Friday, April 13, 2007

Reasons To Be Cheerful: week of 04/13/07

Some things that crossed my mind this week...

1. Occasionally you can still find good hunting grounds for old records.

I'd been a little depressed by my experiences with the vintage LP market lately. Things just ain't like the old days. Back in my old home town the collector's shop I grew up with is closing this year, and the Friends Of The Library there recently stopped accepting donations of records for their fundraiser booksales (because "...they don't sell"). Garage sales can be fun, but often there's very little payoff and -dang- but some people are squirrely and greedy.
Bitch, bitch, whine...

But yesterday I revisited a version of the collector dream. A local library fundraiser, the annual Spring sale, the one with the records. I was prepared for disappointment, thinking maybe they'd followed suit and curtailed the vintage vinyl offerings as have so many others.

Nope. I was there for hours, digging through dozens of boxes and thousands of LPs, pulling out all manner of wonderful and wacky treasures at exceedingly reasonable prices. - - And clean! How did that happen? I'm so used to the usual fake-out; here's this sought-after rare album from the '50's, but you peek at the disc to check condition - - and sure enough, it looks like someone had been using the record to polish a concrete driveway.

I landed a huge haul. My hands were filthy and cramping from flipping through the stacks, my knees were tired from squatting and crawling under tables (all the usual collector ailments) - - it was just like the old days, days I thought were long gone. Lots of new stuff for the collection, and 3 or 4 others I can likely take to eBay that should pay for the whole batch. Whee!

- - Whatever it is YOU hunt for, I hope you're having similar good luck.

2. As usual, I'm excited by some upcoming DVD releases:

- A Criterion release of Lindsay Anderson's 'If...'

- 'Ball of Fire', Howard Hawks' 1941 screwball update of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, with Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. A must, if you haven't yet seen it..

- Word on the street is that Classic Media has planned to release Jay Ward's 1960's animated 'George Of The Jungle' before the end of 2007. Fingers crossed, and hopefully it'll be the complete show, including Super Chicken and Tom Slick.

- 'Tears Of The Black Tiger' is finally being released here in the US, later this month. I've been hearing about this exuberant Thai homage to the American Western genre for a while. Anxious to check it out for myself!

3.George Carlin. Fifty years in showbiz and still kicking ass. Yeah, he's older, maybe a wee tad slower, out of rehab and looking a bit less animated - - but damn, he's still so good. A master.

Recently I had the opportunity to see 'Life Is Worth Losing', the latest of his HBO specials released to DVD (For what it's worth, I prefer the CD version. George has begun to bear an uncanny scary resemblance to an old boss of mine).

Still sharp, still insightful and scathing, but I was actually quite pleased to see that he seems ever-so-slightly less angry about the vitriol he spews these days. If you look over his career, Carlin's been very adept at changing his persona, his delivery style in different ways over the years. The counter-culture longhair of the '70's was already a few changes down the line for him. Now he might be inching a hair's breadth away from the angry rants of the past ten years or so. In this latest concert he's managing to find humor in suicide and natural disasters, so I don't know if I'd go so far as to call him 'wistful'...

4. Dogs. Hurray for dogs, that's all.

"Life is a series of dogs." - George Carlin

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside a dog it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx

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