Another Perspective

Another Perspective

My 50 Favorite Beatles Songs

By 2.10.14

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles debut in America, I have compiled a list of my 50 favorite songs by John, Paul, George and Ringo. This list was not easy to compile. There were well over 200 songs from which to choose and the fact that there are that many to choose from is a testament to the greatness of The Beatles. Among the great songs that did not make my list were “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Twist & Shout,” “Yesterday,” and “Let it Be.” Without further adieu, here are my fifty favorite songs from The Fab Four:

50. Boys

Send to Kindle

Another Perspective

The Super Bowl Scandal

By 2.6.14

Super Bowl Sunday.

An American institution. A night of parties, sport and food. A whole lot of food.

And this Budweiser advert.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for Lieutenant Chuck Nadd. He deserved his welcome home. And his friends probably got a lot of free beer. That’s genuinely great. Still, I have a problem with the advert that used him.

Because it speaks to a troubling Super Bowl trend — the appropriation of patriotic service in pursuit of profit.

And be under no illusion, it is a trend. Last year it was Jeep.

But the corporate identity is ultimately beside the point. The real problem here is the manner by which ads like these further decouple American military families from civilian society.

Send to Kindle

Another Perspective

Ray’s Busy

By 2.4.14

I took a trip back to New York this past fall to visit family and friends as I do every couple of years. Relatives and friends are getting on, and I also enjoy spending time with my many nieces and nephews, and their own progeny. It’s hectic and involves much local travel, but has its rewards. You see people—sometimes randomly—you haven’t seen in years. One of those friends is Raymond Longchamp, whom I hadn’t seen in 39 years.

Ray and I worked together in a wholesale gift company warehouse in Mahwah, New Jersey in 1974, and were part of a small group of young men who got fired for coming back from lunch drunk on a payday. Actually, some were fired, and some not (Ray and I included among the latter), but the initial survivors were marked men who were let go soon after, when the warehouse slowed down after Christmas. The last time I remember seeing him was at a Gregg Allman solo tour concert we took in with some mutual friends at the Felt Forum in Madison Square Garden. At any rate, we were out-of-touch all that time.

Send to Kindle

Another Perspective

Barack Obama, Closet Conservative?

By 1.28.14

And what, sir, is your greatest strength?

We may savor the absurdity of what the still preening but failed president had to say about that — in the long puff piece by David Remnick that appeared in the Jan. 27 issue of the New Yorker.

President Obama patted himself on the head — declaring that he, more than other men, was “comfortable with complexity.” It is well to dwell upon those words for a moment — even if you plan to give tonight’s state-of-the-union a miss.

Send to Kindle

Another Perspective

Gene Clark: A Byrd Like No Other

By 1.28.14

The last thing I expected to happen in this new year was that I would be in a nightclub with a bunch of 20-somethings listening to a performance of an album recorded by Gene Clark nearly 40 years ago.

Well, this past Saturday night I was in nightclub with a bunch of 20-somethings listening to a performance of an album recorded by Gene Clark nearly 40 years ago.

For those of you who are not familiar with Gene Clark, he was a member of the legendary 1960s folk-rock band The Byrds. The Missouri-born Clark was responsible for writing the lion’s share of their songs such as “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better,” “Here Without You,” “She Don’t Care About Time,” “Set You Free This Time,” and “Eight Miles High.” Clark’s songwriting elevated The Byrds into something more than a very good Bob Dylan cover band.

Send to Kindle

Another Perspective

The Dying Gaul

By 1.28.14

Imagine, for a moment, that you are doing excavation work in your backyard, desirous of adding a family room on to your house, when the contractor unearths, oh, one of the civilization’s three or four greatest sculptures, one of antiquity’s wondrous masterpieces.

Such is the case with the magnificent Dying Gaul, a depiction of a fatally wounded warrior facing his final end, on exhibit at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., compliments of the Capitoline Museum in Rome and the Italian government. It dates from the first or second century A.D., most likely a Roman copy, in marble, of a Greek bronze from Pergamon, a Hellenized city in Asia Minor, now Turkey. It was cast in the third century B.C. to celebrate the defeat of the invading Gauls or Celts, a fierce people whose reach extended even to the wilds of Ireland.

Send to Kindle

Another Perspective

A Prohibition Anniversary

By 1.17.14

On this day (January 17) in 1920 the 18th Amendment went into effect, banning the production and sale of booze. The subsequent 13 years of Prohibition are commonly recalled in popular culture as a colorful blur of speakeasies, moon shiners, and gangsterism. Supposedly it was American Puritanism gone amok until sanity and the Depression intervened. But it represented an apogee of popular American reform movements whose consequences still endure. The creation largely of churches, it also was the last crest of the 19th century Protestant moral consensus before America’s Protestants divided between liberal modernists and “fundamentalists.”

Send to Kindle

Another Perspective

When the World Lost a Touch of Schmilsson

By 1.15.14

Before I woke up on the morning of January 15, 1994, I had the most vivid dream. In this dream, Harry Nilsson was standing right in front of me. His heart was melting and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

My own heart leapt into my throat when I learned later that day Nilsson had died of heart failure. My dream completely spooked me out.

I would be spooked out again 48 hours later when an earthquake hit Los Angeles that measured 6.7 on the Richter scale. My Dad had arrived in L.A. the previous evening for a visit to his eldest sister. Fortunately, he was not the worse for wear. Interestingly, shortly after his arrival Dad asked my aunt, “When earthquakes occur what time of the day do they usually take place?” “About 6 a.m.,” my aunt replied. So sure enough when the earthquake happened Dad awoke and said, “Oh, it must be 6 a.m.” He then promptly went back to sleep.

Send to Kindle

Another Perspective

The Moral Evolution of Progressives

By 1.10.14

Boy, have progressives “evolved.” The party of saloon protesters, suffragettes and crusaders against smoking, prostitution and immigration are now the champions of government-regulated vice.

They no longer want to save souls, but use them to increase tax revenue to fund an ever expanding list of new priorities in a turnaround that would likely make Frances Willard, the famous head of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union in the late 1800s, reach for a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.

The reversal is not totally consistent, however. No sooner had progressives successfully helped to ban smoking everywhere in public places had they moved on to champion legalizing marijuana.

Send to Kindle

Another Perspective

The Politics of Language

By 1.8.14

“Political language,” wrote George Orwell, “is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” The media’s insistence that Jahi McMath is just a “body” falls into this Orwellian category.

“Hospital releases body of Jahi McMath,” read stories about the thirteen-year-old Oakland girl taken to a New York hospice after doctors at Children’s Hospital Oakland stopped treating her. “Performing medical procedures on the body of a deceased human being is simply not something Children's Hospital can do or ask its staff to assist in doing,” said the hospital’s attorney.

Echoing this line, liberal journalists and commentators, who normally pride themselves on their sensitivity to slights, had no problem referring to the girl as a corpse and her parents as deluded.

If McMath is a corpse, she is a surprisingly active one. Her heart is still beating, something readers will learn from even some of the same stories saying she is dead. And how does this corpse manage to digest food or breathe?

Send to Kindle

Pages