Thursday, December 1, 2016

December Arrives

Waste of Time (and Money)

No one who reads this blog is unaware of my undying animus toward bloviating asshat Donald Trump. The outcome on November 8 did nothing to erase my objections to the man, and despite the eagerness of some conservatives to rave about his cabinet picks,
I remain deeply skeptical.

"Am I dumb or merely spiteful? You decide."
That said, the efforts by failed Green Party candidate Jill Stein to force recounts in key states strikes me as the worst sort of pig- headed progressive sore-loserdom.

Stein wants recounts in Wisconsin
(where Trump won by more than 24K), Michigan (Trump won by nearly 11K),
and Pennsylvania (Trump won by more than 64K). There is simply no way that recounts will reverse outcomes of those sizes, and it would require all three of those election outcomes to be reversed in order to change the Electoral College results.

Trump won the election. Full stop.

Stein has raised millions for her quixotic efforts, though there is widespread skepticism about the integrity of that fundraising. Stein's own party has announced its opposition
to the recounts.

Here's a hint, progressives: When even the New York Times and The New Yorker think you're being dumb, you're being dumb.

"As many elections as she's lost, you'd think she'd be used to it by now."

I know, right?

Still the Champ

Yesterday was FIDE World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen's 26th birthday, and he celebrated in style by retaining his title with a victory in the 2016 World Championship Match tie-breakers against Russian challenger Sergey Karjakin.

As I have said in this space before, I'm not a big fan of using these tie-breaks to decide the world championship, and in particular I didn't like making the players play four Rapid games all on the same day.

That said, there is no question that Carlsen is the best player in the world, and I congratulate him on his successful title defense.

"You didn't really want the other guy to win, did you?"

I was is always fun to root for the underdog, and Karjakin is a talented young player also, but on the other hand it doesn't break my heart that the champion
is from Norway rather than Russia...

Happy Birthday!

December 1, 1886 - October 27, 1975

Rex Todhunter Stout was born
on December 1, 1886 in Noblesville, Indiana.

Stout began his career as a writer
by publishing stories in the pulp magazines that flourished in the early 20th century. He abandoned writing for money around 1916, but when the Great Depression began he turned to writing as a source of income again.

In 1934 Stout published Fer-de-Lance, the novel that introduced his famous detective
Nero Wolfe and his assistant Archie Goodwin. Both of my parents were huge fans of the Nero Wolfe series, and because there were dozens of Stout paperbacks in their library he was one of the first American mystery writers I ever read.

I acquired other favorites over the years, but Stout richly deserves his reputation as one of the finest American mystery writers.

Progressive Scam du Jour

From the pen of Lisa Benson, whose editorial cartoons you should read often, as I do.

Until Next Time...

It has been a relatively mild autumn here in the Bluffs so far, weather-wise. There might have been a snowflake or two in these parts before yesterday, but when you see snow on November 30 it just feels...different. We didn't actually get real snow, but seeing those snowflakes when I went to the grocery store last night was a reminder that the white stuff will be here again, soon.

And that puts me in mind of one of my favorite songs associated with this time of year, "Winter Wonderland." Written in 1934 by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith, it quickly became one of the most popular secular Christmas songs of all time, even though the song's lyrics don't specifically mention Christmas. It has been recorded hundreds of times by artists and groups in every musical genre. I have an iTunes playlist that is nothing but covers of this song.

Original 1946 45 rpm single
In 1946 the popular vocal group
The Andrews Sisters had a hit recording of the song, made with Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians.

That single peaked at No. 22 on
the charts, and its success led to an entire album of Christmas standards a year later. Several of the songs
on that album charted as singles
as well, the most popular being a version of "Jingle Bells" featuring Bing Crosby.

I have always preferred the jauntier, more up-tempo renditions of "Winter Wonderland," and have never cared for attempts to turn it into a slow ballad. The Andrews Sisters' bouncy version is one of my favorites because it fully captures the song's underlying playful mood.

Today's send-off is the trio's original hit recording, paired with some evocative photos and video clips from those days. Enjoy...

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