[EDITORIAL NOTE: I know it's a holiday and you're enjoying friends and family, but if you find yourself online today, please be sure to send links for any of your stories you'd like to have included in the Sunday Issues post.]
There are many things I am thankful for today. Given the state of our economy, just being warm and fed would be enough. But there is another that I don’t often get around to saying here at Time Goes By and this seems a good day to do it.
I am overwhelmingly, exuberantly thankful for you, the people who read this blog and make it so much fun to produce. Even after five years, my enthusiasm for it continues and what makes it particularly pleasurable – and unique among many blogs - is the quality of the conversation and the thought put into the comments. The collective intelligence expressed here is much greater than mine and you give me a lot to ponder, lead me in directions I’ve never been before and - you make me laugh.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who appreciates the time and effort you put into your comments (some could be blog posts on their own) and it makes the experience of Time Goes By so much richer for us all. (Soon, Typepad will implement some new technology that will allow threading of comments so that several conversations can be grouped together which should make it even easier to read and follow along.)
So today, I thank all of you, many of whom have supported this blog for several years now. May the blessings of the day shower upon you and yours as you have showered interest in TGB on me.
It is also important to remember those who may not have as much as we do. Our economic catastrophe has already caused many people and families to live in uncertainty and even without the basics, as Saul Friedman reported in his Reflections column on Hunger here yesterday. Most economists I’ve read believe we are in for even harder times before it gets better.
Appropriately then, a few days ago, Miki Davis of Mountain Mama Radio sent me to a link to an NPR story deconstructing Yip Harburg’s Great Depression anthem, Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?, which resonates again as it did 75 years ago. Here is an excerpt:
“…the mood of the song is guided by its key and its rhythm.
"’The first thing that's surprising is that it doesn't start in a major key like most Broadway songs,’ [pianist and composer Rob] Kapilow says. ‘Appropriate to the Depression, it's in a minor key.’
“With lines like ‘Once I built a railroad, made it run / Made it race against time,’ the music jumps an octave, with all the energy and syncopation that made America's railroads. It even comes to rest, momentarily, in a major key. The music, like the words, reminisces about prosperous times.
"’But then, heartbreakingly,’ Kapilow says, under the word 'time' we change to minor, to set up the second half of the verse. Now it has lost all its energy; it's wistful. Now it's done — the good days in America, pre-Depression.’
“All of that, Kapilow says, provides a wonderful set-up for the perfect punch line: the song's title.”
Even in good times, Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? has been one of my favorite songs, especially by Mandy Patinkin. Yes, the emotion has seemed to be a bit over the top through the years, but no more; now it feels entirely appropriate.
Here is a video of Patinkin in rehearsal for an old David Letterman show singing Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? (That’s actor Tony Randall in the scene with him whose mugging draws laughs from the audience until Patinkin overwhelms the crowd with his intensity.) [3:05 minutes]
[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Susan Gulliford recalls Thanksgivings past in Mom's Thanksgiving.]