I’ve got a doctor’s appointment (not the ‘rona) and some stuff to take care of today, so in lieu of text content, hey, why not check out the online debut of The Quad-A Baseball Quiz from last month?
I am doing another quiz tomorrow, May 14, at 8:30 p.m. ET, thanks again to the tech guidance of real-life baseball-trivia mainstay Cooper Lund. There’s no cost to play, you probably don’t have anything else to do, and you might have fun. You can register here today and tomorrow.
I’m sorry to say that tomorrow’s version will feature less of my face, but the upside to you is that this time around, the video should feature a significantly higher ratio of baseball trivia to me learning how to share my screen.
This never happens anymore, on account of I’m extremely old. For a while I tried hard to find new music I enjoy just for the sake of not seeming so old, and to some extent, it worked. But Spotify is my primary means of music consumption these days, its auto-generated radio feature seems to just shuffle among like five bands, and I find myself listening to the same stuff over and over again. In the rare instance Spotify presents me a song I like that I’m unfamiliar with, it is far more likely to be an Otis Redding deep cut than some new cool band I might check out when venues re-open.
But YouTube did me a hell of a solid today. I’ve been toying with the idea of buying an electric mouthpiece pickup for my trumpet so I can run it through guitar effects and make up for the fact that I suck at it. So I went looking for people playing electrified horns, and I came upon these dudes:
This Car Alarm song… it’s kind of a jam! And I like that these guys, though obviously trained and talented musicians, clearly do not take themselves seriously.
So I did some digging and learned that Too Many Zooz blew up online when a clip of them busking in Union Square went viral in part because of the sax player’s sax gesticulations, which are enviable.
This made me think about subway-station buskers and how I miss them.
Not too long before the shutdown, I watched a beautiful scene unfold at the 86th St. stop on the Q Train. There was a delay for some reason, but this young guy who called himself Eyeglasses (and turns out to be a medical student and mega-achiever) was absolutely wailing on the electric cello. He had a loop station set up and was building incredible, multi-part covers of pop songs. Also waiting on the platform was a group of high-school kids on a field trip, and they apparently knew all the words to all the songs he covered, and they sang and shouted and danced along.
It’s an amazing thing when a subway performance turns magical like that, because even the most transit-hardened New Yorker lets his guard down for it. Only the high schoolers were dancing, but everyone on the crowded platform was watching or smiling or tapping their feet, and the dude’s cello case was overflowing with dollars.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I can’t wait to ride the subway again someday.
I’ve got a busy morning. Here are two of my favorite humans, Neil deGrasse Tyson and GZA, discussing science and hip-hop. Tyson has a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Columbia and a list of accolades as infinite as the cosmos, so it’s awesome to see how impressed he is with The (other) Genius. But that’s part of what makes Tyson so awesome:
Old friend Terry passes along a link to the following video of Bill Murray’s South Atlantic League Hall of Fame induction speech, and more importantly, a whole site full of people’s first-hand accounts of Bill Murray encounters. It is incredible.
I don’t want to oversell this, but I’m pretty sure this kid who calls himself HandFartMaster on YouTube is the greatest artist since the dawn of human ears and hands. He’s got versions of “The Cave,” “Hallelujah,” “Comfortably Numb,” “Let it Be,” and Pachelbel’s “Canon in D,” all performed with hand farts. Can this possibly be real?
I’ve seen a lot of joking and incredulity about this, but I think it’s actually a pretty logical fit. If you strip them down, a bunch of Kurt Cobain’s melodies sound a hell of a lot like they could be Beatles songs. Exhibit A:
Also, the other thing to consider is that Paul McCartney rules. I think he’s actually underrated among Beatles because of some of the lamer material he put out toward the end of the band’s run, but McCartney had the best voice in the group, wrote some amazing songs, and is a great bass player. Dude’s a treasure, and we should value every opportunity we have to see him perform.
I don’t know how long they’ll play since it’s a benefit concert featuring a variety of acts less exciting than Paul McCartney fronting Nirvana. Supposedly they have a collaborative song, but I hope they’re able to get in some McCartneyed versions of Nirvana songs and Nirvana’d versions of McCartney songs as well. It’ll be on PBS, so I suppose we’ll find out.
I tweeted something about how horrible Wham’s “Last Christmas” is — and it’s awful — and the backlash led me down a Wikipedia rabbithole of Christmas songs popular in England. That brought me to this, from the band Wizzard. Good luck. It’s actually pretty catchy:
With Wood’s distinctive warpaint make-up and colourful costume, not to mention regular appearances on BBC Television‘s Top of the Pops in which members and friends, including Wood’s girl friend, singer Ayshea Brough, variously appeared in pantomime horses, gorilla costumes or as roller-skating angels, often wielding custard pies for good measure, they were one of the most picturesque groups in the British glam rock era.
Here’s Wizzard’s entry into the library of great band photos of the 1970s: