Coming soon: a documentary on the power, rebellious spirit and endless thrills of the electric guitar, with rock heroes Jimmy Page, the Edge and Jack White holding court. This should be good. And loud. Hopefully really loud. More details here.
Every time I visit Louisville, I wind up liking the place more. It's an unlikely yet agreeable blend of small town/big city, southern/midwestern, traditional/progressive.
If I'm outdoors and the moon is visible, I always stop to take in the otherworldly view. Something about that ghostly orb hovering 240,000 miles in the distance makes me pause and remember I'm just a very minor player in this cosmic circus.
Unless you've been living under a lunar boulder, you know that Monday, July 20, marks the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing by astronauts. To celebrate this special occasion, let's ponder a few fabulous facts about our astral neighbor, courtesy of National Geographic:
* By measuring the ages of lunar rocks, we know that the moon is about 4.6 billion years old, or about the same age as earth.
* The diameter of the moon is 2,160 miles and its mass is about one 80th of the earth's mass.
* The rotation of the moon – the time it takes to spin once around on its own axis – takes the same amount of time as the moon takes to complete one orbit of the earth, about 27.3 days. This means the moon's rotation is synchronized in a way that causes the moon to show the same hemisphere, or "face," to the earth at all times. The other hemisphere always faces away from us.
* The moon orbits the earth at an average speed of 2,300 miles an hour.
* The airless lunar surface bakes in the sun at up to 243 degrees Fahrenheit for two weeks at a time (the lunar day lasts about a month). Then, for an equal period, the same spot is in the dark and cools to about -272 degrees Fahrenheit.
* The moon is covered in rocky rubble created by constant bombardment by meteoroids, asteroids and comets.
Amazing, huh? Now go out there and take a good, long look at that beautiful moon.
When I first picked up a Taylor acoustic guitar one fine day in 1989, I immediately fell for its easy playability, great tone and simple good looks. Spending an afternoon at Sam Moss Guitars in Winston-Salem, N.C., I played one Taylor after another. Each was as awesome as the next. The consistency was astounding.
Days after unearthing this enchantingly perfect line of guitars, I made the investment in a beautiful Taylor 615, a "jumbo" model. I now celebrate 20 years with this superb specimen (pictured to the right). Like a family member, this guitar has remained a central part of my life ever since. I've dragged it to countless gigs and taken it on beach trips and carried it on airplanes. A few beers have even spilled onto its delightful contours.
In fact, my 615 has taken more than its share of beatings. I remember strumming quite assertively at one show, hitting the instrument pretty hard, and seeing tiny flecks of its wood taking flight from beside the pick guard.
At that point, I decided to give my beloved 615 a breather and buy a second Taylor, this time a 314ce, a remarkable and amazingly practical instrument. I now celebrate 10 years with this guitar (pictured to the left).
Just this week I learned of yet another important Taylor anniversary. I saw in the guitar maker's newsletter, Wood & Steel, that the California-based company is celebrating its 35th year. What a coincidental trio of milestones!
Over the years my Taylors have enriched my life enormously, being at the receiving end of my musical inspiration as well as frequently serving as the inspiration themselves. Just picking up a Taylor makes you feel tuneful, artful, peaceful. Meanwhile, Taylor Guitars keeps innovating, introducing new acoustic and electric models every year and establishing better ways to build instruments and improve playability and tone. What started as a small exclusive guitar maker in 1974 is now renowned the world over for its consistently exceptional instruments.
It is true that memories fade with age. But I recall nearly every detail of my experience 20 years ago playing a Taylor for the first time. Those types of transformational moments leave deep and lasting impressions.
Over-the-top special effects. Earth-shaking explosions. Fireballs from hell. Bad robots annihilating good ones, and vice versa. And in the middle of all this mayhem: the sultry Megan Fox.
My son and I just returned from seeing Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, an exhilarating and often dizzying film of epic crash-and-burn proportions. "This is like the best movie I have ever seen in my entire life," declared my little boy. Glad he was impressed. It wasn't my favorite. It could've been edited in half and nothing would be lost. But did I mention that it featured the sultry Megan Fox?
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