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Sunday, December 23, 2007

 

Musings for Post # 100!

Post # 100 - who'd a thunk it? Anyway, after two weeks, as you might imagine, there is more than enough political nonsense to comment on.

For instance - am I too paranoid, or is the "liberal media" giving too easy a pass to former Governor Huckabee and his ethically challenged tenure as governor of Arkansas, much in the Clinton tradition? On the other hand, Mayor Giuliani continues to be targeted for every ethical lapse, real or imagined. There is no doubt that the Dems and their supporters (about 90% of the media) want to make the run against Huckabee, second choice Romney. The one person they fear is Giuliani.

Personally, I think all the candidates from both parties have flaws, not surprising in a political climate where everyone's background is perused for every possible transgression. I have favored Rudy, but not without reservation. My second choice is McCain, despite my disgust concerning his campaign finance law. Of all the candidates in either party, McCain is the most honest, the most courageous, and the one whose moral compass seems to always maintain its polarity.

As if further evidence of this fact were needed, we now have Senator Lieberman's endorsement of McCain. I hope this is an indication that beginning in January 2009, the independent Senator will cross the aisle and caucus with the GOP. He doesn't owe the Dems in his state anything since he was basically cast out of the Party. He might have already made the move if it wouldn't have put the GOP in the senate majority. I don't think he felt right to do so without disclosing that possibility before the election.

On the Dems side, the media is enjoying the tightening of the race though it still looks pretty inevitable to me that Hillary can secure the nomination in the primaries. The real question is, who on the Dems side is a lock to win? Certainly none of the leading three candidates, particularly if they are up against Rudy.

Whatever happens, I think this is the election that convinces leaders and activists of both parties that they have to regain control of the nominating process and the conventions, and not leave everything to those few voters who show up for caucuses and primaries, including crossover voters, etc. If it went to the smoke filled rooms, the major consideration would be to pick a candidate who can win, and that should be the Parties' role. Imagine if a Huckabee or Obama came out of the primaries with the nomination, only to be inevitably slaughtered in the general election. Just like George McGovern.

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But really, anyone who's tuned in here mainly wants to see the promised desert island music lists, and that's what's coming. Imagine being banished to some lovely tropical isle, with only a CD player and a lifetime supply of batteries. You are limited to a dozen jazz records and 20 records from the rock era. What do you take? Worse, what do you have to leave behind? Here are my lists - I expect a lot of outraged comments.

Jazz:

Ella and Louis - Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson Trio - The great American songbook, definitively

The Tony Bennett / Bill Evans Album - Both at their peak

Time Out - The Dave Brubeck Quartet - Sax man Paul Desmond emerges

The Best of John Coltrane - John Coltrane Quartet - Included My Favorite Things, Naima, and the incredible Equinox

Giant Steps - John Coltrane - Not the classic quartet but a classic album nonetheless

The Ballad Artistry of Miles Davis - Autumn Leaves and some of the best cuts from the Cool Era

Remember - Pat Martino - Takes those great Wes Montgomery songs to the next level

Blues and Roots - Charles Mingus - I could wear out the replay button on Moanin'

Thelonius Monk with John Coltrane - Their only studio recording together is a knockout

The Quintet - The famous concert at Massey Hall in Toronto with Parker, Gillespie, Powell, Mingus and Roach playing Hothouse, Night in Tunisia, and a spectacular All the Things You Are

Max Roach/Clifford Brown - Jazz Masters 44 - Definitive compilation of this co-led group has all the really great ones. Brownie would have been the greatest trumpet of all, had he lived. Listen to Cherokee.

Sara Vaughn with Clifford Brown - The Divine One and an equally immortal band

Sorry to leave behind - Billy Holiday's Lady in Autumn, several others by Coltrane and Miles, the Benny Goodman 1938 Concert at Carnegie Hall, the Duke at Newport, Helen Merrill with Brownie, Bill Evans' Trio 64 and On Green Dolphin Street, Louis Prima (Collectors Edition), and John Pizzarelli's After Hours.

The Rock Era:

Greatest Hits - The Band - I would bring The Last Waltz if I could bring a DVD player

Abbey Road - The Beatles - Wearin' out the second side

Boston - (first album) - Gonna Hitch a Ride; Corporate Angst rock

August and Everything After - Counting Crows - Best album of the 90's, hands down

Bayou Country - Credence Clearwater Revival - Their first, Keep on Chooglin'

Money For Nothing - Dire Straits - Mark Knopfler's incomparable guitar

People are Strange - Doors - Their second album - even better than the great debut, Love Me Two Times, Babe

Blonde on Blonde - Bob Dylan - Two record set with sometimes inscrutable lyrics, never bores, amazing Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands

The Absolute Best - Al Green - Latest Compilation on two discs, all the great ones

Greatest Gospel Hits - Al Green - the alter ego, sings Ocean Blue(I'll Rise Again) and Straighten Out Your Life

Smash Hits - Jimi Hendrix - 'Scuse me, while I kiss the sky

Vital Idol - Billy Idol - with a Rebel Yell

Greatest Hits - Janice Joplin - Definitive Cry Baby, not to mention Piece of my Heart

The Motown Singles Selection - Why God invented box sets, I get 'em all, only counts as one

Time Piece - The Rascals - Love is a Beautiful Thing

Let it Bleed - Rolling Stones - You Can't Always Get What You Want

Aja - Steely Dan - Cerebral studio rock, almost jazz

Steppenwolf Live - There's a Monster on the Loose. Born to be Wild may be the best rock song ever.

John Barleycorn Must Die - Traffic - First side may be the best side ever

Everybody Knows this is Nowhere - Neil Young and Crazy Horse - Love that title song, plus Cinnamon Girl, Cowgirl in the Sand, etc. etc.

Sorry to leave behind - Santana, Vanilla Fudge, Beatles (Revolver), Richie Havens (Mixed Bag), Grass Roots (Greatest Hits), Carole King (Tapestry), Doors first album, Boston 2nd and 3rd Stages, Bob Seger, Tom Petty Greatest Hits, Norah Jones (Come Away With Me), Derek and the Dominoes (Layla and Other Love Songs).

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The market continues to befuddle, and I continue to buy. On 12/12, it was 100 shares of Manpower (MAN) at 63.43. On 12/17, I bought 400 shares of American Dental Partners at 5.20, the severely depressed price occurring after a litigation defeat that I think might be reversed or reduced on appeal. Finally, on 12/19, I bought 100 more shares of Lowes (LOW) for 22.778.

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