Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Most Frequently Misspelled...

...Name of the Day has to belong to Steven McCormack, a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Oops, I misspelled it; it's actually Steven McCornack.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Other Name of the Day...

...belongs to Ralph Regula, who served 18 terms in Congress and died last Wednesday at age 92.

How many times do you suppose someone spelled his last name as "Regular," with an extra "R" at the end?

The Name of the Day...

...belongs to Ty Cobb, the newest member of the Trump administration legal team. (In case you don't follow the news closely.)

And, yes, that's his real name.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I'll bet you didn't notice...

...Misirlou playing in the background of Mad Men, Season 2: episode 11. (No, not the Dick Dale version, but one by some guy named Martin Denny.)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

While the latest news...

...on health care "repeal and replace" is indeed encouraging, the Oaf is still in office.

So let's dance, or at least listen to "Telstar" from the ending of Mad Men, Season 2: Episode 10.*

Named after the Telstar communications satellite, the 1962 instrumental was written and produced by Joe Meek for the English band the Tornados. The track reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in December of that year.

"One of the first sci-fi-influenced pop songs," the record featured either a clavioline or the similar Jennings Clavioline, both keyboard instruments with distinctive electronic sounds. It was recorded in Meek's studio in a small flat above a shop in Holloway Road, North London.  

* Incidentally, if you're interested I've been following along by reading Alan Sepinwall's excellent commentaries on the series. Hat tip: Joe T.

I don't speak a word...

...of Japanese even though I spent ten years working for a Japanese Bank. (Okay, "hai" means "yes.")

But I still think "Ue o Muite Arukō" ("I Look Up As I Walk") or, inexplicably, "Sukiyaki," is a truly beautiful song. (It's featured in Mad Men Season 2, Episode 2.)

Ironically (or is it coincidentally?), Kyu Sakamoto, who recorded this hit in 1961, died in a plane crash in 1985 just like Pete Campbell's father in that same Mad Men episode.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Martin Landau died...

...on Saturday at age 89. Better known for his roles in Mission: Impossible and Ed Wood, I'll always remember him from Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors, in which he "played a successful, upstanding ophthalmologist and family man who gets away with the arranged murder of his mistress."

Crimes and Misdemeanors, released in 1989, may have been the last of Mr. Allen's great movies from what I would consider his best "period," beginning with Annie Hall in 1977. I'd also include Interiors (1978), Manhattan (1979), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Radio Days (1987) and Another Woman (1988) in that list. Okay, I'll throw in Match Point (2005), although it doesn't fit neatly into my narrative.

What preceded Annie Hall and followed Crimes and Misdemeanors is mostly forgettable, but for that brief twelve-year period, Woody Allen made some of the best movies ever.

P. S. For those Woody Allen fans who are positively indignant at the brevity of my list, just remember, nine great works of art (and even Radio Days may be a stretch) are about eight more than most geniuses are allowed. Think about it: aren't most artists essentially one-hit wonders?