Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Beethoven Clip

I've posted about Beethoven before. He was, in my estimation, the finest of all the composers, and I do not make this statement lightly. I am also a huge fan of Berlioz, Bach, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, and Wagner. Mozart was great, but he never lifted my soul to its feet or dashed it to its knees.

I just ran across this clip from Immortal Beloved. I'm posting it because I think that it is produced well. Two scenes strike me the most. First, when he is a boy in the starlit pond. Second, when the conductor has to turn the maestro around to face the crowd because Beethoven, while able to hear the music of the 9th Symphony in his heart, could not hear the crowd's standing ovation.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Meet the New Boss / Same as the Old Boss

On February 6, 1649, England's parliament abolished the monarchy, calling it "unnecessary, burdensome, and dangerous to the liberty, society, and public interest of the people."

Oliver Cromwell then led them into one of the most repressive tyrannies of the island's history. So great was Cromwell's tyranny that the English people demanded the restoration of the monarchy after Cromwell's death.

On July 4, 1776, the 13 United Colonies (i.e. the infant United States) declared their independence from Britain, citing "a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object . . . a design to reduce [the colonies] under absolute Despotism..."

Eleven years later, the "firm league of friendship" that had been the Articles of Confederation, were usurped by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Hearing of the convention, the Virginian Patrick Henry said, "I smell a rat in Philadelphia tending toward monarchy."

Seventy-odd years later, the powerful executive of the United States waged an unprovoked war against seven (initially seven, later eleven) former states of the Union who had seceded because they sensed "a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object . . . a design to reduce [the Southern states] under absolute Despotism..."

In 1789, the people of France rebelled and overthrew their king (eventually executing him--as the English had Charles I). In the spirit of "Liberty, equality, and fraternity," the leaders of the French Revolution slaughtered critics, opponents, suspected critics, and suspected opponents, each other, until finally the savior of the revolution, one Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor of France and tried to liberate Europe by seizing territory to be held beneath his thumb.

In 1917, Tsar Nicholai Alexandrovich II--absolute ruler of 1/6 of the earth's surface--was forced to abdicate his crown and submit to an elected Duma. Within a year, the Bolsheviks took over the Duma and made the Tsar's powers and deeds look as harmless as a purring kitten.

In November 2008, Americans elected Barack Obama to replace the tyrannical governace of George W. Bush.

Won't Get Fooled Again

We'll be fighting in the streets
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgment of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again

The change it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the fold, that's all
And the world looks just the same
And history ain't changed
'Cause the banners, they all flown in the last war

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
No, no!

I'll move myself and my family aside
If we happen to be left half alive
I'll get all my papers and smile at the sky
For I know that the hypnotized never lie
Do ya?


There's nothing in the streets
Looks any different to me
And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
And the parting on the left
Is now parting on the right
And the beards have all grown longer overnight

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again
No, no!


Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

Check out the video clip below: Pete Townshend's blazing guitar as he leaps about and plays with the energy of a dozen dynamos.

For that matter, look at the brilliant bass work by John Entwissle!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mark Has Word-Play Fun

Mark is only five, but he demonstrated this morning his capacity for maturity levels at least equal to mine.

The whole family was discussing what to do on such a beautiful day. Mrs. Aristos suggested mini-golf, which I shot down--arguing that Robbie would be an irrepressible nuisance to us and to other mini-golfers.

Natalie insisted that Robbie would be good, and I replied that she merely wanted Robbie to be good so that we would go mini-golfing. In fact, I continued, he will run all over the place, climbing on things, and grabbing other people's golf balls.

But I didn't use the phrase "and grabbing other people's golf balls." I simply said, "and grabbing other people's balls."

Mark caught it even before I did, and he laughed so hard that milk nearly shot out of his nose. As soon as I noticed it, I realized what I'd said, and then I began to laugh.

Ever since then, Mark has been full of great one-liners such as "Golfing hurts because you keep hitting your balls."

Article on Freeman Dyson

Read this this neat, albeit lengthy, article from The New York Times on Freeman Dyson--a distinguished scientist and intellectual--of whom I was previously (and shamefully) unaware.

So utterly ignorant was I of him that I wondered--just prior to reading the article-- if he was the dude who behind my vacuum cleaner.

As it turns out, that's James Dyson; and my mistaken connection shamed me to be in the same league as Theodore Logan.

Mr. Ryan: Who was Joan of Arc?
Ted Logan: Noah's wife?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Natalie Recommends a Movie

I ask Natalie:
What do you expect from the new Hannah Montana movie?

Natalie answers:
It's going to be a great movie.

I ask, "Why?"

She says, "Because she gets to go back to Tennessee and remember what it's like to be at home."

I reply, "Isn't her home in California?"

She qualifies, "Technically yes, but she wants to know more about her roots back in Tennessee."

I prod, "I thought that going back to Tennessee was her dad's idea."

She fires back, "It was."

I attack, "Then what's all this about her wanting to know more about her roots?"

She explains, "He wants his country-girl back because she was getting too involved with being Hannah."

I conclude with the following question:
Should my readers go out and see the movie?

She states, "Yes."

I ask one more question:
How can you recommend a movie that you haven't even seen?

She responds, "Because I read the junior novel."

Just one more question:
Who will enjoy the movie more, BAR, Drew, or Bob Murphy?

She says, "Probably BAR, but I don't know why."

I snicker (because I do know why).

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

An Additional Comment

You know what? I'm tired of having nothing good to say.

I love my wife, my kids, and my life. If only I was left alone.

My wife is good. She has the patience that I don't have. She has the forgiveness that I lack. She has the way of seeing things as always working out in the end--that infuriates me sometimes!

My kids are wonderful. Natalie is extremely smart and compassionate. Like me, she has an ear for music and a way of making connections between otherwise separate things (what Mortimer J. Adler called Syntopical thinking).

Mark is stubborn--like one of his parents (but I'll not name names)--but generous, strong, and--in his own odd way--, downright brilliant.

Robbie--well, he's only 20 months old, so I can't brag about much except that he's overall a really great kid who seems to have a knack for figuring out things--especially the things that we don't want him to figure out (e.g. how to turn door knobs or pull chairs across the room in order to reach something).

If I could secede and live with only those close to me, then I would be perfectly happy and this blog would be terribly boring.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

No More Czars

The United States is a country of free men and women. We have no king. We have no emperor.

And yet our government designates such posts as "Drug Czar" and now "Border Czar."

I've said this before, and I'll say this again. "Czar" is a variation of "Caesar."

If you have a country with a "Czar," then you do not have a free country.

The only good thing that the Bolsheviks did was to show that a "Czar" was mortal.

Caesar was killed for a reason, and yet we keep resurrecting him as if he'd been born in Nazareth.

Our current Caesar was, apparently, born in Hawaii.

Who gives a crap?

Sic semper tyrannis

Enhancement Promises

I just checked my "Junk Mail"--as designated by MSN.

Apparently, the makers of certain products have not consulted the very satisfied Mrs. Aristos.

Robbie Has a Bad Dream--But of What?

My wife just interrupted me as I was finishing the last post. I'd heard Robbie (22 months old) crying about a half-hour ago, and apparently she'd fished him out of bed and held him tight until he fell back asleep in her arms. She needed me to lift him carefully and put him back to bed.

After doing so (the dutiful husband and father that I am), I asked my wife if she had any idea why Robbie awoke so distressed.

"I don't know," she said. "Maybe he had a bad dream."

To which I wondered, and then said, "What kind of bad dream could Robbie have? He dreamed that Spongebob wasn't on TV?"

To which my wife laughed--not because it was clever, but because it was true. What other kind of bad dream might a twenty-month old have?

I guess that he might dream of being lost and separated from us, but he's never been so, so how can he fear it?

I guess that he might dream of monsters, but he's never been told of monsters or seen a monster movie.

I guess that he overheard my rant over Obama's fiscal policy and economic "recovery" plan, but the only words that he can say are

"Dah" (Dad),

"Ma" (Mom),

"No" (No),

"Ouwie" (Ouwie),

"Mar" (Mark),

"Dogh" (Dog),

"Bye-bye" (Bye-bye),

"Oba" (Opa--German for Grandpa),

and "Whaizzatt?" (What is that?).

Everything else that he says comes out in a nonsensical babble or simply just "Zuh" or "Ooh tuh!."

So I doubt highly that he was disturbed over my rant which included such terms as "irresponisible," "inflationary," "idiotic," "socialistic," or "counter-productive."

I also doubt that he understood such phrases as "catering to imbiciles," "populist nonsense," "false messiah," "the insidious consequence of universal suffrage," or "trailor-park economics."

Remakes Tend to Suck--Always

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, starring Paul Newman (as Butch) and Robert Redford (as Sundance) is one of the coolest movies ever made. It's funny. It's action-packed. It's even emotional--to a certain extent. It's well written, well directed, perfectly acted, and excepting a montage with a horrible musical accompianment (bad-duh-bah...) practically perfect in every way.

Just this scene alone should have you at Blockbuster in no time.

Rumor has it that Tom Cruise plans to remake the film, starring himself as the Sundance Kid, and casting John Travolta as Butch.

My thoughts?


What's next? Remake The Terminator with Richard Simmons?

Remake 9 1/2 Weeks with Rosie O'Donnell?

Remake Braveheart with Fat Bastard from Austin Powers?

Remake The Matrix with Keanu Reeves?

We Need More Idealism?

The headline to this article from The USA Today reads, "Nation Needs Youthful Idealism More Than Ever."

Notice the sacrifices that the author and editor made in order to publish such a title. It might have read "Nation Needs Common Sense More Than Ever," or "Nation Needs Good Ideas More Than Ever," or "Nation Needs Wise Policy Makers More Than Ever."

Instead, the article refers to "Youthful Idealism," whatever that means. Does that mean the puppy-eyed wish for everything just to work out? Does that mean the belief that if you want something bad enough it will come true?

What this nation needs if for people of all ages to realize that governments on all levels have us astray--and by their very nature always will. The article mentions a "can-do" attitude that is apparently one of our core-values. Were this the case, then the federal government would be smaller even than Jefferson imagined. Instead, Americans don't really value the "can-do" spirit, otherwise they wouldn't employ bureaucrats backed by well-armed soldiers to make policy by fiat. There are no bailouts in the "can-do" spirit.

Part of the problem is that Americans have developed a foolish idealism that envisions the government as the best and primary instrument of progress, when history shows that what governments do best is wage wars, tyrannize subjects, and loot economies of their resources.

Saying we need more idealism is like saying that we need more voo-doo, but worse.

Monday, April 13, 2009


OK, BAR, so Easter is over, and yet I feel crappier knowing that I am responsible for the torture and execution of an innocent man,

And you suggest that I should rejoice?

As if a "Thanks, dude" sufficed? Even if I wore a shirt at tie--does that equal it?

BAR, the human race is rotten, and we owe everything to the Son's sacrifice.

This is more to lament as it is to celebrate.

I am glad to be saved, but I am saddened that it took His suffering and Death to forgive me my transgressions.

This is why Easter isn't a "Let's celebrate" holiday. God is good and wonderful enough to forgive us.

We are bad enough to need our Lord to suffer and die for our redemption.

Now have a party! Eat Peeps and ham!

You've lived so that he who did nothing wrong had to die.

Go ahead and say that such is the thoughts for Good Friday.

I have yet to meet the man or woman who repents that evening. There isn't even any good TV!

Good Friday is merely the reminder that people had better buy crap for their kids come the next Sunday.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ist Das Nicht Deutsch?

How do you say, "You're a dumbass" in Austrian?

President Obama needs only to study how to say the same in German.

Forgive me for citing FoxNews on this, but the mainstream media seems unwilling to admit that the genius president doesn't know that Austrians speak German.

How surprised will he be to learn that Americans speak English? Don't look to the New York Times for any explanation.

The point is that the media will jump all over guys like Dan Quayle for not knowing how to spell "potato." but when Obama makes a gaff they will smear his feces all over their bodies while pronouncing him the anointed one.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

My Thoughts on Easter

I've always revered Easter as the day commemorating Jesus's resurrection, by far the most significant event for mankind since the Fall (actually, it rather elegantly reverses the ultimate consequences of the Fall).

However, I've never liked the popular imagery associated with Easter: hard-boiled eggs, a magical bunny, and candy.

The eggs and bunny represent fertility, the promise of new life. I completely agree that, in its own way, the resurrection represents the promise of new life. Still, the images seem far too pagan for my liking. The only thing we're missing here for full no-holds-barred pagan imagery is a giant phallus--then again, the Easter Bunny often holds a carrot.

At least Santa Claus is based upon a man, St. Nicholas, who gave gifts to those in need, just as God gave unto us his only begotten Son (John 3:16). The Easter Bunny is based upon an animal that procreates at rates amazing even to those in the NBA.

The candy must be the thing that gets kids into Easter. However, it causes them to get excited about Easter for the wrong reason.

At 6:00 A.M., I will wake up my three children (Mass is at 8 A.M., so we need to get started early). Robbie is too young to get it this year, but the older two will be all jazzed over the Easter baskets.

Our celebration of Christmas has the same problem, but at least it isn't filled with pagan imagery and ugly pastels.

On top of all of this, hard-boiled eggs taste, to me, what I imagine a pile of dung must taste like.

Christmas has eggnog, cookies, and all sorts of goodies.

Easter has food that smells like something that came out of my Uncle Les about an hour after Thanksgiving dinner.

We and our children should be happy on Easter. But it's an ironic happiness. We are saved--yes, that is the big deal. However, we should bow our heads in a bit of shame to know that we are so depraved that an innocent and good man had to suffer and die in order that we might have another chance.

Easter should evoke two emotions: gratefulness and shame.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Read The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal

It won't be long until most television series have their season finales. By the end of May, most of you will suddenly find some free time on your hands.

With that free time, consider reading The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal, by Robert P. Murphy.

I did my best to spread the word, Bob, but the truth is that my mom isn't likely to pick it up and BAR will probably just borrow my own copy.

Then again, maybe Golf Guy will emerge from the abyss, and Surrealist is more than likely to take up the challenge.

That's about it for my regular readers. There used to be this guy who called himself "Howling Mad" Murdock, but he spends most of his time now stuffing his face with fish sticks. Man, he loves fish sticks. Actually, he's not all that discriminating. He loves stuffing his face with sticks from any and all species.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Obama v. Pirates

Obama struggles to deal with the issue of piracy off the coast of Somalia. He is reluctant to use force.

That's irony, considering his domestic policies involve the threat of force against any who decline to submit to his tyranny.

So Obama will aim guns at Rick Wagoner and force him to step down (yes, any dictation from the federal government means the involvement of guns--just think about it: that's why we follow their BS), but Obama will step back and wait for the pirates in Somalia to make their next move.

That's leadership?

At least Lincoln didn't hesitate to kill several hundred-thousand opponents. He was a tyrant, yes, but he was a tyrant with a sack, at least.

Just look at the recent ado over North Korea. Obama said that North Korea had better not launch that rocket.

North Korea launched that rocket.

Obama did nothing.

This guy has all of his guns aimed at American taxpayers, and none of the guns are aimed at Americans' enemies.

When we hoped for a change from G. W. Bush, I doubt that this is what people expected. However, they should have remembered Aesop's fable about the frogs who wished for a king.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


I received this email from the Campaign for Liberty

April 6, 2009

Dear Friend of Liberty,

Campaign for Liberty’s very own Steve Bierfeldt has become an unexpected Internet sensation -- and the latest target of over-reaching federal government agents.

You see, Steve was detained by Airport Police and TSA officials shortly after the Campaign for Liberty regional conference in St. Louis.

The officials rudely berated and harassed Steve for 30 minutes in a secluded room at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. Fortunately, Steve was able to record nearly all of the interrogation with his cell phone.

Steve’s alleged “crime”? Carrying $4,700 in checks and cash from Campaign for Liberty, along with various other materials from our conference.

The local and Federal agents harassed Steve. They were belligerent, cursing and using insulting language. They threatened to turn Steve over to the DEA and the FBI, all the while refusing to inform him of his legal rights or explain how cash and checks threatened airplane or airport security.

Throughout the interrogation, Steve remained polite but resolute and declined to answer the invasive questions without an adequate explanation from these federal and local agents as to why they needed to be answered. Without telling Steve what law he was accused of breaking, they continued their harassment.

Although they grew increasingly frustrated that he remained committed to exercising his rights, intervention from another officer eventually led the police to reluctantly release Steve.

Last Wednesday, Steve appeared on Judge Napolitano’s Freedom Watch to discuss the flagrant violation of his rights and to promote the importance of each of us defending our civil liberties.

Now, Steve’s appearance on Freedom Watch – which features several minutes of the audio tape – has gone viral.

Click here to watch the segment, which has become one of the most viewed videos on YouTube.

Steve’s ordeal is a reminder to all patriots that liberty is constantly under fire, and we must remain vigilant and prepared to stand up for our rights.

The real question is how a man carrying a few thousand dollars in cash is a threat to airline safety.

Monday, April 06, 2009

24--A Change? Naw

It is plausible that Jack Bauer dies, and Tony Almeda carries the show.

Plausible, but not likely.

Jack Bauer is irreplaceable. He's the epitome of the good-government-agent myth.

Hell, I'll say it. Bauer is awesome.

Someone will get Jack's (hot) daughter in, and her stem-cells will make Michael J. Fox proud by doing the job and jumping the shark--er, saving Jack Bauer...

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Talk the Talk, but No Walk the Walk

The United States said to North Korea, "You'd better not launch that rocket!" (at least in words of the same spirit).

Japan said to North Korea, "We will shoot down any rockets that fly over Japanese territory."

Well, North Korea launched the rocket, and it flew over Japanese territory.

The United States's response? "You are very bad, North Korea. Shame on you."

Did Japan shoot down the rocket? No.

So what did North Korea learn from all of this?

It learned that the U.S. and Japan are full of hot air.

Man, for the days of George W. Bush! Had he been president, we would have shot down that rocket and invaded Uruguay.

A Swiftly Cooling Climate?

Every time the weather is unseasonable warm, some dimwit shows up beside me to comment on how obviously the climate is warming, and we need to work together as one people to fix it.

However, when it's unseasonably cold, I'm considered daft if I comment on how obviously the climate must be cooling, and we need to work together as one people to fix it.

I say this because they are forecasting up to six inches of snow for tonight and tomorrow.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Let me make this clear. I do not advocate violence now. But, contrary to what some of my friends say, there is a time and place for violence.

If ever we are faced with the situation presently playing out in Venezuela, then I am of the persuasion who are unwilling to take it.

I'm not saying that it will happen, but I'm warning that history shows that it could happen.

And if it does happen, then we should not sit idly by and allow us to be abused. There comes a time when we must stand up and say, "No more!"

That time is not yet, but it's not impossible.

Death to those who would deprive others of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Sic semper tyrannis.

For Those in Times of Trouble

The video is not high-quality, but the songs lyrics come through.

Bill of Rights