A Simple Bumper Sticker Says It All: Don’t Postpone Joy

My adopted home of Asheville, North Carolina continues to make lists for best of this and best of that, which makes some people happy (particularly those in the tourism and real estate industries). There are others among us who would prefer to be a bit further off the grid.

However, one list the town hasn’t made—as far as I know and assuming there is such a list—is as the place with the most cars bearing multiple bumper stickers. There are vehicles on the streets here on which literally the entire rear is covered with all manner of messages in an array of colors. It may well be part of the eclectic, bohemian joie de vivre here in which letting your freak flag fly is both condoned and encouraged. Or maybe it’s just a subtle, and not so subtle, way to make your feelings visible. And, like a good quote, the quick, pithy bumper sticker message may have more clout and perhaps even produces more contemplation.

There’s one I hadn’t run across previously, but seems to abound here: “Don’t Postpone Joy.” I can’t say how many times I’d probably seen it before I actually paused and considered the sentiment. Continue reading

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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Wants (Sorta) Your Input (Kinda) on 2013 Inductees

For the first time in its history, the supreme rulers of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have decided to allow input from the humble listening public on the 15 nominees for induction in 2013. To accomplish this, an online fan poll has been posted that allows the public to “vote for the five nominees they believe to be most deserving of induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

The five nominees receiving the most votes by the December 3 deadline will comprise a “fans’ ballot” that will be tallied with other ballots to select the 2013 inductees. Which sounds pretty good until you dig a bit deeper and discover this will be just one of the more than 600 others submitted by artists, historians and music-industry executives. That means our humble ballot—the fans—will count a bit less than 1% of the total. According to Terry Stewart, the hall’s president, “This is not ever going to be American Idol, no matter how much some people want it to be. But we thought it was important for fans to have a way to express themselves and for it to have some legitimacy.”

While the concept of “some legitimacy” leaves something to be desired, it’s better than sitting back and wondering just what goes on behind the scenes in this sometimes baffling process. Like 2011, for example, in which Leon Russell was finally inducted, but not as a “performer” but as a “sideman.” Okay, Leon is, without doubt, one of the finest and most versatile session players in the business. But his songwriting, solo career, and participation and influence on some of rock and roll’s greatest albums certainly deserve recognition as a “performer.” After all, the Hall of Fame says its process considers “factors such as an artist’s musical influence on other artists, length and depth of career and the body of work, innovation and superiority in style and technique, but musical excellence shall be the essential qualification of induction.” Continue reading