Julyish rambling: in search of meaning

That’s Life

HTETEOTW Chapter 3: Energy, Complexity, and Civilization

Inflation: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Pope apologizes for ‘catastrophic’ school policy in Canada

As Monkeypox Spreads, US Vaccine Access Is Pitifully Inadequate

How Much Household Income Is Required To Be Considered ‘Rich’ In These US Cities

Journalists Sense Turmoil in Their Industry Amid Continued Passion for Their Work

Five journalists covering the Internet in search of meaning, not viral trends

When Mixology Meets Medicine

LIVE: Around the World Cams / Beautiful Earth Webcam

The story we tell ourselves about today’s Stars and Stripes is a lie. The truth is much stranger.

John Green: Has this artist ever seen a baby?

Now I Know:  The Herd Mentality That’s Actually Rather Democratic, and  Maybe Monday Should Still Be the Weekend and The World Record That Will Definitely Stick and Hungry Hungry Hero Dog?

Defending democracy

Trump doesn’t have a side of the 1-6 story; there is no ambiguity 

The Jan. 6 Hearings Utterly Embarrassed Trump and All Involved. The final January 6 hearing of the summer spotlighted Trump and allies like Kevin McCarthy and fist-pumper to fleeing coward Josh Hawley. It should serve as a reminder of their humiliating but dangerous thirst for power.

Mark Leibovich’s new book, Thank You For Your Servitude, pillories a party whose leaders remain (at least publicly) in the 45th president’s thrall. e.g.,  Elise Stefanik Attacks NYS Department of Education

The Secret Service Has Managed to Locate Only One Coup-Related Text Message

If Trump Wins in 2024, Christian Nationalism – which MTG has suggested for the GOP – Could Reign Supreme in Government. Also,
Authoritarianism 101: Trump Plot to Purge Civil Servants If Reelected Draws Alarm – “Do not underestimate the destruction this will cause”

Roberts’s Attempt to Keep “Roe” Intact Fell Apart After Alito’s Draft Leaked 

Matt Birk (R-MN) Warns Abortion Leads to Women Having Careers and Claims Pro-choice Advocates Are Always Playing “the Rape Card” 

“Pro-Life” Idaho Republicans Declare Women Should Be Left to Die to Save  Fetuses

Primala Jayapal Shares Her Own Abortion Story — and Why Abortion Rights Are Vital

Why did Republicans vote against legal condom use?

Screenshot_of_Tweet_January_6_Audio_Clip

 

That’s Entertainment

Comic-Con 2022 Trailers

Marvel’s Movie Math: Comic Creators Claim It’s “Bait and Switch” On Payments 

Kennedy Center Honors Will Fete George Clooney, Gladys Knight, and U2

 Whatever happened to Sandy Duncan?

Discover the late Peg Lynch, a woman who, in the early days of television, wrote 11,000 scripts and starred in her own TV network hit sitcom for six years

Emma Allen, the New Yorker cartoon editor, makes history as the youngest and first woman in the role

Permanent JEOPARDY hosts and second chance contestants

How I Became the Fake Tom Cruise

There was a CBS-TV series called That’s Life (2000-2002)  about “Lydia DeLucca, a 30-something, a blue-collar underdog who turns her life upside down when she ditches the guy she’s about to marry and goes back to college. Now, Lydia must juggle her classes, work, family, and friends, all the while trying to make ends meet.” I watched it because of Ellen Burstyn and Paul Sorvino, who played Lydia’s parents. Sorvino died at the age of 83.

Burt Metcalfe, Producer on Every Season of ‘MAS*H,’ Dies at 87

Mary Alice, Actress in ‘A Different World, I’ll Fly Away, Sparkle, and much more, dies at 85

Alan Grant, Legendary Batman, Lobo, Judge Dredd Writer, Has Died

Actor David Warner has died

Aaron Latham, Screenwriter, Journalist Dies at 78. Husband of CBS News’s Lesley Stahl

Taurean Blacque, Det. Neal Washington on Hill Street Blues, Dies at 82

MUSIC

There’s a guy named Maxwell Frost (D-FL) running for Congress. Every time I see his name, I think of this song by Mann and Weil

Coverville 1407: Cover Stories for Imagine Dragons and Joan Osborne and a Fast Times Tribute and Coverville 1408: The Don Henley Cover Story

Jan A.P. Kaczmarek’s score to Finding Neverland

Audra McDonald sings Climb Ev’ry Mountain from the 2013 televised version of The Sound of Music

Playing for Change: King Clave featuring Mickey Hart

All That Jazz – Bob Fosse Tribute, with scenes from Chicago, Cabaret, and Sweet Charity

Celluloid Heroes – Blackmore’s Night

We Both Reached For The Gun from the show Chicago in Korean

The Music Man with a partially deaf cast

Joni Mitchell Surprises Fans With Her First Full Concert In Nearly 20 Years

“I would eventually know everything”

Joni Mitchell and Joe Rogan

World Almanac 2016Once upon a time, as I’m sure I’ve told you, I thought that, if I kept learning, I would eventually know everything I wanted to know. I read the local newspaper and watched the local and national news, first Huntley/Brinkley on NBC, then Cronkite on CBS.

Mostly, I read reference books. A lot. The Encyclopedia Americana, which my parents bought and probably couldn’t afford, I devoured over maybe three years. There was also an annual, updating the information.

Also, from about when I was nine, and for more than a half-century, I would receive the World Almanac for Christmas, and I would read it. Early on, it was cover to cover, but even after I’d largely mastered the tallest mountains, longest rivers, and whatnot, I would read the Year In Review material of the most important stories. It was largely November to October, actually, for its publishing deadline, but it would always capture the Presidential and Congressional elections.

Of course, information exploded. Three TV networks became 373. They keep discovering more moons in the solar system, and more elements for the Periodic Table. Of course, the Internet. The World Almanac used to have a list of Celebrities and I knew who most of them were. If there’s such a list now, I have no idea how they would limit it.

Joe and Joni

All of this to say that, until a couple of months ago, I had no idea who Joe Rogan was. My daughter tells me that she has been listening to lots of podcasts to understand different points of view. This is like when I would read William F. Buckley or watch George Will on TV. So SHE knew who Joe Rogan was and, in fact, says she recommended him to me – this is possible. But she says I said, and this sounds accurate, that I didn’t have time for more podcasts.

NOW I know who he is. Recently, my daughter asked me if I knew who Joni Mitchell is. Oh dear, I have failed this child. I told her that I’d seen her twice in person and bought four of her CDs in 2021. Obviously, she brought her up over Neil Young (who she also doesn’t know) wanting to be removed from Spotify because of the info about vaccines on Rogan’s platform, and Joni following suit.

Amy

One of the interesting things I learned about Amy Schneider, 40-time JEOPARDY champion, is that she has a younger partner, which is how she knows more current popular culture references.

I’m fascinated how she missed her last Final. COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD: The only nation in the world whose name in English ends in an H, it’s also one of the 10 most populous. One of my friends deduced, “I thought about what might precede ‘h’ and could only think of ‘s’. From there, my brain ambled over to Asia and found Bangladesh.”

My process was more mundane. I mentally traveled around the globe for the most populous countries, besides the US (#3). Mexico (#10), Brazil (#6), Nigeria (#7), Indonesia (#4), Japan (actually #11 because of a declining population), China (#1), India (#2). Oh, what’s near India? Pakistan (#5). And Bangladesh (#8). (I forgot Russia, #9.)

I have to conclude that Amy did NOT read the World Almanac every year. But she learned a LOT of other info, mostly of recent vintage, that my brain just doesn’t absorb.

Kennedy Center Honors 2021

Justino, Berry, Lorne, Bette, Joni Dec 22

Kennedy Center Honors 2021The Kennedy Center Honors 2021 are back in December! “The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is proud to celebrate the 44th Honorees for lifetime artistic achievements: operatic bass-baritone Justino Díaz, Motown founder, songwriter, producer, and director Berry Gordy, Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, legendary stage and screen icon Bette Midler, and singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell.”

The program was recorded on Sunday, December 5. It will air on CBS-TV on Wednesday, December 22 at 9 pm ET.

There is occasionally one person on the list with whom I am not familiar. Can you guess which one? Justino Diaz originated the role of Francesco in the September 10, 1971 world premiere of Ginastera’s Beatrix Cenci, performed for the… now Washington National Opera), which inaugurated the Kennedy Center Opera House.

Don’t forget the Motor City

Whereas Berry Gordy I’m VERY familiar with. Not only did he establish Motown, but he is a songwriter and producer. His Songwriters Hall of Fame resume identifies just some of the songs he created or co-wrote. These include All I Could Do Was Cry -Etta James; and Lonely Teardrops plus others for Jackie Wilson even before he started the label.

Also, Shop Around – Miracles; A Do You Love Me – the Contours; Try It Baby – Marvin Gaye; You’ve Made Me So Very Happy – Brenda Holloway; I’m Livin’ in Shame – Diana Ross and the Supremes. As part of The Corporation, he co-wrote a string of hits for the Jackson 5, such as I Want You Back, ABC, The Love You Save, and I’ll Be There. Listen to a few.

In 1998, I made a pilgrimage to Detroit. 2648 W Grand Blvd was the home of Hitsville, USA, and is now the home of the Motown Museum, where the Motown Sound was recorded from the late 1950s until 1972 when the label moved to Los Angeles. The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Martha and the Vandellas, the Four Tops, and most of the aforementioned artists recorded there.

In the 1970s, Gordy was involved with movies, such as Mahogany and Lady Sings the Blues, starring Diana Ross, who was nominated for an Oscar.

Live From New York

I watched Saturday Night Live, almost every episode from its beginning until 1999. Show creator Lorne Michaels was at the helm from 1975-1980, and from 1985 onward. These days I tend to catch clips from the show on YouTube rather than watch the whole thing. But it is amazing that over 45 years after it was created, it still mines relevant material.

Some of his other credits sometimes involve SNL alums. TV executive producer: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, 30 Rock, Portlandia. Movies: Wayne’s World, Tommy Boy, Mean Girls, and MacGruber. Broadway: he produced and directed Gilda Radner – Live From New York. He also produced several TV specials.

“Michaels’ 93 Emmy® nominations are the most ever for an individual. He received the 2004 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.”

EGT

Bette Midler is an Oscar away from an EGOT. She has three Emmy Awards®, including for her performance on the penultimate episode of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, which I watched, plus six other nominations. Her four Grammy Grammy Awards® include Best New Artist (1973). She was considered 11 other times, including for ALBUM OF THE YEAR: The Divine Miss M, which I just played this month, and the BEST POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE, FEMALE: the single from that album, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.

One of her two Tony awards was for Hello, Dolly! (2017). But the other was a Special Award in 1974, “for adding lustre to the Broadway season” with her dozen and a half performances of a one-woman show. Twice she was nominated for an Academy Award®: For the Boys (1991) and The Rose (1979), neither of which I saw. But I did catch Ruthless People and The First Wives; Club. And yes, I saw Beaches.

Joni

In 2021, I purchased a box set of the first four Joni Mitchell albums. I had never owned the first album, Song To A Seagull; so THAT’S where Judy Collins found Michael From Mountains. Nor the second, Clouds. The third, Ladies of the Canyon I have on vinyl; I wrote about getting castmates to listen to it. The fourth is Blue, the Top Five on many people’s lists, which I own. Even Joni admitted, “There’s hardly a dishonest note in the vocals.”

I have, in some form, For The Roses, Court and Spark (rebound album), Miles of Aisles (the pictured venue reminds me of the first time I saw her perform), The Hissing Of Summer Lawns (which I had coveted)… Actually, I own every non-compilation that is listed here through Turbulent Indigo.

Check out Joni discussing her health issues. “I’m hobbling along but I’m doing all right.” Also, Rick Beato’s What Makes This Song Great? Episode 91: Joni Mitchell’s Amelia and My Dinner With Joni Mitchell: 3 hours with an Icon.

Albums almost abandoned, and one that was

Emmylou, Joni, and Herbie

Hissing of Summer LawnsWhile listening to Herbie Hancock in early April, his birth month, I was reminded by two albums almost abandoned by their owners to me. Another one actually WAS given to me.

Around 1995, a choir friend was complaining about the new Emmylou Harris album, Wrecking Ball, that she’d just purchased. She was a huge Emmylou fan, but Wrecking Ball was not her cuppa.

It was produced by Daniel Lanois, who had produced or co-produced albums for U2, Peter Gabriel, and Bob Dylan, among others. Additionally, Lanois was also a solo artist; I’m quite fond of his Acadie album.

My choir buddy decided that maybe she’d get rid of Wrecking Ball. I said, “Give it to me!” But she decided to keep it. I wonder if she ever warmed up to it.

Emmylou, also born in April, shows up on so many of my albums. In addition to her solo stuff, she’s a background singer for Lyle Lovett, Neil Young, and so many more. She’s on albums with Mark Knopfler, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Linda Ronstadt, and of course the Trio albums with Dolly Parton and Linda, the complete set of which I bought in 2020.

Joni and Herbie

Back in 1975, Sue, the girlfriend of my friend Jon – who I’ve lost track of – picked up The Hissing of Summer Lawns, the new Joni Mitchell album. She did not know if she’d keep it because it was too different from what she had expected. I said, “Give it to me!” But she decided to keep it. I wonder if she ever warmed up to it.

The album is transitional to a more experimental sound (Hejira, Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter et al.) I liked it. BTW, her birthday is in November.

My late friend Donna was kvetching about the 1996 Herbie Hancock album The New Standard. It was a jazz cover album of pop songs by Peter Gabriel, the Beatles, Babyface, Sade, Prince, and Simon and Garfunkel. She was a jazz fan, but she did not like this. She said, “Do you want this?” I said, “Heck, yeah.”

Hancock’s 1998 album, Gershwin’s World features Joni on vocals for two songs, The Man I Love and Summertime. His 2007 album River: The Joni Letters is a tribute album featuring cover songs written by Joni, with an eclectic group of singers
Connections

The songs

Though they are very different, because these three artists have been so eclectic, I think of them fondly in the same way.

From Wrecking Ball

Where Will I Be? with the songwriter, Daniel Lanois
Wrecking Ball, written by Neil Young
Orphan Girl, written by Gillian Welch

From The Hissing of Summer Lawns, the first three songs

In France They Kiss On Main Street, which could have fit on her previous studio album, Court and Spark
The Jungle Line, which would not
Edith and the Kingpin – I heard Rebecca Jade do a great cover of this recently

From The New Standard

New York Minute  – co-written and originally performed by Don Henley
You’ve Got It Bad Girl – co-written and originally performed by Stevie Wonder
All Apologies – written by Kurt Cobain, originally performed by Nirvana

September rambling: end the stigma

Musicians Across Five Continents

post-apocalyptic section
The Most Segregated City

Vlogbrothers: End the stigma

What happened to Jaye McBride could have happened to any of us

WAVE 3 News reporter kissed on live TV; here’s why it’s not cool – Sara Rivest is the daughter of Michael, a guy I know in Albany IRL

The differential privacy video the Census Bureau sponsored from MinutePhysics

Unmarried Partners More Diverse Than 20 Years Ago

Cokie Roberts, Pioneering Journalist Who Helped Shape NPR, Dies at 75

Longtime TV newsman Sander Vanocur dies at 91

Bill Schelly, R.I.P.

Amy Biancolli turns 56

The Surreal End of an American College

What Happens Right Before Your Best Employee Quits

Alan Zweig’s Vinyl documentary – a record collector’s expose

Baking Isn’t Hard When You’ve Got a Library Card

The Guardian: 100 best films movies of the 21st century. 1) I’ve seen 26 of them, at least two of which I disliked; 2) the year 2000 is NOT in the 21st century

Save on Internet Safety guide

Chef Boyardee: The Sine Qua Non of Homemade Pizza

Alex Trebek saying “genre”

Epergne: It’s time this Kitschiest of Obscure Vintage Treasures had a Comeback

The Evolution of a Fractured Coin of the Rebellion

The Modern Jonah

Now I Know: Who is MP and Why Are His Initials on My Checks? and An Aria a Day Keeps the Cougars Away and The Aquarium That Turned a Blind Eye Toward Bullies and The Island That Floated To Safety and Why We Give 21-Gun Salutes

English

The Beauty of Being Bilingual

Merriam-Webster dictionary adds ‘they’ as a nonbinary pronoun – America’s oldest dictionary claps back at grammar snobs as it embraces a more inclusive definition

Public is or Public are: “British English tends to see either a plural or singular verb, pronoun or noun as acceptable, depending on the context in which the collective noun is used. American English, however, is considerably more rigid in sticking with the singular. Though they too may reconsider occasionally, based on context.”

Harry Potter and the Poorly Read Exorcist

Boss Tweet

New Yorker.20191007
He is a threat to virtually everything that the United States should stand for

If This Isn’t Impeachable, Nothing Is and If Democrats put off impeachment until he does something worse, he’ll do something worse and His call to Zelensky was not out of the ordinary – for him and With the Gears of Impeachment Finally Grinding, the Hard Part Begins; also Lindsey Graham’s Impeachment Views in 1999 Vs. 2019

Iran Policy Is a Failure

Health Insurance That Doesn’t Cover the Bills Has Flooded the Market

The Race to Prepare for a Potential U.S. Exit From the World’s Mail System

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Legal Immigration

Travel ban really was a Muslim ban, data suggests

Comedian John Mulaney has the perfect analogy for what’s going on in our country today [explicit language]

MUSIC

What’s My Name – Ringo Starr

Playing for Change: The Weight – Robbie Robertson, Ringo Starr, and Musicians Across Five Continents

Old Town Road -Courtney Hadwin

Overture: L’italiana in Algeri, or The Italian Girl in Algiers by Giacchino Rossini

I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – Sleeping At Last

Happy Birthday, Hans Zimmer edition

Coverville 1278: The Leonard Cohen Cover Story V

Love’s Creeping Up on Me – United Image, a 1971 Stax song that sounds more like Motown to me, and is billed as Northern Soul

All Kinds of Kinds – Miranda Lambert

Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris Trio Documentary

The importance of choir: John Rutter (there are about 20 seconds of him in b&w before he actually begins to speak)

Real Arrogance Over False Humility: The Beautiful Honesty of Joni Mitchell

The First Time I Met Prince, by Sheila E

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