“So It Goes” and Kurt Vonnegut 1922 November 11th


Kurt Vonnegut, born on 1922 November 11th, whose dark comic talent and urgent moral vision in novels like “Slaughterhouse-Five,” “Cat’s Cradle” and “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater” caught the temper of his times and the imagination of a generation.  He was known, but not famous, when he took a two-year teaching position at the University of Iowa.  The Writers’ Workshop would become known and so would Vonnegut.

The house on the Iowa campus (see above) would become a lighthouse for student writers and those who sought to teach them.  Among his rules for writers, Kurt Vonnegut counseled: “Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.”

Vonnegut’s honesty, his willingness to scoff at assumed wisdom, is such that reading his work for the first time gives one the notion that everything else is rank hypocrisy. His opinion of human nature was dubious, and that low opinion applied to his heroes and his villains alike — he was continually disappointed in humanity and in himself, and he gave voice to that disappointment in a mixture of black humor and great despair. He could easily have become an old nutter, but he was too smart; he could have become a foolish clown, but there was something tender in his nature that he could never quite suppress; he could have become irrelevant, but even at his most despairing he had an endless willingness to entertain his readers.

Vonnegut’s tenure at the University of Iowa 1965 to 1967 was a wonderful time for the young writers on the Iowa City campus.  Also, it was a smashing time for rock music with multiple influences of the mid-1960’s being played on the radio.  Our playlist of songs from 1965 in tribute to Kurt Vonnegut at Iowa City (along with his quotes) is as follows:

Ferry Cross the Mersey – Stereo; 1997 Remaster
Gerry & The Pacemakers

“I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’” —A Man Without A Country

I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie)     Stop! In The Name Of Love – Single Version
     Four Tops                                                        The Supremes

My Girl                                              Help Me, Rhonda – Remastered
      The Temptations                                          The Beach Boys

Tired of Waiting for You
The Kinks

“If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph: ‘The only proof he needed for the existence of God was music.’” —A Man Without A Country

Mr. Tambourine Man
The Byrds

Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag                      The Game Of Love
   James Brown & The Famous Flames                  Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders

Jolly Green Giant                       Seventh Son
      The Kingsmen                               Johnny Rivers

There is no order in the world around us, we must adapt ourselves to the requirements of chaos instead.” —Breakfast of Champions

Like a Rolling Stone
Bob Dylan

For Your Love              You’ve Got Your Troubles
The Yardbirds                         The Fortunes

“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning do to do afterward.”

Laugh Laugh
The Beau Brummels

She’s About A Mover – Re-recorded 1968          Shake
     Sir Douglas Quintet                                               Sam Cooke

Nowhere To Run – Single                              Love Potion Number Nine – Stereo Version
       Martha Reeves & The Vandellas                         The Searchers

 “And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”———-A Man Without a Country

Hang On Sloopy
The McCoys

We Gotta Get Out Of This Place – UK Single              I Go to Pieces
        The Animals                                                                           Peter And Gordon

The Last Time – Mono                                  The Boy from New York City
       The Rolling Stones                                              The Ad Libs



I Like it Like That – 2019 – Remaster
The Dave Clark Five

Keep Searchin’ (We’ll Follow the Sun)         How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)
         Del Shannon                                                               Marvin Gaye

Treat Her Right                                                       Shotgun
         Roy Head & The Traits                                            Jr. Walker & The All Stars

Science is magic that works.” —Cats Cradle

Do You Believe in Magic?
The Lovin’ Spoonful

Ticket To Ride – Remastered 2009                  Silhouettes
          The Beatles                                                             Herman’s Hermits

You Turn Me On                         The Birds And The Bees
          Ian Whitcomb                                        Jewel Akens

“That is my principal objection to life, I think: It’s too easy, when alive, to make perfectly horrible mistakes.”  —Deadeye Dick

I’ll Never Find Another You
          The Seekers

You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ – Single           The Tracks Of My Tears – Single
        The Righteous Brothers                                          Smokey Robinson & The Miracles


Wooly Bully
             Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs



A Horse Called Music & Will Rogers born 1879 November 4th


His vaudeville and Broadway parts, Saturday Evening Post columns, books such as The Cowboy Philosopher On Prohibition.

Will Rogers was born into a rich ranching family on November 4, 1879 in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). Part Cherokee, Rogers related at once with both the native Americans and the settlers to which he belonged. As a young man, Rogers’ bright and smart nature often got him into misfortune. He switched from school to school until setting off in his late teens to travel and find employment. His early years on the ranch had qualified him well and before long he found work in a number of traveling Wild West Shows.

Franklin D. Roosevelt credited him with bringing his fellow Americans “back to a sense of proportion.” He was a ranch hand, rodeo rider, vaudeville performer, film star, columnist and author, radio personality, pioneer of aviation, tireless master of ceremonies, friend to presidents, and unofficial ambassador of good will under three administrations. He was Will Rogers, and during his era he was the single most widespread and adored man in America.



Far From Any Road
The Handsome Family

A man that don’t love a horse, there is something the matter with him.

A Horse Called Music
      Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard

No man is great if he thinks he is.

I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal (But I’m Gonna Be a Diamond Someday)
     Billy Joe Shaver

If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door – Remastered
     Bob Dylan

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment

Bull Rider
     Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell

I joked about every prominent man in my lifetime, but I never met one I didn’t like.

Are There Any Cowboys Left (In the Good Ol’ USA)?
     Lacy J. Dalton

It is better for some one to think you’re a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

As Good As I Once Was
     Toby Keith

We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others.

Stranger In A Strange Land
     Leon Russell, The Shelter People

Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.

Dropkick Me, Jesus
     Bobby Bare

Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.

Cosmic Cowboy (Part 1)
     Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

A Complex Legacy of Destruction and Peace, Alfred Nobel born 1833 October 21st


Alfred Nobel was a Swedish chemist and the inventor of dynamite, who established the Nobel Prize.

Alfred Nobel was born on 21 October 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden. His father was an engineer and inventor. In 1842, Nobel’s family moved to Russia where his father had opened an engineering firm providing equipment for the Tsar’s armies. In 1850, Nobel’s father sent him abroad to study chemical engineering. His education turned out to be a “dynamite” idea.  During a two-year period, Nobel visited Sweden, Germany, France and the United States. He returned to Sweden in 1863 with his father after the family firm went bankrupt.

Back in Sweden, Nobel devoted himself to the study of explosives. He was particularly interested in the safe manufacture and use of nitro-glycerine, a highly unstable explosive. The danger of the work was obvious. Nobel’s brother Emil had been killed in a nitro-glycerine explosion in 1864.  He was not deterred.  In fact, he wanted to find a “safe” explosive.   Nobel incorporated nitro-glycerine into silica, an inert substance, which made it safer and easier to manipulate. This he patented in 1867 under the name of ‘dynamite’. Dynamite established Nobel’s fame and was soon used in blasting tunnels, cutting canals and building railways and roads all over the world. Nobel went on to invent a number of other explosives.

In the 1870s and 1880s, Nobel built up a network of factories all over Europe to manufacture explosives. In 1894, he bought an ironworks at Bofors in Sweden that became the nucleus of the well-known Bofors arms factory. Although he lived in Paris, Nobel travelled widely. He continued to work in his laboratory, inventing a number of synthetic materials and by the time of his death he had registered 355 patents.  The last place that he would spend any time was the location of his explosive plant.

In November 1895, Nobel signed his will providing for the establishment of the Nobel Prizes. He set aside the bulk of his huge fortune to establish annual prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace. An Economics Prize was added later.

Nobel died at his home in Italy on 10 December 1896. He is buried in Stockholm.  His legacy is a complicated one.  On the one hand, he is known for his fortune gained through the manufacture of explosives which have contributed to warfare.  On the other hand, his bequeath of upon his death