Drooling on the Pillow

Saturday, November 05, 2005


LCCS Kings 6, Friendly Sons of Ireland 0.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Gunpowder Plot 

Tomorrow is Guy Fawkes day in Merry Olde. One of those cute British holidays like Boxing Day and St. Swithin's day that pretty much illustrate the old saw that the U.S. and Britain are two nations separated by a common language. I mean, are we likely to be celebrating Mohammed Atta Day any time soon?

If you're curious about what Guido Fawkes did to deserve a day, John Derbyshire has a short tutorial over at NRO.


Thursday, November 03, 2005

She Was A Low-Down Hoo-Hoochie Coocher 

The guy on the right is Alex Steinweiss, and, according to an interesting article in the Daily News this morning by David Hinckley, he is The Man Who Invented Album Covers.

Apparently, even after the invention of the 'album' around 1935 (a bound series of sleeves for the 78 rpm records) record companies normally shipped their products with, at most, the name of the artist stamped on the front.

The 22-year-old Steinweiss was hired by Columbia Records in 1939 as their Art Department to develop ads and store displays and it was his bright idea to design the entire package with art and information. After he finished with an album of Beethoven's Ninth, sales rose 894% in six months. The bosses liked.

What caught my eye here were pictures of two of the albums he designed which accompanied the article. I used to have them.

My parents had stacks of wax from their teen years and the 'steros' from my teen years still had a setting for 78 rpm. I used to have both the Peer Gynt and the Porgy and Bess albums pictured in the article. Probably worth some dough as they were original Steinweisses but they went down the same hole as my baseball cards. My favorite album of that type, though, was a collection of Danny Kaye songs, including Minnie the Moocher, Anatole of Paris, The Babbit and the Bromide, and, my favorite, The Fairy Pipers. You can get an Amazon sample of all of these here. Listened to that a lot and, if you get me drunk enough, I'll do the Fairy Pipers for you and, if you're drunk enough, you'll laugh.

I also had a number of pre-Steinweiss albums including some Louie Armstrongs and, my other favorite, Dr. Henry "Hotlips" Levine and his Barefoot Dixieland Philharmonic doing Muskrat Ramble.

Sometimes I just can't believe how old I am.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Mr. Bush, Meet Mr. Lincoln 

During the Civil War, President Lincoln had to deal with The Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War which nosed its way into every aspect of the Union war effort. In that case, the Committee was a creature of the radical Republicans, that is to say, the left, which is to say, the pro-war party.

There were good reasons for the Republicans to insist on close accounting. The nature of a civil war is that espionage is difficult to detect, loyalties are sometimes hidden and contraband is relatively easy to move. Also, a number of Union generals were Copperheads or worse and, thus, not interested in pursuing the war aggressively. On paper, who could object?

In total, though, the Committee represented a burden on Lincoln and, most historians would, I think, agree, that it was counterproductive to the war effort. Battles were second-guessed within days and once a competent officer got in the Committee's sights he rose no further.

How much more difficult to succeed when the Committee is composed of political and ideological enemies. The Committee now sitting judgement on the President and the war is composed of disaffected patriots, a hostile press, a disintegrating opposition party and declared enemies of democracy.

I don't know whether the Senate Democrats' remarkable move yesterday will work to their advantage politically or not. I do know that the second phase of the Senate investigation is proceeding, but not giving the Democrats the headlines they want. The headlines they expected when Karl Rove was frogmarched out of the West Wing. The massive outrage they expected for the 2000! Dead 2000! Festival. The implosion of the Republican coalition from the Meiers nomination. They seem to be flabbergasted that there isn't a nation of villagers with pitchforks and torches outside the White House gates.

I think most people understand the nature of the war and what is at stake. The erosion of support for the war and the President is mostly due to questions about the competency of it's prosecution. Some of those questions, obviously, are justified. Others are worth looking into. It's difficult to believe, however, that key Senate Democrats are all about fixing the problems. As Harry Reid morphs into Cindy Sheehan he seems to be very close to asserting as fact that the President got us into this war by lying for the economic benefit of his associates. If that were true I would volunteer for the firing squad.

It's not true. It's not even close to being true. There was no intelligence available to the President that was not available to the Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. WMDs were not the sole rationale presented by the administration, nor, to my mind, the major one. It was the sexiest one, though. Both Clintons believed they were there. Biden, Albright, Kennedy, Kerry, the British, the Israelis, the Russians, the Egyptians, the French, for crissakes, believed there were ongoing WMD programs in Iraq.

This is an enormously difficult project underway in Iraq and Afghanistan, fraught with countless challenges and great danger. So much has been accomplished already. If the Committee permits, much more is possible.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I Even Put The Light-Up Spider On The Porch 

We bought our house five years ago and every Halloween I've bought mass quantities of candy to hand out to the neighborhood ghouls.

For the fifth straight year, our doorbell did not ring once. Cripes, I saw them trick-or-treating at the liquor store across the street.

My neighborhood when I was a kid was stuffed with children. Bloated, overflowing. They had to stack us in the woodlot during the summer. My neighborhood now is not like that, but there are some kids. I know; I chase them off my stoop.

Which brings up my fear that my house has acquired a reputation. It's where the crabby old guy lives. I remember him coming out on his porch to yell at us whenever we cut through his yard to the woods behind. He would grab whatever was nearest - a badminton racket, a colander, a box of linguini - to brandish and come out swearing like an Australian sailor. He never came off the porch, though, so we'd continue on to the fort we were building in the woods and discuss the possible meanings of some of the words he'd used. We were way off on most of them and, as a result, some of them confuse me to this day.

Perhaps I'm not the crabby old guy. Most of the kids around here are Indian and maybe they have a religious problem with Halloween. If you know differently, don't tell me.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Carnival of The New Jersey Bloggers, Number 24 

The Carnival laughs at hurricanes. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

At least Roberto does. The host's servers for DynamoBuzz were knocked out by Wilma, but he pulled an all nighter to bring us our candy.

One fiftieth of a grateful nation salutes you, Roberto.

Words of Wisdom 

Grace is only eight, but it's never too early to start doing your research.

Billy Budd at American Dinosaur has found 10 simple rules for dating his daughter.
Rule Six:

I have no doubt you are a popular fellow, with many
opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me
as long as it is okay with my daughter. Otherwise,
once you have gone out with my little girl, you will
continue to date no one but her until she is finished
with you. If you make her cry, I will make you cry.
I've corrected this post as the credit for the first eight rules goes to Bruce Cameron.
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