Archive for The Way We Were

Lake of the ages

Greg Lake might have been my favorite of all the progressive-rock vocalists; he was always clear and forceful, no matter what instrumental backing you threw behind him.

Roger turned this up. It’s Lake’s vocal track from “Epitaph,” from the middle of King Crimson’s In the Court of the Crimson King, a justly famed landmark in prog-rock. (The band had only eight tracks to work with, so instrumental bits and pieces sneak in from time to time.)

And from later days, “From the Beginning,” a song Lake wrote during his Emerson, Lake and Palmer days, here performed live by Lake, probably from his 2012 “Songs of a Lifetime” tour.

Lake died Wednesday of cancer; he was 69. Carl Palmer is still alive; Keith Emerson killed himself earlier this year. And God (or Robert Fripp) only knows how many members of King Crimson survive.

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Still living in infamy

Bill Quick on the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor:

This was the second worst sneak attack on the American homeland in our history. We still remember it. Well, those of us who haven’t had their brains washed clean of that history by a malign progressive indoctrination system masquerading as education.

The worst attack was, of course, carried out by savage, barbaric Muslim Saudis on September 11, 2001. We’re supposed to forget that one, too, I believe.

In time, it is all forgotten.

But this isn’t the time.

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The one-time Minister of Munitions

The Friar, to commemorate the 142nd anniversary of the birth of Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (1874-1965), brings back one of Sir Winston’s most famous quotes:

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

Quips the Friar: “I mean, it’s no ‘Build a wall and make Mexico pay for it,’ but it did well enough for its time, right?”

Incidentally, Churchill did actually serve as Minister of Munitions — during what would be called the Great War, under Prime Minister David Lloyd George.

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The happier diet plan

Yeah, that Adderall is great for one’s waistline:

Vintage amphetamine advertising

“Magic powder,” indeed.

Harry “The Hipster” Gibson was available for comment, sort of.

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After a hot morning mess

Nineteen seventy-three. I’m wearing khakis because while I thought I looked better in fatigues, which isn’t saying much, the crusty warrant officer (then again, aren’t all warrant officers crusty?) who ran our shop insisted, and I wasn’t one to bend rules — at least, not his rules. Our little subcommand had lots of duty stations worldwide, some of them desirable, some of them less so. There was one post, though, that nobody ever seemed to want, and given the fact that transfer orders for enlisted personnel had to get past my desk, rather a lot of individuals who outranked me — I was a lowly Specialist Four at the time — seemed willing to do me favors to get them out of that assignment if at all possible. I never promised anything, and I never tried to collect on any of those markers, but sure enough, disposition forms materialized, signed by the correct officers, changing their destinations to some preferred location.

This could not possibly last forever, and of course it didn’t. Eventually they decided to fill one particular billet with me. It was a short tour — 12 months — and it came with a stripe. I shrugged. “I’m twenty years old,” I said, “and I’ve never been east of Boston or west of Amarillo. Maybe I should quit bitching.”

And so I was packed off to the Middle East, which was quieter than it is today and much quieter than some Southeast Asian locations at the time. It was, first and foremost, a duty station, so duty came first; but I did manage to spend some free time wandering about this crazed place without working up too much of a sweat. (Really. Typical middle-of-summer high temperature: 80° F. What was I worried about?) Of course, things can and do happen without notice, and as the phrase goes, everyone’s secondary MOS is Eleven Bravo.

That post has long since been closed, its need for it having largely evaporated and its host country having grown restive, even surly, over the years. Still, a lot of us passed through its gates over the years, and some of us are still around, even though we’re no longer wearing fatigues. Or khakis.

(Reposted from 2014.)

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My grandfather’s Oldsmobile

The manual transmission, in this part of the world anyway, is almost dead. Perhaps it’s instructive to remember that the automatic wasn’t always the default:

And in those days, GM would happily build slushboxes for everyone; smaller automakers (Hudson, Nash, Kaiser-Frazer) without the resources to develop their own transmissions came calling on the General. Even Ford bought Hydra-Matic and installed it in Lincolns; the lesser Ford-O-Matic was a licensed Borg-Warner design.

(Via Dusty Old Thing.)

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License to gawk

All I know about this is that it came out in the middle Sixties, a period when, if I had a dollar to spare, I bought a phonograph record:

Leg Watchers' League application

Then again, at that tender age I had yet to see even one issue of Tip Top magazine, a periodical that apparently did not concern itself with matters above the waist. (Their slogan: “Fron the tip of the toes to the top of the hose.”) Their editors would likely despair at our present-day barelegged era. And the mag itself has long since gone away: the address is currently occupied by B A Marble and Granite.

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Retropucking

There was literally nothing in minor-league hockey anything like the old Oklahoma City Blazers of the Central Hockey League:

The last incarnation of the Blazers came into being in 1992 with the revival of the CHL. They were one of the most successful minor league hockey franchises of all time, averaging 9,128 fans a game over 17 seasons. The franchise led the CHL in attendance in each of its 17 seasons in the league; and all of North American minor pro hockey on five occasions. On ice, the Blazers excelled as well, winning an unprecedented nine regular season division championships (including seven straight, 1996–2003), five regular-season points titles and CHL championships in 1996 and 2001. The franchise’s two great stars, Joe Burton and Hardy Sauter, are the CHL’s first and third all-time career leading scorers, and Burton is the fourth leading goal scorer in minor league hockey history.

The CHL folded in 2014; the Blazers had departed five years earlier, on the pretext of not being able to negotiate a lease with the city. As it turned out, the ownership had bigger fish to fry: in 2010, a dormant American Hockey League franchise was awakened from the dead and moved out of deepest Canuckistan into Bricktown, and given the name “Oklahoma City Barons.” Lead-pipe cinch, right? Wrong: while the Barons played well most of the time, winning 202 of 384 games, their attendance was among the worst in the AHL, and in 2015 the team relocated to, um, Bakersfield, California, where they didn’t play as well but drew substantially (about 30 percent) more spectators.

And that would seem to be that, except that a local sports guy (NBC station) came up with this last night:

What do we want? “The Blazers!” When do we want them? “Next season!”

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But still dismal

The Z Man has his doubts about economics:

Economics, as I’m fond of saying, is the modern equivalent of astrology. Before a battle, Cyrus II of Persia would bring in his astrologers to advice him on the time and place to attack his enemy. The astrologers would figure out what he wanted to hear, consult their maps and then tell him what he wanted to hear. Cyrus was a badass dude who was rarely wrong, so it was a wise course by the astrologers to tell the boss what he already knew. When he won, they got some credit and they avoided contradicting the boss.

This old story about the eminent astrologer economist Joseph Stiglitz praising the economic polices of Venezuela ten years ago is a good example. Stiglitz was telling his hosts what they wanted to hear because they were paying him to endorse their brand of lunacy. Of course, Venezuela is now headed to total collapse because their economy has ground to a halt. In an age when Mexico’s poor people are obese, Venezuela has managed to have a food shortage. Maybe the rulers should not have listened to Joseph Stiglitz.

Rulers will listen to anyone who will say the things they want to hear. God knows our political class, if possible even worse than Venezuela’s, is desperate to dissemble, and as a result all manner of soothsayers are kept on retainer.

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Don’t step on the puppy

Seriously. Just don’t:

1946 advertisement for Fine Feathers hosiery

Some of those postwar shoe styles might be au courant even today.

Miller-Smith Hosiery Mills was located in Chattanooga, and they last renewed the Fine Feathers trademark in 1969; it has since fallen into desuetude.

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Have you seen this Wizard’s?

I admit to having shopped at this place a time or two, twenty-some-odd years ago:

At least the keyboard looked substantial.

(From the collection of Rob O’Hara.)

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One of those 100-year floods

A mere 89 years ago:

The Mississippi River, south of Memphis, grew to more than sixty miles wide.

(Via American Digest.)

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Fading into silence

A hint at what radio used to be:

Advertisement for radio station KWK in St Louis, 1947

You’d think an original three-letter call from the 1920s would be worth preserving, but apparently not: starting in 1984, KWK went through a dizzying variety of call letters, ending in 2015 as KXFN. Before it was KWK, it was KFVE, and over the years they moved from 1280 to 1350 to 1380. For a while, there was also an FM, at 106.5. This made for some interesting situations:

Since the AM and FM stations were licensed in different cities, KWK was only allowed to simulcast on both frequencies for a portion of the day. John Hutchinson remembered “when the AM and FM broadcasts were split, the FM jock would play the playlist from the top of the page down and the AM jock would play tunes from the bottom of the page up. When the time came to simulcast we would pick a tune over the intercom and try to begin the tunes at the same time so that we could flip the ‘simulcast’ switch and purportedly no one would detect the merge. Of course this did not always happen smoothly … causing much hilarity amongst the air staff.”

The station has been silent since last December. The Mutual Broadcasting System was killed by Westwood One in 1999; the “Muny,” still in Forest Park, continues.

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Retrieved from the vault

This story might have been interesting even if it didn’t involve Canadian garage rock:

A Grand Forks, B.C. man is living his rock and roll dream after a half-century on the shelf.

Danny Norton fronted a psychedelic rock band in the 1960’s in Winnipeg. He recorded a minor hit called Expedition to Earth, that small-towners grooved to back in the day.

That single was the end of his dream. The album was never cut.

But clearly the single was never entirely forgotten:

Norton’s wife went hunting on eBay for the vinyl and found out it had turned to gold.

The orange-labelled disc fetched $900 from collectors.

Another copy appeared three months later. Bidding for that ended at $1137.

Because obscurity, here are both sides of Franklin QC 618: “Expedition to Earth” b/w “Time Time Time,” by Danny Norton’s Expedition to Earth.

Norton’s now working on an album.

(With thanks to Roger Green.)

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Last train to Doodyville

This sort of broke me up: the opening and closing of The Howdy Doody Show episode #2343, the very last episode, aired Saturday, 24 September 1960.

The following week, Howdy was replaced by The Shari Lewis Show, which ran for three seasons.

Bitter irony: Buffalo Bob Smith died the last week of July 1998. Shari Lewis died the first week of August 1998.

(Via Daily Pundit.)

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Engulfed

This has been floating around Facebook with the question “Do you remember when gas prices were this low?”

1960s price stand at a Gulf station

If you’re immediately thinking “1950s,” you’re just a little too early. This sign can’t be from any earlier than 1961, when Gulf decided to drop its super-premium Gulfcrest (from a purple pump!) and replace it with the sub-regular Gulftane.

Why would they do a thing like that? Presumably to compete with the cheap gas from that questionable-looking station on the wrong side of the tracks.

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It was 15 years ago today

From this very site, 8 August 2001:

Thumbs up to this moderately-newfangled chip-repair service for automotive windshields. As World Tour fans will recall, I caught a meteorite or something while passing between the Carolinas on I-95. A Charleston glass shop balked at repairing the hole, saying that it was too close to the line of sight; South Carolina law is apparently fairly finicky about repairable and non-repairable zones. I balked at replacing the windshield, reasoning that I had a couple thousand miles to go, and what’s to prevent me from catching another freaking projectile? There were no further falling rocks, and I resolved to ignore the little dent — until today, when I watched a repair job being performed on a coworker’s vehicle, and I was sufficiently impressed to ask the young lady doing the deed if she could make time for my car next. She could, and all that remains is a faint semicircle surrounding a tiny zit, low enough on the glass that I actually have to look for it to see it. A shorter driver might not be so lucky, but while I’ve lost an inch or two off my waist, I’m not likely to lose that much off my height, so that’s not my problem.

Thumbs down to whatever demons are automagically summoned when you have to install a HP DeskJet on an IBM ThinkPad, especially if it’s going to be running through a USB port. (No, it’s not a Windows 95 box, but thanks for asking.) I am sorely tempted to blow off this USB stuff and make the end user deal with a parallel port, the way God (or at least Centronics) intended.

I mention that because of this:

It’s kind of weird to think that the Web’s been around for just 25 years, and InstaPundit has been around for 15 of them.

And I’m glad for that, even as I muse that I’ve been around for 20 (and a fraction) of those years.

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Before any jimmies were rustled

When I lived in Corpus Christi, circa 1960, there were two supermarkets nearby: a Handy Andy and a Jitney Jungle. No sign of Andy lately, but Jitney Jungle made it to Wikipedia, and with it, an explanation of the name:

The naming process began during a Sunday dinner at the home of Judge V. J. Stricker, a close friend of the [founding] families. The “Jitney” in the title was a popular name for the cut-rate five-cent taxis of that day, many of which were operated by returning veterans. It would be jitneys that would carry many of the cash customers to the store and back. Jitney was also a slang term for a nickel. That fitted in with the “nickel on a quarter” that the customer would save by patronizing the self-service store. Also, a popular expression of that time had to do with “jingling your jitneys in your pockets.” Thus, Judge Stricker ventured the name Jitney-Jingle. There is a legend that “Jingle” got to be “Jungle” by virtue of a printer’s error in the first advertisement. Rather it was a play on words by Mr. Will McCarty. Every Jitney would be a jungle of bargains that could save the customer a “jitney” on a quarter.”

I have no idea what’s in that space on South Staples Street today.

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Checking one’s hindsight (2)

Note: The following originally appeared in Vent #14, from this week in 1996.

According to the packet of information dispatched to me by the Reform Party, about half the Democrats (about 15 percent of the electorate) and about half the Republicans (about 15 percent of the electorate) would prefer a third party if one existed. Of course, there have been third parties since the days of powdered Whigs; the Perot crowd believes that in 1996 a third party could actually elect a President.

Well, it could happen. Ross Perot himself, despite the swiftest descent into self-parody since Joe Piscopo, drew nearly one-fifth of the popular vote in 1992 against two fairly blah major-party candidates. This year, “fairly blah” is far too kind for either Bill Clinton or Bob Dole; you’d almost think the party faithful had decided that going through the motions wasn’t worth it anymore, and that we might as well replace Executive, Legislative and Judiciary with Time Warner, Philip Morris and Wal-Mart and get it over with.

From the vantage point of today, that might have been an improvement.

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To soar beyond the clouds

That which is Pony inspires us all, from whatever corner of the world as we know it.

The musician known to us as MelodicPony, who crafted this lovely bit of orchestration in 2013, has died, the victim of a stroke. He was twenty-seven.

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Quote of the week

Dale Ahlquist, President of the American Chesterton Society, in an historical piece for the Society’s Gilbert Magazine, May-June 2016:

It is commonly thought that [G. K.] Chesterton was fired from the Daily News for raising his voice against the Liberal Party, but the fact is he quit, and his leaving the Daily News was itself news. But even before he quit, we can see a change in tone during the last months of his tenure there, especially when he devotes one of this columns to an open letter to the Liberal Party. In it, he confesses that for the first time since he started writing for the paper, he is not enjoying himself. He admits that he has been a Liberal “since shortly before I was born” because the party represented freedom and democracy. He could see, however, that it was clearly acting in the direct opposite of those ideals. Before the straw that breaks the camel’s back, there is a penultimate straw that does severe spinal damage. For Chesterton it is the compulsory Insurance Act [1911], and the fact that the paper calls someone who opposes the act an “anarchist.” Chesterton has already spoken out against the problems posed by compulsory health insurance: the rise in the power of the medical establishment joined at the hip with government, the looming threat of eugenics and, with it, infanticide, the messing with marriage, the manipulation of the working class, and above all, the helplessness of the citizen to do anything about it: “The broad, brutal fact about the capitalist State in which we live is in two parts: First, that we are all servants; second, that we know less and less whom we are serving.” And: “It used to be the weak things that hid themselves, now it is the strong things that hide.”

Historical notes: Chesterton’s last piece for the Daily News was in February 1913. The paper itself was merged into the News Chronicle in 1930, which in turn was absorbed by the Daily Mail in 1960.

Britain’s Liberal Party and Social Democratic Party merged in 1988 to form the current Liberal Democratic Party; a new Liberal Party rose the next year, but holds no seats in Parliament at this time.

The National Insurance Act, never really as “national” as it was billed to be, was eventually repealed; however, many of its ideas would rematerialize with the founding of the National Health Service in 1948.

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Checking one’s hindsight (1)

Note: The following originally appeared in Vent #10, from this week in 1996.

Occasional Baptist counterexamples notwithstanding, the true religion of Oklahoma is football, which explains why two of the state’s Representatives (out of six) are former college football players who have little else to recommend them. The First District’s Steve Largent, recently stroked by America’s leading political magazine — People Weekly — is owned and operated by the Pat Robertson crowd, and this always plays well in Tulsa, which is, after all, Oral Roberts’ home base. Largent, therefore, will probably survive this fall. More troublesome for the GOP is Julius Caesar Watts, installed in the Fourth District seat after spending a couple of years on the Corporation Commission shilling for utility companies. In the House, he rails against all government programs except the one that enabled him to buy a distressed Midwest City apartment complex dirt-cheap. And remember all that yammering about how Congress shouldn’t exempt itself from the laws it inflicts on the public sector? Our friend J. C. has managed to exempt a mere 94 percent of his staff from the Fair Labor Standards Act. (Steve Largent, by comparison, has fully a third of his staff covered, which by this state’s standards borders on commendable. The Tulsa World covered all this during the spring, if anyone is curious.) Word is now out that Watts turned a profit on his investment with Hillary-like speed, which automatically arouses suspicion around Dustbury, and this could well cost him his seat come November.

As it happens, neither Largent nor Watts had anything to worry about in the ’96 election, or the next two. Largent gave up his seat in 2002 to run for Governor, but was beaten by Brad Henry. Watts left in 2002 to sort of return to the private sector; he’s now CEO of the no-longer-scandal-ridden charity Feed the Children.

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When greatness calls

Muhammad Ali, we remember, had a decidedly activist side:

“I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”

Some found this disquieting. But Ali was working with ideas, not with buzzwords: no matter what he said, kidding around or deadly serious, he was never just going through the motions. And even when he told you he was The Greatest, he knew, and would willingly acknowledge, that there was Someone Even Greater.

A little bit of bombast, a whole lot of humble:

And the President said exactly the right thing:

He wasn’t perfect, of course. For all his magic in the ring, he could be careless with his words, and full of contradictions as his faith evolved. But his wonderful, infectious, even innocent spirit ultimately won him more fans than foes — maybe because in him, we hoped to see something of ourselves. Later, as his physical powers ebbed, he became an even more powerful force for peace and reconciliation around the world. We saw a man who said he was so mean he’d make medicine sick reveal a soft spot, visiting children with illness and disability around the world, telling them they, too, could become the greatest. We watched a hero light a torch, and fight his greatest fight of all on the world stage once again; a battle against the disease that ravaged his body, but couldn’t take the spark from his eyes.

That spark lives on, even as the man who brought it travels to a higher plane.

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A page from my past

Actually, this is a current page, but it was seriously pertinent to me back in the 1960s:

Bishop England High School has been providing a Catholic, college preparatory education to thousands of young men and women of varied backgrounds since it was founded in 1915. Students graduating from Bishop England make a mark on their world through leadership, achievement, and service — skills learned as part of the Bishop England experience. BE’s ability to prepare young men and women into adults who are critical thinkers, who understand the importance of human dignity and empathy, who respect themselves and others, and who live their faith through action, depends on the support of many — teachers, religious leaders, alumni, friends and family — giving their time, talents and resources.

Gifts to Bishop England, large or small, help ensure that the tradition of a Bishop education can remain strong and that qualified students are able to pursue a secondary school education here regardless of their ethnic, religious or socio-economic backgrounds. As you contemplate your personal support of BEHS, please know that every gift is important and every gift makes a difference in the lives of our students.

I remember how we scraped for tuition when I was enrolled. Having looked at the current rates, I don’t know how anyone scrapes for them: a year now costs about as much as two years of regional state universities where I live now, and that’s before the tuition hikes go in to cover for the 15.9-percent funding cut they’re getting this year.

So yeah, I sent a few bucks to the old high school. It isn’t the first time.

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A matter of remembrance

Jack Benny, signing off his radio show on 30 May 1943:

Today Valley Forge and Bull Run and Gettysburg and Château Thierry come marching out of the past and we see them clearly again … because marching at their side are the men of Bataan and Pearl Harbor and Corregidor and Wake.

Someday time will erase the pain of the memory of Bataan and Pearl Harbor as it once erased the pain of Verdun. But tonight the gold stars are too new and bright, the wounds in our hearts too fresh and the pain too sharp to forget. And thus Memorial Day becomes more than a roll call of our honored dead and a roll call more of the living. And the living must step forth and answer and they must say … “all these men from 1776 to 1943 — they died for me. So let me work and let me buy the bonds, and let me — with the helping hand of God — make the sacrifice that tells the soul of each one of these men, “You did not die in vain.”

(Complete episode via transcription here.)

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We build nations

Except for the minor detail that actually, we don’t:

I was one of the fools who believed in W’s grand “nation building” project in the Middle East. I know more history than the average guy, and yet I was fooled, too — such is the power of wishcasting.

In reality, representative government is an Anglo-Saxon thing. And given the problems we have with it — our current election is between a criminal narcissist and a narcissist criminal — it’s no surprise that cultures with no tradition other than the despotic can’t get the hang of it in just a few years, despite the best efforts of National Review and the Peace and/or Marine Corps.

This is not, you should note, some kind of ethnic thing:

[N]one of this should be taken for an argument that only white people can do democracy — as if the ability to mark a ballot is somehow genetic. Again, see Presidential Election 2016, or any of the literally Caucasian countries surrounding the former USSR. The point is that representative democracy is the result of a long, long, long history, a unique combination of circumstances stretching back to the Greek polis (and, again, if you want to maintain that white folks have a “government” gene, imagine what would happen if you time-warped Demosthenes into modern America and told him that this is representative government. The poor dude would stroke out). Other cultures simply don’t have that history, and even the best-intentioned attempts to impose a facsimile from above give you — at best — India. Which bills itself as “the world’s largest democracy,” and it is … sort of, if you add a list of qualifiers about the size of the Chicago phone book.

Still, if India is the best-case scenario, and you can make a case that it is — well, you don’t want to think too hard about the worst-case scenario.

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On being merchandise

Pretty much everyone is agreed that slavery is a heinous thing, and we’re all better off without it. (I’d just as soon not hear from anyone who thinks we’re not better off without slavery, thank you very much.)

Then again, none of us actually lived in those days, so it’s all kind of theoretical to us — until we stumble upon something like this:

1855 slave sale poster

Typography aside, this could be an auto-dealer ad today, except for the lack of rebates.

Debra Monroe observes:

[P]osters like this were as common as dirt. They should be in history books in school — not college. School. One month of black history.

It doesn’t even have to be in February.

Side note: Lewis County, Kentucky is just south of the Ohio River. It’s 98 percent white; over 40 percent of county income is government benefits of one sort or another.

(Poster from the Facebook page Black Knowledge.)

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Synths and sensibility

After Switched-On Bach, the deluge: all manner of music was processed through the magical Moog and its rival devices. Perhaps the biggest hit was a Debussy collection called Snowflakes Are Dancing, on which Isao Tomita spent fourteen months trying to do polyphonics on a machine that did one note at a time. Wendy Carlos faced the same issue on her early Moog work, but she was doing mostly Bach, nicely mathematical and discrete. Debussy, a “tone painter,” would prove tricker, but not at all impossible:

The only off-note is the title of the collection, a slightly warped translation of Debussy’s original La neige danse. I played the very dickens out of this disc, and it still comes out a couple times a year to remind me.

Unfortunately, this came down the stream yesterday:

Tomita was 84. And before he was through, he did some Bach of his own:

The numbers still add up.

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The original Hipster

Roger happened to mention “Who Put the Benzedrine in Mrs Murphy’s Ovaltine?” this week, which is a great song because (1) it’s funny as hell while being utterly unrespectable in 1940s culture and (2) it sold several thousand more copies in 1975 as part of a Dr. Demento compilation album. This suggested that maybe it’s time to look at Harry the Hipster Gibson himself, born Harry Raab in the Bronx in 1915:

Yes, folks, that’s a Fellow of the Juilliard School, and the graduate school at that.

The Hipster continued to make records until 1989, like this jaunty little tune about Shirley MacLaine; tormented by congestive heart failure in 1991, he got his revenge on the failing organ by shooting it and thus himself.

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Now I want sherbet

First, the instrumental version:

Part of the New York state of mind, even though it originated outside the Tri-State Area:

An annual herald of summer for more than half a century, it is exquisitely Pavlovian, triggering salivation or shrieking — sometimes both at once. It is the textbook embodiment of an earworm: once heard, never forgotten.

It is the Mister Softee jingle, which for generations has sprung from ice cream trucks throughout the metropolitan area and beyond after first springing from the mind of Les Waas, a Philadelphia adman who died on April 19 at 94.

There are words [pdf]. I already knew this, though, and I am quite familiar with the power of a good jingle. About eleven years ago, rock-and-roll writer Dawn Eden — now Dr. Dawn Eden Goldstein, theologian — was here in the Okay City, and she regaled a bunch of us locals with, yes, the Mister Softee jingle. Let the record show that we defended ourselves with a spirited rendition of the B. C. Clark jingle, which is actually four years older: 1956 versus 1960.

(Via WFMU.)

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