Sole Focus

News, Views, Rantings & Ramblings by Carey Parrish

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Location: Georgia, United States

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ship of Fools

I am utterly disgusted by the leadership in our country right now. Congress, back for a lame duck session before the changes next month, cannot agree on anything. They're putting their own agendas and petty grievances ahead of making any headway for the American people. The result is that our taxes will go up and all those who are on unemployment will be without any assistance, unless they do something. Which is not looking very hopeful at the moment.

President Obama held out an olive branch by meeting with Republican law makers and striking a deal to extend the Bush era tax cuts but he's been undermined by his own party members who are pouting like third graders because he didn't ask their permission before he did it. And as for the Republicans, they're too busy licking their chops for running the House come January to concentrate on anything important at the moment. They still seem oblivious to the fact that they have no control over the Senate or the White House, and that they split their own party by tolerating those damn Tea Partiers.

Issues like Don't Ask Don't Tell are also making headlines right now. The American public and the armed forces are for the repeal but our stupid Republican senators, led by the blockheaded John McCain, are too busy trying to stop it to care what anybody else thinks. It's what they want that seems to count; not what anybody else is interested in.

I can't be the only one who is seeing parallels here between our congress and the ancient Roman senate. Corruption, greed, and power are motivating the decisions are lawmakers are passing, or rather are not passing, instead of listening to  the country as a majority. Those with big heads can't think past what they want.

I'm beginning to think they're a ship of fools up there. Nobody doing what needs to be done and everybody busying themselves with topics that aren't germaine at the present. I say we recall two-thirds of them. What's there now is becoming increasingly impotent by its own actions.

Marvelous Monday

When I first heard that Rod Stewart was going to duet with Dolly Parton on one of his Great American Songbook albums, I was mildly amused. After all, they aren’t a very likely duo and I was prepared to dislike whatever song they chose.

Then I heard Baby, It’s Cold Outside and the genius of this pairing was undeniable. I was instantly won over and this song has become one of my favorites. A popular radio treat this time of year, Rod and Dolly really brought it home. Their singing is pristine and they complimented one another much better than I – or anyone else – thought they ever would. An instant classic, this one is a delight every time you hear it.

This video clip, constructed from various pics of these two legendary performers, may not be as exciting as a live recording of them singing the song together, but it suffices quite well. Rod Stewart and Dolly Parton, what a combination!

This Day in History

1577 - Five ships under the command of Sir Francis Drake left Plymouth, England, to embark on Drake's circumnavigation of the globe. The journey took almost three years.

1636 - The United States National Guard was created when militia regiments were organized by the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

1642 - New Zealand was discovered by Dutch navigator Abel Tasman.

1769 - Dartmouth College, in New Hampshire, received its charter.

1809 - The first abdominal surgical procedure was performed in Danville, KY, on Jane Todd Crawford. The operation was performed without an anesthetic.

1816 - John Adamson received a patent for a dry dock.

1862 - In America, an estimated 11,000 Northern soldiers were killed or wounded when Union forces were defeated by Confederates under General Robert E. Lee, at the Battle of Fredericksburg.

1883 - The border between Ontario and Manitoba was established.

1884 - Percy Everitt received a patent for the first coin-operated weighing machine.

1913 - The Federal Reserve System was established as the first U.S. central bank.

1913 - It was announced by authorities in Florence, Italy, that the "Mona Lisa" had been recovered. The work was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris in 1911.

1918 - U.S. President Wilson arrived in France, becoming the first chief executive to visit a European country while holding office.

1921 - Britain, France, Japan and the United States signed the Pacific Treaty.

1937 - Japanese forces took the Chinese city of Nanking (Nanjing). An estimated 200,000 Chinese were killed over the next six weeks. The event became known as the "Rape of Nanking."

1944 - During World War II, the U.S. cruiser Nashville was badly damaged in a Japanese kamikaze suicide attack. 138 people were killed in the attack.

1961 - Anna Mary Robertson Moses, "Grandma Moses," passed away at the age of 101.

1964 - In El Paso, TX, President Johnson and Mexican President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz set off an explosion that diverted the Rio Grande River, reshaping the U.S.-Mexican border. This ended a century-old border dispute.

1966 - The rights to the first four Super Bowls were sold to CBS and NBC for total of $9.5 million.

1978 - The Philadelphia Mint began stamping the Susan B. Anthony U.S. dollar. The coin began circulation the following July.

1980 - Three days after a disputed general election, Uganda’s President Milton Obote was returned to office.

1981 - Authorities in Poland imposed martial law in an attempt to crackdown on the Solidarity labor movement. Martial law ended formally in 1983.

1982 - The Sentry Armored Car Company in New York discovered that $11 million had been stolen from its headquarters overnight. It was the biggest cash theft in U.S. history.

1987 - U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz told reporters in Copenhagen, Denmark, that the Reagan administration would begin making funding requests for the proposed Star Wars defense system.

1988 - PLO chairman Yasser Arafat addressed the U.N. General Assembly in Geneva, were it had recovened after the United States had refused to grant Arafat a visa to visit New York.

1988 - A bankruptcy judge in Columbia, SC, ordered the assets of the troubled PTL television ministry sold to a Toronto real estate developer for $65 million.

1989 - South African President F.W. de Klerk met for the first time with imprisoned African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela, at de Klerk's office in Cape Town.

1991 - Five Central Asian republics of the Soviet Union agreed to join the new Commonwealth of Independent States.

1991 - North Korea and South Korea signed a historic non-aggression agreement.

1993 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that people must receive a hearing before property linked to illegal drug sales can be seized.

1993 - The European Community ratified a treaty creating the European Economic Area (EEA), to go into effect January 1, 1994.

1994 - An American Eagle commuter plane carrying 20 people crashed short of Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina, killing 15 people.

1995 - China's most influential democracy activist, Wei Jingsheng, who already had spent 16 years in prison, was sentenced to 14 more years.

1997 - The Getty Center in Los Angeles, CA, was opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

1998 - Gary Anderson (Minnesota Vikings) kicked six field goals against Baltimore. In the game Anderson set an National Football League (NFL) record for 34 straight field goals without a miss.

2000 - U.S. Vice President Al Gore conceded the 2000 Presidential election to Texas Gov. George W. Bush. The Florida electoral votes were won by only 537 votes, which decided the election. The election had been contested up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which said that the Florida recount (supported by the Florida Supreme Court) was unconstitutional.

2001 - The U.S. government released a video tape that showed Osama bin Laden and others discussing their knowledge of the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.

2001 - Israel severed all contact with Yasser Arafat. Israel also launched air strikes and sent troops into Palestine in response to a bus ambush that killed 10 Israelis.

2001 - NBC-TV announced that it would begin running hard liquor commercials. NBC issued a 19-point policy that outlined the conditions for accepting liquor ads.

2001 - Michael Frank Goodwin was arrested and booked on two counts of murder, one count of conspiracy and three special circumstances (lying in wait, murder for financial gain and multiple murder) in connection to the death of Mickey Thompson. Thompson and his wife Trudy were shot to death in their driveway on March 16, 1988. Thompson, known as the "Speed King," set nearly 500 auto speed endurance records including being the first person to travel more than 400 mph on land.

Monday's Flashback

Karen Carpenter was unquestionably one of the most talented vocalists in pop music history. Along with her brother Richard, The Carpenters ruled in the seventies and early eighties. With their unique brand of pop, Karen’s silken soprano fit the songs they recorded as if she was born to sing them. And she probably was.

Touch Me When We’re Dancing was the duo’s last Top 20 hit before Karen’s untimely death in 1983. Anorexia took this magnificent songbird from the world but she left behind a rich legacy of music that stands up today as some of the most contemporary sounding masterpieces of all time. The Carpenters remain a radio staple and its Karen’s magic that made it all happen.

No one has to wonder what made Karen so special. As this video shows, she was more at home in front of the mike than she was anywhere else. Touch Me When We’re Dancing is one of those classics that only The Carpenters could have made.

Thought for Today

A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one. -- Benjamin Franklin