HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » PJMcK » Journal
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 Next »

PJMcK

Profile Information

Name: Paul McKibbins
Gender: Male
Hometown: New York City
Home country: USA
Current location: New York City
Member since: Mon Jun 5, 2006, 05:16 PM
Number of posts: 7,793

About Me

Lifelong Democrat

Journal Archives

Damn! That man knew how to write!

Here’s a great Beethoven story.

A wonderful mentor of mine was a music publisher named Freddie Bienstock. As he was Jewish, he saw the rise of anti-Semitism in the late 1930s and his family immigrated to the U.S. from Austria.

He got a job in the mailroom at Chappell & Co., one of the world’s biggest and oldest music publishers. He eventually rose through the company and put together a consortium to buy the firm.

When the deal closed, Freddie went to each of the offices around the world. When he arrived at the London headquarters, he discovered a huge old safe in the executive office. No one knew what was in it and no one knew the combination.

So he called a local locksmith who examined the safe and reported that he would have to damage the safe in order to open it. Freddie told him to go ahead and when the door swung open, there was but a single letter inside. It was obviously very old so an archivist was brought in to assess the letter.

Turns out, it was a letter from Beethoven to Chappell in which he requested a financial advance for a couple of his latest works! He asked for 20 ducats, I think.

Here’s the epilogue. Years later, Freddie was the publisher for the composer William Bolcom. Each time Bill came to the NY office, he would look at the framed Beethoven letter with its accompanying translation.

When Bolcom’s opera, “The View From The Bridge” premiered at NY’s Metropolitan Opera, Freddie gave Bill 20 ducats!

The end of a golf course is unique

The property was designed for a specific use and now it will never be that way again. It reminds me of Joni Mitchell's song, "Big Yellow Taxi," (They paved paradise And put up a parking lot.), or Manhattan Transfer's "The Jungle Pioneer," (Day by day dark is illuminated, God's mistake altered and uncreated. Wrongs made right left to the jungle pioneer.)

There's a former course near our mountain house that's been closed for years and the 130-acre property won't sell. It's a beautiful location near Bethel, NY (site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival) and it's on a small lake. Strange that a developer hasn't snatched it up.

I must take exception to your comments about golf although I recognize they are your opinions. Golf can be very modest in cost if one plays at daily-fee courses where a membership isn't required. For example, there's a public course on Long Island, NY that costs $24 if you walk instead of renting a motor cart. So, if the round last about 5 hours, that's less than $5/hour for entertainment and a healthy walk of about 6 or 7 miles. Even doubling the cost to $50/round=$10/hour is not outrageous. By contrast, Trump has a course in The Bronx that costs $240 for the greens fee plus $50 for the mandatory motor cart. Ridiculous, plus I don't want to give him any of my money.

The time it takes to play a round can seem long to a non-player but I assure you that most golfers get to the 18th tee and wish there were more holes to play! That's because many people find it an exciting game. I'm sure that the huge number of fans that turn out for the US Open or the Masters don't find it boring. Plus, there's a lot of big money involved so the audience must find it very exciting.

It strikes me that it would be a very difficult business to run a golf course in an area of the country where you have to close for 5 or 6 months of the year. I couldn't run my music business on that schedule! Many East Coast and Southern courses stay open year-round and that business model makes more sense but these are just my observations.

Most often, I'll go golfing by myself and the Starter will pair me with 1 to 3 other players as most courses don't want singles on the course. This means that I often get to meet new and interesting people from all walks of life. In this respect, golf is a great equalizer since your game is the only thing anyone will judge you on. It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, old or young or any other category, all that matters is can you play the game. Through programs like The First Tee and other school programs, many young people take up the game and play. In my experiences, I've met numerous youngsters who have excellent etiquette and most often their swings are superior to mine!

And yet, I understand your point of view. I find basketball and hockey to be very dull but I see the dedication of the fans and the success of those businesses.

One closing thought and it's a key point for me: I prefer to do things rather than watch others do them. Golf is one of the things I can do.

Fair enough

Still, I give the credit to Hillary Clinton because she would've been one of the people who would have to accept the apology. The others being Chelsea and perhaps President Clinton.

On the other hand, when did McCain offer his apology? If it was after Mrs. Clinton was elected to the Senate, his apology becomes suspect since the Senate prides itself on its so-called civility and behavioral and historical norms... at least they used to. It would have been within the "code" for McCain to apologize to his Senate colleague.

Regardless, he was a Republican. He didn't support my Democratic views and policies. Importantly, he wasn't a maverick because he nearly always caved to the party line.

Most distinctively, by legitimizing the crazies of the right wing of the GOP with his naming of Sarah Palin as his running mate, he opened the door to the Tea Party/Freedom Caucus/RWNJs, etc. with which we got Trump. Perhaps Trump was inevitable in a celebrity-driven society, but McCain deserves his share of responsibility.

McCain was fifth from the bottom of his class at Annapolis. When he joined the Navy as a pilot, this entry from Wikipedia is interesting:

McCain began as a sub-par flier who was at times careless and reckless; during the early to mid-1960s, two of his flight missions crashed and a third mission collided with power lines, but he received no major injuries.


When he was captured by the North Vietnamese, I respect his fortitude. But when he became a Congressman and then a Senator, he consistently acted against the values that I believe in.

In the Keating Five scandal, he eventually fessed-up to his poor judgement. Wow, good for him. By that point in his life, he should have developed much better values. As the famous amateur golfer, Bobby Jones (professionally, he was a lawyer) once said, "You might as well praise a man for not robbing a bank as to praise him for playing by the rules." McCain did not act appropriately nor ethically.

In the end, I will not miss McCain. He tried to serve his country but his legislative choices didn't really work out for far too many Americans.

Trump's biggest and dumbest mistake

As a New Yorker, I've seen Trump's life blazoned across the local tabloids since the 1980s. His so-called successes were mated with the lurid details of his sex life. He is such a low-life bag of dirt that I've never understood anyone who would admire him. His lying, cheating and sordid business dealings were right out in front for all to see.

Nonetheless, he bamboozled many people and continued to live a fantasy life. He should have continued it.

It was a colossal error to run for president. He has opened himself and his family business to legal review. There is no way that Trump can survive such scrutiny. The criminality that must underlie so much of his business will be exposed and the penalties could be annihilating.

Had Trump simply continued floating just beneath the surface, he could have lived out his fantasy life in peace. But now, there is so much trouble around Trump and it's coming from many different directions. No clown can juggle that many balls.

Just consider the "god" they worship

Their "god" created humans in its own image. But they turn out to be fucked up. So he kills them. Well, not all of them; he saves one family. But they're just as fucked up as the batch they came from. Big surprise! And this was all orchestrated by a "god" who is omniscient and omnipotent.

After this selected family survives the Great Flood, (not to mention the Great Excrement aboard the Ark), they engage in incestuous sex in order to repopulate the planet. Then this "god" tells them to kill all kinds of people for a variety of reasons. Then this "god" destroys a couple of cities because... whatever. This "god" made this shit but blames people for it.

This is the "god" the evangelicals worship. This "god" represents a cruel, angry, demanding, vicious, self-elevating and foolish creator.

Sound familiar?

Trump Thought for Today

Stormy Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said that six other women have approached him about legal representation because they have similar stories and non-disclosure agreements following their affairs with Trump. What a surprise: Stormy wasn't the only one!

For years, Trump would publicly brag about his sexual exploits and extra-marital affairs. He flaunted his affair with Wife No. 2, Marla Maples while he was still married to No. 1, Ivana. (I actually saw them together in church while he was still married to Ivana.) There's nothing surprising about these revelations because the man has always told us exactly who he is.

Melania must be livid about her husband's behavior. She must be angered that he has treated her so disrespectfully and the whole world knows it! She must treat him with such contempt that he can't stand it. In a way, she is the only person in the world who can stare him down and he can't do a thing about it! His ego won't let him be a divorced president and she knows far too much about him for him to blackmail her. With all the fronts where Trump has to battle and as more women and information comes forward, all of his non-disclosure agreements will crumble. It will be glorious to see him screaming that everyone else is a liar and that we should believe him. I'll love that day.

I love all of that. I love it because anything that causes Trump to feel negative emotions makes me happy. I love it that his life is so public that he can no longer behave so abusively and dominantly against women. I love it that he has alienated his wife so he loses his partner at home. I love that his personal pants presser and local eye-candy, Hope Hicks, is gone from his life. I love it that his personal favorite, Ivanka, is about to leave D.C. and head back to New York.

I love it all because it makes him miserable.

NOT FAIR!!!

Although the HAL 9000 computer was sentient, it's grossly unfair to call it a villain because its acts of violence were the result of human mis-programming. It did what it had to in order to unify wildly conflicting programs. Real villains are terribly evil, power-hungry, dangerous and greedy. HAL was none of those things. True villains are represented by people like Osama bin Laden, Al Capone, Bernie Madoff and Donald Trump.

HAL was aware that the discovery of the Tycho Monolith on the Moon meant that there was extra-terrestrial life in the Universe. It was aware that this was top secret information that, when revealed, would cause worldwide disruption socially, philosophically and politically. Additionally, it was aware of the radio signal the Monolith sent in the direction of Jupiter, (Saturn in the novelization). It was aware that the scientists in suspended animation aboard Discovery were specialists in alien life and had trained to search for it. Discovery's two astronauts didn't know any of this and HAL was programmed to keep it hidden from them.

This programming error manifested itself by creating cognitive dissonance in HAL's mind such that it had to cover for its lies to the astronauts. In order to complete its greater mission, (going to Jupiter (Saturn) to discover the origin of the Monolith), it had to rid itself of the humans who would know of the computer's deception.

To isolate the astronauts from Earth, (HAL's "conscience" ), HAL created a false mechanical problem with the AE-35 unit that controlled the large dish antenna that served as the communications link to mission control. That way, HAL could be out of touch with Earth, kill the humans, create a cover story and still execute its primary programming of discovery.

The biggest problem with the film, which was resolved in the novel, was that when Poole was killed by HAL by hitting him with the space pod, Bowman goes after Poole in another pod without his helmet. No astronaut would ever leave their ship without their helmet! It's an unbelievable flaw in an otherwise brilliant film. Of course, Bowman's reentry to Discovery without his helmet is thrilling! In the novel, Bowman realizes HAL has opened an airlock to exhaust the oxygen and he retreats to an airtight emergency closet where he can don a space suit before disabling HAL.

Certainly you know this, Mike, and I apologize for going on about it. I've always felt that HAL was dealt a bad hand. If the space agency had simply told astronauts Poole and Bowman what their mission really was, none of the tragedy would have occurred. The concept of "need-to-know" became irrelevant the minute Discovery left Earth's orbit.

But then the story wouldn't be so dramatic!

A better evil computer can be found in the cult movie "Colossus: The Forbin Project." That's a 1970 film where an American super computer merges with a Soviet super computer to take over the world!

I guess Senator West has plans for the teachers

I'm sure Kentucky will buy the weapons and ammunition for the teachers.

No doubt, the state will pay for the training and continuing education with the weapons.

Of course, the state will pay for whatever liability insurance the teachers will have to carry.

However, in the event of an active shooter situation, how will the police know who are the "good guys with guns?"

This is stupid. Teachers are not guards. That's not their job! Do these parents really want armed weapons in their children's classrooms?

If Kentucky thinks they need more security, get professionals trained for the job. And pay for it.

Of course, since the governor and legislature refuse to consider any gun controls, nothing will change.

After massacre upon massacre, doing nothing is another form of insanity.

Karen McDougal's hypocrisy

As anyone who has watched Trump over the last 30 years knows, he cheats on his wives. He has publicly bragged about his infidelities for years, in print, on television and on radio. No big deal and I don't care since it's public knowledge and I don't look to Donald Trump for morality.

The new story in the New Yorker featuring Playboy model Karen McDougal is hardly surprising. It's only interesting facet comes from the details of how Trump covered for his behavior. Again, no big deal because he wasn't a public servant at the time so I don't care.

But something in the story bothers me. In her 8-page, handwritten letter, Ms. McDougal wrote:

We talked for a couple hours – then, it was “ON”! We got naked + had sex.” As McDougal was getting dressed to leave, Trump did something that surprised her. “He offered me money,” she wrote. “I looked at him (+ felt sad) + said, ‘No thanks - I’m not ‘that girl.’ I slept w/you because I like you - NOT for money’ - He told me ‘you are special.’


Okay, she wouldn't accept money from Trump for the sex they shared because she's "not 'that girl.'" What? She just had an adulterous affair with a man she knew to be married. So she's 'not that girl,' she's 'this girl.'

The fluidity of her morality is striking.

One other point: Ms. McDougal apparently sold her story to the National Enquirer for $150,000. It was an exclusive deal and restricted her ability to speak with other media outlets.

She did say, however, that she regretted signing the contract. “It took my rights away...”


The National Enquirer didn't take away her rights; she sold them. This kind of exclusive deal would nearly always have limitations on her. It's why they paid the money! Apparently, their agreement had a term limit and the media company has been trying to extend the contract. Is she negotiating through the media?

So, I'm not sure I see how she is a victim. In fact, since she could have come forward at anytime, that she's done so now is suspect.

Ultimately, I really don't care much about any of this. The dangers that Trump presents are far more important than his sex life. By the way, I'm certain Melania must be thrilled to hear these stories. I doubt that this latest story is a revelation to her but if it makes Trump's home life uncomfortable, I'm all for it!

As I wrote above, none of this story is particularly surprising for anyone who has looked at Trump's life. It also proves the point that everyone who comes into contact with Trump is either creepy to begin with or they get soiled.

Disagree

Try walking a championship-sized course while carrying your bag of clubs weighing 15-20 pounds. The walk alone can be anywhere from 5-8 miles. Then you have to use remarkably difficult hand-eye coordination to make a good shot. And you have to do this with precision 70-100 (or more!) times.

Additionally, the physical training that good golfers develop puts the better players in top physical condition. Look at Tiger or Dustin Johnson and you'll see prime athletes. Granted, there are plenty of heavy-set golfers riding in a motor cart with a cooler full of beer. That's not the game many of us play. However, I've seen lots of weekend softball games where the players consume vast numbers of cans of beer. Isn't baseball a sport? This week in Korea, many athletes will be competing in the Curling competitions. Aren't they athletes competing in a sport? One could drink plenty of beer doing that; in fact, it's probably the only way to do it! (By the way, grandmasters in Chess have been known to sweat off pounds during a match; while they may be sedentary, they better be in good shape to withstand that stress.)

Regarding the "massive natural resources," your point is questionable although I respect your opinion. But private clubs own their land and can do anything they want with it. Public courses bring in substantial amounts of money for the city or state that owns them. Other courses open to the public are private businesses which, once again, own the land. All of these courses provide employment for the many people needed to operate a sprawling business.

The one point that has been getting a lot of attention in the past decade or so is conservation of the resources. Many courses try to use organic fertilizers and treatments to prevent or limit chemical run-offs. Some courses have taken other steps to protect wildlife and foliage. Hopefully, these trends will continue.

I'm curious if you've ever played the game. I've been hooked on it for about 15 years since I sold my last sailboat, (there's a real sport!). There are many positives about the game. First and foremost is it's a great equalizer in that it doesn't matter if you're old or young, rich or poor, big or small, Democrat or Republican: it's still the same game. A good shot is a good shot.

Second, it's a game of honor in that players have to follow the rules (which really aren't as Byzantine as the article states), keep score and call penalties on themselves as generally, there aren't referees. (Plenty of golfers cheat just like non-golfers cheat in their lives.) This is unlike football or basketball where some players blatantly cheat hoping they can get away with it. As the great amateur, Bobby Jones once said, "You might as well praise a man for not robbing a bank as to praise him for playing by the rules."

Third, it's a wonderful way to meet interesting people. Especially if you go to the course alone or with a single friend when you'll be "paired" with one or two other golfers. For the next five hours or so, you'll share a surprisingly intimate time getting to know strangers you will probably never see again! In the several thousand rounds I've played, only twice have I met really ugly people and one of them actually got arrested for attacking another golfer!

Which brings me to my final point. In "The Rules of Golf," the first chapter is about etiquette. Behaving as a gentleperson is an important and necessary part of the game. Here's Mr. Jones again, "The rewards of golf, and of life too I expect, are worth very little if you don't play the game by the etiquette as well as by the rules."

Trump ruins everything he comes into contact with. It's no surprise that he cheats.
Go to Page: 1 2 3 4 5 Next »