PHIL OCHS – A VOICE FOR OUR TIME
A couple of days ago, Rolling Stone magazine published a story about a new era of protest music for the age of Trump.
Perhaps anticipating something like that, two or three weeks ago, the Washington Post published a lengthy story about a protest singer/songwriter who has been dead for 40 years – Phil Ochs – a story I'd missed but Peter Tibbles and Norma sent me.
(Disclosure: I knew Phil Ochs. We weren't close friends but I produced some radio shows with him, my then-husband and I had dinner with him a few times and we hung out at some of the Greenwich Village music venues when Phil was playing.)
A lot of Phil's music is suddenly “new” again. As the WaPo story reports, one of his songs,
“The War Is Over, suggests how political resistance in any age can be enlivened, refreshed and perhaps even galvanized by jarring notes of artistic creativity. Yet it isn’t close to being Ochs’s most philosophical work.
“Take, for instance, There but for Fortune, the most beautiful song ever written about the natural lottery...
“It’s a succinct reminder of the ethical basis of modern liberalism: that in a world with no level playing field, we have sizable obligations to those who are less lucky.
“And it’s an overarching message that Democrats, after a campaign in which their nominee tended to favor discrete policy proposals over sweeping moral vision, would be wise to rediscover.”
Phil's most familiar song is undoubtedly Outside a Small Circle of Friends, but I'm going to play There But for Fortune today.
LATEST NEW WORDS FOR THE DICTIONARY
Merriam-Webster this week announced more than a thousand new words for its dictionary.
”It was a bumper year for the hyphenated or two-part phrases you have most likely used, or perhaps spotted pasted over a photo of Captain Jean-Luc Picard,” explained the Washington Post.
“Welcome the face-palm (the act of covering one’s face with a hand, out of dismay or embarrassment, as demonstrated by the good Starfleet captain), along with binge-watch, side-eye, weak sauce, wayback machine, chef’s knife, town hall, throw shade, ride shotgun and safe space.”
I guess dictionaries wait a long time to accept new words because none of those are new to me in the past year.
What the list lacks in surprise for me, it made up in what The Post called this “cheeky” infographic:
Find out more about all the 1,000 new words at Merriam Webster.
JOHN OLIVER'S HBO SHOW RETURNS TOMORROW NIGHT
And thank god for that. We need this man in our new political time of need.
Yesterday, I showed you Oliver's interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Today, I have a short video from that Rolling Stone interview I mentioned, “Five Things We Learned Hanging Out With John Oliver.”
Oliver is back hosting the Last Week Tonight season premiere tomorrow night on HBO. Since I don't subscribe I am deeply grateful that the network makes the main essay each week available on YouTube and you'll be seeing a lot of Oliver here during this season.
You've all heard of Jackson Hole, right - the winter destination, celebrity watchers tell us, of the rich and famous that is in Wyoming?
Well, you would be wrong about the location, if like me, you assumed Wyoming. Today we're talking about Jackson Hole, China. Yes, China.
Over the past decade, the video page tells us, more than a thousand families have settled into this community two hours northwest of Beijing. There’s everything an aspiring cowboy could wish for, including timber-frame houses with spacious backyards and a town church straight out of Little House on the Prairie.
I guess it's not much different from having an Eiffel Tower replica in Las Vegas.
MELANIA TRUMP CASHING IN
Apparently it runs in the family – conflict of interest, I'm talking about. Several news organizations are reporting Melania Trump's attorney let slip that the reason she is suing a newspaper over a questionable report about her is that it gets in the way of making a bundle now that she is first lady.
Here's the short version from the Washington Post:
Did you get that part directly from the lawsuit?
"The suit...said the article published by the Daily Mail and its online division last August caused Trump’s brand, Melania, to lose 'significant value' as well as 'major business opportunities that were otherwise available to her,' reports The Post.
"The suit said the article had damaged her 'unique, once in a lifetime opportunity' to 'launch a broad-based commercial brand.'"
Is this legal? If it is, it is still in deeply bad taste. More detail at the Washington Post.
INSPIRATION ON HOW TO RESIST TRUMP
As the YouTube page explains, this video is an adaptation of a talk given by Glenda Russell, PhD, focused on using Trump's election as a springboard to activism and to individual and community growth.
The TV producer in me says that it's longer than it needs to be but there are some useful thoughts, ideas and points to dwell upon for how to deal with our new political era. Thank you to several TGB readers for sending this.
MAKE AUSTRALIA NUMBER TWO
President Trump wants to make America First. Some other countries have followed up on that idiotically tone-deaf declaration with some wonderfully funny videos lobbying to be named number two (see the first from The Netherlands here) and now Australia has joined the contest.
Norma, the Assistant Musicologist at the Elder Music column that is published here on Sundays, sent one of the funniest from an Australian television show called The Weekly with Charlie Pickering which she describes as in the style of Jon Stewart and John Oliver. Enjoy.
STUPID THINGS KIDS CRY ABOUT
It's a good thing for the wellbeing of any children I might have had that I didn't have them. I'm pretty sure the first time a kid of mine tried any of these tantrums, I'd have walked away for good.
Yeah, they're funny in this collection but I wouldn't have laughed for a second if they were my kids.
I think I'm indulging in more than bit of shadenfreude when I laugh at what the mothers of these kids have to live with. There are more of them at Bored Panda.
WILD BISON RETURN TO BANFF
This is not funny cats or silly dogs or monkeys making us laugh by being too human that I usually post in this spot. Instead, it is a triumph – or the beginning of one - over a dreadful mistake our immigrant ancestors made in wiping out the North American bison.
Let us rejoice in this small improvement. You can read more about the return of the bison at the CBC.
Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.
You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog IF you include the name of the blog and its URL.