The Cumberland Post

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

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tennessee Waltz Sunday

Because of its long association with music, both the front porch kind and commercial, it's only natural that Tennessee should have seven (7) state songs. "The Tennessee Waltz" is one of those seven and was officially adopted in 1965.

I enjoy listening to waltzes and I'm glad that one of our state songs is a waltz, a waltz that's become an American Standard. I've collected several recorded versions of the song from You Tube to illustrate its popularity and how a single tune can be interpreted in such wildly divergent ways.

Writing credit for "The Tennessee Waltz" is usually given to co-writers Pee Wee King and Redd Stewart who supposedly crafted the song in 1947 after hearing Bill Monroe's "Kentucky Waltz." ("Kentucky Waltz" is another of my favorites and I'll post about it later.) King and Stewart sold the song to Roy Acuff who released it in 1948. It eventually reached #12 on the country charts.

The singer that most Americans of a certain age associate with the song is Patti Page, who recorded it as a "B" side to "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus," back in December of 1950. She said she recorded "The Tennessee Waltz" because the country version (I assume Acuff's) was her Dad's favorite song. Instead of playing the seasonal "A" side, disc jockeys played the "B" side. The record went to #1 on Billboard's chart on December 30, 1950, and stayed number 1 until February 24. Page's version is one of the first songs that I remember taking note of. I was ten years old at the time and a lot more interested in baseball and cowboys and indians than music but "The Tennessee Waltz" was everywhere; it seemed to be on the radio or the jukebox all the time. All told, it was on the charts for 30 weeks and became Patti Page's career song.

Les Paul and Mary Ford covered the song in the early 50's as well as Jo Stafford. Both of these versions made the charts as well. In 1959 Bobby Comstock and the Counts rockabilly version reached number 59, but I don't much like it. You can check it out on You Tube if you're interested. I do like Sam Cooke's singing however. He recorded an upbeat version in 1964 on his last album, the last one before he checked into that big motel in the sky. Again, originally a "B" side for Cooke, "The Tennessee Waltz" surprised the record producers and became the main side. It reached #35. Here's Sam Cooke...

Many, many other artists have recorded the tune as well, and at this point I'm going to abandon the chronological order I was following and just move to the versions that move me. Anne Murray's version is "pretty good" as we say in the South and the person who prepared this video used some really good pictures and paintings as visuals.

If you've never listened to Slim Whitman, this is your chance to check him out. Whitman was a country singer with a most unusual voice which enabled him to slide from one octave to another effortlessly. He's not exactly a male version of Yma Sumac, but he's pretty close. Slim Whitman...

 Since we're talking Tennessee here, we must, of necessity, include the Killer, Jerry Lee Lewis. Here's his rockin' version which I like very much, thank you...

Did I save the best for last? Tell me what you think. Here's the amazing Leonard Cohen...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tennessee's Palin?

An article by Chas Smith in this morning's Tennesseean, features State Representative Susan Lynn (R) from the Wilson County Mt. Juliet area (adjacent to Metro Nashville) who wants Tennessee and other states to take back some of the power originally granted them in the U.S. constitution.

Lynn and other lawmakers on her joint committee sent a letter to the other 49 states urging them to support actions restoring the powers to the states that were originally granted them in the 10th amendment.

The Tennesseean is very much a left leaning newspaper so they refer frequently to the 10th as the "so-called states rights" amendment (suggesting that many believe that issue was resolved by the Civil War) and present much negative information in the article including comments from her Democrat opponents, some who indicated a measure she backed showed that she and other Republicans had embarked on "the crazy train."

Her ideas are obviously gaining some traction. A resolution she introduced last year supporting the 10th Amendment to the U. S. constitution passed 85-2. You can get a better perspective on her views by (1)checking out her website on Blogger, (2) her campaign for State Senate website, (3) her TN General Assembly webpage, and (4) listening to her own words that Smith quotes in the article. In speaking of the Obama administration and other political leaders in Congress, she says, "They want to pass state laws that are really in the purview of the states....I just think, if they want to be state legislators, they ought to run for the state legislature."

I like that idea. And I think if many of them tried to run for state senator or representative in the area where they live they would be trounced. 
Is she the Tennessee Palin? She's been endorsed by the NRA, National Federation of Independent Businesses, Tennessee Right to Life, etc. She's been married to the same man, husband Michael, for 27 years and has two adult children. She may not be Palin. Yet. But she works for me as a Tennesseean.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Cantankerous Tennesseeans, the Lost State of Franklin, and Dolly Parton

Besides being known as the Volunteer state (I'll do a post on that later), Tennessee has earned a reputation for independence and/pugnacity since its inception.  From Wikipedia...

The State of Franklin[1] was an autonomous, secessionist United States territory created, not long after the end of the American Revolution, from territory that later was ceded by North Carolina to the federal government. Franklin's territory later became part of the state of Tennessee. Franklin was never officially admitted into the Union of the United States and existed for only four years.

Today the counties comprising the small independent state are in Tennessee, but at the time they were part of North Carolina. The maps below show the location of the state of Franklin and the counties involved.

First North Carolina ceded the land area now known as Tennessee to the federal government to help restore financial solvency after the Revolutionary war. But they soon withdrew this offer because they feared the Continental Congress might sell it to a foreign power to raise funds. Soon thereafter,

On May 16, 1785, a delegation from these counties submitted a petition for statehood to the Continental Congress. Seven states voted to admit the tiny state under the proposed name Frankland. Though a majority, the number of states voting in favor fell short of the two-thirds majority required to admit a territory to statehood under the Articles of Confederation. In an attempt to curry favor for their cause, leaders changed the name to "Franklin" after Benjamin Franklin, and even initiated a correspondence with the patriot to sway him to support them. Franklin politely refused.

This may be the first recorded instance of an elite Easterner's snub of redneck hillbillies. When their attempt to join the union failed, they quickly moved to establish themselves as a separate state or country. The first constitution they drafted "disallowed lawyers, doctors and preachers from election to the legislature." Unfortunately, it didn't pass. You know, I think they might have been on to something there.

But soon another constitution, modeled on North Carolina's was adopted and the state of Franklin was born.  John Sevier was its first and only governor.  The small state only lasted four years, dissolving after financial woes and threats from hostile tribes in the area necessitated a return to the protection of North Carolina which had a strong militia.

As of 1790, the government of the State of Franklin had collapsed entirely and the territory was firmly back under the control of North Carolina. Sevier was elected to the North Carolina legislature to represent the region. Soon thereafter, the state once again ceded the area that would soon become Tennessee to the national government to form the Southwest Territory.

Tennessee became the 16th state admitted to the union on June 1, 1796 and John Sevier became it's first governor.  (The U.S. representative to the House selected by Tennessee's legislature was Andrew Jackson. In a kind of payback to the elite Easterners, he eventually became President in 1828.) The county named in Sevier's honor is located in East Tennessee.

Today Sevier county is the home of the Dollywood theme park, created by another cantankerous Tennesseean, Dolly Parton. Her outrageous image (she once said, "it costs a lot of money to look this cheap!) hides an extemely creative and successful woman. Six hundred of the over three thousand songs she's written are listed with BMI. One of those songs is the title track of an album inspired by the county (Sevier) she grew up in. "My Tennessee Mountain Home."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

From Doghouse Diaries via Linkiest: Proof Your Dog Is More Loyal Than You

We owned a dog once; she was a standard dachsund named Samantha who lived 15 years. Sam's buried on the hillside in back of our house. I wrote a poem about her once which I'll post when I can find it. Like most dogs, Sam was loyal. It's one of my favorite traits in humans too. That's why I really like this cartoon from Doghouse Diaries...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Modest Proposal: Let's Hold Congress to the Same Standard they Hold Corporations

I lease a 2009 Toyota Avalon which we've put over 16,000 miles on with no problems, but naturally I'm concerned. We've reviewed the steps necessary to safely stop the car should it suddenly accelerate. And we've scheduled a visit to the dealer to have the vehicle repaired in the near future.

Of course Congress is getting in on the action and an investigative panel is now grilling Toyota's leaders. Politicians are lining up to take their potshots ask their questions of the auto giant's leaders and get their photo opportunities to ensure reelection to represent their constituents' interests back home.

I don't deny that this investigation may eventually help consumers, but I think media exposure of these problems and econcomic pressures consumers will bring to bear on Toyota (reduced sales, lawsuits, etc.) will probably produce more results in the long run. But this congressional investigative panel has given me an idea.

Suppose Congress is held to the same standards as the automaker and we put together a citizen panel to investigate its recent actions, including pork stuffed stimulus programs, laws requiring banks and mortgage companies to make unsafe loans, auto companies (GM, Chrysler) nationalization, etc.

What quality standards you ask? Let's look to the auto companies for help here. says that according to Consumer Reports magazine, "the ratio of reports for experiencing such a problem [sudden acceleration] on 2008 model-year vehicle from Toyota Motor Corporation is about one in nearly 50,000."

So, if we find that more than one Congressionally approved and initiated law/program that has resulted in serious problems for the country per 50,000 such actions, the whole institution itself will be held accountable.

I think the panel would be very busy don't you?

But if there's time, and I think the panel could find it, we could do an investigation into the current President's programs and actions as well.

Thomas Sowell in "Economic Whodunnit" says, "It's not that politicians never learn. They learn how much they can get away with, when they can blame others."

Allegheny Moon

Patti Page (Clara Ann Fowler) is best known for her signature song, "Tennessee Waltz (more coming on that later) recorded in 1950, but she had many other hits as well. This one is "Allegheny Moon," number 2 in 1956...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sweden Has a Plan: Nuclear Waste Disposal

I've long felt that the U.S. should move quickly to build more nuclear power plants. The problem, of course, is what to do with the dangerous waste. In Nuclear waste: the Swedish Example , LA Times blogger Margot Roosevelt points to the Sweden's (it gets 50% of its power from nuclear sources) success in dealing with this isuue. She says that the Nuclear Fuel & Waste Management Co (a private business, by the way ) developed their plan over the last 15 years and involves burying the spent material in crystalline bedrock. But the key to the solution was the careful planning. According to Roosevelt, Claes Thegerstrom, who is chief executive of the company, said

the national government in Sweden, once it enacted a law allowing a repository, maintained a hands-off policy as to its location, allowing industry to make the decision, in consultation with local government. "In Sweden, the industry is responsible," he said. "But in the U.S. the industry is absent from the nuclear waste discussion. That seems very strange."

Well, I know of at least one U.S. company that's been involved in the issue. Louisiana Energy Services proposed using the abandoned and unfinished TVA nuclear plan in Hartsville, TN, as a nuclear waste depository. They failed because rabid environmental groups stirred fears in the community and rallied liberal TN politicians to their cause. The same or similar groups had put a stop to the construction of the Hartsville plant back in the early 80's.

When will we learn that these "so called" activists are bringing U.S. growth and development to a halt. Here's a pic I found of the Hartsville plant, abandoned after over a billion dollars were spent on its construction.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Political Misinformation: Acting As Though A Thing Were True

About three years ago, writing on another blog, I wrote a post about the leftist skewed politics in Hollywood. Because I think it's still very much relevant, I've revised and updated it.

In my opinion, Hollywood today is the cultural Marxist/Socialist propoganda wing. "Babel," "An Incovenient Truth," and more recently "Capitalism A Love Story" and the technically stunning 3D "Avatar" illustrate this point on a large scale. Many other films support this contention on a smaller scale, featuring brief scenes or bits of dialog that ridicule conservatives, capitalism, the US military or US foreign policy (at least under Republican administrations). The majority of films made in Hollywood today seem to boldly or sometimes subtly say that America is bad. That we degrade, pollute the world. That we oppress people everywhere.

I directed a few plays in my academic career and think I know the difference between "a hawk and a handsaw." I also understand that theatrical acting is an art. Movie acting is also an art. What actors do is take an "untrue" thing (like dialog and action in a scene on stage or in the studio or on location with artificial flats or sets or green screens behind and an audience or a camera in front) and act as if the whole thing were really happening. Nothing wrong with that. As I said. Acting is an art.

But I believe many film actors and the Hollywood establishment in general have become the main tool of the New Left, the cultural Marxists with their "political correctness," "multiculturalism," "diversity," "environmentalism," "economic justice," etc. Their success at this is one reason why the US is in the state it's in today and why we have the current administration in power. The goal of the Hollywood power elite and their political allies is a utopian state of secular bliss which of necessity (and for our own good) must be achieved through strict totalitarian controls. The Audi "green police" super bowl ad satirizing environmentalists isn't unfortunately too far from the truth.

Totalitarian rule, Hannah Arendt argued, is predicated on the assumption that proving that a thing is true is less effective than acting as though it were true.

Is this why the message of many films today is that America is bad? We plunder the world's resources, we oppress minorities of all types, we pollute the earth, etc.

Writers who create the characters in films and TV shows and actors who portray them don't try to prove these things about America. They just "act" as though this message is true. If we see this assumed to be true message enough times, and our children see it, we will eventually come to believe that it is indeed true.

Enjoy the movie if you can, but don't believe this misinformation. Resist. Look through the celluloid. Think.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Back In The Saddle Again

This song of course was Gene Autry's theme song. The successful singer, actor, and businessman was an American Cowboy Hero. I saw many of his pictures on Saturday double bills at the old Royal Theater in the small town where I lived until I was seven and then watched his TV show in the very early fifties.

When I was eight I got one thing for Christmas, a pearl handled Gene Autry gun and holster set. It was all I wanted and it made me the fastest gun on my street. His movies may seem hokey now in "Postmodern America" but they influenced millions of kids.

Autry created the Cowboy Code, or Cowboy Commandments, in response to his young radio listeners aspiring to emulate him. According to Wikipedia, under his code, the Cowboy must:
  • never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.
  • never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.
  • always tell the truth.
  • be gentle with children, the elderly and animals.
  • not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
  • help people in distress.
  • be a good worker.
  • keep himself clean in thought, speech, action and personal habits.
  • respect women, parents and his nation's laws.
  • be a patriot.
I don't know about you, but the code still resonates with me. It's in simple, straightforward language and sets some pretty high standards. Whether you're a real cowboy or just a wannabe. In all those years I spent in liberal academia many of these values were challenged. But the values in the code always stayed with me as a kind of reference point. I know I haven't lived up to all of them all the time but I've never lost sight of them. And you know what? Today, I value them more than ever.

I like this song very much too. It conveys the emotion all of us feel when we've come back to some one, some thing or some place we really love. Right now, I feel it because I've started writing again. The way I used to four or five years ago--first thing, early in the morning, while my mind is uncluttered and as clear as it can be at 69. It feels good. To be "Back in the Saddle Again."

Obama A Supreme Court Justice?

Jeffrey Rosen of the Washington Post argues that the qualities that are often criticized about President Obama are just the qualities that would make him an ideal Supreme Court Justice. Geez, that's a lifetime appointment isn't it? So, even if he's voted out, "he'll be back!" And he will be back forever. Yikes.

The one good thing I see in Rosen's piece, is a kind of shift in thinking about Obama. One, Rosen seems to acknowledge that there are some valid criticisms being made. And two, the general tenor of the piece seems to be to make a case for another powerful government job for Obama after he's defeated in 2012.

I don't have a problem with giving him a government job, just not one on the Supreme Court. How about Mayor of Chicago? Works for me. If he leaves in 2012.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Poplar or Beech?

I inserted a photo I took of a tree in my front yard in a recent post. I labeled the tree a Poplar. Not being much versed in the trees of the forest (I did the compulsory tree leaf collection in Biology 101 back in 1959), I took the word of my neighbor who usually knows about such things. But a comment by Pat Conlon raised a question in my mind about the accuracy of my label.  Now after some research I've changed my mind about the Poplar label I used to identify the tree in my yard. I'm fairly sure (85%) the tree in question is an American Beech. First, here's the photo again.

Here are some reasons why I believe the tree's an American Beech:
  1. The tree's bottom branches swing low to the ground--bothersome in summer when I'm cutting grass. The photo I took, however, is at an up angle and doesn't show the low branches.
  2. The bark is silvery gray with some dark gray splotches and is thin and relatively smooth. The pictures on the net of American Poplar bark don't look like this at all.
  3. In the picture you can see round, nut like appendages still hanging on the tree limbs even though the pic was made in February. These spherical cupules (thanks wikipedia) are covered with stickers and will prick your finger if you're not careful. You can see the cupules in my photo and according to my research they frequently linger all winter.
  4. The leaves match the Beech leaf pics I located on the net.
  5. There are many Beech trees in my area; a church up the hollow as well as a school are named for the Beech tree. 
Here are some pics of American Beech cupules, bark, and leaves I gathered in my research to reidentify the tree:

If you think I've got this right now, please let me know. If you think the tree is still mislabeled, I would also like to hear from you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Along Came Jones

According to Jonathan Petre in the Mail Online, Professor Phil Jones (academic ground zero in climategate) has admitted there has been no global warming since 1995.

Professor Jones told the BBC yesterday there was truth in the observations of colleagues that he lacked organisational skills, that his office was swamped with piles of paper and that his record keeping is ‘not as good as it should be.’The data is crucial to the famous ‘hockey stick graph’ used by climate change advocates to support the theory. Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon. And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no "statistically significant" warming. 

Read the whole article; it's a significant piece of reporting. Why aren't we getting this in our MSM?

The Ox Is In the Ditch, Let's Get to Work

Did you ever hear this expression? The President at the college where I worked liked to use this phrase when we faced a big problem that would entail a tremendous amount of work.

The Wiktionary says that the phrase's use is idiomatic, chiefly southern and alludes to the New Testament reason for working on Sunday. They cite a quotation which indicates that President Lyndon Johnson "always announced the onset of catastrophe with the statement: 'The ox is in the ditch!'"

It's clear to me and most other Americans that we are in one of "ox is in the ditch" times and have been for at least a year now. The job situation is dire. The mortgage problem for banks has not been ameliorated by the "stimulus." We face enormous debt. And on and on. The problems mount and our spirit seems spent.

What we need now is a President who will step into the breach, someone who has the courage to let the private sector do what it does best, someone who will put to full use the vast resources we have at our disposal.

In regard to the latter idea of fully utilizing our resources, there's this from Daniel Whitten for Bloomberg:

Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Restrictions on oil and gas drilling will cost the U.S. economy $2.36 trillion through 2029, according to a study requested by state utility regulators and paid for in part by industry-sponsored groups.

Drilling restrictions in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and off the U.S. coastline are blocking access to about nine years’ worth of U.S. oil and gas consumption, according to the report. Among sponsors are the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and the industry-funded Gas Technology Institute, of Des Plaines, Illinois.

If we truly want to get ourselves out of this mess and get the ox out of the ditch, I think this is where we should start.

William Shakespeare and Hank Williams

It's preposterous some will say to discuss William Shakespeare in the same post with country singer/songwriter Hank Williams, Sr. (and country song writers Jean Branch and Eddie Hill) no matter how legendary Williams has become during the last half of the 20th century. Suppose we do it anyway; after all, it's my blog, my post. First, a sonnet by Shakespeare. Number 73.


That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.

In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.

This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

The quatrains are usually not divided by spacing like this but I printed them this way so you can see the three separate images he uses to make his point, which is clearly stated in the couplet at the end.

The first image involves the comparison of the speaker's life to a year and beautifully suggests that if life is a year, then he's in his late autumn, early winter. His lover should see that he doesn't have much time remaining, just part of a season.

The second image compares his life to a day and suggests that he's reached the twilight, the time of day when only the sun's after glow slowly melts into darkness which is the time for sleep (death).

The third image suggests that his life is similar to a fire which has almost burned out, only a few coals and some ashes remain.

Notice how the time span suggested by each image diminishes from a season, to an hour or two, to a very brief few minutes. This underscores the urgency of his point in the couplet. He says to his lover, you can see what my age is and how much time I have left; soon you'll be left alone. Therefore, love me now, we don't have that much together remaining.

What kind of deranged connection do I see between this sonnet and Hank Williams' song, "Someday You'll Call My Name and I Won't Answer," you ask. First, here are the lyrics. Remember, Hank, although he wrote many classic songs, didn't write this one. But he made it his own as all great singers do. Pay attention friends. Read the lyrics and then scroll down and hear Hank sing them. The beauty of this song (and especially in this particular rendition) is in its simplicity. That's only a single guitar you hear. Simple chords. Nothing else.


Someday you'll call my name and I won't answer
Someday you'll reach for me I won't be there
For you've grown tired of all the love I gave you
But someday you'll wish that I still care.

All these years how I've loved you
Still I know I claim you for my own
Someday you'll call my name and I won't answer
For someday you'll find yourself alone.

When you hair has turned from Gold to Silver
And your eyes are dimmed by passing years
You'll remember darling what I told you
There'll be no one then to dry your tears.

There'll come a time in your life dear
When you'll need someone who will care
Someday you'll call my name and I won't answer
For someday you'll find that I'm not there.

Okay, okay. The language of the sonnet is clearly superior. But the themes of both pieces are similar. Both use the aging process as a strong reminder.  The sonnet speaker says I'm not long for this world. The song speaker says, you're going to grow old one day too. And both make powerful use of pathos, the attempt to persuade by emotion. The speaker in the sonnet is clearly hoping his beautifully structured image/argument will persuade his lover to continue loving him. Maybe they've hit a rough patch. Maybe his love has begun to lose interest.

The speaker in the song lyric says that his patience will run out some day and when she needs him he won't care anymore. That's the lyric. But Hank's mornful voice evokes another possibility. When the time comes that she really does need him, he'll be gone all right--because he'll be dead.

On a personal note, one of the songwriters of "Someday" used to have a huge home on the hill at the intersection of my road and the main highway. Besides being a songwriter, he was a successful local TV personality. He's been dead now for many years. The house is gone now too, torn down three years ago, and the property subdivided into sections for a fancy new subdivision. Also, another personal note: the tree in the photo above ("bare ruin'd choirs where late the sweet birds sang") is a Poplar in my front yard.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow on Ground in 50 States

Marc Sheppard in American Thinker reports that

The storm that just dumped enough snow on the Florida Panhandle to force the closing of the University of West Florida has brought the official count of states with the white-stuff on the ground to a full 50.

I'm sure Alaska has snow, but Hawaii? Maybe so. Sheppard says that because of this unprecedented snowfall, Global Warming alarmists will join the rest of us in shoveling. He also says,

Of course, as they desperately cling to their claim that recent ferocious snowstorms somehow prove rather than refute manmade global warming, what they’ll be shoveling will be neither cold nor white.

A commenter on the thread added this tidbit: What about the other seven states that Obama said we have? Any snow there?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Josh Turner Sings "Your Smile" on Letterman

The Snow Bird Is on the Wing

There's snow on my Nandina. Yuk yuk.

I love Nandinas. We have several around the house. When I went out today, I noticed that last week's snow was still lingering on the Nandinas growing by the back deck which is in shadow most of the day.

It's still there from this past weekend. Old folks used to say, "snow that lingers is waiting around for more."

I hope it doesn't come Saturday. We're going with friends to a festival featuring hand made Dulcimers in a nearby town. Our friends' son is an artisan who has crafted several of these old time instruments. I might get a few pics when we go.

It's gray out now and it's about 25, and it was 14 degrees last night. More snow is forecast for Sunday night and Monday.

Dallas got a record 12 inches this morning. The Snowbird is on the wing this year. Anne Murray from 1973.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

White Stripes Band Now Yellow Stripes. Not.

The Detroit based White Stripes band claims that a recruiting ad run by the US Air Force during the Super Bowl was a ripoff of their song "Fell in Love with a Girl."  Their statement also said that "the White Stripes take strong insult and objection to the Air Force Reserve's presenting this advertisement with the implication that we licensed one of our songs to encourage recruitment during a war that we do not support."

In a later statement, the band also said they were changing their name to the Yellow Stripes. Not.

The Great Global Warming Collapse

In the Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail, Margaret Wente writes,

By exaggerating the certainties, papering over the gaps, demonizing the skeptics and peddling tales of imminent catastrophe, they've [the IPCC "advocate" scientists] discredited the entire climate-change movement. The political damage will be severe. As Mr. Mead succinctly puts it: “Skeptics up, Obama down, cap-and-trade dead.”

Read the whole article which summarizes the string of scandals and revelations that have undermined the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC) and devastated the entire camp of Global Warming advocates.

Ms. Wente also conducted and on line Q and A with readers and in one response to a question about the silence of the North American media on this collapse, she says

It's as if the N. American media have been trapped in one mindset for so long that it's hard for them to change gears.

Duh. I think that mindset they're trapped in (lets call it knee jerk liberal/socialist) applies to more than climate change. It covers all the political/social issues from health care to the terror threat. And it manifests itself as an arrogant "we're smarter than you, more up on the issues than you, more with it than you, cooler than you" attitude. And nowhere was it more on display than last year when Anderson Cooper, that respected "journalist" from the very serious network CNN made an ugly sexual joke about Americans who attended the political tea parties. Can you imagine a real journalist from the 50's, Walter Lippman for example, making such a reference?

In the past many of the leftist alarmists who swallowed the whole ICC bagel, were quick to try and tie current weather situations to their bogus theory. Thus, hurricanes and other severe storms were signs of contemporary Global Warming activity; and the storms were supposedly increasing as a result of it. Many blamed Global Warming for Katrina (of course they also blamed it on Bush because he didn't sign the Kyoto accord.

But what goes around comes around, especially in weather. Thus the severity of this winter's cold temperatures, record snowfalls, and the many blizzards have caused the public to grow even more skeptical. I hear the joke everywhere I go on snowy cold days. The grocery clerk or the waiter says laughingly, "Boy it's cold. Must be that Global Warming."

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Hanson's Razor

Logician William Ockham (1285-1349), developed what came to be known as Occam's Razor--the simplest explanation or strategy is more than likely the best one. 

I regularly read critic and scholar Victor Davis Hanson's "Private Papers" and have come to realize that Mr. Hanson often uses a very sharp razor of his own to cut through liberal obfuscation. In a new post (“Civilization’s Lies”), Mr. Hanson uses his razor to dissect liberal motivation:

High Liberalism is now a psychological manifestation, by which the very rich, immune to both the realities of tough living and the hurt of high taxes, finds solace, self-worth, penance even, by sympathy for big government entitlement for the less fortunate whom they connive hourly to avoid.

Read the whole essay; it's well worth your time.

Footprints in the Snow

It's still pretty cold here on Super Bowl Sunday so I thought I'd post another pic of the snow a week ago. This view of our home is about half way down the driveway, looking toward the house not the road. The house is a precut Lindal Chalet (36 years old now) which came on a railway freight car from either Washington or Oregon, I forget which. A friend of mine helped me unload everything and bring it to the construction site.

The other pic below shows my footprints in the snow after I went to get the mail. The road is at the bottom of the hill, almost invisible because of the snow. The road is bordered on both sides by hills, making it what we call a hollow or 'holler' in these parts.

I labeled this post "Footprints in the Snow" after a famous Bluegrass song by Bill Monroe, often called the Father of Bluegrass. Until he died a few years ago, he lived in the same area, way on back in another 'holler.'

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Nashville, the Athens of the South

To the left is a picture of the replica of the Parthenon in Centennial Park, Nashville, TN. I've visited this park and the Parthenon many times. The top picture shows the huge gilded statue of Athena in the naos inside the structure. According to Wikipedia:

"A modern replica [of the original statue] by Alan LeQuire stands in the reproduction of the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee. Alan LeQuire, a Nashville native, was awarded the commission to produce the Parthenon's cult statue. His work was modeled on descriptions given of the original. The modern version took eight years to complete, and was unveiled to the public on May 20, 1990.

"The modern version of Athena Parthenos is significant because of its scale and its attention to recreating Phidias' work. The statue adds an additional dimension of realism to the replicated Parthenon, whose interior east room (the naos) was merely a large empty hall prior to the statue's unveiling. The reproduced Athena Parthenos gives visitors the impression that they truly are inside an ancient place of worship.

"The Nashville Athena Parthenos is made of a composite of gypsum cement and ground fiberglass. The head of Athena was assembled over an aluminum armature, and the lower part was made in steel. The four ten-inch H beams rest on a concrete structure that extends through the Parthenon floor and basement down to bedrock, to support the great weight of the statue. LeQuire made each of the 180 cast gypsum panels used to create the statue light enough to be lifted by one person and attached to the steel armature."

Once in the 90's in some introductory remarks, I welcomed a large group of educators to the city with the words "Welcome to the Nashville, the Athens of the South." They laughed because most people think of the city as just the home of country music and associate it with rednecks, etc. But I went on to explain to the audience that beginning in the 1850's Nashville was called the Athens of the South because it was the first southern city to establish a public education system and also because of its numerous institutions of higher education. Today, the label still applies; the city is home to Vanderbilt University, Belmont University, David Lipscomb University, Fisk University, Tennessee State University, a community college, and numerous private schools.