I’m currently taking an online course via the University of North Carolina on Southern folklore traditions. It’s a free course offered through an organization called Coursera and this is the fourth session I’ve enrolled in. Most of the offered courses offer the option of earning a certificate but I just proctor the lectures and take the quizzes just for the heck of it.
The professor who is teaching my folklore class titles himself as a folklorists and has done something in his life I’ve always kicked myself for not doing. Early on he took the time and effort to record the people and characters he met along life’s road. Armed with a decent movie camera and recording equipment he filmed many of the old timers from whom he learned life’s lessons. He has films and audio recordings of a well-known local auctioneer of his boyhood days in rural Mississippi, a local black preacher delivering a Sunday sermon in the call and response tradition of the black church, young black boys verbally competing with derogatory lines about each other’s family and friends, and many performers rooted in the traditions of storytelling, field chants, country music and the blues. Without this man’s efforts so much cultural richness would have been lost forever.
Is it just me or have any of you simply had all the politics you can stand? Others say, and I usually agree, that I’m a political junkie. You’d think with the mid-term elections being so near I’d be more excited and paying attention.
However, it’s the opposite that’s true. Two weeks before election day and I don’t know the name of the Democrat’s candidate for governor. I know the current governor is named Kasich but not sure if I spelled his name correctly, I don’t know who is running for election to the US House of Representatives or any of the state positions. If there are any issues up for consideration I am again, in the dark.
It struck me while watching this Playing for Change video that many of the people involved in this project are probably Muslim. Yet I found zero reason to feel frightful. Why is it we assume so much that’s not founded in reality.
Recently vice president Joe Biden addressed a group of Harvard students and when one student introduced himself as being the VP of Student Council Biden responded, “Isn’t it a bitch…that vice president thing!” Biden’s face lit up with a toothy smile and most people in the room took it for both the humor and the truth that was spoken. Being vice president of the United States is, and always has been, a bitch.
Until most recent times the VP has done little but wait in the wings, out of sight and out of mind. While many Americans can rattle of a decent list of former presidents, how many can come up with as good a list of vice presidents?
FACTOID: You are more likely to be struck by lightning than encounter a case of voter fraud.
Clorox is synonymous with ???. If you answered bleach I’m guessing you’re in the majority. It like Kleenex and tissue, the two are a natural fit. Last week I was in a dentist office and conveniently scattered around the office were pump bottles of hand sanitizer carrying the trade name Clorox. I squirted some on my hands and took a whiff expecting to smell the familiar aroma of Clorox bleach. Instead my nasal orifices detected alcohol. Looking at the label I read, right below the big CLOROX logo, “Contains no bleach.” Somehow it seems against universal law to write a sentence reading, “Clorox, contains no bleach.” No wonder this world is so confusing.
I’ve never seen in person The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band but I heard some of their music on XM radio and I own an album they made titled Peyton on Patton. It’s a tribute to the legendary bluesman, Charley Patton.
Being interested in building and playing cigar box guitars I was pleased to come across a video of Peyton doing an instrumental slide guitar number on a three-string CBG. The instrument has a great tone and the Reverend knows his way around it.
FACTOID: Today, independent breweries, “represent about eight percent of total U.S. beer sales, and the number of breweries in this country just topped 3,000, a level not seen since the 1870s.”
FACTOID: Young black men are 21 times more likely to be killed by police.
I don’t speak Spanish and there’s not a word in this song I understood. Nevertheless my feet were moving throughout the performance. People from all over the world coming together and speaking the universal language of music. Take a break, fix something with rum in it, and move your body to a little Satchita.
FACTOID: “According to a new study out Wednesday from the Reflective Democracy Campaign, out of the 42,000 elected offices in America, 71 percent are held by men. Even more staggering: 90 percent of those positions are held by whites, and 65 percent of that 42,000 are white men. White men make up just 31 percent of the U.S. population. Women, meanwhile, make up 51 percent of the population. The organization compared data from elected officials in the summer of 2014 to recent Census data.”
Strange Fruit is one of the most haunting and eye-opening songs ever written. The frequent and accepted lynching of African Americans in the American South was widely unknown to many Americans. That ignorance began to weaken after the song’s release by singer Billie Holiday.
I’ve heard the song performed many times and by many performers but until now I wasn’t aware of its backstory. A friend posted the following article on Facebook and I decided it needed further promoted. It’s a wonderful account of the songs author and the part he played
FACTOID: “The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office announced Wednesday that the projected deficit for the 2014 fiscal year is $486 billion, which is the lowest annual deficit during President Obama’s time in office. It is also $195 billion less than the deficit from fiscal 2013. It also continues the trend of the deficit declining as a percentage of GDP every year since 2009’s record $1.4 trillion.”
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Couple of years ago I had a root canal done on one of the few molars I have. Went for a cleaning two weeks ago and was told the tooth had cracked and is becoming infected. Options are to have it extracted and pretend I can chew meat or, have it extracted and get an implant. I’ve decide to go with the implant in the hope I’ll live long enough to enjoy some more BBQ.
Sitting here reflecting over my dental history I’m wondering just how much money has gone into maintaining my pearlies? In my era dental hygiene wasn’t stressed, rotten teeth were common and dentists didn’t bother too much with fillings. People were poor, didn’t have insurance, and fluoride in the water or toothpaste was something for the future. About every kid I knew had a few black holes in their smile and my brother and I may be the first in our family to leave this world with some of our original teeth. Everyone else ended up keeping theirs in a jar overnight.
This one tooth has had several fillings, a root canal with a crown on top, and now needs removed and replaced with an implant with yet another crown attached to that. Between myself and my insurance company this tooth alone has witnessed at least $9,000 spent on it.
Over all I’d say nature screwed up when designing teeth for the human specie. Why, after all the millenniums of evolution, aren’t we born with titanium chompers?