»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Saturday, September 6th, 2014

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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]

01 — Intro.     And Radio Derb is back on the air! This is your resurgently genial host John Derbyshire, back from a month's vacation, ensconced once again in our recording studio here on Taki's private island in the sunny Aegean.

The vacation was most enjoyable: two weeks attending to the family estates in Long Island, followed by two weeks travelling in Alaska. Alaska I can report is sensationally beautiful, but drizzly and rather pricey.

Now I'm back in the saddle; my loyal research assistants Mandy, Candy, and Brandy are back from their own vacations and have been beavering away to come up with titillating news items, so let's see what the world has been up to in my absence.

02 — Don't notice, don't remember.     The big domestic news story in August was the riots in Ferguson, Missouri after a white cop fatally shot a black man. Or, if you want it in the language of the mainstream media style book: after a white cop gunned down an unarmed black teen.

My first thought when the story appeared was that whatever the facts of the case ultimately turn out to be, they won't much resemble the story we were getting from the media. Do they ever? Any time one of these bouts of race hysteria sweeps the nation, it always turns out, once the facts are known, that the story originally offered to us was bogus.

The outstanding example in recent years was the shooting of Trayvon Martin in 2012. The story we first heard was that a sinister white racist bigot had stalked and then shot—I beg your pardon: "gunned down"— a baby-faced teenager who'd just stepped out for a bag of Skittles. It turned out the white bigot had a Hispanic mother and a black great-grandfather and had done voluntary work on behalf of black youth. It further turned out that the baby-faced innocent was a full-sized man with a set of burglary tools, an interest in street fighting, a close acquaintance with the lower-level types of recreational drugs—including one home-made concoction known as "purple lean" that includes Skittles as an ingredient—and tweeted under the handle @NO_LIMIT_NIGGA. It yet further turned out that at the time Martin was shot he was kneeling astride the supine Zimmerman and pounding Zimmerman's head against the sidewalk.

That's how it always goes with these incidents. Gathering and evaluating physical evidence takes time. So does recording, comparing, and evaluating witness accounts. Until all that work is completed, a sudden violent exchange like the Trayvon Martin shooting or this one in Ferguson is a fuzzy blob of uncertainty that different people interpret according to their imaginations and inclinations.

Mainstream media reporters are mostly guilty white liberal types whose imaginations and inclinations are formed by the indoctrination they get at school and college, a central feature of which is cruel, arrogant white proles insulting and oppressing helpless blacks. So that's how they write up the fuzzy blob. It just comes naturally to them.

When the wave function eventually collapses and we have a good factual account of what happened, like the one presented at George Zimmerman's trial that led to Zimmerman's acquittal, those initial stories look pretty silly. Nobody remembers that, though, and there's a general vague feeling that it would be wrong to remember it. Steve Sailer likes to say that Political Correctness is a war on noticing things. That's true; but PC is also a war on remembering things. Our cultural overlords want us stupid: don't notice, don't remember.

We still don't know what happened in Ferguson on August 9th, but the original accounts already look considerably frayed.

Michael Brown, the shootee, was 6 ft. 4 in. and weighed 292 lbs. That's a very large guy. Brown's classmates — he had just graduated from high school — hastened to soften the impression by telling the media he was a, quote, "gentle giant" who wouldn't harm a fly. That bit of the narrative fell apart six days after the incident when Ferguson police released security video of Brown stealing a box of cigars from a store and roughing up the small South Asian store clerk, just ten minutes before the shooting.

Brown's companion at the time of the shooting — and also, it turned out, in the shoplifting escapade — was one Dorian Johnson, whose account of what happened was the basis for the initial reporting. It later turned out that Johnson is not a person who holds the truth in very high esteem. He had pleaded guilty to lying to police in a 2011 theft case and at the time of the Michael Brown shooting there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

So it goes. When the facts are shaken out, these hyped-up incidents always turn out to have transpired differently from what the media shills first told us; and that's when they're not flat-out hoaxes, a subject I'll take up later. The true story of what happened is always quite different from the Cultural Marxist narrative promoted by the media in order to whip up anti-white hysteria.

If you notice that, though, and remember it, you are a very, very bad person.

03 — How smart do you want your cops?     The demographics of Ferguson and its police force have come in for some commentary. Quote from the New York Times, August 17th:

Ferguson's demographics have shifted rapidly: in 1990, it was 74 percent white and 25 percent black; in 2000, 52 percent black and 45 percent white; by 2010, 67 percent black and 29 percent white.

You remember white flight from the cities to the suburbs? That was a feature of postwar American life up until the 1980s, when opinion among urban planners turned decisively against housing poor people in big inner-city projects and the Section 8 housing voucher program really took off. Since then a much more common pattern has been the re-gentrification of inner cities by yuppie and hipster types and homosexuals, while blacks move out to near suburbs like Ferguson.

When this happens as quickly as it's happened in Ferguson, with the black population going from 25 to 67 percent in just twenty years, the demographics of the city workforce will lag behind the trend. These are public employees with powerful unions; you can't just freely fire and hire people to get racial balance. So you get this legacy effect in public employment, whites holding on to the civil service jobs as their clientele gets blacker.

That's part of the explanation for why Ferguson's police force is only six percent black — three officers out of 53.

Another part is just human biodiversity. Police work is cognitively quite demanding. You need to know some law, procedures, how equipment functions, and so on. Black populations just don't have as big a fraction of smart people as white populations do.

Let's take IQ as a fair proxy for how smart a cop needs to be. We have data on IQ covering millions of subjects going back for decades, from huge databases like the Armed Forces Qualification Test, which is close enough an IQ test. Blacks average 85 IQ, whites 100, with similar standard deviations — around 15.

So if your IQ cutoff for cops is 95, around 63 percent of whites make the grade, but only 25 percent of blacks. You'd probably want your cops smarter than that, but then you get bigger discrepancies. Over IQ 105 you've got 37 percent of whites but only nine percent of blacks. At 110, it's 25 percent and five percent.

Put it another way: On current Ferguson demographics, around five percent of residents are whites over 110 IQ, versus about one percent of residents who are blacks above that mark. Total six percent of your residents qualify for the police force at that cutoff, but the ratio is five to one, white to black. So if that was your cutoff and you could totally eliminate the legacy effect, which of course you can't, you'd still have a police force only 17 percent black.

Of course, you could finesse the issue by just abandoning recruitment standards and hiring cops by race quota. Under pressure from the federal Department of Justice, that's what more and more city police forces are now doing. So … get with the program, Ferguson!

04 — First college hate-crime hoax of the season.     As I mentioned a couple of segments back, these occasions for racial hysteria are sometimes just flat-out hoaxes, like the Tawana Brawley business back in 1987.

When one of these incidents happens at a college, you can pretty much bet the farm it's a hoax. Remember the Oberlin Klansman last year? The San Diego noose in 2010? The Columbia noose fraud in 2007? As before I am bound to point out that if you do remember them, you are a bad person. Stop noticing! Stop remembering!

My colleague Nicholas Stix at VDARE.com wrote a column listing many more of these fake hate crimes, title "The Economics of Black Race Hoaxes," from which, quote:

In 1995, liberal Laird Wilcox wrote the book, Crying Wolf: Hate Crime Hoaxes in America. Several years later, he lamented that there had been so many hoaxes since then, that no single book could possibly track the phenomenon.

End quote. Well, the new academic year has barely started and already we have our first college hate crime hoax. This happened at Sweet Briar College, a private women's liberal arts college in Virginia. Just let me say that again: a private women's liberal arts college. Just the kind of place where you'd expect to find an undercover Klansman, right? Ri-i-ight.

Well, last week labels reading "White Only" and "Colored" were found affixed to doors and water coolers in a college dorm. Much shrieking, wailing, swooning, and rending of garments followed. Quote from a news report on The Blaze, September 3rd, longish quote:

Sweet Briar resident assistant Kiona Davis said students were shocked when they heard about the … labels. "A lot of them would rather stay locked in their room instead of coming out," Davis told WSET …

Student Body President Katie Craig told the station she stayed up until 3 a.m. consoling fellow students after the incident was reported. "I'm sad and I continue to be sad," Craig told WSET. "It's not indicative of" — cliché alert! — "of what we are."

Craig also emailed a note to students emphasizing Sweet Briar women are progressive, not oppressive, the station noted.

End quote. While the terrified little petunias of Sweet Briar were cowering in their locked rooms, college President James F. Jones was seeking out the culprit. It didn't take long. Late on Wednesday this week President Jones issued a statement telling us the student had made herself know to him and was no longer enrolled at the college, though he didn't say whether she'd been expelled or left of her own volition.

Quote from President Jones' statement, quote:

Per federal regulations, the name of the student involved will not be released, but because of the circumstances and the questions it has raised, I can tell you that she is African-American and that I believe her apology was sincere.

End quote. So the hate crime hoaxer was black, eh? You could knock me down with a feather!

Now you must forget you heard this segment. If you were to remember it, you would not be properly primed for shock and outrage when the next racist atrocity occurs on some American campus somewhere.

Stop noticing! Stop remembering! IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH!

05 — Anarcho-tyranny (cont.)     One of the most useful linguistic coinages of the past few years has been the late Sam Francis' "anarcho-tyranny." This describes the state of affairs where the authorities of the state exert themselves mightily against petty acts of ideological nonconformity while paying little or no attention to what were once considered serious crimes.

Here in the United States, anarcho-tyranny has barely got under way, but over in Europe it is now Standard Operating Procedure for the forces of law and order. This especially applies in the Germanic nations of north Europe, and most especially in the area of interactions between the sexes.

The anarcho-tyranny rule in Sweden is egregious even by European standards. If you accidentally step on a lady's toe in a crowded subway train in London or Paris, someone will call out: "That's rape in Sweden!" and everyone will laugh. The joke isn't far from the truth: the slightest hint of an unwanted approach by a man to a woman is likely to get you arrested in Stockholm and Göteborg.

At any rate, that's the case if you are white. For persons of color or ethnicity the rules are all different. My impression is that the precise hierarchy of privilege has not yet been sorted out to the degree one can quote precise rules, but generally speaking race still trumps sex.

That's also the impression one gets from the scandal in Rotherham, northern England, where hundreds — the figure currently being quoted is 1,400 — of white English girls were lured and intimidated into being sex slaves for Pakistani men. Some of the girls were as young as eleven or twelve when first raped by the Pakistanis.

Being Muslim and swarthy, Pakistanis are a protected class in England, so no action was taken, even when the parents of some girls made reports to the police. The police, who descend in angry swarms on anyone suspected of Bad Thoughts about racial minorities, showed no interest and took no action.

A researcher from the central government sent to look into the matter gathered evidence, made up a report, and submitted it to the Rotherham city government. The report was never published — this was in 2001, by the way — and when the researcher resisted suggestions she change her findings to make them more politically correct, Rotherham tried to fire her. That having failed, they booked her instead on a "two-day ethnicity and diversity course" to "raise [her] awareness of ethnic issues."

Rotherham comes within the jurisdiction of South Yorkshire Police Force. So does the city of Sheffield, where Billy Graham held a revival meeting in 1985 — that's 29 years ago, friends. Present at that revival meeting were British pop star Cliff Richard, then 45 years old, and an unnamed boy aged under 16.

You need two pieces of background context here. First piece of background context: Cliff Richard came up in the British pop scene in the late 1950s, promoted as Britain's answer to Elvis. That was a stretch: but his affectless persona, cheerful smile, and pleasantly bland voice endeared him to the Brits somehow, and he survived as a B-list fixture in the pop scene, being made the equivalent of a knight in 1980, so he is now Sir Cliff Richard. He got evangelical Christianity along the way there somewhere; that's why he was at the Billy Graham event in 1985.

Sir Cliff is, so far as anyone knows, asexual. In all these decades in the limelight he has never paired off with anyone, male or female. This isn't as unusual as you might, in this over-sexualized age, think it is — I've known half a dozen similar cases personally — but I will allow it's unusual among celebrities.

Second piece of background context: In the past few years the British police have been embarked on a huge effort to pin charges of sex abuse on elderly white male British celebrities, generally taking at face value tales told to them about fondlings and feel-ups that happened thirty or forty years ago. Their greatest prize so far has been entertainer Rolf Harris, who in June this year, at the age of eighty-four, was sentenced to six years in prison for supposed offenses going back to 1969, and for things like having kiddie porn on his computer, as if that were anyone's business but his own. Nineteen sixty-nine — that's forty-five years ago.

In the true spirit of anarcho-tyranny there is of course very little law enforcement going on in matters like homicide, rape, arson, burglary, or mugging. Friends and relatives in Britain tell me that if you call the Peelers to report that your house has been burgled, they tell you to notify your insurance company, then they hang up. That frees up their time to deal with the real business of law enforcement: harassing 70-something celebrities for having squeezed the bum of some teenage girl back in the Nixon administration.

So that's the context. Well, on August 14th the South Yorkshire Police — the police who did nothing whatever while cartels of Pakistani men were trading white working-class English girls as sex slaves — raided Sir Cliff Richard's home 170 miles away on information from this person who claims Sir Cliff made a pass at him at the Billy Graham bash 29 years ago. Before carrying out the raid they alerted the BBC to what they were doing and where, so that the Beeb could send a helicopter to cover the raid for maximum publicity. The BBC, for decades a hotbed of Cultural Marxism, is of course totally on board with the anarcho-tyranny project.

This, listeners, is anarcho-tyranny, the filthy yellow-eyed bastard spawn of multiculturalism, feminism, and Cultural Marxism. Don't think the U.S.A. is immune.

06 — Take my country, please.     Outrage of the month was perpetrated by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who visited California August 25th and 26th. Speaking in Spanish, President Nieto said, referring to the U.S.A., quote: "This is the other Mexico, property to an estimated 11 million Mexican immigrants," end quote.

That 11 million refers to the number of Mexican-born persons currently living in the U.S. It was actually 11.4 million in 2012, according to the Pew research center. The total number of persons self-identifying as of Mexican origin was three times that, 33.7 million.

Of the 11.4 million Mexican-born, slightly more than half are illegal immigrants. That's six million and some — illegal infiltrators to you and me, but to President Nieto persons for whom the U.S.A. is, quote, "property."

As revolting as the man's audacity and presumption are, worse yet was the behavior of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Governor Jerry Brown, who vied with each other in obsequiousness to this loathsome reptile. Brown-nosed Brown, quote: "It wasn't very long ago that the governor of California was outlawing driver's licenses for people who were undocumented from Mexico. That's not the law anymore." Brown was referring to a bill he signed last year to give driver's licenses to illegal aliens in his state.

Brown is in violation of federal law, which specifies fines of up to $10,000 and imprisonment for up to five years for, quote, "Encouraging and Harboring Illegal Aliens," with "harboring" defined in the statute as, quote, "any conduct that tends to substantially facilitate an alien to remain in the U.S. illegally."

Does federal law in the realm of immigration actually mean anything any more? Mexico itself has very strict laws on immigration, and enforces them rigorously. Why won't we do the same? And who the hell does this Nieto dwarf think he is, coming to our country and claiming it as the property of his citizens? Why wasn't he arrested by federal marshals and frog-marched to the nearest airport for his gross, flagrant insults to American sovereignty? Do we even have a country any more?

Is this what 400 years of American civilization has come to at last: That we have to take instruction in our domestic affairs from the sneering, jeering, lisping bandit chief of a fifth-rate dysfunctional narco-state, the Afghanistan of the Western hemisphere? God help us!

Those are rhetorical questions. We all know the answers. We have been bought and sold — our very territory, our schools and hospitals and welfare services, our culture and traditions, even our very language — by cowardly politicians, globalist intellectuals, shyster lawyers, and cynical businessmen.

If you read the comment threads on news stories about Nieto's visit, they are aflame. The one on Yahoo News August 26th had over eight thousand comments when I looked, and I couldn't find one that wasn't angrily hostile.

Why doesn't all that righteous anger get translated into political action? Next segment.

07 — Nobody cares what you think.     Quote:

A shattering new study by two political science professors has found that ordinary Americans have virtually no impact whatsoever on the making of national policy in our country. The analysts found that rich individuals and business-controlled interest groups largely shape policy outcomes in the United States.

End quote. That's the opening paragraph of a news story by Alan Lichtman in The Hill, a congressional newsletter, August 12th. He's writing about a forthcoming study by two political science professors, one at Princeton and one at Northwestern.

What these academics did, was, they made up a spreadsheet of eighteen hundred policy issues for which there was some evidence, in surveys and such, of the preferences held by four groups: ordinary citizens, economic elites (which seems to mean rich people), business groups, and organized interest lobbies. They asked the question: Which of these four categories — the folk, the rich, business lobbies, interest lobbies — which had the most influence on policy outcomes?

Answer, quote: "rich individuals and business-dominated interest groups dominate the policymaking process … while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence."

Lichtman, the author of this news story, is himself a professor of history. He notes some of the contributing factors in this near-total impotence of ordinary voters against the power of the rich and the business lobbies. For one thing, too many of us don't vote. For another, we don't participate much in grass-roots organizations, not the way our parents and grandparents did. This keys to the themes of Harvard political scientist Robert Putman, in his 2000 book Bowling Alone and his 2006 paper on the socially destructive effect of diversity, which I covered in Chapter 2 of We Are Doomed.

More from Alan Lichtman's news story, quote:

The study also debunks the notion that the policy preferences of business and the rich reflect the views of common citizens. They found to the contrary that such preferences often sharply diverge and when they do, the economic elites and business interests almost always win and the ordinary Americans lose.

I don't think any of this will be news to Radio Derb listeners, but it's a depressing state of affairs. There's a real deep systemic problem here. George Soros, Mark Zuckerberg, the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, the Chambers of Commerce, and the rest of the big-money crew are getting what they want, and ordinary citizens aren't.

On immigration for example, a Reuters poll in mid-July found that 70 percent of Americans believe illegal immigrants, quote, "threaten traditional U.S. beliefs and customs," and 63 percent believe that, quote, "immigrants place a burden on the economy." Yet there's the Governor of California handing out driver's licenses to illegals, and Congress — I think we all know it — gearing up to pass a mass amnesty.

What's gone wrong? Democracy can work: it works in Switzerland, it used to work decently well here. What happened? "How did the Devil come? When first attack?"

08 — Diplomacy for Dummies.     Meanwhile, as we're failing to defend our own sovereignty and waving in illiterate Guatemalan gang-bangers by the thousands, giving away the store to people who will never be productive or patriotic, we are strutting and posing abroad with blustering warnings about what we'll do if the borders of Ukraine, Iraq, or Syria aren't respected. Why should anyone listen to us about respecting borders when we don't even respect our own?

The two big foreign-policy issues this past month have been, one, Ukraine, and two, ISIS. I'll take them in turn.

Our main national interest vis-a-vis Russia is to keep the place stable and reasonably friendly, or at least non-hostile. Our Ukraine policy seems to have been designed to do the opposite, jabbing and poking at the Russian bear and running an arrogant missionary endeavor in Kiev, Ukraine's capital. This policy has cost us billions of dollars; its main fruit so far has been Ukraine losing the Crimea. This has been really, really incompetent policy, rooted in the worst kind of naive American idealism.

Our stupid policy has ticked off Vladimir Putin to the degree he is now making threatening noises towards the Baltic states — Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Those nations all have Russian minorities Putin could stir up; and they are all members of NATO, so a Russian operation against them would mean war with the U.S.A. by the terms of the NATO charter.

There is real danger here, which a little wisdom and forbearance — for example, keeping Ukraine and its Nigerian levels of corruption at arm's length — might have spared us. Unless we want to go to war with Putin, which surely we don't, we should sit down with him and give him some face, something he can brag about to his own people. This is not 1939 and Putin is not Hitler, whatever George Will tells you. Putin's Russia has a feeble resource-extraction economy, cratering demography, massive corruption, and a poorly-trained military, none of which applied to Hitler's Germany. Deal with the guy.

And then, ISIS, this new movement of fanatical Muslims. Here I concur with Pat Buchanan: Let the Saudis, the Iranians, the Syrians, and the Turks deal with it, which with all their military resources they surely can. It's their business, not ours.

If we think ISIS is a domestic terror threat to the U.S.A., we should counter that by properly securing our borders, expelling illegal aliens and visa overstayers, halting issuance of visas to Muslims, and rescinding the green cards of resident alien Muslims. We won't of course do any of those things: we'll just continue making old ladies take off their shoes at airport gates.

More stupid, senseless policies based on vapid idealism and utter indifference to reality. Can we please start behaving like a sovereign nation, one that cares about its own citizens and meddles as little as possible in other nations' affairs? Please?

That's a rhetorical question too.

09 — Miscellany.     And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.

Imprimis:  Richard Posner, who is a judge on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, appointed thereto by Ronald Reagan, said the following thing August 26th at a hearing on the bans currently in place against homosexual marriage in the states of Indiana and Wisconsin, quote:

Prohibition of same-sex marriage derives from a tradition of hate … and savage discrimination against homosexuals.

End quote. It's sad to see a respectable jurist, once considered a conservative intellectual luminary, fall into the threadbare clichés of the political left.

The particular fallacy we see here is a sort of Law of Excluded Middle. Posner's language implies that where attitudes to homosexuals are concerned, there is and can be nothing, nothing in between, on the one hand, cheering, swooning, celebrating, whole-hearted approval, and on the other, snarling, spitting hatred.

That's not what human affairs are like. There's a whole spectrum of attitudes one might have towards an eccentric behavioral minority, containing things like mild-but-tolerant disapproval, grudging acceptance, cheerful indifference, passive dislike, and a host of others.

My own memory goes back to the 1960s, when male homosexual acts were illegal in Britain. Not many people at that time actually hated homosexuals. Everybody knew some, and by far the commonest attitude was an amused tolerance. It's absurd to talk about "a tradition of hate," and Judge Posner is old enough at 75 to know that.

Item:  I took several plane flights in August, all coach class, so this little flurry of stories about unhappy plane passengers got my attention.

On a Delta flight from New York to Palm Beach, Florida, a passenger was taking a nap with her head resting on the tray table when the seat in front reclined, knocking her head. A screaming match ensued between the lady and the passenger seated in front of her, and it ended with the plane making an unscheduled landing in Jacksonville.

Another traveller flying Newark to Denver by United on August 24th tried to recline her seat but couldn't because the chap in the seat behind had installed something called a knee defender that prevents it. The lady threw a glass of water in his face, causing that flight to be diverted to Chicago and both passengers removed.

Petty stuff, and no doubt symptomatic of something or other, though I can't be bothered to think out what.

Here's my question about travelling coach. When they load you up by group numbers, it always seems to go from the front of the coach section to the back, so that if your seat's in the back you have to struggle past people standing in the aisle still loading up the overhead lockers. Yo, guys: Why not seat coach passengers starting from the back of the plane? Just a thought.

Item:  A survey carried out in Britain by a women's cancer charity called The Eve Appeal turned up the following strange result: Of women aged 26 to 35, only half could locate their vagina on a simple anatomical diagram.

I must say, I find that mildly alarming. Still, as numerous commenters pointed out, the really important thing so far as continuation of the species is concerned is for men to know where the darn thing is.

Item:  We lost two comedians since my last podcast, reducing the public stock of harmless pleasure. Robin Williams died at age 63 from depression and suicide; then Joan Rivers passed away at 81 from, basically, old age.

I liked Williams in Mork and Mindy back in the seventies, to the degree that some of his lines have passed into the Derbyshire family microdialect. When I say "You can have a little wine if you like," for example, my kids know to go [whine, whine]. Williams was funny on talk shows and in stand-up, too.

A distinguished British film critic ticked off a lot of people by writing that, quote:

[Williams] made no secret of his addiction to drugs and alcohol but there was another addiction, which he never admitted but which became increasingly evident in his own work — to saccharine, tooth-rotting sentimentality.

End quote. I'm bound to say that so far as Williams' movies were concerned, that critic has a point. Still, I was sorry to see him go, especially the way he did. When I get time I'm going to dig up some stats on comics committing suicide; it seems to be an occupational hazard. Two great 20th-century British comics, Tony Hancock and Kenneth Williams, killed themselves. Is it really such a sad business, being funny for a living?

The only thing I can recall of Joan Rivers' routines is her gynecologist jokes, which fit right in with my previous item there. You know: "Doctor Schwartz, at your cervix" "Dilated to meet you," and so on. Crude stuff but harmless, and there's a bit less laughter in the world than there was a month ago.

10 — Signoff.     There you have it, folks. I was going to look up some Alaska music to see us out; but there really isn't much, and anyway I've got a tune stuck in my head I want to try to unload on you. It's Alaska related, but only at a couple of removes.

Here's the thing. Driving around Alaska, I kept seeing gas stations with a big sign saying "Tesoro," T-E-S-O-R-O. Looking it up, I see it's a biggish oil company out West; but I never heard of it till I went to Alaska.

When an opera fan sees the word "tesoro," though, one thing infallibly comes to mind: the lovely aria "Il mio tesoro" from Mozart's Don Giovanni. Here it is, sung by Placido Domingo, one of the very few good things to come out of Mexico this past 500 years.

More from Radio Derb next week.

[Music clip: Domingo, "Il mio tesoro"]