Are you ready for a brand-new beat?

Making my way slowly through the 1619 project, discussed earlier. So far my favorite piece is Wesley Morris’, in the magazine, about music, and what black folks brought to the table, and continue to bring to the table, of American musical expression.

I’ve always disliked the term “cultural appropriation.” I get it, I totally do, but I’ve never been comfortable with trying to define how listening to lots of things, taking it all into your soul, processing it in your soul-blender and then pouring out your own smoothie crosses a line between “influenced by” and “stealing from.” I think a lot of people can’t do it, either, which is how we get the stupidest extremes of the charge — the Oberlin students whining that serving banh mi sandwiches in the cafeteria, made with the wrong kind of bread, somehow devalues the unique cuisine of Vietnam, to name but one. I try to ignore these stories, because they’re dumb. The banh mi itself is a unique fusion of native and colonial Vietnam, after all (the baguette), and sooner or later someone is going to fill one with macaroni and cheese, at which point, game over. It’s food, folks. It all goes in the same stomach, as my dad used to say.

Music is more difficult. If you know anything about pop culture, you know about Alan Lomax and his field recordings, which preserved the unique live sounds of black southern music for the ages, but also how that tipped over into the theft of same. You know about the routine contract rip-offs of black musicians; there was a reason the mob was involved in radio and music publishing, after all. You may have seen the “60 Minutes” feature on Little Richard, which featured Pat Boone singing “Tutti Frutti,” a recording that paid Richard Penniman the princely royalty of zero dollars and zero cents. The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin both got their start covering African-American music. The Stones grew into something else entirely, and you can argue that Led Zeppelin was absolutely sui generis from the get-go, but it was a necessary step in the evolution of both bands. And it was great music.

My point is, trying to separate black music from white music is like trying to separate black and white people. We cross-pollinate. It’s what people do.

Morris’ essay is wide-ranging, and doesn’t really address “appropriation,” that term that sounds like it came out of the Cultural Revolution. Nor does he address copyright, or Alan Lomax. Rather, he dives into the stew and comes out with something that’s just delicious to read. Here’s the top, a slightly longer cut-and-paste than I generally do:

I’ve got a friend who’s an incurable Pandora guy, and one Saturday while we were making dinner, he found a station called Yacht Rock. “A tongue-in-cheek name for the breezy sounds of late ’70s/early ’80s soft rock” is Pandora’s definition, accompanied by an exhortation to “put on your Dockers, pull up a deck chair and relax.” With a single exception, the passengers aboard the yacht were all dudes. With two exceptions, they were all white. But as the hours passed and dozens of songs accrued, the sound gravitated toward a familiar quality that I couldn’t give language to but could practically taste: an earnest Christian yearning that would reach, for a moment, into Baptist rawness, into a known warmth. I had to laugh — not because as a category Yacht Rock is absurd, but because what I tasted in that absurdity was black.

I started putting each track under investigation. Which artists would saunter up to the racial border? And which could do their sauntering without violating it? I could hear degrees of blackness in the choir-loft certitude of Doobie Brothers-era Michael McDonald on “What a Fool Believes”; in the rubber-band soul of Steely Dan’s “Do It Again”; in the malt-liquor misery of Ace’s “How Long” and the toy-boat wistfulness of Little River Band’s “Reminiscing.”

Then Kenny Loggins’s “This Is It” arrived and took things far beyond the line. “This Is It” was a hit in 1979 and has the requisite smoothness to keep the yacht rocking. But Loggins delivers the lyrics in a desperate stage whisper, like someone determined to make the kind of love that doesn’t wake the baby. What bowls you over is the intensity of his yearning — teary in the verses, snarling during the chorus. He sounds as if he’s baring it all yet begging to wring himself out even more.

Playing black-music detective that day, I laughed out of bafflement and embarrassment and exhilaration. It’s the conflation of pride and chagrin I’ve always felt anytime a white person inhabits blackness with gusto. It’s: You have to hand it to her. It’s: Go, white boy. Go, white boy. Go. But it’s also: Here we go again. The problem is rich. If blackness can draw all of this ornate literariness out of Steely Dan and all this psychotic origami out of Eminem; if it can make Teena Marie sing everything — “Square Biz,” “Revolution,” “Portuguese Love,” “Lovergirl” — like she knows her way around a pack of Newports; if it can turn the chorus of Carly Simon’s “You Belong to Me” into a gospel hymn; if it can animate the swagger in the sardonic vulnerabilities of Amy Winehouse; if it can surface as unexpectedly as it does in the angelic angst of a singer as seemingly green as Ben Platt; if it’s the reason Nu Shooz’s “I Can’t Wait” remains the whitest jam at the blackest parties, then it’s proof of how deeply it matters to the music of being alive in America, alive to America.

If you can’t tell by now, I recommend it. It’s one reason this project has been such an eye-opening pleasure to read.

I wish I could say anything else was a pleasure today, but it wasn’t. Terrible, terrible insomnia last night, which always leaves me depressed and miserable the next day. At least I was able to play the work-from-home card. I expect — I hope — to get a better night’s sleep tonight, and that tomorrow will be better. Keep a good thought.

Posted at 5:30 pm in Popculch |

75 responses to “Are you ready for a brand-new beat?”

  1. David C. said on August 20, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    I’m having a bout with insomnia too. It always seems to happen this time of the year. I think it’s the sunlight decreasing. That and 40% of the people living around us are crazy AF and our nephew has been taken away from my brother-in-law and his wife because they suspect her of factitious disorder which is what they now call Munchhausen Syndrome by proxy. One of Mary’s sisters in in process of being approved to take him but it takes a few days and we’re all sick about it.

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  2. alex said on August 20, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    I’m hooked already. Knew I’d be. And I still haven’t followed the link in the last thread.

    I probably won’t have time to enjoy until this weekend. Taking a vacay to Niagara on the Lake and seeing some George Bernard Shaw shows. All on my parents’ dime because I don’t want them driving there anymore, so I’m doing the honors. So I’ll probably bring my laptop so I can get some reading in while they take their naps.

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  3. alex said on August 20, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    So sorry to hear what you’re going through, David.

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  4. icarus said on August 20, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    “We are slowly turning into a nation of college freshmen who learn a new means of criticizing something and then can’t wait to show off our new trick by applying it to literally everything.”

    Ed Gin and Tacos

    My favorite explanation of cultural appropriation

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  5. alex said on August 20, 2019 at 7:51 pm

    Mexicans laugh at the cultural appropriation known as Taco Bell, which bears little resemblance to their native cuisine. And “nachos” means “butt cheeks” in their native tongue.

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  6. Heather said on August 20, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    I didn’t sleep well last night either, and I usually sleep quite well (ironically, even better since I got laid off). Interesting.

    Sorry to hear about what you’re dealing with, David. Glad your nephew has family to take care of him.

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  7. Bitter Scribe said on August 20, 2019 at 8:14 pm

    Those of us of a certain age will remember how pissy white conservatives got when “Roots” first aired on TV. Those people just do not like hearing about slavery.

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  8. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 20, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    Sounds like someone’s hanging around Deborah’s Chicago apartment . . . but they got ’em down safely.

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  9. Deborah said on August 20, 2019 at 9:29 pm

    I’m blown away that the right wing is whining about the 1619 project, saying it’s not true. On the other hand what did I expect? Of course they would find fault with it, because it exposes a lot of shit that they want to pretend never happened and doesn’t happen today because it reveals them as the assholes they are. Especially Gingrich and McConnell (his idol is Calhoun who comes off as a huge power mad obstructionist in the series).

    I hope there is a lot more to the series and that it catches on, bringing the right wing to shame. Who am I kidding, they have no shame.

    It’s been difficult to read in Abiquiu because of the poor internet service, but I keep trying.

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  10. Deborah said on August 20, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    Jeff tmmo, ???

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  11. Sherri said on August 20, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    Right-wingers will always find something to be resentful of. Before Gamergate, there were the Sad Puppies, whereby a bunch of unhappy right-wing little white boys became unhappy that their science fiction sandbox was changing, and attempted to take over the Hugo Awards in their pique. Now, they’re reducing to whining because the winner of the John Campbell award had the temerity to say that John Campbell was a fascist.

    Some people are trying to defend Campbell by saying that while he was a racist, sexist, xenophobic bigot, he wasn’t technically a fascist. I think that’s a distinction without a difference.

    Cory Doctorow writes about all this quite well here:

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  12. jcburns said on August 20, 2019 at 10:12 pm

    Sleep well Nance. I think I’d rather put on some old Q-FM-96 airchecks (complete with wind chime sfx when the announcers open the mic) than tune in to something called ‘Yacht Rock.’ Sounds way too deVos-ian for my taste.

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  13. LAMary said on August 20, 2019 at 10:42 pm

    I had insomnia last night too and that’s rare for me. I spent the day at work avoiding talking to anyone because I was truly feeling pissy. Luckily my job allows me to have silent days building “pipelines.” Tomorrow I gotta call them all, but my pipelines are pristine.

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  14. jcburns said on August 20, 2019 at 11:08 pm

    Sherri, the Cory Doctorow essay is a fine work, powerful and tuned to perfection. “We, collectively, through our norms and institutions, create the circumstances that favor sociopathy or generosity. ” I’ve gotta get that engraved somewhere. (and on edit, Jeanette Ng’s statement upon receiving the Campbell award is powerful, succinct, and, I think, will change things.)

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  15. Sherri said on August 20, 2019 at 11:46 pm

    JC, I really liked this part:

    “Life is not a ledger. Your sins can’t be paid off through good deeds. Your good deeds are not cancelled by your sins. Your sins and your good deeds live alongside one another. They coexist in superposition.”

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  16. beb said on August 21, 2019 at 12:30 am

    A long long time ago when John W. Campbell was still the god of SF editors I heard someone say that Campbell loved nothing better than someone coming up with a new reason why slavery was good.

    Cultural appropriation. When my wife and I got SiriusXM in the car we listened a lot to the B B King / Bluesville channel. And were surprised by how much Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton. At first we thought they were mixing a bunch of white bluesish cuts to broaden they subscription base but over time we can to realize that these were bonifide blues singers. They just happened to be white.

    Whining is, I think, the defining characteristic of conservatives.

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  17. Dexter Friend said on August 21, 2019 at 1:33 am

    When Pandora appeared I tried it and hated it. I don’t like hearing covers and genre-same crap when I can punch in Spotify and hear exactly what I want to hear. My wife loves Pandora and ignores Spotify. Maybe Pandora will play a song for you if you pay, but if it’s still the same as it was, I don’t get how it exists, with Spotify right there beside it. I spend as much time on my desktop as I do on my tablet and iPhone combined, and really, by far, my top music site is still, now and likely forevermore, YouTube.

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  18. ROGirl said on August 21, 2019 at 7:06 am

    I haven’t slept well for the past few years. I started going in to work early to beat the traffic, especially coming home in the afternoon. I end up falling asleep pretty early, but if I wake up in the middle of the night I don’t always go back to sleep because I start cycling through all the crap at work. Eventually I just get up, make coffee, and go to my computer.

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  19. alex said on August 21, 2019 at 8:58 am

    So what about Jtmmo’s cryptic message from yesterday evening? I couldn’t find anything in the news.

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  20. Mark P said on August 21, 2019 at 9:11 am

    It’s cultural appropriation if the dominant culture takes it, and it’s cultural colonialism if the non-dominant culture takes it.

    The whole idea that cultural appropriation in general is somehow bad is ridiculous. It’s been going on since humans became humans and spread far enough apart that they developed different cultures. Language is a good example. How many German words does English use? Or French? Hindi, anyone? The French try to protect their pure language by officially banning English words. When will they have to start banning Chinese words?

    I remember Paul Simon’s response when someone criticized him for appropriating elements of African music. He said something like, “Hey, they (not the Africans, but other musicians from the US) had a chance to do the same thing, but they didn’t.”

    Theft is different. Theft is when black musicians don’t get paid for their work, not when a white musician creates music inspired by black music. The practices of the music production world is just one example of European-descended people stealing from African-descended people, and not nearly the worst. It gets attention because it’s right in our faces every day.

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  21. Watson said on August 21, 2019 at 9:38 am

    I think Jeff(tmmo) was referring to this story about a window washer who got stuck 53 floors up.

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  22. basset said on August 21, 2019 at 10:17 am

    Can’t agree with “delicious,” I barely got through it… nothing new there, more eloquently expressed than usual but that’s about all.

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  23. Julie Robinson said on August 21, 2019 at 10:57 am

    At least Paul Simon brought the African musicians over to perform with him. It could be argued he gave them a career in this country by raising their visibility. Of course it would have been better for it to happen more organically, but maybe it wouldn’t have happened at all. My emotions are mixed.

    I would kill to sleep through the night just once. My best insomnia fighter is boring audio books. I get too involved in music to shut off my brain, but a nice soothing spoken voice does the trick.

    We’re traveling again next week so I’m putting off the 1619 reading until then. But I did take my mom to the Sisters of the Cloth quilt exhibit at our downtown library. I hadn’t known we had an African-American quilter’s guild here in town, and it was a wonderful surprise.

    Many of the quilts were quite traditional in style but were reinterpreted in vibrant colors and/or kente cloth. Some were memory quilts for a church, a retiree, Obama, or freedom fighters. Then there were the Underground Railroad quilts. These were modern versions reproducing quilt blocks that were used to guide those escaping slavery. They were spine tingling and humbling, and I’m very grateful to have seen them.

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  24. Heather said on August 21, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    I recommend yoga nidra for falling asleep. Maybe I’ve mentioned that before here? There are a bunch of recordings on YouTube, but I like the ones by sparkling yoga. Her voice is very pleasant and almost hypnotic (in a non-creepy way). Sometimes I can’t even get through the whole recording. This is one I particularly like:

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  25. Scout said on August 21, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    I wonder what was going on on Monday night? After making a huge point to say how well I sleep when I do my edibles before bed, I too had insomnia that night. I tossed and turned for hours and finally got up and read until I eventually fell asleep some time after 3am. I dragged butt all day at work yesterday, but last night I fell asleep at 11 and slept til 7:30 this morning.

    Heather, I love yoga nidra. Thanks for the tip for YouTube. I’ll remember that for the next time I can’t sleep. There’s always a next time.

    I went to the link someone posted for 1619 and all I got was a page with some quotes. I was planning to print it all out like Dorothy did. Does anyone have the link so I can do that?

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  26. Jim G said on August 21, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    I’m with the Oberlin students on the Banh Mi. Pulled pork and coleslaw on ciabatta may be a perfectly adequate sandwich, but it’s not a Banh Mi. It’d be like ordering a Philly Cheesesteak and getting baloney and American cheese on Wonder bread. Both are sandwiches, but no one with taste buds would get them confused.

    And yes, the bread is crucial to a good banh mi. Crispy, but not as dense or chewy as a traditional French baguette, because of the type of flour used. You can substitute most of the ingredients in a banh mi and still have something that retains the banh mi flavor profile. I’m a fan of tofu or mock duck banh mi sandwiches myself. But the bread is important, and Ciabatta isn’t even close.

    If Bon Apetit had just called it a pulled pork sandwich, no one would have complained. (Well, okay, it’s college food service and college students. They would have complained.) But I betcha someone at Bon Apetit figured they could charge an extra $2 if they called it “banh mi” instead of “pulled pork.”

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  27. MarkH said on August 21, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    Q-FM-96. That sure laser-cut through 40 years of personal debris.

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  28. Sherri said on August 21, 2019 at 3:13 pm

    Parody is impossible now.

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  29. JodiP said on August 21, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    Hello all! I finally have a chance to catch my breath with the new job. I really hope I can get a copy of 1619 from someone; it’s something I’d like to hold in my hands.

    My insomnia aid is Anthony Trollope. Soooo many words. I dim my Kindle and read. I have to do some mental relaxation first. Today, it just didn’t work. I sent to bed late (10:00) and woke up at 4:30 and…was done. On a weekend, I can get back to sleep because I know I can sleep till whenever.

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  30. beb said on August 21, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    Because he ccan’t buy Greenland he’s canceled a state visit with Denmark, also insulted the Prime Minister.

    He’s called Jews unamerican if they vote Democratic.

    He retweeted someone calling him “The King of the Jews” (Didn’t the Romans crucify the last guy who someone said was King of the Jews?)

    And he’s trying once again overturn the Flores agreement that limited how long minors could be held in detention.

    And he’s flip-flopped so many times on gun control in just the last twoo weeks that the White House should set up a wind-mill to catch the draft from his spinning.

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  31. Julie Robinson said on August 21, 2019 at 5:07 pm

    And he called himself the Chosen One, accompanying it with a look skyward. Aieeeee!!!

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  32. David C. said on August 21, 2019 at 6:03 pm

    He’s shifting gears and is now going to buy Antarctica from the penguins.

    I looked into someone who had boring audio bedtime stories for adults. I like the concept, but it was a subscription service. I can get boring books to read myself from the library for only a small percentage of my tax bill.

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  33. basset said on August 21, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    Bahn mi? Back when I was working in the Willkie Quad kitchen we thought it was a treat to get a slice of processed ham in our grilled Velveeta or something very much like it on white bread.

    Back to Vital Social Issues for a minute. I don’t usually get too interested in scholarly works about toxic masculinity and the male role, but for some reason I picked one up in a bookstore today. Noticed a couple of familiar but obscure locations and thought “wait a minute, I know these places”… turns out the author was born in the same SW Indiana town I was, had some similar issues and experiences, and the whole area figures in his story:

    More of his writing:

    Some of you all who follow literary business and the best seller lists will probably tell me this guy is famous and a huge success but I’d never heard of him and was really pleased to make the discovery.

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  34. alex said on August 21, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    The Chosen One. The King of the Jews.

    I didn’t find him cringeworthy before and thought it was because I was unable to feel any sort of compassion for the sumbitch, but he managed to do it this time. I’d bet he’s even creeping out his base.

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  35. alex said on August 21, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    And Basset, thanks for tipping me off to an Indiana writer. In looking over his lengthy list of published work, I’m sure I’ve come acrost it (as Hoosiers like to say) without knowing anything about him either.

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  36. Suzanne said on August 21, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    I read Sexton’s The Man They Wanted Me To Be a few months ago. I may have mentioned it here. It explains so much about Trump’s appeal to so many. Do read it.

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  37. Scout said on August 21, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    alex, Twitler’s base lacks the basic common sense, decency and brains to be creeped out. They are unreachable.

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  38. Deborah said on August 21, 2019 at 10:51 pm

    So LB and I went to the event at the Cocteau theater with Erica Jong and her daughter Molly Jong Fast. It turned out to be a delightful mother daughter presentation. I read Fear of Flying back in the early 70s, I can’t say that I thought of myself as a big EJ fan back then, but the book made me sit up and take notice that I was in a pretty miserable marriage, that I stayed in until the late 80s. I became aware of EJ’s daughter through twitter, Molly Jong Fast who is very funny and intertaining on Twitter and elsewhere. I recommend her writing if you aren’t familiar, she has written for the NYT, the Daily Beast, the Guardian, the Bulwark etc, she’s good IMHO. We bought a couple of books, one by each and had them signed. They had a Q & A session after the presentation and before the book signing, that I actually steeled myself to ask a question in front of the crowd. I never do that.

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  39. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 21, 2019 at 11:38 pm

    Watson found the link, sorry not to clarify sooner for Deborah. “And no one was hurt!”

    Trump’s base, he said having spent some time tonight in their midst, is in fact creeped out by the “Chosen One/King of the Jews” stuff. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, I’m hoping Denmark makes an offer for Puerto Rico.

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  40. Dexter Friend said on August 22, 2019 at 3:33 am

    Yesterday Netflix released “American Factory”, the doc about the shuttered GM-Dayton Ohio plant that was bought by Fuyao Glass, a Chinese corporation. The Obamas teamed with a great production staff to bring this fascinating working class struggle film aboard. Like many of you, I have worked union and nonunion and I have heard all the threats,and also dealt with one of the groups that come into nonunion plants , highly paid, to brainwash workers to vote the union down. This film is the best of the genre, ever…and I bet Michael Moore concurs. Damn, life is a struggle, ain’t it? Going from $29 per hour to $12, then $14 per hour is hard.

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  41. Jenine said on August 22, 2019 at 9:17 am

    @ Jeff TMMO: Oh I loooove the idea of a suddenly Skandi administered PR! It’d be a Caribbean presence challenging the USA like Commie Cuba but different!

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  42. LAMary said on August 22, 2019 at 9:23 am

    I think Manhattan should go back to being Dutch. New New Amsterdam.

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  43. Sherri said on August 22, 2019 at 11:39 am

    So Inslee has left the race. He did a good job of accomplishing what he intended, drawing attention to the climate issue, which is his passion. He was my Congressman before he was Governor, and he’s always been solid on that.

    He’d make a good cabinet member. As a governor, he’s okay, but not all that great at wrangling legislatures. It seems likely that he’s going to announce for a third term this week, which I rather he didn’t. There are several Dems in waiting I’d rather see take a crack at it.

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  44. Deborah said on August 22, 2019 at 11:44 am

    Molly Jong Fast tweeted about her event with her mother last night in Santa Fe

    The person who tweet responded that they were the only people there under 63 is almost correct. LB was there and is well under 63 obviously, or I would have been 5 when I had her.

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  45. Jakash said on August 22, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    Posting this comment momentarily brings together my 3 favorite bloggers. Woo-hoo! As our hero, Nancy, has her arch-villain, Mitch Albom, Neil Steinberg was long pestered by the popularity of the nostalgia-and-Baby Richard-meister, Bob Greene, even mocking his writing for years in a pseudonymous column. Eric Zorn recently noticed something about an old poster Steinberg had produced which lampooned Greene’e eventual disgrace, prompting today’s post on Neil’s blog, EGD:

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  46. Jakash said on August 22, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    I realize that the Lord works in strange ways, but, really, out of all the people in America, *this* is the “chosen one?”

    “Old Testament guy or New Testament?” Mr. “The Bible is my favorite book”: “Probablyyyyy… (Hmmm… never having read it, I have no idea what a good answer would be) … equal.” Nailed it!

    “It’ll never not be hilarious that the vast majority of white American evangelical Christians said this is their guy.”

    Here’s hoping that Jeff’s comment @ 39 indicates that maybe at least some of their minds could be opened a bit to this charlatan’s transparent duplicity.

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  47. Jakash said on August 22, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    So, YouAreOfficiallyOldIf is trending on Twitter. The responses indicate, as if it were needed, that you are officially old if you are maybe half the age of most of us nn.cers. D’oh! (“D’oh!” being about my most cutting-edge cultural reference, BTW…)

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  48. jcburns said on August 22, 2019 at 5:09 pm

    Just got an email from the FAA…reminding me? Admonishing me?

    Operating a drone that has a dangerous weapon attached to it is a violation of Section 363 of the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act enacted Oct. 5, 2018. Operators are subject to civil penalties up to $25,000 for each violation, unless the operator has received specific authorization from the Administrator of the FAA to conduct the operation. “Dangerous Weapon” means any item that is used for, or is readily capable of, causing death or serious bodily injury.

    Well, indeed. And we continue to live in…times.

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  49. Heather said on August 22, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    Some semi-exciting news–I’m going to be an extra on Chicago Fire tomorrow! My friend signed her and her husband up to do it, but he had a conflict. The call time is at 3 PM which means I’ll probably be up til very late. I’ll have to get some coffee from the Colombian place around the corner before I go–it packs a punch. It’s probably going to be boring, but I have always been curious about TV and movie sets, so it’ll be a good experience.

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  50. Dexter Friend said on August 23, 2019 at 2:36 am

    A late YouTube star, “The Kid from Brooklyn”, Joe, a robust older fellow who lived in Fort Lee across the river, was recruited as an extra for “The Sopranos”. He told of how he had to be there, in proper dress, very early, and he sat on a bench in a bleacher for 8 hours and then he walked on a sidewalk a few feet, and “cut” for the day. He told of how he got $45 for his patience more than anything. His scene was cut. Joe:

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  51. beb said on August 23, 2019 at 2:59 am

    JC, does dropping an Amazon package on the addressee from a drone could as a dangerous weapon? Just asking for a friend…

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  52. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 23, 2019 at 6:57 am

    Heather, bring a book. Lots of waiting around. And flashes of celebrity excitement . . . then more waiting.

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  53. basset said on August 23, 2019 at 7:29 am

    It’s not quite acting, but I have been doing some irregular work as a “standardized patient” at one of our local medical schools – I sit in an exam room, students question me, practice interviewing skills, and try to diagnose my problem, which I describe based on a provided script. This week it was migraines; chest pains, delirium, and ED are coming up, but not on the same day.

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  54. alex said on August 23, 2019 at 8:04 am

    Chest pains, delirium and ED… I think you just described turning 58.

    Well, we’re outta here. And I’m leaving my computer behind, alas, so if I check in I’ll be a MOFW (man of few words) because there’s nothing more excruciating than typing on a phone.

    We’re taking a long weekend in Canada. And I’m going to attempt Nicorette lozenges because I won’t be able to smoke most of the time. Neighbor’s taking care of Pussies. Cleaning lady is going to have everything spiffy for our return.

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  55. Dorothy said on August 23, 2019 at 9:43 am

    Oooh basset that sounds like fun to me. How did you get that gig, and do you get paid? A theater group I belonged to about 10 years ago did Crisis Intervention Training with the local police. I did it twice. We did not get paid but it was fun to improvise and work with the police who needed certification in this issue.

    My appearance was NOT cut in the one and only movie where I was an extra! I’ve talked about it before but if there are any new people, the movie was “Liberal Arts” and I walked along a path directly in front of the main characters and I can’t remember how many minutes into the movie it was. Josh Radnor and Elizabeth Olsen were the lead actors. It was fun to see and participate in but incredibly boring much of the time.

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  56. LAMary said on August 23, 2019 at 9:54 am

    When my kids were in elementary school I was a volunteer hysterical mom during the annual Great Shake earthquake simulation exercise. The premise was there was a big earthquake and I was a mom standing at the reunion gate demanding my children immediately. I had to really make a scene and not cooperate with the appointed teacher who was releasing children to their parents. There were several of us who were regular crazy mom actors. My recreation of my NJ accent and attitude was especially appreciated.

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  57. Dorothy said on August 23, 2019 at 10:33 am

    Oh Mary what fun that would be! I’d be a good crazy mom – it helps that the words already describe me so – ya know – type casting!

    My daughter was in NYC last week and walked up to a TKTS booth just as Dear Evan Hansen tickets became available. She said a much older (presumably Jewish) guy got tickets after she did, and he immediately called his wife. Laura did a dead-on imitation of his Brooklyn accent. ELDA! YOU’RE NEVER GONNA BELIEVE WHAT SHOW I GOT TICKETS FORH! WE’RE GONNA HAVE TA CHANGE OUR DINNER RESERVATIONS NOW!!” She was asked for directions several times by other tourists. She was helpful because she pays such damn good attention to things like street names and buildings when she’s in a city. She visited a college friend and marveled at how people ask her when she was a tourist too. Jamie said “Oh Laura, you just have such an approachable face!” I’m going to have to remember that phrase. Maybe she gets it from me – I was asked three times to give someone directions when we were in NYC last December. Each time I was actually able to help!

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  58. Deborah said on August 23, 2019 at 11:00 am

    I’ve never been an extra in a movie, unless you count the crowd scene in the Elvis movie, Clambake. It was new year’s day 1967, I was 16, at the orange bowl regatta boat races in Miami. They used the crowd in the stands for the movie as if we were watching and cheering for Elvis. I’m the skinny blond with the flip hairdo in the pink flowered shift if you can find me.

    Also my “cubicle” at work was used in a TV show filmed in Chicago a while ago. I was not there.

    I’ve art directed many professional photographers for shots while I was a graphic designer and boy was it boring, usually took about 4 hours per shot to get the lighting etc just right.

    I was also photographed for an ad for Interface carpets. It was a still photo and also took hours. It wasn’t boring but it was cold and windy along the lake in Chicago, it was mid April. Here’s a link to that photo, that’s me with the plant in front of my face

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  59. Mark P said on August 23, 2019 at 11:12 am

    I have never been in a movie or on TV, but my brother’s lab coat was. He was a graduate student at Ga Tech when some kind of made-for-tv science fiction movie was filmed on campus. They needed a lab coat for one of the actors, so they used his. When it appeared on TV late one night he called me and told me to look for it. I’m not sure I saw it, because if you’ve seen one lab coat, you’ve seen them all.

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  60. Little Bird said on August 23, 2019 at 12:18 pm
    So this seems like big news….

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  61. susan said on August 23, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    Yeah, LB. One down, 10,258 to go. I will speak ill of this dead one. He couldn’t be dead enough. We could dig him up and bury him again.

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  62. beb said on August 23, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    alex @54 for the win.

    With the death of one of the Koch Brothers he’s not the devil’s problem.

    A number of commenters here were talking about their trouble sleeping. Could it because of the non-stop Trump coverage, and fears about what’s going to happen next.

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  63. David C. said on August 23, 2019 at 6:13 pm

    In lieu of flowers, the Koch family has asked everyone to burn an acre of rain forest.

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  64. alex said on August 23, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    In Dalhousie, St. Catherine’s. What a fucked up day it has been. More about that later.

    Some officious twit at the border at Port Huron decided that we looked guilty of something and sent us to Immigration to be searched and interviewed. Then we call ahead to our B&B to tell them we’ll be a few hours late and it turns out some signals got crossed somewhere so we don’t have rooms.

    Hope I’ll look back on this some day with a sense of humor but not feelin’ it at the moment.

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  65. alex said on August 23, 2019 at 8:24 pm

    Apparently awaiting moderation since my phone is on roaming.

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  66. alex said on August 23, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    Either that or I mistyped my credentials on this effing thing.

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  67. basset said on August 23, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    Dorothy, we do get paid but not a whole lot. Heard about it from a server where I used to eat lunch.

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  68. Heather said on August 23, 2019 at 10:58 pm

    I’m back from the Chicago Fire set. It was a short shoot, only three hours, but I guess we still get paid for eight. My friend and I were unfortunately pretty far from the cameras so I doubt we’ll be on screen, but it was interesting anyway. Being a movie and TV actor seems terribly boring–having to do the same scene over and over again! I see why some actors prefer the stage. I’m also struck once again by how much of the entertainment industry involves lugging stuff around.

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  69. Dexter Friend said on August 24, 2019 at 1:54 am

    Mentioned this here years ago: I was an unknowing extra in a 1970 movie “Fools”, with Katharine Ross and Jason Robards. I was in San Francisco, having ridden the Greyhound up from Monterey for just goofing around, and I had worked all night in the hospital, and I lay down in the grassy Aquatic Park for a nap…I must have been out about an hour and woke up to a racket as the scene had just finished filming. I never could find the movie so obviously never saw it. I remember I was wearing a light blue jacket.

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  70. Jakash said on August 24, 2019 at 2:02 am

    “The share of Americans saying colleges and universities have a negative effect has increased by 12 percentage points since 2012. The increase in negative views has come almost entirely from Republicans and independents who lean Republican. From 2015 to 2019, the share saying colleges have a negative effect on the country went from 37% to 59% among this group. Over that same period, the views of Democrats and independents who lean Democratic have remained largely stable and overwhelmingly positive.”

    Uh, I know what happened in 2016, but that 22% change still seems pretty freaking remarkable.

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  71. alex said on August 24, 2019 at 10:11 am

    And now I get it sprung on me that I’m gonna be sitting through Man and Superman x 6 hours. Oy.

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  72. alex said on August 24, 2019 at 10:16 am

    Don Juan in Hell? Sounds infernal alright. Especially to a tobacco addict like me.

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  73. Deborah said on August 24, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    Yes David Koch is dead, but his brother Charles is still alive. I guess all those hospital buildings that have David Koch’s name from his millions of dollars worth of philanthropy couldn’t save him.

    Saw another red racer snake this one was very near the cabin. I went out to brush my teeth and there it was. Not venomous thank goodness and beautiful. If you had a purse made out of that skin it would be gorgeous. Of course I wouldn’t advocate actually doing that,

    Trump is sounding more and more bonkers again, trying to distract from the bad news about the economy but it’s only making things worse. Lots of talk about the 25th amendment but the Republican Senate won’t let that happen. They’re stuck with him.

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  74. basset said on August 24, 2019 at 11:39 pm

    Thanks for knowing the difference between poisonous and venomous.

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  75. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 25, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    Well, this lady makes me feel like my town isn’t quite the most racist it could be, which is kind of schadenfreude-ish, I guess.

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