April rambling #3: 100 days (seems longer)

Deliver us from Scripture-citers

Pastorized for your protection

What’s Our Story? How do we defend Western values if we no longer believe the story that used to justify them?

‘They Starve You. They Shock You’: Inside the Anti-Gay Pogrom in Chechnya

Racism, Hot and Cold

Women Don’t Need to Apologize Less — Men Need to Learn How to Apologize

Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Catcalling Someone

Why Traveling is More Important Now than Ever

Gisele Lagace, Canadian comic book artist, refused entrance at the US border

Rapp On This: Raging scum (bull v girl)

For 18 years, I thought she was stealing my identity – Until I found her

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich has Fairbanks Disease, which causes stunted bone growth. He’s 4’11”. So he was bullied mercilessly in school until somebody stood up for him. An older kid who he didn’t even know began to beat the crap out of anybody who bothered him. It was the foundational experience of his life.
The older kid was Mickey Schwerner. A few years later, Schwerner joined Andrew Goodman and James Chaney and went door-to-door in Mississippi, trying to register Black voters. You know what happened.

This Lawsuit Goes to 11

Harry Potter and The Problem With The Pensieve Memories

Now I Know: The Rise and Fall of the Flivverboobs and An Astronaut’s Most Important Fan and The Time Travel Trap

Weed can play a significant role in your romantic relationships

The 8 Personalities You’ll Meet When Dating in the U.S.

Space Sex is Serious Business

The picture on the top of the page is of actress Gloria DeHaven. Yet it shows up often on the Internet as being a young Frances Bavier, the woman who would eventually play Aunt Bee on the Andy Griffith Show in the 1960s.

Illustrated Guide To Playing Sports As An Adult!

Five Questions for Rick Geary by Alan David Doane

I did not realize this until recently, but I think I’m becoming a devotee of the British way of punctuation. “British usage omits the apostrophe in the plural form of dates (e.g., 1980s)”. Also, “British style (more sensibly) places unquoted periods and commas outside the quotation marks.”

100 days

New York Times: White House Reporters Recall Their Most Vivid Moments

Fourteen per cent of US Christians left their churches after the election

Here Are The National Monuments At Risk

Massive Corporate Tax Cut Literally Cannot Pass Congress

Seth Meyers: ‘For every action, there’s an equal and opposite clip’

Anti-immigrant hotline bombarded with reports of space aliens

‘I thought it would be easier’

Ivanka & Jared: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Music

UNABASHED PLUG for the niece’s new album: Planet Cole Porter. This is an album of Cole Porter songs, sung by Rebecca Jade, with Peter Sprague’s amazing arrangements.

Cuba Gooding, Sr., RIP

Pentatonix’s Acapella Spin of Queen’s All-Time Classic

Simon, Garfunkel, Sound of Silence, live

Kermit sings Once In a Lifetime (featuring The Electric Mayhem)

Flapper pie

K-Chuck Radio: The Arthur Baker Groove System and Saturday morning rock and roll!

Not me: Dinner with Roger Green (Formerly of The Czars), Sun, May 28, 2017, 6:00 pm (event ends at 10:00 pm) in Denver
No Cover!

Advertisements

Music throwback: (I Ain’t Gonna Play) Sun City

Jonathan Demme died at the age of 73 from esophageal cancer. The Boston Globe called him a populist of the best sort.

From Rolling Stone: “In 1987, Demme was nominated for a Best Music Video, Long Form Grammy for his work on “Sun City: Artists Against Apartheid.” Van Zandt co-founded the Artists United Against Apartheid with Arthur Baker and they produced the anti-apartheid song ‘Sun City‘ and the album of the same name.

“‘[Demme’s] contribution to ‘Sun City’ was pivotal in getting Nelson Mandela released and ending the South African apartheid,’ Van Zandt added. ‘He was a saint…'”

Also: “[Bruce] Springsteen won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Streets of Philadelphia,” which was featured in the Demme-directed film Philadelphia that stars Tom Hanks. Demme also directed the music video for the song.”

Of Demme’s most famous documentary, Wired wrote: “Stop Making Sense Is Still the Concert Film All Others Try to Be.” I’m very partial to that vintage of Talking Heads’ music, since I saw the band at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on that tour, one of my two favorite concert experiences ever.

I was a big fan of Demme’s breakout film, Melvin and Howard (1980), and of Swimming to Cambodia (1987 Spaulding Gray documentary), but I’ve never seen his Academy Award-winning The Silence of the Lambs, though it was on HBO when I was visiting my parents at one point.

WATCH AND LISTEN to these Jonathan Demme works:

Sun City – Artists United Against Apartheid

The Demme video here and here
The pop-up video here
Just the music here

Streets of Philadelphia – Bruce Springsteen

Jonathan Demme video here and here

Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense

Trailer of Demme film here and here

In The Still Of The Night – the Neville Brothers

Red Hot and Blue (TV Movie) segment directed by Demme here

MCCM is not a real number

We got home a few days ago to notice a pile of dirt in that area between our sidewalk amd the street. A few other neighbors had the same thing. Who would go around dumping dirt on the curb?

It finally hit us: the dirt was there to fill in the hole from the telephone pole that used to be there! We had two poles right next to each other, and it was a real pain to get out on the passenger side sometimes.

There was exra dirt, though, which the Wife will probably appropriate for some horticultural cause.
***
The Daughter was at school with a substitute teacher. He asked the class the meaning of A.D., and some kids said After Death, which they had gotten from their regular teacher! The Daughter said no, it was Anno Domini, In The Year of Our Lord.

The sub, whose kids went to the same elementary school as the Daughter, said, “Your father is a librarian, isn’t he?” Guilty as charged.

Of course, many folks now use Before Common Era and Common Era.
***
Some quiz the Daughter was taking suggested that MCCM was 1800 in Roman numerals. This hurt my head. It should be MDCCC.
***
I got into a debate with someone as to whether the year 2000 was a leap year. This was a question about how the centennial year is NOT a leap year, which is true (1800, 1900, 2100, 2200) UNLESS the year is divisible by 400 (2000, 2400).

I wish I were going to be around in 2100, just to see how many calendars, print and electronic, decide to make that year a leap year. And I’d feel sorry for those kids born in 2096, 2092, 2088, etc., who will feel extra gypped by the loss of their actual date. I imagine someone will demand a recount.

The Lydster: Alexander Hamilton

One of mixed blessings of the past year has been the Daughter’s obsession with all things Alexander Hamilton. In case you’ve somehow missed the buzz, the musical Hamilton has been a Broadway and touring company phenomenon. It’s about “the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States.”

On one hand, she knows far more about the Federalist Papers than she might have. On the other hand, for a good part of the past year, it was all Hamilton, all the time. She’d go to sleep to it, wake up to it, play it during dinner, play it on road trips. I got a bit Hamiltoned out, frankly.

And yet we fuel it. For Christmas, she received a book called HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION by composer/actor Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter, “a cultural critic and theater artist who was involved in the project from its earliest stages–‘since before this was even a show’ [which] traces its development from an improbable performance at the White House to its landmark opening night on Broadway six years later. In addition, Miranda has written more than 200 funny, revealing footnotes for his award-winning libretto, the full text of which is published here.”

It’s interesting that a lot of people who’ve never even heard the music – and, as noted, I’ve heard it a LOT – have dismissed it as a rap musical, when it features a mixture of popular musical styles. Here’s a review of the original Broadway cast:

“Thanks to the arrangements by musical director Alex Lacamoire, the score includes tinkling harpsichords, schmaltzy strings, and lush choral harmonies. The Schuyler sisters—Angelica (Hamilton’s close, perhaps romantic, friend, played by Renée Elise Goldsberry), Eliza (his wife, Phillipa Soo), and Peggy (Jasmine Cephas Jones)—trade fast-talking verses and harmonize on choruses in an R&B groove that sounds like Destiny’s Child; Burr (a smashing, properly smarmy Leslie Odom Jr.) busts out with a fit of envy in the form of a razzmatazz show-tune, ‘The Room Where It Happens’ (commenting on the secret meeting among Hamilton, Jefferson, and Madison at which American government’s first quid pro quo was bargained). Thomas Jefferson (Daveed Diggs) opens the second act returning from Paris and asking, in a boogie-woogie number, ‘What’d I Miss?’ And there are several… beltable ballads. England’s King George (a hilarious Jonathan Groff) pouts about the loss of the colonies in the mode of a bouncy British breakup tune: “What comes next? / You’ve been freed. / Do you know how hard it is to lead? / You’re on your own. / Awesome. Wow. / Do you have a clue what happens now?”

And all of us now sing the mundanities of life to songs on the soundtrack. I use to try to stir the teenager in the morning, “Just get up! Just get up!” to the tune of the first song that goes “just you wait, just you wait.”

The Daughter has seen/read/listened to all of these, of course:

How ‘Hamilton’ is revolutionizing the Broadway musical

Hamilton condensed down to seven minutes

Jesus of the Galilee

The 2016 Song- A Year in Review, Hamilton Rewind Parody

I Have an Opinion on Every Song in “Hamilton”

Top 10 Hamilton songs

10 Unforgettable Hamilton Moments of 2016

Alexander Hamilton’s shadow

Maybe I should go to Paris

For a long time, well before I took high school French, I thought the first European city I’d like to visit would be Paris. Two of my cousins were born there; one had been living there again until recently, and the other is working there presently.

I pictured sitting in some cafe watching the people and absorbing the culture, the art, the music. I love this description: “Paris’ grandeur is inspiring but what I love most about the city is its intimacy. Its quartiers are like a patchwork of villages, and while it’s one of the world’s major metropolises – with all of the culture and facilities that go with it – there’s a real sense of community at the local shops, markets and cafes that hasn’t changed since my childhood. Yet because every little ‘village’ has its own evolving character, I’m constantly discovering and rediscovering hidden corners of the city.”

In the past couple years, the director of our library went there with his family; one of my sisters was taken there by her daughter on the way to the south of France; and there have been several others I know who have made the trip.

Maybe it’s that France saved the bacon the of the American colonists during our Revolutionary War.

When I think of the city, it’s the Eiffel Tower, of course. I had a pencil sharpener in the shape of the structure when I was a child. La tour Eiffel shows up in no fewer than five dozen films, including Midnight in Paris, which I saw.

Paris is also the Moulin Rouge, and of course, I saw that film as well. One of the best lines in one of the best films EVER is “We’ll always have Paris.” That comes from the 1942 classic Casablanca, spoken by Rick to his former lover Ilsa.

Oddly, the various attacks against Paris, including the Jewish cemeteries being defaced, Charlie Hebdo, and, most notably, the events of November 13, 2015 makes me MORE likely to want to visit.

LISTEN to some of my favorite music about Paris:

Sous le ciel de Paris – Edith Piaf
My Father – Judy Collins
April In Paris – Count Basie (the “pop goes the weasel” version)

Free Man In Paris – Joni Mitchell
George Gershwin’s An American in Paris – André Previn/London Symphony Orchestra
Audition (The Fools Who Dream) – Emma Stone from the movie La La Land

***
ABC Wednesday – Round 20

April 2017 health report

Beyond the things my primary care physician said when I got to see her on April – the usual “lose weight” and “raise your ‘good’ cholesterol – was my need to get more Vitamin D3. I’m supposed to take 2000 IU (international units). My vitamin D level was 20 this year, up from 16 (on what scale I have no idea). But it’s supposed to be at 30.

Here’s my problem. Even as a kid, I never much liked going out into the sun. I mean, I’m playing baseball, fine, but just sunbathing? No way.

And it’s worse since developing the vitiligo at age 51, which makes me prone to burn in certain areas, including the top of my head, my neck and the back of my hands. I’m rightly concerned about developing skin cancer. This is why I often wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, even in summer.

I just discovered something with the supplements I’ve been taking, off and on, for the last year. It offers 1200 mg of calcium and 1600 IU of vitamin D3 “in just two tablets.” TWO tablets! So I’ve been underdosing, and I need to take three tablets a day.

I must really be deficient, since only 400 IU is 100% of the daily value needed by the average person. Still, my doctor said I wasn’t likely to develop rickets. Rickets is not a term I’ve heard literally in decades. It is “a disease of children caused by vitamin D deficiency, characterized by imperfect calcification, softening, and distortion of the bones typically resulting in bow legs.”

But she did worry that I could be that old man who falls and breaks a bone. And most of us know that falls can be deadly to the elderly for that reason.

Speaking of falling, Dustbury linked to an article about how science shows why shoelaces come untied. This happens to me constantly; they’re ALWAYS untied. I am OK with it, but have tired of people telling me that they’re loose. I know, I know! And now I sort of know why.

The Heart of Christianity

Heart of ChristianityIn trying to explain what I believe, in terms of my faith, I found that the right words were not always available. Then I read the 2003 book The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith by Marcus Borg this past winter. My answer became: “Mostly what HE said.”

Borg was a “world renowned Jesus scholar” who, as the book sleeve notes, is out to reclaim “terms and ideas once thought to be the sole province of evangelicals and fundamentalists.”

As the Amazon description of The Heart of Christianity notes: “Being born again… has nothing to do with fundamentalism Continue reading

Music, April 1971: What’s Going On

More random music recollections based on the book Never A Dull Moment.

You probably think you know the story of Marvin Gaye’s standout album, What’s Going On, how the Artist recognized what’s REALLY happening in the world and puts out a album designed to stick it to the Suits at the record company. The actual story was a bit more prosaic.

In fact, the title song began with a wisp of of an idea by Obie Benson, the bass singer of the Four Tops, who thought that maybe he had another song like the Coke commercial, “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.” He and Motown songwriter Al Cleveland thought it might fit Marvin, but he wasn’t impressed. They pushed, and Marvin gave it some tweaks, thinking he might produce it for the Originals.

In July 1970, he came into the studio, had some football buddies for the party noise, captured sax player Eli Fontaine warming up, and basically fell into a sound. He managed to slip it out as a single in January 1971, while Motown owner/brother-in-law Berry Gordy was out on the West Coast. Gordy thought two things: 1) he hated the song, and 2) wondered where’s followup album was after it became a hit.

The What’s Going On album was recorded in March and released in May, with a second mix by Gaye that defined not only the LP, but changed the expectation of listeners regarding what was expected from a Motown album. I played it a lot in college; Inner City Blues especially STILL seems relevant.

Another Motown artist was giving Berry Gordy headaches. Stevie Wonder was married, living in NYC with new wife Syretta, and about to turn 21. His lawyers sent a letter to Gordy disavowing his Motown contract.

Meanwhile, Stevie discovered The Original New Timbral Orchestra, or TONTO, keyboard system. Wonder had lost interest in his new album, Where I’m Coming From, which was actually the first Stevie album I ever bought, as his own sound was developing.

His next album, Music of My Mind, made in 1971 and released the next year, was more representative of the groove he was going for. The FOUR albums after THAT, all dominant on my turntable in the 1970s won FOUR Grammy albums of the Year awards in five years.

Sly Stone’s album was two years late, and he became “the least reliable superstar in the history of popular music.” The eventual downbeat, indecipherable There’s A Riot Goin’ On, released in November 1971, was a contact high of an album. One did not have to BE stoned to FEEL stoned listening to it.

Was Shaft blaxploitation or black empowerment? It was a movie by noted black photographer Gordon Parks, with Richard Roundtree as the handsome black detective, whose looks drove the lyrics written by STAX artist Isaac Hayes. The “shut your mouth” was delivered by Telma Hopkins, whose hit with Dawn, “Knock Three Times”, came out earlier that year. My sister Leslie owned this double LP, which he had to get partially replaced because the package had two of the same LPs.

Listen To

What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye
Inner City Blues – Marvin Gaye
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – Gil Scott-Heron
Family Affair – Sly & the Family Stone
I Can’t Get Next to You – Al Green
Toussaint L’Ouverture- Santana

Death knell for the Environment Protection Agency?

The Environmental Protection Agency was created 47 years ago this coming December. Why was that? How Did the U.S. Look Before the EPA?

“Time [magazine]’s story on the burning Cuyahoga River [near Cleveland] sparked outrage among Americans, and brought national attention to the country’s need to clean up its waterways and protect the environment. It eventually helped lead to changes like the Clean Water Act…

“The Cuyahoga article was even instrumental in President Richard Nixon forming the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970. Its mission then — and now — is to ‘protect human health by safeguarding the air we breathe, water we drink and land on which we live.'”

The regime announced its morally obscene budget proposal in March, and it’s even worse than most observers expected. For instance, EPA is looking at a 31% cut in the agency’s budget, eliminating 3,200 staff positions and zeroing out funding to enforce the Clean Power Plan. It is an all-out assault on our planet.

The proposal now needs to be negotiated in both the House and Senate — and with EPA antagonist Scott Pruitt leading the agency, the budget director proclaiming that fighting climate change is “a waste of your money” and the House already taking steps to abolish the agency entirely — it is pretty much a worst case scenario.

From the very beginning of this regime, scientists have been muzzled and research blocked. After four and a half decades of progress on the environment, we’re aiming for a regression. And of course, the added pollution that will be allowed won’t stop at our national borders.

The United States was a signatory to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change agreed to in 2016. It appears, though, that this administration has chosen to go in another direction.

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
This was disappearing, but had started coming back. On this Earth Day, there is most unfortunately very little to celebrate, certainly not in the United States.