Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Middle of the Week Mélange

First and most important, the latest issue of the state history journal, Idaho Yesterdays, is in print. The Spring/Summer 2008 issue focuses on folklore topics in Idaho history and is a real masterpiece. I don't say this as someone who knows the real nuts and bolts of it, I say this an a real admirer of the journal and as a ardent fan of Idaho history. The Idaho Yesterdays website has the latest issue posted, you can preview a few sections of the journal there, or it should be available through the Idaho State Historical Society and on the shelves of your local public and/or university libraries soon.

It didn't occur to me the importance and insanity of what was taking place over at The Unequivocal Notion this past week when Bruce Skaug, member of the Nampa Public Library Board left this comment anonymously. It goes without saying that I've been a little out of the loop here and not as up on my daily blog reading as I should be--kudos to Chris at The Unequivocal Notion for sticking with this story and forcing the resignation of this imbecile.

One of the tabs in my internet browser gives me the days latest headlines from the BBC. Why the BBC? I'm not entirely sure and I'm sure my buddy d2 could explain this to me, however, it doesn't bother me much and I actually appreciate a different perspective since the three papers I read daily are the Idaho State Journal, Washington Post, and Idaho Statesman. Anyway, today I ran across this headline about Canada cracking down on American deserters. There is so much to this story that is unfathomable to me, most importantly the fact that we were deceived by our President in going to war in Iraq, and I won't elaborate on that here and now, but I wanted to point out the quote from Corey Glass: "I should have been in New Orleans after Katrina, not in Iraq." The more time this quote sits with me the more significant it seems to be. I wonder how many in the National Guard feel/felt this way about Katrina and didn't speak up.

On an unrelated note, Chipper Jones, the third baseman for the Atlanta Braves is taking a few games off after irritating an ongoing quadriceps injury. I feel for Chipper because he has had too many injuries in far too many seasons. The crazy thing is, even with taking a few days off (Bobby Cox isn't saying anything about the DL as of yet), Chipper sits with a very comfortable and nearly unheard of .420 batting average, hit his 400th career homer, got his own space in ESPN Magazine this week, and was named last week's National League player of the week. Some sort of statistical equation crunches the numbers and shoots out a .579 average for his player-of-the-week plate appearances. It is insane! Maybe I'm the only one who worried that when Andruw Jones left the Braves, the excitement of the Jones' boys would decrease, and Chipper was quietly fade away into retirement. Who knew! Andruw Jones is beyond slumping and Chipper is having the best season of his career! Now, he just needs to get healthy so us Braves fans can have something to be excited about--the Smoltz news has been a blow.

Some interesting news came via the JFK Lancer newsletter today regarding the November in Dallas Conference. The conference usually schedules one big speaker and this year, on the forty-fifth anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, the speaker will be a guy who actually served on President Kennedy's security detail. You can read more about the NID and this year's speaker at the JFK Lancer website.

On the topic of Kennedy, I know how old "Quote of the Day" posts can become and I have had two of them recently, but I just can't say enough how phenomenal the Ted Sorensen memoir is that was recently published. There is so much out there written about Kennedy, much of it not worth the paper it is printed on, some of it so far removed from reality that it gives an awfully skewed sense of the man and the myth, and then every five to ten years a work that deserves to be read and applauded. This book is the book I've been waiting for in the five years since Robert Dallek published his Kennedy biography. Ted Sorensen, a man who has unbelievable control of the English language, is able to write about Kennedy in a way that few can. There is a line at the close of the ninth chapter that to me encompasses the purpose and tone of the entire book: "For eleven years I loved him, respected him, and believed in him, and I still do." Firsthand experience, unyielding loyalty, and immense respect do not betray the facts and the history of Sorensen's time with Kennedy. He does not shy from addressing Kennedy's womanizing, though he admits he had no knowledge of any details. Most importantly though, Sorensen writes like a man who is still grieving for his mentor and friend. It is an amazing book.

The Jakob Dylan solo album has dropped and I am not all that impressed. I wanted it to be something it just isn't. He sounds like his father and the world really only has room for one Bob Dylan. Sounding like his father isn't his problem, though. He doesn't sound like the lead singer of The Wallflowers that some of us fell in love with. The sound isn't the same. And he is trying too hard. His lyrics are strained, despite the fairly decent music. Maybe my perspective isn't the clearest because I was so impressed by the solo effort of former Bush front man Gavin Rossdale. And sometimes anticipation ruins releases like this. Sort of along the lines of the Faulkner quote about failing to match dreams of perfection, I'm trying to rate the release based on its failure to do the impossible. Solo albums for guys with established bands aren't always a great plan and rarely work out well. Jakob, sorry it wasn't perfect, better luck next time?

Another one of those 'probably goes without saying' comments: I've been single-handedly keeping both Amazon.com and iTunes in business lately. I figure July will be a dry spell in terms of really good, new books and music being released, so I can build up the bubble gum fund then.

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