I have a lump the size of a goose egg in my throat as I write this. The world has just lost Andrew Love of Stax Records and Memphis Horns fame. Love was a man admired by millions for the music he created with partner Wayne Jackson from the early 1960s until his retirement in 2004, just a few years after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. The last I saw him play his saxophone was in 2008 during the filming of a documentary, and he could still play really well.
But the thing I admired most about Love was that he was just such a nice, laid-back, unassuming guy who never tried to draw attention to himself. He was a great husband and father and was totally free of the kind of antics and gimmicks that plague so many people in the music business. For example, I think Lady Gaga has a really good voice, but I can't get past the meat dress and her being hauled around in a giant egg. It's difficult to take her seriously. Yes, Love was from another era when real musicians made real music, but still, he and Jackson never had the need to be in the limelight. Good men, both of them, and both with very good, strong wives by their side. We will miss Andrew Love.
Now, what about those poor North Koreans?! They spent all that time building a rocket and showing it off and showing the world they would just do whatever they wanted to do, despite all of the international pressure for them not to launch it, and it just sputtered off the launchpad and fell over into the water. Kind of makes me feel sorry for them. Almost. And I love watching the huge crowd scenes where the masses of citizens are made to gather to honor their late leader — and their new one — and they act like they're interested for a brief time and then just walk away and go about their daily routine. I bet they were secretly laughing themselves silly when the rocket fell over.
And can you imagine Mitt Romney being elected president and meeting with Kim Jong-un? The cardboard cutout candidate dealing with a communist leader? I would love to be a fly on the wall for that one. Romney would probably ask him directions to the nearest country club.
I have no beef with Romney as a person because he does seem like a nice fellow, but I can't imagine him leading a country and dealing with foreign policy — or singing Al Green songs. He just seems too much like Thurston Howell III from Gilligan's Island. He looks like the type who, instead of making a tough decision, would just palm it off on someone else or hire a consultant to look into it so as not to cut into his polo watching time.
Nope, I think Obama is in for another term, and I hope that when it's over we'll see Newark mayor Cory Booker run for president. That guy is nothing short of awesome. I mean, he lives in a housing project, sometimes spends the night in an RV on a street where drug trafficking is a problem, and most recently saved a woman's life. He was on his way home, saw that his neighbor's house was on fire, ran in with his protective staff, and started rescuing people. Then he heard a woman's voice crying out that she was stuck in the room, fought off bodyguards who demanded that he stay outside, and ran into the building to save her life. Can you see Mitt Romney doing that? Might mess up that hair. Booker would be a great candidate for president in 2016 and I hope he runs. Of course, like Obama, he'd get blamed for everything from sports teams losing to bagged salad being tainted with salmonella.
This latest rash of Obama bashing in regard to women losing jobs is absurd. While the Republicans are trying to take away women's reproductive rights and the right to earn as much money as men who do the same jobs, they are now saying he has waged a "war on women" because of the unemployment rate. Everyone knows (but a lot won't admit) that he inherited all of this economic mess from George Bush. I'll give Bush the benefit of the doubt that he didn't target women. He was a lot of things, but I don't think he was a misogynist or racist. And I am sick of hearing people call Obama's term a "failed presidency." At what has he failed? Sure, the economic rebound is taking some time, but at least it's happening. And being president isn't just about the economy, which I am still sick of hearing about. I made a rare visit to East Memphis not long ago to buy a tie because I needed one and didn't own one, and it was hard to find a place to park everywhere I went. People are camping out for days in parking lots of stores to buy the latest electronics. Movies are making hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office. Car sales are up. Unemployment is down. So cut the man some slack. At least he doesn't have a fake laugh like Thurston Howell.
Exactly seven years ago this week, I wrote a column decrying a proposal by city engineers to turn the Overton Park Greensward into an 18-foot-deep "detention basin" designed to stop flooding in Midtown. The engineers claimed we'd hardly notice the football-field-sized bowl. "Except," I wrote then, "when it rains hard, at which time, users of Overton Park would probably notice a large, 18-foot-deep lake in the Greensward. Or afterward, a large, muddy, trash-filled depression."