Saturday, April 30, 2016

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs: #RockTheRed


Wayne Gretzky: "Everybody has a lot of pride as an athlete and when you're an elite athlete and you play head to head against a guy who is your peer, there is more of a motivation factor. I anticipate both players raising their game to another level. But both guys will tell you and I'm sure you've heard it, they can contribute and they're part of it, but you win and lose as a group. Although they're going to raise their games to another level, the teams around both of those guys have to jump on that train too and get their games to another level. That's what elite players do, though. The players will see their work ethic and the level they get to and that pulls the rest of the guys in the group into it too."

"The Washington Capitals were the victors in a hard-fought six-game Eastern Conference First Round series against the Philadelphia Flyers. Washington shut out Philadelphia in Games 1 and 6, scored five power-play goals in Game 3 and dominated practically every area on the ice during the series, despite being shut out in Game 5. Special teams were a deciding factor; eight of Washington's 14 goals in the series were scored on the power play and its penalty kill shut down the Flyers."

"I went down to the locker room, and Olie Kolzig, who had won a Vezina Trophy, was our goalie then," Ted Leonsis said. "He said, 'That's the greatest player I've ever seen. That's the hardest shot I've ever dealt with.' It was the first practice."

Ovechkin needed one shift in his first regular-season game to put his imprint on the NHL. He hit Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Radoslav Suchy so hard into the end boards that it dislodged a support beam in the glass, knocking it to the ice. Ovechkin scored two goals in a 3-2 Washington win. A career was born.

More information:
» "Crosby, Ovechkin close in many areas"
» Video: Round 2 Infographic PIT WSH

Monday, April 25, 2016

BJ The Chicago Kid - "The New Cupid"

R&B singer BJ the Chicago Kid has sung on other artists’ records for more than a decade, and now they’re all returning the favor. The sexy debut album he released last month, In My Mind, features an impressive array of guest contributors, including Chance the Rapper, Big K.R.I.T. and Kendrick Lamar. Kendrick’s verse comes on “The New Cupid,” the video for which you can watch above.

But why only feature Kendrick when you can also bring in Hannibal Buress?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Spotlight: "Johnny Appleseed" (1774-1845)

Johnny Appleseed is remembered in American popular culture by his traveling song or Swedenborgian hymn ("The Lord is good to me..."), which is today sung before meals in some American households. "Oooooh, the Lord is good to me, and so I thank the Lord, for giving me the things I need, the sun and the rain and the appleseed. The Lord is good to me. Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen."
John Chapman (September 26, 1774 – March 18, 1845), often called Johnny Appleseed, was an American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, as well as the northern counties of present-day West Virginia. He became an American legend while still alive, due to his kind, generous ways, his leadership in conservation, and the symbolic importance he attributed to apples. He was also a missionary for The New Church (Swedenborgian) and the inspiration for many museums and historical sites such as the Johnny Appleseed Museum in Urbana, Ohio and the Johnny Appleseed Heritage Center in between Lucas, Ohio and Mifflin, Ohio.

According to some accounts, an 18-year-old John persuaded his 11-year-old half-brother Nathaniel to go west with him in 1792. The duo apparently lived a nomadic life until their father brought his large family west in 1805 and met up with them in Ohio. The younger Nathaniel decided to stay and help their father farm the land. Shortly after the brothers parted ways, John began his apprenticeship as an orchardist under a Mr. Crawford, who had apple orchards, thus inspiring his life's journey of planting apple trees.

There are stories of Johnny Appleseed practicing his nurseryman craft in the Wilkes-Barre area of Pennsylvania and of picking seeds from the pomace at Potomac cider mills in the late 1790s. Another story has Chapman living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Grant's Hill in 1794 at the time of the Whiskey Rebellion.

The popular image is of Johnny Appleseed spreading apple seeds randomly, everywhere he went. In fact, he planted nurseries rather than orchards, built fences around them to protect them from livestock, left the nurseries in the care of a neighbor who sold trees on shares, and returned every year or two to tend the nursery. His first nursery was planted on the bank of Brokenstraw Creek, south of Warren, Pennsylvania. Next, he seems to have moved to Venango County along the shore of French Creek, but many of these nurseries were located in the Mohican area of north-central Ohio. This area included the towns of Mansfield, Lisbon, Lucas, Perrysville, and Loudonville.

Chapman was quick to preach the Gospel as he traveled, and during his travels he converted many Native Americans, whom he admired. The Native Americans regarded him as someone who had been touched by the Great Spirit, and even hostile tribes left him strictly alone. "He always carried with him some work on the doctrines of Swedenborg with which he was perfectly familiar, and would readily converse and argue on his tenets, using much shrewdness and penetration."

Johnny Appleseed left an estate of over 1,200 acres (490 ha) of valuable nurseries to his sister. He also owned four plots in Allen County, Indiana, including a nursery in Milan Township, with 15,000 trees. He bought the southwest quarter (160 acres) of section 26, Mohican Township, Ashland County, Ohio, but he did not record the deed and lost the property. The financial panic of 1837 took a toll on his estate. Trees brought only two or three cents each, as opposed to the "fippenny bit" (about six and a quarter cents) that he usually got. Some of his land was sold for taxes following his death, and litigation used up much of the rest.

Fort Wayne, Indiana is the location of Johnny Appleseed's death. A memorial in Fort Wayne's Swinney Park purports to honor him but not to mark his grave. In Fort Wayne, since 1975, the Johnny Appleseed Festival is held the third full weekend in September in Johnny Appleseed Park and Archer Park.

Many books and films have been based on the life of Johnny Appleseed. One notable account is from the first chapter of The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan. Pollan states that since Johnny Appleseed was against grafting, his apples were not of an edible variety and could be used only for cider: "Really, what Johnny Appleseed was doing and the reason he was welcome in every cabin in Ohio and Indiana was he was bringing the gift of alcohol to the frontier. He was our American Dionysus."

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Spotlight: Prince Rogers Nelson (1958-2016)

When asked what it feels like to be the best guitarist alive, Eric Clapton said, "I don't know. Ask Prince." His prowess on the guitar is legendary. Sheryl Crow, who collaborated with him on the Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic album in the late ’90’s, told Billboard that "I’ve heard him play piano like Chick Corea or Herbie Hancock, move over to bass and play like Larry Graham, then play guitar like Jimi Hendrix or Buddy Guy."
The singer, songwriter, arranger and instrumentalist broke through in the late 1970s with the hits "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?" and "I Wanna Be Your Lover," and soared over the following decade with such albums as "1999" and "Purple Rain." The title song from "1999" includes one of the most widely quoted refrains of popular culture: "Tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999."

The Minneapolis native, born Prince Rogers Nelson, stood just 5 feet, 2 inches tall, and seemed to summon the most original and compelling sounds at will, whether playing guitar in a flamboyant style that openly drew upon Jimi Hendrix, switching his vocals from a nasally scream to an erotic falsetto or turning out album after album of stunningly original material. Among his other notable releases: "Sign O' the Times," ''Graffiti Bridge" and "The Black Album."

He was also fiercely protective of his independence, battling his record company over control of his material and even his name. Prince once wrote "slave" on his face in protest of not owning his work and famously battled and then departed his label, Warner Bros., before returning a few years ago.

"What's happening now is the position that I've always wanted to be in," Prince told the AP in 2014. "I was just trying to get here."

The same year, Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame, which hailed him as a musical and social trailblazer.

"He rewrote the rulebook, forging a synthesis of black funk and white rock that served as a blueprint for cutting-edge music in the Eighties," reads the Hall's dedication. "Prince made dance music that rocked and rock music that had a bristling, funky backbone. From the beginning, Prince and his music were androgynous, sly, sexy and provocative."

Rarely lacking in confidence, Price effortlessly absorbed the music of others and made it sound like Prince, whether the James Brown guitar riff on "Kiss" or the Beatle-esque, psychedelic pop of "Raspberry Beret."

He also proved a source of hits for others, from Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U" to Cyndi Lauper's "When You Were Mine." He also wrote "Manic Monday" for the Bangles.

Prince had been touring and recording right up until his death, releasing four albums in the last 18 months, including two on the Tidal streaming service last year. He performed in Atlanta last week as part of his "Piano and a Microphone" tour, a stripped down show that has featured a mix of his hits like "Purple Rain" or "Little Red Corvette" and some B-sides from his extensive library.

Prince debuted the intimate format at his Paisley Park studios in January, treating fans to a performance that was personal and was both playful and emotional at times.

The musician had seemed to be shedding his reclusive reputation. He hosted several late-night jam sessions where he serenaded Madonna, celebrated the Minnesota Lynx's WNBA championship and showcased his latest protege, singer Judith Hill.

Ever surprising, he announced on stage in New York City last month that he was writing his memoir. "The Beautiful Ones" was expected to be released in the fall of 2017 by publishing house Spiegel & Grau. The publishing house has not yet commented on status of book, but a press release about the memoir says: "Prince will take readers on an unconventional and poetic journey through his life and creative work." It says the book will include stories about Prince's music and "the family that shaped him and the people, places, and ideas that fired his creative imagination."

A small group of fans quickly gathered in the rain Thursday outside his music studio, Paisley Park, where Prince's gold records are on the walls and the purple motorcycle he rode in his 1984 breakout movie, "Purple Rain," is on display. The white building surrounded by a fence is about 20 miles southwest of Minneapolis.

Steven Scott, 32, of Eden Prairie, said he was at Paisley Park last Saturday for Prince's dance party. He called Prince "a beautiful person" whose message was that people should love one another.

"He brought people together for the right reasons," Scott said.

More information:
» YouTube: "Prince Performs “Purple Rain” During Downpour | Super Bowl XLI Halftime Show"
» Paste: "His Name Was Prince"
» New York Times (1981): "The Pop Life; IS PRINCE LEADING MUSIC TO A TRUE BIRACISM?"
» Vox: "Prince, in 14 songs that show why he's a musical legend"
» The Guardian (2012): "The 20 best Prince songs you've never heard"
» Comedy Central: "Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories - Prince"

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Nigel Stanford - "Cymatics"

Nigel Stanford:
After finding out what frequencies resonated the plate the best, I selected four shapes that looked good, giving me four notes to use for the musical instrument that would accompany it. Because the sand took a few milliseconds to move into the next shape, I couldn't change notes very fast, and so wrote something that stayed on each note long enough for the shape to form. Originally I wanted to use the actual audio that generated the shapes, but it was very high pitched, and kind of un-musical - so I ended up just using the notes I wanted, and mixing a recorded element of the sound of the actual plate with a simple synthesizer sound.