The Wrongologist

Geopolitics, Power and Political Economy

What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

The Daily Escape:

Happy New Year from the Wrong family

At the Mansion of Wrong, it is our annual party for our oldest friends. We’ll start with a wonderful vintage champagne. Then, move on to caviar sandwiches, and lobster rolls. All of that will be followed by perfectly cooked medium-rare beef tenderloin and a great Cabernet.

For this one day, we’ll act as if the problems of the world are at bay, so that we can concentrate on what is right with our world, despite how much awfulness there is everywhere we look.

One ray of hope as 2019 commences concerns a mother’s reaction to a tragedy. Mollie Tibbetts, a 20-year-old student at the University of Iowa went missing while out for a jog this July. Her body was recovered a month later, and an immigrant who was living and working in Iowa was charged with her murder.

Her killing became fodder for the Right’s efforts to stir up the nation’s anti-immigrant feelings. Some people were animated by deep and ugly racism. But Mollie’s family have chosen a path of solidarity in the time since their daughter’s alleged murderer was arrested. The WaPo has an update about the Tibbets’s actions.

It seems that Tibbetts’s mother, Laura Calderwood, has taken in a local Latino teenager whose parents initially fled Iowa amidst the local anti-immigrant blowback her murder provoked. More interesting, the kid Calderwood is effectively fostering actually knows Tibbetts’s alleged killer quite well. These two stories, on different arcs, are now taking shape under the same roof.

Calderwood says that hosting the boy who wants to finish high school before moving on, accords with her own belief about doing the right thing. She also thinks it is what her daughter would have wanted.

On New Year’s Eve, we are all searching for some reason for hope, for optimism in the face of so much that’s wrong. As we close out a truly awful 2018, it’s important to reflect not just upon the global cruelty, and the intense xenophobia at home. We should also acknowledge that mercifully, there are Laura Calderwoods who demonstrate an entirely different path.

Here is a song for New Year’s played two ways. There are many versions of “What Are You Doing New Years?” and these are two of Wrongo’s favorites. First, the saxophonist King Curtis in an instrumental version from 1968:

Those who read the Wrongologist in email can view the video here.

Next the great Ella Fitzgerald with the best vocal version, from 1960:

Those who read the Wrongologist in email can view the video here.


New Year’s Eve, 2016

Today is Wrongo’s birthday! We will spend the evening with close friends, great food, champagne and music. We will talk about how as 2016 draws to a close, America is a deeply unsettled nation.

We can’t decide about our national priorities. We hear from the pols and pundits that it should be jobs and the economy, but they also say it should be national security, or it must be to repeal Obamacare and lower the tax burden on the faux job creators. But they also say that we should remain the world’s policeman, so why weren’t we at the table for the Syrian cease-fire?

Tomorrow we are offered the “fresh slate” that the Universe sends our way each year, so here’s to pretending we’re going to be completely changed men and women in 2017!

Let’s get to some New Year’s music:

First, a snippet of the 2014 Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s concert, “The Radetzky March” by Johann Strauss. Daniel Barenboim conducts, but he mostly walks around the orchestra shaking hands with the players. He conducts the audience once or twice. Note the audience’s enthusiastic clapping. The Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s concert is broadcast live around the world to an audience of 50 million in 90 countries. The demand for tickets is so high that people pre-register one year in advance in order to participate in a drawing of tickets for seats the following year:

Those who read the Wrongologist in email can view the video here.

Second, it wouldn’t be New Year’s at the Mansion of Wrong without playing “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” This year, we will be listening to the version by The Orioles from 1949. Formed in the late 1940s, The Orioles are generally acknowledged as R&B’s first vocal group. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995:

Those who read the Wrongologist in email can view the video here.

The final tune for New Year’s is about sentimentality and hope for the future. It’s Barry Manilow’s “It’s Just Another New Year’s Eve” from the 1977 “Live” album.

Those who read the Wrongologist in email can view the video here.

Blogging will resume on January 2, 2017.



Happy New Year!

Today is the Wrongologist’s birthday. That’s right, nearly everyone in the civilized world tries to have a drink with Wrongo on New Year’s Eve. It makes New Year’s Eve among his favorite holidays.

Christmas, not so much. The double bind that Christmas has become is summed up by those annual Lexus commercials. They promise that if you’re nice enough to Santa, or if your spouse truly loves you, there could be a $50,000 luxury car outside, wrapped in a bow.

Really? Tell that to the average American (whose wages haven’t gone up, even though much of their daily living costs have increased) that the reason they don’t have a Lexus waiting for them is that their spouse or significant other just doesn’t love them enough.

It is easy to hate what Christmas has become here at the end stage of the Empire.

But New Year’s is different. Here is Johnny Swim, the Wrongologist’s favorite new musical group of 2014, singing a song written by Frank Loesser in 1947, “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?”:

Happy New Year, and thanks to all of those who read this blog.

No need for a long list of resolutions that we would all just break in January. Let’s settle for a wish that 2015 brings each of us a better economy, better health, and fewer global crises to worry about.