Back in June of 2009, my friend Jimmy and I attended the NINJA tour, a double show of Nine Inch Nails and Jane’s Addiction with a new band called Street Sweeper Social Club as the opener. I wrote at the time:
One of the songs we heard was from the leftist band Rage Against the Machine, no doubt because the evening’s opening act was a new group called Street Sweeper Social Club, co-founded by Rage guitarist Tom Morello. As we finished our drinks, stuck the cooler back in the car, and began walking toward the concert I said to Jimmy, “You know even though I understand now that the guys in Rage Against the Machine are a bunch of Stalinists I still enjoy their music.” The same sentiment could be said of Morello’s new effort.
Street Sweeper Social Club is a joint project of Morello and Raymond “Boots” Riley, the lead singer of the radical hip-hop group the Coup. And Riley is so far to the left that he makes Rage lead singer Zack de la Rocha look like Pat Buchanan. Throughout Street Sweeper’s short set Riley declared his political positions, at one point arguing that the government needs to have “a people’s bailout, not a corporate bailout.” They also played a cover of the popular M.I.A. song “Paper Planes,” a catchy track that’s become the leftist anthem of late.
Riley’s quite open and blunt about his political religion:
“I am a communist. I have been a communist/socialist since I was 14 years old. I think that people should have democratic control over the profits that they produce. It is not real democracy until you have that. And the plain and simple definition of communism is the people having democratic control over the profits that they create. When you first have a revolution, you are heading into socialism. People who were against communism have defined communism for us. People that are for communism and who have dedicated their lives and given their lives to giving people power, they are the ones that created the concept.”
Riley hasn’t shown up on my radar much since, at least until the other day when one of my Marxist friends shared this interview with him from Mark Maynard. Here are a few choice selections for PJ Lifestyle readers’ comedic enjoyment.
First, Boots explains why it’s OK for a communist to sell his music to Fox for an episode of The Simpsons but not to K-Mart for an advertising jingle:
MARK: I’m curious as to where you draw the line. You mentioned earlier that folks in the Progressive Labor Party had told you that no artistic endeavor could come out of the Capitalist system and have any meaning, or something along those lines. And you pursue this line as a career. But you draw a line at advertising…
BOOTS: I didn’t believe them (that nothing good could come from works produced within the system)… In reality, that’s where music comes in. It’s advertising. Music is licensed to TV shows. It’s advertising. TV shows are there to keep people watching, so they’ll watch commercials. So, the music that’s licensed to them helps that to happen. And we do that.
MARK: Yeah. You’ve done that. You’ve written music for the Simpsons, and done other stuff. But yet, when it comes to selling a song to Levi’s, you’ve said something like, “That’s a line that I won’t cross.” And I’m curious about that line, and where you draw it. Like you say, the TV show is there to sell ads, and you work with them. So, that line is kind of fuzzy… I’m just wondering what your thought process is. Do you consider, for instance, the good stuff you could do with the money that you’d receive from selling a song to a company, or the fact that it would get your music out to a broader audience? I guess what I’m asking is, how firm is that line?
BOOTS: Well… for instance, K-Mart offered us a bunch of money for the Magic Clap. They wanted to make it a part of their main commercial ad campaign for the fall. So, you’d turn on the TV, and you’d hear, “K-Mart, Magic Clap,” forever. And you’d think of K-Mart when you hear that song. And do I want to spend my life with that? Like, the job market is hard out there, but… that would erase a lot of shit, you know? If I were going to try to make money, I could probably think of some other things to do, that weren’t music-related. If I did that, though, I’d reach more of an audience, but people would be thinking of that song, or whatever it is, as connected to that group. So, you know, when they offer The Coup money, they’re not only offering The Coup that. They’re buying a group. They’re buying an idea, you know? The idea that, “Even these dudes, are behind this product.”
Next Boots explains why it’s OK for a communist to participate in an evil exploitative system like capitalism:
MARK: I know that Bill Maher gave you a hard time about it on his show, and he also, as I recall, said something about you being a Communist, like “people who sell records aren’t Communists.” Are you getting better at answering those kinds of challenges now, after having heard them for a couple of decades?
BOOTS: The idea of wanting to make a revolution…. You have to be in the system to do it. You can’t say, “You can’t be a Communist and work retail.” If you work in an automotive factory, you’re participating in Capitalism, but how else do you organize anyone, if you’re not part of it? Folks that say stuff like that either don’t understand, or they’re looking for a quick retort. The reality is that what people are saying is not that they don’t want to participate, but that they don’t want other people to be affected. I don’t want other people to be affected by Capitalism. I feel that, in reality… and I may be deluding myself.… I’m a pretty crafty dude. I can figure out how to survive. I could figure out how to be the crab that climbs up the barrel, or whatever. But I don’t want for there to be a barrel. I don’t want everybody else to get cooked. And that’s the point.
Recently while dining with my favorite husband at a restaurant with live music, the singer performed Danny’s Song, an old favorite of mine.
Since I had not heard this song in years it touched a raw emotional chord in my memory bank and the song has stayed on my mind ever since.
At the height of the song’s popularity I was a 16-year-old sophomore in high school. Whenever it played on the radio (which was quite frequently) my girlfriends and I would sing along at the top of our lungs.
But above all I remember the lyrics making a huge psychological impact on me, helping formulate my sweet 16 view of love, relationships and future marriage.
Now looking back at the song from my 57-year-old perspective it was the chorus that imprinted itself on my heart.
And even though we ain’t got money, I’m so in love with ya honey, everything will bring a chain of love.
And in the morning when I rise, you bring a tear of joy to my eyes,
And tell me everything is gonna be alright.
As a teenager that chorus spoke to me saying “whether you are rich or poor, love conquers all.”
I truly embraced the message.
Then of course you grow up and strap yourself in for a ride on the roller coaster of life. When hurricanes strike and the roller coaster gets swept out to sea (like this one in New Jersey recently) with you still on it, but your partner is gone and your wallet is empty, then you wise up and realize that song’s message was just a sweet 16 fairy tale.
As many aging baby boomers experienced their roller coaster ride through life, money issues were often deal breakers in marriages.
My peers may have started out singing “even though we ain’t got money, I’m so in love with ya honey” but then we watched as the record got severely scratched or broken after the roller-coaster took some sharp unexpected turns.
Since I like to think of myself as a one person aging baby boomer focus group… and if I was so heavily impacted by this song’s idyllic message, how many of you were as well?
In the comments section, you are allowed to stomp on your ex who stole your wallet, but just do not use real names!
On the other hand, if you are still in your first baby boomer marriage that is a testament to Danny’s Song, congratulations, and please share your story, but don’t make the rest of us feel too bad.
And get caught up on Myra’s previous Baby Boomer nostalgia adventures in this series’ predecessor, Classic Rock and Cheap Wine:
In Part One, I told you a bit about Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. My mini-travelogue continues with an absolute must-see on any trip to Israel:
First, some background on Masada:
Masada is a symbol of the ancient Jewish kingdom of Israel, of its violent destruction in the later 1st century CE, and of the subsequent Diaspora. The palace of Herod the Great at Masada is an outstanding example of a luxurious villa of the early Roman Empire, while the camps and other fortifications that encircle the hill constitute the finest and most complete Roman siege works to have survived to the present day. (…)
With the end of the Herodian dynasty in 6 BCE Judaea came under direct Roman rule, and a small garrison was installed at Masada. At the beginning of the Jewish Revolt in 66 a group of Zealots led by Menahem, one of the Jewish leaders, surprised and slaughtered the garrison. The Zealots held Masada throughout the revolt, and many Jews settled there, particularly after the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple by Titus in 70. They occupied some of the Herodian palace buildings, and added more modest structures of their own, such as a synagogue, a ritual bath, and small houses.
Two years later Flavius Silva, the Roman Governor, decided to eliminate this last remaining centre of Jewish resistance. He sent the X Legion and a number of auxiliary units there, with many prisoners of war for manual duties. The Jews, led by Eleazar Ben Yair, prepared for a long siege as the Romans and their prisoners built camps and a long siege wall (circumvallation) at the base of the hill. On a rocky site near the western approach to Masada they constructed a massive ramp of stones and rammed earth. A giant siege tower with a battering ram was constructed and moved laboriously up the completed ramp. It succeeded in breaching the wall of the fortress in 73, allowing the Roman soldiers to enter.
The Zealots defended stoutly, but there was no hope of resisting the Roman attack for long. Josephus reports that Ben Yair talked to the 960 men, women, and children who survived, telling them that “a glorious death is preferable to a life of infamy.” All but two took their own lives on 2 May 73.
Masada is now a potent symbol of Jewish resistance to tyranny, but that wasn’t always the case.
It wasn’t until the 1920s that a poem about the siege reintroduced the story to the world. (That poem is said to have inspired the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.)
One of our group bravely walked up the side of the mountain — in flipflops! — but most visitors elect to take the cable car to the top.
You’ll be rewarded with spectacular views and a stirring history lesson.
Bonus: the gift shop is amazing and they’ve just added a shiny new “food court.” (However, do NOT buy the AHAVA Dead Sea beauty products at Masada — there’s an AHAVA discount store in Eilat.)
Wear a hat and sunscreen, and carry lots of water. (I bought a lumbar pack with two water bottle holders for this trip.)
‘A Writer Who Waits for Ideal Conditions Under Which to Work Will Die Without Putting a Word on Paper.’ – E.B. White
Ray Bradbury, a lifelong proponent of working with joy and an avid champion of public libraries, playfully defies the question of routines in this 2010 interview:
My passions drive me to the typewriter every day of my life, and they have driven me there since I was twelve. So I never have to worry about schedules. Some new thing is always exploding in me, and it schedules me, I don’t schedule it. It says: Get to the typewriter right now and finish this.
I can work anywhere. I wrote in bedrooms and living rooms when I was growing up with my parents and my brother in a small house in Los Angeles. I worked on my typewriter in the living room, with the radio and my mother and dad and brother all talking at the same time. Later on, when I wanted to write Fahrenheit 451, I went up to UCLA and found a basement typing room where, if you inserted ten cents into the typewriter, you could buy thirty minutes of typing time.
Ernest Hemingway, who famously wrote standing (“Hemingway stands when he writes. He stands in a pair of his oversized loafers on the worn skin of a lesser kudu—the typewriter and the reading board chest-high opposite him.”), approaches his craft with equal parts poeticism and pragmatism:
When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again. You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that. When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have made love to someone you love. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through.
Productivity maniac Benjamin Franklin had a formidably rigorous daily routine:
Hat tip: AB
Related at PJ Lifestyle on writing:
Governor Mick Huckabee, now a TV and radio talk-show host, seems to be a nice guy. He is kind to everyone and seemingly wants everyone to like him. Unlike other media hosts, he regularly features as guests those with whom conservatives disagree. When The Iron Lady came out in 2011, Huckabee invited on actress Meryl Streep to discuss her performance of Margaret Thatcher. I recall her nervousness as she clearly feared being the guest of a well-known social conservative with whom she had profound disagreements. The governor quickly put her at ease, and showed that he truly wanted to make her welcome.
Sometimes this works. But yesterday, Huckabee revealed the dangers of such a stance. He had as guests on his radio program none other than Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, there to give their TV series, The Untold History of the United States, more publicity and attention. Listen to the interview, and you will find one of the most disgraceful interviews by a conservative that you will ever hear.
You might expect that Huckabee (or his staff) would have done some homework and, if he chose to have these two advocates of what Roger L. Simon rightfully calls “Stalin porn” on his program, asked them challenging questions. If so, you will be waiting a long, long time. Instead of asking them any tough questions at all, Huckabee allowed them to use their assigned time to spout leftist propaganda without any objection or disagreement. Indeed, at one point, historian Kuznick praised Joseph Stalin and chastised the United States during World War II for not doing Stalin’s bidding, arguing that the U.S. could have come to their aid earlier and not refused a second front in Europe when Stalin wanted it. After all, Kuznick said, Stalin was “anti-fascist” when no other powers were.
Clearly, Kuznick does not realize that in fact Stalin was preparing his alliance with the Nazis during the period of the Nazi-Soviet Pact way before it was announced, and the nature of his anti-fascism was spurious to the core. Indeed, as Foreign Minister Molotov had said in a famous statement, “fascism is a matter of taste.” The NKVD gave advice and aid to the Gestapo, among other things, and the two totalitarian leaders easily accommodated their ideological differences to work together against the West.
Did Huckabee challenge this statement? Not once. Nor did he object when the two repeated their argument about the unnecessary A-bombs dropped on Japan and the United States’ true purpose as a permanent militaristic power based on hegemonic domination of the world on behalf of American corporations.
Madonna came out of the closet in St. Petersburg, Russia, a few days ago.
In a courtroom that reporters present described as being the size of a walk-in closet (photos), Madge was summoned to face charges of inciting the decent citizens of Russia to homosexuality. If convicted, she faced a $170 fine and a claim for moral damages in excess of $10 million by the group of plaintiffs who had sued her. She declined to make a personal appearance, and was tried in absentia over the course of a single day.
There was no jury. The lone judge hearing the matter, one Vitaly Barkovsky, listened to testimony for about five hours, deliberated for an hour and a half, and then acquitted Ms. Ciccone on all counts.
The charges stemmed from a Madonna concert staged in Piter, as the locals call their city, earlier this year. She urged her listeners, many of whom sported LGBT paraphernalia like pink wristbands or rainbow insignias, to stand up for gay rights, notoriously under siege in today’s Russia. She exhorted: “Show your love and appreciation to the gay community.”
Such statements can amount to criminal acts in today’s Russia. Piter is supposedly Russia’s most liberal city, but like many others it has a law on the books forbidding anyone to encourage or support homosexuality. The author of the law, Vitaly Milonov, had put Madonna on notice before the show, stating ominously:
I heard at the concerts on this tour she pulled off her tights, and we will not have that here. We warn the organizers of the concert so that everything goes well. Otherwise they will face the harsh laws of St. Petersburg.
Reviewing the account of the trial offers many insights into what passes for justice in the Russia of proud KGB spy Vladimir Putin.
As the trial began, it was totally unclear whether Madonna had been given proper legal notice of the lawsuit. The first of the plaintiffs began his attempt to prove Madonna’s violation of Russian law by quoting extensively from the Holy Bible. He then asserted that the support of rights for homosexuals amounted to a violation of basic human rights (i.e., because homosexuals are not humans).
Dr. Tom Perez is a retired chiropractor in Houston, TX. He lives with his wife Monica, daughter Kat, and sons Tommy and Matthew, and they prepare for a terrorist attack (specifically, a radiological dirty bomb). If that happens, and society panics, Dr. Perez plans to bug out to a 700-acre ranch 300 miles to the west in Bracketville, TX, near the Mexican border.
Brackettville was once home to Fort Clark, home to horse-mounted cavalry units from the 1850s up until World War II. It is perhaps best known as the location in which John Wayne starred as Davy Crockett in The Alamo. The Perez family compound borrowed that name for their two limestone homes… rather macabre, when you consider the name is synonymous with a doomed last stand.
Doomsday Preppers, by it’s very nature (hint, the title includes “Doomsday”), finds the most extreme preppers, and the Perez family breaks the mold in more ways than one. The family has spent ten years and more than $2 million to build the compound into a prepper’s fortress, which is to my knowledge the most money spent by any prepper in any season of the show. He has a windmill and concrete cisterns of more than 2,000 gallons.
The two buildings boast bullet-resistant walls, steel bars over the windows, security cameras, and the entire compound is surrounded by a 7′ high barbed-wire fence. He’s “contaminated” 10 percent of the food and water as a trap for those who would steal from him. He has 46,000 rounds of ammunition, enough cartridges, as the narrator points out, to shoot everyone in the entire county 12 times.
Television’s Mad Men would have you believe that America was a monolithic bastion of Puritanism, untrammeled by European or socialist influences (despite the rise of Woodrow Wilson and FDR!) until the Beatles touched down at JFK Airport in 1964. The reality though, as Allen Bloom memorably wrote in The Closing of the American Mind, was that almost immediately upon the US winning World War II, America began to slowly — often unwittingly — become an unofficial enclave of Germany’s Weimar Republic.
Take architecture. As Tom Wolfe noted in From Bauhaus to Our House, his classic debunking of modernism’s excesses, because America’s intellectuals tend to think of themselves as an artistic colony in thrall to Europe, when the leaders of the Weimar-era German Bauhaus of the 1920s were evicted by the Nazis, they were welcomed by Depression-era American universities as “The White Gods! Come from the skies at last!”
[Walter Gropius, the founder of the Bahaus] was made head of the school of architecture at Harvard, and Breuer joined him there. Moholy-Nagy opened the New Bauhaus, which evolved into the Chicago Institute of Design. Albers opened a rural Bauhaus in the hills of North Carolina, at Black Mountain College. [Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, its last director, when the Nazis shuttered its doors in 1933] was installed as dean of architecture at the Armour Institute in Chicago. And not just dean; master builder also. He was given a campus to create, twenty-one buildings in all, as the Armour Institute merged with the Lewis Institute to form the Illinois Institute of Technology. Twenty-one large buildings, in the middle of the Depression, at a time when building had come almost to a halt in the United States— for an architect who had completed only seventeen buildings in his career—
O white gods.
Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) is the titular subject of the newly published biography by architectural historian Franz Schulze and architect Edward Windhorst (who studied his craft under a protégé of Mies). They’ve collaborated on an extensively — very extensively — revised version of the biography of Mies that Schulze first published in 1986, the centennial of Mies’s birth.
While he was America’s most influential postwar modern architect and teacher, Mies never quite become a household name on the same order as Frank Lloyd Wright. (Despite a prominent Life magazine feature in 1957.) But he’s been the subject of numerous biographies and book-length profiles, beginning with his prominent role in The International Style, the pioneering Museum of Modern Art exhibition by Philip Johnson and Henry Russell Hitchcock, which first put modern architecture on the map in America, back in 1932.
Even as Mies was associated with several prominent buildings deserving of respect after World War II, perhaps his greatest accomplishment was to singlehandedly invent the language of postwar American architecture. We take tall steel and glass office buildings and apartments for granted, but it was Mies who created their look, beginning with 1951′s Farnsworth House (which would also provide the inspiration for Philip Johnson’s own Glass House) and from that same year, the 860-880 Lake Shore Drive apartment complex.
During the Thanksgiving holiday The Wife proposed a Harry Potter movie marathon. I’ve never considered myself much of a Potter-fan. During the books’ popularity over the last 15 years I resisted reading them. And while I saw six of the eight movies during my film critic days — and appreciated them individually — the franchise as a whole never inspired devotions to the level of the pop culture cults of my childhood and teen years, Star Wars and Star Trek.
So I welcomed the chance to give the series a second look, fueled by The Wife’s enthusiasm. She read all the books and knows the arcane details backwards and forwards. The Potter books arrived for April, a few years my junior, as a receptive older child, for me as an angsty teenager looking for “mature” books.
Last Wednesday night after wrapping up the day’s editing I made a run to the library to pick up the four titles we didn’t already own (The Half-Blood Prince) or have recorded on the DVR (Prisoner of Azkaban and both Deathly Hallows). And so began our epic Thanksgiving Potterfest with The Sorcerer’s Stone that night; which we carried on at a pace of three films both Thursday and Friday before concluding on Saturday morning.
My conclusion: young geeks nowadays have much better options than previous generations. Compare the eight Harry Potter films with the six Star Wars and eleven Star Trek. By any “objective” measure — box office, percentage of positive reviews, or number of award-winning actors featured in the films – Harry Potter wins. And does any Jedi or Trekkie want to argue that by the “subjective” measure — just sitting down and watching all the films in the series — Harry fails to triumph over Luke, Han, Kirk, and Spock?
By Dakota Meyer and Bing West
Random House, $27, 239 pp.
Does this sound familiar?
1. A group of Americans on a diplomatic mission to reach out to Muslims are pinned down by al-Qaeda and come under overwhelming fire.
2. They repeatedly call for support fire missions, which are denied because they cannot absolutely guarantee no civilians are in the area.
3. A frustrated American warrior disobeys orders to go on what appears to be a suicide mission to try to save them.
4. The pinned down Americans are wiped out because supporting fire missions are denied them.
No, this is not a rush-to-press account of the recent disgrace in Benghazi, but if you think Libya was a unique screw-up during the Obama administration, Into the Fire — the story of the Battle of Ganjigal, by Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer and war correspondent extraordinaire Bing West — will change your perception.
As Benghazi and Ganjigal show, it’s the unwritten policy of the Obama administration that civilian lives come before the lives of American soldiers, even when there is only a slim chance bystanders will be killed.
I first learned of Meyer’s story while reading West’s masterful The Wrong War, a scathing critique of how the Afghan war has become more of an ill-conceived welfare plan than an anti-terrorism fight.
Among that book’s most gripping chapters is the story of the ill-conceived and ill-fated Operation Dancing Goat (which I’m sure is informally known as goat-something-else among those who participated). Here, the rules of engagement and brass with no respect for the enemy’s capabilities nearly led to a disaster that would have been much worse but for the unbelievable heroism of one Marine, Dakota Meyer.
But Into the Fire, despite its subtitle, is more than just an account of that fateful day. Meyer sets the stage by telling of his complete tour in Afghanistan, recounting the successes and failures of training Afghan troops to take over their own security, and of the incredible strictures placed on American combat forces by their own command.
Time and again, Meyer was constrained from engaging enemy forces by casualty-shy commanders who forgot the age-old maxim: force projection is force protection.
But even more frustrating were the rules of engagement that all but forbade contact with the enemy if civilians were part of the context, thus giving Taliban and al-Qaeda forces the incentive to surround themselves with innocents.
If you ever wondered what lies at the bottom of the slippery slope, go to Germany. There, you will find Europe’s modern moral and cultural bankruptcy on open display. There, you can visit one of many “erotic zoos” and partake in sex with animals for a price.
In a German “erotic zoo,” customers pay to have sex with farm animals. A barnyard pimp collects money from the customers. These businesses are proliferating throughout Germany and Denmark, and are completely legal.
The Telegraph gives us some background to the law’s “enlightened” legalization of bestiality:
Bestiality was legalised in Germany in 1969, the same year that gay sex was also removed from the criminal code. After that, sex with animals was only punishable if the animal was severely injured.
The current proposal would outlaw animal prostitution by banning the pimps at the erotic zoo. That’s right, pimps. The gatekeepers, literally, would be criminalized. If you collect cash from freaks looking for a lamb, it would be a crime for the first time since 1969.
Has Europe really fallen so far so fast?
Apart from Muslim communities across most of western Europe, birthrates have crashed. Mohammed is the most popular boy’s name in England. European law is in full retreat. In the Netherlands, you can order a mobile euthanasia van to your house like we order a pizza. In England, the Royal College of Obstetricians support infant euthanasia, a.k.a., murder. The glorious cathedrals of the west are empty on Sundays, except in still-devoutly Catholic countries like Poland and Ireland.
Might the rise of secular, hip Europe have any relation to the rise of erotic zoos?
The spectacle of German heavy-petting zoos has some lessons for us here in the United States. PJ Media’s Zombie routinely covers the California version of the moral collapse found in the German sheep and bull bordellos. These beastly bordellos pose a vexing question for libertarians here.
Customers at the German erotic zoos consider this a simple lifestyle choice. Alas, the 1969 repeal of German laws got the government out of the bedroom, or, perhaps more appropriately, out of the barnyard. And under a libertarian model, cows and pigs are properly consider chattel, mere property like a chair or tractor. If one wants to do things to a chair or tractor they own, then they certainly aren’t hurting anyone else.
VIDEO of 2 and a Half Men Star: ‘You Cannot Be a True God-Fearing Person and Be on a Television Show Like That.’
Actor Angus T. Jones, star of CBS’s raunchy television comedy “Two and a Half Men”, has urged viewers to change the channel, saying his new-found religious beliefs are at odds with his job playing a fun-loving teen on the popular show.
Jones, 19, who has played Jake Harper – the son of Jon Cryer’s character Alan – for nine years, appealed to fans to stop watching the show “and filling your head with filth.”
TMZ is reporting that the executives on “Two and a Half Men” and at Warner Bros. have seen Jones’s video where he calls the show “filth,” but that neither Jones nor his representatives have contacted the higher ups to announce his departure. At the same time, executive producer Chuck Lorre hasn’t responded to Jones’s comments yet either, a Zap2It television blog reported today.
Jones is headed in to a “Two and a Half Men” rehearsal this morning, according to Zap2It.
In a YouTube video made for the California-based Forerunner Christian Church, Jones said his recent Bible studies made him uncomfortable with the risque humor that marks one of the most-watched comedies on U.S. television.
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
At dinner the other night, a cardiologist spoke of the economic burden on modern society of the elderly. This, he said, could only increase as life expectancy improved.
I was not sure that he was right, and not merely because I am now fast approaching old age and do not like to consider myself (yet) a burden on or to society. A very large percentage of a person’s lifetime medical costs arise in the last six years of his life; and, after all, a person only dies once. Besides, and more importantly, it is clear that active old age is much more common than it once was. Eighty really is the new seventy, seventy the new sixty, and so forth. It is far from clear that the number of years of disabled or dependent life are increasing just because life expectancy is increasing.
There used to be a similar pessimism about cardiopulmonary resuscitation. What was the point of trying to restart the heart of someone whose heart had stopped if a) the chances of success were not very great, b) they were likely soon to have another cardiac arrest and so their long-term survival rate was low and c) even when restarted, the person whose heart it was would live burdened with neurological deficits caused by a period of hypoxia (low oxygen)?
A paper in the New England Journal of Medicine examines the question of whether rates of survival of cardiopulmonary resuscitation have improved over the last years and, if so, whether the patients who are resuscitated have a better neurological outcome.
Tuesday New Releases in Music
A few big albums remain unreleased in the run-up to Christmas, but this week the industry still recovers from its post-Black Friday hangover. So Alicia Keys offers the only major-label new release of note this week, with Girl on Fire set for a strong debut. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find a wealth of great music coming out this week, including an exceptional survey of Charlie Christian’s contributions to the development of bebop and jazz. Plus: Rage Against the Machine receives a 20th anniversary reissue, and the Winter Sounds prove you don’t need a huge budget to craft solid pop hooks.
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Don’t call her prolific, as Alicia Keys releases just her fifth studio album in the last twelve years, her first since 2009’s The Element of Freedom. It’s worth the wait, however, as early reviews have praised Keys for taking things back to basics, focusing on intimate moments and what Uncut calls her “technical brilliance.” The strongest of those intimate moments, “Not Even The King,” serves as a highlight of what Girl on Fire offers.
Big Dipper – Big Dipper Crashes on the Platinum Planet (Almost Ready Records)
Blood of the Sun – Burning on the Wings of Desire (Listenable Records)
Breathless – Green to Blue (Shellshock)
Charlie Christian – The Genius of the Electric Guitar (Sony Legacy)
Fans of jazz and bebop already know the music of Charlie Christian, but fans of anything modern involving the electric guitar should care as well. This four disc collection brings that music into stunning clarity, focusing on Christian’s pioneering work with the instrument while a member of the Benny Goodman Sextet from 1939-41, along with a disc of rarities from his time in Goodman’s orchestra and the Metronome All-Stars.
Daniel Higgs – Say God (Thrill Jockey) – Vinyl
Fort Shame – Double Wide (Redeye Label)
Great Big Sea – XX (Great Big Sea)
Jefferson Starship – Tales from the Mothership (United States Distribution)
Jerry Cole – Surf Age (Sundazed Music Inc)
Flash back to the era of classic surf-pop via this reissue from Jerry Cole and His Spacemen. Surf Age attempted to merge surf music with the wider sphere of 60s pop, more carefully focusing Cole’s mile-a-minute recording process. Incredibly rare until this long-awaited CD release, enjoy the perfect holiday time capsule. Highlights include the title track and “One Color Blues.”
John Zorn – The Concealed (Tzadik)
Junkie XL – Synthesized (Nettwerk)
Lone Wolf – The Lovers (It Never Rains)
Mike Cooper – Life and Death in Paradise (Entertainment One)
Myriad 3 – Tell (Alma Records)
My favorite discovery of the year by far, this Canadian jazz trio builds on the collective nature of improvisation, crafting a nuanced debut you won’t want to miss. The album’s highlights include “But Still and Yet” and the band’s peerless interplay on “Disturbing Inspiration,” which will haunt you, guaranteed.
Nektar – A Spoonful of Time (Cleopatra)
Outasight – Nights Like These (Warner Bros.)
Piatcions – Senseless > Sense (I Blame The Parents Records)
Sonny Burgess – Live at Sun Studios (Cleopatra) – Vinyl
The Winter Sounds – Runner (New Grenada Records)
Serving up a hybrid of Arcade Fire, Mumford and Sons and Snow Patrol, New Orleans’ the Winter Sounds craft shiny pop nuggets which stand strong on repeat listens. Highlights include “The Sun Also Rises” (video below) and “Run from the Wicked”. Also worth noting: the band funded the album entirely through $9,000 in fan contributions, proving pop this good doesn’t require a major-label budget.
Therion – Les Fleurs Du Mal (End of the Light)
Wild Billy Childish & the Spartan Dreggs – Coastal Command (Damaged Goods)
Wu-Block – Wu-Block (Entertainment One)
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With a new year looming and Christmas just around the corner, now’s the time to look back at albums already out in 2012 which may have slipped from your radar. Any of these, including the latest from Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews and David Crowder Band, would make perfect stocking-stuffers for the music fan in your world.
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
Hat tip: JW
*Updated: Video has apparently been pulled, when a new one can be found it will be replaced, in the mean time, a link to the story:
Appearing on Sunday night’s Soul Train awards in Las Vegas, Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx called Barack Obama “our lord and savior.”
“It’s like church over here. It’s like church in here. First of all, give an honor to God and our lord and savior Barack Obama. Barack Obama,” he said.
Since the 2008 election, several have attempted to deify Barack Obama.
ABC’s Jake Tapper noticed the messianic tone of Obama’s first presidential campaign and wrote: “It’s as if Tom Daschle descended from on high saying, ‘Be not afraid; for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people: for there is born to you this day in the city of Chicago a Savior, who is Barack the Democrat.’”
Updated: Another embed of the clip found and updated.
Ever heard someone say, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me?” I get that on a very personal level, except in reverse, because I didn’t become a social conservative, social conservatism came toward me. Granted, many social conservatives who would be reluctant to count me amongst their ranks, and as someone who has been saying for years that I’m more socially conservative than the average person, but not an actual social conservative, I wouldn’t blame them.
After feeling guilty about stealing, I deleted my downloaded MP3 collection and bought it all from scratch legally, but it still contains everything from gangster rap to raunchy pop.
I don’t drink, smoke, do drugs, or gamble and I rarely curse, but it has nothing to do with moral concerns.
I try to be a good guy, but politics is a knife fight in a phone booth where nice guys finish last, so if need be, I can be as vicious as just about anyone you’ll run across on the Right.
Recently a blogging friend inspired by my Marathon race contacted me asking for advice on how to train for a 5K. Oh yeah, I love, love, love welcoming new runners into the fold! Making the decision to train and run a 5K is one that pays back amazing dividends. You will discover the delight of exceeding what you thought you were capable of accomplishing and understanding that your best is always yet to come.
When I decided to train and run a 5K, I consulted friends who have extensive running experience before I started my training. However, I didn’t know what I didn’t know about running and had crucial knowledge gaps when I first started training, leading to numerous mild injuries. Whether you join a running group or use a Couch to 5K program, there are a few things that you need to know before beginning any 5K training program. I’ve put together a list to help you avoid some of the pitfalls I experienced as you progress in your running journey. I base these recommendations on my personal experience; you should always consult a running professional for more detailed information.
1. Make sure you are healthy enough to run. This would be a good time to schedule the yearly physical you’ve been putting off all year.
2. Invest in running shoes. This does not mean walking into a sporting goods store and picking out running shoes that match your athletic gear. Find a local running store where the employees are runners themselves. Tell them you are beginning to train for a 5K and need help picking out an appropriate shoe. Also inquire if the store performs gait analysis as part of the decision process in helping you find appropriate shoes. If you want to read up on the bio-mechanics of running shoes – REI has a great summary of what you need to know when choosing running shoes. See also Cool Running - Running shoes for Dummies, Part 1. In summary, having the right shoe goes along way in preventing injury as you progress in your running journey.
3. After you have selected your running shoes, purchase running socks to wear with your shoes. Running socks are typically made of synthetic fibers that wick away moisture to help prevent blisters. Always wear your running socks with your running shoes. Believe me, you want to prevent blisters! Mizuno, an awesome running shoe, has a great post on why running socks matter.
4. Inquire at the running store if they organize group runs or do a google search for running groups in your area. Running in a group is a great way to meet runners of all levels and have fun at the same time. For example: Philly Runners is a great group that organizes runs in Philly all year long.
5. Invest in technology that will track your pace, distance and time. Nike+ for your iPhone or RunKeeper are free applications that will track your pace and distance. In time, you may want to invest in a sports watch such as Nike+ Sport Watch or Garmin Forerunner 910XT GPS -Enabled Sport Watch. As a beginner runner, save your dollars and work with the free applications until you gain more experience as a runner i.e. many moons from now. At that time, I would strongly suggest the two watches mentioned above.
6. BEDROCK RULE OF RUNNING: Warm up before each run regardless of the distance and stretch after every run. These two activities are non-negotiable, you will stretch before and after a run or suffer preventable injuries. I suggest dynamic stretching/warm-ups before running. Why? Here is good study on the impact of dynamic stretching and running. I also incorporate Pilate and yoga stretching in my post run stretching.
To read some of the reactions to Senator Marco Rubio’s comments on the age of the earth, you’d think that he’d proposed rounding up scientists and imprisoning them in gulags. Liberals apparently think this is a plank in the vast right-wing “anti-science” conspiracy. At the very least, a man who refuses to swear a blood oath to the current orthodoxy that the earth is 4.5 billion years old is not fit to hold any job that requires any more intellectual heft beyond knowing the proper temperature for grilling burgers.
In case you missed it, Rubio was interviewed by the
great intellectual journal men’s fashion magazine GQ. No doubt interviewer Michael Hainey is congratulating himself for asking the first “gotcha” question of the 2016 presidential campaign and is contemplating where he’ll display his Pulitzer Prize. In the middle of the interview, Hainey asked the random, drive-by question, “How old do you think the Earth is?” Rubio’s response:
I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.
Rubio, widely regarded as the GOP’s rhetorical Wunderkind, tried to walk the politi-religious tightrope by giving a non-answer answer because he could smell his own blood in the water. Blowing up the campaigns of conservatives with controversial questions has become the favorite sport for left-wing (so-called) journalists, a contest that conservatives have sadly begun to participate in.
Aside from the goal of derailing any future political ambitions of Rubio, the basic premise behind Hainey’s question is “Do you believe in God or science?” — as if they are mutually exclusive. It’s actually an insidious question, rooted in the Progressive philosophy which demands that “progress” and the evolution of history be seen as superior to Natural Law, our Judeo-Christian heritage, and antiquated notions of God.
Hillsdale College professor Ronald Pestritto describes the competing visions of Progressives and the Founders:
The founders had posited what they had held to be a permanent understanding of just government, and they had derived this understanding of government from the “laws of nature and nature’s God,” as asserted in the Declaration of Independence. The progressives countered that the ends and scope of government were to be defined anew in each historical epoch. They coupled this perspective of historical contingency with a deep faith in historical progress, suggesting that, due to historical evolution, government was becoming less of a danger to the governed and more capable of solving the great array of problems besetting the human race.
So, Thanksgiving is over, and I’ve got to add to that “thank God” because the whole thing has turned into what a therapist friend of mind called an “AFOG” — “Another, (Freaking) Opportunity for Growth.” (No, he doesn’t actually say “freaking”.) On Thanksgiving, I had 60g of carbs, and then Friday I had 80g at our traditional day-after-Thanksgiving leftovers feast. A little bit of mashed potatoes and stuffing, a sliver of cheesecake for dessert Thursday, and a half-piece of apple pie on Friday were the main culprits. So, I had, actually, quite small amounts of two things I’d nearly completely avoided: refined sugars, and wheat.
On Saturday morning I’d gained nearly six pounds. I also felt like hell — my GERD was back, I was achy and headachy. Back to the eating plan.
Naturally, my first dark thoughts were ones of panic. But here’s the advantage of keeping a careful food diary: looking at the diary, in which I’m pretty diligent, I still had a net calorie deficit for the week of about 2700 kcal. An actual enduring weight gain of 6 pounds would require an excess of 21,000 kcals (using the conventional 3,500 kcal/lb). Didn’t happen. (I wrote, middle of the week, about some deductions from my first weeks of data. Basically, my actual weight loss is hard to account for by the “calorie is a calorie” thermodynamic model — either I’m losing weight 3 tiems faster than the observed calorie deficit can account for, or my metabolism has stepped up by 40 percent or more.)
Back in my teens, when I was trying the Stillman Diet and didn’t know much chemistry, physiology, or frankly much of anything else except that I was still hurting from being teased and insulted at Baptist Church Camp, I took a one-day vacation from the Stillman diet for my birthday, had biscuits at breakfast and potatoes at dinner, and gained seven pounds overnight. And I was hysterical: was I going to have to eat nothing but boiled chicken and boiled eggs for the rest of my life? Luckily, schooll starts shortly after my birthday; I went back to glory and acclaim — I’d lost about 50 lbs — and the girls were suddenly paying attention to me. The seven pounds didn’t make as much difference then.
Google Fiber will soon be a viable cable alternative in many neighborhoods in Kansas City.
Hopefully it will also soon become an alternative in every city.
For $120 a month, Google Fiber brings you normal cable TV, a massive digital video recorder, and broadband Internet access that is 100-times as fast as your cable company’s.
For $70 a month, you can get just the Internet access.
In addition to the unprecedented connection speed, Google is hoping to attract customers by touting its television service, which allows users to access multiple content providers – such as Netflix, broadcast TV and a DVR – at once.
While many people may be reluctant to hand control over yet more aspects of their onine life to the search behemoth, most will surely be unable to resist the lure of an internet speeds so much greater than they are used to, at a comparable price to the current average.
And cable companies will presumably be terrified at the prospect of facing down such a fierce competitor – with the very real prospect that if providers do not start to offer a similar service, they could quickly be crushed by Google.
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
Stereotyping of Asian-Americans happens. But the first step to finding out whether there’s real truth behind these claims is identifying them. It may not even be possible to consider the diverse group of people who lived on a large continent and moved to the United States as a coherent unit of “Asian-Americans” that can be stereotyped as a homogeneous group. But stereotyping still happens. Here’s seven of these stereotypes. We’ll start with pretty bad stereotypes, and it’s gonna get worse as you read on.
7. Asian-Americans Can’t Drive.
A bad joke about Asians goes like this: “How do you blind an Asian? Put a steering wheel in front of him.” Here’s another: “What did the Asian get pulled over for? DWA (Driving While Asian).”
In reality, Asians are the ones taking you where you need to go. Also, rides from Asians do not result in fatal car crashes in as high of percentages as rides from other racial groups. Thirty-eight percent of taxi and limo drivers are immigrants, most often from South Asia (2.9% from Pakistan and 2.3% from India). You should give them a break next time you call a cab, considering that they now drive on the other side of the road. Besides, South Asia is one big chaotic traffic jam. In India, you might have to slam the brakes to avoid hitting a common street traveler: a cow.
So here’s the last one with two stereotypes for the price of one: “How do you know if an Asian has robbed your house? Your homework is done, your computer is upgraded, but two hours later, the thief is still trying to back out of your driveway.”
Forget about the Thanksgiving feast. Potbellied and big-butted Americans stuff themselves silly all year round, a survey has found.
American men are weighing in at an average of 196 pounds — 16 pounds more than in 1990, a Gallup Poll has found. The average weight for women jumped 14 pounds to 156 pounds over the same period.
The truth is, fat is in and thin is, well, mostly fantasy.
When it comes to naming their ideal weight, men and women have lowered their standards considerably.
Men now put their ideal weight at an average of 185 pounds, the highest ever and up 14 pounds since 1990.
Women say their ideal weight is 140 pounds — up from 129 pounds in 1990.
I do think that Americans’ perception of weight has changed. What used to be considered normal weight is now thought of as thin. What used to be heavy is now normal.
Do you have an ideal weight and if so, what is it?
The Dallas Morning News reports that J.R. Ewing has retired to the Texas-sized ranch in the sky:
Larry Hagman, who played the conniving and mischievous J.R. Ewing on the TV show Dallas, died Friday at Medical City in Dallas, of complications from his recent battle with cancer, his family said.
He was 81.
“Larry was back in his beloved Dallas re-enacting the iconic role he loved most,” his family said in a written statement. “Larry’s family and close friends had joined him in Dallas for the Thanksgiving holiday. When he passed, he was surrounded by loved ones. It was a peaceful passing, just as he had wished for. The family requests privacy at this time.”
The role of J.R. transformed Mr. Hagman’s life. He rocketed from being a merely well-known TV actor on I Dream of Jeannie and the son of Broadway legend Mary Martin, to the kind of international fame known only by the likes the Beatles and Muhammad Ali.
Mr. Hagman made his home in California with his wife of 59 years, the former Maj Axelsson. Despite obvious physical frailty, he gamely returned to Dallas to film season one and part of season two of TNT’s Dallas reboot.
Reuters’ obit adds that Hagman “had suffered from cancer and cirrhosis of the liver in the 1990s after decades of drinking.” According to Wikipedia, “In August 1995, Hagman underwent a life-saving liver transplant after admitting he had been a heavy drinker. Numerous reports state he was drinking four bottles of champagne a day while on the set of Dallas. He was also a heavy smoker as a young man, but the cancer scare was the catalyst for him to quit.”