Until I was about 16 years old, there was one station in Des Moines that played rock music: 94.9 KGGO, Des Moines’s best rock and roll. By “best rock and roll,” they meant classic rock. If you were unfamiliar with radio programming terminology, you might think the classic era of rock was the mid to late sixties: Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, et cetera. Although these artists occasionally played on KGGO, the station’s wheelhouse was the mid to late seventies: Bad Company, Foreigner, Kansas, Journey, Boston, Rush. These are the worst bands in the history of music. I know, because I have studied their top singles, against my will, for 30 years.
On Friday, an evidently deranged man in Colorado Springs killed three people and injured nine others in an armed standoff with police at Planned Parenthood. “No more baby parts,” a senior law enforcement official reported him as saying. It appeared to be a reference to a series of undercover videos shot by an anti-abortion activist in which Planned Parenthood administrators discussed fees associated with the donation of fetal tissue for research. Or, as Carly Fiorina described it in a nationally televised Republican presidential debate:
“Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says ‘we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.'”
That video doesn’t exist, you can’t abort a “fully formed” fetus, and no one ever said that about harvesting a brain. But she was just describing something she felt strongly about, in terms that, if they were true, would probably justify armed intervention.
It’s basically Thanksgiving. I’m thankful the Indy ran my column a day early this week, leaving me free to focus on my real calling, these Black Beans with Orange. Obviously, the period of Thanksgiving commences when you start cooking the food, not when you eat the food. So happy holidays, everybody! It might as well be Christmas morning.
In the meantime, I’m also thankful Sarah Aswell wrote this heartfelt, cleanly structured essay about our comedy death pact and the Missoula open mic where we fulfilled it. She is good at writing but never has to fall back on that, because she is also good at finding interesting stories. Don’t let America fall to ISIS, or she will have to stop writing and wear a bag over her head.
I have achieved a similar result without the bag. There will be no blog tomorrow, since Thanksgiving Thursday is also a holiday, nor Friday because my boss is not a miser duck. Instead, Combat! blog will go to the hot springs with our hot girlfriend. We will take pictures, but they’re not for you. They’re for a certain class of Japanese businessmen. See you Monday!
When I was an expensive SAT tutor, we made the kids learn three examples from history for the essay section. It doesn’t matter what the question is. Pick three historical examples—Rosa Parks, free silver, French revolution—and learn enough that you can use them to respond to any prompt. It sounds like we were gaming the test, but really that’s how smart people think. You don’t try to become an expert on every conceivable situation. You learn a lot about a few things—chemical engineering, the Bible, judo—and use them as frameworks to understand whatever comes up. The goal is not to additively expand your knowledge, but to multiply your ability to apply what knowledge you have. Most high schools don’t teach that way, because it’s hard. They try to cram as much knowledge into your kid as they can, and the really expensive ones cram more and harder. Anyway, that’s why your kid needs a tutor. Also, there was one example from history my students were not allowed to use: rise of Hitler.
Donald Trump had a big weekend. On Saturday, he told a rally of his supporters in Birmingham, Alabama that “we have to surveil the mosques.” After a half-dozen white attendees at that rally knocked a Black Lives Matter protestor to the ground and kicked him for a while, Trump went on This Week and told George Stephanopoulos that “maybe he should have been roughed up.” In the same appearance, he called for the return of waterboarding and said he would “not at all” rule out a database of Muslims living in the United States. Sunday afternoon, he tweeted “statistics” claiming that 81% of white murder victims are killed by blacks. According to the FBI as reported by the Daily News, it’s actually about 15%.