Thursday, May 24, 2018

Wish I'd written that

In a world of fugitives, the person taking the opposite direction will appear to run away”

- T.S. Eliot, The Family Reunion

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Opera Wednesday

This week it's a quick look at soprano Marilyn Horne, one of opera's all-time greats, in one of her signature roles: Rossini's charming comedy L'italiana in Algeri  (The Italian Girl in Algiers) This is from a 1986 performance at the Metropolitan Opera, conducted by James Levine.

Friday, May 18, 2018

A friend's time in Afghanistan with the Prince

A local attorney and friend of mine served in Afghanistan with Prince Harry. Some of Bill Connor's stories of being in the battle fields with the prince are found here for your reading through the Royal Wedding:

Stories of Prince Harry in the Afghan war zone.

The Prince Harry video: Perspective on his videotaped words

Christmas in Helmand with Prince Harry

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Wish I'd written that

Whenever you read a good book, it's like the author is right there, in the room, talking to you - which is why I don't like to read good books.

Jack Handey

Not really - I read good books all the time.  I just like the smartass way it sounds.

Originally published April 17, 2015

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Opera Wednesday

Here's the great American baritone Robert Merrill in one of his signature roles, the charming schemer Figaro from Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) singing "Largo al Factorum." No credit given, but my best guess is that this is from NBC's Bell Telephone Hour in the late 50s or early 60s.


Monday, May 7, 2018

What gear is that sportscar in, Mr. Clarkson?


Fans of a very popular British motoring programme in its best known form will be excited to hear he is back on terrestrial television in the UK fronting the revival of a very well-known Sony Pictures Television programme.  ITV and Sony had this video released for this legendary hit's return to the UK airwaves.

Friday, May 4, 2018

More races on air at the Kentucky Derby

As we looked through our television blog, we noticed how early Derby broadcasts were simply 45 minutes to 90 minutes prior to NBC taking over in 2001.  Whereas the Derby would start around 4:30 PM (see Faulkner's 1955 report) and many times the race would start at 5:30 PM, since NBC took over and Churchill Downs added lights, the start time is creeping closer to primetime hours.

The 2018 Derby post time is 6:50 PM EDT, meaning with the loading, the race could finish at 7 PM EDT. NBC's coverage starts at 2 PM for a two-minute event.  The schedule for the NBC broadcast includes five races (all times Eastern):

2:45 PM Churchill Downs Stakes (4 and up, dirt, 7F)
3:37 PM American Turf Stakes (3 and up, turf, 1 1/16 miles)
4:28 PM Pat Day Mile (f/k/a Derby Trial) (3, dirt, 1 mile)
5:25 PM Old Forester Turf Stakes (4 and up, turf, 1 1/16 miles)
6:50 PM Kentucky Derby (3, dirt, 1 1/4 miles)

And for those fans who are still at Churchill Downs, there are two more races to be run with lights, a 1 1/16 mile allowance and a one-mile maiden race that will start at 8:20 PM, which is less than 18 minutes from legal sunset, guaranteeing that lights will be used at Derby Day.  For the record, the Stephen Foster Handicap, an older horse race inaugurated in 1982 and has provided three Breeders' Cup Classic winners, is now run as a night race in June.  The Foster is when the Kentucky Derby winner officially receives his trophy.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Opera Wednesday

Over the years, I've developed a greater, if still narrow, appreciation for contemporary classical music. One modern conductor I've always enjoyed, however, is Stravinsky. The Rake's Progress is arguably the best-known of his operas, and it's certainly one of the more accessible. Here's the opening of the opera, with the late Jerry Hadley (no relation) and Dawn Upshaw in a rather modern adaptation from the 1996 Salzburg Festival, with Sylvain Cambreling conducting.

Monday, April 30, 2018

How Renée Fleming's "Carousel" and the WWE's "Greatest Royal Rumble" have a common denominator in Richard Rodgers

R
enée Fleming's appearance at a Broadway production of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's Carousel has been in the news recently, but Mr. Rodgers, a legendary composer of musicals, was in my head as news discussed a pay-per-view in the pseudosport of "professional wrestling" with the intercalated Royal Rumble in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, similar to the Olympic Games of 1906.  How fake wrestling associates itself with Richard Rodgers comes through a writing partner of his prior to his association with Mr. Hammerstein, Lorenz Hart.

In the Rodgers and Hart musical Babes in Arms (1937), Billie, a woman who visits the leading male character (Val), sings the song in question, which thanks to the popular music circuit, has lost most of its lyrics and its original intent (yes, Mr. Sinatra is guilty of removing the lyric and reference!).  Billie, played by Mitzi Green when it debuted, is from the coast, and sings what we call the aria in question, "The Lady is a Tramp," which over the years and even a "sanitised" version of the entire musical was produced, which sadly has taken away toe references in the song.  Even Steafani Germanotta's version, like Frank Sinatra's and Ella Fitzgerald's versions, alter the lyrics away from the original (Derek Jeter, who is referenced in the Germanotta and Bennett version, was not even thought when Rodgers and Hart wrote the song!), but there's one part of the song that easily catches the adage "professional wrestling is fake".

The lyric in question of "The Lady is a Tramp" that though written in 1937 could easily refer to professional wrestling and how it is losing the pay-per-view battle to mixed martial arts today states, "I like a prizefight that isn't a fake."  Since a professional wrestling match is predetermined, and the players know who is to win ("go over"), that legally means the match is fixed, and legally it's a fake.  Would Billie want to see a WWE match or a UFC match, if you listen to the song with that lyric?

Here is the song, as it is from a production of "Babes in Arms" that allows us to see the original song (not the Sinatra or Germanotta versions) in its historic New York references.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Saving Alfie

"T
he Alfie Evans story is a horrifying example of what ensues when the state denies parental rights." -- Albert Mohler.

This from Mario Diaz:

"How does a nation reach a point where it will essentially kidnap a child from a loving, functioning family, yank that same child off life support, deny him care as he unexpectedly fights to stay alive, and then block attempts by a foreign government to rescue him and provide him top-notch care free of charge? How does a great civilization sink to such barbarism and tyranny?" -- David French.

This from The Federalist.

In these columns, we see what happens when children are a ward of the state, and not controlled by their parents.  The state can impose what they want at any time to advance their agenda.
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