I post a weekly diary of the historical notes, arts & science items, foreign news (often receiving little notice in the US) and whimsical pieces from the outside world that I featured this past week in "Cheers & Jeers". For example .....
OK, you've been warned - here is this week's
tomfoolery material that I posted.
HAPPY TRAILS to the veteran sportswriter Bob Ryan, who says that - other than his final report after the men's Olympic basketball gold medal game today - that his farewell daily column is at this link in which he looks at his forty-four year career at the same paper (although he will still appear on TV and write occasional essays).
ART NOTES - an exhibition entitled Visions of Mexican Art - featuring paintings, sculpture, and photographs from the late 20th and early 21st centuries - is at the Wichita, Kansas Art Museum through August 26th.
BRAIN TEASER - try the latest Weekly World News Quiz from the BBC.
HISTORY NOTES - the remains of the Australian outlaw Ned Kelly - seen by some as a folk hero who fought colonial authorities and by others as merely a cold-blooded killer - will be given to his descendants for burial, more than 130 years after he was hanged for murder.
WEDNESDAY's CHILD is Choupette the Cat - the Siamese kitteh of fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, whose feline Twitter account garnered 3,617 followers in only two days - and Lagerfeld says the cat's eyes are helping to inspire a new Chanel line ... which makes sense (as the cat probably lives better than you do).
SIGN of the TIMES - Gavin Robinson, a member of Northern Ireland's loyalist Democratic Unionist Party - known for its outspoken opposition to gay rights - has become its first leading member to attend a gay pride event in Belfast.
SCIENCE NOTES - researchers have long been fascinated by Saturn's moon Titan - but now wonder if it is even more Earth-like than thought previously.
IN a PROFILE of the French fashion designer Sonia Rykiel - for half a century, the influential Parisian has has been a byword for elegance ... but for the past 15 years she has also been living with Parkinson's Disease.
A JOURNALIST goes on the campaign trail, determined to see if he could discover the real Mitt Romney - and places his hopes by spending $1,000 on a private event in Oklahoma (believing this is where he'll be his true self).
ART NOTES - watercolors from the 1930's and early 1940s by Andrew Wyeth are on display at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine through November 4th.
FILM NOTES - Alfred Hitchcock's film Vertigo replaces Orson Welles's "Citizen Kane" at the top of the British Film Institute's Sight and Sound magazine "Greatest Film" poll after a fifty-year run, earning an In Praise Of editorial in The Guardian.
THURSDAY's CHILD sits in front of a statue of St. Anthony in the central park of Lima, Peru's upscale seaside Miraflores district: where the Church of the Miraculous Virgin cares for 120 felines - up from a single pair that municipal authorities introduced in the late 1990's to control a rat infestation - and which now has health authorities investigating the matter.
THE CITY-STATE of Singapore - the only first world nation in the tropic zone - is known for being a moral, upright society ... so it came as a shock when a mega-church pastor appeared in court on charges of misusing up to $40m (US) of church money to fund the pop music career of his flamboyant wife.
THIS PAST THURSDAY NIGHT in the Top Comments diary, I noted a Cold War phenomenon: the 1958 performance of the pianist Van Cliburn in a Moscow competition that required the head judge to have a consultation with Nikita Krushchev, landed Cliburn on the cover of TIME magazine and saw him receive a ticker-tape parade in New York.
....... and finally, for a song of the week ..................................... many of the African-American blues veterans that inspired the British Invasion have sadly passed on, but one who is still alive and well is the vocalist/harmonica whiz Billy Boy Arnold who - unlike many of his peers - did not migrate from the Mississippi Delta but was actually born in Chicago. While he spent several years out of music (reflecting the ups-and-downs of the business) he has all the work that he wants today.
William Arnold received a harmonica as a child and had the audacity to knock on the door of blues star Sonny Boy Williamson who graciously gave the 13 year-old a few lessons before his death. (This was John Lee Williamson, not Rice Miller - who was also given the monicker Sonny Boy Williamson and achieved more fame than his earlier namesake).
As a 17 year-old, Arnold made a 78-rpm single "Hello Stranger" that went nowhere but whose label spawned his new nickname "Billy Boy Arnold". As a 20 year-old, he joined forces with Bo Diddley (then still known as a bluesman). Arnold played harp - the slang term for harmonica - on Bo Diddley's hit single I'm a Man in 1955.
Mistakenly believing that Chess Records founder Leonard Chess didn't like his sound, Arnold signed with Vee-Jay Records that year. He recorded his two most celebrated songs I Wish You Would and "I Ain't Got You" while at Vee-Jay. Both of these were later covered by English bands (The Yardbirds, David Bowie and The Animals) and Billy Boy had a few more hits before he was dropped by Vee-Jay.
After 1963's More Blues on the South Side he only found work in Europe - and this led to his leaving the business; first as a bus driver, then a parole officer.
It was the blues revival of the early 1970's that rekindled his touring career (he did make records in France from time-to-time). But it took his being signed by hometown Alligator Records to release a "comeback" record at age 58 - and 1993's Back Where I Belong that received "welcome back" reviews.
He has followed up with highly-rated recordings such as Eldorado Cadillac from 1995, a live album from 2000, and 2008's Billy Boy Sings Sonny Boy - an ode to his old mentor, James Lee Williamson - and his most recent recording (also a tribute album) entitled "Billy Boy Arnold Sings Big Bill Broonzy".
As he will turn age 77 next month, he has slowed down, but will be performing tomorrow in Evanston, Illinois - and seems to have caught up in his later years with the success that eluded him in his youth. As the All-Music Guide's Scott Yanow described one of his albums: "A fun set of passionate Chicago blues".
The Animals lead singer Eric Burdon described a large, multi-person jam session in the greater London town of Ealing in his autobiography I Used to Be an Animal, But I'm Alright Now that took place in the early 60's. "The faces I saw at Ealing that day were to change the world of music", he wrote, as many future British invasion stars (raised on the blues) were there. Burdon recalls asking a scrawny kid "Do you know 'I Wish You Would?"' - to which Mick Jagger replied, "The Billy Boy Arnold tune? Of course I know it!".
When Arnold recorded it in 1955, it was (reportedly) the first Chicago blues session to feature an electric bass. And below you can hear Billy Boy Arnold sing it.
Early in the morning, about the break of day
That's when my baby went away
Crying and pleading won't do no good
Come back baby, I wish you would
I love you baby, I can't help myself
I wouldn't mistreat you for no one else
Tell me now baby, what are you trying to do?
Trying to love me and some other man, too