I must be getting to be an old lady, because this morning I just want to escape into the past. I guess the past wasn’t really all that much better than the present, except that I know how it all turned out. In the present, we’re facing so many challenges as a nation that it really feels overwhelming to me.
I don’t need to enumerate all that’s happening; you know it as well as I do. We’re stagnating economically and politically and one political party is determined to keep any progress whatsoever from happening and the other political party is in thrall to Wall Street and the corporations. And then there’s the NSA scandal, which really has me flummoxed. I don’t like the notion of domestic spying, but I’m very troubled by the way the battle over it is being fought. I’ll try to write a post on that sometime when I’m feeling better.
Today I’m feeling very low energy–I seem to have caught a summer cold from one of my nephews and all I want to do is sleep or watch junky movies on TV. Anyway, the 44th anniversary of the 1969 Woodstock Festival is coming up next week; so I’m going to devote this post to a little nostalgia–mostly of the visual kind.
The event that was originally billed as the “Woodstock Music and Art Fair: Three days of Peace and Music” opened on August 15, 1969 and ran until August 18. Here are some basic facts about what happened there from the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
* The community was not prepared for the crowds that began arriving. By Thursday, August 14, much of the area had become an enormous traffic jam.
* The festival officially began just after 5pm on Friday, August 15, 1969, and the day’s events ended shortly after 2am the next day.
* On Saturday, August 16, the festival began at noon and ended after The Who played a 24 song set that started at 3am.
* Jimi Hendrix played what many consider to be the festival highlight, on Monday, August 18, when only 35,000 people — a small fraction of the crowd — remained.
* Some residents did not embrace the crowds, yet others welcomed the visitors, supplying them with free food and water when it was apparent that Food For Love, the festival concessionaire, was not prepared to feed the massive crowd that gathered.
* The Hog Farm commune of New Mexico, hired to build a campsite on the grounds for attendees, opened the Free Kitchen serving macrobiotic, vegetarian meals.
* First aid at the festival was provided by the Woodstock medical crew in a field hospital located near the stage. The team tended minor accidents, food poisoning and an epidemic of cut feet since so many were going barefoot.
* A “freak out tent” was established for those suffering bad trips.
* Some concert goers treasured the festival as an adventure that changed their lives.
* Others found it nothing but a messy, dirty, disorganized debacle. But no matter what their experiences, Woodstock was undeniably unforgettable.
The music began with a stunning performance by Richie Havens, who died in April at age 72. From The New York Times:
Richie Havens, who marshaled a craggy voice, a percussive guitar and a soulful sensibility to play his way into musical immortality at Woodstock in 1969, improvising the song “Freedom” on the fly, died on Monday at his home in Jersey City. He was 72.
The cause was a heart attack, his agent, Tim Drake, said.
Mr. Havens embodied the spirit of the ’60s — espousing peace and love, hanging out in Greenwich Village and playing gigs from the Isle of Wight to the Fillmore (both East and West) to Carnegie Hall. He surfaced only in the mid-1960s, but before the end of the decade many rock musicians were citing him as an influence. His rendition of “Handsome Johnny” became an anti-Vietnam War anthem.
You can see a list of the other performers at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts site linked above. Next week a tribute to Havens will be held at the site of the original festival. USA Today:
Folk singer Richie Havens will receive a musical tribute Aug. 18, the 44th anniversary of the final day of the 1969 Woodstock festival.
The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, a music venue built on the Woodstock site in Bethel, N.Y., will host a musical tribute for the late singer-guitarist and his ashes will be scattered across the grounds, according to Billboard.
According to The New York Times, Havens requested that his ashes be scattered there from a plane.
The concert, “Back to the Garden: A Day of Song and Remembrance Honoring Richie Havens,” will be open to the public and will feature musical performances by José Feliciano, John Hammond and John Sebastian, among others. The actors Danny Glover and Louis Gossett Jr. are scheduled to speak.
The scattering of the ashes by air is fitting, as Mr. Havens, along with his guitarist and drummer, were flown in via helicopter to perform at the last minute at Woodstock while the scheduled opening act, the folk-rock band Sweetwater, was stuck in traffic.
And now a little more nostalgia–of the sartorial kind–from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, which is showing an exhibit called “Hippie Chic,” from July 16 to November 11.
Of course the clothes on display aren’t real hippie garb; they’re designer duds, but they’re gorgeous and colorful–enough to pull me up out of my funk for a bit.
Here’s a writeup on the show from WBUR at Boston University: When High Fashion Inhaled The ’60s—’Hippie Chic’ At MFA.
Some fun facts about hippie fashion courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts’ eye-popping, psychedelic 1960s fashion showcase “Hippie Chic”: Secret compartments in your metal jewelry could conceal your birth control pills; secret pockets in the collar of your Native American-style fringed suede jacket could hide your “stash”; and around the time Neil Armstrong was making that first “one small step” on the moon, Halston was dabbling in tie-dye and Yves Saint Laurent was experimenting with crazy quilting.
“Hippie Chic” (465 Huntington Ave., Boston, through Nov. 11) rounds up 54 ensembles dating from about 1968 to ’76—mainly from the MFA’s collection, but augmented by some loans—to show how fabulous fashions from the Age of Aquarius were interpreted by the era’s high-end design houses.
MFA curator Lauren Whitley’s eye is on influences—how hippies, and their haute couture imitators, drew inspiration from Middle Eastern caftans; Native American fringe, leather and ribbons; homefront styles of World War II; 19th century gingham pioneer dresses; Renaissance jackets and breeches.
Recycling the past was part of how hippies sought to expand their minds, to find better ways of living, as they dreamed up a utopian future. The youth movement was, of course, a wellspring of the sexual revolution, feminism, gay rights, environmentalism, drug experimentation, anti-Vietnam War protests, personal computers, the Internet, and a general anti-establishment bent. Make love, not war, man. Speaking of recycling, remove unwanted servers from your Office, sell your used servers for electronic recycling. For fair pricing, contact Tech Waste Recycling here.
Here’s a sampling from the show:
A couple more links with photos:
The Well-Appointed Catwalk: Hippie Chic at the MFA Boston
Boston Magazine: The Summer of Sartorial Love
I’ll end with a Woodstock anthem:
What’s on your mind today? Are you living in the present moment or longing for the past or an alternate future? And as always, please share your links to any stories of interest to you in the comment thread.
I have a nasty cold, so if I don’t make a lot of sense this morning, please try to make allowances. I just hope I don’t get the flu. Mayor Menino declared a public health emergency in Boston yesterday because there have been 700 confirmed cases of flu in the city. This morning The Daily Beast reports that there is a “major influenza epidemic taking hold across the country.”
New York City and much of the U.S. are a week or two into a major influenza epidemic. Boston declared a public-health emergency Wednesday after reporting four deaths, and North Carolina is seeing its biggest number of cases in a decade. To place the problem into graphic, corporate terms, the charts sent around to compare this year’s activity against that of other years have required re-scaling to accommodate the scary red line going up and up.
Public health officials are telling people it’s not too late to get a flu shot, but according to this article, this year’s vaccine may not be working so well.
One alarming possibility is that this year’s vaccine against influenza is not well-matched to the current disease-causing strains. This exposes a significant problem in the modus operandi of influenza vaccine production—it’s mired in techniques and approaches developed before World War II; in fact soldiers from that war were among the first to get this brand of vaccine. Here’s how it works: each year, around February, world experts select from a menu of dozens just three influenza strains—two of flu A andone of flu B—to place into the coming season’s vaccine. More than three would require a shot with too large a volume and might blunt the body’s immune response. Once selected, the three viruses are grown painstakingly, on hen’s eggs (what year is this?) then, after a big enough crop has been raised, the virus is killed and stabilized and sent around for injections—all on the hope that the experts guessed right.
To date, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found strong agreement between the vaccine strains and the current clinical strains, suggesting the vaccine ought to work just fine. But some clinicians have their doubts. This much activity, is the thinking, can only be due to extremely limited protection from vaccine. For some, it feels like 2009 all over again, when the novel flu strain, so-called because it had never previously been seen in people or animals, appeared. That was the year that spring-break revelers from Queens who had gone south of the border brought back an altogether new strain. Because of its novelty, no vaccine was active against it (at least at the start), so we saw the unchecked spread of influenza zipping across the country in no time flat.
So is that happening again? We won’t know until there is more testing of this year’s strains.
President Obama is getting a lot of criticism for turning his “inner circle” into a “boy’s club.” From Tuesday’s NYT:
In an Oval Office meeting on Dec. 29, 11 of President Obama’s top advisers stood before him discussing the heated fiscal negotiations. The 10 visible in a White House photo are men.
In the days since, Mr. Obama has put together a national security team dominated by men, with Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts nominated to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as the secretary of state, Chuck Hagel chosen to be the defense secretary and John O. Brennan nominated as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Given the leading contenders for other top jobs, including chief of staff and Treasury secretary, Mr. Obama’s inner circle will continue to be dominated by men well into his second term.
From the White House down the ranks, the Obama administration has compiled a broad appointment record that has significantly exceeded the Bush administration in appointing women but has done no better than the Clinton administration, according to an analysis of personnel data by The New York Times. About 43 percent of Mr. Obama’s appointees have been women, about the same proportion as in the Clinton administration, but up from the roughly one-third appointed by George W. Bush.
The skew was widespread: male appointees under Mr. Obama outnumbered female appointees at 11 of the 15 federal departments, for instance. In some cases, the skew was also deep. At the Departments of Justice, Defense, Veterans Affairs and Energy, male appointees outnumbered female appointees by about two to one.
At Salon, Irin Carmon writes:
Diversity in any sense is something that doesn’t really happen unless you try, and if the Obama administration is trying with its top-level appointments, other priorities have clearly trumped it. This doesn’t have to be because of a conspiracy: A lifetime of seeing almost exclusively white men as authority figures has a way of perpetuating itself, and without much self-examination or effort, people tend to go with a certain comfortable framework. (This is true despite the president being a black man; as anyone who has worked for a woman or a person of color who was the first to stake out a spot on hostile turf can tell you, racism and sexism aren’t exclusively white male phenomena.) But it’s still a problem that needs to be talked about, over and over again, until something changes.
Carmon concludes her post with some excellent questions:
…leadership matters, and here we are with this top-level lineup of too-familiar faces. Hillary Clinton is gone, and we don’t have Sheila Bair, Michele Flournoy or Susan Rice (a pretty good selection given that “pipeline problem”) and another white man is expected to succeed Jack Lew as chief of staff should be become the treasury secretary. The numbers look even worse now that Hilda Solis, a Latina woman, has resigned as secretary of labor.
So here are some follow-up questions: Will John Kerry carry on the legacy of Hillary Clinton in encouraging female leadership and entrepreneurship around the world? Will Chuck Hagel, if confirmed as secretary of defense, fully and fairly implement the progressive changes in the military the administration supports, including the partial expansion of abortion access for service-members and dependents, despite his past opposition? How independent will Lew be from the Wall Street boys’ club’s values and logic? And how will the administration do better on this stuff next time, if it does indeed care about it?
At least Eric Holder’s announcement that he is staying on at Attorney General will keep Obama’s cabinet from being made up of only white men.
The Presidential Inauguration Committee announced Tuesday that the President Obama has selected Pastor Louie Giglio of the Georgia-based Passion City Church to deliver the benediction for his second inauguration. In a mid-1990s sermon identified as Giglio’s, available online on a Christian training Web site, he preached rabidly anti-LGBT views. The 54-minute sermon, entitled “In Search of a Standard – Christian Response to Homosexuality,” advocates for dangerous “ex-gay” therapy for gay and lesbian people, references a biblical passage often interpreted to require gay people be executed, and impels Christians to “firmly respond to the aggressive agenda” and prevent the “homosexual lifestyle” from becoming accepted in society.
Read quotes from Giglio’s sermon at the Alternet link.
Buzzfeed notes that the White House hasn’t yet responded to the criticism of the Gigio choice.
The White House on Wednesday was refusing to address comments critical of gay and lesbian people made by Rev. Louie Giglio, who was tapped by President Barack Obama to deliver the benediction prayer at the Jan. 21 inaugural ceremony….
The inaugural invitation is not Giglio’s first interaction with Obama. He also was one of the president’s guests at the White House’s 2012 Easter prayer breakfast, according to the White House pool report from the April 4, 2012 event.
This past November, Giglio served as the convocation speaker at the Jerry Falwell-founded Liberty University. Although he did not address homosexuality in the speech, he did strongly urge visiting high-school students to attend the college known for its strict policies against homosexual behavior and spoke about the positive influence Falwell has had on his life.
While Giglio did not talk about gay issues directly, he did reference gender roles in a striking way, speaking of a time he started crying very hard. He explained, “I started bawling, I mean, sobbing. Not crying like men cry. I started crying like women cry.” Continuing, he explained what he called the unwritten rules for men who cry, telling the students, “A man never looks at another man that’s crying. That’s the rule.”
If you’ve been watching the Rachel Maddow show recently, you’ve heard about the Shell Oil rig that went aground in Alaska last week. Connie from Orlando sent me a couple of links on Rachel’s interview with Rep. Ed Markey last night on Shell’s lies. From the Maddow Blog: One man’s near miss ecological disaster is another man’s swells. Watch the video here.
Paul Ryan is up to his old tricks. From Laura Bassett at HuffPo: Paul Ryan Cosponsors New Fetal Personhood Bill.
Despite the deep unpopularity of fetal personhood bills in 2012, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has again decided to cosponsor the Sanctity of Human Life Act, a bill that gives full legal rights to human zygotes from the moment of fertilization.
Ryan, who reportedly has 2016 presidential ambitions, had to de-emphasize his opposition to abortion without exceptions during the 2012 election to align his position with presidential candidate Mitt Romney. But this year, Ryan has been tapped as a keynote speaker for the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List’s sixth annual Campaign for Life Gala, and he is re-upping his support for the most extreme anti-abortion legislation in the country.
The personhood bill, first introduced in 2011 by Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) and reintroduced by Broun last week, specifies that a “one-celled human embryo,” even before it implants in the uterus to create a pregnancy, should be granted “all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.” Similar legislation has been rejected by voters in multiple states, including the socially conservative Mississippi, because legal experts have pointed out that it could outlaw some forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization as well as criminalize abortion at all stages.
Broun said in a statement that a zygote’s right to life should be “defended vigorously and at all costs.”
“As a physician, I know that human life begins with fertilization, and I remain committed to ending abortion in all stages of pregnancy,” he said. “I will continue to fight this atrocity on behalf of the unborn, and I hope my colleagues will support me in doing so.”
Of course Republican governors are still trying to limit access to abortion, and the Center for Reproductive Rights has designed a “monitoring tool” that can be downloaded to track what’s happening in the states.
The tool outlines State obligations under international and regional human rights law on a range of reproductive rights issues—freedom from discrimination, contraceptive information and services, safe pregnancy and childbirth, abortion and post-abortion care, comprehensive sexuality education, freedom from violence against women, and HIV/AIDS. The tool then identifies key questions that human rights experts, monitoring bodies, and civil society can use to assess to what extent a State is in compliance with its obligations.
I want to end with something more positive from Emily Esfahani-Smith at The Atlantic about the differences between the pursuit of happiness and the search for meaning: There’s More to Life Than Being Happy. It’s about Victor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning. I highly recommend it.
And here’s something nice: and unreleased track from Jimi Hendrix, recorded in the late 1960s.
Have a great day, and please share your recommended reads in the comments!
It will probably be another slow news day today–in fact we’ll most likely have nothing but slow news days until we get past New Years. So I’ve got some non-political and not-all-that-important news to start this post.
If he had lived, Saturday, December 8 would have been Jim Morrison’s 69th birthday. Hard to believe. Of course the way he was going, he probably would have killed himself with alcohol anyway. But I wonder what he would have thought about the world today, if he had lived?
Another rock ‘n’ roll legend who died at age 27–Jimi Hendrix–would have been 70 on November 27. Would he still be “blowing minds” if he were alive today? Maybe.
Instead these two, along with other musical members of the “27 club” are frozen in time, still young and vibrant while the rest of us have aged. Is there something significant about being 27? Is it a year in which a person gets over the hump, so to speak, and begins to move toward adulthood?
According to a study reported by the BBC in 2009, human “mental powers” are greatest at age 22, and the brain begins to decline at age 27.
Professor Timothy Salthouse of the University of Virginia found reasoning, spatial visualisation and speed of thought all decline in our late 20s….His seven-year study of 2,000 healthy people aged 18-60 is published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging.
To test mental agility, the study participants had to solve puzzles, recall words and story details and spot patterns in letters and symbols….In nine out of 12 tests the average age at which the top performance was achieved was 22.
The first age at which there was any marked decline was at 27 in tests of brain speed, reasoning and visual puzzle-solving ability.
Things like memory stayed intact until the age of 37, on average, while abilities based on accumulated knowledge, such as performance on tests of vocabulary or general information, increased until the age of 60.
It may be true that certain mental abilities peak at age 22, but we now know that the frontal lobes continue to develop well into the 30s, and the brain can form new neurons even in old age. I guess it depends on which mental powers are most important to you. Personally I’m glad I didn’t check out at 27.
Would Morrison and Hendrix be surprised that it has taken so long for states to begin decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana? Or would the be surprised that has happened at all?
Yesterday, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed an executive order declaring that recreational pot use is legal in the state.
“Voters were loud and clear on Election Day,” Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, said in a statement, as he signed an executive order to officially legalize the personal use and limited growing of marijuana for those 21 or older. Amendment 64, as it’s called, is now a part of the state’s constitution.
It is still illegal, however, to buy or sell marijuana “in any quantity” in Colorado or to consume it in public.
Hickenlooper, who opposed the amendment in the run-up to Election Day, announced the start of a 24-member task force that would “begin working immediately” to help the state navigate federal laws and establish how citizens can legally purchase and sell cannabis.
Possession and sale of pot are still federal crimes, however. In Washington, where pot became legal last week, at least one bar is now allowing patrons to smoke pot on the premises.
Frankie’s Sports Bar & Grill, owned by one Frank Schnarr, is thought to be the first of its kind anywhere in the U.S.: a bar that lets patrons toke up freely.
“I’m about to lose my business,” the Olympia, Washington-based business owner told Reuters. “So I’ve got to figure out some way to get people in here.”
Just to make sure he’s not chasing off all his customers, Schnarr has set up the second floor of his bar as a private club called “Friends of Frankies.” Interested patrons are charged a $10-a-year fee to access the lounge, where they can smoke marijuana freely. The lounge also serves alcohol, manned by a staff of volunteers paid by tips.
I’m not sure I’d like it if public places in Massachusetts started allowing pot smoking. I guess that would make me into more of a homebody than I already am. I wouldn’t want to smell pot everywhere anymore than I want to smell cigarette smoke. Mary Crescenzo at HuffPo has similar concerns.
I have lots of questions about new state laws regarding weed. With U.S. nonsmoking laws among the most restrictive in the world, I can’t help but wonder if recreational marijuana smokers in Washington and Colorado will regard smoking marijuana as an exception to our nonsmoking rules. In these two states, will smoking marijuana be tolerated in public while smoking cigarettes in public is, for the most part, clearly restricted? A few days ago in Seattle, as people gathered in the streets to celebrate the legalization of the use of marijuana, police asked those smoking pot not to smoke in public. For now, Washington police officers are limited to issuing verbal warnings to smokers but nothing more. Those police requests didn’t seem to dampen the party, though. I can’t be the only one with questions on these new twists and turns in the law.
I have some other worries. I think it’s important for people to understand that pot isn’t completely harmless. A certain percentage of people will become addicted to it. I have seen people in withdrawal from marijuana–it can be problem for people who have addictive tendencies. Smoking a lot of pot may also push vulnerable young people into psychological disorders such as schizophrenia. And a recent study in New Zealand found that smoking pot before age 18 can hinder brain development.
Among a long-range study cohort of more than 1,000 New Zealanders, individuals who started using cannabis in adolescence and used it for years afterward showed an average decline in IQ of 8 points when their age 13 and age 38 IQ tests were compared. Quitting pot did not appear to reverse the loss either, said lead researcher Madeline Meier, a post-doctoral researcher at Duke University. The results appear online Aug. 27 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The key variable in this is the age of onset for marijuana use and the brain’s development, Meier said. Study subjects who didn’t take up pot until they were adults with fully-formed brains did not show similar mental declines. Before age 18, however, the brain is still being organized and remodeled to become more efficient, she said, and may be more vulnerable to damage from drugs.
“Marijuana is not harmless, particularly for adolescents,” said Meier, who produced this finding from the long term Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study. The study has followed a group of 1,037 children born in 1972-73 in Dunedin, New Zealand from birth to age 38 and is led by Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi, psychologists who hold dual appointments at Duke and the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London.
About 5 percent of the study group were considered marijuana-dependent, or were using more than once a week before age 18. A dependent user is one who keeps using despite significant health, social or family problems.
I do support legalization, because I think it’s ridiculous that we are putting people in jail for possession of pot. But society needs to be aware of the consequences if more people begin using the drug regularly.
Could Stephen Colbert replace Jim DeMint in the Senate? A new poll shows he would be the popular favorite.
Why not? We already have one comedian in the Senate.
I really liked this piece by Chris Weigant at HuffPo: If We’re Going to Tax the Rich, Then Let’s Tax the Rich.
Due to the political courageousness of President Obama (there is simply no other way to put it), the folks inside the Beltway are finally having a serious discussion about taxing the rich. Obama is not only strongly fighting for higher tax rates on the higher-income earners, but he was the one who put the subject front and center in the election season — when he could easily have punted it to a non-election year.
But the “tax the rich” policies so far being discussed (at least the ones that leak out to the public) are laughably timid and tame, when you really examine the big picture. So far, what is making Republicans howl is President Obama’s plan to end the Bush tax cuts on the top two marginal income tax rates, which would raise them from 33 percent to 36 percent, and from 35 to 39.6 percent. Seen one way, that’s impressive, since tax rates haven’t gone up in such a fashion since President Clinton’s first year in office. But seen another, it’s not all that radical at all.
Consider the fact that nothing Obama is doing is going to “fix” the problem of Warren Buffett paying a lower tax rate than his secretary — a problem Obama has repeatedly said he’d like to tackle. On “entitlements reform,” only a few lonely voices crying in the wilderness are suggesting ending the most regressive federal tax around, by scrapping the cap on income for Social Security payroll taxes. Also seemingly forgotten in this debate is the proposal for a “millionaires’ tax” or a “transactions tax.” The real measure of whether Democrats and Republicans are both selling smoke and mirrors is whether they permanently fix the Alternative Minimum Tax — again, a subject which has barely been mentioned.
Click on the link to read Weigant’s recommendations.
It’s not just the Catholic Church that has a problem with sexual abuse. The New York Times has an article about a Hasidic religious counselor who has been convicted of abusing a young girl.
Sexual abuse in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community has long been hidden. Victims who came forward were intimidated into silence; their families were shunned; cases were dropped for a lack of cooperation.
But on Monday, a State Supreme Court jury in Brooklyn delivered a stunning victory to prosecutors and victims’ advocates, convicting a 54-year-old unlicensed therapist who is a prominent member of the Satmar Hasidic community of Williamsburg of repeatedly sexually abusing a young girl who had been sent to him for help.
“The veil of secrecy has been lifted,” said Charles J. Hynes, the Brooklyn district attorney. “The wall that has existed in parts of these communities has now been broken through. And as far as I’m concerned, it is very clear to me that it is only going to get better for people who are victimized in these various communities.”
The case against the therapist, Nechemya Weberman, was a significant milestone for Mr. Hynes, whose office has been criticized for not acting aggressively enough against sexual abusers in the borough’s large and politically connected ultra-Orthodox community.
These creeps are everywhere.
I’ll end with this. I love grapefruit, so I didn’t appreciate this piece at Slate: Grapefruit is disgusting. I think it was intended to be tongue in cheek, but I didn’t laugh once. Katy Waldman objects to her least favorite fruit being given as a Christmas gift.
It needs to stop. This killjoy has already invaded our breakfast routines. Its baleful pink, white, or red flesh shines from thousands of tables. Its pulp gets stuck in our teeth. Its juice stains our clothes. And now, we are asked to inflict the scourge on our relatives, shipping it off in packages of 12 or more in order to demonstrate our love?
No. Grapefruit is unwieldy, disgusting, and in some cases dangerous to eat. It is indisputably the worst fruit anyone has ever put on a plate.
A pause, now, for its partisans to bellow, “But it’s a superfood!” Grapefruit enjoys an exalted reputation, thanks in part to countless magazine stories and nutrition listicles singing its praises. It figures in fad diets, including its eponymous diet, dreamed up by Hollywood sadists. Even its scientific name, Citrus x paradisi—so called because, in 1750, naturalist Griffith Hughes dubbed grapefruit the “forbidden fruit” of the Barbados—implies that it belongs somewhere in the Garden of Eden. It does not. It belongs in the trashcan.
Now what are you reading and blogging about today?
It’s a little late, but since it’s so dead around here this weekend, I thought I’d post a tribute to the great Bob Dylan who turned 70 on Tuesday. I began listening to his music when I was in high school. Dylan helped me survive my teen years. I’ll never forget the first time I heard “Like a Rolling Stone” in 1965. It was amazing. It was the first time I ever heard such a long song played on the radio–6 minutes! And it was Dylan singing rock ‘n’ roll! Of course purist folk fans were outraged when he switched to electric, but he always went his own way.
Here’s a little history from Wikipedia:
“Like a Rolling Stone” is a 1965 song by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. Its confrontational lyrics originate in an extended piece of verse Dylan wrote in June 1965, when he returned exhausted from a grueling tour of England. After the lyrics were heavily edited, “Like a Rolling Stone” was recorded a few weeks later as part of the sessions for the forthcoming album Highway 61 Revisited. During a difficult two-day pre-production, Dylan struggled to find the essence of the song, which was demoed without success in 3/4 time. A breakthrough was made when it was tried in a rock music format, and rookie session musician Al Kooper improvised the organ riff for which the track is known. However, Columbia Records was unhappy with both the song’s length at over six minutes and its heavy electric sound, and was hesitant to release it. It was only when a month later a copy was leaked to a new popular music club and heard by influential DJs that the song was put out as a single. Although radio stations were reluctant to play such a long track, “Like a Rolling Stone” reached number two in the US charts and became a worldwide hit.
The track has been described as revolutionary in its combination of different musical elements, the youthful, cynical sound of Dylan’s voice, and the directness of the question in the chorus: “How does it feel?”. “Like a Rolling Stone” transformed Dylan’s career and is today considered one of the most influential compositions in post-war popular music and has since its release been both a music industry and popular culture milestone which elevated Dylan’s image to iconic.
Happy Birthday, Bob! At his age, we get to celebrate a birthday for more than one day. Feel free to post your favorite Dylan tunes, covers are okay too!