Friday, May 17, 2019

Wish I'd written that: a warning for the future

on Tschammer und Osten said that all Roman Catholic and Protestant youth organizations are, like all Jewish organizations, to be expressly forbidden to pursue any sport. As far as the Nazis are concerned, people are going to have to make a choice between religion and sport. The point being that all sports training is to be done under Nazi auspices. He actually said that the Nazis are conducting a cultural war against the church.”

“He said that?”

“Any Catholic or Protestant athletes who don’t join Nazi sports clubs will lose their chance of representing Germany.”

I shrugged. “So let them. Who cares about a few idiots running around a track anyway?”

“You’re missing the point, Gunther. They’ve purged the police. Now they’re purging sports. If they succeed, there will be no aspect of German life in which they won’t be able to exert their authority. In all aspects of German society, Nazis will be preferred. If you want to get on in life, you will have to become a Nazi.”

- Philip Kerr, If the Dead Rise Not

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Classic Sports Thursday: Doris Day edition

Frank Mirahmadi, the track announcer at Santa Anita (winter) and Monmouth Park (summer), once called the horses at Turf Paradise, which is the track where a legendary country sing was written after its writer visited the Arizona mile.

In memory of Doris Day, no less, this scene took place on her 89th birthday.  A horse carrying the same name as one of Day's well-known songs won, and Mirahmadi, known for his antics on more casual races, went crazy again, and the track's video page reacted too.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Retro TV Friday: GLOW and Card Sharks

With the announcement ABC is reviving Mark Goodson's Card Sharks (aka Play Your Cards Right in the UK and NZ) as a summer series with Joel McHale as host (?), this story came back to catch us.

The late Emily Dole, a star shot put athlete who was in the Olympic Trials twice, who played Mount Fiji on the original Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling "promotion," was involved in a 1988 episode of the Bob Eubanks version. Keep in mind Eubanks had just turned 50 and Dole was 31. (Dole died age 60 in 2018; Eubanks is now 81, and his son is a famous stuntman.) The ten GLOW actresses were asked how many could lift Mr. Eubanks over his head. Dole tried it -- and see for yourself what a shot put star could do trying to bodyslam a game show host.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Wish I'd written that: how tough was it?

I wouldn’t say we lived in a tough neighborhood, but when I was growing up we still called a story with a happy ending an alibi.”

- Philip Kerr, If the Dead Rise Not

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Twenty-Five Years Later. 0817 CET

Outside the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, outside the Variante Tamburello chicane, is a statue where many flowers and Brazilian flags are placed every year, but none more prevalent day than May 1.  It was 1417 CET (8:17 AM EDT) when it happened, twenty-five years ago today.

Thomas Grønvold's archive of that day:


A review of the site.

Newly inducted Class of 2019 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame inductee Bob Jenkins that afternoon offered a tribute during the broadcast of the Alabama 500 (clip of opening the tribute of silence, which was interrupted by the second Big One). It also includes the Earnhardt interview.

BBC Interview of the booth:

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Opera Wednesday

Victor Borge, the Great Dane, offers us a little opera comedy - and, let's be honest, who among us couldn't use a little laughter nowadays? The brave Marilyn Mulvey accompanies him.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Wish I'd written that: reflections on Earth Day

The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate. This gives to the typically Christian pleasure in this earth a strange touch of lightness that is almost frivolity. Nature was a solemn mother to the worshipers of Isis and Cybele. Nature was a solemn mother to Wordsworth or to Emerson. But Nature is not solemn to Francis of Assisi or to George Herbert. To St. Francis, Nature is a sister, and even a younger sister: a little, dancing sister, to be laughed at as well as loved.”

- G.K. Chesterton

Friday, April 19, 2019

Good Friday with Bishop Sheen, 1956

I often make the point on these pages of how much things have changed over the years, not only in television but culture in general.

Bishop Fulton J. Sheen's Life Is Worth Living ran on DuMont, ABC and in syndication from the early 1950s through the late 1960s.  Blessed with a sharp mind, a whimsical sense of humor and a gift of gab, Bishop Sheen brought his ecumenical message to millions of viewers each week; as Brooks and Marsh put it in their Complete Guide to Prime Time Programming, the word "homily" would be strong for the friendly, accessible talks from the good Bishop.

A half-hour of religious programming in prime time on a national broadcast network would be unthinkable today - that pretty much goes without saying.  And while that is one measure of the change in television between then and now, it's actually another point that I'm thinking of: the idea of a "talking head" as entertainment programming.

There were no fancy graphics, no special effects, on Life is Worth Living; the closest thing being the invisible "angel" (actually a stagehand) responsible for erasing the blackboard Sheen used to illustrate his points.  People watched and enjoyed that, week after week.  As someone wrote not long ago about the Dick Cavett shows, it hearkens back to a day when conversation was actually considered entertainment - and by that I mean actual, you know, talking, rather than shouting, interrupting, declaiming, insulting, offending, and what have you. Of all the changes we've seen in television over the years, I think this is one of the most underrated and underappreciated.

What we have here is either from Good Friday, 1956; It was sponsored (as I recall from the version I have) by Progresso, and presented without commercial interruption.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Unplanned thoughts

The author with Abby Johnson, 2012 Pro-Life Dinner at SC March for Life
The recent release of Pure Flix's Unplanned, about Abby Johnson's departure from Planned Parenthood, was a box office hit despite mainstream media attempts to sabotage the film.  But as I watched it myself on a Sunday, having to drive 55 miles near Shaw Air Force Base as we don't have a movie theatre for 45 miles, and the ones closest to me were owned by Chinese Communist interests (which for a New Taipei City native legally can have you in trouble over the wants of the Communist Party), I found a screen not owned by Wanda (if you've seen their ads in football, their running series, or triathlons, you'll understand) to watch the movie.

The story starts innocently as Abby and Doug Johnson are at home, and Abby leaves for work after she greets her daughter. The title of the movie is not shown, except for the fact it is built around an eponymous book. The shocking details of the Planned Parenthood of Bryan, TX director being asked to observe an abortion and assist in it starts what is the legitimate reason the movie was handed an R rating, as it depicts children being murdered in a gruesome manner, as the murder takes place.

That scene will repeat itself later as they flash back to her trip to a volunteerism day while in college, introduced deceptively to Planned Parenthood. But what I initially observe is a huge mistake in the movie, as access to the parking lot of that venue is blocked, despite federal law (FACE) signed by the Clinton Administration. The Pure Flix producers also use the inappropriate stereotypes for pro-life folks around the murder mill, and we see the first signs of a product placement (40 Days for Life) being rampant in the movie. I've known Pure Flix has made product placement crucial in their movies, often ruining the message by running advertisements. They flash back to her first failed marriage and her trip to that very same baby murder mill, as a patient, told to consume mifepristone (better known as Rousell Uclaf-486), a drug legalised by the Clinton Administration, to kill her first child. The drug was used to escape the bad marriage in the film, and the horrific bleeding and death of the child could have become two deaths as a result of that scene. It was horrific, and allowed people to see how deceptive the marketers were in pushing the drug (which should be banned, if you saw the consequences).

After the failed marriage, she found love again, a marriage that continues to this day. They also attend church for the first time together, which brings to light a second disturbing scene and product placement. In my 22 years of volunteering with the state chapter of National Right to Life, which I continue to this day as a member of the local chapter, I've met Mrs. Johnson at the Clover Wolf Memorial Pro-Life Weekend in 2012 (the name was added in 2018 following the death of the current state director's mother). I understand they are Catholic, and over Christmas Day itself, I visited my Citizens for Life friends at their Catholic cathedral to observe their services (though not permitted to take communion because of being a Protestant, I deliberately carried my Bible to the service). When the scene notes the Johnsons attending church, instead of a vast cathedral in the College Station area being shown, we are shown an auditorium similar to what you see in a high school, a rock band, and a "minister". In observing the closing credits of the film, we are told the minister in the film is a minister at the notoriously heretic Bethel Church of Redding, California. There is no way a rock band and this type of minister would be at the church the Johnsons attended, as Bethel is a cult, with events such as the "Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry" (see this article or details), and the "Kundalini movement" inside that church. Sadly, the movie's music also comes from Bethel, which should be a warning as many churches today have adopted Bethel, along with its "Jesus Culture" and "Bethel Music" brands, into their churches, not knowing royalties support them.

Scenes of pro-life prayer warriors (around the campus of the baby murder mill where she was working) being sprayed by the sprinkler system have an eerie reference to the civil rights rallies in Birmingham, Alabama, of the 1960's, complete with notorious police chief Eugene "Bull" Connor's use of fire hydrants to spray those pushing for desegregation. Abby is then named the director of the Bryan area Planned Parenthood, followed by her award as director of the year, and plans for a larger facility are announced.  We also learn her parents have prayed for her because of the troubling position she heads—she has only thought the organization was for women's health care (but it was not).

The crucial turning point of the movie take place after we see her awards. There is an innocent time where Doug and Abby have date night at a local cantina, and the television news screens show the death of Kansas baby murderer George Tiller. The prosecuting attorney going after Mr. Tiller was Phill Kline (now having been been part of Citizens for Life these years), who would later lose his law licence when the Governess (who later became the Obama Administration's HHS Secretary, advancing new regulations that we call Obamacare), stripped him for political gain because of his prosecution of Mr. Tiller. He also had previously spoken at a March for Life. After that, Abby is more open and we see how killed children must be reassembled prior to disposal. The children are placed in a barrel and a Prayer for the Dead (though initially I thought it resembled Mormonism's baptism for the dead) are conducted. After that, we return to the opening scene of the film where Abby is called to an abortion examination room and after that breaks down after seeing the child die. She is in the bathroom and broke down, then counseling to the pro-life counselors that were around the room.

As we know now, with the gruesome truth exposed, Johnson quits Planned Parenthood. Their lawyers taunt her, as you might expect, and after finding an attorney that actively is pro-life, she wins her case. She now works on the other side, and we see one expecting mother choose life instead after Abby explains the story. The movie ends with Executive Producer Mike Lindell driving a tractor and pulling down the Planned Parenthood sign as the clinic closed.

My concern was was Bethel's product placement too rampant to push their heresy?
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