As fate would have it, we were walking down St. Charles Street in New Orleans on Thursday when I happened to glance in a shop window and saw on the TV screen that Dr. John had died.
I actually met the Night Tripper back in the early ’00s, when I was working at the Lake Merritt Hotel in Oakland. Yoshi’s Jazz Club often put their guests up at the Lake Merritt , which was a funky old art-deco place well-suited to musicians and other degenerates. The Dr. spent about a week there. He was very nice and frail-looking even then.
The day after his passing a second line was organized — if that’s the word — starting at Kermit’s Mother-in-Law Lounge in the Treme. It was there that I saw this sign:
That’s a reference to a song from Dr. John’s 2012 album Locked Down, which coincidentally I had listened to earlier in the day. It’s a good one.
And it’s true, of course. There will never be another like him.
We are all caterpillars and it is our misfortune that, in defiance of nature, we cling with all our strength to our condition, to our caterpillar appetites, caterpillar passions, caterpillar metaphysics, and caterpillar societies. Only in our outward physical appearance do we bear to the observer who suffers from psychic shortsightedness any resemblance whatsoever to adults; the rest of us remain stubbornly larval. Well, I have very good reasons for believing (indeed if I didn’t there’d be nothing for it but to go off and dangle from the end of a rope) that man can reach the adult stage, that a few of us already have, and that those few have not kept the knack to themselves.
Turns out reports of my iPod’s demise were greatly exaggerated. It was the outlet the electrician had killed, as I discovered when I tried to plug in a replacement speaker. When retrieved from where it was lying in state and supplied with electricity, the iPod sprung right back to life.
This week saw the demise of not only the great Aretha Franklin (of whom more later) but also my ancient and decrepit iPod, a gift from my stepfather back in 20(??) [this information not available] — engraved with my name and the URL of this very blog, no less.
For the last few years, after its battery died, it lived in the dock of a small speaker in the bathroom. But it continued to serve, providing shower music a couple times a week. Last Monday, though, the electrician working on our kitchen shut off the power for several hours. Apparently the electricity had been providing life support for the iPod, which did not revive when the juice was restored.
No tears need be shed — it had a good run. But we shall not see its like again, that’s for sure.
So this morning I was reading a Serious News story on the New York Times about the uneasy alliance between Israel’s Netanyahu government and evangelical Christians, who don’t really like each other but find it convenient to work together in pursuit of their respective goals. But shallow person that I am, it was the following paragraph that really caught my attention:
“You have this evangelical who ends his prayer knowing full well that it’s inappropriate, that the Jews there are going to be upset that he did that, and not able to answer ‘amen’ to his prayer,” said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. Such an explicitly Christian prayer, he warned, revived old fears of many Jews that evangelical support for Israel is “a way to sweeten us up and get us soft to get Jesus through the back door.”