Please take note that 50 years ago today, on 9 December 1964, John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones recorded Coltrane's magnum opos, A Love Supreme. Forty-nine years ago today, A Charlie Brown Christmass, with its jazzy score, was shown for the first time.
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mark Strand has died at the age of 80.
"It is easier for a needle to pass through a camel
Than for a poor man to enter a woman of means.
Just go to the graveyard and ask around."
From "Some Last Words" from the collection "A Blizzard of One"
Famed theater and movie director Mike Nichols died Wednesday night. He managed to make a motion picture version of "Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" that was shorn of some of the play's spicier epithets but remained true to Albee's intent. If "The Sixties" didn't start with "The Graduate", that film certainly captured the ethos of that "decade". My favorite Nichols' moment, however, was a routine he did with Elaine May, a satire on the funeral industry where Nichols played "the Bereaved" and May his "Grief Lady." Just about the funniest thing I have ever seen.
The great American poet Galway Kinnell has died of leukemia at the age of 87. I remember a time when he, W.S. Merwin, and W.D. Snodgrass were the bright stars on the poetic horizon. I can still remember my introduction to wondrous horrors of "The Bear" and "The Porcupine," and the first time I opened "The Book of Nightmares." Fittingly, it is a cold and dreary day.
...the popish poohbahs of Porkopolis, aka the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati, announces that it has sent a letter to 113 schools directing them to avoid participating in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge because the ALS Society is anti-life. It seems that supporting ALS research may encourage the use of stem cells, which we all know are tiny people waiting to be born and discover cures for cancer and free-thinking. I ask all of you to please continue supporting the ice bucket challenge and research into not just ALS, but breast & prostate cancer, AIDS, MS, MD, and new antibiotics. Furthermore, please let the Archdiocese of Cincinnati know how you feel. Call or write to Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr, 100 E 8th St, Cincinnati, OH 45202,
(513) 421-3131. You can also email the diocese via the Contact Us button on its homepage www.catholiccincinnati.org. Further information is available at slate.com and the Pittsburgh Press web site. Thank you and have a pleasant weekend
On June 9, 1954, attorney Joseph N. Welch posed the following question to Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisc.): "At long last, have you left no sense of decency?" Although this question sounded the death knell for Tailgunner Joe's unending hunt for Communists, 60 years later the collectivity of the Republican Party can still answer the question with a resounding negative. Instances of Republican moral depravity are legion and we need not rehearse them yet again, but it is worth mentioning that the treatment of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, his parents, and the citizens of Hailey, Idaho is not just the most recent, but also the most hypocritical example of a depraved party's lack of simple human decency. Mr. Welch's still-relevant question should be put to every Republican every day between now and November 4.
The following, by Prof. Garry Wills, appeared this afternoon on the New York Review of Books Bllog. In case I am violating anyone's intellectual property rights, I apologize and suggest that Kossaks read the post at www.nybooks.com.
As you may know, a federal judge issued an opinion yesterday declaring that Utah's gay marriage ban violated the U.S. Constitution. As a result, Mormons the world over are shitting their pants and the supply of magic underwear has been depleted. You can help alleviate the pain, shame, and stink of this disaster by calling Jockey, Hanes, Fruit-of-the-Loom, Calvin Klein, Joe Boxer, Victoria's Secret and other unmentionable manufacturers and demand they switch over their production to magic underwear until Mormon goodies & junk are once again safe behind a shield of divinely ordained cotton.
Has anyone noticed Huffington Post's bizarre handling of readers' comments? This morning I posted, or tried to post, a comment to an article about a Fox News commentator's comments that the teen-aged rape victim in Missouri was responsible for her own rape. My comment was this: "No one deserves to be raped, whether a naughty teen-ager, Sarah Palin, or a prison inmate. Our culture's rape fantasies must stop." HuffPo refused to post it.
Was it wrong to use the word "naughty"? True, the girl in question had snuck out after hours and consumed alcohol, but my point was even if that was true, no one "deserves" to be raped. I included Sarah Palin because during the 2008 campaign, an entertainer stated that she wished a group of black men would rape Ms. Palin. Although I find Ms. Palin, her statements, and her policies reprehensible and stupid, I don't think she deserves to be raped. The same for prison inmates. What is so wrong with this comment on a site where you can find hundreds of comments using such terms as "lib-tard" and the f-word and where President Obama is referred to by all manner of racially charged epithets?
The next rejected comment was to an article about a magazine cover depicting Ted Cruz as the Mad-Hatter. My comment was: "I like tea. I like tea parties. Hell, I even have 36 recipes for cucumber sandwiches. I am tired of these conservative d-bags appropriating the name of something joyous and innocent to push their insane policies. I think their name should be changed to the enema party."
I thought the use of "d-bags" was a rather amusing play on "tea bags" and "the enema party" pointed to a more accurate result of the party than tea did. I think by Saturday Night Live standards that it's pretty innocent. Heck, some congressman even referred to the attempt to repeal Obamacare as the "Republican wet dream" right on the House floor (the statement, not the wet dream).
I apologize if any of this offends, but it's getting very hard to figure our what is appropriate anymore and I would like to hear folks' opinions. I'm going to shut myself in this weekend with Garry Wills, Sibelius, a new packet of Margaret's Hope darjeeling, and a diet high in fiber, because if I can't be normal, at least I can be regular.
Please forgive me if I am treading on ground already covered. The great novelist Oscar Hijuelos died this past Saturday of a heart attack in New York City. He was born in New York to Cuban immigrants, and is best known for his Pulitzer Prize winning novel "The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love," the story of two Cuban musicians in post-WWII America. Even better, I believe, is "Mr. Ives' Christmas," a story of grief and redemption it would do everyone some good to peruse as we come upon the holidays and the first anniversary of the sad events at Newtown. He was the first person with Hispanic roots to win the fiction Pulitzer. He died much to soon.
1. The best thing about Friday is that it's only 24 hours to a new episode of "Animal Nuz!"
2. A Mr. William Saletan of Slate.com opined the other day that President Obama was taking a great risk in criticizing the Republicans for the government shutdown. According to Mr. Saletan, the President's harsh condemnation of the Republicans runs the risk of antagonizing "moderate Republicans" (my quotation marks) and driving them into the hands of the tea party extremists. Could someone please let Mr. Saletan know that there are no moderate republicans and that there hasn't been any since Millicent Fenwick departed for heaven to smoke her pipe with God? (Who we all know is dead, but that's another post). Certainly there are no republicans with a spine, the least bit of political courage, or a drop of basic human decency. I say "Give 'Em Hell, Barack!" You might not be able to see them, but Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, and FDR are standing behind you urging you on. It's time to call a spade a spade and if the spades be a bunch of lick-spittle bible-banging trailer trash, and the guy calling them out is a Harvard-educated U.S. President, well ain't that just another star in the flag of the United States of Irony.
3. All this fuss about Congressional and federal employee health care--doesn't it just show that the only fair way to insure all Americans is with a single-payer system?
4. Nancy Pelosi complained today that the Republicans "can't negotiate with themselfes." Here then is my Top Ten List of Things Republicans Can Do With Themselves.
It's going on 6 p.m. EDT and no Animal Nuz #160. Do I need to place a missing persons report for Eric? Should I call the Dog Warden and put out an APB for Daisy? Here Daisy! Come on girl! I hope there's no trouble at the old mill.
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