Wednesday, January 24, 2007

How to sing Blues?

Came across this brilliantly funny piece on the subject...enjoy (dont know thw writer yet, but as soon as i get some info on that...will give the due credit). enjoy...

Most Blues begin with "Woke up this mornin'." It is usually bad to start the Blues with "I got a good woman" unless you stick something mean in the next line. Example: "I got a good woman with the meanest dog in town."
Blues are simple. After you have the first line right, repeat it. Then find something else that rhymes. Sort of. Example: "Got me a good woman with the meanest dog in town...oh, yeah!...Got me a good woman with the meanest dog in town. He got teeth like Margaret Thatcher, and he weigh 'bout 500 pound."
Blues cars are Chevys, Cadillacs, and broke down trucks circa 1957. Other acceptable Blues transportation are a Greyhound bus or a "southbound train." Note: A BMW, Lexus, Mercedes, mini-van, or sport utility vehicle is NOT a Blues car.
"Walkin'" plays a major part in the Blues lifestyle. So does "fixin' to die" and "findin' a good woman."

Teenagers can't sing the Blues. Only adults sing the Blues. Adulthood, when it comes to the Blues, means old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

You can have the Blues in New York City or Los Angeles but not in New Haven or Phoenix. Hard times in Vermont or North Dakota are just a minor depression. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City are still the best places to have the Blues, but Abilene, Mobile, and New Orleans are ok in a pinch.
The following colors do NOT belong in the Blues: antique violet, champagne, mauve, taupe, and peach.

Blues is not a matter of color, however. Tiger Woods can't sing the blues; Sonny Liston can.

You can't have the Blues in an office building or a shopping mall; the lighting is all wrong. Other bad places for the Blues: Kmart, gallery openings, and the supermarket. Good places for the Blues: a jail house, your mama's back porch, beside the highway, bottom of a rot-gut whiskey glass, or a solitary room in a fleabag hotel.

No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit or anything by Ralph Lauren.

Do you have the right to sing the Blues?

Yes, if:
• your first name is a southern state. Example: Georgia
• you're blind
you shot a man in Memphis.
No, if:
• you're deaf
• anyone in your family drives a Lotus
• you have a trust fund.

Yanni, Julio Iglesias, and Barbara Streisand may not sing the Blues. Ever.
If you ask for water and your baby gives you gasoline, it's the Blues.

Other Blues beverages are:
• malt liquor
• Irish whiskey
• muddy water
• Thunderbird wine
• one bourbon, one scotch, and one beer. At the same time.

Blues beverages are NOT:
• a mai-tai
• a glass of Chardonnay
• a Yoo Hoo (all flavors)

If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is also a Blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, or being denied treatment in an emergency room. It is NOT a Blues death if you die during a liposuction treatment.

Some Blues Names for women: Sadie, Louise, Bessie, and Baby.Women's names which are NOT Blues names: Heather, Jennifer, Emily, and Alexandra.

Some Blues Names for men: Joe, Willie, Joe Willie, Hank, and Po' Boy. Men's names which are NOT Blues names: Geoffrey, Damian, and Keith.

Persons with names like Sierra or Sequoia will NOT be permitted to sing the Blues, no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

Need a Blues Name? Try this mix and match starter kit:
• name of physical infirmity (Blind, Asthmatic, etc.) or character flaw (Dishonest, Low Down, etc.)
• or substitute name of a fruit (Lemon, Fig, Persimmon); or use first -and- fruit names
• finish with the last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)Examples: Low Down Persimmon Johnson; One-Handed Fig Fillmore.

Need a Blues instrument? Play one or more of the following & alternate with husky voice riffs:
• harmonica
• gih-tar
• fiddle
• sax
• pie-anner (in need of tuning)
Now - you're ready to sing the Blues!
Enjoy the long off to a solitary beach on the Arabian Sea.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Greed is right!

Was going through the Blockbuster, UK list (a voted one) of top 20 movie speeches and found this one made by Michael Douglas in Wall Street (1987) as number 5 on it. Sums up the 'Greed economy', Capitalism, USA, KBC etc and the larger part of the world pretty well.

"The point is, ladies and gentleman, is that greed - for lack of a better word - is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms - greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge - has marked the upward surge of mankind. And Greed - you mark my words - will not only save Teldar Paper but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA."

Interestingly, none of the top 20 speeches are from a female lead...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Such is life!

My first phone call of the morning was from my previous office, wishing me a Happy Birthday! It made me realize that today is my official birthday (my working parents packed me off to school at the earliest for their convenience) and things havent stopped since then.

Next, I was greeted by the 2 receptionist as soon as i entered my current office. 20 mins later, I have a beautiful card from the HR deptt with the HR girls singing a loud and sweet 'Happy Birthday'. This was followed by a big round of applause.

One by one, everyone is coming and wishing me in the warmest possible way. And this will continue throughout the day, ending with a big cake and more singing...(here comes another one, 'Thank you', I say).

And throughout, I have the feeling of an know...I'm not the right guy...well actually I am the right guy, but its not my birthday today...My real one is on...blah blah blah
(and here comes another one..."Thanks a lot man", i say)

Am dreading the next person's wishes...stupidly feel that i am cheating them...things are wierd!

And here comes another one with a warm and a really benign smile on his readying my response. This time it'll be "Many many thanks man!"

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Where do the children play?

Was reading that New York City, with its rich history of public playgrounds, is on the verge of a bold experiment in the way children play, one that could accelerate the trend away from monkey bars, swings and seesaws used by generations of city children.

In an unusual public-private partnership, the city is developing a playground near the South Street Seaport that will have trained “play workers” on hand to help children interact with features of the new playground: water, ramps, sand and specially designed objects meant to spur the imagination.Based on child-development theories that children need to engage in social and fantasy play rather than just build physical skills, the project was conceived and is being designed at no charge by David Rockwell, famous for creating adult play spaces like the restaurants Nobu and CafĂ© Gray and the Mohegan Sun casino and resort.

Once upon a time, parents took their children to city playgrounds to push them endlessly in swings or watch them hang from monkey bars (since removed; too dangerous) or let them struggle with the rudiments of sharing shovels in a sandbox. And both parent and child felt they were doing pretty well.

The new playground, however, aims to do better: Developers of the Lower Manhattan project envision groups of children collaborating, for instance, loading containers with sand, hoisting them up with pulleys and then lowering them down to wagons waiting to be wheeled off to another part of the park.

“Play is not optional for kids; play is how children learn to build community, how they learn to work with other people, it’s how they learn to kind of engage their sense of creativity,” Mr. Rockwell said. “We thought it was a really open field to explore.”

The visual thats coming to my mind right now is of many Tom Sawyers trying to paint their fences, with Becky Thatchers helping them. Nice!

Monday, January 08, 2007

My apologies, Herbie & Wayne (for not being able to catch you guys)

Jazz legends, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter are performing in Mumbai, this weekend. We got euphoric and my guitarist friend, Bojangles lined up outside Rhythm House, on the morning of the first ticketing day only to experience despair and frustration. All the tickets got over in the first 10 minutes! Deja Vu! Deja Vu! Hasnt this happened before...when Jean Luc Ponty was here?

Still sad and angry about the whole affair, I saw a letter this morning which made me feel a tad better. With the permission from its writer, I am putting that 'happiness inducing' letter here on my blog. The writer, a Jazz afficionado (and a good musician too) has addressed the letter to Lalitha (as you will see) who is writes in Midday, the daily with the flavour of Mumbai city

Dear Lalitha,

Thank you for writing about one of my favourite jazz artists Herbie Hancock whose music I have been collecting since the mid 70's before the age of the CD. Your article ended with the details of the show and the tickets. Perhaps you are not aware of how this was organised.

I was standing in a queue at the NCPA Saturday morning since 9 am because the NCPA told me the previous day that the box office opens at 9. There were 7 people in the queue when I arrived there but many joined the queue later and it was long and winding by 10 am. At around 9.30 am a little boy walked around the queue telling everyone that there were only 30 tickets available. He was trying to forewarn the people in the queue that they might not get any tickets and they should not waste their time.

10 am the same little boy opens the window at the box office. The 6 people in front of me don't look like jazz afficionados for sure. I am the last one in the queue to get 2 tickets. Some of the people in front of me have even booked 7 tickets each exhausting the 30 tickets allotted to the NCPA very quickly. This raises a lot of questions in my mind about how this city is organising jazz and blues shows:

1. How come there are only 30 tickets available when the auditorium holds close to 900 seats.

2. The only tickets available were 30 at NCPA and 100 at Rhythm House. Both locations exhausted their inventory in the first 10 minutes.

3. Who is really seeing these shows for Buddy Guy and Herbie Hancock? Obviously not people who are interested in jazz or blues? Because people like me never get tickets for these shows.

4. Is it people in high places? Is it VIPS? Is it corporates? How many of these people know jazz or have even heard of Herbie Hancock before they saw the first ad in the TOI?

5. Why are prestigious organisations like the NCPA hosting these shows and going through the indignity of offering 30 seats on the last row of their auditorium to the public?

6. Jazz is a people's art. Its not for the rich, the influential, or the monied.

7. Whoever the organisers are why are they going throught the motions of pretending to offer tickets to the public? Why isn't this just a private show for their sponsors?

8. Does Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter know that the people who really know their music are not going to have a chance to see their show? And that the people in the audience who clap in the auditorium are really people who don't know jazz?

9. Why is that our auditoriums are empty for many of these shows and yet tickets are never available in anything but small numbers to the public?

I was wondering if you knew the answers to any of the questions raised or would like to investigate more about them. There is a whole body of people> who love jazz in the city and will not be seeing this show. I wish you could talk to them. I can give you their contact details.

Prabhakar Mundkur
Thanks for making us music lovers feel a bit better, Prabhakar...enjoy your trip to 'Cantaloupe Island' with the "Watermelon Man' and a 'seventy something' saxophonist.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

God, in trouble again!

Towards the end of nineteenth century, emerged a philosopher from Europe and claimed, 'God is dead and I am ready to rule the world' along with the concept of "Will to Power' (brutally misused by the Nazis for their mad purposes) to explain the human beings as having the ultimate power. We all know this man by the name of Nietzsche (pronounced Neethsha from what i heard last from a German names pronounciation specialist)

Today, more than a hundred years later scientists and intellectuals of the world are expecting people's fascination for religion and superstition to disappear within a few decades as television and the Internet make it easier to get information. Scientists are getting closer to discovering a 'final theory of everything' and hence will be negating the 'existence of God' in a scientific way.

Philosopher Daniel Denett believes that within 25 years religion will command little of the awe it instills today. The spread of information through the Internet and cellphones will "gently, irresistibly, undermine the mindsets requisite for religious fanaticism and intolerance".

Biologist Richard Dawkins said that physicist would give religion another problem: a theory of everything that would complete Albert Einstein's dream of unifying the fundamental laws of physics. "This final scientific enlightenment will deal an overdue death blow to religion and other juvenile superstitions."

Part of this final theory will be formulated by the scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider, a particle accelerator at Cern in Geneva, which is to be switched on this year. It will smash protons together to help scientists understand what makes up the most fundamental bits of the universe.

I am not complaining...religion has always resulted in more evil than goodness, so we are headed towards a better world.