According to a new study in BMC Evolutionary Biology, the genetic mutation that causes the reaction first appeared about 10,000 years ago in Southern China, at about the same time residents began farming rice along the Yangtze River. The study’s authors hypothesize that the alcohol intolerance associated with facial flushing may have evolved as a survival strategy enabling ancient populations to enjoy the positive effects of alcohol derived from fermented rice — it can be used as a disinfectant and preservative — while imbibing in moderation.
I was going to write about this song last week and I thought “Does anyone still like this song? I mean, besides the people on Long Island who listen to that one radio station that still plays it every single day?” Apparently, the answer is yes. People love this song, still.
We were big on the “country rock” phase in the mid 70s. Some of us may have even bought suede, floppy cowboy hats to wear to the Outlaws/Marshall Tucker concert. Some of us may even have bought Charlie Daniels albums. Some of us embraced this genre simply because of Freebird.
Freebird was more than an anthem to us. It was the great common denominator. It was what connected with stoners with the jocks, the teachers with the students, the nerds with the geeks. We had a stereo in our school cafeteria for one year (before the disco/rock riots of 77) and we had to take turns playing everyone’s favorite music, but when Freebird came on, the whole cafeteria rocked. Everyone sang. Everyone played air guitar. We’d hold up our Bic lighters and sway together when he said “And this bird you cannot change,” and WE ARE ALL FREEBIRDS TODAY! Well, something like that.
I dropped the southern rock phase pretty fast and got tired of Freebird not long after. And all these years later, the classic rock stations are still playing this damn song and a whole new generation of kids are playing air guitar to it and even though I switch the station pretty fast if it comes on, every once in a while I’ll flip back just for the last ten minutes or so to see if I still remember the guitar parts note for note.
The Conan finale was awesome. Beck and Billy Gibbons were there!
Also, this song is my Guitar Hero II albatross. It’s the only track I haven’t beaten on Expert in that game. :(
“Ladies and gentlemen, before we bring this rodeo to a close, I think a couple of things should be said. There’s been a lot of speculation in the press about what I legally can and can’t say about NBC. And — this isn’t a joke — to set the record straight, and this is true, tonight I’m allowed to say anything I want. And what I want to say is this: between my time at Saturday Night Live, the Late Night show, and my brief run here on The Tonight Show, I have worked with NBC for over twenty years. Yes, we have our differences right now; yes, we’re going our separate ways. But this company has been my home for most of my adult life. I am enormously proud of the work we have done together, and I want to thank NBC for making it all possible. I really do.
A lot of people have been asking me about my state of mind. I’ll be honest with you: Walking away from The Tonight Show is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Making this choice has been enormously difficult. This is the best job in the world, I absolutely love doing it, and I have the best staff and crew in the history of the medium. I will fight anybody who says I don’t (but no one would). But despite this sense of loss, I really feel this should be a happy moment. Every comedian, every comedian dreams of hosting The Tonight Show, and, for seven months, I got to do it. And I did it my way, with people I love; I do not regret one second of anything that we’ve done here. I encounter people when I walk on the street now, who give me sort of sad look — I have had more good fortune than anybody I know, and if our next gig is doing a show in a 7-11 parking lot, we will find a way to make it fun. We really will; I’d have no problems. (I don’t want to do it in a 7-11 parking lot, but whatever…)
Finally, I have to say something to our fans. This massive outpouring of support and passion from so many people has been overwhelming for me. The rallies; the signs; all this goofy, outrageous creativity on the internet; the fact that people have traveled long distances and camped out all night in the pouring rain — it’s pouring, it’s been pouring for days, and they’re camping out to be in our audience — here’s what all of you have done: You have made a sad situation joyous and inspirational.
So to all the people watching, I can never, ever thank you enough for the kindness to me; I’ll think about it for the rest of my life. And all I ask is one thing, and this is — I’m asking this particularly of young people that watch: please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism; for the record, it’s my least favorite quality. It doesn’t lead anywhere.
Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard, and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. I’m telling you, amazing things will happen. I’m telling you. It’s just true. As proof, ladies and gentlemen, let’s make an amazing thing happen right now. Here to close out our show are a few good friends, led by Mr. Will Ferrell…”—Conan O’Brien, on the final episode of The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien
“Joel McHale is an ugly man. And I mean personally. And I mean—by ‘personally,’ I mean his soul is black. Other than that—other than his ugly soul, and an ugly human being, and what he stands for personally…professionally, he’s been a joy—he’s been great.”—Ken Jeong, when asked what it’s really like to work with Joel McHale on Community
You, sir, are a class act. If you’re not a Conan fan, read this just-released statement from him and just try — try — to tell me that it doesn’t make you at least respect him.
People of Earth:
In the last few days, I’ve been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 17 years, I’ve been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I’ve been absurdly lucky. That said, I’ve been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.
Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over The Tonight Show in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future. It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule. Building a lasting audience at 11:30 is impossible without both.
But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my Tonight Show in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.
Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn’t the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.
So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn’t matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.
There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.
Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it’s always been that way.
Come back to television soon, ConeBone. We’ll miss you.
Classy and funny to the bitter end. I love you, Conan.