An interview with legendary blues man B.B. King shows there's more to miss than his music.

Did you know B.B. King nearly died for his guitar?

He told the story to Joe Smith in a 1986 interview, which was animated for the episode of PBS's "Blank on Blank" above. It was in his early touring days. He'd just finished a set in an Arkansas club when a fight broke out, causing a fire. It wasn't until he reached safety that he realized he'd left his guitar behind, so he ran back in to retrieve it.


All GIFs via "Blank on Blank."

After his narrow escape, he learned that the conflict was between two men fighting over a woman whose name he adopted for his now iconic six-string, "Lucille."

Gibson Custom B.B. King Lucille. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Why risk his life for a guitar? Well, his music wasn't just a hobby. It was who he was.

King came into this world in a place and time that wasn't easy for the black community. He was born in a small Mississippi town in 1925, when Jim Crow was the rule of the South, and the country had decades to go before the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Image via Heinrich Klaffs/Flickr.

But that experience made his — and other southern blues greats' — rise to fame possible. The distinct, emotive sound of southern blues was an evolution of music rooted in a legacy of racism and oppression. And blues music was an important cultural movement that helped break down racial barriers in the U.S. as it earned its place in the mainstream.

But blues music, according to King, isn't just for southern black folks.

"This is kind of how blues began — out of feeling misused, mistreated. Feeling like they had nobody to turn to. Blues don't necessarily have to be sung by a person that came from Mississippi, as I did, because there are people having problems all over the world." — B.B. King

King's goal at every show was to make his music a truly uniting force.

"When I go on the stage each night, I try my best to outguess my audience. And I like to feel in most cases like I'm a big guy with long rubber arms that I can reach around my audience and swing and sway with them, move them with me." — B.B. King

King moved and inspired people young and old (myself included) until the day he passed.

He became known as "King of the Blues." And while he was a master of his craft, it was his ethic and humility that drew people in and will do so for generations to come.

Image via 5gig/Flickr.

"I don't like to feel that I owe anything. I like to feel that I paid my own way. No free lunch. And when people give me all these great compliments, I thank them but still go back to my room to practice. ... I am not inventing anything that's going to stop cancer or muscular dystrophy. But I like to feel that my time and talent is always there for the people that need it." — B.B. King
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As part of its promise for a brighter world, Dole is partnering with Bye Bye Plastic Bags's efforts to bring sunshine to all.

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Who would have thought that giving the world access to all human knowledge via the internet, the ability to follow and hear from experts on any subject via social media, and the ability to see what's happening anywhere in the world via smartphones with cameras would result in a terrifying percentage of the population believing and spouting nothing but falsehoods day in and day out?

Those of us who value facts, reason, and rational thought have found ourselves at some of our fellow citizens and thinking, "Really? THIS is how you choose to use the greatest tool humanity has ever created? To spew unfounded conspiracy theories?"

It's a marvel, truly.

Between Coronavirus/Bill Gates/5G conspiracies and QAnon/Evil Cabal/Pedophile conspiracies, I thought we were pretty much full up on kooky for 2020. But apparently not. The massive fires up and down the West Coast have ignited even more conspiracy theories, some of which local law enforcement and even the FBI have had to debunk.

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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

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Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

It sounds like a ridiculous, sensationalist headline, but it's real. In Cheshire County, New Hampshire, a transsexual, anarchist Satanist has won the GOP nomination for county sheriff. Aria DiMezzo, who refers to herself as a "She-Male" and whose campaign motto was "F*** the Police," ran as a Republican in the primary. Though she ran unopposed on the ballot, according to Fox News, she anticipated that she would lose to a write-in candidate. Instead, 4,211 voters filled in the bubble next to her name, making her the official Republican candidate for county sheriff.

DiMezzo is clear about why she ran—to show how "clueless the average voter is" and to prove that "the system is utterly and hopelessly broken"—stances that her win only serves to reinforce.

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Katie Neeves (L) photo by Jayne Walsh, JK Rowling (R) photo by Sjhill, CC BY-SA 3.0

Dear JK Rowling,

I am writing this letter to say a big thank you to you. You may think it strange that a gobby trans woman such as me would wish to thank you after all your recent transphobic outpourings, but let me explain…

I certainly don't thank you for your lengthy essay last month where you describe the abuse you have suffered (for which you have my sympathy) and in which you stated that you do not hate trans people, while at the same time peddling even more anti-trans mis-information. Sadly, your diatribe directly caused some trans children to self-harm and other to attempt suicide.

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