Saturday, December 26, 2009

Making FaceBook mirth over the holidays ...

Because below will be deleted no doubt, I spotlight a soon-to-be fleeting post your scribe put upon a friend's FaceBook 'Wall' concerning her father's impending European trip to see her husband & herself plus a request of the Dad on my behalf. The picture of 'Eggs' B. was included in my effort for - at the very least - the sheer jauntiness of the Papal chapeau donned.

By the way, can you get Denny [Father] - whilst our fav Catholic Prof. is in Europe - to straighten-out current Archbishop of Rome - 'Eggs' B. - on his quixotic attempt to beatify Pope Pius XII.

My pastrami pals from Carnegie Deli can't comprehend why someone who turned a blind eye to gas chamber deportation of +1K of their tribesmen right under Vatican's nose (literally), is now being coddled for canonization? Sholom.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

If schadenfreude were net wealth, I'd be Warren Buffet right now!

Oh my. Ambien-induced sex with skank choir of not-so-stealth surrogates & all-capped by a cover-up not orchestrated this poorly since Betty Currie tried taking Monica's blue dress to dry cleaners!

Never liked Tiger; didn't dislike either. Found Eldrick boring in comments & too cautious/bland [Hah! (looking back)] for lack of public stands (such as not opposing Augusta exclusion of women). Also - per man's POV - his on-course behavior is poor. Cursing perturbs as kids hang on his every syllable, but it's his perpetual petulance at less than Zeus-like results which prove most grating.

What was obvious is Tiger has been constructing a public persona to project him beyond the golf realm, specifically into politics. Earl Woods, his father, admitted this. I had no truck with such; Tiger is a demonstrably intelligent chap. His plan to accomplish this lofty non-graphite ambition was carefully calibrated - only wholesome endorsements for El Tigre, a (vainly) self-named 'Foundation' focusing on children's education + a non-edgy public persona that oozed vanilla appeal.

Fine; "No harm, no foul". Point taken that a truly charitable person would not have set-up a whole other infrastructure to benefit public, but, instead, just would have cut a check to one of the hundreds of already-going good works concerns. Ulterior motives have their place to benefit the public weal, as Locke wrote, so this can slide. Turned-out however that another English chappy of yore, 'Mr. Shakey' of Public Theatre fame, would provide line which proves to have most penetrating (pun intended) insight into what this multicultural golfing phenom was really all about.

"She doth protest too much, me thinks", as the Old Bard once so famously wrote. Ah,yes. Perhaps that's why Tiger named his mega-yacht 'Privacy'? Makes one wonder how far back this appalling + pathetic pathology of arrogance extends [and what the hell he was thinking]?

Besides knowing Phil Mickelson somewhere is sitting in front of a wide-screen TV - his recovering wife's now non-cancerous bosom nestled next to his - and laughing his fat ass off, I'm hard-pressed to come-up with anything this extraordinary since ... really don't know. Pres. Clinton was a known womanizer, so Ms. Lewinsky's tryst didn't have a surprise factor. Only thing I can think of is situation if - while the famed aviator was still alive - existence of Charles Lindbergh's other/Deutschen family had been revealed. Being firm believer in schadenfreude - peculiarly German concept of taking delight in other's misfortune - must confess I haven't been this stoked since ... never. "And the truth shall set you free" ... maybe not, eh, Tiger?

That's all. Sometimes you just have to step back from the masterpiece and let minimalism + conjecture complete the canvas' deliciously ironic final strokes. Plus anymore mirth inducement might lead to some gents in surgical garb standing above me while bellowing, "Clear!". Such would negatively impede ability to witness the few further Bavarian pretzel turns I suspect this debacle still is set to yield.

Final parting/cheap shot: Understand EA has secured rights to new combo video game of 'Tiger Woods Golf' meets 'Grand Theft Auto'. In new set-up Tiger has to not only win U.S. Open, but "keep his pimp hand very strong" by smacking-down uppity wife while maintaining a reserve of "hush money" to silence ex-Bimbettes. Reported Eldrick also gets to "cap the ass" of any protesting PGA-ers with shank-like 2 iron. Scheduled to be out no later than 2010 Master's!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Leadership lessons from 'The Godfather'

The chopped-off horse’s head layin’ in splendorous silk sheets, “Sleeps with the fishes”, even Michael Corleone’s public kiss of his brother, Fredo, to let him know he’s going to have him ‘wacked’ … all these are clichés from ‘The Godfather’ which have burrowed their way deeper into our pop culture than anything outside of Robert Duvall’s ‘Apocalypse Now’ soliloquy re the pleasing aroma a bit of napalm can provide at day’s dawning.

As clichés go, these are pretty damn good. Great as the movies are, a re-reading of Mario Puzo’s original is well worth it. There are whole chunks of the book – just as rich in narrative as what you've seen in the films – still untouched. Ever wondered, for example, what happened to Lucy Mancini [right] after Sonny bought it on the Causeway?

What the book, due to its format, explores in more depth are lessons for what it is to be a leader of men. I perceive Puzo’s book really as a character study on what it is to be a man and the meaning of code to defining character regardless of morality. Whoa … heavy!

Rather than pontificate pedantically, let me offer instead what I purport are the key lessons from ‘The Godfather’ (primarily the book) on how to be a leader of men:

1.) “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer”

This is probably the most well-known lesson from ‘The Godfather’ and is fairly obvious. Puzo attributes this trait to the Sicilian character, but really it’s a kind of functional duplicity which can be seen in all walks of life since Judas [smoochin' left] asked his Narzarene buddy not to bogart the matzoh despite bringin’ some fine wine for their dinner.

2.) Loyalty trumps smarts – The lesson of Clemenza v. Tessio

Movie & book's beginning both center on marriage day of Connie Corleone, only daughter of Vito (a.k.a. ‘The Godfather’). It's said repeatedly that traditionally no Sicilian can refuse a favor asked by a friend on day of their daughter’s giving-away. With such understood, it’s not surprising that more paisans line-up during the event to beseech Don Vito than creditors trying to get a piece of Bernie Madoff [right].

As Puzo emphasizes, all are doing this because of their “respect” for the Don. That word is a substitute, in essence, for friendship. Not the kind we would usually associate with the word, but instead it’s used in the sense of a debt that is voluntarily owed as return for an actual favor or prospect of needing one for the future. It is the construction of this “wall of friendships”, as Don Vito calls it in the book, which insulates one against the injustices of the world and is only undergirded by the even more sacrosanct bond of family.

So who is entitled to such “friendship”? All those willing to show fealty, as is literally demonstrated by the kissing of the Don’s ring. However the overt offering of obsequiousness by one’s followers is not enough to lead men successfully. Puzo proves this in the contrast painted between Don Vito’s two caporegimes [Military equivalent of corps commanders] – Peter Clemenza & Salvatore Tessio [dourly left].

From the git-go, the corpulent Clemenza is depicted as a jovial lover of life – enjoying its fruits and in ending it for those who dared to oppose his Padrone, Don Vito. In the book, it is clearly stated that Clemenza is kept under a much tighter leash in his ‘territory’ than his opposite number, Tessio. One could reasonably presume that Don Vito – in judging his two key lieutenants – thought more highly of Tessio’s talents than those of his fat friend, Clemenza. Right?

In the 1st
movie’s most fateful scene at Don Vito’s gravesite, Michael, his youngest son + inheritor of ‘the family business’, says to his closest confidante he knows Tessio has planned a meeting at which he, Michael, will be assassinated. His confidante, somewhat flabbergasted, asks Michael why Tessio would try this compared to temperamental Clemenza? “Because it’s the smart play; Tessio was always smarter,” Michael answers.

Most hearing such still don’t learn the lesson Puzo is proposing – loyalty trumps smarts.

No, some jackass with blind devotion is not the ideal. However, when given a choice, a leader should opt for loyalty – “skin in the game”, as we say today – rather than sheer brainpower. [Think here, also, of Halberstam’s “The Best and the Brightest” as further testimony why human intelligence only can be dangerous (much less desirable)] Tessio, as the book depicts, was used quite effectively by Don Vito during his career. 'Sallie' played an integral part in solidifying the Don's control of the New York crime world. In the end that service only got Tessio the right to be taken away to a car compacting lot of his choosing for a more dignified demise than summary execution.

This is the most important lesson by far. It can be used as a springboard to understand, for example, the primal importance of the personal relationship between Generals Grant & Sherman which kept the latter in the field and, as a result, preserved the Union. More to come on this hypothesis in future posts.

3.) Always have a wild card – The importance of Luca Brasi

Probably due to space considerations, the movie only offers a very cursory view of Luca Brasi's character. The Johnny Fontane story is told by Michael to his eventual bride, Kay, about how Luca “helped” his father convince a famous bandleader to sign a contract with the aid of focusing the musician’s attention on the large caliber handgun resting at his temple. Certainly the actor, Lenny Montana, playing Luca could not have been better suited. Lastly – after meeting his demise – Luca’s bulletproof vest is delivered with a dead fish to signify that he now resides underneath several hundred feet of water, i.e. “sleeps with the fishes”, and thereby gives us a key zeitgeist line to be re-quoted endlessly.

What the movie doesn't explore is Luca's role helping build Don Vito’s empire. Puzo in the book calls Brasi a “key pillar” of the Godfather’s strength. L.B. is accorded this status because he can “kill without confederates” and is attributed with single-handedly taking-out 6 of the opposition in a 2 week span during some troubles years before Connie’s blessed day. He is Don Vito’s wildcard – a man so vengeful, so unnatural in his bloodlust that other hardened killers fear him.

Puzo traces how Vito Corleone befriends Luca and provides him a repository for devotion which this killer seeks to give to at least one other entity in the universe [God, humanity & civilized behavior all having been chucked by Luca as the book amply + disturbingly documents]. The lesson is the Don is under no illusion about Brasi. Luca is likened to “dynamite” and the Corleone consiligiere sees that this primordial man makes "even The Godfather a little nervous” during their meetings.

All leaders need a wild card to keep the opposition in line; ‘The Godfather’ had Luca Brasi in spades (so to speak).

4.) The benefits of appearing weak to your opposition

This sounds counter-intuitive. After all, doesn’t the perception of weakness beget the tendency for your enemies to want to come after you? Yes and no; we’re talking strategic deception here, not [far left] Neville Chamberlain-like appeasement.

To appear to be weak for no reason, is not the lesson of ‘The Godfather’. In the book this is much more amply delved into and the movie gives only superficial exploration of this concept during Michael’s consolidation of power at the end of the first fill-um by elaborately “orchestrating” the murders of the heads of the other four major crime families plus, for good measure, Moe Green & his own brother-in-law, Carlo Rizzi.

The book gives us a much longer lead to this denouement and shows it to be the last bit of cunning genius from Don Vito before shuffling off (peacefully) his mortal coil. Between them, Don Vito & Michael purposely planned to appear to not be defending the turf of their two caporegimes (and, in the process, antagonizing both of them) while, clandestinely, building a secret regime under Rocco Lampone. This specific tactic serves the dual purpose of drawing-out the traitors in their own ‘family’ while giving false confidence to their enemies that the Corleones were ripe to be overthrown. When Vito dies and the vultures begin to circle, the late Don’s final strategy is sprung by Michael just after the infamous baptism of his sister’s child to whom he stands-in as the lad’s literal Godfather.

Difference here is the Corleones knew they had enemies and most of us think foolishly we don’t. If a leader is to be successful, this beneficial lesson must be preceded by a good look around to recognize the world isn't full of their mutual admiration society members. For a leader who can do such & have patience to play this delicate endgame, the results – as Michael reaped – can devastate their opposition.

So, how relevant is all of this? You can be the judge, but let me, vis-a-vis my thesis above, point-out a few flies in the proverbial ointment:

- The world depicted in ‘The Godfather’ is not just predominantly, but exclusively, male-directed. Vito Corleone believes women + children are a completely separate genus and do not subscribe to any of his precepts. That, obviously, is not the case in the real world today and therefore above is not nearly as prescriptive as a result.

- The concept of a man living by a code has been subsumed, by and large, within various forms of morality – mostly those of evangelical Christianity. I’m not here to argue if this is good or bad, but no one, for example, thinks of themselves anymore in terms of their status as a ‘Hemingway code hero’ and “being afraid of death, but not afraid of dying”. That kind of masculine self-conception, at least for forseeable future, is way past gone.

- The core family values of ‘The Godfather’ really no longer exist. I’m not saying things are better or worse, but some of the natural things Don Vito presumed are no longer valid. Divorce is rampant, not just the exception. A concept of duty to something beyond oneself – usually for “one’s own blood” as Santino emphasizes to Michael when the latter joins the Marines after Pearl Harbor – isn't a part of our culture outside the military.

All above cited plus discounted, still I maintain firmly that ‘The Godfather' can be read as a canon on how to be a leader of (primarily) men, as well as a terrific story. If you liked either of the first two movies [I’ll omit reference kindly to last installment], then, please, pick-up the book for a quick spin at very least. You’ll thank me! [Self-portrait below]

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Random bits: Tournament golf, product idea & Twitter returnee!

"There is golf and there is tournament golf. The two bear no resemblance to one another." - Bobby Jones

Truer words have rarely been spoken. Yesterday played first Best-Ball leg of interclub grudge match with Grove Park C.C. Always a nice schadenfreude experience watching grown men hack-up whole chunks of self-esteem like a college freshman four hours into an inaugral binge-drinking fest. Corollary to this is "I didn't think he could fit that many platinum horseshoes up there" reaction, which is only logical one to watching an admitted duffer hole-out from off-the-green for the third time on same 9 for a net par. Prism of tournament play pressure brings both ends of this spectrum into simultaneous sharp relief.

For myself this was first opportunity to see if new swing paradigm held-up to strain described above. It did. I've now reverted fully to my ages 8-14 [Ford-Carter Administration] baby cut with a degree of elasticity plus tempo possibly approximated only by platform dive-like pouring of syrup @ your local IHOP.

"Promise to keep a box by bedside with your face emblazoned on tip ..." - Mrs. CGB

Such is sacred pledge espoused at dinner last night by my Blushing Bride in event I prematurely shuffle-off my mortal coil and she - after decent interregnum of at least a couple of weeks - begins to entertain new applicants to her portals of connubial pleasure. Personally, I think this is a killer idea above & beyond my spouse's snide comment. I see divorced men lining-up to slap-on images of ex-wives and being positively silly in delight they'll derive when (fully) using product. Lets get the silk screen presses fired-up!

Only real question now is if I dive into these waters, so to speak, and harvest this potential sunken booty of filthy lucre, will Mrs. CGB deign to lower herself to acknowledging the source of such publicly? Smart money is instead on her rapid generation of cover story that ole Uncle Red invented concept of 'White Sale' for linens south of Mason-Dixon line and class action suit got settled quite belatedly in favor of her 'Bama kinfolk. This would serve dual purpose of kicking-away spotlight from moi and, also, lining-up closet Rebs for her annual 'Jeb Davis Grits & Canapes Cotillion'.

Lastly I'm delighted that a good old friend, H.L. Mencken, is active again on Twitter.
After presumably an extended Bavarian bout of indigestion from his last Ocktoberfest revelling, the Bard of Balitmore is now bellowing weekly at the Scopes Monkey trial backbenchers and their daily boobism. A young snap of our Teutonic freund is to the right.
May his leave from the Internet never be so long again and, please, support his efforts by checking-out his august Twitter missives. You'll thank me, I'm sure, for suggestion!

Friday, October 30, 2009

My beautiful Madison County!

I am very pleased to live where I do. Let me state that upfront.

Also I enjoy tremendously the local history. Mrs. CGB & I literally live down the street from a finely restored farmstead that was birthplace to Zebulon Vance, the famous No. Carolina Civil War Governor & last Whig politician of note. If you enjoy American history, you couldn't be better situated here other than Washington, DC or Gettysburg.

Lastly - as I end my string of preferatory mea culpas - might I add the neighboring county, in particular, is known for its tradition of clan politics. There are three main families which have dominated the area, Madison Co., since before ole Zeb, referenced above, was a pup.

I had on staff till recently a gent from most prominent of these three trunks of none too distantly spread-out kinfolk. This beautiful, remote and, unfortunately, poor corner of western No. Carolina, is stunningly gorgeous when the odd trailer doesn't creep into view. A picture of the still functioning county courthouse in Marshall is above as Exhibit A.

All that said, I got to admit that some of what I see could be straight from "Deliverance" lost footage. As Exhibit B to support my rather bold claim, below is from today's local paper (Madison County News-Record & Sentinel) printed, perhaps, 20 minutes down Rt. 25 from our 'Cottage of Perpetual Love and Understanding' (a.k.a. CoPLaU):

Warm buck of spit saves Madison County home from arson

Madison officials say a disgruntled ex-wife tried to burn her former husband’s home down, but the flames were extinguished by the contents of a melting spittoon. (She) faces charges of attempted arson, B/E & burning personal property.

According to Madison County Sheriff’s Detective Randy Bradford, Sharon Shelton, 66, the second of three ex-wives of Gerald Shelton, tried to enlist the help of ex-wife number three to burn down Shelton’s home. Authorities say Sharon Shelton sent a typewritten letter to the other ex-wife. “The letter said, ‘if you want to get even with him, burn the house down,’” Bradford said. But the third ex-wife instead reported the letter to authorities, who warned Gerald Shelton of the threat.

Last Tuesday, Sheriff Buddy Harwood said a call came in to Madison County Emergency Operations about a fire at the Shelton home, located on Joe Shelton Road. When detectives arrived they found that a blaze had started atop a table.

The fire had been contained to the top of the table. Harwood said the suspect had apparently “entered the rear of the residence, poured fuel on assorted papers, and lit those papers. Once the papers were lit, the suspect fled to Greeneville, Tenn.”

“The fire was extinguished by a spittoon" - a plastic spit container - " which was on the table. The fire got hot enough to melt the plastic,” Harwood said, and the spit flowed out, extinguishing the flames. [Thank Jesus on high!]

In honor of above near miracle, I understand our local Wal*Mart will be running a '2-fer-1' on Skoal this weekend.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Who shall join me in Sin City courtesy of fine folks @ Macanudo?

Although not a huge fan, your faithful scribe has never turned down offer of a Macanudo cigar. Generally regarded as a fairly faint stick, it should be noted the brand has developed some more full-bodied smokes as of late. To promote such, the company is running a "Macanudo Millionaire" contest thru the end of October. As they say, no purchase necessary to enter.

Why am I interested in such PR drivel? Ah, because the contest involves a 200 word essay! Now that's what I'm talkin' 'bout!! Topic is supposed to involve why prospective entrant is best qualified to be brought to Las Vegas for public espousal upon the prime virtues a Macanudo possesses.

Below, for your considered appreciation, is my pithy entry. I understand that after being awarded (indubitably) the prize, I'm entitled to bring along several "buddies" to Sin City, get a roulette spin for $1M and at least two Playboy Playmates are made available for several hours of PG-13 groping.

Besides not allowing anyone aside from the (seemingly) retinally deformed 'Slap Chop' guy to get "up in your grill" during a mano-y-mano encounter, a lit Macanudo has a myriad of other yet-undiscovered benefits.

First, it gets rid of 1/2 the walking population due to their insipid 'feelings' about cigars. Splendid! As Darwin wrote, "Sometimes the herd needs to be thinned for its own good".

Second, the mentally salubrious effect of a Macanudo will ably assist you to axe from consideration all those seeking to shine you worse than a '88 Oldsmobile Caprice just back from Earl Scheib. Up North we call such malcontents 'hosers' & the Canadian government has proven their genetic aversion to quality cigar smoke. It's a fact, Jacque.

Third, chicks dig Macanudo! Not since Peggy Lee crooned 'Big Spender' has there been a better embodiment of the lyric "real distinction" when applied to a stag on the stalk, baby.

So, in conclusion, I should be selected for the Vegas trip so I might expound further on this critical postulate of "Personal Stick Management Technique" to the many unfortunately ignorant of its powerful dynamic. As I'm sure the Nobel Committee will second, my selflessness in this endeavor is rivaled only by Mahatma Gandhi's pacificism, the late William F. Buckley's conservatism or Henry Hill's post-"Casino" real-life recidivism!

In the immortal words of Prime Minister Churchill, "God speed and where's my lighter?".

Applications for joining me on the trip will be accepted to my internet address post haste. Hopefully the vast volume will not cause local digital high-speed provider to crash their server worse than ex-Sen. Edwards' ranking as "Good Housekeeping" 'Man Of The Year'.

Front-runner is lass to left - presently @ Berlin Institute for Advanced Bratwurst Studies to investigate relationship of hyperbolically-treated folic acid vis-a-vis enhanced photogenesis in a topographically retrograded biosphere. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ted Kennedy v. Robert Bork

Nay, I will not be issuing a broadside seeking to roast the corpse of history's 2nd most senior-serving Democratic U.S. Senator like an ersatz kielbasa-bob burbling over a Gdansk bonfire. Nor will I delve into the unseemly-to-damn-near felonious personal behavior at several key junctures of E.M.K.'s existence. For the sin of maliciously (and, ultimately, futilely) cutting the re-election legs out from under a truly decent (if, slightly, ineffectual) man, President Carter, I leave that to the two dozen remaining non-GOP Baptists to harangue. No, my point is a slightly personal one based on chance encounters and an effort to at least try to define what a good (American-version) man is?

Suprisingly [ :) ] to most, I've had experience in real politics, specifically as a U.S. Senate intern. In the course of prosecuting mundane tasks, I happened upon the Massachusetts Senator twice and found him to be - as has been reported - a genial fellow. The only more friendly Senator (including my boss - with whom I barely exchanged a glance, much less word) was then Sen. John Danforth. I almost literally bumped into him outside the Hart Building and, while walking across the Capitol's front quad, exchanged thoughts about the relevance of Rheinhold Niehbuhr - J.D.'s thesis subject - to contemporary politics. I mention this only to underscore that I've no axe to grind with the late Senator.

That said I was struck this past weekend by the contrast in the lives of Robert Bork & Ted Kennedy. Why? Perhaps the tumblers were set-off by Sen. Kennedy's deserved reputation as a protector of the downtrodden and my natural (plus counter-intuitive) propensity to flip over said existential coin for evidence, in this case, of a bully hiding on the other side. If so, the case study for this hypothesis is the '87 Judiciary Committee lynching of then Judge Bork's nomination to the Supreme Court. Less than an hour after the announcement by then Pres. Reagan, the inheritor of Camelot's tarnished mantle took to the United States Senate floor to deliver the following bombast:

"Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is -- and is often the only -- protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy... President Reagan {See left (sorry for pun) from his initial California gubenatorial run campaign poster [ :) ]} is still our president. But he should not be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and the next generation of Americans. No justice would be better than this injustice."

About the only thing Sen. Kennedy omitted was the insinuation that Bob B. had a sweet-lookin' swastika tatted on his butt to boot! We all have personal low points, but what got lost in much of the hoopla re the Bork nomination was that the Court lost a truly seminal thinker. The school of 'Originalism' Bork has promulgated remains a viable - and flexible - legal construct. Although usually assorted with conservative rationale, non-Justice Bork has consternated many Republicans, for example, with arguments that the 2nd Amendment only guarantees the right to a militia and not the ability to buy "teflon-coated bullets". Bork's formerly unfashionable anti-trust work is now the prevailing wisdom on the subject and undergirds his always acknowledged standing as a legal mind of the first order.

What was done to Robert Bork on a personal level during his nomination process, was downright despicable regardless of philosophical disagreements any person may have had with the man. Sen. Kennedy was by anyone's admission the primary Kapellmeister of the opposition, despite hearty assists from our current Vice President & Sen. Arlen "Flip-Flop Parties" Specter. To the best of my knowledge, Teddy K. never admitted any regret/remorse for his role (or that his opposition, in the end, just fueled the fire for conservatives to redouble their agenda-pushing efforts by pimping-out true fire-eaters like Justice Scalia as payback). My point in this rhetorical effort is to note only that I've yet to see a comparison of these two cojoined, yet diametrically different, Catholic figures' lives vis-a-vis discussion of what a good (public) man is? It's suprising because the obvious contrasts are fairly meaty and instructive (at least for those with Y chromosomes).

Bork was an esteemed Yale law professor while the Kennedys are part of the mortar, literally, supporting rival Harvard. Both gents spent the bulk of their lives grappling with weighty affairs vis-a-vis the inherent fairness of American domestic life from equally well-defined, but 180 degree opposing, ideologic + professional avenues (legislative v. judicial). On a personal level, R.B. - despite his vilification above - is personal probity's quintessence; a leaked expose (during the ex-Prof's confirmation) of his videotape preferences revealed only a propensity for Cary Grant films. The other, well ... lets just say Dewars can't count on robust Hyannisport holiday sales any longer. Lastly - and this isn't meant to be petty - they were on drastically different sides of a joint perennial/personal battle with their waistlines. Teddy waxed/waned perpetually, but Judge Bork successfully has kept off +50# for the past 10 years.

So? I don't seek to deny Teddy any imagined halo & I admit he did as much good as wrong. His family has been drug through the mud more indiscretely than debate over what Marilyn M. was (or wasn't) wearing when she was found dead; no further discussion needed of such tawdriness.

Robert Bork, however, still draws breath and contributes to our civil discourse. Despite being wronged, he has not let anger color his pronouncements. Beyond opposing one of Pres. G.W. Bush's ill-chosen Supreme Court nominees (Harriet Miers), the former professor has continued to espouse interesting ideas & remains intellectually engaged. The most striking example of the former being along the lines of how our Congress should be able - like the Canadian parliament - to overrule some high court decisions with supra-majorities. Go figure, eh, Earl Warren?

If we are to praise Teddy this hour, let us have a word too for one of his unfortunate victims. Moons ago in the old Washington National Airport, I sat next to Bork while both of us got a shoeshine. I had seen a "Washington Post" piece that he had been called to jury duty not too long before, reported dutifully, had not been called to sit but nevertheless applied himself diligently in the waiting room to a collection of work by G.K. Chesterton. The Judge chuckled when I brought up the story, admitted to such plus said Chesterton was an old touch-stone of his. Before departing my company, the kindly ex-bench-dweller was nice enough to sign the leaf of what I was then perusing - The Wise Men.

I found Robert Bork, albeit in only that sole brief encounter, to be just as genial in person as the late Bay State Senator and, ironically, that might be their one most common & commendable attribute.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A bumper crop of bile, Deity doubts & other mirthful musings!

The pain, the glory, the existential heartburn! Prey-tell of what do I speak? Well, but of course, the alleged Almighty's cruel joke which was Tom Watson's 2009 British Open. Tom is to left in a suitably contemplative pic before his Sunday Hemingway code-hero collapse. To those not familiar with details, Mr. Watson, in press conferences, used the term "spirtual" to describe his play more frequently than Dick Cheney tossed-off "Al Qaeda" circa October 2001. The original T.W. specifically cited intervention from former caddie Bruce Edwards, a Lou Gehrig's disease victim, for his near miraculous play. Certainly many a duffer has hauled-out a temporary thick rug to call-in help downing the odd tricky four footer, but rarely has a quality player drafted particular personage from the big Pine Valley in-the-sky.

So what does this say about the role of a Supreme Deity and/or Tom's relationship with Bruce Edwards? Does God exist, but He/She/It really is a malicious bastard enjoying nothing more than toying-out humanity worse than someone getting their Bernie Madoff statement of steady 11% profits only, a year later, to be hit with the reality of owning a financial portfolio about as attractive as making Henry Louis Gates the next head of the neighborhood 'Welcome Wagon'? Please. Possibly - and this is truly nasty - ole Bruce really disliked Tom and, fatefully teasing along the Viagra linksman, this was his last chance to whip-out the celestial middle finger to his old patron? Personally I much prefer the lack of a Supreme Being to this alternate explanation.

Regardless the sheer depravity of Watson's inability to par the final hole - and win the Claret Jug - after hitting two solid shots from the tee, must rank as a cruel defeat worthy of any Nick Adams' short story from the pen of the original 'Papa'. Certainly it made this scribe less fearful of retribution in the Hereafter, which is a good thing considering the self-esteem body-blows suffered as of late due to reactions from my MrWillTracy Twitter 'Tweets'. No less than my own blushing bride of 18 years (see right [At least this is a fair depiction based on perpetual attitude projected!]) objected to her moniker as 'Mrs. Battle-A.' [Shortened for Mrs. Battle-Axe]. Can anyone of reasonable sanity fathom such an illogical reaction?

Nonetheless the 'Tweets' are quite popular, but - admittedly - they do reduce my time to compose more thoughtful blog entries. To tarry with a bevy of one-line broadsides or keep my satirical powder dry, so to speak, for extended rhetorical roastings? Such is the daily cross that I must bear! In said struggle I find myself much akin to condition coursing thru current crop of Republican presidential hopefuls vis-a-vis penchant, publicly, to ask following query of national import: "When exactly is that Alaskan fruit loop going to give up the electoral ghost and instead (thankfully) mud-wrestle Oprah for daytime TV's daily supremacy?".

Sarah Palin - the best answer (as has been pointed-out in a previous blog entry) to the question 'Name the modern GOP equivalent to Huey Long?'. Apparently the sturm und drang of Alaskan electoral politics thinned the Governor's hair to such an alarming extent that emergency coif procedures had to be employed. During WWII Prime Minister Churchill had his stogies & FDR the love of his faithful Fala (plus a mistress), but was that episode really any comparison to the left-wing media blitz endured by the Palin-ator post McCain? Please.

The real question is what platform will S.P. use moving forward? Remember that she & hubby have flirted previously with 3rd party affliations, i.e. Alasaka First. There was talk, too, in her rambling resignation speech of working with all those suitably S.G.-cleansed regardless of party affiliation. Will the Wasilla wonder reinvent a contemporary 'Spread The Wealth Society'?

For those who have correctly complained about the lack of meaty posts beyond the mirthful appetizers provided on Twitter, I profusedly apologize and can only bid you the blessings of Allah (or sympathy of your local shylock) as weak recompensation. In the spirit, however, of getting back to a good footing I offer all the promise of belated entries & pics of this year's trip to the Masters, the U.S. Open @ Bethpage plus the usual assortment of product reviews suitable for a discerning gent of non-Bible Belt tastes.
To that lattermost stated, let me heartily recommend the Five Vegas Miami 'Knuckle' as a tasty post-dinner and/or quick stick. Usually I abhor a less than an aesthetically-pleasing Indian and the 'Knuckle's' wrapper is nothing to write home to MOMA about, but - after getting a half dozen as a come-on with another order - I must say I've enjoyed mightily these 60 ring-size puppies; definite nutty & slightly peppery flavor to them.
Lastly I point my faithful to something else of refined taste - This young lady is, shockingly based on pic to left, an aspiring model. Her site, however, is quite appealing without usual graphic banality which plagues the Internet. Attendant verse not so sure about, but I still view Yeats primarily thru prism of his latent Fascism.

Monday, February 23, 2009

All a-Twitter!

For your collective amusement, may my many Internet minions be advised that now you can follow your favorite blog bard on Twitter under the moniker MrWillTracy. Let the pigeons loose!

Below are some examples of this splendid new medium in action. Basically I'm treating it - due to the 140 per post character limit - as an opportunity to launch blistering flurries of one liners, cheap shots & slightly off-the-rim comments. Segues, as always, are for children.

MrWillTracy Just reheard in other room 'City Slickers' line "If hate were people, I'd be China!". My corollary is "If bile was oil, I'd be Exxon!". from web

MrWillTracy Played Regent Park in Fort Mill w/ 'Mr. SC Gyro King'. Blustery/cold but good time & ball-striking. Romeo y J. Viejo helped cut the wind! from web

MrWillTracy In vein of last 'Tweet', I'll be lecturing later this month on Lee Harvey Oswald & the decline of natural fibers in golf rain garments. from web

MrWillTracy Anyone made the connection between Boo Weekley (1 of 3 PGA-ers) coming from Milton, FL & the Errol Morris documentary which is set there? from web

MrWillTracy Today's NYT Teddy Kennedy pre-eulogy referenced much bad history but omitted his worst disloyalty - derailing his own party's sitting Pres. from web

MrWillTracy France's favorite American, Jerry Lewis, is getting a pseudo Oscar @ tonite's gala. Rumored that Dino's pickled corpse will be presenter. from web

MrWillTracy Think most politicians are bland haircuts? Google "Carl Mumpower" for some choice vignettes of rhetorical/intellectual fancy which amuse. from web

MrWillTracy The Vijay Singh paradigm: Good news is you won '08 season-ending $ title; bad news is you gave the loot to your sponsor, Stanford Financial from web

MrWillTracy My new favorite riposte after attesting to 18 years of being married: "You know, I would have got less for manslaughter in most states". from web

MrWillTracy Have to update my "Patrick Ewing @ the foul line" quip to desribe after-effect of one of my cardio workouts. No one remembers the old Hoya. from web

MrWillTracy Released (sic fired) 2 people last Fri., but informed rest of my staff that I did such while bellowing, "Bring the pain!". No one got it. from web

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Duo of delicious, yet disparate, discoveries

Short missive to shed light upon a pair of offerings as tasty as even a veritable 'surf & turf' of observing Gen. William T. Sherman in the field (and on the loose) plus listening to Bernard Herrmann score the latest Alfred Hitchcock (or Martin Scorsese, Orson Welles, etc.) opus.

Specifically from the realm of the usually sorted (plus poorly written), I submit following website of interest - - which documents the travails, treks & near weekly tumults of Miss/Ms. London Andrews, a freelance libertine & professional model.

Mademoiselle London is a pre-college slash self-financing blog-o-sphere adventurer of the slightly adult variety. Based on reading her posts for several months now, the lass will not be in need, however, of any freshman composition class to hone her rather protean prose style. It is quite refreshing to see a youthful thinking person not only take the ubiquitous Jack Kerouac to heart, but, quite literally, seek to run down the same road (albeit in a modern, though still meandering, manner). In addition (and most importantly) for those faithful to all things distaff and zaftig, Miss/Ms. London [See right] as to her non-verbal output is equally ebullient and unabashedly alluring in a myriad of (mostly) tasteful photos of her most curvaceous form. The website is studded with a smorgasbord of snaps from various sessions the young lady has graced. Bravo, L.A., and may the kindly gods of fate smile perpetually upon your efforts!

Nearly as tasty as I can, in this case, report personally is the (relatively) new line extension from the venerable house of Romeo y Julieta, which is now part of the formidable Altadis stable of sticks. Specifically I'm referring to the four Indians comprising the "Viejo" [For "old" in Espanol] family. One of my main two sources, Cigars International - - recently touted a very reasonably priced sampler pack from this line extension with the following (purloined verbatim) description:

Gorgeous to the eye, its super-smooth, thick, slightly toothy maduro wrapper - grown in the famed San Andres Valley of Mexico - features an oily sheen and triple cap, while the subtle square-press presentation feels great in the hand and adds to the anticipation. The flavor is dependable and consistent throughout: mellow and smooth from start to finish, highlighted by some richness, hints of caramel and a faint sweet woody note. The aftertaste is very pleasant, while the draw is effortless and pumps out voluminous clouds of smoke. Of the myriad Romeo y Julieta blends, to me this gorgeous little number is hands-down the best.

Could not agree more with all of the above and a hearty thumbs-up to a brand which already produces the lovely "Vintage" and (previous favorite) "Reserva Real" sticks. To reemphasize just a bit, the aesthetics of this Indian are heads-and-shoulders superior to almost anything available; square-pressed jobs are particularly appealling. In Italian for this repeat invoking - Bravismo!