Since July 2006 Caffeinated Politics has blogged almost every day. There are over 8,000 posts on this blog that have garnered over 2.9 million hits. But for the next six months Caffeinated Politics will be taking a break so I can concentrate on another writing project to which I want to give my full attention.
For a number of years I have wanted to write a book. Not about politics, but instead about life. Some of the topics I have written about before, but there are others that are rather personal which are left untold. Once passing the 50-year mark last summer I knew this project had to gain steam, and move forward.
A friend asked me tonight over dinner at The Weary Traveler who my audience will be for the book. I commented that I write for myself as it is something I need to do. If anyone else is amused or entertained by the end result than all the better. That is not a selfish statement, but just how I feel.
I have worked on the book in bits and pieces for some time, but now will devote all my energies to the project. Given what I have completed, and where I want to head I suspect my project will be completed by the end of July. With a new laptop computer I can also work outdoors once the warm spring days return.
I am not sure what it will feel like to read the newspapers or watch the news and not place my opinions and views on this blog. I am reminded that when I first tried to give up coffee years ago I had horrible headaches. I am hoping for less hardship with a no blogging rule.
As I sign off for a few months there is a question I have for my readers.
How many unconstitutional moves will be taken by Governor Scott Walker in my absence?
It is not everyday ones gets to post a headline about Timbuktu.
Having said that it should anger everyone that destruction of historic documents is taking place in this historic place.
French-led troops in Mali have entered the historic city of Timbuktu encountering little resistance, French and Malian military sources.
But there are reports of thousands of ancient manuscripts being destroyed, with video footage of the library showing charred books and empty boxes.
French President Francois Hollande declared that the joint forces were “winning this battle”.
They have been pushing north in their offensive against Islamist rebels.
They seized Gao, north Mali’s biggest city, on Saturday.
Islamists seized the north of the country last year, but have been losing ground since French forces launched an operation earlier this month.
It is not every week that someone from our block in Madison makes the cover of Isthmus!
Here is how this interesting read starts….
You know the standard model for a university administrator: polite, unflappable, professionally groomed, able to recite policy in long or short form, kind of boring, skilled at disguising true feelings and, of course, intent on keeping a lid on things.
And then there is David Krakauer, director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, UW-Madison’s groundbreaking effort to reshape the university in the 21st century. Wired UK named him last year as one of the 50 people who will change the world.
Krakauer’s appearance at the February 2012 luncheon of the Wisconsin Innovation Network at the Sheraton Hotel was close to a seismic event. Walls shook, the ground trembled. The 83 attendees might have choked momentarily on their baked ziti for what he had to say about the topsy-turvy university world.
This Oxford-trained evolutionary theorist offered a sweeping take on the great trends rattling the UW. In particular: that the UW’s platform for undergraduate education was breaking apart. That the departmental model for intellectual inquiry was outmoded. That funding for research was in flux. And that rapid change was very much the order of the day. But as threatening as all this was, the opportunities — in teaching, in research, in bringing research to market to benefit the Wisconsin economy — were even greater.
Congress has never been an accurate reflection of the country it serves. It remains far whiter, wealthier and more male than the nation’s population. But as their numbers in Congress gradually increase, there is a sense among these newcomers that they are forcing some of their colleagues to rethink gay rights and homosexuality. The presence of openly gay men and women and their families was a factor that many believe was decisive in turning the tide for states where same-sex marriage was legalized by legislatures. Seeing them helped put a human face on a concept that many legislators had thought about only in the abstract.
Yet even with the opportunities gay men, lesbians and bisexuals say their membership in Congress presents, their reception has not been a completely warm one. One of the first acts of the Republican-controlled House was to set aside funds to defend the 1996 law that prohibits the recognition of same-sex marriages because the Obama administration has stopped supporting it. And not everyone seems completely comfortable with their presence, like members of a Christian prayer group who seemed taken aback at a recent Congressional retreat when one noted he was married to a man. But in some ways the most telling sign of the gay lawmakers’ advancement in Congress is the fact that their presence is now a little more routine.
I can not be the only one to find this interesting.
The March for Life in Washington on Friday renewed the annual impassioned call to end legalized abortion, 40 years after the Roe v. Wade decision. But this year, some Roman Catholic leaders and theologians are asking why so many of those who call themselves “pro-life” have been silent, or even opposed, when it comes to controlling the guns that have been used to kill and injure millions of Americans.
We’re addressing life,” said one of the signers, Thomas P. Melady, a Republican who served as ambassador to the Holy See under the first President George Bush. “I accept the Catholic teachings, which promote the sanctity of life from conception to natural death. And certainly the death of the 20 young kids and 6 adults in Newtown was not natural. Why can’t we take some steps with regards to these killings? These sophisticated weapons should be controlled.”
Over the years I have made a few You Tube videos honoring a couple of singers who made not only a large mark on country music, but also mean a great deal to me. Rainy afternoons, and cold nights are perfect for playing around with the possibilities on a computer. There are more projects underway in my files, and all I need are longer days to get everything accomplished. As of late I am playing around with video, so who knows!
But now to the heart of this posting.
Today marks two years since Charlie Louvin died from a most aggressive cancer. In 2011 I posted A Letter From Home about this singer, and one album in particular.
One singer out of Alabama with a desire to do more than pick cotton his whole life. A woman in Hancock, Wisconsin who liked music and picked up the singer’s album at Tempo or Woolworth’s on a Saturday shopping trip. A record player that was kept in pristine condition as it brought so much entertainment to the home. A kid who fell in love with the genre of music that speaks to the central components of life.
They say that singers never die as the music lives on forever.
At the time of Louvin’s death I posted about the chance to not only meet this country legend, but chat with him for several minutes. It happened in Wisconsin Dells , and he was most gracious.
Charlie Louvin took time to talk with me. He did not need to. The fact he did take the time made an impression that lingers.
Using my pen that I had brought along for him to sign my guitar and put “06″ (behind his name), he continued using it to provide autographs for others as they ambled along. As Louvin did so he continued our line of discussion. I had asked him about the formative days when he and his brother, Ira, traveled the country.
Charlie Louvin told me how many a week would end for the famous brothers as they made a mad dash from far-flung places to get back to “The Mother Church of Country Music”, the Ryman Auditorium, and their set for the Opry stage. To be a member of the Opry one had to perform 26 times a year, and was paid $15.00, a far cry from what could be made on the road. Charlie estimated that an act lost on average over $50,000 per year, but he was proud to be a part of the Opry and never complained.
The You Tube video of Louvin singing Where The Roses Never Fade has received more views than any other one I have uploaded. (21,157) In the world of videos that is a drop in the ocean, but I know when it comes to these older singers who are harder to locate on You Tube each video makes a difference.
Then there is Bill Anderson!
There are stories to be told about my impressions of him while I was a boy growing up in Hancock, Wisconsin. I think those should be held for the book, and yes there is one ‘a-coming’.
Meanwhile here is one of the songs that I loved to play on the old record player while growing up. In this video is a picture of both Anderson and his Hancock fan!