Monday, April 24, 2017

Electrical Works and Fierce Creatures

We must be having sunspots. Out of the blue, my computer and my camera aren't speaking to each other, so I can't download any pictures except from my iPhone. And our kitchen light blew out last night, so now we need a light bulb, and meanwhile I have to pack the dishwasher in the dark!

Modern problems. First-world problems, as they say.

Speaking of which, last night I was up late trying to restore all the artwork in my iTunes library. For some reason, when I got my new computer and moved my iTunes over, a lot of the album art didn't come with the music. I have no idea why this happened. Last night I ran an automated "fetch the artwork" function in iTunes, and that worked for a lot of the albums -- but not all. About 30 were left with no art, and some had the wrong art. So I fixed those manually. I realize this truly is a first-world problem, but I enjoy looking at album cover art -- don't you? One aspect of vinyl records that I truly miss (possibly the only one) is that they provided such a big canvas for artwork and liner notes.

What's your favorite album cover? Here's one of mine from childhood -- the cover of Emerson, Lake and Palmer's "Tarkus." My dad and stepmother had that album and I was really into that mechanized killer armadillo. Kind of a Transformer before there were Transformers, you know? Inside the gatefold was a pictorial story in which the armadillo fought a lion with a scorpion's tail. I don't think I ever actually listened to the music.*

I took Olga to Hampstead Heath again yesterday. In fact, we did our Four Heaths walk, across all four parts of the Heath, and Olga was exhausted when we got home. She slept all evening and all night and she's sleeping now.

Meanwhile, all of nature is reproducing like mad. Pigeons seem to be nesting in the neighbor's climbing rose -- the one that looms over our patio in its most overgrown state. I've seen one clumsily flying up there clutching twigs in its beak, and disappearing into the foliage. Yesterday I refilled the bird feeder with mealworms, which I'd stopped using over the winter because the birds didn't eat them quickly enough -- and as I write, two starlings are squabbling over them. Everyone has babies to feed!

*Addendum: I just listened to it on iTunes. To enjoy it, you might have to be high.

(Photo: A vessel shaped like a coiled snake in the window of a pottery studio in Hampstead, seen on our walk yesterday. I've been passing this thing for years and always meant to photograph it. It looks like it cracked in the kiln, which is a shame, but it's still pretty cool!)


  1. Favourite album cover? Possibly, "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" - so innocent and free - Bob and Suze Rotolo walking down the middle of a New York street in wintertime. How could he know where that road would take him?...In fact - How many roads must a man walk down?

  2. I don't even remember most album covers though I still have our ancient collection of vinyl. never was a fan of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.

  3. First world problems? We're a bunch of softies, but our problems are complex.

  4. The album that comes to mind for me is Carole King's Tapestry. I wore that record out and I always loved the casual feel of that cover.
    That must have been quite a long walk on the Heath. It's such a huge place.

  5. I can only remember a few covers ... so I'll pick my first - Best of Bread! I still love their quiet, melodic music. I never play it, mind you, but the odd time it will be on the local radio station and it takes me back.

    Like you, I'm finding there's a lot of fun in watching the birds, especially at this time of year.

  6. There was a guy named Stan Cornyn who used to writer killer liner notes. I remember once when I was filling in on an FM station and I read the entire back of the Frank Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim album on the air before playing the record. Cornyn was a genius.

  7. I really miss the liner notes. A cover might draw my attention, but the liner notes were where you really got to know the musician and the music. I was a little obsessed :)

  8. YP: I love that album cover, too. You should check out this article in The New York Times, which includes a gallery of photos from Dylan's youthful "Freewheelin'" period:

    Ellen: Yeah, I must say, I don't get the appeal of E,L &P at all.

    Red: Well, I suppose that's true, but I feel like a whiner when I think about the REAL issues facing a lot of people!

    Sharon: Yeah, that's a great cover, too! I always wonder about the cat in the foreground of that photo. Was it Carole's? What was its name?

    Jenny-O: I love Bread, and they're on my iTunes even now.

    Catalyst: Excellent! I love good liner notes. I looked up Stan Cornyn and did you know he twice won a Grammy for best album notes -- both times on Sinatra records? (He got several more nominations, too.)

    Bug: It's true, although sometimes liner notes were more about what the record company wanted you to believe than about the musician him- or herself. To be taken with a grain of salt!