Chris Orlet’s article on the great Dave Brubeck was an absolute delight! I loved “Take 5” many years ago when it was the first jazz piece to hit the top of the pop charts, but I never really got into his music until high school. During an arts and humanities class, the teacher (who happened to be the school’s band director and later became the long-time president of the Northeast Ohio Jazz Society) played a number of cuts from the marvelous “Jazz Impressions of Eurasia” album, all played during a State Department-sponsored trip for the Quartet (Brubeck, Paul Desmond, Gene Wright, and Joe Morello) through Europe and the Middle East in 1958. Brubeck’s use of various signatures and suggestions of the music of the nations the Quartet visited was stunning. For instance, he used overtures of Chopin in his piece “Dziekuje” (Polish for “Thank you”) which brought the audience in Warsaw to its feet with thunderous applause after he finished. Another piece, “Brandenburg Gate,” was extraordinary, and one could feel the power and conflict that emanated around that great Berlin structure over the centuries. “Gate” was exceeded only by the Quartet’s pairing with Brubeck’s brother Howard and his orchestra for a 20+ minute expansion of the original work which covered the entire side of a later album, “Brandenburg Gate — Revisited.” I owned most of the Quartet’s albums and thank God they’ve been released in CD, as I’ve worn out the original vinyls a long, long time ago.
To Dave Brubeck, a wonderful and heart-felt Happy 85th Birthday! I hope that I’m half that active when I hit that age. Come to think of it, I hope I’m half that active when I hit 55 next year!
— Jim Bjaloncik
Love Brubeck. Liked the article, but, OW! I winced when I read the sentence, “And then there was the race card to deal with.” Why, oh why, does “race” have to be on a “card” EVERY SINGLE TIME it comes up in discussion?
At least one letter like Michael Presley’s was predictable. He can’t say why or how Brubeck is like Velveeta. Except it’s the “right” opinion. I remember I dumped a jazz survey course in college after I learned everything I needed to know about Jazz on the first day. I’ll enlighten you: Sun Ra good. Brubeck bad.
— John C
ARMED AND MAD
Re: Patrick Devenny’s True Fanatic:
A very good article by Patrick Devenny. It illuminates President Ahmadinejad’s outlook very well. And from a historical standpoint, is strikingly reminiscent of a rising world leader in the late 1930s.
Some have questioned why Ahmadinejad is publicly saying these things now. Some look at them as camouflage or misdirection with regard to other things happening within Iran. They may be correct, or the truth could be much simpler.
President Ahmadinejad may simply be making his case for what he and many others in the Islamic Republic truly want: a final war against the infidels. The rhetoric is designed to do two simple things; generate support from fanatical Muslims both inside and outside Iran and, by intimidating western governments and the UN, to buy time for Iran to complete the weapon needed to insure victory
What makes all of this even more disturbing is the fact that this is not a Machiavellian ploy to cover weakness. It is a fanatical belief in a divine destiny. A belief that an apocalyptic conflict is prophesied and a deeply held belief that Islam, led, of course, by the Islamic Republic of Iran, can not and will not lose the conflict.
Fanatics are dangerous, partly because of their irrational faith in the correctness of their actions and their ultimate success against all odds and because other people fail to understand this. It is always best to listen to fanatics and take them at their word. To do otherwise is to court disaster.
— Michael Tobias
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
President I’mMadOnJihad of Iran makes a very compelling argument for the selective killing of heads of state that pose a threat to their neighbors. That the people of Iran have elected this lunatic to lead them makes it clear that Iran is not worthy of being called a civilized nation.
The prospect of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons and having this mad dog’s paw on the trigger is totally unacceptable. I cannot imagine that Israel will wait much longer to do what must be done to protect its existence.
— Tillman Jeffrey
Calm yourselves. If complete screaming chaos is a precondition for the return of the Twelfth Imam, then we need not fear his appearance in Iran. The 2008 Democratic primary races, however, are a distinct possibility.
— Martin Owens
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s Who Is Byron Dorgan?:
Obviously, Senator Dorgan is a lackey of the Clintons, pure and simple. Sadly, he is just one more pygmy in a Senate filled with them. Americans have the best government money can buy.
— R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida
Nothing that was done in Clinton’s years would surprise me and recently having Republicans go along with Dems is just more of the same. The taxpayers PAID for this report and it should be put out for our enjoyment.
— Elaine Kyle
I always find it interesting that when it comes to the Clintons and their corruption the investigations never seem to really leak anything.
I’m supposed to believe the Washington Post couldn’t get a copy? No leaks at all? Funny. Bush gets his leakers from special counsel.
I’m starting to think it’s all those Clinton holdovers and federal employees that should have been swept out along with their president. Oh, and Bill too. I think they are doing the damaging leaks on Bush and at the same time clamping down tight on the Clinton material.
Am I a little too paranoid? Probably. Next thing I know I’ll convince myself a very high up player in the Clinton administration would just walk into the National Archives and just feloniously steal and destroy damaging documents that could hurt her majesties crowning in January 2009.
— Greg Barnard
This is the kind of thing that counts the most, according to everyone, and in the end, doesn’t count at all. The most important scandals recently — this and Able Danger — will be covered, forgotten, left to rot. These scandals involve life and death, taxes, corruption, accountability, crime, and the law, and don’t mean a thing anymore.
Someone stand up, and do something. I think Mr. Tyrrell and others would love the chance to be grateful.
— Scott Horn
Other than writing my Congressman, is there anything a citizen can really do to get the report into the public’s hands? The whole thing is a disgrace.
— Kent Feldsted
Why don’t we get the report classified Top Secret codeword and give it to the CIA for safekeeping? It will soon appear in the NYT/WP for all to read.
— Tom O’Reilly
South Portland, Maine
Let’s face facts. Byron Dorgan is just another crooked Democrat hack.
— Sid Morris
Once again a committed liberal comes out four-square for freedom of speech. Like most of the liberals I have met or have read about, this freedom belongs only to those who agree with them. Mr. Ellis, with industrial strength liberal hypocrisy, has advertised the well-known liberal penchant for stepping on the rights of others because they believe differently. He is truly a freedom-loving American. The problem is that the only freedom he loves is his own.
— Joseph Baum
Good work by J. Peter Freire on Ann Coulter’s University of Connecticut visit. The Coulterphobes need to be exposed for what they are, and Freire did that very well. It may also be helpful to reflect that not all campuses are defined by a few pockets of intolerant leftists.
On November 17 Coulter addressed a crowd of 1,135 (including myself) at the University of Texas at Tyler. There was not a protester to be seen or heard. The audience welcomed Coulter warmly and enthusiastically, and she did not disappoint. She is easily one of the funniest people out there — even funnier than one would think from her television appearances. Her speech was repeatedly interrupted by laughter and applause as she delivered one zinger after another. Coulter’s critics would be formidable if they could ever replicate her humor and optimism. But then, they would no longer be liberals, so I guess that’s a non sequitur.
During the Q & A session she was asked to comment on topics ranging from her own political ambitions (none, she doesn’t want “a job”), to Hillary, to the then-ongoing riots in France. She answered the last question with a question: Why do the French Muslims so “hate cars”? Only one person seemed anti-Coulter. He asked how she could support the Iraq War if she cared about our soldiers. She responded that our soldiers are “the best Americans,” showing that we not only care about them, but honor them. The questioner was treated politely.
Coulter not only entertained. She gave us all a renewed appreciation of how lucky we are to be part of this grand experiment called America. It was a great evening.
FROM XENU, WITH LOVE
Re: James G. Poulos’s Paxil Americana:
Thank you so much for your wonderful and truthful article about Paxil. Not much more I can say as I have personally lived its nightmare. Few are willing and few understand the reality to write about it as you have so eloquently done. I’m not sure what your experience with it has been, but it’s very apparent that the wool is no longer pulled over your eyes.
May this season of lights bring you every blessing in the world.
Re: Jay D. Homnick’s No Crip Tonight:
Whatever the dialogue, argument or assessment may be, the one factor that is plain is that all comments about the thug now begin “Tookie was….” So be it.
SOMETHING IN THE AIR
Re: Lisa Fabrizio’s Sliding Down the Polls:
The Democrats aren’t just disconnected, in my humble opinion. They are either from another planet or the land of Oz. How they can possibly think that they resonate with the average American, hard working, tax-paying, patriotic, voter is beyond comprehension. What we are witnessing live, in color and on TV almost nightly, are the after effects of the fried brained, ’60s drug culture, radicals.
Not sure, but I think it was General Patton who once said, “Americans love a winner.” Well folks, I’m here to tell you that this bunch of burned out, fried brained, radical ’60s left over, loonie bins of the left wing of the Democratic Party have lost it completely.
Here is how I see it. I’m not a gambling man, but if I were, I’d put my money on the Armed Forces of The United States of America in the War on terror (including Iraq). To do otherwise is, well, just shear drug induced, hallucinatory after affects, brain dead, folly.
Here is my daily prayer between now and the 2006 elections. Dear God in heaven, please let there be a member of the left wing mainstream media around with a camera and microphone every time a Chuckie Schumer, a John Kerry, a Howard Dean, a John Kerry lite (John Edwards), Teddy, Harry, Nancy and the rest of the wacko lefties, open their mouths. Amen!
We need to keep them talking folks. The more they talk (actually, shriek is a better word), the loonier and more hysterical they sound. And, they are fun to watch with their dire looks and fake solemn expressions.
— Jim L
East Sandwich, Massachusetts
Perhaps you could arrange to lock reader Dan Mittelman (“Charles Colson is still the same old con artist”) in a room with some of the most ardent believers in the rehabilitation of Tookie Williams. Any enlightenment gained in such an encounter could only be positive.
I noticed that last Friday you ran not one, not two, not three, but FOUR letters from Elaine Kyle. Why not just make the pride of Cut N Shoot, Texas a columnist and be done with it?
— Glen Hoffing
Re: Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder’s Christmas, Let It Be:
Thank you so much for your courage to stand on the streets of New York and wishing people “Merry Christmas” and that “it’s okay to say it.” I tell my Jewish friends, “Happy Hanukkah” too.
Mr. Mason, I have been a fan of yours since I was a child watching Ed Sullivan. You have a lot of loyal fans and people will listen to you. Hanukkah is a beautiful holiday and many Christians such as myself, are very, very grateful to the Jewish people. They are to be honored and revered. I pray that God has His protective Hand on Israel always. May this Hanukkah and Christmas season be a blessed one for you. You have been a blessing to us!
God Bless You!
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