Thursday, December 06, 2012

Salute to Music of Cool

Dave Brubeck died on Wednesday, December 5, 2012, one day before his 92nd birthday.

In so many ways the music produced by his group, The Dave Brubeck Quartet, defines "the essence of cool."

Their 1959 album, Time Out, was the first jazz album to sell a million copies.  It contained perhaps their most famous song, "Take Five," written by saxophonist Paul Desmond.  Its suavity is given a joyous distinction by its 5/4 meter, referenced in the song title.

This 5/4 time, when used well, adds a kind of unstoppable-seeming, driving force to compositions.  Familiar uses of the meter include
  • Jerry Goldsmith's 1st-Season theme for The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
  • Lalo Schifrin's TV theme for Mission: Impossible
  • "Within You Without You" by George Harrison on Sgt Pepper
  • Jethro Tull's 1969 song "Living in the Past"
  • "Everything's Alright" in Jesus Christ Superstar
The song "Take Five" has become so iconic for "the good life" that nearly forty years on, it was used for a 1997 Infiniti car commercial, unfortunately narrated by the insufferably smug-sounding Jonathon Pryce.  Here is the only link I could find to this commercial.

A quotation I wrote down in high school says something like, "Some people strengthen the society simply by being the person that they are."  That certainly applies to the musical life of Dave Brubeck and his Quartet.

S-a-l-u-t-e !!

Monday, December 03, 2012

Star Trek Models Instructions

Even when the models are broken or lost, the instructions are still kicking around the Fortress of Markitude.

Model kits like this Command Bridge set raised up a whole generations of nerds.

See how on the above page we have IDENTIFICATIONS for the different pie-shaped pieces -- "Defense Deck," "Environmental Deck" and so on? 

Something makes me wonder if these labels were actually dictated by Matt Jefferies or Gene Coon or somebody involved with the show; or if they were just nifty-sounding labels that somebody at Paramount Licensing or AMT came up with.

Nevertheless, you could build this kit and then, while watching an episode, try and identify where Chekov or some unnamed crewman was standing, to see if they were doing defense-deck things, or whatever.
You'll note that Spock and Sulu got to roam the Bridge at will, while the poor Captain was stuck sitting around.  While he was "made for" the Command Chair, you might be able to perch him precariously on one of the other little chairs.

That's assuming your pesky little brother or sister or didn't lose some of the pieces or start teething on them!

"Mom!  Bobby's chewing on Mr Spock's feet again!"

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© by Mark Alfred