Rattlesnake Rhumba!

You know all those goofy names for groups of animals? Well, now you do (thanks to Sean via Language Hat). I issue a challenge to any of my readers who happen to be poets, to create a poem using as may of these as possible. Now.
Mark your calendars and buy some mylar.

On June 8 of this year Venus will make a rare transit of the Sun. The end of this transit will be visable across most of the central and eastern US. If you miss it you will have to wait eight years, and then you will have to travel to Japan, or taking a swim in the middle of the pacific. After that, it's another 105 years. I am hoping to get some good photos that I will provide to you free of charge. Lucky you.


Ladies and Genelmen, The Beatles!

It was forty years ago tonight that The Beatles made their American television debut on the Ed Sullivan Show. 73 million (a bout 2/5 of the US population) tuned in to watch the Fab Four offer outstanding performances of five songs. The Albert and David Maysles documentary of The Beatles first visit to the US was re-released last week with additional footage, mostly screaming fans I've been told (I have not purchased this one yet). Also available is a two disk set containing all four Ed Sullivan episodes, in their entirety, on which The Beatles appeared. Any Beatle fan should seriously consider this purchase. In addition to the Beatles performances it offers a glimpse of what the American public was watching in 1964. It leaves me wondering "that's entertainment?" It goes to show that the current pant load on television is nothing new. There are some things on the disks beyond the Fab Four that make it worth it. Including the American Television debut of Davy Jones (yes, of the Monkees) with the Broadway cast of Oliver, Cab Calloway, and the commercials.
Money Money Money Money

This started out as a comment on a certain Buffalo Blog, but..

Jaquandor is annoyed with a school supplying all students with PDAs.

I, like Jaq, have no objection to spending lots of money on education. Lots of it, but when things like this come up, I shake my head. There were some schools here in the Twin Cities that complained that there was no money to buy flags for the classrooms. The solution? Why, point a camera at a flag, and broadcast it via the schools closed circuit television system. This equipment was very new. Far better than what I worked on in college, and some of it better than what I currently use at work. I would grant the possibility that the equipment was purchased before the budget woes, but this district has been complaining about funding and class sizes for a while, even before our state budget crunch. Now, I don't object to the students learning video production, but it is not essential to education. It should certainly be a lower priority than hiring, or retaining an additional teacher.

Wasteful spending really gets me, especially from organizations that are constantly complaining about funding. Our local public broadcasting stations are another example. I am in support for continued funding for public broadcasting, but I will NOT contribute to their fundraising. Salaries for the workers (some at least) are outrageous. Union employees, in a position similar to the one I hold, earn nearly double what I do. I don't know this as a firm fact, but I do have it from a very reliable source. Capital expenditures are also an issue. All state of the art, all the time. Equipment must be replaced at some point, but the use it or lose it budget system in schools and other government facilities has to go away.

That is all, I think...
Tenor Madness

I see now that my man Sonny Rollins received the John Coltrane Lifetime Achievement Award during last night's Grammys. Rollins is one of my favorite jazz musicians. As jazz saxophonists go, imho, he is second only to Coltrane. If you are interested in checking out some of this cat's work, I recommend Saxophone Colossus, Tenor Madness (featuring John Coltrane), and Sonny Meets Hawk, where Rollins teams up with another jazz sax great Coleman Hawkins. I own a limited edition print of the photo above. It sits matted at the frame store awaiting the frame I want to come in stock.
And the award goes to...

Well, I didn't watch the Grammys last night. I haven't even looked over the list of the winners, and I really don't care who won. I did scan through the tapes of the show at work this morning for the performances, and there were some very good ones. The show started off with the Beyonce and the worlds funkiest Jehovah's Witnesses. Prince is a truly amazing musician and performer. He may be one of the top ten guitarists in popular music. Dave Matthews, Sting, and Vince Gill did a wonderful rendition of "I Saw Her Standing There" in honor of the Beatles President's Award. Other notables were the White Stripes, Outkast, and Foo Fighters with Chick Corea.

I can't watch the Grammys anymore. Have not been able to for a while. I get too angry. As the night goes on and the awards are handed out to the wrong nominees, or the deserving performer isn't even nominated, my blood starts to boil. I get acid reflux. I start yelling at the television. Maybe if they cut out the awards... I would even suffer through the Justin Timberlakes and Celine Dions to catch the great performances.