Greetings one and all. If you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin. First up it’s the Country and Western Song of the Week. For this award it gives me great pleasure nominate the classic ‘It’s hard to kiss the lips at night that chewed my ass all day” — a truly poignant number that brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it.
Now on to the Public Service Announcements. #169: This Saturday, July 11th is the Boonville Art Walk from 3-6pm featuring many local artists, along with music and food. It’s free and you can call 895-2204 for more details. #170: Not being on the slim side (and thus a natural for the Tug-of-War — see below) I should perhaps think seriously about joining the Valley’s Weight Watchers group that meets every Tuesday at 6pm. I hesitate if only because the meetings are held in the dining room at the Fairgrounds! #171: Yoga classes continue to be offered by at least four different practitioners here in the Valley. So many in fact that it’s too stressful on my mind and lower back for me to go into details here. Nevertheless, you can check them out in the lemon-colored Grange Community Alliance Newsletter that you can find all over the Valley. Onward.
What a lovely event this year’s Olde Time 4th July Celebration turned out to be. I was a late arrival, sadly missing the rooster and hen calling, but I did but manage to be there for the cake auction and various games. Hummingbird, from her perch at the Lions Club bbq, gave me a full report on the activities and then, following a couple of beers and a delicious tri-tip sandwich off that very grill, it was time for the highlight of the afternoon: the Tug-of-War. Once again the Navarro/Philo (Navilo) squad was too strong for Boonville/Yorkville, The Ville’s. Not only were The Poleekos and Deep Enders victorious in this year’s events for the women (led by captain Erica ‘Big Boots’ Kesenheimer) and under-sevens (led by fifteen month-old Spike ‘I keep falling down’ Matson), but the Men’s team, ably coached by Christine Clark and anchored by yours truly, easily won for the eighth year in a row! This was achieved despite The Ville’s recruitment of several young, muscular Cal Fire guys, who hopefully took my post-Tug handshake and comment — “you’d better work out a little more for next year” — as simply nothing more than mild-mannered banter. Meanwhile, there is clearly something in the water northwest of the Valley’s Mason-Dixon line and we’re not sharing what it is! A fine afternoon under the redwoods was had by all, although for the umpteenth time this year, numbers were down on previous years at yet another Valley event, a sobering sign of the times.
Talking of sobering times, before it gets too late I do want to add some personal comments about the glut of recently deceased celebrities — Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon, Karl Malden, and David Carradine — all dead, each having provided entertainment for millions; yes, even Johnny Carson's sidekick Ed, though probably not nearly as much as the others. Until a few days ago, Jackson was arguably the most well-known live person on Earth (along with, very arguably, Obama, The Queen, Madonna, and Beckham in a Top Five) and obviously, over a 40-year career, gave pleasure to many millions, billions even, of people around the globe. With the US television channels going into over-drive with their coverage of his career, it has been emphasized that he truly produced some amazing stuff, and while my own personal favorite remembrances will be of his Jackson Five and early solo career, clearly, with his total globalization coming later, the period from 1979 (the release of 'Off the Wall') to recent times is what the majority of people are talking about when they speak of him. Ultimately he will surely be remembered, as Obama said last week, as one of this country's greatest ever entertainers.
Meanwhile, Farrah, and specifically ‘that poster’ of hers with the era-defining hair, the amazing teeth, and the delightful nipple, must have provided millions of teenage boys with their first ‘adult thrill’ and for that she should be acknowledged as having a profound effect on many of us. Err, I mean them. She actually only did 'Charlie's Angels' for one season and then gave some very good performances in her later, less commercial projects. She certainly influenced a whole teenage generation and that poster remains the biggest selling pin-up of all time. Ed McMahon always fascinated me. What did he do? Apart from introduce the The Tonight Show (his “Heeeeere's Johnny' intro becoming part of the American lexicon) and laugh at anything Carson said, he did not do a lot. However, he was also the host of the forerunner to 'American Idol' ('Star Search') along with his appearance as co-host on the annual Labor Day Jerry Lewis telethon for charity, and for some inexplicable reason there was a certain comforting feeling when he was there chuckling alongside Johnny. As for Karl Malden, I was a big fan of 'The Streets of San Francisco' and it's portrayal of SF in the 70s. This cop show, in which he co-starred as Lt. Mike Stone opposite a young Michael Douglas, was my introduction to the City by the Bay, a place in which I was to live for many years in later life. This, along with his Oscar-nominated roles in two of my favorite films to come out of the 50s, 'On the Waterfront' and ‘A Streetcar named Desire’ (for which he won the Best Supporting Actor Award), and his incredible nose which put my own beak to shame, means I feel a certain connection to good old Karl — his role in 'my world' somewhat worth mentioning. And then there was David Carradine, seen in recent years in Tarantino’s ‘Kill Bill’ films but perhaps best known for his role as Caine in television’s ‘Kung Fu.” It was a different kind of ‘western’ and I have very fond memories of watching the ‘bad guys’ pushing Caine to his limit throughout the show until the much-anticipated climax in which they finally received their come-uppance at the deadly hands and feet of our hero. You knew it was coming but seeing justice prevail was always such a joy to watch.
I think there will be a glut of 'personalities' passing away over the next few years. It was 50 years or so ago when television and modern music and entertainment burst into our consciousness in a way far more widespread and significant that ever before. Many celebrities/performers/stars who 'arrived' in those days would have been in their 20s and 30s at that time, making them in their 70s and 80s now. I have to believe we are approaching some busy times for obituary writers everywhere. 155,000 people die each day on Earth. In all of history, 54 billion have died. Who's next?
I’m outta here. I have to see a man about a sheep. Be careful out there, stay out of the ditches; think good thoughts, and, with the hot weather now with us, please remember to keep your windows cracked if you have pets in your vehicle. May your god go with you. Oh, and of course, one final request, “Let us prey.”