Rob Portman and Michelle Shocked

I don’t own any Michelle Shocked music, save for one great song on the Dead Man Walking soundtrack, The Quality of Mercy is Not Strained.

I’m feeling a bit less churlish than I did initially about the pronouncement by US Senator Rob Portman that he NOW supports marriage equality because his son has come out as gay, even though, previously, Portman usually got zero ratings from civil rights groups on the issue in the past. I know that SamuraiFrog was right:

“I’m seeing a lot of people who are having this very liberal reaction of ‘Well, why couldn’t he have empathy for everyone’s child?’ Well, you know, because humans are like that. They’re self-interested… Continue reading “Rob Portman and Michelle Shocked”

N is for Nostalgia

Strange, but I found even then that people have a greater recollection of things that I allegedly said and did than I do.

At some level, I’m not a very nostalgic guy. As Billy Joel put it in Keeping the Faith, and I quote, The good old days weren’t always good. It seems as though, in the US, there are dreams of the 1950s being the “good old days”, represented by TV shows such as Ozzie and Harriet or Father Knows Best, with dad out working all day, with mom home raising the kids and wearing pearls when her husband came home for dinner. It was never MY experience.

The 1950s were a period of the cold war paranoia of “duck and cover”, and an unsettling racial climate Continue reading “N is for Nostalgia”

I Admit I Like Billy Joel

Billy Joel tells the story about when the instrumentation all drops out, it was an accident, when he was playing with the knobs and feared he’d ruined the recording.


One of my colleagues, knowing my affection for music, was telling me about a Billy Joel song called We Didn’t Start the Fire, which you can hear here, after a short ad. I was never a huge fan of the song. But she explained to me that the historical references in the piece made her want to look up the background behind those events. So, I have rethought the song and deem it OK, especially after I came across this teacher’s guide to it.

Actually, I rather like Billy Joel, even though it was never really cool to like Billy Joel. The only time I saw him live in New Paltz in 1974 (I think). Buzzy Linhart opened for him. Joel and the entourage got lost getting to New Paltz and was over two hours late. Billy was practically glued to his piano bench. The song I love most from that period was Captain Jack.

Subsequently, I bought several BJ albums. In fact, when I FINALLY bought a CD player Continue reading “I Admit I Like Billy Joel”