I was driving home (alone) today, when good old Bruce Springsteen came on the radio. VOA's Roots and Branches (folk music) programme was doing a show on baseball song and "Glory Days" made the cut. Apart from reminding me of Bruce's own glory days with his Born in the USA album, I really could hear the bit that influenced Dan Bern in his lyrics and vocal style. I read a BBC review of one of Dan's shows that described him as a "Salvation Army Bruce Springsteen". I could hear the straightforward storytelling style and enjoyment in Bruce's voice that makes Dan so fun to listen to. Bruce doesn't have Dan's unconventional values or his senses of humor and the ridiculous, but he did have a hand in it.
I also watched a shop called "Rough Science". It was a reality documentary. Take five scientists, drop them at an old lumber mill in New Zealand, furnish them with simple tools and a box of junk - old radios, pots and pans, wire, elastics, zip ties, a bag of sugar, etc. and give them a job to do. In this case, it was to find and accurately weight gold. The geologist scouted the rivers for good places to look for gold, the electronics whiz started building a metal detector, one set to work building a scale and using a bag of nails and wire to make it accurate down to a tenth of a gram, the botanist went into the forest to find plants that would strain the gold flakes out of the sediment as it ran through a sluice. No alliances, no hissy-fits, no insects to eat, just some good old fashioned resourcefulness. There may be hope for TV yet.