Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year Thoughts

There will be no resolutions this New Year, at least not at my house. Why should we vow to correct whatever behavior is personally unacceptable when most behaviors are a reflection the family gene pool or a set of bad habits? Rather we should make an effort to be aware of the things about us we don’t like and when they occur and are noticed, simply try not to do it again. Try doing this and you will find that your self-satisfaction level will rise and your friends will notice the change.  Weight loss and physical conditioning are nothing compared to civilized behavior.

Today’s world seems busy, loud, insensitive, and uncaring. That’s because that is exactly the way it is. Most of the busyness is derived from people disliking themselves so much that they don’t want to be alone with themselves. These same people, if they are raising children, feel they must control every aspect of the child’s life to ensure that schedules are kept and that the children can’t interfere in the adult’s life. Every day I make an effort to be more courteous, not always successfully but still trying. Naturally tempers will flare, but that too is a reflection of selfishness. Someone got the parking place you wanted? Did you run the red light, because you just can’t wait 30 seconds, and possibly injure or kill someone? These are commonplace happenings.

Do your best not to be commonplace.

I wish you all a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year and all the year’s to come.

Friday, December 30, 2005

New Orleans Ten Years Later

It fun to speculate and try to imagine the future, of course no one can predict tomorrow with a great deal of accuracy and that’s what makes life worth living. Katrina’s effect was undoubtedly disastrous in its immediate effects. What about the long-term effect of that killer storm? I have been following this story with great interest for two reasons, first I am of Cajun descent from Baton Rouge, and second I love New Orleans. The City’s old world and third world charm makes it a place like none other in the United States. The trend now is somewhat different, apparently the displaced citizens of New Orleans are starting their lives over in other places like Houston, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Atlanta, Georgia to name a few. The second coming of Spanish influence is gradually supplanting the French derived African influence of recent times.

One of the five flags that have flown over New Orleans was that of Spain. Now Hispanic workers are flooding into the city to help with the clearing, cleaning and rebuilding of the devastated areas. These new citizens, as citizens and residents they will be, will place their own cultural stamp on the city. The Hispanic culture is rich and diverse as people all over the United States are beginning to realize. Today it’s day laborers tomorrow the moneyed class will arrive.

Bourbon Street will survive as Carnival is a big part of Latin culture, in fact with Hispanic influence the city will continue its wide-open relaxed approach to life. One difference will be that the patois will lose its French and Afro American undertone and begin to sound more like Cuba, Dominica, and other Latino lands. This will be a good thing for the city, as it needs to return to life. The immigrant workers will put down roots and their fellows will follow.

This story is being reported as a potentially bad thing, nothing could be further from the truth. New Orleans will absorb its new residents, in a sense they are its returning residents, so that the voodoo fortunetellers will rub shoulders with the descendants of the Incas and Aztecs. The cuisine will be enhanced as plantains, yucca, and jickama are added, but the old gumbos, et tu fe, and grillades will remain. If you have never been to New Orleans go, if you have been there, come back.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

What I like and Dont Like About FOXNEWS

FoxNews is a great source of anxiety for Liberals, and the “Main Stream Media” causes Conservatives heartburn. I started watching FoxNews about four years ago simply to see what all the fuss was about. At first my reaction was the same as most Liberals in that it seemed pretty aggressive in its coverage. To my surprise when I switched back to CNN or ABC I missed the Fox programs. Not all the programs of course, but certainly a large number of them. Here are the ones I hardly ever watch: The Fox Report with Shepard Smith, The Bill O’Reilly show, who I consider to be a complete idiot for the way he handles his interviews, Hannity and Colmes, both of whom are dopes in my opinion Hannity because he is just like Bill O’Reilly and Alan Colmes because he toes the wacky left line even when its clear he doesn’t really want to. The morning show Fox and Friends can be quite good, that is until E.D. Hill weighs in and reveals that her lobotomy was successful. Brian Kilmeade should stick to sports as I think he has the missing half of E.D.’s brain. Steve Doocy is the only one with any sense on that show and I have nearly abandoned my patronage of the program.

The best thing about FOX is that you do get two sides to every story, the worst thing is the interviewers ask the questions and either answer them or talk over the answers. Some of the guests and the questions are really interesting but often it’s impossible to hear their responses. Of course most of the political guests don’t try to answer but rather they almost always try to give a speech. The most annoying thing about FOX is related to the previous point, no matter how riveting the guest or event nothing, absolutely nothing gets in the way of a commercial. This would be fine if they would come back to the person but seldom does that happen.

FOX and CNN should fire all their producers if that can’t train them better. CNN is so obvious in its left wing nut position that they make FOX the voice of reason by comparison. The trouble comes from the 24-hour format that reduces news coverage to trivia. The audience feels that they can tune in anytime and find out immediately what’s going on, this certainly limits the networks ability to make any kind of extensive coverage. That type of coverage is reserved for car chases, airplanes that are circling the airport for hours, or a camera focused on the only tree left after a tornado, hurricane, or earthquake. The crazy way images are handled is disturbing and usually results in a channel switch to the Biography Channel for me.

I do like FOXNEWS if only for the newscrawler which they introduced and is now on every channel. The disingenuous posture of the network newsrooms has driven me away and I am getting most of my news fix from Brit Hume, The Beltway Boys, and Fox News Watch, these are three of the most rational programs on television. The other programs like Neal Cavuto; The Big Story (obnoxious by itself) with John Gibson can often be tolerated. But sometimes it seems that they drink an entire bottle of I Know It All Juice before airtime and go off the deep end. Let me know what you think, not you your position is clear, I would like to hear from someone in the United States.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Should Americans be concerned about reports that they are universally hated?

The answer is a resounding no!!! The media, network, cable, print, and bloggers would have us believe that it's not safe to step on foreign soil. Since this is obviously not true (see stats for air travel to foreign countries from the USA) what is the problem? Did the world love the USA when Bill was president? Could the election of George Bush, an unknown quantity at the time, have knocked all affection from the hearts of the world? It's big ol' crazy world out there.

I've recently been touring the blog world and it is wonderful what is out there. While there are some right wing blogs most opinion seems to be very liberal and fuzzy. Just today I was perusing a blog produced by a Canadian and it is quite good. The funny thing is that the writer, Jonathan, was really aggravated by comments made by Neal Cavuto and Tucker Carlson about Canada's attitude towards the US. Jonathan was very upset, though he thinks nothing of making similar comments about the US without provocation. The return posts by his readers were very comical, especially those made by US readers. Everyone of them was apologetic, cringing, crawling evidence of the hatred left wing nuts have towards George Bush, their own country, and themselves. Why should we care about opinions of those that have no sense of perspective. There are 300 million people living within the borders of the United States are they all to be classified by Eurobloggers as asinine? So only some Americans are concerned about dishonest world opinion, I use the word dishonest to exclude those who the USA just because they can. A little thinking would help. The real problem is being ignored. Despite the jealousy other cultures feel and express about the United States their concern is out of date, China and India are the next so-called Super Powers.

It is simply silly to blame the United States for all the world's problems. When the Democrat party returns to power, as it surely will at some point, there will be little if any change in policy. The nation will not allow it, in fact that is why the Republicans were able to change the balance of power in Washington. The rabid hatred of the USA is a reflection of the fear that dictatorial rulers have and the desire of their people to be free. The fellow travelers in the elite intelligensia support these monsters because it makes them feel worldly. This is not the only odd behavior you will find in the detractors of America. Try this: Mexico has a governmental department called The Ministry for the Prevention of Natural Disasters this name alone should provide a clue to the arrogance of far left thinking and it tells you something about the rest of the world. (If you find out how to prevent natural disasters please write and tell me) The Western world is living in a dream world and the dream is about to become a nightmare. China and India are in the crawling stage but they are almost ready to stand up and start walking. Running is not far behind, once that happens look out. Already these nations, exempt from Kyoto, are responsible for far greater negative environmental impact than the United States could ever hope to have.

As for Jonathan, I guess that Canadians are very sensitive about their place in the world since having such a small population means they can have very little impact on the thinking of their friends to the south. Well, that is obviously not true as Mr. Martins recent comments demonstrate. In fact Canadians as a group have produced some great thinkers, artists, and entertainers yet they still feel inferior as a nation. The evidence for this is their inability to shrug off rude comments from the Carlsons and Cavutos of the world who are paid to express opinions designed to outrage. I have been to Canada many times, have been business partners with Canadians and find the country beautiful and the people fine.

We Americans have little to be ashamed of regarding our contributions to the world especially not the encouragement of democracy. I realize that this view is irritating to some, but that's what blogging is all about. The next two world dominators India and China are just getting started and not a moment too soon. It's probable that India will emerge first as it is sort of a democracy with a population just a bit smaller than China's. In the end though it will be China as the number one power whose ideas , more demands,will dominate the world stage.

Get ready Euros it's coming soon to a seaport near you.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

My Favorite Guitar Riffs

Years' end generally produces lists of the top events of the year just past. As this is a blog, the most narcissistic tool a person may indulge, so have I a few lists. I will post new lists each day for as long as I have lists to post. If you agree please let me know, if you disagree or have alternatives to present please do that too. Here is the first list:
  1. The lead in Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row" by Charlie McCoy in D Major. This is a very subtle lead that is there and then it's not. It actually simply variations of the D Major scale using techniques commonly found in other genres. Just as you begin to enjoy the lyrics you hear this lovely underlying lead run that complements and enhances the entire composition. Try it.
  2. The lead in the Rolling Stones "Can't you hear me knockin'" is very good but the solo at the end of the verse, which continues nearly to the end is one of the most remarkable pieces of rock music ever recorded.
  3. The bridge in "Going Home", another Stones favorite of mine, is one of the most, if not the most, subtle solo line in any of their compositions.
  4. Of course the Brian Jones performance in "Sympathy for the Devil" is unsurpassed, though few have heard it since it was supplanted by another version on the album Let It Bleed. The original version was released as single in 1968.
  5. John Mayhall's "Saw Mill Gulch Road" and "California" are two fabulous examples of blues, rock, and jazz fusion. The bass riff is unreal because it provides the only percussion in the performance, yet the absence of drums is not really obvious.

Any string of lists can be expanded indefinitely here are some others to consider: The Best Rock and Roll performers of the 20th Century, The most important contributors to the evolution of blues, jazz, and rock music. Got some ideas of your own? Let's hear about them.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas Day and the Corrupting Nature of Indulgence

Yesterday we had our extended family over for gift exchanging and dinner. The group, all four generations, had a great time but I noticed something that was a little disturbing. I guess it should have been expected behavior from my grandsons but still it made me think. These boys, ages 6 and 3, are really great kids. They are generally courteous, obedient, kind, and considerate, as they were for the most part yesterday. This year my wife and I only bought them each one gift. Our thinking was that these two princes are among the most privileged people on earth. Perhaps not in monetary terms, though there is no suffering on that score, but because they are beloved and to a degree pampered by their entire family. I might add that their family consists of six uncles, two aunts, two grandmothers, one great grandmother, one grandfather, and one great grandfather, and finally two cousins. All living in the same town. So to my mind they are extremely fortunate, they have everything that really counts in life and lot more that is less important.

Their disappointment at the paucity of gifts was palpable. This despite the fact that during the morning they had been showered with gifts by their adoring parents. Of course at our house with expectations based on prior years there was bound to be disappointment. Is their reaction a reflection of our society in general?

Its a cliche to report on the culture of selfishness and narcissism that is the United States, but as in every stereotype their is a grain of truth so it is with cliches. Why else do our returning wounded soldiers get letters purporting to be from school children saying "Die soldier"? Why else do enviro-terrorists feel free to destroy the property of those they disagree with? Why else do atheists want all religion destroyed except for their non-religion? Why else do members of PETA go to ridiculous lengths to intimidate humankind into denying their humanity and heritage? Why else does NARAL use the idea of privacy rights to allow murder? The list of similar questions can cerainly be expanded.

As I consider my lovely grandsons I wonder where they will drop out along the spectrum of ideas. How will your children or grandchildren fare?

Sunday, December 25, 2005


As 2006 dawns it is a good time to reflect on 2005, a tumultuous year as most are. Some good and some bad things happen each year and we all think things are worse than they have ever been. Of course nothing could be further from the truth, only different situations exist. The United States is making progress in Iraq as are the Iraqis, the only problem that may raise its head is increased Iranian influence. Which I think is a given. Iran will be limited by the independent nature of Iraqis but influential they will be.

The recent pollution disasters in China prove that the United States Senate rejection of the Kyoto treaty in 1998 was the correct thing to do. Even though conventional wisdom likes to blame Preident Bush, it was in fact a Democrat president, Bill Clinton, and Democrat controlled senate, Tom Daschle, that rejected the treaty 98 -0. Now it seems that the greatest polluters and rapers of the environment are in fact China and India. The Siberian penisula is being threatened by Chinese industrial waste and the Indian Ocean by Indian pollution. These two countries were exempt from the terms and conditions of the Kyoto Treaty. A typical lame liberal attempt to feel better about something by doing actually nothing.

The fuzzy thinking and weak character of the left is illustrated clearly by their blaming George Bush for natural disasters. For a group of self-designated intellectuals they are either completely dishonest, poorly educated, or just plain stupid. Of course there is global warming, it has been going on for at least ten thousand years. The entire topography of the earth has been shaped by what we now call natural disasters. Human beings have a rather limited life span and the inclination to forget what happened before the world was blessed with their presence think that all happenings in their lifetime is new.

Western Culture is in severe decline due to a misguided effort to be nice to everyone. Political correctness kills diversity. The differences between people and cultures should celebrated even in the form of sterotypes. In the formerly Christian cultures the intelligensia are running from their roots. The importance of understanding the past cannot be measured especially for people who measure everythings value by their own standard. Western societies continue to evolve but one constantly hears of social malaise. This is due to denying one's heritage. Constant "I'm sorries" for whatever ancestors might have done erodes one's self confidence. Accepting responsiblities for crimes one did not and in fact cannot commit in today's world, strikes me as a ridiculous episode of self-pity and aggrandisement.

Thanks for reading this. Please send me your comments, compliments, insults, counter-diatribes, and anything else.