt, and you’ve cooked a healthy item. And they’re so easy to eat with your hands. A double bonus.

I want gender equality to spread around the world. Men and Women equal in societies the world over. That’s another big ask, but you’re a big guy, Santa, so I’m asking you to make it happen.

I want animals to be treated better. Life is precious. All life. Spread that around Santa; get the word out. Harm an animal, be very unlikely to get into heaven, a concept that may or may not be manmade, but that should be a Commandment everyplace, everywhere.

I want all the worlds’ children to be loved and raised with kindness and understanding. That is going to be the game changer. Future generations would be less likely to go to war so easily, take from others, do violence, cause mayhem. Kindness and Understanding are right up there near the very top on my list.

Money. Rich folks should give something back. That gets them bonus points.
Let’s revere Philanthropists like we do athletes.
At this time of year, it is a message that should be stressed all year long. Philanthropy, anonymous or otherwise, can cure a lot of unhappiness in the world. So here’s to those that share good fortunes.

toastyBut Then, Cynical Harry chimes in:

I dismiss you, Santa Claus. A child’s fantasy. Whimsy.
But, you can prove to me that you exist.
I demand that you, Santa-man, show up at my house on Christmas Eve, with a new Ultra High Def 65″ TV.

Then you better bring along a new 5K 27″ Apple IMAC computer. Load it up with apps, Santa. Get the 3TB version.

I’ve been good all year (a lie) so I deserve more stuff.

Bring me a brand new La-Z-Boy electric recliner with auto heat and massage. In fact, give me two of them. One cherry red and one in mustard yellow. Those things can’t be beat for comfort.

Come to think of it, I could use new wheels. Santa I need a Tesla. Shiny dark blue, cream colored interior. Every options checked.
I want it ALL. Stat.

Clausy, stick Bad Santa in my blue tooth player and press “play.” Don’t let the door hit you in the butt on your way out.

P.S. – IF you actually show up with all of my toys, (which you know I totally deserve), AND there is no MasterCard/AmEx/Visa statement coming; the UHD TV, the Imac, the Tesla, and the La-Z-Boys; if it’s all mine – gratis, compliments of the House…. Santa, if you come through then I promise that I’ll believe in you, Tinkerbell, magic Hobbits, Rudolph with his ruby red nose, and the Jolly Green Giant.

P1050839Then, Hopeful Harry returns :

What else would I like for Christmas? Let’s see. What I want for Christmas?…. well, a nice fire in the fireplace. The Kings College Choir singing English carols on the stereo.
Just a few candles glowing. No presents expected, but perhaps I find something simple, meaningful, given with thought, sitting under the tree.
A little mulled cider would be nice. I’ll get settled into a comfortable chair and begin to think about it all. Plus all those important wishes to come true in 2015.
That’s what I want this Christmas, and all my Christmases to come.
There’s a lot that I believe in. It fills my head with visions of… ..sugar plums.

Harry, in Boston. 12-23-14

 

 

 

 

“Brown Eyed Girl” – cover by John Zipperer

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ZIPA “new” voice in the wide world of Americana music, JOHN ZIPPERER, former actor and stuntman comes forth with his debut album “Full Circle.”  My favorite song on the album is the one featured here, written by Van Morrison; this is a fine version is chosen as the HarryShots.com. song of the week.   Enjoy “Brown Eyed Girl.”  –  Harry
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Allison Williams’ Peter Pan – My Review

PETER PAN, a live TV musical. From the book PETER PAN by James Barrie (first published in 1904)

peterFOUR STARS… I really liked it.

I remember Mary Martin who, up to now, was the Sean Connery of James Bonds, as Peter Pan. All others were judged by Ms. Martin’s spunky Peter, and I am here to say that ALLISON WILLIAMS is the new standard by which future Peter Pans’ will be judged. She didn’t overact, she sang, acted, and flew with earnest glee. Ms. Williams was engaged, present, in the moment, and it was great to see her meet this challenge and fly.

When it comes to Captain Hook, alas, I am old enough to remember Cyril Richard, who was villain enough for me. Dustin Hoffman gave an interesting Hook, but Sir Cyril’s performance is what I judge all Hooks by. Christopher Walken came through and was both humerous and treacherous, a fine Hook he was. He too was brilliant.

The sets were spectacular and entertaining. The costumes were catchy and in keeping. Christian Borle was a rather plastic Father, but he earned his money as Smee. And were those his real arms?  I know the tattoos were fake, but were those guns he sported real?  I had not pictured him pumping iron daily for the past ten years.

awSuccess as live musical theatre is hard won whenever the rare attempt is mounted. So much can go wrong. But this was superb and rarely bogged down. The Disney Tinkerbell “light trail” was back and I was glad to see “Tink” in high def. The dance choreography was way beyond what I ever expected. It was a tour de force. I have no doubt it will soon be on Broadway and win Tony after Tony.

Allison Williams welcome to the Big Time. Your good old Dad must be very, very proud. Good for you Allison.  Good for you NBC, you should be, well, proud as a peacock.

It was a flying success.  FYI, for young and old alike, the DVD becomes available everywhere on December 16th. – Harry


“Poor Howard” by Robert Plant

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rpMan, I really love the Nashville reincarnation of Robert Plant, of Led Zeppelin fame.  He surrounds himself with the cream of the crop in available musicians ( on this record it is The Sensational Space Shifters ) who bring new life to an old Leadbelly song like “Poor Howard.”

What is created is wonderfully layered instrumentation and background vocals that takes Huddie Leadbetter into the 21st century, yet, the song, itself, feels respected.  On Plant’s latest cd, my personal favorite among the   eleven tunes is Poor Howie.  The syncopated, sparse instrumentation causes your toe tapping muscles to engage.  I especially love the plunking of the banjo player.

So here is Robert Plant’s liberal recreation of “Poor Howard,” from Robert’s recent cd ( also available in vinyl ), “Lullaby and The Ceaseless Roar“,  which is the latest addition to the HarryShots Radio playlist. – Harry

“Curve and Shake” by Walter Salas-Humara

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csHere is 21st century artist, Walter=Salas-Humara.  I was listening to Meg Griffin on The Loft at Sirius XM the other day, and I heard this song and it struck a chord with me (no pun intended).  The Song and the Album are both “Curve and Shake.”  Thanks for checking in for good music at HarryShots.com.

Obama, The Republican Congress, and the 2016 elections

The next two years are going to be interesting and likely very frustrating for many of us as a Republican Congress and a Democratic President try to find common ground and an end to the gridlock in Washington. Will that common ground lead to beneficial legislation? Probably not is the short version answer. Will legislation get passed and not be vetoed by Obama? Are we in for two more years of gridlock? How will the 2016 election go. Who will the Dems nominate? Who will the Republicans nominate? Who will become the 45th President of the United States?

Well, let me tell you what I think is going to happen. The democrats will try to use the lame duck Congress to get some things done. There will be intense pushback from the Republican leadership. Will the President use Executive Orders on immigration, among other things?

Here is my take: I believe that the “well” is already poisoned and that President Obama will use Executive Order in the lame duck weeks between now and the new Congress reconvening in January.

Then as 2015 unfolds, I think Obama will, as his final two years in office begin, get off to the rockiest of starts, and be under constant and withering attack from Republicans. You can expect Ted Cruz to ratchet up his demagoguery. As Obama sees the writing on the wall, he will decide to go it alone, seek no compromise with Congress, and both threaten, and ultimately use his veto powers. T

The plot will thicken when calls for impeachment echo, and the Repubs open hearings on Benghazi and on Obamacare, which I have no doubt they will do. Benghazi, of course, involves then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who many feel will be the Democratic nominee in the 2016 elections.

In my opinion, as these hearings become increasingly strident and accusatory, in a surprise to many, the President will, at some point, find his courage and pull Excalibur from the lake or stone (I forget which it is). The once eloquent “Obama the Orator,” circa 2007, will emerge to climb on his donkey (to mix metaphor and literature) and go into full battle mode to defend his presidency and his legacy. It will be great political theatre that is as important as can be for the immediate future of the Country. Both sides will go to DefCon 5 as the slings and arrows fly.

Now, as to the nominations and 2016 Presidential Elections get under way and campaign season gets into full swing, the Benghazi hearings will be an attempt to damage Hillary and affect her chances in 2016, as Republicans chip away at both Clintons.

As a fan of VP Biden (His fan club consists of me, his wife Jill, and I don’t know who else, but not many), Joe will use his considerable skill and do himself a lot of good as he seeks the Presidency in 2016. Hillary will be constantly under attack and it will hurt her as the months drag out.

I don’t know who Dems will choose, but Biden will make a strong case for himself. His obvious ties to the S.S. Obama won’t hurt him as much as some may think, because Joe can think on his feet and even though he has his “mouth moments,” he is nobody’s fool, and Joe has some statesmanship in his blood. He is a foreign policy expert and knows Congress very well. I would never bet against Joe Biden, who may very well become President Biden, to the surprise of most, but not me.

I think this will become possible when Mitch and the Repubs will overplay their hand going after Obama and Hillary. There will be dark days ahead for the Dems, no doubt, but the internecine warfare between Tea Party Repubs and more mainstream Repubs will escalate. Sarah Palin and the Crazies will be heard from again. Michelle Bachman where are you?

To my mind, there are only three possible Republican presidential nominees. It’s going to be either Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, or Rand Paul. The Dems will choose between Clinton and Biden.

I think the Republican nominee will be Jeb Bush, with either Chris Christie or Rand Paul as his vice president.

The Democratic ticket will be Biden as President and Elizabeth Warren as Veep.

Here’s a news flash: The Dems will win again in 2016. The president will be Joe Biden and Senator Warren will become the vice president.

That is how I see it, as of now, November 6, 2014.

PAGING RENEE ZELLWEGER?

RENEE ZELLWEGER, WHERE DID YOU GO?

You know, I kinda fell in love with you, circa “Jerry Maguire” and later, you did brilliant work in “Cold Mountain.” “Fetching” was your middle name; You were the tomboyish girl who lived next door. You were a little goofy, but there was sex appeal and you looked like you might be a lot of fun afterward. It’s fair to say that you were a fantasy that seemed possible, plausible, perhaps even likely. You had that every girl appeal and it was very convincing and sexual. 

You might not remember me, but I had a glimpse when you rode past in a convertible on a cold winter’s day, as the Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year, in Cambridge, just a few years ago. You looked good. I could tell that you were freezing your ass off. In person, you looked like yourself. I was freezing my ass off too. We had that in common on the day we sort of met. You were Dorothy Boyd in the flesh…only with goosebumps.

I’ve got nothing against plastic surgery but you look, well, like somebody else. You look nothing like Dorothy Boyd now. You exude a distant sexiness, but the fantasy is Mission Impossible for most red blooded males, myself included. You have gone from Labrador Retriever to Borzoi. I’m a Lab kinda guy, Renee. We’ve drifted apart. Face it, you’ve changed.

Taking things so far that you are almost unrecognizable to an old friend like me is unsettling. You now have a vaguely haughty and disinterested look. Jaded, nonchalant and detached. I guess you can audition for that Hepburn role you must have been fantasizing about.

Sorry to say, but you no longer are the girl we had grown accustomed to; and liked. Rex Harrison would be muttering and stuttering. C’mon RZ, what does it feel like to look yourself in the mirror and not see someone familiar? You don’t have to answer that, and it’s just my opinion, but I liked you best when you lived next door to me.

“Be With You” by Pieta Brown

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PIETAThis is surely a generational thing.  Very happy for all the talent passed down to Pieta Brown, from her Dad, Greg, a spectacular midwestern folksinger; Iowa to be certain.   I had no idea that Pieta was his daughter when I first was listening to her music.  Gobsmacked is what I was, connecting Greg Brown (a man who’s rich in daughters), and Pieta being one of them.   Reading her bio is how I found this little tidbit of news.  So instant folk street cred.

I want to  focus in on Pieta and her music, understanding that I know Greg Brown, having produced quite a few of his concerts, way back when Pieta was probably in grade school.  Now she’s forty-something, and it just blows me away wondering where it all went.  Time flies whether you are having fun or not, and Old Man River, he just keep rollin’ along.

So here is “Be With You” from Pieta Brown’s cd Mercury, which was a 2011 release.   Enjoy. –  Harry 

“Here Comes The Sun” – Maestro John Williams’ instrumental arrangement for Spanish guitar and orchestra

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IMLFor his last audio effort, Sir George Martin, Beatles Producer Extraordinaire, brought in a diverse, to say the least, group of actors and musicians to cover his favorite Beatles tunes on a record, simply called, In My Life.  Handling “Here Comes The Sun,” surely one of the best Beatles songs ever, is John Williams, perhaps the finest musician on Planet Earth.  The version begins with a crescendo of strings and then gently unfolds into a a graceful and lovely Spanish guitar instrumental version of our song of the week at HarryShots.com.  

Maestro John Williams arranging and wielding the baton.  George Martin behind the studio console.  Music by The Beatles.  “Here Comes The Sun”  is the song.  The perfect recipe for mighty great stuff.  And it is, and I hope it pleases.  – Harry

 

Harry on Hunting

HUNTING? – I do not cotton to the idea of hunting, per se. The notion of hunting for “mon plaisir” doesn’t make it anything close to “sporting,” even if a small chunk of the population finds it “pleasurable.” It is a damn shame and a damn lie to say that hunting is sport. My guess is that most deer and a goodly number of ducks agree with me.

Looky, it’s great fun to be outdoors, weather permitting; and there are those occasions where I like tromping through the woods, even if said tromping is tempered by the artificiality of my knees. And I have actually hunted a few times in my reckless past, always by invitation from parents of friends, in my younger days. I get the thrill of the chase, as they say. For the record, I never chased anything, or fired my weapon, neither have I been hunting when anybody else did. I’m cool with walking around in the deep dark woods for hours.

rabOn the one occasion that I was invited to a deer hunt, others, not in my “party,” killed deer aplenty. I have seen them being bled out, hanging there, dead and all, as trophies for us to see. There is a ritual where a hunter is slathered in the blood of his first killed deer. Truly pagan and probably historic social anthropology as practiced for all millennia. I just didn’t need to see it.

Notwithstanding the above, I actually find no fault with some of the trappings – the LL Bean boots with their lifetime guarantee, a rifle slung, Che Guevara-style, over the shoulder; or an unhinged, safety-breaked shotgun in hand, and a crackling campfire that a November afternoon can offer. It is good to be out in nature, away from it all, from time to time. All that I do get.

What seems irretrievably wrong, to me, is pulling the trigger or letting loose the taut-drawn bow to kill. Being out in nature is one thing. Killing Nature is another. How sporting is it to kill an unsuspecting animal, or duck/bird? Hunters will say sporting enough. I don’t draw that conclusion. – Harry Lipson III
ps- if you truly need to hunt to put food on your table, then I can live with that, even if what you kill can’t.

How and Why I Know Roy Blount, Jr., which I Do

OK so,back around 1975, I read Roy Blount, Jr.’s first book, Three Bricks Shy of A Load, which if I recall was about the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers and the Rooney family that owned that ball club. I had been reading a lot of Dan Jenkins’ stuff around that time, and I found that I liked Roy about the same as Dan.

Long story short, I became an event producer in Boston in the early 1980s and I went on to produce several events that Roy was invited to participate in, and did.  Since Roy and I are both from the Deep South,  we talked a lot about food and football, which is what Southerners often do when they first meet in a place like Boston, or elsewhere.

Roy is a good guy, in case you didn’t know.  Real humble, pretty smart, and he generally tells a good story.  All laudable Southern traits.

Now fast forward to early this morning.   I had been “working” on my computer, mostly seeking new FaceBook friends, and after a while I headed over to Amazon.com to find a book to make me sleepy when I read in bed.

For reasons that are beyond me, perhaps it was a higher power, I ended up ordering another one of Roy’s books; this one about the legendary Confederate GeneraI, Robert E. Lee of Virginia.

After buying the paperback version, I went back to FaceBooking (a phrase I have just now invented, and want full credit for.  If you can copyright a phrase, then I hereby do it  You are my witness).

Anyhow, I went back to FaceBooking and I stumbled onto the RBJASFB page:  The Roy Blount, Jr. Appreciation Society FaceBook page.  How’s that for coincidence.

royI have for many years been in possession of a photo of Roy Blount, Jr. and yours truly, which  I offered it up to The Cause, that being, the Appreciation Society of one of Society’s underappreciated former sportswriters, the aforementioned Mr. Jr. himself.  They immediately accepted my photo and published it.  Then they wanted to know how every member of the club came to appreciate Roy.  Someone went first and then things just sat there, so I assumed it was my “turn to go” and that’s how we end up here, with me telling them How and Why I Know Roy Blount, Jr., which my photograph almost certainly proves.

Since early childhood, in Alabama, I have been vividly aware of, and surely inspired by General Robert E. Lee.  Coincidentally, when I was a little bit younger, a bookmaker I knew called me LightHorse Harry or, more frequently, just LightHorse.  I actually had never been given a nickname before, and I kinda liked LightHorse Harry, partially because the original LightHorse was General LightHorse Harry Lee, who as it turns out was Robert E. Lee’s daddy.  That is the same Robert E. Lee that Roy Blount, Jr. wrote a book about, which I bought, as you know, as a sleep aid.

As a footnote, Lighthorse Harry Lee was actually named Henry, but Lighthorse Henry didn’t have that revolutionary ring to it.  So its a small world, and Southerners tend to stick together when they’re not seceding.  I hope you see the coincidence or irony here and let there be no doubt that I am the inventor of the English word “FaceBooking” which refers to spending time, of any length, on FaceBook.  And that is How and Why I know Roy Blount, Jr., who has his own FaceBook fan club.  –   Yours truly, LightHorse Harry Lipson III, in Boston, 8-23-14.

“Alright Guy” a live performance by Todd Snider

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I flat out love Todd and his quirky, round about way of spinning his amazing thoughts into funny, touching, irreverent, occasionally crude, personal versions of the truth, as it occurred to him, which he maybe plagiarized, but most likely didn’t, cause he doesn’t listen to the radio, except when he does, but, if he does; he does in short doses, specifically to adjust his attitude, just trying to find some joie de vivre mojo, while Todd drives himself in one direction or another.

Now, I don’t want to imply, or give your the impression which you might have gotten, that Todd has ever plagiarized any song he has written; or ever sung without proper accreditation, to the actual songwriter, which as I said, would not, in his case, be likely to ever happen, which it hasn’t.

When you are a songwriter a lot of options, you know, words roll around in your head.  You know, phrases, even including cliches, which are trite only because we keep using them over and over and over in one unbroken offhand plagiaristic recollection, that might have been a song Todd has just recorded for his next album, over and above the fact that the sound engineer mentioned once or twice that Tom T. Hall had a song he recorded twenty five years or so ago, which had all them same cliches and phrasings, but life is full of serendipity and coincidence, which is one of the muses Todd might be  in touch with, now and again, but only rarely, because he has  had this writer’s block or something ever since he saw that Robert Altman film about the music industry, which took place in a place called Nashville, which is where Todd Snider  happens to live, but that is another story for another time, but you have to see  that coincidence or serendipityness, which is the whole point.

That’s Todd in a nutshell, which isn’t actually a nutshell since it is too many letters and sylables for a tweet, much less a nutshell.  I could go on in this Todd Snider, fully approved, actual rhythmic way of getting to the point of a story he is telling in one song or another, but why don’t you listen to him, by that I mean listen to Todd Snider and a live on tape version of a song he says he wrote, and I have to believe that he did, because I have not ever heard anyone else sing it, so here is Todd Snider, in a taped-“live” show, doing “Alright Guy.”  The song goes on for over 10 minutes because Todd has a story to tell and here it is and you actually need to click the little play symbol, the arrow, just above this preview that you are reading as we speak, to use a cliche; when nobody here is actually really speaking, per se.  And just for the record, Todd Snider is all O-R-I-G-I-N-A-L, and I love his stuff, which he probably wrote all by himself.  –  Harry Lipson at HarryShots.com

“Get Rhythm” by Ry Cooder

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ryGood ol’ Ry Cooder.  Ryland Cooder.  One of the great ones.  “Get Rhythm” was written by Johnny Cash in the 1960s.  Johnny Cash.  One of the great ones.  Since I love this song and the musicality of Ry and Johnny, we have a convergence.  Hope my aim is true and you like this.  – Harry Lipson at HarryShots.com

Football: A Commentary

I write this in response to a Boston Globe columnist’s article calling for phasing out of football and arguing that we should not watch football on TV any longer.
The columnist correctly pointed out the issue of concussions and injuries in football.

My response: Your article about the traumatic realities of football is accepted science.
HOWEVER, AND IN SPITE OF IT ALL, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE AND LOOK FORWARD TO WATCHING AMERICAN COLLEGE AND PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL, both in person and most especially on HD color TV, in living color as the old TV slogan goes. I just can’t help myself. Football games are too colorful, exciting, interesting, compelling, spellbinding, wonderful, heart pounding, jump out of your La Z Boy enjoyable.

We are all voyeurs. And I don’t watch football to see anyone get hurt. Injuries happen and brain injuries are a reality. I recognize the danger but I don’t accept personal responsibility for watching football. That is the disconnect. I get that it can be dangerous. I acknowledge your science. I buy that football can be linked to the Roman Circus. I understand the psychology and the human nature of Spectacle. Football, however, is not bloodsport, per se. I draw a line between the two.

Professional bicycling is dangerous. Watch the Tour de France. Professional soccer is full of intentional contact with the aim to hurt your opponent. I give you the World Cup, for example. Skiing is inherently dangerous. Men’s lacrosse is no walk in the park either.

I don’t apologize for football or my love of it. I don’t think I have to rationalize that. I don’t think I need to apologize for that. I don’t think football should be be turned into some sort of non-contact ballet. I do think that safer equipment and rules modifications which improve safety are important and ongoing. I’m not going to quit loving football. I revel in the history of college football, the fight songs, the uniforms, the halftime speeches, and the legacies of the great players and coaches. Roll Tide Roll. Go Patriots. Rah, Rah, Rah, Boola Boola, Sis Boom Bah, Dot the I, On Wisconsin, All the Live Long Day.

The world wide popularity of sport is, in general, a good thing. It brings us together. We learn to respect rivalry. In general, War is a bad thing. Therein lies the difference. Football is a game with rules and the contests are officiated.

If you want to vent, may I suggest railing against hunting, for example, where the object is to kill an animal or a bird. Hunting for pleasure is not sport, nor is it sporting. I don’t have a problem with hunting for food. Culling of herds is occasionally necessary. It’s great fun to be outdoors. I get the thrill of the chase, having hunted occasionally in my past. I like the whole deal except for pulling the trigger or drawing the bow. To me, it’s not justifiable, to kill for sport.

Boston Baseball: Where Buying the Future Is Expensive But Called For

You won’t have Clay Bucholz to kick around too much longer. He’ll get dealt someplace where the glare isn’t so harsh and the scribes are suck ups. Buch is no longer dependable. You know it. I know it. Clay knows it. Even though his stock is low, we can send him packing after the season, eat salary, and move on.

Expect good things to happen, Red Sox Nation. The Cavalry is coming. We need great pitching and we’re gonna get it, and get it big time. Who’s that coming down Landsdowne Street, it’s John Lester (back in the fold, on his terms), and I see Max Scherzer and Cole Hamels and Justin Masterson and Tyson Ross.

The Red Sox can reload. It just costs money and money we have, with the shy, but rich, John Henry, who is, no doubt, getting all the more rich by just owning our team. John (if I may call you that), all we want is a really good chance to go deep in the playoffs, each and every year. We don’t have to win the World Series every year, but we should be playing in October.  John, you have the greatest fans in baseball. We hardly complain about the highest ticket prices in baseball. We hardly complain about the fact that Fenway is covered with advertising.  The way I see it, ownership asks something of us fans, and we ask something of ownership. So, c’mon John Henry, buy the top talent. Pony up. Put that sweet product on the field and we’ll sing “Sweet Effin’ Caroline” like we mean it, and a sizable portion of us do.

The Boston Red Sox are loved more than any local or regional institution, the Church being the exception. More than the Marathon. More than Harvard, more than M.I.T., more than the Celtics, more than the Bruins. The Red Sox are currently only slightly ahead of the Patriots, but when Belichick and Brady are gone, then the Red Sox will run circles around the Pats like they do everyone else. It’s fun to be a diehard Boston Red Sox fan. We’re on the bandwagon, rain or shine. We have been suffering for generations. Our parents and grandparents paid our dues. They overpaid our dues.

No one begrudges the fact that the Boston Red Sox are a money making machine.  They print the stuff.  Sure, it costs a ton to field a really good players, establish and maintain a great farm system, and pay for the duck boats.  Thankfully, we, the fans, buy the merch, we buy the tickets, we throw money away at Foxwoods, drink Coca-Cola, and buy our office supplies at W.B. Mason. I even know a die hard Red Sox fan who throws a brick through his windshield every spring so Giant Glass can take his insurance company’s money. We support John Hancock, we buy Hood ice cream, and drink and eat Dunkin’ Donuts and shop at Cumberland Farms.  Those folks, in turn, chip in a whole bunch of money to cover the ball club’s annual nut. Nat Geo calls it Symbiosis and it’s a win-win deal for everyone, except probably Clay Bucholz. And if we can’t fix Clay, we’ll find us someone who don’t need fixin’.

So lighten up on Clay. He did his part for the Red Sox. He has a ring on his skinny finger. That he can’t repeat his delivery now isn’t the end of the world.  This season is just a blip on the Red Sox long timeline, soon to be forgotten, exactly when the equipment truck rolls South next Winter.

Clay, if you are reading this, it would behoove you to throw another no-no if you don’t want to play for Houston, Miami, or the Cubbies next season.  Frankly, with Scherzer, Hamels, Ross, Owens, Kelly, and Lester in our 2015 starting rotation, there isn’t going to be room for you, unless you figure out a repeatable delivery.

FYI, two good things we’ve learned this year:  One is that Brock Holt is the real deal. He’s a dirt dog winner and can play any position better than whoever is playing that position.  The other thing is that Jackie Bradley is the best defensive outfielder in baseball.  Yes, he needs to learn to bunt and hit better.  But he’s coachable.  He’ll get in the swing of it. Enough with the strike outs, Jack.  But, given his unreal speed and his world class leather, JBJ needs to be in Fenway’s center field green grass for the next ten years.  Even if he can’t hit a lick. But he will.

So get ready for some damn good Red Sox baseball in 2015. I have faith in our ability to buy about the best team in baseball each and every year. That is not cynicism, it’s what we all expect and happily pay for. Open up the checkbook John, and Red Sox Nation will have something to look forward to, next season, and every season. –   Harry Lipson III, in old Boston Towne

To Hell with Baseball, It’s Almost Football Season

One week ago tonight I published the post beneath this. The Red Sox had just won five in a row and beaten Toronto 14-1. Fast forward seven days and the Red Sox have lost six of seven and were just beaten, ironically, by Toronto, 14-1. The point being this: The Red Sox have thrown in the towel (to use a boxing metaphor). We are playing out the cards (another damn metaphor) and our season is lost. We are in last place and it is a tough pill to swallow (pharma phrase, I suppose) for fans of the reigning world champions. Hard to believe. Over the past ten seasons, Boston has won 3 World Series, so we can’t win every year. But from best to worst is a fast elevator ride straight down.
Now, apparently, we are about to trade or sell a number of our players. Ace lefty, Jon Lester, may be sent packing (big mistake) and superstar closer, Koji Uehara, may be available to the high bidder. Some say it will be a “fire sale.” It took us years to assemble this World Series championship team, and the ownership may shake the dice, and blow it all up in the next three days. The MLB trade deadline is Thursday afternoon so we don’t have long to wait to find out who is going and who is staying. For sure it is a lost season. On the other hand, its just a matter of weeks until football season starts.

“Nothing But The Whole Wide World” by Jakob Dylan

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jdHere is Jakob Dylan‘s “Nothing But the Whole Wide World.”  From the album “Women and Country” which was released in 2010.  Dylan (yes, it’s his son) performs solo and with The Wallflowers.   You know, this is a pretty good song and it’s your HarryShots.com song of the week.  Enjoy. – Harry
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“How Deep Is This Hole?” by Tim Grimm

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timRemember the blind DJ/radio station owner in “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?”  After the band would play in his little studio, he would say something like, “yes sir, that’s mighty fine playing.”   I can hear him voicing his high approval of Tim Grimm and “This Hole.”  It’s all good, yes sir.

Tim is also an actor, having credits in films such as “Clear and Present Danger” and “Backdraft,” to name some of those that I’m familiar with.   And he has a list of TV credits, my favorite of which is the incredible “The Larry Sanders Show,” (Rip Torn was Brandoish) as well as a co-starring role on Reasonable Doubts.

Timbo now lives with his family in rural Indiana, from whence he hails.  Right now he is off touring Italy and The Netherlands.  You know that I am proficient in Folk Music and Mr. Grimm passes my talent test with flying colores.  I don’t think I have featured his music previously on HarryShots, so you may not have heard him, but I think you ought to, and here he is. -Harry

Baseball and Death

Our Boston Red Sox are surging, finally.  As of this update, the Red Sox have won eight of nine games, including five in a row.  On the down side, we are still five games under .500, but a week ago, it was a whole lot worse.  Maybe the All Star pause was the break we needed.  Everybody is hitting now.  Last night we scored 14 against Toronto.  And our pitching has been rock solid.  Koji is still the best closer in all of baseball, Lester and Lackey aren’t giving up many hits, much less runs.  Rubby De La Rosa is the real deal, a bonafide major league pitcher.  And nobody tries any harder than Jake Peavy. Recently, even Clay Bucholz, streaky and freaky, has been getting the job done nicely.  I will also single out Andrew Miller for his excellence out of the bullpen.  I call him “Stop Sign;”  when he comes in, the other team grinds to a sudden halt.

Brock Holt.  He should win the Rookie of the Year in the A.L.  Batting about .330 for the year, he is one of the best lead off hitters of 2014.   He could conceivably win the American League batting crown.  And what leather!  So far this season, Brock has played every position except pitcher and catcher.  And he plays them all extraordinarily.  Blessed with speed and good reflexes, he is always in position to make a play if the ball is hit in his direction.   Of the circus catches Brock has made, a few of them are all world.  Brock Holt may be the best position player in baseball this season.

So we’ll soon see if the Red Sox are going to make a run at defending their World Series title, and I know they are in a hole that will be tough to dig out of.  But, you know me, I say why not?

Other musings:  Like everyone else, I don’t have a good answer for the Middle East.   I certainly support Israel’s right to defend itself from attacks.  They are surely justified, but the loss of civilian life in Palestine only fuels hatred that lasts a lifetime.  That Hamas hides its offensive weaponry among the civilian population, makes for grim circumstances.  Hamas, a terrorist organization, won legitimacy in Gaza by being elected, by the very people bearing the brunt of the Israeli incursion.  I feel for the Palestinians and want them to have statehood and peace. Of course, Israel deserves lasting security within its borders, which must include the West Bank and Jerusalem. The Palestinians deserve a home, just not where Israel now flourishes. And Israel’s neighbors should turn their swords into plowshares and coexist peacefully, every religion respecting the other. I know the map of the Middle East will change as Shia, Sunni, Kurds, and Christians redraw old boundaries. Someday, kingdoms, dictators, and terrorist organizations will lose power and intelligent, reasoned, and compassionate leaders will find voice.

Further up the Road:  For consecutive nights, I have been startled to see the names of two acquaintances in the obituaries.   Both died from health related issues, but both were happy and well, when last I saw them.  Michael Libin, an old golfing buddy, died yesterday of heart disease.   Always quick in commenting on the ironies of life,  I never heard him say a word in anger.  I think he led a happy life, had a million friends, and I grieve his passing.  Last Saturday, my former State Senator died from a brain tumor.   Funny, well dressed, and full of knowledge, I had not realized he graduated from Harvard until I read his obit.  A former stand out hockey player, he served my town very, very well over three decades.  If there was a go to guy, it was Bob Havern.   He was very popular, handsome, smart as a whip, funny, knew where all the bodies were buried, so to speak, and could get things done.  He was my attorney, off and on, over the years, always was a straight shooter and his opinion was nearly always right when it came to local politics.  He once lost a driveway dispute of which I was a party, and refused to take his fee for not winning, despite having worked on the issue for more than a year.   I can’t believe he is gone.  He died four days ago, two days after his 65th birthday.   So it has been a hard week locally and throughout the Big Blue Marble.  I know the sun will come out tomorrow, but right now I wish I could smile.


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“Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad” by Eric Bibb (The Transatlantic Sessions) with Aly Bain, Jerry Douglas, etc.

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   Woody Guthrie’s traveling tune has been recorded by practically everyone.  This is surely one of the finer versions you’ll hear.  From the Transatlantic Sessions, a resounding geographical and musical tour-de-force that has been ongoing, somewhat irregularly, from 1995 through the present.  I would have loved being there for some of them.

A fine mix of acoustic performers have gathered periodically, on location, in Scotland, and have laid down some very good music.  The “house band” for the Sessions has included Aly Bain on fiddle, Jerry Douglas on dobro, Donald Shaw, a founder of Capercaillie, playing the accordion, Michael McGoldrick – flute, guitarist Russ Barenberg, with multi instrumentalist Tim O’Brien, plus Danny Thompson on the big upright bass.

Here is Eric Bibb and the Transatlantic Sessions house band with “Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad.” – Harry

Wassup

When you reach the age of 64, as I have; you tend to look at life in two directions. I look forward to the future with cautious optimism; and more and more, I choose to look back and reminesce. I’ve been blessed with four legacies: my two children, FolkTree, and my passion for photography (replacing my passion for golf, which I had to give up (arthritis)). I’m extremely proud of my Son, Andy, and Daughter, Sarah, both of whom, always were, and still are, the stars in my sky.

Although I’m not too technical, I love photography and have a knack for observation, which is at least half the battle. And even though FolkTree Concerts is no more; we had a good run. Nowadays, I primarily listen to Americana music; that mix of folk, country, bluegrass, and the blues. The music I stream here at HarryShots is slightly more eclectic and I hope you’ll find some tunes that float your boat.

As some of you know, I have been working for years on a book of unusual first names that I hope will be published, at least online, in the not too distant future. I have found over 30,000 “unusual” first names, and I keep finding new ones every day.

With the weather warming, and the trees greening up, it’s time for me to get my camera out of hibernation. Remember, you can email me at harrylipson3@yahoo.com

Don’t forget the sunscreen,
Harry

“Stand by Me” by Jesse Winchester (1944-2014)

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My dear old friend, Jesse Winchester, has died; gone to that far side bank of Jordan.  Such a songwriter.  Jesse, in person, was a lot like his music, – sweet, observant, slightly weary, with the poet’s intentional melancholia.

I knew Jesse’s music for a decade before our paths crossed.  Eventually, I produced a number of concerts and festivals  (FolkTree) that Jesse was part of.  In fact, the very first Boston concert that I produced, starred Jesse Winchester, and that, dear reader, was not a random choice on my part.   My respect for him runs so very deep and I greatly mourn his passing.

We shared the South, and later the North, a fact about which was interesting to both of us and we invariably talked about it whenever we were together.    I will always love his lyric “Me, I want to live with my feet in Dixie, and my head in the cool, blue North.”   Though he was born in Louisiana, he was Memphis through and through, and damn proud of it, at least it seemed so to me.

If I had to pick three of my favorite Jesse Winchester songs, at least tonight, I would cue up Yankee Lady, Brand New Tennessee Waltz, and Mississippi You’re On My Mind.

But I choose to honor his memory here, with his cover of Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me.”

To quote you, Jesse, on the occasion of your passing, I am comforted by your lyrics  “Oh Jesse, look over yonder, the birds are southward bound.”  I will listen to your music all of my life.  Your songs are part of me and my generation.

So, Godspeed, old friend.  –

Harry Lipson, in Boston



The Quotes of "Whatever"

  • Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don’t vote.” - William Simon




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  • Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein




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  • Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere“. – Carl Sagan, astronomer

     

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  • Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and it looks like work.” – Thomas Edison

     

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  • Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing” – William James

     

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  • chGreat minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people” – Eleanor Roosevelt

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  • My wife tells me one day, ‘I think you love baseball more than me.’ I say, ‘Well, I guess that’s true, but hey, I love you more than football and hockey.'” – Tommy Lasorda




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  • If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything - Mark Twain

     

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  • “Believe you can, and you’re half way there.”Teddy Roosevelt

     

     

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  • For me, the lame part of the Sixties was the political part, the social part. The real part was the spiritual part.” – Jerry Garcia




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  • I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” – John Burroughs




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  • I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.” – Winston Churchill




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  • Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter - Martin Luther King, Jr.

     

     

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  • A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don`t need it.” – Bob Hope




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  • The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” ― Ernest Hemingway




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  • edEvery day is Earth Day

     

    the HarryShots.com Quotes of Whatever


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  • I like whiskey. I always did, and that is why I never drink it.” — General Robert E. Lee




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  • Diplomacy is the art of letting someone have your way.” – Daniele Vare




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  • Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. Love me and I may be forced to love you.” – William Arthur Ward




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  • Some people walk in the rain. Others just get wet.” – Roger Miller, songwriter




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  • Looking foolish does the spirit good. The need not to look foolish is one of youth’s many burdens; as we get older we are exempted from more and more.” – John Updike




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  • The Past may not be your fault, but the Future is your responsibility alone” – Gene Cruz




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  • Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.” – Coach Lou Holtz

     

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  • People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe” – Andy Rooney

     

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  • Vegetarian – that’s an old Indian word meaning lousy hunter.” – Andy Rooney




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  • Electricity is really just organized lightning” - George Carlin

     

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  • I’ll believe it if I see it for dogs translates to “I’ll believe it if I smell it.” So don’t bother yelling at them; it’s the energy and scent they pay attention to, not your words.” ― Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer




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  • Candidates who throw dirt at opponents are definitely losing ground H. Lipson III

     

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  • The quickest way to a man’s heart is through his chest.” – Roseanne Barr




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  • Nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught.” – Author Unknown

     

     

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  • If you can’t get someone out of your head,.. then maybe they are supposed to be there

     

     

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  • Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss, famous philosopher




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  • Think off-center” – George Carlin

     

     

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  • A star on a movie set is like a time bomb. That bomb has got to be defused so people can approach it without fear.” – Jack Nicholson




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  • Be as smart as you can, but remember that it is always better to be wise than to be smart.” – Alan Alda




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  • It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it“. – Eleanor Roosevelt

     

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  • No man is happy who does not think himself so” – Publilus Syrus




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  • The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong” – Mohandas Gandhi

     

     

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  • Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” – Etty Hillesum




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  • If you’re quiet, you’re not living. You’ve got to be noisy and colorful and lively.” – Mel Brooks




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  • You don’t need a parachute to sky dive, you need a parachute to sky dive twice

     

    The HarryShots Quotes of Whatever


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  • I’m not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I’m not dumb… and I also know that I am not blonde.” – Dolly Parton




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  • I don’t think you can ever get enough pickin’.” – Earl Scruggs 1924-2012




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  • I don’t believe you have to be better than everybody else. I believe you have to be better than you ever thought you could be.” – Ken Venturi, U.S. Open Golf Champion




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  • A good laugh and a great night’s sleep are the best cures for what ails

     

    The HarryShots Quotes of Whatever


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  • Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.” – Les Brown




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  • I’m going to be 60, and I’m almost used to myself.” – Martin Scorsese




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  • I’m no different from anyone else with two arms, two legs, and 4200 hits” – Pete Rose




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  • You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.” – Indira Gandhi




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  • Health food may be good for the conscience but Oreos taste a hell of a lot better.” – Robert Redford




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