Christopher J. Scalia Profile picture
Academic Programs, @AEI. Co-editor, Scalia Speaks & On Faith. Words in @WSJ, @USAToday, @NRO, et al. Bad teams/good music/great books. m. @AdeleScalia, dad x4.
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8 Oct 20
I have a 1/2-baked theory about a Van Halen song.

When It’s Love opens with Eddie on synth and Alex tapping drumsticks w/ nearly every note. The combination adds a mechanical sound to the synth, like the tapping is part of the synth keys themselves. (1/)
My theory: Eddie was using Alex to mimic the key clicks that accompanied older keyboards. For ex., early Hammond organs clicked this way, and though it was a defect, some musicians liked the sound and later organs included a feature to replicate it. (/2)…
Less likely, but more interesting: Eddie—a classically trained musician who named his son Wolfgang—was trying to create an exaggerated version of the click that harpsichords made, due to the wood jacks that moved inside of them.

If either of those theories is right,... (3/)
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13 Sep 20
The Maytals 'Monkey Man' (official audio) #RIPToots
The Specials, Monkey Man
Toots, Pressure Drop
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12 Sep 20
When people talk about SNL, they don’t talk enough about band leader GE Smith, who spent much of the 80s and early 90s playing bodacious guitar and making ridiculous faces. This performance with Eddie Van Halen is a catalogue of 80s expressive excess. 1/… ImageImageImageImage
Look at how much fun they’re having! Look at how much they’re amazing each other! 2/ ImageImageImage
The episode was hosted by Valerie Bertinelli, Eddie’s wife, so naturally Eddie put on some of his best guitar-god faces. 🎸 🎸 🎸 / ImageImageImageImage
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4 Sep 20
I have to disagree with @TimAlberta here. When I think critically about how Goldberg describes his sources, they smell fishy. He’s often vague about what knowledge they have, or the connection between that knowledge and what they say. For example,... Image
Sometimes Goldberg says things like his sources “have knowledge of Trump’s views.” Which could cover someone in the administration, sure; it could also mean anyone in the press pool, or anyone who watches the news. 2/ Image
Here, Goldberg does *not* say that these knowledgeable people heard Trump say these things about GWB. It could easily mean that they know his views but someone told them he said this. Such phrasing from an experienced journalist is way too imprecise for me to trust. 3/ Image
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30 Aug 20
You know how singers will occasionally say things like, "I think you know what I'm talkin' about" after a line? It's a simple way to both vamp b/t lines and to establish a connection between the singer and listener. In one song, Donny Hathaway does the opposite...
In "Thank You Master", he sings:

"I just gotta say much obliged to you, Master'cause the walls of my room was not the walls of my grave  *My bed was not my cooling board (y'all don't know what I'm talkin' 'bout)*."

He was right—so I looked it up.
I thought it might be a Bible verse (b/c the next line refers to winding sheets), but it's not: it's a common phrase from African-American prayers and from the blues. (A cooling board is a board is a platform on which a dead body is placed before it's buried.) ImageImage
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23 Aug 20
One of the many frustrating aspects of French's argument is that even as he spends paragraphs discussing last term's case striking down a Louisiana statute regulating abortions, he suggests that overturning Roe is the only way SCOTUS could affect abortion law. 1/
That permits him to say that because only because 1 justice is on the record vs Roe, there’s no hope in overturning it. But as he says, the case under discussion *wasn't about overturning Roe* and came down to a bad opinion from Roberts (who reversed himself from ~2 yrs ago). 2/
In short, it's not all about Roe; other cases would impose modest restrictions on abortion, & it doesn’t take 4 new justices to make a difference on those. (And that’s just the Supreme Court—French doesn’t even mention the president’s power to appoint lower-court judges.) 3/
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6 May 20
From June '86-July '87, Eric Davis hit 47 HRs, batted .308, and stole 98 bases. (Not to mention his regular contributions to the highlight reel in CF.) "There was nobody else like the time. There's been nobody like him since." - @dschoenfield…
Speaking of his fielding: here he is stealing two homers from Jack Clark.
Here's a great ESPN feature about him that same season.
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16 Feb 20
The new High Fidelity series is a good opportunity to complain about how the movie remake doesn’t take advantage of the title. High Fidelity refers to a sound quality *and* romantic faithfulness, obv. But it’s also the name of an Elvis Costello song. The book's main character... Image
is a big EC fan, and there are several EC references in the novel, including when his girlfriend mentions the album that includes High Fidelity (Get Happy--one of my favorites). In the movie, though, there’s no mention of Elvis C. Title: ruined!

Something similar happens... ImageImage
to Hornby's next novel, About a Boy. A young boy has a crush on a girl who’s obsessed with Nirvana, and Cobain’s suicide is important to the plot. The title refers to that boy, the immature man who befriends him, AND the Nirvana song About a Girl.

But in the movie... Image
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12 Jan 20
All this machinery
Making modern music
Can still be open-hearted
Not so coldly charted
It's really just a question
Of your honesty, yeah your honesty
One likes to believe
In the freedom of music
But glittering prizes
And endless compromises
Shatter the illusion
Of integrity, yeah
(Did any rock band use “one” as a pronoun as often as Rush?)
If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice!
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10 Jan 20
I'm just realizing that Elvis released From Elvis in Memphis 50 years ago last summer, yet there wasn't a peep about the anniversary. That's crazy! It's a great record that develops the loose and soulful vibe of the '68 Special with material he hadn't recorded before. 1/ Image
He had spent most of the ‘60s recording songs for his movies. And some of those songs were good. But In Memphis was a return to relevant and coooool music. I think it stands out for its soulful covers of country songs, like this Eddy Arnold one: 2/
And his cover of Hank Snow’s I’m Movin' On is unreal. The song is hypnotic, those layers of background singers, horns, and that wild bass-line! There’s still a country flavor to the song, but he’s transformed it: 3/
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31 Dec 19
Very sad to hear about Gertrude Himmelfarb's passing. I really admired her work; in fact, just the other day I smuggled a copy of Looking Into the Abyss from my mom's house and have been looking forward to reading it. Condolences to her family.…
Here's one of her more recent essays, about Benjamin Disraeli:…
And if you're obsessed with Walter Scott, like some people I know, you should check out her analysis of Ivanhoe in The People of the Book: Philosemitism in England, From Cromwell to Churchill.…
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24 Sep 19
Trubisky and the Bears O again put the Bears D in great field position! #MNF
28-3 at the half—Imagine what the score would be if the Bears had a good offense! #CHIvsWAS
“He’s gotta throw it where [his receiver] is, not where [the defender] is.” - professional NFL analyst Booger McFarland, explaining an interception
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17 Sep 19
Happy #ConstitutionDay! My father liked to point out that for all of the attention we give the Bill of Rights, the strength of those freedoms rests on the structure established by the seven articles. Our Bill of Rights is much less generous than the USSR’s was—on paper. But:
He also reminded us that the Constitution is a limited document. It doesn’t contain all that is good, nor is everything in it necessarily good. That’s why the Founders provided a process for amendment. Again, from #ScaliaSpeaks:
(He used to joke that his job would be a lot easier if instead of writing opinions, he could just stamp, “stupid but constitutional.” So someone sent him this.)
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29 Aug 19
Elton John - Mona Lisa & Mad Hatters

Billy Joel - Summer, Highland Falls

Oasis - Stay Young

Cheap Trick - The House is Rockin’

The Smiths - Rubber Ring

Replacements - Valentine

Radiohead - Subterranean Homesick Alien
Led Zeppelin - You’re Time is Gonna Come

The Who - Don’t Let Go the Coat

Van Halen - Women In Love

Queen - Who Needs You

Tom Petty - Time to Move On

Eagles - Pretty Maids All in a Row

Boston - Used to Bad News
* Your Time...
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27 Aug 19
🧵 Abortion-rights advocates are suddenly pushing the idea that the pro-life movement is racist.

They’re doing that so people won’t notice that, to use the terms of the left, abortion does disproportionate violence to black bodies.

For example:
2) In New York City, thousands more black babies are aborted than born alive each year, and the abortion rate among black mothers is more than three times higher than it is for white mothers.”…
3) “Although black Americans [make up] 13.4% of the U.S. population, they accounted for 36.0% of the abortions in 2015.”…
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24 Aug 19
🧵The most heated intra-conservative battle since this spring’s Ahmari-French War is about…Walt Whitman?

In May, the Atlantic ran a (hyperbolic) essay praising Whitman as the poetic voice to help Americans recognize “our own best spirit.” (1/)…
The poet and translator Sarah Ruden wrote a brutal rebuttal in @NRO. Here's an especially good zinger: (2/)… Image
@NRO Over @firstthingsmag, @mark_bauerlein wasn’t having it: “Ruden’s essay is an exercise in low-imagination iconoclasm.” (3/)… Image
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11 Jul 19
That was a good show. ImageImage
(Butt in the battle of 3-letter logos, Average White Band’s cheeky approach wins.) ImageImageImage
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9 Jul 19
I used to dislike The Flame, even though (because?) it was the biggest hit for one of my favorite bands. Cheap Trick didn’t write it & it lacks the sly humor, great harmonies, and powerful guitars of them at their best. Also, it has cheesy synthesizers. On the other hand…(1/x)
...I’ve come to appreciate that it includes a subtle nod to the band’s early days: it features a mandocello—a prominent instrument in an early CT song named, appropriately enough, Mandocello. That echo ties the song to the band’s heyday. Plus,… (2x)
even though the song gets no love anymore—you won’t hear it on classic rock radio—it’s at least as good as other still-popular power ballads (Every Rose Has Its Thorn, etc.). So while I wouldn’t put it on my list of their best songs, I’ve come to really like it.... (3/4)
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6 Jun 19
On this, the 35th anniversary of Springsteen’s Born in the USA, remember that John Mellencamp’s mid-80s output holds up better.

They sang about similar subjects, but the latter’s fiddles and accordions are superior to lame keyboards and big dumb drums.
Mellencamp also deserves credit for Jack & Diane's reference to Rebel w/o a Cause. When Jack "does his best James Dean / 'Well, now then, there, Diane, we ought to run off to the city,'" he's quoting a scene where Dean plays house w Natalie Wood. See 1:53
Well, now then, there...the reference to the movie is effective, I think, not only because it shows how cool Jack wants to be, but also (given the movie's plot) because it develops the sense of sadness or desperation in the relationship.
(Also, Dean was a Hoosier, too.)
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5 Jun 19
George Will starts a chapter of his new book with this passage from Scalia Speaks.… Image
Not that Will doesn’t criticize my dad elsewhere, but the harshest treatment of a conservative judge comes from the index editor, who misspelled “Bork.” Image
I spoke too soon! The index of Will’s 1990 collection, “Suddenly,” anglicizes Antonin. Image
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27 Mar 19
#RIPRankingRoger of English Beat and General Public…
Tenderness (aka the song that plays at the end of Clueless)
Save it For Later (Pete Townshend does a great cover)
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