September 22

Sample This: The Story of ‘Apache’ and The Incredible Bongo Band

incredible-bongo-bandI caught this fascinating documentary on Netflix last night. I hadn’t planned on it, Hell I had never even heard of it before. It just popped up in my Netflix feed…It’s a little independent documentary from 2013 called ‘Sample This.’ And while I’d never heard of the film, I am very familiar with its subject, which is a song. Not just any song, but one of the most heavily-sampled recordings in hip-hop and pop music history. It’s a track from 1973 called ‘Apache‘ by The Incredible Bongo Band. And while that might not sound too familiar to you, I’m willing to bet that you’ve heard at least part of it before. Don’t believe me? Give a listen:

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August 3

I’m Loving ‘Stranger Things’ and You Should Too

stranger-things-netflixI wrote earlier this spring about how we had gone ahead and cancelled our DirecTV account, leaving us without any ‘traditional’ source of television: No cable, no satellite, no antenna. Ironically enough, we’re dealing this summer with more great TV than we know what to do with. And right at the top of the heap, the one show we love the most, is ‘Stranger Things,’ streaming on Netflix.

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March 11

We Are All Immigrants: Trump vs. DeNiro

statue-of-libertyWell hello there! Where’ve you been these last couple of weeks? What’s that? Where have I been? Why, I’ve had my head buried under my pillow, waiting for the horror show that is the Donald Trump campaign to go away. But I’m finally convinced that it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. And that scares me to death.

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January 6

BrainstemBob Approved: Two New Documentaries

As I get older, and I am definitely getting older, I find myself watching more and more documentary films. Documentary films show us the neglected corners of the world that don’t get much attention, shining a much-deserved light on the people, places, and events from the past, present and future, and give us more insight on the human condition. Documentaries have many marvelous qualities; they can educate, enrage, and inspire us. They can move us to take action to right wrongs. They can also be incredibly entertaining. What I’m saying is, I love documentaries. Given a choice between the latest box office blockbuster or an unknown little indie documentary, I’m almost always going to choose the doc. And I’ve seen two in the last week that are well worth checking out. Continue reading “BrainstemBob Approved: Two New Documentaries” »

September 25

Hello? Anybody Out There?: Human Radio Broadcasts in the Vastness of Space

radio-antennaThe opening scene of the 1997 film ‘Contact,’ based on the writings of famed astronomer Carl Sagan, is one of my very favorite opening scenes ever (you can watch it below if you’ve never seen it)… It starts with a shot of Earth, from a low orbit, with the soundtrack filled with the deafening wall of sound that is our modern technology-driven society. Through the din you can make out bits of radio broadcasts, hit songs (1997 hit songs, that is), newscasts, TV shows, and so on. It’s an amazing representation of just how much stuff we’re beaming out from Earth 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, non-stop, here in the late 20th/early 21st centuries. Since 1997, we’ve only multiplied the various kinds of signals we’re blasting into space and bouncing off of satellites and back down to earth; not just radio and TV signals, but cell phone calls, text messages, emails, photos, movies, music…

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July 29

The Songs of Summer #59: ‘The Long Hot Summer’ by Jimmie Rodgers

the-long-hot-summer-jimmie-rodgersAnother moldy oldie for today’s Song of Summer…there’s one thing my Songs of Summer list is not, and that’s a daily string of today’s hit songs…Nope. Nothing against modern music, but I like my summer songs to span the decades. Does anybody else? Hard to say…. Today’s song is ‘The Long Hot Summer‘ by pop singer Jimmie Rodgers (not the Jimmie Rodgers (‘The Singing Brakeman’, of the same name; no relation even. In fact, this Jimmie Rodgers was born in the same year that the country legend Jimmie Rodgers died. Weird!) Our Jimmie Rodgers had a few hits in the late 1950’s; his biggest hit that anybody might recognize today was ‘Honeycomb‘ in 1957.

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July 16

The Songs of Summer #46: ‘Swingin’ Summer’ by Carol Connors

carol-connors-swingin-summerI promised no more “serious” summer songs, and I promised more tunes from female artists; this song right here fulfills both requirements quite nicely. ‘Swingin’ Summer‘ by Carol Connors, a lightweight little pop ditty clocking in at just under a minute and a half.

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