The Years of Robert Caro

I got hooked on Robert A. Caro when his first volume of The Years of Lyndon Johnson was published in 1982. What I thought was going to be trilogy began with The Path to Power. I received it as a gift and was soon completely absorbed into it. Mr. Caro took me into the Hill Country of Texas, and made me feel what it was like to be a settler there and how that formed LBJ. The further I read the more I appreciated the painstaking research behind it.

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St. Valentine

Were you wondering if St. Valentine was a real person? Valentinus was a  priest in Rome during the third century. He was imprisoned for marrying Christian couples and aiding Christians who were being persecuted under Emperor Claudius. Apparently irrepressible, Valentinus attempted to convert the emperor, for which he was sentenced to death. He was beaten and stoned, then beheaded, in the year 269. He was buried on  the Flaminian Way, north of Rome, purportedly on February 14.

St. Valentine is the patron saint of engaged couples, happy marriages, lovers. If that’s not enough, he is also patron of beekeepers, travelers, epilepsy and plague!

For more about St. Valentine, check out the Catholic version and the Wikipedia entry.

Soul Queen of New Orleans

While Kanye West was being stupid at the Grammys Awards show, I was at a local venue taking in “Blues at the Crossroads: The Soul of the Blues.” For me, the featured performer was Irma Thomas, who came on in the middle of the show, between Alecia Chakour, paying tribute to Etta James, and Lee Fields, channeling James Brown. Ms. Thomas returned to the stage to close the show, with the others backing her up on “Time Is On My Side.”

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Integrity and Talking Heads

Brian Williams is hardly the first TV anchorman to have his integrity questioned. If you are of a certain age, or a television rerun aficionado, you may remember Ted Baxter, anchorman at WJM-TV in Minneapolis. Take a look at Ted defending himself against an accusation of unethical behavior.

Why consumer electronics are not Made in U.S.A.

We try to be good Americans and buy stuff made in the U.S.A. Well, maybe some of us do. The exporting of U.S. manufacturing has been going on for so long and is so entrenched that it’s anything but simple to bring those jobs back home. In fact, it’s nearly impossible. As the prime example, consider consumer electronics.

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If You Have Daughters… or are one

 

On the Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert generally stayed in character as the arch-conservative blowhard. Even when testifying before Congress. He recently recorded a segment for the Ask a Grown Man/Woman on Rookie, a web site for young girls, in which he dropped his on-screen persona to give thoughtful answers to questions about relationships submitted by readers/viewers. It’s definitely worth ten minutes of your time. Click here.