Tag: Best and Worst

Group Writing: My Year of Hell

 

There’s a particular period of my life that I have always referred to as my Year of Hell. (The phrase is borrowed from an episode of Star Trek: Voyager; call it my annus horribilis if you prefer a more classical term.) In fact, I cheat a little bit: it’s a period of just about thirteen months, spanning from September of 2001 through September of the following year. Perhaps it’s overstating things a bit; I know I’ve had a pretty good life, and I probably don’t know what true suffering is like. But it was, as they say, a rough patch.

That thirteen-month period started, of course, with an event that wasn’t about me at all: 9/11, a trauma we all shared, even those of us who watched only from a distance. I felt shaken: it seemed that the world had changed, and not for the better. Over the weeks and months that followed, I watched nervously as the economy reeled and the country moved toward war. But gradually I began to realize that despite the enormity of the event, my own life hadn’t really been affected.

Best and Worst: Billy Joel Albums

 

I have strong opinions about Billy Joel’s music, so of course I had to take this opportunity to analyze it and determine his best and worst albums! I was going to do the top five songs and bottom five songs, but all the bottom ones would have come from the same album, so that doesn’t seem interesting. Then I was going to write about just the singles, but that would have taken more time than I had to weed through. So, I opted to go with the top and bottom albums instead. I’m going to tell you the top and bottom albums critically speaking, what I think are his best and worst albums, and then what my favorite and least favorite albums are. For the critical rankings, the criteria I am going to use are, first, peak chart position in the United States, followed (for the best album) by the number of countries in which the album was No. 1, since there are four albums that went to No. 1 in the U.S.

Here we go!

Member Post

 

In need of a break from the ugliness of politics, I turned to my current favorite classical guitarist, Xuefei Yang, an example of the best of China. As I noted in a recent post on music memories, her work points back, in part, to Julian Bream. Bream was a masters of the guitar and lute, […]

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The Best and the Worst

 

When I got married, I knew I wanted to have children. It was just what you did, right? I came from a family of eight kids. My parents and grandparents all had children. The only people that I was aware of without children were a couple of my aunts who had never married.

We’d been married just over two years when our first child was born. We made a plan; we made a baby; we had the baby! It was amazing! He was adorable, sweet, calm, so awesome. We decided to have another baby. We made a plan; we made a baby; she was born! She cried relentlessly for the first three months of her life. She had terrible colic, and occasionally, I’d just have to hand her over to daddy and walk outside for a moment or two of calmness. It was soooo different from the first baby! In fact, her personality was nearly the opposite of our son.

Best Star Spangled Banner Performance: Diana Ross

 

Diana Ross was the first pop star to perform the national anthem at a Super Bowl, and her 1982 performance set a standard not yet surpassed at any professional sports venue. From high school to professional sports events, Americans have long started these secular public rites with our national anthem. The NFL had long leaned on college marching bands and choruses, but broke from tradition with a pop star actually past the peak of her genre. Diana Ross, Motown royalty, rose to the occasion in Detroit’s Silverdome Stadium, setting the standard for future performers.

There are three basic rules for a good national anthem vocal performance:

Member Post

 

[Official videos and post game details added]  The 2021 U.S. Open Tennis Tournament women’s singles semifinals were a pair of Cinderella stories,* but (in Sean Connery’s voice), in the end there can be only one. So, on Saturday evening two teenage girls met in the center court, Arthur Ashe Stadium, seeking not a glass slipper […]

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The Best and Worst of Sports

 

tennis over footballThursday, September 9, 2021, showed both the best and worst of professional sports. The NFL bullied and canceled a Black woman for daring to talk back and assert religious and bodily liberty over the lab-coat left’s lies. At the same time, the U.S. Open tennis tournament counter-programmed the NFL season opener with a double feature Cinderella story. In the end, there was far more entertainment value in the British and Canadian teen women of color on the Arthur Ashe Court than there was on some woke gridiron performance.

The NFL has gone defiantly woke, spitting in the face of American fans with every player’s uniform plastered with anti-American slogans, smearing us all as an irredeemably racist country. Mark Davis, DFW area Salem Radio host and Cowboys fan denounced the NFL’s finger-wagging smear of the fans. He then walked the walk by live-tweeting the wonderful tennis being played by young women who are committed to excellence, not ideology.

The Best and Worst for Two Tyrants: A Group Writing Post

 

On this day in 1943, German paratroopers and Waffen SS commandos freed Mussolini from his mountaintop prison. In an extremely high-risk operation, ninety German special forces, riding aboard ten gliders (towed by airplanes), landed near the Hotel Campo Imperatore, high in the Apennine Mountains, where Mussolini was imprisoned. The German commandos quickly overwhelmed Mussolini’s guards, and in less than an hour they had freed Mussolini and were on their way to Berlin to present Il Duce to the Fuhrer.

Despite that minor glitch when Mussolini was imprisoned, two of the world’s most vicious dictators were riding high: Their armies were conquering nations, their bureaucrats were making sure the trains ran on time, and they were soaking up the acclaim of adoring Italians and Germans, who seemed more than satisfied to watch the political theater that Hitler and Mussolini used to exalt the state.  In histrionic speeches, in parades, in huge Fascist rallies, Hitler and Mussolini were masters of political theater.

It was their best of times. But brutal dictators — and their mistresses — usually don’t end well.

Pussycats Galore: A Group Writing Post

 

Until we adopted Bob the dog a few years back, Marie and I were cat people. We had cat after cat for 55 years, including Ginger (pictured), Jody, Paddy, Scamper, Minnie, Bounce, Tabby, Fluffy, Frisky, and Ebony.  We’ve had cats going all the way back to our days in student housing at the University of Oregon.  

My favorite was Scamper, a fluffy calico with white paws and a sweet disposition.  At the time, I was working on my Ph.D. at the University of Utah.  When I would arrive home tired, Scamper was always there to greet me, curling around my legs, purring up a storm.  (Not quite as good as a dog’s greeting, but at the time it sufficed.) Sometimes I would pick her up and carry her to our easy chair, where she would sit on my lap until dinner duties called me away.

Member Post

 

As has become my wont, herein a brief play list, a sound track for your musings and inspiration towards posting on the September group writing theme: “Best and Worst.” You might well take from this the inspiration to post any of a number of other musical posts, in which the best and worst versions of […]

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Member Post

 

This September we reflect on the best and worst. The events of 20 years ago, and the events of the past days, weeks, and months invite sober reflection. Ricochet members, founding or first time subscribers, AND especially the reticent or keyboard shy, are heartily encouraged to join in our group writing project this month. Each […]

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