Sunday, August 31, 2008

La Bomba

Video Find of the Day

Drums ground me.

Alma Moyó: Bomba video by Dennis Flores

Saturday, August 30, 2008

ID Alley

Alley of the Week

The alleys in the International District have a lot of history, but this one just appeals to me because of the geometry. It's the alley between 5th and 6th running from Jackson up a hill to Main Street. Because half the block is a parking lot the view from the middle of the alley looking southwest is wide open. Two dragons face off against each other from both sides of Jackson Street, with the stadiums and Union Station in the distance.

The geometry I mean to point out is seen looking to the east and southeast. It's the lines of the back of the building meeting the slope of the hill. It feels cozy and sheltered.

I can easily imagine sleeping on the upper stair landing.

Burns & Allen & the 4th Wall

Video Find of the Day

The Burns & Allen TV show was one of my favorites. What really got to me were George Burns' asides to the audience, which were a holdover from vaudeville and provided wry relief to Gracie's dinginess. Burns' was also one of the sliest comedians I knew of at the time.

How George Met Gracie

In looking for that monologue I also came across this 1929 short talky of Burns & Allen. And look, they're talking to the movie audience as if they were a live audience!

Burns and Allen - Lamb Chops

Friday, August 29, 2008

One Candle

Video Find of the Day

I think this concert was broadcast in 1990 or '91. Anyway, this song by Peter Yarrow was the high point for me. Warning: The sound is scratchy. I couldn't find anything clearer.

Light One Candle

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Video Find of the Day

"Tonight, I say to the people of America, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land -- enough! "

This is how weird I am. Obama is nominated, I think of carillon music, preferably Bach. This is ideal.

Part one: Change.

Bach Passacaglia in C minor BWV 582 on a Carillon (bell) 1/2

Part Two: Inevitability.

The fugue

Bach Passacaglia in C minor BWV 582 on a Carillon (bell) 2/2

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Helen Kane Again

Video Find of the Day

I've been digging around, and found more of the boop-boop-a-doop girl, whom I adore. Dancing! Sort of. With Skeets Gallagher.

From 1929....Silly ...........Dance Number

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Movie Swing Gospel

Video Find of the Day

According to the description Lilian Roth and Mitzi Green are singing in this. I tried to use that to find the title of the film but it didn't work for me. Maybe I'm too wasted from a day of meetings. Or maybe the date is wrong. But it sure looks like 1930, doesn't it?


Monday, August 25, 2008

Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen

Video Find of the Day

Great slideshow going along with a fantastic breathy version. Beautiful.

Bei mir bist du schejn "original" yiddish version

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Red Dwarf, DNA

Video Find of the Day

I'm just posting clips of the D.N.A. episode of Red Dwarf (posted on YouTube by TakaraKing). What can I say? It's one of my favorites, and KCTS reminded me of it by doing a marathon.

I think the writers of this show had all the fun.

Red Dwarf D.N.A. 1 of 3

Red Dwarf D.N.A. 2 of 3

My favorite segment of the three:

Red Dwarf D.N.A. 3 of 3

In this next third, I think droid head 3 is brilliant. Of course, as a rabid fan of hot foods, I'm attracted to all menacing vindaloos.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Weird and/or What?

Video Find of the Day

The W & W don't actually stand for Weird and What, but for Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey, a popular comedy team of the 20s and 30s I had completely forgotten about until this movie excerpt simultaneously reminded me of their existence and freaked me out. According to the description the Indians are actually supposed to be using that giant blanket to send the guys to a Geneva Peace Conference. The movie is the 1933 Diplomaniacs. The IMDB plot summary says this:

"Barbers Willy Nilly [Bert Wheeler] and Hercules Glub [Robert Woolsey, the one with the glasses] have opened a barbershop in an Indian reservation, where they have no customers. When suddenly a white man asks for a shave, several Indians of the Oopadoop nation also enter, hearing the usual barbershop banter about foreign debts, they force them to be ambassadors of their nation at the Peace conference in Geneva. Ammunition industry executive Winkelreid is scheming to prevent their mission becoming an success, but the vamp Dolores aboard the ship fails, falling in love with Nilly, and so does Fifi, the toughest person of the world in Paris, falling for Glub. Although Winkelreid is able to steal their secret papers, Nilly and Glub don't give up after being reminded by constant observation of their Indians and enter the Peace conference, which turns out to be a battlefield..."

Oh, BTW Paul Whiteman refers to a (white) jazz band leader popular at the time.

W & W say "Goodbye" to the Indians

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tolerable Sea Chantey

Video Find of the Day

I'm watching the 1956 Gregory Peck movie version of Moby Dick with Anitra, so I am motivated to find another sea chantey video for her that I can stand. This one is quite tolerable, in no small part due to the fact that the video is 40% over before any of the singing commences.

Makem & Clancy - Leave Her Johnny

Deces d'Henri Cartan

I subscribe to Algtop-L, an email list that posts algebraic topology news including abstracts of papers, as well as conference announcements. I don't usually expect to understand anything, because I'm so out of it, but I get an idea where people are at and that makes me feel like I'm still part of the community.

And then there are posts like this one. "Deces d'Henri Cartan" it said, the subject of a forwarded email, beginning "La Société Mathématique de France (SMF) a la tristesse d'annoncer le décès d'Henri Cartan survenu le 13 août 2008 à Paris à l'age de 104 ans" and I found it easy to understand even though I've never taken a French course.

Henri Cartan was a mathematician I knew of best as co-author (with Samuel Eilenberg) of a book called Homological Algebra, which another famous French mathematician Jean-Pierre Serre lampooned in a text on algebra by giving as his only exercise in his chapter on homological algebra this: pick up a book on it and prove all the theorems without reading the book's proofs. I don't recall that Serre mentioned Homological Algebra specifically, but since Serre had been a student of Cartan everyone could guess he meant that book.

The proofs may have been trivial but the structure the book revealed was endlessly useful.

It was published in 1956! It was 15 years old when I started using it. So I have been assuming Cartan must have died years ago. Not so. As the email said, he died this month at the age of 104.

Cartan was also one of the creators of Nicolas Bourbaki [pictured left], the invented mathematician who since 1939 has written a series of volumes titled Éléments de mathématique with the lofty goal of unifying mathematics on a set theoretic foundation. Many mathematicians were in fact inspired to unify in mathematical anarchy opposed to what they saw as a Bourbaki imperialism.

Cartan's seminars in the 40s and 50s laid much of the groundwork for all of the topics that algebraic topologists work on today. Good life.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Champion Card Stacking

Video Find of the Day

Finally somebody does something at the Olympics I can relate to. I personally prefer to work with cups, saucers, and salt and pepper shakers, but that's just because that's what I know. Note that the audience is behind a window. He's not taking any chances with anyone's breath or sudden movements.

Bejing Olympic Card Stack

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Reed Burn

Video Find of the Day

I tried to learn to play the clarinet when I was 10 or 11. The schools tolerated my efforts for about 3 years, enabling me to miss many gym classes thanks to scheduling conflicts. Finally they said, no more, you suck. But I still have memories of reed burn and mouth fatigue. This guy probably gets reed burn a lot. The video provider is zoharisrael, who I'm guessing is himself, or someone or some-entity in business with him.

jewish music soul 2 virtuoso klezmer music - israel zohar \ uzi rozenblat

klezmer festival hasidic music bottle dance - klezmer israel zohar

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Video Find of the Day

A duduk is a double reed instrument said to be of Armenian origin. I heard about it a year ago, and have been searching for it. Finding it, I find there are issues associated. Feelings have been bruised. Names emerge. A plot thickens.

A Tribute To Legendary All-Time Grand Master of Duduk

Monday, August 18, 2008

Microphone Recording

Video Find of the Day

"The remarkable realism of Roycroft 'Living Tone' Records is due to the new 'Microphone' method of recording."

What? What did they do before microphones? Yell at the vinyl and hope for the best?

My favorite madrigal.

English Singers - The Silver Swan Gibbons

Great Fire Escape

Alley of the Week

The alley behind the Terminal Sales Office Building, 1932 1st. I love fire escapes. I've always wanted to live somewhere I could barbecue on the fire escape outside my window. This fire escape looks like a tower to heaven to me.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Medieval Music

Video Find of the Day

I don't know how it happened; I just realized that for the past year I have let Medieval music be off my radar. I've searched for renaissance music but it never occurred to me to search for Medieval. Well, that's simply wrong. I mean, besides having a life-long dream of banging pots in a Chinese funeral procession, I have dreamed of making raucous Medieval noise. So here's some. First, a Spanish ditty.

Remdih - medieval song by Alfonso X

In the next, the performance is in Sighisoara, a walled Transylvanian town which was once the home of Vlad Dracul, but the style of dancing looks Italian.

Sighisoara -medieval dance

From southern Bavaria:

Nachtwindheim - Medieval music

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Gospel Singing, Tahitian Style

Video Find of the Day

Polyphonic song in the service of the Lord, in the Tahitian language. Throughout Polynesia Himene means Christian hymns in the native language. The word is borrowed from the word "hymn", but the music is always only half European. In this case, as these are Tahitians, the European half is mainly French. I believe I can hear the French influence in Tahitian Himene as well as in most other Tahitian music. (Note that in the first and last video, all the singers are dressed just like French peasants from the period of Gauguin & Van Gogh.) I can also hear the ocean, which is never far away.

Tamarii Papara for Himene Tarava Tahiti at Heiva 1989

A humorous song, the description says, but I don't know what it's about yet:

Ute Arearea by Tamarii Rautea Heiva 1994

Tahaa I Te Pia Tarea for Himene Tarava Raromatai in 1989

Friday, August 15, 2008

Chinese Funeral Processions

Video Find(s) of the Day

As I've said, I've dreamed for more than 50 years of participating in a Chinese funeral procession, as a noise maker. There are very few videos of Chinese funeral processions to show why I feel that way. Here are some.

longji funeral procession longsheng china

Sedan Chair Procession

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Video Find of the Day

A song to make you go awww. Usually I can't stand awww-ness, but once in a while if conditions are right (it generally takes four beers and a flashback or two) I will break down, sob, and overly like something like this. The lyrics below are copied from the description by alleycat82 herself. That's an Australian accent, by the way.

Said the Raindrop to the Seed (the You & Me song) - original

"You and me,"
Said the raindrop to the seed
"WE'll make a winning team won't we?
Cause when I fall down
You'll become a pretty flower
And I'll be finally free
From the shackles of this cloud

And the sun will shine
And we'll make the most of life
Come, we haven't got much time
'Cause all living things must die
But I will nurture you
'Til your petals turn to white
And you will hold me close
Until the last drop of me dries"

'Cause you and me
We have each other
And that's all we need
The place I'll call my home
Is anywhere that you will be
You and me
We'll never make a mark on the shape of history
But I'm glad you came to make your mark on me

So darling when I lie down
I hope you'll be around
To lay your roses down over me
'Cause I'd never keep
To watch you fall asleep
I wouldn't last the day
Without you standing next to me

Through a satellite lens
We are just a tiny speck
Oh, of little consequence
In the greater scheme of things
But from down here
In our private little sphere
The colours are in focus
And the picture's crystal clear

'Cause you and me
We've got each other
And that's all we need
The place I'll call my home
Is anywhere that you will be
You and me
We'll never make a mark on the shape of history
But I'm glad you came to make your mark on me

Yeah I'm glad you came to make your mark on me.

Lyrics and music - copyright Jess Chalker 2008.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Video Find of the Day

YouTube has been recommending this video to me for weeks, and I've resisted until now. Why would I want to watch an adorable young woman sing Why Don't You Do Right? I couldn't think of one reason. But today I watched it out of boredom, and I found a reason: woof.

Why Don't You Do Right?

Noise at City Hall

Women in Black usually do silent vigils when homeless people die outside or by violence. Today they made noise by banging pots and pans around City Hall, with help from WHEEL and the Church of Mary Magdalene and others. I was there, living out my dream of some day participating in a Chinese funeral procession.

The purpose of the rally was to speak out about the extreme need for the planned Summer Emergency Shelter for Women. With only $9,500 of city funding it could be open by the beginning of next week.

After marching around City Hall 4 or 5 times with the sun beating straight down, all collected in front of the building, and I got the camera out.

Noise at City Hall

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Carlos Alomar

Video Find of the Day

I heard this blast from the past in the grocery store today. I got to thinking, where did this come from? It came from Carlos Alomar (the guitarist.)

David Bowie - Fame

The whole thing was inspired by John Lennon singing "Fame!" as Alomar played the main riff.

Well, here he is in a recording studio. It's only 42 seconds, but it's 42 seconds of the real guy, himself.


Monday, August 11, 2008


Video Find of the Day

I first found these people because YouTube thought I'd like their rendition of the Theme from Shaft. Not really, just because the sound is not too good and my speakers are weak, but someone else might enjoy that. This one though, is a hoot. They also do a nice Smells Like Teen Spirit.

Ukulele Orchestra of GB - The Good the Bad the Ugly

Sunday, August 10, 2008

KV 314

Video Find of the Day

My worst bout of homelessness was 8 nightmarish months from December 1983 to July or August 1984, through a period of mental illness, on-and-off isolation, spiritual turmoil, starvation, and intense grief. One of the things that got me through it was reading Psalm 22 over and over again, (not 23, 22; look it up). Another was a set of precisely 7 cassette tapes which I played to death on a cheap Walkman knock-off.

The tapes were all used. I think I paid at most 50 cents for each of them. Even that was so much for me at the time that I would spend up to an hour agonizing over what tape to pick.

One of them featured a performance of Mozart's KV 314.

According to the Wikipedia article on the Köchel catalogue, AKA the Köchel-Verzeichnis, if the KV number of a work is more than 100 you can divide by 25 and add 10 to get a good estimate of Mozart's age at the time of its composition. So this one was done around age 22 and a half, give or take a smidgeon.

In this rendering, Heinz Hollinger plays the oboe, Jose Luis Lopez directs for the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra.

Oboe Concert (KV 314) - W.A.Mozart - Heinz Holliger Part 1

Oboe Concert (KV 314)- W.A.Mozart - Heinz Holliger Part 2

Mayberry in Seattle

Alley of the Week

Downtown alleys tend to look like good places to make film noir, while alleys in residential neighborhoods outside of downtown, especially in the North End, often tend to look like Mayberry sets. This one is a good example. It has an additional odd feature, in that if you drive south on 8 NE to NE 55, you could think this alley was 8 NE, also, since it lines up with it. Generally the street grid in the North End is laid out straight, in spite of the geographical obstacles, but it's these little imperfections like this one that make me love it. In this case the imperfection can't be excused by any obstacle. It probably happened because the two parts were laid out by different committees. (The North End was annexed into Seattle piece by piece, over several years.)

Looking north near NE 53.

Further north. Larger versions upon clicking.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Dance for Bond

Video Find of the Day

I actually read all of the James Bond novels in the early 60s, and read most of them before seeing the movies. That was in sharp contrast to my lazy post-graduate years-and-on-to-today habit of only reading the book if the movie makes me want to. My favorite of the James Bond novels was From Russia with Love. I remember it as one of the darkest portrayals of a hero I had read up until then. Ian Fleming's Bond was not pretty, and I thought he was least pretty in that book. If only I had seen the movie first, I might have had better reasons to read the book.

From Russia With Love - Belly Dance Scene

Anitra's Tomatoes

Anitra's tomatoes are awesome. I just want to share that fact.

Some other plants. I don't know what they are.

A view of most of the garden.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Video Find of the Day

I'm trying to understand the distinction between Milonga and Tango. So far all I get is that Milonga preceded Tango. In the meantime, I am prepared to enjoy the samples I can find. I'm a xenomaniac: I don't ever have to get it!


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bangó Margit

Video Find of the Day

This is fun, even though I have no idea what they're singing about. In case you're confused, Bangó Margit is the one on your left. This is the earliest video I've found of her.

Horvath Pista and Bango Margit

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Instrumentals Rock

Video Find(s) of the Day

Or audio finds, whatever.

When I was 12, 13, or so, I couldn't take much in the way of sung music. I wanted instrumentals. Fortunately, there were some. For example, B. Bumble and The Stingers took classics and made them rock. Witness:

Bumble Boogie -B. Bumble and The Stingers (original version)

And again:

bee bumble & the stingers - nut rocker

Turns out, the musicians who made all that happen were the same musicians, more or less, who made the following bit of rhythmic gold happen. When I was 13 a bus ride to school always included some guy slapping the wall of the bus to the beat of this.

The ROUTERS - 'Let's Go' - 1962

Calling Out an Audible

Peeve: Sign Typos

Ok. I misspell stuff. I punctuate wrong. I have a running battle with the Real Change editorial staff over whether periods and commas go inside the parentheses or outside. I want to do parentheses like we do in math, they want to do them like they do in the New York Times. "Screw the New York Times," I say. "Screw you," they say. Round and round we go.

Still, I consistently manage to produce 666 words of copy each week with no more than five, six, or seven typos (according to THEM.) [Or I should say: (according to THEM).]

That's a typo rate per wordage of about one per cent. I don't even get paid to pull that off. Plus, we're talking about ephemera. The paper circulates one stupid week, then is pretty much forgotten.

Now let's say some government agency, like, I don't know, Metro King County, puts out a sign with 15 goddamn words. Not ephemera: it's a sign meant to last for years. One per cent of 15 words is about one seventh of a word. How stupid do they have to be to not proofread said fucking sign and get rid of the typo of one whole wrong word that is equivalent to me misspelling 50 words in one of my idiot columns?

Audibly? You might be audibly recorded? As in, you might hear the recorder while you're being recorded? Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid.

[Above: Sign seen at the International District Tunnel Station Plaza, and also visible (as opposed to visual) on many Seattle buses.]

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Video Find of the Day

I checked my YouTube playlist of Algerian Rai today, and found out that every single video has been pulled. Damn. So I looked for some new Algerian Rai and found one with a song called "Dana Dana". Then, I noticed that there are songs with the same name all over the world. Are these all the same song? I don't think so. But I'm so retarded aurally I could be wrong. How is this coincidence to be explained? Is it purely coincidence, or is there something about the sound of "dana" that inspires people to sing about it, and repeat it? I think "dana" is wired into the human brain.

Rayan & Rima - Dana Dana [Algerian Rai]

Rayan & Rima - Dana Dana [WTF?]

Dana Dana - Pind Di Kuri

Monday, August 4, 2008


Video Find of the Day

MAYONNAISE, n. One of the sauces which serve the French in place of a state religion. - Ambrose Bierce, the Devil's Dictionary.

Mr. Bierce unfortunately had no such entry for Polonaise, which I used to think was a Polish secret sauce. (Being Polish, it should be reversed, like Polish logic. Therefore the secret ought to be that it should not be secret.)

Anyway, this looks hard.

Vladimir Horowitz - Chopin Polonaise in A-flat major, Op. 53

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Dick Gregory

Video Find of the Day

The first album I ever owned wasn't a music album, it was Dick Gregory's 1961 In Living Black and White, which contained such material as:

* Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I understand there are a good many Southerners in the room tonight. I know the South very well. I spent twenty years there one night. *

* Last time I was down South I walked into this restaurant and this white waitress came up to me and said, "We don't serve colored people here." I said, "That's all right. I don't eat colored people. Bring me a whole fried chicken." *

* Then these three white boys came up to me and said, "Boy, we're givin' you fair warnin'. Anything you do to that chicken, we're gonna do to you." So I put down my knife and fork, I picked up that chicken and I kissed it. Then I said, "Line up, boys!" *

I wanted to post an audio of the album but couldn't find one. Instead I found these recent clips of him doing the State of Black Union 08 in New Orleans (certainly out of order.) They show that he still has it.

Dick Gregory apologizes to the first Black President

Dick Gregory at State of Black Union 08 Pt.1

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Two of Josephine Baker

Video Find of the Day

First one is from a 1935 French movie called Princess Tam Tam, in which, according to IMDB, a French novelist tries to pass off a Tunisian shepherdess in Paris as a princess. There's more but I don't think any of it helps. Besides, the excerpt speaks for itself.

Josephine Baker. Princess Tam Tam

Here, in this next, the unsuspecting guys from the audience dance too well.

Josephine Baker - Cha Cha Cha

No Blue Angel

I spent a lot of time today at the Real Change office running in and out trying to position myself to take a video of Blue Angels flying over. I never got a good shot. So I gave up and consoled myself by taking these pictures of Sid Vicious. No Blue Angel, no angel period, but we love him anyway. As usual, click on them for larger versions.

Suspicions Justified

In this one below, it looks like the flash bounced off his retinas. Cool.


Friday, August 1, 2008

Carnaval de Barranquilla

Video Find of the Day

Since we're having what amounts to a rather feeble attempt (Seafair) at a carnival (it wouldn't be so feeble if there were much, much, more meat) I thought maybe we should see how real carnivals look. This one is in Colombia.

Carnaval de Barranquilla: Ayer y Hoy [Then and Now]

Funky Studios

Alley of the Week

I think this is one of the most visually interesting alleys in Seattle. It's the alley from Blanchard to Bell, between 2nd and 3rd, behind the Funky Belltown Studios. I like the inviting barbed-wire (much friendlier than the concertina razor wire found so often elsewhere in Seattle.) I like the odd second floor protruding window space, the flying duct, and the little sign that warns loiterers in the alley that they may be videotaped.