Thursday, March 17, 2016

Blood & Thunder

Coming soon To AMAZON.COM
In both Print and Kindle additions.
Blood & Thunder- A Kelly Bloodsworth Novel, a sequel to Blood & Chocolate. (Also available at Amazon.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Long before there were CDs and MP3 players there were record players and vinyl records.  A person had a machine, that had an arm with a needle on the end, that when placed in the groove of a long playing record magically played music.  The record sat on a turntable that spun at 33 revolutions per minute (RPMs) or at 45 RPM for smaller records that played just a single song. 

This in itself was a miracle; but low and behold someone came up with an idea to make this record player “automatic” and you could stack up to six records on a spindle and they would drop down one after another and play.  There was a bar that held the stack of records on the spindle and if you put just one record on the turntable and left the bar up, it would play the same record over and over again until you stopped it.

Whenever I would purchase a new record album I often would set the machine in this mode so that I could listen to my newly acquired treasure over and over until I knew it by heart.  I would often read while I listened; multi-tasking at its best.  This produced an interesting phenomenon.  The music would be so engrained on my brain that I associate the music with what I was reading at the time.  As I have gotten older there aren’t too many of these subliminal connections left, as my mind has been filled with so many other things.  One does remain quite strong though.

I discovered the Lord Of The Rings trilogy after being assigned to read the Hobbit in school.  I became so enthralled with Middle Earth that I devoured the books one after another, enjoying every one of the thousands of pages.  It was about this time that Simon & Garfunkel released their masterpiece album, “Sound of Silence.”  I carefully put the record on my machine.  I started it playing in “repeat mode,” and got back to reading about Frodo and his ring.  I was so caught up in the story that I was almost oblivious to the music as it played over and over, but my brain heard it just fine.  I read for hours as the brilliant S&G album poured from my speakers.

Today, anytime I hear a song from that album on my MP3 player at home or in my car or even as background music at a local store or restaurant; like “Pavlof’s Dog” I am transported to Middle Earth and memories of the Fellowship and Tolkien’s fantasy come flooding back.  Over the years, when I have re-read the books, I always try to listen to that music also to keep the connection going.  It enhances the activity and also reminds me of a simpler time, before technology exploded into our lives, when reading was a major part of my day, and music was played through a needle.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In The Spirit Of What Is Fair

I find it interesting that the music companies are claiming that today’s digital technology is creating an unfair marketplace, (with all this file sharing and such.)

I think back on the music market for the last 50 years and find that there is a glaring unfairness that no one seems to acknowledge.

Let’s take a successful artist, like say THE BEATLES for example.   In the 60s when the Beatles exploded onto the scene they would release a “single” and sell it for $1.00.  I would purchase that 45 rpm record and within a month an album would be released.  This album would contain the same song that I bought for a dollar but I would buy it anyway, for the other songs I didn’t have that were on it.  I would pay $5.00 for the album.  Depending on how many singles were released I would end up paying  $5-$10 for the 10-12 tracks I then owned.

New technology created new products for me to spend my money on.  4 track lasted a very short time (thank God) but I did own some.  8 track, however, was a giant leap forward.  It was now possible to take your music in the car with you.  How GREAT was that?  For the sake of simplicity, let’s say I originally purchased 10 Beatle albums ( It was a lot more than that) on vinyl records.  With single 45s, let’s say they cost me approx. $80.  I NEED to take my records in the car with me so I buy 10 corresponding 8 track cartridges for $8 a piece so now I have spent $160 for the same 10 albums.

The advent of cassettes makes another giant contribution to musical enjoyment.  I can now WALK AROUND with my music.  The “walkman” is a miracle machine.  I now purchase my 10 Beatle albums on cassette which have a retail cost of $10-$12.  I have now spent $260 for the same 10 albums.

Low and behold technology presents us with CDs.  Oh My God.  A miracle indeed!  Virtually indestructible, pretty jewel cases and slick art work, a “Fan’s” dream.  You can take ‘em in the car; you can walk around with ‘em, fantastic!  I purchase my Beatle albums on CD at a retail price that has now blossomed to $15-$20.  So now I have a paid almost $500 or $50 each for 10 record albums and I don’t have anything more than I had when I bought the first vinyl record for 1/10th that. 

Now with the digital age they want to again charge me $10 MORE for that same Beatle album, so I can have it on my iPod.  This music comes without the pretty jewel case or the slick artwork.  There is absolutely no cost to the producer of this music.  It exists, it is sold; it still exists to be sold again and again.  It is true that I can “Rip” my CD to digital MP3 for free, but you would be surprised at how many people out there are not “tech savvy” enough to do that.  (These are the folks that do not even know what a MP3 is)  Even if I do know how I have still paid all that money for the same music.  The record companies, the artist and everyone else who has a stake in the process have all dipped their beaks in my cash pond and have some very big bank accounts to show for it.  And this is for just TEN Beatle albums.  Multiply that by all the artists I enjoy and all of the albums they have released in the last 50 years.  It’s staggering.

Now I do not begrudge the artist their compensation for the musical enjoyment they provide me.  I do not even mind that the company that had the good sense to sign great artists up and promote their musical genius get a piece of the pie, but please, don’t talk about fair.  If I had the money I have spent on buying the same music over and over again, I could afford a to add to my DVD movie collection….OH wait….no………. don’t get me started on the whole Beta/VHS/Laser Disc/DVD/Blu Ray thing.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Black Journalism

I have noticed a disturbing trend in Online reporting.  Sensationalized headlines that are made to entice a reader to click a link only to find that the story has little or nothing to do with the headline, or worse: The story contradicts the headline!
A really monstrous example of this appears on todays AOL homepage.  The headline screams out at how people shopping on Black Friday, watched a man hit the floor with an apparent heart attack and shoppers stepped over him to keep shopping for "deals."

If you read the story, you find that the fact is that SIX! people came to the man's aid and performed CPR on the victim until EMS arrived.  Is this what journalism has become?  A bait and switch con to get clicks on links?  I think that a good writer could have written a headline that celebrated the people who came to the man's aid instead of appealing to the cynical side of the reading public.

Another "trick" is to put a question mark in the headline and make an outlandish claim, and since it's posed as a question it turns out that the claim is just speculation and can therefor be excused for not being fact.  ........REALLY? 

An example of this appeared last week.  The headline read "Julianna Hough (insert any celebrity name here)  cellphone hacked, nude pictures found ?"  If you read the story you find that in fact "NO"  no nude photos were found.  The question mark made it OK to let the headline imply that there were nude photos to be seen. it isn't  OK!

The time has arrived when quite a few people (myself included) get the majority of the news from the Internet.  It is sad that most of what I am reading is not news at all but a marketing ploy to get clicks on a link.  Shame ......for shame.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My Heroes have always been Rock Stars

I just finished reading Keith Richard’s Biography, “Life.”  It is 550 pages long in hardback and I gotta tell you, it could have been 500 pages more for the amount of ground it covered. 
I was fascinated by the story of the origin of the Rolling Stones, and being a teenager in the 60s, I was most interested in the nostalgic aspect of the times he was talking about.  I vividly remember when the Stones and the Beatles burst on to the scene and getting to hear about it from someone who lived it was very enlightening and entertaining.  Of course it was all from Mr. Richard’s perspective so it was biased, but I was impressed that he didn’t sugar coat anything.  He admitted that he was quite often an asshole, but he was also was proud of the fact that he was rude and obnoxious and anti-…well, just about everything but music and drugs.

He struck me as an extremely passionate and sensitive person.  When he loved, he loved deeply and when he hated his wrath was just as intensive.  He was not a person who set out for fame and celebrity, but he also did not shy away from it, nor fail to capitalize on the perks it afforded him.
He was extremely candid in regards to his use of drugs; in fact you could almost say that his addictions are almost as much a part of his story as the music.  He called himself a "junkie" when it applied to his situation at a given point and painted a sad picture of his physical and mental state at the time.  The one thing that bothered me was that he never warned against the dangers of addiction, or urged others not to follow the path he had taken.  He was very cavalier in regards to his drug use and subsequent brushes with the law and wore every arrest and prosecution as a badge of honor for his anti-establishment persona.  He described many horrible times in his life as they related to his drug use that in and of themselves were a message that doing drugs is not a good thing, but it was almost like he didn’t want to say “Drugs are bad” outright, because then he would lose his “street cred."

As long as the book was; I was sometimes sorry he just glossed over happenings without going into detail or the aftermath of something that happened that I remember from the time and always wondered about.  He mentions it happened but not in great detail.  It was like …..”It rained last week.”  Not which day, how much it rained and if there were any consequences to the weather, just that it had in fact, rained.
If you like rock n roll music, play Rock n Roll music, are nostalgic for the 60s/70s era, or are just interested in the origins of pop culture I would recommend this book.  If you were born after say 1980 it might be interesting from a historical standpoint also, a chronical of "Sex, Drugs and Rock N Roll."   Keith lived through it and as he says on the book’s jacket, “believe it or not, he remembers all of it.”

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Deja Vu

I watched the recently released Coen Brother's remake of TRUE GRIT.  I was hesitant at first because I had fond memories of John Wayne’s Oscar winning performance and didn’t want to contaminate them by subjecting myself to a remake.  There are, with a few exceptions, no good reasons to remake a “great” movie.  Having said that; I have to admit that as a lover of Cinema, I am interested in any and all movies, and I sometimes enjoy seeing a classic or older movie brought into modern times, with the new technology that allows a man to fly and visits to locations that were previously only available with cheesy animation or strong imagination.

I think it takes a very talented writer to update a script, that many thought was perfect, and tell a story that the audience is already familiar with, in a way that makes it worth revisiting.  If it is not changed at all, then I think it is really a waste of time and money.  Take for instance the remake of PSYCHO which was shot frame for frame the same as Hitchcock’s original, and it stunk up the room.  KING KONG on the other hand, with the recent Peter Jackson directed release, benefited from updated technology and told the story from a new angle that made it enjoyable.  There is no argument that Ray Harryhausen’s stop motion animation original was a masterpiece, but the computer aided realism Jackson brought to the screen was truly amazing, and fun to watch, and it stands apart from the original.  There is a classic Cary Grant movie that is called BRINGING UP BABY.  It was remade by director Peter Bogdonavich and his version was almost unrecognizable.  He called it WHAT’S UP DOC.  It was clever, funny and one of my favorites, along with the original.

Which brings me back to True Grit.  I can say I liked it.  The performances were good, although I do think Matt Damond was miscast in the Glen Campbell role as the Texas Ranger.  Jeff Bridges was very good; not as Great as John Wayne but then, who could be?  The new girl, Hallee Steinfeld, who played Maddie Ross, followed in the footsteps of Kim Darby who was also a relative unknown in the day.  She was as believable as Kim had been in a part that very easily could have slipped over the top into caricature instead of character.  For that I credit the writers who took sometimes trite dialogue and made it credible.

The bottom line is; I believe some movies should NEVER be remade.  ( But no one listens to me)  Some are sacred and untouchable and any remake of a true classic should be ignored.  (Who would want to see CASABLANCA without Bogart or GONE WITH THE WIND without Gable?)  Other already told stories can be made with the new tools of movie making and would be as enjoyable, or even more so, as the originals. 

There certainly are a lot of remakes out and more on the way.  Some I am looking forward to, some, not so much.  I don’t think it is a slam against writers who cannot come up with new ideas, but rather a Hollywood studio system that wants to hedge their bets and put out a product that they know audiences are already familiar with.  It is, after all, the movie business and all about making money. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


It is often remarked that there are no new Beethovens, Vivaldis or Mozarts.  I disagree.  I believe that the new “Masters” of classical music are the men and women who compose and arrange the music for movies. 

The number one has to be John Williams.  His body of work will span the test of time and his recognizable anthems from Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Close Encounters and Jaws are as instantly recognizable as Beethoven’s 9th or Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

Hans Zimmer has had his share of masterpieces; including the Pirates of the Caribbean films, Batman, Dark Knight and one of my favorites, the score of Gladiator; a true example of how film, set to music, can elicit true emotion from an audience.

Danny Elfman was a member of the punk group Oingo Boingo.  He has graduated to scoring film.  He works a lot with Tim Burton (Sleepy Hollow) on his often off beat visions, but his main stream work includes the soundtracks to the Spiderman movies, the original Batman and Terminator-Salvation which expands on James Cameron’s driving beats to create an opera like score that compliments the robotic action as well as enhances the humanity of the movie.

Even without watching the movie, I love listening to soundtracks the same way I enjoy the classical music of the past.  The beauty of David Arnold’s work for Stargate, the eclectic sounds created by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Social Network, or James Horner's Avatar music, are all as entertaining and as moving as any work from the classical masters. 

I do have a favorite, it is the music created by Randy Edelman for the film Dragonheart.  If you can listen to the finale without tearing up you have no soul.  The soundtrack has a mix of whimsy, drama and grandeur worthy of any symphony.  Next time you watch a movie, pay attention to the music and you will hear the new Beethovens, Bachs and Mozarts.