What is it about that song, "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond that people like so much? Because people really do like that song. I've seen many the person (despite whatever their core musical preference might be) just let loose and howl along with those well worn lyrics: "Where it began, I can't begin to know when...touching me, touching you."
You'll hear em sing along with "Sweet Caroline" at parties and in bars. You'll even join in. I just heard it the other day at a Thanksgiving party in the Mission with everyone cheerily chanting along. And you always hear "Sweet Caroline" in sports stadiums -- mainly the Boston Red Sox fans at Fenway stadium games (see/hear clip below). It's also played at New York Rangers hockey games.
The song has been a part of popular music and culture since it was first released as a single in September 1969, when it went to #4 on the Top 40 charts and sold a million copies. Since then it has continued to sell (most people get it on one of the Neil Diamond hits packages) and of course Neil has continued to perform it.
Earlier this year Diamond performed the song for Caroline Kennedy at her 50th birthday celebration. She was the inspiration for the song, he said in an interview this year.
"Sweet Caroline" has also been featured in many movies, including the 2001 film Saving Silverman with Jack Black, Amanda Peet, and Steve Zahn. The film, about fanatical Neil fans, features a cameo from Diamond himself.
Beside a million karaoke versions of "Sweet Caroline," numerous artists have also covered the song over the years, including Waylon Jennings, Dave Matthews Band, Frank Sinatra, and Bobby Darin, who did it a bit slower and Elvis Presley, who did it a bit faster (see his performance below).
But what is it about "Sweet Caroline" that people like so much? That's not a rhetorical question. Is it that melody or is it those lyrics?
The beach on the secluded, rural, former hippie Marin County oceanside town of Bolinas, CA (about an hour north of SF) is perhaps the last place where you would expect to greeted by a huge bright display of graffiti, but there it is -- lots of it and other public art too. The type of art and graffiti on the walls nearby and along the beach at Bolinas (popular with surfers) varies in both style and quality. Most seems passionately painted, and obviously inspired by the unqiue picturesque setting that the art is created in. Mostly done on the walls, it's occasionally -- as above -- on fallen or washed up tree trunks. There's a lot big graf pieces and also lots of small illustrations, tags, images, and paintings. There's even a wall of painted poetry and stoner and surfer doodles. But mainly it's large graffiiti style pieces on the wall along the beach thrown up -- not at night but in the daytime and without apparent fear from authorities, unlike in the city where graf artists risk been arrested (as felons) at any moment.
Below is a group of graf artists working openly with all their spray cans out by one of the beach's walls on a Sunday afternoon earlier this year when most of the pics in this AMOEBLOG (part two) were taken.
According to some artists, the lifespan of pieces along the windswept ocean beach (with salt air) is much shorter than usual and hence many pieces are frequently painted over. What I think makes the art along the beach at Bolinas so cool is the most unique setting that it is so fortunate to occupy -- a relaxed, open space on a great beach with lush green hills towering behind. It's ideal for creating art of any kind!
The following excerpt comes courtesy of AlterNet and TruthOut.Org, thanks to a link from Amoeba Marc who first spotted this engrossing and unsettling yet must-read interview posted a couple of days ago with Naomi Wolf, author of the book The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot. The title gives you an idea of what to expect. Below are just some key excerpts. For the full interview with AlterNet's Don Hazen, click on truthout.org's website, or read just the bits below, especially if you already have major concerns or worries over democracy and the state of the USA today.
If you think we are living in scary times, your worst fears may be confirmed by reading Naomi Wolf's newest book, The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot. In it, Wolf proves the old axiom that history does repeat itself. Or more accurately, history occurs in patterns, and in order to understand where our country is today and where it is headed, we need to read the history books.
Wolf began by diving into the early years leading up to fascist regimes, like the ones led by Hitler and Mussolini. And the patterns that she found in those, and others all over the world, made her hair stand on end. In The End of America, she lays out the 10 steps that dictators (or aspiring dictators) take in order to shut down an open society. "Each of those ten steps is now under way in the United States today," she writes.
If you are one of those individuals who has an uncooked turkey, a ton of people coming over for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, but don't have a clue as to how to go about cooking the bird coz you have never cooked a turkey before, then the above basic how-to-cook a turkey with Chef Tom should be of help. And if you are one of these harried people, you may wish to check out the first part in this simple how-to video guide by clicking here.