Consequences, &c.

Debo Adegbile


Rotblat was a fellow-traveler, to be blunt. And the Pugwashers, alike in character. Holdren gave a Nobel lecture on their behalf.

My point, I guess, is that Holdren is the type of guy you would expect to be Obama’s “science czar.” Elections have consequences, I keep saying. Holdren is one of those consequences. Obama’s nuttiness about California droughts is another. Debo Adegbile is another. And on, and on . . .

Over the years, you’ve read headlines like this: “Italian cleaner accidentally throws modern art in the bin.” And the subhead: “Cleaning lady was ‘just doing her job’ when she dumped art.” Yup. For the story, go here.

And as my comrade Roger Kimball, the editor of The New Criterion, told me, “Sign her up as an art critic.”

There is an old question, evergreen: What is an American? I smiled when I read something in a press release from Deutsche Grammophon, the record label (as we used to call them). In a list of musicians, they referred to the “American classical pianist Vladimir Horowitz.”

He is always described as a Russian. He was born in 1903, fled the motherland in 1925, and lived here in the U.S. pretty much ever after. Was he an American? Yes, I think he was. (And a Russian, spiritually and musically.)

Speaking of music, have a review, published in CityArtshere. It is of a recital by Anne Sofie von Otter, mezzo-soprano, and Emanuel Ax, piano.

Was in Houston the other day. One thing you see there is building — new building. Lots of activity, economic activity. Texas continues to flourish. There are jobs aplenty in Houston. Great, great economic vitality.

It occurs to me that our national economy has been shored up by two things — two things that President Obama and the Democratic party are vehemently opposed to: oil and gas drilling (think North Dakota), and Texas — the conservative policies of Texans.

Lucky us. All of us.

Some years ago, I heard an Egyptian lamenting the poverty and hopelessness of Egypt. Young Egyptians and other Arabs are fleeing to the Gulf, to find work. “And thank God there is a Gulf,” said the man. “Because we have no work, no opportunity, and no future for them.”

As I understand it, many, many people, especially the young, are going to Texas (and North Dakota and some other entrepreneurial pockets). Someone, somewhere, has to provide economic vitality. Not all of us can be community organizers, lawyers, Solyndra hustlers, IRS agents, and diversity officers.

Before going to Texas, I was in Michigan. Walking down a frozen country lane, I saw something startling, and beautiful: a Finnish flag. Must have had to do with the Winter Olympics. I snapped a photo, here.

A few days later, I was in Houston, walking through the lovely Tanglewood neighborhood. I saw something startling: a Norwegian flag. What the . . .? Turned out to be the Norwegian consulate — here.

On the plane home, the flight attendant was a comedian — I mean, the attendant doing the instructional spiel. (Not sure what to call it, formally.) Usually, I don’t like it when the gal or guy on the mike tries to be funny. The comedy usually falls flat. But this guy was genuinely funny.

As I recall, he said, “In the event of [whatever], your oxygen mask will come down. After you stop screaming . . .” Then he said, “Before putting a mask on your child, put yours on first. Then put the child’s mask on. If you have several children, start with the one you like best.”

I’m not sure I’ve transcribed this faithfully, but it was truly funny. Maybe against the rules — but delightful.

Have a good one, y’all.


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