A Song When Hope Dims: Pete Seeger And The Napalm Ladies

I think I was twelve when my parents gave me a new Pete Seeger lp. They knew I loved his music; I’d listened over and over to “We Shall Overcome: The Carnegie Hall Concert” and knew most of the songs, or at least their lyrics, by heart. I’d memorized most of the songs on the “Children’s Concert at Town Hall,” and forty years later I can get a good laugh from any kid by singing “Where have you been all the day long, Henry my boy?” with its gross, lugubrious “greeeeeeeeen and yeller” chorus.

But this was a new disc, and I’m quite sure my folks just went into the store and grabbed something off the shelf. After all, Pete had a lot of albums, and they were all pretty much the same, right?

Well, actually, no.

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On Consumerism and Daddying

I am alone.

My wife and daughter are in India, dealing with the recent passing of my father-in-law. The past two weeks have been hysterical; as the stay-at-home-and-work component of our marital pair, I’ve been responsible for organizing tickets, organizing passport renewals (thanks to Ed Markey’s office for their support!) and emergency visa authorizations. And, because I have massive amounts of work (including a Very Important Concert), I couldn’t go with them.

I am, instead, trying to clean and straighten the house, so that when they return in mid-summer there is order instead of uproar. Which means that I’m currently dealing with a problematic epiphenomenon of 21st-Century American Childhood. To wit, a serious stuffed toy problem.

My daughter is five, and I think her teddy-bear count is somewhere in the low thirties, with stuffed penguins running close behind. How in Sam Hill did this happen?

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