Friday, November 25, 2016

Fade To Black

Thank Shinnok It's Friday!

"You'll need a strong finishing move if you go shopping today, mortal!"

Starter Pistol

Although the day after Thanksgiving was seen as the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season when I was growing up, the whole marketing campaign popularly referred to as "Black Friday"developed much more recently.

Over the past few years, retailers themselves have diluted the effect. First it was stores opening at pre-dawn hours, then midnight Thursday, and finally encroaching on Thanksgiving Day itself (many retailers now open for business in the afternoon that Thursday). Yet each year we're inundated with "news" stories about "Black Friday" shoppers going off the deep end and even becoming violent. It's absurd.

It has been many years since I have need to do any special shopping during the Christmas season, but even if I needed to do so I'd probably rely on Amazon and the individual retailers' websites. I'm too old to elbow my way through a mob just to save
a couple of bucks on something that's probably got a lower price online anyway...

"You really don't miss the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping?"

What made it fun was imagining the surprise and delight on the faces on the people
I loved on Christmas morning...without that, there's just no reason to put up with the annoying aspects of it...

Dang It, Apple!

One of the more predictable aspects of the Christmas season is the appearance of TV ads that push my emotional buttons (not that that is particularly difficult to do). There's always at least one such ad that brings me to tears no matter how many times I see it. Some of them never lose that emotional hold on me, either.

During yesterday's football-watching binge I saw a spot that is a strong contender for that honor this year, produced by Apple...

Yeah, I know...

Black Friday in Clintonville

From the pen of Lisa Benson, whose editorial cartoons you should read often, as I do.

Until Next Time...

As I have noted on many occasions in this space, the vast majority of the musical artists and bands I embraced during my high school and college years broke up (often with considerable acrimony) after relatively short careers. Groups like The Beatles, Cream, Simon & Garfunkel, Free, and Creedence Clearwater Revival were big favorites of mine, but all of them dissolved due to ego issues or "creative differences" (a euphemism for ego issues) before my freshman year of college had begun.

The Band hung around a bit longer, and were among my favorites during my college years, but they too succumbed to warring egos and called it quits in 1976.

Original 1976 concert promotional poster

On November 25 that year, the group gave what was billed as their "final farewell concert" at San Francisco's famous Winterland Ballroom. They were joined that night by a host of guest performers, including Van Morrison, Neil Young, Muddy Waters, Joni Mitchell, Neil Diamond, and their former employer Bob Dylan.

The concert soon became legendary, producing a three-disc album in 1978 that reached No. 16 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart as well as a concert film directed by Martin Scorsese that some critics hail as the greatest rock documentary ever made.

Today's send-off was the group's final encore that night, "Baby Don't You Do It," a cover of the Holland-Dozier-Holland song that had been a hit for Marvin Gaye and was also The Band's final Top 40 hit when they released a live version of it as a single back in 1971. Scorsese chose to use the song for his film's opening credits. Enjoy...

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