The gelded age

Mark Steyn devotes his weekly column to the Restore our American Mustangs Act, covered by John in “And now for something completely crazy.” It is a classic Styen column. Mark works a lot of his favorite subjects into it. Among other things, he notes that the the bill mandates “enhanced” contraception for horses and burros. He takes a timeout for this brief digression:

John Hinderaker of the Powerline website mused on whether this would involve Nancy Pelosi (who’s very keen on federally funded contraception) personally installing the enhanced prophylactic device on every stallion. The pay-per-view rights on that would surely be worth $700 million at least. And it would certainly stimulate the American latex industry. Or perhaps we could import them from overseas. I seem to recall the European Union introduced shape and size regulations for a harmonized Euro-condom a few years back, only to have the Germans complain that these things were too small and obviously made for Greeks — or possibly vice-versa, before any Greek readers file a federal hate-crimes suit. Anyway, the point is that somewhere in a European warehouse there are piles of ill-fitting Euro-condoms gathering dust. Surely it’s not beyond the wit of Congress to convert a few superfluous GM plants in Michigan into facilities for sewing together unwanted Euro-contraceptives to fit federally condomed mustangs. Just thinking outside the horse-box here.

This week Roger McGuinn celebrated his sixty-seventh birthday. McGuinn was a cofounder of the Byrds, perhaps the best (certainly my favorite) American rock group of the sixties. McGuinn stayed with the group through a variety of personnel changes to the end in 1973 and maintained a high level of quality throughout.
One latter-day version of the Byrds featured guitarist extraordinaire Clarence White. This iteration of the Byrds turned up a minor hit with the equine fantasy “Chestnut Mare.” The song derived from McGuinn’s short songwriting partnership with Jacques Levy.
McGuinn and Levy had teamed up to work on a country and western musical adaptation of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt that never came to be. In the video below, McGuinn plays a terrific solo acoustic version of “Chestnut Mare.” It may not be the perfect song to accompany Steyn’s column, but I hope the column provides a passable excuse to post the video.

Over the past 15 years, McGuinn has returned to his first love in folk music. He has recorded and posted annotated downloadable versions of traditional folk songs weekly on his Folk Den site. Listen here, for example, to McGuinn’s take on “John Riley,” the old English folk song that the Byrds covered on Fifth Dimension.
In 2005 McGuinn released a four-disc box set of his 100 favorite songs that he had uploaded to the Folk Den over the previous decade, including rerecordings, remixes and remastered versions of the songs. Here I can’t suggest any connection to the ROAM Act. I can only say that the integrity of this body of work contrasts markedly with it.


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