The Spectacle Blog

One More Evening with Ramsey Lewis

By on 1.17.15 | 2:12PM

Last May, I had the opportunity to see Ramsey Lewis perform at Scullers' Jazz Club in Boston and reviewed the performance.

Last night, I saw Ramsey Lewis perform again. This time at New York's legendary Blue Note Jazz Club in Greenwich Village. My Dad also accompanied me to the performance and enjoyed it immensely.

Unlike the Boston show, Lewis was leading a quartet instead of a quintet. They performed selections from Duke Ellington and The Beatles as well as an extended medley from the classic Brazilian film Black Orpheus. Lewis also performed his classic hits "Sun Goddess" and "The In Crowd".

2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Lewis' version of "The In Crowd" hitting the charts. Although he is nearing 80, Lewis remains a sharp performer and is actively touring.

If you've never attended a jazz concert before, the music of Ramsey Lewis is a great place to start.



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I Feel Sorry for James Taylor

By on 1.17.15 | 1:45PM

Secretary of State John Kerry's decision to bring out James Taylor to sing "You've Got a Friend" in Paris yesterday has been met with near universal derision including by our own Emily Zanotti.

I finally had a chance to watch the video. It was far from Taylor's best rendition of the song and he knew it. By the end of it, he couldn't wait to get the hell out of there. But Kerry pulled him back to acknowledge the applause/humiliation.

I feel sorry for James Taylor. I like his music and once saw him in concert. But neither he nor this song was right for this occasion. 

If Kerry wanted music for the occasion then bring along someone to sing "La Marseillaise" or an Edith Piaf song. 

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John Kerry Brought James Taylor to Apologize to France

By on 1.16.15 | 10:52AM

Apparently, in an act of apology for missing the anti-terrorism protests in France last Sunday, which featured over a million people including, but not limited to, leaders from most of the world's major countries, we hauled 70s folk singer James Taylor all the way over to Paris to sing "You've Got a Friend' at a press conferene. I don't even know why we have a State Department anymore.

Just...Just watch the video. And maybe weep for the future of humanity. I don't know. 

I think John Kerry was then expecting everyone to cuddle. 

America, I want you to understand that this is a real thing that happened. This is a thing and it happened and it was real and we did it. In response to terrorism. This might be the most embarrassing moment of my life and I once missed the announcement that a middle school spirit day was cancelled and showed up to 7th grade in a poodle skirt. 

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Delay of Game?

By on 1.15.15 | 4:41PM

Baseball games get longer and longer, but this is not entirely, or even chiefly because batters spend so much time adjusting their batting gloves between pitches, or that some pitchers seem to go into extended meditative trances before delivering the ball.

A big game-extender is the new philosophy, popular in some dugouts, of going deep into the count in order to see more pitches and to run the opposing pitcher’s pitch count up. But probably the biggest time waster is the fact that so many major league hitters now have so much trouble making contact with the ball. So many strikeouts.

It’s not the length of the game but the pace of the game that matters. For fans it’s not nearly as entertaining to see batters waving at the ball and missing as it is to see the ball put in play. For this reason I’m only lukewarm on the idea of the pitch clock, which will be tried in AA and AAA ball during the 2015 season in hopes of juicing the game up a bit, and perhaps even getting fans home before the late-late show begins.

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Can Joni Ernst Make Obama Squeal in Her SOTU Response?

By on 1.15.15 | 4:41PM

Joni Ernst, the newly elected Senator from Iowa who gave the GOP the majority in last November's election, has been chosen to give the Republican response to the SOTU address on Tuesday.

I don't know if Ernst is planning to talk about hog castration in her response, but if her speech resonates it could make President Obama squeal.

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Heart Warming News

By on 1.15.15 | 4:28PM

Despite the full court press on the global warming fraud that we’ve endured over recent years from political, cultural, educational, entertainment, and now even religious elites (the climate hustlers have now even roped in a pope), a new CNN poll finds 57 percent of respondents saying that global warming is not a threat. Almost half say they believe any warming taking place is a result of natural forces.

Sometimes Everyman gets it right.

This is the more remarkable when one considers how relentless the sell on global warming has been. First they tried to convince us of the science — transparently shaky at best. Then they tried to shame us into falling in line by calling those who wouldn’t convert “deniers” and yahoos and worse. In smart circles it’s just bad taste — downright rude — to question any part of the entire fantastical package. The equivalent of passing gas at a wedding (that too is a greenhouse gas, by the way).

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Belgian Police Did Not Waffle in Face of Islamic Terror

By on 1.15.15 | 3:58PM

Kudos to Belgian police for killing at least two members of a terror cell in Verviers linked to ISIS that was apparently planning a "Belgian Charlie Hebdo".

Unfortunately, there's plenty more where that came from. But at least it can be said that today Belgian police did not waffle when faced with Islamic terror.

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Valerie Jarrett: We Handled that Paris Thing Pretty Well, Huh?

By on 1.15.15 | 3:50PM

John Kerry is en route to France for a long weekend as I type, which I'm sure France is utterly thrilled about, and the White House has moved on to pursuing other, more important projects than the immediate threat posed by global terrorism, like whether the Commander in Chief will have sufficient appetizers on hand to watch every NFL playoff game airing this weekend. 

And, of course, if anyone deserves some time off, it's the White House. After all, they think they've done a banner job handling all of this Paris nonsense, at least according to Senior White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett, who appeared on CNN this morning to sing the praises of the Administration's approach to foreign affairs.

CNN HOST: Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived in Paris, he says he wants to share a big hug with the French people, do you and President Obama regret not sending someone to Paris sooner? 

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Egyptian President Sisi’s Religious Revolution Appears To Be On Hold

By on 1.15.15 | 3:36PM

At the beginning of year, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for a "religious revolution" within Islamic thinking. He asked, "Is it possible that 1.6 billion people should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live?” Sisi went on to say "This umma (Islamic world) is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.”

As Raymond Ibrahim wrote in a column that was reprinted here at The American Spectator earlier this month, "In other words, Islamic terrorism and chaos is not a product of grievance, territorial disputes, colonialism, Israel, offensive cartoons, or anything else the West points to. It’s a product of their “own hands.”

Ibrahim originally published his column on January 7th, the same day the Charlie Hebdo murders took place in Paris.

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Washington Post Reporter to Stand Trial in Iran

By on 1.15.15 | 1:03PM

While negotiations between the Obama Administration and Iran (along with the other P5 + 1 nations) have resumed over Iran's nuclear program, Iran has seen fit to put a reporter for The Washington Post on trial.

Iran's state news agency announced that Jason Rezaian, who serves as the Post's Tehran correspondent, will stand trial though they did not disclose the nature of the charges against Rezaian.

Rezaian was arrested back in July along with his wife, Yeganeh Salehi although she was subsequently released in October.

Charges were laid against Rezaian last month. At the time, Secretary of State John Kerry put out the following statement:

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