The first treatment of the song I ever heard was by Dean Martin.
The first treatment of the song I ever heard was by Dean Martin.
I enjoy colorful and unusual food. While my wife isn't completely devoid of the spirit of adventure, she prefers that carrots be orange, tomatoes red, and potatoes white. The photo accompanying this post is my lunch from this afternoon. It consists of not just one, but two types of purple root vegetable: purple potato and purple yam. The light substance is cubes of baked tofu. I became fascinated with bright colored food for two reasons. The first was the increased availability of vegetables in the Atlanta area due to the proliferation of stores such as the Dekalb Farmer's Market. The second reason was the increase in news about the health benefits of phytochemicals, which vary with the pigment of the vegetable, but which are generally more concentrated in brighter colored vegetables.
I imagine, though, that other people believe the reason that I have a high tolerance for unusual foods is that my character ranges somewhere between what is charitably known as eccentric, and just plain weird. I think my wife clearly thinks that my overall weirdness is the likeliest explanation for my tendency to try to get her to eat plants of odd coloration. But I'm going to insist it's because of the phytochemicals. In addition to being a more flattering reason for my proclivities, "phytochemical" is just a fun word to write.
Even though Hank Williams died when I was two years old, I grew up listening to his songs. "I Can't Help It If I'm Still In Love With You" is one of my favorites. I'm going to lead off with a version by Williams himself.
The next rendition is by Patsy Cline. Cline had a powerful and versatile voice. Crazy and I Fall to Pieces are among the most beautiful performances of the 20th century. Here is her take on "I Can't Help it if I'm Still In Love With You".
Finally, here is Linda Ronstadt's version, with backup from Emmy Lou Harris.
Because of my interest in digital news and the long term fate of the news industry I've become interested in the things people are actually doing on the web in mass numbers. A good way to track this is by regularly reading Google Trends and twitter's trending list. Google trends reflects the things which are getting the most searches, and twitter's trending list is items which have seen a big jump in tweets.
I'm going to focus on Google Trends in this article.
I had no idea why ESPN3 was at the top of the list until I did a quick web search (adding my vote to the "trending" nature of the topic). I still don't understand why a streaming sports network beat out the VA hospital scandal or events in the Ukraine. But that has more to do with my own news consumption than it does with the tastes of the public at large. And the public's taste, in aggregate, is what's important.
Jay Carney's resignation as White House press secretary is number 3 on google's list. I'm a very political person, but I have to admit that the resignation of a press secretary is not high on my list of stories to follow. I am glad that something besides sports ranks high on the list, though.
I don't follow basketball, but it isn't surprising to me that the Spurs are on the top five list. Whether I'm interested in the NBA playoffs or not, a lot of other people obviously are.
I had to do a web search to determine who Eva Green is. But when I did the search, and saw the words "erotic", "poster", and "banned", I didn't even have to read the rest to get the gist of the story. Sex still sells.
One thing has become evident to me while perusing Google Trends. While the list may give me insight into what is in the public eye, it's doubtful that I'm going to choose topics to write about based on the list. By definition a lot of people are writing about the items on that list, and adding to the general media noise isn't interesting or helpful.
But the lists are fun to read and think about.
For children growing up in Atlanta in the 1950s and 1960s Officer Don was a celebrity. His real name was Don Kennedy, and he was a major figure in local Atlanta media, not only in children's programming, but, as a founder of WKLS (known as 96 Rock), in radio as well.
After serving in the Korean War, he took a job as an 11 PM newscaster for WSB-TV, and was soon assigned to the job for which he is most well known and well loved by Atlantans, that of a children's show host. The Popeye Club ran from 1956 to 1970.
In 1960 Kennedy cofounded WKLS, which was later known as "96 Rock".
He is now 83 years old [NOTE: I've seen bios of him listing his birthdate as 1920, and 1930. 1930 seems likelier to me, but I'm going to check on it further] , and worked until recently, including doing voice work for the cartoon series Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and hosting Big Band Jump, a syndicated radio show.
Here are a few links about Don Kennedy I've found via web search.
I love the Census Bureau. While many parts of the government seem to take pride in making information as complicated and hard to find as possible, the Census Bureau has created online tools which make it relatively easy for a citizen to access information about their community. Not only that, but the rollout of the American Community Survey starting in the late 1990s means that Census Data is more current and complete than it has ever been.
Here are three ways to find out about your home at various geographic levels.
One way to rapidly get information about your locality is the Census Interactive Map. With this map you can zoom in on your community at whatever level you like, from statewide to the smallest census units (the tract, block group, and block), and select from among various types of information about the area.
Here is a video from the Census Bureau which gives a quick run-through of the tool.
Another tool for the rapid gathering of information about your area is the Census Explorer. The Census Explorer has a number of predefined categories, including "Retail", "People Education and Income", and "Commuting". I wrote a post about how to use census explorer to get bicycle commuting data, but the same steps I outlined can be used for retrieving other types of information.
Finally, if you want to dig into the census figures for your area in greater detail, the American Factfinder provides a window into the complete range of datasets compiled by the Census. It's not nearly as user-friendly as the other two tools, but there are a number of good instructional videos on youtube, including the following from Texas A&M:
Pew research center has written an interesting report on the twitter activity leading up to the EU elections. Not surprisingly, the British right wing anti-EU party UKIP received more attention than any other political party. The Pew article didn't mention it, but I think the enormous attention on UKIP was partly due to the hashtag #WhyImVotingUKIP, which developed into a parody tag, and trended for days.
I'm not going to summarize the article here, as it's short enough to read in a few minutes. It's worth perusing, though. Twitter has played a major role in world events for the past few years, and it's encouraging that Pew Research is taking social media's role in international politics seriously.
"Alabama Song" is from Berthold Brecht and Kurt Weill's "Rise and Fall of the City Mahagonny". The lyrics to other songs in the operetta were originally in German, but "Alabama Song" was in English, even as first performed before German audiences. "Mahagonny" was written in 1929, and is the story of gangsters setting up a city of casinos and brothels on America's gulf coast. It was first performed in 1930, was banned by the Nazis in 1933, and wasn't given much attention until the 1960s, when there was renewed interest in Brecht and Weill.
The best known version is probably by the Doors, so I'll lead off with that rendition:
I had no idea that David Bowie had performed "Alabama Song" before I encountered this video on youtube.
Finally, my favorite version. Lotte Lenya, in an atmospheric and spooky 1930 version:
The Census Bureau has been gathering data on how people get to work, and how long it takes them to get there. The Census Explorer tool is the fastest and easiest way to get at this data. Another tool, American Factfinder, provides a much greater level of detail, but one of the advantages of Census Explorer is that it gives you a quick visual representation of the data, overlaid on a map.
Here's how to use it to get information on the percentage of people who commute to work by bicycle in your area. I'm using metro Atlanta as my target, with the county as my unit of geography.
I found a number of interesting things by exploring the map, other than the obvious fact that bicycle commuting is a very small percentage of overall commuting. One is that Chattahoochee, Baldwin, Appling, and Clarke counties have the highest per capita percentage of bike commuters among Georgia counties. It's obvious to me why that is true in Clarke County (the University of Georgia dominates the county, and college towns tend to have more cycling than other areas). I'm not certain why the percentage is higher in those other counties, but it would be worth using American Factfinder to explore in more detail The percentage is still small, but it reached or exceeded the one percentage mark in all these counties.
Selecting Census Tract under the "Show by" pulldown gives much more useful results. A quick look shows that Clayton County in metro Atlanta has the census tracts with the highest levels of bicycle commuting, topping 10%.
The small percentages may seem demoralizing to advocates of cycling as a means of practical transportation. But in order to increase commuting by bicycle it's necessary to know what factors lead to higher or lower numbers, and those numbers also need to be regularly tracked. Both Census Explorer and American Factfinder should be important tools for advocates of bicycle commuting.
I'm posting tomorrow morning's installment of my Three Versions series early, for no particular reason other than I feel like it.
I'll start with Pete Seeger's own recording of the song.
This next version, the 1965 hit by the Byrds, is probably the best known.