Tuesday, February 14, 2012

On Tributes and Songs of Remembrance -OR- Scenes from the 2012 Grammy Awards

In a happier moment, Whitney Houston sings with her daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown on stage in 2009.

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Editor's Note: I wrote this entry on Monday night but posted it shortly after midnight on Tuesday, Feb. 14th.

I'm still quite stunned and saddened by Whitney Houston's untimely death this past Saturday (Feb. 11, 2012) at age 48 in a Beverly Hills hotel room from what may have been a prescription drug overdose.

And I don't care how "bad" she lived her life -- the implication being she "deserved" this.

No one needs to hear that self-righteous shit right now. Besides, we have all fallen far short of the Glory of God, or whatever it is you want to say.

I had wanted to post -- embed as a video clip in this entry-- Jennifer Hudson's wonderful tribute to Whitney Houston at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards last night.

All I can do is find YouTube clips, but the YouTube copyright police are out "in monstrous infinity" and none of the actual clips manages to last very long.*

And for whatever reason, I can't seem to use Hulu on this computer because it thinks I'm outside the United States, or something like that.

Here is picture of Whitney Houston with her daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown. I'm not sure when this was taken but it must have been within the last two years. Brown is just 18 years old and was devastated by her mother's death. 

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However, although I cannot find a video clip to embed on this blog, I nevertheless found a nice good video of Jennifer Hudson's tribute song posted on a Los Angeles Times website which you may watch here (with no ads!). I watched it from Larry's Lounge with Kristof and Jamie.

Goodbye, Whitney. Here's hoping you are at peace now.

Oh, yes, here is a nice and unexpected picture of Whitney Houston meeting President George H.W. Bush at the White House in 1990 at a Youth Leadership Forum.

I'm not posting any pictures of f/king Bobby Brown. This whole thing is at least partially fault, that moral and ethical dirt bag.

*I imagine this is the kind of work that you-know-who helps facilitate all day long through 19-hour long conference calls or after flying for 15 hours in a first class pod half way across the planet with mega-billion dollar clients and 1,700 page contracts.

"Eh. Eh. Eheheh. Contract law is the paramount measure of all value and relations. Therefore, from a strict constructionist point of view, contractual fulfillment is the highest form of - "

Oh, shut-up, Wall-P.

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As for the rest of the 54th Grammy Awards, here are some observations and accompanying images ...

First of all, three of the surviving members of The Beach Boys made an appearance to sing with Maroon 5 and Foster the People.

Here the three surviving members of The Beach Boys perform at the 2012 Grammy Awards last night. They are all about 70 years old. Meanwhile, the members of Foster the People are in their 20s.

Oh, yes, Tony Bennett, 85, sang the duet It Had To Be You with Carrie Underwood. They are pictured above. She respectfully referred to him as "Mr. Bennett."

Then there were really weird performances such as this ...

Actually, I found rather amazing the performance with its wild Exorcist theme from Nicki Minaj (pictured above) in her song Roman Holiday.

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And then there was this ...

I'm not even sure what the hell it's supposed to be. Something about a dead mouse spelled "Deadmau5." And the LED face -- in this image, smiling -- kept wildly shifting.

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Oh, and of course, I should point out that Adele cleaned up at the Grammy Awards with six awards including Album of the Year. She also managed to get the words "snot" and "lot" in her heavy North London (Tottenham) accent.

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Grammy Awards 2012 host LL Cool J and Diana Ross announce the Album of the Year award.

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In addition, Glen Campbell performed at the Grammy Awards last night.


Campbell -- pictured above at the Grammy Awards -- sang his hit Rhinestone Cowboy. I forgot just how many of his songs I like including Rhinestone Cowboy, Galveston, The Wichita Lineman, and Gentle on My Mind (which was also performed wonderfully last night by the Band Perry rather than Campbell).

Here the Band Perry performs the Glen Campbell song Gentle on My Mind at the Grammy Awards last night.

Anyway, here is Campbell performing Rhinestone Cowboy in 2001, complete with bouncing-ball like printed lyrics.


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In that same vein, to the tune of Rhinestone Cowboy, and in the spirit of Saint Valentine's Day ...

Like a JRs barkeep,
Like a rhinestone cowboy,
Riding 12 years of bull in a gay bar rodeo.
Riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo.
Like a JRs barkeep,
Like a rhinestone cowboy,
Getting handfuls of cash from people I don't even know,
Getting cards and letters from people I don't even know,
30-somethin' and just a teaching offer to show.
And offers comin' over the phone.

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Well, anyway, I think that's all for now. Let me just post a link to Paul Krugman's Monday, Feb. 13, 2012 op-ed on Severe Conservative Syndrome derangement.

Oh, and you should read -- or at least peruse -- this lengthy Sunday New York Times piece on how even rightwing critics of the Federal Government's safety net increasingly rely on it.

The opening sums up the issue:

"Ki Gulbranson owns a logo apparel shop, deals in jewelry on the side and referees youth soccer games. He makes about $39,000 a year and wants you to know that he does not need any help from the federal government.

"He says that too many Americans lean on taxpayers rather than living within their means. He supports politicians who promise to cut government spending. In 2010, he printed T-shirts for the Tea Party campaign of a neighbor, Chip Cravaack, who ousted this region’s long-serving Democratic congressman."

ABOVE: This image shows the ratio of taxes to transfer payments by state as of 2007. In effect, the ratio shows how much money a state pays in versus how much it collects from the Federal Government in from agricultural subsidies to Medicare payments and everything in between. Click on image for larger version.


"Yet this year, as in each of the past three years, Mr. Gulbranson, 57, is counting on a payment of several thousand dollars from the federal government, a subsidy for working families called the earned-income tax credit. He has signed up his three school-age children to eat free breakfast and lunch at federal expense. And Medicare paid for his mother, 88, to have hip surgery twice."

This is a scatter plot showing the ratio of transfer payments to personal income (Y-axis) versus the difference between Gallup-measured conservative versus liberal states (top 10 of each) (X-axis). It shows that the more conservative a state, the more it relies on Federal transfer payments -- with some outliers such as Utah, Wyoming, and Nebraska (I believe represented by the three bottom red dots), all with rather low populations.

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OK, that really is all for now.

The Augustana Lutheran Church at 2100 New Hampshire Avenue, NW -- literally 300 feet from my apartment -- here in Washington, D.C., 4:58PM, Feb. 12, 2012.

Sigh. My next planned update will be later this week, perhaps on Wednesday.

--Regulus

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