Saturday, June 9, 2012

Some Folk, Some Misc., and Some Literary Items

Keeping with the Festival season that is upon us I surely hope that you will be tuned in to TRADITIONS this Sunday (3-6 PM ET) on WFDU 89,1 FM  ( ) (it is streamed there) as I (not the royal "we") talk of the upcoming festivals---Old Songs and Clearwater (Great Hudson River Revival).  Better than talk you will hear some of the great performers that will be performing.  Too many to list here but you can check the web-site of both venues.  There is a bit of a sample here now---

Ken Whiteley amongst so many great talents that will be there---Magpie, Kim/Reggie Harris, Holly Near to name just a sprinkling.   So,  tune in this Sunday to TRADITIONS and get the sampling and then get yourselves ----the whole anatomy (not just as the saying goes---your asses--to some of these great events.

One thing should be mentioned.  Clearwater is not truly a folk festival.  It is an Environmental Event and has great music of many genres while Old Songs (Altamount, NY) is a music festival.   I will have a pair of tickets for that venue on the program and if you tune it you may win them---well worth the price of listening (Free) and also the price of admission should you attend.

The literary items refer to my ongoing trek through the brilliant work by Rob't Caro. "The Passage of Power".  I am still amazed at the detail and erudition of the work and still make it so readable.  Over 600 pages that read like a well written mystery masterpiece and plays with our emotions throughout. It also made me think twice about another book, just published.  Power and Constraint.  This being the political season of Presidential elections and other major votes  it truly makes one think about the legacy of earlier candidates and holders of the office. 

Candidates run on their platforms and their presumed ideals.  Geo. W Bush has been much maligned for many things.  I am in line there as well.  Pres. Obama, frankly, on an national scale, if you will, has continued  some of those policies.  Think of Guantanamo, Trials of  the perpetrators of 9/11 attacks in military tribunals, and some other such matters. 

My point here is, while I support Pres. Obama for his leadership and pragmatism, I do feel that in those areas there is much hypocrisy.  I realize a Pres. has to do what he feels are the proper moves to carry out the nation's best interests.   At the same time one should also own up to that in a political campaign.

This brings me back to the Caro tome again.   Skipping over all the slights of The Kennedys to LBJ in his years as VP he took command and, frankly, agree or disagree, he did what had to be done.  At the time.   Later his policies on Viet Nam did prove to be his downfall.  With the help of the"brilliant" advice of his Secty of Defense.  McNamarra.   His slanted reports from his field commander in the fight..

All this must make us wonder of current history.   Invasion of Iraq---did W just want to show he could outdo his father? After all, Bush #1 had a plan and stopped when it was achieved.  W knew full well that the terrorists came from Afghanistan and yet with the misleading statements about WMDs (non-existent) in Iraq that was our target.   Now we are still mired in Afghanistan (as Johnny come-latelys) fighting and losing American (and NATO lives)  in an area who's culture and mores are so antiethical to ours.  We are not on a Crusade and we, surely,  cannot force our mores and culture on them.  Why should we.  It is abhorrent to us as, I assume, ours is to them.   Perhaps the best thing is to let our people depart, live, and let whatever hell the people of Afghanistan  get it is their problem.  Their Pres.  lives the high life and visits world leaders and his family is quite corrupt.   Perhaps that is contagious to him as well. 

Our wars, in earlier years, were, hopefully, well intentioned and meaningful.   WW2 was considered "The Good War"..   It was.   Certainly we and FDR  might have done more to avoid the Holocaust that ensued and, yet, we pulled it off and evil was destroyed.   What came later is open for much discussion.    We, however, have never dipped into the well of evil that such maniacs of the 3d Reich did.  Or the well of evil that we are now dipping into  in Afghanistan for purposes that are so antiethical to what our  beliefs  allegedly are.

Now, as to the misc. items.   Have you ever wondered about the efficiency of the IRS and the people who work there.   On the positive side.  The IRS sends the most friendly form letters.  On the negative side.  They send dunning letters even though their friendly letters say that they are still working on the issues. The issues---to explain---are their errors in putting in the wrong "key strokes" that added $10,000 in income (erroneously) .   I am sure they will resolve it since I spoke with an agent---after 30 minutes on "hold" on the "friendly" phone number supplied.  She agreed.   On the positive side---another pleasant letter saying to do nothing since they will contact me.  On the negative side---another letter asking for the money and penalties.  Now, it would be nice if one automated arm would communicate with another automated arm.

Do you think the Gates and Trumps of this world have these problems?


Thursday, June 7, 2012

THURSDAY--Another Edition of--

 A flip of the fedora to Jimmy Cannon as always---


1)          Sometimes it is best not to view a great film again because you get the same emotions.  A Marx Bros. comedy would be great re-viewing but House of Sand and Fog is a marvelous film that will surely depress you----BUT---you do have to appreciate the talent.

2)          There are some films that really should end at a certain point since more scenes lessen the symbolism.  House of Sand and Fog had the perfect ending when the last character alive curls up between the other two protagonists (dead by suicide).   Unfortunately they added 2 more scenes so it ended like any other film of little import.  The symbolism would have been great since all the characters were flawed people and that led to this tragedy of many errors.

3)          It seems that it may be possible to know about an embryo prior to birth by the genetic make-up of the parents---DNA and Saliva.   So what does that mean for those folks who are pro and those who are anti abortion?  What does it mean to the future parents?   Perhaps Iris DeMent had it right in her song---Let The Mystery Be.

4)          Who remembers when Presidents had to have solid marriages with no philandering?   Adlai Stevenson’s divorce hurt him.  Now, in France (vive le France) the former Pres. had a “hottie” for a wife and the new Pres. has a “companion”.   Once again Vive le France and we seem to be way ahead of them until W and the Obamas.   Back to fidelity for us---good for us.

5)          Do you ever wonder what became of some people of notoriety from years back?   Jack Paar always talked of his daughter (Randi) on this program---perhaps too much.  Given her weight issues, about her training bra and more.   Well, she became a successful attorney and, sadly, died last week after falling on to RR tracks after having, probably, a seizure.   She was, I believe, about 60. 
6)          "Death of A Salesman " has closed and set a new record for ticket prices----$500.00 for Orchestra.   That is only the beginning.  Seems that they found that on line purchasers were re-sellers ( Stub Hub, etc) and were selling them for over $1,000.   A few questions arise---who would pay such exorbitant prices?   Who can afford them? Was it not better when you purchased a ticket at a Box Office at the set price?  What happened to the term “scalping”?

7)          A last thought on Death of A Salesman.   When Arthur Miller wrote this he was talking of the tragedy of one man in the middle class and now even the intended audience cannot afford to see this brilliant work.  Shakespeare has been treated in a better way.

8)          I am surely hoping that you will be tuned in to TRADITIONS (WFDU--- ) this Sunday when we commemorate Doc Watson, have our usual features along with some wonderful new material that flies into our always open transom.  Something I am very grateful for.  Bless those wonderful artists still making memorable music.

9)          Is it not annoying when you find discourtesy? Wherever you find it and I did find it on the Tennis courts today.   What does one say to a person who just leaves for what he thinks is a more competitive game whilst playing another game?   Interestingly he (ooh I gave away the gender) is not a good player. Obscenities not allowed.  He is, however, a professor.  I mention this only for you to see  #10

10)    Having vented my anger at such discourtesy to a Russian (I think) lady who was playing she said---“...oh, a professor—you must respect ..”    I pointed out that a professorship in this country does not mean he also has manners or courtesy.  I am also certain that Russian professors are not imbued with courtesy.    Since this missive will be on Facebook I do hope his daughter will see it.

11)    The Russian lady I spoke of is a terrific painter and showed me her latest work to,  as she said, “...make me smile..”   I did not but the works were terrific.

12)     Have you ever wondered how inefficient the IRS is?  They make errors and you have to spend time and money to correct them whilst trying to speak with people who seem to have communication problems in a verbal way.  Does the word “Dah” mean anything?  Does dead air in response to question mean anything?   You get the point.