VDH, VDH, …

Victor Davis Hanson (VDH) is at his sublime best at NRO in The “Never Trump” Construct.

Sidebar: We like to categorize ourselves as guilty of the seven deadly sins except for envy.  The politics of envy as practiced on the left does not entice us.  But VDH’s writing skills do make us envious.  We don’t always agree with VDH but we always find his, and only his, writing enthralling.  Unfortunately, it leaves us guilty of all of the seven deadly sins.  Perhaps we can work on wrath.  End Sidebar.

Part way through he says:

We are essentially left with just one cultural and class divide that characterized three groups within the Republican party: 1) new voters turned on to Trump by his attitude and brashness, 2) old voters turned off on Trump by his attitude and brashness, and 3) the vast majority that voted for Trump because they perceived him as at least marginally better than Hillary Clinton and what she represented.

Well said, although we like to think of ourselves as an independent who fits in category three.  The Democrats, however, might have made us into a Republican.  You need to read it all because he has much more insight to share.  We can’t forget his new book either.

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Grappa And DeMille

We have just discovered Nelson DeMille and we really like what we have found.  We picked up The Charm School at the library and it was a great story of Communism and spies.  We gave The Gate House from the same library run to the Gloves-in-law but it was too big a volume for her.  Nelson tends to run 500-600 pages.  We started The Gate House but realized that The Gold Coast came first so we switched over to that and are finding joy in mid-life John Sutter and old money.  As a New Englander we recognize the commonalities of the Gold Coast and The Cape.

Nelson’s books are great on details like flying helicopters or the old rich on Long Island.  That’s why it is so surprising when Frank (The Bishop) Bellarosa, a mafia don, says grappa is like brandy and sips it.  Well, it is kinda like brandy.  Brandy is distilled wine.  Grappa is, as the Rome File says:

The main ingredient of grappa is pomace, which consists of the grape skins, seeds and stalks that are left over from the winemaking process. These are taken through a second process of distillation, which extracts the remaining flavours from the pomace before the waste is discarded.

So grappa is distilling the remnants of the wine making process while brandy is distilling wine.  It is not sipped as the Rome File says:

Grappa is a wonderful way to end a meal, drunk either as a shot on its own or added to an espresso (in which case it’s known in Italy as a caffè coretto, or a “corrected coffee”).  [Emphasis added]

The Rome File is consistent with our guidebook.  When traveling you want to know these things.  Throwing back vodka shots and eating pickled herring help cement relations with the Poles.  It is a small complaint and we haven’t finished this otherwise wonderful book.  Perhaps Frank will act differently while enjoying grappa with his countrymen.

New Friends For W And Jonah?

George W Bush’s recent speech has attracted some interesting press.  It has also given Jonah Goldberg something interesting to say about The Donald and his relationship to others.  Let’s start with the speech.  The Politico title is: Full Text George W. Bush Speech On Trumpism.  It connects to Edward-Isaac Dovere’s article: George W. Bush Slams Trumpism, Without Mentioning The President By Name.  The two titles give it away.  W is now a leftist hero because he attacked The Donald even though he did not mention him.

We read the speech and thought The Donald wasn’t the main target.  In one paragraph he uses the time frame since World War II.  In the next paragraph W says the following:

For more than 70 years, the presidents of both parties believed that American security and prosperity were directly tied to the success of freedom in the world. And they knew that the success depended, in large part, on U.S. leadership. This mission came naturally, because it expressed the DNA of American idealism.

So does the 70 years mean from 1945 to 2015?  We don’t think it does for two reasons.  One, FDR became a fan of US leadership in the late 30s or early 40s.  We think that his relationship with Churchill dates it in the 30s.  Second, the US president from 2009 to 2017 was no fan of freedom in the world or US leadership.  We see the criticisms from W falling at least as heavily on him as The Donald.

That brings us around to Jonah.  We think that recently he has missed that there are many of us who voted for The Donald because we felt he was the better choice.  We still think that is true.  But Jonah has a crucial point:

But it seems like almost everybody is only hearing what they want to hear. Liberals, the media, and — importantly — President Trump’s Amen Corner all heard the same thing in Bush’s remarks: “Blah, blah, blah, blah, Trump Bad.” That’s why Bush is suddenly benefitting from a strange new respect from liberals and a strange new hatred from former supporters.

Our reaction is clearly within those bounds of hearing what we want to hear although we continue to be a big supporter of W, much less excited about The Donald, and decidedly unenthusiastic about the president between them.  Shortly after that Jonah asks:

I want to ask you to entertain a thought experiment. Imagine, if just for a moment, that all of you who fall into one of these camps are entirely wrong. What if President Bush was aiming his fire at Democrats and liberals?

We are not a liberal and we are not in The Donald’s Amen Corner (but we are fans of Amen Corner at Augusta).  We think that W was defending his administration but that he did direct most of his fire at the Democrats and liberals.  We like Jonah’s point and question.  We all need to ask if we misunderstand somebody.  This is especially true when they don’t name names.  When we read the speech by W we were shocked to see the headline and the related article.  We saw it as an epic takedown of that other president.  Try going through it line by line and see what you think.  As for now, Jonah is back as a must read for us.

The Monsta

We were reading Mark Newman’s discussion of MLB’s 2017 relievers of the year and we came across this:

Kimbrel led Major League relievers in strikeouts per nine (16.43) and WHIP (0.68), and tied for first in strikeouts (126). That whiff total was the most by a Boston reliever since Dick Radatz struck out 183 in 1964.

Dick Radatz was The Monster (or Monsta in New England) because he was 6’6″, 230, and had a sidearm fastball that completely terrorized right-handed hitters.  From 1962 through 1964 he had three of the best years by a reliever.  His burnout is also exhibit A of why we treat relievers differently now.  He was 40 and 21 with 76 saves while pitching over 400 innings during that period.  The Red Sox were eighth, seventh, and eighth (out of ten) in those three years.  The Red Sox won 224 games and the the Monsta won or saved 116 of those or 52 percent.  Kimbrel will likely be the AL Reliever of the year for winning or saving 43 percent of the Red Sox games.  Some time around the All-Star break next season in his third season with the Red Sox Kimbrel will pitch as many innings for the Red Sox as The Monsta did in 1964.  Radatz had three great years but the abuse of pitching double to triple the innings that closers do now caught up with even a Monsta.

Manager Johnny Pesky’s abuse of the Monsta in “64 led to him being less effective in ’65 and the Red Sox lost 100 games.  Kimbrel’s line of 1.43 ERA, 67 games, 51 games finished, 35 saves and five wins looks similar to the Monster’s 1964 season of 2.29, 79, 57, 24, 29 and 15 wins.  The difference is that the latter pitched 157 innings while the former pitched just 69.  There is much discussion about how to use closers but Radatz was over used, especially in 1964.

Buddy Guy

We accompanied the Lady de Gloves to see blues legend Buddy Guy for the first time at the Capitol Theater at the Overture Center in Madison, WI.  Quinn Sullivan was the opening act.  He is 18.  Check out this YouTube of Buddy and Quinn from ten years ago.  He can play and sing.  It was a good start.  Buddy is already in his 80s so it was time to see him.

Buddy came on in a polka-dot shirt and The Lady said, “Isn’t he adorable.”  She has always had great taste in men.  He was interesting, entertaining, and musical.  His stories, his playing, and his singing were right on.  From the big deep blues voice to the falsetto, he was in command of his voice.  He had a four-piece band (guitar, bass, drums, and keyboard) backing him.  They were ready to solo or back him while he told stories, played the guitar with a towel, or wandered through the audience.  He has a great stage presence if you don’t mind a little profanity.  He ended up right behind our seats!  One telling moment was when he brought Quinn and his son to join him toward the end of the concert.  We were watching Buddy while the two youngsters played solo and he really enjoyed watching both of them.

He gave us two great life lessons.  The first was “it” is not in the book.  This was mostly backed up by the amazing sounds he got out of his guitar in all manner of ways.  He’d smile and say it is not in the book.  One of the things that he mentioned not being in the book is that Buddy and BB and the rest were really discovered by the British and it led to the British invasion.  Buddy could have been upset by that but he was not.  He is a positive guy.

The second was keeping out of politics in performance.  He had lots of comments on Houston and other events but they were always in a positive manner.  He was pure Martin Luther King: “No matter how much you hate me I’m gonna love you.”  His comments showed it.  We might have missed it or not been open enough to micro-aggressions but we did not detect anything partisan during the performance and Buddy likes to talk.  He was a nice change from the partisan comments that showed up in the Graham Nash performance.

Here is his tour.  He plays at his club in Chicago during January.  You owe it to yourself to see him while he is still great.  He is older so there will be some sing-alongs and opportunity for the band members to solo but it is worth your time and money to see this treasure.

Conservative Faculty

At least some students at Georgetown University want more conservative faculty.  Mark Judge at Acculturated (also published on NRO) reports on an editorial in the official student newspaper, the Hoya:

Instead, they make a straightforward case that the dearth of conservative professors at Georgetown is leaving students unprepared for the genuine diversity—that is, the diversity of thought—that is part of the real world. Georgetown’s homogeneity, they argue, is leading to an atrophying of their skills for debate and reasoned argument. In other words, without conservatives, they have no one to test their ideas against.

They also review the evidence that that there are fewer conservative faculty members.  The Hoya, Mark, and NRO are all correct to say this but they miss the big structural problems that make diversifying faculty so hard.  The structural problems might be organized as graduating, teaching, and publishing.

Most faculty positions require a terminal degree, usually a Ph.D., and that is what we mean by graduating.  To get a terminal degree you write a thesis and that is largely controlled by your senior professor.  Graduating provides a bigger challenge if you are a conservative because few of those senior professors are.

Faculty members need to teach.  The problem is that the curriculum is controlled by folks who are not conservatives.  Thus we have Peace Studies

Sidebar: Here is the search for Peace Studies: http://search.privacysearch.net/q=cGVhY2Ugc3R1ZGllcw==&b=PC_80801124&qpt=na
It is one example of how new leftist programs are crowding out traditional, and often, more conservative programs.  End Sidebar.

and many otherprograms that designed by and staffed by the Left.  We talked to a military historian (we don’t know if he was a conservative but we suspect it) who said he had to leave because there was nothing for him to teach.  One data point is limited evidence but all of the programs suggest the problem more strongly.

Publishing is one of the things faculty need to do to get promoted.  Specifically, they need to publish at a level appropriate for their school.  Major programs require “A hits” while comprehensives like our school are less impressed by prestige but require that you be active in reasonable journals.  It is our judgment that leftist oriented journals have flourished to provide more outlets for them.  We were happy to see them (leftists) succeed because it was good for the department and the college.  There have been a couple of instances where folks have got a joke article published in those journals.  So there is concern about the intellectual quality of such journals but more troubling is the report by Andy Ngo in Quillette about an article, The Case For Colonialism, by associate professor Bruce Gilley in Third World Quarterly (TWQ).  It seems to us that the author was pointing out the obvious when:

[Bruce] argues that nations who embraced and built on their Western colonial legacy, for example, Singapore, have fared better than those who followed anti-colonial nationalist ideologies.

Instead, Bruce created a firestorm.  There were 17,000 signatures from two petitions and 15 resignations from the TWQ editorial board.  Seriously! You must read the whole thing.  Andy leads with the most astonishing part:

An academic journal [TWQ]l that published a controversial article making a case for Western colonialism has withdrawn the piece after its editor received “serious and credible threats” of violence.

Bruce is lucky to be an associate professor as associate usually indicates tenure, but he might remain one for a long time as publications will be hard to come by.

Bruce’s situation is exactly why conservatives are not drawn to academia and exactly why it is difficult for them to survive.  The Hoya is right about the need for diversity but it will take more than student editorials to bring more conservatives into the faculty ranks.

 

Graham Nash

We accompanied the Lady de Gloves to see Graham Nash at the Capitol Theater at Overture in the 77 square miles surrounded by reality.  The Capitol has great acoustics and singers almost always mention it as Graham did several times.  We are not sure if it is always part of Graham’s concerts or if the environment caused excessive virtue signaling but most of the denizens enjoyed it.

The show itself was great fun.  It was just two guys, Shane Fontayne on electric guitar or mandolin and Graham on acoustic guitar or keyboard and sometimes adding a harmonica.

Sidebar One: Shane Fontayne has an interesting history including a marriage to Mackenzie Phillips.  That means their son, also named Shane, is related to Shane, John Phillips, and Peter Barakan.  End Sidebar One.

Sidebar Two: Until we were just checking this we always thought that Michelle Phillips, in our opinion, perhaps the prettiest woman in the sixties, was Mackenzie’s mother.  We had always thought that genetics had treated Mackenzie unfairly but now we know.  End Sidebar.

The two guitars without any drums worked well.  Graham had some great stories about himself, the Hollies, and the rest of CSN&Y and he referred to them collectively as the other monkeys.  The stories provided some insight to the great With a 20 minute break the show went over two-and-a-half hours.  Their cover of the Beatles’ Blackbird was great.  It was a nice venue and a great show although we could have done without the rants on Trump.  Mercifully, they were short.