So, What Are You Reading?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by Ted Heiks, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Lerner, you forgot to tell us the author's name.
    Here's a bit on him from Wiki:

    "Michael Alan Weiner, known by his professional name Michael Savage, is an American radio host, author, activist, nutritionist, conservative political commentator, and conspiracy theorist." (Emphasis mine - J.)

    I think I'll pass. My radio stays tuned to the jazz/blues stations. Always.
  2. Tireman 44444

    Tireman 44444 Well-Known Member

    Wisdom's Workshop: The Rise of The Modern University by Janes Axtell
  3. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    Jazz/blues stations, sounds good.
  4. Mac Juli

    Mac Juli Active Member

    The Last Children of Schewenborn by Gudrun Pausewang. It depicts Germany / Central Europe after a nuclear war. Spoiler: it does *not* end well.
  5. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Sure does - now. Early COVID-19 lockdown: hi-fi busted, repair shop closed. Computer sound on the fritz. No music except what I could make. I have lots of instruments - a couple I can even play! I have thousands of books, though, so it was comforting to re-read some about the music I have loved for 60-70 years.

    The Jazz Life - Nat Hentoff
    Blues - Keeping the Faith. Keith Shadwick
    The Country Blues. Sam Charters
    Blues From the Delta. William Ferris
    Deep Blues. Robert Palmer
    Muddy Waters - The Mojo Man. Sandra B. Tooze
    Something About the Blues. Al Young
    Lost Highway. Peter Guralnick

    ...and a bunch of others. Comforting indeed. Then I got a radio and was back listening to "Gumbo Kitchen," Jazz and the blues shows.
  6. Filmmaker2Be

    Filmmaker2Be Active Member

    What kind of jazz and blues do you like? I like most forms, except the jazz that sounds like every musician is playing their own song. My dad LOVED that type of jazz and I'd have to suffer through long road trips with him listening to it. I'd listen to it all over again if I could have him back. I miss that man something awful.
  7. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    What kind of blues do I like? Just about all kinds - mostly old-school. When I started out (1959 or so) at first (for me) it was all John Lee Hooker, (met him once) Lightnin' Hopkins and Jimmy Reed. Anyone can learn to play guitar like John Lee - but nobody can sing like him. Again, it's fairly easy to understand what Lightnin' is doing on guitar - he plays mostly in A and E - but he was a unique and impressive singer. Texas has had a long, unbroken line of superb blues singers, from Blind Lemon Jefferson, through Lightnin', Lowell Fulson, T-Bone Walker. Today, there are excellent female (and white) Texas singers - e.g. Angela Strehli and Louann Barton.

    Old-school singers/players I like include a trio of Johnsons - Tommy, Blind Willie and of course, Robert. I don't like the other Blind Willie - Georgia's Blind Willie McTell - much. Yeah, he could play a 12-string, but that "singing"? Blind Lemon Jefferson was a real pioneer with his single-string guitar runs. I also have a lot of 50-s 60-s Chicago Blues - Muddy Waters, Little Walter Jacobs, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy etc. I saw Buddy and Junior live a couple of times - Toronto and Lewiston NY. Good times.

    I like harmonica players in general - I've played blues (and regular) harp for over 50 years. I'm a Sonny Terry fan - he passed in 1986. I was fortunate to meet him several times. A very nice man!

    I met one of my other favorites, too. Lonnie Johnson's career started in the 1920s and he had a great comeback (played a lot here in Canada) in the 1960s. Lonnie was a jazz man as much as a blues man. Very accomplished in both fields. I have two of his albums with his autograph.

    One of my favourite blues ladies will always be the late Memphis Minnie (Douglas, McCoy). I'd like to have met her! She once beat the great Big Bill Broonzy in a blues contest - he came in second. But I read he and his buddy later stole the prize (a bottle of whiskey) and walked off with it.

    Well, I should wrap it up about now. Thanks for asking. I'll write about my jazz faves later. My best time was at a concert where guitar greats Barney Kessel, Charlie Byrd and Herb Ellis played on the same stage - Lewiston NY. A week or two earlier, I'd seen B.B. King on the same stage. Another of my faves. How could I forget to mention him?
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2020
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  8. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Missed a couple - have to mention that I like the blues forms of Louisiana. Zydeco and Swamp Blues. I like Clifton Chenier, his son C.J., Slim Harpo, all the Excello recording artists, e.g. Lightnin' Slim and Lazy Lester. Also Boozoo Chavis, Queen Ida, Rockin' Dopsie, Rockin' Sidney etc. I have a couple of accordions - one row Cajun-type and regular piano-type, as Clifton played. Sometimes, I like to try and play along - when the neighbours are out.

    Aiyeeee! Laissez les bons temps rouler! (Let the good times roll!)
    Filmmaker2Be likes this.
  9. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    When I was a young kid about 7 or 8, two things impressed me and never left me alone. I'm glad they didn't. One was modern art - Piet Mondrian was the first of many artists to impress me. The other was jazz. A movie appearance of Louis Armstrong was the first time. Many years later, it was my privilege to meet the great Satchmo once.

    Like you, Filmmaker2Be, I don't much care for really dissonant jazz. I can remember in the 60s reading about the 'free jazz' movement and rushing out to buy an Albert Ayler album. Not a good move, for me. Hated it. Never bought another. I feel the same way about Dixieland - which has, as I see it, become a musical joke. Woody Allen will never convince me otherwise. Everybody solo-ing at once. Bop is really old-school now -- and I'm comfortable with old-school. Dizzy Gillespie, a Bop pioneer, is one of my favourite jazzmen. I was a kid when I first heard "Night in Tunisia" and it's stayed with me. I've seen Diz in concert a few times and was honoured to meet him once. A prince of a man! None finer. None. Very wise, too.

    Ray Charles among his many musical accomplishments, has recorded some fine jazz. The man could do everything! What I like most about Ray's jazz is that he never lost touch with the Blues. Blues influence permeates the jazz world - or most of it. That's how jazz was born - and how it stays alive. I've seen Ray in concert - twice - but never had the privilege of meeting him.

    'Cool' jazz of the 50s was in part a revolution against blues-based jazz. Having said that, I still like it. It's melodic, with varying complexity. You want something relaxing, it's there. You want something that will exercise your ears and brain, that's there too. I heard a week or two ago that we just lost Lee Konitz, one of the "cool" pioneers. Another one of my faves. Lee was over 90 at the time of his demise. Farewell, Mr. Konitz. All love and respect, Sir.

    I also like just about any Latin Jazz - particularly Brazilian and Cuban / Afro-Cuban. I put good Cuban jazz on and I can taste good Cuban coffee with good Cuban rum and Good Cuban Cigars - and (in my mind) see fine Cuban women. I almost morph into Ernest Hemingway, except I can't write for beans.

    What kind of jazz do I like? Almost ALL of it.
  10. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I can't leave this topic without mentioning guitar-centric "Gypsy Jazz" fathered by the great Django Reinhardt, a Belgian-born Gypsy. The grandchildren and other relatives of Django are active today in the same musical field. Django passed away prematurely in the 1950s. His sons, Babik and Lousson, were also fine guitarists in the same genre. Sadly, they are gone now, too.

    There are some non-Roma players who are very, very good, including Jon Jorgenson, but most of the artists are of true Sinti and Roma origin. Players I really like include Bireli Lagrene, Romane, Angelo Debarre, Fapy Lafertin, Stochelo and Jimmy Rosenberg (cousins, IIRC), Dorado Schmitt, Andreas Varady. It's all jazz - really good jazz - with a strong flavour of its own. Like it was cooked over a campfire.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2020
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  11. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Django's name lives on today - sometimes in unusual contexts. I'm thinking of Django, the web-framework for the ultra-useful Python programming language.
    I'm sure the name was chosen to connote creativity and rapid improvisation. I think he'd be proud ... even though there was no Python and no Web in his lifetime.
    Filmmaker2Be likes this.
  12. Mac Juli

    Mac Juli Active Member

    Imagine a world in which Adolf Hitler was not politician / psychopath / dictator / war criminal as in real life, but ... third class science fiction author! Welcome to the wild world of "The Iron Dream" by Norman Spinrad.
  13. Filmmaker2Be

    Filmmaker2Be Active Member

    You're speaking my language when you bring up Python. I recently did a quick Javascript course to round out the HTML and CSS I've used for 20 and 17 years, respectively. Now I can say I'm a web developer vs HTML coder. Python was going to be my next "please don't let me die of boredom during coronavirus" project*, but now I have a master's degree to start on. My prior programming experience is with C++, Java, and some MATLAB. I'm super rusty now, though.

    *I'm immune compromised and won't be coming out of lockdown until there's a vaccine cure for COVID-19. I'm exactly who that virus is hunting for, so I'm not taking any chances.
    Johann likes this.
  14. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I think I was born super-rusty. I used to fiddle with Basic back in the day - and I still can, thanks to a wonderful product called QB64. It preserves all the old MS-Quickbasic code of 30 years ago - PLUS a whole lot more for new screen resolutions, hardware capabilities, etc. Runs under Windows or Linux and is FREE. I took some C++ back in the day and still have the old Borland compiler on floppies on a shelf someplace. I can run it on either my 1988 Sharp pc4600 laptop (in DOS) or on my XP boat-anchor.

    There's another wonderful FREE product called VDOS which allows you to run ancient DOS software with big-screen and great appearance - crisp letters etc on Win XP, and 7. Sadly, the developer announced that there will NEVER be a Windows 10 version. Can't be done, he says. One more drawback - it doesn't do big-screen graphics. If you leave the text mode, your screen goes tiny - 640x480. But those text-only programs jump to life - old ones you bought - or new ones you write.

    Of course, you CAN draw under VDOS with ASCII symbols and have a full-size screen. You're restricted to 16 colors that way - but any 16 you want - not the dull DOS set. I came up with a couple of Native-style rug-designs that way - they didn't look too bad to me.

    In other programming languages - I'm gonna seriously study Python soon and of course I fiddle with HTML, CSS. And I want to learn more Javascriot too. I'm a born dabbler. Near the end of my working life, (I retired in 1993) I wrote a bunch of analytical-type stuff for work in SAS. It felt good to stop!

    I hear you on the COVID 19 lockdown. I'm 77 and have to be pretty careful if I want to make it to 78 and beyond...
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2020
  15. Mac Juli

    Mac Juli Active Member

    Does anyone like cyberpunk? Just re-read the grandfather of this kind of science-fiction: "The Stars My Destination" by Alfred Bester.
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  16. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Count me in - ever since I read Neuromancer by William Gibson - that has to be nearly 35 years ago! My son, then a teenager, thought I might like it. Kid certainly knew his old man!
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  17. Mac Juli

    Mac Juli Active Member

    In this case, I am quite confident you will like it. Corporations as mighty as the government? Check. Something like a corporate samurai, loyal to his own code of honor? Check. Body enhancement? Check. Futuristic setting? Check. In addition to all of this, there was quite a societal disruption by the ability of most people have developed to teleport themselves. And all that written in 1956!!
  18. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I read Neuromancer as a kid and loved it, but Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson will always be my favorite of the genre.
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  19. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    How can it be cyberpunk, then? That wasn't even a word till 1983.. Commander Wiki told me so: "In 1983 a short story written by Bruce Bethke, called Cyberpunk, was published in Amazing Stories. The term was picked up by Gardner Dozois, editor of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine and popularized in his editorials."

    I'm sure Bester's story was great science fiction. Maybe at the very forefront of "New Wave" science fiction. It had all the elements. But it wasn't cyberpunk. For that, you need computers that can talk to each other and people who have the digital skills to power-use/ misuse / trash them.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
  20. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Read it and see. :)

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