Archive for the ‘Arts and Culture’ Category

So You Thought Standing to Nurse Was Only for Baby Hoofed Mammals!

May 11, 2012

Does Time magazine’s breastfeeding cover go too far?

Read more here…

 Following the Time Magazine controversy comes this brilliant parody courtesy of Rush Limbaugh’s staff:

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The Talk: John Derbyshire Stirs the Pot

April 9, 2012

John Derbyshire

John Derbyshire, lately of the National Review, but recently dismissed from that magazine, has penned a piece titled “The Talk-Non-Black Version”. “The Talk”, as you probably know, is the obligatory cautionary remarks certain black parents make to their teenagers about the dangers of the white world. Derbyshire has submitted his version of cautionary words to be directed to whites.

John Derbyshire’s piece for Taki Magazine  the other day (April 5) has caused a firestorm of criticism and controversy. It even resulted in Mr. D’s dismissal as a contributor to National Review. He discusses “The Talk” which conversation is considered obligatory to certain parents of black teenagers. Derbyshire however offers an alternative; “The Talk: Non-Black Version”.

National Review editor Rich Lowry said the piece is ” maddening, outrageous, cranky, and provocative… is so outlandish it constitutes a kind of letter of resignation…”  and would never have been published in his magazine. However, a careful reading of Derbyshire’s observations and caveats yields no small amount of useful information and it cannot, I believe, be characterized as racist as many, not including Rich Lowry, are claiming. Politically incorrect to be sure, but not racist. Here is one of opinions that  what Derbyshire has written indeed racist; from Mark Adomanis writing at Forbes (April 9):

“…what made Derbyshire’s piece so unusual, and what resulted in his summary dismissal, was not the fact that it dealt with race but that it did so in a uniquely bullheaded and crass way: it wasn’t a racist dog whistle so much as it was an out-of-tune racist marching band.”

Here is the article in its entirety: Link to Taki’s Magazine

                          The Talk: Nonblack Version

Taki's Magazine

There is much talk about “the talk.”

“Sean O’Reilly was 16 when his mother gave him the talk that most black parents give their teenage sons,” Denisa R. Superville of the Hackensack (NJ) Record tells us. Meanwhile, down in Atlanta: “Her sons were 12 and 8 when Marlyn Tillman realized it was time for her to have the talk,” Gracie Bonds Staples writes in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Leonard Greene talks about the talk in the New York Post. Someone bylined as KJ Dell’Antonia talks about the talk in The New York TimesDarryl Owens talks about the talk in the Orlando Sentinel.

Yes, talk about the talk is all over.

There is a talk that nonblack Americans have with their kids, too. My own kids, now 19 and 16, have had it in bits and pieces as subtopics have arisen. If I were to assemble it into a single talk, it would look something like the following. (to read more see page 2 link below)

Pages: 1 2 3 4

Treasure Trove of Street Photographs: The Vivian Maier Collection

January 12, 2011

A young Chicago man, John Maloof purchased several years ago a bin of photographic negatives at a storage locker auction. After several years of research, and more purchases from others, he was able to attach a name and a brief biography to the hundreds of thousand negatives and undeveloped film rolls. That name; Vivian Maier (1926-2009) who lived and worked in Chicago as a nanny and spent her spare time photographing on the streets of that city.

So much more about Vivan Maier’s work needs to be uncovered. John Maloof estimates, to his admittedly unprofessional eye, that 1 in 10 of the photographs are really very worth while. There are perhaps 20,000 or so images that he has not yet seen. Read much more about this amazing discovery here (U.K. Independent), here (NY Times), here (video)and here (Maloof’s blog).

This is one of many self portraits in the Maloof archives.

Stephen Foster and Hard Times: Born on the Fourth of July

July 4, 2010

Stephen Collins Foster was born in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania,now part of Pittsburgh, on the Fourth of July in 1826. That was a most important Fourth; it marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. It was on that day too that the second and third presidents died – John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

(John Tasker Howard)

(born July 4, 1826, Lawrenceville, Pa., U.S. — died Jan. 13, 1864, New York, N.Y.) U.S. songwriter. He began writing songs as a child, influenced in part by black church services he attended with the family’s servant and by songs sung by black labourers. In 1842 he published “Open Thy Lattice, Love,” and in 1848 he sold “Oh! Susanna” for $100; it quickly became an international hit. He later entered into a contract with the publisher Firth, Pond & Co. He was commissioned to write songs for Edwin P. Christy’s minstrel show; his “Old Folks at Home” became one of the most popular songs of the century. In 1857, drinking heavily and in financial difficulties, he sold all rights to his future songs to his publishers for about $1,900. In 1860 he moved to New York; he died penniless at age 37, leaving about 200 songs, including “Camptown Races,” “My Old Kentucky Home,” “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair,” and “Beautiful Dreamer,” and he is universally regarded as the greatest American songwriter of the 19th century. Source

Oh, Susanna! Stephen Foster's Greatest Hit!


Oh, Susanna! sung by Pete Seeger: Oh, Susanna

“So far as is known, only one song has ever made the Hit Parade eighty-seven years after it was written and seventy-seven years after the death of its composer. That song is Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair by Stephen Collins foster. In 1940 and ’41, when the broadcasters and the American society of composers, Authors, and Publishers were feuding, the radio suddenly discovered Jeanie. She was sung, she was played as a ballad, an aria, a chorus, a fantasy, a ballet, a foxtrot, a swing tune. It is a safe wager that during those two years Foster’s ballad had more performances and was heard by more people than in all the years since its creation. The wonder is that it survived such mauling, that it has not departed into Limbo together with Yes, We Have No Bananas and the Hut Sut Song…Deems Taylor, in the forward to A Treasury of Stephen Foster; Random House, New York; 1946. The illustrations here are from that book and are by William Sharp.

Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair-Sung by Jan Degaetani: Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair

Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair

Hard Times Hard Times was the second of the two songs which were based on fragments of folk songs which Stephen heard as a child in the Negro church where the family nurse, Olivia Pise, worshipped. Hard Times was published in January of 1855, four and a half years later than the other song of Negro derivation. Oh Boys, Carry Me ‘Long, and its words were tragically prophetic, for it became one of the songs that Foster sang most frequently in his last days, when “hard times” were on him in full force indeed”

Hard Times Come Again No More

Here is Hard Times.. sung by Renee Fleming and Garrison Keillor:
Hard Times Come Again No More Garrison Keillor-Renee Fleming

…And, another version by Emmylou Harris:
Hard Times [Come Again No More Emmylou Harris

Readjustment: Seattle to Connecticut + Liberal Follies

October 2, 2008

I am still trying to readjust to life back East after two weeks on the Left Coast. I have concluded that the scenery in the Pacific Northwest is spectacularly beautiful while our Eastern landscapes are subtly beautiful. Contrast the two photos below; first West and then East:

Seattle Sunset Magnolia

AshleyFalls2.JPG

It helps to look at the humorous side of things political. Just out in time for the New Year and a new administration, The Liberals Gone Wild Calendar:

The calendar is already in print; too late for this classic gaffe from Joe (“Smartest Man in the World” Biden:

Being interviewed by Katie Couric on the “CBS Evening News,” Biden said: “When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, ‘Look, here’s what happened.'”

Either Couric also did not know who was president in 1929, and that TV had not yet been invented, or she chose to ignore Biden’s ignorance. Contrast her treatment of Biden with her badgering of Sarah Palin in Ann Coulter’s account of the interview:

Here is Couric’s full response to Biden’s bizarre outburst about FDR (a) being president and (b) going on TV in 1929:

“Relating to the fears of the average American is one of Biden’s strong suits.”

But when our beauteous Sarah said that John McCain was a better leader on the economy than Barack Obama, Couric relentlessly badgered her for evidence. “Why do you say that?” Couric demanded. “Why are they waiting for John McCain and not Barack Obama? … Can you give us any more examples of his leading the charge for more oversight?”

The beauteous Sarah had cited McCain’s prescient warnings about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But Couric, the crackerjack journalist who didn’t know FDR wasn’t president in 1929, demanded more examples from Palin.

La Scala Drinks the Goracle Kool Aid….

June 3, 2008

Sad news from La Scala in Milan: (from AP)
MILAN, Italy (AP) – First it was the film and the book. Now the next stop for Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” is opera. La Scala officials say the Italian composer Giorgio Battistelli has been commissioned to produce an opera on the international multiformat hit for the 2011 season at the Milan opera house.
Fortunately the opera won’t appear, if ever, unti 2011. By that time, hopefully, Al Gore’s alarmism will prove to be unwarranted and his crackpot theories will have been exposed for the fraud that they are.

In the meantime we present this modest proposal for La Scala and Signr. Battistelli:

Il mondo Nuovo Secondo il Goracle
(opera in diversi atti nefasto)

Di Londra che brucia! Di Londra che brucia!

In tutta la città, tutta la notte
Tutti con la guida completa fari
Bianco o nero che a sua volta, affrontare la nuova religione
Everybody’s seduta ’round guardare la televisione!

Lbretto:

Il Goracle: (Basso-Baritone)
Ho inventato Internet. Come l’uomo più intelligente del mondo portare prima di una visione del mondo catastrofe, un mondo soffocamento nel proprio gas di scarico.

1a prostituta: N. Pelosi (Mezzo Soprano)
Fare la tua offerta O Goracle; a portare l’America in ginocchio; a “level playing field “per tutte le nazioni; ad imposta nel dimenticatoio noi con i nostri” cappuccio e il commercio “regime.

2a prostituta: B. Boxer (Soprano)
E ‘sui nostri bambini, sui loro figli, e circa il pianeta che abbiamo ereditato.

il Salvatore: J. McCain (Tenor)
Vorrei ripulire il pianeta, farò il riscaldamento globale una priorità.

Risposta pubblico, gettando la frutta: Basta Cretini

h/t: Scott Thong

Stephen Colbert at National Portrait Gallery….

March 31, 2008

Photo: afagen

Comedic sketch artist Stephen Colbert has drawn tons of attention (a good thing) to the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. His portrait, which has hung there in btween the bathrooms and over the water fountain, will be taken down April Fool’s Day after being on view for 2 1/2 months.

Stephen Colbert, born 1964
Born Washington, D.C.

Stephen Colbert, the mock pundit for the Comedy Central show The Colbert Report recently contacted the National Portrait Gallery hoping to donate this portrait of himself from his show. While this triple portrait is not one that would typically be accessioned into the Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection, NPG agreed to go along with the joke and hang the portrait for a limited time.

In episodes of The Colbert Report that aired on January 10, 14, and 15, 2008, Colbert tries to convince the Smithsonian that he should be considered a national treasure. He attempts to donate his portrait to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, but the museum’s director suggests that perhaps Colbert should speak to the National Portrait Gallery. Finally, after much “discussion,” the director of the National Portrait Gallery finds an appropriate place to hang Colbert’s portrait, in between the bathrooms and above the water fountain.

Photo: (Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo)

“We agreed to go along with the joke and hang it for a short time in between the bathrooms,” said museum spokeswoman Bethany Bentley. “Let me tell you two key things here: His portrait is not coming into the collection, and it’s not hanging permanently.”

St Patrick’s Day Notes….

March 17, 2008

Fergal Murray (above) is the brew master at Guiness and he is in Washington today to lobby Congress for the creation of St. Patrick’s Day as an official holiday. We might as well do it , I suppose. I don’t think much work gets done anyway; especially in New York and Boston. Murray points out though that the day is celebrated differently in Ireland….“never had a party atmosphere about it,” he said. “It was always a religious holiday and a day off. We’re 365 days a year Irish.”

It’s much bigger here says a visitor from Ireland in this clip from Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston:
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Source:
Examiner

America Repossessed….

February 4, 2008

A Message from John Cleese to the citizens of the United States of America:

In light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (excepting Kansas, which she does not fancy). Your new prime minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a governor for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.

A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following Rules are introduced with immediate effect: (You should look up “revocation” in the Oxford English Dictionary)

1. Then look up aluminium, and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.

2. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘favour’ and ‘neighbour.’ Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters and the suffix -ize will be replaced by the suffix -ise. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels (look up ‘vocabulary’).

3. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as “like” and “you know” is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as US English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter ‘u’ and the elimination of ‘-ize’. You will relearn your original national anthem, God Save The Queen.

4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not adult enough to be independent.

6. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you’re not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you’re not grown up enough to handle a gun. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. A permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

7. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and this is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean.

8. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

9. The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) — roughly $6/US gallon. Get used to it.

10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.

11. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as Beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

12. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie McDowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one’s ears removed with a cheese grater.

13. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full Kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).

14. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable.

15. You must tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us mad.

16. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).

17. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 pm with proper cups, never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes, and strawberries in season.

John Cleese

Oh remember this John Cleese commercial?

h/t Banyanman’s Blog

A Christmas Poem….

December 25, 2007

The Oxen by Thomas Hardy

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel,

“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so. (1915)

The oxen figures are carved olive wood from a nativity set. My reading of this poem; listen here.