A Marvelous Mix of Music

Hello,

It has been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve been busy, but I have a new post for you today. Recently, I saw a concert that was a mix of Sones de México (a traditional Mexican music group) and Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues. This was a very interesting mix between Mexican music and blues music, but there are so many similarities in these two genres. The two groups started out by saying that both of these genres had started with people working in the fields. This was a very, very interesting combination of music, and I really enjoyed lots of the pieces they put together. There was also a great singing group, who called themselves Nadima, that sang along with the blues music. It was one of the most amazing concerts I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to a lot. Check out the videos below. They’re great videos, but they’re nothing compared to the caliber of the concert. I hope you like them. Disclaimer: There is one video half in Spanish, but if you don’t speak Spanish, it’s no big deal, because they’re going to speak in English, too.

Terry-Thomas: A Legendary Comedian

Hello,

Today I will be talking about Terry-Thomas, a comedian of the 1950s and 60s in England. His movies are some of the funniest and most clever I have ever seen. My favorites include Make Mine Mink, School for Scoundrels, How to Murder Your Wife, Too Many Crooks, and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. I really enjoy his comedy because it’s cynical, sarcastic, and overall ridiculous, but in a realistic sense, meaning it’s not so ridiculous that it’s impossible. His trademarks include his moustache, the gap in his teeth, and his name, which originally was Thomas Terry Stevens, but he later changed it so that he wouldn’t be confused as a relative of a famous actress of the nineteenth century.

Here’s a monologue of his on the Judy Garland Show, which he was a guest on.

I hope you like his films as much as I do.

A break

Hello,

As you probably have noticed, I haven’t been posting for awhile, due to recent thoughts. I’ve become tired of only having one blog, so, (as an amateur cartoonist) I will create a cartooning blog. But don’t worry, I’ll still be posting. Sorry for the recent absence. Many of my family members are cartoonists, so I am very interested in cartooning as well. Hopefully you’ll check my new blog out.

Death Cloud: A Great Book

Hello,

I’ve just finished an amazing novel, entitled Death Cloud (the only teen series endorsed by the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle estate). It revolves around the story of Sherlock Holmes, but as a teenage boy in the 1860s. It was written by Andy Lane, and has extremely gripping and suspenseful writing. In the story, Sherlock meets a boy named Matty Arnat, a poor but extremely knowledgeable “sailor” (he lives on a boat carried around by a horse). Before meeting Matty, Sherlock has moved to spend the summer with his uncle Sherrinford, a wealthy “clergyman” (as he just writes pamphlets for churches). Sherlock meets a man, his tutor, named Aymus Crowe, an American. (I apologize for these confusing details, but It’s a very complicated story. If you read it, everything will make sense.) Matty has told Sherlock of a sight he saw: a black cloud flying and going into a room in a building, escaping, and from that room the townspeople carried out a boil-covered corpse. Sherlock and Aymus find another one of these boil-covered corpses, and they finally trace these deaths to a man named Baron Maupertuis. The black clouds — SPOILER ALERT — are a very aggressive species of African bees. I would give this book 4 1/2 to 5 stars (on a scale of 1 to 5). I hope you enjoy it, too.

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The Energy of Disco

Hello,

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. But don’t worry; I have just been procrastinating. I’d like today to share with you my own personal top-10 chart of disco songs. For those who may not know, disco was a very, very large phenomenon in the 70s. It was a sort of mix between funk, pop, and soul. It’s dancing music. It went out of popularity in the late 70s, but came back later, and in 2013, several pop stars, including Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars, released disco-style pop songs.

10. YMCA, The Village People

9. We Are Family, Sister Sledge

8. I Feel Love, Donna Summer

7. Funky Town, Lipps

6. Le Freak, Chic

5. Night Fever, Bee Gees

4. Stayin’ Alive, Bee Gees

These last three are extremely hard to decide, so writing this, I’ve changed my mind many times, and I still don’t feel like it’s right, but here it is.

3. Don’t Leave Me This Way, Thelma Houston

2. I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor

1. Lady Marmalade, Labelle

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Patti Labelle at the White House

Old Goats: The Movie

Hello,

Today I’d like to talk about Old Goats, a great movie. It centers around three older retirees: Bob, Britt, and Dave. Bob, the oldest of the bunch, is the most energetic and always seems to have a girlfriend, even at his age. Britt is a sailor who is facing some difficulty in encountering a woman, and Dave, who is married to a narcissistic materialist (whom I think he should divorce) is the youngest and richest of the bunch, and is always having small but fancy gatherings and bonds the group together. There is a bit of swearing in the movie, and some sexual reference comedy, but I can assure you it’s nothing obscene. Overall, the movie is a hilarious, moving, realistic window into the lives of three older men, and is one of the most enjoyable movies you’ll probably watch.

The Comedy of Cantinflas

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Hello,

Some of you may have heard of Cantinflas, the Mexican comedy genius of the 20th century. Born Mario Fortino Alfonso Moreno Reyes in 1911, he started out as the son of a poor mail carrier, in a rough part of Mexico City. To make money in his teen years, he became a boxer. After that, his tendency toward hilarity led him to be in a circus show, where he participated as a sort of rodeo clown, and from there got into showbusiness. In 1936, he made his first film, No Te Engañes Corazón (or “Don’t Fool Yourself, Dear”) and then made 49 more films. His humor didn’t translate well into English (or other languages), so he was never well known outside of the Spanish-speaking world. One exception is Cantinflas’s role in Around the World in 80 Days, a 1956 Hollywood film.  Cantinflas inspired the Spanish verb “cantinflear,” which means to talk and talk and talk without really saying anything, as that was often what he did in his comedy. Personally, what I like most about him are his witty remarks and his smart-alecky behavior in his movies. There is a new movie out about Cantinflas’s life, called Cantinflas, which so far I’ve heard does not have very good reviews, but we should give it a chance anyway, shouldn’t we?

The Fun of Old-Time Radio

Hello,

I always enjoy listening to old-time radio. Mostly I listen to Ozzie and Harriet, and The Couple Next Door. If you’re not familiar with these, you should definitely listen to them. Ozzie and Harriet was a popular radio comedy that aired from 1944 to 1954. It starred Ozzie Nelson and his actual wife Harriet Hilliard, as well as their two sons, David and Ricky, and Bea Benadaret as the hilarious maid Gloria. (The show initially used actors to play the boys, but later the real boys came on.) The show was sponsored by the International Sliver company, among others — and you can hear many old commercials for silverware on the program. The show centers around a family that gets into hilarious situations, usually caused by the dad. It was also made into a television show, which aired from 1952 to 1966.

The Couple Next Door is very similar, but centers around a family of three (and later four, when a new baby is born). The show grew out of another radio show called Ethel and Albert, which ran from 1944 to 1950, while The Couple Next Door ran from 1957 to 1960. Both were written by Peg Lynch, who also starred as the wife; the husband was played by Alan Bunce. They have a daughter named Betsy and later, a son named Bobby. Like Ozzie and Harriet, this show is about funny situations that the family gets into. Another wonderful character in the show is Aunt Effie, played by Margaret Hamilton, who also played the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz.

I hope you will all give old-time radio a try! Check out the Internet Archive for many more old radio shows.

The Pleasure of Jazz

Hello,

I play the alto saxophone, and I recently learned a new song, “Lullaby of Birdland,” written in 1952 by George Shearing, with lyrics by George David Weiss. I really love Ella Fitzgerald‘s version of this song, because of her smoothness in singing it and because of how relaxed she sounds while singing it. I really enjoy playing it, too, because of the fast finger movements and the challenge of making your music sound laid back and relaxed. I already loved jazz, but this was new entree into the jazz world for me. I went on Spotify and downloaded a lot of jazz, and another song that I really like to listen to now is “Blue Bossa.” I hope you all check out these great songs and like them.