Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Anthem

How many times have you heard it?
"Oh say can you see, by the dawn's early light…"
How many times have you gotten up to go to the refrigerator one last time before the game started and paid no attention to it? Or switched channels to catch the score of another game? After all, you've heard the song a million times, why listen again?
"What so proudly we hailed, at the twilight's last gleaming?"
It's a difficult song to sing; only a powerful voice can sing it well, as the high notes make it a stretch for most amateurs. We all know the words; we usually sing along at the stadium, murmuring softly so the guy in the next seat can't hear us butcher it. Most often, we notice the song when someone fails to sing it well, or when someone interprets it in a way other than the usual. Some years ago, there was some talk about removing it as the National Anthem, replacing it with a song everyone could sing with ease. 
"Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight…"
Have you ever listened to the words? I mean really listened?
"O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?" 
Most Americans probably know a little of the history of the song. Maryland attorney Francis Scott Key wrote it on the morning of September 14, 1814. Key was involved in negotiations for the release of a friend held captive by the British. His negotiation was successful, but the British, about to commence an attack on Baltimore, detained Key and his friends. Key witnessed the attack from the deck of the British frigate Tonnant in Baltimore Harbor, occasionally catching glimpses of the giant flag above Fort McHenry in the light of exploding shells. 
"And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air…"  
I confess to being guilty of taking the Anthem for granted. Someone sings or plays it before every sporting event. How many times have I heard it? I did a little rough figuring: I've probably seen an average of four sporting events a week for the fifty plus years I have been aware of the world. Fifty years equals two thousand six hundred weeks, times the four games each week, equals ten thousand four hundred. I doubt that in all those times I ever really listened to the words. 
Then came the events of and following September 11, 2001. I don't want another song that is easier to sing. In my ears it reinforces what it means to be an American. Now I understand the feeling of intense pride that inspired Key to write it.
"Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there."
Now the words bring tears to my eyes. 
"O say, does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave,"
"O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?"
Yes it does.
This piece is a chapter in Larry's 'Between the Fuzzy Parts', available in paperback and e-book on
Larry Manch is an author, teacher, guitar player, freelance writer, and columnist. His books include: 'Twisted Logic: 50 Edgy Flash Fiction Stories', 'The Toughest Hundred Dollars & Other Rock & Roll Stories', 'A Sports Junkie', 'The Avery Appointment', 'Between the Fuzzy Parts'. His books are available in paperback and e-book.

He also writes about sports for Season Tickets, food and travel on Miles & Meals, and music/guitars on The Backbeat.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Bad Case of Historical Ignorance

A disturbing trend of late is a meme and a set of beliefs promoted by many Trump supporters regarding the 13th, 14th, and 15th Constitutional Amendments. They use this meme to attack Liberals and apparently, to further their belief that their side is right, and the hated Liberals are wrong. The problem with this meme, is that although the premise is correct, conservatives misunderstand and/or refuse to believe the underlying reason – a bad case of historical ignorance.

This may come as a shock to many readers, however, the statements in the meme are true.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The First Amendment - A Cornerstone of Democracy

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees and protects freedom of the press. Their job (in part) is to provide checks and balances on government, especially important, since the 115th Congress has failed to perform that duty.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Milo Hamilton's Feud With Harry Caray

For many Houston Astros fans, Milo Hamilton was the voice of the team. He called Astros games on radio for 28 years, and at his recent death, was lauded by many as one of the greatest of all time. Not everyone, though, thought Milo was the best. At least one iconic announcer and one newspaper reporter were not fans of Hamilton.

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Blue Bonnet Cafe

Who doesn’t love home cooking? Who doesn’t want to eat the food that you grew up with – food so good that only a Mom can make to your satisfaction? That kind of food only exists at Mom’s house, right? Not quite. There is a place where you would swear your Mom must be in the kitchen, cooking your favorite food – The Blue Bonnet CafĂ©, in Marble Falls, Texas.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Repeal and Die

Those of you who are cheering the repeal of the ACA (Affordable Care Act, aka: Obamacare) are missing a critical point. The ACA prohibited insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions (i.e. cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.) Now, with "Trumpcare", those insurance companies (including mine) are no longer required to cover you. If you have such a medical condition, your insurance company can deny you coverage – OR - they can charge you whatever they want to. They can charge you 10 times what you pay now.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Christians Filled With Hate and Fear

Recently, I engaged in several online conversations with people who called themselves Christian. Some are disgusted at the current administration, with their fear mongering and disrespect directed against many groups of people. Far more though, are fine with the hate and fear and are quick to lash out against those who believe differently than they do.
It is interesting how so many so-called Christians abandon their values when they want to spew hate, bash liberals, Muslims, Mexicans, and anyone else different than them. These people, who conveniently invoke those alleged values when it suits them, are the first to start slinging mud, name call, and spit venom when arguing. When you ask them how their so-called Christian beliefs allow them to behave that way, they just ramp up the hate.