And now, something lovely and completely non-political to wrap up my blogging week.
Earlier this week I told you the story about how Ray Charles and Count Basie made an album together in 2006, even though both were dead and Basie wasn't there. How that happened all depended on some computerized EQing techniques developed originally for Clint Eastwood for the soundtrack to "Bird," his Charlie Parker biopic.
Parker died before stereo recordings even existed, which wouldn't do for a big screen feature film with multichannel sound. But Eastwood, a serious jazz aficionado, wasn't going to settle for some other musician aping Parker's riffs for the soundtrack. So Eastwood hired a guy -- whose name I can't recall -- to create a computerized equalizer capable of completely isolating Parker's sax. From there, they hired as many of Parker's old bandmates as they could, along with a few younger players, to make multichannel recordings around the Yardbird's lead.
The soundtrack's opening track is today's pick, the super-high-energy "Lester Leaps In." Except for Parker himself, everything you hear was newly recorded in the late '80s. The crowd sounds real and raw, the band sounds far better than any nightclub recording Parker ever made (at least that I know of), and yet Parker's sax remains just as he played it.
But did all that effort really make a difference? I think so, yes. Here's a Youtube link to "Lester" as originally recorded live. As you can hear, it's an uneven recording at best, and while Parker's sax shines through in most places, the rest of the band is often muddled. And as Eastwood knew, you couldn't use that old, low-quality recording in the nightclub scene of a new movie, and leave audiences with their disbelief still suspended.
And, by making a great movie with a soundtrack engineered for modern listeners, Eastwood was able to introduce a new generation -- including Yours Truly -- to the marvels of Charle Parker's saxophone.
As you can see, SCOTUS appointments have always involved political hardball, and always will.
The Republicans will power-play Trump's nominee right through the Democratic opposition. And while I personally find the Democrats' shrieking to be undignified at best, raging opposition to the majority's power-plays is nothing new either.
So it goes. And until we devise better people -- and we won't -- so it will always go.
Can you blame them? Us?
Last fall, the American Psychological Association found that almost two-thirds of Americans listed “the state of the nation” as their primary source of stress, above both money and work. More than half believed that America was at its lowest point in history. Almost 70 percent of all Americans feel a sense of “news fatigue,” according to the Pew Research Center. The nation’s emotional exhaustion even makes an appearance in a recent Enterprise Rental Car survey: When the company surveyed more than 1,100 Americans about their summer travel plans, the top three reasons given for traveling were stress, the news and the political climate.
“Just this morning I had a guy come in who is so distracted by the news that he can’t get his work done,” said Jonathan Alpert, a New York psychologist. “The levels of anxiety and stress I’m seeing are profound.”
Those heightened stress levels are reflected in Americans’ chosen leisure activities. Megan, a web developer in Nashville, has started re-watching “Parks and Recreation” because it’s about goofy, goodhearted people in politics. Jessica, a landscape architect in Boston, tunes out the news with obscure documentaries about the history of toys and cars. Dan, an editor in New York, now watches home renovation shows instead of the news while on the treadmill at the gym. And Rachel, a system designer in Massachusetts, loves “Aerial America” on the Smithsonian Channel.
Except for the occasional Hearts of Iron IV marathon or futzing with my beloved music library, I stay away from the computer -- and news/social media apps on my mobile devices -- all weekend long.
Try and do the same, OK?
Good God -- delete your account Chris Cillizza.
Mind you -- this is the same guy who assure us that reporters don't root for one side:
That's different because shut up.