Saturday, December 18, 2010

Condi Rice's 60's and Jimmy Page's 70's

I have come to realize that at 54 (it's my birthday today) my post-doctoral edcation comes through the form of audiobooks.  I am listening to less music and instead forging into bio's on some interesting and great individuals.

Here's the tie to the master competitor lifestyle:  Give it a try and get into a good audiobook during your runs and gym time. Many are available from your local library through a format called Overdrive. It's a wealth of knowledge, just earplugs away through your MP3 player.

Rice's book "Extraordinary, Ordinary People" (which she personally narrates) is an enticing read.  In many instances it's more about the state of the south than her personal life.  She paints a first-person account of the late 1950's and 1960's in greater Birmingham, Alabama.  Segregation was at its height and violence occurred just down the street from her home.

Condi recounts the Baptist church bombing where four young girls were killed.  She was at the funeral and remembers the small white coffins going out of the church.She writes in detail of the waiting room at her mother's doctor's office, up the back stairs to a paint-peeled room with wooden benches.

Rice posits that a unified cry went up out of the black south when John F. Kennedy was shot and murdered, most fearing his death would also kill the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

It's hard to imagine the United States as a "Christian" nation, with these acts on the forefront of society.  Rice went on the be a great musician, ice skater (didn't know that one, did you?), academic and of course a top appointed official in our U.S. government.

Mick Wall, a long-time journalist who was part of the 70's rock scene, presents a highly detailed look into the life and times of Led Zeppelin in "When Giants Walked the Earth."

Zeppelin was a big part of my teenage life, as I'm a product of the 1970's rebellious, heavy-metal era. If you're into the long version of how Page left Jeff Beck's the Yardbirds and moved on to find John Paul Jones, John Bonham and of course Robert Plant, you'll hang on almost every word.

Bottom line, this listen left a sour taste in my mouth.  These bad boys of rock lived a hedonistic, narcissistic version of life, where rules didn't count and accountability was seldom found in any situation.  The low point of the book is a recounting of how Bonham, in his normal state of drunkenness, walked over to a woman in a restaurant and punched her in the face...for smiling at him.

Really bad stuff, really good music, but the lessen learned is that life must be about overall respect for others over self.  This was the 1970's; I liked it then, I don't so much like it now.

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