Aug 162018

Born poor on March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee, Aretha passed away at age 76 worth about $80 million in Detroit at home among her family, Aretha was a stunning Diva now she belongs to the ages. Her soaring, sweet, melodic, complex voice entertained us and triggered our emotions and wonderment that so perfect a voice was among us. She had a tremendous career that spanned the globe; included heads of state and who was welcomed into the homes of millions of fans. She rose to stardom in the 1960s after signing first with Columbia Records and then Atlantic Records. She would go on to record 42 studio albums and win 18 Grammy Awards, including eight consecutive Grammy Awards for Best R&B Female Vocal Performance. Over the course of her career she also charted 73 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with songs like “Respect,” “Chain of Fools,” and “Think”, the most of any female artist ever and the ninth-most of all artists. In 1987 she became the first woman ever inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. One incredible woman.

One of the things that made Aretha so great was her impressive vocal range. She could sing notes spanning well over three octaves – and some people even argue she could sing up to four octaves. Sarah Brightman has a three octave range. Sinatra a few notes over two octaves. Elvis had a vocal range of two and a half octaves. His voice had wonderful control, tone and vibrato and he had the ability to cross genres effortlessly. Record producer John Owen Williams says of Elvis:

People talk of his range and power, his ability and ease in hitting the high notes. But the real difference between Elvis and other singers was that he could sing majestically in any style, be it rock, country, or R&B – because he had soul. He sang from the heart. And that is what made him the greatest singer in the history of popular music.
Elvis had a brilliant ability to control the attack and ending of each note. If we listen the 1954 Sun Records recording of Blue Moon of Kentucky we can hear Elvis using a technique known as “glottal onset and offset” – a technique in which the vocal folds in the larynx are closed at the start of a note and closed with extra emphasis at the end of the note – to achieve clarity of attack and an amazing rhythmic bounce in his vocal performance. That ability to drive the rhythm is also present in the 1963 hit Viva Las Vegas in which Elvis effortlessly accents the melody to give a rhythmic shape to each phrase.

A crucial element in Elvis’ sonic signature was his use of vibrato. The final Battle Hymn of the Republic’ segment of the 1972 recording of An American Trilogy features the sound of his vocal folds vibrating together in all their glory creating a sound that has been much copied in pop music but never bettered.

But then there’s Aretha, the Queen of Soul whose voice and interpretations were simply the greatest. She could take any song and bring such a level of intensity to her performance that all audiences could do was stand back and gasp and surrender to her extraordinary power and passion. Her career was filled with glittering highlights. We are richer for her life.

At the Grammys in 1998, the legendary soul singer stepped in – at the last minute – for Pavarotti, who had been due to sing his trademark piece, Nessun Dorma. So obviously she went ahead and performed that aria.

‘Nessun Dorma’ is one of the most impressive of tenor arias – with an astronomically high top B at the climax of the aria.

It’s also an operatic tenor role. Aretha Franklin is, clearly, neither an opera singer, nor a tenor.

But that did not stop her performing the aria at the Grammys in 1998. Well, it would have been a shame to send the choir home. 

This might be the most Aretha Franklin thing that has ever happened. 

The black NFL kneelers should take note of Aretha. She performed at the inauguration ceremonies for three US presidents. Particularly memorable was her great version, decked out in a fur coat and a church hat, of My Country ‘Tis Of Thee at Barack Obama’s inauguration.
Her records sold millions of copies and the music industry couldn’t honor her enough. Franklin won 18 Grammy awards. In 1987, she became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. President George W. Bush awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2005.

Aretha made a surprise appearance at the Kennedy Center in 2015 to honour Carole King, the singer and songwriter, with Barack and Michelle Obama in attendance.

As she sang “(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman”, which was written by King but became a breakout hit for Franklin in 1967, Mr Obama wiped away a tear as his wife looked on, captivated by the performance.
She went on tour with Martin Luther King jnr singing in the churches that he visited. She sang at King’s funeral and Respect, written by Otis Redding and re-crafted with a feminist assertiveness, became a song for the Civil Rights Movement as well as a battle cry for the feminist movement.

In 1980 she fulfilled her father’s dream by singing to Queen Elizabeth in a Royal Albert Hall Performance. That same year, masquerading as a waitress, she stole the show with a sizzling performance of Think in The Blues Brothers movie.

Franklin won 20 Grammy awards, including three special awards, over the course of her career.
Franklin won 20 Grammy awards, including three special awards, over the course of her career.

In 1987 she became the first woman inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame. It’s obvious she had a weight problem but it was her voice that got our attention.

Her voice made our hearts sing. Our souls are better because of Aretha. 
Selfish of me, rather, … yes.

Aug 162018

As a candidate Donald Trump correctly called out FAKE NEWS as a problem. The free press went into full hysteria mode and tried but failed to change the subject from FAKE NEWS to an attack on the free press. They got it wrong.

Trump attacked the false press. False as in not true. False as in misrepresenting the facts. The press is accountable to itself to get the facts correct, to report what was said or done and to inform, not propagandize for their left wing causes.
Today the American press is mostly a socialist propaganda device. It can be no other way because the reporters, the journalists, the TV and video people are left of center, just as they have been educated to be.

Their problem is truth. Trump called them on their lying ways and he succeeded in showing how corrupt the press is. It’s still free to publish whatever it wants and it wants to distort and hide the facts about the Left and to substitute false and fake information for the facts. The press is free and mostly ignorant about their left wing positions. Instead they attack the president when he tells it like it is and the way it is is FAKE. Brilliant!

Aug 152018

Decline in the Fall (or Late Summer, Anyway): by Fred Gibbon

Posted on August 15, 2018 by Fred Reed
I am not sure why people write columns. Partly from boredom, I suppose, or lack of anything better to do. Partly from exasperation. Yet partly from the hope that if enough people collectively become aware of problems, they might, just maybe, do something about them. I can’t believe this any longer. Today’s crimes, lunacies, and decays are too many, profitable, and intractable. We are racing out of control toward some as yet dimly limned catastrophe. Hang on and take the ride.

To begin with, America is no longer a country. It is a set of special interests occupying the same place: Corporations, races, ethnicities, faiths, ideologies, foreign agents pretending to be Americans, all at each other’s throats. No cure is possible.

Racial relations are a disaster. Blacks, fourteen percent of the country, are congenitally furious at whites. They neither assimilate nor want to. Whether they should doesn’t matter since it will not happen.

They give their children strange names to differentiate them from whites, maintain a separate language sometimes called Ebonics–blacks in other countries learn to speak normally–and concentrate in huge all-black Sowetos: Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, Newark, Trenton , Camden, Atlanta, Milwaukee, East St. Louis, New Orleans. And many others. Horrific crime and horrific schools produce each year a large cohort who, barely literate, will for fifty years be unable to fit into the economy or into white (or Hispanic) society. This will not change. If it were going to, it would have.

Hispanics, seventeen percent of the population, have a much higher likelihood of assimilating, and are doing so, but it will not happen overnight and will never be complete. They face intense hostility from much of the white population. Add Somalis, North Africans, Jews, Asians, and various Muslims and you have more than a third of the country. Their interests are their own interests. This cannot be changed.

Americans no longer have a shared identity, a common culture to hold them together. In 1950 America was overwhelmingly white, European, and Christian. How deeply one believed was not the point. Christianity was a matrix binding all, as Catholicism is in Latin America. Today Christianity is like marijuana–tolerated, barely legal, but better not to get caught. Whites are reviled by those of lesser capacity and, weirdly, by themselves. What do we now have in common? Almost nothing. This will not change before some strange looming denouement befalls us.

Government has changed irrevocably, and changes yet. It no longer consists of executive, judicial, and legislative branches. In practice the branches are now the Presidency, Wall Street, the corporations, AIPAC, and the media, with overlap and interlocking directors. Elections are play toys to occupy the public. The levers of governance are no longer accessible to the populace. Governments gain power. They do not give it up. This will not change.

“American” corporations no longer are. When Charlie Wilson said, “What’s good for General Motors is good for the USA,” it was. Today’s corporations are free-floating entities spread over the globe, putting down tentacles in countries of convenience and loyal only to their profits. They are too powerful to be reined in. The prime examples are offshoring and encouraged immigration from Latin America, but many others exist. This cannot be remedied: the corporations needing change own those who might change them.

Wild thought: Socialism is an economic system in which the means of production are owned by the government. Ours is a system in which the means of production own the government. Congressmen are commodities and Washington a Coke machine: insert your coins, choose your law, and pull the lever. Voila.

Demographics have consequences. Only whites and East Asians, mostly men, display talent for engineering, mathematics, scientific research, or organization on a large scale. Affirmative action does not put landers on Mars nor program computers. By now it must be obvious that racial gaps in achievement are intractable. Argument over causes changes nothing. The country depends increasingly on a declining number of white brains. The attacks on both whites and brains will continue.

The country crumbles politically. The Constitution has been interpreted into near impotence, a trend that continues. Congress has abdicated most of its important powers and become a passive bribery receptacle. Trump is close to being our first real dictator. At best you could say that America is an oligarchy with Hulk Trump fronting for the corporations in general, the military industry in particular, and the Israelis. At will he imposes sanctions, threatens war, turns much of the world into enemies, sends troops to Africa–Africa?–breaks treaties, discards environmental protections. None dare tell him no, in America or, as yet, abroad. America cannot be brought back.

Democracy, to the extent that it ever existed, doesn’t. Americans have no influence over what their children are taught, where Christmas carols can be sung, over war and peace, whether they can legally choose their neighbors, who they must hire. All of these things are dictated from far away. This cannot be changed. If you disagree, tell me how.

Social control intensifies. Saying the wrong things about blacks, Jews, feminists or homosexuals has in many places become a firing offense–very Soviet, this. The mainstream media, utterly dishonest, are committed mouthpieces for those who rule. This will not change. Who could change it?

The social media, also organs of government, censor us. The three CEOs of Google and Facebook, unelected, two of them Jewish, control what almost the entire world is permitted to see. Is this not astonishing? Twitter is now in the same category, and all are censoring both covertly and actively. The silenced may win an occasional lawsuit, but the censoring will not stop., It will grow.

The times approach the oozing last years of Rome. We have mixed martial arts, football, boxing, and now legal bare-knuckle. The country throws national tantrums over who can use what bathrooms. Drug use is high from middle school up. A child who can use a keyboard can watch any conceivable sort of pornography. Twenty percent of America thinks the sun moves around the earth. In rotting societies sexual curiosities come forth. Northwestern University, I think it was, offers a course in sadomasochism. paralleling the dominance of a known torturess heading the CIA.

Schooling has declined badly. Genuine education is now regarded as an elitist imposition by dead white men. The young do not recognize the extent of the deterioration as they have known nothing else. Over twenty years ago I went into a middle school in Arlington, Virginia, an upscale white suburb of Washington, and saw a student’s project honoring Italian contributions to science. Below a photo of Fermi it spoke of his work in “Nucler Phisicts.” In letters six inches high. Uncorrected. The academic content, if so it can be called, of instruction is heavy, heavy, heavy, on social-justice propaganda. This cannot be changed.

Would you dare say anything racially incorrect to your daughter who might tell her teacher? We are approaching what might be called the Soviet Union by Disney.

Universities for the most part are no better. We suffer from an odd sort of civilizational autoimmune disease, eating ourselves. Shakespeare is racist, Mozart elitist, grammar a means of oppression. Two and a half millennia of Western civilization, forgotten by a sea of gilded peasants with no retirement plans. Monkeys chattering over the ruins of a forgotten society. Once the chain of culture is broken, it cannot easily be restored. Anyway, a literate population might cause trouble. We will not have one.

As culture and cultivation die, we equally erase our history. It is rewritten, enstupidated, lied about to children in grade school and up, shouted down by racial mobs who cannot spell it. Statues must be razed, names of historical men removed from buildings and cities. We have a President who cannot pronounce Namibia, Nepal, or Bhutan. Soon we will be a nation of purest Bandar-log, chuckling and pecking at telephones, knowing not when, nor what, nor where, nor why.

Corruption is rife. It is seldom the Mexican briefcase-of-money kind, being legal, hidden, and far more profitable. Student loans are a crafted way of getting the young deeply in debt for many years, very profitable for banks and universities. Most of the students–I want to write “students”–have no business in college, but they are persuaded to take out loans and thus enrich administrators and banks. It is legal. Big Pharma bribes Congress to pass a law requiring the government–e.g., VA hospitals–to pay retail. It is legal, and a goldmine for the pharmaceutical corporations. Military industry bribes Congress to buy hugely expensive and unneeded weapons (my beat for years: I know whereof I speak). It is legal. It cannot be changed. Only those could change it who profit by it.

Overall, America declines into the Third World. The one percent own most of the country while the middle class declines. Retirement plans and health insurance evanesce. The police become more brutal and less accountable. Censorship intensifies. Impunity grows: Nobody went to jail for the subprime scam. Politicians pose in front of The Flag, trumpet democracy but do not practice it. Surveillance quietly grows: TSA, tracking by cell-phone location records, NSA’s internal spying, social media recording everything we do, and now Alexa and voice-controlled televisions constantly listen in our homes. Civil unrest grows with street gangs of Antifa and BLM fighting white nationalists and defying police.

We know the foregoing, many of us. The takeaway is that none of it is preventable. We careen toward whatever epochal demise awaits us. Slow motion or all at once, it will be a doozy.

Aug 152018

Ferdinand Lewis (Lew) Alcindor Jr. now known as Kareem Abdulah Jabbar hates President Trump and Americans who paid him far more money than most people can even think about to play basketball.  PLAY.. Jabbar did what many children do as an adult. He Played. He played basketball. That’s it. 

He’s worth about $20 million after squandering the equivalent of about $5 million a year (about $100 million) over his 20 year career
He changed his name, religion and loyalty to America but he once said: “Don’t be so quick to judge” – and: “Who would know better how to define their outrage:,” Abdul-Jabar asked, “the privileged darling of white supremacists, the 94 percent-white team owners, the 75 percent-white head coaches or the 70 percent-black players who actually take the field each week?”

Kareem gained a rotten reputation for being arrogant, dismissive, dumb as a box of rocks and downright mean to fans and the press. In his book Josh Perlman who wrote: “Showtime” about the 1980s Lakers, called Jabbar the most “socially retarded superstar” How about simply dumb because that’s how he acts. 

Aug 152018

At Samuel Adams they brew a hundred different beers* from Ale to Kreik** to Utopias. All are great. Many are better than great. This is a tribute to the American spirit from it’s beginning in a revolution to the worldwide greatness with an American presence in over a hundred places. Sam Adams beers are the best!

* OK, OK, It’s 25, not a hundred but they are so great it’s easy to get all hyperbolic and exaggerate. I admit it. I’m a big fan.

** Made from Sour Cherries….. Cherry Beer? Yes, based on the Belgian favorite. If you’re a biker don’t look down your nose about cherry beer. And if you don’t like it give it to your girlfriend. She’ll love you all the more. !

Aug 142018

The Left and our Liberal friends have been deceiving us for several centuries and it’s caused all sorts of mischief between and among us.

Starting with the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, America was partly founded based on a self-evident lie, viz., that all men are created equal. They are not. All men are created individually and unequal. Fingerprints, eye pupils, even hair color are different which shows how not equal all men are. Today we must include women in the statement as the meaning of men has come to not include them.
The second lie was repeated by Dr. Martin Luther King as he crusaded for equal rights for all. The good doctor said: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Character not color. All of that is a colossal lie. People are judged many ways including the color of their hair, eyes and the color of their skin. No one can judge people by their character simply because the character of a person is invisible. Even with elaborate testing you cannot find the character of an individual. Impossible and Impossible things cannot be used to judge people despite the words of the queen in Alice in Wonderland who said after Alice said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” HERE.

How useful is skin color as a means to judge someone? Jesse Jackson told us he will cross a street to avoid a young black male at night. Jessee didn’t marry a woman from a different race. Nothing wrong with Jesse or that.
People need to judge other people to decide whether to stand their ground or retreat. Women need to judge men and a mistake has serious consequences, not the least of which is divorce.
Judgment is needed for security. Judgement is needed to avoid being cheated or robbed. People like Jane Fonda sold out the U.S. by making the GI the bad guy. That was the lie of most of the protests against The Vietnam War. Few people like war because few people like to fight. People naturally want to get along or simply avoid people they don’t like but no one wants to live as a slave. Winston Churchill said it best when he said: “If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”
The people in South Vietnam faced slavery or death from the North Vietnamese. Presidents Kennedy and Johnson wanted to help them. Most people would if they could. During Watergate the Vietnam protesters won because President Nixon was too consumed by Watergate to properly fight them and the North Vietnamese. Today Indochina is Communist. The Left including Hanoi Jane Fonda and bigot Meryl Streep adores them because Socialism, (their preference over the freedom needed by capitalism), is the overall system to control people that Hanoi and Meryl love. A pox on them.

Aug 142018

America was founded on protests so Americans have an affinity for protests but there are good and bad protests. There are right and wrong protests. Because of the bad and wrong protests against American involvement in the Vietnam war millions were killed that should have lived. The killings are the fault of the American Left protestors who forced America to leave Indochina without defeating the totalitarian governments that came to power because there was no resistance to their power seeking.

One of the best set of circumstances that led to the American defeat and the rise of communist and totalitarian dictatorships is listed by Henry Kissinger in “Years of Upheaval”.
Some might try to diminish Kissinger’s and Nixon’s actions to win the war but they are clearly shown in Years of Upheaval to be the fault of a weakened bargaining position created by the massive protests caused inside America by the enemies of America. People like Jane Fonda ….developing . 

Aug 142018

Wearing her red cowgirl kiddie halloween costume complete with one of her child-like cowgirl hats, the bizarre Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) reacted to President Donald Trump’s tweet referring to former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman as a “dog,” asking “how dare” the president call a “woman of color” that.

Trump was correct to refer to Omarosa that way. He tweeted: When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!
Maybe he should have called her a black dog to be sure he got Omarosa’s skin color correct.
OTOH, both Omerosa and Wilson can be referred to but not in any accurate way as befitting women of color.