The U.S. Army, using Black Hawk helicopters, has been dropping food, medicine, and livestock feed to people stranded in the mountains of Montenegro, which have been socked with snow. (Story here.) Nice to know our soldiers have taken a break from killing babies and wiping themselves with Korans to help the hungry.
One of the helicopter pilots compared his work in Montenegro with his work in Afghanistan: “There, we were getting shot at.”
The headline said, “High court torn over law banning lies about medals.” You know, I’m torn too: If it’s illegal to lie about military honors, what other things should it be illegal to lie about? The article began, “Free speech cases before the Supreme Court often lead justices to consider far-fetched scenarios, and Wednesday’s argument . . . was no exception.”
The Wise Latina, Sonia Sotomayor said, “I take offense when someone I’m dating makes a claim that’s not true.” Like that race and ethnicity should have nothing to do with a judge’s interpretation of the Constitution?
I don’t have anything on the Oscars for you, but I have something on a movie: Unstoppable (2010), which I saw on DVD. Wonderfully interesting and exciting movie, I think — but guilty of a few groan-making clichés.
1) The guy who messes up, causing terrible trouble, is a fat white dufus. The viewer is expected to hate him, or scorn him, without reservation.
2) Business executives are heedless or evil, putting profits over people — willing for people to die en masse so that the stock price can remain level. The top exec is reached by telephone when he’s on the golf course!
He’s playing golf! How long has that stereotype been around — since about 342 B.C.? Golf has been a democratic game for ages (forever, actually). I’m surprised they didn’t dress the CEO in top hat and tails and have him eat urchins.
The thing about Marxists, and the Marx-influenced — they’re not just wrong, they’re so crude.
3) The two black characters are 100 percent competent and 100 percent heroic.
Ah, America. Anthropologists of the distant future will have a field day.
I heard a political story that is one of the most charming I have heard in my entire life. Hope you like it: A friend of mine was living in San Francisco in 1980. After work on Election Day, she heard that Carter had conceded to Reagan. But she so wanted to vote for Reagan, and, even more, against Carter, she went out and voted anyway. She wasn’t going to be deprived of casting that ballot, even if the outcome was already known.
A little music? For a column in City Arts, go here. It’s about a Barber of Seville and an Aida at the Metropolitan Opera. Friend of mine wrote me something funny.
In the column, I say,
In this production of The Barber, there is one humble mule. (I’m speaking of an animal, not casting aspersions on a singer.) In Sonja Frisell’s production of Aida, which premiered in 1988, there are about five proper horses — but no elephant. There’s a prop that represents a tusk, however, serving as a war trophy. Has the Met gone cheap?
My friend e-mailed, “You think the Met would put an elephant on the stage in an election year?”
Care for a name? A reader writes, “Number 14 for the University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team, currently ranked #1 in the nation, is Madison Packer. She lists her home town as Birmingham, Mich., but she has the perfect name to play sports in Wisconsin.”
Our reader adds, “Perhaps her middle name is Brewer.”
Care for one more name? Over the weekend, I Googled around about André Tchaikowsky, the Polish pianist from midcentury. I couldn’t quite remember whether he was related to the composer — I didn’t think so, but wanted to be sure.
I discovered that he was given the name Andrzej Czajkowski when he was about seven. This was part of an attempt to save his life. He and his dad survived the war, but his mother was killed at Treblinka.
Later, the pianist changed the spelling of his name to André Tchaikowsky. His original name was Krauthammer — Robert Andrzej Krauthammer.
I thought NRO readers, in particular, would appreciate knowing about another great Krauthammer.