Wednesday, May 13, 2015

But Time Makes You Bolder...

...Children get older. I'm getting older too...

It's a Stevie Nicks kind of night...sweet Stevie voice and sweeter Lindsey guitar. And then, Tom Petty. And Don Henley. Nuff said. Enjoy!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Get Well Soon Magic Fayre!

Let's tuck Fay into a comfy chair with pillows and a soft blanket and pour her a chilled glass of wine. For those who haven't heard, she fell and broke her arm on her trip to Israel. I'll let her and Matt tell the story. In the meantime....

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Age of Aquarius / Let The Sun Shine In

Flavor notes:
  • There is a hint of menace in this cover, which I find profoundly comforting.
  • Muddy sound production is intentional, and recalls '70s cheap turntables and thrashed speakers.
Altogether an artfully different take on an old standard.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

British General Election: Good-Bye United Kingtom

I'm a Unionist. In fact, I think that Ireland would be better off had it remained in the UK. But it's clear tonight, as the 2015 General Election results roll in, that the UK no longer exists politically. Consider:

England: Votes for Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, UK Independence or Green.  None of these parties will win a seat in either Scotland or Northern Ireland, while just one, Labour, will win some seats in Wales.

Scotland:  Votes for the Scottish Nationalists.  No member of that party will win a seat in either England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Wales: Votes for Plaid Cymru or Labour.  No Plaid Cymru member will win a seat in either England, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland:  Votes for the Democratic Unionists or Sinn Fein.  No member of those parties will win a seat in either England, Scotland or Wales, while one, Sinn Fein, has members of parliament in a different nation, Ireland.

There are four broad new political realities that arise from these stark facts:

1) The emergence of the European Union killed the United Kingdom as a supra-national political entity.  Among the non-English left in the UK, there is no need for any London intermediaries.

2) The emergence of the SNP is not, as some seem to think, a harbinger of Scottish nationalism. The SNP, like the Parti Quebecois, is not a nationalist party at all; neither exists to preserve its nation's people, culture, language, history or unique characteristics.  Both are instead left-wing social democratic parties resentful of having to live in the traditionally conservative Anglo political culture, and votes for both are for the purpose of NOT leaving the country but extracting the most possible socialist benefits from those Anglos who can pay.  Basically, the UK has just become Canada, and Scotland is the new Quebec, always demanding more from the Treasury and threatening succession if they don't receive the ransom, yet never quite delivering on promises of independence.  It is striking, given the close historical links between Canada and the UK, that no one in the UK seems to have realized this yet.

3) English nationalism is inevitable.  The English parties cannot reliably govern the other three nations, while England cannot live at the mercy of the other three governing their affairs.

4) This new reality will eventually spur Unionists in Northern Ireland to seek either outright independence (not likely) or cut a new, historic deal with Dublin (much more likely).  If it is done right, the Irish flag's colors will finally reflect reality. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

My Trip To Baltimore, Spring 2004

I have visited Baltimore, once.  During my first go-round with Washington, D.C., my father-in-law visited and offered to take me and my then five-year old son to Camden Yards to see the Orioles. We went by train and then switched to a street-car for the ride across town to the ballpark.

As we waited at the train station, the signs of extreme decay abounded: dirty walkways, scattered trash, menacing thugs, loud drunks, crazy-eyed hookers, normal human beings hustling by in a hurry always looking down, straight down at the pavement in front of them, lest they catch the eye of one of the obvious predators.  We stood together, quietly, until the street car came.

After about four stops, a very tall black man, well-dressed in an expensive-looking overcoat got on with a bunch of other passengers and stood next to me, hand on the over-head strap.  I was standing, my father-in-law and young son sitting on the inward-facing bench seating, my curly-blond, blue-eyed son so young his entire legs stretched before him on the seat without even hanging over the edge.

About two stops beforehand my father-in-law had already adopted what I had already dubbed the Baltimore Normies Ground Stare.  As more and more shifty people got on the street-car, he retreated inward into an evermore deferential pose.  I, however, was my usual self, as I had learned many painful lessons about showing fear in such situations.

Painful lessons, but one must admit, well-taught.

I was standing facing my father-in-law and son--that is, towards the side of the car, while the black man in the overcoat was facing the front of the car.  However, after a few minutes, he surprised me by turning his entire body around so that he was facing not me, not my father-in-law, but my son.  He looked down, his eyes burning into the oblivious little boy, burning with such an intense hatred that even I, who had long since thought he could not be surprised by the savages among us, was taken aback and for a few seconds thrown off of my game.

I took a small step forward and leaned in to say something to my father-in-law.  I don't remember what, because it didn't matter, I simply wanted an excuse to insert my frame between the man's face and my son.  I then straightened up and looked at the man; he was still staring daggers at my little boy, seemingly oblivious to everything else around him, his eyes shining with intense hatred.

He took another small step towards my son.  And that was it.  I had learned lessons, hard ones, and I wasn't going to let something happen to my son because I was afraid of giving offense or being seen as racist.

"Hey," I said to the man, only to immediately hear my father-in-law whisper quickly "don't make a scene Kevin, it's okay".  I ignored him.  Things were not okay and at this point the black man was hovering over my son, still fixated on him, his face still twisted with raw hatred.

"Hey,' I repeated, and as his eyes shifted to me, I then lowered my voice and ensured that his eyes and everything else would stay with me, away from my son, saying "I don't know what your problem is and I don't give a shit. You are going to get off this car at the next stop or I am going to kill you, right here, right now."

And we stared at each other. And I think there was something in my voice, in my demeanor, something about the way I stood, something.  But he believed me.  And when we got to the next stop a few minutes later, he exited the car backing up, keeping his eyes, with their hatred, fixed directly on me.

And we got to Camden Yards.  Trash everywhere, middle-class people acting as if they lived in the coolest city in the world, but still keeping their eyes downcast even in the safety of the ballpark, inside its Oriole orange gates.

And when we left, trash blowing along a cold Spring night's wind, a Baltimore cop barked at me as I crossed a street with a green light and inside a cross-walk.  (After all, I was holding the hand of my very tired, but happily stuffed with cotton candy and giant pretzels five-year old).

"You can't cross there," croaked the cop, in broken English.

"It's a cross-walk," I said.  "Where should we cross?"

"Over there," he said, pointing to a make-shift cross-walk less than 5 yards from the proper one, marked by miniture orange traffic cones, and, unlike the proper cross-walk, directly in a lane of heavy car traffic.

His partner, a young Black woman, looked at me with bored eyes.  I had reached my limit for the day.

"What a shithole of a city you have here!," I said to her, smiling as I walked away, knowing that like Berkeley-Oakland, I would never, ever be returning.

"Gee, thanks," she said.

I wonder what she thinks of it now.

In any case, I see the Baltimore Orioles have finally found a solution to the problem of playing baseball in the middle of barbarian territory.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Riot-Plagued Baltimore Is a Catastrophe Entirely of the Democratic Party’s Own Making

An excellent analysis of the turmoil in Baltimore by Kevin Williamson.

A few weeks ago, there was an election in Ferguson, Mo., the result of which was to treble the number of African Americans on that unhappy suburb’s city council. This was greeted in some corners with optimism — now, at last, the city’s black residents would have a chance to see to securing their own interests. This optimism flies in the face of evidence near — St. Louis — and far — Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco . . .

St. Louis has not had a Republican mayor since the 1940s, and in its most recent elections for the board of aldermen there was no Republican in the majority of the contests; the city is overwhelmingly Democratic, effectively a single-party political monopoly from its schools to its police department. Baltimore has seen two Republicans sit in the mayor’s office since the 1920s — and none since the 1960s. Like St. Louis, it is effectively a single-party political monopoly from its schools to its police department. Philadelphia has not elected a Republican mayor since 1948. The last Republican to be elected mayor of Detroit was congratulated on his victory by President Eisenhower. Atlanta, a city so corrupt that its public schools are organized as a criminal conspiracy against its children, last had a Republican mayor in the 19th century. Its municipal elections are officially nonpartisan, but the last Republican to run in Atlanta’s 13th congressional district did not manage to secure even 30 percent of the vote; Atlanta is effectively a single-party political monopoly from its schools to its police department.

Read it all here at National Review Online.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday Night Tunes

Here are some musical links posted by Aridog. They were in the comments section so may not have been seen by all.

Sharon Isbin ~

Chet Atkins ~

Carlos Montoya ~

Last but not least, for our dear lady red, is "Wild Horses" sung by Susan Boyle, which lewy recently mentioned.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Jorma Kaukonen "Genesis" (1974)

This song was featured in the movie Transcendence.

It sounded familiar and with a little digging I found, yup, it was Jorma - I think I might have heard him play this at Cornell in '81.

It's very peaceful and I think you folks will dig it. (And I'm old enough to use that phrase without irony).

Lyrics below...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Lord Stanley's Hour

It's that time of year again, as 16 hopeful teams get ready to start the Stanley Cup Playoffs this Wednesday, April 15.  As I survey the frozen surface, here are some quick thoughts on the Canucks and where the hockey world finds itself as its players ready for the toughest and most challenging playoffs in sports:

-- Often times the wisdom of trades are difficult to judge as there are so many variables at play in producing a top-notch NHL player, up to and including incredibly hard-to-quantify matters like team spirit, management culture and even the quality of the local food.  Two years ago, however, we came as close as possible to an NHL controlled experiment when the New York Rangers and the Vancouver Canucks traded, not players, but head coaches.  Coming off of a disappointing year, the Canucks fired head coach Alain Vignault and hired the recently-dismissed NY Rangers head coach John Tortorella, while both teams made only minor changes to their play.

Those of us who knew that lousy GM Mike Gillis, long since fired, had thrown a great coach under the bus to explain his own obvious failures knew how this experiment would turn out, but it's instructive to recall the strength of the numbers in making that point.

Vigneault -  NYR  2013-14     45-31-6      96 points   Finish: Lost in Stanley Cup Finals (LA)

Tortorella -  VAN  2013-14     36-35-11     83 points     Finish: Did Not Qualify (Fired)

-- How good a coach is Vigneault?  His teams have won three of the last five President's Trophies, awarded to the team that finishes the regular season ranked first in the NHL.

VAN2006–0782492671051st in NorthwestLost in second round (ANA)
VAN2007–0882393310885th in NorthwestMissed playoffs
VAN2008–09824527101001st in NorthwestLost in second round (CHI)
VAN2009–1082492851031st in NorthwestLost in second round (CHI)
VAN2010–1182541991171st in NHLLost in Stanley Cup Final (BOS)
VAN2011–1282512291111st in NHLLost in first round (LA)
VAN2012–13482615-7591st in NorthwestLost in first round (SJ) (Fired)
NYR2013–14824531-6962nd in MetropolitanLost in Stanley Cup Final (LA)
NYR2014–15825322-71131st in NHL

Good thing we showed him the door!

--  Speaking of which, I'm sure former Canucks goalie Luongo, and more importantly Mrs. Luongo, are very happy that no silly playoffs are going to spoil the start of golf season down in sunny Florida for the happy couple.  Here's to them finishing their career in that sublime state!

-- Canucks-Flames in the first round is a real toss-up.  I'm going to say Canuckleheads in seven, with two multiple period OT period games.

-- Maple Leafs.  Oh my God, how can Toronto's team be this bad?  What? Dave Nonis?  Oh.

-- The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik on hockey:

It seems to me there are two things that make hockey the greatest of all games. One is rooted in what it gives to the players and the other in what it gives to its fans. For the player—and for us as vicarious players—it offers the finest theatre in the world to display the power of spatial intelligence and situational awareness. “Spatial intelligence” is a term that the Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner was the first to popularize. His point was that body is inseparable from mind, attitude from analysis, and that there are many kinds of smartness. There is the familiar IQ-test analytic intelligence, but there are also emotional intelligence, social intelligence and spatial intelligence: the ability to grasp a changing whole and anticipate its next stage. It’s the ability to make quick decisions, to size up all the relationships in a fast-changing array and understand them. A related notion is that of situational awareness: a heightened consciousness of your surroundings and both the intentions of the people around you and their anticipated actions.
Well, hockey, obviously, which is played at incredibly high speed, reveals and rewards situational and spatial intelligence at a degree of difficulty that no other sport possesses. So much so that the greatest of all hockey players, Wayne Gretzky, had, besides his other significant skill as a fine-edge skater, almost nothing else that he was specifically good at. That’s his gift—the gift of spatial and situational intelligence: knowing what’s going to happen in three seconds, anticipating the pattern approaching by seeing the pattern now, sussing out the goalie’s next decision and Jari Kurri’s or Luc Robitaille’s eventual trajectory in what would be a single glance if a glance were even taken. Gretzky is the extreme expression of the common skill the game demands.

Here we go, rev em up, lace em up and get ready: it's warrior time.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Lady Red nailed it...great music..Friday Night


Jimmy Hughes, Steal Away

Stones...Wild Horses...