On This Day, 44 Years Ago . . . .

August 8, 2018

Seems like a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. This was 6 years to the day from his acceptance of the nomination at the 1968 convention.

Nixon’s resignation speech.



August 6, 1960, American Bandstand Gives America Chubby Checker and The Twist

August 6, 2018

Then, 30 years ago:


August 6, 1965: Lyndon Johnson Signs the Voting Rights Act

August 6, 2018

The question now is, will it survive?

Here’s Louis Menand’s New Yorker piece from five years ago, which ran right after the infamous Shelby County Supreme Court decision that struck down a central provision of the law, tracing the history of the Act.


On August 4, We Celebrate the Birth of One of the Most Influential Musicians, Ever

August 5, 2018

Louis Armstrong.


June 14, 1970 – The Grateful Dead Release “Workingman’s Dead”

June 14, 2018

Which opens with one of my favorite songs, ever, balm for the soul:


Robert Francis Kennedy, November 20, 1925 to June 5, 1968

June 5, 2018

If, only . . . .


“The Ethic of Total Retaliation” . . .

June 3, 2018

(Irving Penn photo)

Back before his batteries went dead and he became more focused on his celebrity than his job, Hunter Thompson was a solid journalist with a particularly good eye for harbingers. I think these bits, culled from his very good book on the Hell’s Angels, forewarned us about what’s happening now:

“The Angels are prototypes . . . A toad who believes he got a raw deal before he even knew who was dealing will usually be sympathetic to the mean, vindictive ignorance that colors the Hell’s Angels’ view of humanity. There is not much mental distance between a feeling of having been screwed and the ethic of total retaliation, or at least the kind of random revenge that comes with outraging the public decency . . . Their image of themselves derives mainly from Celluloid, from the Western movies and two-fisted TV shows that have taught them most of what they now about the society they live in. Very few read books . . . What little they know of history has come from the mass media, beginning with comics . . . so if they see themselves in terms of the past, it’s because they can’t grasp the terms of the present, much less the future . . .

The streets of every city are thronged with men who would pay all the money they could get their hands on to be transformed–even if for a day–into hairy, hard-fisted brutes who walk over cops, extort free drinks from terrified bartenders and thunder out of town on big motorcycles . . . ”

This is the mindset we’re dealing with.