A long time ago, in a lifetime far, far away — when I was still eating flesh and muscle — there was a grand tradition during Summertime in Nebraska for family and friends to get together and eat outside under the sun, moon and stars. BBQ was a rite of passage and to get there, you not only had to learn how to BBQ, you also had to be a master eater as well.
If you’re a Cub Scout, there’s a yearly reckoning waiting for you — the Pinewood Derby — where you get to build your own race car out of wood and plastic and nails and race it down a track to see how fast your mind and hands are in the creation of something separate and spectacular that you cannot control. You build it and let it run away from you. I had some success with the Pinewood Derby, as I share here:
As a Cub Scout in Lincoln, Nebraska David Boles entered, and won the Pinewood Derby. In 1973, igniting the fighting Fireball #8, he came in second place. In 1974, riding The Phantom, he did not place, likely due to the air-sucking quality of the jaw-like bat mouth. In 1975 — flying the Spirit of ’76 — he won First Place as the Grand Champion, even though race officials drilled out an ounce of golden lead weight from his undercarriage! Here are the requisite beauty shots of those historic racing fascinations.
The year was 1987 and Lincoln, Nebraska was still fresh off its Oscar-winning buzz for “Terms of Endearment” in 1984. The new high was a 14.5 hour, seven-nights-in-a-row, mega-miniseries called “Amerika” to be shot on location around the outskirts of Lincoln and aired on the ABC Television network.
There is a fun old saying — “You’re One in a Million” — that is meant to convey a specialness using data-driven facts. What I find most interesting in the million specialness is how absolutely non-special you are depending where you happen to live in the world.
For example, in my hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska — with a population of 160,000 while I was growing up — I was super-extra-crispy special, because it would take 6.25 times my city’s population to make me unique one time in a million tries.
In New York City, the story is different. There are currently 8.3 million people in The Big City — and that means my specialness is drained in the larger lake from my small pond pool of the Midwest.
Instead of being “One in a Million” in NYC, I’m now, actually, eight in 8.3 million — and that’s a pretty sobering number.
Yesterday, I participated in an odd, one hour, “web session” with the Twitter Small Business advertising team where you submitted questions beforehand in anticipation of getting real world answers you could use to promote your small business on Twitter.
Instead getting helpful, direct, answers I was pricked back in time to the beginning of my blogging life and the excellent startup FeedBurner service.
Do you remember this fiery, iconic, logo?
Every so often, we get someone who steps forward to decide our shared, national, record of events isn’t good enough in standard black and white — and so they take the task upon themselves to “convert” the established, memed, facts of black and white history into their color-coded version of hues — to reset, in their mind, what really happened.
This modernizing filter of alleged aesthetic and absolutely craven creativity is just as disturbing to me today as it was 30 years ago when I was an undergraduate Freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln taking a film class with the great Dr. June Perry Levine.
At the time of Dr. Levine’s course, Ted Turner was in full-burst mode in his effort to “colorize” old black and white movies and television shows by adding color to give them new life on his cable channel.
Turner’s effect was horrible and gross as skin colors were orange and backgrounds were dark blue and clothing was all a shade of a mossy green: Time travel at its complete worst.
Adding new color to old black and white images is like repainting a fresco of Christ. The ultimate effect of each effort is the shared shameful same.
I have been following the saga of Paula Deen as she tries to answer cries against her obvious, inbred, Racism, and her multiplicity of firings from many companies as spokesmodel for their brands. Do we want to punish Bigots and Racists by removing them from the public eye? Or do we want them to be heard, so they can be forced into public recantations and corrections? Slate magazine creates this interesting take on the problem of Paula Deen:
Paula Deen is America’s racist grandma, and we should treat her as such. Racist Grandma may be racist, but she’s also your grandma. You can’t just disown her.
And, contrary to what some might think, having a racist grandma isn’t entirely bad. No doubt there are many white families where racism is passed down generation to generation like some cancerous gene. But for others, seeing that gene and knowing you’re predisposed to it is a warning sign, a nagging reminder to take preventive measures for yourself. I say let’s push racist Grandma back to center stage and let her keep talking.