I Did Not Know That


One of my favorite songs by Sam Cooke was “Bring It On Home to Me”. But who was that great second voice, sometimes singing harmony, sometimes doing the call and response “yeah”? Why that was Lou Rawls. I did not know that until after Lou died this month.

The Biblical city of Nineveh is near the current location of Mosul, Iraq on the Tigris River. I did not know that until last week’s Bible study of Jonah. I had assumed it was a city on the sea. (Jonah is the guy who had that encounter with the big fish.)

Hugh Thompson, the guy who put a stop to the My Lai massacre, was on 60 Minutes several years ago. They repeated part of the segment on the CBS Sunday Morning program just after he died this month at age 62. He talked about how he was not given adequate cover on some of his subsequent Viet Nam missions, how shunned he was by his fellow military people, until in the last decade of his life, when the military finally asked him to speak about the excesses of war. I’d seen this story before, but I did not know how emotionally involved I would feel in the retelling. I believe that his illness was probably caused, or at least exacerbated by the years of being a pariah.

“Truthiness” is the American Dialect Society’s Word of the Year, beating out Katrina-gate. I did not know truthiness was a word, but then, I haven’t been watching the Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report”. Truthiness “refers to the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true.”

Don’t know how many are familiar with Tyler Perry. He’s a black performer who dresses in drag as a character named Madea. There’s always an object lesson. At her request, I bought some DVDs for my mother last Christmas, and now I find myself on the Tyler Perry fan mail list:

On a more serious note, Madea is a character that has been a blessing but it has come with its share of challenges. Many of you don’t know this but I am extremely uncomfortable doing this character. I never have anyone other than the cast and crew back stage because I am so embarrassed. I know that sounds strange, but it’s true. Sometimes l looks in the mirror as I’m putting on lipstick and say to myself Boy what is wrong with you? Anyway I had to realize what I wish most people would realize about Madea. I am not a man that walks around in a dress. I am an actor and I’m playing a character. MADEA is not who I
am. I was in the mall and a lady walked up to me and asked where was my dress (what the hell…smile) I AM A MAN, although I love women God himself knows I don’t want to be one. I said all of that to say this. I have been asked many times to do Madea outside of my shows but I have always said no to Award shows, concerts, and movies. I won’t do it because I’m uncomfortable with people seeing me like that up close and personal.
Well Oprah asked me to do it on her show. My first reaction was no but yall know that she is a huge part of the reason I started writing. After much debate and prayer I agreed to do it. Get ready cause Madea is going to be on Oprah. PRAY FOR ME. Tyler.

I did not know that the man was so embarrassed playing Madea. He does it often, and from what I’m told, well.

The voice in my head offering up the title of this piece is Johnny Carson, who died a year ago today. Did you know that Carson and his predecessor as host of the Tonight Show, Jack Paar, died almost a year apart? (1/23/05, 1/27/04). I did not know that until recently, and I have no idea of the significance, if any.
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1824! (or at least 1837…

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

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