The Barking Lot is a regular weekly feature of This Just In…Originally written by both my lovely wife, Jennifer and me, this blog brings you the latest news about our furry friends including articles, columns, photos and videos. Enjoy!
THE WEEKEND DOG-WALKING FORECAST: We grade the weather outlook for taking your pet outdoors.
TODAY: Partly cloudy with afternoon showers or thunderstorms. Potential for severe thunderstorms. High of 91. Chance of rain 50%. “C”
SUNDAY: Sunny along with a few clouds. High of 92. “B”
Time now for DOGS IN THE NEWS, canines that made headlines the past week.
Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available.Come along and enjoy.
Christmas in July reportedly began on July 24th and 25th in 1933 at a girl’s camp called Keystone Camp in Brevard, North Carolina. There was a Christmas tree, snow made from cotton, laundry bags used as makeshift stockings, and even Santa Claus.
Or did the tradition start at Yellowstone Park when a stagecoach ran into a freak summer blizzard. Stranded in the Rocky Mountains at the Old Faithful Inn, the riders refused to be distraught, and celebrated Christmas.
C’mon Kev. Who are you tryin’ to kid? Obviously some marketing team on Madison Avenue dreamed up this summertime opportunity.
If not them, had to be Hallmark, or the Hallmark Channel.
No one knows for sure, but it’s a thing now.
This week, we’ve got Christmas music that is definitely Christmas music that doesn’t really or immediately sound like Christmas.
Admit it. You’re curious. What do we have up our sleeve to pull this off?
And you think it’s absolutely nuts. Why, whoever heard of Jingle Bells when it’s in the 70’s or 80’s and not a snowflake in sight. Crazy, right?
No, no. no. Trust me. All you’ve got to do is embrace the music.
Take the December music in month #7 and just welcome it!
The Hollyridge Strings, an orchestra of studio musicians that recorded easy-listening covers for Capitol Records in the 1960s and 1970s. They became quite popular after releasing an album totally devoted to the Beatles that led to more Beatle renditions and tributes to other artists.
The following ensemble was a group of studio musicians who recorded a series of easy listening instrumental albums for Capitol Records at the peak of the British Invasion era. The band of musicians covered tunes from just about anybody who was big.
This is an original Christmas song for a 1966 album written by the group founder Stu Phillips.
If you listen to The Beatle Brunch Radio Show on WRIT-FM in Milwaukee every Sunday morning at 8:00 for an hour of music and interviews with The Beatles you’ll often hear the “Hollyridge Strings” being played underneath as background music while host Joe Johnson narrates certain segments.
Time now for the quintessential Christmas song that’s not a Christmas song but has become a Christmas song.
From a famous movie musical the song has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas, save for the lyric “Brown paper packages tied up with strings.” And c’mon. BROWN paper? I don’t think so.
Here’s lovely country star Lorrie Morgan in a video with an unexpected twist.
Morgan still records and tour today.
“Where I am in my life right now, I’m not afraid to express what I feel, or what I don’t feel,” she said. “I’m not afraid to express my views on anything, especially on being a woman. I have been a daughter, a bride, a mother, a divorcee, a widow, a single mother, a breadwinner and, ultimately, a survivor. In many ways, I am a living, breathing country song.”
Back into the vault of Christmas music that isn’t really Christmas music but actually is.
I explain. There’s not a single mention of Christmas or anything Christmas-related here, and the reason is simple. There are no words. It’s an instrumental, and a pretty popular one at that. Vince Guaraldi’s classic is performed marvelously here with a brief surprise tossed in.
Guaraldi composed “Linus and Lucy” for “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Lee Mendelson was the animated special’s executive producer of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Mendelson recalled a phone conversation he had with Guaraldi.
“He said he wanted to play something he had just written,” Mendelson said. recalled. “I told him that I would prefer to come hear it at his studio rather than over the telephone, but he said he couldn’t wait, ‘I’ve got to play this for someone right now or I’ll explode!’ he said. I told him to go ahead, and what I heard over the next two minutes stunned me. It was perfect for the Peanuts characters! When he returned to the phone, I asked him what he was going to call it. He said, ‘Linus and Lucy.’ Little did we know that years later this piece would become a jazz standard throughout the world.”
David Benoit credited “A Charlie Brown Christmas” for sparking his love of playing jazz piano.
“That was the first time that jazz piano has been used in animation, which helped make it a really groundbreaking show,” Benoit said in a book written by Mendelson. “I agree with a lot of people who believe that a big part of the success of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ was Vince’s music.”
That’s it for this week.
Have a great weekend, and hey, Merry Christmas!
If I was to write down a bucket list (I haven’t) I would surely include a trip to New York to see trumpeter Wynton Marsalis leading a program at Lincoln Center.
Here, from 2015, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra along with guest vocalists Denzal Sinclaire and Audrey Shakir perform the greatest sacred Christmas classic in a way you’ve never heard before. Also featured is Dan Nimmer on piano, a Milwaukee native.
The 1973 film “Maurie” highlights the strong friendship between two NBA Hall of Fame players: Maurice Stokes, the black basketball star, and his white teammate, Jack Twyman, formerly of the Cincinnati Royals.
Frank Sinatra recorded the theme from the movie for an album that same year.
Happy Birthday today to country superstar Alison Krauss who turned 50 today.
Born in Decatur, Illinois, she was attracted to bluegrass music and was winning contests at age 10. As of 2019, she had won 27 Grammy Awards from 42 nominations, ranking her fourth behind Beyoncé, Quincy Jones, and classical conductor Georg Solti for most wins overall.
She’s sold more than 12 million records to date and will be inducted in 2021 to the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.
Today’s read is from one of America’s best columnists, Victor David Hanson. The brief excerpt:
In the last six months, we have seen absurdities never quite witnessed in modern America. Madness, not politics, defines it. There are three characteristics of all these upheavals. One, the events are unsustainable. They will either cease or they will destroy the nation, at least as we know it. Two, the law has largely been rendered meaningless. Three, left-wing political agendas justify any means necessary to achieve them.
America went from the freest country in the world in December 2019 to a repressive, and frightening place by July 2021. It went not so much hard-Left, as stark-raving mad.
In 2010, Roger C. Hartley, a professor at the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, published a legal treatise that perfectly captures the dilemma of our days.
“The past several decades have clarified much regarding the freedom not to listen,” Hartley writes at a time when the first ideological inroads were being cut into the classroom. “It derives from the freedom of thought, which assures every person the associated freedom to acquire knowledge, including the freedom to decide what knowledge to acquire-which viewpoints to entertain and which to avoid.”
Hartley continues, “This freedom to filter intellectual input into one’s consciousness supports a constitutionally recognized liberty interest in not being coerced into listening” [italics added].
“This freedom not to listen trumps the speaker’s right to speak, however, only when the listener cannot avoid the objectionable speech through reasonable efforts.”
In other words, any listener who is considered part of a “captive audience” is a listener whose constitutional rights are being violated. And who more than our children, compelled as they are to receive a compulsory education courtesy of the state, comprise the greatest number of captive audiences?
My first encounter with critical race theory was in my freshman year, when we skipped our P.E. class to engage in a racial struggle session, hosted by a teacher and a special cadre of students who had been handpicked and placed in her equity advisory class.
I began to catch on when the presenters played a video titled “What kind of Asian are you?” The clip features a buffoonish caricature of an insensitive white man, the video’s antagonist, who becomes the subject of scorn after he commits several “microaggressions” as he attempts to relate with the video’s heroine, an Asian woman. She then humiliates him and trots off.”
I was beginning to wonder if our conversation was really about advancing “equity,” or if it was about scapegoating those who pose an obstacle to progressivism’s long march. They didn’t leave me wondering for long.
“Critical Race Theory” is a subtle philosophical construct where the answer to everything is: THAT’S RACIST! Teachers hawking this glop are being defended by their journalist allies, who sneer that CRT critics are too stupid to understand the nuances of the theory.
The Aristotelian ideal of this sneer was Elle Reeve’s “special report” for CNN — pre-taped to eliminate any danger of Elle being contradicted by someone smarter, such as a 10-year-old.
Parents aren’t “afraid”; they’re incensed. They’re paying the salaries of people who spend all day telling their kids that America is racist.
The format of Elle’s pre-taped report consisted of her interviewing opponents of CRT … then nailing them with her brilliant comebacks! Except even with CNN doing the editing, the CRT opponents sounded perfectly reasonable, while Elle’s comebacks kept revealing her yawning stupidity.
Sports Illustrated not only made models a household name, it helped them make fortunes for themselves and all the other models who came after them.
Thanks to wokeness, the political left has dragged that cash cow into the public square and, like the Taliban executing a homosexual, slaughtered it because it was an affront to the political agenda they have made their god.
The swimsuit issue has been deteriorating for some time. They’ve moved away from attractive and fit women to “plus sized” women, which is polite speak for fat, and athletes as models. What they lost in circulation, Sports Illustrated more than made up for in glowing publicity.
Society went right down with them. Over the last few decades we have been inundated with mixed messages about health from the left. One message is based in science – obesity kills. Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, etc., etc., are all dangers of being overweight. The last year we added death from COVID 19 to that list.
On the other hand, we’ve also seen a bizarre push to “celebrate” all body types and end “fat shaming,” which is considered anything short of throwing a parade for cast members of “My 600-LB Life” and encouraging your children to grow up (and out) just like them. Fat shaming is pointing out that carrying hundreds of extra pounds while leading a sedentary life is not the key to longevity.
Chunky women are not only portrayed as beautiful, but they’re called “healthy” as well. It’s that insane.
Knowing all of this, Sports Illustrated is back to celebrating political correctness with this year’s swimsuit issue. Someone called Leyna Bloom is one of the “cover models.” It’s a man who “identifies” as a woman and goes to great lengths to look like one. Bloom is a man, no amount of Photoshop will change that. I couldn’t care less about how anyone lives, I care that I’m expected, and soon we’ll be forced, to pretend the delusions of others are reality.
Today it’s a “trans woman” on the cover, but I suspect we’re only a couple of years away from a hairy, dirty, unshaven dude in a bikini gracing the cover, provided SI doesn’t go out of business first. Laugh all you want, but we’re told gender is a social construct and states like California are allowing male prisoners to be transferred to women’s prisons based on nothing more than the declaration that they’re secretly women on the inside, so what is society to tell anyone what a woman is supposed to look like?
Men can’t get pregnant, women can’t get prostate cancer, and no matter how far back you tuck “reality,” or how many woke magazine covers the left publishes, nothing in the world will change that.
State Representative David Bowen (D-Milwaukee) opens his release stating, ““I have lived in Milwaukee my entire life, and never have I been more proud to call Milwaukee my home. To watch how this team played for the city of Milwaukee, for our State, and how the people of this city showed up for this team was truly remarkable.”
“It must be mentioned how this season wouldn’t be possible without the stand-up activism by a conscious team that refused to be silent when injustices against Black citizens were brought to the headlines,” as Bowen mentioned George Floyd, Derek Chauvin, Jacob Blake, the Kenosha police, and protesters in a non-unifying fashion.
What Bowen fails to mention in his social justice euphoria is that in July of 2015 during an extraordinary session of the state Legislature, Bowen voted against a bill to provide $250 million in public funding for a new Bucks arena, what is now Fiserv Forum. The vote was 52-34 in support.
The bill had already passed the Senate, 21-10, and needed only Gov. Scott Walker’s signature.
The Bucks were under a 2017 deadline from the NBA to build the new facility. Bowen voted against much-needed financing to ensure the Bucks would remain in Milwaukee. Today he’s throwing phony bouquets at the team.
Today’s read is from Arnold Ahlert at the Patriot Post. Here’s a brief excerpt:
The presence of unionized teachers has proven to be a spectacular failure over the course of decades.
Unions and their allies always had a litany of excuses for those failures, with a lack of funding topping the list, despite the fact that America spends more money per pupil on primary and secondary schools than any other major developed nation in the world.
Then came the pandemic, and the true nature of teachers unions became impossible to ignore. “Even as the Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization warned that the harm from continued school closures dramatically outweighs the threat posed by COVID, unions successfully fought to keep campuses shuttered, while ensuring their members still get paid,” columnist Robert Fellner explains. “Rather than doing everything they could to ensure students could return to the classroom as quickly as possible, unions exploited this terrible crisis for their own gain.”
When some parents took educating their children into their own hands and formed “pods” or “micro-schools,” they were deemed “racist” and “privileged” for doing so by unionists and their allies — who ultimately revealed that the equal sharing of misery was all that mattered.
How do they get away with all of it? As the campaign contribution-tracking website Open Secrets reveals, teachers unions have given Democrats “at least 94 percent of the funds they contributed to candidates and parties since as far back as 1990, where our data begins.”
In short, teachers unions operate a de facto monopoly, with the full quid pro quo support of the Democrat Party. And anyone who opposes their agenda can expect to endure unrelenting, full-throated accusations of bigotry, transphobia, etc.