Archive for the 'Commentary' Category

Portrait of a Patriot – John McCain

Image result for John mccain half-staff

The stabilizing voice of American politics – in the age of extreme partisanship – has suddenly fallen silent.  We all knew that it was coming . . . but not sooner than later.  He informed the world that he was stopping medical treatment for his brain cancer on Friday.  And, shockingly, he died on Saturday.

As the flaming lifelong Liberal that I am, I disagreed with Senator McCain on a great many issues.  Most notably on Defense spending, and the War in Iraq, and the broader “War on Terror”.  But, I truly admired how he reached across the aisle, to get things done.  Clearly, he was an old school conservative, but he wasn’t all about the money, as are far too many in politics these days.  The McCain-Feingold Act was a game changer in campaign finance reform, at least until the Citizens United decision came down in 2010.  He had the nerve and resolve to speak out against torture and “enhanced interrogation”.  He called waterboarding what it is . . . torture.   He thought we should close Guantanamo Bay, and transfer the prisoners to Fort Leavenworth to expedite their legal proceedings.  He stood up to the religious right and called them “agents of intolerance”, and  denounced their tactics as “division and slander”.  He stood up to President Trump on more than one occasion, most notably against a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act . . . without a replacement.

He did things, and voted, based on his conscience, and the belief that America should always set an example for the world.  He didn’t care if that meant rankling those in his own party.  He cared about his fellow Americans, and how the world perceives the United States of America.  He believed in that “shining city on the hill”, and that the US should always be a beacon unto the world.  As corny as it might sound, he had the old school values of the words to the intro of the  old television show “Superman”:  “Truth, Justice, and the American way!”

He often demonstrated that he had a fiery temper, but that just showed that he was a man of great passion.  He also had a great sense of humor, and he often used it to make fun of himself.  He refused to take the low road while campaigning, and was deferential and gracious in defeat.  Those traits made him more human than most politicians.  He was honest, and honorable, and noble.  He loved his country, and devoted his life in service of it. 

Proud:  son, Navy pilot, husband, father, and dedicated public servant.  He was all those things and more.  He was a true lion of the Senate, and he will be remembered as a legend of the legislature.  Our country is richer for having had his dedication to public service, but we’re now a little poorer for his passing.  He may have graduated near the bottom of his class at Annapolis, but he reached the pinnacle of respect among his peers and countrymen.

God speed, John McCain.

   YUR 

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Apologies to Al Hoffman and Murthy

. . . and, to almost anyone else who suddenly comments on a non-current post.  You may very well be someone with the best intentions, and are just a little late to the show.  But, the cautious and suspicious side of me views your comments as possible spam, that is smart enough to get around the WordPress spam guard software. 

I certainly do not want to discourage those who are new to this blog, but if you want to introduce yourself to our little community I would much prefer that you comment on a post that is recent, and not one that is months old.  I will always make allowances for known/regular posters.  But generally speaking, even our regular posters like to keep things relatively current.

No disrespect to the honest latecomers, but I do need to consider the safety of the blog, as a primary concern.

Regards,

Your Uncle Rave 

Today’s Sarah Palin Comment???

Surprisingly, this arrived in my Spam folder!  I had no idea Ms. Palin followed my blog.

I’ve be mindful your stuff previous to and you are just too excellent. I really like what you have acquired here, really like what you’re stating and the best way during which you assert it. You make it enjoyable and you continue to take care of to stay it wise. I can not wait to read far more from you.

Wow!  I can hardly wait for what she has to say next!   —   YUR  😉

Another Bonus Quote!

English: Riverside Press Cambridge logo from A...

English: Riverside Press Cambridge logo from A Treasury of War Poetry (2nd Series), ed. by George Herbert Clarke. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Again, from the Thought for Today:

Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’  Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.”   —   George Herbert, English author (1593 – 1633)

(I wish I had seen this quote years ago!  Great advice for almost anybody, in almost any situation.  Except maybe in going to war.  We all know how that worked out in Iraq!  Be well and do good, friends.)   —   YUR

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Bob Knew

 

English: Created by Phil Scoville on June 25, ...

English: Created by Phil Scoville on June 25, 2005 Downloaded from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/philscoville/21528732/ This picture is free to share and remix with proper attribution under the following license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is possibly the very best reason to get married. And, once you’ve achieved this, probably the strongest argument for staying married.   —   YUR

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S i m o n T o c c l o

“Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure…

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Cryptoquote Spoiler – June 1st, 2013

English: Flower of Arctotis sp.

English: Flower of Arctotis sp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and man cannot live without love.”   —   Max Müller

Friedrich Max-Müller, by George Frederic Watts...

Friedrich Max-Müller, by George Frederic Watts (died 1904), given to the National Portrait Gallery, London in 1900. See source website for additional information. This set of images was gathered by User:Dcoetzee from the National Portrait Gallery, London website using a special tool. All images in this batch have been confirmed as author died before 1939 according to the official death date listed by the NPG. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Our first Max Müller quote since I’ve been posting the spoilers!  Very interesting fellow, this Max.  We seem to see eye to eye on what I love to call the evolution of religion.  Check it out:  “Müller derived his theory that mythology is “a disease of language”. By this he meant that myth transforms concepts into beings and stories. In Müller’s view “gods” began as words constructed in order to express abstract ideas, but were transformed into imagined personalities. Thus the Indo-European father-god appears under various names: Zeus, Jupiter, Dyaus Pita.  For Müller all these names can be traced to the word “Dyaus”, which he understands to imply “shining” or “radiance”. This leads to the terms “deva”, “deus”, “theos” as generic terms for a god, and to the names “Zeus” and “Jupiter” (derived from deus-pater). In this way a metaphor becomes personified and ossified.”  — from Wikipedia.  I’ve always said that it all started around an ancient campfire one night, when one hunter – who could do more than grunt, and had a little more imagination – explained to the others why the hunt either went well, or went poorly that day.  Thus was born the concept of the spirits.  Given time, the spirits were later personified into gods, and eventually economized into the concept of the single god.  Then of course, from there all hell breaks loose.  It’s just unfortunate that logic and reason don’t stand a chance when they come face to face with tradition and indoctrination.  Be well and do good, friends.)   —   YUR

It’s Gotta BE Candice as American Idol!

  

English: Mariah Carey performing live in Las Vegas

English: Mariah Carey performing live in Las Vegas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OK.  So I threw this out there two minutes before Ryan Seacrest read the results of the votes.  Why?  I don’t know.  I’m not really a fan of American Idol.  I never really cared for the concept, from the get go.  Too much Pop, too much of what they – laughingly – call “R & B”, too much Country, and not enough Rock,  for my tastes.  I rarely miss the show though, because it’s one of those spousal participation deals.  My wife loves the show.  She needs to have someone as a kind of a sounding board.  That’s me.

Don’t get me wrong though.  I have to give the producers a lot of credit, for the set up of the show.  The huge cattle-call auditions in various cities around the country, showing  a decent mix of young people with legitimate potential, and those quirky, deluded oddballs who have no business opening their mouths – let alone sing – makes for compelling television.  Those first few weeks is their hook.  (Even my son will watch – parts of the first few weeks – for the people who either totally suck, or are there for their 60 seconds of fame/infamy.  And he call the show the musical holocaust!)    They throw in some heart warming stories to endear certain contestants to the viewers.  They play up some early favorites and point out the difficult divas, all to build up the notion of:  We gotta vote for our guy/girl! . . . and hope that the other guys don’t get enough votes.  I know they’ve generated tons of revenue for AT&T, Ford and Coca Cola!

The other thing they DID well was the judging system.  I say did because this year the judging was unwatchable.  Initially, they had the three judges, and it was largely a good cop/bad cop set up between Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul.  Paula went out of her way to be nice to anyone who was even borderline talented, and Simon was brutally honest, to the point where he he’d infuriate a large portion of the live audience.  I always found his honesty to be refreshing.  Randy Jackson usually played the joker.  After a number of seasons Paula left, then came back, then left again, and Simon eventually grew tired of the show and left.  There were some decent replacement judges over the last few years, but it’s never really been quite the same since Simon left.  J-Lo and Steven Tyler were entertaining as judges, and Randy even attempted to play the heavy at times, but I thought the show lacked legitimate criticism.  Now, I long for those days.

This year they went with four judges, and the show lost its focus.  I don’t know if it was all honest, or at least partially contrived, but the “feud” between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj was not even remotely entertaining to me.  Not in the least.  And, four judges is just too many.  It seemed like two thirds of the show was the judges, and only one third was performance.  That might have been okay had the critiquing actually been honest criticism, but it was generally over the top fawning over mostly mediocre singing.  I thought all the guys basically stunk, and only a few of the girls could sing.  Not surprising that the two I liked best – from day one – made it to the finals.  There were a few times where Nicki would buck the nice-nice trend, and tell people their performances were weak, but that seemed to be more early on.  Keith Urban was too much the pretty boy, loving the limelight, and telling everybody how special they were.  Randy went back and forth from his usual Yo Dogs and She’s innit to winnit! to the occasional I wasn’t feelin’ it and It wasn’t your strongest performance.  And for me, Mariah Carey was pretty much unwatchable, as a judge.  She’s beautiful and a talented singer, and all, though not my style.  But as a judge, there was way too much faint praise, the occasional gutter-sniping . . . retribution(?), and she just seemed to go on forever . . . and ever.  Later on you realized that the main reason Mariah and Keith were there was to promote their latest CD/tour.  Maybe Steven and J-Lo did the same thing, but they were a little more subtle about it  . . . and they were just better judges.

Bottom line, there really were only two strong contenders, pretty much from day one.  I liked them both, but grew a little cool to Kree when I thought she disrespected Harry Connick Jr.  I thought Randy disrespected him too, but I think Randy was kind of trying to defend Mariah by arguing with Harry over his comments on just singing simply and not always doing runs.  Then, you had a handful of  pretenders, who showed occasional flashes of talent.  The rest of them likely wouldn’t have made it through auditions . . . had Simon still been on the show.

Congrats to Candice Glover, though!  She is a true talent, and deserved to win!

—   YUR


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