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Posted in Music, Random Thoughts on September 18th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: I haven’t been posting this week, mostly due to lack of energy. I’m not feeling 100% these days. A tickle in my throat, which began on August 26th, became a prolonged cough by the long weekend I spent in Vancouver, and it still hasn’t left my chest and throat. As such, I haven’t been exercising either, and I feel like a complete slug. I’m hoping it subsides this week so I can get back on the cross-trainer again, and I have to teach eight classes next week – coughing is not an option! Also, my left lower jaw has been quite sore for a while, as if a wisdom tooth can’t decide whether it wants to pop through my gums. It feels like I’ve been punched on the left side of my face. So…I’m a hurtin’ unit.

Last weeks Sunday NYTimes featured its annual fall look at the arts – music, movies, dance, theatre, etc. I read through the list of upcoming musical events and albums, and was surprised to learn that Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone had reunited and earlier this year, released As Far As I Can See…, The Zombies’ first album since the band broke up in 1967. The Incredible String Band, with two original members, are touring for the first time in 30 years. The Clash’s London Calling has been repackaged for its 25th-Anniversary edition, including extra tapes from the recording sessions found by guitarist Mick Jones, plus a DVD. Brian Wilson is releasing a newly rerecorded version of the most famous album that never was, Smile. British music fans weigh in with their opinions. Based on a few tunes from album made available for listening online on his web site, I like what I hear. Purists may ignore it, wishing to hear the original versions recorded in the mid-60s.

R.E.M.’s new album, Around the Sun, appears in October. The video for the new song, Leaving New York, is available on the VH1 site. I like the song. Helmet, a band I thought was long gone, releases Size Matters, after a seven-year recording hiatus. Rob Halford has reunited with Judas Priest after 12 years, and yes, a new album follows, so lock up your parents. U2‘s new album, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, is out in November, and includes a track called Full Metal Jacket. Tears for Fears new album, Everybody Loves A Happy Ending, reunited Roland Orzabal with Curt Smith, after a thirteen year split. You can see TFF’s live performance of Everybody Wants to Rule the World, taped for KTLA Morning News on Monday, Sept 13, 2004, by visiting KTLA’s web site – once there, click on “Music” in the upper left hand corner, then find “Tears for Fears” at the bottom of the screen. I’ll get this album.

Many other artists were listed in the article. It’s overwhelming. I’m waiting to buy Folker, the new Paul Westerberg album, maybe in two weeks, after payday. Interesting article in the Mpls Star-Tribune about new albums being released almost concurrently by Westerberg and Tommy Stinson, both members of The Replacements in the 1980s. It’s pouring rain outside.

Three New Picture Books By Leo & Diane Dillon

Posted in Picture Books on September 11th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: I am fortunate to call Leo & Diane Dillon friends. I have known them since 1989, and each time I go to New York, I take the F Train to Brooklyn to visit them, over wine and dinner. They are my favorite illustrators, and those who have visited my home know that my walls are covered with their prints and posters, in addition to some of my Dad’s paintings.

My last visit with them was in June 2003, and have been negligent in checking out their latest work. Two new illustrated picture books have appeared since that time, with a third due in October, 2004. Between Heaven and Earth: Bird Tales from Around the World, is the title due out next month. The author is Howard A Norman, with whom they collaborated previously, on The Girl Who Dreamed Only Geese, and Other Tales of the Far North.

Margaret Wise Brown died in 1952, yet her poems and stories continue to reach new generations of children and preschoolers. Leo & Diane previously illustrated her wonderful poem, Two Little Trains. They have collaborated again on Where Have You Been?, a poem that answers a child’s questions about animals and how they live.

Their other recent work is One Winter’s Night, a story by John Herman about a cow named Martha, on a cold winter’s night, searching for a safe and warm place to give birth to her calf. A parallel story is told in “art spots”, about a man, woman and donkey making their way across the same fields, in the middle of the cold winter night. Martha follows a star, that leads her to a shed, where the man, woman and donkey have also sought and found shelter.

Forthcoming, also in October, is Dream: A Tale of Wonder, Wisdom & Wishes, by Susan V Bosak, with illustrations by 15 internationally acclaimed artists, including the Dillons: “A celebration of living and dreaming for all ages, Dream brings together remarkable artwork, inspiring quotations, and a beautifully poetic story.”
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Auntie Phyllis

Posted in Random Thoughts on September 10th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: In 1956, when I was 3 years old, my family moved to 564 Gareau Street, in St Boniface, Manitoba, then a separate city, east of Winnipeg. Our next door neighbours were Mr and Mrs Leeder, or as I called them, Auntie Phyllis and Uncle Bill. They were wonderful neighbours, and my Mom and Auntie Phyllis became good friends for a lifetime. Her son, Ron, and I, were also friends when we were little.

Yesterday, Auntie Phyllis passed away, from congestive heart failure and other complications. Earlier, she asked my Mom to deliver the eulogy at her funeral. Some years back, Mom had done the same for Uncle Bill at his service. My mother is now working through the pain of losing a dear friend while composing a reading that will honour her memory.

Two years ago, when visiting Winnipeg, I asked my mother to arrange a visit with the neighbours with whom we had become good friends, when we lived on Gareau Street from 1957-1969. It was nice to see them again, all my adopted “Aunties” from the old ‘hood, including Mrs Leeder.

A life well lived, she is now at peace, and reunited with Uncle Bill. God Bless always, Auntie Phyllis.

Age Against the Machine

Posted in Random Thoughts on September 7th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: I am still fighting the cough and sore throat. I stopped in at the U Health Centre before work this morning, and the doc prescribed a few codeine tablets to help surpress my cough. At 3:00 pm, I lectured to 155 Chem Eng 200 students, and was able to get through without too many interruptions. I used a lapel microphone, and each time I had to cough, I hit the “Mute” button on the display console. I think the codeine helped as well. I am not a happy puppy right now.

Tomorrow I see my physician, and will discuss this and other assorted ailments with him. Lovely stuff, getting old. *grumble*


Posted in On The Road on September 5th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: I’m in Vancouver for one more day, leaving tomorrow at 7:00 am. I’ve had a nice time, the weather has been good, and I’ve visited with old friends. The surprise birthday party for my friend Lea was a blast. She was totally blown away by the event, completely caught off guard. I’ve been fighting a bad cough I developed last week in Edmonton, and my rib muscles are sore from coughing all day and through the night. I’m looking forward to healing from this latest episode. I hope the coughing subsides in the next 48 hours, as I am lecturing on Tue afternoon at 3:00 pm.


Posted in Music, On The Road, Random Thoughts on September 2nd 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: I’m flying to Vancouver tomorrow to attend a surprise birthday party for a friend (who doesn’t read this site, btw!), and to visit a few other people I haven’t seen since 1997, the last time I was in Vancouver. I’m bringing with me a bad cough that I picked up last weekend. I’m doubling up my COLD-FX dosages again. In Vancouver, I will rent a car at the airport, and stay one night in Coquitlam, the other two nights in Vancouver. The return flight on Monday will leave at 7:00AM – ouch.

:: A number of items of interest happening in September: 1) The Star Wars Trilogy DVD package arrives in stores on September 21st. Episodes IV, V and VI are included, plus a bonus disc of material, including the following:

The fourth disc is packed with bonus material, the most notable being Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy. This two-and-a-half hour documentary traces the evolution of the saga, from a low-budget labor-of-love space saga to the movie phenomenon that defied the odds and reinvented the rules.

This comprehensive documentary features all new interviews with George Lucas and more than 40 members of the cast and crew from the original trilogy, as well as a host of filmmakers and media personalities. Empire of Dreams includes some never-before-seen behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the three films.

The Star Wars Trilogy DVD Details page explains everything.

2) The 2-hour premier of Season 15 of Law & Order is on September 22, featuring Dennis Farina replacing Jerry Orbach – big shoes to fill for sure.

3) I don’t watch The Tonight Show, but the 50th Anniversary of its first broadcast is on Sept 27, 2004. The show was developed by Pat Weaver. Weaver’s daughter, Susan, is better known by her other name, Sigourney.

:: I’m reading sporadically these days, occupied with other things. I’ve been sifting through Sharon Butala‘s book, Coyote’s Morning Cry: Meditations and Dreams From a Life in Nature, a small volume of spiritual writing, and finding it a comforting read.

:: I’m looking forward to new albums by Paul Westerberg, and Joseph Arthur.

:: What’s th-? Is SETI close to confirming the existence of extra-terrestrial intelligence?

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