2017

December 31, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | PETER'S WRITING, Ulalume |
'Sisyphus' by Titian

'Sisyphus' by Titian

This is the year we did unravel, The moment when the joys of travel Were undone; We lost the trust Of those who quacked, scolded, fussed Over our lives, and sought our love But abandoned us when push met shove. This the year when we all learned That skin is rent and flesh is burned By any common garden device Wielded by those who sacrifice, The year in which we fully saw Common bonds do tie no more. Bullets at the temples flew, Boats sank in the water blue, Bombs and bluffs we never knew Were true; and cancer grew….

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Playing With Fire

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(by Lawrence O’Donnell) (2017) Our favourite book on the incredible 1968 Presidential election remains the superb and impartial work by visiting British journalists, An American Melodrama. But this work by leftie Lawrence is a terrific read, once you learn to shut-out the partisan noise swirling about every chapter.  There’s nothing new here except the charge of treason by Nixon over the Anna Chennault affair, which O’Donnell mines from a book by the almost equally, but less noisily, partial John A. Farrell. [For his Book Richard Nixon: The Life, Farrell has read Haldeman’s notes of conversations with Tricky Dick and implies…

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Look Homeward, Angel (Vale Della Reese)

December 30, 2017 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Modern Music, MUSIC, RELIGION, Uncategorized |
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Della Reese (July 6, 1931 – November 19, 2017) had a 60 year odd career as singer, actress, TV host and Minister of Religion. These talents combined in her most most lasting work, as Angel-in-Chief Tess in the series Touched by an Angel. In the first episode of Touched by an Angel that I saw, the lovely angel Monica (Roma Downey) was talking to a troubled woman out the front of her house at night.  The woman’s sadly neglected child was inside playing with matches (we knew it but the mother didn’t and somehow the angel didn’t either).  When a handsome…

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O Glorious Jeremiad

December 20, 2017 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | Modern Music, MUSIC |
"The Nightingale is Singing" by Mikhail Nesterov

"The Nightingale is Singing" by Mikhail Nesterov

The Varnished Culture’s collection of Sad Songs As Elton sang, ‘sad songs say so much,’ and they serve a number of purposes – soothing the soul, topping-up our empathy tanks, putting a spring in our step because we’re not expiring near a roll of chicken wire. “Sad” in this context can mean melancholy, mournful or even wryly funny. Our preferred lamentations, in alphabetical order (key performer only credited), are: All By Myself (Eric Carmen) [He never needed anyone before but he does now.] All of These Things (Ed Kuepper) Allentown (Billy Joel) [Ode to a dying town.] Alone Again (Naturally) (Gilbert…

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Not For All the Money in the World

December 15, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | CRIME, Drama Film, FILM, HISTORY, USA History |
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December 15: John Paul Getty III, kidnapped and ransomed, turned up alive near Naples on this day in 1973. He’d been missing for months.  A letter had arrived the previous month with an accompanying parcel and the curt message: “This is Paul’s ear. If we don’t get some money within 10 days, then the other ear will arrive. In other words, he will arrive in little bits.” His grandfather, J Paul Getty Snr., who was worth over $2 billion US, was a tad parsimonious about paying the ransom (although with 14 other grandchildren and a loathing of appeasement, he must have thought…

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