Monthly Archives: November 2010

They say it’s Cyber Monday

Planning to shop via Amazon.com? If you follow any Amazon.com link from this website, then for any purchase you make during that same visit, a commission is paid to RWB. This is at NO ADDITIONAL COST to you, the discerning reader and smart shopper.

This is also the case if you enter Amazon via a search box on this page, as below:

So, whether you’re considering buying Bob Dylan: The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964 , the new Man Gave Names to All the Animalsbook illustrated by Jim Arnosky, Hannah Montana Forever, a new Vicks UV 99.999% Germ Free Humidifier, or a FRIGIDAIRE 26 Cu Ft Side by Side Refrigerator (all great stocking stuffers) then start your shopping here and force that old liberal Jeff Bezos to give RWB a pile of cash!

And thanks as ever for stopping by and reading.


Sarah responds

The usual suspects have been making fun of Sarah Palin for a solitary verbal slip in a radio interview a few days ago, where she momentarily referred to “our North Korean allies” instead of our South Korean allies, in what was otherwise a sensible discussion of the situation over there. Her response on her Facebook page becomes an instant classic: A Thanksgiving Message to All 57 States.

The first paragraph of her post is reproduced below. Follow the links to YouTube clips for the original source of all of these wonderful bon mots.

My fellow Americans in all 57 states, the time has changed for come. With our country founded more than 20 centuries ago, we have much to celebrate – from the FBI’s 100 days to the reforms that bring greater inefficiencies to our health care system. We know that countries like Europe are willing to stand with us in our fight to halt the rise of privacy, and Israel is a strong friend of Israel’s. And let’s face it, everybody knows that it makes no sense that you send a kid to the emergency room for a treatable illness like asthma and they end up taking up a hospital bed. It costs, when, if you, they just gave, you gave them treatment early, and they got some treatment, and ah, a breathalyzer, or an inhalator. I mean, not a breathalyzer, ah, I don’t know what the term is in Austrian for that…  

Bobby, can you spare a Dime?

No, he can’t.

At the popular bit-torrent bootleg-sharing site, Dimeadozen, where amateur recordings of live shows are shared for free by collectors — as long as the artists haven’t lodged a specific objection — the word is that Bob Dylan shows are now banned. It is being discussed on this Expecting Rain forum thread amongst other places. Presumably other places which offer live Dylan recordings will be getting requests to cease doing so. It is said that Sony will soon be offering live recordings via BobDylan.com. I have no idea what the range of official recordings would be like, but of-course we’ll be eagerly waiting to see.

There are various angles that one could take on this. Bottom line, it is Bob Dylan’s material, and he (and his business associates) can make whatever decisions they want to make on it. No one had a right to expect that the complete freedom allowed on sites like Dimeadozen would continue forever. The question to ask is: Is this a smart move or not? Hasn’t all the online activity — even the bootleg sharing — boosted Bob’s image and following? What will the new approach actually be? If we’re getting beautiful, perfect recordings at a very fair price, then maybe it will be something we’ll all ultimately be very happy about. Or perhaps it won’t be like that, and we won’t be so happy.

I know a lot of people’s heads are exploding right now, and they are mourning the end of an era, but I can’t personally get all that exercised about it. Thanks are owed to those who have freely shared the recordings they have lovingly made these past many years. Thanks are also owed to Bob Dylan and Co. for allowing it to continue up until now. Sharing of some kind will continue one way or another, but not in the same spirit as before. Oh well. The times they are a-changin’, alright … but don’t speak too soon, ’cos the wheel’s still in spin.

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States.

From Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863:

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

Some of what there is to be thankful for is highlighted today in this great piece by Rich Lowry: “Where do we get these people?” (A three-hanky column, but only in the sincerest and best way.)

And there are these apt words of Psalm 147 (from the ESV):

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre!
He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares rain for the earth;
he makes grass grow on the hills.
He gives to the beasts their food,
and to the young ravens that cry.
His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.

On a different note: This annual “pardoning of the White House turkey” that the president takes part in seems to me to be a false and silly pantomime. (As I understand, it was initiated by President George H. W. Bush — not quite as bad a mistake as David Souter, but longer-lasting.) What is the message, after all, to a nation about to settle down en masse to eating turkey? Are we all supposed to feel guilty for not pardoning our own turkeys? I know it’s a small thing, no doubt designed to amuse children, but symbolic acts by the president have resonance, and this one just doesn’t seem to make any sense.

Mrs. RWB announces that she looks forward to one day having a president who will instead personally dispatch the turkey on the White House lawn. Hmm, I wonder who among the current contenders might have the cojones to fit that bill? (Hint: I don’t think it’s Mitt Romney, somehow.)

More Dylan live notes

Thanks very much to John T., who writes to say I’m making a mistake by missing Bob on this tour, and goes on:

I went to the Lowell MA show last Saturday and left thinking Dylan may have finally achieved what he described so well in Chronicles. Either the fan base was really well versed in the newer material or that material is so exceptionally written and performed that it demands the crowd’s immediate attention and appreciation. “Not Dark Yet” took over the night. It elicited a heartfelt response from the crowd and outshined “Simple twist of fate”, “It ain’t me, babe” and “Stuck inside of Mobile…”. Although those classics were beautifully arranged and the vocals on “Fate” in particular were well done; they did not get the type of visceral response of NDY. I think that’s worthy of noting even though it may be a review of the crowd more than anything else.

I’ve always thought that “Time out of Mind” was a true masterpiece comparable to “Blonde on Blonde” and “Blood on the Tracks” and maybe only surpassed by “Highway 61 Revisited”. If I remember right I think I read an interview somewhere that that’s the only album of his that he listens to consistently.

Other quick notes from the show: “Gonna change my way of thinking” is a GREAT opener and he performs the alternate version from the lyrics book (also available at the aforementioned web site). Bob’s harp work was exceptional and his guitar playing was also very good (even soloing on occasion). “Tangled up in blue” and “Visions of Johanna” were also outstanding. I ended up going with a casual fan since my baby sitter fell through and the lovely wife stayed home with the kids. He was blown away by the mixing of music styles that Dylan fans have become accustomed to. I’ve seen Dylan just about every year since the 90’s and I would rank this show in the top 5 (and last years November show at the Wang Center in Boston would also rank very high). I’m telling you the man is hitting his stride… I hope I remember this when I’m 70 and can look back to grab some inspiration from a man that is still reinventing himself and creating the highest level of art.

Well, that’s nice tribute, and indeed illustrates why Bob continues to put the fannies in the seats. For myself, I’ve also been seeing Dylan live with very good regularity since about 1990, and there’s no doubt he’s in a superb place right now. I could have written much the same as the above regarding the show I saw last fall in New York (and I may have). However, one’s got to make one’s choices sometimes, and it doesn’t bother me too much to forgo the chance this year. God willing, there may be another opportunity in 2011.

And thanks to John for the tip: There are a variety of recent mp3 clips, including that performance of Not Dark Yet which he mentioned, at the website which is coincidentally titled Not Dark Yet.

Bob Dylan: book writing machine

It’s being reported by Crain’s New York Business that famed literary agent Andrew “The Jackal” Wylie is shopping a list of proposed books by Bob Dylan to the publishing world, including a follow up to Chronicles: Volume One. Those at Simon & Schuster are reputedly unhappy because the two proposed sequels to that memoir were supposed to be published by them.

In addition to a new Chronicles, however, Wylie is said to be shopping a a book of poems, a book that tells the background stories to some of Dylan’s songs, and a Continue reading “Bob Dylan: book writing machine” »

Stan’s the man

Stan Musial turns 90 years old today. Thanks to Mike for the link to a piece on him from American Thinker.

Even if, like Yours Truly, you’re lacking in the most impressive level of knowledge when it comes to baseball history, you don’t have to read very far even in his Wikipedia entry to realize that Mr. Musial qualifies as a genuine living American treasure.

He seems to a be a guy who has always been humble about the great blessings he received, and employed them with dedication and integrity, and also someone who has spent a lot of time spreading blessings to others along the way.

It’s recently been announced that Mr. Musial will be among those receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom this year.

And he’s not half-bad on the old mouth organ either. (So there’s your Bob Dylan connection.)