A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Monday, May 05, 2003 :::
Jury Duty...The Worst Beatles Cover...and the EU cart-before-horses again...

A Mind That Suits had jury duty today, so the next full edition will be tomorrow morning. A Mind That Suits has been empaneled, but not yet told if he will serve. Mercifully, the proceedings start tomorrow at 10. At the very least, two days of his timeoff from school have been taken up with his civic duties, but it is a small price to pay. When A Mind That Suits first drew jury duty, in 1988, he had to eat in the abysmal cafeteria in the basement of the DC Court House. The Court House is in the heart of the "new" Downtown, which is quite a successful effort to give life to an area that had always been something of a dead zone, just before Pennsylvannia Avenue reaches the Capitol grounds. However, the cost of lunch has risen with the neighborhood. Three or four years ago, A Mind That Suits went to the jury room with his driver's license, a book, and a $20 bill, figuring there was no place there to eat, then got hit with sticker shock when he sat down at a new restaurant and the cheapest item was a 9-dollar-and fifty-cent hamburger. "But," the bartender assured him, "it's made with Black Angus beef." "At those prices," replied A Mind That Suits, "it better be." Today he had two exceptional tacos with pork BBQ and two glasses of white wine, one ok, the other also exceptional He got out for only $36, including tax and tip. As he has not gone out in several weeks, he enjoyed himself immensely, but he is also happy that jury duty can only come once every two years.

The First Synthesizer. A friend, who runs the rambunctious Clubbeaux blog, has sent along this very funny storyabout a poll of worst Beatles covers ever. William Shatner's Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds is the winner, as it should be, but A Mind That Suits' attention was drawn to Number 6, "I Am The Walrus", as performed by Jim Carrey. The notable thing about this cover, which always sounded like a bad idea to A Mind That Suits even before it was recorded, was that it was part of the farewell album by George Martin, the Beatles' own producer.

There is no question that the Beatles would not have been the Beatles without George Martin. No one should ever downplay that. But, given his musical education, George Martin's solo success has been rather thin. He helped Paul McCartney twice, on two of Paul's best solo efforts, "Live and Let Die" and the album Tug of War, but those were still with a Beatle, even if one was by Wings and the other sounds as if it were by Wings. He also, (as Clubbeaux pointed out in a private e-mail,) did the recent Broadway album of Tommy. But...he also did a failed Cheap Trick album, though I am not sure how you can define a "failed" Cheap Trick album.

That's the point. A Mind That Suits has always maintained that Mr. Martin was a wonderful sounding board for them. When John Lennon wanted make it so that the listener "could hear...but not hear" the organ solo at the end of "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite", Mr. Martin remembered some experimental music he had heard about, and used the technique to realize John's idea. But it was John Lennon's idea. There are producers who can create great albums no matter who the nominal artist is. I am not sure that George Martin is one of them. He is, however, one of the greats, and he played midwife to a lot of great music. For that he should be honored over and over again, as he has been.

Europe Once Again Defines "Putting the Cart Before the Horse." The EU has asked its chief foreign affairs official to draft the beginnings of a joint foreign policy for the emerging Europe. It is well to remember that the European Council (the Prime Ministers of member countries) voted in the early 1990's to have a joint policy on the break-up of Yugoslavia, while meeting in Paris. Francois Mitterand voted to go along, said good-night to everybody, then drove out to Orly and flew to the Balkans on his own, not having told any of the other European leaders. And then there is Jacques Chirac's immortal comments about the new democracies of Eastern Europe, who "were not properly brought up" and "missed a good opportunity to shut up," all because they supported the war against France's trading partner Saddam Hussein. Those countries have not even joined the EU yet, but the upcoming Council meeting includes them all for the first time. Shouldn't the unified European foreign policy await a more unified Europe?

A Mind That Suits realizes this was a full edition. See you tomorrow.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 5:26 PM



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What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

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