Michael Sigman: Strangest of all, apoplectic far-Right lunatic Glenn Beck transmogrified — for a day, at least — into Our Savior last week before a throng of some 87,000, according to a CBS News estimate.
Michael Sigman: Newt’s bilious public statements, along with damning quotes in the Esquire piece from his second wife (out of three, so far) Marianne and from former long-time Republican congressman Mickey Edwards, suggest that Newt’s regeneration does not appear to have included a new heart.
Michael Sigman: But lest the healthy anger of progressives during the Bush years curdle into full-blown, hide-under-the-covers depression, it’s worth asking: When did Washington work, anyway?
Michael Sigman: Is this just human nature, or can we be happy about our achievements without causing an equal amount of suffering in someone else?
Michael Sigman: Mitch Miller, the musical maven of middle-of-the-road pop who died in Manhattan Saturday at 99, became a household name via his early-’60s TV show Sing Along With Mitch . Long before that, he — along with Frank Sinatra and a guy named Al Cernick — provided my dad, songwriter Carl Sigman, with the flukiest hit of his career.
Michael Sigman: Strong candidates for Part 2 included such stomach-churning charttoppers as Barry Manilow’s I Write the Songs (no, you don’t, not even this one, which was penned by Beach Boy Bruce Johnston), Helen Reddy’s I Am Woman (no, you’re not) and Starship’s We Built This City on Rock and Roll (no, you most definitely did not).
Michael Sigman: Revisiting some of the greatest records that never made the pop charts was a heavenly experience. But like so many of life’s pleasures, it was backed with an annoying flip side: Long-suppressed neuronal connections were re-activated, and I became obsessed with the most appalling music ever to worm its way into the Top 10.
Michael Sigman: Somewhere out there may be an Amerika identical to ours except for one thing: Great records that never made the pop charts on our shores — whether due to a twist of fate or a lack of payola — comprise the smash hits and timeless classics in that far-off realm.
Michael Sigman: Publishers may feel they need to throw various unorthodox revenue-raising techniques against the wall to see what sticks. It’s reasonable for us to suggest that they pick a different wall than the one between advertising and editorial.
Michael Sigman: If the multiverse theory holds, there’s a land far, far away exactly like ours except that the following cuts — which never made it to American pop charts — would be as much a part of our musical DNA as the songs endlessly repeated in movies, oldies radio and commercials in our neck of the cosmological woods.
Michael Sigman: Roger Nygard’s new documentary The Nature of Existence gives us a good-natured glimpse into the imaginations of brilliant thinkers from science, religion and other disciplines on life’s fundamental questions. If we try to let our imaginations run free and work shoulder to shoulder on real problems instead of fantasizing about self-aggrandizement — my own particular fave being high school basketball greatness — maybe we can become an imagine-nation and begin to turn things around.
Michael Sigman: Joe Donnelly and Laurie Ochoa — the deputy editor and editor, respectively, of LA Weekly until both were forced out by corporate overlords from Phoenix in recent years — have joined forces to produce the debut issue of the quarterly Slake Los Angeles. It’s a gorgeous, 232-page quarterly mix of journalism, fiction, poetry, photography and art.
Michael Sigman: Roughly a third of Al’s votes came from soul and pop music lovers who believed they were voting for sexy Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Al Green, nee Albert Greene. Green, who was a superstar who sold millions of records in the ’70s, also evoked sympathy from voters who remembered he was once doused by his girlfriend in a sea of boiling grits.