Hello Friends, welcome to Friday Food for Thought. Every Friday I’ll help start your weekend by sharing four people, thoughts, or things that are on my mind this week. These may be books or movies, podcast suggestions, interesting people I follow on social media, music, products, or, well, anything. You may find interesting creativity boosts here, some conversation starters, or just a small dose of entertainment. Click here for my previous post. Feel free to share this with friends, or offer suggestions via the comments. Let’s begin!
1) She’s All That:
I’ve been revisiting some of Rhiannon Giddens’ albums this week and I’m always amazed at how one individual can accomplish so much. She is a vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, actor, composer, producer, and, as of 2020, artistic director of the arts and cultural exchange program Silkroad. As if that weren’t enough, she is about to publish a series of children’s books. I’m primarily familiar with Giddens’ music, which is so good that her take on the gospel standard Up Above My Head can even get a non-believer like me tapping his toes. Her recordings are too diverse to fit in any specific genre, which is one of many reasons she is such a joy to listen to. Many of Giddens’ recordings are available on CD and via digital download.
I begin nearly every day with a cup of hot tea, and one of my current favorites is the English Tea Store’s vanilla chai blend. In addition to the obvious vanilla, this chai is a base of black tea with cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and other spices. The caffeine content is rated as “medium,” but I find it to be a mellow addition to my morning. ETS offers a variety of chai teas, but as far as I can tell the vanilla chai is only offered in loose leaf form, so you’ll want a good tea strainer to go with it.
3) No Bridge Too Far:
Watching reruns of WKRP in Cincinnati as a youth, one image stood out among the montage of Cincinnati scenes during the opening theme song – a suspension bridge with towers very similar to those of the Brooklyn Bridge. It wasn’t until years later, when I read David McCullough’s The Great Bridge, that I learned the reason. John A. Roebling designed both the Brooklyn Bridge and Cincinnati’s Roebling Suspension Bridge. That’s only the beginning of the wealth of information in McCullough’s book, part of the pattern he established in books about Harry Truman, the Wright Brothers, John Adams, and many others. McCullough was an unabashed American patriot of the old school variety. Perhaps a life of relative privilege – Yale graduate and Skull and Bones member – made that easier, but in these times of alternate realities and diminishing freedom, we could do worse than enjoy the books of a writer who never stopped believing in our collective potential to build bridges that endure.
4) The One That We Wanted:
Like many adolescent males in the 1980s, Olivia Newton-John’s beauty had a lot to do with attracting me to her music. But the fact that songs like Deeper Than the Night, Hopelessly Devoted to You, and The Rumour hold up so well decades later reassures me that I at least recognized good music when I heard it. However frustrating the message of Grease (1978) might be, You’re the One That I Want is still one of the catchiest love songs ever recorded. And if Newton-John wanted her legacy to be one of positivity, we can be grateful that the wealth of music she gave us – 20+ studio albums and an assortment of soundtrack and live albums – will be there to help us carry on.
That’s all for this week. Have a good weekend!
This post contains NO affiliate links. All suggestions are based on my own personal experience, your experience may vary. Nothing herein is intended to serve as medical, legal, financial, or any other advice for which you should consult professionals and not some random guy on the Internet.