Hot Air: Beatification

Now Then

Let’s start off with some quotes about thinking, writing, and being.

You should work to reduce your biases, but to say you have none is a sign that you have many.

— Nate Silver

Truth to tell, it is a lot better to have written a book than to actually be writing one.

— Joseph Epstein

There lurks, perhaps, in every human heart a desire of distinction, which inclines every man to hope, and then to believe, that nature has given to himself something peculiar to himself.”

— Samuel Johnson

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Silver, Epstein & Johnson, Attorneys At Life

Holy Molars

You want a saint? I’ll give you a saint.

His name is Greg Nycz. NPR’s Morning Edition today had a piece on the chain of dental clinics he started in rural Wisconsin. The report mentioned one 2014 study that showed a quarter of Americans don’t get dental care because they can’t afford it. Even if someone’s on federal medical assistance, they won’t get access to dental care because the vast majority of dentists don’t accept Medicaid. To top it all off, dentists are rarer than, well…, hen’s teeth in rural America.

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So this fellow Nycz, who was executive director of a chain of medical clinics for the poor in Wiscoinsin, got the brainchild to start a similar chain for dental care after hearing of the agony many poor people went through when their teeth were rotting out of their heads. He tells of one woman with whom he spoke over the telephone whose kid was screaming and sobbing from pain in the background. The mom couldn’t afford a dentist. When telling the story, Nycz chokes up.

He started the first dental clinic for the poor in Wisconsin in 2003. There are now 10 such centers; they can serve 60,000 patients a year.

Do yourself a favor and listen to the report — or at least read the Morning Edition website’s recap of it. It’ll do your heart good.

Struttin’

It’s fun to trace the evolution of a hit. Here’s one of the great one-hit wonders of all time, “Soulful Strut,” by Young-Holt Unlimited. A couple of former members of Ramsey Lewis’s jazz trio, Eldee Young and Red Holt, formed YHU along with a number of third parties to complete the new trio. “Soulful Strut” charted during Christmas season, 1968.

The song originally had been recorded in 1966 by Barbara Acklin under the title “Am I the Same Girl.” That record’s producer, for reasons unknown, removed her vocal track and replaced it with a piano track, resulting in the single credited to Young-Holt Unlimited under the different title two years later.

The song had been written by Eugene Record (yep, that was his name), who was the lead singer of the Chi-Lites. He and Barbara Acklin had co-written one of the Chi-Lites’ biggest hits, “Have You Seen Her?” Now listen to the tune as covered in 1992 by Swing Out Sister, with lead vocal by Corrine Drewery:

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