Monthly Archives: September 2010

Film: Rear Window

Jimmy Stewart was laid up in his apartment with a broken leg. He had nothing to do but stare at his neighbors across the courtyard - one of whom may have murdered his wife. Uploaded by

Alfred Hitchcock was at his very best during the period of time in which he made Rear Window. In a six-year period, he also made Dial M for Murder, To Catch a Thief, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Vertigo, North by Northwest, and Psycho. Has any director ever had a run like that?

Uploaded by

Rear Window featured Jimmy Stewart (Great American Things, April 8, 2009) as a photographer, confined to his New York City apartment with a broken leg. He looks out at his neighbors across the courtyard, and becomes convinced that one of them (Raymond Burr) has murdered his wife. He enlists the help of his girlfriend, played by the incredibly beautiful Grace Kelly (Great American Things, August 30, 2009).and nurse (Thelma Ritter) to solve the mystery, and ends up putting all their lives in jeopardy.

Although the film was nominated for four Academy Awards, it came away empty. Even so, the review site gives the movie a rare “100% fresh” rating. And the American Film Institute named it number 42  in its 100 Years…100 Movies series, and number 14 in 100 Years…100 Thrills.

Song: “Louie Louie”

No one really knows what Jack Ely of the Kingsmen actually sang when he recorded "Louie Louie." And people have tried to find out. Oh yes, they certainly have tried. Uploaded by

What? This…this…filthy song listed as a Great American Thing? You may think you know what the lyrics are. You can read some pretty wild interpretations online. But the fact is, when Jack Ely of the Kingsmen sang the world-famous version, no one knows exactly what he sang.

And believe me, people have tried. Oh, how they tried.

Even the FBI did an investigation, to find out whether this song contained obscene words. And though they, uh, well, sort of decided it did, they could never prove anything.

The best explanation I’ve heard is from the website The Louie Louie Pages. It says the only correct way to sing the song is to forget you know any language at all, and just sing it phonetically:

Looweeloowhy ono sadday we gowgow
yeh yeh yeh yeh yeh sadday looweeloowhy oh bebay sadday we gowgow

Honestly, all you need to know is that the song was recorded and released in 1963. No little band was going to record a filthy song and expect to get it on the air. Wasn’t going to happen, and didn’t happen.

"LL" writer Richard Berry. Uploaded by

“Louie Louie” was originally written in 1956 by Richard Berry, and recorded by him in 1957 (on the back of “You Are My Sunshine” – how about that?). The Kingsmen of Portland, Oregon recorded it in 1963. It’s said to have been recorded in one take. No matter what you believe the lyrics say, “Louie Louie” has been a huge hit, and the ultimate party song.

Travel: Napa Valley

Head north from San Francisco for about an hour, and you'll come to this lush region of rolling hills and more than 450 vineyards. Uploaded by

It goes without saying that the Napa Valley in California is an American wine lover’s paradise.  People come for the colorful, rolling hills, the breathtaking views, the world-class hotels and restaurants – and, of course, the wine.

Oh yes, the wine.

Uploaded by

The Valley is about 30 miles long, and devotes about 45,000 acres to grapes. That’s only about an eighth of the size of the Bordeaux region in France. Some 450 wineries call the Napa Valley home, and most of them are open to the public. About 4.5 million people visit the area each year, and it was named “The World’s Best Food and Wine Destination” in the Trip Advisor 2010 Travelers’ Choice Awards.

A drive of about an hour north of San Francisco will bring you to Napa, and you’ll pass through scenic vineyards along the way. As you might expect from a region catering to wine lovers, things are a bit expensive in the area. But a little planning can turn up a charming bed and breakfast, or a modest bistro, or even a perfect picnic. (If you’re looking for auto parts, you’ve come to the wrong NAPA.)

Uploaded by

Uploaded by

Uploaded by