Patterico's Pontifications


Ric Ocasek, 1944 – 2019

Filed under: General — JVW @ 10:56 pm

[guest post by JVW]

When I was a teenaged boy growing up in my little Southwest town in the early 80s, you listened to one of two genres of music: country & western or rock & roll. The New Wave hadn’t quite made it to our corner of the world, apart from the handful of girls who had older sisters attending hip universities and were thus clued in to the Cure or the English Beat or other groups like that, and perhaps a few guys who wanted to hang out with those girls. As for the rest of us dudes, if it wasn’t Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin or Iron Maiden, then it had better be Johnny Cash or Alabama or George Strait. I confess that there wasn’t a whole lot of horizon-broadening going on in those formative years.

But for some reason even if you worshipped AC/DC or thought that Waylon & Willie was where it was at, it was perfectly acceptable to think that the Cars were a pretty cool group. For whatever reason, a bunch of small-town teenagers took to the quirky pop sound of these rather geeky guys, even if they did use synthesizers a little bit more than we thought necessary. Maybe we heard a little bit of heroic guitar playing from Elliot Easton, similar to what our idols like Tony Iommi and Jimmy Page were doing. Maybe we liked the weird and funny videos, especially the magnificent one for their big hit “You Might Think” which seemed to be in nonstop rotation on MTV (back when that station played music videos) for my entire freshman year. Maybe we just recall the scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High which made such great use of the band’s “Moving in Stereo” and therefore automatically loved the band by default. In any case, there was no shame in being a Cars fan, even if you were playing their cassette tape in your Sony Walkman in rotation with Ozzy, Bruce, or Dolly.

Until I saw his obituary earlier today, I had no idea that Cars guitarist and main lead singer Richard Theodore (“Ric”) Ocasek was 75 years old (six months younger than my mother) and that he and Cars bassist and occasional lead singer Benjamin Orr first started playing together in 1968, a year before I was born. They just seemed so perfectly Eighties to me that I can barely fathom that Ocasek actually predates the Baby Boomers and that by the time the band was at its commercial zenith he had reached middle age. The Cars came together as a band sometime in the bicentennial year of 1976, and they didn’t last beyond 1988, the year I graduated from high school and set out for college. They had one brief reunion in 2010-11 which produced a new album and a tour, though Orr’s death ten years earlier had left a large hole in the original lineup, and then once again went their separate ways. In a year where both the Rolling Stones and the Who have celebrated their 55-plus year anniversaries with massive world tours, the relative brevity of the Cars’ run is notable and perhaps in its own way poetic.

Ric Ocasek fronted one of the most memorable bands of the New Wave era with a catalog of catchy tunes, pretty much all of which are love songs which is ironic considering the band came off as so arch and emotionally detached. He married one of the most beautiful supermodels of the day, making him a role model for geeky boys going through that seemingly never-ending awkward phase. He had the good sense not to join the new model of the band after Orr died, showing respect for the Cars’ past and refusing to cash in for a quick buck. When he did get the original guys (minus Orr) back together, he did so the right way: by first recording a new album rather than flogging the reunion as an oldies act with a four-week residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. And whenever I hear his music to this day, a part of me is once again that fifteen-year-old kid with his whole life ahead of him. May he rest in peace.

You might have forgot
The journey ends
You tied your knots
And you made your friends
You left the scene
Without a trace
One hand on the ground
One hand in space


Refighting Lost Battles

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:19 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Since I see this is being discussed on the open thread, I thought I would start a new post. Saddled with a Congressional agenda that is going nowhere so long as the GOP controls the Senate and the White House, and given a bunch of Democrat candidates who are, to some degree or other, senile, phony, or nuts (My Little Aloha Sweetie exempted, silly though her economic platform may be), the academia/media/entertainment blob that controls progressive thought in this country has decided to refight the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. You can follow the details without giving the crappy New York Times a pageview at the following links:

John McCormack at National Review Online

John Hinderaker at Powerline

Roger Kimball at Spectator USA

Naturally, most of the major reprobates running in the donkey party primary want to impeach Justice Kavanaugh for allegedly lying during his Senate testimony. What’s to be said about a party so brain-dead, so unmoored, so desperate that they have to recycle last year’s losing campaign in order to try and unite their party?


Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 184

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost. Today’s Bach cantata is “Erwünschtes Freudenlicht” (Desired light of joy).

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 15:1-10:

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

The Parable of the Lost Coin

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words:

Desired light of joy,
which dawns with the new covenant
through Jesus our Shepherd!
We, who previously wandered in the valleys of death,
now richly experience
how God has sent to us the long-desired Shepherd,
who feeds our souls
and turns our heading through word and spirit
onto the right path.
We, His chosen people, feel His power;
in His hand alone is what provides our nourishment,
what powerfully strengthens our hearts.
He loves us, His flock,
who recognize His comfort and companionship.
He leads them away from vanities, from the earth,
to look upon Him
and to trust in His favor for all times.
O Shepherd, so to give Yourself for Your flock,
who loves them even to the grave and death!

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

UPDATE: I initially gave the wrong Gospel reading: John 3:13-17, which was the reading for yesterday and not today. My apologies.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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