Showing posts with label 1981. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1981. Show all posts

Friday, July 19, 2013

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Third Street, Baton Rouge

Riverside Mall (Third Street),
Baton Rouge, La., circa 1981.

Third Street, Baton Rouge, La., circa Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

What a difference three decades made

Looking north across Baton Rouge from atop the
Louisiana State Capitol, summer 1981.

Looking north across Baton Rouge from atop the
Louisiana State Capitol, autumn 2011.

The blight of 1981 was brought to you by the failure of private enterprise and a non-profit hospital's move to the suburbs.

The renewal in subsequent decades was brought to you by the expenditure of tax dollars by state government aiming for urban renewal and seeking to consolidate state offices into a revitalized capitol complex, away from rented space flung haphazardly across the capital city. Even in Louisiana -- freewheeling, Caribbean, politically corrupt Louisiana -- government ain't all bad. Or even predominantly bad.

America's right-wing, blow-it-all-up-for-liberty, anti-government crusaders would do well to remember that and allow a wee bit of perspective to reestablish itself amid all the hyper-ideological fulminating.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Harry Chapin, 1942-1981

Harry Chapin's been gone 30 years today.

Even after all these years, that's a damned hard pill to swallow. I wish to associate myself with these remarks in the
Chicago Sun-Times:

To mark the anniversary, I listened to “Greatest Stories Live ” again. It holds up well. Though I skipped, as I always do, the final song, “The Shortest Story,” an excruciating dirge for a baby starving to death in Africa. The thing about Chapin is, some of his music is indeed hard to take; if you think the hits are downers, you should hear the more obscure stuff, like “Burning Herself.”

But that doesn’t make it bad. He was a man who deeply cared about matters most ignore. When he died in his little Volkswagen Rabbit, it could have been an irony lifted from his songs: Chapin was on his way to do another free show — half his concerts were for charity. No wonder hip folk despised him: He lived the life that they only paid lip service to, pinning on a ribbon and calling themselves bighearted while Chapin gave away half his income.

The music stands up. His music is less dated than some of Bruce Springsteen’s, because it was never current to begin with. Anyway, listening to his song “Circle,” watching the morning sun reflect off Metra cars in the train yard heading downtown Friday, I thought Chapin didn’t really die at 38. Harry Chapin lives on, as much as any artist can.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Your Daily '80s: Me, myself and I yi yi

In 1982, Charlene wanted to take a very short, very annoying journey to herself. Because she'd never been there.

You think she would have made it there after the original release of "I've Never Been to Me" in 1977, but she didn't. So there she was again five bloody years later, vowing she'd really make it this time. You go, girl.

No, really. Go.

Frankly, I think she started out there and never left.
Oh, goody.

OF COURSE, having been to himself in 1981, Billy Idol could serve as Charlene's guide to that particular destination.

While they're doing some trip planning, you can go to the comments on SongMeanings and watch people argue over whether or not "Dancing With Myself" is about playing with oneself. Which would be a whole other kind of futility.

Wasting your time debating that, I mean. Or reading about debating that.

Or, yeah, for that matter, that.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Friday, November 05, 2010

Your Daily '80s: When pinkos advertised

Back in 1981, television viewers would, from time to time, see these ads for the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.

Thirty years ago -- shockingly -- this sort of thing was perfectly respectable. Unenlightened as we were, we didn't once think we were being indoctrinated by leftist union goons.

Worse, if one came from a blue-collar background, chances were that the Old Man belonged to one of these socialist-front outfits. I know, it's shocking.
Lots of people smoked then, too.

Now, thanks to tea-party edjumacashun outreach and Mr. Glenn Beck and Mr. Rush Limbaugh, we know socialists when we see 'em, and we take appropriate action.

And you won't see these commercials on the tube anymore. In fact, you won't see the ILGWU
anymore, either.


Monday, October 11, 2010

OK, this is addictive

In case you missed it the first time around . . . 29 years ago . . . here's how the rest of that first hour of MTV went.

As we learned on Sunday's edition of
Your Daily '80s, the first video played was from the Buggles. The first VJ was Mark Goodwin, but not really, because the videotapes of the VJ intros got mixed up, making Alan Hunter the first to introduce himself. But Goodman was the first to sit down and talk awhile.

Is that clear?
Well, nothing has been too clear since 1981 anyway, so don't sweat it.

And you'll notice that the VJ intros weren't the only thing to get out of order that first hour. Keep watching.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Your Daily '80s: Video kills the radio star

Nah . . . just kidding.

Radio, as we all know, committed suicide. And you'll have to go to some lengths to find a music video on MTV today.

At any rate, we present a flashback to the launch of
MTV on Aug. 1, 1981. OK, everybody knows the first video played on MTV was the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star." But what was the second?

Stay tuned and find out.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Your Daily '80s: Good night, David

John Chancellor and NBC Nightly News say goodnight -- and goodbye -- to David Brinkley as he departs for, eventually, ABC.

Just before leaving regular TV duties for good in 1996, Brinkley would -- unaware that the camera was still on during Election Night coverage -- speak great truth about the Clinton Administration after a colleague asked him what he thought of the president's re-election:

"The next four years will be filled with pretty words, and pretty music, and a lot of goddamn nonsense!"

Those are what you call timeless words, able to be applied broadly to presidencies, no matter of which political stripe.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Your Daily '80s: Strawberry Square

Strawberry Square, produced by what in the 1980s was the Nebraska ETV Network, may be the explanation for any strange behavior exhibited by people from the ages of 36 to, perhaps, a decade younger.

This 1981 episode of the instructional program, aimed at early elementary students, is . . . is . . . is . . . aw, hell, it was the '80s, people! I don't know what to make of it, and you don't either.

It may or may not make more sense if you're wearing an Izod polo shirt. Pink. Maybe pastel green.

Oh . . . the little girl in the show?

Here she is today.