Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Vital Viewing (Hitsville's Hamlet Edition)


Motown Records founder Barry Gordy was born on this day in 1929. One of the most successful music industry execs ever, you'd think a man with such a golden ear would be sure of a sure thing when he heard one. As it turns out, just like the rest of us, Gordy could be plagued with doubts, and often equivocated when it came time to sign a future living legend, as he admits in this 2013 interview with British talk show host Jonathan Ross:


Yes, that's Richard Gere to the right of Gordy, and, further down on the couch, Jack Black. The young woman sitting in between Gere and Black obviously needs no introduction.

Now back to Gordy, who in 1963 was so unsure of Stevie Wonder's potential that before signing him he made the child take a...

...test, the results of which revealed young Stevie to be a...


OK, so maybe it didn't happen quite that way, but the young lad was more than talented enough, as you'll see in the following ancient videotape:

I don't know about you, but those numbers running in the lower left corner are making me nervous! Let me get my smelling salts.

OK, I'm better now. Onto The Jackson 5, the success of which in 1970 was so much in doubt that in the likelihood they failed, Gordy would need a...

...fall guy.

So? Were they a bust? You decide:

I'll decide. The kids remained gainfully employed. For that matter, so did Miss Ross.

Of course, if Stevie Wonder or The Jackson 5 were just starting out today, they would have their very own YouTube channels, and be able to bypass Barry Gordy and his handwringing entirely. 



Roisin Conaty, a British comedienne, in the off chance she did need an introduction.


Sunday, November 19, 2023

Coup Coup for Coup Coup Puffs


Even though District Judge Sarah B. Wallace ruled that Donald Trump engaged in an act of insurrection in the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, she nevertheless added that doesn't mean he should be barred from a Colorado presidential ballot. This despite Section III of the 14th Amendment, which states No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. " The judge's reasoning? She's not sure it applies to a president. Well, rereading that amendment, I do see the word president. Or rather, President. Capitalized just so we wouldn't miss it. OK, it does say "elector of" right before it. So the elector can't engage in an insurrection but the person who the elector elects can? That's a little like arresting a mob boss for murder but then letting the hit man go free (well, that may not be the best analogy in the world as the hit man always can turn state evidence and then disappear in the Witness Protection Program, something I wish Trump would do, even if he witnessed nothing but his own act of treason.) 

Oh, well, the judge has ruled, and for the time being we just have to accept it. But it makes me wonder what would happen if such a ruling was applied retroactively. 

Fort Sumpter, shmort shmumpter. Jeff, dude, you could be president of both sides of the Mason-Dixon line!

Benedict, baby, you could be a Founding Father!

So what's 30 pieces of silver between apostles? Mister Iscariot, you can be the first Pope!

 Lucifer, just blame Dominion.


Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Smart Art (Remains of the Day Edition)


Summer Days, 1936

I know we're well into autumn now, but artist Georgia O'Keeffe was born on this day in 1887, and that's as good excuse as any for me to show you the above painting, one of several she did featuring an animal's skull, in this case one that's floating above a New Mexico landscape. O'Keeffe was already a well-regarded painter living in Manhattan when she went to New Mexico on vacation in 1929. She must have liked what she saw of the state, because she kept returning again and again, on longer and longer vacations, eventually moving there permanently in 1949. By the time she died in 1986 at the age of 98, probably no prominent figure was more prominently associated with the southwestern United States, save Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. However, whereas the coyote can survive everything from falling off a cliff to getting run over with a semi to having a stick of dynamite blow up in his face, O'Keeffe's subjects are... 

Horse with Pink Rose, 1931

...much less permeable. Such as this unfortunate equine whose demise may have resulted from nothing more than natural non-ACME causes.

So just what was it with O'Keeffe and animal skulls anyway? Might as well ask what it was with Monet and water lilies, Hockney and swimming pools, Warhol and consumer products, or Lucien Freud and out-of-shape naked people. Some artists are just inspired, and if they do their jobs well, we buy into their inspirations, when we otherwise may not have given the matter much thought (or looked the other way.)  As for where O'Keeffe found her inspiration, i.e., all those skulls, well, I'm told they can be found here and there in the desert, though she didn't necessary paint them in the desert. As the below photograph by hubby Alfred Stieglitz will attest, O'Keeffe sometimes...

...brought her work home with her.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

The People's Choice


Good news for anyone who believes women--and, really, at the end of the day, everybody--should have autonomy over their own bodies. Ohio voters have approved Issue 1, which will enshrine in the state constitution “an individual right to one’s own reproductive medical treatment, including but not limited to abortion.”

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing--and this state's still got it.

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Is There a Surgeon General in the House?



According to a recent American Medical Association study, LGBTQ people smoke cigarettes at much higher rates than their heteronormative counterparts. Now, this shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. The lives of gays and trans folk can be very stressful at times, and tobacco does seem to have a calming effect on the nerves. Unfortunately, the overall impact smoking has on health--everything from emphysema to heart disease to, most notoriously, lung cancer--negates any temporary relief to the nervous system. I do wish more queer people would just kick the habit.

Now, this homophobe's recent promotion isn't bound to help matters any. In fact, I suddenly have the urge to light one up!

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Quips and Quotations (The One with the '90s Sitcom Obit Edition)



I gravitate towards sort of broken characters who try to be better people.

--Matthew Perry, best known for playing Chandler Bing on Friends.