This Afternoon’s Broadcast is brought to you by…

Kenny Loggins.

Tuesday Open Thread 

Monday Night Mashup: Winter Star

Those of you who are into ’90s music will appreciate this: some mad genius mashed up Smash Mouth’s “All Star” and the Tori Amos piano ballad “Winter”. And in some inexplicable way, they fit together really well. Yes, this is just the kind of insanity the Internet does so brilliantly. Don’t even try to figure it out.

Anyway, there doesn’t seem to be any way to embed the file here, but you can listen to it here (scroll down to the SoundCloud file).

And just in case you need a refresher on the original tunes and how seemingly incongruous they are, here you go:

The Never Ending Campaign*

Portrait of an egomaniac

 

(*This is part 1 of a multi-part series. For an explanation go here http://wp.me/p6l1KT-Oi, for other posts in the series click on the “A Republic If You Can Keep It” category at the bottom of this post.)

The U.S. Presidential campaign season lasts 21 months, or 44% of the time the winner will actually serve as President!

We need almost 2 years to determine who to vote for? No other country does this. Not just today, but ever. No country in the history of the world has ever needed 2 years to elect its next leader. And we do this over, and over; every 4 years!

Why?

As recently as 1840 the entire Presidential campaign lasted 5 weeks, from October 30th to December 2nd. Do you want to know something else about the 1840 campaign? It’s the first time any candidate for U.S. President actually campaigned for the office. In the year 1840 William Henry Harrison was the first person to actively campaign on his own behalf in pursuit of office. Campaigning on one’s own behalf was considered unseemly, desperate, egotistical.

Somehow our nation managed to elect competent, often great, Executive leaders with only 5 weeks or fewer notice (and this was before there were telegraph wires spanning the country, let alone 24/7 news channels piped into people’s homes), and without even hearing from the candidates themselves! Even as recently as FDR, candidates did not actively campaign until after the convention. That’s right, AFTER! It was considered unseemly, desperate and egotistical to ask to be nominated.

Are there any British Prime Minsters you admire; Churchill? Thatcher? Major? Blair? Guess how long election season is there? One month. 4 little weeks. Germany? 6 weeks. France? 2 weeks. Canada? Has to be at least 36 days, but 11 weeks is the record so far.

It’s not apples to apples comparing the U.S. to other countries, but put yourself in the winged-tipped oxfords of a voter in England or France or Canada reading about the U.S. elections in your daily issue of Der Suddeutsche Zeitung. It doesn’t make us seem very attentive.

This Afternoon’s Broadcast is brought to you by…

James Ingram.

From The Trailer Park - A Dog's Purpose

A dog (voiceover by Josh Gad) searches to find his purpose in life, while living several different lifetimes and having several owners. Also stars Dennis Quaid, Britt Robertson. Directed by Lasse Hallstrom (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Cider House Rules).

Tearjerker alert! This looks like an interesting concept, which if executed well could make for a very touching film. Hallstrom is no stranger to unconventional dog movies, as he previously directed Hachi: A Dog’s Tale and My Life As A Dog, so he should be able to do the story justice.

Clinging to Misery

Zo Rachel, as always, bringin’ the double truth, Ruth!

A Republic, If You Can Keep It*

We’ve all seen the show, “Hoarders.” Through the lens of a video camera we enter the home of someone who lives among so much stuff that they have almost no life at all. Their possessions have become so numerous they are a danger to the occupants and their lives. Yet, the occupants move about as if everything is in order and fight anyone who tries to remove anything from their home. “How,” we ask ourselves, “How can they not see that they live among piles of trash?”

Many of the people have mental disorders and need help to overcome their illness, just as there is another side of the same coin; people who can’t fall asleep at the end of the day if any item in their home is out of place, if the nap on the carpet is not all vacuumed in the same direction, if the towels all don’t hang the same distance from the towel rack… Knowing this I still find myself asking, “But how did it get to this level?”

Just as the people living in those homes don’t notice another plastic grocery bag, or clothes hangar, or laundry basket when it’s thrown on an existing pile, it’s hard for us to see what our government has become under a steady onslaught of absurdities. Like the people on “Hoarders,” most of us think we can get to some normal level of government by determining to remove an old can of tuna, or orphaned sweat sock.

With this series I will attempt to help others step out of the soon-to-be condemned home that our government builds around us, to look through the camera lens and see it in its entirety, from the outside.

*A multi-part series on some of the more absurd aspects of how the USA functions in the 21st century. Do not take this to mean I do not love America, or Americans. I do. But I also think it’s valuable to point out just how batsh*t crazy things have become around here.

Monday Open Thread

Steve  McQueen in The Great Escape

Steve McQueen in The Great Escape

From the Trailer Park — HBO’s series of Westworld


Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris, among others, star in the new HBO series based on the 1970s sci-fi class ic Westworld. It looks good. The trailer is probably safe for work, but not for any kids you have around.