Friday, March 3, 2017

Fish Fry Friday Returns!

Thank Tangaroa It's Friday!

"Enjoy that fish fry, mortals! You're welcome!"

Local Idiocy

So yesterday my local newspaper, the Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil, published an unsigned editorial that was so aggressively dumb I simply couldn't let it pass without giving it what debaters call "the old LBL" (shorthand for line-by-line reply).

Around 56 percent of the voters in this county used the straight party line option on their ballots for the November general election, a fact which sparked the pearl-clutching editorial that referred to that 56 percent of the electorate as "no-brainer" voters. Frankly, people with such feeble reasoning skills themselves should be more careful. Behold...
  • The editorial begins with the breathless claim that every candidate not affiliated with either major party was "mathematically eliminated for no reason," when in fact there was a perfectly good reason: They didn't convince party-line voters to vote for them. This is Elections 101, isn't it?
  • They write "We want informed, educated voters to study up on candidates and pick the person they deem the best fit for the position, regardless of party affiliation." It isn't clear to me why we're supposed to care about what the newspaper's editorial board "wants," especially since they think an option favored by 56 percent of the voters should be taken away by state edict.
  • They go on to claim (without a shred of logic or evidence) that straight-ticket voting "deters" voters from informing themselves about candidates in the way the Nonpareil would prefer. Again, the clear implication is that straight-ticket voters are uninformed boobs.
  • Next they write "The only defense for straight-ticket voting is that it allows voters to easily cast a ballot for every candidate for a particular party." Well, duh. To see how dumb this is, try a similarly-constructed sentence: "The only defense for women's suffrage is that it allows women the right to vote." 
  • In the very next breath, they admit that eliminating the straight-ticket option on the ballot won't prevent people who wish to vote that way from doing so, even going so far as to claim that they could still do so "in an efficient manner." This is flatly dishonest, as there is nothing "efficient" about forcing a voter to fill in a dozen or more boxes on their ballot instead of just one     (and fill them in carefully, because even one errant mark could cause your ballot not to count). 
  • Throughout the editorial is the suggestion that candidates not affiliated with a major party don't get "a fair shake," as if the only thing preventing their convincing a sufficient number of voters to vote for them is a ballot check box. That's preposterous, as is their apparent belief that straight-party voters don't know anything when they step into the polling booth.
"Hard to believe they didn't consult you before publishing..."

If they had, they could have spared themselves some embarrassment...

Feast Day

Statue at St. Katharine Drexel Church in Chester, PA
Today is the feast day of
St. Katharine Drexel, the second American-born Catholic saint.

Katharine was the daughter
of a Philadelphia investment banker and prominent philanthropist, and she inherited millions upon his death. At age 30 she shocked Philadelphia's high society by giving away that fortune and joining the Sisters of Mercy religious order.

Not long after taking her vows two years later she founded her own order, Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, which was devoted to missionary work among Native American and African-American populations.

Among her many achievements was establishing Xavier University in New Orleans, still the only Catholic historically black university in the country.

Katharine was beatified on November 20, 1988 by Pope St. John Paul II, and canonized by him on October 1, 2000. She is the patron of philanthropy and racial justice.

Speaking of Feasts...

I'll see you later, gorgeous. Make extra cole slaw...
One of the traditional features
of Lent for Catholics is the start of fish-fry season, meaning parish centers, Knights of Columbus halls, and many other venues will be serving up deep-fried goodness to the faithful every Friday from now until Easter.

Catholics are an important enough demographic that many restaurants have Fish Fry Friday promotions as well, including a delicious one at my beloved Village Inn, where I plan to have dinner this evening.

"You don't fool me, you're just looking for any excuse to eat fried foods."

That is a vicious and unwarranted canard...

Brave New World

From the indispensable comic strip Non Sequitur, by Wiley Miller, which you should read ever day, as I do (even though Wiley is a squishy liberal).

Until Next Time...

Jazz clarinetist and bandleader Artie Shaw was one of my dad's favorite musical artists, and as a result I heard a lot of Artie's music as I was growing up. To this day he is still
a favorite of mine, and whenever I listen to his music fond memories of my dad come flooding back, including memories of dad trying in vain to master Artie's sound on the clarinet he fiddled around with during my childhood.
Original 1940 78 rpm single

On March 3, 1940 Shaw and his orchestra record "Frenesi," a piece originally written for the marimba by Mexican songwriter and bandleader Alberto Dominquez which soon became a jazz standard recorded by several well-known big-band ensembles.

Shaw's version proved quite popular, reaching No. 1 on the popular music charts of the time and eventually being selected for the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2000.

Today's send-off is Shaw's original 1940 recording, paired with some evocative photos of the artist and the time period. Enjoy...

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