Hey, if I was here NOW I’d be in the Royal Wedding! But I’m not. This was from a 2003 trip to England and France.
In my last American Idol Contestants post I predicted James Durbin will win and I’m sticking to that story, especially after tonights brilliant performance of Carol King’s Tonight You’re Mine. Although all the remaining folks are exceptional singers with great personalities, only James and Casey seem to bring exceptional musicianship as well. James, however, seems to edge out Casey on a key important factor in American Idol Contestants – cuteness, especially to the many teenage girls who appear to be the most important voting demographic on the show.
In my humble American Idol fan opinion Ashley is the best singer left on the show, and I think she still has something of a shot at winning, but I think the smart money is on James Durbin to win American Idol.
Another curious episode in the history of the democratic party comes to a close today as Barack Obama released a photograph of the long form official vault copy of his birth certificate. Signed by all the responsible parties needed in Hawaii to verify an official live birth of a US citizen, this should seal the presidential deal for all but the kookiest of the kooks who have pursued this silly angle for years. Although it is odd to me that it took so long to release this innocuous copy, I now assume the team was strategically holding back in the hopes of derailing some candidates, collecting foolish quotes about Obama’s legitimacy, etc. One would have expected them to wait a bit longer but the issue had gained so much traction perhaps they felt more harm was coming than they’d expected.
In any case, here it is:
Only the pathetically gullible and/or irrational will dispute this any longer. Unfortunately that includes …. more of us than anybody would like to admit. Tribal thinking rules now across the USA and across the globe. People believe what they are told to believe by fellow tribe members without bothering to think for themselves. Conclusions define the facts for them. It’s become unusual – even among many in the science commmunity – to apply the scientific and rational approach where facts define the conclusion. Advocacy and activism have almost completely replaced reason, and things are not going to change anytime soon.
I blame the 60s.
Well, my “history of the democratic party” experiment has been very interesting to say the least. The original article at Travel and History is ranking pretty well at Google – currently 15th. However the previous post here at JoeDuck, which is really mostly just referencing that superior treatment of the topic, is ranking 12th. I’ve been doing enough experiments sloppily that I can’t be sure, but I think Google had this “right” last week when the Travel and History post was higher than the JoeDuck reference. Not clear to me why the JoeDuck would rank higher but perhaps it’s part of the algorithm shaking out the “right answer” for how to rank an excellent article on the history of the democrats.
So, in the interest of SEO excellence we bring you THIS post, which is referencing the correct one yet again and hopefully prompting Google to get it right and rank that one higher than this one.
Although clearly most users would want a real article about the history of the democratic party rather than the JoeDuck reference and rant, I can’t really suggest how high in the rankings that one should appear. It’s a good article but not great, based mostly on info gleaned from Wikipedia’s superior treatment of the Dems history.
Over at Travel and History I have penned an article about the History of the Democratic Party of the United States called, not surprisingly, the ” History of the Democratic Party “. Based mostly on a very abbreviated version of Wikipedia material, we learn among other things that political cycles for both the Democrats and Republicans tend to last a long time, and that a major Democratic Dynasty ended with the election of Abraham Lincoln, ushering in a lengthy Republican era. More recently things seem to be switching a bit more dramatically as collectively we very foolish voters (yes, I mean YOU and ME) swing wildly from the right to the left, failing as always to find a smart balance of clear thinking in foreign policy, economics and social policy. Democrats and liberals continue to fret over policies in the USA that are far more progressive than the majority of countries, while conservatives call for budget cutting everywhere but where it’ll have the greatest positive effect – the defense budget.
It’s obvious and clear we need to trim the excesses of a society that has been drunk on prosperity since WWII but can no longer afford a massive, uninspired bureaucracy nor afford to coddle the self-absorbed and out of touch elite class. We need a new party based on the founding principles of individual freedoms, entrepreneurial innovation and efficiency, community involvement, and other good stuff.
The recipe is not complicated – it’s called the US Constitution and Bill of Rights, but it must be interpreted in modern terms and without the bizarre cognitive biases that infect the right (such as advocating for mixing church and state) or the left (such as higher taxes and bureaucratic problem solving).
Rulers of England
In honor of the upcoming English Royal Wedding and the fact I’m watching “The Tudors” on Netflix right now, I thought it would be fun to post a list of the rulers of England.
This is a list of the generally recognized kings and queens of England from 1066 to the present day.
William I (1066-1087)
William II (1087-1100)
Henry I (1100-1135)
Henry II (1154-1189)
Richard I (Richard the Lion-Hearted) (1189-1199)
Henry III (1216-1272)
Edward I (1272-1307)
Edward II (1307-1327)
Edward III (1327-1377)
Richard II (1377-1399)
House of Lancaster
Henry IV (1399-1413)
Henry V (1413-1422)
Henry VI (1422-1461)
House of York
Edward IV (1461-1483)
Edward V (April-June 1483)
Richard III (1483-1485)
Henry VII (1485-1509)
Henry VIII (1509-1547)
Edward VI (1547-1553)
James I (1603-1625)
Charles I (1625-1649)
1649-1660 – Commonwelath Interregnum: England is briefly ruled by Parliament. Oliver Cromwell and son Richard Cromwell are the “Lord Protectors of the Commonwealth”. This time is often referred to as “the Protectorate”
Stuarts Restored to the Crown in 1660
Charles II (1660-1685)
James II (1685-1688)
The Bloodless Revolution 1688. Also known as “The Glorious Revolution”.
William (of Orange) and Mary (1689-1702)
George I (1714-1727)
George II (1727-1760)
George III (1760-1820)
George IV (1820-1830)
William IV (1830-1837)
Edward VII (1901-1910)
Windsors (George V-Elizabeth II)
(George V changed family name Wettin to Windsor)
George V (1910-1936)
Edward VIII (1936)
George VI (1936-1952)
Elizabeth II (1952- )
Yes, of course there is a fancy website for the upcoming Royal Wedding between Prince William and Catherine Middleton. It is the Royal Wedding website.
As a big fan of China, Tourism, and individual freedoms and rights I think a solution to the challenges facing Tibet are these (I wrote this a few years ago at my website that features the Qinhai-Tibet Railway sometimes called the pan-himalayan railroad, Llhasa Express, Tibet Train. As with all conflicts, there is no “overall solution” because people’s needs are different, but there are many “win win” scenarios where things that are NOT in dispute can be resolved to everybody’s satisfaction. Everybody wants the children of Tibet to be healthy, happy, well fed, and given good medical care. Everybody wants Tibetans to be allowed to practice Buddhism, and everybody wants a way for others to experience the wonder of Tibet. Tourism can make all that happen.
Given that most of the people of China want a strong connection with Tibet and Tibet wants and needs a strong connection with China:
* China grants greater autonomy to Tibet in a relationship that is modelled after Hong Kong and respects Buddhist traditions and the right for people.
* Tibetans agree to work with China to make this relationship beneficial to all.
* China continues to build on the region’s infrastructure, including the Pan Himalayan Railway.
* Tibetans embrace tourism as their primary agent of economic development, recognizing that the cultural and religious history of the region is a very powerful theme for travel marketing and a dramatic increase in regional tourism.
* China agrees that the region will be the key beneficiary of the tourism boom that will come from regional stability and national promotion of the wonders of Tibet.
* Tibetans will share their cultural and religious traditions as much as is culturally comfortable for them. The region can become another jewel in China’s tourism crown as the country prepares to become one of the world’s top travel destinations.
After starting up Tennis again I’m already experiencing what I think is a rotator cuff irritation so it’s time to look for some rotator cuff exercises so hopefully I can play without injury or pain. It’s hard getting old!
The Rotator cuff is a complex of thin muscles on your shoulders that allow the extensive motion you have in this area – motion that allows things like ball throwing and racket or club swinging, and more. Irritation in this area is very common, especially with sports, and should be considered potentially serious. Rotator cuff exercises help prevent injury to the shoulder.
Rotator cuff exercises:
Side-lying lateral raise. Instructions from “FitBie”
Standing rows with free weights and tubing. Not sure if this is what is meant by that or not:
Prone horizontal abuduction.
Internal and external rotation.
I am a big fan of the American experience and the American experiment [excluding the many mistakes we’ve made and continue to make of course] and American Idol in particular, and I do not believe that Idol is rigged. I have read (I think it was in Newsweek during the Ruben Studdard / Clay Aiken controversies) that producers do not treat all contestants equally however, so if by “rigged” one means to ask “is it unfair” I think the answer is almost certainly yes, but not unfair enough to make a huge difference in the results, which are overwhelmingly a function of millions of votes by people all over the country.
Especially with the recent early departure of favorite American Idol Contestant Pia Toscano, some have suggested as they always do that the voting is not representative but I think it’s brilliantly representative in the sense that the show manages to build popularity and a fan base for even those that get eliminated, many of whom wind up with contracts from the American Idol producers.
Many Idols – even losers – go on to become huge stars like Daughtry, Clay Aiken, and Jennifer Hudson. American Idol is the most fertile ground for stardom in decades – perhaps in the history of entertainment – and they aren’t going to mess that up by rigging the results.
After the sad and surprising departure of Pia Toscano last night on American Idol, it’s time to review all the contestants that are left. I’m a big fan and something of a pop musical genius (just kidding : ), so I thought I’d rank all the American Idol Contestants based on the following items:
Singing Ability, Personality, Looks, Star Power, Likelihood of winning. Feel free to chime in with comments if you do or don’t agree. 1 is low, 10 is high. For likelihood I’ve ranked them 1 through 7
THIS …. is AMERICAN IDOL!
Idol Contestant | Singing Ability | Personality | Looks | Star Power | Likelihood of winning
Haley Reinhart 9 8 9 7 2
James Durbin 8 9 8 9 1
Casey Abrams 9 8 6 7 4
Jacob Lusk 8 7 6 7 7
Stefano Langone 8 8 7 7 5
Paul McDonald 6 8 9 7 8
Lauren Alaina 9 8 8 7 3
Scotty McCreery 7 6 7 7 6
Of course the fact that I was a big Pia Toscano fan might indicate I’m not very good at this game. I don’t think my favorite has *ever* won American Idol since Kelly Clarkson who I had picked very early on correctly at the first winner. I was also close with second place Clay Aiken, who narrowly lost to Ruben Studdard in what remains my favorite American Idol season of all time, though not the most talent filled season which is absolutely this year. No bad singers made it past the round of 24 and everybody left, with the possible exception IMHO of Paul, has tons of raw singing talent.
P.S. Wow, my post Pia Toscano Leaves American Idol already has over a thousand views and 10 comments in under 24 hours. Clearly, American Idol is an amazing traffic magnet for a blog, and since I’m a big fan I think it’s time to start writing a lot more about the show and the contestants because
” THIS …. IS AMERICAN IDOL “