Saturday, February 05, 2011

"Hell Hole" by Spinal Tap

A couple of years ago now*, in honour of Christopher Guest's birthday, only the video for Spinal Tap's Hell Hole** seemed appropriate, especially in light of the problems my friends and I were facing at the time... Thankfully, we've all come through it all in triumph - just in time for the new Great Depression to kick in***!

Well, it's a mean old world - and as the racists and conservatives lose ground they're determined to make it even meaner (because that's what Jesus would do) - but I for one refuse to engage them on their terms. Oh, I'll still insult them and swear at them and demean them, but I'll do so on my terms and not theirs - proactively, rather than reactively, if you will.

The lesson in there for all of us is that it's not the horrible, ugly, unfair things that happen in life that matter, it's how we choose to deal with them that define us. Personally, I choose to deal with them childishly, and in doing so keep myself young, all in an effort to live long enough to dance on their hateful graves...

*This post was first published in 2008.
**Which originally appeared on their
1984 album
This Is Spinal Tap.
***Kidding! Kinda...

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In Memoriam: Adlai Stevenson

For his intellectual demeanor, eloquent oratory, and promotion of liberal causes Adlai Stevenson II was twice the Democratic Party's nominee for President, in 1952 and 1956; he tried for a third time in 1960, but was thwarted by the eventual winner, John F. Kennedy. While his grandfather, Adlai E. Stevenson I, was Vice President under Grover Cleveland from 1893-1897, attaining the Executive Branch proved problematic to the second man to bear that name - who, since he was intellectual, eloquent, and liberal was seemingly no match for the avuncular Republican war hero Dwight D. Eisenhower.

PhotobucketBorn on this day in 1900, Stevenson belonged to a well-connected political family in Illinois; his father Lewis Green Stevenson never held an elected office, but did serve as Secretary of State of Illinois and was a contender for the Democratic vice-presidential nomination in 1928 - an honour eventually awarded to Joseph Taylor Robinson, who was chosen as Al Smith's running mate*. Also, Stevenson's maternal great-grandfather (and, according to him, his 'favourite ancestor') was Jesse Fell, who'd been a close friend and campaign manager for Abraham Lincoln.

Despite having such bad luck with the presidency, Stevenson did manage to be elected governor of Illinois in 1948, in an upset victory over Dwight H. Green; the following year his wife, Ellen Borden, handed him another kind of upset by divorcing him after twenty-one years of marriage. The couple had three sons.

Considered by some to be a natural for Kennedy's Secretary of State, that job went instead to Dean Rusk, while Stevenson was made US Ambassador to the United Nations. He was still serving in that position under Kennedy's successor Lyndon Johnson when, in July 1965, while walking with Marietta Tree through London's Grosvenor Square, Stevenson suffered a heart attack. He died later that day at St George's Hospital.

The eldest of his sons, Adlai E. Stevenson III, would not only go into the family business by serving as a Senator from Illinois (1970-81), he would also continue another family tradition, by naming his son Adlai Stevenson IV - who himself has been both a television reporter and a business executive in Chicago and used to refer to himself as 'Adlai Stevenson the Last' - while his son Adlai Stevenson V, born in 1994, is still in high school. Usually the polite thing to say in these circumstances is 'there'll never be another Adlai Stevenson', but given the past I'd say there's a pretty good chance there will be!

*Smith and Robinson lost the election to Herbert Hoover and Charles Curtis 444 electoral votes to 87.

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