Roger Ebert is my hero

For those of you who are unaware of what's going on in Roger Ebert's life, he is currently recovering from surgery to save him from cancer of the salivary gland that moved on to his jaw. There have been some complications that certainly don't affect his mind or his wit, but make him, well, unattractive. As Roger says in this great article he wrote after his surgery, "So let’s talk turkey. What will I look like? To paraphrase a line from 'Raging Bull,' I ain’t a pretty boy no more."

Go read the article. What it addresses is the fact that Roger has been advised not to attend his own Overlooked Film Festival due to what people might say about how he looks now. His answer boils down to, "Screw them. I'm going." He says this much more eloquently, and makes some excellent points in the article. Like I said, go read it.

I've always liked Ebert. I like him even more now.


Kurt Vonnegut: Breakfast of Champions Podcast - 92Y Blog - 92nd Street Y - New York, NY

To paraphrase from Deadeye Dick:

He had curly golden hair, and he had lost almost none of it when his peephole closed, when he was allowed to stop being Kurt Vonnegut, when he became just another wisp of undifferentiated nothingness again.

Listen: The 92nd Street Y has posted a wonderful podcast, featuring Vonnegut reading from the then-unpublished Breakfast of Champions on May 4, 1970. (So he must have been reading this at about the same time National Guardsmen were shooting at Kent State students. So it goes.)


Go Kodak!

This is the funniest commercial I've seen in twenty years. I'm telling you, this is the future of advertising.


Today I ripped: The Tremblers / Twice Nightly

To be precise, I pulled this one out of the stack of LP's a few weeks ago and ripped it, but finally finished the splitting and encoding tonight, so the post title isn't entirely inaccurate.

To the untrained eye, this is a typical album for the date-of-release (1980) -- decent power pop in the Nick Lowe vein. However, the lead singer might stir some earlier memories. The guy in the red shirt and pants on that cover is Peter Noone, famed in song and story as the lead singer of Herman's Hermits, the British Invasion version of Rodney Dangerfield, in that they get no respect. Justified to some extent, since the Hermits were quite callously manipulated by manager Mickey Most to maximize profits, but a close listen to any Hermits album reveals some nice rocking.

By 1980, Peter was a has-been at a far earlier age than anyone should be. Becoming a household name at 16 does that to you, I suppose. (16!?! My son is 16. Arrgh!) The Tremblers may have been his attempt for some credibility, but it sank without a trace as far as I know. Listening to it now, it's a shame that it did. Most songs are at least co-credited to Noone, and the band does a decent job with most. Peter still had a too-sweet voice for outright rocking, but it's not bad at all. And the band has to earn some points for the album's one cover song, Elvis Costello's Green Shirt.

I've always liked Noone, and the Hermits as well. I was exposed to them early on -- my older sister was a big fan, pasting pages from 16 Magazine on her wall, and playing 45's of A Must to Avoid and Dandy until we ALL knew the lyrics. That's probably why I bought this album when it came out. But it did get quite a few spins on the turntable on its own merits, and I'm glad it's digitized and part of my shuffle now.

In a bit of synchronicity, I had already started digitizing this album when I sat down to watch American Idol with my daughter the week that Peter Noone was a guest. It did make me feel a bit old when Liza Persky at Idol Critic had no idea who he was.