Chamblee54

David Bowie

Posted in Georgia History, Holidays, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on January 8, 2021

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It was a strange week to be a David Bowie fan. On Friday, I was looking for a rerun to post, and was reminded that January 8 was his birthday. (Along with Elvis and Shirley Bassey) I put up a piece about Mr. Bowie, and fashioned a poem out of his song titles. Aquarian Drunkard reissued a collection of the “best and most interesting Bowie oddities”. A new album was released, with a lot of comments about how strange it was. Strange is something Bowie fans turn to face.

On Monday, I woke up. Go on the internet. MSN news says that David Bowie has died. This is surprising. I know what people are going to talk about for a few days.

I typically download the new wtf podcast on Monday. The show is “supported” by Columbia records, presenting David Bowie’s new album “Blackstar.” Marc Maron gushes on about how ” DAVID BOWIE I LOVE DAVID BOWIE. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” The single is called “Lazarus.”

The timing of the whole thing is bizarre. Was this planned? To release a puzzling new work on your sixty ninth birthday, and then die two days later. With the master media manipulator involved, prior planning cannot be ruled out. Or was it just a parting shot of synchronicity? We will never know.

In what might be a new move for celebrity deaths, sex scandal rumors emerged. A lady named Lori Maddox claims that Mr. Bowie “devirginized” her. Miss Maddox was underage at the time. Some people think that this incident makes Mr. Bowie a terrible person, whose artistic output should be ignored. One made the inevitable comment “As someone who sees White stars get a pass for things that celebrities of color get crucified for.”

I learned a long time ago to separate the performer from the performance. I also apply this rule to David Robert Jones. (David Bowie was a stage name. The legal name was never changed.) In 1976, there was an interview, where the artist said “Don’t believe anything you hear me say.” While the creative/marketing genius can be enjoyed, there was always a bit of coldness behind the mask. Some press reports say that this softened as the years went by. In the end David Bowie was human. Ziggy Stardust was a character played by an actor. Does it matter that they were a Cracked Actor?

It is ironic that David Bowie played Andy Warhol in Basquiat. Both combined creation of art, and the marketing of art product, into a seamless unit. The two did not have a good first meeting. “Remember, David Bowie was not a big star. He was just some guy off the street as far as Andy Warhol was concerned. They found a common ground in David’s shoes. David was wearing yellow Mary Janes and Andy had been a shoe illustrator, which David knew so they began talking about shoes.” UPDATE I got to see Basquiat. Andy Warhol’s wig, worn by David Bowie, gave an outstanding performance.

This would have been in 1971. Mr. Bowie discusses his adventures in between songs of this show. There is another story from that first tour: “I think that must’ve been part of the Mercury Records publicity tour in early 1971, Gus. Ted Vigodsky, if I remember correctly, brought Bowie by The Great Speckled Bird’s offices on North Avenue where Moe Slotin and I met him. Bowie was dressed in an ill-fitting gingham dress and looked something like a gaunt, poverty-stricken woman in one of those Walker Evans photos from the Depression. He informed Moe and me that he was gonna be the next big star in rock-n-roll. It took all of our will power not to laugh in his face. This was before anyone in America had heard of him and he had no records out yet (“Space Oddity,” a hit in England in 1969, was not released in the USA until 1973). Six months later Moe and I realized we had completely underestimated him. I had forgotten Charlie had called you about interviewing him.” Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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David Bowie is 74 today. Elvis is ageless. Betsy DeVos is unemployed. This Bowie tribute is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

A webpage called CaptainsDead had a download of a David Bowie concert. (Here is another edition.) Most Bowie live recordings are pretty dull. While the Thin White Duke is renowned for his concerts, they tend to be live events, that depend on staging and costumes as much as music. This show, from 1974, is different. Focusing on material from “Diamond Dogs”, the sound he produces comes close to matching the studio sound.

The next move for Bowie in 1974 was the “white soul” sound of “Young Americans”. He is moving in that direction in this show, even while he lingers in the glitter apocalypse. This tour included a stop at the Fox Theater, the first Atlanta show for Mr.Bowie. On the way to Florida for the next show, the truck with the sets and costumes crashed into a swamp full of rattlesnakes. The show in Tampa was performed in street clothes.

Maybe it is time for a Chamblee54 tribute to David Bowie. It is six am, and PG has stumbled into a job. The time and energy required to write new material is not always available.

The first album by David Bowie that PG heard about was “Hunky Dory”. At the time, Mr. Bowie had generated some buzz by admitting that he fancies blokes, or some uber british expression for being queer. In time, this would be seen as more publicity stunt than brave confession. The RCA debut got some good reviews, but not much else.

The next year produced “Ziggy Stardust”, a concept album. At about this time he did a tour of the United States, with costumes and onstage antics that generated even more publicity. More and more people started listening, some in spite of his outrageous image, and quite a few more because of it. He broke up his band, the spiders from mars, and announced his retirement. The band, according to reports, learned about this while standing on stage behind him. Mr. Bowie, for all his genius, is not always a nice man.

In 1974 there was an album, “Diamond Dogs”, about the decadent urban life in the scifi future. A stage show based on this album…the source of the download mentioned above…marked a return to the concert stage. The next year gave us “Young Americans”, and the year after that “Station to Station”. Every year was a different sound and vision.

Meanwhile, the artist was not doing so good as a human being. According to all reports, he was doing mountains of cocaine. (There is a story of going to meet the parents of Ava Cherry, one of his girlfriends. He shows up at 3am, and does coke on the dining room table.) There was an interview in Playboy (or maybe it was Rolling Stone ) where the first thing he says is, don’t believe anything I say. He went on to say that he admired Adolf Hitler. Have we mentioned the physical appearance of David Bowie in 1975? He looked like he was dead, and nobody bothered to tell him. (By contrast, in recent photo collections of rock stars, Mr. Bowie looks pretty good for a man who is 69 yo.)

This was the era of Rocky Horror show. At one point, Riff Raff sings (Tim O’Brien wrote the show, and gave himself some darn good lines) Frank n furter, it’s all over, your mission is a failure, your lifestyle’s too extreme.I’m your new commander you now are my prisoner we return to transylvania prepare the transit beam While this may not have been directed at David Bowie, he took the hint.

We interrupt this David Bowie tribute with an emergency announcement. A person, reputed to be an entertainer, was seen using the n word on facebook. The screen shots have disappeared, and all we have is the word of the accuser. More details will be available as soon as anyone is interested.

David Bowie saw himself at a dead end, and possibly a dead life. He moved into a little apartment in West Berlin, on top of a garage. Brian Eno offered his assistance, and a series of electronic albums was the result. The next few years saw rock and roll, dance music, and finally, crap. PG bought a Bowie album in 1984, the first time he saw it on sale, and was immensely disappointed. The last David Bowie album that PG got was a free cd that was given to people buying a magazine.

Around 1981, MTV was born, and radio was suddenly obsolete. A visual artiste like David Bowie was a natural for video. Unfortunately, many of these videos are not available for embedding in blogs. Ashes to Ashes was a staple of early MTV. Boys Keep Swinging , off the “Lodger” album, is a return to the gender bender Bowie of younger days.

David Bowie continued to do tours, and PG got to see two of the shows. In 1987, something called the “Glass Spider Tour” came to the Omni. (In a later interview, it turns out Mr. Bowie was extremely unhappy during this tour, and close to suicide at some points.) The Glass Spider was this mass of lighting effects that hovered over the stage, and was used to best advantage during “Scary Monsters”. The show featured Peter Frampton on guitar, and had a pack of dancers. (One apparent female took her drag off during the finale.) A good time was had by all.

In 1990, another retirement tour came to the Omni. This one had movies projected on a screen behind the stage, and featured guitar hero Adrian Bellew. The night had the feel of a contractual obligation. David Bowie is too professional to give a bad show, but this one did not have the fire of “Glass Spider”. PG had a new set of contact lenses, and his eyes were painfully dry most of the night.

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Fruitcake

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, Holidays by chamblee54 on December 26, 2020






December 27 is National Fruitcake Day PG sees a chance for some text to put between pictures. He would be nutty as a fruitcake to turn down this chance. This is a repost.

Fruitcakes were buried with the dead in Ancient Egypt. It’s true. Ancient Egyptians used to fill the tombs of the dead with all the supplies that they would need to enjoy the afterlife, including food and water. Fruitcake was often put into the tomb of a deceased person because a fruitcake soaked in a natural preservative like alcohol or fruit juice would last a long time. It was thought that the preserved fruitcake would not spoil on the journey to the afterlife. Fruitcake was a staple food of other ancient Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian and Mediterranean cultures as well

Candied fruits are used in fruitcake because using sugar was the only way to preserve the fruit long enough to get it back to Europe from the Middle East. When the Crusaders began carrying exotic fruits back to their European home the fresh fruit would spoil long before they were able to get it home. Ingenious traders began drying the fruits by candying them with sugar which made them an even more delicious treat and preserved them indefinitely. Once the candied fruits were sent to Europe and to other parts of the world they were baked into cakes so that they could be shared with family and friends on special occasions.

Fruitcakes will last for years without spoiling. It’s true. A fruitcake that is properly preserved with an alcohol soaked cheesecloth that is then wrapped in plastic wrap or foil can be kept unrefrigerated for years without spoiling. In the past, before refrigerators came along, families would make fruitcake for holidays and special occasions months in advance of the actual event and then let the covered fruitcakes sit wrapped in an alcohol soaked cloth until the event happened. As long as the cloth was remoistened with alcohol occasionally the cakes not only didn’t spoil, they actually tasted richer and sweeter because they had been soaking in brandy and rum for a couple of months.

To millions of fruitcake consumers, the town of Claxton GA is very special. This south Georgia town, just down the road from Reidsville, is home to Claxton Fruit Cake . The story of the Claxton Fruit Cake company is a sweet one. Savino Tos founded the Claxton Bakery in 1910. He hired Albert Parker in 1927, and sold him the business in 1945. Mr. Parker decided to sell Fruit Cake to America.

No story about fruitcake is complete without mentioning the “Fruitcake Lady.” Marie Rudisill , an aunt of Truman Capote, wrote a book of fruitcake recipes. She became a tv celebrity, before going to the bakery in the sky November 3, 2006.

The urban dictionary has nine listings for fruit cake. The ones for homosexuals and crazy people are there. UD gets creative with this selection: “The act of releasing green chunky diarrhea onto your partners face then, ejaculating on it, then punching him/her in the nose causing the colors to mix together to form a fruit cake like color.”

If you tire of jokes about fruitcake, you can go to The society for the protection and preservation of fruitcake . (If you click on the “new URL”, you will be invited to join in the green card lottery.) There used to be a link on the society page that enables you to buy Fruitcake Mints. “Keep your breath fruitcake fresh with these festive mints!”

Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.


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Mithras Is Born

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Holidays, Religion by chamblee54 on December 23, 2020

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Until 2009, PG had never heard of Mithras.

Mithras is a Persian deity, from the Zoroaster tradition.(That is pronounced Zor uh THRUS ta.) Not much is known about Mithras … did he really exist, or was he a legend? There was a cult of Mithras in the first century Roman empire.

There are supposed to be similarities between Mithras and Jesus. These include the virgin birth, the birth on December 25, and rising from the dead after three days. Some spoilsports say the early christians grafted Jesus onto the legend of Mithras.

One indication that this might be true is The Catholic Encyclopedia.
“Some apparent similarities exist; but … it is quite probable that Mithraism was the borrower from Christianity.” This repost has pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.


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War On Christmas

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Holidays, Politics by chamblee54 on December 20, 2020

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Merry Christmas used to be a greeting of good will. It meant, I am happy that you survived the year, have a nice holiday. It was not an in your face gesture, designed to express a religious opinion.
Christmas used to be a time of peace on earth and good will towards men. There were parties, gift giving, and holiday time from school and work. The religious part has always been there, but if you wanted to ignore it you could.

Jesus Worshipers want it all. The fact that our culture is dominated by Jesus worship is not good enough, they want it all. And they don’t care if it offends you. Peace on earth, and good will towards men, is an obsolete concept.

We don’t know when Jesus was born. Some scholars say he was born in the spring, but it was a long, long time ago. When the early Christians were trying to convert the Romans, they decided to have a birthday celebration for Jesus at the time of a pagan holiday. It is the winter solstice, the time of renewal at the end of the year. It is an ideal time for a religious feast.

Many people, PG included, have been hurt by Jesus. Christianism is an aggressive religion, and if you don’t agree, you can expect to be insulted and humiliated. As society becomes more and more secular, the Jesus worshipers get more aggressive. Many people have come to see the birth of Jesus as something to be mourned, rather than celebrated.

PG used to enjoy saying Merry Christmas. To him, it was a greeting of good will. Now, it is taking sides in a nasty fight. Maybe the proper thing to say is have a nice day.

And now for something completely different. PG found this recently, and it is not original to him. If you really need a link to the original, we will look harder.

When I was young and impressionable, I heard the Co-Adjutor Archbishop of Bombay preach on the subject of Christmas. He made the point that the adjective “merry” actually means “to be showing the influence of alcohol”, that is to be at least partially drunk. So to wish someone a Merry Christmas is really to wish them a Drunken Christmas. Moreover, drunkenness is a sin, and it is illegal to ply an infant with alcohol. A “merry Christmas” not only treats the birth of Christ as an occasion for sin, it also excludes the guest of honour Himself from the celebration.

That is a perversion of the meaning of Christmas — yet how often do we hear “true Christians” insist on saying “merry Christmas”? Why don’t they just wish the world happiness and joy?

This holiday feature is a repost, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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Rudolph

Posted in History, Holidays, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on December 15, 2020


Someone posted a bit of revisionism about a holiday classic. As he sees it, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” is about racism.

In a bit of yuletime synchronicity, the urban mythbusters at Snopes posted a piece about Rudolph the same day. It seems as though the Rudolph story was originally written for the Montgomery Ward Stores. The idea was to print a Christmas booklet to give to customers. A staff writer named Robert L. May was picked for the job.

Originally, there were concerns about the red nose, and the connection to heavy drinking. At the time, the original meaning of “merry christmas” had been forgotten. Merry meant intoxicated, and a merry christmas was a drunken one. The booklet was released. It was a big hit with shoppers.

Mr. May had a brother in law named Johnny Marks, who was musically gifted. Mr. Marks wrote the song, and somehow or another Gene Autry came to sing it. A story (which PG heard once, but cannot find a source for) had Mr. Autry doing a recording session. The session went very smoothly, and the sides scheduled to be recorded were finished early. There was a half hour of studio time paid for. Someone produced copies of “Rudolph”, gave them to the musicians, and the recording was knocked out. It became a very big hit.

“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” has become a beloved standard, without the troubling religious implications of many holiday songs. It is the second biggest selling record of all time. The only song to sell more is “White Christmas”.

The story above is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. There is an appearance by Gerald Rudolph Ford, and his women. Betty was a merry soul.

Judy Roasting On An Open Fire

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Holidays, Music by chamblee54 on December 11, 2020

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SFFILK (Not his real name) passes along a story about Mel Tormé. It seems like Mr.Tormé was eating a leisurely breakfast at a food court in Los Angeles, and a quartet appeared singing Christmas songs. They wound up performing “The Christmas Song” for co- author Tormé … and the singers had no idea who he was. It is a good story, better told in the link. This is a repost, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

According to the inerrant Wikipedia, Mr. Tormé collaborated with Robert Wells, until they had a falling out. One afternoon, on the hottest day of July in 1945, Mr.Tormé went to visit Mr.Wells, and saw the first four lines of “The Christmas Song” (including “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose”). The lines were on a note pad, and the two agreed to beat the heat of summer by completing the song. Supposedly, Mr. Tormé did not like the song very much. After three divorces, he probably didn’t see many of the royalties.

Mel Tormé was the music director of the ill fated “Judy Garland Show” in the early sixties. He wrote a book about it… The Other Side of the Rainbow: With Judy Garland on the Dawn Patrol . The story is that Miss Garland would get blasted, call Mr.Tormé in the middle of the night, and pour out her troubles. (This review is much less sympathetic towards Mr. Tormé.) While the show did not last longer, there are some great youtube clips left over.

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Thanksgiving Story

Posted in History, Holidays, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on November 26, 2020

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Thanksgiving was a time our family cherished. It was the only time all of us got together under one roof and mingled. Except for me. ~ I was the the family embarrassment. They were Catholic, and disliked my way of life. I played guitar, loved Heavy Metal, and worshiped Satan. ~ All this explains why my family shunned me. In their eyes, I was the flaw of a nearly perfect gem, but in mine, I was the cream of the crop.

I should’ve known they had something awful in mind when they asked me to join them somewhere. They drove me to the very corner of the ranch. ~ “What the fuck are we doing back here,” I asked. My only reply was, “Shut up you blaspheming fool.”

At last we got to the destination. My father, mother, and sister were standing around, wearing funeral clothes. ~ In the middle was a shallow grave. “What’s that hole for?” I asked dumbly. “Take a guess you satanic fucker!” Was the reply from my father.

I felt a thud on my head. I hit the ground with a loud thlap. I turned in spite of excruciating pain to see my uncle wielding a shovel. ~ I touched the back of my head to find my fingers coated in blood. I suddenly grew light headed and passed out. When I woke up I inhaled dirt. ~ Luckily, my family didn’t know how to properly bury someone so I was able to dig myself out. I sat there and puked for about fifteen minutes.

When I got back, it was Thanksgiving night. through the window I could see my family, sitting there, saying grace like the sheeple they were. ~ Seeing them praying made my hate for them and all Catholics grow. It went from a smouldering, muddled anger, to a flaming, outrageous hatred

I ran into the garage and found my uncle’s shotgun, sitting there, waiting for me, beckoning, saying, “Go ahead, make these fuckers pay.” ~ “Hi Mom!” I shouted as I pulled the trigger, I started laughing uncontrollably as I continued firing at my family until I was empty.

“WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!” My father asked, wounded, shot in the gut. “Wrong with me?” I asked calmly. “What’s wrong with you?” ~ With that I threw the gun away and dined. Not on Turkey, but on raw human flesh. It was the best Thanksgiving ever. ~ Twitter serialization by @creepypasta_txt. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.

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Happy Birthday Joni Mitchell

Posted in History, Holidays, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on November 8, 2020

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Yesterday was Joni Mitchell’s 77th birthday. Roberta Joan Anderson was born November 7, 1943, in Fort Macleod, Alberta. For this birthday tribute we will revisit four previous posts. one two three four Pictures are from The Library of Congress. … A facebook friend went on a Joni Mitchell kick. First it was a link to an interview. Then it was a quote from The Last Time I Saw Richard. A lady said Blue was her favorite album all all time, and a man enthusiastically agreed.

Given the apples and oranges quality of her catalog, it would be tough to pick one album as a favorite. PG then realized that fbf was going to be thirty soon. PG is sixty. These are two different perspectives on the craft of Joni Mitchell. One has driven through the storm, not knowing what was next. The other is presented with an almost complete body of recorded work.

PG has known about Joni since high school, and been a devoted fan since 1976. Joni’s most popular album, Court And Spark, came out in 1974, eleven years before fbf was born. Who would be the equivalent female musical force from 1943, when PG was minus eleven? The answer is nobody. (Coincidentally Roberta Joan Anderson was born on November 7, 1943.)

ms mitchell After the comment about Blue, PG listened to For The Roses. Joni’s craft is like a cluster bomb… there are lines that you never fully felt, bomblets waiting to explode in your gut. Let The Wind Carry Me has one of those hidden threats. Mama thinks she spoilt me, Papa knows somehow he set me free, Mama thinks she spoilt me rotten, She blames herself, But papa he blesses me.

The first thing PG heard by Joni was Big Yellow Taxi. It was on The Big Ball, a 1970 mail order sampler from Warner Brothers. This was when Joni shacked up with Graham Nash. The next year saw Blue, followed by For The Roses, and Court And Spark. PG always thought Joni was someone he should like, but somehow didn’t. It wasn’t until 1976 that PG broke through the barrier, and became a Joni Mitchell fan. Seeing her in concert did not hurt.

On February 3, 1976, PG took a study break. (He scored 100 on the test the next day) Joni Mitchell was playing at the UGA coliseum a few blocks away, and the door was not watched after the show started. PG found a place to stand, on the first level of the stands. The LA express was her band that night, and created a tight, jazzy sound, even in the UGA coliseum. Tom Scott pointed at Joni, said she was crazy, and drew circles around his left ear. The one line PG remembers is “chicken scratching my way to immortality” from Hejira.

The Hissing of Summer Lawns might not be her best album, but it is certainly her bravest. Court And Spark was a commercial success. Instead of producing a bestselling followup, Joni took a ninety degree turn. Summer Lawns, for all its eccentric sparkle, confused the record buying public. The gravy train took off in another direction.

In those days, 96rock played a new album at midnight, which people were known to tape. On the night of the Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash, the album was Hejira. This was followed by Mingus, another curve ball. Finally, Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter appeared, and did not make a good impression.

The eighties, nineties, and aughts appeared. PG, and Joni, lived their lives. 1996 saw a frightening interview in Details magazine. It was startling to see that for all her granola glory, Joni Mitchell might not be a very nice person. In a pot and kettle moment, David Crosby said “Joni’s about as humble as Mussolini.” Music is a tough way to make easy money.

More recently, there was a long interview on Canadian television. She is not mellowing with age. The cigarettes have not killed her, even if her voice is not what it once was. The recent albums that PG heard are strong. There seem to be more on the way. Maybe the facebook friend will have have the “what is she going to do next” experience after all.

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A few weeks ago, PG was at the library. He had a story to take home, before going over to the biography section. There he found Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell. At least with fiction, you know you are dealing with a made up story. With biography, you have to use judgment.

It is a familiar story. Joni was born in the frozen north, was a rebellious girl, and got pregnant. She gave up the daughter for adoption, only to be reunited many years later. Joan Anderson gets married to, and divorces, Chuck Mitchell. Joni sings, writes, tunes her guitar funny, becomes a star, gets too weird to be popular, makes and loses money, smokes millions of cigarettes, and becomes an angry old lady. There is a bit more to the story than that. Reckless Daughter fills in a few of the blank spots.

Millions of cigarettes might be an exaggeration. Joni started smoking when she was nine. When she was a star, she was almost as well known for her constant puffing as her pretty songs. When Joni was in a Reagan era slump, she was going through four packs a day. Just for the sake of statistics, lets call it two packs, or forty fags, a day. Multiply forty by 365 and you get 14,600. If she started at 9, and had her aneurysm at 72, that gives you 63 years of nicotine abuse. If you assume that there were forty fags a day for 63 years, that gives you 919,800 smokes. IOW, while seven figures is not out of reach, it is rather unlikely that Joni smoked more than 2,000,000 cancer sticks.

The author of Reckless Daughter, David Yaffe, is a problem. He talks about the mood of America in 1969, four years before he was born. Mr. Yaffe goes to great lengths to show us that he knows about making music. Some readers will be impressed. There are mini-essays on Joni songs from her golden years, the time between “Ladies of the Canyon” and “Hejira.” And gossip, gossip, and more gossip. Joni is well known for her celebrity lovers.

We should make the point that PG enjoyed Reckless Daughter. The inside stories are fun, and pages turn over without too much head scratching. Maybe this is a statement about the career of Joni Mitchell. You enjoy the music for many years, and then complain about the details. Reckless Daughter follows the trajectory of other celebrity biographies. The star is born, takes up a craft, gets a break, becomes successful, goes over the mountaintop into a long decline. With Joni, nothing after “Mingus” was well received. The chanteuse was broker, and angrier, by the minute.

On page 13, Joni hears Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini by Sergei Rachmaninoff. This is the piece that makes her want to be a musician. One page 129, we learn the story of A&M studios in Hollywood. At one time, The Carpenters were in studio A, while Carole King was recording “Tapestry” in studio B. Joni was recording “Blue” in studio C, which had a magic piano. One time, Carole King learned of a break in the studio C booking, and ran in. Three hours later, “I feel the earth move” was recorded.

A few years later, Joni was on the Rolling Thunder tour with Bob Dylan. One of the concepts was support for Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, whose story can be found elsewhere. Joni became disillusioned with Mr. Carter. When Joan Baez asked Joni to speak at a benefit concert, Joni said she would say that Mr. Carter was a jive ass N-person, who never would have been champion of the world. Joni later got in SJW trouble for posing in blackface, for the cover to “Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter.”

On page 251, we learn that Bob Dylan does not dance. Other items include “Free man in Paris” being written about David Geffen, and Jackson Browne writing “Fountain of Sorrow” about Joni. Mr. Brown is a not-well-thought-of ex of Joni. As for Mr. Geffen…. Joni stayed at his house for a while, at a time when Mr. Geffen was in, and out, of the closet. Did they make sweet music together?

So this book report comes to an end. Joni is recovering from a brain aneurysm, and will probably not produce anything else. The book is going back to the library, and PG will move on.

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Joni Mitchell has product to promote. She gave an interview to New York magazine, where she smoked a few cigarettes and expressed a few opinions. There were enough attention getting comments to make the news.

When I see black men sitting, I have a tendency to go — like I nod like I’m a brother. I really feel an affinity because I have experienced being a black guy on several occasions.” She proceeds to tell a story about dressing like a down and out black man as a way of dealing with an obnoxious photographer. “I just stood there till they noticed me. I walked really showily, going, Heh heh heh. It was a great revenge. That was all to get his ass. To freak him out. I had to keep him on the defensive.”

Gay-mafia-made-man David Geffen was a target. “I ask her about a painting, visible in a vestibule, on the way to her laundry room, of a curly-haired man with a banana lodged vertically in his mouth; turns out it’s Geffen, and she painted it. “Before he came out. He’s never seen it,” she says, before explaining: “He was using me as a beard. We were living together, and he’d go cruising at night. He was very ambitious to be big and powerful, and he didn’t think he would be [if he was openly gay].” By 1994, the two had fallen out over her insistence that he didn’t pay her enough in royalties.”

The product is a four cd boxed set, Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting To Be Danced. There was a single one star comment about the joniproduct. Al Norman Seems like a collection of Joni’s forgettable tunes February 3, 2015 ~ “My wife loves Joni Mitchell, and never listens to this set. Seems like a collection of Joni’s forgettable tunes.” This comment was sponsored by Head and Shoulders. “100% flake free hair & A GREAT SCENT”

You just can’t get away from capitalism. Ms. Mitchell heard “… on the radio, a record executive “saying quite confidently, ‘We’re no longer looking for talent. We’re looking for a look and a willingness to cooperate.” As interviewer Carl Swanson notes, “For now, she’s hoping that people buy her boxed set, with her self-portrait on the cover. To that end, she gives me a Joni Mitchell tote bag with one of her paintings on it to carry my things home in. Get the word out.”

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Joni Mitchell gave am interview recently to a Canadian Broadcaster. She is famously Canadian. The chat was in her California living room, which is littered with her paintings. Many of the paintings are things like Saskatchewan at forty below. Mrs. Mitchell alternates between painting and music, which tend to balance her cigarette fueled mind.

The CBC interview is paired with a more formal chat in Toronto. She could not smoke during the Toronto interview. The Toronto interviewer is just a bit smarter than Jian Ghomeshi, who endured the second hand smoke in California. Mr. Ghomeshi said things like “The song “Woodstock” defined a generation.” Mrs. Mitchell was in a New York City hotel room that famous weekend.(Spell check suggestion for Jian Ghomeshi: Joan Shoeshine)

There are some juicy quotes. Art is short for artificial. When listening to Joni songs, you should look at yourself, and not at her. Free love was just a gimmick for the men to get laid. False modesty is pointless. Sylvia Plath was a liar, or maybe it was Anne Sexton. (James Dickey said that Sylvia Plath was the Judy Garland of American letters.)

A fearsome foursome gets in the game. Someone screamed, on a live album. “Joni, you have more flash than Mick Jagger, Richard Nixon, or Gomer Pyle combined!.” Years later, the fan introduced himself to Mrs. Mitchell.

The conversation mentioned Bob Dylan. He is from Northern Minnesota, and not quite Canadian. Apparently, Mrs. Mitchell kicked up a fuss with some comments in 2010. ” Bob is not authentic at all. He’s a plagiarist, and his name and voice are fake. Everything about Bob is a deception. We are like night and day, he and I. … Grace [Slick] and Janis Joplin were [sleeping with] their whole bands and falling down drunk, and nobody came after them!”

Did Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell ever tune up together? Joan Baez, a similarly named contemporary, is well known for dating Mr. Zimmerman. Ms. Baez did sing at Woodstock.

Mrs. Mitchell doesn’t exactly take back her comments about Bob Dylan. ““I like a lot of Bob’s songs, though musically he’s not very gifted. He’s borrowed his voice from old hillbillies. He’s got a lot of borrowed things. He’s not a great guitar player. He’s invented a character to deliver his songs. Sometimes I wish that I could have that character — because you can do things with that character. It’s a mask of sorts.”

In a kill the messenger moment, Mrs. Mitchell lashed out at the interviewer from the 2010 piece. It is odd, since he didn’t ask any trick questions. Black and white transcripts are tough to deny. “The interviewer was an asshole.” (The body part is bleeped.) “I hate doing interviews with stupid people, and this guy’s a moron” “His IQ is somewhere between his shoe size and (unintelligible)”.

The troublesome 2010 interview was conducted with John Kelly, a Joni Mitchell tribute artist. “JK: Drag does have a power, though — that netherworld of a thing you can’t quite know, which makes people nervous. JM: Drag wasn’t always counterculture. In his memoirs, Nixon talked about the Harvard and Yale men in power who would put on these plays where they dress like women, and Milton Berle did a kind of “hairy drag.” Becoming a gay thing made drag go underground.” Did Mick Jagger and Gomer Pyle ever do drag with Richard Nixon?

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Oscar Wilde

Posted in History, Holidays, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on October 16, 2020

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October 16 is Oscar Wilde’s birthday. On that day in 1854, he appeared in Dublin, Ireland. He is one of the most widely quoted people in the english language. Some of those quotes are real. Since he was a published author, it should be easy to verify what he really said. This birthday celebration is a repost, with pictures from The Library of Congress.

One night in 1974, PG was talking to someone, and did not know who Oscar Wilde was. The conversational partner was horrified. PG became educated, and learned about a misunderstanding with the Marquess of Queensberry. Soon the “Avenge Oscar Wilde” signs made sense.

Mr. Wilde once made a speaking tour in the United States. One afternoon, in Washington D.C., the playwright met Walt Whitman. Thee and thou reportedly did the “Wilde thing”.

The tour then went to Georgia. A young black man had been hired as a valet for Mr. Wilde on this tour. On the train ride from Atlanta to Augusta, some people told Mr. Wilde that he could not ride in the same car as the valet. This was very confusing.

After his various legal difficulties, Oscar Wilde moved to Paris. He took ill, while staying in a tacky hotel. He looked up, and said “either that wallpaper goes, or I do”. Soon, Oscar Wilde passed away.

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Hiroshima 75 Years Later

Posted in History, Holidays, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on August 6, 2020

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At 8:15 am, August 6, 1945, Hiroshima got nuked. It was the start of a new era. Since Japan is 13 hours ahead of Georgia, and standard time was used, the literal anniversary is 8:15 pm, August 5.

Tsutomu Yamaguchi was working in Hiroshima when the bomb hit. He survived, and found a train to take hime to his home town, Nagasaki.

The device dropped on Hiroshima, the Little Boy, had an estimated force of 13 kilotons of Trinitrotoluene, or TNT. A kiloton of TNT is roughly a cube whose sides are ten meters. This device is fairly tiny compared to many of the warheads developed since. Many of the modern appliances are measured in megatons, or millions of tons of TNT. The Soviet Union had a bomb with a capacity of 50 megatons, or 4,000 times the size of the Little Boy.

The largest weapon tested by The United States is the Castle Bravo. This device destroyed Bikini Atoll in the Pacific. The two piece swimsuit was named for this island. The Castle Bravo device had a yield of 15 megatons of TNT. This is roughly 1,000 times the power of the Little Boy.

The decision to drop the bomb has long been controversial. There are a lot of factors and gray areas, and the issue does not lend itself to sound bite solutions. The conventional wisdom is that Japan surrendered because of the nuclear attack. This meant the war was shortened by at least a year, there was no invasion of Japan, and many lives were saved. PG is scared by the moral calculus involved in a decision like this….do 100,000 civilian deaths prevent the deaths of 500,000 soldiers? PG suspects that even G-d herself would lose sleep over that one.

There is also evidence that the bomb was not needed. Japan was whipped in August 1945. The air raids were conducted in daylight with little resistance. A debate was going on in the Japanese government on whether to continue the fight.

An event happened the day between Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, which influenced the Japanese decision to surrender. The Soviet Union had agreed to help the United States with the war against Japan. On August 8, The Soviet Union invaded Japanese occupied Manchuria. There are indications that Japan knew the fight was hopeless at this point, and would rather surrender to The United States than The Soviet Union. This is one of the gray areas that never seems to be mentioned.

The United States wanted the war to end quickly for obvious reasons, and a few subtle ones. America did not want to share the spoils of Japanese war with The Soviet Union. There were already tensions between the two allies, and the cold war was not far off. Many felt The United States used the Little Boy as a warning to The Soviet Union.

When you get your moral software out, you might want to figure in the effect of opening the nuclear Pandora’s box. Would the nuclear bomb have been developed by other countries if America had not led the way? The science is not that complicated…after all, America hit paydirt with the Manhattan Project fairly quickly. Nonetheless, there is karma involved in using a terrible new device on a civilian population. The United States started the wind of the arms race, and has yet to feel the whirlwind.

This is a repost. The pictures are from The Library of Congress. Ansel Adams took pictures of Japanese Americans, in a World War Two internment camp. The ladies in the bridge game are Aiko Hamaguchi, Chiye Yamanaki, Catherine Yamaguchi, and Kazoko Nagahama.




Luther C. Mckinnon

Posted in Georgia History, History, Holidays by chamblee54 on June 21, 2020





Luther Campbell McKinnon Sr. was born February 22, 1916, on a farm in Rowland, North Carolina. Europe was stuck in a war that would change the world, and not until The United States got involved. This didn’t happen for another year.
Luke was the youngest of four children. After life as a farm boy, he went to Wake Forest University, and then came back when his Daddy died. He ran a family dairy for a few years, and went to live in New Jersey. He lived near a prison, and saw the lights dim when the electric chair was used.
In the early fifties, he came to Atlanta to live. This was where his sister Sarah stayed, with her husband and two daughters. One day he went into the C&S bank on 10th street, and took notice of one of the tellers. On October 6, 1951, he married Jean Dunaway. She was with him the rest of his life.
At some point in this era he started selling shoes. He would go to warehouses, gas stations, and wherever barefoot men needed shoes. He was “The Shoe Man” .
Before long there were two boys, and he bought a house, then another. The second house is the current residence of my brother and myself, and is probably worth 15 times what he paid for it. He had the good fortune to not buy in an area that was “blockbusted,’ as many neighborhoods were.
And this was his life. He tended a garden, went to the gym, and was in the Lions Club for many years. When he met Mom, she let him know that going to church with her was part of the deal. They found a church that was good for their needs, and made many friends there. The Pastor at Briarcliff Baptist, Glen Waldrop, was his friend.
When I think of the character of this man, there is one night, which stands out. My brother was away at the time. The day before, Mom had discovered she had a detached retina, and was in the hospital awaiting surgery. Her job had arranged a “leaf tour” by train in North Georgia, and she got one of her friends at work to take me. There was some mechanical trouble on the train, and it did not get back into town until 3am Monday morning. And yet, Daddy stayed at home, did not panic, and had faith that all of us would be back soon, which we were.
Through all the struggles of his life, Dad was cheerful, laughed a lot, and was good company. He left me with a rich repertoire of country sayings, and had many stories to tell. He was surprising mellow about black people, if a bit old fashioned. (In the south when I grew up, this was highly unusual).
Dad was always in good, vigorous health, and I thought he would be with us for a long time. Well, that is not how things work. A cancer developed in his liver, and spread to his lungs (he did not smoke). After a mercifully brief illness, we lost him on February 7, 1992. This is a repost.




#NationalDayofPrayer

Posted in GSU photo archive, Holidays by chamblee54 on May 9, 2020















Thursday was the #NationalDayofPrayer. This is a repost. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

Good Morning G-d. Please give me the slack I need to make it through this busy life. I had a birthday recently, and am getting older. Please give me less pain, both above and below the neck. Thank you for letting me get this far. Thank you for the gift of sobriety, and the memory of inebrience. The gift of moderation would have been helpful. Help me to overcome body chemistry telling me to be unhappy. If this doesn’t work, help me hide it better.
Please tell Christians to make less noise, joyful or otherwise. Help me to forgive Christians for their good intentions. Give Christians the gift of humility. Let us know that a real man keeps control of his temper. Please tell those praying today that it is better to listen than to talk.
Please find a happy medium for Atlanta water. Let us have neither drought nor flood. It would help if the developers would move to North Carolina, and the politicians would develop a conscience.

G-d, please try to get along better with Allah. This is important. Maybe if you and her got along better, then all those religious crazies would hate each other less. Help white people and black people get along better. Please be good to the people who have already lived, and are now deceased. Please understand that I am not in a hurry to join them.

Help Mr. Trump with the mess this country is in. Help Israel get along with her neighbors, and live within her borders. Help the world solve the carbon dioxide problem.

Thank you for the birds that sing. Thank you for dogs, and dog owners who clean up. Thank you for earth, air, fire, and water. Thank you for people who enjoy this prayer. Help those who are offended to get over it. Namaste, amen, all my relations, Good Bye.