A Few Choice Words:  Pat Wictor Newsletter, September 30, 2008

By Pat Wictor              Subscribe: http://www.patwictor.com
                  Tuesday, September 30, 2008

  • 50 First Dates and the Election
  • Ears and Eyes: What I'm listening to and reading

     -Moral Clarity, Mose Allison, and more

  • Upcoming Gigs & appearances

     full calendar: http://www.patwictor.com

  • Lessons, coaching, production now available

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50 First Dates and the Election

I have a weakness for Adam Sandler movies.   One of my favorites is "50 First Dates," in which Drew Barrymore's amnesiac is courted by Sandler's patient and doggedly creative suitor.   It's hilarious and poignant, as they have to re-start their relationship anew each day.

Our election cycles are much like "50 First Dates."  We vote, for the most part, with selective memories, right down to forgetting what happened last week.  With the candidates and voters forgetting all that's come before, the election is comic and tragic all at once.    (It does get harder and harder to laugh, the worse the crises get. :-)

To my mind, the election is not just about a particular candidate or party winning.  As important as who wins, in my opinion, is HOW we citizens create the political environment this election.    

I want to invite you to do four things that can help rebuild our civic culture, and help us overcome the amnesia afflicting our country:

  1)  Talk to people you disagree with, and have a real, respectful give-and-take.  I know it's an American tradition to avoid political discussion in polite company.  But we won't overcome any of the serious challenges facing us until we start talking to, and learning from, each other.  I've been reading Plato's dialogues, and it's wonderful seeing him portray strong disagreements between friends, who (mostly) find civil ways to think together, discuss important matters, and concede when the other has made a good point.  

  2)  Seek out news sources that are not just reinforcing your own perspective, and try to listen and read dispassionately.    

  3)  Find reliable and accurate information, to check the facts, and cut through the lies, half-truths and propaganda.  I've provided some websites below which I've found very useful.

  4) Consider joining my reading group, The Reading Odyssey. We read the great books of the western tradition and then once a month meet by phone to discuss the books. The next books are Thucydides starting in November and Aristotle starting in January. We read *slowly* - only one chapter a month. This is a long-term project to develop our ability to be better, more thoughtful citizens. Email my reading partner and founder, Phil Terry, if you want to get involved (pterry@creativegood.com).

I hope these sites help, and I would love to hear how your conversations are going!

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Links:

On the Issues:  http://www.ontheissues.org
Issue-by-issue breakdown of speeches, writings, and votes by all the candidates for President (including the independents), as well as candidates for Congress.

ProCon.org   http://2008election.procon.org/
Also an issue-by-issue breakdown, with a different methodology and sources.  It highlights how candidates' issue positions have evolved (flip-flopped, in electionese) over time.

FactCheck  http://www.factcheck.org/
Dispassionate debunking of rumors, half-truths, and fabrications peddled by the candidates and their allies.  

The Living Room Candidate  http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/
A collection of election-year commercials, curated by the Museum of the Moving Image, with brief summaries, from 2008 back to 1952.

More good resources to research the candidates:  
http://smartvoter.org/2008/11/04/preslinksnov.html

The Reading Odyssey:
http://www.readingodyssey.com/

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Ears and Eyes:  What Im Listening to and Reading:
•-Music:
    "The Half Ain't Never Been Told, vol. 2: Early American Rural Religious Music."  
      Buy the CD:  http://yazoorecords.com/2050.htm
    "The Best of Mose Allison."  Buy the CD:  http://tinyurl.com/bestofmose
•-Books:
    Jhumpa Lahiri, "The Namesake."  Buy the book:  http://tinyurl.com/thenamesake
    Susan Neiman, "Moral Clarity:  A Guide for Grown-Up Idealists."  
      Buy the book:  http://tinyurl.com/moral-clarity

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Upcoming Pat Wictor gigs and appearances.  
Full calendar details and links:  http://www.patwictor.com

October 10  Auction House Events, Audubon, NJ   Bob Beach opens.   (10 min. from Philadelphia)
October 11  Sounding Board, West Hartford, CT  "Saints and Sinners" w/ Toby Walker
October 12  Mara Levine CD Release Party, Edison, NJ  
October 24-26  FAR-West, Phoenix, AZ
November 1  Geoff & Julia House Concert, Silver Spring, MD
November 2  Liberty Village House Concert, Union Bridge, MD
November 7  First Friday Concert Series, New Haven, CT
November 8  Steeple Coffeehouse, Southborough, MA  w/ Brooks Williams
November 15  Steel City, Phoenixville, PA
November 21  Fred Vine House Concert, Rochester, NY
December 7  Orangeburg Library, Orangeburg, NY
December 11  Second Thursday Concert Series, Babylon, NY   Cheryl Prashker accompanies
December 12  Good Coffeehouse, Brooklyn, NY   Cheryl Prashker accompanies
December 31  First Night Morris County, Morristown, NJ
January 14  FOCUS/Vic's Music Corner, Rockville, MD  w/ Jon Shain
February 1  University Cafe, Stony Brook, NY  w/ Pete Kennedy

More dates being added all the time!
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Lastly, with my years of touring and recording, I've developed a wide range of skills that I'm now sharing on a selective basis.  I've recently begun the following:

•Offering one-on-one lessons and coaching in several musical areas:  guitar (basic to advanced, "regular" and slide), performance coaching, songwriting, and song interpretation / rearrangement.

•Producing CDs for other artists, shepherding the recording process from start to finish.  

If you would like my help with learning music or recording a CD, get in touch for more information, rates, and scheduling.

Until next time:  many thanks, and warm regards,

Pat Wictor
patwictor@earthlink.net

  • - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  • Buy Pat Wictor's latest CD "Sunset Waltz" at

CD Baby.com: http://www.cdbaby.com/wictor5
Amazon.com:  http://tinyurl.com/Amazon-Sunset  
    and
iTunes:  http://tinyurl.com/iTunes-Sunset

Tell your friends to subscribe. Point them here:  http://www.patwictor.com

Do you want me to perform in your area, in your home, or at your event?
Contact my booking agent, McShane Glover   tel. 410-268-8232, or mcshane@mcnote.com

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                        contact info
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ABOUT PAT WICTOR
Modern Man's Rob Carlson says, "He not only is a great guy and a great talent, but I believe he has, follicle for follicle, the best hair in folk music.

If you are interested in booking Pat Wictor, contact McShane Glover:  
tel. 410-268-8232, or mcshane@mcnote.com

  • Bio: http://www.patwictor.com and http://www.myspace.com/patwictor
  • Philly Folk Festival Video: http://www.myspace.com/patwictor
  • Contact Pat Wictor directly: patwictor@earthlink.net

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