Don’t Think About Her When You’re Trying To Drive

April 23, 2016

“Don’t Think About Her When You’re Trying To Drive,” by Little VillageJohn Hiatt (lead vocal, acoustic guitar), Ry Cooder (electric guitar), Nick Lowe (backing vocal, bass), and Jim Keltner (drums).

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Isithothobala

April 23, 2016

“Isithothobala,” by the Soul Brothers. Moses Ngwenya (organ), Tuza Mthethwa (guitar), David Masondo (lead vocal).The title apparently means “those stupid ways” in Zulu. Great tune; great video.

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Baltimore

April 23, 2016

“Baltimore,” written and played by Prince, with vocals by Eryn Allen Kane. Released in advance of Prince’s 2015 Rally 4 Peace in memory of Freddie Gray. Video by Ralston Smith.

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King of America

April 23, 2016

“King of America” by the I Don’t Cares (Paul Westerberg and Juliana Hatfield), from the album Wild Stab.

I’ve cleaned your floors
Scrubbed your toilets
Man, I’ve swept under your feet
Worked in your stores
Every boy gets one chance
You’re laughing at me
Now it’s my turn to bleed
Shout it out
King of America
I wanna be king of America

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Love Sickness

April 23, 2016

“Love Sickness,” written and performed by Mack Rice (“Sir Mack” Rice, Bonny Mack Rice) in 1967.

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Passover Seder: Greek Symposium?

April 23, 2016

Passover Seder: Greek Symposium?

The Haggadah (הַגָּדָה‎) is a Jewish text that sets forth the order of the Passover ritual meal, the Seder.

“There’s a reason the haggadah feels goyish: Formally speaking, it’s Greek. It’s a Judaicized version of a Greek genre called ‘symposium literature’. Plato loved the form. So did Xenophon. The symposium enshrined the most appealing traits of the Hellenic personality: conviviality, Epicureanism, a love of good conversation.”

–”Platonic Form,” Judith Shulevitz, Tablet Magazine

The ancient Greek symposium (συμπόσιον) was a drinking party; drinking four glasses of wine is a Passover obligation. Diners are supposed to recline while they do so, just like the Greeks.

There’s a cute Passover tradition, breaking a piece of matzoh (unleavened bread) and hiding half of it. The bread can only be eaten at the end of the meal, after the family’s children discover it. That piece of bread has a funny name, afikomen, but its origin isn’t Hebrew. You guessed it, it’s Greek:

“In Greek, the word is epikomen and is made up of two smaller words: epi, which means after (as in an epilogue), and komos, which means a banquet or merrymaking, and is the same word that inspired the English word comedy. For centuries, Jews have taken afikomen to mean ‘that which comes after the meal,’ more commonly known, of course, as dessert.”

– “Breaking Matzah,” David K. Israel, Mental Floss

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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The Macaroons of Moses

April 22, 2016

The Macaroons of Moses
Tonight many Jewish families hold the Seder, the ritual meal celebrating the holiday of Passover. Many Americans are unfamiliar with the customs of this dinner, such as recounting the Exodus story as told in the ancient Maxwell House Haggadah and the obligation to drink four glasses of wine (oh, the sacrifices …).

One seasonal custom puzzling to Gentiles is the appearance of canned Kosher cookies in American supermarkets. Many Jews are puzzled as well, since the cookies are macaroons made with coconut, chocolate, and other ingredients not prominent in the Old Testament.

Read the rest of this entry »

‘Good-night, sweet prince ….’

April 21, 2016


Version from the “Purple Rain” film soundtrack  here.

“Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet prince;
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. ”
Hamlet, Act V Scene ii

Prince Rogers Nelson, June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016.

More:

“Prince Dead at 57,” Kory Grow, Rolling Stone

“Fans leave flowers, touch Prince’s star on First Avenue’s wall,” Katie Humphrey and Emma Nelson, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“Beyond Raspberry Berets: What Prince Left Behind,” Erin Blakemore, Smithsonian

“We’ll Never Understand Prince, and That’s Why We Love Him, Brian Raftery, Wired

“Tributes to Prince spring up across the US,” Associated Press

“Purple Pain: World Front Pages Mourn Prince’s Death,” Worldcrunch

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Harriet Tubman: On the Money

April 21, 2016

Harriet Tubman: On thr Money

American hero Harriet Tubman will replace the genocidal, slave-owning killer Andrew Jackson on the face of the US 20 dollar bill sometime after 2020.

$20 dollars was the monthly pension Harriet Tubman received from the government as a war widow and for her own service in the Civil War. And the pension wasn’t awarded until 1899.

More:

“The $20 Bill Honors Harriet Tubman In A Relevant Way You Might Not Know About,” Amée LaTour, Bustle

“How Harriet Tubman’s military service added up to $20 — a month,” Kevin Lilley, Army Times

“Harriet Tubman once staged a sit-in to get $20. The Treasury just gave her all of them.” Dara Lind, Vox

Related:

“Here’s the nerdiest reason for cheering Andrew Jackson’s removal from the $20 bill,” Jeff Spross, The Week

“A Short History of Harriet Tubman in American Pop Culture,” Francie Diep, Medium

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Chinese Bulldozer Battle!

April 20, 2016

China’s economy is shrinking, and the construction industry accounts for one quarter of it, so things are getting quite competitive. That’s why a bunch of front loaders in Xingtang countyHebei Province, were duking it out last Saturday.

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