Today In Pop Culture

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Stevie Ray Vaughan's grave
On this day, 19 years ago, two things happened. First, I turned 14. Not a big deal, really. The second thing is more important. Just after midnight on August 27th, 1990, the helicopter carrying Stevie Ray Vaughan crashed into a hill, ending the legendary blues man’s reign as greatest living guitarist. Fortunately for us he left his music behind. So let’s take a few minutes and pay tribute to the king of Texas blues, and my favorite guitar player of all time.

“Rude Mood”, unplugged, on an effing 12-string

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Bob Ross - One of America’s Great Painters and TV Personalities

“We don’t make mistakes here, we just have happy accidents. We want happy, happy paintings. If you want sad things, watch the news. Everything is possible here. This is your little universe.”

These are the immortal words of Bob Ross, the ultra-mellow painter whose happy little trees and puffy little clouds actually made PBS fun to watch. Bob died in 1995, but if he was alive today would have been his 65th birthday. Many people retire at 65, but something tells me Bob would have kept on painting, and kept on encouraging others to do the same.
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The Beatles - Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band

It was twenty years ago today
Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play

Meaning it was really 60 years ago today, since today is the 40th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. How influential has the album been? Check out this opinion piece by Daniel Levitan in today’s Washington Post. Or coverage over at I Guess I’m Floating. Or this nostalgic look back at AZCentral.com. Or John Weiner’s take at AlterNet. My point is that everyone and his brother has something to add about this.

All I have to say is that I can’t possibly hope to be as fresh and kick as much ass at 40 as Sgt. Pepper does. Thanks John, Paul, George, and Ringo.

Kind of BlueOn March 2nd, 1959 Miles Davis held the first of two recording sessions for the album that would become Kind of Blue. Widely considered the enigmatic genius’ greatest achievement, Kind of Blue is the best selling jazz album of all time, and at the top of many critics’ lists of the best. With a powerhouse lineup of Miles Davis on trumpet, John Coltrane on tenor sax, Cannonball Adderley on alto sax, Paul Chambers on bass, Jimmy Cobb on drums, and Bill Evans on piano (except for “Freddie Freeloader” which featured Wynton Kelly), the albums represents one of the greatest confluences of talent in music history.
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Apple LogoOn January 22nd, 1984, during Super Bowl XVIII, Apple’s iconic 1984 commercial aired for it’s only time. (Ok, so that’s not strictly true. It showed one other time, on a station in Twin Falls, ID, but I’m pretty sure nobody was watching). The commercial uses themes from George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel 1984 to portray IBM as Big Brother, wanting to control information and how you use it. In stark contrast to that, Apple was trying to set information free, to let you use it however you want. Definitely a noble cause.

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Steve Austin Rules!Better. Stronger. Faster. We have the technology.

Bionic Man

On January 19th, 1974 ABC aired the premier of The Six Million Dollar Man. The show centers around a test pilot named Steve Austin who is involved in a horrific crash, but is pieced back together by scientists to be stronger and faster than he was before, and make really cool noises when he did anything. Somehow he moved in slow motion too. Kick Ass!

Here’s the intro from the show, which really gives you all the information you need.

Fun trivia about The Six Million Dollar Man:

Note: Also on this day in history, Washington, DC mayor Marion “Goddam bitch set me up” Barry was arrested for drug possession (ok, that makes it sound pretty tame. Let’s face it. He was smoking crack with a hooker). You may remember that he served 6 months in prison, then got out and was RE-ELECTED. Only in DC man. Trust me, if I could find the video of him getting busted this would have been the story. But sadly YouTube, Google Video, and the internets in general let me down.