I got hooked on Robert A. Caro when his first volume of The Years of Lyndon Johnson was published in 1982. What I thought was going to be trilogy began with The Path to Power. I received it as a gift and was soon completely absorbed into it. Mr. Caro took me into the Hill Country of Texas, and made me feel what it was like to be a settler there and how that formed LBJ. The further I read the more I appreciated the painstaking research behind it.
While Kanye West was being stupid at the Grammys Awards show, I was at a local venue taking in “Blues at the Crossroads: The Soul of the Blues.” For me, the featured performer was Irma Thomas, who came on in the middle of the show, between Alecia Chakour, paying tribute to Etta James, and Lee Fields, channeling James Brown. Ms. Thomas returned to the stage to close the show, with the others backing her up on “Time Is On My Side.”
We try to be good Americans and buy stuff made in the U.S.A. Well, maybe some of us do. The exporting of U.S. manufacturing has been going on for so long and is so entrenched that it’s anything but simple to bring those jobs back home. In fact, it’s nearly impossible. As the prime example, consider consumer electronics.
On the Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert generally stayed in character as the arch-conservative blowhard. Even when testifying before Congress. He recently recorded a segment for the Ask a Grown Man/Woman on Rookie, a web site for young girls, in which he dropped his on-screen persona to give thoughtful answers to questions about relationships submitted by readers/viewers. It’s definitely worth ten minutes of your time. Click here.
Last July, two thousand people gathered under a warm sun at the Tom McCall Bowl near Portland’s Riverplace Marina. Led by the Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers, a parade of people, outfitted in colorful swimwear, marched past the Riverplace shops and restaurants. The participants, carrying inner tubes or more elaborate flotation equipment followed the drummers and then turned toward the river at “Poet’s Beach,” a Willamette River entry point under the downtown end of the I-5 Marquam Bridge. The procession followed a path down the embankment and waded into the river. Hundreds of people paddled, or simply floated, letting the current carry them downstream, returning to the Bowl. Back on shore they enjoyed an afternoon of music, refreshments and general merriment. The big party, called The Big Float, celebrated the Willamette River’s return to relative cleanliness – clean enough to swim in, anyway.