Category - personal

Happy Birthday #Django Reinhardt

574px-Django_Reinhardt_(Gottlieb_07301)I have no idea why Quentin Tarantino used the “Django” for the title character of his new slave-revenge western.

But today is Django Rheinhart‘s birthday so let’s take a moment to honor one of the most innovative and memorable guitarists of the 20th century.

You can start with the Pearl Django-triggered station I listen to quite frequently on Pandora:Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 8.39.19 AM(Yeah, I know, I was just ragging on Pandora for its limited playlists yesterday, but this one is pretty good, especially if you’re not all too familiar with this type of music.  And I hope the link above works for you, Pandora is apparently pretty touchy about how sharing its links works. The link seems to be working in Safari, not so much in Firefox.)

I am suddenly recalling the first time I ever heard the name “Django Rheinhardt.”  It was in the fall of… oh, 1966 or ’67 would be a good guess.  My step-father was a Yalie, and every year he took us to the Yale-Princeton football game.  He also made us wear a jacket and tie to the game.  Things were different in those days…

Whatever year it was, that year I was driven to the game by the son of one of my step-father’s college roommates (from the class of 1930-something).  I remember the driver’s name was Raymond Londa,   and, despite being a lawyer and a Yalie himself, Raymond Londa was kinda cool: he drove us to New Haven in something that was rather novel for its day – a VW Camper.

VWCamperRaymond somehow knew that I’d just started playing guitar (I still have my first chord book, dated April, 1966).  And he asked me if I’d knew about Django Rheinhardt.  Nope, not a clue.  And since my taste at the time leaned more toward the Beatles and Jefferson Airplane, I don’t think I was all that interested.  Gypsy Jazz?  Not a clue.

All of which I’m recalling now because lately I’ve been hearing a lot of Django and Django-influenced music, and I wished I’d paid closer attention when I first heard the name.  I’m paying closer attention now, and will be listening to Django and his descendants as much as I can today.

Postscript: I’ve just been advised that the name “Django” has a long history of use in “spaghetti westerns.”

Scotland, Day 6:

OK, back to Scotland – to the Highlands around Inverness and Loch Ness.

Day 6 - Loch Ness & Urquhart Castle

Our chariot

We spent three nights at Castle Stuart near Inverness, with two full days in between.  The first day, we had arranged to be picked up on a three-passenger, three-wheeled motorcycle (a “trike”) for an extended tour down the coast of Loch Ness, which – apart from its renown as the haunt of a certain “monster” – is also the second largest inland body of water in Scotland.

The highlight of the tour was the hour-plus we spent exploring the ruins of Urquhart (they pronounce it “ur-kit” Castle, a massive 15th/16th century edifice that was destroyed by its own defenders rather than let it fall into the hands of  English occupiers.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

sticky = good

After the trike tour, we returned to the Castle Stuart, and then ventured out on our own to the village of Nairn, a few miles to the east, where we found ourselves a lovely little bistro that served what may have been the best sticky toffee pudding we had on the whole trip.  And we had a lot of ’em. Like… one every day.

Here’s a video slide show of the day. Find the individual photos here.

View the other video slideshows from our trip to Scotland here and the individual photo galleries here.

(Solstice) Seasons Greetings

Yeah, I know, about a week late, but it’s still the “Solstice Season,” right?

I’m still grinding away on the photos from Scotland… I got sidetracked for about a week in order to put together a calendar to give out as Christmas gifts.  Unfortunately Costco botched the printing so they had to be done over again so, no gifts for Christmas.  Well, none for anybody but Ann…

We did manage to get a “Holiday eNewsletter” together though.  It was Ann’s idea, and though it took the better part of Sunday to cobble together (with Populr), it turned out well enough and people seem to like it.  Just click the image here to see for yourself:

I stole it from The Google Images.

I stole it from The Google Images.

If Things Look A Little Different Around Here…

…first of all, noticing that would mean you have actually been here before, and for that I thank you – and now must ask for your forbearance.

CohesionArts-logo_stamp1-400As of mid-December 2012, I am in the process of migrating and consolidating all the stuff I have scattered around the web to put it, essentially, in one place.

This site is a re-constitution of the earlier site that lived on a different server, and will suffice while I bang heads with my web development team (it always sounds so impressive when you say that, even when it’s just one guy….) to come up with something a little newer and more original.

My books… my (and Ann’s) photography (and one day perhaps her yoga instruction), all the stuff I’ve written about the evolving music industry over the years (and who knows, maybe, someday… some actual music!  What a concept!)… I’m going to gather it all under the singular heading of “”

When I first came up with that name about two years ago, I had something entirely different in mind, but… well… the universe seems to be telling me “that ain’t it, either.” The Universe has been saying that to me a lot lately.  Maybe I should just listen to my wife?

And even though it makes not a whole lot of sense, I’m going to stick with that medieval troubadour as the logo for the time being. There’s just… something I like about that guy.

So I’m going to start putting all this stuff together under one “umbrella” and see if I can figure out just what it is…



Scotland, Day 1: Edinburgh

After several months of not doing much with it, I’ve been giving some thought to what I’m going to do with this domain/website in the future (if anything)

This might be one indication.

Ann and I spent the first two weeks of October in Scotland.  We brought back so many photos that its already taken two weeks to get through the first day.  So here ya go:

The whole thing only takes about three minutes.  And it’s all in HD, so by all means, click the arrows and blow it up to “full screen.”

A Short History of… My Family

This has absolutely nothing to do with music, culture, politics, or technology.  It is a short video that my “little sister” has compiled from family photographs and a memoir that my mother wrote in the years before she died (2002).  I share it here because… well, because I can: