Posts Tagged ‘ABC Wednesday’

My wife and I have a daughter, as you probably know. My two sisters each have a daughter. All the females in my little tribe are gathered here together, after my mother’s funeral in Charlotte, NC in February 2011.

As it turns out, my wife’s two younger brothers both have children. One brother has twin daughters, the other a solo daughter, all born in the same year.

When the Daughter was born, one of my very long-time friends heard I had had a child, she mistakenly heard we had a son. Corrected, she was greatly relieved. “Thank God!” she exclaimed.

Maybe it’s because she knows I’ve always gotten along with girls and women, in the main, far more than I have boys and men. I would have one or two male friends, but a lot of female friends by comparison.

I’m not sure why, though. Maybe it’s the testosterone-laden braggadocio that the male of the species engaged in that I found irritating/exhausting.

This is interesting: Dads pay more attention to baby girls than boys, study says. “Fathers of daughters spent about 60% more time attentively responding to their child, compared to those with sons. They also spent about five times as much time singing and whistling with girls and spoke more openly about emotions, including sadness.”

The study notes: “The research could not establish the extent to which innate preferences of girls and boys might be prompting different treatment from their parent. However, the authors concluded that it was likely that social biases were playing at least some role.”

And the song that started running through my mind – there’s always a song, isn’t there? – is a lengthy piece called Soliloquy, from the musical Carousel by Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers, and made famous by Frank Sinatra (LISTEN).

The protagonist ASSUMED that he would have a son – “My boy, Bill” – until the thought:
What if he is a girl?
What would I do with her?
What could I do for her?
A bum with no money
You can have fun with a son
But you got to be a father to a girl

Hmm, I DO have fun with the Daughter. I guess, in my heart of hearts, I was glad that we had a girl.

ABC Wednesday, Round 21

When I was at BB King’s Blues Club in NYC this past week, I noticed that Dick Gregory was scheduled to do two shows with Paul Mooney on November 2. Yes, he was still active up to the end of his life. The club’s description is a good place to start:

“An activist, philosopher, anti-drug crusader, comedian, author, actor, recording artist, and nutritionist, Dick Gregory was on the front line in the ’60s during the Civil Rights era. Today he continues to be a ‘drum major for justice and equality.’

“Born in 1932 in St. Louis, MO, his social satire has drastically changed the way white Americans perceive African Americans. After beginning to perform comedy in the mid-’50s while serving in the army, Gregory first entered the national comedy scene in 1961, when Chicago’s Playboy Club (as a direct request from publisher Hugh Hefner) booked him as a replacement for white comedian, ‘Professor’ Irwin Corey. His tenure as a replacement for Corey was so successful – at one performance he won over an audience that included Southern white convention goers – that the Playboy Club offered him a contract extension from several weeks to three years.”

Dustbury shares the fried chicken joke.

“By 1962 Gregory had become a nationally known headline performer, selling out nightclubs, making numerous national television appearances, and recording popular comedy albums.”

Though Mark Evanier knew Gregory from his LPs, I was more familiar with him from his books, especially From the Back of the Bus, my father’s paperback copy, which I devoured.

Early on, he became a civil rights activist, working with Malcolm and Martin, among others.

I have mentioned on these pages, most recently on 20160603, that Dick Gregory ran for President in 1968, and that my parents, especially my father, were inclined to vote for this black man for President. I couldn’t yet vote, but I lobbied strongly for Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic candidate, stating that Richard Nixon, the Republican, was too dangerous. What they did in the privacy of the voting booth, I’ll never know, but I STILL have the campaign button.

“Although Gregory’s steadfast commitment has limited his opportunities to perform, he’s still found ways to share his powerful and often comedic message with audiences across the country. In 1996, he took the stage stage with his critically acclaimed one-man show, Dick Gregory Live! The reviews of the show compared him to the greatest stand-ups in the history of Broadway…

“Although Gregory announced in 2001 that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma, he was able to battle the cancer into remission with a regimen of diet, vitamins, and exercise… The new millennium has found Gregory continuing to write, perform, and shape public opinion. ‘I’ve lived long enough to need two autobiographies, which is fine with me,’ he laughs. ‘I’m looking forward to writing the third and fourth volumes as well.”

Dick Gregory has died at the age of 84, and the world is diminished by that fact.

For ABC Wednesday

Albany, NY has some wonderful fireworks each year on the Empire State Plaza downtown.

Unfortunately, in the past few holidays, there’s been lots of competition from private individuals, and it has only became worse in the last two years when the Albany County legislature allowed individuals to buy items that had previously been banned.

The 4th of July was on a Tuesday in 2017, but I heard what sounded like a war zone each night from the 1st through the 5th.

I did laugh nervously when the family visited a CVS drug store, in adjacent Greene County, in June. Store space devoted to the fireworks was accompanied by a sign that warned people not to smoke near them. Smoking is illegal in most stores anyway, but it such an absurdist thing to see in a building that houses medicine and a pharmacy.

The three of us traversed out to see the downtown fireworks from the soccer field behind the high school, a couple miles from downtown. I had made a point of wearing ear plugs, the kind one uses to block out snoring or the like. I was very happy about that, because the competing local ordinance was close by, and therefore LOUD.

Unfortunately, the haze from the fireworks was THICK. As someone described it, “It was like morning fog by the river in the fall.” There is a potential impact on respiratory health to boot. I’ve NEVER seen on Facebook such unanimity from all over the city, antipathy for the new law.

As it turns out, the nearby Schenectady County legislature voted to ban, again, fireworks, but it widely ignored. Easy enough to do since all the counties around Schenectady still offer them for sale.

Googling for this post, I came across this story about pets suffering from late night fireworks. But it was about Albany, GEORGIA. So we’re not the only Albany suffering.

For ABC Wednesday

Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland

Lamont Dozier is “one of the greatest songwriters of the last century. His writings have been covered by a huge array of performers over the decades.

“As part of Motown’s Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team, the trio scored 25 top ten pop hits between 1963 and 1968, which included the Supremes,” the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, and Martha and the Vandellas.

That link well tells Lamont’s progression from vocalist to becoming part of a writing and production team with Eddie Holland and his brother Brian. Success followed big time, but eventually HDH left the Motown roster, writing more songs.

Lamont Dozier recalls he and Brian [Holland] came up with “Band of Gold” and “Give Me Just a Little More Time”, but “we didn’t put our names on ’em because we were in a lawsuit and couldn’t use our names.”

There’s a description of Heaven Must Have Sent You… the Holland/Dozier/Holland Story anthology, which lists some of their biggest hits, with a tease of those songs at the website. HDH were interviewed when that came out.

The trio was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

“Lamont is married to Barbara Ullman Dozier and has 3 children (two sons and one daughter with Barbara).
His sons are named Beau Alexandre and Paris Ray and his daughter is named Desiree Starr.”

Listen to:
(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave – Martha & the Vandellas
Mickey’s Monkey – The Miracles
Can I Get a Witness – Marvin Gaye
Quicksand – Martha & the Vandellas
Leaving Here – Eddie Holland

When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes – Dusty Springfield
Where Did Our Love Go – The Supremes
Baby I Need Your Loving – The Four Tops
How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You) – Marvin Gaye
Nowhere to Run – Martha & the Vandellas

Back in My Arms Again – The Supremes
I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) – The Four Tops
Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While) – Kim Weston
It’s the Same Old Song – The Four Tops
This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak For You) – The Isley Brothers

Love’s Gone Bad – Chris Clark
Reach Out I’ll Be There – The Four Tops
Heaven Must Have Sent You – The Elgins
I’m Ready For Love – Martha & the Vandellas
(Come ‘Round Here) I’m the One You Need – Smokey Robinson & the Miracles

Standing in the Shadows of Love – The Four Tops
Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone – The Supremes
Jimmy Mack – Martha & the Vandellas
Bernadette – The Four Tops
Give Me Just a Little More Time – Chairmen of the Board

Band of Gold – Freda Payne
Don’t Do It – The Band
Forever Came Today – The Jackson 5
My World Is Empty Without You – Lamont Dozier
You’ve Got It – Simply Red, written by Lamont Dozier

More Supremes songs can be found at the 20140306 post of this blog.

‘The Supremes A’ Go-Go’ Reissue: Mary Wilson, Lamont Dozier Look Back on the Landmark Girl Group Album.

For ABC Wednesday

If there’s something I DON’T want to write about, it’s cultural appropriation. It’s a no-win topic. So why tackle it? Because it keeps bubbling up in my circle of friends and acquaintances.

In response to a New York Times article, an NPR piece stated Commentary: Cultural Appropriation Is, In Fact, Indefensible. And it’s from there that I’ll describe the phenomenon:

“Writer Maisha Z. Johnson offers an excellent starting point by describing it not only as the act of an individual, but an individual working within a “‘power dynamic in which members of a dominant culture take elements from a culture of people who have been systematically oppressed by that dominant group.’

“That’s why appropriation and exchange are two different things, Johnson says — there’s no power imbalance involved in an exchange. And when artists appropriate, they can profit from what they take, while the oppressed group gets nothing.”

This distinction is important, and I believe addresses Frank S. Robinson’s post about “the newest gambit of politically correct grievance agitprop.”

The phenomenon is not new, actually. According to the Washington Post, the term goes back to the 1970s or ’80s. Bo Derek’s cornrow hairstyle in the 1979 movie 10 was a REAL issue to some folks, but I’ll admit I didn’t get it.

Weekly Sift had this:

“Cultural appropriation is when somebody from a dominant culture tries to acquire fame and fortune (or just look cool) by using stuff created by a dominated culture…. Sometimes it’s done with respect and a share-the-wealth attitude. (Paul Simon didn’t just steal the South African sound, he toured with and helped popularize authentic South African bands.)” [There are some who would disagree.]

“Sometimes it’s annoying and disrespectful, but relatively harmless (like Anglos who have no idea what Cinqo de Mayo commemorates ‘celebrating’ by drinking too much tequila).

“And sometimes it results in a significant injustice, like Elvis becoming a musical icon while the black pioneers he imitated couldn’t get radio time.” Presley became a source of conflict in my own household growing up.

My father HATED Elvis, but I thought he was bringing his own rockabilly sensibilities to the mix. (Now, if you want cultural appropriation, look at Pat Boone, whose vapid Tutti Fruiti squeezed Little Richard’s version out of the marketplace.) I had none of Elvis’ music until I went to college.

I saw this article about a Portland, OR “burrito eatery being shut down after the two white women who ran it were criticized for making food from a culture that wasn’t theirs.” I believe one or both of them jokingly suggested they “stole” the recipe, which helped generate outrage. I find that was a most unfortunate outcome.

I would suggest that the denigration of a culture, especially knowingly, such as Ted Nugent’s headdress in this context could also be seen as cultural appropriation.

So I believe cultural appropriation, different from cultural exchange, exists, and it’s undesirable. But I accept I don’t always know where the line is drawn.

For ABC Wednesday

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