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RIP Ginger Baker

I read this morning that the legendary drummer Ginger Baker passed away. Some years back, I went to a drum clinic featuring Ginger Baker, where I heard him perform, met him afterwards, and got him to autograph my ticket stub.

Here’s a link to my other blog, The Stub Collection, and my memories of meeting Mr. Baker along with my signed ticket stub. Rock on!

The Stub Collection — Ginger Baker: 10/23/1989

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RIP Ric Ocasek

I was sad to read about the passing of The Cars’ frontman Ric Ocasek. He was a great musician. I was glad I got to see him in the 1980’s. Here is a link to my ticket stub and memories from that concert:

The Cars: 10/24/1987

Thanks Ric, and RIP.

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New Site Navigation Page!!

So I know what you’ve been thinking: Jeff has a lot of content here. How does one even begin to figure out what books and poems have been covered in the over 1000 posts?

Well fear not. I have just completed Phase 1 of my site navigation project.

Phase 1 includes a full list of all books, poems, stories, and essays that I have explored on Stuff Jeff Reads. Everything is alphabetized by author’s last name, and for long works like Infinite Jest, there are multiple links to all the associated posts.

Click here to check out the list of authors and works!

Phase 2 is under way, and will focus on comics and graphic novels. I hope to have that completed by the end of the year.

Feel free to share your thoughts. Cheers, and enjoy the holidays.

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“The Sporto: Tales from the Rock Mecca of South Florida” by C. Rich

So I discovered this book by chance while doing some online research for information about the Hollywood Sportatorium, nicknamed The Sporto. My other blog, The Stub Collection, is where I post scanned images of my old concert ticket stubs, along with my memories of the shows. Having grown up in South Florida in the 70s and 80s, I ended up seeing quite a few great shows at the Sporto, including Eric Clapton with Muddy Waters, Elton John, Roger Waters, Robert Plant, The Firm (w Jimmy Page), Deep Purple, Yes, Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath with Van Halen, just to name a few.

So as I was looking for quotes and images relating to the Sportatorium, I discovered this book, and my interest was piqued. I shared the info with some of my friends, a few of whom were quicker to acquire and read the book than I was. I was promptly informed that the book was terrible. My friend Miriam told me not to waste my money and that she would send me her copy (which she did). My friend Jim said the writing was so bad it was like reading a 5th grader’s book report. These critiques were pretty harsh. Yet, when the package from Miriam arrived, I was compelled to read the book. I have to say, this is one of the worst books I have ever read, even worse than Dr. Sax by Jack Kerouac (which I hated). Thankfully, the book is very short (less than 100 pages) with large font, so it was essentially like reading a long magazine article.

Rather than focusing on the negative, which would be easy, I figured I would say what I did like about the book, and that was the nostalgia. Having lived in South Florida, and knowing the types of people who frequented the infamous Sporto, I could relate to some of Rich’s musings. The crappy acoustics, the god-awful traffic, the riots, the indulgence, all of the things that made rock and roll what it was in those years of decadence. For someone who never experienced a concert at the Sportatorium, this book would be a complete waste, but for those of us who have memories of the venue, there will be fragments that will cause you to nod your head and say, “Oh yeah, I remember that.”

The problem with living in a world where anyone can publish a book is that, well, anyone can publish a book. For those of you thinking about self-publication, I would offer a word of advice—hire an editor. You will avoid obvious grammatical problems, typos, and incorrect information. And let’s face it, even T.S. Eliot benefitted from Ezra Pound’s editorial expertise.

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Changes to my Other Blog

So for those of you who do not know, I have another blog called The Stub Collection that features concert ticket stubs I collected from shows over the years. Since I now have about 175 concert ticket stubs and memories up there, I have added a new page that lists the concerts in chronological order. Check it out, and feel free to let me know which year seems like the best for live music (note — there are still MANY more stubs coming, so check back).

Here is the new page:

Stubs by Date

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“Tao Teh Ching: Chapter 41” by Lao Tzu

When a wise scholar hears the Tao,
He practises it diligently.
When a mediocre scholar hears the Tao,
He wavers between belief and unbelief.
When a worthless scholar hears the Tao,
He laughs boisterously at it.
But if such a one does not laugh at it,
The Tao would not be the Tao!

The wise men of old have truly said:

The bright Way looks dim.
The progressive Way looks retrograde.
The smooth Way looks rugged.
High Virtue looks like an abyss.
Great whiteness looks spotted.
Abundant Virtue looks deficient.
Established Virtue looks shabby.
Solid Virtue looks as though melted.
Great squareness has no corners.
Great talents ripen late.
Great sound is silent.
Great Form is shapeless.

The Tao is hidden and nameless;
Yet it alone knows how to render help and to fulfill.

This passage can be summed up in a single line from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice: “All that glisters is not gold—.” Things are never all they appear. But Lao Tzu is also incorporating the yin and yang into his metaphors. Everything by natures also contains its opposite. Great squareness has no corners. Great sound is silent. In other words, nothing can exist without the opposite to balance it. The wise scholar cannot exist without the worthless one. There can be no life without death, and no death without life. There can be no peace without war, and no war without peace. There can be no light without darkness.

I feel like this is all I need to say about this passage. It is simple and yet profound, which is the genius of Lao Tzu. Thanks for stopping by.

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A Shameless Plug

OK, so I know that this is “Stuff Jeff Reads,” but I worked hard this weekend updating my other blog and want to share what I did. For those of you who do not know, my other blog is The Stub Collection, where I scan my old concert ticket stubs and write up my (sometimes foggy) memories. Anyway, I spent the weekend creating a new page called The Bands I’ve Seen, which is an alphabetical list of the bands I have seen in concert and written about on the blog (Note: I have hundreds of concert stubs and memories posted, but have only scratched the surface, since I have well over 1000 concert ticket stubs that I have collected over the years).

So, if you are into music like I am, and feel inclined, check out the new page on my other blog and share in some of my concert memories.

Rock on!!

Jeff

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