Volume II, Issue III Autumn 2003

The Smoking Section

It was with a sense of profound disbelief that we watched uber-Republican Michael Bloomberg impose a smoking ban on New York City as one of his first acts as mayor. We're still trying to figure out what happened to the GOP's small-government mantra, but when Bloomfield then declared the Rolling Stones persona non grata for daring to smoke on-stage during a concert we realized that whatever else this man is, a true New Yorker he isn't.

Having the health fascists in California ban smoking we fully expected, and reluctantly accepted. After all, Californians are the sort of people who will earnestly ask if you want sprouts on your burger, and think that tofu is an adequate offering for a meal.

But New York City without smoking in its bars? Next thing you know, Bloomberg will insist all cabbies speak English ...

All you need is cash

Apple Records logoWhen George Harrison bankrolled a parody of The Beatles called The Rutles, a wondrously biting effort of members of Monty Python, the Bonzo Dog Band and the first incarnation of "Saturday Night Live," one of the Rutles' fictitious hits was "All You Need is Cash."

Which of course played off of The Beatles' own syruppy idealistic "All You Need is Love."

Apple Computing Logo But perhaps it was more prescient than that, for Apple Records – The Beatles' label – is now suing Apple Computing over Steve Jobs' expanded iTunes music service.

Paul McCartney is one of the world's wealthiest men; Ringo Starr isn't exactly hurting, nor are the families of the late Harrison and John Lennon.

Further, except for various Beatles anthologies, Apple Records has hardly been a viable label over the past 30 years. Anyway, about the only acts Apple Records ever distributed outside The Beatles were James Taylor for his first release, and then the abysmal Elephant's Memory, which had been Lennon's backing band for a while.

So the idea that music consumers will be confused by Apple Computing offering music downloads is a bit silly – Turbula would wager a tidy sum that the vast majority of today's tech-savvy music fans have never even heard of The Beatles, much less Apple Records.

All we're left with is Paul McCartney looking greedier than ever ...

A baguette and a Giton

With France's continual opposition to whatever the United States proposed over Iraq or Israel these days, there's been an increased grumbling in the American press about the French.

Which is hardly a surprise – as Secretary of State Colin Powell said some months back, France and the United States have been in marriage counseling for 200 years.

Besides, French recalcitrance is nothing new – it's predictable, actually. As predictable as a beaujelois nouveau.

What seems to have changed is that the Americans no longer have the confidence, the sense of self-assuredness, to deal with the French attitude. In the past, we seemed to recognize French uppitness for what it was – evidence of French insecurities.

Now we're growing more mired in our own; instead of laughing off France's hauteur, we take offense, seek to strike back.

And in the process, we finally give the French what they so desperately want – a reaction ...

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