Musical Monday

Given my opinion that the phrase “current American music” is an oxymoron, I can also conclude that the definition of “music” is fungible. Here is music to my ears:

I think a supercharged engine has to overcome more inertia to start. I’m not an engineer or a physicist (help me out, Philip), but that makes sense to me.



Although the basement/media room/man cave doesn’t look like this anymore, this is a reminder that music, while not as important to me as it’s been for most of my life, will almost certainly continue to have a role in my story.



At the top of my musical pyramid (remember my OCD-fueled need to make order out of chaos) is the recording shown above. To me, Enigmatic Ocean actually transcends music; the recording is an otherworldly manifestation of the creative spirit. After being recorded in the summer of 1977, it was released in September of that year. Not surprisingly to me, it reached the #1 position on the Billboard Jazz album chart, also in 1977. What is a surprise is that it reached the #35 position on the Billboard Pop album chart. I do not think Enigmatic Ocean resembles the instrumental pop/smooth jazz idiom in any way; I think the ranking is merely a reflection of how great it is and how widespread the appeal.

When I was one of the hosts of a sports talk show on the Orioles’ flagship radio station in the mid-1980s, one of the continuing debates I had with the engineer was about whether or not jazz was not more popular simply because people weren’t exposed to it, or whether it was inherently unpopular because it was too complex for most listeners. I still think most people are not exposed to jazz, a shame because it is one of America’s native art forms, and that’s why it’s not as popular as it might be. The engineer didn’t agree. With satellite radio and streaming services, most people now live in music bubbles just like they live in political/social bubbles. At this point, jazz will continue to occupy a small musical niche.

Long live Enigmatic Ocean! Vive Jean-Luc Ponty!


Does stream of consciousness require consciousness??…as a follow-up to Hit The Pause Button, some chores cannot be avoided and so I was not “chore-less” for the rest of the day. Also, I still walked about two-thirds the number of steps that comprise my daily minimum despite no effort to walk just for the sake of walking.

What do you think of landau roofs on cars? My wonderful wife has dismissed this particular car because it has such a roof:



From AutoTrader a picture of a 2000 Cadillac Eldorado. The car still looks good to me, but I acknowledge a landau roof needs extra maintenance.

I wish I could make more order out of today’s chaos…








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Tuesday Tune

This post is not about tuning your car’s engine. My favorite song of all-time—the last cut on my favorite “album” of all-time, Enigmatic Ocean by Jean-Luc Ponty—has quite a strange title. It is the third part of a three-part suite called “The Struggle Of The Turtle To The Sea.” What kind of lyrics does a song with that title have? None…

That song transcends music, in my opinion. To me, it is an otherworldly manifestation of the creative spirit. My best estimate is that I have listened to it between 12,000 and 14,000 times in my life. I listen to it almost every day, sometimes more than once. I decided to write about it today while listening to it last night and realizing what kind of effect it still has on me after all these years and all of these plays. I guess this “album” cover is subject to copyright, but I’m going to show it, anyway.



The excellence of this recording stands in sharp contrast to the state of “music” today. I think the phrase “modern American music” is an oxymoron and the crap (a carefully chosen word) that passes for music in the present day is an abomination. By the way, if you put me in front of a keyboard I can find F-Sharp above Middle C, I know what an agogic accent is and I know what an arpeggio is. Almost no one in this country today knows any of this.

Ah, I hear “my” song in my head. I think I’ll play it on my computer while I’m writing. I’m not sure I’ll be able to write, though. The post can wait.


12,000-14,000 plus two…

I found this Hemmings article to be quite interesting. The title is, “Why the new Corvette had to be mid-engine.” According to the piece the main motivation for Chevrolet/GM for moving the Corvette to a mid-engine layout is simply demographics. Here is an excerpt:


“First on the list is demographics. The front engine Corvette, on the market since 1953, and one of the first postwar American sports cars, has an increasingly older audience. The average age of the buyers was said to be 59, and male. What’s wrong with that?”

“Chevrolet wants to have at least one model with a youthful image, a progressive we-like-innovation type audience. But no matter what changes and updates they made to the front-engine Corvette, the audience remained stubbornly middle-aged, even beyond what you could call the age for a mid-life crisis.”

“…Chevrolet also expects to pirate sales away from Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche. Why? Ferrari’s average buyer is said to be 47, Lamborghini’s 48, and Porsche 911 buyers 52. If the new Corvette actually scores buyers in their ‘30s, it will be achieving Chevrolet’s dream because those buyers will be role models for future Corvette owners.”


From the same article a picture of the C8 Corvette:


2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray


As I have mentioned before my wonderful wife and I saw the C8 in person at the National Corvette Museum in late August. In my opinion, while it is obviously a mid-engine car it is also obviously a Corvette. We both thought the car looks amazing. To the Corvette “purists” who are wringing their hands and protesting the mid-engine design all I can write is, the only constant in the world is change.









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Tuesday Tunes

Although I don’t listen to music as much as I did even five years ago, music has almost always been an important part of my life. My musical tastes are decidedly non-mainstream and have been ever since that day I put the needle down on a song called “Groove Drops” by the late, great jazz organist Jimmy Smith.

I believe quite strongly that the phrase “modern American music” is an oxymoron. Rap? Rap is vulgar, devoid of musical content and a plague on the world. By the way, I am entitled to my opinion even if it differs from yours. Taylor Swift? “Haters gonna hate, hate, hate” is not exactly a profound lyric. In fact, Judge Michael Fitzgerald, sitting on a case of plagiarism involving Swift, ruled that such lyrics were too banal to warrant copyright protection and that they were “too brief, unoriginal and uncreative.” Country? Drivel sung by men in cowboy hats. EDM is droid-syntha noise for robots. Have I offended almost everyone? Good…

I wish that album covers were not protected by copyright because I would show the covers of my favorite albums. Yes, the word “album” is obsolete, but what else do I call a collection of songs released together? Not that anyone has asked, but this is my blog. Here are my favorite albums, in order (Edgar shout-out), as I have an obsessive need to make order out of chaos.

1. “Enigmatic Ocean” by Jean-Luc Ponty; this is an easy choice, an amazing recording that transcends music, an otherworldly manifestation of the creative spirit

2. “Pressure Sensitive” by Ronnie Laws; Laws’ debut album and a million times better than anything else he ever released

3. “Joyous Lake” by Pat Martino; the title cut contains what may be my favorite guitar solo ever

4. “Time Machine” by Joe Satriani; I believe that Satriani is the greatest rock guitarist ever

5. “The Extremist” by Joe Satriani

6. “Heavy Weather” by Weather Report

Have any of you ever heard of any of these albums or artists?


I received a long comment yesterday by Steve Dallas (thanks again for the comment) that federal law prohibits the retro-fitting of modern SRS to older cars. During subsequent research I wasn’t able to find confirmation or a specific cite of such law or regulation, but I did find many comments that shops will not retrofit such systems due to potential liability. You know, if they install a system and it fails to deploy in a crash resulting in death or serious injury then they could be sued. The end result is the same: I probably will not be able to have airbags in my restomod. I will just have to get the shop to use modern plastic foam wherever possible to make the car stronger.

I also think that if such law or regulation exists, then it’s another example of stupid government. People who think that government is a panacea fail to realize that any institution of people will be flawed because ALL people are flawed. Distorted incentives don’t help government function well, either. Winston Churchill is supposed to have remarked that democracy is the worst form of government except for all of the others. Capitalism is the worst form of economic organization except for all of the others.


Acura NSX Designer Michelle Christensen on the Influence of Nature, and the \'67 Chevelle

From Car and Driver a picture of the latest generation of the Acura NSX and the woman who was in charge of designing the exterior of the car, Michelle Christensen. I think that the NSX is a technological marvel with its hybrid power system that improves performance, especially low-end torque. Yes, I know about cars like the Ferrari LaFerrari and the McLaren P1. However, while the NSX is not a cheap automobile its price pales in comparison to those other cars.

What is Christensen’s favorite car? “My favorite car is the ’67 Chevelle. It’s simple, beautiful, and timeless.” Hurrah! I much prefer that vintage GM style to the A-Body style that was released in 1968. I consider the later design to be chunky with its excessively large C-pillar and other similar design elements. Einstein said, “Every problem should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” He was a pretty smart guy, I’ve heard. 🙂