Saturday, May 13, 2017

Why Genius Takes Time: Elvis Costello and Leonard Cohen

This post should be entitled, PhilosFX on Open Culture's Article about Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History Podcast on Why Genius Takes Time: A Look at the Making of Elvis Costello’s “Deportee” & Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Because, truth in lending, that is what you are really getting here today.

Things I like: podcasts, Malcolm Gladwell, genius, Elvis Costello, Leonard Cohen, Cohen’s song, “Hallelujah,” and writing about all of that on PhilosFX. If today's post strikes some as a bit derivative, so be it. That is a Venn diagram I can really get into! 

Malcolm Gladwell has an new podcast, called Revisionist History. Gladwell recently aired a podcast about the genius of Elvis Costello and Leonard Cohen. Here is a link to a recent episode of unsurpassing interest. The show is 39 minutes in duration, and highly recommended.


How does genius emerge? An exploration of different types of innovation—through the lens of Elvis Costello’s extraordinary song “Deportee,” once utterly forgettable and then, through time and iteration, a work of beauty and genius. 
Check it out! To learn more about the topics covered in this episode, visit and search for Episode 7, Hallelujah.
When I searched for this podcast, I first landed on this Open Culture story about the podcast (derivative, right?).

One quibble: Gladwell selects John Cale's cover of Hallelujah as his favorite. While there can be no accounting on matters of taste, I respectfully disagree with Malcolm on this point. For reference, I have opined upon this question in a previous post.

Sharing is caring. Here is a bit more info about Open Culture

Open Culture editor Dan Colman scours the web for the best educational media. He finds the free courses and audio books you need, the language lessons & movies you want, and plenty of enlightenment in-between.

And now in conclusion, a bit more about Revisionist History

If you're looking to go deeper into the subjects on Revisionist History, visit Malcolm's collection on iBooks at -- iBooks will update the page every week with new recommendations. 

I love sharing things I love. Today, here on PhilosFX, we are all about Elvis Costello, Leonard Cohen, song-writing genius, creativity over time, and revisionist history through the mind of Malcom Gladwell. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

"Seven Day Weekend"

I rode CERUS[1] to Annapolis to take in the spring sailboat show, along with other things[2]. For reasons which are about to be revealed, I am grateful that I happened to wear a certain concert t-shirt for the day.

Sporting an Elvis Costello Concert T 

I found a convenient parking spot for my Harley and stripped off the outer layer of riding gear to reveal an inner layer: sandals, shorts, and a glorious Elvis Costello concert t-shirt--perfect attire for hanging out on the dock and checking out the sailboats! I was pleasantly surprised at the number of conversations sparked by that t-shirt. It seems I am not the only Elvis Costello fan who also loves sailing!  

This sleek catamaran is owned by a fellow Elvis Costello fan. 

In fact, I was strolling along the dock, about to leave, actually, when a sweet British lass spotted my shirt, commended me for my obvious good taste (ahem!), and, with the promise of a special surprise, lured me aboard a 38' Seawind catamaran. Like a sailor from Homer's Odyssey, I followed

Turns out my siren was a member of the Seawind staff [3]. Coincidentally, she and Elvis Costello are related--in that they both attended the same secondary school: Archbishop Myers Roman Catholic School, which is now St Mark's Catholic Secondary School. Will wonders never cease?

(I suppose most PhilosFX readers can name the most famous person who graduated from their high school. Remind me some day to remind you that I attended the same high school as did the one and only King of Late Night, Johnny Carson.)

Turns out, this was just the beginning of the coincidences in store for me on this day... Following closely behind my siren-guide, I paused at the hostess station and removed my sandals as the hostess beckoned me to sign the guest book prior to boarding the vessel. Lo and behold, the hostess also commented on my shirt, and I began to get excited.

Again under the spell of my siren-guide, I was escorted to the salon and the first of many surprises. Imagine a living room with a wrap-around sectional couch. Now picture the couch lined with comfy pillows. Now flip the pillows around and notice that they spell out a familiar sounding lyric:

"I can't wait until I maybe 
Get off work and see my baby
One, two, three, four, five, 
six, seven day weekend!"

Soon I met a gentleman named Bob, the owner of "Seven Day Weekend." We talked about our common interests, including sleek, super-fast catamarans and prolific, living-legend musical geniuses. We hit it off from jump.

Soon, Bob told me the story of how he came up with the name for his boat. He was playing some Elvis Costello, as he often does--Blood and Chocolate, as it happens--when suddenly a catchy tune caught his attention. The words jumped out at him: seven day weekend. Perfect! And I couldn't agree more.

Enjoy listening to "Seven Day Weekend," the 30-year old Elvis Costello song that inspired the christening of this sleek catamaran.

"Seven Day Weekend"
Written and performed by Elvis Costello and Jimmy Cliff
Available on Blood and Chocolate, 1986

[1] CERUS is the name of a mythical warhorse, and my 2008 Harley-Davidson Road King
[2] I also met some friends at Chick & Ruth's Delly for a delicious brunch featuring--what else?--crab omelettes! When in Annapolis...
[3] Here is a link with more information about the Seawind catamaran "Seven Day Weekend"

H/T to MGBW for the ticket to the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Ode to a Catalina 385

Sung to the tune of "Wild Thing"
by The Troggs

You make my heart sing-a

You make everything

I think I love you...

But I wanna know for sure!

So c'mon and hold me tight
I   L-O-V-E  you

You make my heart sing-a

You make everything

I think you move me

But I wanna know for sure!

So c'mon and hold me tight
You   M-O-V-E   me

You make my heart sing-a

You make everything


C'mon, c'mon, Catalina

Shake it, shake it, Catalina