Philco 41-290X

This sturdy old beast of a radio — once it sparked and poured forth words and sounds and music and adventure — do these tired old vacuum tubes wait for electricity to surge again and carry voices from a world away back into this life? If I turn the knob, will a forgotten announcer springContinue reading “Philco 41-290X”

Lists pros and cons

I had an interesting exchange Friday after I posted yesterday’s post (“Joni’s foreground music”) to Facebook.  One of my closest we-should-be-friend-friends-not-just-Facebook-friends friends, Sam Kujava, responded, “I would say she is my favorite female musician but that is considered sexist now, right?” And added, “I cried happy and sad tears watching her perform here,” talking aboutContinue reading “Lists pros and cons”

Joni’s foreground music

I stayed up past my bedtime the other night watching videos from the “Joni Jam’ at Newport Folk Festival, where friends surrounded Joni Mitchell and helped her perform some of her most memorable songs. Everyone was crying with happiness to see this 78-year-old woman doing her best to do her best. It was a struggle,Continue reading “Joni’s foreground music”

Addicts to addicts, dust to dust

The formula for making “bingeworthy” TV is very similar to what they used to get kids coming back to the Saturday afternoon serials in the 1930s or ’40s. Back then Commander Cody, or whoever the star was, would be wrestling for control of a small plane, say. The episode would end with the plane crashingContinue reading “Addicts to addicts, dust to dust”

What should you tell your kids about your day job?

If you were one of the most famous musicians on the planet, how would you tell your kids about it? When I read Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography recently, I was struck by how reticent he was to make — not just a big deal but — any kind of deal about his day job with hisContinue reading “What should you tell your kids about your day job?”

Listening: Rethinking a master work

Listening to Bruce Springsteen’s masterpiece album Born to Run the other day, I was suddenly struck by the thought that it might be even better if the songs were in the exact opposite order. In his autobiography he talks about the hopeful optimism of the opening song, “Thunder Road,” and in “Jungleland,” the closer, thoseContinue reading “Listening: Rethinking a master work”

How to become Bruce

Listening to Bruce Springsteen read his autobiography Born to Run has, of course, gotten me listening to my Springsteen collection and thinking about how I’ve followed the guy ever since my old pal Ed told me about this amazing guy who played a concert at his college back in the early 1970s. The most powerfulContinue reading “How to become Bruce”

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