Patterico's Pontifications


Cruz Firmly on Top in Iowa: Des Moines Register Poll

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:31 pm

NBC News: Cruz Catapults to Top in Iowa in New Poll, Leapfrogging Trump:

Ted Cruz catapulted to frontrunner status in Iowa on Saturday night in a new poll, giving the Texas senator 31 percent of the GOP support in the state and placing him now 10 percentage points ahead of Donald Trump.

In the new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll, Cruz, considered the new evangelical favorite, leapfrogged the candidate he has continually avoided to cross paths with throughout the campaign.

The poll, conducted by longtime, respected Iowa pollster Ann Selzer, is seen as a bellwether for the state of the race, where voters will get the first chance at picking the Republican nominee at the Iowa caucus in less than two months on Feb. 1.

Cruz does not support affirmative action, single-payer health care, or any other leftist claptrap — and he never will. If he wins Iowa, he is also the candidate who can claim the mantra of “winner.” This could change the entire dynamic of the race. I think it will.

Frank Sinatra at 100

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:26 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Francis Albert Sinatra was born 100 years ago today in Hoboken, New Jersey to Natalina “Dolly” Garaventa Sinatra of Genoa and Antonio Martino “Marty” Sinatra of Palermo. The Sinatra Family experience was much the same as other immigrant family experiences in the early years of the 20th century: his mother worked as a midwife (and apparently an abortionist) and immersed herself in local politics, his father worked for the fire department and moonlighted as a prizefighter, and the two of them together ran a local tavern where young Frankie first performed for small change. He grew up listening to the music of Al Jolson, Rudy Vallee, and Russ Colombo, all of whom were first- or second-generation Americans, but he ended up idolizing a West Coast singer of Anglo-Irish background who could trace his father’s family back to the arrival of the Mayflower, Harry Lillis “Bing” Crosby, Jr.

After getting his start singing in area clubs and doing free appearances on local radio, Sinatra got his first break in 1935 with a nearby group called the 3 Flashes, who changed their name to the Hoboken Four once Sinatra joined. The group appeared on the Major Bowes’ Amateur Hour radio show which was something of the American Idol of its day, and ended up winning first prize. In 1939 trumpet player Harry James left the Benny Goodman Orchestra to start up his own group, and he hired Sinatra as his singer. (Historical footnote: supposedly James wanted to change Sinatra’s stage name to “Frankie Satin,” which Sinatra smartly refused) Sinatra would leave the James Orchestra within a few months to join the more renowned Tommy Dorsey Orchestra as the boy singer at the height of the big band era.

It was this fortuitous pairing with Dorsey which would have the major impact on Sinatra’s career. From Dorsey, Sinatra learned how to take quick side breaths while holding a note, applying the trombonists’ playing trick to his own singing. During his years in the Dorsey Orchestra, Sinatra would meet staff arranger Axel Stordahl who would arrange many of Sinatra’s hits at Columbia and Capitol. (Historical footnote 2: a year after Sinatra left the Dorsey Orchestra, Dorsey hired a young trombone player named Nelson Riddle, who would go on to arrange and produce some of Sinatra’s most memorable hits.) Here is a brief clip of Sinatra and the Dorsey Orchestra, along with girl singer Jo Stafford and the Pied Pipers, singing one of the groups biggest hits:

Sinatra left the Dorsey Orchestra to embark upon a solo career in 1942. His life from there is well documented, from the sold-out run at New York’s Paramount Theater, to his turbulent marriage to and divorce from Ava Gardner, to the comebacks, the Academy Award, the hits at Capitol Records, the Rat Pack, the friendship with mobsters, the years on Las Vegas stages, the movies, starting his own record company, Mia Farrow, retirements, more comebacks, duets, and his death seventeen years ago. He lived his life publicly and without apology, he could be generous and he could be cruel, and he always maintained a soft spot in his heart for the underdog, and an enduring love of and gratitude to the country that had made him so rich and famous.

Like his idol Crosby, Sinatra’s career fortuitously coincided with the golden age of the American songwriter, and Sinatra recorded all of them from the Gershwins, to Cole Porter, to Sammy Cahn and Jule Steyn, to Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, to Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, to Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen, to Irving Berlin, to Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields, and countless others. His recordings span over a half-century, and he sang virtually every type of popular music imaginable. He embodied the American Dream, the Horatio Alger success story, the cautionary tale of too much too young, and the quintessential spirit of endurance and redemption. Even today it’s impossible not to feel your mood lift when the opening notes to Nelson Riddle’s arrangement of I’ve Got You Under My Skin play and Sinatra’s silky smooth voice croons the opening line, and the song (wonderful story about its recording here) sounds today every bit as fresh as must have when it was recorded 60 years ago. Sinatra’s music truly is timeless.

Mark Steyn has been counting down 100 great Sinatra songs throughout this entire year, culminating with the final pick to be announced today. As typical of Steyn, every one of his song essays is fascinating and well worth the read. He also links to some other bloggers who have been compiling lists of their own favorite Sinatra recordings.

Happy birthday, Mr. S.


Ken White of Popehat in the L.A. Times, Talking Gun Control

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:25 pm

I was going to link this post by Ken White of Popehat anyway, but now that it is in the L.A. Times (yes, the L.A. Times!) I have to link it. It is about the unproductive ways that people talk about gun control — but really, it mainly bashes gun control advocates. I love this analogy of mush-headed gun control advocates to someone who knows nothing about dogs, but knows they want to do something about, you know, “attack dogs”:

Imagine I’m concerned about dangerous pit bulls, and I’m explaining my views to you, a dog trainer — but I have no grasp of dog terminology.

Me: I don’t want to take away dog owners’ rights, but we need to do something about pit bulls. We need restrictions on owning an attack dog.

You: Wait. What’s an “attack dog”?

Me: You know what I mean. Like military dogs.

You: Huh? Pit bulls aren’t military dogs. In fact “military dogs” isn’t a thing. You mean like German Shepherds?

Me: Don’t be ridiculous. Nobody’s trying to take away your German Shepherds. But civilians shouldn’t own fighting dogs.

You: I have no idea what dogs you’re talking about now.

Me: You’re being both picky and obtuse. You know I mean hounds.

You: Hounds? Seriously?

Me: OK, maybe not actually “hounds.” Maybe I have the terminology wrong. I’m not obsessed with violent dogs the way you are. But we can identify breeds that civilians just don’t need to own.

You: Apparently not.

In his post, “Hounds? Seriously?” was originally a more colorful expression. But, you know. L.A. Times and everything. You have to go highbrow.

One of the commenters says: “I came here expecting another gun bashing diatribe but found a halfway objective op-ed, the LA Times surely is improving.” By publishing Ken White, it certainly is.

P.S. My favorite comment so far at the newspaper’s Web site is this one:

That’s all well and good, Mr White, if that’s your real name, but what about the real threat that faces every man, woman, and child today?

You know very well what of I am writing.

What about the pony menace?

Popehat readers get the joke.

UPDATE: Kevin M catches something I totally missed: “Imagine I’m concerned about dangerous pit bulls, and I’m explaining my views to you, a dog trainer — but I have no grasp of dog terminology.”

That line was not in the original post. It is in the L.A. Times version.

I think Ken White just punked the Dog Trainer, big time.

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