Saturday, May 16, 2009

Renaissance Man

Sorry to hear about the passing of Wayman Tisdale. Tisdale was the greatest basketball player to ever play for the University of Oklahoma. He played 12 solid years in the NBA...unfortunately for cruddy teams where he was the lone star. But he never complained and never whined. He just played hard and wonderfully. Won a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics. When he retired from basketball he focused on his jazz music career which had been a sideline project while he played in the NBA. At first many thought this was another vanity project by a retired athlete. But he proved people wrong by his amazing musical talent. I had the opportunity to hear him open up for Dave Brubeck at the Tusla Jazz Festival in the mid-nineties. What a tragic loss due to age 44. Rest in peace Wayman. You'll be missed.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The End of Brazzaville

I was saddened to hear this week's announcement regarding the dissolution of the band Brazzaville. Brazzaville has been my favorite band the past eight years. Weezer and Radiohead come in a close second and third.

I discovered Brazzaville by accident. I watching a Ford Thunderbird commercial back in 2000 and really dug the music for the spot. The commercial was part of a high concept marketing campaign which was ironic since Brazzaville is anything but commercial. Tropicalia alt-rock doesn't sell a whole lot of albums in a vapid Kelly Clarkson world. But Brazzaville allowed their music to be used as a way to spread their music to the "demi-monde."

Brazzaville was founded by Beck saxophonist David Arthur Brown. It featured a rotating cast of international musicians all committed to world-weary traveling music. Brazzaville made the kind of music you would hear in a third-world airport in southeast Asia on your way to find englightenment at Ankor Wat.

Brazzaville eventually moved their operations from L.A. to Barcelona. They became very popular in two unlikely places...Turkey and Russia of all places. They also had made it their goal to tour the world in a converted ocean freighter staging concerts at different ports of call throughout the world. They bought the boat but never set sail.

I actually was a bit depressed by the news of their disbandment. But the center of the band...David Arthur Brown...has stated he simply moving a different direction and will continue to write and perform. I also find it sad I never saw them live. The closest they ever got to Texas was Chicago. Early on Dave Brown actually responded to an email of mine and said someday they'd come to Texas. Hopefully he'll still make it by sometime.
I previously blogged about Brazzaville here and here

Monday, May 04, 2009

A Good Day

Today was a good day.

The Mini Cooper S (pictured left) was paid off today. Title is in hand. No car payments.

Got last statement from Sallie Mae. Student Loans are done. Not sad to break up with Sallie Mae. Glad she's out of my life.

Got word today that my Uncle Richard got the last elusive Sam Bradford signature on the football he got me as a gift this past Christmas. The ball now has the autographs of all four living Oklahoma Heisman Trophy winners...Steve Owens, Billy Sims, Jason White and Sam Bradford. That is an awesome Christmas gift!

Also, one more day and no swine flu reported at the school.

Yep, a good day.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Silk Road

Had fun at yesterday's history seminar/conference about Buddhism's migration along the Silk Roads. SMU did a good job hosting. UNT did a good job organizing. The conference was free and we came away with $90 worth of Silk Road materials from Stanford University's Silk Road Project. Good stuff.