Archive for category American History
Competition among billionaires has actually landed a rocket on earth.
Almost 50 years ago, the United States sent men to the moon, landed them there, and brought them safely back to earth, just like president Kennedy envisioned, and less then ten years after he envisioned it.
Today, Billionaires are sending spacecraft into near earth, and landing them, with the hope that someday, we’ll be sending other very wealthy people into space for a sort of amusment park ride, and returning them safely to earth.
I don’t really have anything against Elon Musk, the Virgin guy, or the Amazon guy following their spacey dreams, but I think the government did pretty well in the past, and I’ll bet you it could have even come up with reusable rockets by now.
Do we really need billionaires to create our future, or would a government, elected by the people, as it was in the past, work better to educate our kids without burying them in debt, and build the great innovations that can get us out of the mess the giant corporations have created for us?
Today, we have a handful of un-elected, plutocrat Kings telling our – sort of – elected leaders to ignore us.
Happy Holidays though. It’s actually – sort of – snowing in Utah for a change. You won’t have to worry about having a “White Christmas”, unless the rain melts it.
I don’t know what it is about fried chicken restaurant chains and Salt Lake City, but we somehow played host to the birth of two popular ones last century. Obviously, Kentucky Fried Chicken is still around, but the other one, which was also opening outlets around the country is gone. I’ll get to that later.
I’m old enough to remember what the original KFC, which is still located at 3900 south State Street, looked like. It featured a very large painting of a butt naked child with the caption, “Come As You Are!” Probably something you wouldn’t see today.
The picture above is obviously not a chicken restaurant. It’s the facade of the old Villa Theatre, which was later changed into a rug outlet, at great expense, to keep the structure similar to what it was. The theater was actually pretty famous for it’s day and as late as 2001, was named on a list of ten great classic Theaters in the United States by USA today.
When I was six years old the Villa theater was showing “South Pacific”, and I remember very well how the songs from that movie were being played and sung all over town. The Creators of the play that the movie was based on ran into trouble because of a song in the play called “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught”, but demanded the famous anti-racism song be included in the production.
Rodgers and Hammerstein risked the entire South Pacific venture in light of legislative challenges to its decency or supposed Communist agenda.
James Michener, upon whose stories South Pacific was based, recalled, “The authors replied stubbornly that this number represented why they had wanted to do this play, and that even if it meant the failure of the production, it was going to stay in.
Also from Wikipedia:
In 1958, the [Villa Theatre] became famous for showing a 10-month-long run of South Pacific, drawing Patrons from as far as Idaho and Nevada.
If I recall correctly, another great anti-racism movie, (West Side Story), played in Salt Lake for almost 2 Years. I always like to accentuate the good in my community because I’ve lived here all my life. After the Villa put up their huge Cinerama screen, which, at first, required three different synchronized projectors to play a film, I saw some great ones, including my favorite: “2001 A Space Odyssey”. I was buzzing with excitement after that one.
The Villa theatre was a place of wonder, but just down the street was the other national fried chicken chain that had it’s birth in Salt Lake.
My family had a get together and we were going through some very old pictures, when I saw something unbelievable.
If you want to look at something really ugly, CLICK HERE for page two.
This is just crazy!
Daylight savings time is one of my pet-peeves, because it seems like a totally unnecessary annoyance in our increasingly annoying existence. Just one more thing to elevate my blood pressure. This morning, I was watching a program I like on CBS, because it’s not as angering as almost everything else you can see on the public airwaves. It’s called “CBS This Morning” and it usually features interesting stories from almost anywhere that tend to make you feel good.
If I hadn’t called my mother last night, I would have missed the first hour of the show because I wouldn’t have remembered to set my clock forward for daylight savings.
Today’s show included one of those little factoids that you sometimes get before a station break. It said that Benjamin Franklin had originally introduced the idea of daylight savings time for the purpose of saving candles.
I always understood the time was changed to make it easier for farmers somehow, but my mom, who also dislikes daylight sayings time and grew up on a farm, says the only thing it did was confuse the cattle twice a year.
Well, the candles don’t seem worried, the cattle are still confused, and so am I.
Maybe somebody in the congress can tell us why we still do this, but I, seriously, doubt it. What could he/she possibly say?
The Obama administration’s foreign policy approach (Don’t do stupid stuff) has been unbelievably better than the Bush administration’s approach (do as much stupid stuff as possible).
Read the rest of this entry »
This is a question that must have been asked 12 years ago when the US invaded Iraq. Well the initial predictions were positive. The war will be quick, cheap, we will be hailed as liberators, there will be peace, so on and so forth. Of course none of that happened. They were dead wrong, but even me when I witnessed the reports of chaos in Iraq, I could not comprehend that this would happen. What is the worst that can happen? ISIS can happen. The relatively new Islamic terrorist group is different from other organizations because they are successful. They have the oil fields, they are surrounding Baghdad, they have both Iraqi and American weapons in their inventory and they are gaining more ground. This is made worse by their tendency to be very destructive. So far, over 1,700 Iraqi troops have been executed. So yes, that is the worst that can happen and the Bush administration is completely at fault no matter how indirectly this is. Maybe this is a question Obama should consider, especially with an upcoming midterm and a country filled with pissed off liberals.
According to the description on this YouTube post, Michael Moore didn’t make any money off this film, even though it’s another masterpiece by the worlds best documentary artist who has a knack for making people laugh at tragedies which must be fixed.
I hope I’m not helping to deprive Mr. Moore of any earnings, but he is known for not trying to squeeze every last penny from his works, and just wants to help America break free from the capitalist’s embarrassing stranglehold on the citizens who worked really hard to get them where they are.
You should buy the film on Blue-ray to get the extras, which add greatly to the film and offer solutions by American businesses and leaders who want to do things to bring capitalism back into a workable sphere.
This post is a reprint from December 2007.
It feels relevant today.
Some 20 years ago, I was taking an evening German course from a woman named Phila Heimann. Mrs. Heimann recounted her experiences in the US. For instance, as recent immigrants, during World War Two, her school-aged children faced discrimination from their American born peers. When asked “Are you Germans?” her kids responded proudly, “No, we are Austrians and we speak Austrian, not German!”
Mrs. Heimann introduced me to a powerful book – a photojournalists book of photos of buildings in an around Vienna. There were two photos of each site – a pre-war and post-war photo, the post war photo showing the ruins. The book was called The Pearl of Vienna in Hitler’s Setting (I think the German was Die Perle Wien Im Hitlers Fassung).
Anyway, I’m thinking about Mrs. Heimann’s mother today.
When she was 5, little Phila went with her mother to watch the troops march off to fight what we know today as World War One. Surrounded by cheering crowds, her mother was weeping. Phila asked, “Why are you crying? Everyone else is happy?” And her mother replied,
“All these men are going to die. They won’t be coming home.”
War is never good, never a grand and glorious thing. It is always and forever a tragedy. No matter what our leaders say or believe or want us to believe, war is always and forever a failure.
June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in the streets of Sarajevo by a man named Gavrilo Princip. The Archduke’s assassination sparked World War One. That was one hundred years ago.
I wonder if we learned anything in the intervening, bloody century.
Ed Kilgore has a good rant on Bush’s Toxic Legacy:
The mess in Iraq right now, along with the remarkably limited options for any constructive U.S. action to avoid humanitarian and political disaster, and the hostility of American public opinion to doing anything at all, provide fresh reminders that Barack Obama will leave office as he entered it: dealing with the unfinished business and toxic legacy of the George W. Bush administration. From Iraq, to Gitmo, to the NSA, to the housing sector, to the banking sector, to a completely fouled up non-system of campaign finance, to an out-of-control fossil fuel industry, to a long-range structural budget deficit, to a politicized judiciary, and to a radicalized Republican Party: the trouble never ends, and all created by a swaggering crew that inherited peace and prosperity and a budget surplus after the most dubious ascension to power in American history.
It’s worth pondering isn’t it?