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Wednesday, 28 September 2022


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Gavin and Gwen divorced in 2015. She's now married to C&W singer Blake Shelton who (surprise!) is also handsome.

Mike,Mike, Mike…I fear you may be suffering from post-Covid fog. Around these parts it’s win, place and show, not win, show and place.

Also, Stefani is now married to a country singer. I believe his name is Blake Shelton.

Sit down, have some iced tea, get some rest.

After watching David Attenborough's series, The Life of Birds, I find birds the most beautiful animals. I love the looks of the Bohemian Waxwing, and there are many beautiful exotic birds of paradise. I also find foxes attractive as well.

As far as musicians' faces helping the popularity of their music, well, I never thought Neil Young was handsome (ouch), but he is one of my favorite singers, songwriters, and guitarists.

My dog is certainly a handsome beast.
But my cat is proof that evolution works towards perfection of certain forms.

"Why we like eagles more than, say, buzzards, is actually kind of a mystery..."

Benjamin Franklin tried to make the case to go with the Turkey over the Bald Eagle as the national bird. Sorta glad he lost that argument as the symbolic icon of a Turkey grasping arrows in it's not quite talons wouldn't bring a lot of pride.

FWIW, I'd go with pretty much any canine as the best looking animal. Since they have bonded with humans I'd like to think they have a reciprocal feeling about us bipeds and that makes them pretty cool.

For me, the animal of great beauty and functionality is the dog. If I could have one, I'd opt for the "Hachiko" dog of the Akita breed.

Hachiko is well known for his loyalty and waited for his master everyday at the train station even after he had died for nine years. You can read the rest here:


Glad to see you're out and about, Mike.

Brits seem less taken in by performers' looks than Americans, at least judging (superficially, of course) by rock stars and actors. There are those, too, who are reflexively skeptical of too-pretty musicians. I have a mild case of that affliction, but really it's just another form of judging by the cover, just as superficial and unfair.

Rock star outfit is an interesting topic. Early rock acts, right up to "British Invasion" bands and Motown groups, took pains to dress conservatively to appeal to conservative American audiences. It didn't take long for that to flip completely to favor outfits that expressed anti-establishment cred, individuality, identity, heritage, youth, etc.

No one cares much what a mere musician wears, but rock or pop stardom is about other things, too.

Speaking of musicians, I'm late to the Madison Cunningham party and just diving in, but Wow! Quite often reminds me of Joni Mitchell. https://youtu.be/r-3FAtRZwhg

Um, Mike, the link you shared re: Gwen Stefani is almost seven years old. She’s currently hitched to country singer Blake Shelton.

I'm with your cousin Liz. I would love to see water falling from the sky here in California.

If we win the lottery, we might see some rain before....December.

But I wouldn't bet on it.

I saw Robin Trower in Philadelphia in the 80s. It was the only concert I felt in danger of physical injury. Fireworks and sparklers were flying everywhere. When someone threw what must have been an M80, there was a ten foot circle of fire with a hellish boom, Robin Trower stopped playing and said knock it the F--- off. The concert resumed in some semblance of peace.


(Gavin Rossdale is now married to Gwen Stefani and they have a passel of good-looking children.)
Actually now divorced...

"I finally realized: it's looks."
Its a good thing the Stones music's OK with all those ugly mugs...
...And Im a fan!

[Really? Mick isn't conventionally model-handsome, but he has one of the most distinctive faces of the last 60 years. Even John Lennon was jealous of his ability to emote with facial expressions and writhe around on stage. Seems like the quintessential showman to me. --Mike]

Not just in the pop world. For a few decades now it has seemed that young classical instrumental soloists and opera singers, especially women, have a decided career advantage if they're also quite good-looking. Young male opera singers (I guess I'm thinking tenors, mostly) can get away with being ungainly if they have truly astonishing heavenly voices, but otherwise we appear to be getting sold (and sold on) young male singers who are handsome and buff. This applies to the women as well, many of whom come across as sexy and gorgeous in addition to being great performers. It seems to be part of their packaging, of how they are marketed, whether by self-choice or by their managers/advisers. (Or maybe that's the way they really are and they love it. What do I know about being a (1) beautiful, (2) supremely gifted (3) young (4) woman? I am clearly none of those ...)

In case no one else mentions it: Gwen Stefani married country star Blake Shelton in 2021. They're both on the NBC TV show "The Voice".

We have a fox in our back garden. He was accused of eating the plums off the plum tree. Allegedly they can climb trees.
Prior to the plums episode though we knew he was thre, we left him in peace hoping he would solve the pheasant problem. They helped themslelves to the soft fruit bushes. Years ago I had a shot gun and a 22 rifle but the annual license renewal got so onerous I surrendered them. Foolish me.

If you think “live performer” rather than “musician” or “vocalist” it is less of a surprise. Even with all the ways we are able to hear music, apparently we still like to watch people perform. And yeah some people are more appealing to watch.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers seem to be making media rounds recently. They are the opposite of my cup of tea, both in music and in performance. I think a lot of people like to see that bassist wriggling, straining, and running around. “What will Flea do next?” they maybe wonder.

We are funny animals.

“This morning I saw a fox trot …”
That’s the bee’s knees, Mike!

(You must be hanging out with a very mature crowd!)

[I am actually of an age and class that in the natural course of events I went to dancing school starting in 7th grade, and the first dance they attempted to teach me was the Fox Trot. It must have been right before both dancing schools for prep school kids and the Fox Trot went extinct. --Mike]

Sorry Mike! I need to make you aware of an error in your otherwise excellent text. Gwen Stefani is no longer married to Gavin Rossdale. Shocking isn't it?!

How do you explain the success of Alice Cooper, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath/Ozzy Osbourne, Genesis, Jethro Tull etc etc. There is something in what you say, but not a complete story. I think it is debatable whether Mick Jagger was particularly attractive too, but the British part provided a novelty feature. I think in the "pop" world the attractiveness factor is probably more significant, but in the "music" world I think it is only tangentially so.

“I used to wonder why certain music stars didn't seem to be as popular as their talent deserved. Or, the other way around, why certain stars were popular even though their music didn't seem great. I finally realized: it's looks.”

As an enthusiastic listener to classical and jazz music, I have noticed that simply being a great musician is not enough any more. Now the musician needs to look great as well. Consider Ofra Harnoy or Diana Krall for example – just two of many. Poor old Glenn Gould would get exactly nowhere today.

I don't necessarily disagree with your observations about musician's physical attractiveness, but don't the Rolling Stones disprove the theory? Also, Nancy Wilson should have been a much bigger star, in my humble opinion, if your theory was true.

On the other hand, I think that your theory is much more valid today. The biggest stars, such as Beyoncé, are very easy on the eyes, or visually intriguing, such as Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga seems to be as much of a visual artist as she is an audio artist.

Random comments in response:
Not so sure about the attractiveness thing. Doesn't explain the Stones, or the Pistols, Janis Joplin, or a host of others...although post MTV I think good looks may be part of the package. Nice you gave a shout out to Robin Trower.

I'm with you on the Glam Rock, costumes, & etc. As much as I love Bjork, I do wish she'd ditch the accessories. But I think you and I are of an age---that stuff came in after psychedelia but also other rock like Neil Young. All that glam stuff just felt very artificial, which indeed it was.

Foxes are cool. I've had a number of encounters. My hound loves them to chase them, we take him to places where he can. But really, in our neighborhood in Baltimore, Hampden, the foxes have come to us. My wife swears our dog was playing with one in the cemetery, the fox and hound chasing each other by turns.

Mike wrote, "In seven years, among all the beautiful evenings I've seen, only a handful have been as incredible."

I'm sure that Mike just hasn't gotten around to posting his iPhone picture of this remarkable sight.

[Alas, it wasn't one sight. It was the whole experience of the evening, watching the changing clouds and the changing light, experiencing the beautiful air, the mood, the lushness of the overwatered plant life, and the strange clarity of the dusk. --Mike]

Best looking animal? If you're going for over the top, dessert for every course of the meal kind of cute, a quokka is probably king of the hill.

I personally like the proportions and patterns of the oryx a lot more, though. There's a rugged, powerful element to their form that matches the hard environments that they call home.

Kestrel (European kestrel) is most beautiful animal of all. I thought I owned one when I was small (really my father owned her) and she was so beautiful it is hard to say. And to watch her fly was very wonderful, the old english term for them (which I will not repeat here) is very apt.

But if you wish to own a raptor (do not, it is much work) get a harris hawk. Less beautiful than a kestrel but it can catch you things bigger than mice and it will acknowledge you exist which a kestrel never will.

If you had as much to do with horses as my ancestors probably you would think them less pretty.

I'd vote Leopard for looks. Magnificent beast in the wild!

The most beautiful animal? That's easy; a living animal Any living animal.

Clouded leopard https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clouded_leopard,
mantis shrimp https://theoatmeal.com/comics/mantis_shrimp and
hummingbird hawk-moth https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hummingbird_hawk-moth

The Stones were arguably very attractive when they started out. Brian Jones in particular, but Keith as well.

About 25 years ago I had the opportunity to attend the annual sales-reward meeting for the top producers at my company. I was struck by the overwhelming attractiveness of this group of more than 100 salespeople, along with the attractiveness of their spouses (a majority of whom were woman) - they were way better looking than average. And their average age was at least in the 40s if not 50s, so it wasn’t a youth thing. It seems like being attractive is a key success factor in many customer or public facing roles.

My sister's Burmese cats would hunt rabbits, and bring them in through the catflap into the downstairs shower. They then proceeded to eat the whole rabbit, except the tail. So I would guess seeing your fox is the most reliable indicator, followed by scat (IIRC recognisable by the pointy ends!), with the cottontails being perhaps less reliable (depending on your local cat population!).

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