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WesRecs

Vol. #74 - April 09, 2021

Heya! Thanks for checking out another week of WesRecs, I hope the time since you were last able to join me has treated you well. It has been another monster of a busy week on my end with meetings, projects, deadlines, and a lot of background acting and COVID testing for background acting (I have long since lost count, but with every production requiring 1-3 tests prior to shoot day and most requiring a test on shoot day I have been nasal swabbed at least 50x by now. Joy.) I was booked on some afternoon and nighttime scenes for season 2 of Russian Doll this week and ended up not being wrapped until 3:30a in Manhattan and on Saturday I'm doing another nighttime gig for a different production so as you can imagine my sleep schedule (such as it is) has been fairly wrecked recently. I am and will be fine but damn I need a nap...and the ability to sleep restfully during it. Story of my life.

I have been extremely appreciative of the excellent weather as of late here in NYC, it feels like spring is really making a go of it. I've been relishing some time outside and with my second vaccine shot coming this week I am getting tentatively excited about being in places that are not my bedroom or a film set and eventually performing live again. I'm in no rush to be indoors with a bunch of laughing/eating strangers just quite yet but it's on the horizon for me and that's a lot. Anyway, I'm excited by this week's recs and I think you'll enjoy them too. Until next time friends.

As ever:
If you're newer to WesRecs thanks for being here. As I've often said: this is a compendium of the stuff I've come across (or remembered) in the last week that I think you might dig. It's long. I recommend perusing here and there, spending time with what interests you at a given point and maybe saving or coming back to what you might be interested in down the road. Some of it’s really serious, some of it’s fun & dumb. Go with what you feel, subscribe if it's something you like, and thanks again. I love you all. 
Yours truly with my brand new smoker, which i intend to get a lot of blissful use out of this summer. I realized the need for this beautiful piece of equipment after New Year's Day pork shoulder cook that should have taken about 12 hours ended up taking 16 because the grill I was working on wasn't particularly well designed for that task. This beauty definitely is though and was pleased to christen it with a fantastically flavorful smoked half leg of of lamb for Easter.
WesRecs is the weekly newsletter where I (comedian/storyteller/TV Host) Wes Hazard recommend a bunch of cool content (recs) to YOU (the person reading this). There's no particular reason for this other than the fact that I love curating stuff and I'm always excited to share items that I personally have found worthwhile, exciting, or necessary. If you like what you see please be sure to subscribe to get each week's edition delivered straight to your inbox and if you know someone else who might be into it definitely share with them. You can check out all past issues HERE.

THE BEE'S KNEES

As this newsletter's title would indicate, I recommend everything you'll find below. It's all stuff which I've personally found rewarding this week and I think you will too! But for the benefit of all you skimmers out there here are links to a few items that I'm happy to briefly highlight for you. You can find more detailed commentary/context below:

Perspective Adjustment
A compassionate take on engaging those with dementia

Star Trek & Communism
A nerdy interview with a guy I kind of know

One Day The Queen Will Die
And MANY people have thought A LOT about it

WES Around the WEB

F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K
F O L L O W on T W I T T E R F O L L O W on T W I T T E R
F O L L O W on I N S T A G R A M F O L L O W on I N S T A G R A M
VISIT my WEBSITE VISIT my WEBSITE

Race & Policing

Towards The Reduction Of Harm

Mass Incarceration Was Always Designed to Work This Way - LitHub

If you're committed, or even lightly sympathetic, to prison abolition then none of this is news but these are facts and hard truths worth sharing endlessly:
  • In the U.S. we have no real consensus on what prison is actually supposed to be for. Protecting the public? Reforming criminals? Deterring Crime? Punishment for those who have harmed others? Justice for victims? All of those?? Just some??? Ask 10 people and you'll get 10 answers.
  • Prison actually accomplishes none of these things and in fact ensures the opposite.
  • The criminal punishment system is racist and classist to its core, and always has been, and cannot be "reformed".
How did we get to this point? Some might assume it’s because our criminal legal system is broken and in need of repair. But if we look at the history of prisons in the United States, we can see that the system of mass incarceration isn’t merely flawed or broken but is operating as it was designed: to sweep society’s problems (and people seen as problematic) behind gates and walls where few have to see them.

...

After the Civil War, former slave states quickly passed laws regulating and criminalizing certain behaviors—but only for Black people. These Black Codes criminalized a wide range of activities, such as being outside after a certain hour, gathering in small groups, missing work, being perceived as a vagrant, or possessing a firearm. The states also changed the seriousness of an offense; for instance, petty thievery became a felony after large numbers of newly emancipated Black people were forced to steal in order to survive.

...

At the same time, criminologists were concluding that prisons did not significantly deter crime and predicted that the prison system would soon fade away. In 1973, the National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals found that “the prison, the reformatory and the jail have achieved only a shocking record of failure. There is overwhelming evidence that these institutions create crime rather than prevent it.” The commission recommended that “no new institutions for adults should be built and existing institutions for juveniles should be closed.”

...

Though public opinion—and some public policy—has slowly shifted, mass incarceration remains a method of racialized social control, sweeping those who have been marginalized by societal inequities behind bars and walls rather than addressing these issues. As former political prisoner and renowned prison abolitionist Angela Davis wrote, “The prison has become a black hole into which the detritus of contemporary capitalism is deposited.” The focus on locking people up continually redirects society’s focus (and resources) from the need for quality education, employment, housing, comprehensive medical and mental health care, and violence prevention.
A very important, and relatively quick, read from our algorithmic future.

Not to be dramatic but: vast unseen and ever-moving global systems and the algorithms embedded in them already direct more of our modern lives than we can possibly know. Your credit rating, the treatments your insurance carrier is willing to provide you, the kind of junk mail that you get and social media ads that you see are all moderated by it. As this automation expands and grows more sophisticated and as facial recognition gets more embedded around us these systems will only grow more powerful.

The thing about algorithms is that while they operate with an unbiased and emotionless fidelity to their design, they are inevitably *designed* and the humans that do that designing are absolutely NOT unbiased and emotionless...even if they don't realize it themselves.

An algorithm can never be more than an extension of its maker (at least in some crucial respects) and if that designer carries a crap-ton of racial ignorance, or worse yet, racial animus that will inevitably lead to annoyance, frustration, discrimination, incarceration, or even expiration for potentially millions of people in the decades to come.

We need to understand this and we need to prevent it and since you can't do the second thing without the first hopefully this thread will help.
Black Vet, Green Thumb - Marley K (Medium)

Africans in Africa worked the land with foresight, expertise, appreciation, and respect for millennia. Africans were brought to the U.S. with great violence to work the land here. They and their descendants did so for centuries, building the wealth of America while receiving nothing for it. Finally Emancipation came and the freemen put their knowledge and labor toward finally acquiring and cultivating land for themselves. Within a century almost all of that progress was wiped out. And now there is a perverse perception that Black people don't do nature or farming...which feels kind of like a sick joke given all that's come before and everything that's been overcome.

This interview with a Black farmer is so raw and stark and infuriating and inspiring. Not everybody needs to till the land and devote themselves to farming, but all of us, Black people especially, should have a means to acquire healthy and nourishing food if things go sideways and supermarkets can't be relied on.

Nihilistic doomsday prepping is not the answer, but as events in Texas just this year clearly demonstrated: everyone needs to be prepared for situations where the basic utilities and networks that we take for granted every day get disrupted. When the problem is so big that that supposed "problem solvers" are in the same desperate boat as the rest of us we need to remember that no one is coming to save us...at least not soon enough. And some parties might be actively trying to harm us. And you need to have a plan for whatever things might be.

I can imagine few people more different than me than the brother profiled in this piece, Marlon Willis Scott. We have walked very different paths in life with very different motivations. But we agree on the point of Black food sovereignty. Have a read, and if you're inclined go ahead and support his GoFundMe. I have, and I hope he succeeds.
 
If America has a successful coup or if the nation has an economic collapse, millions of people will likely starve People who don’t have the money to buy food can’t feed their families. Millions of Black people are at risk of starvation should America go back to Jim Crow Era times. It’s looking as if this is a strong possibility within the next four to ten years.

Growing one’s own food and reaping the health benefits is beneficial to everyone, but especially in the Black community where obesity and heart disease are a disproportionately bigger issue. The numerous benefits of sustainable agriculture look like a way out. Bypassing governmental hurdles and generalized inequality, Black people stepping back into the agriculture space could revitalize our communities.

...

As a community, we may not control our employment opportunities, but
we must control our own food supply. Without food, we’ll die. In war, the first act of war that happens is dismantling resource supply lines. Just read about General Sherman of the Union Army, on how he made “Georgia Howl” when he captured Atlanta during the Civil War.

...

The Pros: Well, you get to eat a variety of fresh food, inhale good bacteria for your immune system, and feed others who would normally be starved of food nutrients. It’s extremely rewarding.

The Cons: Being a farmer is not a job nor a career. It’s a lifestyle. You must love nature, enjoy hard work, and love to get dirty. There is no such thing as traveling for fun anytime time soon, and there are no days off. Farming is coupled with land stewardship, so when winter comes you might have to remove fallen trees, continue to improve your soils through composting, etc. Hopefully, your loved ones will understand the importance of your absence. Farming is essential, and most people don’t care to understand the sacrifice. Be ready to be overlooked.
‘A profound betrayal of trust’: Why Jackson’s water system is broken - Mississippi Today

There is a mid-sized city in The United States of America, the capital of its state in fact, where in the year 2020 residents can't be sure that water will come out when they open up a faucet in their home. And if the water does run they can't be sure that it will actually be safe to drink.

I'm not talking about Flint, Michigan (where these conditions apply) as Flint is, afterall, not the capital. But it's insane that in AMERICA "the richest country in the world!" in a year that begins with a 2, you might have thought of Flint at first. The fact that we can have 2 (and likely quite a few more) American cities where people literally can't be sure the municipal water supply won't kill them is INSANE.

I don't ever want to hear about "S#!thole countries" or "like it or leave it" BS again.

What is *any* of this (the flag, borders, taxes, passports, "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness", etc.) actually for if we have worse access to basic utilities than all of those countries that we supposedly "help" by bringing "freedom" to with...bombs??? The "We're number 1!!!" rah-rah crap that is used to justify so much of our foreign aggression and neutralize so much of any domestic critique completely crumbles under basic scrutiny.

What a sad joke especially for citizens like those in Jackson whose local and state and federal government fail them so consistently.
 
“Water is the most intimate relationship you have with the government,” said Manuel Teodoro, an associate professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. “It comes into your house. You take it into your body. We put our children in it, and we prepare food with it. And when that fails — when the water is of poor quality or, in your case, just not delivered — it’s a profound betrayal of trust. And it shakes you to your core.”

...

Many Jacksonians lacked access to clean drinking water long before the most recent storm. In fact, on a good day, officials advise pregnant people and children under five not to drink from the tap, a phenomenon that’s been the case for the last five years.

...

Every city water bill notifies customers of the hazard of high lead levels first found in Jackson’s tap water in 2016, caused by recurring faulty water treatment techniques that remain unaddressed.

Only a year ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an emergency order stating that the city’s water system presented “imminent and substantial endangerment” to its customers and could contain E. Coli.

...

The capital city has lost roughly 40,000 residents since the population peaked at about 200,000 in 1980, after an initial wave of white residents left to avoid putting their children in integrated schools. Half of the decline occurred in the last two decades as more middle-class Black families moved, and the city’s white population continued to drop from 52% in 1980 to 28% in 2000 to 17% in 2019, according to U.S. Census data.

...

Academics who have studied government water systems recommend they regionalize in order to spread costs among struggling cities and more affluent suburbs. There’s just one recurring hitch to securing such an agreement: “Racism makes all of this so much harder,” Teodoro said.

“These would be hard problems, but we could solve them if it wasn’t for racism.”

The history of racial conflict, Teodoro explained, creates a scenario where Black residents of the city fear losing control of their services to the same people who have systematically oppressed them. And white residents of the suburbs, who chalk the city’s problems up to incompetence, don’t feel responsible to help.

🎵To The Left! To The Left!🎵

On That Commie Pinko Tip

The Star Trek Communist Hopes Star Trek Can Inspire A Real Revolution - StarTrek.com

I have been very fortunate in my professional/artistic journey to meet and work with some incredibly talented and big-hearted people. Some of them go on to excel in their fields and then you get the pleasant surprise of reading about their upcoming book or TV show in the news one morning and thinking "damn, I used to do dive bar open mics with them...Way to go!".

This is both like that and not. I don't know Will Nguyen particularly well, but we have been FB friends ever since he came out fully costumed to a Star Trek trivia event that I hosted in a comic book shop back in 2016 and totally dominated.

As such I was delighted to learn about both the bottomless depth of his Trek devotion AND his commitment to Communist politics in this recent piece featured on the official StarTrek.com page. It might not be SNL or a New Yorker Shouts & Murmurs piece but if you're a super nerd former president of your high school's science fiction club like moi well...this is HUGE. Way to go Will!

 
Although every generation has been affected by the excesses of capitalism, Nguyen says, some generations are more uniquely situated to witness that. “That's obviously the Millennial generation and the Zoomers, right behind us,” he says. “They were told that they just sort of go to school, and take on this debt, but then you'll get a job. They play by the rules, right? But then they've emerged into a market that is virtually non-existent. They are swimming in debt. And then having almost all of their income go for rent, [they’ve] got to piece together multiple jobs, three or four side hustles, gig jobs...this is the best that capitalism can do. So, I think I became radicalized just by my experience, just like millions of other people, not just in this country, but around the world.”

...

“The reality is, we actually already live in a post-scarcity world. Now.” Nguyen begins picking up speed here. “There's often an argument that people say, ‘Oh, you only get the Star Trek future because you have a replicator box in the wall. And, you know, only then can you have socialism or communism,’ which I would say that's a very disingenuous dodge, because we already have the ability to house and clothe and care for everyone right now, that's not that hard. The Earth has the ability to feed 10 billion people.”

...

“You know, he's very proletarian,” Will says, “His [ancestor] was Sean O’Brien, a union man and he's a real proletarian, but he also plays cello. He plays darts. He’s a family man, with children. Has a well rounded life, while also being the heart and soul of Deep Space Nine. And that's exactly what we're saying ... if we free ourselves from living paycheck to paycheck, what couldn't we do? How much of our lives would be freed up? If you didn't have to worry about putting food on the table? That's why people gravitate toward Star Trek, they look at Star Trek, ‘Wow, I really want to live on that nice pastel-colored ship.’”

 
Seen HERE.

Things Read

Worthwhile Words

Kinda long extemporaneous thought re: how I'm trying to (not) spend my time

I'm making a steady effort to spend less time on Twitter and Instagram, especially Twitter. For one, I waste way too much time on both. I feel this in a very hazy/general way every time I grab my phone to look up a word or respond to a professional email and then suddenly find myself 20 minutes later scrolling through miles of memes, hot takes, feuds between strangers, and "news", with no memory of what I originally picked up the phone for, as if I'd been in the trance. And I know it in a very scientific way when I look at my screen time activity report and see how much of my life I pissed away last week on these apps (IG: 4h 27m / TW: 4h 30m...sigh).

Additionally, and again, especially with Twitter, I'm coming to just be really tired of how my interaction with it shapes my mood, what I pay attention to, and how I react to things. These platforms are designed to make us spend as much time as possible on them, and the more time we spend the better they get at fine tuning that effort to our individual tendencies and interests. We all know this, but what we tend to reflect on less is that with regard to engagement and ad impressions (i.e. how these companies make money) their algorithms really do not care why you stay engaged...just that you do. Curiosity, inspiration, information seeking, lust, or righteous anger are all equally fine re: the bottom line as long as you keep scrolling and tapping and sharing.

I am really tired of opening Twitter, seeing a trending topic that I have mild to moderate interest in (or, worse, something I've never heard of but feel compelled to look into because 5 people on my timeline are talking about it) and then reading 3 separate tweet threads and 2 supporting articles about whatever it is I'm supposed to be angry or self-satisfied about that day. I think the "Bean Dad" drama on Twitter a while back really brought this home for me. (If that phrase means nothing to you, congratulations, your brain is less squishy for it. I won't link or recap beyond saying a dude very proudly shared a questionable parenting lesson on Twitter, some people supported him, many more others hated it, everyone had an opinion or a joke about it, he received backlash, the backlash received backlash, there were memes, rinse repeat). This sort of Twitter cycle happens almost daily and is mostly forgotten about within a week in the neverending cascade. But it really hit me to be leisurely reading on a Sunday afternoon, and then needing to look something up on Wikipedia, and then suddenly I'm checking Twitter, and then I'm seeing "#BeanDad" trending, and then I'm wondering "wtf is bean dad???", and then I'm reading the original 30+ Tweet thread from Bean Dad (and having a strong emotional response to it), and then I'm reading several 10+ Tweet thread reactions to it (whether they're outrageously comic or righteously indignant or heartrendingly vulnerable), and then I'm spending 20 minutes direct messaging a friend to share our personal takes and our favorite reactions to it, and then an hour has passed and I still don't know anything about blues guitarist T-Bone Walker, which is why I went to my phone in the first place. This is but a specific example of something that happens several times a week and it's awful. It's awful not only because of the significant time suck, wherein I produced nothing and learned almost nothing of permanent value, but because a largely irrelevant trending topic that I would never have been aware of if I didn't open the app, managed to make me feel genuine anger and engagement that did nothing for anyone but Twitter's ad department. I was provoked, I'm provakable. All it takes is for some headline about the latest hateful thing that some GOP congressperson says, or to learn that some podcaster had a controversial guest on their show for me to drop everything and just digest..."content" for an hour and feel worse afterwards. I don't want to be on my deathbed and look back and see that that was how I spent a significant chunk of my life.

So I'm trying to cut back. However it's hard, not only because it's a habit and because that stuff is, admittedly, entertaining. But also because.... I find some really awesome and deep and worthwhile content on social media. I mean, we're 74 volumes of WesRecs in now and I can't deny that a minimum of 40% of the content I've ever included here I stumbled on or was routed to via Twitter, IG, or YouTube. I mean, if you find one cool and learned prison abolitionist, or mycologist, or essayist there who consistently shares cool stuff in their field then you're going to find additional luminaries that they know and that they know and that they know etc, so it snowballs. It's not accurate by a long shot to say that there's nothing of value there, and it is very important to citizens to stay informed about politics, current events, the various national moods etc, but it's so easy to drown in that and the useless stuff and to have your mind warped into a factory of outrage and self-congratulation.

All of that is lot of words to say that I'm trying to rehab my social media use AND that I'm including (as usual) several pieces in this issue that I found while doom-scrolling Twitter.
I have not had very much experience interacting with or caring for older people with dementia but I ran across this randomly on Twitter and was really struck by this compassionate advice from someone who has. Definitely food for thought and some words I'll revisit down the line.
The languages with built-in sexism - BBC.com

Language debates are a huge thing right now. And they probably always have been?... How we speak is how we think and how we think is how we act. The stakes are high and everyone has their motivations and their decisions to make and that should be done with the full understanding of the gravity of it all.
 
I like to think of myself as a happy woman – I also like to think of myself as a lover of walking, fairly worldly and easy-going. But to describe myself as any of the above in Italian would be to call myself a whore.

Let me explain. The masculine forms of all those words do what they say on the tin. Un uomo allegro is a happy man. Un passeggiatore is a lover of walking, un mondano is a worldly individual and un uomo facile is a happy-go-lucky guy. But make those adjectives feminine and the meaning transforms. Suddenly they all carry sexual connotations – explicitly that a woman who goes out walking, or who looks happy, or knows the world must also be highly sexually active, and that this is a bad thing. I am not just a neutral man, going about his life. I am a slut to be shamed.

...

It can also affect how we perceive time. In one study, Chinese-English bilinguals were asked to arrange pictures of a young, mature and old Brad Pitt and Jet Li. With Brad Pitt, they arranged them in the way English speakers perceive time as a direction of forwards and backwards or left to right. Young Brad Pitt was put on the left, old Brad Pitt on the right.

In Mandarin however, to say "next week", you literally say "down week" – the word for "up" is used to talk about the past. Unsurprisingly, this meant that young Jet Li's photograph was placed above, and old Jet Li was placed below. That they positioned Brad Pitt and Jet Li based on the languages they associated each actor with shows how language affected how the speakers perceived them, according to the researchers.

...

There is good evidence that changing language in certain areas does change people's perceptions – there's a lot of work that shows if you present children with bits of text that are about occupations, and you use an inclusive form to name the occupation, they're more likely to say women can be successful or that the job is suitable for them. If you give them the generic masculine word, they'll see that women can't be successful."
'London Bridge is down': the secret plan for the days after the Queen’s death - The Guardian (2017)

Beyond a history nerd's appreciation for the fact that "Wow! They've really kept this thing going for 1000+ years!!!" I have almost zero interest in Britain's royal family, but this is utterly fascinating. Thousands of people have been planning for an inevitable event since 1952 and they have thought of EVERYTHING and I could read about it all day.

Prince Philip just died. People have planned the ceremonies surrounding it for decades. But whatever prep that was done absolutely pales in comparison to what will happen when the Queen dies. Logistically, journalistically, procedurally, culturally, historically, etc it will be an event of staggering magnitude and forethought. Obituaries are already written, schedules are already set, accommodations have already been arranged for foreign dignitaries. Every little detail has been pored over in regular meetings at least 3x a year for several decades, from when the Queen was a young woman to her current nonagenarian status. It's just incredible. This is one of the most unexpectedly interesting things I've read in a long while.
 
“The King’s life is moving peacefully towards its close,” was the final notice issued by George V’s doctor, Lord Dawson, at 9.30pm on the night of 20 January 1936. Not long afterwards, Dawson injected the king with 750mg of morphine and a gram of cocaine – enough to kill him twice over – in order to ease the monarch’s suffering, and to have him expire in time for the printing presses of the Times, which rolled at midnight.

...

Screens will glow. There will be tweets. At the BBC, the “radio alert transmission system” (Rats), will be activated – a cold war-era alarm designed to withstand an attack on the nation’s infrastructure. Rats, which is also sometimes referred to as “royal about to snuff it”, is a near mythical part of the intricate architecture of ritual and rehearsals for the death of major royal personalities that the BBC has maintained since the 1930s. Most staff have only ever seen it work in tests; many have never seen it work at all. “Whenever there is a strange noise in the newsroom, someone always asks, ‘Is that the Rats?’ Because we don’t know what it sounds like,” one regional reporter told me.

All news organisations will scramble to get films on air and obituaries online. At the Guardian, the deputy editor has a list of prepared stories pinned to his wall. The Times is said to have 11 days of coverage ready to go. At Sky News and ITN, which for years rehearsed the death of the Queen substituting the name “Mrs Robinson”, calls will go out to royal experts who have already signed contracts to speak exclusively on those channels. “I am going to be sitting outside the doors of the Abbey on a hugely enlarged trestle table commentating to 300 million Americans about this,” one told me.

...

Britain’s commercial radio stations have a network of blue “obit lights”, which is tested once a week and supposed to light up in the event of a national catastrophe. When the news breaks, these lights will start flashing, to alert DJs to switch to the news in the next few minutes and to play inoffensive music in the meantime. Every station, down to hospital radio, has prepared music lists made up of “Mood 2” (sad) or “Mood 1” (saddest) songs to reach for in times of sudden mourning. “If you ever hear Haunted Dancehall (Nursery Remix) by Sabres of Paradise on daytime Radio 1, turn the TV on,” wrote Chris Price, a BBC radio producer, for the Huffington Post in 2011. “Something terrible has just happened.”

...

The rehearsals for her are different to the other members of the family, he explained. People become upset, and contemplate the unthinkable oddness of her absence. “She is the only monarch that most of us have ever known,” he said. The royal standard will appear on the screen. The national anthem will play. You will remember where you were.

...

More overwhelming than any of this, though, there will be an almighty psychological reckoning for the kingdom that she leaves behind. The Queen is Britain’s last living link with our former greatness – the nation’s id, its problematic self-regard – which is still defined by our victory in the second world war. One leading historian, who like most people I interviewed for this article declined to be named, stressed that the farewell for this country’s longest-serving monarch will be magnificent. “Oh, she will get everything,” he said. “We were all told that the funeral of Churchill was the requiem for Britain as a great power. But actually it will really be over when she goes.”

 

Things Seen

Watched Recently By Wes

Jackie Wilson is my father's all-time favorite recording artist so I grew up listening to a lot of him and I've always dug the hits (I mean as a kid, nothing was bigger than (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher being used in an iconic...and asinine...scene in Ghostbusters II. Even though that version was recorded by another artist it was still very much Jackie's song) but it wasn't until adulthood where I fully realized the extent to which: "Damn, that man could sing!"

When I was studying for Jeopardy! I read a short introduction to opera in order to bone up on one of the most enduringly popular categories on the show (it came in handy). I remember in the section about the best tenors of all time the author included Jackie Wilson right up there with Enrico Caruso and Mario Lanza, et al. And the man earned his showbiz nickname "Mr. Excitement" for a reason. It's the same reason Michael Jackson placed Wilson behind only James Brown when naming his performing influences.

Go ahead and appreciate the greatness.
Once again Boston-based comic & friend of mine Anthony Scibelli has put together a fascinating and fact-laden short documentary about an entertainer of yesteryear who doesn't get that much shine today. "Frank Nelson" or "The Yes Guy" might not mean much to you at first thought but if you grew up watching TV in America you have almost certainly heard his signature catchphrase (or a parody/homage) at some point. This was an equally informative and entertaining watch.
Hampture, September 13th 2017: Fish added!

"The Internet Is Weird" is more or less the understatement of the millennium but it is forever apt and not the least so with this video. I forget whatever forsaken comment led me here but now I've seen a YouTube channel partially dedicated to creating an underwater hamster habitat and now I share it with you. The narration isn't especially compelling but this guy's mission is, and it is somewhat hypnotic to see a hamster vibing out while utterly unimpressed with the fact that it's in a tank, surrounded by creatures from a completely different biome in a substance it can't live in, surrounded by another tank, in the bedroom of an amateur basement scientist.
I'm about to celebrate a birthday myself and I unequivocally concur. This is true and advice well learned.
Random Viewing

Word of The Week

Up That Vocab Game

Hiraeth, n
[ HEER - rye -th ]

Welsh English.

Meaning: Originally and chiefly in the context of Wales and Welsh culture: deep longing for a person or thing which is absent or lost; yearning; nostalgia; spec. homesickness.

Origin: Welsh hiraeth (13th cent.), cognate with Middle Cornish, Cornish hireth , Breton hiraezh , in the same sense (in Middle Breton in the derivative hiraezeuc , adjective), and further cognate with (or formed similarly to) Early Irish sírecht deprivation, longing, lamentation (Irish síreacht ) < the Celtic base of Gaulish sīros long, Early Irish sír long, constant, Old Welsh, Welsh hir long, far-reaching ( < the same Indo-European base as classical Latin sērus late: see sero n.) + a suffix forming abstract nouns.

Fun Facts

Trivia To Bend Your Brain

  • In 1972 it was estimated that a 3rd of all people living in the Commonwealth countries had had a dream about Queen Elizabeth II.
  • Student writer/illustrator Ted Geisel started using the alias "Dr. Seuss" in order to continue publishing work in the Dartmouth student newspaper after being removed as editor-in-chief in 1925 for getting caught drinking gin during prohibition.
  • Marie Curie's notebooks are still radioactive.
  • A 3 toed sloth has a top speed of 0.15 mph.
  • NYC tap water, while chemically treated to kill harmful bacteria and prevent disease, is not filtered. One result is that harmless microscopic shrimp called copepods can be found in the city's water. As such NYC tap water is not technically kosher.
Copyright © 2021 Wes Hazard -- Comic. Poet. Performer., All rights reserved.


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