Ranking Gloria Estefan’s American top 40 hits

She made an effort to be seen at the right places: a trip to the Dade County Youth Fair, Christmas pageants, and award nights. The period of Gloria Estefan’s visibility coincides with her — no other word — startling ascendancy as a global pop star. Her son attended my private non-denominational elementary school. I wasContinue reading “Ranking Gloria Estefan’s American top 40 hits”

‘The Fall of the American Empire’ a dud as thriller and commentary

Primed to expect another part of a trilogy that included The Decline of the American Empire (1986) and The Barbarian Invasions (2003), I got about a third into The Fall of the American Empire and wondered if I wasn’t watching a thriller — one of those anonymous ones starring Ashley Judd or something that usedContinue reading “‘The Fall of the American Empire’ a dud as thriller and commentary”

Democratic debate #2 – Miami

11:06 p.m. Not a single question about today’s monumental Supreme Court decisions. 11:05 p.m. Harris, a better prosecutor than candidate. In June 2019, seven months before Iowa, maybe that’s what matters. Good night. 10:57 p.m. Buttigieg shouldn’t make such a big deal about his service. No doubt it was harrowing. But he ain’t wooing swingContinue reading “Democratic debate #2 – Miami”

Ranking Journey and Steve Perry’s top 40 hits

Two months ago, Steve Perry formed part of MoPop Pop Conference’s “Only You and Your Ghost Will Know” keynote. Discussing his wife’s death, he redeemed the clichés of healing as if those clichés were his Journey lyrics. At his rare best he approached Lou Gramm in the early Reagan Era pantheon of singers who couldContinue reading “Ranking Journey and Steve Perry’s top 40 hits”

Democratic debate #1 – Miami

10:57: Beto consulted notes for his final statement. 10:55 p.m. Klobuchar: “I listen to people except when they don’t wash my combs.” 10:54 p.m. Remember, readers: Tim Ryan challenged Nancy Pelosi for speaker. 10:47 p.m. I’m reading snipes from haircuts like Noah Rothman about Elizabeth Warren disappointing expectations, but she had more to lose; toContinue reading “Democratic debate #1 – Miami”

Ranking Diana Ross’ American top forty hits

Diana Ross solo brought the expectations, commitment to work, and delight in glamour of a star at a moment when Hollywood/L.A. regarded these elements with suspicion. With her gowns, broad Pagliacci grin, and disinterest in a “self-expression” that wasn’t the projection of a manner, she already looked like a relic in 1971. But by starringContinue reading “Ranking Diana Ross’ American top forty hits”

Adapting: DaBaby, Lil Nas X, Madonna

DaBaby – Baby on Baby He’s confident about selling the louche like the star he wants to be; he’s so conscious about how he’ll play on social media that on “Tupac” (of course) he follows “my bitch like Jada Pinkett” with the hastily delivered “I’m the fresh prince of my city/shout out Will/no point intended.”Continue reading “Adapting: DaBaby, Lil Nas X, Madonna”

Ranking Marvin Gaye’s American top ten singles

Well, ain’t that peculiar — an artist with no meh top tens? That’s Marvin Gaye, who followed an inimitable run as Motown’s premier male singer to a solo run in which his own productions and compositions, full of fire but capable of a tenderness that rarely went louche, maintained a standard. It’s not often said,Continue reading “Ranking Marvin Gaye’s American top ten singles”

Our capacity for imagining the unimaginable

Traditional media has not adjusted itself to the Trump era, I’ve often noted. Accelerating the entropy begun at the height of the Iraq War and continued by the Obama White House’s campaign against whistleblowers, the Trump administration’s insistent, aggressive, and insouciant mendacity overwhelms a news outlet’s corrective efforts, yet, because those outlets need the clicks,Continue reading “Our capacity for imagining the unimaginable”