Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Jerry & JB

I know, I know. It sounds like a '70s action show starring a trucker and his sassy pet orangutang. But Jerry and JB are the two icons of that decade who've just passed on.

My memories of President Gerald Ford are fairly thin. He's the first president I really remember, dating from a 1976 mock election in my kindergarten, in which I cast my very first ballot for Ford. Why, I can't remember. I seem to remember thinking he looked more like my father. Maybe it was the golf clothes. Whatever it was, I chalk up the folly of voting for the Republican candidate as a youthful indiscretion. I was four. Cut me some slack.

I don't really remember James Brown from that decade, as his best work was just behind him, and it would take "Living in America" in Rocky IV to bring him back to the public eye. I quickly became a fan then, plunking down a lot of my hard-earned rock dolar on the 4-CD Star Time collection -- my first and still my best box-set purchase -- and then following up with everything I could get my hands on. It's fitting that JB passed away on Christmas, since he used to issue a great Christmas single every season, ranging from nice soul classics like "Merry Christmas, Baby" to militant original tunes like "Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto."

Both men were survivors, with Jerry shrugging off not one, but two assassination attempts in a single month and the crappy impersonations of Chevy Chase, and JB overcoming the Disco Era and several sad run-ins with the law and his ladies. Rest in peace, boys. Lord knows you've earned it.

Please feel free to drop your own memories and memorials to Jerry and/or JB in the comments.

Also, as we all know, celebrities die in threes, and more often than not, they're related. So let's start the ghoulish speculation -- who's going to round out this '70s triumverate? My money's on slick Hollywood producer Robert Evans. Will the kid stay in the picture? Stay tuned!


Thrillhous said...

I vaguely understand that Jerry and JB were both important to America, but neither meant much to me.

Hey, didn't Pinochet have his best days in the 70s? Maybe that was early 80s.

Otto Man said...

It's alright to be vague on Ford, but if you insist on flaunting your lack of JB love, we might just have to deport you.

Anonymous said...

I liked Ford, although not some of those he surrounded himself with. I voted for Carter. Still, Ford was one Republican I would've been comfortable seeing win if things had worked out that way in'76.

In retrospect, considering the Republican presidents we've had since, Ford was a rare gem — honest, decent, pragmatic and goodhearted.

Maybe they did break the mold when they made him.

Studiodave said...

Thrillhous, I know you are dilusional with lack of sleep - but there is no excuse to take it out on JB.

The man was amazing.

If I had 1/1000th of his funk, I would be more talented than 98% of the bands out there today.

If you ever wonder what life would be like without his influence - just listen to Anne Murray' "Super White Christmas" and compare to James Brown's "Funky Christmas".

Life is a little more boring with JB gone. I would do a highball in remberence, but I just ain't that funky.

Ford = white, old, nice. Michigan football. That's all I got.

Mike said...


We had one of those fake elections in my kindergarten class too. But, being the old fart I am, this was the '72 Election (wonder who the Liddy was in my class).

Anyhow, I pulled the lever for Tricky Dick, because somehow he looked cooler in his picture than McGovern did. How did that work? I have no idea.

Anyway, Nixon lost the kindergarten election, thus beginning my horrific presidential election losing streak (Clinton being the only streak-breaker, and I didn't even like him).

The next to go, to complete the triple: Dick Cheney, as in TRIPLE bypass. He worked for Ford, and he's committed far more serious crimes that the Godfather of Soul.

He's also scarier looking than Brigit Nielsson, thus bringing in the Rocky connection that both JB and Jerry share (bad third sequel and VP).

Otto Man said...

Cheney's a bold prediction. With the Democrats taking control and his lesbian daughter pregnant, this might just be his time to go.

Otto Man said...

Steve Benen subbing over at Washington Monthly, cites a new revelation in a WaPo piece:

Former president Gerald R. Ford said in an embargoed interview in July 2004 that the Iraq war was not justified. "I don't think I would have gone to war," he said a little more than a year after President Bush launched the invasion advocated and carried out by prominent veterans of Ford's own administration.

In a four-hour conversation at his house in Beaver Creek, Colo., Ford "very strongly" disagreed with the current president's justifications for invading Iraq and said he would have pushed alternatives, such as sanctions, much more vigorously. In the tape-recorded interview, Ford was critical not only of Bush but also of Vice President Cheney -- Ford's White House chief of staff -- and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who served as Ford's chief of staff and then his Pentagon chief.

"Rumsfeld and Cheney and the president made a big mistake in justifying going into the war in Iraq. They put the emphasis on weapons of mass destruction," Ford said. "And now, I've never publicly said I thought they made a mistake, but I felt very strongly it was an error in how they should justify what they were going to do."

Ford was pro-ERA, pro-gay marriage, and anti-Iraq. That kind of man used to represent the Republican party.

teh l4m3 said...

What a coincidence! Most Republicans vote with the minds of 4-year olds...