Status Back Baby
June 24, 2012 3 Comments
1. 23 is a significant number for me, and always had been, even before I knew of the whole 23 Enigma. I should have been born on May 23 (5/23 . . . 5 = 2 + 3), but I applaud my Mom’s initiative in welcoming me into the world one day early, on May 22, so I could claim to have the rarest birthday in the United States. Of course, to balance out that little glitch, I had to get married on the 24th of a month, so that my two most significant days averaged out to 23. As it turns out, that day was June 24th, 1989 . . . 23 years ago today. Happy anniversary, honey!
2. I’ve often lamented how little attention the general public pays to space exploration anymore, even though we are arguably in the glory days of planetary exploration and discovery right now. But even given the low level of interest in space exploration, I’ve been amazed at how little coverage the emerging Chinese space program is garnering in the American media. Did you know that right now, as I type, three Chinese Taikonauts, including the first Chinese woman in space, and China’s first repeat space traveler, are orbiting above us, with their Shenzhou-9 spacecraft having docked with their Tiangong-1 space lab six days ago? This seems a big deal to me, but you wouldn’t know it based on the coverage in the American press.
3. As a person of partial Cherokee descent (through my grandfather, pictured here with my aunt and my mother), I find Elizabeth Warren’s claims of being Cherokee for employment and/or social status purposes to be utterly appalling. High cheekbones are proof of her Indian ancestry? Along with her contributions to a Native American-themed cookbook? And the fact that one of her great-great-great grandparents was maybe Cherokee, making her maybe 1/32nd Native American? Wow, is that an offensive stretch of self-definition! When racial hiring quotas became a big deal in the Federal government in the 1980s, my employer asked me if they could count me as Native American to help meet their diversity goals, since I technically qualified (my ancestors are on the tribal rolls used to adjudicate such matters) — and I told them absolutely, positively not, no way. It’s not that I am not proud of my Native ancestry, mind you, but rather that I was not in any way, shape or form reared or steeped in Cherokee culture, so to claim such an affinity for the benefit of myself or my employer is wrong — especially since I have never been disadvantaged or disenfranchised as a result of my ethnicity. Warren could have taken a similar stand, but didn’t. Boo! Shame! Boo! Regardless of my politics, I’d vote against her if I had the chance. Consider this my ballot in the Karma Caucus.
4. It’s always nice when some lost material by a long-gone favorite band turns up, and my brain today is about to explode with pleasure as I marvel at the incredible and unexpected three-disc collection of Can: The Lost Tapes, which offers a wealth of great stuff, and not the usual dregs and cutting room floor materials such large, late archival collections tend to include. The collection features the amazing and influential German group with both their singers: Japan’s Damo Suzuki and America’s Malcolm Mooney. I love their whole oeuvre, soup to nuts, but I’m especially fond of the early music that they made with Mooney. There was something transcendent when the technical, tick-tock, Teutonic tendencies of the German musicians was leavened with Mooney’s fabulously soulful, emotional and often story-driven delivery. Here’s the promo video for the new box set, featuring a Mooney-led song, and it is magnificent:
5. I’ve read G.B. Trudeau’s Doonesbury pretty religiously since the early 1970s, and consider it to be an epic, sweeping work of great cultural and artistic accomplishment, with many important and meaningful story arcs over the years. I’ve been particularly impressed over the past few weeks as Trudeau has documented the wedding of Alex (uber-geek daughter of series protagonist Mike Doonesbury) and Leo (gravely injured Iraq veteran and up-and-coming recording engineer). There are some beautiful grace notes in the words and images Trudeau uses here, and I have been awed at his marvelous depictions of the challenges our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans face, both in country, and upon returning home. Bravo! If you want to read the wedding cycle in order, start here, then click through the “next strip” links for a couple of weeks. It’s gorgeous work.