Musical Interlude with the Dankworths

Cleo Laine will turn ninety years old this year. She was born to an English mother and Jamaican father. With her multi-octave voice, she and jazz-musician husband John Dankworth became musical royalty, entertaining audiences around the world for decades.

Years ago at a show in Portland, Dankworth introduced an instrumental number, telling the audience it was in an unusual time signature – 7/8 or something. He went on to say we would know the band performed it correctly if they all finished at the same time.

John Dankworth died in 2010 at age eight-two.

Oregon and California and James G. Blaine

James G. Blaine represented the state of Maine in the House of Representatives – where he served as Speaker – and the Senate. He later became Secretary of State and ran for President in 1884, losing narrowly to Grover Cleveland. In that campaign, Blaine visited every state except one, Oregon.

Eighty years later, Oregon author and journalist Stewart Holbrook, with tongue in cheek, founded the James G. Blaine Society. Concerned about environmental issues and population growth, Holbrook took Blaine as namesake of his non-organization. He felt that Blaine, having never set foot in Oregon, should serve as a model to others.

Tom McCall, Oregon’s governor from 1967 to 1975, earned notoriety when extolling the state’s natural beauty, he urged people to come visit, but added, “For heaven’s sake, don’t move here to live.”

Since that time, Oregonians have blamed the influx of Californians for everything from escalating home prices to crowded freeways. (Oregon universities encourage Californians to come. In this age of diminishing financial support for higher education, Oregon universities like out-of-state tuition.)

California has begun doing its part to help. An article in my former hometown newspaper reports that for various reasons, the area is suffering a shortage of workers. In fact, it’s so bad that “Jackson Family Wines just offered a job to an Oregonian because it couldn’t find anyone in California with the skills to program the computers that control high-speed bottling lines.”

Honoring Mothers

Mother’s Day became an official U.S. holiday in 1914, after years of effort by Anna Jarvis. Anna’s mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis,  initiated “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” in West Virginia to teach women how to care for their children. After the Civil War, she promoted “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” to connect mothers with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation.

Within a decade, Anna Jarvis was fighting against the commercialization of the holiday. She was even arrested for protesting at a Mother’s Day carnation sale.

“Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love.”

Stevie Wonder

 

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”

Abraham Lincoln

 

“The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.” 

Calvin Trillin

 

“In our ecclesiastical region there are priests who don’t baptize the children of single mothers because they weren’t conceived in the sanctity of marriage. These are today’s hypocrites. Those who clericalize the church. Those who separate the people of God from salvation.”

Pope Francis

 

“I don’t mind if two men fall in love, fine. Two women, fine. But I flinch when I think of two Jewish women getting together and having a child because the idea of having two Jewish mothers makes my head explode. I have one; I couldn’t handle two.”

Gary Shandling

 

“My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.”

Mark Twain

 

“June Cleaver didn’t keep her house in perfect order; the prop man did it.”

Barbara Billingsley

 

Overheard at a family gathering

Jesus: “Coming, mother.” [What does she want now.]
Mary: “They’re out of wine.”
Jesus: “Didn’t they know how many people were coming to this wedding?” [And you expect me to do something about that?]
Mary: “Don’t be a smart guy. They need your help.”
Jesus: “Ma, I’m not ready to start doing that kind of stuff.”
Mary: “I know son, but can’t you do this one thing for your mother?”
Jesus: “But… mom!”
Mary: “Just this one time?”
Jesus: “Well, okay. For you, mom.”

Summer of Love

If you’re going to San Francisco, put some flowers in your hair and head over to the de Young Museum for their “Summer of Love” exhibition.

The Summer of Love began on sunny January 14, 1967 in San Francisco. Thirty thousand, mostly young, people gathered in Golden Gate Park for the first Human Be-In.” With a far-off war raging and anti-Vietnam War protests escalating, the baby boomer generation was going to show the rest of the nation the way to peace and love: sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. Jefferson Airplane and Quicksilver Messenger Service provided the music. LSD was handed out and Hell’s Angels provided security. (The wisdom of hiring a motorcycle gang for security was demonstrated thirty months and sixty miles later at the Altamont Speedway Free Festival when they beat to death an over-exuberant fan in front of the stage where the Rolling Stones were performing.)

The Haight-Ashbury neighborhood became the perceived center of the groovy lifestyle. Thousands of young people flocked there for a summer of love. The Monterey Pop Festival, brainchild of record company executives and producers, with private security and trained volunteers, in the minds of many somehow epitomized this new way of living.

Fifty years later, hipsters have replaced the hippies; young people line the sidewalks, playing with smartphones while waiting for free buses to their high-tech jobs in Silicon Valley. Airbnb will help you find a place to stay in Haight-Ashbury.

The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll runs through August 20 at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.

Peace, Love and the Who

US Health Care in Sound Bites

“Millions of our citizens do not now have a full measure of opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health. Millions do not now have protection or security against the economic effects of sickness. The time has arrived for action to help them attain that opportunity and that protection.”

“I usually find that those who are loudest in protesting against medical help by the federal government are those who do not need help.”

“I have had some bitter disappointments as president, but the one that has troubled me most, in a personal way, has been the failure to defeat opposition to a national compulsory health insurance program.”

President Harry S. Truman

 

“We must seize the moment of freedom’s triumph abroad to make America not just a rich society but a good society. The richest country in the world cannot tolerate the fact that we have the highest per capita health care costs in the world and yet 38 million of our people are unable to get adequate medical care because they cannot afford it.”

President Richard M. Nixon

 

“People can go to the state that they want to live in. States have all kinds of different policies and there are disparities among states for many things: driving restrictions, alcohol, whatever. We’re putting choices back in the hands of the states. That’s what Jeffersonian democracy provides for.”

Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC)

 

“We are giving people actual freedom.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)

 

“The only people who have to worry about rising costs under Republicans’ health bill are the very tiny segment of the country that waits until they’re sick to buy insurance.”

Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR)

 

“You can’t compare the rest of the world to us. They do not have the big diverse populations that we have. They do not have the inner-city populations that we have.”

Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL)

 

“My understanding is that it will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool that helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, you know, they are doing the things to keep their bodies healthy.”

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL)

 

(Refused to comment on his yes vote.)

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)

 

“Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.”

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID)

 

“A friend of mine was in Scotland recently. He got very, very sick. They took him by ambulance and he was there four days. He was really in trouble, and when they released him and he said, ‘Where do I pay?’ And they said, ‘There’s no charge.’ Not only that, he said it was like great doctors, great care. I mean we could have a great system like that in this country.”

“We’re going to have insurance for everyone.”

“There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it.  That’s not going to happen with us.  People can expect to have great health care.”

President Donald J. Trump

“Am I doing OK? I’m President! Hey, I’m President! Can you believe it, right?”

 

And in other Republican news…

Minnesota’s state Republican chair apologized Monday to Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) for a post on the 7th Congressional District Republican Party’s Facebook page calling the congressman “Minnesota’s Head Muslim Goat Humper.”