People who don’t know blues music think it’s sad music, but it isn’t.

One of the first musicians I really loved was the legendary bluesman, BB King. I bought his album Live and Well, and got to see him play live twice. I have a poor memory but I still remember the last time I saw him play. My friend Christie and I went to see him at Nautica. The stage manager came out and told the audience BB was doing well and he was excited to be there but we needed to remember he wasn’t in great health. She didn’t want people to yell for him to keep playing and tire him out too much. People looked at each other blankly, not knowing what to expect. Then BB came out, waving the stage manager off as if she was a pesky house fly. He was still BB King, still had that voice and could play the guitar like nobody’s business.

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Advertisements from the turn of the century are often funny or even a bit shocking. Back then, there was no regulation governing what manufacturers could say when marketing their products. They could make wild claims of almost supernatural success without anything to back it up.

This was the case for Golden Specific, an elixir that was said to be the cure (the only cure) for alcoholism. Golden Specific was manufactured in Cincinnati, Ohio and marketed to women whose husbands drank. This particular ad stood out when because it goes a step beyond fantastic claims of success, by advising the buyers to administer it to their husbands by secretly spiking their coffee with it. Once in the subject’s system, some strange alchemy would take place and they would no longer want to drink. Like an anti-roofie.

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This is part 2 of a very American double-header!

Have you taken the 2020 census yet? I did a couple of weeks ago, and I was surprised by how short it was. I remember it being very long and detailed in 2010, with questions like, “Do you carpool to work? If so, how many people are in your car pool?” Why does the government need to know that much information about me. I still don’t know the answer to that but nevertheless census records are really fascinating.

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