Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Terrible Tuesday

As we gird up our loins for battle…



Quick but Interesting (Open Thread)

I saw this earlier on the tweet-machines and wanted to amplify it. Click through for the whole tweet thread/slideshow:

It reminded me of the excellent documentary Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten, about the cool rock & roll scene Cambodia had before the Khmer Rouge, ah, murdered everyone involved.

Anywho, looks like we could probably do with an open thread, so, open thread! Hope everybody’s Saturday is going well. So far I’ve done my one big weekend errand and eaten tacos. I’m calling it a success.








Friday Morning Open Thread: Queen Aretha Will Never Die

She was a religious woman, and her faith was strong in an afterlife where she could forever share her gifts. We will surely miss her, though!

The lyrics of The House That Jack Built were problematic even in 1968, but it was always one of my favorites. Something about Ms. Franklin’s voice acknowledging, in the mirror-image of a contemporaneous hit, that even when you fought righteously to get what you needed, it might not be everything you wanted
 

For 17 years, I wrote Aretha dozens of postcards and letters, one every six months, promoting myself as the right collaborator for her memoirs. After working with Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and Etta James, I asked each of them to put in a good word for me. When I ghosted Jerry Wexler’s memoirs, I asked him to do the same. They all complied, yet Aretha stayed silent. I befriended her brother Clarence, her sister-in-law Earline, her sisters Erma and Carolyn and her first cousin Brenda. Although I researched Aretha’s life thoroughly, my aim wasn’t a biography, but to work with Aretha herself. I wanted to be her ghost. Of all the great voices, hers was the one I yearned to channel.

And then it happened. Before going to Detroit to research a Motown project, I sent Aretha a postcard — probably my two hundredth — saying I’d love to see her. When she called me at my hotel, I nearly lost it. But I held on, spoke to her for over an hour and convinced her that I was her literary man. We went to work on her book.

Those close to her said she’d never let down her guard. But that didn’t faze me. I’d win over her trust and charm the truth out of her. I didn’t. I found what we wrote — From These Roots (1999) — shallow and void of introspection. During the process, Aretha and I remained civil to another, but she clearly rejected my approach and fashioned the book according to her fantasy of an idyllic life. That was her right. We’re all free to mythologize ourselves any way we please…
Read more



Aretha Franklin RIP

Aretha Franklin is dead at 76.

So much great stuff it’s hard to pick but “Do Right Woman” is my favorite:

The Muscle Shoals documentary does an amazing job of describing her early years and how she became a star. She was obviously remarkably talented from the beginning but the record companies didn’t know quite what to do with her, and her early commercial recordings were stiff. Then she cut “Never Loved A Man” at FAME studios (with that great piano riff by Spooner Oldham) and was on her way to becoming the Queen of Soul.

Here’s some other great stuff








Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Soldier On



Thousand Dollar Car

I think it is uniquely American, what with our hostility to public transportation outside of the big cities, that we force the working poor to buy rotten old cars to shamble around in. My best thousand dollar car was a $500 canary yellow 1979 Pinto that I took all over the West in the summer of 1989. It was still running when I sold it in 1994.

On this Fourth of July let’s remember the tenuous grasp on Independence our less than reliable friends gave us long ago.








Friday Afternoon Open Thread

Life being a time-limited proposition, I know it’s unwise to wish away the minutes and hours. But goddamn, am I ever glad this interminable workweek is nearly over. Open thread!