- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 27, 2005

‘Til whatever

“In some weddings, ‘ ‘til death do us part’ is going the way of ‘to honor and obey’ — that is, out the window.

“Vows like ‘For as long as we continue to love each other,’ ‘For as long as our love shall last’ and ‘Until our time together is over’ are increasingly replacing the traditional to-the-grave vow — a switch that some call realistic and others call a recipe for failure.

” ‘We’re hearing that a lot — “as long as our love shall last,” I personally think it’s quite a statement on today’s times — people know the odds of divorce,’ said New Jersey wedding expert Sharon Naylor, author of ‘Your Special Wedding Vows,’ who adds that the rephrasing is also part of a more general trend toward personalizing vows.”

Jennifer D’Angelo, writing on “ ‘Til Death Do Us Part’ Is Dying Out,” Friday at www.foxnews.com

Beethoven rules

“Forget Coldplay and James Blunt. Forget even ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,’ which, in the version performed at Live 8 by Sir Paul McCartney and U2, has become the fastest online-selling song ever. Beethoven has routed the lot of them.

“Final figures from the BBC show that the complete Beethoven symphonies on its Web site were downloaded 1.4 [million] times, with individual works downloaded between 89,000 and 220,000 times. …

” ‘Sgt. Pepper’ could well end up as the best-selling online track of all time. But its sales figure of just 20,000 online in the two weeks since it has been available contrasts poorly with the admittedly free Beethoven symphonies. …

“To put another perspective on the success of the Beethoven downloads, according to Matthew Cosgrove, director of Warner Classics, it would take a commercial CD recording of the complete Beethoven symphonies ‘upwards of five years’ to sell as many downloads as were shifted from the BBC Web site in two weeks.”

Charlotte Higgins, writing on “Beethoven (1.4m) beats Bono (20,000) in battle of the Internet downloads,” July 21 in the British newspaper the Guardian

Poverty P.R.

U2 made more money than any other touring band in the first half of 2005. The Irish rockers pulled in more than $48 million in six months with an average ticket price of $96. So, naturally, I was a little suspicious when Bono, U2’s lead singer, told me he didn’t want my money.

“Bono said he wanted my ‘voice’ to join the chorus of youngsters gyrating around the world at Live 8 performances leading up to the Group of Eight Summit representing the world’s wealthiest nations. He and Bob Geldof, a fellow rocker and organizer of Live 8, were all over TV proclaiming their quest to ‘end poverty.’ And I wondered, how can you end poverty without money? …

“It was a worldwide fundraiser, but according to the media, this push for $50 billion in aid was about ‘raising awareness’ or a ‘walk to justice’ — phrases lifted straight from press releases. …

“Journalists and celebrities routinely said America doesn’t give enough, even though we give more than any other country. And they were comparing U.S. government aid with the money other governments give — leaving out billions of dollars in donations from private U.S. sources. The Hudson Institute monitors private giving to developing countries, and its review of the figures for 2003 revealed $62 billion in donations. That was three and a half times more than the government gave in official aid that year.”

Herman Cain, writing on “We Want Your Money,” Monday in the American Spectator Online

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