Rolling Stone announced that their website will have a preview track from the “lost” Johnny Cash album, Out Among the Stars, due out in March. The album was recorded for Columbia in the early eighties and is said to be influenced by the “pop country” of the time. After not releasing it, Columbia dropped Mr. Cash.
Columbia was also among several labels that rejected The Beatles.
Columbia once did something right, my Cousin Ray Sixkiller reminded me. “They hired Bob Dylan.”
Friday’s Morning Joe reported that unregulated recreational marijuana prices in Colorado have quickly run up over $400 an ounce before substantial taxes, compared to $250 an ounce for regulated medical marijuana. An illegal ounce in New York costs $120. “Sure glad they legalized it,” said Cousin Ray. “or a joint might cost more than a bottle of beer.”
On the same day, David Brooks’ op-ed column was about how his cohort “aged out” of smoking dope as an argument against legalization. “Right,” chortled Ray, “I’m sure that if marijuana had been legal, Brooks and his pals would all be stoners.”
The blogosphere chattered about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie sending Christmas cards to Iowa Republican officials. “The Iowa caucuses are only three years away,” Cousin Ray pointed out. When I reached out to Gov. Christie for comment, he was in New Hampshire shoveling snow for Republican officials there.
Rob Ford has filed for reelection as Mayor of Toronto, telling the National Post “I’ve been the best Mayor this city has ever had.” Cousin Ray claimed that political comics are starting a PAC to support Ford’s candidacy.
The Saturday New York Times had a story about the Joel and Ethan Coen film, Inside Llewyn Davis, that was sad for the generation of Buffy Sainte-Marie (Cree) and Gordon Lightfoot, a non-Indian who has been a good friend. Llewyn Davis is a Bob Dylan figure, picking his way though the sixties folk revival in Greenwich Village. Critical success has not made box office success and the soundtrack album is far behind the Duck Dynasty Christmas album. Cousin Ray muttered glumly that “quacks always beat originals.”
The Houston Chronicle reported that Mossberg has teamed with the stars of Duck Dynasty to bring out a Duck Commander series of guns, inscribed with the Duck Dynasty logo and motto “Faith. Family. Ducks.” The series is in camouflage and includes shotguns, rifles, and a pistol. Cousin Ray pointed out that the public opinions the head duck dude has expressed make it necessary to go armed. Particularly, Phil Robertson’s statement that men who cook are “girly men,” a remark uttered in Louisiana, where New Orleans is home to world class fine dining. “Gotta watch out for those violent chefs. BAM!”
Tom Stienstra published a heartbreaking piece in Saturday’s SFGate about the drought in Northern California, illustrated by a photo of Yosemite National Park with no snow. The Tahoe basin was in similar condition. I can relate, since it’s so dry in Texas the government’s buying back water pistols. Cousin Ray caught a catfish the other day and it had a tick.
Bob Costas on Monday’s Morning Joe, looking back on terrorism in Munich 1972 and Atlanta 1996, observed that Sochi is the perfect place for the Olympics, since there’s already a terrorist war in the Caucasus. Costas wanted to know if they warming up for Yemen? Cousin Ray asked when the “shrapnel dodge” and the “evacuation dash” will become Olympic sports?
Monday’s New York Times reported a characteristically low-key movement in Hawaii to snag the Obama presidential library, for which Chicago is believed to have the inside track. The Chicago Tribune dissed the islands: “With no insult to Hawaii’s respect for the life of the mind, it’s fair to say that very few people go there in fierce pursuit of book learning.” Cousin Ray said that when he thinks of a library, “fierce pursuit” is not the first phrase that comes to mind. “It’s not like Chicago and Al Capone.”
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark put the lights out on its Broadway run after 1,268 performances and losses of approximately $60 million. Cousin Ray never could afford a ticket, but he speculated that the box office take “couldn’t keep up with the emergency room bills.”
On Tuesday, KXOF-TV in Laredo, Texas, reported on a heartwarming show of political bipartisanship. All candidates are finding their signs being vandalized, but no candidate is blaming any other. “It’s good to see communities pull together to trash those signs,” Cousin Ray said. “Now if they could just jam the political ads on radio and TV, they could be completely ignorant of who wants to make decisions for them.”
Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal carried a piece by Robert Rector claiming that the US fought a 50-year War on Poverty and “lost.” In fact, the War on Poverty lasted about six years and, in that short time, cut poverty in half before the expenses of Vietnam and the opposition of the GOP put it in retreat. “Who says the Republicans never saw a war they didn’t like?” asked Cousin Ray.
The Food and Drug Administration is coming after fake weight loss products again, calling the latest move “Operation Failed Resolution” and this time sweeping up companies that claim you can melt pounds away by powder on your food, cream on your skin, or two drops of fairy oil under your tongue. This follows “Operation Waistline” in 1997, that took down skin patches, shoe insoles, and magic acai berries, and “Operation Big Fat Lie” in 2004, that stopped the “Himalayan Diet Breakthrough” that, the New York Times reported Wednesday, “oozes out of the cliff face cracks in the summer season.” Cousin Ray has become discouraged about peddling his Cherokee home remedy, chuhga galijohida.
Wednesday news shows deconstructed Gov. Chris Christie’s denials of responsibility for obviously purposeful traffic jams in Ft. Lee, NJ, where the local Mayor had refused to endorse Christie’s effort to run up his reelection numbers to show he was the Great Moderate Hope to defeat the GOP wacko-birds for President. One Christie minion expressed on email that it would be tough on the children because it was the first day of school. Another replied not to worry about “the children of Buono voters,” referring to Christie’s Democratic opponent Barbara Buono. Cousin Ray is opposed to the wacko-bird caucus in his party, but still wondered, “How can you trust the nuclear football to a guy who abuses traffic cones?”
Not every network considered the emails from Chris Christie’s office to be newsworthy. Shepard Smith on Fox News noted that the emails would cause trouble if Christie ran for President but referred viewers to Google for the content. I was giving Cousin Ray a hard time until he pointed out that Fox sometimes has higher ratings than MSNBC and CNN put together.
Jenny Lauren, 41, niece of fashion designer Ralph Lauren, was chucked off a Delta Airlines flight between Barcelona and New York on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press, for being drunk and disorderly. Since the Irish airport that received Ms. Lauren had no courthouse nearby, she was arraigned in a pub. This was convenient, Cousin Ray observed, if she needed some “hair of the dog.” He recommended Guinness.
Thursday’s New York Times finally noted that Carter Camp (Ponca) walked on at 72 as a result of cancer back on December 27 in White Eagle, Ponca Nation, Oklahoma. Douglas Martin’s obituary noted Mr. Camp’s leadership among the first wave of the Wounded Knee occupation in 1973 and his lifetime of work on issues important to Indian people. The falling apart of American Indian Movement leadership was treated with an antiseptic distance appropriate to the context.
The New York Times ran a bit more detail on Gov. Christie’s purposeful traffic jam in Ft. Lee than Fox News did. David Wildstein, high school friend and appointee of Gov. Christie, emailed of the Ft. Lee Mayor, “It will be a tough November for this little Serbian.” The Times pointed out that the Mayor, Mark Sokolich, “is actually of Croatian descent.” “Picky, picky,” Cousin Ray clucked, “do you think New Yorkers would know a Choctaw from a Cherokee?”
The polar vortex that has given most of the US a terrible cold snap this week brought out a wave of what Chris Hayes calls “snow trolling,” climate change deniers pretending not to understand the difference between weather and climate. “What,” Cousin Ray wanted to know, “makes you think they’re pretending?”
Members of a panel at the American Historical Association Annual Meeting in Washington endorsed the “Common Core” social studies standards but pointed out that social studies teachers in K-12 are least likely to hold a degree in the subject they teach. Federal grants to train history teachers have been ended by budget cuts. Cousin Ray pointed out “this is a victory for equality. American Indian history has never been taught competently, and now American history will be on the same footing.”