FEB. 29, 2016 28 WOULD HAVE BEEN ENOUGH
That's by William S. Gilbert. Click the picture to hear Kevin Kline and Angela Lansbury explain to Rex Smith that, because he has not yet reached his contractually mandated 21st birthday, he cannot resign.
Beethovens Symphony No. 5 from 1808 famously begins with a four-note motif, G G G Eb. In measures 6 through 9, the motif is restated by the second violins, echoed by the violas, and echoed again by the first violins. Same for measures 10 through 13.
An Intel commercial that first appeared in 1994 also featured a four-note motif, Db Gb Db Ab. This chimed In-tel in-side was created by Walter Werzowa, another Viennese composer who now works in Los Angeles. Werzowa recently took his Musikvergnuegen crew to Austria and added additional echoes to Beethovens music, calling it Symphony in Blue. Ending with a perfectly timed Intel signature, its now the sound track to this Anthem commercial.
FEB. 17, 2016 LET'S GO OVER THIS AGAIN
John Poindexter, the owner of the Texas ranch where Justice Antonin Scalia died, reported that the judge was found in bed with a pillow over his head.
Conspiracy theorists took notice. They say they found a pillow on his face, which is a pretty unusual place to find a pillow, Donald Trump said Monday. His host, conservative broadcaster Michael Savage, said this might point to murder. There should be an investigation!
The problem is the imprecise meaning of over, particularly when a person is in a horizontal position. In this case I think over his head means adjacent to what would be the top of his head if he were standing up.
They had to dig out an access route from the house to the barn, of course, and she remembered the snow was over my head! I pictured a tunnel. If she walked through it, shed be surrounded by snow on all sides, including the ceiling of the tunnel above her.
But after further review, I realized that theyd merely shoveled the snow into piles alongside the path, and the piles were taller than the little girl. That's still a lot of snow, but the original description had gone over my head.
FEB. 14, 2016 READ THIS, HUSSY! HE'S MY VALENTINE
Japanese women could be so jealous. Obviously and Im not kidding the title of this print is Woman Throwing a Snowball at a Girl Reading a Love Letter.
The 18th-century color woodblock print, by artist Suzuki Harunobu, is part of the collection of the Allen Memorial Art Museum. That's located at my alma mater, Oberlin College. (Motto: On the Forbes list of America's Top Colleges, were #46!)
Why dont all drivers out there stop at stop signs? asked Keith Whitmore of Duquesne, PA, yesterday in a letter to the editor. I am tired of coming up to an intersection and having a jerk come up to the same intersection and blow through a stop sign. Just by the grace of God I see these drivers first and avoid them before they hit me. ...My dad used to say, He must be late for his own funeral!
Personally, I havent noticed many cars failing to at least come to a rolling stop. And almost everyone seems to stop at a red light and wait obediently for it to change, even with no other traffic in sight. (Why do red lights command more respect than red signs?)
On the other hand, my uncle Jim didnt even slow down for a stop sign if he deemed it unnecessary. If he could clearly see there were no other cars within half a mile of a rural crossroad, hed fly through it doing 70.
He served overseas but never saw combat. During the year when his age was 35, he was stationed at a base at Chabua in northeastern India.
By the time he was 36, the war was over, and he sailed home with thousands of his buddies on what could be called a Mediterranean cruise. Im planning a new picture article about that experience for next month.
JAN. 31, 2016 THEY DON'T STAY ON THE SIDELINES
JAN. 28, 2016 FIFTY YEARS AGO TODAY
Youre looking above at a classic 1959 Chevrolet El Camino driving down North Franklin Street in Richwood, Ohio, exactly 50 years ago. It was sunny that morning but very cold. After a low of -2°, by eleven oclock the thermometer had made it up to zero. As you can see below, the Corn Crib popcorn stand outside Livingstons store was not open for business.
Local insurance agent John Cheney had decided to take his business to a warmer clime. On his last day in the office, he photographed the scene from his window, all the way up and down the block. That panorama has made it onto this website, and you can find it here.
JAN. 25, 2016 HAVE WE THE WILL?
Ive been revisiting some old speeches. For example, when President George H.W. Bush took office, he said in his 1989 inaugural address:
As I listened to that last line 27 years ago, I immediately objected. No, Mr. President, its the other way around! We have more wallet than will!
Dont pretend that we the people are no longer able to keep our Constitutional promise to promote the general welfare. America is the richest nation in the world. Our wallet is bulging. What we lack is the will to open it.
Dr. Martin Luther King, after his return from receiving the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize in Scandanavia, reported: In both Norway and Sweden, whose economies are literally dwarfed by the size of our affluence and the extent of our technology, they have no unemployment and no slums. There, men, women and children have long enjoyed free medical care and quality education. This contrast to the limited, halting steps taken by our rich nation deeply troubled me.
Concerned about the U.S. government deficit? Increase revenue. Those of us who can afford it ought to give back more to the commonwealth.
The corporate lobbyists have convinced the fearful and angry among us to contribute tax money for armaments and never-ending wars, but many tightfisted Americans have no inclination to contribute tax money to improve their fellow citizens lives.
The question is whether America will do it, Dr. King said in Washington four days before his death. There is nothing new about poverty. What is new is that we now have the techniques and the resources to get rid of poverty. The real question is whether we have the will.
JAN. 23, 2016 PACKERS vs CHIEFS
I watched Super Bowl I on television for the first time last night. In 1967 I must have listened to this historic game on the radio in my college dorm room. (I'm sure I listened to Super Bowl III that way in 1969. Back then, I myself occasionally announced small-college football and basketball, doing play-by-play on the campus radio station.)
The first-ever showdown between the champions of the National Football League and the American Football League was televised by CBS and also by NBC, but tapes of those broadcasts are not available. Therefore, NFL Films has dug film footage out of its vaults and matched it to an edited version of Jim Simpsons NBC Radio broadcast to produce something resembling a complete telecast. Its only 90 minutes long because the dead time between plays is not included. NFL Network aired it last night with a minimum of modern-day commentary. Some thoughts from me:
JAN. 18, 2016 REMAINING AWAKE
Last night the American Heroes Channel ran a documentary on the 1968 hunt for Martin Luther Kings assassin. They called it Justice for MLK.
Perhaps they should have called it Revenge for MLK. James Earl Rays pursuers were not seeking justice as much as retribution.
For Rev. King, justice was not the electric chair. It was equal rights, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. Justice was not about punishing bad people. It was about guaranteeing good people the opportunities they deserve.
JAN. 12, 2016 DIGEST VERSION: NOVELTY'S WORN OFF
Under the new four-team college football playoff format, the second annual national championship game last night (Alabama 45, Clemson 40) drew noticeably less interest than last year's much-ballyhooed first game. At least around here it did. Pittsburghers care about only Steelers football. Clemson plays in the same conference as the University of Pittsburgh, but that means nothing. Yesterdays advance story about the upcoming college championship was buried on Page C-5 of the sports section.
JAN. 7, 2016 YOURS IS ONLY MILD-TO-MODERATE
Commercials often feature actors portraying real people speaking directly to us. My rash was really bothering me. So finally I went to the doctor.
However, Ive seen a pharmaceutical ad that begins, My Moderate-to-Severe Chronic Plaque Psoriasis made a simple trip to the grocery store anything but simple. So finally I had an important conversation with my dermatologist.
Do you ever speak with such clinical specificity? I think Id like to have an important conversation with Humiras ad writer.
This felt familiar. I too went through a period of pre-adolescent angst. Fortunately, in my case, what frightened me was merely the global situation, not a drunk uncle. In my case, my father didnt tell me to stop watching the news, but my mother did tell me we shouldnt worry about things over which we have no control. I recalled the experience in this post-9/11 article.
Angst is a feeling of deep anxiety or dread, typically an unfocused one about the human condition or the state of the world in general. We fear horrible things are about to happen. What things they may be, we cannot tell.
But demagogues and other politicians are quite willing to gain our support by scaring us even more, making us even more afraid. The government is coming to take our guns! The Mexicans are coming to rape our women and take our jobs! The environmentalists will take our SUVs! The Muslims will behead us!
Such overblown trepidations are no longer merely ludicrous, writes Scott Renshaw from Utah. I can't laugh at scary, delusional, desperately-frightened-of-change people any more. There are too many of them, causing too much damage.
Who wouldnt be depressed about the world today? asks another Canadian, Margaret Wente, in a Christmas Day article. Everywhere you look, its doom and gloom. So, turn off the news and consider this. For most of humanity, life is improving at an accelerated rate!
Most people find this hard to believe. After all, were programmed to look for trouble. Here are some reasons to start the new year on an optimistic note:
This year, for the first time on record, the percentage of the worlds population living in extreme poverty has sunk below 10 per cent, the World Bank says. This is a stunning achievement. As recently as 1990, 37 per cent of the worlds population was desperately poor. ...Malnutrition has all but disappeared, except in countries with terrible governments. Eighty per cent of the worlds population use contraceptives and have two-child families. Eighty per cent vaccinate their children. Eighty per cent have electricity in their homes. Ninety per cent of the worlds girls go to school.
What about violence? Weve never lived in such peaceful times, says Wente. Wars and conflict fill the news, but they are at historic lows. ...As for terrorist attacks, youre far more likely to be killed by a collision with a deer. ...Between 1993 and 2013, according to a Pew Research Center analysis, the rate of U.S. gun homicides fell by half, from seven homicides for every 100,000 people to 3.8 homicides in 2013.
What about illness? We are gradually wiping out the worst of the worlds diseases. In 1988, polio was endemic in 125 countries. Now, there are just two: Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Make a New Years resolution, Wente advises, to count your many blessings including flush toilets, electric lights, polio vaccines, and peace.
And the apostle Paul advises, Do not be anxious about anything. His recommendation to the Philippians goes something like this: If there is anything excellent, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about those things instead. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds.