November 2009


28 Nov 2009

My wife tells me that most of the music played on the radio stations doing 24/7 Christmas music is pretty insufferable. Bad jazzy renditions. Edgy nonsense. Sheryl Crow.

There’s a reason for this.

Consider this list of of classics that I compiled as they came to mind. The year of the (arguably) definitive recording is in parentheses.

  • White Christmas: 1940 (Bing Crosby: 1947)
  • Christmas Song: 1944 (Nat King Cole: 1961)
  • Silver Bells: 1951 (Bing Crosby: 1951)
  • Jingle Bells: 1857 (Frank Sinatra: 1957. Notable: Elvis Presley)
  • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas: 1944 (Judy Garland: 1944. Notable: Frank Sinatra 1957)
  • Let It Snow: 1945
  • Jingle Bell Rock: 1957 (Bobby Helms: 1957)
  • Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer: 1949 (Gene Autry: 1949)
  • A Holly Jolly Christmas: 1962 (Burl Ives: 1965)
  • The Christmas Waltz: 1957 (Frank Sinatra: 1957, Gordon Jenkins version)
  • Blue Christmas: 1948 (Elvis Presley: 1957)
  • Christmas Time is Here: 1965 (Vince Guaraldi Trio: 1965)
  • Rockin Around the Christmas Tree: 1958 (Brenda Lee: 1958)
  • Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town: 1934 (Gene Autry: 1950?. Notable: Fred Astaire)
  • Frosty the Snowman: 1950 (Gene Autry: 1950. Notable: Jimmy Durante)
  • I’ll Be Home for Christmas: 1943 (Bing Crosby: 1943. Notable: Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra)
  • It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year: 1963 (Andy Williams: 1963)
  • Home for the Holidays: 1954. (Perry Como: 1954)
  • Happy Holidays: 1942. (Andy Williams: 1963)
  • Here Comes Santa Claus: 1947. (Elvis Presley: 1957)
  • Sleigh Ride: 1946. (Johnny Mathis: 1958)

Note that almost all of them were written between 1940 and 1965. This tells you a lot about the fall of popular music as a whole.

Oh yeah, you say? How about “Do They Know It’s Christmas Time” and Lennon’s “Happy Xmas?” To which I respond, hey, if those weak sisters are playing at your house, then there’s nothing I can do for you.

I kid… sort of. It’s no coincidence that the popular Christmas standards hit when popular music songwriting was at its finest. It was the era of the Great American Songbook. Even the early rock period drew on older musical forms.

Alas, “easy listening” big band swing was long ago replaced by the treacly “adult contemporary” music that now floods the airwaves. Mature sensibilities were long ago replaced by the 18-34 demographic.

This is why you hear an hour of junk on most stations before they play a good Christmas song. You have to wait for something from the old school.

23 Nov 2009

This is my favorite snippet of his. It’s the funniest way you can spend three minutes learning how politicians think. Republican ones, too.

20 Nov 2009

That’s Peter Schiff on how the health care bill will destroy the private insurance market. The proposed bill doesn’t take effect until after 2012, conveniently bypassing the next presidential election. In 2016, when the scope of the disaster is dawning on people, they probably won’t tie it back to the 2009 bill. Instead, greedy insurance companies and speculators will be blamed, just as oil greedy oil companies are blamed for high gas prices instead of the devalued dollar.

Regardless of whether the health care monstrosity passes, the size of unfunded liabilities (most of which are health-care related) ensures that rationing will ratchet up in the next decade. It’s going to take longer to see the doctor, especially specialists. Fewer treatments will be available. The process will be even more bureaucratic. The wages of big government is poverty.

Start thinking in general about how to deal with your health situations when your doctor’s office is less available. If you rely currently on, say, monitoring your blood pressure regularly and you do this at your doctor, think about getting your own home unit. These are the kind of things where one could expect to see shortages.

Email arose to get around the postal service mail monopoly. Cell phones have circumvented heavily taxed and regulated local phone services. How will the free market circumvent the government health care monopoly?

I think you’ll see more trips to Mexico and other countries for medical care. Walk-in pay clinics? Great idea, although those will be threats to the gov’t system and likely there will be pressure to outlaw them. There is already a huge amount of medical data online, professional and homespun. Maybe we’ll see more businesses arise allowing people to ask questions of specialists on the internet. These will have to be careful with all the personal injury attornies out there. Another way would be to let people buy prescription drugs with cash, without seeing a doctor, but that will never be allowed for various reasons (almost none of them good). Maybe some enterprising people will come up with ways to do various medical tests and solutions at home. More of these would undoubtedly exist if it weren’t for government regulatory oversight that adds huge cost barriers to innovation.

By the way, if any of you make any of these ideas fly, I fully expect to be reimbursed.

11 Nov 2009

It’s an odd thing to sit and watch the country you grew up in being dismantled piece by piece. Some of this, like the end of the U.S. empire that grew up after the World Wars, is likely a good thing for America. However, the reason that the empire will end– massive debt– is not. Nor is the ongoing push for more regulation and more capital creation roadblocks in the name of environmentalism, fairness, etc.

The push toward national health care is probably not stoppable. Young people, who support Obama’s policies far more than older folks, want it. Twenty-somethings don’t understand economics or what makes an economy grow. They just know they’re unemployed and prospects don’t look good. Maybe more slavery will help.

I was recently in an emergency room for the first time. I naively expected periods of calm punctuated by the seriously-ill being wheeled in noisily and hurriedly. It wasn’t like that. It was a leisurely affair, with people sauntering in with their kids. Some were apparently being tested for the flu. Adults were coming in to have casts checked. No one was crying or distraught. In short, it was a lot like my doctor’s office.

I bring this up because emergency rooms are one of the first things brought up by liberal “reformers.” They tell us that further government mandates are necessary to deal with free riders who abuse the system.

Now, of course those who use an ER as a doctor’s office are consuming resources without paying for them. But what else is new? These freeloaders are already living on all sorts of public assistance– housing, food, child care, etc. Free emergency room care is just another brick in the wall of dependency. Liberals aren’t interested in phasing out the massive welfare/entitlement system that makes it all possible, they just want to use a valid point to grow the government further. It’s no different than when they tell us that reform is needed because expenses are climbing out of control… and yet their “solutions” greatly increase costs.

The ER situation is yet another example of the government creating a large mess — in this case, by forcing hospitals to provide free ER care for those who cannot pay — and then telling us that we need more more mandates and cost-shifting to clean it up. Yet again, only the government and its vast “resources” can deal with this one, so everyone scoot out of the way, please!

There’s a better way to handle ER care.