The Cumberland Post

The Cumberland Post
My Backyard, Six Miles from the Cumberland River

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Forsythia: The Real vs. The Concrete Poem

The forsythia at the bottom of our drive finally bloomed. It's survived two different transplants and is approximately 25 years old. I think it's beautiful and its brilliant yellow flowers signal the beginning of spring on our place which means dogwoods, redbuds, pears, and U.S. Weather service tornado warnings (!) are sure to follow. It also means that soon I'll be able to change the picture at the top of this blog to another one depicting green leafed trees instead of red and gold autumn foliage.

Mary Ellen Solt was an American concrete poet; the poems she and her contemporaries in this movement wrote are sometimes called shaped poems. Solt's work was most notably poems in the shape of flowers such as "Forsythia", "Lilac", and "Geranium". They were collected in Flowers in Concrete (1966). Her most famous is "Forsythia" and its text (located at the bottom of the letter strands) is very simple:

"forsythia, outrace, spring, yellow, telegram, hope, inisists, action"

The letters of the word "forsythia" race up out of those roots and take the shape of the branches of the flowering bush. Yes, I agree. It's not really much of a poem. More like a simple telegram which says in its truncated way that the yellow forsythia embodies the urge we all feel in the spring to act, to do something. The poem's shape is the only thing that makes it interesting.

Podhoretz on Sarah Palin and Class Bias

Norman Podhoretz is a member of the Hudson Institute and Editor at Large of Commentary magazine. In his most recent article in the Wall Street Journal, he analyzes public reaction to Sarah Palin, particularly that from conservative intellectuals.

Podhoretz says that what conservative intellectuals say today reminds him a lot of what they said about Ronald Reagan before he became President. They referred to him as this "'airhead,' this B movie star who was not only stupid but incompetent." The values and beliefs Reagan had were similar to their own but he embarrassed them with the primitive way he articulated these views.  The conservative intellectuals believed Reagan's primitivism further undermined the credibility of those values and beliefs.

Podhoretz doesn't claim that Palin is the next Reagan and he doesn't say that she "would necessarily make a great president but that the criteria by which she is being judged by her conservative critics—never mind the deranged hatred she inspires on the left—tell us next to nothing about the kind of president she would make."

He says,
What she does know—and in this respect, she does resemble Reagan—is that the United States has been a force for good in the world, which is more than Barack Obama, whose IQ is no doubt higher than hers, has yet to learn. Jimmy Carter also has a high IQ, which did not prevent him from becoming one of the worst presidents in American history, and so does Bill Clinton, which did not prevent him from befouling the presidential nest.
Podhoretz analyzes the hatred that liberals feel toward Palin and says it is a continuation of their animosity toward Nixon, Reagan, and George W. Bush and
It was a hatred that had less to do with differences over policy than with the conviction that these men were usurpers who, by mobilizing all the most retrograde elements of American society, had stolen the country from its rightful (liberal) rulers. But to a much greater extent than Nixon, Reagan and George W. Bush, Sarah Palin is in her very being the embodiment of those retrograde forces and therefore potentially even more dangerous.
Podhoretz points out that many conservative intellectuals while not taking their dislike of Palin to this liberal extreme, do make essentially the same argument against her. And that argument, he "reluctantly" has to admit, is based on "class bias." 

Barack Obama's intellect and his oratorical skills actually appealed to some conservative intellectuals, among them Christopher Buckley, William Buckley's son, who gave Obama his endorsement.
But Podhoretz says,
As for me, after more than a year of seeing how those "prodigious oratorical and intellectual gifts" have worked themselves out in action, I remain more convinced than ever of the soundness of Buckley's quip[that he would rather be ruled by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book than by the combined faculties of Harvard and MIT], in the spirit of which I hereby declare that I would rather be ruled by the Tea Party than by the Democratic Party, and I would rather have Sarah Palin sitting in the Oval Office than Barack Obama.
Whatever your views of Sarah Palin, you have to admit that she is a force to be reckoned with. And if you're like me, one who hasn't yet made up his mind about her, you should read this entire article. Part of Palin's appeal to me personally is that she is not from some wealthy prestigious family and she did not attend an elite university. Let's face it. She's more like the rest of us whose families were low or middle class and who, if we got the chance to go to college, had to work our way through at a state university. This article made me feel much more comfortable with the possibility that she might be the standard bearer in 2012 or 2016.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Quotation for the Day

Jill Garner is a Carthage, TN, social worker and a tea party activist; she says that her group has an undeserved reputation. Her quotation in red below is from the Tennesseean article, "Political Rage Isn't on Recess."

"What frustrates me is that we call and we talk and we express our concerns, and we're called morons and racists and lunatics and a mob," she said. "If we don't say it, who will?"

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What the Developing Liberal Narrative About Violent Conservatives May Mean

A few days ago, Pat Conlon at Born Again Redneck had a post on civility, or rather the growing lack of it in politics. A couple of us on the comment thread responded and Pat wrote another post, Born Again Redneck: Uncivil war contd.: "Never waste a crisis?", which discusses on our growing unease with the narrative that the mainstream media is creating concerning alleged violence prone red neck, tea party conservatives. Note the number of stories on this theme in the past weeks.

One local story in the Tennesseean about a 70 year old DUI who rammed the back of a car driven by a Nashville teacher and his child got picked up and spread nationally. The headline was "Victim of road rage sparked by Obama sticker pleads for civility." Read the story and you get the victim's point of view only. How can the victim be sure his car was being hit because of the sticker? Has the perpetrator gone on the record and said, yes, I hit the car because it had an Obama sticker on it? No Tennesseean reporter has yet talked to the perpetrator and there's been no follow up on this story for two days now.

Meanwhile, local TV station WKRN called the accused man, Harry Weisiger, who says he was only trying to get around another car that had stopped in front of him. "He slammed on his brakes, and I hit him in the bumper when I tried to go around him." WKRN concludes their report with this comment, "Weisiger did not mention the Obama bumper sticker when News 2 spoke with him on the phone Friday, but did admit fault for leaving the scene of the accident."

Was Weisiger's action prompted by the Obama sticker? The WKRN story says Weisiger "did not mention the Obama bumper sticker." Did their reporter fail to ask Weisiger directly about the bumper sticker as motive? If so, it's pretty shabby reporting, though not quite as bad as the Tennessean. I mean the sticker as the alleged motive is the story. That's why WKRN has the pic of the smashed bumper and the sticker on their website. So why not ask Weisiger about it directly?

Maybe Weisiger did act because of the Obama sticker. Right now, we don't know, and yet this piece of the media narrative spreads even wider with each passing day.

Now Glenn Beck is addressing the issue of the media/liberal narrative concerning violence supposedly perpetrated by conservatives. Conservative Lady provides a summary of Beck's show dealing with this issue and also has video of all four segments of that show. She says,
And they[the Obama administration 60's and 70's radicals who are now in charge] are trying to portray us as radical terrorists, just like they were back in the '60's. If they can discredit the Tea Partiers, egg them on to violence (or lie about it), then they will be able to convince the rest of America that we are the ones to fear and we should be defeated....It would take one act of real violence to destroy our entire cause. The 60's radicals who are running our country right now are wondering why we aren't acting the way they did back in the days of their protests. We are not who they are. Chances are they will continue to provoke us with the hopes that someone will snap. [Italics mine.]

Controversial Cartoon: The Rape of Liberty by Darleen Click

Darleen Click posted this great cartoon on Protein Wisdom five days ago. (I found it last night on Right Klik.) Needless to say, it's generated quite a bit of controversy--all of which she anticipated. She said, "Oh I know I'm going to get called names on this. But I'm not going to play that game anymore. Like the sign at one of the tea parties that said, 'it doesn't matter what this sign says, you're going to call it racist anyway.'"

Right Klik has compiled some of the ugly comments she received. Visit Right Klik's great blog for the complete list as well as more commentary on the cartoon. Here's a couple of the ugly comments: "So the majority rules and this is how the POTUS is treated. F***king disgusting." "The word for Darleen isn't racist, sad b*tch maybe."

Lefties can dish it out, but they can't take it. Like Click says, "I made it a cartoon and not a photshop and the woman is green. Deal people."


Craig T. Nelson Thinks a Tax Revolt Might Be a Good Idea

Friday, March 26, 2010

Liberals/Media Treat Islam with Respect and Tea Partiers with Disdain

George Louvis at the American Thinker...

Every time some Muslim blows up a plane, or a train, or kills innocent people, we hear from the Left how we should not judge all Muslims because of a few extremists. Our current President tells us, not to "jump to conclusions.
Louvis is talking about the so-called "incidents" at a D.C. Tea Party protest. The Seattle Times had this to say about those protests:

In other news, tea-party protesters called John Lewis a "nigger" the other day in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol. For the record, Lewis wasn't their only target. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver was spat upon. Rep. Barney Frank, who is gay, was called "faggot."
Michelle Malkin at Town Hall:
Yet, the claims that Tea Party activists shouted "nigger" at black House Democrats remain uncorroborated. The coffin reportedly left outside Missouri Democratic Rep. Russ Carnahan's home was used in a prayer vigil by pro-life activists in St. Louis protesting the phony Demcare abortion-funding ban in Obama's deal-cutting executive order. Videotape of a supposed intentional spitting incident targeting Missouri Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver at the Capitol shows no such thing. Cleaver himself backed off the claim a few days later. He described his heckler to The Washington Post in more passive terms as "the man who allowed his saliva to hit my face." Slovenliness equals terrorism!

And Pat Conlon at Born Again Redneck had this to say about those incidents...

Did you hear that Dem Rep Lewis was spat on by a Tea-partier? No he wasn't. Apparently some spit flew out the guys mouth because he was yelling. That happens - especially if you have falsies. Did you hear that Dem Rep Cleaver was called nigger by a Tea-partier? Nobody actually heard it. Apparently some un-named "aide" heard it but actual footage of the "incident" shows it never happened.

Did you hear that Michael Steele and Sarah Palin are urging Republicans to kill Democrats? I watched the TV news last night and sure enough that's what they said happened. Michael Steele said "put Democrats in the firing line and target them" in the November elections and Sarah Palin said that now is not the time to give up but that we should "reload"?
Louvis points out that liberals and the mainstream media paint conservatives in the Tea Party movement with a very broad brush while at the same time taking an entirely different tack with Muslims.

Why are we told to be tolerant and not judge a whole group based on the actions of a tens of thousands of Al Qaeda members but we can condemn millions of Americans based on the actions of what 1, 10, maybe 100 Americans who called names?
Good question.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

New Hollywood Documentary Claims James Cameron Doesn't Exist

Fresh from the success of Avatar, Director James Cameron has once again been in the news.  First, The Hollywood Reporter says that director James Cameron "lashed out at Glenn Beck at a news conference Tuesday," saying "'Glenn Beck is a fucking asshole. I've met him. He called me the anti-Christ, and not about Avatar. He hadn't even seen Avatar yet. I don't know if he has seen it."

Beck responded to Cameron's slurs on his show. At one point Beck wears 3D glasses to mock Cameron.

The Hollywood Reporter goes on to explain that Cameron was "apparently referring to Beck's reaction to his 2007 documentary, The Lost Tomb of Jesus, which casts doubt on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The controversial Discovery channel documentary The Lost Tomb of Jesus (on which James Cameron served as executive producer) describes the discovery of an ancient tomb near old Jerusaleum as excavators were preparing the land for a housing construction project; the film argues that the divine Jesus did not exist--he was a man who had a wife and family and this is their tomb.

At the time the documentary was shown, Glenn Beck was working for CNN and introduced a piece on Cameron with the statement, ""Many people believe James Cameron officially has tossed his hat in the ring today and is officially running for anti-Christ."  One authority, Amos Kloner, professor of archaeology at Israel's Bar-Ilan University who wrote the original excavation report, said the documentary was "very unserious work...[this film] is all nonsense." 

Also involved with this documentary was Cameron friend Charles Pellegrino (he co authored the book on which The Lost Tomb was based). Pellegrino helped Cameron on Avatar and his new book Last Train from Hiroshima was going to be the basis for the Oscar winning director's next new movie until key witnesses in the book were shown to be fabricated.

And now comes this breaking news from Creative News Network, Faux Reports Division. A new soon to be released documentary, JC Is In Fact 3DCG, claims James Cameron does not exist.

Controversial documentary film-maker Michael Less is creating a sensation in Hollywood and New York with his latest film, “JC Is In Fact 3DCG,” which denies the existence of supposed Oscar winning director, 3D innovator, and Global Warming advocate James Cameron. “You look at all the research in my documentary and it’s as plain as the nose on your face,” says Less. “James Cameron is a gigantic 3DCG (3 dimensional computer generated) hoax, perpetrated on a scale never before thought possible. What we thought was a real man is in fact a 3 dimensional computer, generated avatar. No wonder Glenn Beck has trouble remembering what went on when he met Cameron in the CNN makeup room. It's pretty damn hard to remember a substanceless hologram.”

“We didn’t go into this hoping to find a hoax,” said Willard Ferret, the documentary’s producer. “Mike was just going to do a simple bio type thing. But then the PI we hired to do a background check came back with that bombshell about his high school yearbook picture and we had to look at everything from a different angle.”

“The high school principal Bartholomew Farquar was the key,” said Nick James, the PI. “I’ll never forget that day as long as I live. I showed Farquar the high school annual from 1972 expecting to get the usual standard stuff about Cameron being an all around popular boy who wrote for the school paper. Instead, Farquar pulled down his blinds, and took another 1972 annual out of his desk. ‘This is the real one,’ he said. ‘The one you have is a fake.’ I looked through it. There was no James Cameron. Anywhere. Not a single pic. No references. It blew my mind.”

“Willard stood by us from the very first,” said Less. “This film cost a lot of money and he never flinched. Over a thousand strands of DNA evidence were examined, literally thousands of pictures were scrutinized, and hundreds of scientists, and scholars who specialize in personal identity were interviewed. The results of all our investigations show–and we’ve replicated these time and time again–Cameron’s existence is one of the biggest frauds ever perpetrated on movie fans of the world. There is not now, nor has there ever been a real James Cameron who directed movies. The Terminator, Titantic, Avatar, someone else did those movies. Everything with his name on it is open to question. James Cameron does not exist.”

“As far as Cameron’s five wives and four children’ go,” said Ferret, “no one would let us talk to them. We think they’re phony too, or at least in on the hoax, we just can’t prove it. After all, they must get lots of money from the big production companies who run this whole illusion. We have do have second hand photos of all of his wives with other men during the time they were supposedly married to him, but they could be 3DCG too.”

Less said they did get one actual person to claim that Cameron exists. He's Charles Pelligrino, author of the widely disputed book The Last Train from Hiroshima. "We left his interview in the doc," says Less, "because we figured with his track record of fabrications and fictions, his claim that Cameron exists actually supported our claim to the contrary."

In his documentary Less even use Biblical evidence to support his conclusions about James Cameron. “It’s in the book of James,” says Less, “Chapter 2, verse 14. ‘What good is it ... if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?’ Clearly this is prophetic truth about James Cameron,” Less continues. “We all had faith in James Cameron before we made this film, a kind of religious faith even, but now that we’ve seen that there’s no real ‘deeds’ or verifiable action to validate his existence, our faith is shattered. All we have now is our belief in this film. We hope the public will accept that.”

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Morality, Philosophy, and Law

Watch this 8 minute video by Bill Whittle, Pajamas TV. It delivers some clear thinking about the origin of American views on morality, philosophy, and law. It's ironic that these views are considered "conservative" today because on reflection they are revolutionary.

Hat tip to Montana George. Thanks buddy!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Good Thing He's Retiring: Gordon Votes for Obamacare

Rep. Bart Gordon (D) has been walking a tightrope during the last few years trying to keep his district's very conservative constituents placated while dancing to the music provided by his DC liberal Dem friends.

Now that he's announced his retirement his true colors are finally showing.

He voted for Obamacare yesterday. Good thing he's retiring. After this vote, he wouldn't have a prayer this fall.

Ironically, on his website, he's bragging about his efforts to keep nuclear waste out of Tennessee. I think with his yes vote on Obamacare, he just opened the door to another kind of radioactive waste. It's just as deadly and its effects just as long lasting. This heinous bill moves us closer to a European style statist, socialist government and it's unintended consequences will harm us, our children, and their children.  Goodbye Bart.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Daffodils vs. Buttercups

The Buttercups are blooming. Or is it Daffodils? Apparently it's the latter. I've always referred to Daffodils as Buttercups, even after I read Wordsworth's famous poem (printed below the pic) in college. I learned to call these flowers "Buttercups" from hearing my Mom, my Aunts, and others in the family and the neighborhood I grew up in use the word to describe the flowers in the picture below. I can hear Mom saying, "Lookee there. Mrs. Tatum's Buttercups are already blooming."

I now know that Buttercups are single flowers, usually found in the wild. They're yellow but are smaller and their petals are rounded and more open. Daffodils are...well they are what they are. Beautiful. I especially like those I've seen on a country lane near my home which line the no longer visible driveway up to a stone chimney...the only thing remaining of a once grand farmhouse. They've outlasted the structure and the loving hands that planted them and they keep coming back spring after spring.

But...since I don't recall ever seeing an authentic Buttercup in my neck of the woods, I think I'll still keep calling these Daffodil flowers by the name I learned as a child--Buttercups. They look like cups of sweet creamy, freshly churned butter--so they'll always be Buttercups to me.

"Daffodils" (1804)

I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the Milky Way,

They stretch'd in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

                                      By William Wordsworth (1770-1850).

For All the Sunday Dancers: The Shenandoah Waltz

If you don't appreciate good hardcore Bluegrass, I recommend you start with Sammy Kaye's version (#3) of "The Shenandoah Waltz" at the bottom of this post and work your way up. But don't leave out the Johnson Boys; they are gifted musicians who sing wonderful Bluegrass harmony.

Last night was the Vernal Equinox. Hooray! We've had two straight days of warm sunshine, the daffodils bloomed, and I saw two chickadees building a get your dancing (waltzing) shoes on. Spring is officially here.

1. The Johnson Boys from 1988. A song written back in 1947 by Country musicians Clyde Moody (lyrics) and Chubby Wise (melody)...

2. Chubby's own instrumental version...

3. Sammy Kaye's big band interpretation of this song (love those clarinets, at least I think they're clarinets)...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I'm Afraid They Will Ram It Through No Matter the Consequences

The Stages of Elitism

In this month's Atlantic, Christina Davidson has a piece entitled "Let Us Now Trash Famous Authors."

In her essay, Davidson writes about the famous Depression era collaboration between Tennessee writer James Agee and photographer Walker Evans, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. She describes her interviews with a few of the descendants of the people who had been the subject of this well known book. She expresses her bafflement at why the younger members of these families "seem unaware that their ancestors feature in the most significant historical documentation of Depression-era share cropping and one of the great American literary masterpieces of the 20th century." She also notes that some descendants are downright hostile, that they feel exploited and hold the view that their family "seemed to have become a big business from which only strangers ever profited." They remember that while their anscestors worked the fields, Agee and Evans "stayed back at the house...poking through drawers to record every spool of thread, scrap of fabric, and clip of newsprint they discovered."  Agee wrote the families later but never mentioned or sent them a copy of the book that he and Evans wrote.

One descendant is especially bothered that "Agee and Evans didn’t tell her parents that their lives would become a book. 'Momma and Daddy didn’t know what they was doing. They was trying to help ’em out. And they just wanted to write about how poor Momma and Daddy was.'”

A Wikipedia writer makes this interesting observation about Let Us Now Praise Famous Men:

"Although at its heart a story of the three families...the book is also a meditation on reporting and intrusion, on observing and interfering with subjects, sufficient to occupy any student of anthropology, journalism or revolution."

A writer in Wikipedia reports that "the son of Floyd Burroughs was also reportedly angry because the family was 'cast in a light that they couldn't do any better, that they were doomed, ignorant.'"

The first picture below is of Agee, the second is Evans.

Much biographical information is available about Agee and Evans in books and on the internet. It's worth noting that Agee attended Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and graduated from Harvard and that Evans went to Phillips Academy in Massachusetts and attended Williams College. As young men, both visited Europe (on separate ocassions).

Davidson's brief essay and my little research on the book led me to think some about "Good Intentions." You know what I'm talking about--that passionate desire to help someone less fortunate.

"Good Intentions" is of course what people sometimes say when there's been a collosal screw up. "Well they had good intentions."  It's frequently said about liberal elitists whose latest scheme has somehow backfired and caused irreparable harm to individuals or the nation.

How do you get from those good intentions to the condescending liberal elitist looking down on the destruction he/she has wrought? I propose that individuals pass through five stages. I'm a recovering liberal, and although I went through a few of these stages myself, luckily I never stood on the high sacred ground of the final stage.

The first stage of elitism is the growing awareness that you are somehow different from other people. It's as if you've been singled out, chosen. In another era, you would have felt "called." You start to think of yourself as better, cooler, more sensitive, and more intelligent than most others. This awareness is obviously enhanced by attending an Ivy League college or a prestigious feeder prep school. Ivy Leage schools however are not absolutely necessary--a lowly state university will do in a pinch if you believe in yourself and have the right professors. Even a community college will work if you can maintain the proper attitude. Again, the key to this stage is the almost epiphany-like awareness that you are  a member of a very select group.

The second stage is the realization of the fact that your beliefs are shared by everyone else in this select group and that all of you are entitled to the elevated status that belonging to this group naturally entails. In the 60's you might have joined a commune or before that the Communist Party. And in an earlier more spiritual age, you might have thought of yourself as a member of the "elect."

The third stage is the tragic recognition that most of the others in this life will never have the insight, the vision, the creativity, or the power that you do. It's a terrible fact that might make you momentarily sad. But it is a fact. The hubris of this recognition may be upsetting to some outside your circle, but it's something you and your comrades are quite comfortable with. In our society, there's a huge mass of people stuck in the middle. To you with your progressive perception, they are lost in meaningless jobs and material pursuits. Many of your group will learn to ignore them. If you are an artist or academic, however, you will learn to make fun of them and ridicule their values because you have an ethereal mission of greater historical significance than someone in their petty lives could ever imagine. If you're a politician, you'll soon learn that you must mask your disdain for them while easily manipulating them with soaring oratory and rhetoric.

Elitism's fourth stage is the simple understanding that because of your intelligence, insight, and vision you have a duty to improve the lives of those at the very bottom. There's no guilt involved in this. It's just a matter of necessity. Ignoring the rabble in the middle, you must reach down benevolently to those at the very bottom, those victims trapped there because of poverty and prejudice. You with your greater knowledge understand that they of course will never totally escape their condition. It's a given. But you can make their pitiful lives just a little better. You can at least give them hope. And, if you and your colleagues act in concert politically, you can assuage their feeling of inferiority and improve their material status with money you get from the stupid worker drones in the broad middle. The world cannot be made perfect but it can be brought closer to perfection. 
In the final stage, as a fully accredited Elite Liberal (unless you die beforehand), you get to look down from the sacred and intellectually protected heights on what you have wrought. Most often it's destruction, chaos, confusion, a morass of unintended consequences. Have no fear. Big Media is your friend and with the proper spin, your ass is covered in the present. As for future generations, Revisionist, Marxist academic historians are your friends as well. The millions of bodies, wrecked lives, shattered institutions, broken families, and doomed individuals can be turned into martyrs for the cause or, in a pinch, ignored altogether.

Agee died at the age of 45, so he didn't get to fully appreciate (a) how his and Evans' work would be recognized as a masterpiece of 20th century letters or (b) how he would be regarded by the families whose private lives he invaded that summer in 1936.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Murray State Defeats Vanderbilt: Obama Predicted Their Victory

Vandy lost at the buzzer today, 66-65; once again they were upset in the first round. If you're interested, read about the heartbreak in the Tennesseean. According to their report, President Obama picked Murray State to defeat Vandy. Yikes! His omniscience is staggering.

Vanderbilt Is Number 4 Seed in West

Go Commodores!


Murray State University

Day: Today, Thursday

Date: Mar. 18, 2010

Location: San Jose

Time: 1:30 p.m. CT



Radio: 104.5 FM

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Nashful R the 18th Most Litirature Siti in U.S.

This heres a post by Dapper Dan's friend, Lester Ledbetter.

Well, I never. This here study was riggered or they measured the wrong dam things. Cause us who live in Nashful (which is a siti full of the smart assedest rednecks ina worl) come up short behind dumb Nawlins an ignurant Hatlanta and that dammed buncha brain dead commie hippies outn Seetle. Kin u beeleeve they wuz first? Butt we wuz twices smart as them New Yawk yokuls which I already knowed anniway. Lika poate says, jez gimme canna sardines, a six pack, anna camo colored mossberg pump anna I'll be in hoage heaven. Onliest Ida thrown in a copy of that there playbuoy magazeene withn alla pictyures.

Our fair siti...

Resadent of Nashful as purseeved by Yankees and Hippy Blu Staters...

Will This End In Tears?

"All the bottles are already empty, the cigarettes burned to their core...." Damn I love a good honky tonk song. Smoky bar, a jukebox, people sittin' around drinkin'...What's that you say? Losers? Nope. Not in my opinion. I don't see losers. I see a bunch of people who've been screwed. And that my friend is everybody. Everybody at one time or another has got the shaft. Right? That's why these songs always have universal appeal and never go out of style.

Coming back home late last night, we had the car radio tuned to WSM-AM and heard the most knowledgeable man in Country Music play this song. That would be the great Eddie Stubbs and this is the "Belleville Outfit" with "Will This End in Tears" from their new album, Time to Stand. Phoebe Hunt is the husky voiced lead vocalist.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Nanny Nation

Cartoons by Lisa Benson

If the Shoe Fits, Wear It...On Your Face?

Almost a year after implementing his reach out to the Muslim World policies, President Obama will soon be visiting Indonesia. If this visit can be viewed as a test of that policy's effectiveness, the early signs indicate that the policy is not working. Many in Indonesia, especially students, are obviously still unhappy with the President and the U.S.

As you can see in the photo, Obama is the target and shoes are the recommended missile.

An Islamic journalist in Iraq was jailed for throwing his shoes at President George Bush during his last months in office. About that incident Robert Dougherty says, "In Muslim culture, throwing a shoe at someone is one of the greatest insults imaginable. Islamic culture teaches Muslims to remove their shoes before taking sanctuary in a mosque, and to avoid pointing their feet or showing soles.Whereas shoe-throwing would be shrugged off as a comical act in America, in the Muslin world, it has already emerged as an important symbolic protest. Shoe throwing was also used when Saddam Hussain's statue was toppled after he was overthrown."

As the last picture shows, some students are putting more into it than their shoes...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Crazy Heart: Bridges and Bingham

Have you seen the movie Crazy Heart yet? It stars Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake, a down and out, aging, boozing country singer whose relationship with a young mother and her son help him begin the long road back to sobriety. We saw the movie a couple of weeks ago with friends and afterwards over a brick fired pizza and beer, talked about it at length. We all agreed that it was Jeff Bridges' greatest performance and definitely Oscar worthy. Well, the Oscar question has now definitely been settled--Bridges won the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Bad Blake.

Although we questioned the casting of Maggie Gyllenhaal as Bridges' love interest, we enjoyed Crazy Heart's mostly linear narrative (aren't you tired of the current tendency to overuse and constantly blur the past and present with confusing and vaguely delineated flashbacks?), and its deliberate pacing, as well as the performances of the other actors, especially Robert Duvall, who was, as usual, excellent. We were especially keen on the songs Bad Blake sings--Country, but with something of an Americana vibe. We learned from reading about the movie earlier that Bridges performed all the songs himself.

The movie's theme song also won an Oscar. This award was given to T Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham for their collaboration on "The Weary Kind." You've heard of T Bone before; he's provided soundtracks for many movies including the Coen brothers great comedy O Brother Where Art Thou? I'm not sure, but I think T Bone's role with this song involved taking something already written by Bryan Bingham and producing and massaging it a bit for the movie. If I'm wrong about this, let me know.

I had never heard of Ryan Bingham before, but from what I've seen of him, he's a promising young singer songwriter. His gravelly, experience worn voice belies his youthful image. But if you check out Ryan's bio, you'll find he's had some pretty rough going himself.

As I said earlier, Bridges does a great job singing the song himself, but I've chosen to play the songwriter's version here. Readers, tell me what you think about Bryan Bingham's rendition of his own song, "The Weary Kind."

P.S. We enjoyed Bridges brief and humble acceptance speech at the Oscars as he acknowledged the importance of his family especially his actor father Lloyd in his own development. Lloyd Bridges is best known in some circles as the star of Sea Hunt, a TV series in the sixties. In my circle he's best known for his excellent performance in the role of Deputy Harvey Pell in High Noon with Gary Cooper who plays Marshal Will Kane. Grace Kelly is in the movie too as Marshal Kane's Quaker bride.

Lloyd Bridges' character Pell is the current lover of  saloon owner Helen Ramirez (beautiful, smoldering Katy Juardo) who had a close relationship with Marshal Kane in the past. Bridges shows his acting skills when he's shamed by Juardo's character with this line: "You're a good-looking boy: you've big, broad shoulders. But he's a man. And it takes more than big, broad shoulders to make a man."  If you own a dvd of this great movie, take a look at that scene again; "shame" is among the most difficult emotions for an actor to demostrate.

Risata Molto

Risata Molto...Italian for "laugh much." I hope you have many "risatas" today and may this be one of them.

If you saw Godspell the movie or the musical it was based on back in the early 1970's, you'll appreciate this photoshopped poster even more.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

As Time Goes By

It's almost the middle of March already. Time slips away. Memories fade. But the human story stays the same. Guess I'm in a Casablanca mood.

It's still the same old story
A fight for love and glory
A case of do or die
The world will always welcome lovers

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cornelia Fort: From Debutante to Airwoman

Have you ever heard of Cornelia Fort? She was an original member of the WAFS (Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron) in WWII who later became known as the Women's Airforce Service Pilots (the WASPS).

Today those women, at least the few who survivewere finally awarded the Congressional Gold Medal honoring their service in WWII.

Fort didn't survive. In fact, PBS's the "American Experience" website says that "a mid-air collision would tragically make her the first American woman to die on active military duty." That was in 1943 in Texas where she was on a mission ferrying a BT13 to Love Field . See a pic of a BT13 below (I realize this plane could be the similar but different engined BT15). The BT13's and 15's wer built by the Vultee corporation and were known among the pilots who flew them as Vultee Vibrators, a nickname indicating their most pronounced characteristic in flight). 

Cornelia Fort was born in 1919, the same year as my mother. Mom, who died last year at the age of 89, had many fears. Flying was one of them. She was was terrified of flying (she never flew during her entire lifetime) and the idea of piloting a plane was not even in her universe.

Mom's brother (my uncle), however, flew Corsairs in the Pacific in WWII. Needless to say, she worried constantly about him, and later, about my Dad who was drafted into the Army Air Corps in 1944.

According to PBS, the idea "that Fort should one day put on a flight suit, live in army barracks and fly some of the largest and fastest military aircraft of the day, would probably have raised more than a few eyebrows in the genteel circles in which she was raised. Dr. Rufus Fort and his wife Louise had brought up their oldest daughter to be the demure wife of a Southern gentleman. Their five children grew up in an opulent 24-room house originally built in 1815. It stood on 365 acres of land along the Cumberland River in Davidson County, Tennessee. A chauffeur drove the children to their exclusive private schools. And after Cornelia turned 19 her father presented her to society in an elaborate debutante ball, attended by hundreds."

As this picture shows, she was a beautiful young woman, and, as a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, she could easily have moved into the social circles her father had opened for her. But Cornelia had other ideas. After her father took her flying one day, she was hooked. And, according to Rainey, "Within two years, Cornelia had earned both her pilot and instructor licenses. She soloed for the first time on April 27, 1940 [For What It's Worth Dept: her solo took place in Nashville on the exact day yours truly was born in Baptist Hospital there], received a private pilot's license on June 19, 1940, and earned an instructor's rating on March 10, 1941. She became a flight instructor for the Massey and Rawson Flying Service, Fort Collins, Colorado, taking part in the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP) and later that year moved to Hawaii and continued working as a flight instructor there."

PBS's American Experience picks up the story. "On December 7th, 1941 Cornelia Fort, a young civilian flight instructor from Tennessee, and her regular Sunday-morning student took off from John Rodgers Airport in Honolulu. Fort's apprentice was advanced enough to fly regular take-offs and landings and this was to have been his last lesson before going solo. With the novice at the controls, Fort noticed a military aircraft approaching from the sea. At first that didn't strike her as unusual; Army planes were a common sight in the skies above Hawaii. But at the last moment, she realized this aircraft was different and that it had set itself on a collision course with her plane. She wrenched the controls from her student's grasp and managed to pull the plane up just in time to avoid a mid-air crash. As she looked around she saw the red sun symbol on the wings of the disappearing plane and in the distance, probably not more than a quarter mile away, billowing smoke was rising over Pearl Harbor. The disbelieving Fort had just unwittingly witnessed the U.S. entry into World War II."

Rainey says, "This scene is immortalized in Jeff Donell's epic movie Tora Tora Tora."

A little over a year later, in 1943, Fort was dead, killed in that tragic crash near Love Field in Texas.

Later in 1945, a small airport was opened near her family's estate. The airport was named in her honor. This airport is less than a mile from where my Mom and Dad made their home in the 1970's and 80's.

Mom knew about Cornelia Fort, had read about her in the newspaper. As I said, Mom never flew, but she knew about courage and she admired what Fort had done. And several times on a warm Sunday afternoon when my family was visiting, we'd ride down to the little airport to read the historical marker honoring Fort's service and to watch the private aircraft landing and taking off.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Play "Misty" for Me

Who's this? Oh you. You want that song again. It didn't win an Oscar, you know. Neither did the movie... I know, I know. You can't hear it anymore without getting a little scared. You see Jessica Walter with the knife..No I don't have the Johnny Mathis version. But even if I did, I wouldn't play it. Cause I like this one, the Julie London one...No, I'm not Jack Webb's ghost...Why Julie London then? Well, if you gotta ask, you'll never know.

The Oscars 50 years Ago

Go back fifty years with me. In 1960, movies were really movies and stars were really stars. It's trite I know and a cliche. But in that time and before, the stories told and the actors who conveyed those stories seemed larger than life, literally. In a close up shot on the huge screen at the front of the theater, the star's face was as big as a god's...

The following list is from the great film info source, AMC Filmsite, written and edited by Tim Dirks...

The Oscar nominees and winners from the year 1960...50 years ago.

Winners are listed first and are in all capitals...

Best Picture Nominees:
"THE APARTMENT," "The Alamo," "Elmer Gantry," "Sons and Lovers," "The Sundowners"


BURT LANCASTER in "Elmer Gantry", Trevor Howard in "Sons and Lovers", Jack Lemmon in "The Apartment", Laurence Olivier in "The Entertainer", Spencer Tracy in "Inherit the Wind"


ELIZABETH TAYLOR in "Butterfield 8", Greer Garson in "Sunrise at Campobello", Deborah Kerr in "The Sundowners", Shirley MacLaine in "The Apartment", Melina Mercouri in "Never on Sunday"

Supporting Actor:

PETER USTINOV in "Spartacus", Peter Falk in "Murder, Inc.", Jack Kruschen in "The Apartment", Sal Mineo in "Exodus", Chill Wills in "The Alamo"

Supporting Actress:

SHIRLEY JONES in "Elmer Gantry", Glynis Johns in "The Sundowners", Shirley Knight in "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs", Janet Leigh in "Psycho", Mary Ure in "Sons and Lovers"


BILLY WILDER for "The Apartment", Jack Cardiff for "Sons and Lovers", Jules Dassin for "Never on Sunday", Alfred Hitchcock for "Psycho", Fred Zinnemann for "The Sundowners"

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tennessee's Rich Hillbillies

Forbes Magazine says Loudon County, Virginia is the richest county in the nation. It's located near Washington, D.C. Definitely not hillbilly country. Do you think some of our tax dollars are ending up there by mistake? 

The magazine also says Williamson County, TN is 17th richest in the nation. This wealthy county is about 20 miles south of Nashville, but those of us in Middle Tennessee already knew about those rich hillbillies down there, didn't we? Well, okay, most of them aren't exactly hillbillies.

Forbes says,

Nashville, Tenn., suburb Williamson County and Atlanta, Ga., suburb Forsyth County are the South's only representatives--but just like the other counties on our list, they have big-city growth industries to thank for their prosperity. Nashville may be best known for country music, but it's the heavy-hitting health care giants like Hospital Corporation of America headquartered there that account for locals' wealth. Many workers in that booming industry take their paychecks home to Williamson, which has a median income of $88,316.
From Wikipedia...
Williamson County is ranked among the wealthiest counties in the country. In 2006 it was the 11th wealthiest county in the country according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but the Council for Community and Economic Research ranked Williamson County as America's wealthiest county (1st) when the local cost of living was factored into the equation with median household income....By 2006 Williamson County had a population of 160,781 representing 27.0% population growth since 2000. The census bureau lists Williamson as one of the 100 fastest growing counties in the United States for the period 2000-2005....In 2008, John McCain took the county with 69% to Barack Obama's 30%.
Here's a pic of the county seat, historic and picturesque Franklin, Tennessee, recently voted the best small town in the state.

And here's another pic of some Williamson County farmland...

And finally, a recent real estate listing from the county. This six bedroom home, on ten acres with a three stall barn, listed for $1,982,000.

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

With this issue, The Weekly Standard becomes the first magazine to put their centerfold on the cover. Notice the polar bears in the background laughing. What a great piece of political lampoonery.