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January 19, 2006

Thursday Fragments

Rocketboom: Kitschy Synergy
There's nothing that exemplifies brain spew so much as the five minutes of funk that is Rocketboom. Sometimes they forget the brain. No flies on host Amanda Cogndon though since she's prime geek babeage. Next to Morgan Webb she's probably the geek's hottest hottie - not that I would know because I'm certainly not speaking as a geek now. Quite frankly I prefer the babes of Mythbusters.

Where was I? Oh yeah. Check it out. It's cheesy fun, sometimes. BTW, you can get it on Tivo too. It makes for extra cheesy television. So what is it? It's a video blog (I'm not Eastern European so 'vlog' comes off my tongue all wrong - don't ask me to say it.)

Wilson Pickett is Dead

Legendary soul singer Wilson Pickett died of a heart attack today in Virginia at the age of sixty-four.

The singer, who earned the nickname "Wicked Pickett" due to his fiery vocals and masculine persona, was best known for such high-energy soul hits as "In the Midnight Hour," "Mustang Sally" and "Land of 1000 Dances." As a performer and interpreter, Pickett was generally considered to be the equal of such great soul men as Otis Redding and Sam Cooke. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.

Pickett's songs always remind me of parties my parents used to have in the old apartment.

Wynton Throws Down the Gauntlet

Yes, I always laugh when people my age complain about their college-age and teenage kids by talking about how much better we were. I laugh because I have absolutely no idea what my generation did to enrich our democracy. What movement have we been identified with that forced our elders to keep their promises…that challenged their failures or built upon their successes? For me, we dropped the ball after the Civil Rights Movement. We entered a period of complacency and closed our eyes to the very public corruption of our democracy.

As we have seen our money squandered and stolen, our civic rights trampled, and the politics of polarity become the order of the day, we have held absolutely no one accountable. From us, you inherit an abiding helplessness.

If you realize the unfortunate consequences of inaction, hopefully you will understand even more the importance of holding both your elders and your peers accountable when it comes to the rebuilding of New Orleans. Stay up on the facts.

I think it goes without saying that the only thing new in black politics since the death of the Panthers is the neoconservative movement. We could talk about it for a while, but I think somebody, sooner or later is going to tell us something rather simple and elegant about the first generation of black mayors and congressmen since Reconstruction. It probably won't be fun to hear.

Posted by mbowen at January 19, 2006 05:38 PM

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Mike, do you regard the work you do as important or superfluous? Both professionally and with your volunteer time.

I ask that because I, too, am a Wynton contemporary, and I although it is true that many of the great struggles of our foreparents were won (or lost) before we were old enough to have an impact one way or another, I don't see that we have dropped the ball as much as we have lived the life our foreparent hoped, prayed and dreamed about.

Why is that not good enough?

Posted by: brotherbrown [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 21, 2006 12:48 PM

I take my work seriously as I do my avocation. I think a lot of people tend to forget that all that was really demanded of the Civil Rights Movement was that people be able to enjoy middle class American life without hindrance. That didn't mean building cities or going to the moon.

More later.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 21, 2006 01:42 PM

What I read into what Wynton said is that we aren't living up to a standard established in previous generations. But I think the "Someda-aa-aa-aa-ay" we were looking to overcome arrived.

I don't have blinders to things that can be better, and I try to be part of the solution, I just don't Wynton is right.


Speaking of Wilson Pickett (RIP), did you ever go to one of the WattStax concerts? I went to WattStax '76.

Posted by: brotherbrown [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 21, 2006 04:32 PM

I can remember that Pops both liked and hated the idea that WattStax was little more than a black Woodstock x years too late. Plus I think he had something against Issac Hayes and Ike Turner.

But the Watts Summer Festival, that was something else entirely. We went every year.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 21, 2006 04:49 PM

Ike Turner, I can see, but Black Moses? Plus Stax had the Staples Singers and Rufus "Funky Chicken" Thomas.

After researching, I see that the first was Wattstax '72. None other than Jesse Jackson was the host, and Richard Pryor performed as well. 100,000 people filled the LA Coliseum. Evidently Wattstax '76 was the last gasp for Stax record, who went under in 1977. Check this out:

Anyone who was there would never forget it. Jackson's hosting style reveled in a fine balance between get-down entertainment, raised-fist political rally, and stand-up spiritual revival: a revealing expression of the powerful currents driving black American life and culture in the post-civil rights, Vietnam era. However, "Wattstax" [the movie] was considered too racy, political, and black to receive wide theatrical release or a television broadcast. After a noted screening at the Cannes Film Festival and a Golden Globe nomination, "Wattstax" dropped into the status of a "seldom-seen" cult favorite.

Posted by: Anonymous at January 21, 2006 06:16 PM