“The Streak:” It’s All Over Now

It’s time to Break It Down!

As we enter the third week of a new decade, there are a plethora of newsworthy items to select from in determining a topic du jour. The final edition of the Democratic Debates preceding the kick-off of the Iowa Caucuses and subsequent Primaries took place last night in Des Moines, Iowa, the United States House of Representatives is set to vote today on whether to send Articles of Impeachment to the United States Senate, the NCAA crowned a brand new National Champion in College Football Monday night, Donald Trump is feverishly tweeting attacks on the Democrats who have declared he will be impeached for life, and nearly a month into winter, the mid-Atlantic states are being toyed with by 70 degree temperatures. Each and every one of those items has the heft to carry the day. Alas, I’m going in a different direction.

If you have been a regular visitor to this space, or even perhaps a periodic one, you may know I occasionally dabble in sports topics, and that I lean heavily toward Carolina Blue. This weekend Tar Heel partisans the world over said good-bye to an era. As Saturday afternoon prepared to give way to evening, something happened that had never before occurred. A men’s basketball team representing Clemson University played a game against the UNC Tar Heels, and they left victorious. In a manner of speaking, the barbarians had not only stormed the gate, but they lived to tell the story in every colorful, and for Tar Heel fans, painful detail.

Casual sports fans, and certainly nonfans likely have no idea the dimensions of the tectonic hoops shift that took place Saturday in Chapel Hill. To place it in context, Carolina and Clemson have been playing basketball since 1926. Prior to Saturday, the Tigers had made 59 visits to Chapel Hill, in 93 years, and exited the premises 0-59. Cutting to the chase, it took 60 visits, over the course of 94 years to break what in Tar Heel parlance has for decades been known simply as, “The Streak.” It had endured my entire life; obviously dating back to before I became a fan, in fact before I was born.

Tar Heel hoops lore is replete with an abundant array of historical achievements.

  • Won 6 National Titles, trailing only UCLA (11), and Kentucky (8)
  • NCAA Runner-up 5 times
  • Won 18 ACC Tournament Titles
  • Won 32 ACC Regular Season Titles
  • Won 20 Outright ACC Regular Season Titles
  • Produced three players on the NBA 50 Greatest Players List
  • Became the second program to win 2,000 games (remain 1 of 4 to do so)
  • Through 2019, maintain the second highest winning percentage all-time (.739)
  • Played in 11 NCAA Title Games
  • Appeared in 20 Finals Fours (most of any team)
  • Made 48 NCAA Tournament Appearances
  • Won 123Games NCAA Tournament Games
  • Won an NIT Tournament Title
  • Appeared in the NIT 6 times
  • Been Ranked in the Top 25 in the AP Poll 915 weeks (most all-time)
  • Beaten #1 Ranked Teams 14 times (a record)
  • Averaged more wins per season played than any other team
  • Most consecutive 20-win Seasons (31)
  • Most consecutive Top Three ACC finishes (37)
  • Finished the Season ranked in the AP Top 25 50 times
  • Finished the Season ranked in the Coaches Poll Top 25 52 times
  • Finished the Season Ranked #1 in the AP Poll 5 times
  • Finished the Season Ranked #1 in the Coaches Poll 6 times
  • In 2008, received the first unanimous #1 Pre-season Ranking in either Poll
  • Ranked #1 by ESPN – Most Successful Program in the past 50 years (2012)
  • 1957 Season – 32-0; defeated Wilt Chamberlain & Kansas for the Title
  • Currently 16 NBA players are Tar Heel alums
  • !5 Tar Heels have played in the Olympics
  • 6 Tar Heels are in the Naismith Hall of Fame as players
  • 5 Tar Heels are in the Naismith Hall of Fame as coaches
  • 49 All-American Players – Chosen a total of 78 times

The next time Coach Roy Williams and the Tar Heels win a game, Coach Williams will eclipse Dean Smith as North Carolina’s career leader in wins, with 880. It will be a swell day for Carolina, for the Tar Heel Nation, and especially for Coach Williams. He’ll downplay play it of course, looking for ways to elevate and energize his team, and in deference to his mentor, Coach Smith. More than anything else though, at this point, it will mean the Heels have won a game. After a losing streak that has already reached three games, all in Chapel Hill (a not-so-good record in its own right), a first since his return to coach the Heels, Coach, the team, and all of Tar Heeldom are anxious for the relief only a W can bring.

But I digress. I saw a graph that framed this discourse more poignantly than anything else I’ve seen. It said, in essence, in chart form, “Number of Wins in Chapel Hill This Decade: Georgia Tech – 1, University of Pittsburgh – 1, Clemson University – 1, University of North Carolina – 0! The subject is “The Streak.” That it is enhanced by two games (so far) does, I suppose, add injury to insult. But for me, at least, it does not alter the narrative.

There are a lot of reasons Carolina is 8-8, but, as Coach Williams likes to say, when you put on the Carolina Jersey and step on the court, you are Carolina. No reasons, and/or excuses resonate. There are 15 games left in the Regular Season, all Conference games, and 9 on the road. By the time this season ends, it could be one of the worse ever in Chapel Hill. But even if the team were to catch fire, and roll through the rest of the season undefeated, I dadgum (a Royism, if you don’t know) assure you, there will be players and members of the coaching staff, as well as fans from near and far who will recall that on January 11, 2020, Clemson finally won in Chapel Hill. Congratulations Clemson; GO HEELS! “The Streak:” It’s Over Now!

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

For more detailed information on a variety of aspects related to this post, consult the links below:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Carolina_Tar_Heels_men%27s_basketball

https://www.reddit.com/r/CollegeBasketball/comments/enfete/coming_into_today_clemson_had_been_059_alltime_in/

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2020/01/15/the-streak-its-all-over-now/

 

Iran Attacks Two Iraqi Bases Housing U.S. Troops: Back to You Donald

It’s time to Break It Down!

Last week Mr. Trump crowed that he authorized a drone strike at a Baghdad Airport Thursday night that resulted in the death of Iran’s top General, Qasem Soleimani, as well as Abu Mahdi Muhandis, the deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), which is backed by Iran. The action has drawn global attention, deepened partisan divisions in the U.S. where the Senate is waiting for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to forward Articles of Impeachment, and as of early this morning, Iraqi time, prompted the firing of more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two bases housing American troops.

Trump made the announcement in a statement Friday from his Mar-a-Lago resort. He said, “We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.

Later at a Miami church for an Evangelicals for Trump event, Trump said Soleimani “was planning a major attack and we got him.” He claimed that the General was in Iran planning sinister and imminent attacks that would kill Americans.

Back in Washington, Democrats groused that Trump took this action without advising members of Congress, particularly the Gang of 8, a group of Democrats and Republicans who typically expect to be consulted in advance of such major military attacks. Meanwhile, most Republicans, at least on camera, took a wait and see attitude, and professed their belief that Trump had received sufficient intelligence intel to justify the attack.

The humongous irony in that assertion, by both Trump and many of his supporters is that he and they have for years now consistently decried the accuracy and effectiveness of American intelligence agencies. All of them! Any number of critics have presaged this moment with warnings of, “What will happen when something happens and we need to believe not Trump, or, the intelligence community, but Trump, echoing the findings of the intelligence committee.

Not surprisingly, those who always believe Trump barely noticed the intelligence community played any role (which frankly the exact nature of is still not fully determined) in ascertaining the nature of the threat level, and whether it was in fact imminent. It’s what they do.

As for Trump, remember, from November 2011 to September 2013, he tweeted at least half dozen times warning about President Obama initiating some armed aggression against Iran, first to get re-elected, then to show how tough he was…after he got re-elected without any such acts. Now it’s time to wonder if Trump’s ramblings on the subject of attacking Iran were simply the relentless echoes of his incessant musings about what he would do, if he were in the Oval. OK, some of us see no need to wonder.

While Mar-a-Lago guests and Miami church-goers were getting preferred intel ahead of at least Democrats in Congress, Mr. Trump eventually Tweeted Sunday afternoon, “These Media Posts will serve as notification to the United States Congress that should Iran strike any U.S. person or target, the United States will quickly & fully strike back, & perhaps in a disproportionate manner. Such legal notice is not required, but is given nevertheless!”

So, for nearly a week now, as the ebb and flow of the internal (American) discourse has vacillated across our airways and our individual consciousness, Iran did what was anticipated; they responded. Preliminary information is that the U.S. had prior knowledge the attack was coming and took necessary precautions. As a result, early reports from both American and Iraqi sources say there were no known casualties due to the strikes. Trump, who has not publicly addressed the nation did tweet, “all is well!”

After nearly a week, Congress is set to officially receive an update today. As an aside, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham boasted that he received a prequel from Trump during a golfing outing.

Over the past several days, Trump, practicing his usual bombast, has threatened to attack Iran forcefully, perhaps even disproportionally in the event they responded to Soleimani’s death with attacks on Americans or American targets.

Today, the ball is in Trump’s court. Hope your vehicles are sitting on Full. The price of gas just went up. “Iran Attacks Two Iraqi Bases Housing U.S. Troops: Back to You Donald!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

For more detailed information on a variety of aspects related to this post, consult the links below:

https://www.cnn.com/middleeast/live-news/us-iran-soleimani-tensions-intl-01-07-20/index.html

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2020/01/08/iran-attacks-two-iraqi-bases-housing-u-s-troops-back-to-you-donald/

 

 

Happy New Year: Here’s to Auld Lang Syne Redux – 2020 Edition

It’s time to Break It Down!

During this holiday week, here’s a reprised edition of “Break It Down!”

This Issue has been revised from the Break It Down post I originally conceived, created, and published December 29, 2010, and subsequently re-posted in amended formats December 28, 2011December 31, 2014, December 30, 2015, December 28, 2016, January 3, 2018, and January 2, 2019. This is my first post of the month, of the year 2020, and of course, of the decade. This is the 653rd Edition of Break It Down, which debuted August 20, 2007 on the BlogSpot platform. I migrated the principal site to WordPress August 3, 2012, approximately three weeks before the Fifth Anniversary of the blog.  You may find this and most other posts at either site.

With this post I wish you a blessed and bountiful Happy New Year. Now, enjoy today’s blog.

The one-half fortnight between Christmas and New Year’s Day is a unique occurrence in the unfolding of the American version of the Gregorian Calendar.  It is the only instance in which the space of a mere seven days separates two major holidays. Unquestionably, the timing is propitious.  Millions of holiday travelers return home from their Christmas commemoration and revelry, just in time to get a day off to “celebrate” the New Year…and recuperate from the old, most notably their extracurricular activities, including the exploits of New Year’s Eve.

In last week’s post, I presented a re-formatted airing of my personally crafted Christmas Concert (https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2017/12/27/twelve-days-of-christmas-the-e-concert-2018-edition/) from past Noels.  This week, I doubled down and reverted to my trusty time capsule. Once again, this tack permits new readers to catch-up by seeing the piece, it allows long-time readers to reflect upon both the passing year as well as the theme lifted in the post, and finally, it ensures that those busy readers, with no time to invest in checking out a new blog during the holidays, will not have to miss anything. It’s a win, win…win!

With that loosely framed preamble behind us, here’s this week’s déjà vu all over again:

Since we are still in the Sweet Spot of the holidays, I shall practice minimalism. For your purposes, that means the blog should be available, but not intrusive. To that end, I am taking a page from the Christmas e-concert but going a step further. Instead of a concert, I give you a song…of reflection.

Robert Burns, a Scot, wrote a poem (Auld Lang Syne) in 1788 that has come to symbolize the spirit of mass contemplation that people around the world invoke as the clock strikes midnight, signaling not just the dawn of a new day, but of a new year. Undoubtedly, you have been somewhere, at some time, when you joined those assembled to sing Auld Lang Syne, which loosely translated means, Times gone by.

Once again, that time is upon us. After thoughtful reflection on my 2017, I have had no choice but to conclude, my travails have been few and small, especially when compared to my blessings, which have been both abundant and vast! All praises to the one true, omnipotentomnipresent, and omniscient God; a mighty fortress is He.

No need to thank me for my inherent thoughtfulness. But, by all means, “Drink a cup of kindness,” or eggnog, or Champagne, or “name your favorite adult beverage,” for me. And, if you are a teetotaler, water will do nicely, thank-you!

As I complete my first post of 2019, and, prayerfully and faithfully reflect upon 2018, I leave with you this familiar Irish Toast:

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind always be at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

And rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

I invite you to click on the links directly below, which lead to an A cappella and a Jazz interpretation of Auld Lang Syne, arranged and performed by the late Lou Rawls (and listen to the remainder of this week’s edition of Break It Down):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0z_MamGk2c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkWqUR-YdWs

It has been my unique honor and privilege to visit with you briefly for each of the 52 weeks this year. I hope you have derived a fraction of the pleasure reading the blog posts that I have experienced from preparing and providing them to you. May 2019 bring you the fulfillment of all your fondest desires. As it is shortly after midnight here in the Eastern Time Zone of the U.S.A., it’s my esteemed honor and pleasure to wish you Happy New Year: Here’s to Auld Lang Syne Redux – 2020 Edition!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

For more detailed information on a variety of aspects related to this post, consult the links below:

http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/question279.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auld_Lang_Syne

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/01/02/happy-new-year-heres-to-auld-lang-syne-redux-2019-edition/

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2020/01/01/happy-new-year-heres-to-auld-lang-syne-redux-2020-edition/

 

 

Twelve Days of Christmas: The e-Concert – 2019 Edition

It’s time to Break It Down!

(Revised from Break It Down – 12/24/08, 12/22/10, 12/21/11, 12/26/12, 12/25/13, 12/23/15, 12/21/16, 12/26/17, and 12/26/18)

According to tradition, mine if no one else’s, my Christmas post includes a complement of Songs of the Season. Today’s issue will constitute the next edition in that tradition. It’s Tuesday night, or in my personal time dimension, Blog Night. In keeping with what I do, let’s make it so; Wednesday’s coming! And for the record, it’s actually Christmas Time in the City (and in and all over the country, for that matter). As incorporated in the title above, many purists celebrate Twelve Days of Christmas. This has been documented in song, book form, at least one movie, and in countless tales.

Here, as scheduled, is the blog. I hope you enjoy the blog/e-concert.

Merry Christmas to you! I know some of you are caught up in the whole “We Are The (Secular) World” trip; thus you substitute Holiday for Christmas in seasonal greetings. But that really shouldn’t be a problem since the man we call President has brought Christmas back (wink-wink). But seriously though, in case you don’t know, Christmas never went anywhere.  In fact, a quick check back over the Obama years reveals…Christmas was a staple in his repertoire. (http://www.msnbc.com/am-joy/watch/-merry-christmas-never-left-the-white-house-824078915806).  Of course, those innately curious enough to conduct the requisite etymological research know that the root derivation of holiday is “Holy Day;” but I digress; that is fodder for another day.

By the time you get around to this post, most, if not all of you will already have done whatever it is you do to observe and/or celebrate Christmas. But you know what, herein lies an opportunity to take one more moment, a time out if you will, before returning full tilt to your normal schedule.

As is my custom, I will not use this Christmas Season Post, if you will allow me to call it that, to challenge you to sort through the facts, be they esoteric or mundane. Not the election, or the economy, no wars, and absolutely no (further) references to our big-league President, who frequently focuses on tweeting and golfing (despite insisting that if elected, he wouldn’t have time for the links). Hey, I won’t even write out the I-word.

No, this is your time to take a break and leave all that behind. Notice, I did not say forget it, and I certainly would never ask that you pretend it doesn’t exist. Just give yourself a break.

In the true spirit of keeping it simple for both you and me, I am reprising an amalgam of previous posts. In fact, not just any posts…posts from several Christmas’ past. This is my ninth e-Christmas Concert. Two or three years ago I pressed the reset button on the Concert.  Instead of simply providing 12 standards, I upped the ante and provided 24, 12 by female artists, and 12 by male artists. In that Christmas Day is Wednesday this year, delivery day, as it were, I’m going to roll those out again.

The English playwright and poet, William Congreve, in the opening line of his 1697 Play entitled The Mourning Bride,” asserted, “Music has Charms to soothe a savage Breast, To soften rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.”  I think Congreve was on to something.  If indeed music is capable of enabling us to overcome our basest instincts, and in so doing, ennoble us to pursue our finer impulses, and then indeed, we should take more opportunities to render ourselves captivated by its magical spell. (By the way, it really is breast…not beast; caught you thinking, didn’t I?)

So, I identified and pulled together an assortment of my favorite Christmas Standards by several of my favorite artists. This year’s version includes a variation of the artistic olio I pulled together for your reading, viewing, and listening pleasure a number of years ago. Below, you will find hot links to YouTube video interpretations and two songs for each of the 12 Days of Christmas listed and included in today’s Yuletide e-concert.

Female Artists

  1. Eartha Kitt is known for having had many talents skills, and abilities, among them acting and singing.  Last year I substituted her most popular Christmas song for “Nothing for Christmas.”  After a 1-year hiatus, I’m bringing back Santa Baby.  As I’ve noted before, the song was born in 1953, and as I will this Sunday, it turned 65 this year.  She slays (or if you’re really in the Christmas spirit — sleighs) it. https://youtu.be/Mk_GmhD053E
  2. Dianne Reeves is a Grammy-winning jazz artist who sings in the vein of Dinah Washington and Carmen McRae; a skilled lyricist and scat singer.  She presents “Christmas Time is Here” as if it’s her own. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hInJstw1cGE
  3. Vanessa Williams was the first black Miss America.  She had a short and tumultuous reign.  But cream rises to the top, and her talent ensured that losing her title was but a mere speed bump in a star-studded road.  Her rendition of “Do You Hear What I Hear” provides a glimpse of her musical flexibility and skill. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKmvk0NJnzE
  4. Lena Horne was a jazz musician whose career spanned over 70 years.  She was also an actress, dancer, and civil rights activist.  She demonstrates her vocal caliber in this version of “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dh8JZp_gnU4
  5. Cassandra Wilson was born December 4, 1955.  Her birthdate alone ensured that I included her on this list; ’06!  But that’s not the only reason she made the cut.  Her range includes blues, country, and folk music, as well as jazz.  Moreover, she stuck the proverbial landing in her rendition of “The Little Drummer Boy.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmAQzS5Zk7o
  6. Toni Braxton is a lot of things: a talented songwriter, singer, pianist, record producer, actress, television personality, and philanthropist. She is known to be sexy, sultry, and an unpredictable reality show star.  She’s still best known for her music though, and her version of “Santa Please” will do absolutely nothing to change that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nFWiF_E_VQ
  7. The Emotions are one of those classic Old School Girl Groups born in the 70’s.  Influenced greatly by Maurice White of Earth Wind & Fire Fame, they continue to perform today.  One of my favorite tunes by them is their version of “What Do The Lonely Do At Christmas?” https://youtu.be/coO2E2v5RwE
  8. Anita Baker released her first solo album in 1983.  In 1986, she released “Rapture” and it was the dawn of her stardom.  She is known for her trademark “husky” voice, and she is at her Christmas best in this version of “The Christmas Song.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHze40h13mc
  9. Diana Ross and the Supremes were the “It” Group of Motown when Motown was the “It’ place of Soul Music.  The Supremes are America’s most successful vocal group with 12 number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100. Here they are with their 1965 rendition of “Silver Bells.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIJROwP4BnM
  10. Ella Fitzgerald is jazz royalty.  Frequently referred to as the First Lady of Song, the Queen of Jazz, and Lady Ella, she was widely acclaimed for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing, and intonation, as well as a horn-like improvisational ability.  Virtually all scat singing is measured against her. Check out her version of “Sleigh Ride.”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnEbRaFaqfg
  11. Whitney Houston had a voice known worldwide.  Her recordings accounted for nearly 200 million records sold.  Her’s was a clarion voice of our times.  This version of “Joy To The World,” taken from the movie, “The Preacher’s Wife,” is special, as was she. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYPpyTyPf6I
  12. Ledisi (Anibade Young) is an R&B and jazz recording artist.  Her first name means “to bring forth” or “to come here” in Yoruba.  She was aptly named.  Enjoy her rendering of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xMz5oGc8s1Q

Male Artists

  1. James Brown was renowned for his energetic performances, which earned him another of his many titles, “Hardest working man in show business.” His rendition of “Merry Christmas Baby” is not so up-tempo, but still a reminder that he had earned his chops the hard way, and that he was much more than just flash and dash. https://youtu.be/4VFZGRoZwB0
  2. Donny Hathaway was a multifaceted soulful crooner and a product of Howard University who excelled in jazz, blues, soul and gospel music; an Alpha Man.  He suffered from depression and died of suicide January 13, 1979 at 33 years old.  He rendered this marvelous recording of “This Christmas. https://youtu.be/pj1mVUEHeUE
  3. The O’Jays were formed in 1965 and have been a staple in Soul and R&B music ever since.  They knock it out of the park with this version of “Christmas Just Ain’t Christmas Anymore.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fc4g1wsIA9g
  4. The Temptations were a significant part of what made Motown, Motown, in the 60’s and 70’s.  Their rendition of Silent Night lives on as a classic among classics as far as Christmas music goes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFc7STuQF0U
  5. Al Green, soul singer, turned minister, soul singer-minister was at his most popular during the 70’s.  He puts his considerable talents to good use in this version of “I’ll be Home for Christmas.” https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cFyRwlR5YXk
  6. El DeBarge was the central figure in the group known as DeBarge, which reached its zenith in the 80’s.  El was one of several members of the group who went on to fashion solo careers.  He nails this version of “Christmas Without You.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_xB6VD7fS8
  7. Will Downing has been recording albums since 1988.  I’ve seen him in concerts twice, including a couple of weeks ago, and I own most of his recorded music.  He simply does not disappoint.  This recording of The First Noel is no exception. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOQWKBIuk-I
  8. Joe (Lewis Thomas) released his debut album in 1993.  He has maintained a presence on the music scene ever since. His nuanced presentation of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is just another fine example of his limitless talent. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vbpsVILCvU
  9. Jerry Butler, popularly known as the Ice Man, fitting for an Alpha, is a singer, songwriter, and musician (guitar, electric guitar, bass, piano, saxophone, and drums) who was the lead singer for the Impressions before going on to a solo career. He recorded this classic version of O Holy Night. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0dR1Dk7Bu0
  10. Luther Vandross was a musical icon. Period. End of story.  He is one of my favorite musicians, and his treatment of “My Favorite Things” is certainly among my favorite Christmas songs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6TRlV6MOOU
  11. The Whispers hail from LA, and have been around since the 60’s.  They became members of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2003…for good reason.  They got it like that.  And they prove it with this version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbJ95aWUc_A
  12. Kem (Owens) is an R&B/Soul singer who has made his uniquely fashioned mark on the music scene since 1999.  He enlists Ledisi (Anibade Young), another single named musical star to create a fabulous rendition of “Be Mine For Christmas.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_8rVJ_ENaY

That’s it, 24 artists and videos and/or songs. Add it all up and you get “Twelve Days Of Christmas: The e-Concert – 2019 Edition!” Enjoy it throughout the Season, and by all means, remember the Reason for the Season!

BonusIt occurred to me that a concert thematically incorporating the Twelve Days of Christmas, without including a version of “Twelve Days of Christmas” is woefully incomplete. To wit, I doubled down by adding a 25thselection, “Twelve Days of Christmas,” two versions, one by Natalie Cole, and an instrumental by Kenny Burrell.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9j5-SWXKhbM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_e35thJvVQ

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttps://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.”  Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

Consult the links below for more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_Days_of_Christmas

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Twelve_Days_of_Christmas_(song)

http://www.41051.com/xmaslyrics/twelvedays.html

http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/2008/august/real-twelve-days-of-christmas.html

https://www.amazon.com/Twelve-Days-Christmas-Jan-Brett/dp/0698115694

https://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/holidays-christmas/twelve-days-christmas.htm

http://www.crivoice.org/cy12days.html

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0324344/

https://www.vox.com/2015/12/25/10661878/12-days-of-christmas-explained

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/twelve-days-of-christmas-debbie-macomber/1123237694

https://www.last.fm/music/The+Spinners/_/The+Twelve+Days+of+Christmas

https://www.zazzle.com/the+twelve+days+of+christmas+cards

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2018/12/26/twelve-days-of-christmas-the-e-concert-2018-edition/

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/12/25/twelve-days-of-christmas-the-e-concert-2019-edition/

 

Slowly, Surely, Inexorably: Impeachment Is Upon Us

It’s time to Break It Down!

A week from now, most of us will be immersed in all things Christmas. But before we get there, we must navigate and traverse the here and now. While it won’t have happened by the time I press the send button for this post, in a matter of hours, the U.S. House of Representatives will in all likelihood impeach Donald Trump.

In that regard, Wednesday, December 18, 2019 is a day that will live in infamy. Since George Washington became our nation’s first President on April 30, 1789, in the 230 years that have since ensued, for just the third time a U.S. President will be forever linked with the I-word.

For our nation, it’s indeed a sad day. Conversely, for anyone who cringed as Trump frequently referred to the media as the enemy of the people, for anyone who recoiled at his frequent taunts of fake news in response to multiple sourced reporting, for anyone repulsed by his 13K plus false and misleading statements since taking office, for anyone left despondent by his scathing, often relentless attacks on not just his political opponents, but on more than a few occasions, allies of our great nation, for anyone flummoxed by his accepting Vladimir Putin’s views above those of our entire intelligence community, and for anyone distressed by his alleged wanton abuse of power and repeated efforts to cover it up…I suppose it could not happen to a nicer (read that more deserving) fellow.

Yesterday, as the impending proceeding wound down to its inevitable conclusion, resulting in the approval of the rules by which tomorrow’s impeachment will be managed, Mr. Trump sent Speaker Pelosi a 6-page letter many observers viewed as a reflection of his being unhinged. I’m not persuaded by that opinion. Rather, I think Trump has repeatedly shown himself to be impulsive, while his advisers and body men have just as frequently demonstrated an inability, or an unwillingness, or both, to rein him in. To wit, left unchecked, and to his own devices, he has no proclivity whatsoever to filter himself, or to govern himself in a less tantrum-filled way. In other words, the letter was not so much an example of him being unhinged, as it was a depiction of what you get when you follow the strategic advice issued by a number of his handlers during his campaign; “Let Trump be Trump.”

In the letter, Trump attacked Democrats as the “ones interfering with America’s elections,” and absurdly claimed he’s being treated worse than defendants at the Salem Witch Trials (proceedings at which the accused were put to death without evidence). While there were a number of other whoppers included in Trump’s 6-page epistle, they were almost all designed to play into a personal victimhood narrative, and recycled bromides to boot.

Impeachment rules and Trump’s missive were not the only significant items to unfold yesterday. George Conway, he of Kellyanne Conway spouse fame, and a group of erstwhile conservative Republicans, who will now forever be known as never-Trumpers, deep statists, and RINOs, formed a Political Action Committee called Project Lincoln, aimed at ousting Donald Trump and the lawmakers that support him in 2020. Using Lincoln, our 16thPresident as their guide, they wrote an op-ed which compared contemporary America with the Lincoln age, a time when the leader had the task of saving the union and weaving the nation back together. They wrote, “Mr. Trump and his enablers have abandoned conservatism and longstanding Republican principles and replaced it with Trumpism. An empty faith led by a bogus prophet.”

The group acknowledged that commitment to and achieving its goal may yield a Democratic majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives. Tim Murtaugh, Trump Campaign communications director, told Newsweek that the co-authors of the op-ed were part of the Washington, D.C. swamp. In TrumpWorld, such is the case for anyone that dares oppose Trump. One is either with them or one is the enemy, not just of Trump, but of the people.

That may be how Trump sees it, and also how his supporters, sycophants, and surrogates see it. But as of today, they likely will also see, “Slowly, Surely, Inexorably: Impeachment Is Upon Us!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking on the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click on the bottom right hand corner of my homepage at: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your email address in the designated space, and click on “Sign Me Up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

Consult the links below for more information on a variety of aspects relating to this post.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/trump-s-conservative-critics-launch-pac-fight-re-election-n1103086

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-letter-to-pelosi-president-vents-about-impeachment-the-day-before-house-vote/

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/12/18/slowly-surely-inexorably-impeachment-is-upon-us/

 

Another One: Just Add It To The List

It’s time to Break It Down!

According to the Washington Post, by August 12, 2019, Donald Trump had made more than 12K false and misleading claims. Mr. Trump’s aversion to veracity is so legendary that a number of media outlets have shied away from calling them lies, but rather, false and misleading claims. That’s impressive in and of itself, in a perverse sort of way.

I’ll make this short and sweet. A couple of days ago, we were reminded, once again, of the preferred Trumpian communications style. Long ago, Trump himself, was apparently so enamored with his proficiency at dissembling that he gave the practice his own very special appellation. In a 1987 book that he authored, I won’t promote it for him today, he called it truthful hyperbole. About the phenomenon, Trump is quoted in the book as saying, “I play to people’s fantasies… People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration.”

Even as a private businessman, it’s questionable whether Trump’s exaggerations were innocent. They were almost certainly not harmless. His business practices, including truthful hyperbole contributed to numerous lawsuits, claims, and even bankruptcies. Many of his erstwhile employees reported they we underpaid, or not paid at all, stemming from his deceptions.

With such a predicate, it is no surprise Trump would claim President Obama wiretapped him, or that the FBI’s Russia probe was a function of deep statists, never-Trumpers, and people trying to overthrow a duly elected government. In part due to Trump’s claims, and at the direction of his number two go-fer (gotta get in line behind Rudy), Attorney General William Barr, the FBI’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz opened a probe last year, that resulted in his team conducting over 100 interviews, and reviewing more than a million documents.

To quickly summarize, the investigation found clear fault, detailing 17 omissions and inaccuracies deemed to be significant in the Carter Page FISA applications. While he recommended rules changes, it is noteworthy, the report concluded the FBI followed existing rules. It also concluded there was sufficient evidence to prompt the investigation, that the FBI acted properly in doing so, and that Obama and the FBI did not spy on Trump’s campaign. Guess who’s “pizz’d?”

Count me at the front of the line of people neither shocked nor surprised by this. It’s just “Another One: Add It To The List.”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking on the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click on the bottom right hand corner of my homepage at: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your email address in the designated space, and click on “Sign Me Up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

Consult the links below for more information on a variety of aspects relating to this post.

https://fox8.com/2019/12/09/start-of-fbi-russia-probe-was-justified-and-unbiased-but-investigation-had-significant-errors-inspector-general/

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/12/11/another-one-just-add-it-to-the-list/

 

Slowly, Surely, Inexorably: Lindsey Got Next

It’s time to Break It Down!

Lindsey Graham and Donald Trump have a relationship spiked with mercurial twists and turns. Graham defended John McCain after Trump dissed the then Arizona Senator, and went on to bash Trump, in turn Trump released Graham’s cell phone number on live TV. Lindsey called Trump a jackass; Trump labeled Graham a “lightweight, and an idiot, and for the ultimate insulting body blow and two-fer, opined he (Graham) “seems to me not as bright as Rick Perry.” But I digress.

The point of the preamble above is to affirm with full confidence, I expect the Palmetto Senator to be toting more water for Trump in the future. But for an instant anyway, he relocated an instinct to align himself with reason, research, and the weight of the entire U.S. intelligence community, instead of with the whims of a dude reported to have spoken and or tweeted over 13,000 false and misleading statements (otherwise known as lies) in less than three years (since ascending to the Office of President).

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post entitled “Slowly, Surely, Inexorably: It Will Happen!”

Today I’m following that up with a sequel. No need to put a number on it, as there will be more to come. I won’t deign to write about all of them. There will be far too many for that. But rest assured, over time, individuals will be, at least on occasion, unable to resist the compulsion to act honorably, rationally, and common-sensically.

Yesterday, CNN reported that Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said he is “1,000% confident” that Russia, not Ukraine, meddled in the 2016 US presidential election, breaking from President Donald Trump and others in his party who have pushed the discredited conspiracy theory.

He made those comments on Capitol Hill and reiterated them later in a CNN interview. Graham also said, “So as to the Ukraine, they had zero to do with the hacking of the DNC and the stealing of the emails. Whether or not people from the Ukraine met with DNC operatives, I don’t know. All I’ve seen is press reports that no one has validated.”

Despite their occasional tiffs, Senator Graham has been among Trump’s most reliably devoted toadies, carrying water like Niagara Falls in a summer rainstorm. That he, in the midst of Trump’s Ukraine ruse, not only acknowledged Russia as the culprit, but pegged his confidence level at 100% (times 10), is bound to attract Trump’s attention, and undoubtedly, even more, his irritation. Perhaps with Trump on another continent, Graham was able to get his head out a certain orifice long enough to catch his breath and secure some much-needed brain oxygenation.

Who knows? For that matter, other than Trump, who even cares? Rest assured, he is not the first, and he most certainly will not be the last person to get reacquainted with his or her scruples and senses, and communicate accordingly…on the record. At the moment, what we know and can attest is, Slowly, Surely, Inexorably: Lindsey Got Next!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking on the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click on the bottom right hand corner of my homepage at: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your email address in the designated space, and click on “Sign Me Up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

Consult the links below for more information on a variety of aspects relating to this post.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/03/politics/lindsey-graham-russia-election-meddling-ukraine-conspiracy/index.html

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/12/04/slowly-surely-inexorably-lindsey-got-next/