September 24, 2008 - September 17, 2008
Thursday, September 06, 2007
College of Tenors Meets
Dark smoke from La Scala chimney
means no successor has yet been elected.
While people around the globe are mourning the death of Luciano
Pavarotti, the powerful La Scala College of Tenors has been summoned to
Milan to choose the next 'Greatest Tenor in the World.' Outsiders can
only speculate about the politicking that is undoubtedly going on
behind the ornate doors of Italy's venerable cathedral of opera. Tenors
multiple nations are said to be lobbying hard for an "anybody but an
Italian" selection since Pavarotti held the post for more than 35
years. They also point to the long reign of Enrico Caruso early in the
twentieth century as an indication that Italian parochialism has
resulted in a virtual monopoly on the prestigious title. According to
anonymous inside sources, Tenors from Spain, Ireland, and the U.S. are
particularly grumpy because they believe Pavarotti should have stepped
down in favor of one of their own native sons (e.g., Placido Domingo
, Ronan Tynan
, or Axl Rose
Tynan, and Rose
Also at issue in the current election is the vital question of whether
Tenors should continue the ecumenical outreach initiated by Pavarotti
to make opera singing more palatable to the mass audience. A solid
contingent of hardline conservatives favors the little known candidate
Uggio Cantabile who, despite an admittedly mediocre voice, would ban
the recording of popular songs by Tenors as well as the performance of
famous arias outside the context of the operas that give them meaning.
(Listen to the attached audio file above for a sample of Uggio's voice,
unless it's really Michael
instead.) Cantabile's candidacy is being vehemently opposed
by, among others, the U.S. Public Broadcasting System, which fears that
the network will be unable to raise needed revenues during pledge
drives if it is no longer permitted to broadcast endless reruns of the
Three Tenors and Andrea Bocelli performing saccharine crap for rich
Concern about this grave threat to PBS has also brought prominent
American pseudo-intellectual Bill Moyers into the fray. Moyers has
written an open letter to the College of Tenors in a full-page ad paid
for by PBS in today's New York Times
The letter says, in part: "Preservation of what little remains of high
culture in the United States is entirely dependent upon a steady stream
of mawkish pop ballads sung by famous foreign Tenors. Without the
quarterly injection of funds raised by these entertainments, all the
truly intellectual fare PBS offers could not be produced or broadcast
because the ignorant American masses don't want it, don't watch it, and
would never pay a nickel for it. Needless to say, the civilized nations
of the world cannot afford the American hoi polloi to sink even lower
into the barbaric mire than they already are." In his summation, Moyers
nominates the commonest non-American (obviously) opera singer yet
discovered, Paul Potts
of Britain's Got Talent
Cynics at La Scala respond scornfully that Moyers can afford the
bankruptcy of American public TV least of all, since his own
income is derived from selling DVDs
of his taxpayer-funded PBS shows for personal profit.
Meanwhile, Antonio Cantabile, the don
patriarch of the
illustrious Sicilian family of singers, has placed a small box ad of
his own in the Washington Post
reminding the lawmakers who fund PBS that New York's Metropolitan Opera
and Carnegie Hall are both old and "molto flammabile." There's also a
reference, in an apparently untranslatable regional Italian dialect,
that identifies the address of Moyers's house. The College of Tenors
has disavowed any knowledge of the ad or its purpose.
And so it goes. Politics as usual in the snootiest upper reaches of the
classical music world. We can only hope that the electoral process
doesn't turn so vicious that it obscures the marvelous career of Luciano Pavarotti
who may very well prove to have been "the
last of the great voices
May his legacy live on.
Contrary to our hopes, the international political pressure on the
College of Tenors continues to increase. Now, Oxford's 'University of
Tenors' has denounced Paul Potts as the 'Welsh Pretender' and is
demanding consideration for Thom Yorke
Radiohead, who "hits much scarier high notes" and is also "of the right
sort." In fact, there's open talk of schism between Oxford and La
Scala. The Radiohead initiative is already being denounced by Britain's
Labor Party, which contends that the World's Greatest Tenor should be
low-born and unattractive in appearance, though "not a wog, of course."
Their nominee is Phil
, who -- despite being old and past his prime -- "isn't as
old as Pavarotti was," and "besides, ALL the talented low-born
Englishmen are frightfully old now anyway." Britain's highly
influential 'Gay Regiment' has issued a press release declaring that
age and death are irrelevant in the context of gay genocide and have
launched a vigorous campaign on behalf of the late Freddie Mercury
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance, (backed, of course, by N.O.W.) has
separately nominated Melissa
in protest against the straight patriarchy's oppressive
definition of 'tenor' as an exclusively male voice.
International ANSWER has announced plans for a "possibly violent" demonstration at La Scala
in support of the candidacy of Che
, who did everything better than anyone else.
Canada's getting into the picture, too, insisting that Neil Young's
rendition of Vesti La Giubba puts Michael Bolton's to shame, besides
being higher than a
dog's range of hearing
. But, as usual, no one is paying the least
bit of attention to them.
Back in America, some drunk old white guys are trying to figure out how
to vote for Meatloaf
And some even older drunk white guys have made a bonfire producing tons
of white smoke they say means that the Greatest Tenor in the Whole
History of the World is Roy Orbison
In the interest of full disclosure, we have to admit we're partial to Mick
, at least for
the first few bars.
It's getting ugly.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
The Future is Almost
...and it's starting to piss us off.
LOVE YOUR DOCTOR?
Freedom? Liberty? Isn't that what the
Democrats tell us they're for? Don't believe it. Scratch the rhetoric
and you'll find that just under the surface they're pure totalitarians.
Get a load of this
from the John-Boy Edwards camp:
backs mandatory preventive care
Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards said on Sunday that his
universal health care proposal would require that Americans go to the
doctor for preventive care.
"It requires that everybody be covered. It requires that everybody get
preventive care," he told a crowd sitting in lawn chairs in front of
the Cedar County Courthouse. "If you are going to be in the system, you
can't choose not to go to the doctor for 20 years. You have to go in
and be checked and make sure that you are OK."
He noted, for example, that women would be required to have regular
mammograms in an effort to find and treat "the first trace of problem."
Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, announced earlier this year that her
breast cancer had returned and spread.
Edwards said his mandatory health care plan would cover preventive,
chronic and long-term health care. The plan would include mental health
care as well as dental and vision coverage for all Americans.
"The whole idea is a continuum of care, basically from birth to death,"
I'm sure a lot of you think this is nice and a good thing. Some of us,
though, work hard to stay completely the hell away from doctors and the
whole medical care system. Ramses the Great of Ancient Egypt managed to
live into his eighties without taking a single pill and without ever
having some quack know-it-all shove a telescope a foot up his rectum.
Most of the advances in average life expectancy since then have to do
with reducing the incidence of infant and child mortality. You could
look it up. You could also spend a minute or two pondering the
additional regulations that will probably accompany mandatory
preventive care: government control of your diet, your vices, and your
leisure time activities. All for your own good, don't you know. While you're at it, take just a second to consider the beneficence of government-mandated mental health checkups. Now tell me again how worried you are about the Patriot Act.
If this is the future, count me out. I'll be the lunatic up in the
tower, armed with the biggest arsenal of the biggest guns anyone ever saw.
And I'll shoot the first bastard who tries to come near me with a
Just so you know.
Friday, August 31, 2007
bad old days were Satanic. But great.
It's good to be a pygmy. Pretty soon they'll be handing out prizes to
kids who are shorter than their parents because littler people produce
less carbon dioxide. Fortunately, those littler people will have nice little
Luxury auto makers have typically
offered vehicles in three sizes: medium, large and extra-large.
Beginning this fall, they're adding a new one -- small.
Environmental concerns and high fuel costs have given diminutive,
efficient vehicles a boost in the size-obsessed U.S. marketplace as
consumers begin to swap their large, thirsty vehicles for alternatives
such as the Mini Cooper. In the past year or two, Toyota Motor Corp.,
Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. have all introduced new, low-cost
subcompacts to satisfy the perceived demand.
Now AG's Audi, BMW AG and Ford Motor Co.'s Volvo are getting into the
act. Those high-cachet brands are lining up products that will test
American tastes for small vehicles with outsize performance, posh
amenities and premium price tags.
Other manufacturers, like GM's Saab unit and DaimlerChrysler AG's
Mercedes-Benz, have similar models in development that could make the
leap to North America.
Little pictures of little cars.
Personally, I can't wait. Because, boy, are they ever going to have to
get out of my way when I come cruising by in my Satanic Cadillac. We'll
scarf up those little babies like peanuts.
Who do you want to ride with? Them or me?
Well, okay. But you
suntan oil. SPF 2. I go for the tropical look.