Archive for January, 2006

That’s Entertainment!

January 30, 2006

I watched “That’s Entertainment!” this weekend.

What an amazing collection of film clips! Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor in “Singin’ in the Rain”. Fred Astaire in “Royal Holiday”. Astaire and Eleanor Powell in “Broadway Melody of 1940”. Judy Garland in “Meet Me in St. Louis”. Such talent — dancing, singing, set design, cinematography — presented in such rapid succession…the effect is staggering.

The talents that are now unfashionable attracted me most. The tap dancing of Kelly, Astaire, and Powell. The unironic, screwball comedy of O’Connor. The nice-n-easy of Frank Sinatra.

Having grown up watching the clichés of MGM musicals parodied by the comedians of the ’70s and ’80s, it was fascinating to see how good that style was at its best.


Minty goodness

January 30, 2006

Do yourself a favor and try this ice cream.

Best ice cream I’ve ever had. (Sorry, Blue Bell!)

Timing Squeeze

January 28, 2006

This post by Rob Booth jogged my memory.

I was walking across the Morrison Bridge recently, and listening to my Squeeze compilation. The song “Hourglass” came on, with its chorus of:

Take it to the bridge
Throw it overboard
See if it can swim
Back up to the shore

I thought for a moment about whether I had something to throw over the railing into the Willamette, just for the sake of being apt, but decided to ignore my sense of aptness just this once.

Earthquake in East Portland

January 28, 2006

At 6:00pm local time today, there was a 2.8-magnitude earthquake with an epicenter half a mile from where I live.

I didn’t feel a thing. Disappointing.

The colors of inner East Portland

January 27, 2006

The side streets of inner East Portland are a fantastic medley of style and color.

Almost all of the houses were built between 1890 and 1940, and share the charm that age confers on buildings that are cared for.

What raises the neighborhoods from charming to enchanted, though, are the colors. The beiges and grays of suburban houses are nowhere to be found. Almost every owner is daring, and almost every dare succeeds: Main and Salmon and Taylor and Yamhill are lined with innumerable subtle shades of brown and green and yellow and blue and purple; main colors complementing trim colors with invariable beauty.

Even under a deadening gray sky, the streets live and give life. They make Portland the great walking town it is.

A certain sense of humor

January 26, 2006

One of my uncles is a model train builder, and he visits stores that sell parts and equipment to hobbyists.

As you probably know, some people spend a lot of time and money getting their model train environments Just Right. Not just the trains themselves, but train stations, streets, towns, people, hills and bridges, snow and trees.

My uncle says that he was in a store once, and a fellow hobbyist noticed that the store sold tiny replicas of nude sunbathers for use in a model train environment. The hobbyist asked whether the store also sold tiny replicas of a man with binoculars.

This thing first

January 25, 2006

One of the musicians whose music The Good Show introduced me to is the late Nick Drake.

It’s good rainy day music: quiet, mellow, reflective. His song “One of These Things First” is a work of sonic beauty.

Drake appears to be popular in Portland: I had to wait two months before the local library could fulfill my hold for his greatest-hits album. Worth waiting for, though.

The joy of streaming

January 25, 2006

My radio is always tuned to KBOO, but on Sunday evenings I use the Internet to listen to a station far away across the mountains: KTCU in Fort Worth.

From 5pm to 7pm (Portland time) is a show called the Rock Menagerie. Host Dale Gleitz picks a theme each week, and plays two hours of music from the last 40 years that relates to it. He takes pride in having rarely played the same song twice during his many years hosting the show, and he finds the most amazing album cuts. The man knows a lot of music, and his taste and the way he blends songs together are impressive. Plus, I respect his playing so much music that I would be embarrassed to admit to liking…but that I do in fact like.

From 7pm until 10:30pm (again, Portland time) is The Good Show. Tom, Chris, Tony, and Neil play mostly what is called “modern rock” from the last 30 or so years. They also throw in comedy at the top of every hour and a segment called “The Bad Show”, featuring painfully bad music, as the show’s nightcap. Above all, though, the show has a Rat Pack vibe to it — clever, funny, chummy, often puerile — and if you dig that vibe, you’ll become a regular listener.

(A side note: I once stopped listening to The Good Show for several months because they played so much good music, and I didn’t have the money to buy all — or even most — of the CDs they inspired me to want to buy. I still don’t have the money, but now I just make a list and put it aside.)

If any of the above intrigues you, pick up the KTCU webstream here (you have to have RealPlayer installed on your computer).

It’s a small world

January 25, 2006

I went to library school in Austin, Texas.

Austin, Texas is 2200 miles from Portland.

I was at my neighborhood library yesterday afternoon, where I ran into…one of my library school professors, who is here visiting family.

What are the chances?

It was great to see her. It brought back many pleasant memories of people and experiences. She piled on the work in her introduction to reference class, but we all liked and respected her and thought the work we did in her class was relevant to what we did after we graduated. Can’t ask for more than that from a library school class.

Great line

January 25, 2006

From Mark Hasty:

“The North Dakota State Forest is an eight-foot dowel.”