Sunday Stealing: YouTube entry
Roger Green: a librarian's life, deconstructed.
Turn off the lights
Here are yet more songs tied to a particular time and place. These aren’t necessarily my favorite songs, but they are resonant.
I have great affection for the Pointer Sisters, especially That’s A Plenty, an eclectic collection that’s a desert album. But the piece de la resistance is the last tune, Love In Them There Hills, a Gamble/Huff piece. You should listen to it sitting or lying in the dark. It’s the hypnotic middle section, “a cosmic, free-flowing funk jam,” that makes it.
I heard Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin in San Diego while hanging out with my sister’s friend Donald. Maybe it’d be a regional SoCal hit, I thought. What do I know? It went to #1 for two weeks in 1988.
About a year later, I saw McFerrin on NBC’s Today show. He was performing a couple of songs from the album Medicine Man with the acapella group Voicestra. I so loved it that I bought a half dozen copies of the collection and gave it to my father, my sister Leslie, probably our new church choir director Eric, and others. Eric arranged The 23rd Psalm for choir members Bob, Tim, and me to sing My Bible group just read Hebrews 12; the lyrics in v. 10-13 show up in the song Discipline.
On a car trip to Cooperstown, one of my office mates rediscovered This Must Be The Place by Talking Heads. In retrospect, this makes me melancholy.
My significant other at the time and I used to dance to Harvest Moon by Neil Young. The song still makes me incredibly sad.
Someone To Watch Over Me by Linda Ronstadt evokes another failed relationship.
You might not be surprised by the number of times people sang to me the Weird Al Yankovic song I Lost On Jeopardy after November 1998. Almost EVERYONE eventually loses on Jeopardy eventually!
When I was wooing my spouse, I put together a mixed CD. Put A Little Faith In Me by John Hiatt was the linchpin of the collection. Given our track record, it was understandable that our wedding song was So our wedding song was At Last by Etta James.
My daughter was obsessed with the musical Hamilton when it first came out. She knew the lyrics by heart because she played the music repeatedly, as I noted here. The first song, Alexander Hamilton, is one of the best first songs in a musical.
At church, my daughter was in several musicals. Some were pastiche, while others were actual junior versions of productions. Several songs stick in my mind. I’ll note Glory by John Legend and Common from the movie Selma. The church choir performed some of the choral bits while the kids did the rap parts. It was surprisingly effective.
Dreams from Our Founding Fathers:
Having spent too much time thinking about the Republican governor of Florida over his book bans and other nonsense, I had privately concluded that Ron DeSantis is a snowflake. As I looked up the term’s meaning, you might think, “Well, maybe.”
Wikipedia defines it as “a derogatory slang term for a person, implying that they have an inflated sense of uniqueness, an unwarranted sense of entitlement, or are overly-emotional, easily offended, and unable to deal with opposing opinions.”
On Last Week Tonight this month, John Oliver pointed to “a recent advertisement created by DeSantis and his team based on ‘Top Gun,’ which DeSantis’ camp called ‘Top Gov.’ In it, DeSantis is shown teaching new ‘recruits’ how to deal with the media, showing clips of how DeSantis himself has ‘never ever [backed] down from a fight.’
“In one clip, DeSantis seemingly stops a reporter from giving a ‘speech’ during a press conference. DeSantis is constantly complaining about the media taking him out of context. But in that particular clip, ‘he’s removing some pretty important context from the media,'” not letting her do her job.
Oliver notes, “He doesn’t hate all media – ‘even by Republican standards, the mutual affection between him and Fox is pretty extreme.’ During one four-month stretch, the network asked him to appear on air 113 times, nearly once a day, which is ‘just pathetic.'” Even a softball interview he did was pretty weird.
Entitled, easily offended, and unable to deal with opposing views? Check.
DeSantis, and the Florida legislature, are leading forces in what Weekly Sift rightly describes as Imaginary problems, real laws, real victims. The Stop WOKE Act and the Parental Rights in Education Act (a.k.a. Don’t Say Gay) have led to a functional book ban that DeSantis denied; he lies. He has taken over the trustee board of the New College of Florida. (Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, is offering admission to all NCF students to match their current cost of tuition. )
Not that Desantis is alone in his overreach. “To my knowledge, there has been no drag-queen crime wave. So why do legislators in 15 states find it necessary to pass anti-drag laws their states never needed before? The answer has more to do with changes in Republican politics than changes in American society.” Mark Evanier noted that “the current move to restrict drag shows and people dressed unlike the norm for their gender — whatever that is these days — is ridiculous.”
From Business Insider: DeSantis’ first book was his 2011 tome, Dreams from Our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Age of Obama. The book’s title aimed to criticize Obama by playing with the name of the president’s first memoir, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. “DeSantis even used a similar cover to the one Obama had…
“DeSantis was also critical of Obama personally, calling him ‘first in his own mind’ and saying, ‘he actually believed that he was a historically special figure.’ In one section of the book, DeSantis wrote that Obama lacked the humility of George Washington, the first US president.
“He wrote that Obama had a ‘palpable cockiness’ and ‘made outlandish claims about his own significance as an individual.’ “He accused the Obama campaign of having a ‘messianic posture.'” All of that is his right, even as he seemed as obsessed with BHO as DJT was/is.
“Eleven years later, the DeSantis campaign ran an ad during his 2022 gubernatorial reelection campaign that intimated DeSantis was uniquely chosen by God as a ‘fighter.'” DeSantis seems to despise Obama and yet emulates the traits he said he hated in the 44th President.
I don’t know whether he’s actually running for President, let alone how he’ll do. Interestingly, some Republican members of Congress dissed him over calling the Ukraine war a “territorial dispute.” They must assume he is seeking higher office.
Some random bits for Lent 2023.
No Earthly Good – Johnny Cash. This is a song John wrote. It was on The Rambler album in 1977 and the posthumous Unearthed Collection in 2003; this is the latter version. “Some people are so heavenly minded that they are of no earthly good” was attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
The lyrics of the song include:
The gospel ain’t gospel until it is spread
But how can you share it where you’ve got your head
There’s hands that reach out for a hand if you would
So heavenly-minded, you’re no earthly good
I’ve come across responses suggesting the premise is false because they didn’t know anyone so focused on heaven that one could forget their neighbor on earth. In my experience, I have known a few who are so captivated by the hereafter that their Now is bereft of compassion.
I was taken by John Green’s recent four-minute vlog post Empathy and its Limits. Among other things, he notes, as I have noticed for decades, about the word invalid. One meaning is “a person made weak or disabled by illness or injury.” Another is “being without foundation or force, in fact, truth, or law.” They are spelled the same, though pronounced differently. And often, the sickly are invalidated.
I’ll admit to feeling a bit grumpy about a snippet of Lacrimosa from the Mozart Requiem being used for a pain reliever advertisement. I was so annoyed that my brain blocked out the product’s name. I’ve sung the Mozart Requiem thrice, the last time on September 11, 2002.
When I was at my former church back in the 1990s, we sang the Rutter Requiem. My favorite section is Out Of The Deep.
How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place is from Brahms’ German Requiem, done in English. Members of the choir of my old church, some other singers, and I sang it at the funeral of my friend Jim Kalas in 2022.
On Saturday, March 4, Albany received enough wet snow that several tree branches came down throughout the city. One was in my yard. Unfortunately, it was also totally across the sidewalk. It needed to be moved.
Ultimately, I needed to walk into the few inches of snow. Unfortunately, atop the snow was a sheet of ice, which made me turn my ankle. It was uncomfortable, but I figured it’d pass. The next day, it seemed fine.
Monday morning – more the middle of the night – I awoke to extreme pain on the left side of my left knee. I could not bear to put any weight on it. Getting out of the office chair took ten minutes.
So I spent the better part of Monday and Tuesday, my 70th birthday, sitting on the sofa, my damn knee elevated, watching news programs (60 Minutes et al.), and reading magazines. I couldn’t focus on much more than that.
Eventually, I felt less pain with a knee brace and a walking stick. I first damaged my knee in 1994, as I wrote here. I’m working on getting an ortho appointment.
Meanwhile, I went to see my original cardiologist on March 9. Even after a few scans over the past three years, it is “unclear whether the patient’s bicuspid valve is congenital or acquired due to heavy calcification.” I have a “moderate dilation of the ascending aorta. The maximum diameter of the enlarged segment is 5.1 cm.”
If it gets to 5.5 cm, I get to have heart surgery. Oh, joy! I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me a little anxious when I think about it, which is about twice a year when I get the scans and see the heart doc.
I need to lose more weight, as I’ve lost none since the beginning of the year. The good news is that I haven’t gained any either, and it’s stayed in a five-pound range.