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I grew up near Boston, saw the Boston Pops a number of times as a kid (I especially remember thrilling to their live performance of the fabulous Peter Gunn Theme . . . correction made by author).
Boston had a remarkable role in our revolutionary times, home to Samuel and John Adams, the site of the Boston Massacre, Paul Revere’s ride, the Battle of Bunker Hill, and other amazing histories. For years it has been an Independence Day tradition for the Boston Pops to perform a long outdoor concert from the Esplanade on the Charles River, ahead of the spectacular fireworks, and when they start, to provide incredible music to accompany the show above.
This year, after watching the Salute to America, a stirring and powerful display of gratitude to the armed forces and others who serve, and ahead of any local fireworks out here on the Left Coast, still hours away from darkness sufficient for fireworks, I thought I’d take in a bit of the Pops on TV.
What did I see? Arlo Guthrie, days away from his 72nd birthday, with long stringy gray hair which made him resemble Brent Spiner’s Dr Okun in the ’96 Independence Day film. OK, but what was he singing?
“Comin’ in to Los Angeleees | bringin’ in a couple of keys| Don’t touch my bags if you please | Mr. Customs man”
Hm. For the uninitiated, “keys” refers to kilos, and in the time of that song, 1969, it most assuredly referred to marijuana.
So the song is about a dope smuggler on a plane “coming in from over the border” with 4.4 lbs of illegal drugs and hoping not to get caught.
In the midst of daily news about illegal border smuggling of drugs, not to mention meth, the opioid crisis and deaths, and the attacks on the border and customs people who try to keep us safe, I ask:
Who thought that song a proper choice for the 4th?
Thank you for listening. Here ends the rant.