R.I.P.: Dick Gregory

I’ll be honest — comedians, even social-activist ones, are off my screen. The only funny-stuff albums I own are by Jonathan Winters, the Firesign Theater and Richard Pryor. And I almost never play them. So I know way more about Dick Gregory after reading his obits. Confirms my long-held belief that it’s possible to be an admirable figure and a crank at the same time.

Charles M. Blow Has No More F*cks To Give

So he’s laying it right out there, since too many missed it the first four thousand times.

Bill Clinton had a number of cowardly moments, but one that really stuck in my craw was the whole “didn’t inhale” garbage. The first POTUS to admit he was going to let the powerless rot in jail for ages because of a harmless “crime” he had committed himself. That’s a new level of hypocrisy and indifference to the weak.

Not as evil as the original establishment of the “War on Drugs” of course, which I brought up in my second point back here.

I fell short when I forgot that there was a confessed tyrannical agenda behind these irrational “wars.” And I see how it worked. Operating in total ignorance, my parents thought maryjuana was Satan incarnated in a plant.

R.I.P.: Paul Oliver

[I will try to supplement this later. Too pooped right now.]

A pioneer, no question.

For me, the two most pioneering works were his biography of Bessie Smith, which brought her back from utter obscurity in 1959 and made the case for her as a blues master, at a time when only [male] solo country performers were thought to be the “real thing.”(I did not know the book was not originally his idea. Oh well.) The other was his book Savannah Syncopators, which founded the discussion of links between African and African-American musics. I haven’t picked it up in a very long time and I’m sure it’s dated (not least because we know so much more about African musics now), but like I say, pioneering.

Good interview with lots of little-known scoop.

(Still) R.I.P.: The Pelvis

(Still) R.I.P. The Pelvis

Some people call it the album for only the most devoted Presley fans.

I won’t go that far (these good-is-bad-is-outside-in propositions give me sorassisis), but I will agree with Marcus that it is “perversely listenable.”

And you’ll pry my copy (the only one I ever saw and way more than I could sanely afford at the time) from my cold, dead, peanut-butter stained hands.

A Needed Negative Review

I’m sure not gonna subscribe to the WSJ to read this article. But it does prompt me to take note of the most justified negative review I’ve read in quite a while.

Namely the Number 9 item in this Real Life Rock Top 10.

When I heard this album my response was also WTF — then I realized it had been overhyped with scarcely a claim that the performances were outstanding (and Dion barely mails them in). Instead, fabulous producer on hot streak and exciting times for music and Dion has made killer records. Fooey.

 

 

Not Funes, But Not Fumes, Either

I read The Mind of a Mnemonist when it was new  — must have run across it in a Bozeman bookstore — and, though I had not read Borges yet, it was indeed like one of his fables was declared true. I was too inexperienced to realize the book was a bit slippery and evasive to be trusted as straight science or even faithful reporting — in retrospect, very similar to the shadow play of Carlos Castaneda. Two points continue unchanged: you really, really wanted the story to be true because S. was a sort of magic man; it was gratifying to see the book become such a hit — was as captivating as I thought it was.

 

R.I.P. The Original Soul of Godzilla

Hauro deserves a deep bow from this lifelong moster-movie fan.

BUT

 

According to us hardcores, there are three levels of Old Tech Monsters:

Worst: Lizards and frogs with shit glued onto them.

Meh: Guys in suits, no matter how nifty the suit (James Arness, as “The Thing From Another World” was the best, except I keeping seeing it wearing a cowboy hat since I found out who it was.)

Best: “Dynamation” and its relatives — this required serious art and craft and the payoff could be superb. If you haven’t seen “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad,” what are you waiting for?