It's been 25 years since John Lennon was murdered in front of his New York City apartment building by a crazed fan. Over time, the media have covered the anniversary with diminishing interest, but this year resonates because of its quarter-century milestone.
I've been listening to a pretty good two-CD compilation, "Working Class Hero: The Definitive Lennon," released by Capitol Records (and compiled, with "definitive" decisiveness, by widow Yoko Ono), and appreciating Lennon's solo work more than I have in years.
I saw an A&E program the other day about the Brady Bunch, and how over the decades the story of the archetypal modern family has become an American cultural icon.
It was fun to relive the series.
I liked watching â€œThe Brady Bunch" when I was a kid, and like everyone my age and younger (since the show has constantly been in syndication since it originally went off the air in the mid-â€˜70s).
But I also have been watching the first-season episodes of â€œThe Partridge Family" on DVD, and having a ball.
When Barbie was â€œborn" into the Mattel family of toys in 1959, she wasnâ€™t just a doll. She was the epicenter of a retail revolution.
When parents bought their baby-boomer girls a Barbie, they were agreeing to an unspoken but implicit contract with the toy store to return time and again and buy stuff â€“ lots more stuff â€“ for Barbie.
Thatâ€™s how Mattel envisioned her. A kid wouldnâ€™t be happy with just the Barbie and some clothes like any earlier doll would offer. Nope, Mattel created an entire fantasy world, with price tags attached to every damned thing in that world, from friends like Midge and sister Skipper, and of course, the sexless boyfriend Ken (whose irony-drenched advertising slogan was â€œKenâ€¦. Heâ€™s a Doll!") to Barbie houses, Barbie Sports cars, carrying cases, closets, apartments with Barbie-sized furniture, picnic sets and even a tiny Barbie Doll for Barbie to own!
I just heard one of the most gawdawful songs of the rock and roll era -- or any era, for that matter -- on CNN.
I was working away, and the TV outside my office door started playing Joe Cocker's 1973 Top 40 hit, "You Are So Beautiful." The sound stopped me cold, and I got all shakey and felt like vomiting.
I went shopping with my 17-year-old niece Joann, whoâ€™s a music fan with typical contemporary tastes. Exceptâ€¦. When we were shopping, she bought â€œLynyrd Skynyrdâ€™s Greatest Hits, â€œ a compilation of guitar-driven â€˜70s rock that had been part of my generationâ€™s high school and college years.
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