Saturday, September 01, 2007

Still A Man's World

It's still a man's world, despite the downfall of Senator Larry Craig. Fittingly enough, Craig called Bill Clinton "a naughty boy" for his escapades with Monica Lewinsky (and others). Bill Clinton, in turn, was merely following in the footsteps of his hero JFK, who had operated in an era of silence about such realities. Still, sample the AMC series Mad Men for a reminder (the first season is set in 1960) that, aside from sexual harassment laws and some more women in positions of power, in essence things haven't changed much. Pictured above: Rocky Marciano (his birthday today).

It's also the birthday of Québécoise pop star Mitsou. A cover from her 1990 album, TERRE DES HOMMES, or LAND OF MEN. My point exactly.

Croatian pop star Vanna during her stint with Electro Team. Judging from this picture, it's not surprising the Croatians were pro-German during the Second World War. Nazi fashions and all.

It's Lily Tomlin's birthday, and though this isn't her (it's Goldie Hawn), it is from Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, where Detroit-born Tomlin made her breakthrough. One of her quips: "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up." You bet your sweet bippy. Look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls. . . . .

Guess Whose Coming to Dinner? (Hint: it's her birthday, too).

Today's Rune: The Mystery Rune.

Slew of Birthdays: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Blaise Cendrars (b. Frédéric Louis Sauser), Andrei Platonov, Elvera Sanchez Davis, Walter Reuther, Yvonne De Carlo (Lily Dracula Munster; b. Margaret Yvonne Middleton), Rocky Marciano (b. Rocco Francis Marchegiano), George Maharis, Ann Richards, Conway Twitty (Harold Lloyd Jenkins), Ron O'Neal (Superfly), Lily Tomlin (b. Detroit), C. J. Cherryh (Carolyn Janice Cherry), Don Stroud, Mustafa Balel, Gloria Estefan (b. Gloria María Milagrosa Fajardo García), Vanna (Ivana Ranilovic Vrdoljak), Mitsou (Mitsou Gélinas), Lââm, Natalie Bassingthwaighte.

Do videnja!

James Brown - It's a man's world medley (Apollo 1968)

Friday, August 31, 2007

A Cloud Placed Over Idaho

Since it's Caligula's birthday, it's as good a time as any to drop the Larry Craig bomb. The ego and hypocrisy of his ilk stupefies the mind.

“Please let me apologize to my family friends and staff, and fellow Idahoans, for the cloud placed over Idaho,” he said. “I did nothing wrong and I regret the decision to plead guilty and the sadness that decision has brought on my family, friends, staff and fellow Idahoans, and for that I apologize.” (August 28, 2007. Source: Idaho Statesman).

The Republican senator is a fool in a long list of them. His kinky little activities are one thing -- his conservative voting record is another. It's also another example of why lightly populated states don't deserve two senators -- especially when more populated areas like DC and Puerto Rico have none. Now a figure of fun, Craig will be forced out of office. Only to be replaced, no doubt, by another fool.

Elsewhere in the brazen fool department, defrocked New Life Church leader Ted Haggard has the audacity to ask the public at large to send him -- and his wife -- money so they can continue to live at the level of comfort they enjoyed before his gay sex scandal.

Haggard: "It looks as though it will take two years for us to have adequate earning power again, so we are looking for people who will help us monthly for two years . . . . . During that time we will continue as full-time students, and then, when I graduate, we won't need outside support any longer." (Source: "Fallen Pastor Seeks Financial Support," Associated Press, August 25, 2007).

Dear readers: I could use some extra earning power, too. If you'd like to send me some, email with the details. (Kidding!)

Birthday's today: James Coburn's and Van Morrison's. Van's father George lived in the Detroit area (in Saint Clair Shores at one time) before returning to Northern Ireland. George's exposure here influenced Van's musical tastes with American blues, jazz, and pop.

Coburn was a perfect tough guy actor. Though usually good in everything, I'll plug The President's Analyst (1967) -- much about governmental wiretapping -- and Affliction (1997). Very much of the Steve McQueen school.

Today's Rune: Harvest.

Birthdays: Caligula ("Bootsy"), Pierre Jules Théophile Gautier, Fredric March (Bickel), William Saroyan, Richard Basehart, Daniel Schorr, Buddy Hackett (Leonard Hacker), James Coburn, Van Morrison, Itzhak Perlman, Chris Whitley, Phina Oruche.

Hasta la vista! Grand Prix and the Detroit Jazz Festival this weekend.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


John Peel (1939-2004): music enthusiast, entrepreneur and BBC-Radio One helmsman DJ. Margrave of the Marshes looks to be a nifty memoir. A slew of his famous Peel Sessions are available in digital format. Tony Wilson (1950-2007), who played a similar role in the Madchester scene and is showcased in the excellent 24 Hour Party People, died on August 10th.

Joan Blondell (1906-1979) starred in movies before the uptight Hollywood Code put a chill on things. The exuberant Miss Dallas carries many a scene on the silver screen. She's terrific in Gold Diggers of 1933, one of my favorites, along with Ruby Keeler, Aline McMahon and Ginger Rogers. The Code was an unfortunate development, but Blondell and friends soldiered on -- with more clothes on, usually.

The Mod Squad (1968-1973): "One White, One Black, One Blonde." Even as a kid, I thought the idea was better than the actual show. Admittedly, Peggy Lipton helped hold my interest.

Peggy Lipton (b. 1946) turned 61 today. Breathing Out, her assisted memoir, was published a couple of years ago. Along her wild arc toward the present, she hooked up with Paul McCartney, Elvis (the Elvis), and Sammy Davis, Jr., and also married Quincy Jones, with whom she had kids. Lipton played Norma Jennings of Double-R Diner fame on Twin Peaks.

Anita Garibaldi (1821-1849), Brazilian revolutionary, died in Italy campaigning with the Garibaldi Legion.

Today's Rune: Possessions.

Birthdays: Jacques-Louis David, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley, Ana/Anita Maria de Jesus Ribeiro da Silva di Garibaldi, Huey Long, Raymond Massey, Shirley Booth (Marjory Ford), John Gunther, Joan Blondell, Fred MacMurray, Ted Williams, Kitty Wells (b. Ellen Muriel Deason), Warren Buffett, John Peel (John Robert Parker Ravenscroft), Elizabeth Ashley, Ben Jones, Robert Crumb, Jean-Claude Killy, Molly Ivins, Peggy Lipton, Lewis Black (UNC-Chapel Hill), Timothy Bottoms, David Paymer, Anna Stepanovna Politkovskaya, Michael Chiklis, Cameron Michelle Diaz, Lisa Ling, Tavia Yeung.

Ciao, Detroit Grand Prix!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wiki Apocalypse

William Friedkin's birthday: The French Connection (1971), The Exorcist (1973), Bug (2006). Where art thou, Bug?

Dinah Washington's birthday. Trying to diet, she died of an overdose of sleeping pills at 39. But before that, boy could she sing. New book and CD out -- Queen: The Music of Dinah Washington.

Napoleonic painter Ingres. This one, Odalisque With Slave, from 1840.

Rebecca De Mornay or Sharon Stone? It's the former's 48th birthday.

Today's Rune: Flow.

Birthdays: John Locke, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Ingrid Bergman, Charlie Parker, Richard Attenborough, Dinah Washington (b. Ruth Lee Jones), Thom Gunn, William Friedkin, Elliott Gould, Joel Schumacher, Michael Jackson, Rebecca De Mornay (Pearch), Meshell Ndegeocello (Michelle Lynn Johnson), Carla Gugino.

Maria Muldaur - Midnight At The Oasis

She's back! This clip from 1974. Don't forget: "Cactus is our friend. . ."

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Midnight in the Garden of Allah

A lot of groovy birthdays today. Hard to beat Goethe and Tolstoy in the writers' department. But Charles Boyer starred with Marlene Dietrich. It's a give and a take. . . . .

That's a lot of silver. Shania Twain meets The Velvet Underground. New Country meets New Amish.

Emma Samms. Looks like sophisticated trouble.

Today's Rune: Strength.

Birthdays: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Leo Tolstoy, Charles Boyer, Robertson Davies, Ben Gazzara, Sterling Morrison (The Velvet Underground), Liza Wang, Rita Dove, Emma Samms (Samuelson), Shania Twain (b. Eilleen Regina Edwards, Windsor, Ontario), Jason Priestley, Mary McCartney.

Via new laptop ~~ Ciao!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Dirty Wars

Two developments today may not equal justice, but they are good reminders of the fragility of liberty and human rights. First, the rounding up of suspects in last year's contract murder of 48-year old Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya; second, the resignation of US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Politkovskaya had investigated the conduct of Russian government policies in Chechnya and elsewhere, and she was often critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin's abuse of power. Today it appears that the Putin administration is perpetuating an internal coverup, trying to pass blame on to "outsiders."

In the USA, Gonzales served as a hatchet man for the Bush-Cheney administration, undermining American civil rights under the guise of fighting international terrorists. If "patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels," the Patriot Acts are about as heinous as the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. It seems that many "security measures" are skewed for political ends and -- as with much airport and border security -- largely theatrical.

The resignation of Gonzales is a minor victory for democracy; the latest in the Politkovskaya case is more a charade and a red herring.

Barbara Bach as "Bond Girl." "That's Detente, comrades . . ."

Tuesday Weld, from Peyton Place to I Walk the Line (1970), a twisted little tale set to Johnny Cash.

Today's Rune: Fertility.

Birthdays: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Hannibal Hamlin, Theodore Dreiser, Katharine Dexter McCormick, Charles Rolls, Faina Ranevskaya, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Lester Young, Ira Levin, Antonia Fraser, Alice Coltrane (b. Alice McLeod, Detroit), Tuesday Weld, Barbara Bach, Paul Pee-wee Herman Reubens (b. Rubenfeld), Diana Scarwid, Sarah Chalke.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Calligrammes, Alcools

Moe Tucker's birthday. The Velvet Underground, ya know. Forty years later, they look completely contemporary -- a sure sign of cool.

Tatar Russian rock star Zemfira. Here's a machine translation sampled from the Russian lyrics of "Jim Beam." A little like piecing together a cut-up by William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin:
Forward I search for before the sky of cloudlet not one I thus far see as usual, this rhythm from the neighbors Melancholiac- dipsomaniac they are pulled in the sleep to me sucking knobs Ay, thanks, that I do not see, brought me to the colics Ay, the thanks druggie and melancholiac- dipsomaniac yes, brought me druggie and melancholiac- dipsomaniac, dipsomaniac of knob, knob, whispers past the knob, the knob, whispers by druggie and melancholiac- dipsomaniac To kiss unpleasantly - herpes reached on the high on containers Jim Beam into the lips. But under the stars on the roof of heat- completely. Can convergent- will take a walk, let us take a step? Forward . . .

Mexican pop star Thalía posing with large image of herself. It's plain bizarre.

Today's Rune: Breakthrough.

Birthdays: Zona Gale, Guillaume Apollinaire (b. Wilhelm Albert Vladimir Apollinaris Kostrowitzky), Peggy Guggenheim, Chen Yi, Christopher Isherwood, Albert Sabin, Mother Teresa (b. Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu), Julio Cortázar, Benjamin C. Bradlee, Geraldine Ferraro, Maureen Moe Tucker, Shirley Manson, Thalía (b. Ariadna Thalía Sodi Miranda), Zemfira (Zemfira Talgatovna Ramazanova).

Ciao Detroit! (Or, as a Tatar rock star might say): Sau buligiz!