Category Archives: Current Events

The First Time I Met Pete Seeger…..

The first time I met Pete Seeger, I was far too young to remember it. I was, more than likely, an infant. Pete was an old friend of my parents’, having probably met my father in the 1950s or early 1960s. when they were both fighting fascism and oppression in their own ways, both at home and abroad. When weren’t they, really? In those days Joan Baez, Tom Paxton, Paul Robeson Jr., and many others were frequent visitors at our home and while I am proud to know this now, I’ll confess that this was not of primary concern to a small child.

One thing I do remember about Pete is that he was great with kids. Or at least he was with me. Picnics with Pete on the banks of the Hudson became a somewhat regular occurrence* and on one particular night in 1983 at dinner in the Hotel Nacional in Havana, Pete indulged a 12 year-old’s whimsy far more than he needed to.

I had recently learned to make wine glasses “whistle” by wetting a finger and running at around the rim of the glass. To my joy, I was seated next to Pete and at some point in the evening, I started getting bored (dinners in Cuba start late and can go very late) and so I started playing with my wine (water) glass. Pete claimed had never seen this (I suspect he was fibbing) and he and I proceeded to have some fun with the other tables in the dining room by making our glasses whistle and, when people would look around, pretending we were also looking for the source of the whistling. I’ve always thought that one of the true measures of an adult is how they relate to children.

My house was always full of music, despite no one in my family being able to play a lick. Classical and folk were the predominant styles and so many of Pete’s songs have been part of my life since I was a small child. Granted, I was an odd kid. I mean, how many 10 year-old do you know who know the words to “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine,” “We Shall Not Be Moved,” and “Which Side Are You On?” Much of the credit for that should be given to Pete.

The last 2 times I saw Pete were at memorial services. The first was for Mary Travers (of Peter, Paul & Mary fame) in 2009 and the second in 2005 at my mother’s service. Alas, the weather too bad for him to make it to my father’s memorial in 2007. One of the many drawbacks to the aging process is having friends, loved ones, and those we admire pass on. It’s a part of life, but one I have not yet come to grips with.

Pete was one of the bravest, kindest, and most principled people to ever walk the earth. He was one of a kind for so many reasons and I dare say we shan’t see the likes of him again any time soon.

He also had a beautiful falsetto!

*Possible inflation of frequency due to the passage of time.

Obama And Castro: The Handshake Heard ‘Round The World

Earlier this week, conservative blogs and the Twittersphere exploded over President Obama’s handshake with Cuban president Raul Castro at the funeral services for former South African president and overall legendary hero to billions, Nelson Mandela. And when I say exploded, I am not kidding. Senator John McCain even compared it to then-UK Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain shaking hands with Adolph Hitler. Seriously?

The vitriol was truly astonishing. A handshake is just about the most basic pleasantry that can be exchanged between two world leaders and, well, that’s just what you do. Especially considering it’s hardly the first time a US president has done something like this. Clinton shook Fidel Castro’s hand, Nixon shook the hand of Mao Zedong. It’s called diplomacy and considering they were at the funeral of a man who was able to reconcile with his former jailers and end Apartheid, I am happy that the spirit of diplomacy prevailed.

[Oh and Senator McCain? Douche. Why? That hypocritical fuck shook hands with Gaddafi! See hysterical and frustrating Daily Show clip below.]

Continue reading

The Truth About POTUS’ Selfie

So about this ridiculous uproar over the selfie that President Obama took with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and British Prime Minister David Cameron? Turns out not only was Michelle Obama not angry, but the whole thing was blown out of proportion. (I’m shocked! Shocked to find rank sensationalism going on in here!)

 

Check out this blog post by the Agence France Presse photographer who took those oh, so scandalous pix!

Peter Gabriel On The Loss Of Nelson Mandela

Peter Gabriel points out something that very few of the stories about Nelson Mandela’s passing are focusing on:  reconciliation. In a world where there’s so much recrimination, so much anger, so much partisan fighting, bickering and warfare, we have just lost a man who reconciled with those who not only put him in prison but who ran a system of government that systematically brutalized and murdered thousands and thousands of black South Africans.

Think about what that took. What strength of character he must have had to endure decades of brutal imprisonment only to emerge, lead his people to freedom, become the president of a new South Africa and lead a process of reconciliation. Truly an amazing man.

Ah, Irony. Too Young To Die….And At The Hands Of Wal-Mart

If any of you were hesitating to mourn irony, wait no longer. Wal-Mart has slain the giant by offering prints of Banksy’s print entitled, I shit you not, Destroy Capitalism. According to Salon.com….

According to the Huffington Post, the link has been removed, but still… this rivals the recent JP Morgan Twitter hubbub. There is no cure for corporate idiocy.