Monday, July 30, 2007

Kansas City Symphony: The Reviews Are In

This past spring, the Kansas City Symphony made its first commercial recording in years. I discussed the music here and here and the recording here.

Now, some of the big boys in classical music reviews have weighed in and found the recording and music wonderful!

Click on "Reviews" in the catalogue description.

Bravo Gordon Chin, Felix Fan and Cho-Lang Lin! Bravo Maestro, Bravissimo Kansas City Symphony!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Pato is Rather Occupied

Pato is busy as a one armed paper hanger... now that is busy! So no blog updates for a few days, maybe Sunday.

I am sure Bush, our Boygov and the rest of the screwed up world will do something for me to rant about.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Perverts on MySpace! OH NO!

Well, the "persecutors" in several states aided by the mass hysteria over sex offenders has caused Myspace to delete profiles by sex offenders.

Murderers, drug dealers, kidnappers, thieves, robbers, embezzlers, frauds, etc are ok.

A judge in Texas (of all places) said it best, basically telling the parents of a kid lured to meet a pervert on line, that it was their responsibility to monitor, not Myspace. These "persecutors" and lame attorneys general are looking to looking to make headlines and Nifong more people to win elections. They want laws that, my friends, will destroy every citizen's privacy and right to anonymity. That scares me more than a pervert next door.

The Internet's a communication tool, period. What is next... offenders do not get phones or post office addresses? It is wrong headed to control offenders through controlling communication tools. Law enforcement should keep track of sex offenders' actions. Oh wait! They can't! They have to give out parking tickets and sobriety check points.

By the way know what a sex offender is? Anymore it is a boy who slaps a girl on the butt at school, or moons someone, or as a 17yr old has consensual sex with a girl 16, like Genarlow Wilson. Or the mentally retarded young man in Kansas that the evil attorney fuckwad had locked up and registered over a blow job. The kid was in an institution for Christ's sake.

We are more afraid of a blow job than getting blown away.

Don't make the everyone pay for lax law enforcement. People should be allowed to speak their minds on the web as we can on the phone, in newspapers, on the street. The Internet is not god, it is just a tool. If you insist on verification of identity and tracking of what everyone does ... hello 1984!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wondermark on Harry Potter

I know, this is the lazy way to blog, but I have gotten such a kick out of Wondermark cartoons. This one, lampooning the Harry Potter mania, was just spot on to me!


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Car Whores On Tour

The Annual Ararat Shrine Car Show was held today 7/23/07 in North Kansas City, MO. Hundreds of antique and some not so antique cars were on display. My friends Steve M and Steve C went with me. When out and about looking at old cars, we call ourselves the Car Whores On Tour. Not many details escaped us, especially when someone tried to pull one over, like using the wrong transmission for the year in question or a non original paint job. Can't fool the car whores!

Here are some of the cars on display:

Unmistakable taillights of a 1962 Mercury Monterrey Convertible.

Rare 1954 Kaiser Darrin

What says 1960s more than a round Ford taillight?? This from a '61 Starliner.

When have you last seen 3 Packard Caribbeans in a row like this??

Wilber H. owns this immaculate and immense 1926 Rollston bodied Packard 8 Tourer

Packard 8 Convertible sedan from the 30s. Rolling sculpture.

48 Lincoln Continental

1919 Studebaker

1966 Thunderbird flipping her top

Click on the pics for full size one! And this was just a sample!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Bulletin Tammy Faye Bakker Has Died

Rest in Peace Tammy Faye. I don't profess to have understood you, yet somehow I believe you were sincere. You came to realize, unlike many so called Christians that Jesus taught that all people were of sacred worth.

Tammy Faye died early Friday, in Loch Lloyd, south of KC.

Starting Wars

Well, Boy-Gov Mattie Blunt, has managed to piss off Kansans who work in Missouri by signing a bill eliminating the deduction for real estate taxes paid outside Missouri.

People who pay property taxes in another state had been allowed to deduct them from any MO income tax paid. Residents of Missouri are allowed to deduct their in-state property taxes from their income taxes. This mostly affects Kansas as a large number of Kansas City residents work in Kansas. The St Louis metro area also has a large number of Illinois residents working in St Louis.

When asked about this Blunt said his focus was on reducing taxes for residents in his state.

His comments did not play well in Topeka, or Peoria for that matter.

"That's just an example of Gov. Blunt's youth and immaturity on full display," said Kansas Rep. Kenny Wilk, a fellow Republican.

Good going Mattie, you managed to start a war, just like your Uncle GW.

Speaking of GW, did the Doctors who looked at GW's colon (I'd rather look at 10,000 slaughtered Nuns and orphans)find Cheney and Condi Rice up there too?? Just wondering.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hit a Nerve

Well! It seems everyone's favorite Pato has struck a nerve. The post from yesterday on the Applebee's purchase by IHOP and my comments on corporate pillaging and greed has spread like a small wildfire. 40 reads as of now. For many blogs, that is an hour's worth of hits. For some, it is all they'll ever see. My average had been dropping, around 6-10 per day. I blamed it on lame writing and summer, more of the latter when I was feeling a bit more generous. But it will skyrocket now!

I must have said what was on many people's minds; that the recent purchase between the restaurant chains is bad for everyone but the big cats. I don't know who all these people are reading the entry, but I like to think my opinion is winging around Applebee's Inc, via email and phone calls. I do know the family of one Applebee's employee read it and commented. Someone from Florida checks in every hour or so.

I wish you all well, Applebee's people. I suspect that the future is cloudy at best. Your CEO who sold you out basically told you what to do. Look out for yourselves... NOW.

When will this end? The greed of stockholders or stakeholders (stakedrivers really) has destroyed so many great companies, TWA, Beverly Healthcare, hundreds of others consigned to history. The big shots get richer, communities suffer, people leave, families break under the stress, our confidence shot.

Good luck Applebee's people. And flip off the big guys for me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Rape and Pillage

I once worked for a company that preached exceptional service to its customers. We focused, all of us, on what made a good experience for any one with whom we had contact in our business. It worked, in my unheeded, irrelevant opinion (according to most business leaders) we had our best years.

Then we began to talk of "stakeholders".....

Warning: if your company starts to speak of stakeholders, you are doomed.

The company I worked for is gone now, swallowed up, sold off, a great diaspora of talent spread amongst the world, some of us doing less than we used to, some more, some retired, some just dropping out.

I just read a KC Star article about the recent purchase of Overland Park Based Applebee's Restaurants by IHOP, the pancake people. I am sure, over the past few months, Applebee's employees have been hearing "stakeholder" a lot, and that is not someone serving a rib-eye.

Listen: "What does this mean for our associates? Well, typically, when costs are significantly reduced, there are headcount reductions, too. It’s expected that, over time, as company-owned restaurants are re-franchised, there will be reductions in positions directly associated with support for those re-franchised stores." ~ From the letter sent to Applebee's worker-bees from the CEO, too chickenshit to face them.

There is more:

"the board of directors believed the sale was in the best interests of shareholders (variation on "stakeholders") 'but is likely to create a level of uncertainty for many of us who have been on this journey we call the BIG Fun TRIP.'"

Oh really???

Then the kicker:

Employees were given two responsibilities, the soon to be richer through Golden Parachute CEO preached, "First and foremost, you will want to be focused on making the best decision for how you continue to support yourselves and your loved ones." (advice, get the fuck out NOW).

But while making that decision,the CEO asked employees to stay focused on supporting the more than 30,000 Applebee’s employees who operate the company-owned restaurants. Note the guilt, don't support us who you now despise, think of poor Billy who manages the restaurant in BFE, supporting his sick wife and kids. BARF! Thus speakest Judas: "Without our continued support, those associates will not be able to keep their restaurants running smoothly - none of us want those associates to lose their ability to support themselves." ( fucking what. They will survive, you will survive, I am the one who is fucked, says corporate manager who only wanted to do the best job in Accounting, HR, design, whatever..)

I think they are all fucked.

Someone got greedy. Someone saw a company making money, but not enough for the fat cats, saw an opportunity to rape it and then cast it to the wolves. People will lose jobs, good jobs. Restaurants will close as the franchise people come and go. Mini rapers, in a way, buying a restaurant and then taking what they can.

When is this bubble going to burst?

Meanwhile, support local owned restaurants. They are less likely to rape and pillage. And you get better service too.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Cultural Symbols

Look at any society and note their tallest or grandest buildings. Which structures are central to the community? Which took the longest or most funds to build?

You will discover what is most important to them, what centers their lives, what controls them, maybe even what oppresses them.

For centuries, the tallest and grandest building was the castle of the King or the local lords and landowners. Located on the highest hill or in the center of the town, the castle was the visible symbol of their divinely given authority and wealth; lavish, warm, safe, spacious. Every comfort available. A cadre of slaves and servants to make every wish of the Lord of the Manor come true. If the castle fell, the people fell with it. If it prospered, they were at least allowed to live, for the most part.

Soon the Church became the symbol of the people. The grand cathedrals of Europe, Notre Dame, St Paul's, St Peter's and many lesser ones, dwarfing the shanties and shacks of the surrounding village. There lived the priests and bishops and popes and such, lording over all they see, serene in their divine right to rule. Arbiters of morals, judges of the law and rules, they played both sides of the fence, bending to those whose money kept the cathedral running and putting the fear of God and punishment to the masses. Society kept in check by fear of the unknown, the masses too uneducated to question, the royalty still believing God himself gave them the right to rule.

By the late 1800's the first thing you saw approaching a town were the smokestacks of the new factories, belching smoke and flame, creating a new race of rulers. Suddenly, the factory was the center of society. Making ordinary people either fabulously wealthy or fabulously enslaved. But to be fair, people with skills were able to rise a bit above abject poverty. Most, as the old song went "hauled 16 tons and what do you get, another year older and deeper in debt", their souls sold to the company store.

Is today any different? Castles, cathedrals and smokestacks replaced by banks and Courthouses. All with the same effect; society kept in check by fear of the unknown, the masses too uneducated to question, the royalty still believing God himself gave them the right to rule. Remember the line above? You will discover what is most important to them, what centers their lives, what controls them, maybe even what oppresses them.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Infiltrating Wal Mart

One thing I do not understand. How did Wal Mart take over the retail world? Are people really that cheap? The Net says almost 20 million people per day purchase something at Wal Mart. I try not to be one of them, but sometimes you just got to say WTF and not buck the trend.

Each July, a local community group sponsors a program to buy school clothes for low income kids (it is my experience that all kids are low income and high out go actually). We get a kid and buy him or her a set of school clothes, 2 pairs of pants/skirt, 3 shirts, socks, underwear and a back pack. So as not not bankrupt my meager income, I don a disguise, borrow a car and go to Wal Mart. I literally had not been in one for at least 6-8 months. Once I went a whole year with out setting foot in a Wally World, I wanted to see if it could be done. I survived.

The SuperCenter I chose was located on what was once Blue Ridge Mall, a big mega mall built in the glory days of malls. Blue Ridge had fallen on hard times as the neighborhood moved east and south and thus was empty; torn down and made in to a Wal Mart. Fate worse than death. Being new, I figured it was a nice place and would have what I wanted.

I was wrong. Although it seemed to have everything, it had little that I wanted. No size 8 slim kids blue or khaki pants, few boys size 8 briefs, mostly boxers (I did not know the kid well enough to ask “Are you a boxers or briefs man?” Hell, he would not know yet. And no back packs. But plenty of plastic crap and cheap other shit to fill a small country. Being a SuperWally World, it had a food section. The people of Raytown, Independence and East KC must have been hungry as the shelves were bare. The store maybe open 24/7 but they stock shelves only on Tuesday I guess. All the meat and stuff was packaged, nothing fresh. Wal Mart did away with meat cutters when they tried to unionize a few years ago. I did buy a jar of pasta sauce. Because it was there.

The damn places are dangerous too. It seems every spandex encased fat woman in town goes to Wal Mart and drives the little scooters around, Mart Carts they are called; running up and down the potato chip isle, running over odd squealing things as they race to the salty snacks to feed their already bulging bods. Get out of their way, they are merciless. None of them look like they are really handicapped with missing limbs and what not, they are just fat and determined to get that bag of Bugles, no matter who is in their way.

And does every kid that comes in to Wal Mart have to throw a screaming tantrum? Is it a law?? Can we please repeal it if it is?

Then if you find your treasures, there is the check out line. They have self serve lines, but most of the customers find them a challenge and thus are longer and slower than the long, slow full service lines. I got up to be next and something went wrong and the clerk flipped on her blinking light, and waited with hand on hip for a supervisor to come along and do something to make everything right. God forbid if Sam Walton lost a penny. I understand the lanes are also camera monitored so the clerks do not pilfer cash. Trusting souls they are. I went to Target (much more acceptable to society) and got the rest of the stuff. But when I got back, I noted that one of the shirts I got at Wally World was an 8 Husky instead of Slim. Rats. I think I’ll just leave it and feign ignorance. I have had enough of Wally World for a lifetime.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Le Quatorze Jullet 2007

Aujourd'hui,le quatorze Juillet, Les Nouvelles de Pato célèbre le Jour de Bastille avec nos amis en France. Il y aura des défilés, des parties, des célébrations officielles, des discours, et des célébrations de famille aujourd'hui et ce week-end.

Bastille Day celebrates the storming of the Bastille Prison in Paris in 1789, an important symbolic act of rebellion by the people against total power of the Royalty. Long used by the royals to imprison those they did not like, the Bastille was a symbol of the corrupt and absolute power of the monarchy. At the time there were not many prisoners and no one especially important inside, and the actual battle killed more attackers than defenders. But the King got the message and the French Revolution had all but begun.

So, celebrate your day my French friends!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Farewell Hazelrigg's

You sometimes just can't help thinking that things that appeared rock solid and would be around forever are in fact slowly sinking away. Birds in the sky, now fireflies are dwindling. Courtesy, customer service, a real voice on the phone. LPs and 35mm cameras, payphones....relics now, confined to museums. Pan Am Airlines, Oldsmobile and Plymouth autos. The 2002 demise of Plymouth recently ended a long established business in my home town. Been there since I was a pup, figured it would be for a long time to come.

Hazelrigg's Chrysler, once Hazelrigg's Chrysler/Plymouth, shut its doors this past April. My sister mentioned this to me recently. I thought they would be there forever, the hard part had passed for them. But the owners were getting older, Jim had died and the youngest brother is around 70. The market was crazy, car sales except for the damn Toyota and Honda brands were down. It was getting hard to make ends meet in a smaller, family owned business.

The demise of Plymouth in 2002 was the death knell for many Chrysler/Plymouth dealers. It took their bread and butter away, of course the bread had been moldy and scarce for a long time. But minivan sales were still good, and the compact Neon made some sales. But the venerable Plymouth brand was dying, Dodge was the hot brand with the biggest selection of models. Chrysler brand had a resurgence with the hot 300M and then the later 300C, but Chrysler was more upscale and thus sales were not at the level of Dodge. Without the full range of cars, Chrysler dealers were struggling.

My dad bought most of his cars from Hazelrigg's. Starting with a used 1956 Dodge, his 1962 Chrysler New Yorker, and ending with his 1977 Chrysler New Yorker. My sister had that car for years and Hazelrigg's kept it running as well. I even bought a car there, a 1990 Plymouth Voyager minivan, back in my family man days. Ok, we were not their best customers, but damn it we were loyal for sure. Dad had known the Hazelrigg's for years, they had originally been across the street from his office in Downtown Decatur on Prairie St. The move to North Oakland (practically the suburbs) took place I think in the late 60's. It was their only home for a generation or two of car buyers.

Chrysler is now sold at the Brady Automall, along the Interstate with the rest of the businesses that abandoned downtown and even midtown Decatur. Somehow, it will be not be business as usual. The same staff, the same people who knew you at the shop or the business office, no one to call and say "Paul, the big Chryslers are going away soon, better get one now." North Oakland will not be the same either with Tallman Cadillac being empty as well, another icon of Decatur auto lore gone.

I somehow think we are losing something important, or at least anchoring and familiar. Like the firefly. And flocks of birds.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Joke Time

I could talk about the Bush regime's ongoing destruction of the USA, or the injustice system, or loony people in general. But I have realized that just makes me depressed. So here is a silly joke, a short interlude in the cacophony of tis screwed up world:

What is the technical term for an Amish Baby??

Of course, silly an "Am-let"

HA! *rimshot... thank you thank you....

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Flooding can be Fun

You kind of wonder who is screwing this lady, referring to Katie Smith, the new Missouri Director of Agriculture. I know that is sexist, but hey.. reality is reality. I worked in state government, it happens.

This is a response from Ms Smith during an interview, I think she has seen a farm but that is about it:

"We started out when we did that flood tour, which was a great way to get out on the road. It was unfortunate — obviously, flooding is devastating, especially to ag. But it was a good way to get out on the road and do a lot of fun things and meet a lot of people... And I think once you start talking to people… they recognize that I do know ag, I’m not totally clueless. And I know how our farm works and I can relate our farm to other farms around the state."

Since when is visiting flood devastation "fun"? And if you have to defend yourself against claims of being clueless, you are Blanche, you are clueless.

Of course, our boy Gov must be drooling over her.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Roll Out

7/8/07... a big day in aviation history is upon us. This PM at about 5:30 CDT (3:30 PDT) the revolutionary Boeing 787 "Dreamliner" (silly name) will roll out from the hanger at Boeing Field in Seattle. I'll post a picture later today. The 787 is the first all new airplane from Boeing since the successful 777 was introduced in 1995.

The 787 promises to revolutionize air travel by being more efficient, quiet and long ranged. The main model the 787-8 carries 250 passengers on routes of 7,650 to 8,200 miles The bigger 787-9 transports up to 290 passengers on routes over 8,000 to 8,500 miles. The 787-3 is a high density, shorter range model for Japanese airlines

The 787 is a mid-size airplane with jumbo jet range and speed. Boeing promises that the 787 will provide airlines with unheard of fuel efficiency, using up to 20 % less fuel than a similar capacity plane currently on the market.

Boeing correctly assessed the market for this type of airplane. As of this post, Boeing has 47 customers ordering 677 airplanes. All before the first one sees the light of day; a tremendous achievement. While rival Airbus promoted its super-jumbo 380 with up to 500 seats, Boeing felt that airlines needed a "point to point" jet, more frequent service on long, thin routes. While the A380 will be a benefit for high density routes into airports with restricted slots, like London Heathrow, the 787 will be doing routes such as central Europe to China, Houston to Japan, Las Vegas to Paris, opening up new non-stop routes or replacing 1/2 full jumbos. Boeing did not neglect the interior either, adding larger windows, better cabin air management and superior space.

Today is just the roll out, the first public viewing for Line Number 1, all painted and pretty. She probably could not fly yet as all the systems are not in place. That comes later in August/early September. She is scheduled to be in service in 2008.

We have seen her with out her make-up as she was rolled out under cover of darkness to the paint shop and even then she was a looker. With all her make up, shiny and primped, she will be a delight to see!

Check out and you can watch the roll out on a live web cast.


Isn't she a beauty!!? 787

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Big Old Girl

Some sounds are unmistakable and unforgettable. Even though my hearing may be going as I age and tinnitus grabs hold of my left ear, the sound of a radial piston engine on an aircraft is easily detectable above the din of the city and my screaming ear. It is also a sound we sadly rarely hear anymore.

Busily loading my bounty in to the car after a trip to the local SunFresh (aka GayFresh) grocery store, I heard a soft rumble overhead. "Round Engine"! I shouted to my self, forgetting about the bags of foodstuffs and casting my eyes upward. There in the glare, not all that high over Westport was the unmistakable silhouette of a big war bird. Slowly churning northwest, the big blades of the propellers gripping the thick tropical air, was a vintage B-17 Flying Fortress. Most in the parking lot looked up and went on their way. I stood in awe. I love big round engined aircraft. Their pounding, fiery drone reminding me of hearing the DC3s, Martin 404s and occasional DC4s flying over head as an aircraft crazed kid.

Big old girl, shiny and restored. The grand lady is a four-engine heavybomber developed in the early years of WWII and built primarily by Boeing. At her proving trials, the soon to be B-17 outperformed other competitors and more than met the Air Corps' expectations. But Boeing lost the contract due to the unfortunate crash of the prototype. Luckily for Boeing and many future air crews, the US Army Air Corps (the US Air Force was not established yet) was so impressed with Boeing's design that they ordered some anyway. The B-17 Flying Fortress went on to enter full-scale production with 12,731 built.

The B-17 was the primary bomber aircraft of the European Theatre of WWII. She was mostly employed in the daylight precision bomb campaigns against German targets. The B-17 also participated, to a lesser extent, in the Pacific Theatre against the Japanese.

Right from the start the Flying Fortress was a formidable, high-flying, long-ranging bomber capable of unleashing great destruction yet able to defend itself. With the ability to return home despite extensive battle damage, its durability was legendary.

Our visitor, one of only 14 B-17s still flying in the US, has been restored and repainted to look like the the legendary 909, an aircraft that completed a record 140 combat missions during WWII never losing a crewman. The original, likely in bad shape, was scrapped in 1945.

Along with a B-24 that escaped my attention, the B-17 is on display this weekend at the KC Downtown Airport. I just may go and see them. Don't see one everyday you know.

Friday, July 06, 2007

They Start Young

It is truly the end of the age of innocence isn't it?

Florida police who chased a car for miles along a highway at speeds up to 100 mph figured the driver was drunk. Also not uncommon, the car crashed and flipped over. But this DUI case had a little twist, when they looked inside the flipped vehicle with guns drawn, they found an 11-year-old girl at the wheel.

The girl, who was slightly injured in the crash, is now charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, speeding, reckless endangerment and leaving the scene of an accident. Duck said she had sideswiped another vehicle in the roughly 8-mile chase. The kid told police she had been on her way to pick up her sister at a concert. A blood test at the hospital showed it was higher than .02, the legal limit for minors.

I just don't know what to say....

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Surprised by Bushie’s pardon of his buddy Scooter Libby? I am not, it is just the latest example and likely the epitome of Republican arrogance. If this involved anyone else, Bush would pronounce the sentence as “just’. Where is Bush speaking out on the travesty of Genarlow Wilson, still stuck behind bars in Georgia?? Oh, he is a poor black kid, tough shit. They are so above the law and so damn arrogant that Bush and any of his right wing nuts could attack a day care center and they’d pat themselves on the back for fighting the “war on Turrer” and eliminating a possible “Turrerist” training camp. They could suspend freedoms and liberties of speech, privacy and assembly, cornerstones of our democracy, and FOX news would cheer them on. Insanity.

Bush and his minions (I’ll go as far to include his supporters too) are immoral whores who have sucked the life out of our country and made a mockery of our democracy and institutions. At this point, even a moderate Republican President would be an improvement. Notice how few Repubs are running on Bush’s legacy and record. Those with any hope abandon his record, scattering like roaches. None of them could do the damage that this monstrous regime has done to this country

Thankfully, this unelected gaggle of clowns is drowning in the bullshit they have perpetuated. But at what price and is it too late?? They have pissed on the Constitution, stacked the Supreme Court with cronies, ruined our reputation in the world community, invaded a sovereign country and made personal and political gains at the expense of human lives.

We are for the worse because of it. My “Bush-o-meter” says 564 days left in office. I shudder at the damage that is as yet undone.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Here's to Beverly Sills, Diva, arts administrator, talk show host, Opera Ambassador who became more popular with Mr. and Mrs. America than any opera singer since Caruso. Beverly died Monday after a short battle with cancer at 78.

Critics were more ambivalent. Some found her lacking in vocal ability and inconsistent in her performances. My musical mentor Herb was not fond of her and always referred to her as “Beverly Shrills”. But the public loved her, and her recordings, especially of Donizetti’s “Anna Bolena”, “Maria Stuarda” and “Roberto Devereaux” are classics. Indeed these three scores were virtually owned by Sills in her lifetime.

Known throughout her life as “Bubbles” and born Belle Silverman, Sills came from a totally different background than many singers of her generation. Schooled in the US, experienced in “popular” singing (her mother fancied her as the next Shirley Temple); she did bring a freshness and lightheartedness to her roles. Whether at La Scala or the Met, at Sara Caldwell’s innovative Boston Opera or even hosting Johnny Carson’s Show, “Bubbles” spread her love of her art.

Her rise to the top was not easy. She fought for every role, was constantly rejected by the Met (for some reason Met Director Rudolf Bing did not like her), performed in smaller venues and more experimental companies and really did not achieve major success until the late 60s. Unfortunately by the time she was in demand with the Met and La Scala, her voice was getting shrill and inconsistent. She retired at 51.

But only from the stage, she began a stellar career as arts administrator, New York City Opera, Lincoln Center and as a final triumph, The Metropolitan Opera. Opera would not be as popular as it is without the tireless work of Beverly Sills. Maybe the critics were right; her voice was not the best of the century. But more than a voice, she was opera for a generation of Americans.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Hero of The Duke Lacrosse Scandal

If there is anyone in the Duke Lacrosse scandal that has maintained their integrity it is Mike Pressler, the Lacrosse team coach forced to resign in the wake of the initial scandal.

The now notorious case cost him more than anyone except the now discredited "persecutor" Mike Nifong. Pressler’s season was canceled; he lost one of the most prestigious jobs in the sport and endured stinging and unfounded criticism from fellow faculty members way before the case was revealed to be total lie. Duke officials told him his job was safe, only to cave in to the hysteria created by minority and women groups, and betray him.

Now, coaching at small Division II, Bryant University in Rhode Island, Pressler has written a book about his experiences. Good for him, he deserves to make some money on this. The lawyers did, and the kid’s parents will for sure.

What impressed me the most was a NPR interview I heard this weekend. Pressler refused to criticize Duke, almost apologizing for their actions. He is not launching a multi-million dollar lawsuit like the families likely will do. He maintains he is Duke’s # fan.

The athletic director at Bryant University had this to say about Pressler:

"He was very honest and forthcoming with us about the situation. To his credit, he was always a gentleman and said nothing but positive things about Duke University.”

Again note, this was before the news that the whole affair was a bunch of lies and manipulations by the now disbarred and dishonored Nifong.

The athletes and students at Bryant have a true hero and role model in their midst. In this world of revenge, lawsuits and passing the blame, Pressler admits where he was wrong (he did admit his students had some issues with drinking and behavior, but he did address the issues. These are adults for god sake, they have some responsibility on their own) and refused to blame everyone else for what happened. It happened, it is done, we’ll move on.

Mike Pressler: a true man, a true hero, a winner in the long run.