music


3
May 18

Now here’s something of a different time

I had lunch with this guy today. It was, as you might imagine, very cool.

Dean Martin died when I was a freshman in college. And I wasn’t yet hip to who or what could bring about a lasting cool. I suppose he was always the guy that played drunk, or did the occasional telethon. He was one of the old guys that ran around with Sinatra and was old. I’m sure I knew he had done movies, but I didn’t know much about the Rat Pack and I certainly didn’t know much of his music. It was too far removed for me to be anything but too far removed myself, I suppose. (“Little Ole Wine Drinker Me” was a Charlie Walker song that Martin covered. It stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six weeks. It peaked at fifth on Billboard’s Easy Listening chart and was also a hit in Australia that year.)

I really discovered him after college. His music. His cool. His sound. Dean Martin had the best sound of the Rat Pack.

And, man, he was funny. Just look who is on the stage with him here:

There’s a great Christmas-themed Pillsbury Flour spot and a too-artsy for 1975 America Revlon promo in the middle of the video, too.

And even when he was playing a song for laughs he could sing and sing:

I love that song.

One of our hallways at work has a lot of historic photos from the program. This lady is a part of one of the pictures:

She’s a copy editor in the 1940s at the IDS. But she’s given up her seat in the slot for Ernie Pyle, who has returned to Indiana to visit family and friends. And when he was home he was never far from campus, so here he’s back and reading the paper. The front page story that he’s reading is about the Romanian armistice, so she is looking over his shoulder as he reads a late-August, early-September paper from 1944.

I wonder what she was thinking about, sitting there, posing with the great Ernie Pyle in her seat. He’s a legend now, and he was well-venerated then. I wonder where those lamps got off too.

I looked her up. She might have become a school teacher. The woman I found online passed away just a few years ago. But I’m not 100 percent convinced I have the right person.

Tonight I’m hanging out with Allie, The Black Cat:

No better way to wind down an evening.


12
Apr 18

Random Thursday things

I spent time in the television studio today. Here is a photo of a decorative lightbulb which descends from the conduits above to prove it!

But I obviously picked the wrong profession:

An installation at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto is more hands-on than your typical exhibition.

“YOKO ONO: THE RIVERBED” by the 85-year old artist, musician and activist, asks visitors to do several physical tasks, including pick up river stones —some of which include handwritten inscriptions by Ono herself—and place them in a pile.

But one woman appears to have taken the “hands-on” suggestion a little too literally. Rather than place her rock in the pile, she allegedly stole it, Laura Snapes reports for The Guardian. The rock, valued at a cool $17,500, was inscribed by Ono with the words “Love Yourself.”

Things are worth what people are willing to pay. And what a person is theoretically willing to pay and willing to insure are different things. And we’re a nonsensical people when it comes to former almost-celebrities. But still … and this part is worth repeating …

Seventeen thousand dollars?

And this evening I discovered Durand Jones & The Indications. Now you will too. They’re IU guys and they have a lot of soul:

Tonight:

Yesterday:


22
Mar 18

Soapy songs

This is how it works at dinner time. The Yankee cooks it and I clean up after it. Sometimes the division of labor is fair, sometimes it works to my benefit. Well, it always works to my benefit, because when I wash the dishes and clean the stovetop and the counters I get to turn on a Pandora station. The evening station of choice is anchored on Sam Cooke, which is always the right way to go. And that particular Pandora station is well-managed.

So while the simple meals are best because it involves fewer dishes, a good run of songs means you don’t mind a bit of extra scrubbing.

At any rate, I decided, for some reason to make note of the songs. And that seemed like a good reason to make gifs. So here we are: The Dishwashing Sessions.


That’s a great set, right?


15
Mar 18

Old dusty books

Back to the books! This part of the site is devoted to my grandfather’s books. I never got to know the man, he died a few months after I was born, but over the years, I’ve been given a few of his things. Including a lot of books.

If you click the link above you’ll see the books already uploaded to the site. Right now we’re checking out a few publications he had when he was a bit older, because almost 60-year-old advertisements are always fun. And so here we have the November 1960 Reader’s Digest:

Click the cover and you’ll get today’s installment, which gives us pages five through eight in our quick flip through this book as I attempt to once again make this a weekly feature. Also, check out the main section and you can see a classic literature book, some great science illustrations, some notes, newspaper clippings from his youth and more.

Slow day around these parts. Spring break for students, most of the faculty and staff have ducked out of town too. So it is quiet and sunny everywhere, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Let’s celebrate with song! I heard Lake Street Dive at lunch today and that meant I stayed in the restaurant for three more minutes to enjoy the tune. Now you can enjoy it too:

The TV group made for a cool photo essay feature in an alumni magazine. I don’t think I’ve shared that here yet, but here they are now.


3
Nov 17

Two social media stories

I put something fun on Instagram, and something funny on Twitter, today. Check them out here:

I've been listening to these CDs of church signings we used to go to in Alabama. This big city guy recorded them. (And that's how they might see him, because this is a proper country church.) He had decent gear and used it fairly well.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

After a few years of trying, in 2005 he figured out that tiny, little no A/C church. His recording sounds like an amphitheater with a 450-member national choral arrangement in four part harmony. (Mind you, this is my phone recording a CD playback from my car stereo.) Then the guy included just about all of my favorite hymns from the book on his CD. It was worth every, I dunno, $5 he wanted for it. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Track six is I'm Winging My Way Back Home, which has six syllables I sing better than anything else in the 750-plus song catalog.

I can't correctly sing any other part of the song right in this arrangement, but those few notes …

A post shared by Kenny Smith (@kennydsmith) on

And here’s my Twitter tale of the day:

And follow me on Twitter and Instagram.