Nixon resigns: Aug. 9, 1974

This was the scene 40 years ago today:

The country was in chaos. This was a devastating speech, given by a man who had lost everything. And it was a very moving speech. I don’t know how anyone could watch it then and not cry, no matter how much they hated Richard Milhous Nixon and everything he stood for. He is the father of today’s dysfunctional Republican Party, and he showed you could win elections by cobbling together the racists of the old confederacy and the money men of the North and West.

Not to mention George McGovern was a completely incompetent candidate for the Democrats.

The overwhelmingly stupid thing about Watergate was that Nixon’s people never had to break into the Democratic headquarters in the complex to find out what McGovern was up to. The Democrats had totally blown themselves up in 1972 and there was no way in hell Nixon wasn’t going to win in a landslide.

But the thugs and criminals did their job, and the administration covered it up, and Nixon lied about it.

Want to know what’s more astounding about this? Nixon wasn’t impeached. He resigned before it happened. The last president who was impeached was Bill Clinton, and what he was impeached for, on a scale of impeachable offenses, didn’t even touch the top inch of the ice burg of corruption that was the centerpiece of the Nixon presidency.

Still, Nixon was the most fascinating president of my lifetime. I’ve read biographies and autobiographies about him, trying to make sense of how he got to this point in 1974. And at the end of it all, Nixon is immortalized in this song.

 Even Richard Nixon has got soul.

This is your life, in a chart

If you are an average American, this is how your life is broken down into little boxes (of course, you can click to enlarge):

2014-07-22-4WeeksblockLIFE1The sad part is I’m more than halfway through it and not so slowly moving from red to blue. How did that happen?

I’m reminded of a Tom Lehrer line: When Mozart was my age, he had been dead for 24 years.

“Who’s Tom Lehrer?” you ask. Yes, this is a true sign of age, because not only do millennials not know who he is, A lot of baby boomers are in the dark. Here you go:

I think he’s one of the great songwriters of the 20th century. If you get a chance, check out “Werhner von Braun” and “The Vatican Rag.”

Here’s what surprises me. Tom Lehrer is still alive! He’s 86 and living in New York CIty (where else?!). Of course, that means he’s running out of chart space.

Axl Rose has the greatest voice of all time?

vocalrange_imageLike, who knew he had that kind of range (other than the millions who listen to his records)?

We all know Mariah Carey can hit the high notes. Just listen to her sing “Emotions.”

I mean that’s one of those songs when you first heard it on the car radio, you pulled over and said, “What the hell was that ??!!?”

But, as the chart above shows, Axl has a wider range. Remember “Don’t Cry”?

He’s all over the place on that one. Yes, he goes nowhere near Mariah on the high notes, but then he’s the one who hits the lowest note.

Les vaches qui rient

OK, so that’s French and this video is in German, but the point’s the same. A laughing cow is a jumping cow:

Just another example of animals fully aware of their surroundings. They’ve been cooped up in a barn forever, and they probably knew they were set for slaughter. (And animals are aware when they’re about to be turned into meat. Stand outside an abattoir sometime, and listen to the screams.)

This is like watching a prisoner being released into the world after being stuck forever in solitary confinement.

Or like Tommy when he gets his senses back:

Devo guitarist and co-founder dies at 61

Via Gizmodo:

Devo’s Bob Casale, founding guitarist of the genre-defying new wave band, electronic music pioneer, and wearer of the best hat in music, has died from heart failure at 61. In his honor, drop everything and dance to their breakout hit “Whip It,” which might just contain one of the most memorable guitar riffs of all time.

I’m kind of shocked by this. Not the fact that he died. The fact that he died at 61! How can a member of Devo be 61?

Are we not old?

There is no way these guys could ever be 60!

Knowledge gaps: Superman and the Beatles

You think you know everything about one aspect of entertainment, and then something pops up that comes as a complete shock.

Like, I used to think that I’d seen every filmed live-action presentation of Superman, from the Kirk Alyn serials in the 1940s with the cartoon flying sequences, through the George Reeves television series, the Christopher Reeve movies (remember “The Quest for Peace”?), “Lois and Clark,” “Smallville,” the Brandon Routh revival of the Christopher Reeve persona and the most recent Henry Cavill city destruction. I’d even seen the “I Love Lucy” episode where Superman has to rescue Lucy from the ledge of a building, and I probably was one of the seven people who went to see the Ben Affleck biopic “Hollywoodland.”

But one day I bought a box set of the George Reeves series, and there was an episode I’d never seen where Lois (Noel Neill) is spraying a room with a machine gun, and I’m thinking, “Where the hell did this come from.” Not only that, there was a commercial I didn’t know existed:

But this isn’t about my Superman obsession. It’s about my Beatles obsession.

Last week, I saw this chart of the songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney:

authorship

It shows who was the main contributor to their famous songs. Only, what’s this song “There’s a Place”?

Where the hell did this come from? I’ve never heard this. When this came out in 1963, we bought 45s, not albums. Apparently, this was the B side of “Please Please Me.” Did I never listen to the B side? I thought I knew all the Beatles songs. Obviously, I don’t. Now I have to go through life obsessing about what other things I’ve missed.