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August 21, 2018

N Train Goats Saved in Brooklyn

The Kids are alright! The New York Daily News tells us of this "Greatest (story) of All Time: Goats on Subway Tracks Head to Upstate Sanctuary." Just 6 stops away from the N-train Kings Highway station that is closest to my apartment, between 8th Avenue and Fort Hamilton Parkway in Brooklyn, two goats, Willy and Billy, spent two hours on the tracks. Eating grass. Chilling out.

They backed up subway traffic for a couple of hours, but were eventually rescued, with the help of former "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart and his wife Tracey, who runs a New jersey animal shelter. The goats are now residents of Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York. Hooray for the Goats!

Check out yesterday's action on WABC's Eyewitness News.

August 20, 2018

Song of the Day #1621

Song of the Day: Filthy features the words and music of Larrance Dopson, James Fauntleroy, Floyd Nathaniel Hills, Timothy Mosley, and Justin Timberlake, who released this electro-funk track as the lead single from his 2018 album "Man of the Woods." It was the first song featured in his medley of hits in this year's Super Bowl Half-Time Show [YouTube link]. Tonight, the futuristic video of this song is nominated in the category of "Best Choreography" on the MTV Video Music Awards. The song made an impact on six Billboard charts, becoming a Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hit. Check out the innovative video, the single version, the Lord 'n Club remix, and the Workout remix [YouTube links].

August 18, 2018

Song of the Day #1620

Song of the Day: I Turn to You features the words and music of Billy Steinberg, Rick Nowels, and Melanie Chisholm---aka "Melanie C" or "Sporty Spice," one of the five original Spice Girls. She recorded this 1999 song for her first solo album, "Northern Star." She was the first woman to top the U.K. charts as part of a quintet, quartet, duo, and solo artist, racking up eleven #1 U.K. singles in the process. Check out the single mix, a music video mix, the Hex Hector 12" Club Mix and the Techno Mix to this catchy tune [YouTube links].

August 17, 2018

Song of the Day #1619

Song of the Day: Let it Whip, words and music by Leon "Ndugu" Chancler and Reggie Andrews, was recorded by the Dazz Band for their 1982 album, "Keep It Live." The song held the #1 spot on the R&B chart for five nonconsecutive weeks and peaked at #2 on the Hot Dance Club Chart and #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. It would go on to win the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Check out the funky album version and the extended 12" remix [YouTube links].

August 16, 2018

Song of the Day #1618

Song of the Day: Respect was written by Otis Redding, who recorded the song in 1965 [YouTube link]. But it was in 1967, that Aretha Franklin recorded a version of this tune that went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became her signature song, featured on her album "I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You." Franklin would go on to win her first two (out of eighteen) Grammy Awards for her rendition, for "Best Rhythm & Blues Recording" and "Best Rhythm and Blues, Vocal Performance, Female"---in the latter category, the first of an unprecedented eight consecutive wins, and a record-holding 11 wins out of a record-holding 23 nominations. The song was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame (in 1998), added to the Library of Congress National Recording Registry (in 2002), and rated #5 on the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The Memphis-born Aretha herself became the first female inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (in 1987). On a date that marks the sixtieth birthday of the Queen of Pop (Madonna), the forty-fifth anniversary of the passing of "The King" (Elvis Presley), as well as the seventieth anniversary of the death of the Bambino and Sultan of Swat (Babe Ruth), we have lost the Queen of Soul today at the age of 76. Ironically, I had already programmed this song for later in our 2018 "Summer Dance Party"---but moving it up to today is so much more apropos. Check out Aretha's soul-shaking recorded version of this classic, along with two live performances, one in Detroit and the other in Paris (at 16:33) [YouTube links].

Song of the Day #1617

Song of the Day: Like a Virgin, words and music by Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg, was the title, lead single from the second studio album released by Madonna, who was born on this date sixty years ago. This song, produced by Chic-alum, Nile Rodgers, featured an almost Billie Jean-like bass line (which MJ freely admitted was inspired by the Hall & Oates hit, "I Can't Go For That"). It was among the most talked-about singles the moment it hit the airwaves, made all the more scandalous when Madonna performed it in a wedding dress on the very first MTA Annual Video Music Awards show in 1984 [YouTube link], writhing and floor-thrusting her way into music history. It would become the entertainer's first #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as the Billboard Hot Dance Club charts. It's hard to believe that among the three most iconic figures in 1980s pop music, all of whom were born within three months of one another in 1958 (Prince and Michael Jackson are the other two), Madonna is the only one alive to celebrate her 60th birthday. Check out the original single, the original video, the original 12" extended dance mix, as well as her live performance (where a lick from "Billie Jean" is heard) on "The Virgin Tour" [YouTube links]. The Queen of Pop would later pay tribute to the fallen King at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards [YouTube links]. Having seen Madonna in tour back in 2004, it was clear to me then that she'd have enough energy to perform for many years to come. Happy birthday!

August 15, 2018

Song of the Day #1616

Song of the Day: Toothbrush features the words and music of Ilya Salmanzadeh, James Alan Ghaleb, Rickard Goransson, and Joe Jonas, who turns 29 years of age today. The song, with its rhythmic groove, was recorded by DNCE for their debut 2015 EP, "Swaay." Check out the single video version, Higher Self Remix, and Aldi Waani Remix [YouTube links].

August 11, 2018

Song of the Day #1615

Song of the Day: I Want Your Love, words and music by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, was a #1 1978 Hot Dance Club hit by Chic, from their classic Disco album, "C'est Chic." In 2006, Jody Watley recorded a cover for her 2006 album "The Makeover," and it too went to #1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club chart. Check out the Chic classic album version, the extended 12" mix of the Watley cover version, and a 2015 Lady Gaga version as well [YouTube links]. These various renditions only show how that dirty word, "Disco," has profoundly influenced dance music through today, from House to Hi-NRG, from Eurobeat and Techno to EDM, its sounds continue to resonate.

August 10, 2018

Song of the Day #1614

Song of the Day: Rhythm Nation features the words and music of Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, and Janet Jackson, who released this song from her 1989 album, "Rhythm Nation 1814." It peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 but topped both the R&B/Hip Hop and Dance Club charts. The video for the song received MTV Video Music Awards for "Best Choreography" and "Best Dance Video." It also won a Grammy as part of Jackson's long-form "Rhythm Nation 1814" video. This week the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce is honoring people who have had various ties to Harlem's history, and both Janet and "The Divine One," Sarah Vaughan, are among the honorees. This song remains one of Janet's best and one of my all-time favorite Janet Jackson tracks, with its killer bass line and melodic hook. Check out the single version and the classic black-and-white video [YouTube links].

August 09, 2018

Pizza Museum in Chicago? Fuhgedaboudit!

My long-time pal Nick Manley alerted me to this article in the Chicago Tribune: "New Yorkers are angry U.S. Pizza Museum is in Chicago." Invariably the question comes down to: Chicago Pizza or New York Pizza? Having had a classic Chicago deep-dish, I could not help but say: "Is there really a debate here? New York, Hands Down... Fuhgedaboudit!" As I said on Facebook:

Let's just be historically specific for a change, since even a leftie (Doug Henwood) and a libertarian (me) can agree on this: The first pizzeria in America was Lombardi's and the first baker of that first pizza later came to Coney Island in Brooklyn to establish the second pizzeria in America: Totonno's---both of these classic Neapolitan pies! [Ed: Papa's Tomato Pies in Trenton, New Jersey may actually have beaten Totonno's by a couple of years to earn the second historical spot.]
Add to this, the greatest Sicilian slices you'll ever get (L&B Spumoni Gardens in Brooklyn), and there is nothing else to talk about. As I said: Fuhgedaboudit!!! [YouTube link to the memorable "Donnie Brasco" linguistic explanation of that phrase].

August 04, 2018

Song of the Day #1613

Song of the Day: Don't Go Breaking My Heart, words and music by Stephen Wrabel, is the lead single to a forthcoming 2018 album by the Backstreet Boys. The boy band has grown up, but still has a flair for the rhythmic and the melodic. Check out the video single and a nice saxed-up sexy Dave Aude dance remix [YouTube links]. Also check out their recent appearance on "The Tonight Show" where they performed one of their golden goldies, "I Want it That Way" with toy instruments [YouTube links].

August 03, 2018

Song of the Day #1612

Song of the Day: Lost in Japan features the words and music of Teddy Geiger, Scott Harris, Nate Mercereau, and Shawn Mendes, who turns 20 years old on August 8th! This track is featured on Mendes's self-titled 2018 album (which spawned the hit single "In My Blood," covered by his one-time-tourmate, Charlie Puth [YouTube links]). Mendes tells us he was inspired by the music of Justin Timberlake (especially JT's "Justified"). Mendes provides us with a strong JT-like falsetto over a bass-infused groove. Check out the single version and the especially slick dance remix [YouTube links].

August 02, 2018

Andrea Rich, RIP

I have just learned that yesterday, August 1, 2018, my friend Andrea Rich, who operated Laissez-Faire Books for years, and was one of the libertarian movement's greatest champions, passed away, after a nineteen-year battle with lung cancer. It is with great sadness that I report on this passing, as Andrea was one of the kindest, most generous and supportive friends I've ever known.

Doubtless, much will be written about her indefatigable work on behalf of liberty, but I had the opportunity to discover another aspect of her multifaceted, wonderful personality: The gal really knew how to throw a party!

Back in the fall of 1995, with the near simultaneous publication of the first two volumes of my "Dialectics and Liberty Trilogy," (Marx, Hayek, and Utopia and Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical), Andrea threw a classy and truly enjoyable book party for me, bringing together more than 50 folks from all walks of life, ranging from my many libertarian friends and colleagues to my Marxist mentor Bertell Ollman. The party took place in her glorious apartment in the heart of Greenwich Village, where one could see the glittering lights of the Empire State Building to the North and the staggering brilliance of The Twin Towers to the South.

We had a ball that night and it was only one of the many generous and supportive things she did for me over these many decades. I will always cherish my friendship with her and I will miss her, especially for kindness and her vitality.

I send my deepest condolences to her husband Howard Rich and her many friends and family; a community of liberty grieves with them.