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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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 extra 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.
LOTS of Paul Simon gets played in October, so the S&G is played in November.
I have something north of 1400 compact discs. I haven’t actually counted them, but the Wife bought some furniture designed to hold 1200 CDs, which is what I guesstimated that I had, but I had CDs left over. Oops.
In order to justify having all those shiny discs, I need to actually PLAY them once in a while. So I have a system: movie soundtracks the month of the Oscars (February or March), Broadway music in time for the Tonys (June), TV soundtracks whenever the Emmys take place (August or September).
I own a number of compilation albums I play, dependent on genre. In February, Black History Month, it’s soul/r&b/et al, except for Motown, which is in November, for Berry Gordy’s birthday. April has jazz; September has folk, in honor of my late father; November is rock and roll, for Dick Clark.
Most of my music, though, is tied to artists. I tend to play them on the artists’ birthday week, and I have a blue binder to check out upcoming natal days.
What if it’s a duo or group? Often it’s the artist I most associate with the group, such as Peter Noone, a.k.a. Herman, of Herman’s Hermits. Or if there’s no single key person, it might be the artist whose birthday comes earlier in the year. Phil Everly’s birthday was January 19, and brother Don’s is February 1, so I play them in January.
Some specific arcane rules
ROLLING STONES: Mick Jagger’s birthday is in July, so I play the commercial albums I bought. But someone gave me a disc of all their albums up through 1980, so all the albums I ripped are played in December, for Keith Richards’ birthday.
BEACH BOYS: Brian Wilson’s birthday is in June, so I play the bulk of my BB albums then. But both Dennis and Carl Wilson were born in December, so I play the box set then.
POLICE: I have a bit of Sting’s music, which I play in October. But the Police I play in July for Stewart Copeland’s birthday, earlier in the year than Andy Summers’ December birth.
SIMON & GARFUNKEL: LOTS of Paul Simon gets played in October, so the S&G is played in November, for Art’s birthday.
THE WHO: Since I have a few Pete Townsend solo albums, which I play in May, the group’s output I play in early March, for Roger Daltrey’s birthday.
THE BEE GEES: Barry, the oldest, is born in September. But the late twins, Maurice and Robin, were born in December; that wins out.
THE MONKEES: Both Michael Nesmith (1942) and the late Davy Jones (1945) were born on December 30.
CROSBY, STILLS, NASH, AND YOUNG I have the least solo work by Graham Nash, so the group gets played in February.
THE SUPREMES: I play the group in early March in honor of longest-tenured member, Mary Wilson, listening to Diana Ross later in that month on her birthday.
THE TEMPTATIONS: Though it’s untrue, I think of the group with two primary singers in its prime years, David Ruffin (b. January 18), lead singer on most of the early hits, and Dennis Edwards (b. February 3), the prominent vocal on most of the psychedelic soul albums.
THE BEATLES: Since John Lennon started the group, I play the core British albums, plus the Past Masters, which has the singles and EPs, in October. I also play the collection of Tony Sheridan and the Beatles collection which contains Ain’t She Sweet and Cry for a Shadow. George was the first Beatle to visit the United States, visiting his sister Louise and her husband. I play the American albums in February. Paul is one of the two survivors, so in June, I listen to the post-breakup stuff, such as the Anthology, BBC, and LOVE albums. I don’t play Beatles albums in July for Ringo’s birthday, but I DO play Beatles COVER albums, which almost outnumber my Beatles collection.
There are even more rules, but I’d better stop now!
A lot of people who’ve never even heard the music have dismissed it as a rap musical, when it features a mixture of popular musical styles.
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: