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Tue Jun 12, 2012, 03:41 PM

Rainy Day, Dream Away

"Rainy day, dream away
Ah, let the sun take a holiday
Flowers bathe and I see the children play
Lay back and groove on a rainy day ....

Rainy day, rain all day
Ain't no use in gettin' uptight
Just let it groove its own way
Let it drain your worries away
Lay back and groove on a rainy day ....."
-- Jimi Hendrix; Rainy Day, Dream Away


Actually, for part of the morning, I wasn't watching "children play" ..... though I did go on a walk with a couple of my dogs. And they found the rain and mud delightful to play in. As we are expecting a storm, I clipped enough roses and other flowers to fill three vases. But that's beside the point .....

One of my favorite hobbies on rainy days is to read. And I have four new books that I'm currently reading. The first is Douglas Brinkley's new book, "Cronkite." Any mainstream journalist who enjoyed a friendship with Abbie Hoffman -- and appreciated that Abbie was serious about what he did -- is okay by me. It's obvious that there isn't currently a mainstream journalist of Walter Cronkite's stature, and that's a shame. While it is well and good that there are more television news resources than ABC, CBS, and NBC, there should be more respectable journalists, from a variety of backgrounds and viewpoints, than there currently are. And while Douglas Brinkley isn't among my favorite authors, the book is well worth reading.

The second one I bought was Arthur Mercante's 2006 "Inside the Ropes." Mercante was an outstanding boxing referee, who was the "third man" in the ring for more championship fights than anyone else. He was the ref in "The Fight of the Century," between two undefeated heavyweight champions, Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali. Years ago, when my boys were 7 and 4, we had the chance to meet Arthur at the International Boxing Hall of Fame. I have a copy of a regional news station's film of Mercante playing with the boys.

The third book is one my wife bought for me this past weekend. It's Edward Klein's 2009 "Ted Kennedy: The Dream That Never Died." Klein, a foreign news editor for Newsweek (he also worked/wrote for The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, and Parade), has authored a series of cheesy "Kennedy books." Although I wouldn't waste a penny on one myself, I am glad that it was at least on "the stacks," and reduced in price by 88%.

The last is my favorite of the four: it's Robert Caro's "Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power." This is the fourth in his series on LBJ; originally, he planned to complete the task in four books, but this 700+ page volume is focused primarily on Johnson's vice presidency and early presidency. Thus, he will produce a fifth book.

After reading the 2002 "Master of the Senate -- the third book -- I've had the opportunity to communicate with Caro. Like him, I find LBJ fascinating and repulsive, frequently at the same time. He is, in my opinion, the second strangest man to hold that office, closely following Richard Nixon. The "presidential" section of my library has the most books by/about John Kennedy, then LBJ, and then Nixon. My father thought Johnson would have been second in greatness to only FDR, but for the Vietnam War. But, of course, Vietnam was real, and thousands of people died or where injured, due to LBJ's policies.

The book is valuable because it documents, better than any previous book on the topic, how as Vice President, Johnson attempted a grab for an unconstitutional amount of power. The one area where I strongly disagree with the author, is his claim that no other VP had had such powers. The facts is that Nixon, under Ike, actually was running the US policy on Cuba and Central America. Johnson was seeking to continue in similar tradition. Luckily, however, JFK limited LBJ's attempts to influence either foreign or domestic policy. This was good, at very least in the case of Johnson's advocacy of a vicious military strike on Cuba during the missile crisis.

Times change. The Office of the Vice President is no longer what it was in 1960. When the VP is a person of the quality of an Al Gore or Joe Biden, there can be advantages in having a capable person from that office. But, when it is a Dick Cheney, the reasons the Founding Fathers purposely limited the power of the office are clear.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in that era's curious history.

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Reply Rainy Day, Dream Away (Original post)
H2O Man Jun 2012 OP
steve2470 Jun 2012 #1
H2O Man Jun 2012 #2
dixiegrrrrl Jun 2012 #3
H2O Man Jun 2012 #4
spanone Jun 2012 #5
H2O Man Jun 2012 #7
spanone Jun 2012 #9
Octafish Jun 2012 #6
H2O Man Jun 2012 #8

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 03:44 PM

1. k&r, as always nt

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Response to steve2470 (Reply #1)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 04:18 PM

2. Thanks!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 04:51 PM

3. A luck of fortune that Kennedy was able to limit Johnson as VP.

I have read the previous 3 Caro books on Johnson..the story of how he got elected to the Senate is stunning.
and have the 4th Caro book, not yet cracked open.
thanks for the reminder to do so...

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #3)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 06:35 PM

4. You'll enjoy it.

It's the best one yet.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 06:36 PM

5. k&r...

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Response to spanone (Reply #5)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 09:24 PM

7. Thanks!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #7)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 10:15 PM

9. thank YOU!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 08:47 PM

6. 1983...a Merman I Shall Turn to Be

Hey, man. Take a look out the window and see what's happenin'. It's raining. It's raining outside.

I hear you about rain and all that. Also very much appreciate the Caro briefing as well as the insight into your wonderful family.

While he could have been somebody special, LBJ will never be much for me. The guy lied America into an illegal, immoral, unnecessary and disastrous war -- just like his friends the Bushes have so often done in the years since.

PS: How ya feeling? Still hurt to breathe? Not trying to rub it in -- my back still hurts like hell and it's been two-and-a-half years since I fell onto some concrete. Geesh. Now that I think about it -- it still hurts like heck! LOL!

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Response to Octafish (Reply #6)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 09:28 PM

8. He was one of two

US Presidents that had severe psychological breakdowns while in office .... the other being Nixon. Strange timing, eh?

I have a two-part MRI scheduled on Thursday. 'Spect I'll have to skip running a marathon that day! ha! This "getting old" stuff -- frustrating as it may be, it beats the alternative. I enjoy each and every day.

Gotta remember to call you sometime soon.

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