Madison Rising

While listening to The David Webb Show on SiriusXM yesterday morning, a clip from this version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” was played, performed by a band named Madison Rising:

Although first released in 2011, I’d never before heard it.

I think it’s an incredible rendition of the national anthem.  “The Star-Spangled Banner” has had quite a history, originally being a poem written by lawyer Francis Scott Key to commemorate the American victory at the Battle of Baltimore on September 14,1814. The verses of the poem were later grafted to the tune of a popular British drinking song called “To Anacreon in Heaven.” It was first used officially by the U.S. Navy in 1889 and in 1931 was declared the national anthem by a joint resolution of Congress, signed into law by President Herbert Hoover.

I think Mr. Key would be proud.

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Werewolves of Laredo

Before her retirement many years ago, my mother was a professor at an institution of higher learning in Laredo, Texas, teaching Spanish Literature and English as a Second Language. I ended up following her career path, though in a different discipline (History).

Anyone who has worked in academia will tell you of some of the strange and bizarre excuses that students come up with for missing class. My mom, however, encountered one that I doubt I’ll ever top. Once, a female student of hers who was pregnant said she couldn’t make it to class one evening because her parents, who were very superstitious, believed that if she went out during a full moon she would end up giving birth to a werewolf.

I wonder what Warren Zevon would’ve thought…

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And Then There Were Two…

On Saturday, my Texas Tech Red Raiders defeated the Michigan State Spartans 61-51 to advance to the NCAA championship game, where they will play the Virginia Cavaliers, who earlier that day beat the Auburn Tigers 63-61. Here are some highlights from the Texas Tech-Michigan State game:

As a bonus, on Friday the Texas Tech cheer and pom squads won two national championships at the National Cheerleaders Association finals in Daytona Beach. Here’s a video of the cheer squad’s winning performance:

It’s a great time to be a Red Raider!

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CUK Britannia

From the “you just can’t make this stuff up” file, meet Great Britain’s newest political party: the CUK Party.

On the day when the United Kingdom was supposed to be leaving the European Union, the globalist, largely left-liberal “centrists” formerly of the Labour MPs — Chuka Umunna, Gavin Shuker, Luciana Berger, Ann Coffey, Mike Gapes, Chris Leslie, Joan Ryan, and Angela Smith — and the Tory Party — Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen, and Sarah Wollaston — announced they were formally instituting their new parliamentary faction as a political party, Change UK (CUK).

Promo code: hilarious!

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The San Antonio Spurs Can Go To Hell

Get a load of this: Spurs’ Lonnie Walker Says He ‘Will Never Celebrate 4th of July.’ From the article:

Lonnie Walker IV, the recently selected 1st round pick of the San Antonio Spurs, took to Twitter on Independence Day, to say that he “will never celebrate 4th of July.”

The tweet read: “Will never celebrate 4th of July. Know your history!! and stay woke.”

Between this and Gregg Popovich’s sub-literate anti-Trump blatherings, I have never before seen a team so determined to alienate their fan base.

After all, San Antonio is known as “Military City, USA.” Who is running the Spurs nowadays, Mullah Omar?

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“America the Beautiful” as sung by the Silver Fox

You know, in the bayous of Louisiana – quelle beau pays – that’s what the Cajuns say.
And in New York’s Little Italy – que bella terra – that’s how they say it their way.
And in the beer halls of Milwaukee, you’ll hear the words wie schöne das Land.
And it’s que lindo país – that’s what you’ll hear them say along the border, down by the Rio Grande.
You know there’s a lot of ways to say it. And it’s a privilege to play it.
‘Cause a lot of good people earned it. And this is how I learned it…

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When Someone Tells You Who They Are…

….believe them:

So Max Boot and Jennifer Rubin wish to revoke my citizenship?

I’ll repeat what my Texan ancestors said to Santa Anna’s dragoons at Gonzales: Come and take it!

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On Churchill’s Darkest Hour, and Ours

On Monday evening I took the time to watch Darkest Hour, wherein Gary Oldman gives an epic performance as Winston Churchill during the days and weeks after he rose to the prime ministership on May 10, 1940. Toward the end of the film, there was a scene where Churchill decides to ride the London Underground to Westminster. While on the subway, he speaks with a woman carrying a five-month old baby on her lap. Now while that woman and her baby were likely fictional, it struck me that were that baby still alive today, he would be five months younger than my own father, who turns 79 next month.

As William Faulkner wrote in Requiem for a Nun, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

Churchill, who led the United Kingdom during my father’s lifetime, refused to back down against Hitler’s brutal war machine which had overrun Western Europe and threatened to do the same to Britain, ignoring the advice of his own senior cabinet ministers who wished to pursue a negotiated peace.

I think of my Great Uncle Phil, a dual Canadian-American citizen who answered the King’s call and volunteered for service in the Royal Canadian Air Force, receiving a commission as a flight lieutenant as the Battle of Britain was underway in the fall of 1940.

I think also of my great-great-great grandfather Juan Francisco, a prominent politician in the then northern Mexican city of Laredo, suffering under the heel of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna’s brutal oppression, but ultimately leading his fellow Laredoans into an alliance with Texas and the United States. On April 25, 1847, he was administered his oath of American citizenship by none other than Mirabeau B. Lamar, former President of the Republic of Texas.

History is not made by the weak, but by those who have the courage to stand fast.

We face a similar reckoning at present, being told that to secure our southern border against alien invaders is inhumane and heartless. No less a personage than former First Lady Laura Bush has called for compassion in dealing with illegal alien children and their alleged parents.

Well I dare ask, where was this vaunted Bush compassion during her husband’s presidency, when on Thanksgiving night in 2005 some Mexican cartel members decided to have a shootout in my parent’s tony upper middle class neighborhood in Laredo, Texas? Nowhere.

Where was this vaunted Bush compassion when hundreds of innocent Mexicans were killed as a result of the Obama administration’s Operation Fast and Furious? Silence.

What of the confederacy of dunces and rats known as the Democratic Party? They make common cause with the illegals and other foreign interlopers against their own people.

And then there is the vile nest of copperheads in the Republican Party who call themselves NeverTrump. What is NeverTrumpism, but the philosophy of despair, the creed of arrogance, and the gospel of surrender?

I will have none of it. Like Horatius at the bridge and Churchill before the Nazi menace, it is time to stand and fight.

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Baby’s Got a New Baby

Having been born in 1975, the ‘80s were my childhood. During that decade, there were a number of musical groups whose names were acronyms, such as R.E.M., AC/DC, REO Speedwagon, and ELO. In addition, there was also a short-lived country band called S-K-O, named after its three members: songwriters Thom Schuyler, Fred Knobloch, and Paul Overstreet.

I hadn’t thought of S-K-O in years, but my memory of them came flooding back a couple of days ago when one of their songs popped up on my YouTube Music app: “Baby’s Got a New Baby”:

Released in 1986, the song rose to number one on the country charts. It is a wistful, yet upbeat tune about a man worrying that he’s losing his girlfriend.

Regrettably, it was the only number one tune the group would ever have. Paul Overstreet left in 1987 to pursue a solo career. The band replaced him with another songwriter named Craig Bickhardt and renamed itself S-K-B, but it never again reached the same level of success and disbanded in 1989.

Meanwhile, Paul Overstreet achieved some notable success as a solo act with ten studio albums and sixteen charted singles, two of which made it to #1. My favorite song of his was “Me and My Baby,” released during the summer of 1992 just ahead of my senior year of high school.

Such songs evoke a sense of joy that has largely vanished from my life, and I treasure them as I would the most priceless jewels.

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TOTD 2018/5/15: The Ideal and the Real

Why is it that so many of President Trump’s critics seem to have trouble comprehending that the real world does not operate or conform to abstract ideological principles?

Perhaps, as James Day Hodgson observes in American Senryu, what is fundamentally at issue is the inability of the innocent to understand evil:

Ignored evil —
The price too often paid for
Purity of heart.

Hodgson expounds:

“Absence of guile achieved by wearing mental blinders is a dubious virtue. The late British humorist Malcolm Muggeridge was deadly serious when he reminded us that purity of heart has a dangerous two-dimensional shallowness unless accompanied by penetrating perception.  An uncorrupted heart must be coupled with a ruthless eye.”

I would add that those presidents with the most successful foreign policy achievements – Theodore Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan among them – understood that one must deal with the world as it is, not how he wishes it to be. An uncorrupted heart is far less valuable an asset in diplomacy than a relentless pragmatism.

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