April 4, 2009

"Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy, Rush, Kiss, Ted Nugent, Iron Maiden, Motorhead."

Metallica's James Hetfield, celebrating his band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, names the artists he thinks belong their too.

Also: Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page played "Immigrant Song." Ron Wood, presenting Bobby Womack, told about the time "he and Womack hid as some Hells Angels gang members were roughing up Wilson Pickett." And Rosanne Cash said that Wanda Jackson "could really rock and still kept her femininity intact."

Buying meat and booze in Cincinnati.

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In Detroit, the fight against organized... pillow fights.

"Michael Davis of Hamtramck says police confiscated the 32-year-old man's pillows but returned their cases. He says he was told that he needed a permit."

"Taliban Chief Claims Responsibility for N.Y. Shooting Massacre."

Bullshit or not bullshit? I hate the guy either way, but I really can't tell.

"Welcome to the JournoList Top Secret Progressive He-Man Wingnut Haters Club and L33t H4xoR Chat Room."

Iowahawk vs. Ezra Klein, et al.

I photographed the early magnolias...

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And I was being photographed...

"Lobsters? This is how I wind up after leading a just life? In a tank on Third Avenue?"

"The Lord works in strange ways... Take Phil Pinchuck. The man keeled over with an aneurysm, he’s now a hamster. All day, running at the stupid wheel. For years he was a Yale professor. My point is he’s gotten to like the wheel. He pedals and pedals, running nowhere, but he smiles."

"Guy coughs up rusty, 30-year-old nail/Strangers dress guy suitably for his job/Teen knits duct-tape prom dress."

3 consecutive items on a list headed "Latest News" at CNN.com.

An article in the New York Times: "Commoner Captures Princess, Blog Version."

Look out! Jan Hoffman writes a very cool article about me and Meade.
Until now, Meade liked his online anonymity just fine. But at his fiancée’s urging, he agreed to be unmasked here. He is....
The Times has the scoop.

April 3, 2009

"I don’t know why anyone would be so angry. We’re always helping people. It’s just a great place to be."

12 dead in Binghamton, NY.

"You can play a record without electricity, and you probably will always be able to find a way to play records, whereas CDs will become extinct."

"I'm intrigued by the fact that you could be on Mars with no electricity, but if you have an old mechanical record player, you could just turn the crank and play it with your physical movement."

***

What old vinyl record do you picture yourself cranking a tune out of on Mars?

***

Sitting in the stand of the sports arena, waiting for the show to begin.
Red lights, green lights, strawberry wine, a good friend of mine
follows the stars, Venus and Mars are all right tonight.

It's too early for any color on the redbuds of Madison, Wisconsin.

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"Americans do not bow to royalty. In my view, when the royal is the ruling tyrant of a despotic regime, the wrong is compounded."

Obama bows to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

Interstate 39.

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Ward Churchill wins his lawsuit against the University of Colorado.

Rightly so, I think:
The jurors found that Mr. Churchill’s political views had been a “substantial or motivating” factor in his dismissal, and that the university had not shown that he would have been dismissed anyway....
But if he won, why only $1 in damages?

April 2, 2009

"I love movies like that..."

Obama is like Bush... that's been one of my tags for quite a while.

This story wants the tag so badly I'm forced to link.

"I hit the stage, not knowing what I would say first till the second i put the mike to my face."

"I looked at them all and said 'how are you fuckers doing?' The place went bezerk and it became instantly plain to me what they needed and wanted and what I needed to do. 'You people are in a very fucked up place. I mean, it's Kuwait, the dessert and right over there is a starbucks. I saw the sign and thought it would be a little tent with coffe, but it's a real starbucks! With the jazz music, the chess tables and the faggot with the laptop.' They couldn't believe it. the laughs were enormous. I was filthy. It was awesome. People were going crazy. It was like looking out over choppy water. People rocking back and forth, punching each other, clapping, stamping. It was mayhem. Every time I went way over the line I would say 'I'm so sorry. I am not supposed to be saying any of this. I"m so sorry. Am I in trouble?' which would only make them laugh more. The sargent major was in the front row, arms folded, surrounded by Colonels and whatnot. None of them laughing. All aroudn them were young warriors, men and women of all ages, laughing and cheering at things that NONE of them could think about saying on this base, EVER."

Louis C.K. on a Middle East USO trip. Much more, including photos and video, at the link. Via Metafilter.

Bad "Star Wars" costumes.



More here. Via Metafilter.

"I'm sure Macca's new lady-friend Nancy Shevell is a very nice woman..."

"... but she just willingly, knowingly went out in public wearing leggings that might be made out of Miss Piggy."

Michelle Obama just got more popular than Barack.

According to this Gallup Poll. Not surprising, really:
It is not uncommon for first ladies to be more popular than their husbands, in terms of either their favorable ratings or their job approval ratings. To illustrate, Laura Bush averaged a 71% favorable rating from 2001-2009, compared to George W. Bush's 56% average.

Hmmm. I knew Laura was popular — what did she ever do to offend? — but it's interesting to see that Bush's overall average was 56%. He seemed so famously hated.

***

The Brits are liking Michelle:

"She's a lovely lady, she's very open... she'd talk to anyone" [— some English lady.]

"Now we've met, will you please keep in touch?" [— the Queen.]

''I'm not going to pretend that we're even going to contemplate saving you."

''I love you, Simon, but I don't care."

''Megan, with the greatest respect, when you said that you don't care, nor do we. ... This is your swan song. Enjoy it."


ADDED: To help you Idol non-fans have something to talk about, here's Adam Lambert — from Tuesday night — singing "Play That Funky Music":

"Sisters spread happiness while brothers breed distress..."

"... experts believe."

April 1, 2009

A terribly painful conversation.

I could only get halfway through. I clicked it off out of of vicarious embarrassment.

UPDATE: Embedded video became unavailable. Try here.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single blogger in possession of a good vortex, must be in want of a husband."

From the comments on last night's post with Bob & Mickey commenting on Ann & Meade.

Sara said:
When Ann & Meade marry, that will make 9 couples I know or that I've had some online contact with who met online and got married.

Ann, if it helps with all the naysayers, the other 8 are all happy and three have been married more than 10 years now....
Theobromophile said:
Ditto to Sara. People meet online all the time. I know a bunch of eHarmony folks, and my mum met my stepdad on Match.com back in the '90s. At least a comment section of a blog presumes a common interest.
Yes, we need to make a big distinction between the on-line version of what was once the personal ads in the newspaper. I think what is getting attention in my case isn't that we "met on line," because that's not unusual at all. In fact, I don't even think it would get a reaction if 2 commenters got together. (Why not email a commenter you like? You might end up in love in real life.) What is stirring people up is that a blogger is marrying one of her commenters, perhaps especially where the blogger is the woman and the commenter is the man.

Hoosier Daddy said:
I met Mrs. Hoosier in a bar while we were in college. We did a couple of tequila shots together, danced to The Fine Young Cannibals got engaged and married two years later. It's been 18 years of wedded blitz ever since.
AJ Lynch said:
80-90% of married couples met in a bar. Many have trouble admitting it.
Hoosier Daddy said:
Not only do I admit it, I wear it as a badge of honor and distinction. We had a rockin good time, made out in the parking lot and 20 years later we're still together.

All those fairy tales about romantic hookups is bullshit. Two years later she's telling the judge what a cocksucker he is and she ends up with the house, car and is banging the pool boy.
Yeah, how are you supposed to meet somebody? What is the officially approved-of way?

Michael Hasenstab said:
Gosh, you youngsters and your interwebs, meeting online and all.

I'm so old school that I met my wife inline. We were lined up (in person, not via computer queue), waiting to get into the same place early one Saturday morning. We talked (in person, not via some electronic thingie, this was pre-email), exchanged names (using pen and paper, this was pre-PDA) and telephone numbers (to our home phones, this was pre-cellular).

One of us called the other, then the other called one of us a few days later. Then we met once and both explained why we had no, zero, nada, bupkus, zip, nunca intentions of marrying because we both greatly preferred the single life.

We met a second time and part way through that date fell in love and decided to marry as soon as practical. And we did. And decades later remain blissfully married.

When the sparks are ignited, the method or media doesn't matter. A great match is a great match, no matter how it was achieved.

And a few friends and relatives did ask "Does he/she know the guy/girl?" Their questions didn't matter. We already had the answer.
Ha ha. By the way, from my experience, I'd say that the conviction that singlehood is best and I'm never getting married is, oddly enough, breaks through to the shortest path to a decision to marry.

Peter hoh said:
I like the way that "commenter" sounds a bit like "commoner."

It sounds like something out of a Victorian comedy of manners. "She's marrying a commoner? Oh my!"
Paul Zrimsek said:
"She's marrying a commoner? Oh my!"

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single blogger in possession of a good vortex, must be in want of a husband.

"'Money makes people feel self-sufficient.'"

Says Daniel Ariely of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:
"They are more likely to put forth effort to attain personal goals, and they also prefer to be separate from others." The touchy-feely social side of us may disapprove of such behaviour but it is useful for survival.
You've got your "social norms" and your "market norms"....
[The] ability to assess which set of norms applies in a particular situation is important in guiding our behaviour, Ariely says. It allows you to avoid expecting too much trust in the midst of a competitive business negotiation, for example, or making the mistake of offering to pay your mother-in-law after she has cooked you a nice meal. "When we keep social norms and market norms on separate paths, life hums along pretty well," says Ariely. "But when they collide, trouble sets in."

The trick is to get the correct balance between these two mindsets. Numerous psychological studies have found a general trade-off between the pursuit of so-called extrinsic aspirations — such as wealth, but also fame and image — and intrinsic aspirations, such as building and maintaining strong personal relationships. People who report a focus on the former score low on indicators of mental health, and those strongly motivated by money are also more likely to find their marriage ending in divorce."
Are you keeping your sets of norms straight? It's hard when you're working at a job and even harder in a marriage, but I think it can be done. It's nice if you can arrange your life so that what you do with your time all feels good for its intrinsic value and you also have the cash flow to buy what you need and to pay for the things that are not intrinsically rewarding to do for yourself.

"NASA decided to hold an election to name its new room at the International Space Station and the clear winner is Stephen Colbert."

"NASA decided to hold an election to name its new room at the International Space Station and the clear winner is Stephen Colbert. The people have spoken, and Stephen Colbert won it fair and square -- even if his campaign was a bit over the top."

"It was a loooot of fun!"

Miss Universe visits Guantanamo.
"We visited the Detainees camps and we saw the jails, where they shower, how the(y) recreate themselves with movies, classes of art, books. It was very interesting," she wrote.

"I didn't want to leave, it was such a relaxing place, so calm and beautiful," she added.
(Don't worry. She's not from the U.S.)

A.G. Eric Holder will void the conviction of Sen. Ted Stevens and dismiss the indictment.

Nina Totenberg reports:
The judge in the Stevens case has repeatedly delayed sentencing and criticized trial prosecutors for what he's called prosecutorial misconduct. At one point, prosecutors were held in contempt. Things got so bad that the Justice Department finally replaced the trial team, including top-ranking officials in the office of public integrity. That's the department's section charged with prosecuting public corruption cases.

With more ugly hearings expected, Holder is said to have decided late Tuesday to pull the plug....

Holder's decision is said to be based on Stevens' age — he's 85 — and because Stevens is no longer in the Senate. Perhaps most importantly, Justice Department officials say Holder wants to send a message to prosecutors throughout the department that actions he regards as misconduct will not be tolerated.

Holder began his career in the department's public integrity section; and, according to sources, he was horrified by the failure of prosecutors to turn over all relevant materials to the defense.
Good for Holder. This says nothing about Stevens's guilt or innocence, of course. This is about the insistence that those who wield power refrain from abuse.

March 31, 2009

Mickey Kaus asks "Does she know the guy?"

When Bob Wright informs him that I am marrying one of my commenters.

The Tuesday Sunset Café.

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"Maul preserved after laws review."

Headline that amused and mystified me.

"If 'brain sex' sounds like gender stereotyping, Dr. Moir says there is a twist: Brain sex doesn't always match biological sex."

"There is a continuum, and some brain circuits are 'bi-wired' she believes, thus blurring traditional gender roles. She has developed a test to determine the sex of your brain, with a list of 20 questions about how information is processed. The male brain tilts toward a sequential approach, and the female brain toward a more scattered one. The 'girl' brain is more intuitive; the 'boy' brain more logical. 'From analyzing the tests, my hypothesis is that an awful lot of girls have mixed brains, but boys not so often,' she says. 'Play fighting at school is frowned on and yet many boys fight in order to bond.'"

My brain goes arrrrggggghhhhh! Does that make me a boy or a girl or one of your mixed up boy-girls, Dr. Moir?

"My problem was, how am I going to draw God?"

"Should I just draw him as a light in the sky that has dialogue balloons coming out from it? Then I had this dream. God came to me in this dream, only for a split second, but I saw very clearly what he looked like. And I thought, OK, there it is, I've got God. He has a white beard but he actually ended up looking more like my father. He has a very masculine face like my father... [I]f you actually read the Old Testament he's just an old, cranky Jewish patriarch." — Robert Crumb.

Untitled.



(Via.)

IN THE COMMENTS: Henry said:
I thought it was Andrew Sullivan looking for topics.

So k*thy said "It’s good to see the tone of this post turning to suggestions to just ignore him."

"I was reading this, last night, had started to post, but got interrupted. My initial response was in the voice of talking to a close friend. Saying with all the sincerity, clarity and love I could muster, 'Generally, folks are more worried about their own shit and really not at all that interested in yours. You’re not at the center of their universe, they are. Anyway, it’s all a bunch of snark. Really. Let it go.' Anyway, enjoy this instead."

("Centraal Station Antwerpen gaat uit zijn dak!" Translation?) AND: It occurs to me that this is exactly the sort of thing Andrew Sullivan frequently posts under the heading "Mental Health Break." Like this one, posted at 4:20 p.m. yesterday, just a few hours after he demonstrated — at my expense — his need for one. Oh, sorry, k*thy, I couldn't resist. I know. "Let it go." But... is that my approach to blogging? I don't think so. See that quote in the banner? "Althouse digs in." You know who tried to push me back with that observation, don't you? I'm not pushable back. Althouse digs in. By the way, my mother's stock response was "just ignore him." Usually, punched up with: "You'll only encourage him." And I know it's true. Sullivan digs in.
Bah! It will never end. Blog on, bloggers.

"They also recommend us to only use national toilet."

"They told me: 'Yes, you can.' Then they said no," whines the cosmonaut.

"When a family is burning to death in front of your eyes, rules should go out of the window – especially with kids. Everybody wanted to try and help."

"I thought the police were there to protect lives. At one time they would have have gone inside themselves to try and rescue them."

Don't be sad.

The government cares about you.

Beauty... love... kisses...

Yay! A baby!

Congratulations to Freeman Hunt — a longtime and highly valued commenter here — who just had a baby and is tweeting about it a lot and posting pictures: 1, 2.

Real diversity on the Supreme Court.

Lawprof Daniel J. Meador says:
Diversity is usually discussed in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity. But for the Supreme Court, other elements of diversity are also important—geography, educational background, and life experiences. In those respects, the Supreme Court today is less diverse than it has ever been in its history, and it is the poorer for it.

As to geography, seven of the nine justices come from the eastern seaboard....

[In the mid-1950s o]ne justice came from each of the following states: Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Alabama, Texas, California, and Washington....

Six of the nine [current] justices are graduates of Harvard Law School. Rather than suggesting that this results from a search for quality, it suggests attention to too narrow a pool of prospects. It resembles the “old boy network,” or an “elitist” approach, especially combined, as it is, with an over-concentration on East Coasters....

[A]ll nine justices came to the Supreme Court from a U.S. court of appeals. In this respect, it is the least diverse Court since 1789...

[In the mid-1950s, there were] U. S. senators (one of whom had been a big-city mayor), a state governor, an attorney general, and a solicitor general....

More than three-fourths of this country lies beyond the Appalachians. We have 189 fully accredited law schools and more than a million lawyers. If only 1 percent were deemed qualified for the Supreme Court, that would provide a pool of some 10,000....
Yeah. Way too much New England, don't you think?

"We cannot confirm the story, but the goat is in our custody."

"The group of vigilante men came to report that while they were on patrol they saw some hoodlums attempting to rob a car. They pursued them. However one of them escaped while the other turned into a goat.... We cannot base our information on something mystical. It is something that has to be proved scientifically, that a human being turned into a goat."

"Heathers," etc.

1. The Daily News has a where-are-they-now photo essay on the various actors from the great 1989 movie "Heathers."

2. I didn't know Jennifer Connelly turned down the Winona Ryder role, though I did know that Ryder has done nothing of note since her 2001 arrest for shoplifting. That poor woman paid such a heavy price for her crime. Come on, everyone. Forgive Winona.

3. I didn't know Kim Walker/Heather Chandler died of a brain tumor in 2001. (Classic "chainsaw" video clip — language alert.) ("Please send Heather to Heaven.")

4. I was happy to see that Glenn Shadix/Father Ripper is still a busily working actor. ("I love my dead gay son.")

5. And look what became of the nerdy boy.

6. "Betty Finn" was a real Estevez.

7. They're working on the Broadway musical version of "Heathers." The new Veronica Sawyer might be Kristen Bell. What do you think of the idea of "Heathers," the musical? Is the movie popular with Broadway fans? Sort of like "Hairspray"? I loved the movie and I loved the original movie "Hairspray," but I had no interest in seeing the show "Hairspray" or the movie made from the show. But that's just me. I guess I don't want to see any Broadway shows made from movies, though I did see "Nine" many years ago... when Raul Julia played Guido.

8. I miss Raul Julia! But what the hell was going on here?

March 30, 2009

Habeas corpus denied.

It is not the way to get your daughter not to live with her boyfriend.
"I am a major and no one can tell me where to go or not. I am committed to being with my friend and he will take care of me. Please escort me to the main gate of the court and I will manage my life from there".

The Obama administration would like you to know that the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has been kicked down the road.

Shut up. They're busy.

"The happiness of the mother is far, far more important in shaping the life of the child than whether or not the child was breast-fed as a baby."

"If breast-feeding is an undue burden, or if breast-feeding creates tension between the mother and father, then it might be time to buy some formula."

Uh oh.

Andrew notices.

Not sure he quite sees the time line.... but... thanks for noticing.

ADDED: "Ten days of emailing ... and she was ready." I'm getting a little of that oh-those-heterosexuals-and-their-frivolous-marrying vibe.

AND: Here's the text of the email I sent to Andrew Sullivan:
Andrew, I don't think you've understood the time line here. And why link to the nasty Pandagon on this one? Your post is really disrespectful to me. If you'd watched the Bloggingheads you linked to, you'd know that my fiancé is someone who has interacted with me in writing on my blog for more than 4 years. We decided to meet in person after an exchange of email in December. We met in January and then, after a some additional email, decided to meet again in mid-February, and then we fell in love. We decided to get married after 2 more weekends and a 10-day spring break.

Why is this something that you choose to mock? Is there something ridiculous about a blogger coming to love someone who she first knew through writing in the comments and developed an affection for over a period of years? Or is it just that we decided to marry within 2 months of meeting each other in person? My parents met in the Army and got married 2 weeks later and loved each other until they died many decades later. I'd really like to know what part of my experience deserves "OMFG."

AND: Sullivan posts the time line part of the email I sent him and says:
I did watch [Bloggingheads], but got a little confused with the various timelines (I'm not much clearer now). And I'm all in favor of the right of straight bloggers to marry their straight commenters. It's a civil right. And more than I am currently allowed after living with my husband for almost five years.
This isn't about legal rights. This is about how individuals treat each other, and I want to know why you disrespected me. Explain why you linked to Pandagon's scurrilous OMFG, which, as you know, means "Oh, my fucking God." Is that the way you mean to speak to me? Is that the way you talk about God?

For the record, I support marriage rights for gay people. Click my "same-sex marriage" tag below to see the profuse evidence of this.

"After all, your pigs are far more intelligent than the other animals, and therefore the best qualified to run the farm..."

"... in fact there couldn’t have been an Animal Farm at all without them: so that what was needed (someone might argue) was not more communism but more public-spirited pigs."

The "Animal Farm" rejection letter, written by T.S. Eliot.

"Did Socialized Medicine Kill Natasha Richardson?"

Uh, probably, but since emergency helicopters sometimes crash, it all pretty much evens out, kind of.

Our bloggy President.

Barack Obama.

"A digital war has broken out, and the conservative movement is losing."

Says Andrew Breitbart:
Read the comment sections of right-leaning blogs, news sites and social forums, and the evidence is there in ugly abundance. Internet hooligans are spewing their talking points to thwart the dissent of the newly-out-of-power.
Huh? You mean there is a debate, with some people arguing for the other side?

"But I still find the greyness (which is mainly the non-backlitness) of the Kindle inferior to my iPhone."

Josh Marshall and I are on the same page about this:
It's designed that way in part because it allows the battery on a Kindle to last an insanely long period of time but also because it's supposed to be easier on the eyes. Maybe I just spend so much time in front of a monitor that my eyes are trashed and I don't know the difference. But for me, on the iPhone, it just looks more crisp and readable.
Can we just have an iPhone with a big screen? Or is this all about the batteries?

Marshall, unlike me, quickly settles into reading on the Kindle, then mulls over the prospect of a future without actual paper books and newspapers:
There's a lot I miss about print newspapers, particularly the serendipitous magic of finding stories adjacent to the one you're reading, articles you're deeply interested in but never would have known you were if it weren't plopped down in front of you to pull you in through your peripheral vision.
I miss that too, but I canceled my NYT subscription a while back because I was leaving the folded paper on the table as I read what I wanted, free-form, on the computer screen. As Josh says:
... I regret not reading [newspapers]. But I just don't. I vote with my eyes.
Yes, I've done that, and now my eyes — and my brain — have changed. It's hard now to read an unlit page.

Kitty cymbal orchid.

You remember the orchid from Sunday morning. I said: "And let that orchid symbolize what you — and I mean you — know it symbolizes." In the comments, American Liberal Elite said "I see a cat playing the symbols/cymbals." I agreed.

Now, look what Chip Ahoy did. Look closely now:

Midnight.

Writing under a deadline.

March 29, 2009

"The last candidate for president of the United States from a major party that will take public financing was me."

John McCain: "No Republican in his or her right mind is going to agree to public financing. I mean, that's dead. That is over."

"Maybe I’m old-school, but 'President fires CEO' looks as wrong as 'Pope fires Missile.'"

Lileks.

The headline.

E Pluribus Unum.

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Detail from a ceiling in the Wisconsin State Capitol.

"What counts as a swot varies from school to school..."

"... but the threshold for what is constituted 'boffin behaviour' tended to be lower at poorer-performing schools."

Underachievement in Britain.

The Moot Court/Op-Ed Café.

I was going to put up a photograph of the snow — yes, we have a spring snow — but, after taking the trouble to open and lean out of my 3rd-floor window, the camera battery gave out. That prompted me to substitute this orchid from a few weeks back to set up today's café, where you can talk about what you want while I — after frittering away Friday and Saturday — apply myself to 2 tasks that must be done today: writing an op-ed with a Monday deadline and prepping for and judging the final round of the Evans Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition at Wisconsin Supreme Court Hearing Room:

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And let that orchid symbolize what you — and I mean you — know it symbolizes.

"Who painted it?" asked Hillary Clinton, unaware that "the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was miraculously imprinted by Mary."

Our Secretary of State got an in-your-face answer: "God!"
Leaving the basilica half an hour later, Mrs. Clinton told some of the Mexicans gathered outside to greet her, “you have a marvelous virgin!”
The linked article, from the Catholic News Agency ends with this pregnant paragraph:
This evening Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to receive the highest award given by Planned Parenthood Federation of America — the Margaret Sanger Award, named for the organization's founder, a noted eugenicist. The award will be presented at a gala event in Houston, Texas.
CNA does not like the Secretary of State.

***

There is a lot of commentary on this story, and I won't clutter this post with all the details. It follows a predictable right/left split. Either Hillary is an idiot not to know the story of the miracle or it's a faux gaffe trumped up by Hillary haters.

I'll say that I didn't know this story myself, but I do think that if I was representing our country and visiting any cultural site, I'd have somebody telling me what I needed to know not to look stupid from the perspective of those whose respect I wanted.

Anyway, think how much worse it could have gone. I'm picturing this:
Who painted it?

God!

Ha ha ha. No really. Who painted it?

God!

Ha ha ha. You people kill me. Come on. Seriously.

God!

Look. I have seen paintings that were done by ordinary mortals. Leonardo. Raphael. Michelangelo. If God were going to suddenly make a painting, wouldn't it be... uh... you know... better?

"I heard a couple new-sounding tunes on the tubes and they blasted me sky-high..."

I was thinking about that lyric from the Lovin' Spoonful song "Nashville Cats" this morning as we were talking about the old days when you might stay up late at night to pick up the signal of a distant radio station that played music that you couldn't hear during the day.

In that song, John Sebastian sings of a radio station that captivated him when he was 13:
And the record man said every one is a yellow Sun
Record from Nashville
And up north there ain't nobody buys them
And I said, but I will
And so the boy from the north fell in love with country music. Me, back in the mid-1960s, I liked some college radio station that came in from Fort Wayne, Indiana. I heard songs they didn't play on WABC in New York City. Indiana seemed like a cooler place than NYC. (Oddly, I still think that sometimes.)

I used to write down the names of the artists they played that I'd never heard before. I remember, listening that way, late at night, hearing "I Got You Babe" for the first time and wrote down "Sonny and Cher."

That was my little experience. Did you have anything like that?

Consider this:
Dewey Phillips was on the air in Memphis around 1950. He was an anomaly at the time: a white DJ spinning regional rhythm and blues hits for black audiences. Rick Wright says Phillips and his African American contemporaries up the dial on Memphis' WDIA helped elevate disc jockeying to an art form.

People like Nat Turner, a young B.B. King, and, one of Wright's favorites, Rufus Thomas. "Now, Rufus comes in, 'Hey baby, this is Rufus Thomas, WDIA Memphis, Tennessee, where you can cop a smile about a quarter mile provided you've got time and don't mind this drive time line we're gonna try.'

Wright says that one Nashville station, WLAC Nashville was owned by the Life and Casualty Insurance Company - L-A-C. He says that that station would take this music and this DJ style to places it had never been. He says the course of American cultural history was changed one Saturday.

"And they were playing, basically, records by Guy Lombardo or whatever and it was that era of a 50,000-watter trying to find itself with no audience," says Wright. "And there were some African American students from Fiske University who had gotten past the security and got up to the station and brought a bunch of 78s with them."

And they walked into the studio and started talking to the DJ. "Mr. Nobles, can you play some of our folks' records on your radio show?"

And Nobles said sure, hand them over. Records of Fats Domino and Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Etta James, Laverne Baker.

And he played them.

"All of sudden," says Wright, "the phone started to ring, and the letters and cards were coming from all over the place. And they established that night, one of the real, first, mainstream R&B formats on a major powerhouse radio station. WLAC 1510 Blues Radio Nashville, Tennessee. The only full time R&Ber at night with 50,000 watts."

At night, 50,000 watts get you very far. Bob Dylan has said he owes much of his musical inspiration to listening to WLAC as young teenager all the way up in Minnesota.
***

It was the "Moonstruck" clip that I blogged last night that set me off thinking about Cher and the first time I ever heard her sing. It was observed that I love Cher, and I confessed to my longstanding affection for the durable diva. I loved Cher since the first time I heard 'I Got You Babe' on a radio station from Fort Wayne, Indiana, I said.

I remembered answering some questionnaire at the time about what famous person I would like to be. It was 1965, so I was 14. I said Cher. And it wasn't just that I wanted to be a female pop star. I was entranced by the strong affection that Sonny and Cher showed each other when I saw them on TV.

I searched YouTube for an early appearance — perhaps their first national TV appearance — when the two were singing IGYB while sitting at a little table. They were petting and kissing — a real public display of affection. There are, of course, a lot of clips of them doing that song, but I couldn't find that one or any other where they were transgressively pawing at each other, the PDA I'd seen when I was just 14.

So let me go in a completely different direction and show you this instead:

I GOT YOU BABE