A royal wedding

So, like two billion other people around the world, we’re still watching this on television. Imagine. Two billion people. That’s like, what, nearly one third of the world’s population? We have some Republican—i.e., anti-Royal—friends who are probably wondering what the appeal of this is. This is an outdated institution in this day and age, right? Apparently not. Anything that can attract two billion people to stay glued to their televisions is worth comment, and, like the institution or not, commands some degree of respect, if only for the spectacle.

It’s a commonwealth thing, to some extent. The commonwealth, after all, includes about one-third of the global population, and it seems to be well represented, not only at the wedding itself, but in the crowds outside. There are visitors (as well as locals) lining the Mall and the other routes the wedding couple will take, separately or together, and they’re from some of the obvious places—Canada in particular, but lots of other places.
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GOP Madness 2012: the Barney Fife and Neidermeyer brackets

Aha! My predictions are already coming good. In my first post  in this series I said not to be surprised if the Republicans chose an entertainer for their candidate, because they can’t tell politicians and entertainers apart. And sure enough, Donald Trump has surged to the lead of the pack.  No one in that party seems to notice that the last time Trump ran for president (Reform Party, 2000) he did so on a very socially liberal platform or that his personal life doesn’t seem too consistent with family values (but then, neither did Reagan’s or McCain’s).

Oh well, enough gloating. Back to work. Continue reading

30-Day Song Challenge, day 30: my favorite song at this time last year

“Favorite” is such a funny word. This time last year was pure turmoil, to be honest. It was a time for thinking about mistakes, about regrets, about loss and about opportunities foregone. Hope and despair and unbearable levels of stress. And confusion over what’s real and what’s illusion and who you know and who you just think you know.

So favorite? I don’t know. It’s a song I listened to a lot. And it’s a song I love, although maybe not for the happiest of reasons…

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Royal wedding an antidote for storms, wars, space launches and religious protests

by Jane Briggs-Bunting

Local and national new outlets are going gaga over THE wedding. A prince and a commoner, was there ever a better fairy tale possibility all slated for worldwide viewing for an estimated two billion? It will be tweeted and texted, Facebooked, Flickred and YouTubed around the planet along with the old style paper and ink and broadcast news coverage. It is a thoroughly modern event with some turn of the century (not the most recent one, the one before that!) pizzazz, as well. Love the horses and carriages touch.

The networks have sent their morning A-teams across the pond to cover it, leaving them a little flat-footed this morning as tornadoes raged through six states, killing more than 240 (and counting).

But there are other, bigger stories slated for Friday that will likely get a lot less coverage: Continue reading

DEVELOPING: Alabama tornado video

UPDATE: Top ten storm videos from al.com this morning. There’s not much you can say, really, except perhaps to observe that Clay Hasenfuss, the guy who shot the video at the mall, is certifiably insane. You’ll see what I mean.

The death toll is climbing toward 200. S&R’s thoughts are with all the communities affected by yesterday’s storms.

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Video taken from U of Alabama’s basketball arena. Terrifying. Continue reading

S&R Poetry: Architeuthis, by MJ De Angelis

Scholars & Rogues Poetry

Architeuthis

This song is not for the shivering sleepless child
huddled in a cardboard box above a restless alley
watching a smog-orange midnight sky
through the rusted bars of a fire escape
praying no monster climbs up and tries to take her.

No, I dedicate this song to you, Architeuthis.
You have not stumbled and fumbled with words,
never trembled in the face of meaninglessness.

Let the lines of this song become tentacles.
Let them draw meaning out of you
and ever closer to my eager snapping beak.

_____

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30-Day Song Challenge, day 29: a song from my childhood

And now, something completely different.

One of the best things about my life as a child, a thing I looked forward to eagerly, was Sunday morning, before we went to church. Channel 12 had a show featuring gospel quartets and I’d always park in front of the TV and listen to those marvelous harmonies. Religiously, you might say.

Even as I have addressed my issues with the dogma that framed so much of my early life, even as my spiritual identity has evolved into something not even remotely Christian (and even less Southern Baptist), the music has never left me. Continue reading

30-Day Song Challenge, day 28: a song that makes me feel guilty

This was the hardest one yet, and I’m surprised by that. I mean, I have done plenty in life to feel guilty about. But I think I’ve just discovered that my mind doesn’t associate songs with that emotion as well as it does others. Interesting the things we learn about ourselves.

Anyway, I think this is the best I can do.

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The American Parliament: our nation’s 10 political parties

Part two in a series.

Forgive me for abstracting and oversimplifying a bit, but one might argue that American politics breaks along the following 10 lines:

  • Social Conservatives
  • Neocons
  • Business Conservatives
  • Traditional Conservatives (there’s probably a better term, but I’m thinking of old-line Western land and water rights types)
  • Blue Dog Democrats
  • New Democrats
  • Progressives Continue reading

Forces opposed to dangerous, extravagant nuke project get day in court

If you’re not a regular reader, you may be surprised to learn the federal government seeks to ram through a new nuclear facility that’s intolerable on a number of counts.

1. Its intended purpose is to build plutonium pits — the living, breathing heart of a nuclear weapon, where the chain reaction occurs. In other words, mad science at its most extreme.

2. Its projected cost is greater than all the work done on the Manhattan Project in New Mexico during World War II.

3. The land the building will occupy is seismically, uh, challenged. Continue reading

Conservatives, Progressives and the future of representative democracy: what would an American Parliament look like?

Part one in a series.

A little thought experiment for a Monday morning…

Over the past few years I have tried to make as much sense as I could out of the American political landscape. By nature, I’m a theoretically minded thinker, and the point of these exercises has been to try and articulate the structures, shapes, motivators and dynamics the define who we are so that I might develop better theories about why so that I might then think more effectively about how we might be nudged in a more productive direction. Facts → Theory → Action, in other words.

I have observed a few things along the way.

30-Day Song Challenge, day 26: a song that I can play on an instrument

I don’t play an instrument anymore, but when I was a kid I took several years of piano and I was in the band in junior high and high school. For some reason, our band director, Mr. Mauney, loved Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4,” so trust me when I tell you, we could rock that sucker.

This video is especially cool since it was all shot at Caribou Ranch up near Nederland, CO. Rocky Mountain High, Saturday Morning – have a nice one, yo.

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