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The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

John Kenneth Galbraith

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It is not what we profess, but what we practice that gives us integrity.

Francis Bacon

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When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade without further introduction.

Mark Twain

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Social media gives legions of idiots the right to speak when they once only spoke at a bar after a glass of wine, without harming the community. Then they were quickly silenced, but now they have the same right to speak as a Nobel Prize winner. It’s the invasion of the idiots.

Umberto Eco

Galbraith

Eco

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The Questions…

1. During WWII, how were the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence safeguarded?

2. What company owns, among other brands, Lamborghini, Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Bugatti, and Ducati?

3. By what name is the painting “La Gioconda” better known?

4. How long is an eon?

5. In parts of Europe, and in many countries that once were part of the British Empire, what is the day after Christmas called?

The Answers…

1. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the documents were moved to the US Bullion Depository at Fort Knox, Kentucky. After the D-Day landings in 1944, they were returned to Washington, DC.

2. Volkswagen AG.

3. The Mona Lisa. The painting by Leonardo da Vinci is believed to be a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, an Italian noblewoman whose husband, rich businessman Francesco del Giocondo, was a big shot in the Silk Guild.

4. In common usage, an eon usually is an indefinite, very long period of time. In astronomy and geology, however, it is one billion years.

5. “Boxing Day,” which originated eons ago in the UK. It probably is connected to an old tradition of giving gifts to people working service jobs or to the poor. Boxing may refer to a Christmas box given to the needy or to church donation boxes.

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The London new wave band The Dream Academy was formed in the mid-1980s, intending to make their mark using uncommon instruments and sounds. One item on their list was to create a song with an African-style chorus.

They did it in the band’s first, biggest, and only real hit, “Life in a Northern Town.”

Nick Laird-Clowes wrote the lyrics after working in the port city of Newcastle, where many workers were left unemployed when the shipyards closed down. The melancholy feel of the song reflects how the lives of the locals were affected.

The Dream Academy broke up in 1991, but still tours now and then.

The Dream Academy: Kate St. John, Nick Laird-Clowes, and Gilbert Gabriel.

Life In A Northern Town

By The Dream Academy, 1985
Written by Nick Laird-Clowes and Gilbert Gabriel

The Salvation Army band played.
And the children drunk lemonade.
And the morning lasted all day, all day,
And through an open window came,
Like Sinatra in a younger day,
Pushing the town away. Oh.

Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Dee-dew-dee-ny-ya
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Hey-ya
Life in a northern town.
Hey-ma-ma-ma-ma

They sat on the stony ground,
And he took a cigarette out,
And everyone else came down to listen.
He said “In winter 1963,
It felt like the world would freeze
With John F. Kennedy
And The Beatles.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Dee-dew-dee-ny-ya
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Hey-ya
Life in a northern town.
Hey-ma-ma-ma-ma
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Dee-dew-dee-ny-ya
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Hey-ya
All the work shut down.

The evening turned to rain,
Watched the water roll down the drain,
As we followed him down to the station.
And though he never would wave goodbye,
You could see it written in his eyes
As the train rolled out of sight.
Bye-bye.

Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Dee-dew-dee-ny-ya
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Hey-ya
Life in a northern town.

Hey-ma-ma-ma-ma
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Dee-dew-dee-ny-ya
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Hey-ya
Life in a northern town.

Hey-ma-ma-ma-ma
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Dee-dew-dee-ny-ya
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Hey-ya
Life in a northern town.

Hey-ma-ma-ma-ma
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Dee-dew-dee-ny-ya
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Hey-ya

Hey-ma-ma-ma-ma
Take it easy on yourself
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Dee-dew-dee-ny-ya
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Hey-ya

Hey-ma-ma-ma-ma
Take it easy on yourself
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Dee-dew-dee-ny-ya
Hey-oh-ma-ma-ma
Hey-ya

https://rockysmith.files.wordpress.com/2021/01/life-in-a-northern-town.mp3

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More favorite photos I’ve taken over the years.

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Government is necessary, not because man is naturally bad, but because man is by nature more individualistic than social.

Thomas Hobbes

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Those who fear the facts will forever try to discredit the fact-finders.

Denis Diderot

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Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.

Giordano Bruno

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Bank robbery is an initiative of amateurs. True professionals establish a bank.

Bertolt Brecht

Hobbes

Brecht

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The Questions…

1. According to power companies, what is the most frequent cause of power outages on the electrical grid?

2. Who was the first actor to portray James Bond? (Hint: it was not Sean Connery in “Dr. No” in 1962.)

3. What is a moonbow?

4. What’s the difference between apes and monkeys?

5. What neat trick does the State of Ohio use to identify motorists who have been cited more than once for DUI?

The Answers…

1. Squirrels — soon to be deceased squirrels — chewing through insulation.

2. American actor Barry Nelson played Bond in a live TV drama in 1954. The program was an adaptation of “Casino Real” in which Bond was an American spy, not British.

3. A rainbow that occurs at night, often around a waterfall and in the presence of mist. They are difficult to see unless the moon is bright.

4. Apes and monkeys are primates, like you, but apes (gorillas, chimps, orangutans, and gibbons) are higher on the evolutionary scale and thus more intelligent. Whereas monkeys prefer the safety of the treetops, apes spend as much time on the ground as in trees. Apes are larger than monkeys. Monkeys have tails, and apes do not.

5. Repeat DUI offenders are issued a yellow license plate with red characters instead of the standard Ohio plate, which is red, white, and blue. The special plates are a way for police to identify the offenders and, of course, are a form of public shaming.

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In 1989, guns killed about 35,000 Americans, and the band Concrete Blonde releases a song that called out the plague of gun deaths in the United States.

Not much has changed. In 2020, guns killed 41,000 of us. We probably shouldn’t be considered a civilized country.

Concrete Blonde spoke up about problems in society regularly, and I admire them for it. Sad that “God is a Bullet” is still so topical and powerful.

God is a Bullet

By Concrete Blonde, 1989
Written by Johnette Napolitano and James Mankey

There’s a green plaid jacket on the back of the chair.
It’s like a moment frozen forever there.
Mom and Dad had a lot of big plans for their little man.
So proud.
Mama’s gone crazy ’cause her baby’s cut down
By some teenage car chase, war out of bounds.
It was the wrong place, wrong time, wrong end of a gun.
Sad.

Shoot.
Shoot straight.
Shoot.
From the hip, y’all.
Shoot.
Gone forever in a trigger slip.
Well, it could have been,
It could have been your brother.


Shoot.
Shoot straight.
Shoot.
Shoot to kill, yeah.
Blame each other. Well, blame yourself.
You know, God is a bullet.
Have mercy on us everyone.

They’re gonna call me sir. They’ll all stop picking on me.
Well, I’m a high school grad. I’m over five-foot-three.
I’ll get a badge and a gun, and I’ll join the P.D.
They’ll see.
He didn’t have to use the gun they put in his hand.
But when the guy came at him, well, he panicked and ran.
And it’s 30 long years ‘fore they’ll give him another chance.
And it’s sad, sad. Yes, sad.

Shoot.
Shoot straight.
Shoot.
From the hip, y’all.
Shoot.
It’s all gone in a trigger slip.
Well, it could have been,
It could have been your brother.

Shoot.
Shoot straight.
Shoot.
Shoot to kill.
You blame each other. Let’s blame ourselves.
You know, God is a bullet.
Have mercy on us everyone.

Shoot.
Shoot straight.
Shoot.
From the hip, y’all.
Shoot.
Gone forever in a trigger slip.
Well, it could have been,
It could have been your brother.


Shoot.
John Lennon.
Shoot.
Dr. King, yeah,
And Harvey Milk died, and all for goddamn nothing.
God is a bullet.
Have mercy on us everyone.

God is a bullet.
Have mercy on us everyone.

https://rockysmith.files.wordpress.com/2021/01/god-is-a-bullet.mp3

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Pix o’ the Day

More favorite photos I’ve taken over the years.

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