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Morning Song – Sunday Mornin’

Yeah, it’s Saturday morning…but I just couldn’t wait another day before hearing the title cut from Grant Green’s Sunday Mornin’ album.

Take a listen and see if you don’t agree.


Morning Song – God Part II

Nearly twenty years after John Lennon released “God” on his first post-Beatles album and almost a decade after Lennon’s death, while in the midst of the same kind of spiritual confusion that hits many musicians who become famous beyond their wildest imaginings, U2 talked back to one of their heroes with “God Part II”.

Like “God”, “God Part II” is a basic 12-bar blues song, but speeded up and electrified by The Edge’s almost-out-of-control slide guitar leads.  Bono adapts Lennon’s lyrical structure and refocuses it on the one thing—in the midst of all his confusion and turmoil—that he does know:  I, I believe in love.

At times it may not seem like much, and it definitely may feel like it’s not enough…but it’s worth holding onto.

Morning Song – Please Mr. Postman

Yes, children, it’s true.  Once upon a time there were these things called “letters” that people would write by hand onto pieces of paper.  They’d then fold those pieces of paper, put them in an envelope, afix a “stamp”, put them in a large blue “mailbox”, and several days later the letter would be delivered to the person to whom the letter was addressed.  The whole experience was kind of like texting in some sort of alternate hyper-slo-motion universe in which each second lasted an entire day. (Ask your grandparents.)

What’s more, the experience of sending and receiving letters was so common a feature of romantic relationships in 1961 that “Please Mr. Postman” by The Marvelettes went to #1 on the pop charts, the first Motown single ever to reach the top of Billboard’s Hot 100.

Morning Song – Katmandu

It’s an old formula in rock and roll:  find a catchy hook, set it to a good beat, write some lyrics that namecheck a whole bunch of cities, and you might have a hit.

By 1975, after more than a decade of touring and recording without ever breaking through to national success, Bob Seger added his own twist to the old formula.  He buried the Chuck Berry-inspired guitar riff in the middle of the song, then namechecked every region in the USA…but only to say he was tired of them all and was going to “Katmandu”.

Why yes, the live version of “Katmandu” did become the first in a string of 1970s and 80s hits for Seger; thank-you for asking. ;-)

Morning Song – Taxman

Best tax protest song ever.  (And you can dance to it.)

A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized The Cosmos

You don’t often hear creationists claiming Joshua 10:13 is proof that the sun revolves around the earth.  Which is kind of a pity, for two reasons:  1) Given the general acceptance of the Copernican understanding of the solar system, it would expose the intellectual flimsiness of creationism as “science” ever more thoroughly than post-Darwinian biology does; and 2) once upon a time, this biblical passage was the “go-to” argument for those* who opposed Copernicus’ theory, banned his books, and subjected Galileo to house arrest.

AMorePerfectHeavenTo read Dava Sobel’s A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized The Cosmos is to be thrown back into an age when astrology was as valid a scientific field as chemistry, and where virtually all useful scientific knowledge in Europe had been imported via the great Muslim empires from the works of Greek and Roman scientists who had been dead for over a millennium.  That in itself is a sobering reminder that human “progress” moves in fits and starts, and that “civilization” (however defined) can’t be taken for granted.

Sobel is one of the finest science writers operating in the English language today, in no small part because of her obvious and infectious delight with the twin wonders of scientific insights and the foibles of human history.  Both wonders come crashing together powerfully what we now call the Copernican Revolution

Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 – 1543) was a canon (a minor church official) in the diocese of Varmia, in what is now part of northeastern Poland.  In addition to his lifelong interest in and work as an astronomer—no small task in the days when astronomical observation took place outdoors and in unheated castle towers—Copernicus was also a skilled physician, a minor economist and a practiced administrator of diocesan lands.

Unaware of the work of Aristarchus of Samos (who had propounded a heliocentric view of the universe in the 3rd century BCE), Copernicus had by 1510 written a Brief Sketch—a letter really—outlining his radical thesis that the Sun, not the Earth, was at the center of the known universe.  At that time, so far as Copernicus knew, nobody else in human history had ever reached the same conclusions he had about the universe: Read more…

Morning Song – John Henry

A cautionary tale at the start of the workweek.

John Henry may have been an ex-slave working on the Columbus & Western Railroad near Leeds, Alabama in 1887, or (more likely) he was prisoner #497 in the Virginia state penitentiary leased out to work on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad digging either the Big Bend or the Lewis Tunnel near Talcott, Virginia in the early 1870s.

In either case, legend has it that when the first steam hammer was brought onto the worksite, John Henry outworked the newfangled machine in a side-by-side contest, driving more steel into the bedrock at the expense of his own life.

The moral of the story?  Don’t work too hard.  Seriously.

It’s Monday.  What else is happening this week?

h/t: PLD


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