Les vaches qui rient

OK, so that’s French and this video is in German, but the point’s the same. A laughing cow is a jumping cow:

Just another example of animals fully aware of their surroundings. They’ve been cooped up in a barn forever, and they probably knew they were set for slaughter. (And animals are aware when they’re about to be turned into meat. Stand outside an abattoir sometime, and listen to the screams.)

This is like watching a prisoner being released into the world after being stuck forever in solitary confinement.

Or like Tommy when he gets his senses back:

Devo guitarist and co-founder dies at 61

Via Gizmodo:

Devo’s Bob Casale, founding guitarist of the genre-defying new wave band, electronic music pioneer, and wearer of the best hat in music, has died from heart failure at 61. In his honor, drop everything and dance to their breakout hit “Whip It,” which might just contain one of the most memorable guitar riffs of all time.

I’m kind of shocked by this. Not the fact that he died. The fact that he died at 61! How can a member of Devo be 61?

Are we not old?

There is no way these guys could ever be 60!

Knowledge gaps: Superman and the Beatles

You think you know everything about one aspect of entertainment, and then something pops up that comes as a complete shock.

Like, I used to think that I’d seen every filmed live-action presentation of Superman, from the Kirk Alyn serials in the 1940s with the cartoon flying sequences, through the George Reeves television series, the Christopher Reeve movies (remember “The Quest for Peace”?), “Lois and Clark,” “Smallville,” the Brandon Routh revival of the Christopher Reeve persona and the most recent Henry Cavill city destruction. I’d even seen the “I Love Lucy” episode where Superman has to rescue Lucy from the ledge of a building, and I probably was one of the seven people who went to see the Ben Affleck biopic “Hollywoodland.”

But one day I bought a box set of the George Reeves series, and there was an episode I’d never seen where Lois (Noel Neill) is spraying a room with a machine gun, and I’m thinking, “Where the hell did this come from.” Not only that, there was a commercial I didn’t know existed:

But this isn’t about my Superman obsession. It’s about my Beatles obsession.

Last week, I saw this chart of the songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney:


It shows who was the main contributor to their famous songs. Only, what’s this song “There’s a Place”?

Where the hell did this come from? I’ve never heard this. When this came out in 1963, we bought 45s, not albums. Apparently, this was the B side of “Please Please Me.” Did I never listen to the B side? I thought I knew all the Beatles songs. Obviously, I don’t. Now I have to go through life obsessing about what other things I’ve missed.

You’ve got to see this music video

Go here:


Unfortunately, I can’t figure out how to embed this on a WordPress page, but here’s what you have to know.

It’s the official music video from Bob Dylan for “Like a Rolling Stone.” Yeah, I know, the song’s almost 50 years old. But this video is new and is an amazing interactive experience.

You’re sent to a television screen, complete with multiple channels. Flip the channels, and everyone is lip syncing the song. On ESPN, on the History Channel, on “The Price is Right,” in movies. On a Food Channel. There’s even a channel with a young Bob Dylan.

Or you can watch the whole thing on one channel.

It is definitely one of the most amazing things you’re every going to see on the Internet.


Stairway to Heaven: Heart, 2012

They went all out for this one last year in the Kennedy Center tribute to Led Zeppelin. Heart. Full choir. Full orchestra. A really moving tribute.

But listen to the original and see how four guys did it by themselves: simpler and better.


Groucho Marx and the Sylvers lining

Let’s dig into the vault of old television.

From 1950 to 1960, Groucho Marx had a game show on NBC-TV called “You Bet Your Life.” It was a simple show. Groucho would have a couple of people come out. They’d talk for a while, then he’d ask them four questions to get to a $500 prize. If they answered correctly, they’d come on again at the end of the show and spin the “Wheel of Fortune” for a chance at $10,000, which was a ton of money back then.

I was looking at some Marx Brothers clips (I don’t have to explain to you who the Marx Brothers were, do I? If so, go rent the movie “Horsefeathers.” That’s all you need to know.) and saw a link to this episode of “You Bet Your Life.”

Now consider the context. This is a nationally broadcast game show in the 1950s, and Groucho has a black couple on. Today, that’s no big deal. But back then, it had to be scandalous. Black people were rarely seen on television. If you read Jet magazine well into the 1970s, one of the highlights was the last page before the back cover. That gave a listing of all the black people scheduled to be on national television that week. The appearances were so rare, the listings didn’t even take up a half page of a mini-magazine.

The entertainment industry shied away from showing black people because of concerns over offending white viewers in the South. But here’s Groucho with a black couple and a boatload of kids. No mention of race. No uncomfortable jokes. Just a straightforward back and forth with a nice family. Though I did think bringing the kids on was a bit much.

Anyway, the husband and wife leave the show with $2,500. The family is happy, six kids in tow and number seven in mom. And Groucho invites them back for another appearance.

And I’m left to wonder: Whatever happened to that family?

No way!!! Really??!!!

Yep. The couple on “You Bet Your Life” was the Sylvers. And the little kids grew up to be The Sylvers.

Now I’m thinking, no that can’t be possible. I’m jumping from point A to point Z without going through the rest of the alphabet. Until I found this clip:

It’s really them. The couple ended up with 10 kids. Dad left mom to hang out with Ike Turner. Mom and kids moved to crime-ridden Watts. And then the kids formed a megahit disco group that later fell apart because of drug abuse.

All this new knowledge because I saw a clip with Chico Marx that made me laugh. (Yeah, I was looking at the “swordfish” routine from “Horsefeathers” with Groucho and his brother Chico and then stumbled on this history of the Sylvers.)

‘Space Oddity’ in space

We haven’t been in space for a while:

That’s Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, and that’s really in the international space station a few months ago.

Paul McCartney: Out There in D.C.

For the past three years, I’ve missed the Abbey Road on the River Festival held each May in Louisville. It features five days of performances of Beatles music staged at the shore of the Ohio River.

So, last night, I did the next best thing.

paulHere’s my ticket (right) to the greatest hits of the Beatles and Wings. For some reason, the computer assigned me to the wheelchair section, so I was in the front row of the second tier with a movable seat, no one behind me and no obstructions in front.

Washington was the latest stop on 71-year-old Paul McCartney’s “Out There” tour.

(Paul McCartney is 71? That means his fans must be old.)

No. His fans are REALLY OLD. We’re going beyond grandparent territory, these days. But grandparents, parents and kids and grandkids were out in force for one of the few people who can unquestionably be listed as a rock legend.

The elderly lasted through the show that went roughly three hours, but the trio of 20-something hipsters sitting next to me crapped out long before the first encore. Guess they couldn’t handle the agonies of age.

McCartney’s “Out There” tour doesn’t change much from city to city. I’ve looked at the set lists and the only difference I noticed between the show at Nationals Park and the show at Fenway Park in Boston a couple of days earlier was that he did  “Get Back” instead of “I Saw Her Standing There.”

Everything else was the same, right down to the departures before the first and second encores. Here’s the show (I would have written this out, but setlist.fm had it up a couple of hours after the concert was over):