Actor Jeff Bridges turns the Big 7-0

Starman: I do know the rules.

Jeff BridgesSomehow, I have a difficult time thinking of Jeff Bridges turning 70 because of Sea Hunt. Jeff appeared in four episodes, and his eight-years-older brother Beau a couple of times in the series. Sea Hunt starred their late father Lloyd, an early syndicated show in the late 1950s.

You probably know Lloyd Bridges best from the movie Airplane! Actually, Jeff and his brother both made their film debuts, without billing, alongside their mother Dorothy Dean Bridges (née Simpson) in the film The Company She Keeps (1951).

While I’ve seen Jeff in a few films, I’ve NOT seen most of his iconic roles. Need to fix that, surely. I did catch him in The Last Picture Show (1969), The Fisher King (1991), Iron Man (2008), and Crazy Heart (2009).

Starman (1984) which I loved, has one of my favorite pieces of dialogue:
Starman [Jeff Bridges]: Okay?
Jenny Hayden [Karen Allen]: Okay? Are you crazy? You almost got us killed! You said you watched me, you said you knew the rules!
Starman: I do know the rules.
Jenny Hayden: Oh, for your information pal, that was a yellow light back there!
Starman: I watched you very carefully. Red light stop, green light go, yellow light go very fast.

I have soundtracks of two Bridges films that I did not see, Against All Odds (1984) and Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988), the latter containing Joe Jackson songs. I also have the Crazy Heart soundtrack, on which Bridges gives credible performances.

Bowling

But I missed TRON (1982), The Fabulous Baker Boys (1988), and Hell or High Water (2016), among others. And I have never seen, all the way through, The Big Lebowski (1998). I’m quite aware of its cultural significance of The Dude.

The Big Lebowski played at the Madison Theatre, three blocks from my house, less than a half-decade ago, but the timing didn’t work out. Now I have seen large chunks of it, and for that matter, TRON, on TV from time to time. If the Madison ever reopens and brings it back, I’ll be in line.

Jeff Bridges turns the Big 7-0 today.

Two Virgins and the Vermont Republic

Virgin Queen

Vermont road mapVA Virginia, a state – a commonwealth – in the southeastern US. Capital: Richmond. Largest city: Virginia Beach.

Since I wrote about Virginia five years ago, I’ll just note that the state was “named for Queen Elizabeth I of England, who was known as the Virgin Queen. Historians think the English adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh suggested the name about 1584.”

VI Virgin Islands, a US territory in the Caribbean. Capital and largest city: Charlotte Amalie, on the island of St. Thomas.

The US Virgin Islands were sold to the United States by Denmark in the Treaty of the Danish West Indies of 1917. Other islands in the archipelago are controlled by the United Kingdom.

“Christopher Columbus named the islands after Saint Ursula and the 11,000 Virgins (Spanish: Santa Úrsula y las Once Mil Vírgenes), shortened to the Virgins (las Vírgenes). ”

GREEN Mountain State

VT Vermont, a New England state of the US. Capital: Montpelier. Largest city: Burlington

I wrote about our 2015 vacation. The truth is, I’ve been all over Vermont. A wedding on Lake Champlain, several choir performances in my Methodist days, even shopping. Of course, I’m inherently fond of the state, since it involves the color green.

On the Travel Trivia website, it listed 5 Countries That No Longer Exist. One was the Vermont Republic.

“On January 15, 1777, Vermont became the Vermont Republic, with its own Declaration of Independence, elected assembly, money, postal service, military, and diplomatic relations. Vermont was joined in its decade and a half of sovereignty by sixteen New Hampshire towns and a few more from New York.

“They were eventually given back to their states when Vermont joined the union [in 1791 when it became the 14th state], but it was a process by which Congress, New York, and New Hampshire recognized Vermont’s sovereignty. That means Vermont’s time as an independent nation wasn’t a fun historical quirk; it was a tangible expression of North American international freedom.”

For the verdant ABC Wednesday

Kennedy Center: EWF; Sally; Linda; Sesame St; MTT

Field, Ronstadt, Tilson Thomas

The 42nd Annual Kennedy Center Honors will air Sunday, December 15 – earlier than usual – at 8 p.m. EST. CBS has broadcast the special each year since its debut. The event will take place on December 8. Earth, Wind & Fire; Sally Field; Linda Ronstadt; Sesame Street; and Michael Tilson Thomas will be celebrated.

Michael Tilson Thomas

Michael Tilson ThomasAmerican conductor, pianist and composer Michael Tilson Thomas is a familiar name. He is currently music director of the San Francisco Symphony, though he announced in 2017 that he would step down in 2020. He’s also “artistic director of the New World Symphony, an American orchestral academy based in Miami Beach, Florida.”

He has his own YouTube channel. NPR mentions him frequently. A 2019 article in Vulture describes him a “disrupter who’s become the comfortable center.”

Michael Tilson Thomas is the only one in this group that had not appeared in this blog before now.

Sally Field

I wrote an extensive post about Sally Field in November 2016 when she turned 70. I’d seen her in everything from Gidget to Sybil to Brothers and Sisters. And she’s still working.

Earth, Wind & Fire

Their introduction on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame page says it well. Earth, Wind & Fire “took jazz, soul, gospel, pop and more and wrapped them in one psychedelic, mystical package.” The band was founded in Chicago by the late Maurice White in 1969.

Rolling Stone offered up 12 essential songs. My personal favorite is Fantasy, as I explained. I own the box set of their music.

You might recognize the name Philip Bailey, the falsetto vocalist, who sang a duet with Phil Collins on Easy Lover.

Linda Ronstadt

My admiration for Linda is huge. For her sixtieth birthday, I explained why I bought her box set when I already owned so much of her music. I advocated that she be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She was rightly inducted in 2014.

When she turned 70, I listed about three dozen of my favorite songs by her. I touted the documentary about her, which played at a local theater for months.

Sesame Street

I’ll admit it; I watched Sesame Street when I was in college, as I noted in 2011. The beloved children’s television show was shaped by the African-American communities in Harlem and beyond. Of course, I bought the 10th anniversary music album.

Farmers Insurance has been running a series of ads featuring the Muppets. Take a look at the website and the music of Sesame Street. The USPS to release stamps in honor of show’s 50th anniversary.

Since he won’t be at the event, I suppose I can share, from Business Insider back in 2017: “‘Sesame Street’ has been mocking Trump since 1988 — here are some of the best moments.”

2019: significant anniversary for HIV/AIDS

The virus is still very much around.

what is HIVBecause some folks seem to believe that HIV/AIDS is cured, some statistics:

In 2018 (the latest data available)…
37.9 million [32.7 million–44.0 million] people globally were living with HIV.
23.3 million [20.5 million–24.3 million] people were accessing antiretroviral therapy.
1.7 million [1.4 million–2.3 million] people became newly infected with HIV.
770 000 [570 000–1.1 million] people died from AIDS-related illnesses.

In the United States, “approximately 1.1 million people… are living with HIV today. About 15 percent of them (1 in 7) are unaware they are infected. An estimated 38,700 Americans became newly infected with HIV in 2016.”

An article in US News notes that 2019 is a significant anniversary. “HIV and AIDS have been part of the world’s consciousness for 40 years now. In 1979 and 1980, doctors in Los Angeles and New York were suddenly reporting rare types of pneumonia, cancer, and other illnesses…

“Today, AIDS is fairly well controlled – in developed countries anyway. But the virus, which actually has been infecting humans since at least 1959, and perhaps since the late 1940s, according to the AIDS Institute, is still very much around.”

Why do nearly 1000 girls and young women contract HIV every day?

PrEP

A couple years back, there was a presentation at my church about Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP). It is “a way for people who do not have HIV but who are at very high risk of getting HIV to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day.

“The pill (brand name Truvada)” – which is advertised on American television – “contains two medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine). [They are] used in combination with other medicines to treat the disease. When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection.”

Here’s what the US budget in fighting HIV/AIDS has looked like in the past decade or so.

I was happy to get to “know” Ruth, an HIV survivor, who is nursing others in Sierra Leone with the disease.

From April 2018 in the NYT magazine: Those we lost to the AIDS epidemic. Someone posted on Facebook recently six actors we lost prematurely. I DO remember two of the performers, Merritt Butrick and Tom Villard.

And Pedro Zamora died 25 years ago, hours after Real World San Francisco ended. Yes, I did watch that season.

The Library of Congress will house the archives of the famous AIDS quilt

Songs I remember from my childhood

I was appalled by the double negative

Farewell to the First Golden EraIf I were to list the songs I remember from my childhood, it would number about a half a jillion. Still, these stood out.

Twist and Shout – The Beatles, #2 for four weeks in 1964; #23 in 1986 upon reissue.
Not only is this the best cover version by the group, I consider this to be one of the greatest cover songs EVER. It was a revision of a song recorded by the Top Notes in 1961, and then a hit by the Isley Brothers in 1962. It was kept out of the #1 slot by Can’t Buy Me Love.

The story goes that when the group recorded the Please Please Me album, they saved this song for last because John Lennon’s voice had only one or two takes in him. They got it on take #1.

Summer in the City – Lovin’ Spoonful, #1 for three weeks pop.
I could play a VERY rudimentary version of this on my grandmother’s piano. At the time, the sound effects were revolutionary.

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – Rolling Stones, #1 for four weeks pop, #19 RB in 1965.
It seemed as though every other band would end their live version of other songs with the hook from this one. As a child, I was appalled by the double negative in the title, but I’ve gotten over it.

Uptight – Stevie Wonder, #3 for two weeks pop, #1 for five weeks RB in 1966.
I have a couple of Stevie compilation albums from the period. Most of the songs before this one sounded “old-fashioned”, but this was fresh and new.

Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart – the Supremes, #9 pop, #7 RB in 1966
This is my favorite Supremes song, and I don’t know why it did so relatively poorly on the pop charts when lesser songs – The Happening, for one – fared much better.

I Saw Her Again– Mamas and the Papas, #5 pop in 1966
There’s an album called Farewell To The First Golden Era which came out in 1967. It contained their hits from the first three albums, plus Twelve-Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon).

For some reason, when I played I Saw Her Again, and no other track, Denny Doherty’s lead vocal would often drop out, leaving the harmonies of Cass Elliot and Michele Phillips. You’d think this would be annoying. It was not. It was fascinating to hear the harmony vocals with the instrumentation. If I wanted to hear the song as it was intended, I’d just play their second album.