~~~

  • I Believe That I Am Unofficially “Crotchety”

    I was driving around early this afternoon, doing several local errands, and I suddenly realized that, through the eyes of others, I must be
    officially considered as “crotchety.”

    Synonyms for CROTCHETY include: bad-tempered, irascible, irritable, grumpy, grouchy, cantankerous, short-tempered, tetchy, testy, curmudgeonly, ill-tempered, ill-humored, ill-natured, cross-grained, peevish, cross, fractious, pettish, waspish, crabbed, crabby, crusty, prickly, touchy, snappish, snappy, cranky, ornery

    They use it in this sentence, which certainly fits the bill personally, “it’s the dreadful arthritis that has made him so crotchety”

    I’m not sure how this happened, probably slowly over time, but here I have a crabby, snappy, ornery sort of personage.

    There are quite a few things that tick me off these days, and frankly, most of the things that piss me off really aren’t new or have suddenly turned up. My list is partial, and I expect it to grow very long indeed.

    BAD DRIVERS (including way to slow drivers, no lights at night drivers, servers and lane changers, lots of trucks and delivery vans with bad drivers
    at the wheel, and those that ride their brakes for no apparent reason.)
    POOR SERVICE
    BAD ATTITUDES
    PEOPLE WHO WALK WHILE TALKING ON THEIR PHONES
    PEOPLE WHO DRIVE WHILE TALKING ON THEIR PHONES
    LITTERBUGS
    SMOKERS
    CLERKS WHO GIVE YOU 99cents IN CHANGE
    THINGS THAT BREAK OR NO LONGER WORK
    AUTO REPAIR AND MAINTENANCE
    ALL THE BAD TV SHOWS
    HORROR MOVIES, THEIR ADS, AND GROTESQUE VIOLENCE
    PAULA EBBEN AT WBZ TV4 IN BOSTON (please don’t call her a journalist)
    WEATHERMAN PETE BOUCHARD AT NECN (I guess better that he forecasts)
    AND I DON’T WANT TO HEAR A THING ABOUT IOWA POLITICS FOR AT LEAST 4 MORE YEARS
    LOSING. I AM ALL THE MORE CROTCHETY SINCE THE PATRIOTS LOST A CHANCE TO DEFEND THE SUPER BOWL AGAIN.
    PERIODONTISTS WHO KNOCK OFF YOUR CROWN AND EXPECT YOU TO PAY FOR A NEW ONE
    RCN, MY CABLE COMPANY
    ALL THE ROBOCALLS AND UNWANTED CALLS ON MY CELLPHONE AND MY HOME PHONE
    NO DOUBT, THE LIST WILL GROW EVER LONGER, I AM, AFTER ALL, UNOFFICIALLY, A GRUMPY SORT.


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  • The Patriots Loss

    I have a different take on why the Patriots lost to Denver. Lack of Imagination. Utter lack of offensive imagination.


    Tom Brady has been hurried, sacked, pressured more this year than any in his incredible career. When you have no running game to speak of and your offensive line can’t protect the QB, you have to make an in-game adjustment. If you can’t pass block then you resort to screen passes, misdirection plays, or draw plays. How often did the Pats even attempt to do any of those things. Zippo. Not once, if memory serves.
    Those are the ways to counteract a pass rush like New England faced today in Denver.


    And I don’t know why? It was a tough game to watch because from the first series. Denver was gunning for Brady as we all knew they would be, and once he got knocked down a few times, he got a little skittish and that was basically the ball game.


    I don’t blame Brady and I don’t really blame the offensive line altogether. I fault the game plan by the coaches, and the utter lack of in-game adjustments. All year long we utilized the no huddle offense to our advantage. Didn’t see it today. Our cadence was so routine that Denver looked like they were offsides on some plays when they were just anticipating the snap.


    A little trickeration might go a long way to overcome an outclassed offensive line and a non-existent running game, both the result of a long list of injured Patriots this season. We started the year by going undefeated for the first ten games. We limped home from that point, the nadir being a bad game plan against lowly Miami in our last regular season game. Today’s game looked similar in our total lack of offensive imagination and what got us beat in Miami, got us beat today in Denver.


    Truthfully, I think Carolina would have beaten the Pats in the Super Bowl. Guess we’ll never know.
    It’s a real shame that we made it easier for Denver with a game full of lousy play calling. C’mon Coach, do your job.


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  • The Crimson Tide

    Last night,  Coach Saban won his fourth National Championship at Bama (in just the last 7 years) with a great win over plucky Clemson, about as worthy an opponent as there can be.  Clemson came to win and almost did.  Kudos to Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers.  Great fans, those Tigers.  Kudos also to Coach Saban for that surprise onside kick that changed the momentum of the game in our favor.


    It remains my contention that Bryant-Denny Stadium should now be, as was my contention three years ago, renamed Bryant-Saban Stadium.

    No disrespect to Dr. George Denny, who presided over Alabama, also known as The Capstone, from 1912-1936, and again from 1941-42.  The most prominent structure on the Alabama campus is Denny Chimes with its carillon high above the quadrangle.  So Dr. Denny is well remembered, forever and always, and highly honored for his leadership, and it would be no knock on his legacy if we just gave him the Chimes and not the football stadium.


    It is always great to be a lifelong fan of the most highly decorated football program of all time.  Sixteen National football championships place Alabama at the pinnacle, above the storied programs at Notre Dame, Southern Cal, Michigan, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Nebraska, among others who have garnered multiple national football championships.


    The two greatest college football coaches of all time (Paul Bear Bryant and Nick Saban) both coached at the same school, Alabama.  Of our 16 National football championships, Bryant and Saban have accounted for ten of them, and Coach Bryant probably deserved a couple more that were taken away back in the day.


    For 7 decades, beginning with J.B. Whitworth, I have been a diehard Alabama Crimson Tide fan.  And I passed that on to my children and hopefully they will do the same someday.


    Coach Saban deserves the honor of having his name on the stadium with Coach Bryant.  I don’t know if the Board of Regents or the State Legislature needs to make the decision, but let’s get this going.


    Coach Bryant is a legend that remains larger than life and in that sense, I continue to revere his coaching legacy, although it is hard to compare his era to Coach Saban’s.  As far as they go they have to be 1 and 2 all time, with all due respect to Knute Rockne and all the coaching greats that have gone before.


    It’s time for “Bryant-Saban.”


    Bryant-Saban Stadium has a nice ring to it!  A perennial National Championship ring.


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  • September 11, 2001

    911Hard to believe it has been 14 years. We need to remember as a way of honoring those we lost. How could we not? It really happened. It wasn’t just “close to home,” – it WAS home.

    Fourteen years ago, my town, Boston, like all cities, small and large, came to a halt. No planes flying, no trucks or trains. We all went home and watched the news all that day and into the night. Then we did it the next day and the next and here we are fourteen years later.

    It was the utter silence, in Boston on 9-11, that I remember. A city gone suddenly quiet, no delivery trucks, no cars, no planes, no trains. That silence was broken, periodically, by F-15s, Screaming Eagles with afterburners aglow, making passes over Boston.

    Here we are, 14 years later to the day. I don’t think it is ever going to be the same, at least in our lifetime. That was truly a watershed moment.

    Of course, we remember those who were lost and we give our thanks to all those brave first and second responders. Thanks to those who serve our country and are always vigilant. Local, State, and Federal. We are mostly a grateful nation.


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  • President Jimmy

    Truly sad to hear that President Jimmy Carter, now 90, has liver cancer that has spread. He’s had a long life, a good life by almost every possible measure, and I wish the best for him, as I always have.

    I met him twice when he was running for President and became a lifelong fan.

    Over the years, I’ve had a couple of other chances to shake his hand and talk with him.
    Although President Carter was a victim of bad luck regarding the hostage taking in Iran, when the US Embassy was overrun, and the Middle East oil crisis, he was, and is, a truly great person, as his post presidential life these past 35 years has shown; having been the world over, promoting fair, honest elections, primarily in Africa and both Central and South America. But he has also spent significant time wherever freedom needed his assistance. Jimmy’s efforts with Habitat For Humanity show yet another example of a life dedicated to helping others.

    All the best to him. – Harry>

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  • FIXING THE RED SOX. A MID-SEASON COURSE CORRECTION

    SOXHere are the fifteen things, regarding the Boston Red Sox, that I would do immediately, charting them on a better, a new course

    1. Fire John Farrell as the club manager.

    2. Fire Ben Cherington (club GM) and Bill James.

    3. Go out and get multiple frontline starting pitchers.

    4. Fire some scouts and talent evaluators and replace them.

    5. Hire John Farrell as the club general manager.

    6. Retire the song “Sweet Caroline” and never play it at Fenway.

    7. Bring Jackie Bradley Jr. up from AAA. Make him your permanent CF.

    8. Move Alex De Aza to LF. Move Mookie Betts to RF

    9. Bolster the bullpen. Trade Breslow.

    10. Platoon Hanley Ramirez / David Ortiz, one being the DH, the other playing 1B. Both start but have Alan Craig in the wings.

    11. TRADE: Sandoval, Porcello, and Victorino. Release Mike Napoli.

    12. Send Eddy Rodriguez (P) back to AAA for more seasoning.

    13. Have Brock Holt play 3B on a daily basis and bat lead off.

    14. Hire a new manager, maybe Ozzie Guillen, who is a little feared, a little crazy, and who will bench anyone who isn’t hustling, playing fundamental defensive baseball, making good base running decisions, and can’t successfully drive runners in and/or move them along. Maybe Ozzie, maybe not.

    15. Hire me as a team consultant.


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  • CRITICS CORNER

    THOUGHTS ON FOX SPORTS’ TV COVERAGE OF THE US OPEN GOLF TOURNAMENT

    There are three golf analysts who unfailingly speak the truth: Johnny Miller, Paul Azinger, and Brandel Chamblee. All have their critics, but no one can deny they say what they think and are quick to point out shortcomings of players, courses, even themselves. To a much lesser degree, Nick Faldo can sometimes be an honest analyst, not consistently as unafraid as Miller, Azinger, and Chamblee are.

    Without one of these three, any important golf event is much more vanilla. Knowing what the players are really saying about the course conditions, behind closed doors, is the difference between reality and something less than that.

    Fox was pretty terrible compared to the three major networks or ESPN. What Fox thought that Steve Flesch, Tom Weiskopf, or Brad Faxon would bring to the tournament was a huge overexpectation on their part. Greg Norman wasn’t going to make waves and seemed coached to some degree. Weiskopf can be ascerbic, but certainly wasn’t with Fox.

    David Duval was surprising in his reticence to speak without a voice in his ear telling him to say the sweet nothings that popped out of his mouth. I know Duval can do a lot better and perhaps he can become the truth teller that Fox needs in order to bring great golf commentary to important events.

    I’m no great fan of Joe Buck, nor am I a great detractor either, but suffice to say that from my perspective he was generally pretty good.

    Chambers Bay was a beautiful place and a pretty cool layout, but the greens were woeful for a US Open. Brandel Chamblee on the Golf Channel’s air, was forthright in his criticisms. Fox could not bring itself to criticize either the USGA or Mike Davis and both deserved a whole heap of grief for the conditions of the putting surfaces. Mild mannered Ernie Els said, post event, that the greens were mostly just dirt.


    _________________________________________________

  • On Jordan Spieth

    JORDAN SPIETH – THE GAME OF GOLF HAS A NEW SUPERSTAR
    “He is a walking extension of the traditions of this game.” – Brandel Chamblee, The Golf Channel
    Chalk another one up for the good guys. This humble kid, just 21, is in full possession of all the requisite skills to end up in the pantheon of Golf’s greatest players ever. He’ll need to keep up the good work, and I fully expect him to, for the next 15 years or so, to equal and surpass the likes of Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen, Bobby Jones, Old Tom Morris, and Phil Mickelson; but the sky is the limit for Jordan Spieth.
    The Kid, as I will from now on call him, (a not so subtle reference to the baseball legend, Ted Williams, who was known throughout his Hall of Fame professional baseball career as “The Kid.”) turned pro in late 2012. This is his third season on the PGA Tour where he has played in 75 tournaments, made the cut in 62 of them, and has now won four of them, including the first two majors of 2015.
    For non golf fans, there are four majors every year, and they are: The Masters Tournament, The United States Open, The British Open which is also referred to as the Open Championship, and the PGA Tournament. That is all there are. Four events that every great player in the world wants to play in and win.
    In a time when Tiger Woods’ star seems to be descending, from almost out of nowhere comes this fresh faced, self effacing, young pro who has a star that is ascendance, to say the least. There is only Northern Ireland superstar, Rory McIlroy, as the other young golfer who plays and wins regularly at the Majors. McIlroy is now in possession of four Major titles, at the ripe age of 26. Rory turned pro in 2007 and has won 11 of the 95 PGA tournaments he has played in. Rory is a world golfer and has now played in 151 European Tour events, taking first prize eleven times. Overall, Rory has played in 26 major tournaments and has won four of them.
    In my lifetime, Arnold Palmer arrived on the golf scene, taking the reins from Ben Hogan. Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, and most especially Jack Nicklaus, universally given credit as the greatest golfer of all time, came to prominence in the second half of the 20th century. And those great major champions gave way to Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. That brings us to Rory McIlroy and to Jordan Spieth, who as a self professed “amateur golf historian” understands better than most what he has accomplished and the historic golf company he is keeping.
    In about three weeks, the great golfers of the world will tee it up at St. Andrews, the “Home of Golf,” at The Auld Course, for the 2015 British Open, which is the third of golf’s four majors. Then in August the PGA will be played, this year along the shores of Lake Michigan, at Whistling Straits, in Kohler, Wisconsin. Tiger will be there, Phil Mickelson too, and Rory and Jordan, and all of the best players, each trying to win golf’s next major, and carve their name in golfing history.
    Going back a ways, my favorite golfers were Payne Stewart and Paul Azinger. For the past ten years or so, I have exclusively been for Phil Mickelson, now 45 years of age, with his meter running on his chance to win another major or two, before Time erodes his skills.
    From this point going forward, I will be rooting equally for Philly Mick and Jordan Spieth, and I promise to telepathically will putts in the cup for both of them. They say nice guys don’t finish first, but whoever thought that one up, doesn’t know a thing about either Phil or The Kid. –
    Harry Lipson
    6-22-15


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  • LESTER HOLT

    LESTERCongratulations to Lester Holt for being named the permanent Anchor of the NBC Nightly News.

    photo by Harry Lipson


    _________________________________________________

  • THE JUDGE: a movie reviewed

    JUDGEYeah.  Hell yeah.  The best movie I’ve seen in a good long while.   THE JUDGE.  Brilliantly acted, drilled right down with a nearly perfect script.  I love good writing.  Robert Downey, Jr. was better than I have ever seen him.  Vera Farmiga was tender and wise and she nailed it.  And then there is Robert Duvall.   Son of a Bitch can flat fucking act.  He is as close to pure as an actor can be.

    I heard that Nicholson turned down the role and, while we all love Jack, I’m most appreciative that he said no, because the role was tailor-made for Robert Duvall.  And then there is Mr. Thornton.  Ol’ Billy Bob.  Everything he does is good and worth savoring.  Small town Indiana never looked so good.  Let me ask you, can a movie be as bittersweet as can be and also be about as sweet as a piece of homemade pie.  This movie is a paean about family and love and loss and grief and it’s a lot about anger and jealousy.

    Directed beautifully by David Dobkin, with cinematography by Janusz Kaminski who made great use of light, space, and a handful of drones that slowly rise just to make a point, which is what good film making is essentially about.   Well done, gentlemen.  And in a cookie cutter age when movies have to be two hours or less, Dobkin and his editors end up with 2 hours and 22 minutes.  Thanks for not leaving it on the cutting room floor just to satisfy industry timeframes.

    I hope this movie wins awards, for two reasons, first so it will attract a wider audience; and lastly, because it might bring more scripts, more well acted roles, more lovely visuals.  THE JUDGE is one of the best movies in the past ten years.  Just my opinion, what’s yours? –  Harry Lipson, 6-7-15.


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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Here’s To A Wonderful 2012 !!!

I want to wish you, my readers, the happiest and healthiest in 2012.  May those dreams you wish for,  come true, and be everything you always imagined.  May those dreams you keep to yourself add interest and meaning to your life.  May you find things working out in your favor.  If I could grant wishes, I would like you to all find satisfaction and contentment in the new year.  Laughing and crying make us better people.

Be brave. Be courageous.  Be forgiving.  First and foremost, of yourself.  Show kindness and patience to those closest to you.

Kick up your heels once in a while.   The writer Tom Robbins said, in  Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, that “taking small excursions when invited out of the blue, is God’s way of having angels ask you to dance.” (I paraphrase)

Let’s worry less.   My wish, my resolution, my hope is that we will be inscribed in the Book of Life for another year.  I look back asking for forgiveness.  I look forward with guarded optimism asking for all good things.  I hope the world finally recognizes your genius and mine.  I hope we rise to all occasions and notice when angels are inviting us to dance.  Happy New Year everyone.     HL

Boston Convention Center

The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center

“Sing Sing With A Swing” by Benny Goodman

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One of the greatest big band jazz tunes is Benny Goodman doing one of his signature instrumentals, a variation of the great “Sing, Sing, Sing,” here is Benny and the Band doing “Sing, Sing, With A Swing” which is today’s HarryShots Song of the Day.  Enjoy.  HL

December Morn

December Morn

Sugar Maples

Sugar Maples

“Pachelbel Canon” by The Canadian Brass

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Today’s post Christmas, HarryShots Song of the Day is The Canadian Brass performing “Pachelbel Canon in D.”  Enjoy.  HL

 

Light on the Lake

Light on Water

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

Merry Christmas to All

Merry Christmas to All

Mark E.

I found a name in the obits that jumped out at me last week.  It took me back to my freshman year in college at the University of Alabama where I was a new freshman pledge in a fraternity.

Long story, short; I was hazed, nearly every day, for the duration of my freshman year in college.  Mark E. was the Hazer in Chief.  There was Animal House-ish hazing, but plenty worse than that.  Mark E. liked to get in my face and shout, up close and personal.  He played the part of the drill sergeant in the movie that was my life back when I was a freshman pledge.  I was warned repeatedly that If I touched him once, I would be blackballed.  He  got a kick out of downgrading me in front of everyone.  The hazing was both verbal and physical.  I duckwalked the halls of my frat house on a regular basis, to his amusement, and that of others (at age 55, I had two total knee replacements).  I was paddled, hard, on occasions.  There were the usual push-ups.  They got pretty imaginative.   I provided entertainment to a few upperclass assholes.  Most of my pledge brothers were hazed in a slightly amusing, once-in-a-while way.  Not me, I got the full metal jacket hazing.  This “Brother” (upperclassman), Mark E. was the one who died last week.  It was his name that I read in the obituaries of the Birmingham News.  It said he was 65.

With the hazing, I suppose that I could have de-pledged and quit the fraternity.  I heard that from him, and many others, all the time.  I was their whipping boy.  It was not just Mark E. who hazed me, but he was the worst.

But I stuck with it.  I kept my anger in check and dealt with it all.  No one in the fraternity ever intervened on my behalf, or stopped it from happening.  A number of upperclass Brothers privately spoke with me, some saying that I should quit for my own good.  They said “why take it.  Just quit.”

I never waivered, never strongly considered leaving.  Also, I never told my family.  I didn’t tell anyone.  Everyone in the fraternity saw it go on.  A handful of my pledge brothers had my back and did what they could to help me through it.   I decided that I was in for the long haul and a long haul it was.  I was humiliated on a regular basis and I could not fight back.  It was ritual hazing 1950s-1960s style.  But I endured and hung in there.  Should I have stayed, I think yes.  Would I put up with it now, not for five minutes.  But I was seventeen years old, a freshman in college, and I toughed it out.

At the end of the year, on the night of Initiation into the fraternity, every pledge was secretly voted on by the Brotherhood.  As pledges, we were in the basement and were brought upstairs, one at a time, blindfolded.  There was a widespread belief that I was going to be blackballed.  One down vote by a Brother was all it would take.   I had no idea if I would get in or not.  The Brothers had hung that over our heads all year.

I was blindfolded by two Brothers who led me up the stairs, one holding onto me under each arm.  I was marched into the Chapter Room.  Even though I was blindfolded, I could tell the lights were off or very low.  I was spoken to by the chapter president, Alan A.   He was standing right next to me, and he asked me how bad I wanted in. Then I was  jostled and there was a lot of shoving and yelling.  I heard them all yelling that if I wanted in, I had to “go through” Mark E.; literally take him on.  Someone removed the blindfold, I saw I was surrounded by all the Brothers,  and I looked around and found him.

I charged him wildly with all the pent up frustration of the whole year of hazing.  I was scared, enraged, unbelievably angry, and I really went after him.  It took a bunch of them to hold me back before I got to him.   There was a lot of cursing and shouting while they were trying to hold me down.  Finally I heard them telling me over and over that I was IN.  It took a moment for me to realize they were laughing and clapping me on the back and telling me I was a Brother and that I had made it.  They let go of me and asked me shake hands with Mark E., which I did hesitantly and reluctantly.

After my freshman year, I had a truly wonderful time in the fraternity. I knew I had earned respect for taking it and being strong through the hazing. It turned out to be a great life experience. Looking back at college, I laughed a lot, I had lots of friends. It was the time of my life. I would not trade it for anything. That was in the late 1960s, in Alabama, where the Greek fraternity system was the center of social life on our campus.  I totally related to the frat house dances in  Animal House.  I partied to a bunch of Otis Days.

So Mark E. died last week.  I never spoke to him or saw him after college.  Obviously, I never forgot him. I can’t forgive him, but I have not had malice toward him for decades.  I know who he was.  My bitterness faded away a long time ago.

Reading his obituary, I was surprised to learn he served in the Vietnam War. He apparently had no wife, kids, or close family.  The paper said his closest relative was a cousin.  They didn’t say much else other than he loved Bama athletics, Broadway shows, and horse racing.

Having outlived him and knowing that his life is over, I am not exactly sure how I feel about it all.  The best I can come up with is that I finally feel sorry for him.  Maybe that is payback enough.  HL

Nature’s Christmas Card

Nature's Christmas Card

“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir

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Back again with the Mormom Tabernacle Choir, except this time it is the Mormon Tabernacle Hand Bell Choir with “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” today’s HarryShots Song of the HoliDay.  Enjoy.  HL

The Promise

The Promise

“Suo Gan” by John Williams, from the movie soundtrack of Empire of the Sun

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Click here to download the mp3 of Suo Gan, by John Williams, from the sountrack of Empire of the Sun, via Amazon.com

The greatest living composer, John Williams, adapted “Suo Gan” for the sountrack to the Spielberg movie, Empire of the Sun.  There are many versions of Suo Gan.  To my ear, none rival or compare to this moving version of this incredible song.  I give it my highest recommendation and it is today’s Harry Shots Song of the HoliDays.  Enjoy.  HL

Autumn in Massachusetts

Autumn in Massachusetts

Christmas Medley by Placido Domingo

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Placido Domingo at his very best, pours himself into this Medley of Christmas Carols.  Included in this song are Joy to the World, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Good King Wencelas, O Little Town of Bethlehem, and the 1st Noel.  Enjoy the Christmas Medley as today’s HarryShots Song of the Day.  HL

 

The End of the War in Iraq/ Now What Next?

American combat troops crossed into Kuwait last night, and the War in Iraq officially came to an end.   I am profoundly struck by the quiet, “ho-hum” nature of this news.

The Iraq War was among our nation’s longest.  The cost was incredibly high.  Far too high in lives lost, lives destroyed, and in “treasure” as they say.  Lies, and the aggression of the Bush 43 administration, including George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney boldly and with malice aforethought, deceived the American people and the world, in taking us to war.

The War, and the manner in which we entered into it, was Topic One for years in the American dialogue.  Our leaving last night barely seemed to be noticed.  No agate type headlines, no breaking news bulletins interrupting our football games, and TV re-runs.

Most of the “democracy we established” in Iraq will largely evaporate.  Iran will fill the void.  Bombings and regular acts of terror in Iraq will become commonplace.  Kurds will try to reassert their independence.

We are working/hoping for regime change in Iran.  Israel and/or a Western Coalition/United States will, at some point in the short term, strategically bomb numerous Iranian nuclear facilities.  It will ignite the region in anti-Israeli/anti -American fervor.  It may lead to another Arab-Israeli war.  At the very least, Israel will come under withering criticism, rocket attacks, and acts of terror.  The Arab “street” will erupt in bitterness toward Israel and the U.S.

The War in Iraq was a great failure.  The next chapter will be far more important in determining meaningful long term peace in the entire Middle East and beyond.

True peace, honest self governance, equality, safety, security, and the chance of a decent life are goals to which most in the Middle East aspire.  Someday Peace will come.  That is a very long way from where we are as 2012 begins.

Nevertheless, tonight the War in Iraq officially ends and that, for damn sure, is very good news.     HL

 

 

Sky Flyer

Sky Flyer

“Last Month of the Year” by the Tarbox Ramblers

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Click here to download mp3 of “Last Month of the Year”, at Amazon.com         

The Tarbox Ramblers originally came out of the Cambridge, MA music scene.  They have a raw hard blues sound which is fairly primitive and harkens back to Otha Turner, but as a bues rock band, if you can imagine that.  I love their hard driven “Last Month of the Year” an old African-American church/gospel hymn.  Done here like no other, it is the HarryShots Song of the HoliDay.  Check it out.  HL

Closing for the Winter

Closing for the Winter

“Beautiful Star of Bethlehem” by John Starling

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John Starling is a fine artist and his version of “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem” from the album, Sugar Plums:  Holiday Tunes from Sugar Hill, is today’s HarryShots Song of the HoliDay.  Enjoy.  HL

Wind Powered Tall Ship

Wind Powered Tall Ship

“The Christmas Song” (Chestnuts Roasting by An Open Fire) by Mel Torme

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Click here to download this song at Amazon.com

 

The Christmas Song” was co-written by Mel Torme, who made this his signature song.  Back in 1944, Mel wrote this with pal, Bob Wells on a scorching summer day in Southern California.  Sorry to burst your bubble.  They were trying to think “cool thoughts” and came up with the whole song in less than an hour and a half.  Not bad.

Christmas carols don’t have to be old to be great (unless you consider 1944 old, which it certainly is not).  So here is Mel Torme singing his original song which is the HarryShots Song of the HoliDay.  Enjoy.  HL

 

 

Almost Christmas at Walden Pond

Almost Christmas (at Walden Pond)

Reflecting: Walden Pond

Walden Pond

“Beautiful Star of Bethlehem by Faith, Family, and Friends

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Not sure where I ran across this group, but I’m glad to have found them.  I am unsure if they are a group in and of themselves, or a larger group effort from various musicians.  Here is a great version of the wonderful Christmas carol, “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem” and it is today’s HarryShots.com Song of the HoliDay.  Check it out.  HL

Christian Science- Mary Baker Eddy

Mary Baker Eddy

The Brussel Sprout Kid

The Brussel Sprout Kid       (EXPLORE)

Check Out The Pilot

Wheels Up.  American Eagle out of 500 ft.  Check out the pilot.

Almost Christmas

Almost Christmas

“The Holly and The Ivy” by The New York Choral Artists

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The Holly and The Ivy” is believed to have been written and first performed in the early 1700s.  No one knows its author, but it was published in England, which makes sense because this song is of Gaelic/GBR roots.  I am told that holly and ivy were both worshipped as long ago as The Druids, which is going back a long way.

This version, today’s HarryShots Song of the HoliDay is sung by the New York Choral Artists, from their album “O Come All Ye Faithful.”  Enjoy.  HL

 

“Silver Bells” by Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely

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Margaret Whiting was a very popular singer in the 1940s and 1950s.  She died this year and I pay homage to her by making her version of “Silver Bells” our HarryShots Song of the Day.  Interestingly, Margaret’s father was a well known songwriter (“Hooray for Hollywood”) and she was performing for Johnny Mercer at the age of 7.

Silver Bells” was first heard at the movies.  Bob Hope sang it on the big screen.  Bing Crosby was the first to record “Silver Bells” and it is now a Christmas classic.  Enjoy  HL

Mr. and Mrs. Jack O. Lantern

Mr. and Mrs. Jack O. Lantern

Roanoke Road

Roanoke Road

“Sleigh Ride” by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops

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Well it becomes the Christmas Holidays when Arthur Fiedler is on the old turntable leading his beloved Boston Pops in Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride.”  Anderson, a Cambridge native, and Maestro Fiedler had a special working relationship over the years, and it was many a Leroy Anderson piece that debuted with the Boston Pops.

Sleigh Ride” is a great picker upper and crowd pleaser, and it is today’s HarryShots Song of the Holidays.  Enjoy.  HL

Tough to Tackle

Tough to Tackle

“Beautiful Star of Bethlehem” by Jerry Douglas

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Not only is this one of my favorite Holiday songs, this version is by Jerry Douglas, the finest dobro player this side of Timbuktu.  The entire album is one to cherish, and it is hard to pick one song from the record.  That being said, here is today’s HarryShots Song for the Day, Jerry Douglas and “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem.”  HL

The Three Pumpkins

The Three Pumpkins

“Go Tell It On the Mountain” by Eric Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops

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Click here to download the song at Amazon.com

Well, here we go with the first of our twenty-four Holiday Songs running from December 2 through December 25.  We are starting out with Erik Kunzel at the

baton, directing the wonderful Cinncinnati Pops that Maestro Kunzel was so instrumental (pun intented) in bringing to prominence.  One of my favorite conductors and one of America’s most energetic during his long career, I honor Erik, the Cincinnati Pops, and the great Afro-American spiritual that is “Go Tell It On theMountain,” today’s HarryShots Song of the Day.  Spread some holiday cheer, y’all.  HL

In December The HarryShots Songs of the Day Will Focus On Superb Holiday Music

For December, the HarryShots Songs of the Day will be exclusively featuring wonderful holiday music.  I have chosen my favorite songs to share with you and I hope it brightens your season.  Some of the songs are well known and popular.  You’ll here the best version of those songs.  Some of the songs are not so well known and again I will choose the good stuff, that I hope you will enjoy.

We cover a lot of musical ground here at HarryShots and the holiday music will be varied as well.  The daily song selection will come from such artists as the Morman Tabernacle Choir, Margaret Whiting, Buddy Clark, Patty Loveless, Dan Crary, John Starling, Jerry Douglas, Yo Yo Ma, Robin Petrie, Bryan Bowers,  the Philadelphia Brass, Leroy Anderson and the Boston Pops, the Harlem Parlour Musicians, Peter Rowan, John Williams, Stile Antico, The Elizabethan Singers, Celtica among others through the month of December, which will conclude with a daily variation of “Auld Lang Syne” between December 26 and New Years Day.

I hope that you will each drop by daily during December for a taste of my favorite holiday music.

Happy Holidays,

Harry

A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault“.   –  John Henry Newman

Sunlight in the Forest

Sunlight in a Forest Woods

“Love’s Old Sweet Song” by Thurl Ravencroft and The Mellomen

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Click here to download “Love’s Old Sweet Song” at Amazon.com

“Love’s Old Sweet Song” is what my Mother sang to me as a bedtime lullaby when I was a little tyke.  I remember this song with all of the fondness and all of the nostalgia my heart can hold.  It is one of my favorites for purely sentimental reasons.  “Love’s Old Sweet Song” was probably the first song I ever heard for obvious reasons.

Today would have been my Mom’s 91st birthday.  Sadly, she passed away in 1971.  So this one is for you, Mom.  Happy Birthday.  Today’s HarryShots Song of the Day is “Love’s Old Sweet Song” sung barbarshop quartet style by The Mellomen with Thurl Ravencroft.  Oh my.  HL


The Quotes of "Whatever"

  • I once made love for an hour and fifteen minutes, but it was the night the clocks are set ahead” – Gary Shandling

    The HarryShots Quotes of Whatever




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  • You know there is a problem with the education system when you realize that out of the 3 R’s only one begins with an R.” – Dennis Miller




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  • There is nothing more annoying than two people talking while you’re trying to interrupt

     

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  • You wouldn’t have won if we’d beaten you.” – Yogi Berra




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  • swfThe Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself” – Benjamin Franklin

     

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  • The fundamental cause of trouble in the world is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.” Bertrand Russell

     

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  • There is nothing wrong in America that can’t be fixed with what is right in America.” – Bill Clinton




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  • A synonym is a word you use when you can’t spell the word you first thought of

     

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  • I’m not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I’m not dumb… and I also know that I am not blonde.” – Dolly Parton




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  • TPMy religion is very simple. My religion is kindness“. – Dalai Lama

     

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  • I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.” – President John F. Kennedy




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  • Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude” – Dale Carnegie

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  • You know, all that really matters is that the people you love are happy and healthy. Everything else is just sprinkles on the sundae.” – Paul Walker




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  • When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us” – Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone

     

     

     

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  • The secret of successful managing is to keep the five guys who hate you away from the four guys who haven’t made up their minds.” – Casey Stengel, baseball manager




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  • Wealthy Americans who benefit hugely from a system rigged in their favor react with hysteria to anyone who points out just how rigged the system is.” ― Paul Krugman, Nobelist in Economics




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  • “If a man does his best, what else is there?” – General George S. Patton




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  • My wife tells me one day, ‘I think you love baseball more than me.’ I say, ‘Well, I guess that’s true, but hey, I love you more than football and hockey.'” – Tommy Lasorda




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  • sonny

    shines2

    If you don’t know the blues… there’s no point in picking up the guitar and playing

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    Keith Richards

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    .


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  • canons

    There’s only so much history to go around.” – Edward Ayers, President, University of Richmond,  regarding the limited parameters of each panel during day long discussions celebrating  The Civil War’s Sesquicentennial.




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  • The amount of sleep required by the average person is about five minutes more.” – Max Kaufmann

     

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  • Isn’t having a smoking section in a restaurant sorta like having a peeing section in a pool?” – anonymous




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  • I signed with the Milwaukee Braves for three-thousand dollars. That bothered my dad at the time because he didn’t have that kind of dough. But he eventually scraped it up.” – Bob Uecker, former Major Leaguer and baseball funnyman




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  • hudI laugh so hard ’til the tears run down my leg a rare Delta Blues joke, from the seminal blues tune, Silverado in My Pathway

     

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  • bridge2Your biggest risk isn’t falling, it’s getting too comfortable.” – Drew Houston




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  • I hate housework! You make the beds, you do the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again.” – Joan Rivers




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  • I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, “Where’s the self-help section?” She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.” – George Carlin




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  • Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to say yes” – Eleanor Roosevelt

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  • Sign: – We Buy Junk and Sell Antiques

     

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  • Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Albert Einstein




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  • MANThe shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at a time” – Richard Cech

     

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  • My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the hell she is.” – Ellen Degeneres




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  • All an actor has is their blind faith that they are who they say they are today, in any scene.” – Meryl Streep




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  •  

    Personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a checklist of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications are not your life.” – J.K. Rowling




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  • If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” – Red Adair, legendary oil well fighter

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  • I have always noticed that in portraits of really great writers the mouth is always firmly closed.” – Gertrude Stein




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  • “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”  –  Harriet Tubman




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  • An intellectual snob is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture and not think of the Lone Ranger.” – Dan Rather




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  • In my case, self-absorption is completely justified. I have never discovered any other subject quite so worthy of my attention.” – Rachel Dratch




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  • Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, ‘Where have I gone wrong?’ Then a voice says to me, ‘This is going to take more than one night.’” – Charlie Brown, in Peanuts

     

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  • How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct.” – Benjamin Disraeli




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  • The Past may not be your fault, but the Future is your responsibility alone” – Gene Cruz




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  • One tequila two tequila three tequila floor” – T-Shirt.

     

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  • I am not a cat man, but a dog man, and all felines can tell this at a glance – a sharp, vindictive glance.” – James Thurber




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  • If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” – General George Patton




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  • May 2013 bring good health and happiness to all my friends; I wish you the very best.
    hcts Let us renew our faith in ourselves, and in each other, and let safety and well-being be a given for everyone, everywhere. Happy New Year. – Harry


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  • I’ve had all the lessons I could get. I’ve learned from everybody I’ve ever met.” – Levon Helm




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  • A few can touch the magic string, and noisy fame is proud to win them: Alas for those that never sing, but die with all their music in them!” – Oliver Wendell Holmes




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  • The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.” – Henry A. Kissinger




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