The American Superpower, Part VI

Yes, the last part of Chapter 5 from my North American history series was uploaded yesterday, so the chapter is now complete.  This part is commentaries about where the United States is heading as a nation.  The whole list of URLs and topics is as follows:


Part I (1933-45)
  • First, an Explanation of the Title
  • The New Deal
  • New Deal II
  • Getting Out of the Depression–The Hard Way
  • The Gathering Storm
  • Pearl Harbor
  • World War II
Part II (1945-60)
  • The Country Boy From Missouri
  • Enter the Cold War
  • China, Korea, and the Pumpkin Papers
  • “I Like Ike”
  • Life in the 1950s
Part III (1960-74)
  • The “New Frontier”
  • Who Really Killed JFK?
  • The “Great Society”
  • Nixon Returns
  • “All the President’s Men”
Part IV (1974-96)
  • Years of “Malaise”
  • The Reagan Renaissance
  • George Bush the Elder
  • Clintonism
Part V (1996-2009)
  • The Clinton Scandals
  • Islamism on the Move
  • The Battle of the Ballots
  • George Bush the Younger
  • Angry Democrats, Drifting Republicans
  • An Election Like No Other
Part VI
  • The American People Today
  1. Going South (and West)
  2. The Grey Generation
  3. The New Americans
  4. The Browning of America
  • The Incredible Expanding Government
  1. Federal Spending
  2. Federal Agencies
  3. Taxes and Regulation
  4. The Cabinet
  • From History to Current Events

You can expect a newsletter announcing this to go out later this week.  Cheers!


Two Holidays in One Message

This month we’ve had two holidays where I took pictures, and I didn’t post them until now; sorry for making you wait.

First, Leive and I had our 24th anniversary on Sunday, November 15.  We celebrated it at our pastor’s house, because they host a prayer group for whole families on Sunday nights.  Leive had the urge to cook, so she did most of the cooking of a Thanksgiving-style dinner again, though she was one of the guests of honor.

The main thing that Leive didn’t make was this chocolate cake.  In normal light the orange icing looked more red, but no matter!

Here we are cutting it.

The dishes we brought were a turkey, Leive’s special mashed potato recipe, yellow rice, a green bean casserole and a garden salad.  Above you can see most of the side dishes.

Rezia was there, too.  In front of her you can see the salad, cranberry sauce and gravy.

Sally, the pastor’s wife, helped carve the turkey.


And now here are the Thanksgiving pictures.  Thursday was a slow day for us; instead of the traditional feast, we ate lightly (I mainly had a salad).  We did that because Gene and Rezia were out of town, visiting Gene’s relatives in western Kentucky.  Without them it would only be the two of us (three, if you count the parrot).  On Friday they came back, so Leive prepared the food and we invited them over.  We also invited a friend from church, Sherrie Masters, because she invited us to her birthday party the previous Sunday.

Here Leive stands behind her creations.

This is the side view.  On the left, a garden salad and the turkey.  On the right, from front to back:  a bottle of water from Kroger, fried rice, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, halang-halang.  The poinsettias in the extreme front and rear were decorations I found on special while shopping–marked down from $5.99 to 99 cents!

A closeup of the halang-halang and the rear poinsettia.  Because it was so good for Rezia the last time she made it, Leive added extra jalapenos to make it very halang!  The persimmons and pumelos (bo’ongon) by the sink were not part of the meal.

Another view of the mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, salad and turkey.

The water and the rice again, and don’t forget the pumpkin pie!

Our guests, from left to right:  Sherrie, Gene, and Rezia.  After the meal, Leive gave them some plates of food to take home.  I was impressed at how fast Sherrie’s mother called back to thank us.

Our parrot, Brin-Brin, was surprisingly quiet.  Throughout the whole meal he didn’t move or make a sound.  He has acted normally since then, though, so I know that wasn’t a fake or stuffed parrot in the cage.  Normally he snaps when Gene is here, and cries when Rezia is here.  Maybe Leive and Sherrie were calming influences, because both of them are all right in his book.  Or maybe he’s thankful again that he wasn’t one of the courses served!

Hope your Thanksgiving was a happy one, too.

Bohemian Rhapsody, Done by the Muppets

Of course I’ve heard this song; it is more than thirty years old, and has enjoyed more than one incarnation during that time.  First Queen did it in 1975, if I remember correctly.  Then it caught a second wind in the early 1990s, when the movie “Wayne’s World” made it popular again.  And for the 2004 election there was this parody:  Political Bohemian Rhapsody.  Now a Muppet rendition of it is spreading virally across the Internet.  Over the past week Neal Boortz, the talk show host, posted the video on his website, and my brother posted it on Facebook.  Because the Muppets are always entertaining, here it is:

All your favorites make their appearances here:  Gonzo and his chickens, Ralph the piano-playing dog, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Dr. Bunsen Honeyburner, the Swedish Chef, Miss Piggy, Animal, Dr. Teeth, Sam the Eagle, and even the guy who throws the boomerang fish.  And just when you think Kermit and Scooter aren’t there, they deliver the punch line.

Now I have two comments regarding this song:

1. Could somebody post a page or video on what the lyrics mean?  “Bohemian Rhapsody” probably has the strangest lyrics of any popular song from my generation.  I’m figuring it succeeded because Queen is such a big-name band; anything they sing is bound to get attention.  Last year I saw a YouTube video that explained each line from another popular but puzzling song, “American Pie.”  It turns out all the words there are either references to the death of Buddy Holly, or talking about other stuff happening at that time.

2. On March 14, 2008, I posted a video from Gregorian, a band that does Gregorian chant versions of modern songs.  Since then I have discovered and downloaded Songs of Queen, an album where they got medieval on twelve Queen hits.  “Bohemian Rhapsody” wasn’t one of them; do you think they might do it in the future?

The American Superpower, Part V

The fifth part of the fifth chapter, in my North American history series, is now up for everyone in cyberspace to see.  Now I have covered the years from 1992 to 2008.  Do you remember when I said that the fourth part was shorter than the others?  Well, I balanced the pages out by moving the section on Bill Clinton’s first term (“Clintonism”) from Part V to Part IV.  Now those pages have the following sections:


  • Years of “Malaise”
  • The Reagan Renaissance
  • George Bush the Elder
  • Clintonism
  • The Clinton Scandals
  • Islamism on the Move
  • The Battle of the Ballots
  • George Bush the Younger
  • Angry Democrats, Drifting Republicans
  • An Election Like No Other
All I have left to do is post a commentary on where we are going as a nation in 2009, and then the chapter will be done!  Expect to see that on Saturday or Sunday.


The Best Political Blooper Since Hubert Heever

See Chapter 4, footnote #96 of my North American history series, if you don’t understand the title.  Anyway, yesterday the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, visited Venezuela to meet with Hugo Chavez, another enemy of the United States.  At the Caracas airport they greeted him with ceremonial guards and the Iranian national anthem, as you might expect, but it was the wrong Iranian national anthem.  What they played was “Sorood-e Shahanshahi Iran,” which means “Imperial Salute of Iran” — the Shah’s national anthem!  This became the official anthem in 1933 and was replaced after the last Shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, was ousted in the 1979 Iranian Revolution.  You know any Iranian leader who has been in charge over the past thirty years isn’t going to like that.

And here is the news story where I found the above video clip:

“Sorood e Shahanshahi” for Ahmadinejad, Oh my god!

I’m guessing that somebody in Venezuela was told to learn the name of the Iranian anthem and get the score for it, but the reference source where he found it was more than thirty years old!  This would be as bad as if our president visited a foreign leader, and when he expected to hear “The Star Spangled Banner,” he got “God Save the Queen” instead.  Of course, knowing the people running Washington D.C. right now, they would probably think they were hearing the American version of the song, “My Country ‘Tis Of Thee.”

In the video Ahmadinejad played it cool, acting like there was nothing wrong, but you know the anthem must have given him the creeps.  Middle Easterners are a superstitious bunch, and Ahmadinejad is not a rational man.  He may have seen this as an omen of the old monarchy coming back.  I was immediately reminded of an incident like this happening to another Iranian anti-Semite.  That would be the scene in Esther 6:13, where Haman takes Mordechai around the city on the king’s horse, and his wife tells him this is a sign that his plot against the Jews won’t succeed.

Has anybody told Reza Pahlavi, the late Shah’s son, about this?  He proclaimed himself Shah a few months after his father’s death, but so far hasn’t had a realistic chance of getting the Peacock Throne for himself.  This story will make his day for sure!

This also ought a teach a lesson to the ayatollahs; this is what they get for driving all of Iran’s musicians out of the country, because they think Islam is incompatible with music.  As a world music fan, I have some Iranian songs in my collection, but all of them were either recorded before 1979, or come from artists who don’t live in Iran anymore.  The amazing Azam Ali, for instance, fled Iran with her family in 1979, when she was four years old.  Here she sings one of her more recent songs, “The Hunt,” at a concert which I believe took place in 2007.

Happy Thanksgiving 2009!

This year we’ll wait until tomorrow for the big meal, because we want to have it with Gene and Rezia, and they are out of town today, visiting Gene’s family in western Kentucky.  In the meantime, maybe I can finally resize and post the pictures from last week’s anniversary celebration.  And here is a list my pastor shared with us at his most recent sermon, giving us reasons to be thankful for things we normally aren’t thankful about.

I Am Thankful:

  • For the teenager who is not doing dishes but is watching TV, because that means he is at home and not on the streets.
  • For the taxes I pay, because it means that I am employed.
  • For the mess to clean after a party, because it means that I have been surrounded by friends.
  • For the clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means I have enough to eat.
  • For my shadow that watches me work, because it means I am out in the sunshine.
  • For a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing, because it means I have a home.
  • For all the complaining I hear about the government, because it means that we have freedom of speech.
  • For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means I am capable of walking, and that I have been blessed with transportation.
  • For my huge heating bill, because it means I am warm.
  • For the lady behind me in my place of worship when she sings off key, because it means that I can hear.
  • For the pile of laundry and ironing, because it means I have clothes to wear.
  • For weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day, because it means I am capable of working hard.
  • For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours, because it means that I am alive.

and finally….

  • For too much e-mail, because it means I have friends who are thinking of me.

Happy Thanksgiving!  And see my message from last April 9 on when and where the first Thanksgiving really happened.

The American Superpower, Part IV

We’re moving right along with the fifth chapter in my North American history series.  Part four (out of six parts) has just gone up on the site, and is ready for viewing.  This one is shorter than the previous sections, but covers a longer time period, from 1974 to 1992.  There are three topics:

  • Years of “Malaise”
  • The Reagan Renaissance
  • George Bush the Elder

As with the others, read and enjoy!

The American Superpower, Part IV

One Million Hits, Thank You Very Much!

Yes, when it comes to the number of hits, The Xenophile Historian passed the one million mark this afternoon.  I haven’t talked about traffic to the website lately, because it has been down.  Really down.  From 1997 to 2003 it rose steadily each year, peaking at 900 hits per day in 2003; however now I’m only getting 100-200 hits a day.  I blame it on Wikipedia.  Don’t get me wrong, Wikipedia is a fine website (Where else can you find an encyclopedia full of Star Trek Trivia?), but apparently they are taking 3/4 of the history-minded folks who used to come to me!  Thus, The Xenophile Historian counter should have reached the 1,000,000 mark a few years ago, but better late than never.  As they used to say on the old Bartles & Jaymes commercials, thank you for your support.

There is No Room at the Inn, or in the Stable

Yesterday’s newspaper reminded us that we have ten months until the FEI World Equestrian Games, the sporting event that will put Lexington on the map.  If you are planning to attend, I hope you have made arrangements, because I don’t think enough hotel/motel space was built to accommodate the visitors we are expecting, from out of state and abroad.  The cheapest rooms have already been reserved, and the rule of supply & demand is driving up the price of the rest.  If you want a room for less than $100 a night, the closest place to stay is now in Louisville or Cincinnati.  If you insist on Lexington, now you can expect to pay at least $300 a night.  The most expensive place reported were the special suites in the Griffin Gate Marriott, where I went to see Dave Savula last November 9; visitors are paying $4,999 per night to stay there, not only because the rooms are fancy, but because the hotel is close to the Kentucky Horse Park.  The local newspaper, The Lexington Herald-Leader, was quick to point out that such prices are normal for an international sporting event (think how much you would have to pay if you were going to see the Olympics or the World Cup).

When I lived in Orlando, I learned that everyone there is expected to become an innkeeper, when family and friends come from out of town and are looking for a place to stay, while they are visiting the theme parks.  Now let’s see if anything like that happens next September, when the games begin.  This house may end up becoming a bed & breakfast for somebody we don’t know!

In other sports news, the University of Kentucky went to Athens, GA over the weekend, to play the University of Georgia.  Our Wildcats won, 34-27, and I understand it’s the first time we beat the Bulldogs at home since 1977.  Normally that would be something to cheer about, but this time it feels a little unsporting, because we did it while the “Dawgs were down.  Their mascot, a real bulldog, died suddenly last Thursday, and they haven’t had time to find a replacement; this is the first time in more than fifty years that the UGA mascot wasn’t there for a game.  Now the other team has two reasons to be depressed.  As for UK, if it can beat the University of Tennessee next Saturday, the Wildcats will get a change of scenery for the post-season, because they will be going either to the Outback Bowl in Tampa, or the Chick-Fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.

The American Superpower, Part III

The third part from Chapter 5 of my North American history has just been uploaded. This paper goes from 1961 to 1974, covering the presidencies of Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. The subheadings are:

  • The “New Frontier”
  • Who Really Killed JFK?
  • The “Great Society”
  • Nixon Returns
  • “All the President’s Men”
If you are done reading Parts I & II, read and enjoy this one, too!