Did we talk much about Glen Campbell? I don’t think so. Of course his death was coming, everybody knew it. (Yours is coming too, and if you don’t know it, you should.) I took the opportunity to run through a few Jimmy Webb-written classics on YouTube, and thought what I always do: Jimmy Webb is an astonishing songwriter.
“By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Wichita Lineman” are two of the best songs ever written about adult heartbreak and loneliness, and Webb was barely out of his teens when he wrote them. He’s only 71!
I just said this again, at dinner. Alan pointed out that Billy Strayhorn wrote “Lush Life” when he was 17, and that song is even more knowing and sophisticated and world-weary. But then, Strayhorn was gay; some of those guys have that stuff baked into their bones. I love those lyrics as much as I do anything by Webb:
I used to visit all the very gay places
Those come-what-may places
Where one relaxes on the axis
Of the wheel of life
To get the feel of life
From jazz and cocktails
The girls I knew had sad and sullen gray faces
With distingué traces
That used to be there
You could see where
They’d been washed away
By too many through the day
Twelve o’clock tales
I snuck a “Wichita Lineman” reference into a Bridge story, because I could. Here’s to Glen, a great artist.
Man, it’s been a long week. Long for the usual reasons (work), long for the newer reasons (Trump), short for more poignant ones (ah, fleeting summer). I want to take two full days to myself this weekend; I think I deserve it.
In the meantime? Some bloggage:
Someone said on Twitter a while back that everything you need to know about dietary supplements can be seen in the fact that so many grifters find their way to them. Alex Jones is no exception, and Buzzfeed sent away for a few of his branded products and had them tested. The good news is, they’re basically what they claim to be. The bad news is, they cost about 200 percent more than they should, but of course, only Alex Jones is sending you Alex Jones-branded patent medicine. For something called Anthroplex, for instance:
Claimed ingredients: Zinc Orotate, Horny Goat Weed, Tribulus Terrestris, Tongkat Ali-Longjack, Fulvic Powder
Test results: Labdoor found that Anthroplex passed a heavy metal screening but noticed a discrepancy in the reported amount of zinc in the capsules. According to Labdoor, there’s 31% less zinc than advertised. “When we look into the zinc dosage, it’s so ridiculously low that you’d basically be buying a worthless product for $40,” the report reads.
Review snippet: “This product is a waste of money. The claim that ‘Anthroplex works synergistically with the powerful Super Male Vitality formula in order to help restore your masculine foundation and stimulate vitality with its own blend of unique ingredients’ is fluff on multiple fronts.”
Can’t get upset by this. If you’re dumb enough to believe Jones, someone’s going to get your money. Might as well be him.
From Philip Kennicott at the Washington Post, an essay about his border collie, a rabies scare, and some thoughtful thoughts about how we behave in a crisis:
In a serious pandemic, in a country full of people not just skeptical about scientific consensus but also deeply hostile to government authority, what chance is there that people will abide by basic public health mandates during an emergency? What if the Ebola virus scare of 2014 happened today and was managed from the White House by tweet? Even if you understand the idea of risk intellectually, the words “There’s a very low risk” aren’t comforting when it’s your health in the balance, which is one reason it is so difficult to contain costs in our medical system.
Finally, how you-know-who and his right-wing pals latched onto the death of Kate Steinle and rode it across the finish line. Good policy is based on fact. What is based on distortion of fact?
You tell me. And have a good weekend.