Thursday, January 19, 2017

Ars Gratia Salutem Mentis

Comfortably Dumb

One of the more tedious aspects of the news coverage this week has been the avalanche of print and broadcast stories about how many Democrats are planning to "boycott" tomorrow's inauguration of asshat Donald Trump.

Never mind the utter hypocrisy of this sort of futile gesture (you will search in vain for stories of Republicans boycotting either of Obama's inaugurals), what bothers me is the fawning coverage these ninnies are receiving from the progressive mainstream press (but I repeat myself). Somehow I doubt that media outlets would be praising politicians for their "courage" if it were Republicans boycotting Hillary's inaugural.

In any event, I look forward to a lot more of this kind of empty virtue-signaling from Democrats over the next four years, and of course the media will continue to treat them with kid gloves. Dissent as the highest form of patriotism is back, y'all! Enjoy!

Yes, it is kind of a snore, isn't it?

What a Difference...

...a year can make, at least in terms of weather patterns here in lovely southwest Iowa.

Rose Red at 8:50 AM CST this morning

This morning the temperature when I woke up was 39 degrees, probably headed for the low 50s today, and there was a bit of light rain. There isn't supposed to be any more precipitation today, but they can't completely rule it out, either.

One year ago today

Contrast that with the weather on this date last year, when we had gotten a blanket of snow overnight, resulting in school cancellations and a fair amount of annoyance.

We really haven't had a day like that so far this winter, for which I am quite grateful. But there is no doubt that it is coming. Winter's going to winter, sooner or later.

"We could always spend the winter in a warmer climate, you know."

Maybe after I win the Powerball, old friend...not practical until then...

Happy Birthday!

"It wasn't rabies. Just sayin'..."

On January 19, 1809 Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston. He led a difficult, troubled life, but he also became one of early America's most significant authors and poets. His influence on writers remains strong to this day, and his works remain widely popular with the reading public as well.

Poe is credited with launching the detective fiction genre with stories like "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" and "The Purloined Letter" which featured an amateur sleuth, C. Auguste Dupin, who would provide a template for later fictional detectives including Sherlock Holmes.

And of course Poe was the godfather of supernatural horror fiction as well. Stories of the macabre like "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Fall of the House of Usher" are quite simply unforgettable, and his style of storytelling blazed path many others have followed.

Mont Sainte-Victoire, 1900
On January 19, 1839 Paul Cézanne was born in Aix-en-Provence, in the south of France.

Despite meeting initial resistance from his father, Paul pursued
a career as a painter, and became one of the most influential artists
of the late 19th century. The artistic movement he led known as Post- Impressionism paved the way for such 20th century giants as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.

Back when I used to decorate my classroom with fine art prints, there were several Cézanne paintings in the regular rotation, and his "Landscape" is hanging above the fireplace in my apartment right now.

Nobody's Impressed, Jackasses

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

Until Next Time...

Although I was aware of progressive rock band Pink Floyd in high school thanks to my debate partner, who was a big fan, there were several other progressive acts I liked far more, including The Moody Blues, Jethro Tull, King Crimson, Yes, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, and Kansas. And unlike Pink Floyd, those bands actually had some hit singles and albums during my high school years.

That changed during my junior year of college with the release of Pink Floyd's concept album The Dark Side of the Moon. The album peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for one week in April 1973, and spent a total of 741 consecutive weeks on the charts, which is still the record. The recording is the biggest-seller of the band's career and to date has received 19 platinum certifications from RIAA. It also ranks near the top of best-selling albums of all time in the United States and around the world.

The band released a couple of successful follow-up albums, but that sort of success is rare in the music business, and no one really expected them to be able to repeat it. That they were in fact able to do so with The Wall, released the week after Thanksgiving in 1979,
is a testament to how much that particular recording resonated with alienated youth.
I was in the middle of my third year of teaching when that album dropped, and the enthusiasm with which my students embraced both the music and its message was really quite remarkable.

Original 1979 text-less LP sleeve
On January 19, 1980 The Wall reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, a position it would hold for 15 consecutive weeks.
It was easily the best-selling album of that year, and to date has earned 23 platinum certifications from RIAA. It remains one of the top 25 best-selling albums of all time in the U.S. market.

Like most progressive bands,
Pink Floyd only rarely enjoyed any success with singles releases, but "Another Brick In the Wall (Part 2)" reached No. 1 on the Billboard 
Hot 100 Singles chart in early 1980.

It would be their only single release to accomplish that feat in the U.S. market. The follow-up single, "Comfortably Numb," didn't even chart at all, in no small part due to
its length, but I enjoyed it much more, mostly because of David Gilmour's guitar solo.

Today's send-off is the 2016 re-release of the original album track, from the band's YouTube channel. Enjoy...

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