Miz Shoes

Palladium, NYC, 1976?

Shot from the balcony, with a telephoto lens. See? I was there. And by then, he'd shaved.
Miz Shoes

Rock & Roll Remembered

As you all know, I am a devoted, maybe even a little obsessive, fan of Bruce Springsteen. I have been since the first time I ever saw him live, in the Miami Jai Alai Fronton in September of 1975. Let me set the, you'll excuse the expression, stage.

Back in those days, artists weren't as possessive of themselves as they are now, and it was common practice to drag a camera along to a show. Especially for kids like me, art students with more than a passing knowledge of photography. We shot everything. At UM, there was an excellent Student Entertainment Committee, and we had tons of shows on campus, out on the patio overlooking the Olympic-size pool and diving area.

Some of the acts I saw and shot were Elvin Bishop, Billy Joel (Piano Man had just been released), BB King, and Jimmy Buffett. I had seen some major acts off campus, as well: Jefferson Starship, Procol Harum, the Grateful Dead, and Cat Stevens, to name a few. I was a rocker, and a shooter, and a cynical art student and nothing impressed me.

I had Greetings from Asbury Park and The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle, so when Born to Run was released, and the tour to support it was announced, I bought my ticket, loaded up the camera and went to the show with my boyfriend.

There was a problem at the gate: they weren't letting people in. Years later I found out that was because there had been so few tickets sold there was a debate about actually doing the show.

We had seats in the back, but since there were only a few hundred people there, we immediately moved to about the third row, center. I got out the camera, focused on the stage and waited.

A single blue spotlight focused on the mike stand. A raggedy, hairy guy in a denim jacket and a black watchcap stood with his back to the audience. He started to play harmonica. The song was "Thunder Road". By the time they rolled into "Spirits in the Night", I was standing on my chair arms, dancing and my camera was forgotten under my seat. Bruce took a dive into the audience during that song and was passed along hand to hand over peoples heads. He never stopped singing. I never took a shot that night.

I had never seen anything, or heard anything, like him. I had seen God in the form of rock and roll. I was a fan, from that moment on, I was a fan. As we left the show, the boyfriend asked me to stay in Miami after I graduated in December. I turned, looked at him and said (predictably, and please remember I was only 20, so excuse the awfulness of this) "Sorry, Eric, but tramps like us, baby, we were born to run."

I moved to New York City. I met The Coolest Person in the World TM. I saw more rock and roll and took thousands more photos. But I have never, ever, ever, lost my passion for rock or for Bruce. And you know what? Bruce has never, ever lost his passion for the music or his appreciation of his fans. It is a covenant that goes both ways.

I was listening to a bootleg of "Thunder Road" from the mid 70s on the ole i-pod just now, and it all came back. I don't know, I just thought I'd share.
Hot to you from AP:

Bands Gather to Stump Against Bush

NEW YORK (AP) - A collection of more than 20 prominent musicians from John Fogerty to Bruce Springsteen to Pearl Jam joined forces Wednesday calling for President Bush's ouster, announcing an unprecedented series of fund-raising concerts across nine swing states.
"I feel this is one of the most critical elections in my lifetime," Springsteen told The Associated Press in the most overtly political statement of his career. "This wasn't one that a concerned citizen felt comfortable sitting out."

Springsteen was joined by a collection of performers that spanned generations and genres: country act the Dixie Chicks, hip-hoppers Jurassic 5, bluesman Keb' Mo' and classic rockers John Mellencamp and Jackson Browne. The artists, touring under the "Vote for Change" banner, will play 34 shows in 28 cities between Oct. 1-8.

Springsteen's concerns and commitment were shared by other performers, including Dave Matthews and his band.

"It's the first time Bruce and the E Street Band ever stood up and made a clear political statement," Matthews told The AP. "This is the first time we've ever stood as a band, unified, and said we want a change."

The shows, which launch Oct. 1 in Pennsylvania, will take an unusual approach: as many as six concerts on a single day in cities across the states expected to decide the November presidential race. Other stops on the tour are North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin and the key state in 2000, Florida.

The money generated will go to America Coming Together, which promises on its Web site to "derail the right-wing Republican agenda by defeating George W. Bush." The anticipated millions of dollars will be spent in the swing states before the presidential election, said ACT president Ellen Malcolm.

The shows will be presented by MoveOn Pac, the electoral arm of the liberal interest group MoveOn.org.

There was no immediate word on prices for tickets, which go on sale Aug. 21 for all the shows. The concerts will pair artists, such as Springsteen and REM, the Dixie Chicks and James Taylor, or Mellencamp and Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds.

Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, who memorably told a London audience last year that she was ashamed to share her home state of Texas with Bush, echoed Springsteen's comment about the importance of the Nov. 2 election.

"A change is in order," Maines said in an AP interview. "There's never been a political climate like this, which is so the polar opposite of me as a person and what I believe in."
The idea was hatched by several of the acts' managers, and quickly expanded. "Once we started talking to each other, ideas started percolating and other artists started reaching out to us," said Jon Landau, Springsteen's manager.

Many of the acts had a history of social activism, from Browne's anti-nuclear concerts to Mellencamp's Farm Aid shows. Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder was a Ralph Nader backer in 2000, but he feels Democratic nominee John Kerry is the choice this time around.
"There's a vote coming up, and a chance to have a regime change at home," Vedder told AP. "I'm feeling the same way, there's a need for change."

I told you all so, I told you, I told you, I told you. I said last week when John Kerry came out to the strains of "No Surrender" that he did it with Bruce's blessings.

Here's the quote from the man his own self, right off his site, and (for the first time that I can remember) over his signature:

"I felt like I couldn't have written the music I've written, and been on stage singing about the things I've sung about for the past twenty-five years and not take part in this particular election."

And here's the letter he ran today in the New York Times:

published in The New York Times, August 5, 2004

A nation's artists and musicians have a particular place in its social and political life. Over the years I've tried to think long and hard about what it means to be American: about the distinctive identity and position we have in the world, and how that position is best carried. I've tried to write songs that speak to our pride and criticize our failures.

These questions are at the heart of this election: who we are, what we stand for, why we fight. Personally, for the last 25 years I have always stayed one step away from partisan politics. Instead, I have been partisan about a set of ideals: economic justice, civil rights, a humane foreign policy, freedom and a decent life for all of our citizens. This year, however, for many of us the stakes have risen too high to sit this election out.

Through my work, I've always tried to ask hard questions. Why is it that the wealthiest nation in the world finds it so hard to keep its promise and faith with its weakest citizens? Why do we continue to find it so difficult to see beyond the veil of race? How do we conduct ourselves during difficult times without killing the things we hold dear? Why does the fulfillment of our promise as a people always seem to be just within grasp yet forever out of reach?

I don't think John Kerry and John Edwards have all the answers. I do believe they are sincerely interested in asking the right questions and working their way toward honest solutions. They understand that we need an administration that places a priority on fairness, curiosity, openness, humility, concern for all America's citizens, courage and faith.

People have different notions of these values, and they live them out in different ways. I've tried to sing about some of them in my songs. But I have my own ideas about what they mean, too. That is why I plan to join with many fellow artists, including the Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., the Dixie Chicks, Jurassic 5, James Taylor and Jackson Browne, in touring the country this October. We will be performing under the umbrella of a new group called Vote for Change. Our goal is to change the direction of the government and change the current administration come November.

Like many others, in the aftermath of 9/11, I felt the country's unity. I don't remember anything quite like it. I supported the decision to enter Afghanistan and I hoped that the seriousness of the times would bring forth strength, humility and wisdom in our leaders. Instead, we dived headlong into an unnecessary war in Iraq, offering up the lives of our young men and women under circumstances that are now discredited. We ran record deficits, while simultaneously cutting and squeezing services like afterschool programs. We granted tax cuts to the richest 1 percent (corporate bigwigs, well-to-do guitar players), increasing the division of wealth that threatens to destroy our social contract with one another and render mute the promise of "one nation indivisible."

It is through the truthful exercising of the best of human qualities - respect for others, honesty about ourselves, faith in our ideals - that we come to life in God's eyes. It is how our soul, as a nation and as individuals, is revealed. Our American government has strayed too far from American values. It is time to pick up the pieces and move forward. The country we carry in our hearts is waiting. "

Amen, Bruce. A-fucking-men.
Miz Shoes

The Death of Oratory

Now I, myself, do not like to speak in front of large crowds, but have, on occasion, done so. Neither do I consider myself to be an expert on the art of public speaking. Having said both of those things, let me critique last night's oratory at the DNC.
There is a tendency, and I don't know when it started, to have a catch phrase that the audience chants along at intervals. Maybe this is a nod to the call and response of traditional Black churches, but let me tell you now, it just sucks when some stiff white guy tries to get it going. *

It does nothing for the message, either. I mean really, who's going to be quoting "Here comes hope!" when you can use "I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death."? Right. Not one soul. Not even the hack who wrote it.

If I were the person who scheduled the speakers, I would not have led with Barack Obama on Tuesday. He was too hot, too passionate, too good to be wasted on day two. Last night we had the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and, in my humble (yeah, right) opinion, he has had his day. His delivery was off, his rhetoric was stale. He's lost the fire in his belly.

Al Sharpton? Better than I expected, but still not the kind of rallying, blood-boiling speech that one wants on day three. Oh, and that stiff? Marvin? Melvin? O'Malley? ( I had to look him up: Mayor Martin O?Malley of Baltimore) Oh. My. God. He sucked. He sucked big. He sucked so badly, that even I, political junkie from Yellow Puppyhood, had to turn the sound off.

All I can think is that they needed people who'd make John Edwards look good. Not that he needed that much. Is it just me, or does he have that whole Dennis Quaid thing going on? Not that there's anything wrong with that.

The high point of the whole night for me was the video from the Firefighters Union. The photography was chilling, riveting. And the music? Well, we know where I fall on that, don't we. They used one of the best of the best, Bruce Springsteen's "No Surrender." And must have had permission to do so, as it was a real version (I think it was from the New York City Live shows, but I could be mistaken). The last time someone tried to co-op one of his songs (Reagan and "Born in the USA") he shut them down in a heartbeat, and even went so far as to explain to the Republicans that it was a protest song, you morons, and not a paean to the glory of being an American.

I couldn't stay awake for my very favorite part of any of these conventions, the Roll Call. Is there anything more quintessentially American than the roll call? I just love it: "The Great State of East Elbow, home of the quadruple cheeseburger on rye with onion relish, Silverfish Capitol of the Universe, and center of everything to the left of Cleveland, proudly casts its fourteen votes for...." They had the Roll Call on after eleven p.m. Who the hell would or could stay awake for that after an evening of mediocre public speaking and even more random musical acts?

Oh, yeah. The music... Uh, John? John Mellancamp? A little Queer Eye advice: stop with the dying and teasing of that pathetic mop of what used to be a magnificent head of hair. You look like Elton John before the hair transplant. And another word, if I may? Do not, under any circumstances, ever, ever, ever repeat the lyric changes in "Small Town" to reference the fact that your wife was only 10 years old when you wrote the fucker in the first place. It caused me, and probably many more folks to do the math, and all I can say is: EWWWWWWWWWWWW.

Thanks, I'm done now.

*OK, so Springsteen can do the revival call and response like a a first-class tent preacher, but then, he is hardly the definition of a stiff white guy.
Miz Shoes


Yesterday morning, I had the old i-pod loaded with Bob Marley. I was totally plugged in, and left myself plugged in for an hour or so, before I decided that I didn't want to run down the battery to the point where I couldn't be cocooned against the unwashed masses on the ride home.
Just before I left work, I checked my e-mail and there was a message from someone who said they were writing a book about Mr. Marley's live shows from the mid-seventies to his death. They'd found me via my list of concerts I'd seen, and wanted to know if I had any memories I could share.

This was my response:

I saw him in Montego, Jamaica at the first Reggae Sunsplash. Maybe it was the second. In any event, it was one of his last concerts prior to his death, so the summer of '79 or '80. The venue was a soccer stadium. The field was packed; I can't imagine that the show was not sold out.

There were armed guards at the gates. I handed my ticket into an outstreched hand, only to have a rifle dropped between me and the hand. "No, Miss," said the soldier, "That's not a ticket taker."

Other hands came from out of the crowd and unclasped my watch from around my wrist. I pulled on one end of the band, and the unseen person tugged on the other. Then the crowd surged and my watch was gone.

I was with a group of friends who had all traveled to Montego Bay for Sunsplash. There were about 8 of us, and, as I recall, we all piled into a little Ford rental to get to the show. We were two deep on laps, someone was stretched sideways across all the other's laps, making a third layer.

There were a number of opening acts: I remember Burning Spear and Peter Tosh. I remember when Bob Marley sang "Chase the Crazy Baldheads" my friends and I all looked at each other, then at the crowd, and realized... we were the only white people we could see. We just kept dancing. He was amazing. The energy on the field was palpable. But it was a little scary, too. We made jokes about the MoBay Massage, which was the pitter patter of little fingers all over your body, as anything liftable was taken off of you.

I'm sorry that I can't remember more at the moment. Twenty years, my friend, is a lifetime. But one of the guys who was with me is reachable via the internet. He's a sound engineer, and may be able to give you more details.

Did any of you ever see Bob Marley? Want to send your memories to this guy? Drop me a line, and I'll send you his request and address.
Miz Shoes

The Greatest Song in the World. Period.

I am so loving the little pink i-pod. I have new regard for the a-holes I see everywhere with headphones on. I am now one of them, and I couldn't be happier.

Today I was listening to the greatest song in the world, ever. Period. End of discussion.
Layla. The original recording, by Derek and the Dominos. Eric Clapton and Duane Alman exchanging licks. Both at the height of their youth, not that Duane ever got past it. First one, then the other, delivers up these wailing guitar solos of the pain that comes with love. With headphones on, and cranked up so loud that the entire train could hear the music leaking out of my head, it was a wonderful way to start the morning.

It put a rhythm to my step. It put a smile on my face. I didn't care that the PHB accosted me before the last notes died to ask a typically stupid question.

I was one with the greatest song ever. Until tomorrow, when it may be a bootleg cut of Bruce Springsteen from 1978, doing the extended version of Rosalita.
Miz Shoes

RIP: Brother Ray

Well, at least Daddy's gonna hear some fine music where he is.

Ray Charles died today. And if you don't know who he was, never heard his music, never felt the grace that was his to share with the world, not only have you been living under a rock, you don't deserve ears.

Am I mistaken, or was some of his music placed on the Voyager? Good taste, NASA.

I never got to see Mr. Charles perform live. What a house burner that would have been.


Well, here's a link to take your mind off things. Be careful, it's laugh out loud funny. To me, at least.

Republican Survivor
Miz Shoes

The Queen

The Queen took the stage in a flimsy burnoose of chartreuse, beaded, of course. She was wearing a yellow wig that was a tad scary. But then she opened her mouth and the sound of angels was heard in Boca.

Her upper register was a bit shaky, but that meant nothing when you heard the velvet and honey of the lower register. She treated us to her classics, her new music, a little gospel and a little Puccini.
The audience was wild. There was way too much bad white girl dancing, and I don't mean bad girls, I mean bad dancing. There was the escapee from the go-go cage. There was a mother and daughter where the mother had on a white mini skirt and kept shaking something that looked like a sack of wet sandbags. It wasn't pretty. Nor was it moving enough to look like a sack of puppies. Nope. Wet sandbags were hidden under that mini.

There were a couple of terrifying visions: a woman with Suzanne Somers hair (circa 1988) fried, teased, bleached, fried, stiffened with unknown substances and pulled into a fetching pony tail over her left eyebrow. Another woman in what had to be her daughter's quince dress. Or maybe her granddaughter's bad prom dress. Mini. Black. Chiffon drape in white across the bust and over the shoulders into a mini train-like thing. Worn with white (WHITE!!! It wasn't Memorial Day, yet, babe) high-heeled mules. EEK!

Sitting in front of us was something I never thought I would ever see: two gay men who couldn't dance. Lord knows, they tried. It looked like one of them was receiving electroshock therapy. They both had enormous heads. I couldn't even see Miss Aretha, and let me tell you, she is a large, large woman. But those two jokers with the beachball sized craniums completely blocked my view of the stage. If only they had blocked the view of the woman with the sandbags.

Finally, I have this to say about Boca: $11 for a Washington Red Apple? Are you kidding me? And not even Crown Royal? Granted, it was tasty, but eleven fucking dollars? Are you charging me for the attitude? Because when I asked to be seated in the "no screaming baby, no cell phone" section, the Barbie Doll at the desk gave me a look that was meant to kill. Sorry, sweetiedarling, but I've been giving that look since before you were born, and that stare of yours didn't even curl my hair. But I bet the word I called you back gave you a little start.
Miz Shoes

Happy Birthday

Oh, ye of little faith. Did you think I'd forget my man's birthday? I would not. I could not. Bob, where ever you are, Happy Birthday, big guy. I wish we could celebrate it together, but alas, as ever, it is not to be. Maybe because you don't know that I exist, but I prefer to think that it's because our schedules just never work out.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Dylan. And many, many more.
Miz Shoes

Knock, Knock

Who's there? Mr. Kettle, as in Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle. We're here to talk about the color black.

So the National Guardsman who served in Iraq, saw war first hand and decided that he couldn't actually support the war effort and had, in fact, to consider himself a conscientious objector, and refused to go back to Iraq after his (first) tour has been found guilty of desertion and must go to jail.

But, the National Guardsman who went into the Guard to avoid actually serving in a hot war (Viet Nam), and who decided that he'd done enough time and went AWOL six months before his tour of duty was over was appointed President of the United States.

Anyone? Anyone? Right. I know. The difference is that the Guardsman sitting in jail is Hispanic with no powerful father in politics.

Fucking chicken hawk hypocrites.
The Battle of the Bands last night was just wonderful. I'd be happy to tell you who won, but we left before the end. (I had a hot gym date today, and I didn't want to be so hungover that I fell off the step. Nor did I want to be so toxed out that the yogini was offended.)

But the bands we saw were awesome. Most particularly, I was impressed with The Kick. They did. They do. They have this little skinny bass player with the most amazing mop of hair who can windmill like Pete Townsend. They had more energy, more stage presence, more ... I was pogoing like a mad woman. They're from Orlando, but don't hold that against them.

Then there was Wha The...? out of Atlanta. They were so good that after their set someone in the audience (not me, really, not me) yelled "This battle is OVER!!!" And it would have been, had not The Kick followed.

Last night was the first time since the whole drama of my father's decline began (two years ago?) that I felt so alive and so happy. I've said it before, and I'll repeat myself now, that the Church of Rock and Roll is the true spiritual savior of my generation.

Please don't write to me and tell me that I'm going to roast in hell, and that my previous statement is sacrilegious and that there are a million other things wrong with that sentence and sentiment. I know. I'm being a touch facetious.

But, really, when I'm in the presence of live music, when the beat is so loud that it takes over for your heartbeat, when the energy is palpable, the smell of teen spirit, as it were, is thick.... well. Children, I have seen the lord in the face of rock and roll. You find it your way, I'll find it mine.

Let me hear you say "AMEN!"
Miz Shoes


Have I ever told you about the dream I had some 20 years ago? I was married to the Anti-Christ and things were very bad, in fact, I was suicidal, and we were about to separate, not that I knew that at the time.
In my dream, I was flying, or at least hovering, over the World Trade Towers. My body was parallel to the ground, and I was pointing south, my head facing the Statue of Liberty. It was dawn. To my right was Hoboken. The sky there in the west was still black, but there were enough stars to make the sky look like Van Gogh's Starry Night. The buildings of Hoboken were black, and silhouetted against the stars.

The sky lightened as it made the arc to lower Manhattan on my right. From black it faded to ultramarine, cobalt, Maxfield Parrish blue directly over my head, and then made the spectrum change to saffron, orange, magenta and crimson as the sun rose in the east. There the lights were coming on in the high rises, and the windows were like diamonds or stars in the blackness of the building shapes.

Directly beneath me were the Trade Towers. And there, on the edge of the roof, strutting and belting it out, was Aretha Franklin. She was singing "Respect" and she was doing it just for me, hovering there above her. Both of us at the top of the world.

I woke up and went straight to the local record store, and sat on the sidewalk until it opened. Then I went in and bought a copy of Aretha's Greatest Hits. For the next year or so, her music sustained me through the darkest days of my life.

I just bought tickets to see Ms. Queen of Soul live at an outdoor amphitheater. Next Friday night. Is this a cool world or what?
Miz Shoes

The Bob and the Boob

In Saturday's Herald was a column by Ana Veciana-Suarez (and let me say right now that I usually read and enjoy her column.... Well, maybe enjoy is a little strong, but I read her regularly and don't gag, so enjoy it is) tackling the weighty issue of Bob Dylan's Victoria's Secret ads. You can read what she has to say here.
This is the response (quite measured, compared to my usual rants, or so the RLA says) that I sent to the Herald. For reasons that will be quite obvious, it'll never see light of day on the Herald's pages, so I present it to you in its entirety.

Last March I wrote the following on my blog:

"More Things I Wish I Never Saw
Friday, March 14, 2003

Last night: TV was on and I was doing a little hand sewing. I hear Bob Dylan's voice and music coming from the TV. I look up. It's an ad for Victoria's Secret.

I shake my head and check the contents of my glass, but no. I am sober and I am straight and that is Bob Dylan being used to advertise women's lingerie. For the past 30 years my friends have ridiculed me for my lewd fantasies involving me and the Bob. Is it possible that someone out there in advertising land thinks that 61-year-old skank is sexy? And sold the concept to a multi-million dollar industry that is, essentially, selling sexual fantasy? Because, let's be honest, Vicky's Secret makes stuff that barely fits and doesn't last. Bob Dylan? Sexual fantasy? To someone other than me?

Frightening. Very, very frightening. Disturbing, even."

That entry received no comments, and the fact that Bob was selling his music to Victoria's Secret passed unremarked upon in most of the popular press. There was barely a ripple about it on the various authorized and unauthorized fan sites.

What a difference a year and a face makes. The current incarnation of this campaign, which shows the ragged old face of my idol, garnered 17,400 hits when I Googled it just now.

Many people have referenced the apocryphal interview of 1965 wherein Mr. Dylan is alleged to have said that he would be willing to sell out for ladies' undergarments. But has anyone actually pulled that interview and quote out of the ether? No. (Google count for that reference? A mere 137 hits, none of which is specific as to where the interview was, or with whom.)

I am not a Dylanologist, but I am a fan. By that, I mean that I have watched and listened and appreciated him over the span of 40 years as his musical interests have changed, as he has donned and discarded his masks (both figurative and literal).

When Ms. Veciana-Suarez decries this latest Dylan event, and says she wants Dylan to be Dylan, what she is really asking of the man who defines mercurial is to be trapped in the amber of time: specifically a time thirty years ago. Has she listened to Time Out of Mind, or Love and Theft? There are no protest songs on either of those, his two most recent albums. There is knowledge of mortality; there is lovesickness and sorrow; there is some fierce rock-a-billy piano work.

So Dylan is selling lingerie? So what. With so much going on in this world, so much, in fact that Ms. Veciana-Suarez would like to see Dylan sing about, why doesn?t she pen a protest of those things, and quit staring into the belly-button lint of throw-away culture?
Miz Shoes

Celebrity Spam

Sounds like a Monty Python skit, a little bit, doesn't it? Sort of a cross between the Spam skit and the Gammy Leg/Eat Me First skit.

But it isn't. I was used to seeing Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen's names in my in-box because I'm subscribed to Sony's music service, and whenever there's another "essential" release, they let me know. I hate to break this to them, but I have all the essentials, just not on one CD... except for the one I cut myself out of my collected works. But I digress.

I've given up all hope that one day one of those sent-by Bruce or Bob messages will actually be from one of them, but I still get a little fantasy thrill when their names pop up.

Madonna, on the other hand, has no business knowing my e-mail address. So imagine my surprise when she wrote me (personally, I'm sure) to tell me why she's supporting Gen. Wesley Clark. Her rather imaginative capitalization and punctuation aside, there was nothing there for me to see. I read the missive from morbid curiosity, and then sighed, thinking "THAT ought to just be another nail in his political coffin." and sent her note to the trash.

But celebrity spam seems to becoming a trend. The past two weeks have seen me get a note from Michael Douglas (he's against guns and for joining the NRA Blacklist -- and a little too late on that one, Mikey, I signed up months ago), and William H. Macy & Felicity Huffman (who appear to be married and sharing an e-mail addy) suggesting that I do more to support Roe v Wade. How does Bill know what I've been doing, anyway? And why is my contribution up for debate?

Celebrity e-mails, another curse of the computer age.
Aw, damn. I hope that this is it for a while of celebrity deaths that I actually care about. I suppose I should tip the hat for John Ritter, but frankly, I thought that Three's Company was one of the low points in American Pop Culture.

On the other hand, saying goodbye to the man in black is hard. Johnny Cash. Shit. I remember, but not from where, the story of Bob Dylan meeting him for the first time when both were young (one much younger) men. At Newport Jazz, maybe? Bob circling Johnny like an oak tree, and then saying "Yeah."

One of my earliest concerts was at the Palm Beach, uh, convention center? What were they called before they were called that? It was where they had live wrestling, before that became such a mainstream event.... My parents took me to see Johnny Cash. It was cool. I was still young enough to not be embarrassed to be there with parents. I wanted to go, so they took me. Wasn't a matter of me trailing along with them.

I've heard other artists sing his songs, and Johnny sing the songs of others. There've been duets with Dylan. Covers of Springsteen.

His was a voice from a time and place long gone in America. The country artists of today are manufactured from the same machine that spits out pop tarts (the musical kind, not the toaster variety). Their songs of hard work and pain are spun from focus groups, not actual labor in a cotton field. And that's made all the difference.

Mr. Cash was the real deal. Maybe the last of them.
Our correspondent in New York fills us in on la Reina's funeral. Complete with photos. It is a much better story than the one that ran in the Miami Herald. Check it out. But then, Ms. Jodi is one of my favorite bloggers.

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