Ithaca Blog

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ray Davies's Wink

Ray Davies was at the State Theater last night, and put on a magnificent show. It was the last show of the tour and, so, maybe his last concert ever in America.

I realized last night that he is the only guy who can write a wistful song that I can stand. Generally they are in the form of stories, so they are not about him, so they are not poor-me songs. Also, they are not strictly sad. The characters have hope, although often inspired by delusion. But this is portrayed as better than despair.

Of course, Ray Davies is also funny, and he did a minute manoeuvre last night that floored me; it was so slight, but huge to me.

I had completely forgotten about this thing, from each time I had seen him before, ranging back 30 years.  After playing a lead on guitar, he will flick his pick up and away from himself, with his thumb, maybe two or three feet or so, and then snatch it back from mid-air in his fist. No big deal, but try doing it.

He maybe does it once all night. It is not a theatrical move, like Roger Daltrey twirling his microphone forty feet in the air and catching it. Ray's thing is a parlor trick. Or just a wink. He does it to amuse himself. And you, if you are watching.

I was. Thanks, Ray.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sorry, Coach

Sometimes, professional sport seems as far from real life as any video game or fantasy; but occasionally you are reminded that real people are involved.

Tom Coughlin is the coach of the New York Giants football team. He is an upstate New York guy, born in Waterloo, and despite small physical stature, holder of many records playing football at Syracuse, years ago.

He did it, presumably, through mental stamina and determination. He is famously strict. He once fined a player for being two minutes early to a meeting, because everyone else was already there.

He is slightly Irish, and reminds me of my father, who was a 150-pound-weighing Marine a few years before Coughlin was setting those college records with the same-type physique.

My father's favorite saying, as a father, to us kids was "It's not what you want to do,  it's what you have to do."  Think about it, that covers a lot of ground.

Coughlin and Mr. Burke would probably like one another, although my father has mellowed considerably with the years, and Coughlin not so much, as he is a big football coach and can't afford to; but today we noticed a slight crack, in a comment he made about an off-the-field team matter.

The short story is that a player was at a club, late, celebrating his birthday with teammates and other friends, and there was a shooting. It didn't involve the player, or any players with him, but it is still not a good thing - a distraction, as they say.

The news media makes an issue of it, of course. This is New York, after all, and it wasn't some divey club, but a swanky one, although in New York this does not necessarily mean devoid of wise guys or crime.

Coughlin was asked about the incident at his weekly press conference. A few years ago, he probably would have put a big blast on someone. Instead, he sounded resigned, not angry, just exasperated.

"I don't know what good happens at 2:30 or 3 in the morning," he said. "I've never been able to figure that one out."

Edward Burke, father of four, probably said the same thing many times through the years, although not in the past 30.

Too bad that Coach Coughlin still has to worry. I suppose he gets paid for it. But I bet my father would not trade places.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Every State Has A River

The answer to the trivia question in our previous post, How many states in the U.S. neither contain nor border a river, is zero.

We got a lot of answers, and no incorrect ones, even though the Q. was a little trickly, we admit. We have a smart crowd.

The contest winner, selected at random, is Laura C., who receives a $10 gift certificate to Angry Mom Records.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog and Angry Mom Records

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Maps, And Rivers

Unlike our friend Gil, in our previous post here, we are not unalterably opposed to GPS, but we prefer maps, and are pretty handy with them.

Hey, some people like the Weather Channel.

Looking at a U.S. map recently, we derived a geography question, that we now pose in the grand tradition of the Ithaca Blog trivia contest:

How many states in the U.S. neither contain nor are bordered by a river?

Submit your answer, and we will select at random, from correct answers, a winner who will receive a  $10 gift certificate to Angry Mom Records, another enterprise of ours.

Smooth sailing -
Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog and Angry Mom Records/Small World Music

Sunday, November 06, 2011

No GPS For Our Friend Gil

"A GPS? What, I'm not even allowed to get lost anymore?," Gil says.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

New Music, Lower Prices at Angry Mom Records

Borders is gone, but Angry Mom Records is alive and well in Ithaca, which makes us very happy, as we are a partner in the place.

Ithacans love music, and our independent, local businesses, which is why we're here, we guess.

So, please indulge us in a little self-promotion here today on Ithaca Blog.

Angry Mom Records is in the basement of Autumn Leaves Books, 115 The Commons. We're open 7 days a week.

New CDs include releases by Ryan Adams, Anthrax, Barenaked Ladies, Terri Lyne Carrington, Coldplay, Ry Cooder, Feist, Fistful of Mercy, Fountains of Wayne, Lil Wayne, Primus, Patti Smith, St. Vincent, and Tom Waits.

We have recently lowered our prices on a thousand-plus used CDs. We have hundreds at $1.00, and hundreds more at half their regular price.

Your independent local music store accepts our independent local currency, Ithaca Hours, for 20% of purchases.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog and Angry Mom Records