Thursday, January 31, 2019

Smug Fruits And Vegetables In A Supermarket

"Our Fruits & Vegetables Might Look Smug Because They Know They're The Freshest."--Sign in Fairway of Harlem supermarket.

Do they also know that they will be cooked and eaten? Are they happy about that? If I were a peach or a tomato or a head of lettuce I wouldn't be.

The above sounds silly but no sillier than seeing dancing and talking fruits and vegetables in a TV commercial.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Declaration Of Independence In Words And Music

I'm amazed that conservative radio talk show hosts, who are so ultra-patriotic on the air, have not discovered the Fifth Dimension's The Declaration (Bell Records, 1970) and played it on their shows.

On the recording, the Fifth Dimension, the African American pop vocal group better known for hits such as Up, Up and Away and Wedding Bell Blues, takes the words of the Declaration of Independence and sets them to music, beginning with the words "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal...."

Maybe these talk show hosts have heard the record and think the Declaration of Independence is too sacred a document to be trivialized by turning it into a song intended for airplay on Top 40 radio stations.

I think it's a wonderful "song" and maybe it, instead of The Star-Spangled Banner, should be sung at public events.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

A Bargain Or A Scam?

Someone in the Bronx, New York, placed an ad on Facebook that offered for sale a 1995 Nissan Maxima. The price they wanted was $200. That raised a red flag. Why so cheap? (Other car ads were in the thousands of dollars.) For me such a low price meant that they were trying to get rid of a rattletrap that would probably cost the buyer more in upkeep expenses than the initial price.

As the saying goes, buyer beware.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

An Imminent Race War In America?

So much has been written and said in the national news media about Trump's racism;white nationalists in Charlottesville,Virginia; and white supremacy that I'm motivated to read The Coming Race War in America: A Wake-Up Call by the late journalist Carl T. Rowan (1925-2000), published in 1996 by Little, Brown, to see how prophetic it is.

After reading the book, I hope I will be motivated enough to write about it in an essay/review.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Rose Marie McCoy, An Unheralded African American Songwriter

Rose Marie McCoy, an African American songwriter, who wrote 850 songs, is a hidden figure in the music business and deserves to have her life story told in a motion picture. She wrote these songs in a career that spanned seven decades. Her songs were recorded by such musical luminaries as Elvis Presley, Nat "King" Cole, and Sarah Vaughan, to name a few.

I recently learned about her after hearing Leonard Lopate interview Arlene Corsano on his daily show on New York's WBAI. Ms. Corsano  is the author of Thought We Were Writing the Blues, But They Called It Rock 'n' Roll: The Life & Music of Rose Marie McCoy.
McCoy died on January 20, 2015 at the age of 92 .
Her music can be heard on YouTube as well as in a short video clip of her playing the guitar and singing.

For more information, go to


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Stonewall 50 Commemoration At The New York Public Library

The Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50 exhibition is slated for viewing at the New York Public Library's Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, from February 14 to July 14, 2019. It will be on the third floor, in the Rayner Special Collections Wing & Print Gallery.

"This exhibition," announced the New York Public Library Now magazine (Winter/Spring 2019)," illustrates this history [of gay liberation] through the photographs of Kay Tobin Lahusen and Diana Davies, who captured the pivotal events of this era and changed the ways that LGBTQ people perceived themselves."

Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50 will also, continued Now, the library publication, feature "other items from the Library's vast archival holdings in LGBTQ history, including ephemera, periodicals, and more."

Monday, January 7, 2019

There Is No Disgrace Having A Gay Child

During this summer's celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising in the Greenwich Village section of New York, there should be banners printed with the following quotation:

"I want other parents to see that it is no disgrace having a gay child. The disgrace is when you try to put it [the child's homosexuality] in the closet. Your children are coming out, now it is your turn to come out."--Dorothy Beam, writer/anthology editor Joseph Beam's mother (1924-2018), quoted in The Washington Post, August 1991.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Dorothy Beam, Writer Joe Beam's Mother, Has Died

I just learned via archivist Steven G. Fullwood's Facebook page of the passing of Dorothy Beam on December 26, 2018 at the age of 94. She was the mother of Joseph Beam, the editor of In the Life: A Black Gay Anthology, of which I was a contributor. Joe died in 1988.

A memorial service for Mrs. Beam is set for Wednesday, January 9, 2019, at 11 a.m., at the Vine Memorial Baptist Church, 5600 West Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

R.I.P. Mrs. Beam.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Living Past 100 And Still Working

I recently heard a story on New York's all-news Ten-Ten WINS about a barber in upstate New York who's 107 years old. And he's still cutting hair.

A story about people living beyond one hundred years is still newsworthy because so few people make it that far. Most people if they live to old age are more likely to die in the 85 to 115 age range. (The ones called super centenarians are the ones who die within the 116 to 125 age range.)

With that in mind, I'm looking forward to reading Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Aging by Dick Van Dyke (Weinstein Books, 2015). Van Dyke, the comic actor, is in his nineties and still working. And I hope he will continue to work when he's past a hundred.