Well, that wasn’t very Buddhist of me, was it?

I don’t know why I bother to meditate. Whatever you put out into the ether will come back to you. I really believe that and I meditate on it.

Then I go an do something like this.

Here’s my brief email exchange with WBGO Jazz 88 Sunday morning disc jockey Dan Karcher:

—–Original Message—–
From: [me]
Sent: Sunday, August 30, 2009 9:00 AM
To: Dan Karcher
Subject: A bit of personal history

Good morning, Mr. Karcher. Are you, by any chance, a percussionist?

—–Original Message—–
From: Dan Karcher
Sent: Sunday, August 30, 2009 9:00 AM
To: [me]
Subject: A bit of personal history

Yea, how did you know? I though all my records were out of print!

—–Original Message—–
From: [me]
Sent: Sunday, August 30, 2009 9:10 AM
To: Dan Karcher
Subject: A bit of personal history

I can tell because only someone who is a percussionist himself would inflict drum solos on a defenseless audience. Every Sunday morning it’s the same thing. Percussion solos are hard to take normally. On Sunday mornings, they are a particularly cruel form of punishment.

* * *

Now, was that nice? I attacked something that’s dear to him. I honestly had no idea he was a drummer (much less had albums out) but it’s his own damn fault. He’s been provoking me for a long time now.

My Sunday mornings are sacred to me. A hot cup of coffee, The New York Times, a Suzie Q and WBGO. I don’t want to hear any of that contemporary smooth jazz shite and I don’t want any goddamn drum solos. Some Stan Getz would be nice. A few Ella Fitzgerald songs. Wes Montgomery.

But he kept pushing my buttons. So I feel bad about setting him up like that but he’s been doing this for a while and he had it coming. How selfish! [Of him. Not me.]

Tiny dancer

For years, I’ve been reading a book to 7-Year Old Daughter about Edgar Degas and his dancer sculpture. In the book, the model is a poor girl who can’t afford ballet lessons and never learns to dance, but in the end she is immortalized by Degas. I’m pretty sure it’s fiction and doesn’t have anything to do with Degas or the girl who actually posed for him, but I could be wrong.

I told daughter that one of the dancer sculptures was in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, complete with the ribbon in her hair and dancing skirt and that one day I would take her into the city to visit it. Finally, I decided to take a day off of work, leave Mrs. Wife and 3-Year Old Daughter in New Jersey and fulfill a promise.

I’ve been in that Museum dozens of times over the years and know my way around pretty well, so I took the most direct path to 19th Century European Painting and Sculpture. Little legs exhaust easily and I didn’t want her running out of gas too soon.

I turned the corner where I *thought* the statue was but she wasn’t there. Then, from behind me, I heard Daughter gasp and say, “Dad! Look! There she is!”

And there she was.


Daughter’s face was glowing. It’s as though she spotted a celebrity. Here, in front of her, was the girl we had been reading about for years and years.

We spent quite a bit of time in the Degas rooms. The funny thing about Degas is that he didn’t paint dancers performing. He painted them stretching or in class or getting dressed or talking amongst themselves. But not dancing. It was scandalous at the time.


After Degas, we looked in on some of the other Impressionists. That stuff is pretty easy to take and I don’t want her to work too hard yet. Baby steps. First, van Gogh’s Irises. Later on, Picasso’s blue period.

I could see that tedium was setting in so we started towards the exit. But before we left that wing, she turned to me, looked up and said, “Dad, can we go look at her one more time?”

Everything is going according to plan. Muuhahahaha!

It got loud

Do you like loud guitars? If you do, keep your eye on your local art house cinema for a documentary called It Might Get Loud. It’s a pretty good time.

Three virtuosos, Jimmy Page (representing the 70s), The Edge (the 80s) and Jack White (90s) sit in a circle on a sound stage and talk about guitars. Their favorites. Their first. Their playing techniques, influences and secrets. It’s a master class for those who care about that sort of thing. There’s some history thrown in for perspective. Some blind Black blues players are discussed. The usual suspects.

My caveat is that this is for people who love guitars. I went with Nurse H who, when not saving lives in the hospital, sings in a Led Zep cover band. (Bustling Hedgerow. Get it?) She might have gotten more out of the film than I did.

There’s some discussion of Zep, U2 and The White Stripes/Raconteurs and some biographical stuff. [Did you know that Page started out as a studio musician for hire and played guitar on the theme from Goldfinger? I think that is so fucking cool.] It’s mainly a lot of playing sequences and slow, loving camera pans of guitars. It’s got one of the most beautiful title sequences I’ve ever seen.

It’s worth the price of admission for two scenes; watching Jimmy Page joyously play air guitar to Link Wray’s Rumble and explain why it’s such a great song. Also, White and Edge watch, with big grins on their faces, as Page spontaneously rips into the riff from Whole Lotta Love. It looks like Edge is thinking to himself, “Ho. Lee. Shit. That’s Jimmy Fucking Page playing Whole Lotta Love three feet in front of me. How lucky am I?”

At the end, the three of them sit and play an acoustic version of The Weight. It’s a soft touch.


42nd street rec. room

If you’re walking down 42nd Street on your way towards either Times Square or Grand Central Station and fancy a quick game of ping-pong, you’re in luck. This summer, Bryant Park (42nd and 6th) has outdoor ping pong tables set up. The net is a piece of sheet metal.

When I moved to New York (mumble-mumble) years ago, I didn’t dare go anywhere NEAR Bryant Park (or Union Square, for that matter) unless I was looking for a bag of weed. You conducted your business and got the hell out as quickly as possible. It was scary. Now, you can play ping pong. That’s quite an arc.

I didn’t know about it until I stumbled across a heated match between this old rattlesnake and a young buck. It looked like they were taking it pretty seriously. I don’t think they were playing for fun. Sometimes, people in New York take things way too seriously.


Not long ago I did a post about what I thought was the “best” pizza in New York. It was tongue-in-cheek. Picking the “best” of anything is an exercise in futility. It’s purely subjective and open to an individual’s personal taste. (But I do like watching the Oscars.) Well, I got an earful from the city pizza capos. They accused me of having unsophisticated tastes and other unflattering characteristics. Pizza! My God! Who cares!?

Some get a kick from censorship

I have a great recording of Ella Fitzgerald singing Cole Porter’s I Get a Kick Out of You. In one stanza, she sings:

Some, they may go for cocaine
I’m sure that if, I took even one sniff

It would bore me terrifically too

But I get a kick out of you

I also have two recordings of Sinatra singing the same song and in one version the lyric was sanitized to:

Some like the perfume from Spain
I’m sure that if I took even one sniff

It would bore me terrifically too

But I get a kick out of you

In the second recording, it was changed to:

Some like the bop-type refrain
I’m sure that if, I heard even one riff

It would bore me terrifically too

But I get a kick out of you

The perfume from Spain?! Give me a break! That doesn’t even make any sense. Since when is Spain known for its perfume? Unemployment, maybe. But not perfume. Porter would NEVER have written such a pedestrian line. It takes all the punch and dark glamor out of the song. I almost wish I hadn’t noticed.

* * *

This morning’s ear worm while brushing my teeth at 5:25 a.m.: The theme from The Wild Wild West. My God. What is WRONG with me?