Monday, January 31, 2011

Personal Freedom, Public Assistance, and So-Called Conservatism

by Dick Mac

Ayn Rand, the now-deceased 20th Century philosopher, promoted personal freedom above all else, and a minimalist government for the betterment of all people; and insisted that welfare, social security, medicare, and all other social programs were bad, bordering on evil.

Rand's philosophy, like most philosophies, is neither completely right nor completely wrong. There are points some agree with and points some disagree with; some areas that will prove to be accurate and some that will eventually prove to be folly. That's how philosophy works! We are humans.

The notion that one can take Rand's writings and simply say: this is a road map to freedom, is absurd. Still, there are many "conservatives" on the right, and fringe radicals in the Tea Party, that hold Rand up as the only philosopher who had it right.

Abolish all social services: welfare, medicare, social security, and any other program that makes an individual beholden to a state.

Like all other right-wingers, however, Rand really only wanted to abolish this stuff after she got her benefits; leaving the rest of us in the lurch.

It's a pretty standard philosophy among right-wingers and so-called "conservatives": "I got mine now go fuck yourself"! They are all for a government that is helping build civilization while they are young, and starting out in the world and building a career; but once they have their house and car and retirement fund and bank account, all of a sudden they want the government to get out of everyones' lives.

So-called "conservatives" hold Rand in very high regard and often evoke her writings and philosophy when arguing against the government that helped them become comfortable by ensuring there is a functioning society and infrastructure.

Come to find out, though, that like most right-wingers, Rand was just like today's so-called "conservatives": she was against Social Security and Medicare, until it was time for her to cash-in! She had no problem taking our government-sponsored Medicare to pay for the treatment of lung cancer caused by decades of personal freedom (smoking); and neither she nor her husband declined their right to a slice of the funds in the Social Security pie. They took Social Security while being part of a generation that paid nominally into the program!

And that's how so-called "conservatives" operate: they are against everything the government creates and every function and service that they do not personally use, until it's their turn. Then suddenly, their silent acquiescence allows funds to flow into their bank accounts and services to be rendered on their behalf.

One of her namesakes, Rand Paul, of Kentucky, has the same philosophy as the late writer. He thinks every government program needs to be considered for cutting. Well, everything except direct Medicare reimbursements to doctors. Why? Because DOCTOR Rand Paul, of Kentucky, rakes in about a half-a-million bucks a year from that program! He doesn't see any reason to cut THAT program.

Sigh!

No wonder people aspire to be a "conservative"! Conservatives get to suck the government dry while blaming the poor for all the ills of the nation.

The sad thing is that working people, and anyone with less than a couple hundred million in the back, vote against their own best interests and elect frauds like Paul and others who espouse this bogus philosophy.

Social Security is Immoral, by Alex Epstein, at the Ayn Rand Center For Individual Rights website

Ayn Rand Received Social Security, Medicare, by Patia Stephens



Friday, January 28, 2011

Would You Like Anything Else With Your Chicken Dinner?

by Dick Mac

We are all free to spend our money as we see fit (more or less). We can shop at any store we want, eat and drink at whatever establishment we like, and donate to the charities and political movements we support.

How we spend our money often says things about us (or not). A person who puts money in the basket at Our Lady of Perpetual Help church is assumed to be a Catholic. A person who shops at Old Navy can probably be safely assumed to be shopping for a child, or to be an adult with absolutely no sense of style. A person who buys food at McDonald's can be assumed to have little regard for their health and well-being. A person who spends money in a barroom every night might be assumed to be an alcoholic. Some of these assumptions are ridiculous exaggerations and some are probably spot on.

When we spend our money in a store owned by a company that takes a public position against our well-being, we are saying we don't care about ourselves, or those who suffer at the hand of such an organization.

The fast-food chain Chic-fil-A is owned by a man who uses those profits to fund the WinShape Foundation. The WinShape Foundation uses the money it gets from the man who gets his money from the profits of Chick-fil-A to support conservative political groups that work hard to deny American taxpayers equal rights under the laws of the land.

The WinShape Foundation and Chick-fil-A want the government to enact and enforce laws that prevent homosexuals from enjoying life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Groups like the Nation Organization of Marriage, Focus on the Family, the Pennsylvania Family Institute, and other national and international organizations who use their money and influence to peddle a conservative religious movement against the civil rights of homosexuals, receive money from every super chicken delight meal sold at Chick-fil-A.

This is not some tenuous, esoteric, complicated connection; it is a direct line from the profits of Chick-fil-A to the global persecution of homosexuals.

Perhaps we should all consider whether or not Chick-fil-A is a company we want to support.

Thanks to Michael A. Jones, at change.org for his article "Yes, Chick-fil-A Says, We Explicitly Do Not Like Same-Sex Couples"



Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The First and Second Amendments Can Coexist

by Dick Mac

Right-wing lawmakers, candidates and their supporters have been rallying around the battle cry for "Second Amendment remedies" and "reload" strategies for two years, mostly with the assistance of their mouthpieces at News Corporation (or is it the other way around).

Using the emotional tactic of pretending the Second Amendment is in danger of repeal, these politicians have whipped America's most dangerous people into a fervor of patriotism that has no basis whatsoever in reality, civilization, American history, or plain human decency.

It was bad enough over the past fifty years that Republicans used fear of Blacks, fear of homosexuals, and fear of abortion, to keep their white suburban followers in line; but now it's completely out-of-control. The Republican gun rhetoric has brought public displays of weapons, and the very public threat to use them, into the daily lives of all Americans. Unlike their racist, homophobic, misogynistic campaigns of past elections, where nobody but the targets were victimized, this campaign of hate and guns endangers all Americans.

Nobody on the "right" will admit that their strategy is a total success, of course; because the promotion of gun violence has led to an actual increase in gun violence. There is a cause and effect here, and it is not a dramatic stretch of the imagination to draw a straight line directly from the gun rhetoric to the gun usage. This isn't rocket science, it's plain-old American logic!

The Second Amendment is not under attack. Those of you who like to lube-up your guns, get all manly at the rifle range, and compensate for your small penises (or lack of penises) with big guns and expensive cars, have absolutely no reason to fear that someone is coming for your guns. Nobody is coming for your guns! The Supreme Court has affirmed, time and again, that the Second Amendment allows all of us to keep our guns.

This does not mean that we should not have a discussion about gun safety, a discussion that perhaps some weapons are best owned by law enforcement and the military, or a discussion that our right to bear arms includes responsible use and ownership of those weapons. Both the Second Amendment and these discussions (the First Amendment) are protected and can co-exist. Neither one negates the other.

So while many disagree about the need to control guns, the discussion is not unpatriotic.

We can protect our right to bear arms AND discuss those arms and still all be good citizens.

Those who would dismiss gun-rights advocates and gun-rights advocates who dismiss gun-safety advocates are both wrong.

The discussion is valid.



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

No Homo . . . That's Gay


by Dick Mac

I have been unable to embrace the slang exclamation "that's gay!"

Younger people, rappers, and their adult apologists, insist it's not a slur against homosexuals. Sort of like how a black guy says "nigger." Except, it's not young homosexuals that use the expression "that's gay," it is young people who do not identify themselves as GLBT; so, instead of comparing it to a young black guy using "nigger" it would be more accurately comparable to a young member of the KKK using the word "nigger." Like, a guy wearing a civil war cap, with a confederate flag tattoo approaching a friend who is wearing a new shirt and saying, "Man, that shirt is so nigger." Doesn't really feel right does it?

Now the conversation is a lot more uncomfortable.

How about this: a young white suburban Catholic boy walks into the schoolyard, sees a friend's new gadget and says: that's so "jew!"

It really doesn't work, does it?

You know why it doesn't work? Because it is a pejorative use of the word. It's not camaraderie, the way two black guys call each other "nigger" or two gay guys call each other "Mary"; the two people don't share Jewishness and it is folly to presume it is meant as a compliment.

If it is not meant as a compliment, then it is not rocket-science to conclude that it is meant as an insult.

The use of the word "gay" to denigrate somebody may sound more polite than using the word "faggot," but it means the same thing; and it means the same as nigger, spic, kike, cunt, wop, kraut, bitch, and every other racial, ethnic, or sexual pejorative.

I know I am not very good at articulating this point, so the folks at current.com have produced a video that explains it all to you.



The use of the word gay in this context is not acceptable.

Or is it?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Neighborhood Watch

by Dick Mac

Over the decades, many communities have formed neighborhood associations. Some have been formed with good intentions like reducing crime. Others have been formed with less noble intentions, like preventing certain types of people from buying property in the area.

Whatever the purpose of neighborhood associations, their formation are as American as apple pie and HUAC hearings.

Wikipedia defines a "neighborhood watch" as:

. . . an organized group of citizens devoted to crime and vandalism prevention within a neighborhood. In the United States it builds on the concept of a town watch from Colonial America.

A neighborhood watch may be organized as its own group or may simply be a function of a neighborhood association or other community association.

Neighborhood watches are not vigilante organizations. When suspecting criminal activities, members are encouraged to contact authorities and not to intervene.

Wikipedia describes "minutemen" as:

. . . members of teams of select men from the American colonial militia during the American Revolutionary War. They provided a highly mobile, rapidly deployed force that allowed the colonies to respond immediately to war threats, hence the name.

The latter is expected to participate in battle, to raise arms and shoot at enemies. The former is expected to be a presence that shines a light on what is happening in the community.

They are not synonymous.

So when Bill O'Reilly, says:

Talking Points applauds the Minutemen. They are in the great tradition of neighborhood watch groups. If the Bush administration doesn't like it, then put a larger federal presence on the border so the Minutemen can go home. It's that simple. There comes a time when all fair minded Americans have to understand that an open border is dangerous. I just hope that time isn't after another attack on civilians in this country. So three cheers for the Minutemen. Like their ancestors in Concord and Lexington, they're making a statement. And we all should respect that.
Clock is ticking for Minutemen
he is actually contradicting himself. Today's Minutemen are either minutemen or they are a neighborhood watch, they cannot be both.

As time has passed, the modern day Minutemen have proven to be more vigilante than neighborhood watch.

In the violent right-wing rhetoric of the past two years, the threat of shooting, the public display of guns in inappropriate public settings, and the actual use of guns by those pretending to defend the Constitution has increased. Murder is the tactic of choice, whether it is, for example:

(1) a dead Pennsylvania school mom who packed heat at her kids' soccer matches;

(2) a so-called "libertarian" who attends a Presidential event with an assault rifle in full view;

(3) a so-called "nihilistic loner" who takes out a political gathering in an attempt to assassinate an elected official; or

(4) a cold-blooded white-supremacist murderer stalking our border with Mexico.

Although Roger Ailes and Fox News want to call the minutemen a neighborhood watch, it is not a neighborhood watch, it is vigilantism; and vigilantism has no place in the United States of America.

One group that was invited into the national debate about immigration, and has had the support of Jim Gilchrist, leader of the Minuteman Project, is the Minutemen American Defense ("MAD"), based in Washington state.

MAD was committed to stopping the flow of illegal immigrants from Mexico. From information released by law enforcement agencies in the past two years, MAD had embarked on a fundraising campaign of robbing drug smugglers, and taking their money and/or drugs to finance their mission.

In 2009, Shawna Forde, a leader of MAD, and two accomplices are alleged to have entered the trailer of Raul Flores, in Arivaca, Arizona. Flores, his daughter, Brisenia, and the girl's mother, Gina Gonzalez, were home; another daughter was staying with friends. Flores was known to have been involved in the drug trade, and Forde had information that there would be a lot of money in the home.

What is known is that someone shot and killed Flores and his 9-year-old daughter, and wounded the girl's mother. The surviving victim was able to call 911 and provide police with a description.

It did not take police long to find the shooter, Jason Bush, because the mother had managed to shoot him when he came back to finish her off, and someone who knew him decided to inform police of his bleeding whereabouts. It didn't take long after that for police to find Forde and Albert Gaxiola, the third suspect, and take them into custody.

MAD no longer exists as an organization, and other minutemen have worked diligently to distance themselves by condemning the killings and removing references to MAD from their respective websites. Removing the web posts does not erase history, however; and all minutemen have been affiliated with MAD to some degree.

This is an ongoing problem with the right-wing: they want to promote a hard-ass line with threats of gun violence and uprisings if their demands are not met; but when one of their own rises up and follows-through with the gun violence, the leaders feign shock and surprise, issue press releases demanding that someone get to the bottom of things, and decry those who would use violence. As if this is somehow disconnected from their agenda.

Sure, it is possible that the right-wing does not want to promote violence; but that is not true. The right-wing camp is filthy with those who promote and incite hate, armed insurrection, violence, and murder; and their political campaigns regularly include hysterical screaming about gun rights and violence. There is a connection between right-wing politicans calling for armed revolt and right-wingers killing with guns. It's called a straight line between two points.

It's possible that MAD members are innocent of the Flores murders, and this is all just a media conspiracy to discredit the minutemen. The evidence, however, is compelling.

The people who call themselves "minutemen" are dangerous. They are not patriots; they are treasonous, self-serving criminals with an agenda of hate and violence. Most of the illegal immigrants attempting to cross the border are probably more patriotic and committed to the Constitution.

Enough with the vigiliantism, and enough with glamorizing the minutemen by calling them patriots on a neighborhood watch!

Edited at 8:02 A.M. to fix broken link.




Friday, January 21, 2011

Was 1963 The Best Year Ever In New York City?

by Dick Mac

The current issue of New York Magazine features the cover story The Greatest New York Ever.

The article asks many writers to share their thoughts about the greatest everything of New York City: musical, television show, building, film, song, etc., and the collection of short essays is a wonderful read.

As a nerdy reader of poetry, a museum goer, a foreign film aficionado, and a general pop gossip monger, I was particularly struck by this paragraph in the essay about 1963 being the best year ever in New York City:

A feeling that something new was happening burbled up from the gap between the Beats and the hippies. Bob Dylan played Town Hall, John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman recorded their studio album, Frank O’Hara had just written his great "Lana Turner Has Collapsed!" poem. Suzanne Farrell was dancing with George Balanchine's New York City Ballet. Andy Warhol was painting Marilyn Monroe, Jasper Johns showing at Castelli, Candy Darling and Holly Woodlawn finding their way to town. At the Art, the Paris, the Thalia, you could watch Resnais or Truffaut, or Jack Smith and Kenneth Anger at the Film-Makers' Cooperative. Grace Paley and Donald Barthelme were writing buddies in the West Village. The newspaper strike had given birth to The New York Review of Books. Even an inconvenience led to something good.
The Greatest Year: 1963. When we never knew what was about to end.


The list of names mentioned in that paragraph, and the thought of all those people and things happening at the same time in the same place, reminds me why I love New York so very much.

I recommend buying the magazine and enjoying every word of this cover story.



Thursday, January 20, 2011

Progress In The Back Woods

by Dick Mac

Humanity has always been challenged by our ability to disseminate information. The more information that flows to the citizenry, the better-informed the citizenry, the more sophisticated the society.

As Judas Iscariot sang to Jesus Christ in "Superstar": "If you'd come today you would have reached a whole nation, Israel in 4 B.C. had no mass communication."

As ideas flow from one community to another, from one city to another, from one state to another, from one market to another, we all become more enlightened; even when we disagree with the information or conclusions being shared.

In the United States, there are hypothetical badges of honor associated with being the first and/or last to do something. The first state to pass gun control, the first state to sue the federal government over the health care laws, the last state to enact consenting adult laws, etc. These are highlights often discussed in the media. The first, the last, the only, the best, ad nauseum.

In 1977, Florida was the only state to pass a law specifically denying homosexuals the right to adopt children. For 30-odd years, Florida has been denying homosexuals approval to become adoptive parents. Oddly, they have all along allowed homosexuals to be foster parents, a common route to adoption, but denied them and their children the legal designation of a "family."

News has not yet seeped into Florida that every homosexual is actually part of a family (being a brother, sister, son, daughter, etc.), and that homosexuals often build new families (becoming mothers and fathers), and that there is no empirical evidence to suggest homosexuals are bad parents. Florida has been our "Israel in 4 B.C.," seemingly not hearing these tidbits of information, or choosing to ignore them.

So, kicking and screaming, Florida was recently dragged out of the back woods and into the 20th Century. (The jury is still out on when it will join the 21st Century.)

The 3rd District Court of Appeal agreed in a ruling that Florida's ban is unconstitutional. The State of Florida has decided against an appeal, meaning that the decades-old law is now history.

So, even though Florida was the only state with this kind of law on the books, they are also the first state to abandon a law preventing homosexuals from adopting children.

Congratulations Florida!

Miami couple who successfully fought Florida's gay adoption ban officially adopts 2 brothers



Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Discussing Mental Illness

by Dick Mac

Many of us have received rudimentary first-aid training and can stop or staunch someone's bleeding, we know about the Heimlich Maneuver and CPR, and we might even know how to perform these, we have all learned lessons (effective or not) about making a sick person comfortable and we use phrases like "Feed a cold. Starve a fever." Or is it the other way around? No matter which it is, we all have some experience addressing sickness and injury, and it is the rare person who runs away from a physically ill or wounded person in need.

Most of us have no skills in addressing a mentally ill person, never mind assisting them in getting help. There is a stigma, there is fear about discussing the issue either with a person, or with others around them.

Mental illness is mysterious to us, and we often develop dismissive attitudes about it. We take positions about a person's decisions and choices, as if they have actually analyzed their situation and said: "Yeah! Paranoid schizophrenia: that's for me," or "I'm going to become a drug addict to deal with this confusion."

Mental illness is not choice; and although there are entire industries based on "depression" and "attention-deficit" it does not mean that every consumer in those fields is mentally well. Many depressed, paranoid, sociopathic, and psychotic people need real treatment.

Drugs are one treatment, and drugs are the treatment of choice in our society. Drugs are tangible, can be produced by a manufacturer, and bought and sold like commodities. As a society, we accept solutions that can be purchased and we debate not their efficacy, but their expense. In the big picture, though, drugs only address the symptoms of mental illness, not the underlying psychological problems.

Fundamentally, we are ill-prepared to have a conversation about mental illness, because it cannot be quantified like a broken bone or a virus. Mental illness cannot have a packaged solution that is sold in one form over-the-counter and in another form by prescription-only, its treatment is intangible to those looking in from the outside, and some who suffer mild forms of mental illnesses and still function tend to believe that people with more severe forms of the same condition should be able to "buck-up" and move on.

Many people suffer mental illness at low levels, and we sometimes refer to the manifestations as "ticks" and "quirks" and "habits" and, generally speaking, these are not debilitating problems. Left untreated, however, some mental illness that seems "irritating" at one point could develop into a serious mental health problem.

It is easy to dismiss mental illness because we don't understand it, and dismiss mental health because it is expensive and historically was not covered by medical insurance; and dismiss it we do, regularly.

Perhaps it's time we say that mental illness deserves the attention that every other illness is afforded, and look with suspicion upon those who would tell us the purchase of a pill will address the problem.

There were times in the not-too-distant past when people dared not discuss aloud the issues of cancer, sexual dysfunction, and AIDS; but today those issues are discussed open and freely. Perhaps we can move mental illness out of the shadows, and into the social dialog.

One side benefit might be a reduction in the number of manufacturers and their physician-clients who simply prescribe pills to address anything that might remotely appear to be a mental illness. And, perchance to dream, those who need treatment might get it.

I was sparked to write this after reading this article :
Getting Someone to Psychiatric Treatment Can Be Difficult and Inconclusive, at the New York Times site.




Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ricky Gervais Hosts The 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards

by Dick Mac

Ricky Gervais hosted the Golden Globes this year.

I generally don't watch awards shows, but Mrs. Mac does, and on occasion I join her. When I heard the Gervais was going to host (again), I decided to watch at least his monologue.

He did not disappoint.

Nobody was sacred, and he garnered more laughs per minute than any other awards show host in my memory.

Here are some excerpts:



In their need to create "news" the conservative media have been giving credence to dullards who were offended by Gervais' performance. What these people seem to forget is that it was a "performance"! This was television, not reality. It was entertainment, like everything else on television! Unlike the rest of the stuff on television, however, this was really funny and really entertaining!

[Gervais] said Monday that he chose to introduce the stars "I had the best jokes for. (And who I knew had a good sense of humor.) Everyone took it well and the atmosphere backstage and at the after-show was great."

The smart, engaging, dynamic stars and executives were entertained; the dull, dim, conservative (sorry if I'm being redundant) were offended.

"His job is called host," [Howard] Bragman said. "A host is there to make you feel comfortable. A host is there to make guests really have the great moments. And in past Golden Globes, we've seen a lot of really crazy moments from the guests because there's alcohol. There's a lot of fun there. We didn't see that this year. We're talking about the host. And I think we should be talking about nominees and the winners instead."

Here are some links, including the articles that include the quote above.

Ricky Gervais responds to Golden Globes controversy

Some Offended by Comedian Ricky Gervais's Comedic Jabs at the Golden Globes

Ricky Gervais Too Mean at Golden Globes?




Monday, January 17, 2011

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

by Dick Mac

On this day to commenrate the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr., (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968), the great pacifist leader of the black civil rights movement, it is nice to think about peace, harmony and brotherhood.

Today, I will reach out to another person, physically and/or virtually to spread a little warmth and good cheer.

At the memorial gathering for Dr. King, in 1968, Nina Simone sang "Why (The King of Love Is Dead)":



A link to Dr. King's final speech, I've Been to the Mountaintop, delivered April 3, 1968, at the Church of God in Christ Headquarters (The Mason Temple), Memphis, Tennessee.

Friday, January 14, 2011

MLS 2011 Super Draft

by Dick Mac

The MLS SuperDraft was held yesterday in Baltimore. I was supposed to be in attendance, but a mix-up at my workplace required that I cancel my vacation days and miss the event.

A large contingent of Red Bull New York ("RBNY") fans, including the supporters clubs Empire Supporters Club, Hans Backe Viking Army, and Garden State Supporters, all boarded buses provided by the team, for the nearly-200-mile ride South.

This year's draft was reduced from four rounds to three. It is not clear to me why this was done; it certainly does not appear to be for a lack of talent. Perhaps individual teams have now developed such effective youth programs that the securing of college players and young Internationals is not as vital as previously.

There are two new teams joining the league this year: Portland Timbers (see very cool jersey above) and Vancouver Whitecaps, those teams were selecting first, and Vancouver managed to trade for an additional pick in the First Round.

U.S. National Team Under-20 sensation, 17-year-old Omar Salgado (pictured) was the first overall pick and will begin his career in Vancouver.

The next three picks were all from Akron University and their selections began a remarkable total of five players from that school being drafted in the First Round; this out of a total of 18 picks.

Overall, the First Round saw fifteen college players, two internationals, and one minor (Salgado) selected.

RBNY selected forward Corey Hertzog, from Penn State, in the First Round. We are a team rich with forwards and Hertzog's selection is odd considering the lack of depth we have in the back. A defender or defensive midfielder would have filled an immediate need.

RBNY selected John Rooney, of England, in a Second Round pick acquired from Houston. The 20-year-old midfielder Rooney is the younger brother of England superstar Wayne Rooney and came up (as did his brother) through the Everton FC youth system.

An additional Second Round pick, 21-year-old defender Tyler Lassiter may help fill the lack-of-depth in the back. Lassiter appears to be a very smart young man; he has been studying Sports Management, at Duke University, and comes to the draft a little bit older than most other student-athletes because he has pursued his education.

With a draft pick acquired from Portland, RBNY selected second in the Third Round and chose 22-year-old midfielder Billy Cortes (pictured, right), from the University of Maryland.

ESPN2 covered the First Round of the draft live and did a good job presenting the sport fairly and enthusiastically.

Here is the full list of First Round selections:

1. Vancouver: USA U-20 F Omar Salgado
2. Portland: Akron F Darlington Nagbe
3. D.C. United: Akron MF-D Perry Kitchen
4. Chivas USA: Akron D Zarek Valentin
5. Philadelphia: Maryland GK Zac MacMath
6. New England: California D A.J. Soares
7. Houston: Akron D Kofi Sarkodie
8. Vancouver (from Toronto): Akron MF Michael Nanchoff
9. Chicago: North Carolina D Jalil Anibaba
10. Kansas City: James Madison F C.J. Sapong
11. Houston (from Portland): Indiana F Will Bruin
12. Columbus: Indiana D Rich Balchan
13. New York: Penn State F Corey Hertzog
14. Chivas USA (from RSL): Ecuador F Victor Estupinan
15. Columbus (from San Jose): Michigan F Justin Meram
16. Los Angeles: Uruguay MF Paolo Cardozo
17. Dallas: Stanford D Bobby Warshaw
18. Colorado: North Carolina D Eddie Ababio

The entire list of selections can be seen at this MLS page.

Neither United States soccer nor MLS fans are held in high regard (or sometimes even considered at all) by European and South American supporters; but the display of support shown by the fans throughout the draft was remarkable.

The Empire Supporters Club, in New York, is perhaps the most erudite gathering of fans in any place for any sport. Their chants from Section 101, though sometimes as pedestrian and sophomoric as any other fans', occasionally rise from the ranks of the ironic to the brilliant. I recall one match where a Red Bulls player (Dane Richards, perhaps?) lost a shoe while pushing through the box and scoring a goal. Within seconds, hundreds of ESC members were waving one of their shoes in the air shouting in unison "we only need one shoe"!

Unlike other sports in the United States, soccer fans gather together in an organized fashion, learn the same chants and songs, parade to the matches as a cohesive unit, and support the team through thick and thin.

This devotion to the team and its players fosters a remarkable bond that crosses the nearly impenetrable athlete-fan wall that in other sports is rarely breached. The team's front office makes accommodations for the groups, maintains a relationship through liaisons, and helps ensure that the groups and the causal fans co-exist comfortably.

The newest supporters club for RBNY is The Hans Backe Viking Army, who have embraced the manager's heritage and commandeered their own real estate in Section 102 at Red Bull Arena.

Nobody can predict how this year's batch of draftees will fare in the coming season or the years ahead; but it is certain that Red Bulls fans have another exciting season ahead at Red Bull Arena. You can get tickets here.



Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Little Girl, A Lot Of Grace, And A Big-Hearted Crowd


by Dick Mac

Sometimes humanity can be amazing, and sometimes we can learn the greatest lessons of grace and composure from the least likely source.

Eight-year-old Elizabeth Hughes was invited to sing The Star Spangled Banner at the Norfolk Admirals [hockey] game, last Friday night.

Standing demurely at a corner of the ice, her deceptively large and beautiful voice sang the strains of one the most difficult songs a singer can attempt.

She gets to "bombs bursting in air, gave proof. . . . "

Her microphone shuts down.

Any eight-year-old would crumble, and a crowd of more boorish sports fans would have become impatient and (let's face it) unkind.

Watch what happens:



It's OK to get misty-eyed.






Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Spineless Dishonesty

by Dick Mac

OK, so it's mental illness.

For argument's sake, we will say that the Tucson massacre has absolutely no connection to the violent imagery and language of the Tea Party. We'll say that a registered Republican in Arizona who owns guns has heard nothing in the past year about using gun violence and Second Amendment remedies to change the political make-up of the United States Congress.

That is, we will say that this person lived in a protective bubble of his own mental illness. I say this is quite possible. Mental illness, whether organic or induced by substance abuse, is a real and serious problem.

This is one of the lines being proffered by the Tea Party and their promoters/apologists. It's sad, though, to watch the extreme right-wing acknowledge mental illness as a problem when it suits their needs, but are wholly dismissive of it as an actual problem in our nation. But that's a different story, isn't it!

From Jon Stewart to Bill O'Reilly, talking heads are telling us that it is both sides that are responsible for the violent rhetoric; and I beg to differ. Although we can certainly find isolated incidents of Democrats and/or liberals using gun terms as descriptors, it is folly (bordering on insane) to compare those incidents to the constant, perpetual gun and gun violence imagery used by the Tea Party from signs at rallies to advertisements to actual interviews.

Sure, let's come to an agreement that we will all stop using the language of guns and gun violence in our political discourse; but let's not pretend that both sides of the political divide have been equally responsible for it. That is irresponsible.

One of the most irritating dynamics of all this is the spinelessness of the Tea Party, their supporters and apologists. They have used this tough guy language to set themselves apart from the rest of us; to make themselves seem tougher: tougher on crime, tougher on reform, tougher on budgeting; tougher on protecting our children; tougher on protecting the sanctity of marriage. The Tea Party and those who are exploiting the fervor whipped-up by the Tea Party, have used this rhetoric very effectively. Now that this tough-guy attitude is thrust into the limelight, correctly or incorrectly, the Tea Party and their followers suddenly distance themselves from it.

Oh, we didn't mean that kind of taking-out; we didn't mean that kind of Second Amendment remedy; we didn't mean reload a gun, we meant the other kind of "taking-out" and "Second Amendment remedies"!

One of Palin's minions, a woman named Rebecca Mansour, has actually insisted that the cross-hairs Palin's team placed over twenty Congressional districts during the last election were not actually gun sight cross-hairs, they were surveyor's marks.

WHAT?!?!?! You spineless teabagger! That's your explanation? We are supposed to believe that?

The Tea Party is so tough on crime and so serious about protecting the Second Amendment that they will take a surveyor's level and . . . do what? Measure the height of the terrain on which they plan to build a statue of Glenn Beck? What is the Tea Party going to do with the data collected when using a surveyor's level to measure Arizona's 8th District?

This is typical conservative behavior. They do no have the courage of their convictions. Instead of saying: "My God, we had no idea it would come to this, let's make some changes," they have circled the wagons and started lying (which is what they do best) in an attempt to deflect negative publicity.

The Tea Party apologists would have us believe that mental illness is the reason why the lone nihilistic gunman decided to massacre a group of people, that the violent rhetoric and violent culture promoted by the Tea Party in the past year has had no cultural impact on us, and that a leader of the Tea Party is using surveyor's marks to highlight her point about promoting political change in our nation.

Have a spine! Have the courage of your convictions. I'm not saying that this incident is your fault, per se; but don't insult me by saying that your promotion of gun violence and use of gun imagery is all a big misunderstanding. Don't pretend that you have had no role in raising the level of violent rhetoric in our political discourse. Hold your ground! Have some fortitude. Be strong. Don't slither away like snakes under a rock until the problems go away.

Or do. The true colors of Tea Party Leaders is showing. In Alaska, the ice is yellow. A spineless, dishonest leader is hiding from her own success.

Cowards!

In Aftermath of Shooting: Calls for Security, Civility, at The Wall Street Journal

Palin, Amid Criticism, Stays in Electronic Comfort Zone, at The New York Times

What a Crooked Cross Sarah Palin Bears, at Esquire Magazine

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

There Are Consequences

by Dick Mac

Yes, there are consequences.

The faux noise about the Tucson slaughter is now focused on the fact that the Democrats published a map of targeted states in a previous election. They imply that this is bad as Sarah Palin's cross hairs map, by extension exonerating Palin's irresponsible and hateful campaign tactics. Somehow Sharron Angle keeps slipping off the radar, and she is as bad as Palin in the social irresponsibility department - the promotion of gun violence against fellow Americans.

I would never say that all Republicans are gun-toting crazies; but it does seem that all gun-toting crazies are Republicans.

Democrats, generally, aren't focused on preserving an amendment that is in no danger of repeal. The Second Amendment is going nowhere, there is nobody who is trying to repeal the Second Amendment, there has never been a campaign to repeal the Second Amendment. In fact, the Supreme Court has ruled that no collection of Americans (such as a municipality) can pass laws that limit or criminalize the possession of guns. This is a non-issue.

The entire Tea Party campaign focused on the Second Amendment is a publicity stunt by the Republicans to appeal to the basest, most frightened Americans: whites on the bottom of the economic food chain (a huge number of people), who have nothing, will have less as time goes by, and cling to what few things they can afford and hold near and dear to them: God, country, beer, and ammunition.

The obsessive discussions of the Second Amendment have whipped the least responsible Americans into a frenzy of gun hysteria. These people carry their guns to public events, use language about guns to threaten elected officials, and vote for the people least interested in their economic well-being because those politicians say they will protect their guns.

I have nothing against guns. They are inanimate objects, like cars, pitchforks, and other items made of metal. A gun is a tool, it is not a status symbol or an extension of your penis. When guns are used properly, they are amazing. Guns have been part of society for five hundred years; guns aren't going anywhere.

Sharron Angle and Sarah Palin have made careers on the adoration of guns and the fears of gun owners. When they talk about gun violence and use the imagery of guns and create catchy buzz-words about guns and produce clever graphics with guns, they are creating not some arena for important dialogue; they are encouraging people carrying guns to become hostile. And there are consequences:



The focus that Republicans put on the Second Amendment during their campaigning is a nifty tactic to prevent people from talking about the real issues of our society. And although the Second Amendment is a very important part of our nation, not everybody is a gun owner.

Even in 1775, not everyone was a gun owner. The Second Amendment may not be as important to non-gun owners as say, the First, Third and the Fourth Amendments. Certainly, in 1775, more Americans needed the protection of the Third and Fourth Amendments than the Second.

I do not say any of this to minimize the importance of the Second Amendment, I just want it put into perspective with all the other Amendments, and all the other facts that make America great.

Our almost pornographic obsession with guns isn't bad, but it is a bit embarrassing, and dangerous. Is this all we have to talk about? And are guns that important to gun owners that the imagery and language of gun violence is now an acceptable form of campaigning?

Yes, we have found a graphic created by the Democrats a few years ago using bulls-eyes on states with races that they were focused on. During that campaign, though, I do not recall any Democrats using the language of gun violence, the promotion of gun use, or the glorification of gun ownership to make their points. Never have I heard a Democrat suggest, never mind say outright, that an elected official should be "taken out" with "Second Amendment remedies."

Maybe some Democrat in the past ten years has used this language; but it would be news to me, and likely news to you.

We need to stop the gun violence rhetoric, and it's not the liberals and the Democrats that have their hands on the volume control. Sharron Angle, Sarah Palin, and their overlords at Fox News need to find a way to campaign without promoting gun violence. There are plenty of other issues for conservatives to focus on. Many vital issues of conservative beliefs need attention. Guns don't need attention. Guns are OK. Nobody's taking away your guns. Nobody was ever going to take away your guns.

Let's move on. Let's put the guns back in the gun case where they are safe, let's get back to debating the real issues ahead of us. Let's go to rallies and public gatherings without guns. Let's stop using the language of guns to frighten our opponents.

And let's indict Sharron Angle and Sarah Palin as soon as possible for their irresponsible promotion of murder, political assassination, and overthrow of our government.





Monday, January 10, 2011

Second Amendment Remedies

by Dick Mac

After the slaughter and rampage in Tucson, Arizona, this past weekend, the teabaggers have circled the wagons and their media warlords at News Corp. have started the spin.

Sunday's popular line among the teabaggers and their supporters was that all of the media on "both" sides are responsible for the violence in our national discourse. One person on a Facebook thread actually said that the statements Markos Moulitsas made about targeting certain Congressional districts, using palinesque language, was just as dangerous as the language used by Sarah Palin and Sharron Angle.

Now, I am not familiar with the post referred to here, but I am familiar with Markos Moulitsas and I suspect his use of the right-wing language may have been a poor choice; but, he has not inflamed Americans to use guns in the same manner as the teabaggers and the right-wing politicians. To say that any liberal or any Democrat has used language like Palin and her minions to the same effect is to have little or no grasp of reality.

No liberal or Democrat has made statements like this:



Even a sheriff in Arizona has said
When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice.

Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, Saturday, January 8, 2011

Why should we minimize the impact that the words and actions of Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle, and the rest of the teabaggers have had on the national discourse?

There are plenty of people in prison for murder who were never anywhere near the scene of the crimes for which they are serving sentences. People are sent to prison for inciting others to murder, which is what Angle and Palin have done with this guy in Tucson.

Why is Sharron Angle, who has called for killing government officials, allowed to walk free?

Why is Sarah Palin, who published a map with cross hairs over Gabrielle Giffords' district allowed walk free after someone took her advice and guidance and actually shot Giffords?

These two, and scores more like them, have been guilty of treason for months, and now they are guilty of murder!

Angle and Palin are guilty of the murders of nine-year-old Christina Green, Dorothy Morris, John Roll (a Federal judge!), Phyllis Scheck, Dorwan Stoddard, and Gabe Zimmerman.

These people made the mistake of being interested in the ideas of a liberal in Arizona; and some guy who listened to a year of violent gun rhetoric from Palin and Angle, decided these were the people to take out.

Sure, he may have been unstable. Sure, he may not have been a teabagger or a conservative. Sure, he may never have met Angle or Palin. Some other things are sure, too: he has been in the United States for the past year listening to Angle and Palin call for using guns to solve our political differences, and he's been living in Arizona, the center of this hateful movement from the right. It is not a coincidence that this happened in Arizona to people at a liberal gathering.

It was not an accident, and although he may have arrived at that mall all by himself, he did not act alone. He acted with the chorus behind him, loud and clear, of rabid Americans who have been whipped into a violent frenzy by Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle, and the right-wing media. He pulled the trigger knowing he was carrying out the wishes of some very famous, powerful people.

He may have been a "lone shooter," but he did not act alone. Those who insist he did act alone are wrong.

The blood of these deaths is on the hands of Angle, Palin, Fox News, and all the other right-wing extremists who have called for this exact thing to happen.

Congratulations, it's happened.

In the twisting of our nation and pretending to honor America's Founding Fathers, a 9-year-old, a federal judge, a handful of American citizens have been killed, and a member of Congress critically wounded.

Second Amendment remedies, indeed.



Friday, January 07, 2011

Little Girl Blue, Janis Joplin - 1969

by Dick Mac

This might be your daddy's "Little Girl Blue"; but it's also a rather amazing vocal performance from over forty years ago.

Here is a video of Janis Joplin performing "Little Girl Blue" on the The Tom Jones Show, in 1969.

"Ladies and gentlemen, the legendary Janis Joplin":




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Thursday, January 06, 2011

I Got Dem Ol' Kozmik Blues Again Mama, Janis Joplin

by Dick Mac

I met a girl in 1972.

I was a relatively new kid in the neighborhood and I had found drugs. She was two years older than me and she liked drugs and I liked drugs. She lived with her grandmother, about a block from my family. Her grandmother worked all the time, and her uncle, who also lived in the house, would come and go as he chose. He was a handsome young man about three years older than her. He was funny and a bit immature and it was always fun when he would hang around with us.

Usually, though, it would be just me and her, sitting in her bedroom, with the regular lights turned off and the black light turned on and the stereo playing a record. And at least once a day, it would play Janis Joplin's I Got Dem Ol' Kozmik Blues Again Mama. Usually Side Two.

Side One, however, starts with Try (Just A Little Bit Harder), a Philly Soul song with a very blues-y edge. Try was one of Joplin's radio songs and remains a popular radio track today.

Maybe is Janis' take on girl groups. Originally performed by The Chantels, Janis does it as a more straight-ahead blues song. It is soulful and her vocals benefit from the high production standards Gabriel Mekler and his engineers brought to the recording. Janis and the Kozmik Blues Band were a more sophisticated group than Big Brother & The Holding Company; but her gritty approach was made to sound much more accessible on this album.

One Good Man is an original composition that Janis performs without as many vocal flourishes as she adds to her cover versions. Perhaps because it is her song and only she know how it's supposed to sound, she doesn't feel the need to dress it up as much.

Side One ends with As Good As You've Been To This World, written by San Francisco stalwart Nicholas Gravenites who worked with/for Janis throughout this project. With his origins in the Chicago blues scene, this cut has an almost big-band sound to it, and Janis sings with a seeming reverence, almost as if she is reading the lyrics as she sings. It seems a little flat because she doesn't flutter around the words as much as expected. It's a good song and there is nothing wrong with this recording, it just seems a bit "standard" for this band, as if they were just going through the motions as professionals.

Side Two starts with To Love Somebody which has become a soul standard and was written by Barry & Robin Gibb (a/k/a The Bee Gees), ostensibly for Otis Redding, but recorded by many others including Nina Simone, Joe Cocker, Rod Stewart, The Animals, Billy Corgan, Ace Of Base, Jimmy Somerville, Tom Jones, and others. Janis Joplin's version is my favorite. She takes liberties with the music, but her vocal style turns the song into a much more soulful experience than any other version. Janis' version is even more soulful than Nina Simone's!

This is classic Janis, and even those who dislike Joplin need to give her her due on this cut. She sings from her soul, heart and gut simultaneously, at times almost sounding as if the tears would flow at any moment. She nearly raps some of the lines and her spirit is very much alive in this recording. If you have never heard it, it is worth the listen.

Kozmic Blues was written by Joplin and producer/band mate Gabriel Mekler and the opening piano sounds exactly like Big Brother's rendition of Summertime. The title of the song gives no indication that buried inside the blues-y singing lies a great pop chorus:

But it don't make no difference, baby no no,
And I know that I could always try.
It don't make no difference, baby yeah,
I better hold it now, I better need it yeah,
I better use it till the day I die, whoa.

Perhaps Lady Gaga or Pink should do a modern-day cover of this cut. I think it's screaming for a remake!

Little Girl Blue became, and remains, one of my all-time favorite songs. I own many versions of it, and it is classic Rodgers & Hart. The music can change from version to version, but Joplin's electric blues sound and her vocal styling bring Lorenz Hart's lyrics to a whole new level. I have been singing the song (with lyrics slightly modified) as a lullaby to my daughter since the day she was born.

Joplin famously covered Gershwin's Summertime on her previous record Cheap Thrills and that rendition of the standard blues song is considered to be a classic; but I argue that her rendition of Little Girl Blue is more dramatic, more technically impressive, and better sung.

Joplin sings only the chorus of the song, and makes it last almost four minutes. It is an amazing interpretation of a wonderful song, and if you have not heard it, you must.

Sit there, hmm, count your fingers.
What else, what else is there to do?
Oh and I know how you feel,
I know you feel that you’re through.
Oh wah wah wah sit there, hmm, count,
Ah, count your little fingers,
My unhappy oh little girl, little girl blue, yeah.

Oh sit there, oh count those raindrops
Oh, feel ’em falling down, oh honey all around you.
Honey don’t you know it’s time,
I feel it’s time,
Somebody told you 'cause you got to know
That all you ever gonna have to count on
Or gonna wanna lean on
It’s gonna feel just like those raindrops do
When they’re falling down, honey, all around you.
Oh, I know you’re unhappy.

Oh sit there, ah go on, go on
And count your fingers.
I don’t know what else, what else
Honey have you got to do.
And I know how you feel,
And I know you ain’t got no reason to go on
And I know you feel that you must be through.
Oh honey, go on and sit right back down,
I want you to count, oh count your fingers,
Ah my unhappy, my unlucky
And my little, oh, girl blue.
I know you’re unhappy,
Ooh ah, honey I know,
Baby I know just how you feel.

It's an absolutely amazing recording.

Work Me Lord is another Nick Gravenites song. Performed in an almost-free-form style in the manner of a Claifornia jam band, each instrument has its moment in the spotlight. Janis' vocals are not as domineering as usual, a sign that she has matured professionally and can perform as a member of a band, not just a singer with a back-up. Although I am not a fan of this jam session style of white blues, Janis' vocals raise it a few rungs higher.

For four decades after hanging around in that room with black lights and rock posters, the smell of weed and incense permeating everything, and the pursuit of higher highs the only pursuit worth pursuing, I continue to be mesmerized by Janis Joplin's performance on this record and the collection of songs it proffers.

Track List:

"Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)" (Jerry Ragovoy, Chip Taylor) - 3:57
"Maybe" (Richard Barrett) - 3:41
"One Good Man" (Janis Joplin) - 4:12
"As Good As You've Been To This World" (Nick Gravenites) - 5:27
"To Love Somebody" (Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb) - 5:14
"Kozmic Blues" (Janis Joplin, Gabriel Mekler) - 4:24
"Little Girl Blue" (Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers) - 3:50
"Work Me Lord" (Nick Gravenites) - 6:46

Total Playing Time: 37:31

Produced by Gabriel Mekler

Released: September 11, 1969

Label: Columbia Records

Musicians:

Janis Joplin - lead vocals, guitar
Sam Andrew - guitar, vocals
Michael Monarch - guitar (uncredited)
Brad Campbell - bass, brass instrumentation
Richard Kermode - electronic organ, keyboards
Gabriel Mekler - electronic organ, keyboards
Goldy McJohn - electronic organ, keyboards (uncredited)
Maury Baker - drums
Lonnie Castille - drums
Jerry Edmonton - drums (uncredited)
Terry Clements - tenor saxophone
Cornelius Flowers - baritone saxophone
Luis Gasca - trumpet



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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

How Do Entire Cities Get Bedbugs?

by Dick Mac

As the right-wing continues spending their political capital espousing the virtues of small government, they continue to spend more and more money on things that benefit fewer and fewer people.

The move to privatize government services has not led to efficiency and savings, privatization has led to fewer services for more money and huge profits for companies who win the contracts for privatized services.

It's getting easier and easier to see the breakdown of society through the elimination of formerly essential services. The first major incident in recent memory was he collapse of the I-35 bridge over the Mississippi River, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The lack of infrastructure maintenance, always one of the first things cut when right-wingers take control, has become embarrassing. We can't even keep our bridges up and our roads repaired.

The degradation of the schools, the closing of public health facilities, the loss of libraries and firehouses, reductions in police forces, and a general withdrawal of services is leading to a sickly, dirty, broken-down nation where the money collected for society is funnelled to the top and basic societal needs are ignored.

The reemergence of bedbugs in American cities is a sign of the breakdown of the most basic services a government should provide. Bedbugs were all but eradicated until recently. With cuts to all pest control programs in every state and municipality, it didn't take long for bedbugs to return.

In New York, our municipal government focuses services and investment on a very small percentage of the people, all living in one of the five boroughs. Our mayor is a fan of providing "development" money to companies to "clean-up" the city and its image. The city then ensures that those areas are well-maintained, either with direct subsidies or corporate "partnerships."

Corporate "partnerships" are organizations formed between the local government and local companies (often multi-national corporations with a local presence). The government says: OK, we will give you a tax break of so much money per year for so many years, and you will pay to sweep the streets and keep the area clean.

This sounds like something companies and citizens alike used to do for free: people kept the area around their home and business clean. Now, though, Verizon and Bank of America and May Department Stores, et al., expect to receive millions in tax breaks to perform services that cost thousands to perform. Then they hire local people at low wages and no benefits, and pocket the difference. All the while the municipal coffers shrink, and the services for areas of the city outside the little circle created by these partnerships become underfunded.

What city can any longer pay attention to its rodent and pest problem, its bridges and tunnels, its municipal buildings like schools and libraries?

In a recent article on Forbes.com, Morgan Brennan made this point about the resurgence of bedbugs:

Although the exact cause remains a mystery, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chalk up the resurgence of these tiny terrors to "increased resistance of bed bugs to available pesticides, greater international and domestic travel, lack of knowledge regarding control of bed bugs due to their prolonged absence, and the continuing decline or elimination of effective vector/pest control programs at state and local public health agencies."

America's Worst Bed Bug-Infested Cities


[T]he continuing decline or elimination of effective vector/pest control programs at state and local public health agencies.

Bedbugs, falling bridge, closing schools, firehouses and libraries . . . what next?

Guys like me will always blame the rich and the corporations, and guys on the right will always blame the poor and the unions, while both sides place blame on the politicians.

I never get the logic that says the poor are hurting he economy, when they do not control any money or can even participate in the economy; and the union members I know all sink their money directly back into the economy by spending the money they earn.

So, why can't we afford the basic services that made us a once-great civilization?

Must be the unions, and the poor, and the working poor. Right?

Who isn't carrying their share of the burden of running the government?

I sleep well at night knowing that the poor, working poor, and the middle class aren't getting all our tax dollars, or getting rich on tax breaks: they all pay their taxes, however much or little that may be.

Damn! If only the government would get out of the business of education and maintenance and transportation and public safety and trash control and public health, and let corporations run everything, we wouldn't be in this mess. Right?

Right!

So, how do entire cities get bedbugs? They sacrifice basic government services at the altar of the free-market and pretend that some magical money is going to trickle-down to the municipalities through the largess of the wealthiest citizens. We've been doing it for thirty years and it is a failure. Governments need money to run, big countries need big governments, big governments cost money, the people with the most money have the most to spend. This isn't socialism! This is civilization!



Tuesday, January 04, 2011

You Light Up My Life

by Dick Mac

In 1978, I saw Patti Smith Group at the Orpheum Theatre, in Boston.

Although her act hadn't changed much since the first time I saw her in 1975, I could never get enough and would see her in any venue. This show had one very different moment: Patti came-out for the final encore and sang "You Light Up My Life" - straight.

That's right. Patti Smith sang a straight rendition of Debby Boone's hit, and at the end she shouted into the microphone: "Debby Boone, Grammy Award winner for Best New Artist in 1977," and she was gone.

I was left half startled and half amused and thoroughly entertained. To this day I don't know if she was being ironic or not; but it doesn't matter.

Sometime in the early 1980s, Patti appeared on the television show "Kids Are People Too" and performed the song with composer, Joe Brooks.

Enjoy:





Monday, January 03, 2011

If You're Reading This, You Are Not On The List

by Dick Mac

Did You Die In 2010?

Popular wisdom says that only two things are inevitable: death and taxes.

If you are on this list, the latter no longer matters.

Here is a list of celebrities who died in 2010. The link at the end of the list will take you to a list of links to see actual obituaries.

Here's to a happy, safe, and healthy year ahead.

Fred Foy, announcer, 89
Don Van Vliet, musician "Captain Beefheart", 69
Dino De Laurentiis, movie producer, 91
Sparky Anderson, baseball manager, 76
Jill Clayburgh, actress, 66
Tom Bosley, actor, 83
Bob Guccione, publisher, 79
BenoƮt Mandelbrot, mathematician, 85
Barbara Billingsley, actress, 94
Tony Curtis, actor, 85
Greg Giraldo, comedian, 44
Kevin McCarthy, Actor, 96
Dorothy Janis, actress, 98 or 100
Billie Mae Richards, actress, 88
Edwin Newman, Journalist, 91
Harold Gould, actor, 86
Mike Edwards, musician, 62
Ted Stevens, former Senator, 86
Morrie Yohai, Cheez Doodle developer, 90
Gary Coleman, actor, 42
Dennis Hopper, actor, 74
Lynn Redgrave, actress, 67
Malcolm McLaren, punk music manager, 64
Wilma Mankiller, former Cherokee chief, 64
Meinhardt Raabe, actor, 94
John Forsythe, actor, 92
Alex Chilton, musician, 59
Peter Graves, actor, 83
Doris Haddock, political activist,100
Mark Linkous, musician, 47
Henry Wittenberg, athlete, 91
Merlin Olsen, athlete and actor, 69
Corey Haim, actor, 38
Andrew Koenig, actor, 41
Lionel Jeffries, actor, 83
Ronald Howes, inventor of Easy-Bake Oven, 83
Kathryn Grayson, actress and singer, 88
John Babcock, Canada’s last known veteran of WWI, 108
Alexander Haig, former secretary of state, 85
Dick Francis, Jockey and Writer, 89
Doug Fieger, musician, 57
Nodar Kumaritashvili, athlete, 21
Fred Morrison, Frisbee inventor, 90
Alexander McQueen, fashion designer, 40
Ian Carmichael, Comic British Actor, 89
Felice Quinto, photographer, 80
John Murtha, congressman, 77
Karen Schmeer, film editor, 39
Zelda Rubinstein, actress, 76
J. D. Salinger, author, 91
Casper, bus-riding cat, 12
Jean Simmons, actress, 80
Kate McGarrigle, singer, 63
Robert B. Parker, author, 77
Glen W. Bell Jr., Founder of Taco Bell, 86
Art Rust Jr., Pioneer in Sports Talk Radio, 82
Jay Reatard, musician, 29
Teddy Pendergrass, musician, 59
Art Clokey, creator of Gumby, 88
Brittany Murphy, Actress, 32
Cahal Daly, Cardinal, 92
Curtis Allina, candy company executive, 87

Find links for each of these entries at Celebrity Deathwatch Mailing List Archive