A number of interesting birthdays today: Ann Wilson, of the rock group Heart, in 1951; actresses Kathleen Turner (1949) and Phylicia Rashad (1948); Salman Rushdie, author of Satanic Verses, 1947.
Also born on this day, in 1935, Tommy Devito, guitarist with the Four Seasons. I see where the film version of the play Jersey Boys, based on the story of the Four Seasons, one of the great 60s groups, is hitting the theaters this weekend. One of the big problems with movies about rock and roll is that the vast majority have been made by people who don’t understand rock and roll. The Jersey Boys book is by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice and the music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe, and they’re all rock and roll guys, but the director is Clint Eastwood, more of a jazz guy. Now maybe back in the early 6os when he was playing Rowdy on Rawhide, Eastwood really dug the Four Seasons, who knows? Jon Favreau was to direct the movie originally . . . that I could see. Unfortunately, I’m not holding out much hope for this film. I have liked a few of Eastwood’s directorial efforts, but I think he makes too many of them just for the money.
Other birthdays include, in 1903, Lou Gehrig aka “The Iron Horse,” immortal first baseman for the New York Yankees, and in 1897, Moe Howard, and I shouldn’t have to tell you what group he was in . . . but just in case, here’s a clue: “Oh, a wise guy, eh?”
Last but not least: Aung San Suu Kyi was born June 19th, 1945. She has taken some flak lately about the situation in Burma. Some feel she should be more outspoken. I shared my opinion about that here.
In an interview last March at the Irrawaddy Literary Festival she was asked, “I’ve learned to understand Buddhism is a peaceful and serene religion. But how does Buddhism play out politically?”
Suu Kyi gave this response:
I don’t think Christians are quite Christian in their political lives. So Buddhists are not necessarily Buddhist in their political life, or even in social life. People ask me, ‘Are you a Buddhist?’ My answer would be I’m studying to be one, to be a better Buddhist. I’d like to say I’m a good Buddhist, but I’m not in a position to say I’m a good Buddhist as I’m trying to learn to be one . . .
Meditation has taught me tremendous awareness of getting annoyed, getting tired and feeling better. I meditate unless I’m lazy or tired, mostly once a week . . .
I was born into a Buddhist family. Buddhism is rooted in a practical cause. It’s about the discovery of what the human mind and human beings are like. The more I meditated, the more I learned of how true to life Buddhist teachings were.
For example, I’m very fond of the teaching that explains how to distinguish a good man from a bad man. A bad man always exaggerates his good points and minimizes the good points of others. A good man does it the other way around. And a bad man will always exaggerate everything people say to him in gratitude. It’s a very simple bit of teaching. I’ve found that very human. And believe me, I can tell a good man from a bad man.”
Here is the full article.
Finally, this song is sung by the guy who plays Frankie Valli on the soundtrack of Jersey Boys, but there is no substitute for the original: