Ludwig von Drake on Music – Vintage Disney

April 2, 2011 at 10:00 pm (Entertainment, Media, Music) (, , , , , , , , )

Hello, Internets! (grin) Decided to take a few moments and offer up a brief post. Once again, life got in the way, and has kept me from posting for several months. I hope to get a few more entries posted in the near future.

But – let’s get started with today’s enjoyment! I ran across this nifty little blast from the past while on YouTube today. Disney’s Wonderful World of Color was a regular part of my childhood, even though we only had a black and white TV. (1955 Zenith, for those who care. And that’s probably only me.) And one of my favorite characters was Ludwig von Drake. (The image at the left is the cover of a record album we had when I was a kid.) Voiced by Paul Frees, one of my favorite voice actors of all time, old Ludwig helped to crystallize my interest in science. Disney released quite a few classroom films and short features hosted by Ludwig von Drake, including this one – A Symposium On Popular Songs:

And here’s part 2:

Oh, man. That is such cool stuff. You really can’t beat old-school Disney animation. Well and truly part of the Golden Age of cel animation, combined with stop-motion. I am a big fan of animation history and techniques, and the people who provided the voices. One of these days, I’ll have to write up some posts about my favorite voice actors, who include (in addition to Paul Frees) Mel Blanc, June Foray, Maurice LaMarche, and Billy West.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and look for more soon.

P.S. About the call letters – KBOO – on the microphone shown in part 2… It’s a real station, right here in my local area, Portland Oregon! I did a bit of volunteer engineering work for them back in the early ’80s. KBOO is a listener-supported community radio station, supported by grants and contributions. They’ve got quite a varied schedule, and I recommend checking them out. You can find the schedule on their web site, or listen to the online stream here.



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FloRida Spins Us Right Round (Like a Record)

February 25, 2010 at 12:58 am (Entertainment, Media, Music) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

I’m afraid that now that I’ve got this whole “this song sounds like that song” thing started, I may not be able to quit. It’s becoming like a sort of addiction, or compulsion. Every time I turn around these days, I spot another new song that sounds like a tune I heard years ago. Case in point…

I was visiting a friend the other day, and the TV was playing a music on demand channel. This song by FloRidaRight Round – popped up, and my memory ran up a flag, too. Let’s listen to FloRida:

Yep. There it is, a nifty little musical hook from 1984. Back when I was a much younger man, a band called Dead or Alive had a big hit titled You Spin Me Round:

At least FloRida seems to be open about the origins of the hook, which was sampled for Right Round. The Wikipedia entry for Right Round discusses the source, so it looks as if the lawyers will not be called from their crypts to put the bite on FloRida.

Hey, maybe there’s some hope for modern music after all! And no, I’ve got no idea why the eye patch. Or that ’80s Big Hair! Damn, man! One forgets. Go back and watch music videos or movies from the ’80s, and you’ll see what I mean. Stick thin girls with short skirts and hair teased and sprayed until the blondes look like dandelions with eyeliner.

Tank GirlWhich reminds me. Not sure why it reminds me, but – it reminds me. I ran across a site online where you can watch the movie Tank Girl all the way through for free. Never seen Tank Girl? Oh, it’s an experience. Go ahead. Check it out, and let me know what you think.

More soon, film fans and music mavens. It’s a busy time. Got a sick friend, and my dad had surgery a couple weeks ago, too. So – chaos, discord, and mayhem. Lovely.

And if you have any ideas for topics, go ahead and leave a comment below.

Oh, one more thing, in the immortal words of Columbo. I had a really interesting comment on my most popular entry, They Call This a Jeep? Click the link to read the comment, and my response.



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Kookaburra Sits And Laughs While Men Work

February 5, 2010 at 1:33 am (Entertainment, Media, Music) (, , , , , , )

Once again, dear readers, we will take a few minutes to revisit the concept of the borrowed melody, or as I’ve called it, kleptomelodica.

Apparently, some cases of misappropriated tunes take some time to come to light and be resolved. I was surprised to see in today’s news, that a band I was quite fond of, back in the ’80s, have lost a lawsuit over their biggest hit.

The BBC reports that Men At Work, an Australian band whose big hit, Down Under, had borrowed a bit of its melody from the old song, Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree. Let’s start by having a listen to Down Under

Now that’s a bunch of bonza blokes who seem to be having a good time. Oh, yes… I do remember this one from my misspent youth, lo so many years gone by. And I even used to buy Vegemite at the local health food store, where I also had a bit of a crush on the young lady who worked there. Fun little tune. And funny that I didn’t notice the similarity to Kookaburra. Hell, even I knew that melody from my childhood. Here’s the Aussie song about the bird, then…

Now that I think about it, and listen to Kookaburra alongside the flute riff from Down Under, I can see (or rather hear) the similarity.

But I wonder why, in this performance, the lyrics are changed from “gay your life must be” to “rich your life must be”.

Probably to keep the boys from sniggering uncontrollably.

Ah, well. Whatever. The bottom line is – the courts have decreed that Men At Work shall compensate the estate of Kookaburra composer Marion Sinclair.

Good on yer, mates.  And maybe an “I’m sorry” might not be out of place.

More soon.



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They’re Coming To Take Me Away (hah hah!)

January 28, 2010 at 6:12 pm (Entertainment, Media, Music) (, , )

Hey, fellow music nerds! In the last few days, I ran across something completely unexpected. It’s one of those things that you really don’t think about until you see it, and then it becomes obvious – even inevitable.

Since it seems that all the good melodies have already been written, those bands who choose not to sample or rap are mining our musical past for golden nuggets. Here’s one such effort. Neuroticfish with a cover version of “They’re Coming to Take Me Away”:

Yes! Very nice! Wonderfully deranged, in a way that the original version from the 1960’s, by Napoleon the XIV, could never be allowed, back in the day… With the added benefit of the bass line from the Dr. Who theme. For comparison, here’s the happily bent little ditty that I first heard when I borrowed the LP from my neighbor, Mike Platt:

Ah, they don’t make ’em like that any more. Sometimes, they make them even better.

Well, for a given value of “better”. Like the difference between making a fire “better” by putting water on it, or gasoline. It all depends on your point of view, really.



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UFOs Over The Kremlin?

December 28, 2009 at 12:28 am (General, Media, Politics, UFO) (, , , , , , , , , )

Boy, oh boy.  For some reason, the 2009 solstice season has really given us some high-profile UFO sightings.  I’m beginning to wish they’d just frickin’ land already, and get it over with…

The Russians seem to be having all the fun these days.  Two separate videos of triangular or pyramidal UFOs, seen over the Kremlin, supposedly on two different dates.  The first video shows what appears to be a large triangular or pyramidal UFO over Moscow’s Red Square.

I need to pay closer attention to the news wires.  This daylight UFO sighting apparently took place on or about December 9th, about the time that  Norway was treated to a massive blue spiral in their sky, which may or may not have been a failed Russian missile test launch.

The next video is a night-time sighting, shot from a moving car.  It’s not very clear, but there does seem to be a triangular shape in the sky above the Kremlin, perhaps on December 18th.  Very cool… My best advice is to click “full-screen” and watch closely.

Some sources are indicating that this second video is just disinformation, but I don’t really understand the reasoning behind that assertion.  Another article on the subject can be found here.

Since the video images are so dark, I decided to grab some screen shots of still frames, and “bump them up” a bit, using Gimp, the open-source alternative to Photoshop.  Here are the results.  Click the images to see larger versions.




Okay. If that isn’t some seriously weird $#!+, then I’m Mary Queen of Scots. I’d be interested in seeing what other people make of this footage, and if anyone has similar results with photo enhancement programs.

(If you want to know what I did in Gimp, to get these results, just e-mail me, or leave a comment below.)

Back soon with more weirdness, or perhaps just something silly. You can never really tell with me, can you?

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Oh, Those UFOs!

December 21, 2009 at 12:57 pm (Cool Tech, General, Media, UFO) (, , , , , )

More UFO news last week.  Yeah, I know.  I should have mentioned it last week, when it was still actually news.  (It’s been busy here at Maison D’Lock – sorry.)  But if some of you have missed it, since the mainstream media have the attention span of a stunned guppy, let’s take a quick look.

First off, parts of Norway were treated to an amazing visual spectacle in the form of a spiraling blue light show in the sky, early on the morning of December 10th.

Looks pretty amazing!  Many news services now seem to think the spiral light formation was the result of a Russian missile test launch, which failed in the upper atmosphere, going out of control.  Check out the video – you can actually see the spiral rotating.

The very next day, news agencies and bloggers began reporting on the discovery of an “alien graveyard” in Rwanda, of all places. Claims of more than 200 bodies, in a 500 year old mass grave, are circulating on the ‘net.

But, given that the source seems to be the World Weekly News – home of Bat Boy, this may be more coprolite than fossil remains.

More soon, kids.  Christmas approaches like a freight train on a downhill, with no brakes.  I need to either get running, or get out of the way.

Peace and a happy season to you all.

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UFOs? What UFOs?

December 7, 2009 at 3:23 am (General, Media, Politics, UFO) (, , , , , , , , , )

Greetings, programs! I read today that our dear brothers across the pond have pulled the plug on their UFO research efforts. Yes, some 40 years after the US government did the same thing (officially, anyway) after publishing the Condon Report, the UK’s Ministry of Defence has decided that “in over 50 years, no UFO report has revealed any evidence of a potential threat to the United Kingdom.”

Well, sure.  Right.  No potential threat at all.  Not if you believe that objects flitting through the sky above your country, at speeds you can’t hope to match, and going wherever they please, are no kind of threat.  What kind of fuzzy thinking is that?  Hello, McFly!

Maybe they should talk to the guys over at the Space Research Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.  Their deputy director, Lachezar Filipov, seems to think that the aliens are already here, and are among us now.

Or perhaps have a chat with the folks at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, who saw something quite peculiar, just over three years ago.  Workers on the ground and pilots both reported seeing a huge gray disc hover over the terminal for several minutes, in November 2006.  And when it left, it just shot off, straight up, punching a hole through the clouds that took a few minutes to close back up.  Probably swamp gas.

Here’s the reality – there is something going on in the skies, all over the world, and it remains unexplained after more than 60 years of research.  Anyone you talk to will admit that much.   But turning your back on the issue and pretending it’s not a problem, or doesn’t exist, is completely irresponsible.

And that’s what the MOD has done, and so has the American government.  So have many other agencies world wide.  This has led to a widespread belief that the major governments know something that they refuse to share with the public at large.

So, what shall we do about it, Dave? Petition the government to show us what’s in Area 51?  Throw up our hands and shrug?  Move to a cabin in the wilderness?

Maybe just keep an open mind, and remain skeptical.  Don’t trust everything you read.  Even this.  And especially not the mainstream media.  Do the research for yourself.  Read a few books on the subject.  Maybe even watch the skies some night, instead of the frickin’ boob tube.  Grab your friends, family, maybe a few beverages, and go look at the sky.  Yeah, I know.  Better dress warmly if you’re going to do that tonight.  It’s wicked cold here in Vancouver, WA.  But the viewing is great!  The stars are clear and bright.

I just can’t stay out for long.  My eyeballs start to freeze.

P.S. If you want to have a look at the UFO report data collected by the UK’s Ministry of Defence, since 1997, you can find it all here. There’s not a lot of detail, but what there is may convince a few folks that our sky is a busy place.

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Parody – Not A Low Art Form At All

October 24, 2009 at 1:17 am (Damn funny, Entertainment, Media) (, , , , , , , )

Earlier this week, I spotted a lovely little parody of Pixar’s Luxo Lamp intro – the one you see at the beginning of all the Disney / Pixar movies.

Here’s the original, to refresh your memory:

And here’s the parody.  Wonderfully twisted, and perfectly in the spirit of the Hallowe’en season…

Now, here’s a really fun parody with a different approach.  Certainly a little more lighthearted:

A bit of looking on YouTube indicates that the Pixar Luxo Lamp intro is a very popular subject of parody and imitation.  There are many, many videos done by aspiring CGI animators out there.

Let’s wrap up with a quick “outtake”:

Enjoy the weekend, and I’ll be back soon with a more serious subject to discuss.

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Capitalism – American Dream, or Nightmare?

October 1, 2009 at 12:05 am (Damn funny, Entertainment, Media, Politics, The Economy, The Environment) (, , , , , , , , )

Tomorrow, Michael Moore’s self-described magnum opus, Capitalism: A Love Story, hits theaters all over America. And I’m really looking forward to seeing it.  Perhaps it’ll help make sense out of the last year.  Check out the trailer:

Looks pretty good to me!  Moore’s new film promises entertainment, education, and aggravation in equal parts, rather like Fahrenheit 9/11 did.  And here’s my recommendation for a second film that would make a good companion on a double bill – The Corporation:

I encourage everyone to sit down and watch The Corporation.  You can rent it on DVD, buy it, or even watch it online.  The important thing is – watch it. Some of the things you may think you know about corporations aren’t necessarily so.

As someone who has worked in small to medium-sized corporations throughout my working life, this film came as a real eye-opener.  The premise behind The Corporation is this – if a corporation really were a real person, and underwent psychoanalysis, what kind of person would it turn out to be?

The answer isn’t very pretty.  Corporations are, by and large, the kind of person that gets locked up for sociopathic behavior on an epic scale. That simple diagnosis may go some ways towards explaining the events of the last year.

Enjoy your popcorn, and see you at the movies.

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Who You Gonna Rip Off?

August 11, 2009 at 12:19 am (Entertainment, Media, Music) (, , , , , )

Holy Toledo, fellow music fans. Another week has passed, and here I am again with one of my last “borrowed music” blog entries. (I suspect some of you are getting well and truly tired of these…)

Be that as it may, here’s one that was so obvious, I missed it entirely until my housemate reminded me. This case of kleptomelodica was front page news in the ’80s, but nowadays, few people really remember it except when playing “Trivial Pursuit“. On to the setup:

We open with a brisk and zippy little tune by Huey Lewis and The News, entitled I Want A New Drug:

Much controversy at the time over those lyrics. This was, after all, Nancy Reagan’s America, where we were all supposed to “just say no to drugs“. Of course, the whole point was that the song was all about being in love, and that’s the “drug” in question. Good old reactionaries… gotta love ’em.

Fast forward a few years, and a movie called Ghostbusters is in post production, and the producers call in one Ray Parker Jr. to help score the film. They have put in Huey’s I Want A New Drug as a sort of placeholder for the title theme, and they tell Ray that they want a song that kind of sounds like this.

Oh, boy. Talk about walking into a spinning propeller. Ray Parker did it straight on that time. I almost feel sorry for him, but not really. He’s worth way more than I am.

As for Huey Lewis, he did okay out of it, too. The lawsuit led to developing contacts in the film industry, and our Mr. Lewis made a brief appearance in Back To The Future.

“Hold it, fellas. I’m afraid you’re just too darn loud.

See you in a few days to a week – it’s been really busy.

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