Five Cool Things and George 'The Animal' Steele

Prince is now available on all streaming services - if that's not cool, I don't know what is.
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A great big thanks to Gordon and Shawn for helping out last week.  A couple of weeks ago I noted that my family and I had been passing around The Crud for awhile, well last week it turned into full-blown sickness.  There’s been a nasty stomach virus being passed around these parts - my daughter got it over the weekend, then I got it, and then my wife.  I won’t go into the details except to say it was an awful experience and I was in no shape to write.

But now I’m back and healthy and have plenty to talk about.  So much so ,that it was hard to narrow it down to five things, but I think you’ll enjoy.

Jerry Garcia Band - “Reuben and Cherise"

Beyond the 150 gigs or so a year the Grateful Dead would play, Jerry Garcia and a roving band of characters would play even more shows as the Jerry Garcia Band.  While the Dead seem intent on officially releasing every show they ever performed, the powers that be have been a lot slower putting out Jerry shows for mass consumption.  No doubt this has to do with the various lawsuits that have been filed by his surviving heirs, everyone vying for as much of the pie as they can get.

Once in awhile things align (likely his heirs need a little cash) and we get a new Garcia Live release.  Volume 8 comes from a show dated November 23, 1991 and features his longest continual lineup (Melvin Seals on keyboards, David Kemper on drums, John Kahn on bass, and backing vocals by Gloria Jones and Jacklyn LaBranch).  It was the band’s first real tour in seven years (the Jerry Band always played local California gigs but didn’t always travel).

The '90s weren’t always kind to Jerry, but from the sound of it he was in fine form this night.  “Reuben and Cherise” comes from Jerry’s solo 1978 album Cats Under the Stars.  It was played only four times by the Dead but Jerry often brought it out in his solo gigs.  It's one of my favorite songs of his.  It's a jaunty little tune with some of Robert Hunter’s finest lyrics.  Here, Jerry and Melvin Seals have a lot of fun playing off of each other for a long, joyous rave up at the end of the song.

Prince is Streaming

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In life, Prince was one of the great streaming hold-outs.  With the exception of his last album which he exclusively streamed on Tidal, Prince did not allow any of his music to be played on any of the major streaming services.  He notoriously went after YouTube and other services that allowed fans to upload various videos and songs of his.  This week, not quite a year after his death, his entire back catalog has hit iTunes, Apple, and all the major streaming services.

I have to admit that outside of his hits (and there were a lot of them) I’ve not dug too deep into this prolific artist's music.  Luckily for me (and anybody with a set of ears), NPR has created not one, but four Spotify playlists.  They’ve broken nearly fifty songs into four categories - "Dance," "Music," "Sex," and "Romance" that covers most of his career.  It's a pretty cool way to dive deep into his catalog.

Quarry

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While researching my most recent Pick of the Week, I came across this Cinemax show I’d never heard of.  It sounded interesting to me so I gave it a shot and streamed the first episode.  I liked it a lot.  It's about a disillusioned Vietnam vet who returns home to Memphis in 1972 to find his country, neighbor, and even his wife to be pretty indifferent, if not downright hostile to his two tours of duty.  Through a pretty interesting series of events, he finds himself hired by a mysterious man called The Broker as a hitman.  Peppered with some interesting details and a lot of really fascinating characters, the pilot was a lot of fun.  I’m looking forward to catching the rest of it soon.

West Side Story - “Cool”

For the last couple years I’ve been buying my wife classic musicals on Blu-ray.  This year it was West Side Story and we finally got around to watching it. I have the vaguest of memories watching it as a teenager.  The only thing that really stuck was “Cool” and its band of dancing, snapping hoodlums.

Watching it now I enjoyed all the songs, but “Cool” still stands out.  People always complain that musicals aren’t realistic - that in real life nobody breaks out into song.  That’s a dumb complaint, but you gotta love how West Side Story takes that up another notch by having these two gangs of streetwise toughs singing and dancing with such grace.

Iron Fist Trailer

I've enjoyed all of Marvel’s Netflix series, but I’ve been a bit nervous about Iron Fist.  He’s the one character I know absolutely nothing about.  Hearing that he was yet another rich boy who had been trained by a secret society did nothing to mitigate my fears.  Adding to them, I absolutely hated The Immortal Iron Fist - The Origin of Danny Rand comic book which I read in hopes I’d learn to like the character.

When the first trailer was released last week, I was skeptical but it quickly alleviated all my doubts.  It looks pretty freaking amazing.  I can’t wait for March 17th.

George "The Animal" Steele

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William James Myers, best known as famed wrestler George "The Animal" Steele, died on February 16, 2017.  His persona was known for having a green tongue, a hairy torso, and chewing up turnbuckles.  "The Animal" was dim-witted and in a nod to Beauty and the Beast was obsessed with Miss Elizabeth, the wife and manager of Randy "Macho Man" Savage. He was inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and WWF Hall of Fame.  See him action:

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