Friday, January 30, 2009
ABF Friday: Karaoke edition!
Just before Molochmas, this humble but easily-annoyed blog complained mightily about the surfeit of lousy, terrible, maddening, and depressingly faux-cheery Christmas songs. But little did I know back then that this Christmas was going to be all about the music! And—thankfully—not the Christmas music, either. Instead, it was Christmas Karaoke at the Lyons’ place!
Now, before you begin retching and shuddering at the idea of Christmas Karaoke, you have to understand that vocals-wise, hanging with the Lyons is like hanging with the Carter family. Cynthia Lyon has been tsarina of Eight to the Bar for over thirty years now, leading the band from its early western-swing days through its bar-band R-and-B days through its we’ll-play-any-damn-thing-you-can-name days. (Here they are doing their swing thing, and here’s a little bit of soul.) Her husband is distinguished sax fellow Collin Tilton. Her sisters Barbara and Todd have sung with the band off and on through the decades, and even though Janet’s tenure with the band was the shortest of the four—dating back to the mid-1970s, well before I met her—she can sing lead or harmony as brilliantly as any of ‘em. (When you put this fearsome foursome all together, they do a mean “Mele Kalikimaka.” You have been warned.) And the Lyons’ solitary man, Bud, plays guitar and bass and can sing—well, pretty much any damn thing you can name, short of Tosca. So this wasn’t some weak-ass, two-notes-flat, Wednesday-night bar karaoke caterwauling we’re talking about. This was the serious shit. The whole thing was Bud’s idea, and it truly was hours upon hours of fun for the whole family. We all set up in Cynthia and Collin’s studio, and Nick played drums to almost everything.
I came in for one of the highlights of the evening: Janet tearing it up on Bonnie Raitt’s “Give It Up or Let Me Go.” Bud and Todd did an amazing little duet—amazing because completely uncampy—on the Frank and Nancy Sinatra classic “Somethin’ Stupid.” Janet, Bud, Todd and I had a surprisingly good time doing “Needles and Pins”—surprising because although it’s a little gem of a song, the second verse and the changes into and out of the middle eight are a bit odder than people think. Go ahead, try it at home. See, told you. And Todd lit into “Goldfinger” so as to make Shirley Bassey proud. No, really.
There were plenty of Beatles tunes sprinkled in there as well, mostly for the benefit of Jamie and his cousins, Trevor and Dash; the Lyon girls had the chops to pull off the backups on “You’re Gonna Lose That Girl,” and they would’ve tackled the three-parts on “Yes It Is,” but the dang songbook didn’t have it.
It was even fun to find out what did and didn’t work. For whatever reason, Janet and I didn’t get it together on “Shiny Happy People,” but who would’ve guessed that Janet, Todd, and Barbara could make the Fifth Dimension’s “Stone Soul Picnic” come to life? I got extra extra bonus points for being crazy enough to attempt the best song released since 2000; I hit the highs on the chorus OK (I’m a tenor, folks) and managed the minor/major shifts without grinding gears, but had a little trouble with the phrasing at the beginning of the second and third verses. That’s because those parts are hard.
Other parts of karaoke songs that, in my limited experience, the unwary singer has to watch out for: the drop to “can” in “sitting in / floating on my tin can” in “Space Oddity” (all the harder for coming after the long “here” in each verse: pace yourself!); the melisma on “look for the light through the pouring rain” in “Drift Away” (which is why that weak-ass Uncle Cracker guy didn’t even attempt it); and the whole entire long-and-chock-full-of-words third verse of “Watching the Detectives,” for which vocalists should train by running up and down the mountain slopes of Kenya.
I didn’t attempt any of those this time around, though I did sing “Ziggy Stardust” with Bud, to reasonably good effect. The one song that won me plaudits and a few back-slaps from this Tough Crowd was Johnny Rivers’ “Mountain of Love,” which is, admittedly, a pretty easy melody with only a few subtle challenges in the choruses. But it did sound great with Janet and Todd on the backups, and in my humble opinion, the backups make the song go.
But this post isn’t about me. Really! It’s about the guy who, after all the Lyons and Lyon-friends and Lyon-partners and Lyon-progeny had sung and sung and sung again, had to be hauled out from behind the drum kit by order of his mother. “Nick,” came the order. “Get up here and sing or else.” Yes, this Christmas was Nick’s long-awaited karaoke debut! At first, he demurred and tried to hide, but when the Lyons threatened to take him by the ankles and drag him to the mike, he gave in.
So what does the kid pick to sign for his long-awaited karaoke debut, in front of all his talented aunts and uncles? “Faded Love,” Patsy Cline version. Are you $(*#ing kidding me? What the @#$%ing @#$% was he thinking? “Faded Love” by Patsy $*&!ing Cline? “Son,” I thought, “you leave that kind of shit to k. d. lang. This is not a song to be trifled with by the likes of us mortals.” But I kept quiet—and went to get a beer, not wanting to watch the entire debacle.
I came back a few seconds later to hear Nick hit “I miss you, darling, more and more every day” dead-on, crystal-clear, in full voice. No falsetting anything. Well, holy fuggin shit almighty, as Leo Durocher says in DeLillo’s Underworld. And then he did it again on “with every heartbeat I still think of you.” By that point everyone in the studio was staring at him, mouth agape. Nick proceeded to nail the thing. To. The. Wall. He even did a damn fine young-man version of Patsy’s stunning reading of the very end of the song—you know, where she swoops under and over the word “faded” and then does that breathless stutter-stop on “love.”
The room burst into wild applause and whoopin’ and hollerin’, and with every good reason; but Tsarina Cynthia was furious. Furious, I tell you. She marched up to Nick and demanded, first, “how did you know that song?”
“Cynthia,” Janet sensibly reminded her, “he is my son.”
Cynthia wheeled on her. “Quiet, you,” she shot back. To Nick: “How did you know that song?”
“Well, I’ve had Patsy Cline’s Greatest Hits since I was a kid,” Nick replied, “and . . .”
“And you know the Bob Wills version too?” Cynthia sounded proprietary: dammit, who’s been letting these youngsters into the family vault?
“Well, sure,” Nick said.
Cynthia was fuming. “Nicholas,” she fumed. “I am so mad that you had this talent all this time and never shared it with us.” Then there was some more fuming I didn’t catch.
Nick shrugged sheepishly. What could he do? It is bad to anger the tsarina. Besides, she was right: what was Nick doing not singing karaoke all these years?
So everybody had a great old time, and Nick’s performance was the hit of the holiday. Why, it even dislodged the Bing-and-Bowie “Drummer Boy” from our brains, though I have to thank Derryl Murphy, in comment 33 of that thread, for alerting us to the existence of the parody version.
And speaking of those Christmas songs! As Janet, Jamie and I were driving to Connecticut this old tune came on the radio, and at first neither of us could place it. After a while, Janet said, “sounds kind of like Donny Hathaway.” For that, Janet gets extra extra bonus vocal-style-identification points! And best of all, the song does not suck. So this Christmas was musically cool after all, on every front.
So, my arbitrary friends: best and worst karaoke experiences of your life so far? Lyon Christmas Karaoke featuring Nick’s “Faded Love” was my best; my worst was watching someone in a bar try to sing Boston’s “More Than a Feeling.” The poor guy didn’t realize that the song was computer-generated and cannot be sung by humans, and the results were exceptionally ugly. As you can well imagine.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Mister Answer Man: XLIII Edition!
Hello again sports fans! It’s time for another visit from Mister Answer Man. You’ve got questions, he’s got answers. That’s among the many, many reasons his name is Mister Answer Man!
Dear Mister Answer Man: Hi! Longtime reader, first-time writer-inner. A couple of weeks ago, I assumed you were kidding when you said this was the Cardinals’ year. I thought you were just trying to demonstrate the ultimate futility of it all, the way some people insisted that the University of Utah was our true national champion in collegiate football and the way the Joker insisted that chaos and destruction is at the heart of human experience and desire. But now I’m beginning to think you were serious. I don’t get it. These are the frigging Cardinals we’re talking about. So: why so serious? – F. Gorshin, Gotham
Mister Answer Man replies: Thank you for that earnest question, Mr. Gorshin. Would you like to know how I got these scars? It all began during Super Bowl XXXIII. . . .
Dear Mister Answer Man: I’m sorry, but I don’t have time for this self-indulgent claptrap. Super Bowl Sunday is almost upon us, and the entire Internet community has long hailed you for picking winners based on your unerring assessments of the manliness of their uniforms. Seriously, this is my only chance at breaking even this year. Can you help a brother out? – B. Madoff, Gotham
Mister Answer Man replies: Why, thank you, Ms. Madoff. I do pride myself on my Super Bowl record, which far exceeds my record of prognostication in any other field of human endeavor. Why, even before I hit upon my infallible jersey scheme, I had the point spread right on Patriots-Panthers, even though I had the final score at 13-10 instead of 32-29. About the Patriots and Eagles, my prediction of a 27-21 Pats victory remains a blogosphere legend, and the following year’s Steelers by 7 prediction defied the pusillanimous Vegas oddsmakers who had the Steelers by a mere 4. Unfortunately, I shut down my blog before I could make public my (ultimately accurate) prediction for the Colts-Bears snoozefest-in-the-rain, but the following year I managed to glom onto another blog in order to provide what remains to this day the definitive Wittgensteinian recap of the Giants’ world-historical victory over the Patriots. My call that year? Giants by three. (My son, Mr. Answer Man Jr., can verify this.)
I’m sorry . . . your question was again?
Dear Mister Answer Man: Tell. Us. Who. Is. Going. To. Win. You. Insufferable. Assho
Mister Answer Man replies: Ah, yes, yes, the “outcome” of the “contest.” Well, my dear man (sorry I didn’t have time to finish your letter! got to take care of business, you know), the outcome is not really in doubt. Even though the Steelers have abandoned the masculine block numbers that defined their great teams of the 1970s, they will endure this Super Bowl—nay, they will prevail!—even with their sleek, feline sans-serif numbers. And they will do so for the same reason they prevailed over the silver-blue-metallic pajamas-wearing Seahawks three years ago: their opponents simply do not have a color scheme that can compete with them.
Dear Mister Answer Man: Are you saying that red is an insufficiently manly primary color for a championship team? – S. Bowman, Montreal and Detroit
Mister Answer Man replies: Why, yes I am, sir! Look, it’s really nice that the Cardinals have put sixty years of severe and profound suckitude behind them. It’s nice that Larry Fitzgerald gets his moment in the sun. It’s even nice that Kurt Warner’s career has a third act. But red? Against black and gold? Granted, the Cards’ new jerseys are almost hockeylike, and that gives them a certain je ne sais quoi, and their new bird logo seems acceptably angry, a marked improvement over the merely stern-looking bird logo they had from 1994-2004—go ahead, check out the difference. See how much angrier and more aerodynamic and more black-bordered the new cardinal is? So that’s positive. In fact, that explains why the Cardinals will manage to score against a terrifying and voracious Pittsburgh defense. But winning? In red? Who are you kidding? Red can sometimes work in a sport like hockey, because, well, the national flag of Canadia and all that. But in football, it just doesn’t cut it.
Dear Mister Answer Man: What in the world are you talking about? I won a Super Bowl with a red-clad team. – H. Stram, Kansas City
Mister Answer Man replies: Yes, yes, you did, Mr. Stram. But first, that was Super Bowl IV. No one watched Super Bowl IV, and no one remembers it today. Sorry about that! You had the bad luck to play in the Super Bowl just after Namath’s Jets stunned Unitas’s Colts, and just before the Cowboys-Dolphins-Steelers-Raiders consortium took over the 1970s. No one was paying attention—it’s kind of like pointing to the gold medal you won in the 1908 Olympics. Also, you beat the Minnesota Vikings, who (as advanced uniform science research has shown) wore the most beatable Super Bowl jerseys ever—just masculine enough to get there, but not nearly masculine enough to play competitively once they got there. (Scientists are still debating how orange-draped Broncos managed to make it to four Super Bowls; but most researchers agree that a hypothetical Broncos-Vikings matchup in 1977 would have ended in a scoreless tie.)
And may I add, while I’ve got you here, that the Chiefs’ overall team design is an affront to all that is right and good? Your helmet scheme is red-black-white, and your jersey is red-yellow-white. That’s just sloppy, guys. You look like the JV squad borrowing the varsity helmets.
Dear Mister Answer Man: Are you including the 1998 Atlanta Falcons in this analysis? Because we wore black, and we still lost! – D. Reeves, Undisclosed Location
Mister Answer Man replies: Yes, Mr. Reeves, those Falcons wore “black.” Yes, they were “tough” and had a “dirty bird.” Oooooh, scary!! But you fooled no one. In the end, you were a red-clad team pretending to wear black, and the Tough New Broncos—perhaps you’ve heard of the Broncos?—knew it. Whereas the New Broncos were a truly dark-blue team with a very angry horsehead, having shed every last vestige of the orange-wearing saps who coughed up hairballs to the Cowboys, Giants, Redskins and 49ers. (See also, under this heading, the San Diego Chargers, who will remain a powder-blue team for all eternity, no matter how much “midnight blue” they don and no matter how “fierce” and “angry” their “bolt” becomes.)
Dear Mister Answer Man: Aren’t you forgetting someone? – B. Walsh, G. Seifert, J. Montana, S. Young, San Francisco
Mister Answer Man replies: No, I don’t think so. If you’re asking whether I’m forgetting a dynasty that defeated (1) a team with stripy orange “tiger” helmets, (2) a team wearing aquamarine and orange, (3) see (1), (4) a team wearing orange (55-10!), and (5) a powder-blue team pretending to be a midnight-blue scary-lightning team, no, no I’m not. Now, I don’t mean to belittle your epoch-defining victories in the NFC playoffs throughout the 90s, in which you handily defeated more mightily-attired teams with your “West Coast offense” and your frosty champagne helmets. But seriously, your Super Bowl opponents might as well have been wearing bathrobes. And in Super Bowl XXIV, they basically were.
Besides, can we take a moment to stop and reflect on how strange and wonderful it was to have an NFL powerhouse in San Francisco for fifteen years? You guys were the exception that broke every rule about America and football and football in America. When Dwight Clark leapt 35 feet in the air to make that decisive end-zone catch in the NFC championship game against Dallas, Good defeated Evil; bicycles defeated SUVs; Lawrence Ferlinghetti defeated George Bush; and Harvey Milk defeated J. R. Ewing. Take pride—yes, pride!—in your anomalous status, O Red-Sporting Five-Time Champions of the Left Coast. And join with me in acknowledging that the Cardinals are not the 49ers, and that in this Super Bowl we’re looking at a 24-13 Steelers win. Yes, that will leave the hardscrabble black-and-gold-wearing denizens of the Iron City with one more Super Bowl than the stylish beaujolais-and-prosecco-wearing partisans of the City by the Bay. But at least there will be no Cowboys involved!
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Shorter GOP on Gitmo
Defeatocrats and liberal appeasers forget that hardened terrorists can escape from even the most maximum maximum security prison by spending decades digging tunnels out of their cells with spoons and putting up posters of Rita Hayworth or Raquel Welch to hide their work.
We need to keep Guantánamo open precisely in order to avoid this dreaded “Shawshank Scenario."
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Hey, remember when I was finishing up Rhetorical Occasions and What’s Liberal About the Liberal Arts and I took some time out of my busy schedule to share with you some juicy footnotes and asides? Those were good times, huh? Well, it occurred to me while I was citin’ works for The Left At War yesterday that I should let you in on some of the fun again.
OK, so you know how that Atrios fellow is always saying that everybody has forgotten about anthrax, and that in the fall of 2001 it made people even scardier and crazier than 9/11 itself? It just so happens that I largely agree with him about that, and I agree as well that the anthrax episode has been stuffed down the memory hole so that the Bush dead-enders can chant “he kept us safe, he kept us safe” for the rest of their lives (except for that, you know, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” memo). And as I was workin’ and citin’ in my post-postmodern, Internets kind of way, I was checking all my urls to make sure all the tubes were working right, and I took the opportunity to re-read this Wall Street Journal editorial of October 15, 2001. Its title is “The Anthrax Source: Is Iraq unleashing biological weapons on America?” and its answer is “it sure as hell is”:
Several circumstantial links to Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network are already known. Some of the World Trade Center hijackers, including suspected ringleader Mohamed Atta, visited an airfield near the site of the Boca Raton, Florida, anthrax mailings.
The anthrax package sent to a Microsoft office in Reno, Nevada, was mailed from Malaysia, another al Qaeda haunt. One of the September 11 hijackers, Khaled Almihdhar, visited Malaysia earlier this year, appearing in a surveillance tape with another suspected associate of bin Laden. The terrorist’s followers also met in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, in January 2000 as part of the plot to bomb the USS Cole in Yemen later the same year.
As for the package sent to NBC in New York, it was postmarked on September 18 from Trenton, New Jersey. That state, especially Jersey City, was the home of the first attempt to destroy the World Trade Center in 1993, a plot also linked to bin Laden associates.
More generally, as Dick Cheney said last Friday on PBS’s “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” “We know that [bin Laden] has over the years tried to acquire weapons of mass destruction, both biological and chemical weapons.” Mr. Cheney added that the U.S. has obtained “copies of the manuals” that al Qaeda “actually used to train people” in how “to deploy and use these kinds of substances.”
Which brings us to who might have supplied bin Laden’s gang. The likeliest answer is some government. Growing your own anthrax isn’t difficult but turning it into a useful weapon is. Terrorist bands have in the past tried to use anthrax as a weapon, notably in Japan, but failed. Liquid anthrax is useless for terror and keeping airborne anthrax spores in the proper form to kill isn’t easy.
The U.S. cases have apparently all involved a powdered form of the disease. And this weekend’s left-wing British Guardian newspaper cites intelligence sources as saying that, “Making powder needs repeated washings in huge centrifuges, followed by intensive drying, which requires sealed environments. The technology would cost millions.” Bin Laden couldn’t be doing all this in Afghan caves.
The leading supplier suspect has to be Iraq. Saddam Hussein used weapons-grade anthrax against his own Kurdish population with lousy results, before turning to more efficiently lethal chemical weapons. U.S. intelligence sources believe Saddam has stockpiled thousands of pounds of biological agents, including anthrax. U.S. officials let Saddam know during the Gulf War that if he used such agents against U.S. forces he would get a destructive response.
But that doesn’t mean he, or his agents, might not want to unleash the weapon from a deniable distance, or via third parties. His anti-American animus hasn’t lessened since his Gulf defeat. And Czech government sources have reported that Atta, the hijacking mastermind, met at least once with Iraqi diplomat Ahmad Samir Al-Ani in Prague.
We rehearse all this because the best defense against anthrax attacks isn’t passing out Cipro to every American. It is to go on relentless offense against the terrorist sources.
Q.E.D.! That’s how the professionals do it, folks.
From there it was just a short distance to Richard Cohen’s op-ed in the Washington Post, when, in the course of getting everything wrong, he wrote,
Richard Perle, the former Reagan administration official and the Zelig-like character who appears over the shoulder of countless op-ed writers, makes a good point (over my shoulder) when he says that the danger is not merely that Iraq will go nuclear but also that it will hand off the device to some terrorist with a suitcase. Then, as with anthrax, we will not be able to find the source.
Cohen, Richard. “. . . And Now to Iraq.” Washington Post 30 Nov. 2001: A41. (Sorry. I can’t help myself. That essay isn’t available on the Internets any more.) And yes, that bit is in the book too. Ah, those were the days, my friend. We thought they’d never end.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
While I’m slogging thru my Works Cited
and searching throughout the four corners of the Internets, I came across the most curious thing—an entire website devoted to obscure Presidential oath-taking protocol. It seems that because Barack Obama has now taken the oath of office twice, his first term will be eight years (since each oath is binding for four), and he will be eligible to run for a second term in 2016; and because the second oath was not taken on a Bible, President Obama is now free to convert the United States to Islam. السلام عليكم, President Hussein al-Obama!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Inauguration day and alumni notes
I have to admit I never thought I would see this day. You know, I was pretty much convinced that Bush and Cheney would declare martial law, have Obama arrested, shut down the nation’s only remaining opposition newspaper (the Santa Cruz Anarcho-Syndicalist Bugle) and impound every vehicle with a “1.20.09” bumper sticker. I admit it, I was wrong.
Actually, I meant the part about having a black president.
And you know what else? Obama is the only Columbia graduate ever to win the presidency. So my alumni magazine has been kinda bursting with pride and joy, especially in the 1983 column of the Class Notes section.
Well, no, things are a bit stranger than that. It seems that the guy in charge of the Class of 1983 notes isn’t all that thrilled with Obama, on balance. In the last issue, he made a point of saying that he didn’t agree with Obama politically, but had become friendly with the Class of 1983’s other “major”-party nominee, Libertarian vice-presidential candidate and sports-gambling impresario Wayne Allyn Root, to whom much of last issue’s column was devoted. And why not? Root is not only one of the most recognized sports celebrities in America; he is telegenic, dynamic, charismatic, enthusiastic, fiery, passionate, opinionated, and OUTSPOKEN in his Libertarian beliefs for limited government, lower taxes, dramatically reduced spending and more freedom for the American people. As you can see for yourself if you click that last link.
This time around, in the issue that arrived last week, the Class of 1983 column reproduces in full the September 11 Wall Street Journal editorial, “Obama’s Lost Years”. It’s kind of a gem, really, and you should (as they say on blogs) read the whole thing if you didn’t have a chance to savor it the first time around. But because I’ve got a great big party to prepare for tonight (I’m hoping to get the hors d’oeuvres finished before Obama starts bombing Pakistan at 5:30 this afternoon, or perhaps by 6, when he converts the U.S. to Islamic socialism), I’m just going to comment on my two favorite things:
The Columbia years are a hole in the sprawling Obama hagiography. In his two published memoirs, the 47-year-old Democratic nominee barely mentions his experience there. He refuses to answer questions about Columbia and New York—which, in this media age, serves only to raise more of them. Why not release his Columbia transcript? Why has his senior essay gone missing?
Now in our view, the college years shouldn’t normally be used to judge a politician’s fitness for office. We’re not sure the transcripts of Al Gore, John Kerry and George W. Bush—which showed them to be C students—illuminated much for voters. The McCain campaign won’t release his records, but we know he graduated at the bottom of his Naval Academy class.
But Mr. Obama is a case apart. His personal story, as told by him, made possible his rise from obscurity four years ago to possibly the White House. He doesn’t have a long track record in government. We mainly have him in his own words. As any autobiographer, Mr. Obama played up certain chapters in his life—perhaps even exaggerating his drug use in adolescence to drive home his theme of youthful alienation—and ignored others.
Leaving aside the possibility that Bush’s record in college might, in fact, have provided some illumination as to the kind of intelligence and hard work he would bring to the Presidency, let us marvel instead at the remarkable prescience and craftiness of B. Hussein. Exaggerating his drug use to drive home his theme of youthful alienation while saying nothing about his two years as an undergraduate at an Ivy League college: has any presidential candidate ever devised a sneakier form of political self-promotion? Inquiring minds need to know: President Obama, why did you admit to using drugs—while refusing to answer questions about Columbia and New York? Was it part of your lifelong plan to hoodwink the American people into electing you?
Well, the WSJ has an idea or two about why Obama has been so cagey in today’s media age in which we live in today:
Such caginess is grist for speculation. Some think his transcript, if released, would reveal Mr. Obama as a mediocre student who benefited from racial preference. Yet he later graduated from Harvard Law School magna cum laude, so he knows how to get good grades. Others speculate about ties to the Black Students Organization, though students active then don’t seem to remember him. And on the far reaches of the Web can be found conspiracies about former Carter national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who became the candidate’s “guru and controller” while at Columbia in the early 1980s. Mr. Brzezinski laughs, and tells us he doesn’t “remember meeting him.”
Uh, Wingnut Street Journal dudes? We know how you feel about racial preference, because it messes with the intellectual meritocracy that gave us George W. Bush and Jonah Goldberg, but if indeed Obama were an affirmative action admit, wouldn’t that, like, be a good argument for affirmative action? Or do you imagine that if white guys learned that Obama had been a mediocre student, thousands of them would be muttering darkly to themselves that Obama took their spot at Columbia University, and proceeded to waste the opportunity?
And as for those speculations about the Black Students Organization and the conspiracies to be found on the far reaches of the Web: c’mon, boys, don’t be shy. If you’re going to try to mainstream the serious hardcore wingnuttery out there, provide the links. Or at least mention the name of Webster Tarpley, the man who first uncovered Brzezinski’s recruitment of Obama in the early 1980s! I mean, credit where credit is due, guys.
Well, I have to say that my little alumni magazine isn’t always such fun reading. Here’s to President Obama. May he lead the country with wisdom and kindness, at least until he suspends the 2012 and 2016 elections.