Friday, June 19, 2009
Beloved tenor Luciano Pavarotti passed away in his home town of Modena, Italy. His coffin has been on display in Modena's cathedral (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Although most people have heard of Pavarotti, not many know much about Modena. The town of Modena, in northern Italy's Emilia Romagna region, is famous for Ferrari and Maserati cars and Balsamic vinegar but it's also an interesting town to visit.
Modena's historic center is a a pleasant place for walking and biking. At the very core is the Piazza Grande, the focal point of Modena. Here you'll find the Duomo di Modena, Modena's 12th Century cathedral with its Gothic bell tower, the Torre della Ghirlandina.
Pavarotti was born on October 12, 1935. His father, Fernando, was a baker and amateur tenor in the local chorus, "Gioachino Rossini". Pavarotti loved to play soccer and played exceptionally well (well enough to earn him local fame).
As a teenager, he joined his father in the local chorus. Pavarotti had a surprisingly delightful tenor voice. After the chorus had entered the Llangollen International Singing Competition in Wales and won first place, Pavarotti became "hooked".
After touring in Austrailia, Pavarotti made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1972 in a production of La Fille du Regiment. He delivered a flawless performance. His nine perfect "high c's" gave the audience chills of excitement; their standing ovations were well deserved. Pavarotti's fame skyrocketed. He performed all over the globe and recorded many records (some even twice), and his concerts sold out to record breaking crowds.
Luciano established several competitions designed to help young artists gain experience and recognition. He also established the "Pavarotti and Friends" Benefit Concert, as well as joining the famous Three Tenors. His musical talents combined with the many talents of other genre artists have raised millions of dollars for medical, educational, and vocational initiatives in less fortunate countries. In 2006, Luciano was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and on Thursday, September 6, 2007, Pavarotti passed away in his home in Modena.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
We seem to have a Chicken Little running around the Streets of Washing DC exclaiming "The economy is falling! The economy is falling!" However, is it really just an acorn that hit him on the noggin? I think it may be. Just what is behind the doom and gloom coming out of Washington DC? Think back a few years to a movie starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro named "Wag the Dog" If you haven't seen that film yet, I highly recommend seeing it in the scope of today's political arena. While you're at it, check out a You Tube video called the Deception of Obama in my blogs. It's 2 hours long but eye opening. It can explain allot that doesn't make sense now. In Wag the Dog, a Washington Spin Doctor hires a Hollywood Director to create a fake war with Albania to distract the US Electorate from a Presidential sex scandal. At the time that the film was released, many thought it had similarities to the Clinton/ Lewinsky scandal. However, the same technique may be applied now as an economic disaster has been created to give validity to the various "packages" being pushed through congress so expediently. We're to believe that they had to pass these programs so quickly so as to save the US Economy. Really? Sadly, even Jay Leno has become part of this diversion plan as Barack Obama took over his show on the 19th to advance his agenda in a charming kind of way; charming and expensive. We must not forget that he used Air Force One to fly to the show and secret service protection all at the tax payers' expense. Hey, at least we all got to see the first sitting President on a late night talk show telling us how cool he thinks it is to be flying on Air Force one and being protected by the Secret Service. Glad he's enjoying the ride. I just wish he'd enjoy focusing on the good of the country as much as he does taking flights on Air force One and making his predictions for March Madness. That would be refreshing! Now, back to the diversion plan. As you may have found in talking to the average American citizen, most folks don't pay attention to Politics as much as you and I do. Most people view Politicians as being dishonest and unscrupulous. Although I'm a Politician, I believe that this may be true to an extent. I actually didn't fair well running for an office because I'm not a good liar. I tell people what's really on my mind. I learned after it was too late that voters didn't really want to hear what was on my mind, but instead, they wanted me to tell them what was on their mind. I got to be pretty good at reading people after awhile. I just couldn't bring myself to tell them what they wanted to hear. That's why I'm a Political Writer now instead of a Politician. However, Politicians know that there are a few things that can grab any body's attention and one of those things is a threat to their financial future. If people feel that their security blanket is going to be ripped out from underneath them, they will turn to desperate measures and "emergency economic plans" can sail through government legislature. In this case, we were led to believe that the banking industry was on the verge of collapse so they needed "bail outs" in order to save them. Now, some of the biggest beneficiaries of the "bail outs" such as AIG, are turning around and giving fantastic bonuses to their executives (some not even working at AIG anymore) all at the expense of the tax payers. The argument for handing out these bonuses are that it was contractual for them to issue them and this was knowledge that was known before bail out money was given to AIG. Some of you have written to me and said that you feel that these executives should be made to return the bonus money back. Personally, I think this is a mistake. Let me tell you why. If you watched Obama on Leno last night or if you've been paying attention to the talking heads in Washington DC (namely, Barney Frank and Chuck Schumer) you have noticed talk of more "regulations" and taxes needed to "control" the banking industry. There is currently a bill that has passed through the House but is held up in the Senate that would tax the bonuses at a 90% tax rate. Some of you may be thinking this is a great idea because they should be giving the money back. Well, actually, this is not a good idea. Not only may this be unconstitutional as it is taxation (in it's most extreme) without representation, but it allows the government to get their hand into private business. As much as we dislike the large bonuses and high pay scales that companies give their executives, they should not be told by the government how much they can pay them. This leads us further into socialism and further away from capitalism. If we allow our private industries to be taken over by the government, they will be taking over our free choice as well. If you look back into history, economic crisis were used as leverage to advance socialism in other cultures. The Germans used it against business owners to breed hatred for that group of people and to give validity for a need to spread the wealth and have more government control of finances and business. Marxist Theory relies heavily on economic crisis and spreading wealth to balance out the economic burden and hardship. As I said previously, if you want to get people's attention, hit them where it really hurts, their pocketbook, and they will be willing to go along with whatever ideas the government comes up with that they say will fix the problem. People get desperate and therefor, gullible. If we look at the economic situation in the US right now, it's not as bad as one would think. I am no economist but I can follow the trends of the stock market and even the unemployment rates and can see that they we are certainly in a recession but not nearing a depression. However, the Democrats know that using the word "depression" sends a shiver up the spine of Americans as many older people remember what it was like living in the Depression and the rest of us can imagine what it was like having heard stories from our parents and grandparents. none of us want to go through that again so if a stimulus package can fix the problem, go on and pass it through, and quick! That's exactly what was done, but it was more of a package of unnecessary and some incredibly ridiculous programs that the Democrats have been sitting on waiting for just the right time to push them through. I highly doubt that studies on pig odor or programs to save a mouse from a swamp is going to pull the country out of the recession but it's in this "emergency stimulus package". What is our leader doing as the "economy is falling" down around us? Well, he's making his March Madness picks, choosing a presidential dog, turning the tennis courts into basketball courts so he can play basketball with his buddies on the White house grounds, going on a late night talk show and 60 minutes, taking trips to Camp David to "relax", and bowling "special Olympic" caliber games in the White house bowling ally. Which leads me to this perplexing question, why is this President allowed to make such insulting statements as the one I mentioned above and not be held accountable for it. I can imagine if George Bush said he bowled like a "special Olympic" competitor on a late night talk show, it would have been the topic of the day in the news. So far, the only person that had the courage to say something about that comment is Maria Schriver and it was briefly mentioned on a few news stations this morning. He is not criticized in the same way former presidents have been. No, instead of criticizing his choices, the media would rather focus on such pressing questions such as what is the drink of choice in the White house, Coke or Pepsi and what does Michelle Obama do to make her arms look so tone and sexy so she can wear those "fashionable" sleeveless dresses. Given that President Obama isn't overly concerned with the economic situation and has even (at the urging of Bill Clinton) said that the economy is not as bad as first thought (now that his Stimulus Package and Omnibus Bill has passed through), I will not be doom and gloom about the economy either at least not until I see what effect the programs that will be put into place will have on our economy. Until then, I have a deaf ear to Chicken Little.