As a general rule I don’t use this blog to comment on public figures’ birthdays.
Today, though, I will make an exception and offer a brief salute to a musician who helped raise me, who helped guide my musical taste well into adulthood. I refer to the 80th birthday of Sir James Paul McCartney.
You know who he is. He comprised one-fourth of the world’s greatest band, The Beatles, along with the late John Lennon, the late George Harrison, and Sir Ringo Starr.
I have seen Sir Paul perform three times. First time was in 1965, in Portland, Ore., at the Memorial Coliseum; he played with his aforementioned bandmates. The second time was in 1993 at the Houston Astrodome, where he performed as a “solo” act with his band. The third time was in 2019 at Globe-Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
As I have noted many times over many years, the boy can still play. He can still rock ‘n roll with the best of ’em.
To think he’s 80 years young and still going strong … wow!
They say it’s your birthday, Sir Paul. Thanks for all you did to make me the man I am today.
OK, let’s see where we stand with this tragic mystery.
A music superstar, Naomi Judd, has just died of what her daughters and her husband have termed “mental illness.” Judd’s husband has issued a statement declaring there would be no further details provided on the cause of death. He has asked for the public to respect his family’s privacy.
I, too, am shocked and saddened to hear of Naomi Judd’s death. I am not a huge fan of The Judds, the name of her twosome with her daughter Wynona. However, I grieve for them and for the terrible loss they have suffered.
My point is simply this: I believe the family of someone who built a huge career and following from an adoring public should be a bit more forthcoming on the circumstances of that superstar’s death.
You have asked the same questions as I have been asking since I heard the terrible news. What precisely took this woman from the public entertained? How does “mental illness” produce a physical malady that can prove fatal?
I also am quite certain that some reporter eventually is going to learn the details of what happened over the weekend and will reveal it to the world.
I don’t pose this inquiry out of malice. Or out of morbid curiosity. Indeed, additional information about the illness that claimed the life of a genuine music superstar — and well-established public figure — could produce what they call a “teachable moment” for those who are suffering from mental illness.
That all said, I am now going to pray privately for the family Naomi Judd leaves behind.
Ted Cruz is truly a reprehensible excuse for an elected public official. Consider the idiocy that flew recently out of the Texas Republican U.S. senator’s mouth.
He suggested that Disney characters — cartoon characters — could end up performing sex scenes. At some sort of forum, Cruz hinted that Disney Corp. could have Mickey Mouse and Pluto “going at it.” He was picking up on the GOP’s culture war against Disney.
What the hell is Cancun Ted talking about?
This bozo has an astonishing streak of lunacy that bursts forth with all too much frequency.
Ted Cruz cannot be taken seriously … for anything!
Given that I didn’t watch the Oscars ceremony Sunday night and that I didn’t really care two hoots about any of the films or actors being honored, I was surprised to learn this morning after rolling off the rack about the “real story” of the night’s event in La La Land.
Will Smith smacked Chris Rock in the face over a stupid joke that Rock made about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
That became the top story on the TV news shows today. To which I said … huh?
My take is this. Will Smith should not have pranced onto the stage and smacked Rock, a guy I do not consider to be much of a sympathetic character. He could have kept his emotions in check and perhaps had a “frank” and “manly” discussion with Rock after the show.
But … he chose instead to make a spectacle of himself, to get his name plastered on headlines around the world.
Oh, and then to supplant another story that really is worth telling, which was the Best Actor honor that Will Smith won for his role as Venus and Serena Williams’s father in “King Richard.”
Enough on that. I need now to concentrate on issues that really matter … like the bloodshed in Ukraine.
Tom Cotton this morning revealed himself to be what many of us have known for a long time. The U.S. senator from Arkansas is a wimp, a weenie and, dare I say it … a coward.
The Republican appeared this morning on ABC News “This Week” program. He was grilled by George Stephanopoulos, who asked Cotton three or four times a simple, straightforward question about the “leader of your party,” Donald John Trump.
Why can’t Cotton condemn the GOP “leader” for calling Vladimir Putin “savvy” and a “genius” for invading Ukraine and putting virtually all of Europe in potentially dire peril.
Cotton would answer the question. He kept telling Stephanopoulos that he should invited The Donald to appear on his show, presumably to let him answer the question himself as to why he keeps cozying up to his pal Vladimir Putin.
It was a remarkable demonstration of cowardly evasion from a U.S. senator who gets paid to talk to media representatives and to convey messages to those he represents on Capitol Hill.
Am I allowed to say that I do not care for rap music without being labeled all kinds of bad things?
I said so last night as an assortment of rap and R&B artists performed at halftime of the Super Bowl in Los Angeles. I posted the comment on Facebook and, sure enough, I got plenty of push back on my comment.
My comment simply was that the show was “seriously overhyped.” I stand by that comment. A couple of responses, though, seemed to suggest that my old-man status had blinded me to the need for greater cultural diversity. Well … I beg to differ.
I told one of the respondents that I need no lecture on social justice of cultural diversity, that my comment only took aim at rap music. It ain’t my thing, man! A member of my family told me this morning that “I didn’t expect you to like it.” He knows me well, pointing out that I grew up on rock ‘n roll music and, to be brutally honest, I remain devoted to what is now called “classic rock music.”
Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Eminem, Lamar Kendrick and 50 Cent all have made a tremendous impact on modern music. I get it. I am all in on artists who have something to contribute. I also realize that this ol’ world is full of folks who prefer their music over the music I enjoy. More power to ’em.
It’s just that special event marketers have this annoying habit of going way over the top in promoting these events, seeking to attract as many viewers as they can. I believe they did so in hyping the halftime show at Super Bowl LVI.
Oh, and the game? It was quite good … even if the wrong team won.
Whoopi Goldberg has stepped in it, which she does on occasion. Her gaffe this time constituted a serious misunderstanding of world history.
So, because of her mistake, ABC-TV has taken her off “The View,” the popular daytime talk show she co-hosts, for two weeks. The network wants her to reflect on what she said on the air this past week.
What did she say? She said the Holocaust was not a race-related crime against humanity. Hmm. Let’s ponder that for a brief moment.
The Holocaust was launched against European Jews because Adolf Hitler said that Jews constituted an “inferior race” of people. Got that? Thus, the genocide resulted in the murder of 6 million Jews before and during World War II.
Goldberg apparently doesn’t see the Holocaust in racial terms. She is an African American woman who sees the issue on the basis of what people with black skin have endured. She called the Holocaust an “evil” act immediately after declaring it wasn’t a racial crime.
I am not going to toss stones at Whoopi Goldberg. I do not want her banned from TV. She has apologized sincerely for the offense others have taken from her statement. I accept her apology. I just hope Jewish Americans do as well.
I see her statement as an utterance that required a lot more nuance and understanding of historical fact about what could be considered human history’s greatest criminal act. Hitler’s own comments tell me he committed a heinous race-based act.
I’m sure you’ve heard it said that “the music died” the day Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Richie Valens perished in that plane crash in Iowa.
For me, the music died the night that the lunatic stepped out of the shadows on Dec. 8, 1980, assumed what the cops called “a combat stance” and emptied his pistol into John Lennon’s back. The guy who founded the world’s greatest rock ‘n roll band died shortly afterward at Roosevelt Hospital in New York.
I have refused over the 41 years since that tragedy to avoid even mentioning the assassin’s name. He got a life sentence for the murder. God forbid he ever gets paroled.
As for Lennon’s legacy and memory, it lives on in the music he crafted with The Beatles and in what he did as a solo artist in the brief span of time since his band broke apart.
John Lennon was 40 years old when his life ended. I, along with other fans of his, have wondered what kind of music he would have produced had he been given the chance to live a full life. We cannot know the answer. I will conjecture that it would have been great, given what we knew he was capable of producing.
And, yes, I watched the six-hour “Get Back” documentary. Indeed, I am likely to watch it many times for as long as I can. It fills me with joy at seeing The Beatles relishing their time together as they wrote and recorded their final album. It also fills me with sadness knowing that in January 1969, when the filming took place, that John Lennon only had 11 more years on this good Earth.
The news that Tommy Kirk died the other day at age 79 filled me with a sense of irony and, yes, sadness.
I grew up with Tommy Kirk appearing on my TV screen. He was one of the child stars employed by the Disney company. He was a Mousketeer. He appeared in TV dramas along with other fan favorites. His was as much of a household name as, say, Annette Funicello.
Tommy Kirk also was a gay performer. He “came out” as a teenager. The price he paid for his honesty? Disney fired him essentially on the spot. Ain’t no way the entertainment giant was going to allow a gay youngster perform before audiences comprising children.
It didn’t matter, of course, that Kirk didn’t portray gay characters. Not ever! To borrow a phrase, Kirk played it straight.
That was then. The Disney Corporation has traveled many symbolic miles since that dark time. It now has Gay Pride Days at its theme parks, namely at Disneyland and at Walt Disney World.
I am glad to see the company has opened its corporate heart and it seeks to understand that one’s sexual orientation is not merely a matter of choice. It is who people are. Period. Full stop.
As for Tommy Kirk, well, he paid the price for his employers’ lack of understanding back then. May he rest in peace.
I just want to thank him for the memories he gave me as a youngster who laughed and cried at the performances he delivered.
Allow me this admission: I know next to nothing about Nicki Minaj.
I do know that she is a celebrity of some standing. She’s a singer, or so I hear. She’s also been in the news over the years because of some strange behavior
Now, though, she’s become a social media “influencer” (this is the first time I’ve ever referred to this term; I hope I am doing so correctly).
Minaj said that the COVID-19 vaccine has adverse effects on men’s private parts and — this is fantastic! — it makes them impotent.
Hmm. Did the flashy, flamboyant Minaj earn an MD under cover of night? Well, no. She was passing on something she heard from a friend of a fiance … or some such nonsense.
But like most people who have obtained out of whack celebrity status, the things she says somehow carries more currency than it deserves. People actually believe what she said about the vaccine.
I am no more of a medical expert than Nicki Minaj. I damn sure don’t have the celebrity following she enjoys. I would hope that were I to obtain that kind of status that I would talk only and openly about matters with which I am familiar.
As near as I can tell, Nicki Minaj doesn’t know a damn thing about a killer virus and the vaccines that have been researched and developed to kill it.
My advice to Ms. Minaj? Shut the hell up! Or at least speak out on things about which you know … whatever that might be.