Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday: Vintage Americana

The title says it all…enjoy!

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Tuesday Tunes & Soothing Scenery…13 June 2017

To counter the ugliness that is rampant here in the USA, around the world, and everywhere on the Interwebs, I offer up some soothing scenery of beautiful people and beautiful places, along with some relaxing music. Enjoy…

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R.I.P., Ben E. King

Benjamin Earl King, a.k.a. Ben E. King: 28 September 1938 – 30 April 2015

Oh, no…I just heard of the death of the legendary Ben E. King, best known for the hit song “Stand By Me.” From Al-Jazeera:

Ben E. King died Thursday of natural causes. He was 76. King was one of a vanishing breed of singers who recorded songs that seem to have always existed. Just an overview of some of his hits — “Stand By Me,” “Spanish Harlem” and “There Goes My Baby” — are sufficient to define an era of American music, one of lushly arranged pop masterpieces. No voice was better suited to sing them than the smooth baritone of Ben E. King.

Born Benjamin Earl Nelson in North Carolina, King moved to Harlem with his family by the age of 9. He sang in church and learned harmonies with friends from school. By 1958 he was singing with a doo-wop group called the Five Crowns. Later that year, the manager of the Drifters fired every member of the group and replaced them with King’s group. This new version of the Drifters recorded hit after hit for Atlantic Records, songs like “Save the Last Dance for Me” and “This Magic Moment.” King sang lead on almost all of the 14 songs he recorded with the group.

“When I got involved with the Five Crowns, who later became the Drifters, and we got this hit record, I still was looking at this as kind of a fun thing,” he once told an interviewer. “When the hit record happened, I just said, ‘Well, it’s still fun, and it’s a fluke.’ I didn’t take it all that seriously. I still think my whole career was accidental. I didn’t pursue it.”

King was fired from the Drifters for asking for a fair share of royalties rather than the flat weekly rate the group was being paid. Lover Patterson, King’s manager, pawned all his valuables to keep the newlywed singer from being evicted.

“That was my first and last best friend in this whole wide world,” King remembered, “and that was the first person that had convinced me that I was worth something, and that’s how I made up my mind I’d stay in, for him more than for myself.”

Rest easy, beautiful creator…you join the pantheon of greats. Below are my three personal favourites by this legendary man.

Stand By Me

There Goes My Baby

Supernatural Thing

Tuesday Afternoon; Moody Music.

Freddie Gray was laid to rest yesterday. Subsequently, the justifiable rage and despair over yet another Black man brutalized and murdered by the police has boiled over. Opportunists bent on chaos are detracting from the truth of what is going on, while mainstream media outlets nationwide (and overseas) gleefully focus on the footage of burning vehicles, shattered glass, and rampaging vandals. Their collective verbiage direct scorn and derision on the protesters  – yet they conveniently ignore the facts of the events that led to the expressions of outrage. Al-Jazeera and NRK are the only overseas outlets that seem to be giving any reasonable coverage of the events in Baltimore, from what I see…but you can be the judge of that (this translator works well for viewing the site in your native language).

The text reads: “This is the true form of despair.” I wonder…

The girls have been gone from their families for 379 days; 4,000+ people are confirmed dead after the Kathmandu earthquake, and the numbers continue to grow…the pain goes on. Different Day, Same Shit, indeed…that, this, and this are some excellent observations on what’s going on today. I think I’m going to step outside, for a while…
Nina Simone: “Everything Must Change
Nina Simone: “Baltimore

So Much to Say – So Little Time…

*SIGHS*
Wow…so much going on, again…still…it’s overwhelming, yet again – but I will press onward, if only briefly.
I have been sickened, literally, by the murder of Freddie Gray. The footage of him screaming in anguish nauseated me to the point that I passed out – I was that viscerally affected by it. It’s hard enough to write about…I weep just typing these words. His final moments had to have been filled with unbelievable suffering. A spinal injury of that magnitude doesn’t just happen on its own…how disgusting and vile. There are no excuses for this.
A 7.8 earthquake has hit the city of Kathmandu in the Himalayan country of Nepal, and many are dead and injured. The seism was so powerful, it triggered avalanches on Mt. Everest – during the height of the tourist-climbing season. The horrors from that area are only beginning to surface.
The girls have been gone from their families and loved ones for 376 days, and nothing is being done by the governments who could be doing…something. Shameful.
 The family of Rekia Boyd was awarded a settlement in her wrongful death, but the man who murdered her was acquitted of all wrongdoing by a judge who essentially said, “This man isn’t guilty because you didn’t charge him with the correct crime.” How foul…Black women are just as likely as Black men to be murdered by cops and wanna-be vigilantes here in the U.S. – it’s a sad fact.
I have been busy outside in my yard, tending to the bushes so they don’t run rampant. I try to focus on the pleasant things in life, such as baseball, gaming, and the new acquaintances I’ve made in-game and in the blog-o-sphere…yet, my mind is never far from the goings-on in the world. Things happen outside of my little universe, but they affect me greatly. They cannot be ignored…nor should they be. At any rate, I just wanted to tip a hat to a few others that I read and / or follow but can’t or don’t always comment at their sites.
First off, I hope that Bayoucreole is enjoying the NOLA Jazz Fest, which began yesterday and continues through to Sunday, 3rd May…I hope you post some pics if you attend! I haven’t seen a post since Mardi Gras, so I hope things are well in your part of the country.
 This next blog is from a person I saw comment on other blogs a few years back, but he sort of moved away from them…understandably. I myself don’t read those blogs as much as I used to, myself – redundancy and repetition that go in endless circles tend to make my eyes roll back in my head. At any rate, I’m unable to comment on his blog, as it is a BlogSpot publishing, so there seems to be an issue whenever I try to post. I just wanted to say: hey, Zek J. Evets – I am a regular reader and enjoyed your latest few postings…I was just unable to leave the comment at your site. Gamers need to be able to talk more, even if they don’t play the same games or utilize the same platforms!
Finally, I wanted to mention this blog, entitled Nobodysreadingme…I had to follow it simply because of the name, and I have been informed and entertained whilst reading it – I hope you like it as well; just wanted to give the site an honourable mention.   😉

…and so it goes…again.

Again, and again, and again…more names added to the roster of those unjustly injured and / or killed by the police.  Eric Harris was shot and killed by some “buy-to-play” wannabe former cop in Tusla, Oklahoma. This cretinous arsehole supposedly mistook his own lethal firearm for his Taser, firing a shot into Mr. Harris, who died later. Oops. Yeah, right…I believe that he was ‘mistaken’ about the two guns about as much as I believe that Bill O’Reilly is a sensible individual. In Phoenix, Arizona, a man by the name of Mario Valencia was viciously slammed from behind – by a police car going approximately 40 miles per hour. The supposed justification was due to the fact that Mr. Valencia had fired a stolen rifle into the air, and footage also shows him pointing the gun at himself, under his jaw. I guess the claim will be that “oh, he wanted to commit ‘suicide by cop,’ so he must have deserved to be slammed into a brick wall by a fast-moving vehicle.” I disagree with that, personally…for that matter, how many supposed suicides have been written off with that excuse? Not as many as the common “I had to shoot because he was reaching for (insert police object here) and I was in fear for my life,” but I’m certain that plenty of those supposed ‘suicides’ were suspicious, at best. Another man has also been shot dead in Houston, Texas – few details are available as I write this; we shall see what is revealed over the next few days.
Amidst all of this, I’m reminded of Christopher Dorner. Remember him? Do you remember what he did, and why? I still find it fascinating that he was killed after the week-long manhunt, during which he himself took three lives. Still – wasn’t that fewer lives than the sniper in Pennsylvania took? How many people were killed in that theatre in Colorado…yet, that murderer is still alive. Christopher Dorner knew about shady police dealings and tired of them, so he tried to reveal them…in doing so, his word and name were destroyed by the department he served for years. At that point, he had nothing left to lose. He wasn’t a hero because he killed people, he was a hero because he tried to expose the very things that are now coming to light in police departments across the country. From small towns to big cites, all departments have much to answer for. We all want answers – stop the cover-ups and the bullshit.
Finally, I wanted to close with a link to an excellent article. It illustrates perfectly why I refuse to engage in discussions about race with whites…I’m not obligated to teach anybody a damn thing about how I care for my skin and hair, or why the lines in the palms of my hands are visible, while those on the palms of white hands are nearly impossible to see. I won’t engage in endless discussions about skewed statistics, genetics, childbirth rates, or relationships. “Teachable moments” are only possible when one chooses to open one’s mind and start learning. Period.

R.I.P., Percy Sledge

Percy Sledge: 25 November 1941 – 14 April 2015

Percy Sledge, singer of the hit song “When a Man Loves a Woman,” has passed away at the age of 74 after a year-long battle with cancer. From the Huffington Post:

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Percy Sledge, who soared from part-time singer and hospital orderly to lasting fame with his aching, forlorn performance on the classic “When a Man Loves a Woman,” died Tuesday in Louisiana. He was 74.

Dr. William “Beau” Clark, coroner for East Baton Rouge Parish, confirmed to The Associated Press that Sledge died about an hour after midnight of natural causes in hospice care.

His family later said in a statement released through his manager, Mark Lyman, that he died “peacefully” at his home in Baton Rouge after a yearlong struggle with cancer. The cause of death was liver failure, Lyman said.

A No. 1 hit in 1966, “When a Man Loves a Woman” was Sledge’s debut single, an almost unbearably heartfelt ballad with a resonance he never approached again. Few singers could have. Its mood set by a mournful organ and dirge-like tempo, “When a Man Loves a Woman” was for many the definitive soul ballad, a testament of blinding, all-consuming love haunted by fear and graced by overwhelming emotion.

The song was a personal triumph for Sledge, who seemed on the verge of sobbing throughout the production, and a breakthrough for Southern soul. It was the first No. 1 hit from Alabama’s burgeoning Muscle Shoals music scene, where Aretha Franklin and the Rolling Stones among others would record, and the first gold record for Atlantic Records.

This is one of the best songs ever recorded, and the vocals of the legendary, talented man singing it are perfection. Rest in peace, good sir…another giant joins the ages.
Percy Sledge: “When a Man Loves a Woman

Short post…

Ye gawds…again, and again, and again…another unarmed Black man shot down like a dog in the street. Another unarmed Black man shot in the back multiple times by a white murderer with a license to kill. Another individual reduced to another lifeless form in another U.S. city: 50-year-old Walter Scott was shot down by 33-year-old Michael T. Slager, a police officer in North Charleston, South Carolina.
I’m so fucking sick of it all…sick of the lies told to justify the unjustifiable. Sick of the media outlets that feel the need to dehumanize a dead man by reporting, “he had X number of arrests against him – so he must have had it coming!” Sick of the racists who support hate. I’m just tired of it all.
Yesterday, 7 April, marked the anniversaries of two notable events: the birth anniversary of Billie “Lady Day” Holiday (nee Eleanora Fagan, 1915), who passed away 17 July, 1959. Her talent was legendary, but as happens with many of we sensitive, creative persons, she ended up being used and abused by many. Her song, “Strange Fruit,” encapsulates just one of the many horrors that were prevalent during her time on this planet…sadly, those same horrors still exist today. It never ceases to amaze me; the vile and horrid acts we so-called ‘civilized beings’ perpetrate on one another. 7 April also marked the 21st anniversary of the Rwanda Genocide. in 1994, over 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred by members of the Hutu majority, over the span of 100 days. I still recall the graphic pictures that were slowly revealed on local stations…and they only reflected a small portion of this atrocity, which is rarely spoken of. The Jewish Holocaust and the murders in Tianamen Square, on the other hand, are never forgotten. Again, the media is selective in coverage! For example, the song “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young was about the Kent State shootings on 4th May, 1970. So many more have died in the past 30 days! Where are the musical activists now? Potent and powerful songs have been written to move many – positively and negatively, I will admit – still, musical protests and tributes have been effective in the past…why not now? I know; songs and protests aren’t enough…nothing will change until widespread, systematic changes are made from the ground up. Addressing and correcting the bullshit policies that have been in place since the inception of this country. Deconstructing every foul machination that has been used to demean, dehumanize, and degrade human beings everywhere. It is possible…it really is…it’s just going to be an ugly process.

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