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Sade: Kiss of Life

Remarks:

This came out in 1993, going to #10 on the US R&B chart. She made a video for it, but the live performance above is way better. It reminds me all over again why I fell in love with her.

She turns 60 today. I thought I would feel so old the day she turned 60. She is older than me but only like older sister older. But given all the singers I like who never made it to 60, I am glad she is still with us.

Happy Birthday Sade! May you enjoy many more!!!

See also:

Lyrics:

There must have been an angel by my side
Something heavenly led me to you
Look at the sky
It’s the colour of love
There must have been an angel by my side
Something heavenly came down from above
He led me to you
He led me to you
He built a bridge to your heart
All the way
How many tons of love inside
I can’t say

When I was led to you
I knew you were the one for me
I swear the whole world could feel my heartbeat
When I lay eyes on you
Ay ay ay
You wrapped me up in
The colour of love

You gave me the kiss of life
Kiss of Life
You gave me the kiss that’s like
The kiss of life

Wasn’t it clear from the start
Look the sky is full of love
Yeah the sky is full of love
He built a bridge to your heart
All the way
How many tons of love inside
I can’t say

You gave me the kiss of life
Kiss of Life
You gave me the kiss that’s like
The kiss of life

You gave me the kiss of life
Kiss of Life
You gave me the kiss that’s like
The kiss of life

You gave me the kiss of life
Kiss of Life
You gave me the kiss that’s like
The kiss of life

You wrapped me up in the colour of love
Must have been an angel come down from above
Giving me love yeah
Giving me love yeah

You gave me the kiss of life
Kiss of Life
You gave me the kiss of life
The kiss of life

Source: AZ Lyrics.

 

The Ronettes: Be My Baby

Remarks:

This came out the last week of August 1963, the same week as Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech. It went to #4 on the US R&B and British pop charts. It was kept from becoming a number-one hit on Billboard’s US pop chart by “Sugar Shack” by the Fireballs. People forget what terrible taste in music the US mainstream had back in the 1960s.

The song is best sung in the ladies’ room while applying eyeliner. That is where Ronnie Bennett, the lead singer, came up with the “Wha-oh-oh-oh”.

Phil Spector, the song’s producer and Bennett’s future husband, knew she had a voice that could sell a million records. It was just a matter of building the right song for it. Thus “Be My Baby”.

When Bennett was out in California to record the lead vocals:

“I saw this skinny young kid with her long black hair and thick mascara, I just assumed she was a call girl from the hotel.”

It turned out to be Sonny Bono’s 17-year-old girlfriend, Cher. They, along with Darlene Love and others – but not the other two Ronettes! – sang backing vocals.

See also:

Lyrics:

The night we met I knew I needed you so
And if I had the chance I’d never let you go
So won’t you say you love me
I’ll make you so proud of me
We’ll make ’em turn their heads every place we go

So won’t you, please
(Be my, be my baby) Be my little baby
(My one and only baby) Say you’ll be my darlin’
(Be my, be my baby) Be my baby now
Wha-oh-oh-oh

I’ll make you happy, baby, just wait and see
For every kiss you give me, I’ll give you three
Oh, since the day I saw you
I have been waiting for you
You know I will adore you ’til eternity

So won’t you, please
(Be my, be my baby) Be my little baby
(My one and only baby) Say you’ll be my darlin’
(Be my, be my baby) Be my baby now
Wha-oh-oh-oh-oh

So come on and please
(Be my, be my baby) Be my little baby
(My one and only baby) Say you’ll be my darlin’
(Be my, be my baby) Be my baby now
Wha-oh-oh-oh

(Be my, be my baby) Be my little baby
(My one and only baby) Oh
(Be my, be my baby) Oh
Wha-oh-oh-oh-oh

(Be my, be my baby) Oh
(My one and only baby) Oh
(Be my, be my baby) Be my baby now
Wha-oh-oh-oh

Source: AZ Lyrics; “Be My Baby” (1990) by Ronnie Spector with Vince Waldron

little brown bat

A little brown bat hunting a moth.

Where the four main subspecies live.

The little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) is by far the most common kind of bat found in the north-eastern US. They are found in North America from Georgia to Alaska and from northern California to Newfoundland. But since 2007 they have been dying by the millions from white-nose syndrome. Little brown bats are now an endangered species.

Myotis means mouse-eared, lucifugus means fleeing the light.

Like vampires, they sleep during the day and come out at night. Humans mainly see them on summer evenings flying near caves or over a body of water.

Size: About 8 to 9 cm or 3.5 inches – small enough to hold in your hand. Their wings spread to 23 cm (9 inches).

Social life: They live together in colonies of hundreds or thousands of
bats. You see them flying in a swarm.

Food: They feed on mainly on insects, especially flies and moths. They like to fly through a swarm of midges with their mouth open.

Echolocation: Their eyes work, but like all bats they mainly use echolocation to fly through the dark. By making high-pitched clicking sounds they can tell what is in front of them (a tree, another bat, even a fly) from how the sound waves bounce back (the echo). The clicks are too high-pitched for humans to hear.

Hibernation: Some bats fly south for the winter, but little brown bats do not. In late October and early November they find a cave or mine shaft and sleep upside down, close together, through the winter, maybe waking up once every two weeks. Their bodies get close to freezing and live off their 2 grams of body fat. They come out of hibernation in March or April.

Mating: They generally mate in the autumn. The female keeps the sperm inside her body, not becoming pregnant till the spring. Each female generally has one pup a year, born in late May or early June. In the spring and summer they roost in buildings.

Guano: In the early 1900s their bat droppings were used as fertilizer by humans.

White-nose syndrome: In 2007 in upstate New York bats started dying in huge numbers. The dead bats had white noses. It turned out to be a cold-weather fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans (fka Geomyces destructans). By 2013 it had spread to 22 US states and 5 Canadian provinces. It has since spread to six more states. It wipes out 90% of the little brown bats in the caves to which it spreads.

The same fungus is found on bats in Europe to little ill effect. Most of the little brown bats who have it die in their sleep during hibernation. Before they die they are seen flying during the day (!!!) in the middle of winter, dangerously running down the fat reserves needed to make it through the winter.

Columbian Exchange: The fungus was first seen in North America in 2006 in upstate New York at Howe Caverns, which get 200,000 visitors a year. Presumably a European tourist brought the fungus there by accident.

– Abagond, 2019.

Sources: mainly “The Sixth Extinction” (2014) by Elizabeth Kolbert; “National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mammals” (1996) by John O. Whitaker, Jr. 

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558

Trump’s Wall

Trump’s Wall, Santa Teresa, New Mexico, April 23rd 2018. (REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez)

Trump’s Wall (2018- ) is a wall being built along the US-Mexican border by US President Donald Trump.

  • Mexican border: 3,145 km, half of it wallable.
  • Existing barrier: 1,050 km, mostly fencing.
  • Trump’s wall: 58 km so far.

The fence was started in the 1970s in San Diego and El Paso with left-over steel from the Vietnam War. It got a big boost in 2006 with the Secure Fence Act, which Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and many other Democrats voted for.

Then in 2015 Donald Trump ran for president:

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. …

“I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great great wall on our southern border and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall.”

In January 2018 Trump, now the president, asked Congress, not Mexico, for $18 billion to build the wall. He got $1.6 billion, enough for 160 km.

In November, a CBS News poll showed that 79% of Republican voters were for the Wall, 84% of Democrats were against. Overall, 59% of Americans opposed the Wall.

In December, Trump asked for $5.7 billion, enough for another 375 km, giving him over 500 km altogether. Democrats agreed to money for border security, but not for the Wall.

On December 19th, Ann Coulter, right-wing harpy, held his feet to the fire:

“It’s not as if a majority of his voters weren’t clear-eyed about what kind of man he is. If anything, Trump’s vulgar narcissism made his vow to build a wall more believable. Respectable politicians had made similar promises over the years – and they always betrayed the voters. Maybe it took a sociopath to ignore elite opinion and keep his word.

“On the basis of his self-interest alone, he must know that if he doesn’t build the wall, he has zero chance of being re-elected and a 100 percent chance of being utterly humiliated.”

Government shutdown: So now Trump, author of “The Art of the Deal” (1987), has shut down part of the US government demanding Democrats vote for the $5.7 billion so he can keep his campaign promise.

Monument of hate: The Wall is an easy thing for Trump to get rednecks whipped up about and get their votes, but in practice it will do little to stop:

  • Drugs: They come mainly through ports of entry (border checkpoints) that the Wall will not close.
  • Violent crime: Immigrants, even those without papers, have a far lower rate of violent crime than US-born Americans.
  • Terrorists: Few if any come by way of the Mexican border.
  • Asylum seekers: Mainly come through ports of entry.
  • Illegal immigration: Most immigrants who are in the US illegally did not sneak across the border – they overstayed their visas.

Illegal immigration at the Mexican border peaked in 2000. It is now at early 1970s levels.

– Abagond, 2019.

See also:

544

Remarks:

My favourite Gladys Knight & the Pips song. It came out in November 1970 and went to #1 on the US R&B chart in January 1971. It did not seem to chart outside the US.

My favourite line:

“Yeah”

See also:

Lyrics:

If I were your woman
And you were my man
You’d have no other woman
You’d be weak as a lamb
If you had the strength
To walk out that door
My love would over rule my sense
And I’d call you back for more

If I were your woman
If you were my woman
If I were your woman
If you were my woman
And you were my man

Yeah
She tears you down Darling
Says you’re nothing at all
But I’ll pick you up Darling
When she let’s you fall
You’re like a diamond
But she treats you like glass
Yet you beg her to love you
But me you don’t ask

If I were your woman
If you were my woman
If I were your woman
If you were my woman
If I were your woman
If you were my woman
Here’s what I’d do
I’d never no, no, no stop loving you

Yeah
Life is so crazy
And love is unkind
Because she came first darling
Will she hang on your mind
You’re a part of me
And you don’t even know it
I’m what you need
But I’m too afraid to show it

If I were your woman
If you were my woman
If I were your woman
If you were my woman
If I were your woman
If you were my woman
Here’s what I’d do
I’d never, no, no, no stop loving you

If I were your woman
Here’s what I’d do
I’d never, never, never stop loving you
If I were your woman
You’re sweet lovin’ woman

If I were your woman
If you were my woman
If I were your woman
If you were my woman
If I were your woman
If you were my woman…

… you’d need no other woman

Source: AZLyrics.

Nobody Knows My Name

“Nobody Knows My Name” (1961) is a collection of 13 essays James Baldwin wrote between 1954 and 1961, many of them for Esquire magazine. He was in the US for the Civil Rights Movement, but the essays as a whole give a better picture of his time in Paris in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He does visit and write about the US South, the land of his parents, but it is like another country to him. He grew up in New York.

Common themes:

  • Exile – Black people are born into exile in the US, and yet can never leave the US behind no matter where they go. They will never be American and yet forever be American.
  • The moral blindness of White people – which affects the vision of Black people.
  • Duties of the artist – to see clearly and write the truth, to open people’s eyes.

My five favourites of Baldwin’s baker’s dozen:

1. “Fifth Avenue, Uptown” (1960) is the best short essay of his that I have read. I quoted it at length in my post “James Baldwin on the police”.

2. “Princes and Powers” (1957) is Baldwin’s account of the Conference of Negro-African Writers and Artists in 1956 in Paris. Richard Wright, Senghor, Cesaire, Cheikh Anta Diop, and others appear.

3. “Alas, Poor Richard” (1961) is about Richard Wright, Baldwin’s mentor, one-time friend, and fallen hero. He had just passed away. When Wright lived in the US he wrote books in which Baldwin found expressed, “the sorrow, the rage, and the murderous bitterness which was eating up my life and the lives of those around me.” Books like “Uncle Tom’s Children” (1938), “Native Son” (1940), and, especially, “Black Boy” (1945) were a “liberation and revelation”.

But then, in 1946, Wright moved to Paris. Instead of freeing him, it cut him off from his roots and made him a shadow of his former self. He hung on the words of his White intellectual friends, like Sartre, Camus, and Simone de Beauvoir, while dismissing those of Africans. In Paris, Richard Wright was adored and could live like a White man in New York. He no longer cared about Black people back home.

4. “The Black Boy Looks at the White Boy” (1961) is about Baldwin’s writer friend Norman Mailer. Mailer had the talent to become a great writer at a time when the US was badly in need of great writers. But what was he doing? He was running for mayor of New York. Huh? What a waste of his talents. And he was taking witless fools like Jack Kerouac seriously, causing him to write that cringeworthy essay “The White Negro” (1957). Mailer, though, unlike Richard Wright, was still breathing and had a chance to turn it around.

5. “Faulkner and Desegregation” (1956): William Faulkner, still alive, believed that his fellow White Southerners would do the right thing, suddenly, after hundreds of years of doing the wrong thing. Everyone just needs to get off their backs. Sheesh. Baldwin saw Faulkner as being deluded, like most White people, but as a writer he should have known better – and almost did.

– Abagond, 2019.

Sources: Google Images (2019).

See also:

563

2018

November 25th 2018 at the US-Mexican border. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

My look back on the year 2018 as it ended:

The bad news: Donald Trump is still the US president.

The good news: Trump lost control of the lower house of Congress in the midterm elections.

This year’s theme: Fear. Criminalizing and fear-mongering on mom-and-pop asylum seekers from Central America. The caravan of several thousand asylum seekers crossing Mexico were painted as an invasion bringing disease, crime, and terrorism to the US. When they tried to cross the border, they were gassed, men, women, and children (pictured at top).

Making a comeback: family separation.

This year’s new/old trend: Calling the police on Black people minding their own business. Among this year’s trendsetters: Starbucks, #BBQBecky, #PermitPatty, #PoolPatrolPaula, #CornerStoreCaroline, #BrooklynBecky, #PaulBlartPoolCop, #BaggageClaimBecky, #CouponCarl, #DepressedDebbie.

Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate to serve on the US Supreme Court, giving it a 5-4 hard-right majority. In spite of riveting Senate testimony by Christine Blasey Ford of an attempted rape by Kavanaugh in 1982, all but one Republican senator backed him.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the future US president (2037-2045), was elected to Congress.

Russiagate: Robert Mueller’s investigation proceeds apace. Trump calls it a witch hunt, but in July he all but licked Russian President Putin’s boots at a summit in Helsinki.

North Korea can now nuke California. Trump met with Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, in a historic photo-op that at least cooled tensions.

Brazil took two steps backwards, murdering Marielle Franco in February and electing Jair Bolsonaro in October.

Britain has worked out a deal with the EU on Brexit but cannot get it through parliament.

Film: Black Panther, Crazy Rich Asians.

Television: Pose, grown-ish, the first female Doctor Who (still White).

Music festivals: Coachella became Beychella.

Music videos: Childish Gambino’s This Is America.

The Doomsday Clock is now two minutes to midnight, a half minute closer than last year, thanks mainly to Trump.

Global temperature average: “The website you are trying to access is not available at this time due to a lapse in appropriation.” (Thanks to Trump’s current partial shutdown of the US government.)

Word of the Year: toxic (Oxford), as in toxic masculinity.

Person of the Year: The Guardians: news reporters who were persecuted, arrested or murdered, Jamal Khashoggi (pictured) being merely the most famous.

Top US R&B song: “God’s Plan” by Drake (Billboard).

Top Hollywood film: “Avengers: Infinity War” (“Black Panther” was number two).

Top images (on Google Images):

the most beautiful woman:

Thylane Blondeau (France)

well-dressed man:

car:

Jaguar Electric SUV

computer:

RAM: 8 GB. OS: Linux/Ubuntu

president:

Former US president Obama

In memoriam: Trojan Pam, Marielle Franco, Ntozake Shange, Aretha Franklin, Nancy WilsonThe Old KanyeLinda Brown, Winnie Mandela, George H.W. Bush, John McCain, Stephen Hawking, The Village Voice, Tumblr, The Weekly Standard, Ursula K. Le Guin, Douglas Rain (voice of HAL), Les Payne, Yvonne Staples, Dennis Edwards, Jamal Khashoggi, Razan al-Najjar, Saheed Vassell, Jackeline Caal, Sandra Parks, Stephon Clark, Antwon Rose, Botham Jean, E.J. Bradford Jr, Jemel Roberson, Patrick Kimmons, the 11 gunned down at the Tree of Life synagogue by Robert Bowers, and the 17 gunned down at Parkland high school in Florida on Valentine’s Day.

Trojan Pam. Requiescat in pace.

– Abagond, 2019.

See also:

547

 

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