Solemn anniversary

Saw somewhere that yesterday was the anniversary of the passing of punk-rock icon Dee Dee Ramone, which inspired me to revisit my own obit from way back when. Seems only appropriate to repost a bit of it:

So you wanna disagree with me about the impact of the almighty Ramones? It still stuns me that there are people out there who like bands like Nirvana or Green Day or Pearl Jam or Smashing Pumpkins, and who don’t even realize that none of those bands would even exist if the Ramones hadn’t left some very large footsteps for them to follow in. I don’t know if the same can be said of more modern flashes-in-the-pan like Limp Bizkit or Kid Crock or Puddle of Mudd and the fact is I’m glad of that, because they suck. But whether you like the Ramones or not, anyone who cares at all about real rock and roll knows whose faces would be the first carved into any punk rock Mount Rushmore, and it ain’t Fred Durst’s. Nor would it even be John Lydon’s or Sid Vicious’ or Dave Vanian’s or Stiv Bators’, although they’d all have their place. The Ramones did it first, the Ramones did it better, the Ramones did it longer. The Ramones did it. To paraphrase the Beatles, before the Ramones, there was nothing. Period.

Those of you who are old enough to remember (God help us every one), think back to 1976. Disco was king, as was Elton John and Queen and Styx and a whole slew of other pomp-and-pageantry bands. I won’t belabor a history that has been restated thousands of times since then, but the crucial point is that rock and roll was so far removed from the grasp of the ordinary disgruntled kids in the garage – the people who had kept it living and breathing since the beginning – that they couldn’t even see it from there. Rock and roll wasn’t just dead, it was starting to smell. Now imagine the Ramones strutting onto the scene, all leather and tattered denim and just plain noise. They were like an invasion from Mars, and truth to tell, I still can’t figure out just where in the hell they came from. I have a video that shows the Ramones doing “Loudmouth” from 1976. Joey looks like a freak scarecrow, doing those awkward leg kicks and clinging to the microphone stand as if it were a life raft on a sinking ship. Johnny was cool incarnate, slinging his stick-straight hair around and slashing at the guitar with that untireable right arm. Tommy was, well, Tommy, which means replaceable. Good enough, but replaceable, and he soon was. And then there was Dee Dee. That Fender Precision bass almost scrapes the ground, and Dee Dee hacks at it as if it had just assaulted his girlfriend. And the sound; my God, the sound. The level meters aren’t just in the red – they had to be trying to fly out the right side of the machine, they were pegged so hard. All distortion, all the time – and it’s beautiful. The sound is so pure, so chunky, so hard, so goddamn fucking pissed off that it makes me come up off the couch and yell every time I watch the damn thing. Still. The raw power and energy is so intense it makes me dizzy, and I’ve seen it a million times. I’ll be seeing it a million more this weekend, I’m sure.

And yet somehow, even with all the energy and buzzsaw adolescent aggro, they managed to keep it FUN. They never once lapsed into self-parody or foolish smug irony (the blood and sinew of New York bands these days, seemingly, and the last refuge of a rock-and-roll scoundrel). They never tipped a sly wink at their milieu, mocking their fans for cool points with critics, like so many alterna-dorks do these days. They always played it straight, and it was always just about smiling and moving and enjoying. It was rock and roll, plain and simple. Some critics in Elvis’ early days assumed that he was either the cleverest manipulator they ever saw, milking the dopey teeny-boppers for cash on the barrelhead, or he was just simply dumb as a box of hair. Most inclined towards the latter view, and so it was with the Ramones. I can’t tell you how many reviews I read in the early days, by pompous twits who liked to explain rock and roll in terms usually reserved for Van Gogh and Raphael, whose headline had the word “D-U-M-B” in capital letters over ’em. As usual, the art-wonks didn’t get it.

The Ramones truly changed the rock and roll world, in a way that is attainable for only the truest and deepest innovators. And Dee Dee WAS the Ramones. D-U-M-B? ‘Fraid not, Jocko. God rest his outrageous soul, and Dee Dee, if you can somehow hear my thoughts, I hope you know how much you meant to so many of us.

Back in the Gay 90s I met Joey at a NYC joint owned by a good friend of mine called Coney Island High, on the hallowed St Marks Place. I told him that he and the Ramones had quite literally changed my life, which was nothing but the God’s honest truth, as we say around these environs. He was deeply gracious and humble, not a trace of ego or pretention about him, expressing his sincerest thanks for my saying so. We did the usual music-biz chit-chattery for about twenty minutes or so, and then a brawl broke out that slammed one of the participating pugilists into Joey’s back, causing him to spill his drink. Off he went to the bar for another; the rumble sort of petered out, and I went back to sit with my girlfriend in a dream-like state of shock and awe at who it was I’d just been speaking with.

I met Dee Dee a few times on St Marks also. He could be seen regularly around what we used to call the Trash & Vaudeville block, the holiest of ground for American punk fans; pretty much everybody that hung around the area knew him. He seemed nice enough, but was usually way too focused on scoring dope to spend very much of his time idly conversing with worshipful, gushing strangers like myself. Dee Dee’s story is a truly sad one, albeit a too-familiar one in the rock and roll universe, and I hope he’s at peace.

I’m Rick James, bitch!

Still some of the most howlingly funny stuff I ever saw in my life.



That, of course, is from an early installment of Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories, one of the standout feature skits from Dave Chappelle’s short-lived (2003-06) TV show. The Rick James sketch was always my personal favorite, but the Prince one before it was a scream too…and apparently, as Murphy always swore and Prince and James both later confirmed, it really did happen.

Secrets about Charlie Murphy’s true Hollywood story and pancakes with Prince — among the best Dave Chappelle sketches ever
The funniest sketch on “Chappelle’s Show” didn’t come from Dave Chappelle — it was a gift from Charlie Murphy.

Murphy, who died Wednesday at 57, spent years as part of an entourage around his famed younger brother, Eddie, amassing weird tales from Hollywood. And while most of his stories seemed too crazy to believe, the greatest one of all was the time Charlie learned how Prince not only had a great jump shot, but could cook amazing pancakes as well.

“I swear it’s true,” Murphy told me years later. “I swear every word of it is true.”

In the sketch, part of an ongoing series called “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories,” Eddie, Charlie and their friends meet Prince (played by Chappelle) and his band, The Revolution, at a party.

In November 2003, Marcus Bishop-Wright, a stand-up comic, landed a part in the sketch playing Miki Free, a member of Prince’s band. He arrived on the set the day it started filming. He didn’t know much about Murphy and they had never met.

“There was definitely an air of comedy royalty about him (Murphy),” said Bishop-Wright. “He seemed like this other version of Eddie, the street-cred version.”

The sheer absurdity of Charlie’s story made it tough to film without people on the set laughing,” he recalled. “It was really hard keep a straight face. Dave (Chappelle) was cracking up the whole time we were shooting, he would say, ‘Stop! I can’t believe this s–t really happened.'”

But there was Murphy the whole time insisting everything was true.

“I could even believe the part about them (The Revolution) arriving on the basketball court in those outfits,” Bishop-Wright said. “But the part about the pancakes? I kept thinking, ‘This is where it all becomes part of a comedy.'”

The sketch was filmed over a two-day period along with another “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories” about the time he met Rick James.

Years later, Prince and other members of the band confirmed Murphy’s entire tale was true.

“The sketch didn’t even have to be written,” Bishop-Wright said. “The only stuff that was added were Dave’s little flourishes while being Prince.”

More from the real-life Micki Free:

Charlie Murphy wasn’t lying. Everything that happened in that [”True Hollywood Stories” sketch] was for real. We went back to Prince’s house after the club. It was 1985, and there was a bunch of girls with Eddie [Murphy], myself, Charlie—rest in peace—and some other guys. And out of nowhere Prince says, “Do you guys want to play basketball?” Me and Charlie and Eddie are looking at each other like, what the hell? And Prince goes, “Me, Micki, and Gilbert against you, Eddie, and Uncle Ray.”

We played three-on-three. I don’t remember if we changed our clothes, but I know for certain that Prince did not change his. He didn’t gear up to play. If anything changed beyond the blouses, it was his heels. Prince changed into some tennis shoes. All I remember is when Prince made that first shot, it was all-net. I’m looking at him make shot after shot, like, “What the hell?” Then at the end they really did make us pancakes—blueberry pancakes. And they were good! Hanging out with Prince was magical.

Oh, I bet it was at that.

I didn’t know Charlie Murphy was gone, I must confess; he died of leukemia in 2017, poor guy, at a too-young age. He’ll live on via his unforgettable contributions to Chappelle’s Show, among other performances, and forever may he rest. While we’re at it, here’s another Chappelle’s Show classic: The World Series Of Dice.



“Dis why black people don’t have nuthin’! Dis just what dey wan’ us to do! Yo’ mutha ain’t shit!” Too, too funny.

Bonus Gaye!

In the comments to the Marvin Gaye piece below, Kenny reminded me of another one of my all-time faves.



I should maybe add that I don’t disagree at all with Kenny’s evaluation of What’s Going On, either. I always liked Gaye, but as far as I’m concerned his best work was already behind him by the time WGO came out. His latter-day stuff, although certainly influential and bold, just left me cold for the most part, and I didn’t mean to imply otherwise in the earlier post. More deets on “Peculiar,” and on Marvin Gaye himself:

“Ain’t That Peculiar” is a 1965 song recorded by American soul musician Marvin Gaye for the Tamla (Motown) label. The single was produced by Smokey Robinson, and written by Robinson, and fellow Miracles members Ronald White, Pete Moore, and Marv Tarplin. “Ain’t That Peculiar” features Gaye, with The Andantes on backing vocals, singing about the torment of a painful relationship.

The single was Gaye’s second U.S. million seller successfully duplicating its predecessor “I’ll Be Doggone”, from earlier in 1965 by topping Billboard’s Hot R&B Singles chart in the fall of 1965, peaking at #8 on the US Pop Singles chart. It became one of Gaye’s signature 1960s recordings, and was his best-known solo hit before 1968’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”.

Marvin’s accompanied with background vocalist The Andantes: Marlene Barrow, Jackie Hicks and Louvain Demps with instrumentation by The Funk Brothers and Marvin Tarplin of The Miracles (guitars).

Gaye helped to shape the sound of Motown Records in the 1960s with a string of hits, including “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”, and duet recordings with Mary Wells and Tammi Terrell, later earning the titles “Prince of Motown” and “Prince of Soul”. During the 1970s, he recorded the concept albums What’s Going On and Let’s Get It On and became one of the first artists in Motown to break away from the reins of its production company. Gaye’s later recordings influenced several R&B subgenres, such as quiet storm and neo-soul.

Following a period in Europe as a tax exile in the early 1980s, Gaye released the 1982 Grammy Award-winning hit “Sexual Healing” and the Midnight Love album. Since his death in 1984, Gaye has been posthumously honored by many institutions, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

At around 11:38 am on April 1, 1984, as Marvin was seated on his bed talking to his mother, Gaye’s father shot at Marvin twice. The first shot, which entered the right side of Gaye’s chest, was fatal, having perforated his vital organs. Gaye was taken to the emergency room of the California Hospital Medical Center and was pronounced dead on arrival at 1:01 pm. Gaye died a day before turning 45. The gun with which Marvin Gaye, Sr. shot his son was given to him by Marvin as a Christmas present.

Another gifted musician dogged, and eventually doomed, by what’s generally known as a “troubled” personal life—an old story, a common one, and a tragic one. We’ve lost all too many of our greatest artists due to their “troubled” tendencies, one way or another. It’s long been my own belief that those “troubled” personal lives very often come along with the territory of creative genius. That maybe, just maybe, you only rarely get the one without the other—as if a skewed, reckless personality actually feeds the creative bent, both of them being integral components of the artistic soul. The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long, as the saying goes.

Happy birthday

To trad-country icon Hank Snow.

Clarence Eugene “Hank” Snow (May 9, 1914 – December 20, 1999) was a Canadian-American country music artist. Most popular in the 1950s, he had a career that spanned more than 50 years, he recorded 140 albums and charted more than 85 singles on the Billboard country charts from 1950 until 1980. His number-one hits include the self-penned songs “I’m Moving On”, “The Golden Rocket” and “The Rhumba Boogie” and famous versions of “I Don’t Hurt Anymore”, “Let Me Go, Lover!”, “I’ve Been Everywhere”, “Hello Love”, as well as other top 10 hits.

Snow was an accomplished songwriter whose clear, baritone voice expressed a wide range of emotions including the joys of freedom and travel as well as the anguish of tortured love. His music was rooted in his beginnings in small-town Nova Scotia where, as a frail, 80-pound youngster, he endured extreme poverty, beatings and psychological abuse as well as physically punishing labour during the Great Depression. Through it all, his musically talented mother provided the emotional support he needed to pursue his dream of becoming a famous entertainer like his idol, the country star, Jimmie Rodgers.

As a performer of traditional country music, Snow won numerous awards and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. The Hank Snow Museum in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, celebrates his life and work in a province where his fans still see him as an inspirational figure who triumphed over personal adversity to become one of the most influential artists in all of country music.

The influence of The Singin’ Ranger, as he was known early in his career, wasn’t limited to country music.

A regular at the Grand Ole Opry, in 1954 Snow persuaded the directors to allow a young Elvis Presley to appear on stage. Snow used Presley as his opening act and introduced him to Colonel Tom Parker. In August 1955, Snow and Parker formed the management team, Hank Snow Attractions. This partnership signed a management contract with Presley but before long, Snow was out and Parker had full control over the rock singer’s career. Forty years after leaving Parker, Snow stated, “I have worked with several managers over the years and have had respect for them all except one. Tom Parker [Snow refused to recognize the honorary title “Colonel”] was the most egotistical, obnoxious human being I’ve ever had dealings with.”

Snow’s evaluation of Parker is by no means a unique one, shall we say. Although to be fair about it, I’ve also heard tell that Snow could be pretty prickly and unpleasant his own self. But now that we’ve brought Elvis into this thing, enjoy yourselves an early Hank Snow hit that the King covered as well a few years later on, which version has always ranked near the tippy-top of Ye Olde Blogghoste’s list of personal favorite Elvis tunes.



Happy birthday, Hank. Country music—REAL country music, I mean, not the sappy, crappy contempo swill—just wouldn’t have been the same without you.

Legend you never heard of

Another day, another effing brilliant SteynMusic outing.

This weekend marks the centenary of George David Weiss, born April 9th 1921. Who was George David Weiss? Well, he’s no household name, but, to reprise my old line on obscure songwriters, you’d be hard put to find a household that doesn’t know at least one George David Weiss song.

So who was George David Weiss? Well, even George Shearing, who wrote his one and only enduring song with Weiss, had no more to say about him in his autobiography than that he was “a man by the name of George David Weiss”. The man by the name of was born under that name in April 1921 and was all set to become a lawyer or accountant when he decided to follow his heart and go to Juilliard, where he learned composing and arranging. The latter got him employment with Stan Kenton and other bands, until he met his first songwriting partner, the talented West Indian composer Bennie Benjamin. A young Sinatra picked up their “Oh, What It Seemed to Be”, and a few years later Kay Starr had a monster hit with “Wheel of Fortune”…

Starr’s chartbuster is of course a true gem, one which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed performing onstage myself who even knows how many times. Robert Gordon did a mighty fine version as well.



Weiss had one hell of a capacious catalog, and as Steyn somewhat bemusedly notes, had everybody from Sinatra to Nat Cole to Peggy Lee to Elvis to…ummm…Whitesnake(?!?) cover his stuff over the years. That’s a variety so stylistically broad that it says a lot about the enduring appeal of the man’s work all by itself. I’ll embed another of my personal all-time Weiss faves before we all move on to what I consider the really fun part of the story.



The Tokens, in an ironic twist quite commonly found in the music biz, not only had no faith in the song but actually despised the thing, even going so far as to plead with the producers and their label not to release the very song that would end up being their one and only bona fide smash. Not the first time such lightning-strikes weirdness has occurred in the biz, and you can be sure it won’t be the last.

Now we come to the part I was most amused by, a chapter of the Weiss story all a-brim with music biz irony of its own unique flavor. This will require some heavy excerpting, but I assure one and all that the payoff is well worth the arduous wade to get there.

It started with Bob Thiele, who was a successful record producer but only a very occasional songwriter. So, for a composing partner, he turned, as so many others have done, to George David Weiss. In theory the latter could have written any or all of “What a Wonderful World”, but Thiele told me that Weiss stayed mostly down the musical end.

Which I find hard to believe, because the tune is mostly “Twinkle, twinkle, little star” and, after decades in the music biz, Weiss was way beyond that.

On the other hand, Weiss told Graham Nash (of the Hollies and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young) that he wrote it with Louis Armstrong in mind – which suggests he also had a hand in the lyric.

Why Satchmo? Well, it was a ballad of hope and optimism that transcended the times. But for that very reason it also required a singer who transcended the times.

A singer like, say, Louis Armstrong…

And, if you think that seems kind of obvious now, it certainly wasn’t in 1967. If you pick up almost any jazz critic’s biography of Satchmo, they generally follow the same basic arc: Terrific trumpeter, innovative musician – and then he sold out and did commercial pap for suburban hi-fi filler. I don’t subscribe to that crude reductio myself, but it is true that, after he’d booted the Beatles off the top and taken “Hello, Dolly!” to Number One, the calculus changed somewhat for Armstrong’s management: There’s a new Broadway show opening? Take the big song and do another “Dolly” knock-off. Hence Satchmo’s “Mame” and Satchmo’s “Cabaret”, and doubtless, had he lived, Satchmo’s “Jesus Christ Superstar” and Satchmo’s “Phantom of the Opera”.

Nevertheless, the writers met with Louis to pitch the song. As Bob Thiele recalled, “We wanted this immortal musician and performer to say, as only he could, the world really is great: full of the love and sharing people make possible for themselves and each other every day.”

Instead, Satch peered at the sheet – unlike many singers, he was a musician who could read the music – and, when his eye got to the bottom of the page, he looked up and said:

What is this sh*t?

He was studying the music – no words, just a contemporary ballad tune that called not for Armstrong’s tight jazzy All-Stars but for a string section willing to play “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. I wouldn’t myself say the tune was exactly “sh*t”…But, as I said, Armstrong hadn’t seen the lyrics. And, when they passed him the words, he fell in love. Not so much because of the green trees, red roses, blue skies, white clouds, but because of the final eight bars, which ditch the “colors of the rainbow” theme:

I hear babies cry, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll never know
And I think to myself
What A Wonderful World…

That quatrain reminded him of 107th Street in Queens, the tree-lined block he and his wife Lucille had lived on for a quarter-century (and whose modest red-brick home now houses the Louis Armstrong Museum):

There’s so much in ‘Wonderful World’ that brings me back to my neighborhood where I live in Corona, New York. Lucille and I, ever since we’re married, we’ve been right there in that block. And everybody keeps their little homes up like we do and it’s just like one big family. I saw three generations come up on that block. And they’re all with their children, grandchildren, they come back to see Uncle Satchmo and Aunt Lucille …and I got pictures of them when they was five, six and seven years old. So when they hand me this ‘Wonderful World,’ I didn’t look no further, that was it.

He was genuinely touched by the heartfelt optimistic simplicity of the sentiment, and its faith in the future – that a new generation would know things that he would never live to see. Like, er, Twitter. Well, let’s not get hung up on the details. He was struck by the song’s message, and so agreed to sing it.

An arrangement was made, musicians were booked, and a studio was procured – for a midnight session in Vegas, after Satch had finished up his set at the Tropicana. There was just one problem. Louis Armstrong had recently switched record labels, to ABC, and the president of the company, Larry Newton, was opposed to Satchmo doing “What a Wonderful World”. I don’t mean he was antipathetic or indifferent to it, or felt it was not a strong choice for a single but would be okay for Side 2 Track 5 of an album. I don’t even mean that he disliked it. He loathed “What a Wonderful World” with a passion: He thought he’d signed the Number One bestselling pop star of “Hello, Dolly!”, and he didn’t want his new act doing what he regarded as the polar opposite of “Dolly” – a soporific inert crawl-tempo ballad.

He’s not necessarily mistaken about that, as my kid’s class certainly demonstrated. So I’m not unsympathetic to Larry Newton’s concerns. The trouble was that on August 16th 1967 he’d flown in to Vegas for a photo shoot with his new star and that evening he showed up at United Studios determined to prevent the recording. He went so totally bananas that Ed Thiele, as producer, and Artie Butler, the arranger, and George Weiss and Frank Military, who were also present, hustled him through the door and locked him out of the studio. Which isn’t exactly conducive to Louis Armstrong recording a tender and sensitive ballad unlike anything he’d sung before…

It was a long session – either because of Newton’s antics or because they were interrupted by the toots of passing Union Pacific freight trains, or because the material was a little outside Pops’ comfort zone. They stayed there till 6am, and then they all went for breakfast. And the label only agreed to pay the orchestra for their extended shift on condition that Satchmo himself accept a mere $250 for the session. But it was worth it: Louis worked and worked on his interpretation until he and the writers were satisfied. I confess as a young child I always heard “the dark sacred night” as “the dark say goodnight”, but once I’d grasped Satch’s enunciation I appreciated what a fine pairing that makes with “the bright blessed day”: it adds a subtle touch of the holy and transcendental to the song; that the world is not merely “wonderful” in the way that a great cheeseburger and a vanilla shake can be, but truly wonderful because it’s the wonder of God’s creation. But, as I said, it’s discreetly done. And Armstrong’s reading of the middle-eight, in that unmistakeable beautiful gravelly rasp, is as sincere and true as anything he ever sang:

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands, saying ‘How do you do?’
They’re really saying, ‘I love you…’

Is that really what they’re saying? Well, Pops bought into it. In the studio that night, representing all those children who’d grow to learn more than he’d ever know, was George Weiss’ kid Peggy. “So you’re George’s daughter? Pleased to meet you!” And he shook her hand, and maybe, for a small, shrunken old man not in the best of health, it really did mean “I love you.”

And, for those wondering what the hell all this hippie-dippie peace’n’love stuff had to do with Louis Armstrong, he waited to the very end to tie it back to his entire oeuvre in what, with hindsight, was the only possible wrap-up:

Ohhhhhh, yeahhhhhh.

Larry Newton wanted another “Hello, Dolly!” Well, he got the last two words.

But he wasn’t happy, and he swore to exact his revenge – by doubling down on the petty and stupid. In order to prove he was right about the song, he released the single in late 1967, but refused to promote it. He didn’t ship it to radio stations, so no disc-jockeys played it, and nobody bought it. In those days, ABC’s UK distribution was licensed to EMI, and, in the fullness of time, “What a Wonderful World” showed up at the London office, and they released it as a normal single. Actually, not that normal, because it was, I believe, the very last single EMI released on their HMV label. But, other than that, they did all the things you’re meant to do with a new release: They sent review copies to the BBC and to trade magazines, and discovered what Larry Newton, once he’d gotten over being locked out of the studio, should have realized – that people really liked it. It entered the UK charts at the beginning of February 1968 at Number 45, cracked the Top Forty in its second week, the Top Thirty in its fourth, and then climbed through March and April up to Number One.
So, just for the record, where did it get to on the Billboard Hot 100?

Er, big hit sound Number 116.

In fact, Larry Newton’s singular talent for sabotage was so effective that he wound up with a record that was a hit everywhere except his own territory: Top Thirty in Australia, Top Twenty in New Zealand and the Netherlands, Number Seven in Switzerland, Number Six in Belgium and Germany and Norway, Number Two in Ireland, Number One in Austria… What a wonderful world (America excepted). In London, EMI decided the song was so big they needed an album built around it. At which point Larry Newton decided to triple-down on the moronic. He agreed to the LP, but only if Armstrong did it for $500. Joe Glaser, Louis’ manager, wasn’t in the mood for that, and instructed Bob Thiele:

You tell that fat bastard to go f**k himself and give us $25,000 for eight more sides.

Larry Newton responded:

Tell him to go f**k himself, and why do we give a sh*t about these European companies? Screw ’em all.

They’re really saying “I love you”.

Three years later, Louis Armstrong was dead. If you’d been listening to the radio in Britain, Europe, around the planet in 1971, they marked his passing with “What a Wonderful World”. On American stations, they played everything but.

It took two decades and Good Morning, Vietnam for a great record finally to achieve the recognition on its home turf it had known for a generation everywhere else. It doesn’t matter that Satch was born in 1901; he sounds old and elegaic on the record, and that’s the point: he’s a fellow approaching the end of his life, but he’s not bitter or even bittersweet; he’s not looking back but looking forward to when those babies will grow. It’s an old man, but it’s a young song. That’s why it’s a popular father/daughter dance at weddings: It’s the past blessing the future.

And that’s also true of any great songwriter’s catalogue – which is why we salute George David Weiss on his centennial.

As for Larry Newton, well, I wasn’t sure whether he was still with us or not, so I looked him up, and read:

Newton is probably best remembered today for trying to stop Louis Armstrong from recording ‘What A Wonderful World’.

Ohhhhhh, yeahhhhhh!

Beautiful song, beautiful story, no? Tales like this provide a small window onto why it is that people get into the music business in the first place, and why a not-negligible percentage of them are perfectly willing to break themselves—financially, spiritually, morally, even physically—to stay in, on any level they can contrive. I swear, out of all the great music posts Steyn has done, and he’s done quite a few, this one may well be the beat of ’em all.

About a guy most of us have probably never even heard of.

Plugs in

Steyn gives us one more perfect Prince Phillip quip, with a Shirley Bassey bonus thrown in.

If you’re a Royal consort, you wind up going to a lot of nights out you have not the slightest interest in, like the Royal Command Performance and the Royal Film Premiere and the like. In November 2002, arriving at the Royal Albert Hall for the world premiere of the James Bond film Die Another Day, His Royal Highness was informed by an excited person in the welcome line that Madonna would be singing the title song. He turned to the Queen, and remarked drily, “So we’ll need earplugs then.”

He was quite right. Shirley Bassey had neglected to bring hers, and so, just a few minutes later, the opening titles and the song ended, and Dame Shirl yelled from the stalls, “Rubbish!” She was quite right, too.

Hey, when you’re right, you’re right.

Enemies in common update! If they’re ag’in him, I’m for him.



I imagine Philip’s “legacy” will be just fine, thanks, whatever caviling PC nudniks may think, say, or do. In fact, I’d wager the Prince will be fondly remembered long after CNN is dead, buried, and forgotten. I’m with the WSJ’s Gerard Baker all the way:

I had the privilege some years ago to be invited to a July 4 dinner at the American ambassador’s residence in London. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were the guests of honor, there presumably to bear witness that, after a couple of centuries, the unfortunate business over the repeated injuries and usurpations inflicted by one of her ancestors had been quietly forgotten.

The ambassador rose to give the not-so-loyal toast.

He began with the inevitable nod to the two nations’ divergent histories, noting that some time earlier, in their great wisdom, his compatriots had decided to go it alone. “Oh yes!” cried the prince from a sedentary position, fortified, no doubt, by a couple of glasses of the embassy’s very good wine. “And how’s that working out for you?” It was a good question then, and it’s more apt than ever now given America’s current predicament. The people that once boldly threw off the tyranny of a distant monarch now seem to be meekly submitting to the diktats of a regnant class and ideology that tolerate less independence of thought and action than King George III did.

As the prince did at that dinner, he had an unerring capacity to ask awkward questions, speak inconvenient truths and challenge polite orthodoxies.

When we are obligated to toe an increasingly stultifying conventional line, the queen’s consort was the human antidote to the virus of verbal oppression that has us in a death grip. You’d search a very long time to find a less woke individual than the duke of Edinburgh.

He got all the right knickers in a twist, and he’s still doing it, which makes him a-okay in my book. The unhappier shitlib types are, the better I like it. Kruiser says it well:

Three cheers to Prince Philip for being able to annoy our worthless woke morons first from beyond an ocean and now from beyond the grave.

I don’t care how rich he was, I would have bought him a drink in a heartbeat.

Rest in peace, Phil.

Amen to that.

Ghastly!

Haven’t mentioned the death of Prince Phillip here yet, because…well, because meh, honestly. But then I saw this.

The royal consort of the UK has died at age 99. An acerbic individual, here are a selection of Prince Philip’s greatest hits, including his long-running wars against Tom Jones and Elton John, from a 2011 article in The Independent:

1. “Ghastly.” Prince Philip’s opinion of Beijing, during a 1986 tour of China.

2. “Ghastly.” Prince Philip’s opinion of Stoke-on-Trent, as offered to the city’s Labour MP Joan Walley at Buckingham Palace in 1997.

7. “How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?” Asked of a Scottish driving instructor in 1995.

8. “Damn fool question!” To BBC journalist Caroline Wyatt at a banquet at the Elysée Palace after she asked Queen Elizabeth if she was enjoying her stay in Paris in 2006.

11. “We don’t come here for our health. We can think of other ways of enjoying ourselves.” During a trip to Canada in 1976.

13. “British women can’t cook.” Winning the hearts of the Scottish Women’s Institute in 1961.

15. “What do you gargle with – pebbles?” To Tom Jones, after the Royal Variety Performance, 1969. He added the following day: “It is very difficult at all to see how it is possible to become immensely valuable by singing what I think are the most hideous songs.”

16. “It’s a vast waste of space.” Philip entertained guests in 2000 at the reception of a new £18m British Embassy in Berlin, which the Queen had just opened.

18. “If it has four legs and it is not a chair, if it has got two wings and it flies but is not an aeroplane and if it swims and it is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it.” Said to a World Wildlife Fund meeting in 1986.

22. “I would like to go to Russia very much – although the bastards murdered half my family.” In 1967, asked if he would like to visit the Soviet Union.

Good, goooood squishy, that is. More equally succulent Royal badinage at the link. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest, Your Highness.

They just don’t make ’em like this anymore

Another comment-inspired post, this latest one brought on by Ironbear’s use of one of true American hero Chesty Puller’s most well-known quips: They have us surrounded. There’s no way they can escape from us now. That got me to digging around for more Puller quotes to respond with, plenty of which are easy to find on the Intarwebs. A sampling—all of them good, all candid and plain-spoken, some alarmingly prescient.

“Our country won’t go on forever, if we stay soft as we are now. There won’t be any America—because some foreign soldiery will invade us and take our women and breed a hardier race.”

“They are in front of us, behind us, and we are flanked on both sides by an enemy that outnumbers us 29:1. They can’t get away from us now!”

“Great. Now we can shoot at them from every direction.”

“We’re surrounded. That simplifies our problem of getting to these people and killing them.” – November 1950, during Chosin Reservoir campaign

“Remember, you are the 1st Marines! Not all the Communists in Hell can overrun you!” (at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir)

“Take me to the Brig. I want to see the real Marines.”

“Where do you put the bayonet on the damn thing?” (upon seeing a flamethrower demonstrated for the first time)

“You don’t hurt ’em if you don’t hit ’em.”

There’s something for Real Americans to learn from in every one of these, either the words themselves or the fearless, never-say-die spirit of the man who spoke them. A few more:

“The mail service has been excellent out here, and in my opinion this is all that the Air Force has accomplished during the war.”
– Chesty Puller in a letter to his wife while in Korea

When an Army captain asked him for the direction of the line of retreat, Col Puller called his Tank Commander, gave them the Army position, and ordered:

“If they start to pull back from that line, even one foot, I want you to open fire on them.”

Turning to the captain, Chesty Puller replied “Does that answer your question? We’re here to fight!” At Koto-ri in Korea

“They are a damn sight better than the U.S. Army, at least we know that they will be there in the morning.”
– Lewis B. Chesty Puller, when a journalist asked him about being surrounded by 22 enemy divisions

“There are not enough Chinamen in the world to stop a fully armed Marine regiment from going where ever they want to go”


That last one smarts a bit, seeing as how Puller’s beloved Corps has fully knuckled under and is now welcoming opportunistic cross-dressers seeking choppadicktomy surgery on the USMC’s dime, as well as boatloads of mollycoddled bimbelinas incapable of meeting minimal standards for physical fitness, into its ranks. The entire US military is now every bit the hollow, ineffectual parody of its former robust self that the country it serves has become. Which is only fitting, I guess. Really, how could it possibly be otherwise? They’ve both been drinking from the same poisoned well.

America just isn’t turning out fierce, indomitable warriors like Chesty Puller anymore, and that’s no accident; it isn’t, because it can’t. That’s no accident either, rather being just one of the Left’s strategic objectives. Thanks to “diversity,” political correctness, general pusillanimity, and overall Leftard tomfoolery, the nation has created a military wholly unable to effectively fulfill its sole purpose of defending the nation.

How powerfully ironic that the Chinese will never even need worry about stopping that “fully-armed Marine regiment” of Chesty’s in the first place. Neither will it be necessary to send a single PLA soldier here for invasion, conquest, and colonization purposes. Thanks to the FUSA’s having sat back limply as its internal enemies slit its throat, the ChiComs already own the banana republic lock, stock, and barrel anyway, without ever mussing a single dink grunt’s hair.

The intentional sapping of our national will and self-respect cost us legendary fighting men like Puller, Claire Chennault, Curtis LeMay, George Patton, Jimmy Doolittle, Pappy Boyington, Audie Murphy, Dick Winters, and too many others to list, “fundamentally transforming” them from role models into icons of American immorality and disgrace. Even worse, celebrating their selfless bravery has been disallowed; in certain despicable circles, they and their exploits are to be harshly condemned, eventually to be quietly edited out of the historical record and forgotten.

The most bitter irony of all? The Left robbed us of these exemplars of real American greatness precisely when we needed them most. Which was no accident either.

“The Ultimate Party Animal”

I love this story so much it hurts. I mean, physically hurts.

Who is Cocaine Bear? Kentucky legend is being made into a movie directed by Elizabeth Banks

See what I mean? Right out of the gate, you just know it’s going to be good.

Though it died in Georgia, the real-life cocaine bear gained notoriety in death and has become a legend of the kind that only Kentucky could produce.

“The real-life cocaine bear.” Pardon me while I savor the flavor of a phrase I never for a moment dreamed I would ever get the opportunity to type.

The bear was the victim of a fatal overdose that occurred when it ate a cache of cocaine that Andrew Thornton, a former Lexington narcotics officer turned drug smuggler, threw out over North Georgia.

Thornton was carrying $15 million in cocaine when he died parachuting out of a plane over Knoxville in September 1985. That saga is chronicled in Sally Denton’s 1989 book, “The Bluegrass Conspiracy.”

Tally so far: a drug cop gone bent. Death by skydiving. Gunny sacks of go-powder scattered across hill and dale. A fiending ursine who tragically succumbs to the killing combination of curiosity, incaution, and overindulgence, leading to posthumous fame and glory as a beloved wildlife icon.

Most anybody would find the story so far absorbing enough to establish it, as described by the author of the above report, as a bona fide saga. I can’t imagine any reasonable soul feeling shortchanged if it ended right there.

Incredibly, though, that was only the beginning.

The 175-pound bear’s body was found several months after Thornton’s and preserved with taxidermy. It was passed among various owners until it eventually was acquired by the operators of Lexington-based retailer Kentucky for Kentucky.

A kooky television ad featuring the bear, which has been dubbed Pablo Escobear, made headlines five years ago.

And Escobear is still enjoying fame.

Pablo Escobear. Heh. I dunno, I think I still prefer Cocaine Bear. Hold onto your hats, though; this epic tale is just getting off the ground.

Last month, Kentucky for Kentucky debuted a new mug design featuring the bear’s image. It reads, “Bluegrass Conspiracy’s Cocaine Bear The Ultimate Party Animal.”

The “Cocaine Bear” movie, written by Jimmy Warden, will be produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller along with Banks and Max Handelman’s Brownstone Productions, Deadline reported.

Banks, Lord and Miller teamed up previously on “The Lego Movie” series. Banks most recently directed the 2019 “Charlie’s Angels” film.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, filming for “Cocaine Bear” could begin this summer.

Universal is backing the flick, in one of the most astute moves seen out of faltering Follywood in recent memory. Reading the above, one marvels that a movie hasn’t already been made; I mean c’mon man! Whatever might the movers and shakers in the world of feature film be thinking, letting a sure-fire blockbuster like this skate right by unnoticed for so long? But hey, late is better than never, I guess.

So does this report provide a pic of Cocaine Bear’s preserved corpus enjoying its enshrinement at Lexington’s Kentucky Fun Mall, you ask?

Ohhh, you just better bet it does.

CocaineBear.jpeg

I repeat: EPIC. All hail thee, dear Cocaine Bear! Forever may your memory be treasured. And may the cinematic chronicle of your unjust fate do truly boffo box office.

(Via Ed Driscoll)

Mega-megadittoes

Bill says it’s the finest Rush memorial he’s seen yet, and he ain’t wrong about that.

If you’re a showman – and Rush was that above all else – they say that it’s best to go out on top. And he did, just at the moment when it became apparent that the approach to politics that he championed his whole life won’t be enough to save us; that superior arguments won’t win the day and that we’re not going to vote our way out of this. That he left the stage at precisely the right point so it could honestly be said that he never became irrelevant is perhaps the one small consolation that can be found within this. The future will always be able to look back on him and say: “He was a man of his time”. Yes, his time has passed, as it does for all men. But if we are to look back now and evaluate what he meant, it can only fairly be in the context of those times.

A common sentiment heard from callers in the early days of Rush’s show was that before they found him, they had no idea that anyone out there thought the same way they did. This shows how powerful the left’s stranglehold on public discourse was back then, and the importance of his having singlehandedly broken it. Causing one’s enemy to feel isolated, alone, and out-of-step with the society around them is a powerful weapon of demoralization, and breaking through that to offer a sense of community, even if only through the airwaves, is massively empowering. Beyond this, Rush brought a sense of fun to being on the right, perhaps for the first time ever. He mocked liberals at a time when it was assumed by all that this was a tool to which liberals alone had exclusive rights. He laughed at them, and his audience laughed along with him. This is a deeply underestimated strategy – people like to laugh; they like to have fun. It is something that the left has forgotten in the age of the dour, hectoring SJW. It is something that, other than at the height of the Meme Era that surrounded Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, the modern right forgets all too often as well. But it should never be overlooked, and very much of Rush’s success and his political and cultural impact relied on the fact that he didn’t. Perhaps most importantly, he never backed down from his beliefs; he never seemed ashamed of them or felt the need to qualify them with endless disclaimers explaining how he was really a good person despite them. Simply being confident and proud in those beliefs inspired millions of others to do the same.

Of course, he couldn’t ever have gone with us as far as it now seems that we’ll need to go. But this was not a symptom of any lack of courage; it was only a reflection of the hold that the America in which he was born had on him, and of how far we have fallen from it in just one lifetime. To the end, Rush was a genuine “Shining City on a Hill” believer; the kind that not only thought that America was unreservedly good at its core, but that its empire was the only thing keeping the world from falling into tyranny and chaos. That’s a belief that most of us on this end of the right, if we ever held it at all, gave up on around 2006, but that seemed manifestly true for someone who grew up in a stable, prosperous America in the years directly following World War II, and whose only frame of reference was the comparison to Nazism or Communism. Even his support for the disastrous wars of the Bush era, which continued long after it was obvious that they had been a terrible mistake (this was the only point at which I found his show unlistenable, and had to take some time away from it) were based in an unshakable faith that the American way of life was the best in the world, and that everyone would want to live that way if they were only given a chance to. There is a temptation for a man of today’s Dissident Right to sneer at this, and in a 21st century context, it might be justified, but it also must be remembered that the America that Rush had in mind was eternally a vision of the 1954 of his youth; a better place that you and I have never had the privilege to see. Had we seen it for ourselves, we might find it just as hard to let go of as he did.

Rush could understand that his country wasn’t what it used to be, but couldn’t allow himself to believe that it would never again be what it had once been. That’s a dream that can only die hard; one that anyone would hold onto for as long as they could. It only really became undeniable that it was gone for good in the very closing moments of his life, and it is perhaps for the best that he essentially died with it. In a way, I wish he hadn’t been here to see the past few months, and in a way, I’m happy he won’t be here to see what comes next. It would break his heart. It breaks mine. I would love to have personally seen the Shining City that he saw, and would love to believe that it can be restored someday. But just as he was a man of a time that I never could live in, I must be a man of a time that he cannot live in, and I must face its realities.

A guaranteed stinkeroo of a task for sure, as unpleasant as the realities of this time and place most definitely are. All in all, I’d say Rush got out when the gettin’ was still good, and was lucky he did too.

His span of knowledge was broader than just politics

Just another example of Limbaugh’s hateful racism, I guess.

Ladies and gentlemen, I was 16; I was just starting to work in radio when Aretha Franklin bopped on the scene. I was telling Snerdley, “Everybody’s calling her the Queen of Soul,” and there’s no doubt she was. I think that doesn’t go nearly far enough in describing Aretha Franklin, who she was and what she did, her talents and so forth. She was soul, there was no question. She defined it. Well, she and James Brown, who was the Godfather of Soul. James Brown was the Ambassador of Soul. He wasn’t just the godfather; he was the ambassador.

Her talent, her abilities, the range of music she could sing. There’s something else that I think we need to remember and kind of remain in awe of. Aretha Franklin, after having moved there, was from Detroit. There’s a little neighborhood in Detroit that an entrepreneur turned into one of the most powerful, one of the most identifiable, one of the most amazing music industry stories there has ever been. His name was Berry Gordy, and he did Motown. And there were two houses.

If you ever go to Detroit, you gotta drive by these two houses. That was Motown, where the recording studios were. In fact, the Motown artists thought that one of them was better than the other, and as time went on some of the acts only wanted to record in one of those studios because they felt that the sound was just better there, acoustics and everything else. But stop and think of it. You had the Four Tops. You had Gladys Knight & The Pips. You had The Supremes. You had Smokey Robinson. You had Diana Ross.

You had later on the Jackson Five, Marvin Gaye, the Marvelettes… (interruption) No, no. No. What was her name? City Council Detroit, yeah. Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, all in one neighborhood in Detroit, and that’s where Aretha was. She didn’t go with Motown. She went with Atlantic. She was wooed by the great Atlantic executive Ahmet Ertegun, and he signed her to Atlantic, and Gordy had all these other people.

But it’s just amazing, and that’s where Aretha Franklin came from. She stood above. It’s hard to say, but she stood above all of it. It is the quintessential American story, Aretha Franklin, and the impact she had, the reach she had, the talent and so forth. So, yeah, she was the Queen of Soul. But, to me, I mean, everywhere you turn in the media, “Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin” it seems not enough. It’s like “right-wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh.’ That’s not enough. It doesn’t get anywhere near describing what I do, does it?

No Rush, it really, really doesn’t, bless your great big heart. El Rushbo’s heartfelt gushing over Queen Aretha provides me an opportunity to present one of the best of her many stellar performances, for which I thank him.



The Blues Brothers got a pretty tepid reaction when it was first released, from those critics whose reviews weren’t just downright cruel about it. I didn’t agree then, and don’t agree now; I thought it was great. The film was full to bursting with some truly wonderful music, enhanced by Aykroyd and Belushi’s refusal to hog the spotlight for themselves. Their humility is to their eternal credit. Think of it: at the very height of their fame—which necessarily implies the egotism that accompanies it—these boys were still respectful enough, sincere enough, big enough fans, to step back and allow some of their favorite blue stars to really shine.

RIP Rush Limbaugh

Someone who understood that, once in a great while, it really is possible for a single individual to change the world—understood better than most, because he did it himself.

Before Rush, talk radio was different. Talk radio was about cotton-candy issues.  Larry King on the Mutual Broadcast Network hosted an overnight parade of callers talking about pets, childhood memories, landscaping, and just how they were doing. Scores of local talk show hosts – like Perry Marshall at KDKA in Pittsburgh – entertained with friendly chat, the sweet cotton candy that dissolves away quick into meaninglessness.

That was radio B.R. – Before Rush.

To exactly no one’s surprise, the Compassionate, Caring Left™ responded with their usual subhuman, barely-sentient cruelty.

After news broke that conservative talk show giant Rush Limbaugh had died at age 70 on Wednesday, many on the Left took to trashing Limbaugh and celebrating his death. Many on Twitter expressed ill-wishes, hoping Limbaugh would “rest in piss.” Many prominent celebrities shared fabricated quotes falsely attributed to Rush Limbaugh or took his remarks out of context to condemn him.

Because of course they did; this is who they are, this is what they do, and I see no need to belabor that more than obvious point. There’s a different one to be made here, a far more worthwhile one, which I’ll preface with this ostensibly more “reasonable” response:

Uygur-Limbaugh-Tweet.jpeg

No, you lying, sniveling pussy, what Limbaugh actually attacked was Leftism. Which brings us to the bottom line:

THERE IS NO LONGER ANY REASON WHATSOEVER FOR NORMAL AMERICANS TO TREAT THESE VICIOUS ANIMALS KINDLY, FAIRLY, OR RESPECTFULLY, NOR TO ACT AS IF THEIR OPINIONS MATTER IN THE LEAST.

Sympathy? Restraint? For them? Not on your life. Their own unrestrained hatred and vileness must be returned tenfold. The war against them must be acknowledged and waged as war to the knife—real, existential, and morally just.

All fretting over “becoming more like them” or “taking the high road” from our side must now be abandoned. There is no longer any need for analyzing or genteely discussing such matters; there is no longer any question about them. Ugliness and evil must be reflected directly back, in fullest intensity, at the twisted goblins who weaponized them for political use—the tools of tyranny—lest the righteous find themselves overwhelmed. Those who fail to recognize this demonic Enemy for who and what he is, or are too fastidious to do everything necessary to ensure his destruction, will surely perish.

I decided long years ago—I think it was the frabjous day that the odious Ted Kennedy assumed room temperature, maybe—that I would no longer express anything but my truest feelings on the passing of such filthy scum. Never again will I feign grief or sadness when some cancerous Lefty boil on the ass of humanity is finally removed from this world. Their rightful place is in Hell, in the presence of the Master they were always so eager to serve. So when such a one shuffles off this mortal coil at long, long last to receive his eternal due, is there anybody who could seriously argue that his departure from our midst ought to be regarded as some kind of loss? When decent men contort themselves to heap empty, false praise upon the death of lesser sorts whose corruption, moral bankruptcy, and contempt for justice is well known, does not the dishonest act, although well-intentioned, put their own eternal souls at risk? Is prostitution really the price exacted by politesse at times like this?

Speaking strictly for myself: nope, don’t think so, sorry, not gonna do it. Call me uncivil, call me uncouth, call me whatever other names you wish. This is a game I just won’t play anymore. After so many years of enduring the sordid spectacle of soulless fiends gleefully ladling shit over the memory of our dear departed the way they always do I am quite happy to return the favor, with interest compounded. If I even bother to say anything at all, that is. If that leaves me open to a charge of “sinking to their level” or some such from my more effete colleagues…well, so be it then. Don’t like it? Don’t care. Henceforth, I desire only to inflict any and every injury I can on The Enemy, crippling or trivial, and pledge not to allow a single opportunity to do so pass me by. The more he suffers, the gladder I’ll be. To hell with them, one and all. That’s all there is to it.

Now let’s leave the Left to their abominable obsequies and get back to Rush, shall we? Doc Zero says it’s a funeral for a friend:

I never got to speak to Rush Limbaugh, but he always seemed like a friend I heard from every day. He quoted my work on the air a few times, and it was a surreal delight, a joyous thing that could not possibly be happening. He helped us all become friends.

That’s the real measure of Rush’s impact. He helped so many people realize they were not alone, even as the mainstream media labored to make them feel isolated and hopeless. He understood that totalitarians overwhelm and dominate ordinary people by making them *feel* surrounded.

How often good and decent people felt isolated before Rush! They wondered why nobody could see what was so perfectly obvious to them. The secret of totalitarian success is to make ordinary people fear everyone around them is an informer or enforcer. Rush shattered that illusion.

The illusion of manufactured consensus and forced conformity never worked on Rush, not for a minute. He KNEW we were all out here, long before his ratings proved it. He gave so many others the confidence to raise their voices, knowing they were not alone.

It takes incredible talent and discipline to realize a bold vision like that. I heard him on the air not long ago, and thought he sounded great, as if time had not touched the voice I first heard over 30 years ago. Someone had to do what he did, but not just anyone COULD have.

And now the Internet will be filled with ugly cries of triumph from the howling darkness Rush spent his life opposing… proving him right once again, one more time. They’re still dangerous, but they aren’t scary any more, not after Rush spent all those years mocking them.

We all lost a great friend in Rush Limbaugh today, but he showed us how many friends we really have, across this nation and many others. We are one less, but because of him, we will never again fear we are alone. One voice is stilled, but there will never again be silence.

We can only hope not. Even so, it’s hard to imagine who could possibly fill his shoes. Whatever comes next, the struggle will go on. Klavan recommends defiance as the proper way to honor Limbaugh’s memory:

How could I not be delighted at the fear and loathing he inspired in the great and good? During my long absence from America, the great and good had become such smug, small-minded, and provincial little people, it was a guilty pleasure to watch them writhe on the flame he lit beneath them. For decades, feminists had called men “pigs.” Now Rush called them “feminazis,” and they threw their aprons over their faces and sobbed about his lack of civility. For decades, race-mongers had blamed an innocent generation of whites for a history that they hadn’t made, and now Rush mocked the mongers with wicked impressions, and declared it was time for black Americans to get on board the freedom train with their white fellow citizens.

It was beautiful. Courageous. The kind of radio magic I’d grown up with. And it changed me, or at least helped me change. Rush gave a joyful voice to the new thoughts I didn’t even know I’d had.

I do not cry for dead celebrities. I have just enough tears for the people I know and love. But I choked up when I heard that Rush had left the studio. He was silenced just at the moment when the elite and powerful would silence us all. Our politicians seek to demonize half the nation—Rush’s half. Our news media calls for censorship. Tech billionaires sit on their mountains of gold and gesture like foppish princes to tell us who shall speak and who shall not.

Let us defy them, then. Let us all speak, and fearlessly. Let that be Rush’s monument. In a way, he built it himself.

Seconded, heartily. In his brief post, Michael Walsh offers similar advice:

A great man died today: Rush Limbaugh was 70. He was perceptive on many social and political issues, including the ludicrous claims on the Left that human beings are causing “global warming” or “climate change,” when in fact the “crisis” was and remains simply another “progressive” path to power and domination — “a political movement disguised as science.”

A notion that carbon-based life forms (us) are destroying the planet (ours) by means of carbon emissions is profoundly anti-human. Rush’s greatest legacy may well turn out to be how accurately he exposed them and their malignant misanthropy on this and many other subjects. Let us never forget his lessons and continue to face down the enemies within with humor, wit, intelligence and, above all, courage.

Above even that, let our perception of the Enemy be clear-eyed; let us neither shirk nor flinch from whatever our sacred duty to defend liberty may demand of us, no matter how daunting or distasteful. Let our resolve in the face of the Enemy be as steel, our hearts as ice. Let us be unstinting and implacable in the pursuit of victory—uncompromised victory, unambiguous victory, TOTAL victory. Let us be fully aware that anything short of it would be tantamount to defeat, therefore unacceptable.

Elsewhere, Steyn’s compelling tribute might be the perfect closer, so I’ll excerpt liberally from it even as I also insist that you read every word of it.

It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of Rush Limbaugh, a giant of American broadcasting, a uniquely talented performer, and a hugely generous man to whom I owe almost everything.

One man doing what he wanted to do saved an entire medium – AM radio – and turned all its old rules upside down: Traditionally, morning drive is your big audience, and everything tapers off from there. Rush figured that everyone needs a local guy at that time, with traffic and weather updates, and that the opportunity to build a national show lay in the hitherto somnolent slot of noon-to-three Eastern/nine-to-twelve Pacific. And within a couple of years hundreds of stations were building the entire schedule around the midday guy. In the scheme of things, I am not sure how many of those stations will be able to keep that going without him.

Powerful politicians and longtime fans were often surprised, upon meeting him, to find a man who was quite private and indeed shy – because, like many radio guys, he had no desire to have a public persona other than at the microphone. Unlike so many others in this business, Rush was hugely generous and totally secure. Unlike other shows of left and right, where the staff come and go every six weeks, everyone at the EIB Network has been there fifteen, twenty, thirty years. That includes, in a very peripheral way, yours truly. When I first started guest-hosting, I found it odd that, on the rare occasions Rush mentioned the subs, it would be to put them down. Because, I mean, who would do that? But Rush is the least insecure star on the planet, and I came to see that he was actually teaching the neophytes a very important lesson: You guys need to be completely secure too – because it’s the only way to survive in this wretched media. I came to appreciate that being put down by Rush was actually a far greater compliment than him doing some boilerplate hey-he’s-a-great-guy shtick. And one of the saddest days of my fifteen years with EIB was when I heard Rush a few months back expressing genuine, sincere gratitude for something I’d said about him a few days earlier. As I pleaded on air, I just wanted the old Rush back scoffing at his guest-hosts – so we’d know all was well in the world.

I have come to admire him even more this last year. When he announced his diagnosis, we all knew this story only has one ending, and it’s just a question of how many chapters there are leading up to it. Rush loved what he did more than anything in life except his family. He had no interest in going to Tahiti to watch the sunset. He wanted to be behind the Golden EIB Microphone every day that he could. So initially he took a couple of days off every three weeks for treatment, and then the two days became four, and the treatment weeks took their toll and spilled into the following week. But, through it all, he remained determined to do every single show he could – because, aside from anything else, he wanted to make sure he, his listeners, his brand, his stations did everything they could to put President Trump across the finish line on November 3rd.

Events didn’t quite turn out the way he wanted – although they might have if more people had worked as hard as a man ravaged by Stage IV cancer did, in defiance of his doctors’ prognostications. The last three months, when he and Kathryn had surely earned those Tahitian sunsets, took a terrible toll. But he stayed on the air until just a fortnight ago – because above all he wanted to keep faith with tens of millions of listeners, many of whom had been listening to him their entire lives and could not imagine a world without him.

We are about to find out.

We are at that, and it promises to be neither pleasant nor pretty.

In a sense, it’s fitting that Rush leaves us even as the light of America That Was has been dimmed, if not extinguished outright. One can easily imagine how deeply the unprecedented events over the last year must have troubled him, how painfully they wounded him as he witnessed his beloved country wantonly savaged by audacious but wholly witless fanatics. The Shadow, expanding as it descends, is a drain on the spirit of the strong and weak alike, until it finally devours all.

In his post title, Steyn calls Rush The Indispensable Man, and that he indubitably was. Although I haven’t listened to him much over recent years, there’s no gainsaying his impact, and we can all expect the impact of his loss to be no less momentous. Conservatism as we know it today would simply not exist without Rush Limbaugh. As he singlehandedly revived the dying medium of AM radio, so it was with conservatism itself. Love him or hate him, he was and will ever remain not merely “The Big Voice on the Right,” as he dubbed himself with the bombastic yet slyly facetious overstatement so characteristic of the man. In reality, his voice was The Biggest.

If that ain’t indispensable, I don’t know what is. Be at peace, Rush. You will be sorely, sorely missed.

Update! Several good reminiscences from reformed liberals on their conversion from darkness to light, starting with the valiant, much-lamented warrior Andrew Breitbart.

One day I asked [my future father-in-law Orson Bean] why he had Rush Limbaugh’s book The Way Things Ought to Be on his shelf. I asked him, “Why would you have a book by this guy?”

And Orson said, “Have you ever listened to him?”

I said yes, of course, even though I never had. I was convinced to the core of my being that Rush Limbaugh was a Nazi, anti-black, anti-Jewish, and anti-all things decent. Without berating me for disagreeing with him, Orson simply suggested that I listen to him again.

This is where my rendezvous with destiny begins.

I turned on KFI 640 AM to listen to evil personified from 9 a.m. to noon. Indeed, my goal was to derive pleasure from the degree of evil I found in Rush Limbaugh. I was looking forward to a jovial discussion with Orson to confirm how right I was. One hour turned into three. One listening session into a week’s worth. And next thing I knew, I was starting to doubt my preprogrammed self. I was still a Democrat. I was still a liberal.

But after listening for months while putting thousands of miles on my car, I couldn’t believe that I once thought this man was a Nazi or anything else. While I couldn’t yet accept the premise that he was speaking my language, I marveled at how he could take a breaking news story and offer an entertaining and clear analysis that was like nothing I had ever seen on television, especially the Sunday morning shows, which had been my previous one-stop shop for political opinions.

Most important, though, Limbaugh, like the professor I always wanted but never had the privilege to study under, created a vivid mental picture of the architecture of a world that I resided in but couldn’t see completely: the Democrat-Media Complex. Embedded in Limbaugh’s analysis of politics was always a tandem discussion on the media. Each segment relentlessly pointed to collusion between the media and the Democratic Party. If the Clarence Thomas hearings showed me that something was wrong, the ensuing years of listening to Limbaugh and Dennis Prager — who at the time was also undergoing a political transformation from the Democratic to the Republican Party — explained to me with eerie precision what exactly was wrong. I swallowed hard and conceded to Orson that he was right.

It takes great courage, strength, and humility to swallow one’s pride, admit error, and redirect oneself towards the path of wisdom. Not everybody possesses those gifts; hardly any Leftists do, which helps to explain the extraordinary vehemence and frenzy fueling the ritualistic denunciation of former comrades who reject their previous Progtard beliefs for conservatism. Another:

It was 1992, and I was on vacation in Dallas, Texas. I had literally escaped Los Angeles after riots had broken out, but that’s a story for another time. My friend, who is an airline pilot, told me about this great new radio program called The Rush Limbaugh Show, and since I was a passenger in his car I got a chance to listen in. This Rush Limbaugh guy was kind of funny, but a little too bombastic for my then-moderate tastes. So, once I returned to California, I dismissed the show from my mind.

In 1995, I had a roommate who I couldn’t stand, and she was a Dittohead. Rush Limbaugh was in the last year of his television show, so she watched it religiously. I thought it was a bit cultish and, coupled with my disdain for this particular roommate, I decided that if she liked it, then it wasn’t for me. So, I once again dismissed the show.

Fast forward to 2007. I had a hella long commute to work, and since my very new husband at the time listened to talk radio, I decided to give that a try to get me through the miles, and give us another point of commonality to share. Guess who happened to be on during the time I was on the road? the one and only Rush Limbaugh.

Maybe it was the ability to listen to the entire show, but this time, I was drawn in. Rush’s distribution company Clear Channel Communications had just received a censure letter from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, lambasting Rush for criticizing U.S. troops who were against the war in Iraq, calling them “phony soldiers.” What ensued, with Rush auctioning off the letter to charity for $2.1 million dollars, was the ultimate troll, and extremely savage. Rush gave zero f**ks about it and flipped the script by doing some good for a worthy cause while handing the evil Harry Reid his ass.

From that moment on I was hooked, and listened regularly.

Rush was indeed unique in his ability to persuade, as well as his near-uncanny insight into the effectiveness of humor to get his ideas across. But there’s another essential ingredient in the Limbaugh formula for success, maybe the most important of them all. And somehow, despite their self-proclaimed intellectual superiority, it’s always been beyond the comprehension of Lefty Limbaugh-haters.

Rush’s critics always… always misunderstood him. Maybe it was purposeful. Rush’s critics always depicted him as an angry flame-thrower ranting into his microphone and giving marching orders to his army of ignorant, brainwashed minions.

They couldn’t be more wrong about all of that.

Rush was always smiling… and he was always funny. And he wasn’t giving us marching orders by telling us what to think. It was, in fact, the very opposite.

Rush wasn’t telling us what to think; he was articulating what we already believed. He was just the first to come along and respect us for our views, told us he shared them, and then he used his talents (on loan from God) to crystalize those ideas and articulate them in a clever, succinct, and entertaining way. And…never forget this…he was communicating those ideas on our behalf.

He was there for us. Not to tell us what to think but to help us articulate what we believed and remind us that we are not alone. And he did that in a very personal way.

Precisely. It’s so simple and obvious only a liberal could be unable to grasp it. It’s hopeless, I know, but what the hell. I’ll explain it one more time.

See, some might wave away Rush’s astounding and prolonged success as a matter of sheer dumb luck or, slightly more charitably, fortuitous timing. I think that’s dubious at best. Rush had a huge audience already in place just waiting for someone like him to come along. Millions of put-upon Americans, traditionally revered as the very heart, soul, and backbone of their nation, suddenly scorned as disgusting, bigoted ignoramuses—undeserving beneficiaries of a commodious lifestyle made possible only by the systematic exploitation and abuse of blameless foreigners. From salt of the earth to scum of the earth, in what must have felt like no more than the blink of an eye.

So here’s Normie Joe Sixpack, having had a bellyful of being defamed, denounced, and socially disenfranchised for crimes he never committed at the (soft) hands of mollycoddled ingrates who parasitically enjoyed the fruits produced by Joe’s hard work and ever-stiffening taxes. Then he happens upon a fella on the radio one fine day who not only professes the same beliefs as him, but is doing so with pride, passion, and eloquence. Can you even imagine what that unlooked-for discovery must have felt like to bewildered, frustrated, increasingly pissed off ol’ Joe? It was an affirmation long overdue, and well-earned. How could poor Joe reasonably be expected not to respond with jubilation, rewarding this newfound champion with undying loyalty and affection for their against-all-odds liberation?

Note: If this doesn’t remind you of the response bestowed on a certain outsider President (himself criminally harried from office by the same Lefty hellhounds persecuting poor Normie Joe) for a like affirmation, you should see a doctor to have yourself tested for latent Libtard Syndrome without delay, before your affliction can metastasize and reach its final, incurable stage. The good news is that a significant percentage of the population enjoys a powerful natural resistance to infection; for reasons not yet understood, those with higher levels of intelligence and self-respect have nothing to fear from this mysterious and deadly disease. For the unfortunate percentage who do contract it, LS is known to be one hundred percent fatal to reason, happiness, and mental stability in the briefest of intervals following the onset of frank symptoms. It is nothing to be messing around with.

Anyways. Evidence abounds supporting the contention that Rush was well aware of his potential audience, and of what that might mean for his own prospects, and his country’s. Not to imply that he cynically exploited that knowledge solely for his own enrichment; far from it. Limbaugh still faced years of toil, skepticism, and overt opposition from within his own industry, which I’m sure he also knew. It’s to his eternal credit that he didn’t let the obstacles daunt or dissuade him, readily accepting the challenge to eventually win through via dogged determination; an unshakable faith in his talent, his audience, and his message; and a lifelong ambition to carve out a career for himself in the broadcast-radio industry he so passionately loved.

It sounds like a horrible thing to say, but it’s kind of a shame Rush’s death had to come during the chaotic, floundering rein of an Enemy regime composed entirely of traitors mindlessly hostile to absolutely every principle he stood for. Trump would have seen to it that this profoundly consequential patriot’s legacy was honored as it ought to be, the grief of his admirers respected instead of ignored. But regardless of the indifference that is the very best we can hope for from the illegitimate BaiDing-Harris junta, I’d bet Rush Limbaugh’s funeral is going to be as unforgettable as the man himself was.

So fuck all the haters anyhow. Who cares? There’s not a damned thing they can do to prevent Real Americans from paying their last respects to a truly extraordinary man who was truly one of their own, and proud to be. Maybe the incandescent rage sparked by their own impotence will cause a few of them to keel over dead from a stroke or something. Let them fume, let them shriek, let them hate; the hatred of a scoundrel is an honorable man’s reward. The MahaRushi will be fondly remembered long after the pathetic Stumblebum In Thief and all his works have been forgotten. Rush Limbaugh’s inspiring legacy of achievement and uplift will forever eclipse the usurper Biden’s disgraceful record of corruption, self-regard, and insignificance.

RIP Christopher Plummer

An obit in the mufti of another stellar SteynMusic post.

This week’s song comes by way of multiple requests. Christopher Plummer died on Friday, after three-quarters of a century as an acclaimed actor. That’s to say, his first great turn was as a seventeen-year-old Mr Darcy in the 1946 Montreal High School production of Pride and Prejudice, a performance which was sufficiently striking to catch the eye of the Montreal Gazette‘s drama critic, Herbert Whittaker. Master Plummer was born into a distinguished lineage – the great-grandson of Canada’s third prime minister Sir John Abbott and a cousin of Nigel Bruce (Watson to Basil Rathbone’s Holmes) – and was thinking of becoming a concert pianist until he saw Olivier in Henry V. On screen, he had perhaps the most spectacular final decade of any veteran actor, becoming the oldest Oscar winner at the age of eighty-two for Beginners, and indeed, as Steve Sailer points out, earning almost half of all the Best Supporting Actor nominations ever given to octogenarians. A year ago, alas, his very last film, Knives Out, completely wasted his talents.

And yet, and yet… As he had known for over half-a-century, the very first line of every single TV and radio obit would be that he was the guy who played Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music. In the only contact I had with him, back in the Nineties, he was mature enough to appreciate that it was the film that made him a global star but also sufficiently irked to bemoan that he was most famous for an anomaly rather than for what he did, brilliantly, for seven decades. Sure enough, on Friday’s news bulletins, the anchors announced his passing and there’d be a little clip of him, with his guitar, warbling “Edelweiss”.

The only problem is that that isn’t Christopher Plummer singing, but Bill Lee, a versatile playback singer whose voice was dubbed in for “Edelweiss” and “Something Good”. You can hear Mr Lee’s other vocal work in South PacificThe Jungle BookMary Poppins and many more.

This lovely song’s backstory is quite a good one in its own right. For one thing, “Edelweiss” was the very last lyric the legendary Oscar Hammerstein ever penned, written as he was dying from cancer.

Not for the first time, Hammerstein had done too good a job. Just as his “Ol’ Man River” for Show Boat is assumed by many to be an authentic Negro spiritual, so “Edelweiss” is assumed to be an authentic Austrian folk song. Not so. In both cases, a great craftsman manufactured them to solve a structural problem with the storytelling. But he did it so well that they have become for real what they were only intended to simulate. Some years ago “Edelweiss” was played at the White House, at a state dinner for Austria’s President Kirschschlager, and everyone but the Austrians stood up for the national anthem. Actually, no. The current Austrian anthem is “Land der Berge, Land am Strome”, and the only official anthem by Rodgers & Hammerstein is their title number for their very first show, which serves as the state song of Oklahoma. In a curious example of how the lines between reality and showbusiness blur, among the guests at that White House banquet was the elderly Maria von Trapp – not Julie Andrews, not Mary Martin, but the real Baroness von Trapp.

Hammerstein never lived to see his last lyric’s greatest success. He knew he was in pain and he figured out why (the truth about his condition had been kept from him by his partner and family; as his son William explained, “Because of the kind of person he was, and the super-positive attitude he had towards life, we decided not to tell him. Because it wouldn’t have done him any good”—M). Not long after The Sound Of Music opened, he went to see his doctor and demanded to be told the truth about his condition. That day, he had a lunch appointment with Richard Rodgers, and told his composing partner what the other man already knew. His doctor had offered him three alternatives: another operation, which would be painful and could never cure the cancer; a trip to Washington for a new experimental treatment which would also be painful and temporary; or he could do nothing except enjoy the time he had left with his family at their home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Rodgers asked him which option he would choose. “I’m just going down to Doylestown,” said Hammerstein, “and stay on the farm until I die.”

At the end of lunch, two sober middle-aged men rose, shook hands and parted.

Rodgers recalled that, during their conversation, they’d been interrupted by a gentleman from a few tables away. He was visiting New York from the Midwest and asked if they’d mind autographing his menu. They obliged, and he then said: “I hope you won’t mind my saying this, but one thing bothers me. You’re both extremely successful men, at the top of your profession, and I’m sure you don’t have a worry in the world. I was just wondering what could possibly make you both look so sad.”

When Hammerstein died, Theodore Bikel was on stage every night on Broadway still singing “Edelweiss”, and he noticed something about the song. “This dying man writing the very last lyric of his career,” he said, “the very last word he wrote was ‘forever’.” But a great song is forever and, almost six decades on, the last bud of the most spectacular partnership in theatre history has bloomed and grown.

As incredible as it may seem, there’s still a ton of good stuff to the story even yet, of which you will want to read the etc.

Farewell to Kaithy Shaidle

She left us with one hell of a fine obituary.

Following a tedious rendezvous with ovarian cancer, Kathy Shaidle has died, wishing she’d spent more time at the office.

Her tombstone reads: GET OFF MY LAWN!

She is relieved she won’t have to update her LinkedIn profile, shave her legs, or hear “Creep” by Radiohead ever again. Some may even be jealous that she’s getting out of enduring a Biden presidency.

Kathy was a writer, author, columnist and blogging pioneer, as proud of her first book’s Governor General’s Award nomination as of her stint as “Ed Anger” for the Weekly World News. A target for “cancel” culture before the term was coined, she was denounced by all the best people, sometimes for contradictory reasons.

Kathy did not lead a particularly “full life,” her existence having been comprised mostly of a series of unpleasant surprises. Her favourite corporeal pleasure was saying, “I told you so,” which she was able to utter with justification multiple times a day. A bookish movie-buff and agoraphobic homebody, as a child Kathy (as per the Roz Chast cartoon) “always preferred the little couch ride on the merry-go-round.” Yet Kathy managed to acquire a reputation for mouthiness, a side effect of her bullshit allergy.

Contrary to cliche, Kathy did not conduct herself with particular “grace,” “dignity” or “courage” in her final months. She didn’t “bravely fight on” after her cancer was pronounced terminal. All she did was (barely) cope, and then only with assistance from her generous employer, and some energetic and selfless friends whom she’d somehow managed to acquire over the years, much to her astonishment. Of course, the greatest of these was her stalwart beloved of over 20 years, Arnie, with whom she is now in the ultimate long distance relationship. They can all finally catch up on their sleep.

Kathy’s bereaved co-blogger Mark Steyn adds:

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Kathy Shaidle, a dear friend and our peerless movie essayist, who left us just before six o’clock this morning at Mississauga Hospital in Ontario.

In a too short life, Kathy wrote in almost every form: She is the only writer I know who was both a respected poet nominated for major prizes and the “Ed Anger” columnist of The Weekly World News. And, as most of you know, after 9/11 she became the leading Canadian polemicist in the great messy decentralized blogosphere we miss so much in the age of Social Media woketalitarianism.

There will be time to discuss all that in the days ahead. But on Saturday evenings, for the past several years, Kathy was here every week to talk about movies. A decade or so back, I had suggested to the fellows who run Maclean’s that they snap her up to do a column on pop culture, because nobody wrote better on Joan Crawford, punk and a zillion other subjects. They were a little nervous of that, and somewhere along the way Maclean’s ceased to be a thing, and so at some point I just thought, “Aw, nuts! We should snap her up ourselves.”

What I particularly loved about Kathy’s film essays was the occasional glimpses she gave us of her own life. One should not take it all as gospel: She had a carefully constructed persona as an agoraphobic misanthrope who never left the flat. Whereas, as Mark Steyn cruisers who had the good fortune to be at her dinner table will attest, in real life she was gregarious and occasionally (as I told her a couple of weeks back somewhat to her horror) verging on bubbly. I had the pleasure a few years ago of introducing her to half the Canadian cabinet over pizza at the Prime Minister’s house. Reading about it afterwards, the highly-strung leftie bloggers were horrified at the thought of the hated Shaidle piercing the holy sanctum of 24 Sussex Drive like a one-woman trial run for the mob’s storming of the US Capitol. But the various ministers of the Crown seemed to enjoy the opportunity to shoot the breeze with her – as we all did.

I especially love the Ed Anger business, which, despite having been an Anger devotee myself in the long ago and far away—despite a good friend of mine having also worked at WWN back in the halcyon Bat Boy era, even*—I didn’t know about before now. Steyn has a second Shaidle memorial post up, featuring a video compendium of scorching quotes from her appearances on the Mark Steyn Show.

Rest now, girlfriend; forever may you be be at peace. And: well done.

* Believe it or not, I actually had a Bat Boy t-shirt that was sent to me by said friend as a gift, a garment I wore with tremendous pride until the thing was nothing but a tattered rag, as any decent, right-thinking American would have. She also revealed the epic Bat Boy behind-the-scenes story to me back then—a sordid, shocking tale of love, bravery, and betrayal which is now so highly-classified I could easily be killed by shadowy Black-Ops assassins for even having brought it up.

The blood of patriots

Couldn’t come up with a way to improve on ZMan’s title, so I lifted it.

Yesterday, Ashli Babbitt was shot in the neck and died while protesting inside the Capitol with other protestors. A group of angry Trump supporters had got into the building and were making a racket. This is not an unusual occurrence. During the Kavanaugh hearings, Democrats organized mobs of screeching women to harass Republicans in the halls of the Capitol. Party media was there to celebrate it as the purest expression of democracy. It was power to the people time.

That was not the case yesterday, according to the media. Instead, it was a direct threat to “our” democracy. This is a bit ironic in that the protests are over the obvious corruption in the election system. The direct threat to democracy is the people demanding their elections be fair and honest. That’s why Ashli Babbitt was inside the Capitol making a racket. Her whole life she had been told this was how citizens angry at their government demand redress when the system fails.

That is how popular government is supposed to work. The people expect their government to be responsive to the will of the people. When they don’t like that they see, they vote for different people to hold office. If those politicians ignore the people, then the people go bang on their door and demand redress of their grievances. The politicians then come out and address their issues. That’s not it works now. Instead, they open fire on the people like they did yesterday.

Ashli Babbitt was not some drug-addled degenerate, like we saw last summer, when the ruling class unleashed their mobs on us. She was a veteran, serving 14 years in the US Air Force, and she was a high-level security official throughout her time in service. She was like most of the people at the protest, in that she had bought into what she was told about America. So much so she signed onto serve in the military and go overseas in various deployments.

Of course, unlike George Floyd, Ashli Babbitt will not get three nationally televised funerals and be treated as a fallen hero. That honor goes to drug-addled criminals who overdose in police custody. In this America, patriots who served their country and exercise their rights get gunned down by agents of the state. This woman, this patriot, bleeding out in the halls of the Capitol, murdered by an agent of the state, is the perfect image of what has gone terribly wrong in America.

No doubt, millions of decent people who sympathized with her cause are saddened by this terrible tragedy. It did not have to come to this. This was not an accident. This was not a terrible misfortune. The people on the other side of that door, the people who celebrate the murderer of Ashli Babbitt now, they did this. They created this crisis that threatens to plunge to country into a death spiral. They had choices and they had plenty of warning, but they refused to listen and now Ashli Babbitt is dead.

This is one of ZMan’s all-time best; my excessive excerpting notwithstanding, you’ll want to read all of it.

I’ve seen reports that the bloodthirsty, cowardly pig—a word I do NOT just lightly throw around, not ever—who wantonly murdered Ashli was either Capitol Police or, as Z says, a member of the traitor Pence’s security detail. Whatever the case may be, the filthy scum should be doxxed, then spend the rest of his abbreviated existence being hounded by other patriots at his very doorstep. And that’s just for starters. If I was Ashli’s poor husband, I would certainly dedicate the rest of my life to, as Sgt Barnes said in Platoon, taking a personal interest in seeing him suffer.




Via WRSA, Yon says this means war.



Michael is definitely a guy who would know one when he sees one. How terrible that, at this point, we must hope he’s right. But one way or another, by any means necessary, we cannot allow this woman to die in vain. We MUST not.

Avenge-Ashli.png

First blood

Ruthlessly murdered by DC Chekisti swine.

KUSI News confirms identity of woman shot and killed inside US Capitol
WASHINGTON (KUSI) — The woman who was shot and killed inside the US Capitol during the protests was from the San Diego area.

The woman is Ashli Babbit, a 14-year veteran, who served four tours with the US Air Force, and was a high level security official throughout her time in service.

Her husband says she was a strong supporter of President Trump, and was a great patriot to all who knew her.

Heartfelt condolences to her family; may flights of angels sing her to her eternal rest. Ashli should be remembered and revered for all time as a courageous martyr to the cause of freedom. She died fulfilling her oath to the Constitution; all Real Americans now bear the sacred duty of seeing to it that she is righteously avenged, her sacrifice redeemed in fullest measure. May God bless her sould and comfort her grieving loved ones.

AshliBabbitt.png

Image swiped from Concerned American.

A splash of Cranberries

The Cranberries have always been one my favorite bands, much though that might seem to clash with some of my other, umm, known proclivities. Fronted by the late, lamented, and completely lovely Dolores O’Riordan, they were one of those bands whose sound was so distinctive that you always recognized any song of theirs within only a handful of bars. About Dolores:

Dolores Mary Eileen O’Riordan (/oʊˈrɪərdən/; 6 September 1971 – 15 January 2018) was an Irish musician, singer, and songwriter. She was best known as the lead vocalist and lyricist for the alternative rock band the Cranberries. O’Riordan was one of the most recognizable female voices in rock in the 1990s and in pop history. She was known for her lilting mezzo-soprano voice,[5] her signature yodel, her emphasised use of keening, and her strong Limerick accent. With the Cranberries, she is regarded to have written “some of the most seminal songs in music history”.

Poor lass lived an extremely eventful life:

O’Riordan was singing before she could talk. When she was five years of age, the principal of her school took her into the sixth class, sat her on the teacher’s desk, and told her to sing for the twelve-year-old students in the class. She started with traditional Irish music and playing the Irish tin whistle when she went to school. When she was seven years old, her sister accidentally burned the house down; the rural community was able to raise funds to purchase the family a new homestead. Her formative experiences were as a liturgical soloist in the choir in local church and as singer at school. From the age of eight, she was sexually abused for four years by a person whom she trusted. At the age of ten, she would sing in local pubs where her uncles took her.

All that, and it only brings us up to age ten. Oh, did I mention she was quite the fair Colleen? Because I assure you, she was.

DoloresORiordan.jpg

Not that an abundance of personal pulchritude matters much when you can belt it out like she could.







Those last two are my own personal Best Of’s, but the real reason I thought of mentioning all this tonight relates to the first one. See, on the drive home from work earlier I heard Bad Wolves’ regrettable remake of Zombie. Not that they made such a terrible job of it, mind. In fact, to their enormous credit, the vid for the Bad Wolves version is quite tasteful, nicely highlighting the band’s obvious respect and affection for Dolores and the Cranberries. Nonetheless: some songs are just better left alone, y’know? Sleeping dogs, all that jazz.

Which brings Five Finger Death Punch to mind. From what I can gather, 5FDP seems to be big on the remakes as well, unfortunately including another perennial fave of mine: Bad Company’s signature tune. Please understand, I have nothing whatsoever against 5FDP and wish them nothing but success. Nor am I opposed to cover songs per se, having recorded a whole passel of ’em over the years my own self, offering neither shame nor apology for having thus sinned. Just the same: sorry fellas, but some things simply can’t be improved upon, and it’s sheer folly to even try.

Oh, and while we’re at it, I will never begin to understand why Bad Wolves didn’t name themselves The Big Bad Wolves when they had the chance. Redoing Zombie I can maybe make allowances for, but that lapse? Unforgivable.

TERRIBLE news

Another good man gone, one we could hardly afford to lose.

Walter Williams loved teaching. Unlike too many other teachers today, he made it a point never to impose his opinions on his students. Those who read his syndicated newspaper columns know that he expressed his opinions boldly and unequivocally there. But not in the classroom.

Walter once said he hoped that, on the day he died, he would have taught a class that day. And that is just the way it was, when he died on Wednesday, December 2, 2020.

He was my best friend for half a century. There was no one I trusted more or whose integrity I respected more. Since he was younger than me, I chose him to be my literary executor, to take control of my books after I was gone.

But his death is a reminder that no one really has anything to say about such things.

Dr Williams was a top-tier thinker, a brilliant writer, and a true character, a man who will sorely be missed. The above excerpt is from an obit written by the great Thomas Sowell, another whose eventual loss Team Liberty will feel keenly. More from Nick Gillespie:

Williams was so libertarian that he refused to accept the term as a descriptor. I interviewed him in 2011 and asked him whether he saw himself as part of the libertarian movement to which he had contributed so much. No, he said. “I just do my own thing.”

Born in Philadelphia in 1936, Williams grew up as a neighbor to Bill Cosby in the city’s racially segregated housing projects and was drafted into the peacetime Army during the Cold War. A self-described “crazy-ass man who insisted on talking about liberty in America” long before he was a public intellectual, the racist violence and abuse he suffered at the hands of police, military officers, and other authorities informed much of his work. In his powerful, evocative 2010 memoir, Up From the Projects, he recounts the time when, as a cab driver in the City of Brotherly Love, he was ordered out of his cab by a white officer, beaten up, and then charged with disorderly conduct. He wasn’t thrilled about being drafted and being sent to a base in pre-integration Georgia. Disgusted by the pervasive racism he encountered in the military, Private Williams wrote to his commander in chief, President John F. Kennedy:

“Should Negroes be relieved of their service obligation or continue defending and dying for empty promises of freedom and equality… Or should we demand human rights as our Founding Fathers did at the risk of being called extremists….I contend that we relieve ourselves of oppression in a manner that is in keeping with the great heritage of our nation.”

Williams was also a contrarian. He attacked discrimination by the state but defended the rights of private citizens to exclude whomever they wanted for whatever reason. A public library, he said, couldn’t discriminate, but a private library could turn away anyone it wanted to. From our 2011 interview:

One of my strong values is freedom of association. If you believe in freedom of association, you have to accept that people will associate in ways that you find offensive. I believe people have the right to discriminate on any basis they want, so long as they’re not using a government [to do so].

Williams had a great flair for the apocalyptic. In his columns and during stints guest-hosting for Rush Limbaugh, he would often argue that America had irrevocably lost its way, especially when it came to defending the economic freedom that he believed was essential to rising living standards. If his rhetoric ran hot, he nevertheless asked questions that are well worth considering a decade after the Great Recession and in the midst of a medically induced economic coma.

That doesn’t go nearly far enough to suit me. In fact, such questions are more than merely “well worth considering,” and not just for a decade either. They are eternal, and essential. It is vital that they are kept front and center in the mind of any person who hopes to live free in defiance of the petty tyrants that plague us, not for decades but for all time. They are a direct representation of the “constant vigilance” so urgently commended to us as no less than the price of liberty.

Are we so arrogant…to think that we are different from other people around the world?… How different are we from the Romans, who went down the tubes, or the British, or the French, or the Spanish, or the Portuguese? These are great empires of the past, but they went down the tubes for roughly the same things that we’re doing. Liberty is the rare state of affairs in mankind’s history, arbitrary abuse and control by others is the standard dish even now. All the tendencies are for us to have greater and greater amounts of our liberty usurped by government.

How perfectly Dr Williams’ statement dovetails with at least one alternate version of the “eternal vigilance” quote frequently attributed to Jefferson:

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty; power is ever stealing from the many to the few. The manna of popular liberty must be gathered each day or it is rotten. The living sap of today outgrows the dead rind of yesterday. The hand entrusted with power becomes, either from human depravity or esprit de corps, the necessary enemy of the people. Only by continued oversight can the democrat in office be prevented from hardening into a despot; only by unintermitted agitation can a people be sufficiently awake to principle not to let liberty be smothered in material prosperity.

Per-zackly, and you can be sure that Williams knew it quite well too. Back over to Gillespie for the sign-off.

If we are not as far down the road to serfdom as he feared, it’s in good part due to his voluminous writings and appearances which were by turns impassioned, funny, insightful, and memorable as hell. Walter E. Williams, rest in peace.

Amen to that. Fare ye well, Walter Williams. Forever may you rest in peace, good sir.

Update! Dr Williams’ last Townhall column can be found here.

Fright flashback

What would Halloween be without a little Vincent Price?

I’ve complained about my hometown before, but am obliged to say at this juncture that in humble Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, we actually had something better.

The Hilarious House of Frightenstein was produced in 1971 by our one and only TV station, CHCH. This hour-long, 130-episode kids’ show combined the mid-century sensibility of Famous Monsters of Filmland with the then-hip look and sound of psychedelia: kaleidoscopic “special effects” plus Top 40 hits spun by “The Wolfman,” an affectionate rip-off of legendary DJ Wolfman Jack.

Frightenstein’s only real star was Vincent Price, who appears at the beginning and end of each episode, and reads mock-macabre poems and other interstitials.

Frightenstein’s producer tracked down Price, who agreed to work for $3000 a day, one quarter of his usual per-diem appearance rate.

He loved children, he explained simply. And the gig sounded like fun.

CHCH checked their tiny budget. They could only afford Price for four days, tops.

Four days it would have to be.

Everyone signed on the dotted line.

I’ve heard the story of what happened next from different sources, and it never ceases to warm my heart:

Price arrived at the modest TV studio, got into makeup and costume and was handed reams of doggerel poems about some crazy characters he’d never heard of before.

He’d read each piece once, put his head down, then look up at the camera’s red light and utter his lines perfectly in one take.

Next!

New makeup, new costume, same perfect delivery, hour after hour.

Finally, it was time for a break. The weary yet exhilarated crew turned off the cameras and lights.

Then they looked around and realized that Vincent Price had disappeared.

Oh well, they said to each other, what do you expect? He’s a big star and all. Plus he’s, like, 60 years old, so he probably went for a nap…

The studio door opened a few minutes later.

It was Vincent Price and a cab driver, hauling “two-fours” of beer from the nearby Brewer’s Retail.

He handed cold stubbies out to the cast and crew and regaled them with tales of old Hollywood, his days working with Karloff and Peter Lorre and Gene Tierney and Cecil B. DeMille and all the other greats he’d known.

Then he posed for photos with everybody individually.

On an overnight rush, these were blown up into 8 x 10s, which Price personally autographed for everyone at the station.

Over the course of four days, taping over 400 of these interstitials, Price never complained, blew a line or missed a mark.

In an era when standards of conduct were collapsing, Vincent Price insisted on behaving like the well-bred gentleman he so often portrayed on screen.

What a wonderful story. Like Sean Connery, Vincent Price was another icon from a now-lost and lamented era. Steyn Kathy Shaidle (oops, my bad—M) is right to laud his rock-solid, unflappable professionalism, and here’s the proof:



Also like Connery, we’ll never see Vincent Price’s like again. Which is really kind of tragic for the rest of us, when you think about it.

Update! Okay, one last hurrah for Halloween.




Can’t remember where I ran across this, so no “Via” link, but it’s good stuff.

Shaken, not stirred

Gonna have to break my no-Tweet rule again for this one, I’m afraid. But it’s Schlichter’s, so I don’t feel TOO bad about that.



Heh. I see what you did there, Kurt. A fond fare thee well to one of the all-time greats; I can only hope my own obituary reads something like the part I put in boldface.

Sean Connery, the most iconic James Bond actor, is now having drinks with the Man Upstairs. The acting giant passed away in his sleep overnight in the Bahamas. His loss is tragic, but he lived to the age of 90.

If you gotta go—and let’s face it, we all do—this would have to be one of the best ways I can thnk of to do it. More:

Sean Connery’s style, grace and sheer magnetism brought Ian Fleming’s character of James Bond to life. It was Connery’s interpretation of 007 that helped establish the foundation of success upon which the entire James Bond series has been built.

Born in Fountainbridge, Scotland, Connery had many jobs before he joined the Royal Navy hoping to see the world. Having served for three years as an able seaman assigned to battleships he was discharged and trained as a French polisher before deciding to enter the Mr Universe contest in 1953. He won a bronze medal in his weight division. At the age of 23 he had a choice between becoming a professional footballer for Manchester United or an actor and he chose acting.

So: a Trump man; a bold and intrepid soul; a man’s man and a real gentleman through and through; a film icon; a roustabout and wanderer; a true Scotsman; hell, the guy even sported a pair of tattoos from his Navy years. With all that going for him, seems to me like dying peacefully in his sleep at 90 in the friggin’ Bahamas just might have been God’s way of rewarding Connery for a life well-lived.

Rest in peace, Sir Sean, and bravo.

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"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." – Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

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“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.” – Frank Zappa

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