Monthly Archives: December 2015



January 8th is the birthday of Elvis Presley.  If he had lived, he would be 81. Elvis died in 1977, thirty-eight years ago, but just mention his name, and there is instant recogniton, even from those far too young to remember him clearly.

I was never a “fan” of Elvis Presley, but I always enjoyed his music.  There is no doubt that as a cultural icon, Elvis is indisputably “The King”.

A few years back, I saw my first live performance of an Elvis tribute artist, a guy by the name of Doug Church, and he was pretty good:

After seeing this performance, which I thoroughly enjoyed, I learned that Doug Church is just one of many Elvis tribute artists.

There’s Shawn Klush:

And David Lee:

And many, many, more.

Elvis Aaaron Presley was born in 1935 and died in 1977. In a lifespan of just 42 years, he became arguably the most famous singer of all time. During his career, he recorded between 665 and 711 songs (the actual number is in dispute). He had twenty number one albums, and thirty-six number one singles. He appeared in thirty-two movies.

Books and movies have been written about his life. His music was (and is) known around the world.

Even though he has been gone for almost four decades, his persona lives on in the form of an army of Elvis impersonators.

Elvis impersonators come in three forms: The look-alikes; not necessarily perfomers, but available for your next party or supermarket opening. The sound alikes; singers who attempt to imitate Elvis’ voice. And finally the tribute artists; professional performers who put on Elvis-oriented shows, sometimes traveling around the world to perform.

elvis02 elvis03


There are some incredibly bad Elvis impersonators:  bad elvis 1

A trio of Elvis impersonators with tartan capes, from left, Shane Allison, Dean Pirtle and Matt Raven wave to fans as they walk along the 18th fairway during the third round of the Verizon Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, Saturday, April 19, 2008. The three were declared the winners of the tournament's Tartan Day competition. (Jay Karr/The Island Packet/MCT) ORG XMIT: 1057191

bad elvis 3

There are Japanese Elvis’s (Elvi?):

japanese elvis

Chinese Elvis’s:

chinese elvis

And yes, even female Elvis’sfemale elvis

So many Elvis’s, so little time….

Comedian Andy Kaufman “made his bones” with an Elvis impersonation back in the 70’s.

Elvis lives, at least in the minds of those who follow the shows of tribute artists. But a take look at the audiences of these shows, and one sees a lot of gray hair. It would seem that as the audiences age, the popularity of Elvis remembrances might fade as well.

On the other hand, Graceland, Elvis’ home in Memphis, still attracts over a half million visitors a year. Graceland was voted top U.S. iconic tourist attraction by USA Today readers in 2012.


The deceased Elvis earned $55 million dollars in 2012, just behind the top two deceased performers, Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson.

An then there is Warner Brothers, who reportedly has secured the rights for the entire Elvis music catalog as part of a planned Elvis biopic under discussion.

As far as the tribute artists, there are still a few balcony seets left for the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist contest to be held in Cincinnati in January. Cheap seats in the nosebleed section start at $175, and there are not many left.

Memories of Elvis are strongest for those from his era, but it looks like there may be a number of little Elvi in training:

little elvis

Paris Warms Up

President Barack Obama, left, sits with French President Francois Hollande, right, as they have dinner at the Ambroisie restaurant in Paris, France, with Secretary of State John Kerry, 2nd right, French Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Segolene Royal, 3rd right, and French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, 3rd left, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. Obama is in France for a two-day visit as part of the COP21, the United Nations Climate Change conference. Other officials are : Translator, Thomas Ronkin, 2nd left, Charles Kupchan, top left, and French President Hollande's Military Chief of Staff General Benoit Puga, top right. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, Pool)

The world-wide conference on climate change in Paris ended recently. The media exhibited a breathless, Entertainment Tonight  glow reporting the event. One blog headlined it like this: “This is a momentous, world changing event”.

No, it is not.

Yes, I know some 196 nations reached an “historic” agreement in Paris. Yes, I am aware that many people around the world are convinced that this agreement will “save” the planet (or more accurately human beings), from global catastrophe. I am completely aware that I am one of the minority, or as I like to call it, the loyal opposition.

Let’s discuss politics.

Each of the nations involved in the agreement submitted a plan for reducing it’s reliance on carbon fuels. Each was a combination of “hope” to do, “want” to do, and “plan” to do to reduce their “carbon footprint” by 2050 or so. I say “or so” because dates always tend to get a little fuzzy in multinational agreements.

None of the agreements are legally binding. They are “promises” loosely based on what each country’s leaders think they can get through their repective governments and publics. The United States, for instance, was smart enough not to try to make this into a legally binding treaty, because it is well known no such treaty would ever make it past Congress, which must approve all treaties. The stongest enforcment in the agreement is “global shaming” of countries who do not meet their committments to reducing emmissions.

So think of it as a multinational “to do” list, with some items possible, others not. The prospect of each nation reaching it’s goals is extremely unlikely. Why? The complications and the money, mostly the money.

The poorer nations (most of them) are demanding payments from wealthier ones (especially the United States) to help them to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. Part of these are oblique “reparations” for industrial nations advancing economically while at the same time being the major polluters. These poorer countries believe that the wealthy countries are the ones who have caused “global warming” and now demand those countries pay.

And pay big. One figure floated around Paris was $100 billion (dollars) per year transfer from wealthy countries to poor ones, over a period of at least ten years, a total of  one trillion dollars!   And that’s just for the first decade of the agreement!

Does anyone really think that is going to happen?

** Note — This just in: Congress is approving President Obama’s request for $500 million in the 2016 budget for the climate fund for poor countries. Could that money have been spent here? Nah….we don’t need it….

The biggest polluters carbon fuel-wise today are China and India. China has said it will stop increasing it’s use of carbon fuels by 2030, but that’s not surprising, insasmuch as that’s about the time China’s population will stop growing. India, on the other hand, refuses to get tied down, as it claims that because it is such a poor country, it needs more time to “catch up” industrially with the West.

It’s already been noted that even if the U.S. took extraordinary measures to reduce carbon fuels, the difference we could make would be negligable at this point. That doesn’t mean however, that shanigans won’t be taking place.

money temperature

Look for calls for “carbon taxes”. Bernie Sanders has talked about this alot, and I suspect he will have company as time goes on. These “taxes” will make it more expensive for you and I to heat our homes and fuel our cars, but it doesn’t stop there. Manufacturers and all sorts of producers will get slammed with these taxes, which they will naturally pass along to the consumer. Ostensibly these taxes will go toward encouraging research and development of “clean” energy sources, vis-a-vie grants and so forth to potential developers.  Watch out for that one. The name Solyndra comes to mind. If you don’t recall who they were, they were the solar power company that received over $500 million from Uncle Sam, only to go bankrupt after five years.


Currently there is no large-scale replacement for fossil fuels. Solar, wind, biomass, and hydro power all work, but only in a limited way. So far, no one has found a viable solution to what happens when the sun isn’t shining or the wind is not blowing.  All of these combined could not generate nearly enough power for an industrialized country such as the United States. The “hope” is that newer and better alternatives will be discovered just in time to save the day and keep the seas from rising. Maybe that’s where “Hope and Change” came from – we hope someone will invent something that will mean a change.

The alternative to a new discovery is taxing carbon fuels so heavily that we all return to a pre-industrial state, sort of like living in the 1750’s.  We all know that’s not going to happen. I’m not saying the taxing won’t happen, it surely will. I’m saying it all hits the wall when the public finally realizes what the proposals mean to them; and that will not be pretty.

I’m sure all the delegates had a marvelous time in Paris on someone’s expense account, and left feeling fulfilled and salf-satisfied. The problem is, like so many political activities, most of the discussion was completely removed from the real world we live in.

We may be going through climate change. Certainly it has happened before. I seriously doubt man has had much to do with it, and doubt even more that man can do much about it.

Except hold conferences.