Monthly Archives: November 2009 and the tardy story of Christmas

Since today seems to be the day to vent my spleen in various directions, let me not spare even Bob Dylan himself. Oh, alright: not really Bob himself, but some of those who act as his business agents. On November 18th, I mentioned in this space a promotion via the offical site, where customers who purchased Christmas in the Heart were being offered, for a limited time, a free 7-inch single of Must Be Santa. I suggested that those who were planning, like myself, to purchase the vinyl version of the album (released last Tuesday November 24th) might find this particularly attractive. I myself did place an order for the vinyl LP through the site that was partnering with Bob Dylan and Sony on this offer. I was told during checkout that the LP would be shipped to arrive “on or around” the release date of Tuesday, November 24th. Continue reading “ and the tardy story of <em>Christmas</em>” »

Global warming: data dumps and sorry chumps

Words fail when faced with the ongoing exposure of the emptiness at the heart of this man-made global warming catastrophe (the catastrophe being not the “climate-change” but rather the human price of the hoax). Words like amazing, mind-boggling, astounding, farcical, absurd and horrifying. Grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented? Sure, it’s GUBU to the nth degree. And yet none of these words are truly up to the task. From the U.K. Times: Continue reading “Global warming: data dumps and sorry chumps” »


I felt sickened and ashamed when I turned on the 11 o’clock news last night here in New York, in the wake of that unbelievably horrific murder of four police officers in Washington State, and found the newscasters leading with a story about a professional golfer who crashed his car into a tree, got some scrapes and bruises, and may be having trouble in his marriage; i.e., the same story which has been at the top for much of the American media for days. And second only to that has been the story about the White House reality-TV gatecrashers. (The story about the White House security lapse has significance; the story of these people’s ridiculous and empty lives does not.) Sometimes the petty and demeaning and insulting level of much of what passes for news coverage really exceeds itself — but then something truly serious happens which momentarily corrects the focus.

Yet it seemed to me last night that we’ve now reached the point where the truly serious cannot even be recognized.

Addendum: Some personal words about the four fallen officers have been posted on the website of the Lakewood Police Independent Guild.

You may call me Satch, you may call me Louis

I’ve very recently had the pleasure of hearing for the first time a Louis Armstrong album called Louis and the Good Book. The original LP, from 1958, features 12 tracks including such spiritual tunes as Go Down, Moses, Down by the Riverside, and This Train. The 8 extra tracks on the CD include thematically related material going back to the 1930s. One of my favorite songs in the CD is Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen, which appears in two quite distinct but brilliant-in-their-own-way performances, one from 1958 and one from 1938. At this YouTube link you can watch a very fine performance by Louis of the same song, said to be from 1962.

If you haven’t seen it, there is a highly fascinating article that recently appeared in Commentary (thanks to Sean S. for originally sending me the link) called “Satchmo and the Jews.” Observing that Louis Armstrong was equally beloved as a man by those who knew him as he was admired for his monumental contribution to American music, Teachout also notes that he was apparently “devoid of personal prejudice.” Continue reading “You may call me Satch, you may call me Louis” »

Peer not on global warming

I didn’t need Climategate — the current scandal over the leaked e-mails from the British “Climate Research Unit” — to understand that this whole global warming disaster has been a case of the unscrupulous leading the gullible leading the blind leading the avaricious on a mad dance down to hell; however, the e-mails do seem to reveal some of the rhythms that have been guiding the dance. Mark Steyn zeros in on the highly manipulated notion of peer review.

The trouble with outsourcing your marbles to the peer-reviewed set is that, if you take away one single thing from the leaked documents, it’s that the global warm-mongers have wholly corrupted the “peer-review” process. When it comes to promoting the impending ecopalypse, the Climate Research Unit is the nerve-center of the operation. The “science” of the CRU dominates the “science” behind the United Nations IPCC, which dominates the “science” behind the Congressional cap-and-trade boondoggle, the upcoming Copenhagen shakindownen of the developed world, and the now-routine phenomenon of leaders of advanced, prosperous societies talking like gibbering madmen escaped from the padded cell, whether it’s President Barack Obama promising to end the rise of the oceans or the Prince of Wales saying we only have 96 months left to save the planet.

But don’t worry, it’s all “peer-reviewed.”

Here’s what Phil Jones of the CRU and his colleague Michael Mann of Penn State mean by “peer review”. When Climate Research published a paper dissenting from the Jones-Mann “consensus,” Jones demanded that the journal “rid itself of this troublesome editor,” and Mann advised that “we have to stop considering Climate Research as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers.”

So much for Climate Research. When Geophysical Research Letters also showed signs of wandering off the “consensus” reservation, Dr. Tom Wigley (“one of the world’s foremost experts on climate change”) suggested they get the goods on its editor, Jim Saiers, and go to his bosses at the American Geophysical Union to “get him ousted.” When another pair of troublesome dissenters emerge, Dr. Jones assured Dr. Mann, “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

Which, in essence, is what they did. The more frantically they talked up “peer review” as the only legitimate basis for criticism, the more assiduously they turned the process into what James Lewis calls the Chicago machine politics of international science. The headline in the Wall Street Journal Europe is unimproveable: “How To Forge A Consensus.” Pressuring publishers, firing editors, blacklisting scientists: That’s “peer review,” climate-style. The more their echo chamber shriveled, the more Mann and Jones insisted that they and only they represent the “peer-reviewed” “consensus.”

Support your local esoteric website

Today is probably as good a day as any to mention some ways in which readers can support the work that goes into the writing on this site. If you happen to be shopping online, you can support this site by entering from the links that appear here in the right sidebar, or at the very bottom of an individual post, or within the text. For example, by entering through this link. If you make any purchase during that same session on (it doesn’t have to be the product you initially clicked on) then Jeff Bezos is compelled to share some of his profit with RWB — at no additional cost to you. Now that’s the kind of wealth redistribution I can go for!

Visiting the various and sundry advertisers that come and go is also a way to support this website, naturally.

The way to give practical support most directly and in the amount of your choosing is through PayPal.

I’m not going to get into a big song and dance about donating — there are many far more deserving causes than me (at least six at my last count) — but if you do appreciate the writing here and can see your way towards giving, I can at least assure you that it makes a real difference at this end. And I’ll leave it at that. (And a deep thanks to those who have been able to give support this way.)

Thanks as ever for your readership, which is the most important thing of all, and for all of the generous and kind correspondence, feedback and, er, constructive criticism.

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Some more on the Dylan / Flanagan / Christmas interview

Yesterday I just felt like letting Bob’s comments regarding belief and the sincerity of Christmas In The Heart speak for themselves, because they do speak for themselves. Today I’ll allow myself this small and arguably innocent bit of gloating because it’s something that’s almost freaky: About six days ago, writing about the Daily News article where Bob Dylan was described as “a devout Christian,” I demurred to the extent of saying that I would choose to use a softer term, like “believer.” Then this interview comes out and that’s exactly the term used — specifically, “true believer” — albeit that the phrase originates with Bill Flanagan and Bob reiterates it. We’re told the interview was Continue reading “Some more on the Dylan / Flanagan / Christmas interview” »

Pope Benedict XVI confesses: “Bob Dylan was right”

Alright: The title above is just a tad facetious. Pope Benedict didn’t actually refer to Bob Dylan when he addressed a gathering of artistic types in the Sistine Chapel yesterday. And the basic ideas he expressed did not originate with Bob Dylan any more than they originated with Benedict. Nevertheless, I wonder if I’m the only one sufficiently insane to have noticed the resemblance between some of the pope’s reported remarks yesterday and remarks Bob Dylan made in an interview with Dave Herman in 1981. (Perhaps the very fact that I wonder if I’m the only one who noticed this is what makes me truly certifiable.)

But permit me to illustrate. Yesterday, this is how it was reported by Reuters: Continue reading “Pope Benedict XVI confesses: “Bob Dylan was right”” »

Bob Dylan in New York at the United Palace Theater, 11/18/2009

One always wants to compare: to compare one show to another, and one artist to another. However, the Bob Dylan who I saw tonight (now technically last night) at the United Palace Theater in New York City was working an alchemy quite unique to himself. And perhaps unique to this particular tour. Maybe invoking comparisons is not the way to go. Anyway — to what could I compare this man, arms stretched out, sporting that hat, center-stage at the microphone, casting a big black shadow on the stage’s backdrop, singing “Here is your throat back — thanks for the loh – ooan!” When comparisons utterly fail, that might be when Dylan utterly succeeds. (There’s no success like failure, after all.)

He was that good. There’s been a lot of praise during this tour; I’m not going to do a retread of it all, but I sure saw what has inspired it. Tonight Bob was a storyteller, crooner, showman and rock’n’roll magician. Continue reading “Bob Dylan in New York at the United Palace Theater, 11/18/2009” »