Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More Lessons From History

Scott Johnson has a short piece today on Power Line about the interpretation of the 1961 Kennedy-Khrushchev meeting in Vienna. That meeting paved the way for the building of the Berlin Wall. It underscores how even the most seemingly benign decision made by an American president can have a far-reaching, negative impact on our world. Plenty of links and book recommendations, as well.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

A Soldier's Burial

Not midst the chanting of the Requiem Hymn,
Nor with the solemn ritual of prayer,
Neath misty shadows from the oriel glass,
And dreamy perfume of the incensed air
Was he interred;
But in the subtle stillness after fight,
And the half light between the night and the day,
We dragged his body all besmeared with mud,
And dropped it, clod-like, back into the clay.

Yet who shall say that he was not content,
Or missed the prayers, or drone of chanting choir,
He who had heard all day the Battle Hymn
Sung on all sides by a thousand throats of fire.

What painted glass can lovelier shadows cast,
Than those the evening sky shall ever shed,
While, mingled with their light, Red Battle's Sun
Completes in magic colors o'er our dead,
The flag for which they died.

General George S. Patton (1943)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Anthony's Weinergate

As expected, the mainstream media-ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, NYT, WaPo, et al- is ignoring an interesting story regarding Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and his Twitter account. The story involves a pornographic picture, a college girl, a high school girl, and accusations of hacking into Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Interestingly, Weiner has not called for an investigation into this potential federal crime though there is plenty of smoke emanating from the news and blog updates. There may be a flash over pending, but you would never know it from the media coverage.

OTR feels obligated to keep his readers informed. Catch up on the story here, here, here and here.

Stay turned friends. Weiner should thank God that this story broke over Memorial Day weekend, giving most Americans three days to forget what their congressmen are up to. Unfortunately for him, there is a Tuesday this week.

Dudamel: A New Kid On The Block

If you are in your mid-sixties, you probably remember the New York Philharmonic's Young People's Concerts on the radio and later on Saturday mornings on CBS television. (Yes my younger readers, you read correctly, there was classical music for kids on Saturday morning television.) By the time the program made the move to video, it was under the direction of Leonard Bernstein, already well-known by musicians and audiences as an extraordinary teacher.

Both Bernstein and the televised concerts may be long gone, but there is a new face that is already reshaping classical music education and exposure in southern California. His name is Gustavo Dudamel, the new -2009- Musical Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. At thirty years old, he brings youth, energy, innovation, and example to a field many young people ignore. As an engaging, entertaining, and humorous host so comfortable with his orchestra and his audience, Dudamel has all the potential to become our next classical music icon in the Bernstein tradition.

Here are two short videos, out of many on YouTube, of Dudamel in action.

Friday, May 27, 2011

This Is Men's Lacrosse Championship Weekend

OTR loves lacrosse. It's a vicarious affair-bench warmer and couch potato- and always has been, even in his college years when he discovered that the word meant much more than a town in Wisconsin. There was a period when the game fell out of prime, but the fever returned in 1988 when OTR discovered one of his colleagues was an All-American Terp from the 1966 squad.

This weekend, 60,000+ lacrosse fans will gather in Baltimore for the NCAA Division 1 Men's Championship on Saturday and Memorial Day. It's a great year because OTR's beloved Maryland Terrapins will be in the final four along with Virginia, Duke, and the University of Denver.

ESPN has covered this event for seventeen years helping to grow the sport across the nation. Here is the schedule for this weekend:

Saturday, May 28, on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com, National Semi-Finals:

Virginia vs. Denver at 4:00 p.m. ET
Maryland vs. Duke at 6:30 p.m ET

Monday, May 30, on ESPN, ESPN3.com, and ESPN Mobile, Championship:

Semi-Final Winners at 3:30 p.m. ET

Devoted fans know what they're about to see this weekend. It's the best sports action one could hope for. Any doubts? OTR hopes his far-flung Internet skeptics will watch on ESPN. Baltimore and D.C. doubters need to get a ticket!


Memorial Day Weekend 2011

In Charles Ives's time, the holiday we celebrate on Monday was known as Decoration Day. It was a time to remember men and women in uniform who died in service to their country. Today, we call it Memorial Day and, though both its date and scope have changed over time, its central meaning remains strong. At virtually every crossroad town from sea to sea, there will be old soldiers, flags, a speech or two, and prayers. These events will take place at memorial walls bearing the names of the honored dead. Invariably, the audiences will be small, but firmly dedicated to the idea that the nation will always remember the cost of freedom.

Ives captures much of the historic character of this day in his composition, Holiday Symphony. Section II, "Decoration Day," has a number of familiar tunes, but you may not recognize them without a guide. Like the holiday itself, Ives give us rich, complex, and contemplative moments in time and space.

OTR hopes you experience Decoration/Memorial Day to its fullest; that is, with remembrance and celebration.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Peggy Lee: I Love Being Here With You

Today is the birthday of Peggy Lee (1920-2002) a singer, songwriter, and actress who could wrap a song in her personality like few other singers of her century. Here is Lee at 61 practicing the intimacy, warmth and sophistication that we have lost in musical performance in recent decades.

Cher, Madonna, Lady Gaga and similar "stars" can't begin to match her quality.

Hurricane Preparedness Week 2011

This year's Hurricane Preparedness Week comes to an end Saturday. Forecasters are once again looking for a very active storm season. This comes after 2010 predictions for a much higher than normal hurricane season provided little more than embarrassment for forecasters. Nobody ever said understanding atmospheric physics was easy. The La Ninas and North Atlantic Oscillations may be in place. Thttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifhe computer models and http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.giftheir fifty years of climatological data may agree nicely. Obviously, the best brains and their technology are no match for Gaia, but is anyone surprised?

That brings us to the upcoming storm season. Though we may laugh at the folly of the 2010 predictions, we must acknowledge the danger each season brings as well as the limitations of our best forecasting. If you live in hurricane country, check out what the National Weather Service has to say this week. Readers may also be interested in Dr. William Gray's forecast developed by his Tropical Meteorological Project at Colorado State University.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Messing With Dispensationalists

In honor of tomorrow's end time prediction courtesy of Family Radio preacher, Harold Camping, my brother-in-law shared this bit from The Lutheran Satire at You Tube.

Lutheran readers and those who seek to understand Lutheran behavior will enjoy. Do I hear laughter?

Netanyahu Teaches Obama A Lesson

In their meeting today, the prime minister of Israel taught the president of the United States a very simple history lesson. The video is a stand alone statement. It doesn't need interpretation. BTW, Netanyahu delivered his remarks without a teleprompter.

It gets priceless around 2:40 where Netanyahu asks Obama how they can possibly negotiate a peace from a government backed by "the Palestinian version of Al Qaeda," an terrorist organization that has attacked Obama for killing Bin Laden.

This statement may become quite famous in the years ahead.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Punctuation Inside Outside

OTR likely produced several thousand pages of planning documents in the last two decades of his career. That's a lot of words, and an equally large amount of punctuation, most of it written according to the laws of The Chicago Manual of Style and a few specialized guidelines from the Department of the Interior. No matter the duration, the quantity or the audience for the written word, writers often face the question, "Is that _____ in the right place?"

For the writers among us, OTR offers this observation on the rise of "logical punctuation," which recently appeared at slate.com. Hat tip goes to Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fred Astaire: Dancing With The Stars

William Katz (Urgent Agenda) is a remarkable resource for a broad range of subjects, including the entertainment industry. As an occasional contributor at Powerlineblog.com, he reminds us that today is the birthday of Fred Astaire (1899-1987), an American dancer, singer, and actor who was the definition of "class" in everything he did. [OTR thinks he is the most under-appreciated male singer of his century.] To say he set high standards for performance and personal conduct would be an understatement. In fact, the word "perfection" is an appropriate descriptor, and it's a word we don't see or hear from Hollywood types these days.

Younger readers may be prone to ignore a post about some dancer who died a generation ago. Don't be one of them. Astaire's footwork--with and without a partner--will astound you. After enjoying Katz's kind words and fine selection of videos, here is a link to Astaire's Wikipedia entry for readers would like to learn more.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Obama's Union Commies--A Story The Main Stream Media Won't Touch

In Los Angeles on May Day, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) co-sponsored and marched under Communist banners in an event calling for the end of capitalism in the United States. OTR defends the right of any person and/or organization to participate in such an event. OTR also believes all American voters need to know about this May Day march. Those who get their news from main stream media sources will never hear about it. And why is this important?

Keep in mind that the SEIU gave Barack Obama $28,000,000--more than any other organization-- to win the White House. Keep in mind that SEIU President Andy Stern has visited the White House more times--53 times--than any other individual since Barack Obama's inauguration.

Here is your link to the May Day march, with a hat tip to Ed Driscoll at Instapundit. You don't need to read anything--it is full of great links though-- just study those pictures.

With evidence like this, voters need to know that, in Barack Obama, the Democratic Party is toying with the potential destruction of the United States as we know it.

Simply unbelievable.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bing Crosby Meets Pete Seeger

There are two birthdays deserving attention today, both iconic and from the universe of music and entertainment, but from completely opposite worlds. Born in 1903, Bing Crosby used his baritone voice and recording technology to develop a personal singing style that made him the nation's top entertainer for a generation beginning in the mid-1930s. Young people probably know little if anything about Crosby. He died in 1977 but OTR thinks he sits at the pinnacle of the American entertainment industry--along with Bob Hope--and is well worth exploring if you enjoy popular culture. The Crosby family has authorized a comprehensive site about The Crooner if readers want more information. For a small taste of his talent, here is Crosby singing to Grace Kelly in the 1956 film, High Society :

Our second birthday celebrant is Pete Seeger, an icon-- still with us at 92-- who has been described as the most successful communist in the United States. OTR will let readers discover the politics for themselves and focus on Seeger's remarkable talent as a musician, singer, and songwriter. Seeger was born into a musical family, took up the family's leftist politics, and made a name for himself as a "protest singer" in the 1940s. In 1950, he was a member of the folk group, The Weavers, and in the bow wave of a folk music revival in the U.S. It was short-lived, however, as the group was blacklisted in 1953 for suspected political reasons. Seeger found himself at the forefront of the 1960s folk revival as well. Over these last decades Seeger has continued singing and pursuing his social, political, and environmental activism around the world. For more information and a host of links, here is his Wikipedia entry.

For a taste of Pete Seeger the performer, here he is singing lead and playing his banjo on the first recording (1949) of If I Had A Hammer, co-written with Lee Hays, also with The Weavers:

Although this video highlights Seeger, it does not do justice to the beautiful harmony The Weavers produced. Readers may want to explore the Internet for more of their recordings. Their 1981 reunion concert at Carnegie Hall is a particularly moving statement on the American music experience.

And here is Judy Collins and Seeger singing his composition, Turn, Turn, Turn, written for the words of Ecclesiastes:

Simply beautiful.

Canada Votes Right

OTR has a soft spot for Canada. His great aunt--she had connections-- always kept the family well-supplied with Canadian maple syrup and maple sugar candies when he was a boy. Fifty years ago, a ten day visit to Canada was his first to a "foreign" country though there wasn't much foreign about it then or now. And toward the end of his career he spent almost two weeks each year working with a tireless, enthusiastic, and hospitable crew of Canadians from federal tourism, land management, and protection agencies. They were a great group who "smuggled" OTR and his colleagues some superb Canada-only "beverages" and introduced them to several dishes including poutine, a tasty artery clogging combination of french fries, cheese curds and gravy.

OTR misses those annual opportunities to renew friendships and see what those Canucks planned to do both for and to us Yanks. The news coming out of Canada today may not be as personal as what he remembers, but it still feels positive if not downright friendly. That news? A mandate given to Conservative--and pro-American-- Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his party to govern Canada for four years. The leftist Liberal Party, always a power broker at the national level, took a breathtaking hammering and was displaced by the New Democrat Party as the main opposition. Could European-style socialism be wearing thin among Canadian voters? We who live in the new Age of Reason can only hope.

The Ottawa Citizen has the news here and here. And here is Mark Steyn's take--readers will enjoy the comments-- at National Review Online.

We should listen carefully to our friends across the border. Why dance closer to the socialist abyss than necessary? Socialism is the road to serfdom and the sooner U.S. voters understand it the better.