Jim Hightower Is Just One of Us

Jim HightowerOn this day in 1503, the great Italian Mannerist painter Parmigianino was born. He was a master, but a bizarre one. He was known for his physical distortions of forms. For example, the highly stylized Madonna with the Long Neck, presents the Virgin Mary with an almost giraffe neck. The Vision of Saint Jerome shows Jesus as awkwardly tall and Jerome with a very long finger.

The Norwegian composer Christian Sinding was born in 1856. He is best known for his lyrical piano compositions. They can be overwhelming. A good example of this is Rustle of Spring, which would probably drive you crazy if it were twice as long. But as it is, it’s kind of cool:

The great Russian composer Reinhold Gliere was born in 1875. He is especially known for his ballets. Like many Russian composers of that time, he used a lot of folk melodies, which may explain the enduring charm of this work. A good example of this is Russian Sailor’s Dance:

The great Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann was born in 1906. He is best known for the original synthesis of LSD. On 16 November 2013, the 75th anniversary of the first synthesis of the drug, I wrote:

It’s a big day in drug history. Seventy-five years ago, Albert Hofmann synthesized lysergic acid diethylamide, better known as LSD. I remember a story (possibly apocryphal) dating back to the 1970s. On the first day of Introduction to Chemistry, a certain professor would walk in and write on the chalk board:


He would then say, “This is the chemical formula for LSD. I don’t want to be asked for the rest of the year!” Of course, it would take at least another year of chemistry to gain the skills in organic chemistry to learn how to make it. In his way, Hofmann was as much an advocate for the drug as was Timothy Leary. And he was so right up to his death a few years ago at the age of 102.

Other birthdays: pathologist James Paget (1814); botanist Joseph Charles Arthur (1850); Munich School Greek painter Georgios Jakobides (1853); the great American sculptor Alexander Stirling Calder (1870); physicist G W Pierce (1872); Australian painter Nora Heysen (1911); science fiction writer Jerome Bixby (1923); television producer David Wolper (1928); guitarist Lee Ritenour (62); and actor Amanda Peet (42).

The day, however, belongs to the great political humorist Jim Hightower who is 71 today. I still enjoy reading his column at the back of every issue of The Progressive. In addition to being very funny, he’s also very insightful. He’s responsible for two of my favorite lines. He was the first person to reference “trickle-down economics” as “tinkle-down economics,” as I discussed in Pee on Me. And he also said that Bush the Junior was “born on third base, thought he had hit a triple.” Here he is ten years ago on The Daily Show:

Happy birthday Jim Hightower!

0 thoughts on “Jim Hightower Is Just One of Us

  1. Oh. Subscribe to "The Progressive", eh? That’s a depressing little magazine. Quite good, I think. Sad, though. Just a litany of "this sucks" and "that sucks" and "by the way, this sucks more." It’s like, once a month, Chris Hedges coming into my very poor apartment building and screaming, "you think THIS is poor? See who has it worse! Look at it! Bad dog! Bad! You are a privileged colossal dick!"

    I do like Ruth Coniff’s attempts to focus on helping out schools and educating readers about what "school reform" really means. We’ll see where that goes. It’s an important thing to try and organize around. I never knew Bill Gates was such an utter assbag shitheel (I suspected it, but had no data.)

    Once a year, "The Progressive" asks for money, like Tiny Tim. And, once a year, I pony up. I could do without Terry Tempest-Williams, but, as Hedges would remind me, I am a dick.

  2. @JMF – No, I read both [i]The Progressive[/i] and [i]The Nation[/i] at the library. And online. The only thing I subscribe to is FAIR’s [i]Extra![/i] I feel bad about it, but I really have to be careful until some money starts flowing, which I hope will be soon.

    There were a couple of years that I was fooled by the Gates too. But they are typical conservative assholes and on educational reform, they are a big money part of the problem.

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