Well, like everyone, I’ve been watching Hurricane Dean on the news — remembering my participation in the “largest parking lot in the world”, during the evacuation of Hurricane Rita!
However, I’m not unduly worried … yet … about Dean heading for Texas, even with the flooding we’ve experienced recently, thanks to Tropical Storm Erin. Reason? The excellent blog “SciGuy” hosted over at the Houston Chronicle website, written by Eric Berger. Doesn’t matter if you enjoy science or not, this is a great resource that explains some of the current projection modeling, and other weather facts, clearly and concisely…plus with extra detail for the geek set. You can and should still check out the government’s National Hurricane Center website, which has graphics showing the “cone of uncertainty” and projected wind strength. But the SciGuy blog is a great resource to explain all the data.
Ever think that we’re living that old Chinese curse of “interesting times”? After a health scare, I’m back posting and catching up on the news, and can’t believe the kind of stuff I’m reading, both in and outside of the entertainment arena. Boy, I thought it was bad when XM started slashing audio drama hours, and we were hearing non-stop about some mixture of Britney, Paris, and Lindsay.
On the footsteps of other greats passing such as Merv Griffin, Michelangelo Antonioni, Ingmar Bergman, Melville Shavelson, Phil Rizzuto, Chet Collier, we lost the jazz legend Max Roach Thursday. Not only have you got to love everything he did with those drumsticks … but Roach struck a blow against “dumb drummer jokes” by being one of the first musicians to win a “genius grant” from the Macaarthur Fellowship! Quite frankly, he was in a very tight class of his own, along with Buddy Rich and Elvin Jones. No other drummer had a bigger influence on jazz music — in fact, precious few instrumentalists or singers of any kind could do what Max Roach did, from starting his own record company with Charles Mingus to starting a unique all-percussion orchestra, and writing and playing music in a plethora of styles and contexts.
In honor of Mr. Roach and his innovations in percussion, let’s bow our heads, grab our pens and pencils and give him a paradiddle. It’s a simple trick even a beginner can do. Put a pencil in each hand and find a flat surface, or even use your index fingers to tap lightly. Simply tap your left stick once, then your right stick once, then twice on your left stick. That’s a paradiddle. Left-Right-Left-Left. Okay, now reverse – Right-Left-Right-Right. If you speed up, you can even turn this paradiddle into a beautiful, very basic roll. A great way to honor a man who loved to try new avenues in music, and share his joy for music with the world.