Open Thread

Leonard Cohen turned 80 on Sonday and released a new album yesterday. All I have to say is that he is one dapper motherfucker, for 80 or any other age.

26 replies
  1. 1
    raven says:

    Too Young to Die, Too Old to Worry

    THIS weekend, the singer and songwriter Leonard Cohen is celebrating his 80th birthday — with a cigarette. Last year he announced that he would resume smoking when he turned 80. “It’s the right age to recommence,” he explained.

    At any age, taking up smoking is not sensible. Both the smoker and those who breathe his secondhand smoke can suffer not only long-term but acute health problems, including infections and asthma. And yet, Mr. Cohen’s plan presents a provocative question: When should we set aside a life lived for the future and, instead, embrace the pleasures of the present?

  2. 2
    raven says:

    If you haven’t seen McCabe and Mrs Miller. . . you must!

    Traveling Lady, stay a while . . .

  3. 3
    WaterGirl says:

    My dad used to wear hats like that, and I always told him how dapper he looked.

    Thanks for tickling my memories; he’s been gone for 20 years but I’ll always be daddy’s girl in my heart.

  4. 4
    gbear says:

    I heard part of a song off the new album on the radio yesterday but had to turn it off. His voice and his style just ain’t my cuppa tea, but then I’m sure (as Raven noted above) that he could give a shit about me not liking his music…

    He does have the dapper thing going though, and we can be happy that he hasn’t gone the Tom Waits route of singing like he does while also sounding like a dog is trying to tear his leg off.

  5. 5
    the Conster says:

    Saw him a couple of years ago, and he still sounds great too. What an enormous talent, and a full life lived.

    Sail on, sail on
    O mighty Ship of State!
    To the Shores of Need
    Past the Reefs of Greed
    Through the Squalls of Hate
    Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.


    I would gladly argue that that is the best soundtrack of any movie ever.

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    WaterGirl says:

    Hallelujah is one of the most beautiful and haunting songs ever.

  7. 7
    gbear says:

    Edit command not available, but I just wanted to add that I’ve played in bands that I knew were an ‘aquired taste’. I’d give friends tapes and let them know right up front that I wouldn’t feel bad if they didn’t like it. To each his own.

  8. 8
    raven says:


    I was born like this, I had no choice
    I was born with the gift of a golden voice
    And twenty-seven angels from the Great Beyond
    They tied me to this table right here
    In the Tower of Song

  9. 9
    raven says:

    And yet people LIKE Waits!

  10. 10
    Aardvark Cheeselog says:

    Yet Another item in “I’m glad my Dad didn’t live to see this one.”

    The top item in the US section of my Google News feed this AM is a collection of outraged squawks about PBO’s “disrespect” for his Marine detail, as evidenced by a “coffee cup salute.”

    The practice of the President saluting the Marines is one of those Reagan-era innovations that I hope to see the end of one day. Not as obnoxious as ending every public utterance with “… and God bless the United States of America,” but still annoying in a petty way. Dad was a Marine of the WWII era, and he had nothing but contempt for this kind of BS from civilians.

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    raven says:


    Time’s winged chariot hasn’t caught up to Cohen yet; he’s already halfway through his next album, contemplating yet another tour. When Lou Reed inducted Cohen into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, Reed said, with uncharacteristic graciousness, “We are so lucky to be alive at the same time as Leonard Cohen.” Reed is now no longer among us, but we are still lucky to be alive in Cohen’s time. He once said, “If I knew where the good songs came from, I’d go there more often.” And so, on Popular Problems, Leonard Cohen ventured back to that mysterious place again. In a word, Hallelujah.

  13. 13
    BGinCHI says:

    Want to read a great book on Leonard Cohen (from my very own publisher)?

    Here you go:

  14. 14
    gbear says:

    @raven: Yep, I realize that I’m bucking the trends.

  15. 15

    @raven: Okay, a question. When I was teaching, one of my former students who had enlisted came to visit. We had been friends when he was in my class, and when he showed up in uniform, he greeted me with a by-the-book salute. I’m sure he was doing it to show respect, but I’d always heard you salute the uniform, not the man. I didn’t know how to respond, so I just put out my hand to shake. Was he wrong, and what should I have done?

  16. 16
    Mike in NC says:

    @Aardvark Cheeselog: But Saint Reagan personally liberated a Nazi death camp, right?

  17. 17
    raven says:

    @Mustang Bobby: He was wrong, you don’t salute civilians unless the person is in the Chain of Command:

    Persons Entitled to a Salute

    The President of the United States (Commander-in-Chief)
    Commissioned Officers and Warrant Officers
    Any Medal of Honor Recipient
    Officers of Friendly Foreign Countries
    A salute is also rendered

    When the United States National Anthem, “To the Color,” “Hail to the Chief,” or foreign national anthems are played.
    To uncased National Color outdoors.
    On ceremonial occasions (such as Change of Command, and Military Parades).
    At reveille and retreat ceremonies, during the raising or lowering of the flag.
    During the sounding of honors.
    When the Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. flag is being recited outdoors.
    When turning over control of formations.
    When rendering reports.
    Salutes are not required when

    Indoors, except when reporting to an officer or when on duty as a guard.
    Addressing a prisoner.
    Saluting is obviously inappropriate. In these cases, only greetings are exchanged. (Example: A person carrying articles with both hands, or being otherwise so occupied as to make saluting impracticable, is not required to salute a senior person or return the salute to a subordinate.)
    Either the senior or the subordinate is wearing civilian clothes (a salute in this case is not inappropriate, but is not required.)
    Officers of equal rank pass each other (a salute in this case is not inappropriate, but it is not required.)
    Prisoners whose sentences include punitive discharges have lost the right to salute. All other prisoners, regardless of custody or grade, render the prescribed salute except when under armed guard.

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    Mike E says:

    ok…let’s try that again.
    Jersey Girl, with extra lyrics!

  20. 20
    Johannes says:

    I saw Cohen on stage at Madison Squre Garden a couple years back, and he was amazing–played from 8:30 to midnight, with one break, and–here’s the amazing bit–made sure that every singer and musician on the stage with him had several chances to showcase her or his talent. In “I Tried To Leave You,” for example, everyone got to solo. And on “Boogie Street,” he sang backup for Sharon Robinson, while yielding all of “If it be Thy Will” to the Webb Sisters. Remarkably gracious, I thought. And one hell of a show. And don’t talk to me about “Alexandra Leaving,” a song that I don’t want to hear because it’s so heartbreaking.

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    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    @Johannes: I haven’t seen him since he was a mere youngster of 77, but had the same marvelous experience – twice, because once wasn’t enough – at the Paramount in Oakland. His whole band is amazing.

    The one song I just can’t stand is “Suzanne,” but since that’s always a big number in his shows, it gives me a chance to run to the loo without a long line.

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    The Fat Kate Middleton says:

    @Johannes: This is almost word for word what I wanted to write here – except that I would substitute the venue Chicago. One of the best concerts I’ve ever seen. And his new album is wonderful.

  24. 24
    The Fat Kate Middleton says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice: I’m with you on ‘Suzanne’. But so many other paeans to women that are gorgeous – Gypsy Wife, Ballad of the Absent Mare, Partisan, etc.

  25. 25
    Johannes says:

    @The Fat Kate Middleton: On “Old Ideas” I think Amen is the breakout classic. Just brilliant.

  26. 26
    The Fat Kate Middleton says:

    @Johannes: Absolutely. Looking for where I can next see him.

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