The Queen Of Soul Drops The Mike

Aretha Franklin has told a Detroit TV station that she plans to “retire” this year, after a new album is released.  It’s not entirely clear what her retirement will mean, practically, because she says she’ll still be available to perform now and then.  Basically, she wants to spend time with her grandchildren before they head off to college.

I hope the Queen of Soul doesn’t fully drop the mike, because she’s simply irreplaceable.  Of all the great female R&B and soul singers of the ’60s and ’70s — and there were a lot of them — Aretha Franklin was without peer.  Once she sang a song she made it her own, and there was just something about the tone, and timbre, of her voice that could reach into your chest and grab your heart.  Listen to any of her great recordings from the ’60s and you’ll be amazed at how fresh and stunning they still sound, 50 years later.  I’ve provided two vintage videos, one from the ’60s and another from the ’70s, that I think make the point.

I hope Aretha Franklin gets to spend that time with her grandkids, but I also hope she’ll continue to give some of her time to the rest of us.

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Knackered

A few days ago, the word of the day on our word calendar was “knackered.”  It’s a British word that is synonymous for “tired.”

puppy-fell-asleep-in-dog-food“Knackered” is presumptively an excellent word, because all words that begin with a “k” are.  (Kish agrees with this point.)  It’s a fun word to say and kind of rolls off the tongue, too.  But it’s also an extremely useful word because, especially as you get older, it’s increasingly common to become tired as the work week progresses, and having another word that you can use to describe your condition is very welcome.

When you think about it, there are almost as many words that express being tired as there are for being drunk.  And, there are some fine gradations between them.  I would put “fatigued,” “enervated,” and “weary” at the less tired end of the spectrum, whereas “exhausted,” “dead on my feet,” and “bone tired” would hold down the opposite end, where you can barely stand and have to watch that you don’t nod off at the dinner table (or with your head in the dog food bowl).  “Beat,” “wiped out,” “shot,” “spent,” “worn out,” “bushed,” “tuckered out,” and (Mom’s favorite) “too pooped to pop” would be somewhere in between.

Knackered would be more toward the “exhausted” end of the spectrum, because in some parts of the former British Empire it’s also slang for “broken” and is derived from a word for “to kill.”  And, because it’s of British lineage, you can sound classy when you express the depth of your fatigue.

Feel free to use it the next time you drag yourself home from work and somebody asks how you’re doing.