Blogbreak and Factoid

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I will be on blogbreak for a couple of weeks to deal with some issues closer to home.

So if y’all don’t see me much around the old ‘Sphere, don’t worry, I’m still here. (flute solo, followed by drum solo, repeat chorus to fade)

In the meantime, I thought I’d go out with a little factoid you might want to keep in your back pocket to toss at the ZOMG FATTIES ARE DESTROYING THE ENVIRONMENT THEIR FAT ASSES USE UP EXTRA GAS crowd, courtesy of Metafilter:

Curb weights of:
’91 Honda Civic DX (hatch) = 2127 lbs
’02 Honda Civic SI (hatch) = 2877 lbs
difference: 750 pounds

pre-2000 Mini Cooper = 1500 lbs
2007 BMW Mini = 2314 lbs
difference: 814 pounds

’00 VW GTI = 2700 lbs
’05 VW GTI = 2934 lbs
difference: 234 pounds

Curb weight means the weight of the car without anyone or anything in it.

You can’t make your car that much heavier no matter how many fries you eat. Sorry, hatebags.

See you round like a vinyl record!

The Golden Age of Childhood Veggie Consumption — NAWWT

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Over at Chez Paul yesterday, in the forums, Kunoichi posted a link to a flamebait column (regular columnist, not op-ed one-shot) in the Edmonton Sun called “Grow Up, Fatties!”  Yeah, you just know this ain’t gonna be no Paul Campos shit just from the title, right?  (Meowser’s Rules of Flamebait Linkage apply here; if you must see the article, go through Paul.  But trust me, you’re not gonna like it.)  Using fourth-grade epithets to address your audience just has mature discourse written all over it, mais oui. (Ordinarily I wouldn’t bother with the French, but since it’s Canadian flamebait I felt I had to, sorry.) Read the rest of this entry »

Why You Should Give a Rip About Doc Pomus

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Chances are pretty good that unless you are a serious student of songwriting or a 1950s/1960s rock/R&B super-completist, you’ve never heard of Doc Pomus.  But chances are equally good that you’ve heard at least some of the songs he wrote or cowrote, which entered the national (and international) bloodstream like whooooaaah, and after all these decades have never left — “Lonely Avenue,” “Can’t Get Used to Losing You,” “Viva Las Vegas,” “Young Blood,” “This Magic Moment,” “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “Little Sister,” “Marie’s the Name (His Latest Flame),” “Suspicion,” “Surrender,” “A Teenager in Love,” “A Mess of Blues,” for about a decade he was a hit machine.  And he was also a fat guy, and one with a disability at that; he contracted polio at age 7, in 1932, and got around on crutches (and later, after he became financially successful, in a wheelchair) after that.

But that’s not why I’m writing about Pomus here — the most remarkable thing about his life isn’t necessarily the aspect of “OMG he was fat and had a disability and wrote all those great songs!”, even though I absolutely love the story about how he wrote the lyric to the Drifters’ “Save the Last Dance for Me” while watching his wife dance with other men at their wedding, knowing he would never be able to dance with her himself.  (Reportedly Drifters lead singer Ben E. King was told about the origins of the song right before recording his vocal, and had to fight back tears the entire time he was live on the mike.) 

No, having read Alex Halberstadt’s 2007 biography of Pomus, Lonely Avenue: The Unlikely Life and Times of Doc Pomus, what’s most fascinating to me about Pomus’s story is what came before he was a successful songwriter, when he spent over a decade as a singer in blues clubs all over the “rough” (i.e. predominantly black and poor) parts of Brooklyn and New Jersey where nice Jewish boys like Pomus (nee Jerome Felder; his younger brother is celebrity divorce attorney Raoul Felder) were warned never to set foot.  In the 1940s and early 1950s, Pomus was something almost entirely unprecedented: a white blues shouter who found unconditional acceptance and respect among the black audiences he sang for, far more so than in the “integrated” (i.e. predominantly white and bohemian) jazz and blues clubs across the river in Manhattan where he also plied his trade from time to time. Read the rest of this entry »