Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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WHAT A LUCKY MAN I WAS-EMERSON AND LAKE ON TOUR

May 22, 2010

 The original Moog Synth

Many moons ago when vinyl reigned and concerts cost $6.50 for a ticket that included at least one opening act, a complex fusion of classical, jazz, rock, and modern mash-ups emerged that sold out stadiums and arenas. Emerson, Lake, and Palmer were back there in the late sixties merging Bartok, Bernstein, Brubeck, and Beethoven into a style of rock that few could come close to duplicating. They were considered one of the ultimate “supergroups” selling over 40 million albums.

The concert at the Las Vegas Hilton tonight was in an intimate setting of less than 800 seats and billed as Emerson and Lake-no Palmer would be present. As many know Greg Lake was also a member of King Crimson in its heyday with Robert Fripp and Bill Bruford, but that’s another story. The monstrous nine foot stack of oscillators complete with old rotary potentiometers from the “Apollo 8” era stood tall beside a Hammond B-3 with hundreds of 1/4 phone patch cords to audio adaptations such as now defunct terms as envelopes, sawtooth waveforms, graphic filters, porting and expansion controls, and others too obscure to mention. Unlike the relics usually brought onstage just for show by other bands, this monstrosity was fully functional and used to palpitate your aorta and buzz your sphincter as Keith Emerson dialed his way to the sounds of yesteryear that encompassed the lowest lows and the highest highs.

The stage setting was at “Manticore” recording studio with just the two of them playing to tracks already laid down, talking about each piece, how it was conceived and the little bits of trivia surrounding each. With the “unplugged” atmosphere the talents of these men became more than apparent as each note could be heard precisely without the echoing of a vast stadium turning magnificent runs into a dopplerish muck of indistinguishable muddiness.

“From the Beginning,” was the first song. It was clear Lake (62 years-old) was up to the task. Emerson’s different arrangements kept it all fresh. They wasted no time going into King Crimson’s “I Talk To The Wind,” which was a beautiful rendition. After a chat about Lake throwing stones across a lake drawing inspiration for the next song “Take A Pebble” began and morphed into what amounted to the first side of Tarkus. There was one point in the show when Emerson (65 years-old) paid tribute to Brubeck’s Rondo from his old group “The Nice” years but changed the 9/8 time signature to 4/4 and included “America” from West Side Story, The Phantom of the Opera theme-played backwards from the other side of his keyboards, Rondo of course, and then slid into a the sound of the legendary organist Jimmy Smith’s B-3 groove.

They opened up the concert for questions from the audience and there were more than a few chuckles about their breakups and egos. For the record, Lake declared, “to be passionate about one’s music requires strength of conviction and the band never argued about anything but the music, which if we all are passionate is a healthy thing. Don’t forget we were together constantly over ten years and needed to take a break from the touring and recording together. There was no ill will, ever.”

The “studio engineer” mixed the drum, bass, percussion, and layered tracks from a “recording booth” behind them and all in all it was a magical evening. Would Carl Palmer have made a big difference? Yes, but then the entire show would have been louder, less intimate, and the showcasing of these incredible musicians would not have been in the forefront.

They ended the show and came back for an encore with “What A Lucky Man He Was.” I was the lucky one to be there to hear their top ten hit that blared through the radio speakers of my car while driving through the youthful nights. The backstory on that song was that Lake had written it when he was 13 years-old and when they recorded their first album they needed one last song to finish it. Lake played it for Emerson who wasn’t impressed with it but told Lake to go ahead a lay some tracks down. When Emerson returned, the brand new monstrous Moog had been setup in the studio and Emerson began to improvise to “Lucky Man” not knowing that Lake had the recording button on….hence the infamous solo captured on the first take and forever associated with that old folksy song electrifying it and propelling it into the top ten.

The most amazing thing is that they have yet to be included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “When I look at some of the other people who’ve been inducted, there should be a place for the contribution that ELP and King Crimson made to the world of modern music,” Lake said. “Why ignore that absolutely stark reality, you know?”

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ASH MEADOWS – DEATH VALLEY

January 12, 2010

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE BUT NONE TO DRINK

Ash Meadows is located on the Nevada side just in the shadow of Death Valley and administered by the same Park Service. It is an immense valley of water that is just below the surface and shows itself in the many springs that dot the landscape in a valley located next to the driest place in the nation, the middle of the Mohave Desert. In 1978, the Supreme Court ordered that no one could utilize this water mainly due to the handful of tiny pupfish that were found in Devil’s Hole, a subterranean, thermal-fed spring, and thus declared an endangered species. At one time, 10,000 years ago, this was a vast lake and through those thousands of years the water evaporated. The only evidence of that water are these visible springs that remain and the water just below the surface that is part of an immense ancient aquifier. (All photos by Nick)

http://www.stateparks.com/ash_meadows.html

The Ash Meadows

The blue shift from the setting sun.

Prehistoric veins of a time long gone.

Granite crumbling creating a cave.

The Sentinels keep watch

A lava outcropping.

A can dating from the 30’s originally from India.

A dry desert mountainside looms above the aquifier.

A bush gives evidence to water just below it.

Nature’s upthrust millions of years ago.

The sun sets on a lovely afternoon………..

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THE LAST SNOWSTORM OF THE SEASON

March 24, 2009

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NIGHT AND DAY THROUGH THE STORM’S EYES

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SNOWFALL AT “LITTLE FALLS” IN MT. CHARLESTON

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THE SNOW SQUALL MOVES IN

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IT APPROACHES CATHEDRAL ROCK

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THE HAND OF THE SQUALL COMES FROM BEHIND

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IT OVERWHELMS AND CONQUERS THE MOUNTAIN

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THE WHITEOUT FINALLY ARRIVES

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THE MIGHTY SUN BREAKS THROUGH

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Death Valley 20 Mule Team Day Trip

February 23, 2009

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The Yaga Labyrinth is named in honor of the indigenous Paiute people who inhabited the area near Death Valley, now known as Tecopa, California. The labyrinth is built on an elevated space offering spectacular views of mountains, deposits of glacial Lake Tecopa, and a riparian habitat of the Amargosa River, which is a stopping place for migratory birds, and home to the endangered Amargosa vole. -Tecopa Website  http://www.tecopahotsprings.org/

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The new GM bailout model coming to your dealership soon………

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And here’s the new Jeep bailout model…….

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On the Road to Furnace Creek………….

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Near Furnace Creek

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Everybody Must Get Stoned

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LOOK OUT OF ANY WINDOW

January 4, 2009

Dedicated to the memory of Frank Peteani – January 4, 1925 to  August 31, 1995

Look out of any window any morning, any evening, any day.
Maybe the sun is shining birds are winging or
rain is falling from a heavy sky…
What do you want me to do,
to do for you, to see you through?
This is all a dream we dreamed one afternoon long ago.

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Look into any eyes you find by you, you can see clear through to another day. I know it’s been seen before, through other eyes on other days while going home —    What do you want me to do, to do for you to see you through?   It’s all a dream we dreamed one afternoon long ago.

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Walk into splintered sunlight.  Inch your way through dead dreams to another land.  Maybe you’re tired and broken. Your tongue is twisted with words half spoken and thoughts unclear. What do you want me to do… to do for you to see you through?  A box of rain will ease the pain and love will see you through.

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Just a box of rain….wind and water.  Believe it if you need it, if you don’t just pass it on… Sun and shower… Wind and rain… in and out the window, like a moth before a flame.

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It’s just a box of rain, I don’t know who put it there. Believe it if you need it or leave it if you dare… But it’s just a box of rain, or a ribbon for your hair.  Such a long, long time to be gone, and a short time to be there………

Photos by Nick Oliva (looking out my window) 

Lyrics by Robert Hunter-1971

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WELL THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS FRIGHTFUL……

December 15, 2008

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IT’S SNOWING IN VEGAS! 

HERE ARE SOME PICTURES FROM ACAPULCO TO WARM YOU UP!

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THAT OLD MAN RIVER KEEPS FLOATIN’ ALONG

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LIFE’S A BEACH

ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET

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THE OTHER SHOE

October 10, 2008

 

UNCLE SAM WANTS YOUR MORTGAGE PAYMENT ON TIME!

We here in Las Vegas are in the top five areas of foreclosure, sub-prime, and abandonment of what was high-priced housing.  It looked like we might dodge a bullet with the employment opportunities of the new construction of MGM-Mirage’s City Center, Boyd Gaming’s Echelon, and Steve Wynn’s Encore among other large projects.  MGM’s project got snagged-up in a financing problem but is now on track and Encore is getting ready to open as well.  Boyd Gaming cancelled Echelon until further notice and the unemployment rate is now over 8% here-a record never seen in Vegas before. 

These problems resonate beyond Vegas-throughout the country and the world.  The deleveraging of trillons of dollars locked up in real estate losses sends stock sales scorching the indexes as the cash needed to unwind and divest indiscriminately throws out both the baby and the bath water.  So you ask, “Why bring this up, Nick, don’t you think we are already depressed enough for the next 20 years?”  Well, here comes the back end of the problem that no one has addressed yet.

If the government sets up a mortgage relief fund to bail out homeowners, the government is the holder of the note or mortgage.  If the people who are obligated to pay that mortgage lose their jobs or simply walk away from the home, unlike a normal foreclosure where the city and state still assess taxes (and the new buyer or mortgage holder must pay them)-Uncle Sam does not pay taxes.  Let me repeat that: Uncle Sam does not pay taxes, no way no how, zilch, zero, verkact, nada, nothing.  Ergo, if this phenomena continues in a downward spiral, tax bases will erode even further than they have now and less money will flow into state and city government, and even at the federal level as people lose jobs. 

I hope we don’t get to that point, but if we do, Newton’s Third Law of action and reaction (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton’s_laws_of_motion) will show itself in full force.  Printing money will go into hyperdrive (Not that is hasn’t now) and it could take many years to heal these wounds.  Hopefully, it will not get that far, and my red flag isn’t relevant, but right now…………

I am a part of it, as you are, as we are all together………………..see how they fly like pigs in the sky see how they run. 

We will get through this as well!