Celebrating Bill Withers

No popular singer-songwriter wrote so many good songs about friendship as Bill Withers. “Might be that we have, different views sometimes/But that’s alright, you’re still a friend of mine,” he sang on “Friend of Mine.” Less than a decade later Duran Duran toyed with the sentiment; in 1985 Jackson Browne and Clarence Clemons put tooContinue reading “Celebrating Bill Withers”

Adam Schlesinger — RIP

It was Adam Schlesinger’s gift to plumb the notes of blessed youth. A few years shy of forty the songwriter-singer of Fountains of Wayne released their third album Welcome Interstate Managers, a song suite about blighted young people for whom Chris Collingwood’s articulate tenor showed no signs of contempt: the executive nimrod in “Bright FutureContinue reading “Adam Schlesinger — RIP”

‘It’s a wartime mentality right now’: Coronavirus update #5

Insensate to music whose demands on this listener went no further than guaranteeing deepening impatience in car service waiting areas, I’ve turned to Kenny Rogers in the last forty-eight hours with the fervor the late country idol channeled into his Dolly Parton duet. Spring in South Florida means watching scolds of jays compete with mockingbirdsContinue reading “‘It’s a wartime mentality right now’: Coronavirus update #5”

On the Kenny Rogers legacy

Before “The Gambler,” “Islands in the Stream,” and Roasters, Kenny Rogers applied bearded fervor to material by The First Edition, for whom he sang and played bass. Those early hits still sound refreshing. “But You Know I Love You” has the faintest of swings that fans of The Guess Who’s “These Eyes” would tap theirContinue reading “On the Kenny Rogers legacy”

Kirk Douglas – RIP

A star of overwhelming physical presence, often a gratuitously physical one; an actor capable of quiet sardonicism, the Hollywood avatar born as Issur Danielovitch Demsky died at 103 today able to look back on his deathbed at an estimable career straddling both obligations. He wore a tuxedo well, and his cheeks were ghoulish enough toContinue reading “Kirk Douglas – RIP”

That’s Amaro!, or, saying goodbye to 2019

In 2019, I not only mastered beef Stroganoff, but I learned to appreciate Geraldine Page’s work in Woody Allen’s cheerless WASP envy of a prison colony Interiors. Remember: this decade began with my mastering fricase de pollo and learning to appreciate Meryl Streep, the latter despite It’s Complicated on her permanent record. Today I’m appreciatingContinue reading “That’s Amaro!, or, saying goodbye to 2019”

Marie Fredriksson — RIP

Hello! You fools! I loved you! Roxette’s fluorescence was brief, and their songs offered as many layers as an almond cracker, but during the Poppy Bush Interzone when radio hits were getting dirge-ier singles like “Dangerous” and “Dressed for Success” brought the silliness and the hooks; in the era of Paula Abdul and Maxi PriestContinue reading “Marie Fredriksson — RIP”

Cokie Roberts – RIP

About the late Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs, George Will of all people gave the most revelatory obit quote: Political journalist George Will, who worked with Roberts on ABC’s This Week, said Roberts was not just born to the political class but was a natural inhabitant. “She liked people on both sides of theContinue reading “Cokie Roberts – RIP”

Eddie Money — RIP

“I’m gonna take you on a trip so far from here/I’ve got two tickets in my pocket, now baby, we’re gonna disappear,” the late Eddie Money promised on his signature hit “Two Tickets to Paradise.” Laugh if you will, but “Two Tickets to Paradise” is a meathead’s “Born to Run,” written by the son ofContinue reading “Eddie Money — RIP”

Koch brothers influence: eye-on-the-sparrow bludgeoning

Thanks to Charles and his dead brother David, the Kochs are responsible for encouraging the pathology of anti-science. In Florida, where politicians pay lip service to Protecting the Everglades, their front organization Americans for Prosperity has opposed any regulation of the fossil fuel industry. Charles Pierce highlights a recent example: In 2018, the city ofContinue reading “Koch brothers influence: eye-on-the-sparrow bludgeoning”