“Trump Lawyer Forwards Email Echoing Secessionist Rhetoric” NYT August 16, 2017 https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/08/16/us/politics/trump-lawyer-email-race-charlottesville.html



John Dowd Esq, member of New York and Florida State Bars, evidently a big fan of Washington and Jefferson.  Or at least of their alleged slaveholding.  

We will eventually show that the memo suffers from the most elementary syllogistic fallacy imaginable, but first, the facts;

The Facts

I.  Did Washington & Lee Both Own Slaves?

Well, yes, kind of.  Washington was a landed rich gentry fellow, but he was often away at war, 8 years during the French & Indian War, 8 years during the Revolutionary War and then away 8 more years in Philadelphia during the Presidency.  

Betts, William W. (2013). The Nine Lives of George Washington. 



George Washington, first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.

It’s true Washington maintained a large estate at Mount Vernon.  It’s also true he kept and maintained slaves there, and also kept 4-6 slaves at the Presidential Residence in Philadelphia, a fact now attracting substantial scholarly attention since slavery was illegal in Pennsylvania. 

cf Never Caught; The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar (Simon & Schuster, NY 2017). http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Never-Caught/Erica-Armstrong-Dunbar/9781501126390#

On the other hand, Washington was the first Founding Father to manumit, or free, his slaves, upon his death, so specifying it in his will, indicating he must have had moral ambivalence about “the peculiar institution”.  

cf. Brookhiser, Richard (1996). Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington. New York: Free Press



Mt Vernon above two photos; and another portrait of President Washington. 

Lee

Lee didnt own slaves, or at most owned 1-2 slaves.  Lee was poor growing up, and he never had any property or land like Washington.  Lee married a Custis, a descendant of Washington, but other than military pay, his income was meager and she suffered.  Also, Lee was a womanizer who carried on an affair for years in plain view of everyone, shaming his proud wife, Washington’s cousin.  This was what Lee thought of Washington–he shamed his Cousin.  

cf Korda, Michael (2013). Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee. HarperCollins Publishers.

However, and this is a big point of difference between Washington and Lee, in 1857 Lee came into inheritance of his father in laws estate, which was large with many slaves.  Some escaped in 1859 and were caught, and many contemporary and historical sources state that Lee, an adulterer, whipped and beat the runaway slaves in a brutal and abusive manner.  Cf Korda, id. 

Lee beat the slaves so badly that abolitionists in the North found the incident and Lee personally to be grist for their propaganda war about the evils of slavery and the evils of the fugitive slave law.  in short, Lee was a poster boy for horrendous slave ownership.  Cf. Korda, id. 


Robert E Lee, Adulterer, Confederate Traitor, Slave Beater and Abuser, Dreadful Bastard to his Wife and Family, Brilliant General in the Mexican American & Civil Wars–A Decidedly Mixed Legacy.  

II. Did Both Rebel?

No.  And in this case, results matter. Washington was on the winning side while Lee was on the losing side.  Thus Washington is the Father of our country, and Mount Rushmore, while Lee was a traitor whose inherited estate of 1857 at Arlington, VA was confiscated and used as the burial ground of the Union Soldiers.  It is now Arlington Memorial Cemetary.  cf Korda, id.


Arlington National Cemetary; Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; Arlington House & Plantation, former home of Robert E Lee.  

Lee was lucky he wasnt hanged.  He caught a break in that he and Grant had both served in the Mexican American War together, and Andrew Johnson issued a general pardon to the Confederate Principals.  By himself, Lee killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Americans.  Lee prolonged the Civil War well beyond the point where winning was not achievable by the South.  In short, just as he cheated on his wife and beat his slaves, Lee in the Civil War became a brutal murderer who waded in pools of Northern blood.

Lee was NOTHING like George Washington.  


Lee and US Grant at Appomattox.  Lee is signing his unconditional surrender to the North.  Lee and the South were utterly defeated by the far, far superior US Grant.  Only the Victors get to write history. 

III. Are Both Mens Battle Tactics Still Taught at West Point?

Probably, but this is a fallacious argument, false syllogism using a false implied enthymeme or false middle. 

It would be comparable to saying because I went to Harvard, and Bill Gates went to Harvard, that therefore there is no difference between us.

1) Lee is taught at West Point.

2) Washington is taught at West Point.

3) Therefore, Lee is the same as Washington in every respect.

Obviously this is a false and fallacious syllogism. 

or,

1) The Sophist is a Harvard Man.

2) Bill Gates is a Harvard Man.

3) Ergo, The Sophist is the same as Bill Gates is every respect.

By now, you see the problem.  Bad logic.  The fact that Lee and Washington are both taught at West Point does not make them equivalent.

IV.  Faulty Syllogism Destroys the Entire Memo

By now you must recognize that this is a fallacy of the undistributed middle.  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_the_undistributed_middle

A proper syllogism is as follows;

1) all A is B;

2) all B is C;

3) therefore, all A is C.

The Lee/Washington syllogisms above go like this:

Both owned slaves.

1) Lee owned slaves.

2) Washington owned slaves.

3) therefore, Lee is Washington.

This is like;

1) All A is B.

2) All C is B.

3) Therefore, all A is C.

This is the fallacy of the undistributed middle. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_the_undistributed_middle

on fallacies in syllogisms generally, see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syllogistic_fallacy

Any elementary intro to aristotelian logic will show this.

If you run thru the remaining statememts, they also fail to prove the point.  

cf David Hackett Fischer Historians’ Fallacies : Toward a Logic of Historical Thought (Harper and Row, NY, 1970).  

V. The Rest of It.

A.  Both Saved America

No. Washington created America; Lee tried to destroy America; and the Mexican-American War did a good deal to bring about the Civil War.  

B. Both were great men, great americans and great commanders.

1) Washington was a terrific man.  Lee other than on the battlefield appears to have been pretty shabby. Lee was brilliant, a great student, but narcissistic, cruel, sadistic, unfeeling and kind of a jerk to his wife.  And, he even cheated on his country–he didnt just flirt with the Confederacy, he went all the way.  Man-slut.  

2) great Americans

Only Washington was a great American.  Lee was a great Confederate General but he lost amd lost badly.  

3) Great Commanders

Washington probably was by far the greater–he defeated the greatest army on earth, the British,  while Lee, the top grad at West Point. lost to US Grant, a guy whose tactics he knew.  Big edge to Washington.  Lee is way overrated as a general.

C  Neither Man is any different than…

and gives a laundry list of generals from history.   Setting aside that none of the generals in the list are remotely similar, the assertion that Lee & Washington are identical with each element of the set of generals is logically false.  It fails on logical fallacy grounds, and it fails the eyeball test.  

Napoleon was a despot, Ramses enslaved millions to build pyramids, etc.  These leaders/generals had obvious and noteworthy differences from both Lee and Washington.

D You cannot be Against Lee and for Washington, there is literally no difference beween the two men.

First, false criterion & false assumption; no one is against Lee or for Washington.  

Rather, the burden of proof lies upon the memo writer to prove Lee is thr same status or class as Washington,  and here it/he fails.  For while Lee and Washington share some class traits, they share many differences.  So they aren’t the same, just like my going to prep school, Harvard, liking poker math and cars makes me the same as Bill Gates. 

The use of the word “literally” is odd–because to prove the case, it must be made logically, mathematically, with facts.

But of course, this memo wasnt written for thinkers and logicians.

It was written for Nazis, white supremicists, bigots and other irrational haters for whom only appeals to emotion matter.

And that is the greatest logical fallacy of all,  to let chaos rule.

For when God came, chaos and darkness rules, and he made light (genesis); and when Zeus married, to defeat Chaos after overthrowing Chaos, he married first Metis, goddess of wisdom, and then Thetis, goddess of law and order.

This, light, wisdom, reason, logic, law and order, are fundamental to the Western tradition.  Hatred, racism, chaos, is antithetical to same.


Thetis gives armor to Achilles; various portraits of Lincoln “a house divided against itself cannot stand” 1858. 

Conclusion

There is one place that equates Washington and Lee–Washington and Lee University.  

Its a long story, but Washington gave a large donation, and got the name, and Lee was President of the School after the Civil War,  and his name was added.  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_and_Lee_University

Its a very old and fine school,  and nothing here is intended to denigrate it.  

But these are the times that try mens’ souls. 

Amended Comments by John Bredehoft Esq. (reprinted from fb);

“Lee and Washington were fundamentally different. At the macro level, Washington was a patriot and Lee was a traitor. Washington at least manumitted his slaves at his death; Lee made no such provision in his will. Lee personally whipped at least two slaves, while I am unaware of a record showing Washington did the same. Lee put the parochial interests of his state over the national interest; Washington supported greater national power and economic development. Washington at least recognized the inherent evil of slavery and its contradiction with the promise of the Declaration of Independence, although his actions fell far short. Lee thought slavery natural and a positive good — Lee took up arms against the national government he swore to defend expressly in order to defend the right to extend slavery into the territories. Washington often saved the country during the revolution, by keeping the army together and in the field despite defeat. Washington also saved the country from the threat of monarchy, IMHO, by declining to run for a third term. Lee never saved the United States — he did his best to sunder it. Lee’s most praiseworthy act was to decline to encourage a guerrilla war after Appomattox (which was impractical anyway). Also IMHO, Washington did a better job with the military material he had at hand — which usually was a pathetic and wasting asset — than Lee did with the military material he had at hand. (And their tactics could not have been more different: Washington fought a Fabian, defensive war to preserve his force in being, while Lee was unduly wedded to the tactical offensive on too many occasions, literally grinding away his army.) Washington was able to maintain resistance to the British even with his capital, Philadelphia, in enemy hands for months; Lee’s resistance collapsed within days of the fall of Richmond. And to compare (actually) either of them to Alexander the Great (who routinely executed close followers on a whim), or Shaka or Napoleon or Ramses II (all of whom likely would have been prosecuted as war criminals in the 20th Century) is simply offensive.”

John Bredehoft Esq is the author with Michael King Esq. of several books, including 

Democracy’s Missing Arsenal: Vol I: 1862-1900 (2013) https://www.amazon.com/Democracys-Missing-Arsenal-Michael-King/dp/1484100948

Democracy’s Missing Arsenal: Bloodshed Universal-Slavery Triumphant: Volume 2: 1901-1919 (2016) https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1502996537/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1503064730&sr=1-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=John+M.+Bredehoft&dpPl=1&dpID=51vt0Wtf0dL&ref=plSrch

Bredehoft is a nationally recognized attorney practicing in Virginia.  King is a nationally recognized attorney practicing in Washington State.  

Assessing the Phillies Trading Chips

The Phillies are talking about trading some of their players.

Before we do this, let’s recall some of the Phillies great trades of great players:

1) 1918 – traded Grover Cleveland Alexander for several boxes of cashews and cash to the Cubs.  He went on to win 300 games and go to the Hall of Fame.  And win a World Series.  the Phillies finished last 10 straight years.

some old history stuff

some old history stuff

2)  1930s – traded Chuck Klein Dolph Camilli and Lefty O’Doul for Cash and some Cracker Jack.  Camilli became the MVP and led the Dodgers to the 1941 NL Pennants, Klein and O’Doul continued to hit for other clubs.  The Phillies started to finish last every year.

4) 1950s – release Curt Simmons “because he could not pitch anymore.” – Curt Simmons came back to torture them in 1964 as a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals when the Phillies collapsed down the stretch.  The Phillies could have used a third starter other than Bunning and Short–like Curt Simmons.

Sen & Mrs. John & Teresa Heinz prior to his untimely death in 1991

i think John Heinz was US Senatory back in the 1930s and 1940s

5) 1960s – traded Dick Allen for Curt Flood and three so so players – Curt Flood sued baseball and moved to some island in the Mediterranean rather than play in Philly, saying “he wasn’t a slave” and “Philly was racist”.  Tim McCarver reported.  Dick Allen went on to become MVP of the American League in 1972, and nearly led the Chisox to the AL West Divisional Title.  The Phillies fell to last place–behind the Montreal Expos, an expansion team.  Tim McCarver was traded for a used chevy and later re-signed with the Phils as a free agent.

6) 1980s – traded Ryne Sandberg, Larry Bowa and Gary Matthews to the Cubs for dog poop.  The Cubs won the division twice, Ryne Sandberg became the greatest 2d baseman since Rogers Hornsby, and it would take until 1993 for the Phils to win a division again.

OJ Simpson was a very popular football player and actor during the 1970s and 1980s.

OJ Simpson was a very popular football player and actor during the 1970s and 1980s.

7) 1990s – The Phils traded Curt Schilling to Arizona for some table cloths and Vincente Padilla, a mexican-american actor impersonating a starting pitcher.  Arizona immediately won the World Series. Later, Curt Schilling did the bloody sock thing with the Red Sox.   The Phils also traded Scott Rolen to the Cards for Placido Polanco, who the Phils then traded to the Tigers for some used napkins.  The Cardinals went on to win several pennants and two World Series, with Rolen as their 3d baseman.  The Phils won one world series and lost another–with Pedro Feliz at 3d base.  Basically, most of the 2000s was a highlight reel of Curt Schilling and Scott Rolen going to the World Series while the Phillies didn’t.  And yes, those two are probably going to get into the HOF too.

so there’s your Phillies trading history in a nutshell.

Let’s take a statistical look at the actual value of their players.

1) Cliff Lee – Cliff Lee has a JAWs rating in the top 100 of all pitchers lifetime.  He has achieved Pitcher WAR levels above 7.0 in several of his Phillies seasons, and has been the single best pitcher aside from Roy Halladay on the Phils’ staff the past few seasons.  He works quickly and can hit and field his position.  He and Cole Hamels were together worth more than 11 WAR last year collectively–which means, since the team won 70 games or so last year, that without Lee and Hamels, the team would have won around 59 games without them in 2013, and trading Lee and Hamels means the Phils will probably drop to around that level.  He is easily the most valuable piece the Phils have to trade.  He is is great shape, should pitch well for at least 3-5 years, and should fit well as a #1 on a contender.  Lee’s ERA+ this year is 117 and his career ERA+ is 119.  He is a great pitcher, 20% better than league at all times.   Lee has had three years in the past where he was 160 plus ERA or 60% better than league, which is to say virtually unhittable, including 2011.

The Phillies Win the Series 2008

The Phillies Win the Series 2008

2) Cole Hamels – Cole Hamels has a JAWS rating in the top 120 of all pitchers lifetime.  He’s five years younger than Lee, so he should get higher than Lee eventually.  His established WAR levels are around 5.0 but he’s been higher in some seasons.  He pitches 200 innings a year, and he’s a quality starter in the postseason.  He’s been a #1 in the past, as well as a #2 and a #3, and he’s shown he can pitch under pressure.  With the established WAR levels he has, he is a quality starter.  A very valuable trading chip.  Hamels is 131+ ERA this year, and his career ERA+ is 123, very similar to Lee, but slightly better.  He’s been a bit more inconsistent than Lee, but in his good years Hamels puts up 130 plus ERA marks, in his off years he’s around league average, so he’s actually usually 30% better than league.

Chuck Bednarik flattens Frank Gifford

Chuck Bednarik flattens Frank Gifford

 

3)  Chase Utley – Chase Utley is now #13 on the JAWS list alltime of 2d basemen, and has passed Roberto Alomar.  He was the starting All-Star 2d baseman at age 35, and is currently the top offensive Phillie in WAR.  With the renaissance he is having this season, he shows that he will continue to be an excellent hitter for some time to come.  If he were traded to the Yankees or another AL club, Utley could be used somewhat like Jeter–resting some days by DHing–and could last until age 40–and most certainly will go into the Hall of Fame.  He is a 10/5 player and has to waive those rights to be traded.  Utley is a leader, and a clubhouse force.  He’s exactly what the Yankees need as Jeter is on the brink of retirement.

ON MY MARK, UNLEASH HELL!  WAIT A MINUTE, THAT' RUSSELL CROWE'S LINE FROM GLADIATOR...TONITE MEN, WE DINE IN HELL!!!! WE ARE SPARTANS!!!

ON MY MARK, UNLEASH HELL! WAIT A MINUTE, THAT’ RUSSELL CROWE’S LINE FROM GLADIATOR…TONITE MEN, WE DINE IN HELL!!!! WE ARE SPARTANS!!!

 

4) Jonathan Papelbon – having a terrific season, nearly 2.4 WAR as a closer with 60 games to go.  despite the big contract, he has an established WAR of 1.0 plus per season, and despite his contract of $10 million a year, he is a known quantity closer.  Papelbon’s ERA+ this year is 317.   Valuable to a contender needing a closer, and the Phils are ready to move Giles or Diekman into the closer role for less money.  Moreover, Papelbon wants a trade.  The most valuable and most likely to be traded.

HOOSIERS - THE GREATEST SPORTS FILM EVER MADE - ABOUT INDIANA HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL - BUTLERS' KIDS PLAY HOOPS THE WAY COACH'S KIDS PLAY HOOPS IN HOOSIERS!

HOOSIERS – THE GREATEST SPORTS FILM EVER MADE – ABOUT INDIANA HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL – BUTLERS’ KIDS PLAY HOOPS THE WAY COACH’S KIDS PLAY HOOPS IN HOOSIERS!

 

5)  Jimmy Rollins – right behind Utley in offensive WAR this year, having a great season.  His defensive range has diminished, but he can still hit and run effectively, and among available shortstops, he is 2.5 WAR with 60 games to go.  He currently is 34th on the JAWS list of Shortstops, and can move up still.  Shortstops above and below him on the list are in the Hall of Fame, and he has done things sufficient to get to the Hall.  An interesting fact is that Rollins plays 92% of the games each year, and has an established hit level of 150 hits a year, and is only 738 hits away from 3000.  At his established hit level, he will reach 3,000 hits in just under five more seasons from now, at around age 40.  The odds that he will continue to be productive and hit and field as a shortstop are fairly great; and he could also move over to second base and continue to hit and field and play until age 45 conceivably.  He has home run power, alley power and is excellent from the left side.  He would be a marquee addition to a contending ballclub.  Rollins is a 10/5 player and would have to waive his no trade clause in order to be traded.  The Yankees would be wise to trade for Rollins and Utley as a package to replace the retiring Jeter and whatever 2d baseman they have.  Rolllins would hit 20 homers a year in the new Yankee Stadium, and Utley and Rollins would give tremendous leadership to the existing Yankees along with speed and veteran leadership.

PLACIDO POLANCO - only Phillies to win Gold Gloves at two different positions - second base and third base.  Defense has been a problem for the current Phillies.

PLACIDO POLANCO – only Phillies to win Gold Gloves at two different positions – second base and third base. Defense has been a problem for the current Phillies.

6) Marlon Byrd – currently has WAR of 2.2 with 60 games to go.  Ranks fairly high career wise on the all time CF list, in the top 120 JAWS list.  has an established WAR of nearly 2.0 over 13 seasons.  He can field, he can hit, and he can hit for power.  He had a 4.0 WAR last year and is on pace for a 3.67 WAR this year at age 36.  Normally a team should not trade for a guy this age, but Marlon Byrd is having his best years every right now, and he is a proven veteran.  Watching him day in day out, he seems like a proven professional ballplayer.  He seems very different than the rookie I say play here in the early part of the 2000s.  Marlon Byrd gets good cuts on every at bat, always has a plan when he’s up, and seems to drive the ball, whether its into the alley or over the wall.  He has a fairly inexpensive contract.  An excellent trade piece for a team looking for a corner OF bat.  Very likely to be traded, and will do an excellent job for any team that gets him.  Helped the Pirates last year on their way to the playoffs.

 

Big Ed Delahanty - Left Fielder who once hit four homers in a game and hit .400 in consecutive seasons for the 1890s Phillies.  In the Hall of Fame.

Big Ed Delahanty – Left Fielder who once hit four homers in a game and hit .400 in consecutive seasons for the 1890s Phillies. In the Hall of Fame.

7)  AJ Burnett – even though the stats and peripherals don’t look impressive, Burnett has accumulated 1.0 WAR as a pitcher thus far, and that is with 60 games to go, so he’s on pace for about 1.4 WAR for the year.  Not great, but not shabby.  AJ Burnett has a lot of post season experience, and was helpful for the Pirates last year.  He’s had some good outings this year, and for the right club with run support, he can go 5-7 innings.  Significantly, he’s thrown by far the most innings of any Phillies starter, has 113 Ks in 136 IP, and even though the walks are high (as they are with him), he has allowed fewer hits than innings pitched, with a WHIP of 1.361.  His numbers are a bit off, but his established WAR level in 16 seasons is 1.75–he’s had a couple seasons where he went 4.0 plus, but basically this is what he is, an innings eater who strikes out a lot of guys, but can also be a bit wild.  He’s led the league in strikeouts, but also led the league in walks twice and wild pitches three times and batters hit by pitch once–he’s a classic hard thrower who has trouble locating.  but his career ERA+ is 104+ and he can go out and give you a gem one game, and then blow up the next, as he did in 2009 with the Yankees in the World Series v the Phils, where he blew the Phils away in one Series game, but got torched in the other.  He had a 4.4 WAR season for the Yanks that year, btw.  AJ Burnett should be a great trade piece for the Phils to move.  He’s a big game pitcher, a fastball pitcher who can throw hard and long, and a guy with World Series and playoff experience.  He is the very definition of wily veteran.

 

NATE THE GREAT THURMOND TANGLING IT UP WITH WILT THE STILT CHAMBERLAIN - THOSE AREN'T AIR JORDANS THEY'RE WEARING

NATE THE GREAT THURMOND TANGLING IT UP WITH WILT THE STILT CHAMBERLAIN – THOSE AREN’T AIR JORDANS THEY’RE WEARING

Conclusion

This is about it for players of real value.  The Phils essentially have three wily veteran pitchers – Lee, Hamels and Burnett–all of whom could make a huge difference in the pennant races.  They have an established keystone combo in Rollins and Utley, which they should move as a unit, probably to the Yankees.  And they have a power hitting slugging corner OF in Byrd, who can make a difference to a contender looking for a RH power bat.

The rest of the team is valueless.  People may say Ryan Howard, but in fact, he has no value at all.  At best, the Phils should move him to an AL club, but the better play would be for the Phils to lobby for a change in the rules so the NL gets a DH, so they can keep Howard and use him as a DH themselves, since they will pay his contract in any event.

Howard as a DH would be useful.  Moving the entire NL to a DH would be useful, and the Phils have the votes.  The cubs want a DH, as do several other NL clubs, and only a majority, e.g. 8 clubs, are needed.  The Dodgers now have too many OFs, so they will vote for a DH.  So Cubs, Phils, Dodgers.  Then you have Brewers–they have lots of potential DH’s.  They will go DH.  They were in the AL before anyway.  That’s four.  The Mets get no offense, so they will vote DH.  that’s five.  The Marlins don’t care one way or the others, so that’s six.  The Giants will want to play their MVP catcher Buster Posey at DH, so that’s seven.  Cincinnati will definitely want to play Joey Votto at DH, so that’s eight.  St Louis will want to play Allen Craig at DH, so thats nine.  Colorado will want nine hitters period, so that’s ten.  Arizona and the Padres can’t care so that’s 12.  why Washington would object is beyond me, so that’s 13.  that leaves the Pirates and the Braves, who might object, but who might not.

a big argument for going over to the DH is the fact that there is currently interleague play all the time, and the fact that all teams have a 25 man roster and need a lot of relievers.  a DH means less pinch hitters, and thus you can keep 12-13 pitchers on your 25 man roster, and keep only 12 position players–you only need to sub out if a player is hurt, tired or you need to pinch hit in a specific situation.  What you want in a DH lineup is nine regulars who can go every day, maybe with a platoon a one or two positions.  You don’t pinch-hit, except maybe for poor hitting SS.  So you can carry a lot of pitchers, and bring in relievers early.

Once you do this, you keep Ryan Howard around as a career DH, and just bring up Franco as your 1B, or 2B if you move Utley, and put Galvis at SS, and Ruf on 1B or Mayberry on 1B.  Grady Sizemore can play RF, and Brown and Revere CF and LF.  and you wait for all those new prospects to develop.

 

Perry Mason & Della Street

I rest my case: let’s go get dinner, Della!

According to recent news reports, the Federal Oncology Commission, headed by the Earle Warren Orchestra and Dr. Earle Warren on saxophone, will issue a report this morning that the immediate cause of Sen. Kennedy’s death was a lone cancer cell, acting alone, without the assistance of other cancer cells, and that any hint that the cancer cell acted in conspiracy or with the assistance of other cancer cells is silly and ridiculous.

Also, there were no cancer cells in the grassy knoll.

Sen. Kennedy’s three older brothers were great men–joe jr. gave his life for his country in wwII, JFK was a great president, a princeton man who transferred to Harvard and graduated from there, and was known to have romanced the actresses gene tierney, marilyn monroe as well as his gorgeous wife jackie o, all in one spectacular lifetime, not to mention saying “ich bin ein Berliner.”

There were a lot of bad things that happened to Sen. Ted Kennedy along the road in life.  But we forgave them all, and in the end, he was a Great Man.

All in all, the great outweighed the bad in Ted Kennedy, and he was in fact, a Great Man, and a Great Senator.

He was a lot like nolan ryan, about half wins, half losses, and his fastball was great, but his wild pitches and walks would cost you ballgames, but when he was great, he was really, truly great.

Abraham Martin & John by DION

Has anybody here seen my old friend Abraham,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.

Has anybody here seen my old friend John,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.

Has anybody here seen my old friend Martin,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.

Didn’t you love the things they stood for?
Didn’t they try to find some good for you and me?
And we’ll be free,
Someday soon it’s gonna be one day.

Has anybody here seen my old friend Bobby,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
I thought I saw him walkin’ up over the hill
With Abraham, Martin and John

NEW LAST VERSE FOR TEDDY:

Has anybody here seen my old friend Teddy,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
I thought I saw him walkin’ up over the hill
With Abraham, Martin, Bobby & John….
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good they die young
But I just looked around and he was gone.

http://www.uulyrics.com/music/dion/song-abraham-martin-john/

–art kyriazis, philly/south jersey
home of the world champion phillies

Two men are having lunch at Adriano’s, an expensive Bel-Air restaurant. While they are eating, Frank Sinatra and his entourage enter the restaurant and are seated at a large table in the corner. Seeing this, one man says to the other, “I’ll bet you fifty bucks that I know Frank Sinatra.” (He doesn’t.) His friend, thinking the bet would be easy money, smugly agrees. The man gets up and walks across the restaurant to Sinatra’s table. He puts one hand on Sinatra’s shoulder and offers the other for a warm shaking. “Frank!” he exclaims. “How you doing? Good to see you again.”

Sinatra rises, shakes the man’s hand heartily, and asks how he is doing. He and the man spend a few more moments in cheerful conversation before the man comes back to his table to collect his winnings from the awestruck friend.

This is a true story, and the diner’s skillful manipulation of Frank Sinatra is a classic example of the value of shmoozing. Shmoozing is the most important skill there is for a Hollywood nobody (and let’s face it — that’s what we are, those of us who fantasize about seeing our name on the credits or our faces on the screen).

In Hollywood, a résumé or a degree mean nothing. Some argue that skills and talent mean nothing. Deals do not get made because X has an MFA in screenwriting and got an A+ on her thesis, or because Y starred in I Hate Hamlet at the Winesburg Playhouse and his performance was lauded by the local papers.

Deals get made because Z is a friend of Michael Eisner. It was through his friendship with Robert De Niro that Joe Pesci secured his first film role, in Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull. Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) attended college with Usual Suspects director Bryan Singer, and was asked by Singer to write the script.

It was Quiz Show screenwriter Paul Attanasio’s friendship with director Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Sleepers and the Attanasio-scripted Disclosure) that got him into the industry.

But what about the rest of us? Those who have high Industry ambitions but lack high Industry friends? Are we without hope?

Perhaps not. Perhaps there are ways to make Industry friends and influence Industry people — the skill which the man in Adriano’s had perfected. You have to strike up a conversation, make a solid impression, be straightforward. And above all, you have to talk to your subject (the shmoozee) in a way that will put the two of you on friendly terms. The key lies in the shmoozing.

Last summer, I had the good fortune to come across tickets to the MTV Movie Awards. Kevin Spacey, fresh from his Oscar for The Usual Suspects, was there and won the MTV award Best Villain for Seven. Let’s say you are in attendance, and after the ceremony you have a chance to talk to him. Spacey, now that he is rather famous, is serious player in Hollywood and can do wonders for your career, if he wants to. So what do you say to him? How do you act?

Don’t panic. Just remember these items:

— Hollywood does not make bad movies. Despite what the box office grosses were, despite what the critics said, despite even what you think of a particular film, you must always sing its praises. You never know what film your shmoozee might have been involved with. As far as you’re concerned, Spacey’s film The Ref is, in some ways (though you needn’t be specific about what those are), on the same level as Citizen Kane.

— Your shmoozee has no last name. When congratulating Kevin Spacey on his award and his performance, never say, “Congratulations, Mr. Spacey. Very well deserved.” There is no greater heresy. You always say, “Congratulations, Kevin. Very well deserved.” (Note: It doesn’t matter whether or not Kevin actually deserves his award. As far as you’re concerned, he deserves the award he got, as well as the ones he didn’t.)

— If you are fortunate enough to actually be employed by a firm with some involvement in the industry, then, as the shmoozer, your last name is extended to include your company’s name. Having worked for Premiere magazine for a time, I had the luxury of introducing myself to Kevin Spacey in the following way: “Kevin. Good to meet you. Alex Lewinpremieremagazine.” (You may wish to rehearse this in front of a mirror, as it can be quite a mouthful, particularly if you work for Bresler, Kelly, Kipperman or Donner/Shuler-Donner.) This informed Kevin that I was almost somebody — and therefore worth talking to — without my having to say so.

— Never underestimate the importance of the word “over,” as in, “I’ve been over at Premiere for two months now.” It may sound trivial, but it helps to convince Kevin that, despite the geographical largesse of Los Angeles, every company remotely involved with Hollywood is located on the same happy block, and you’re all the best of neighbors.

— If you are acquainted with person A, who is nobody, and person A is acquainted with person B, who is somebody, you are, by default, a good friend of person B. A woman I worked with at Premiere, for example, told me one day that she knew screenwriter Paul Attanasio. An admirer of his work, I eagerly asked if there was any way she might introduce the two of us. At this point, she buckled, and explained that she, in fact, did not know Paul Attanasio — she knew his brother.

“Who’s his brother?” I asked. “Anybody?”

“No, he’s nobody. But I did meet Paul once.”

A more skillful shmoozer would not have admitted so quickly that her connection to Paul was a shmoozer’s connection and not a real one. For example, when I was chatting with Kevin Spacey and the topic of Seven director David Fincher came up, I was free to say, “David did a great job with the mood of that film.” I don’t know David Fincher, but I have a friend who does. I could conceivably get in touch with Fincher if I absolutely had to, and that is what’s important. (It also helps, in talking with your shmoozee about a particular film, to refer to some vague aspect like “mood” or “tone” — terms which make you sound intellectual, but really don’t mean anything.)

I met Kevin Spacey because my good friend, Wall Street Journal film critic John Lippman, had tickets to the MTV Movie Awards and wasn’t using them. (Lippman’s actually a friend of a friend and I’ve never met him, but that’s not important.) At the party afterwards, Kevin stood at a crowded blackjack table, waiting for a space to open up. I saw my opportunity, took a deep breath, and went in for the kill.
“Kevin [offering my hand]. Alex Lewinpremieremagazine. Good to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you,” said Kevin, shaking my hand.

“Congratulations on the award. Very well deserved.”

“Thank you.”

“I enjoyed Seven a lot. Great film. Did you have a good time working on it?” (For the record, I find Seven a rather depressing and self-indulgent film, but Kevin didn’t need to know that.)

“Well,” Kevin told me, “I didn’t have a lot of screen time, so they didn’t need me around much for shooting.
Not as much as Brad or Morgan, anyway. So that was easy to fit into my schedule.”

And just like that we were having a conversation. Not the type of conversation that a gushy and excited fan typically has with his film idol, but a real conversation. Of course, one has to ask, “what is real?” if everything that came out of my mouth was based on strategy and a level of honesty that was tenuous at best. It’s all part of Hollywood. If you want to make it — if you want friends in high places — you’ve got to fit in. Just ask Kevin; he’ll tell you the same thing. Oh, and when you talk to him, be sure to mention that you’re a friend of mine.

[this was a GREAT article by Alex Lewin posted to the net a few years back. Paul Attanasio is actually a harvard classmate of mine, and we actually have the same name, I’m Athanasios Kyriazis, he’s Paul Attanasio, we’re named for the same saint, St. Athanasius….however, I’ve never been nominated for an emmy or an academy award. Disclosure was a rocking good movie, to name only one of Paul’s great screenplays, he’s a prolific, brilliant writer/producer. –art kyriazis, philly/south jersey, home of the world champion phillies]

Back in the late 1970s, Philosopher Richard Rorty wrote an influential philosophy book, Philosophy and the Mirror of Human Nature (1979), that essentially embraced deconstructionism and entirely rejected empiricism, british analytical philosophy, Quine, Kuhn, Kant, epistemology, scientific method, etc.

Rorty basically said, look, there is no spoon. Nothing we see can be verified as real. Everything that is said, everything that is written, is contextual and depends on who says it, its grammar and context, and must be deconstructed. In saying this, he essentially depended on, and was influenced by, all of the french deconstruction theorists, especially Derrida and Foucault, though there were others that influenced his thinking more clearly than those two.

I don’t subscribe to Rorty, because if Rorty were right, there couldn’t be atomic bombs, nuclear power, triads of nuclear warfare, 9/11 didn’t happen, etc. The good part of Rorty is that he asserts a sort of extreme relativism, in which every point of view can be correct. To that extent, he asserts that man is indeed the measure of all things, as Protagoras first asserted, and rejects the Platonic-Aristotelian notion of absolutes, and accepts instead the relativism of the Sophists. But Rorty goes too far–he rejects everything that modern science has shown us is actually true–if Rorty were right, there would be no objective facts of any kind, and yet we know that we can split the atom and turn mass into energy, and plenty of it. They actually did blow up dozens of pacific atolls with h-bombs during the 1950s during open air tests of h-bombs in the 1950s. Those things are scary. The film is enough to make me believe there is science. Plus, i’ve worked in enough labs to know there is dna, rna, genes, and that you can grow wings where a fly’s legs should be by transposing the genes, etc. So I know there’s science and we can control it pretty carefully. There’s actually more science that you think.

So while Rorty should be read, and should be consulted, and should be used to argue that there are two sides to every question, it remains true that there is epistemology, that there are absolute facts, and that there are some absolute truths. For example, we are alive and we will die, and this is not some eternal dream we are experiencing while our bodies are frozen in cryospace (Vanilla Sky) or or alternate reality dreamed up for us by machines running the world (the Matrix), even though those are certainly plausible explanations of what we experience every day. Rod Serling used to come up with about a dozen other explanations of reality every season on Twilight Zone and every one was terrific, but still, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, a tree has fallen in my book.

Here’s some science facts. Penn, for example, has been conducting lie detector research for the FBI and other government agencies for years using MRI and PET scans of human brain and blood flow for the last ten to twenty years. you can look this up on the internet. They’re getting pretty reliable, by the way. In about 5-10 years, those scans will be very, very reliable and eventually will make their way into employment situations and courtrooms. You won’t need to waterboard or torture anyone once you have these devices.

But contextualism is a bit fun, isn’t it? Remember how people used to search for meaning in all the Beatles’ lyrics? That’s kind of what French contextualism and deconstruction is, except without the bong, the getting stoned and starting at the album cover part, apologies to our latest olympic swimming champion who’s probably still working on U2’s latest album lyrics for deeper meaning in the smoke haze.

This used to be fun– here are some examples of modern textual analysis.

Credence Clearwater Revival had a song that went “There’s a Bad Moon on the Right” which a lot of people thought said “There’s a Bathroom on the Right.”

Bob Dylan released an album at the height of his career in 1966 called “Blonde on Blonde”, and one of the longest songs on it was “Visions of Johanna,” which seems vaguely to be about either lesbians or a menage a trois involving the songwriter or singer. When analyzed in this fashion, the title of the album can be seen contextualized as having a different connotation altogether. Remember he was dating blonde model Edie Sedgwick at the time and hanging out at the Factory with andy warhols models in NYC. this is actually pointed out in the recent dylan movie with the six dylans.

The Rolling Stones had a song, “Jumping Jack Flash,” where the refrain sounded suspciously like “Jumping Jack Flash, hits of gas.” Now that’s not what the words really were, but that’s definitely what they made them sound like. Again, some sixties contextualism.

Recent movie titles have some interesting contextualisms. For example, “Milk”, which is about the first openly gay man ever elected to office in the us, in this case a man called harvey milk who was elected to office in SF in the 1970s. He was assasinated and thus a martyr, but the name of the film has, at a deconstructionist level, surely a triple meaning. First, the name of the politician, second, the Jesse Unruh saying that money is the mother’s milk of politics, and third the vulgar one associated with Milk’s sexuality.

George Orwell wrote several essays which discussed contextualism in a more forthright nature, especially his “Politics and the English Language” essay. We all know that Orwell discussed how the War Department, the Navy Department etc. suddenly became the Department of Defense after WWII. One would wonder what Orwell would say about the “Department of Homeland Security.” No one in the United States is even from the United States. It’s not our Homeland. My family is from Albania, Greece, Asia Minor and the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. My ancestors on my mother’s side came here because those empires were destroyed after World War I and the U.S. was the best option available, compared with Turks killing Christians for the heck of it back in the 1920s. My dad came here on one of the very first Fulbrights every given, to study medicine at Harvard, so he was just part of the brain drain. (Thanks Sen. Fulbright). So whose Homeland is the US? The Native Americans and the native American mestizo Latinos of Mexico are my best bet–they’ve been here the longest, right? But Homeland Security seems devoted to keeping out Mexicans of Native American descent, and they don’t have jurisdiction over Indian lands, so that’s a bit confusing.

Overall, it reminds me of an old saying i learned in latin class:

atque ubi solitudinum faciunt pacem appellant.

“and where they make a solitude, they call it peace.” –Tacitus.

That’s sort of pre-Orwellian, but you get the drift.

Rap is par spelled backwards. I kind of like that becaus i like to golf, and because I think rap, while occasionally good, is mostly average and par for the course, as we golfers say. It’s easy to make music now with all of the technology. It’s hard to imagine today that the beatles struggled to make a four or eight track master back in 1967, or that overdubs were uncommon back then. now musicians made demos with 32 or 64 tracks in their basement and wear vocal processors on stage.

there’s not too much subtlety in rap lyrics. you don’t need to be a derrida or a foucault to understand a lyric like “give it to me good baby” or “give it to me right”.

speaking of mysterious lyrics, Van Morrison played last night on Jimmy Fallon’s spectacular debut on the Late Show, playing a track from “Astral Weeks Live.” Astral Weeks is one of the greatest albums in rock history, very hard to pin down, but jazzy, folky and stream of consciousness. Van the Man played acoustic guitar with a full accompaniment of strings and about fifteen musicians. It was fantastic and capped off a show with Bobby DeNiro and other great guests. DeNiro rushed the stage to hug Van when he was done. Those are two great entertainers, let me say.

This is the track listing from Astral Weeks, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Side one – “In the Beginning”

1. “Astral Weeks” – 7:00
2. “Beside You” – 5:10
3. “Sweet Thing” – 4:10
4. “Cyprus Avenue” – 6:50

[edit] Side two – “Afterwards”

1. “The Way Young Lovers Do” – 3:10
2. “Madame George” – 9:25
3. “Ballerina” – 7:00
4. “Slim Slow Slider” – 3:20

Van played “Sweet Thing” last nite. It was truly a glorious moment, because this album, from 1968, is one he has rarely, if ever, played live. Van Morrison is around 65 years old now, but even growling, he’s one fantastic Irish R & B singer, and along with U2, proves that Ireland is the home of the greatest rock bands in the world. Astral Weeks is a title that deserves deconstruction, along with the song titles. Van Morrison has always been fascinated with the title “Cypress”.

Regarding Jimmy Fallon, he is a great shot in the arm for Late Night. I really liked Conan, and he is a Harvard and Lampoon guy, and we have mutual friends in common, and I wish him success on the Tonite Show. But this is a change they should have made three years ago when Jimmy Fallon was smoking hot from SNL doing the news with Tina Fey. I used to read the FallonFey.com website and laugh my behind off, they were so funny together. (Tina Fey will be on tonite). But NBC always gets it wrong–as dramatized in “The Late Shift” (with my cousin Johnny Kapelos). They monkeyed around with Leno and Letterman and almost got neither.

Making Fallon wait, Fallon has cooled off. They should have pushed Leno to prime time three years ago, pushed Conan to the Tonite Show, and put Fallon on immediately back in 2005-2006. Then someone might have remembered who he was. Instead they kept Fallon on ice. This is insanity and explains why NBC-GE is taking such a hit in the stock market.

Basically, Conan was great, but Fallon is a fresh face. It’s Leno that’s tired. They need to move Conan to the tonite show because his audience is older now, and Fallon to late nite, because his demographic is who’s staying up late now. That’s only sensible. I thought Fallon’s show was great. also, Fallon is a low key guy who let’s the guests talk and the musicians play. He’s so nice and low key, he really reminds me of Carson at his best.

I predict a great future for Jimmy Fallon.

Did I mention that he and Tina Fey were hilarious together on SNL?

Getting back to homelands, there’s only one guy in America that i’m certain was born in the USA, and that guy is Bruce Springsteen. I know he was Born in the USA because that’s what his album said back in the 1980s, and no singer is more identified with his state of origin, New Jersey, than Bruce Springsteen. You don’t really have to contextualize or analyze Springsteen’s lyrics too much. When he sings that “Everybody has a Hungry Heart” or says that “Baby we were Born to Run” you sort of know what he’s talking about.

Because I’m from around these parts, I’ve always liked Springsteens’ music and it does speak to me at some level. A lot of the places he used to sing about are closed now–places in Asbury Park and the north shore of Jersey have disappeared or changed now–but a lot of the things he sang or sings about are still the same at the Jersey Shore. And we like that he lives in Freehold and not in LA.

I meant to say more here and may add to this post in the future.

–art kyriazis, philly/south jersey
home of the world champion phillies

This is an oldie but a goodie from when I used to write for an underground bob dylan fanzine back in the 80s and 90s, a review of a classic bob dylan 3CD set from when it was originally released in 1991. Enjoy.

BOB DYLAN: THE BOOTLEG SERIES [RARE AND UNRELEASED] 1961-1991 COLUMBIA 47382 (THREE-CD SET)
Reviewed by Art Kyriazis
April 12, 1991

Bob Dylan turns fifty this year. Watching him nowadays, as a mumbling rocker at the Grammys, as an aging hippie touring with the Grateful Dead or as a semi-clowning “Traveling Wilbury,” it is difficult to explain or even to remember why this raspy-voiced college dropout from Hibbing, Minnesota was once officially awarded an honorary degree by Princeton University for being the voice of his generation or why he used to be such a favorite subject of countless english doctoral theses and late-night arguments.

Fortunately, Columbia, which issued the magnificent Biograph a few years ago, has issued additional compelling proof of the genius that was once Bob Dylan in its new 3-CD boxed set Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3. Import collectors for some years have had access to these tracks from sources known only to them. However, there is no comparision between the pristine, remastered sound quality on this official release and hissy secondary import sources. What’s more, this set only scratches the surface of the mountain of outstanding unreleased Dylan material from the 1960s and 1970s, and apparently Columbia promises to put out more in the future. For further research, consult Paul Cable’s excellent Bob Dylan: His Unreleased Recordings (Schirmer Books, New York, 1978) for an excellent review of all unreleased Dylan material.

The set is arranged chronologically, and comes in a nicely packaged box supplemented by a long sixty-six page booklet containing rare photographs, outstanding liner notes and exhaustive session documentation. “Volume I” and the first 6 tracks of “Volume II” deal with Dylan’s “acoustic” period 1961-64, and represent the political and idealistic Dylan. There is an embarrassment of riches here. “He Was a Friend of Mine” and “Man on the Street” speak to Dylan’s early concern with the poor and the homeless. “No More Auction Block,” a rare early live track, reminds us of Dylan’s commitment to civil rights. “Talkin Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues,” “Let Me Die in My Footsteps,” “Talkin John Birch Paranoid Blues,” and “Who Killed Davy Moore,” all pulled off his second album and barred from the Ed Sullivan Show for political and censorship reasons, are all here officially for the first time. There are a number of other gems, including “Walls of Red Wing,” “Walkin’ Down the Line,” and “When the Ship Comes In.” Turning to Volume II, more acoustic treasures abound. “Seven Curses” and “Farewell Angelina” are excellent outtakes from the 1964 period, and there is a heretofore-unknown solo version of “Mama You Been on My Mind.”

The bulk of Volume II and the first few tracks of Volume III is taken up with outtakes from Highway 61 Revisited, Bringing It All Back Home, Blood on the Tracks and Desire, which by general consensus are Dylan’s finest albums. Basically, this material is indispensable to any modern rock collection. “She’s Your Lover Now” is the best song never released by Dylan and the Band, recorded at the famous 1965-1966 unfinished Band sessions cut short by Dylan’s world tour and motorcycle accident. The alternate autobiographical take of “Tangled Up in Blue” is here, along with the first recorded version of “Like a Rolling Stone,” and an alternate take of “Idiot Wind.”

The long-rumoured session with Dylan and the Beatles also shows up here, in the form of an outtake recorded with George Harrison on guitar, “If Not for You,” which is far superior to the released version. “Call Letter Blues,” a haunting Blood on the Tracks outtake, is outstanding. There are a number of other Highway 61 Revisited outtakes long known to collectors but now available for the first time officially, all of them featuring the backup sound that made Dylan famous as a rock star with “Like a Rolling Stone,” including the late Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper and members of the Band. Turning to Volume III, an alternate take of “If You See Her Say Hello,” followed by an outstanding unreleased Desire outtake, “Golden Loom,” open the set. “Seven Days,” a live Rolling Thunder track, is likewise excellent.

The balance of Volume III is taken up with outtakes and unreleased materials from Dylan’s born-again period through to his 80s material. This later Dylan material, consisting largely of Slow Train, Infidels and Empire Burlesque outtakes, is less consistent and consequently less compelling than the earlier Dylan material in Volumes I and II, but there are interesting tracks, including “Angelina,” Someone’s Got a Hold of My Heart” and “Blind Willie McTell.”

A brief rundown of material which is already available on European import which Columbia may consider releasing in future sets includes the famous Concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall, 1966 with the Band; the 1964 Halloween Concert in New York with Joan Baez; Live with the Butterfield Blues Band at the Newport Folk Festival 1965; and a large amount of 1961-66 live acoustic material, some of which was released on Biograph. There is also plenty of Rolling Thunder material, including duet material with Joan Baez, which deserves to be released as well.

Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series Volumes I-III unleashes one instant classic after another, and the impression it leaves this reviewer with is a staggering, unpredictable virtuosity which reminds us of Dylan’s importance on musical, historical, literary and cultural grounds. This set is an indispensible addition to any popular music collection.

[historical note: the Royal Albert Hall 1996 concert, 1964 Halloween Live concert from NYC and Newport Folk Festival material were all eventually released. The film of the Newport Folk Festival appearance material from 1965 was part of the core of the Scorcese documentary on dylan that was released to PBS and DVD last year in 2008, which was released to critical acclaim. Bob Dylan is now 67 and still tours the world. You can check on his progress on http://www.bobdylan.com].