Monday, March 31, 2008

A Reflection on Churches and Schools

By Bobby

In reflecting on comments from Fox News Radio's Todd Starnes, I wonder if schools' decision to follow the postmodernism influenced by John Dewey has caused a decline in musical standards in our society.

If the schools are not teaching children music abilities, the church should be feeding children with a steady diet of sacred music from centuries ago and teaching it to them. It is time the OCP/GIA (Catholic church music's major issue is with both Oregon Catholic Press and GIA) or the major secular music publishers' control of church music departments end. We do not need to have church teach children to jiggle to the latest pop tunes they hear off the local hip-hop, r&b, or pop radio station in the hallowed sanctuary of a church; rather, they need to learn to sing the great songs of faith.

Mr. Starnes, a Protestant, wrote on his Blogspot page, "There's a new generation of young people who will not be exposed to the great hymns of our faith --- who will never know the joys of Royal Ambassadors or Bible Drills."

The truth sadly is a generation which does not know the sacred masterpieces, both Catholic and Protestant, is being developed because of the major secular labels, Oregon Catholic Press, or GIA Music. It is time the church be willing to take charge of teaching youth music, and teaching the fundamentals of wonderful sacred song, from the pipe organ to choral masterpieces, not the karaoke pop that dominates today.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Reading the Wires

By Bobby

In the wake of auto racing's new open-wheel unified series following the IRL-Champ Car merger, IRL, a charity of the League, discusses open-wheel reunification as an analogy with unity in the Bible.

According to the IRL site, there will be three religious services on race day (Saturday):

9 AM - Chapel services (Grand-Am Road Racing and Indy Lights)
4 PM - Chapel services (IRL)
4:30 PM - Mass

Mass will be held just before the drivers' meeting.

In related IRL news, as per recommendation of Rusty Wallace after the tragic 2006 practice session at Homestead, FL (site of the season opening race) in which IRL rookie Paul Dana was killed, there is no race-day practice before any IRL race, just like Indianapolis. The last practice will be held before qualifying, which will be a 4-lap format.

Wallace, who was the ESPN IRL analyst in 2006, criticises the idea of race-day practice, being a short-track racer who believes if you have two days of practice and a one-engine rule, race-day practice isn't needed.

"They used to have morning practice sessions because teams used to change engines all the time; and when you put a new motor in the car, the driver wants to try it out and make sure everything is fine. But now with the one-engine rule (they don't change engines) they don't need to have it."

Bruce Martin previews the upcoming season, which begins tomorrow night at Homestead, here.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wish I'd Written That

By Drew

"You American haters bore me to tears, Ms. Barham. I've dealt with Europeans all my life. I know all about us parvenus from the States who come over here and race around your old Cathedral towns with our cameras and Coca-Cola bottles... Brawl in your pubs, paw at your women, and act like we own the world. We over-tip, we talk too loud, we think we can buy anything with a Hershey bar. I've had Germans and Italians tell me how politically ingenuous we are, and perhaps so. But we haven't managed a Hitler or a Mussolini yet. I've had Frenchmen call me a savage because I only took half an hour for lunch. Hell, Ms. Barham, the only reason the French take two hours for lunch is because the service in their restaurants is lousy. The most tedious lot are you British. We crass Americans didn't introduce war into your little island. This war, Ms. Barham to which we Americans are so insensitive, is the result of 2,000 years of European greed, barbarism, superstition, and stupidity. Don't blame it on our Coca-Cola bottles. Europe was a growing brothel long before we came to town."

Paddy Chayefsky, screenplay for The Americanization of Emily (Spoken by James Garner)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Separated at Birth

By Drew

Regarding Eliot Spitzer, the most common opinion expressed seemed to be that he’d gotten what was coming to him. The second most common was generally an expression of great satisfaction. And as the stories began to accumulate, there truly did seem to be a sense that “time wounds all heels.” Or perhaps it was “what goes around comes around.” For a collapse as spectacular as Spitzer’s, there are endless clichés available for use.

In that sense, there is much to be said in comparing Spitzer’s fall to that of a diva from the opera world. Kathleen Battle, who appears at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis this weekend, was – as one critic put it – the “chief wacko” in classical music. (And that’s saying a lot for a medium as eccentric as the classical field.) Nobody ever doubted Kathleen Battle’s talent, just as nobody doubted that she epitomized the phrase prima donna in the worst possible way.

The stories of Battle’s tantrums are legendary in the music field – the most famous perhaps being the time she called her agent from the back seat of a limo in which she was riding to have him call the limo company and have them tell her driver to turn the air conditioner down (an act which was apparently far beneath her, considering it would require her to possibly tap on the glass partition separating the two). On the other hand, it could have been the time in Boston when she phoned the management of the Boston Symphony to complain that the Ritz-Carlton hotel’s staff had put peas in her pasta. Possibly it might have been her frequent demands that those working with her not look at her. It’s really hard to say for sure.

Battle was an equal-opportunity diva, however – she was known to berate stagehands, conductors, musicians, and fellow singers with an even-handed abusiveness. As Time once wrote, she left a trail of ill will in her wake wherever she went, and it was only her talent that saved her – and her popularity with a public who saw only her marvelous presence on stage, and not the fireworks behind the scenes.

Eventually, of course, this kind of behavior caught up with her. In 1994, following a blow-up during preparation for a production of La Fille du Régiment at the Metropolitan Opera, the Met’s general manager, Joseph Volpe, fired her. He did this despite the opposition of artistic director James Levine, who had long been a champion of Battle despite her erratic behavior. Volpe later admitted that perhaps he had done it at least partly out of a need to show everyone who was boss, but regardless of the reason, he pulled the trigger and summarily dismissed her from the Met.

Volpe’s move was greeted with a reaction strikingly familiar to that which met Spitzer’s downfall. Directors of other opera companies publicly (and loudly) supported his action. The cast of La Fille burst into applause upon hearing the news, as did the office staff of her management company. Battle complained that she’d never been warned her behavior was causing a problem, which sounds just a tad disingenuous, unless it was that she simply couldn’t have been bothered to listen to anyone who tried to talk to her. Considering that she wouldn’t let people look at her, out of sight, out of mind, eh?

Today Kathleen Battle continues to be a big name in the music business, as is witnessed by her recital in Minneapolis this weekend. But she has not sung for an opera company since her dismissal by the Met; her last Grammy wins were a decade ago; and her recitals are frequently one-time deals with orchestras who do not ask her back. Even her partnership with Levine is said to have finally disintegrated, her antics apparently becoming too much even for him. To this day classical insiders speculate seriously on her sanity.

Of course, people thought Eliot Spitzer was crazy as well, as in, “he must have been crazy to throw it all away.” Well, that’s something that crazy people – either clinically or merely informally – do tend to do. Witness Kathleen Battle, for example. But she still knows how to wow an audience, and her presence on the stage can still sell tickets. That, at least, is one area in which she has the upper hand on Eliot Spitzer, who I doubt will be selling any tickets for anything for quite some time.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

This Just In

By Steve

Tiger Woods Loses Golf Tournament to Some Guy

(FLORIDA, March 24) - Tiger Woods, arguably the greatest golfer in the history of the sport, shot a closing round one-under 71 to finish three shots behind some guy in a professional golf tournament at some Florida golf resort yesterday.

Woods, who finished at -13, wound up in fifth place, behind the winner and three other guys, all of whom nobody had ever heard of. Two of them were said to be from foreign countries, and one was left-handed.

(Left) Tiger Woods watches in dismay as some guy finishes ahead of him.

For Woods, who was going for a sixth consecutive tournament victory, the disappointment was obvious, though he displayed his customary graciousness in a post-tournament interview.

“I’d like to congratulate what-his-name on his victory today,” said Woods, flashing a brief smile. “Obviously whoever he is, he played a good round on a tough course. Although I don’t know how good you can say this course really is, seeing as how my tee shots kept going in the rough. The photographers kept taking my picture, and the back nine was laid out in a really awkward way, with all that sand and water getting in the way. And I think they moved the holes on me just before I teed off. But you still have to take your hat off to him. It’s nice to see other guys get a chance out here once in a while.”

NBC analyst Johnny Miller said that he was at a loss to explain Woods’ defeat. “I mean, it’s something that none of us really prepare for,” Miller said after the telecast, which concluded when Woods finished up on the 18th hole. “To ask me to be ready to analyze something like this is really asking too much, even for me, the world’s greatest golf announcer.”

NBC made a brief announcement at the end of the broadcast that anyone who might possibly care could probably find out who the winner was sometime later on the Golf Channel.

Woods said his next tournament would be The Masters in April, leaving the PGA Tour to be dominated by an assortment of no-names for the next four weeks, probably including more foreigners and Southerners with three names.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Paul Scofield, R.I.P.

By Mitchell

It does seem as if we spend much of our time writing obituaries, doesn't it? Today it is for Paul Scofield, the marvelous Oscar-winning actor who died of leukemia at 86. We wrote about his signature movie, A Man For All Seasons, last year. a movie well worth meditating on at this time of the year. It's a nice reminder for these secular times that there have always been those for whom faith was important enough that they were willing to risk their lives for it.

Scofield was dominating in A Man For All Seasons, just as he was dignified as the moral conscience in Quiz Show, for which he received another Oscar nomination. He was rarely seen on television, but was one of the stars (along with Peter Finch and Michael Caine) of the 1969 TV drama Male of the Species. He was a man who apparently put great stock in family, who did not let his professional life overwhelm his personal, who took pride in what he did and in the quality of it. In short, a gentleman. They don't seem to make 'em much like that anymore, do they?

In writing about Arthur C. Clarke earlier this week, NRO's John Derbyshire mentioned one of Clarke's famed short stories, The Nine Billion Names of God. And indeed one can't help but think of the final image at the end of that story, of the stars in the sky slowly winking out. Another obituary is written, a way of life increasingly passes away, and we wonder what will provide the light to fill the increasing darkness.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ivan Dixon, R.I.P.

By Mitchell

You always had the feeling that if something had gone wrong with the espionage group at Stalag 13, that if Colonel Hogan himself were ever in trouble, Kinch would have been the one to step in and take charge. He was the most serious and the most loyal of Hogan’s subordinates, rarely questioning even the most outrageous of Hogan’s schemes, and usually the first one to ask “how are we going to do it” when the rest of them were saying it couldn’t be done. He (along with Hogan himself) was the oasis of sanity in that delightfully insane lot, and the one real regret of Hogan’s Heroes was that Ivan Dixon, alone among the original cast, didn’t stick around to the end. That last season just wasn’t the same without him. And so it was good to hear from his daughter that “he had no mixed feelings about being recognized” for his years on the show.

There was a lot more to Ivan Dixon than playing a POW, of course. For example, I remember his performance in a 1967 television play called “The Final War of Olly Winter." I didn’t really understand the play, which dealt with the struggles of a black soldier during the Vietnam war, but it was the first time I’d seen him in anything other than Hogan, and even a precocious seven-year-old could tell he was good. (So could his not-so-precocious peers, who nominated him for an Emmy for his performance.) Not as funny in that role, though…

You might have wondered what happened to Ivan Dixon after that, as he seldom appeared in front of the camera. He had a terrific career behind it though, and if you paid attention to the credits you’d have noticed his name on the hundreds of episodes he directed of shows such as Magnum, P.I. and The Rockford Files.

Back in another life, when I was hosting my “Richfield Republicans on TV” cable access show, I did a bit spoofing the then-hot rumor that the soundtrack of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” was synched up to “The Wizard of Oz.” I suggested that we do the same thing with C-SPAN and Hogan’s Heroes. And when it came to Kinch, I remarked that he was probably the best actor in the show who people didn’t notice. (I compared him to Alan Keyes, as I recall, who was the best speaker in politics who people didn’t pay any attention to.)

In reality, though, it was hard not to notice the quiet dignity and class that Ivan Dixon brought to his profession. He died today at 76, and he will be missed. It’s funny that we've been talking a lot about Hogan recently on this site, and now we're talking about it again. It's only Robert Clary and Richard Dawson from that original cast now, and it just goes to remind us once again how quickly the years seem to pass by. Enjoy them while you can – and there are far worse ways to enjoy life than by watching an episode of Hogan’s Heroes, where Ivan Dixon, as well as the rest of us, will always be young.

Random Notes

By Mitchell

  • Arthur C. Clarke, the great science-fiction author, died this morning. His short story "The Sentinel" was made into one of the great sci-fi movies of all time, 2001. Yes, I know there are those who always downgrade 2001, but for me it remains a landmark in how to use the imagry of film. It was incomprehensible yet brilliant, which may owe more to Stanley Kubrick than to Clarke. Nonetheless, I have a great fondness toward that movie, and perforce a respect for its progenitor, whose passing deserves notice.

  • Speaking of death and movies, the director Anthony Minghella died yesterday. I didn't have strong enough opinions on Minghella to do a full-blown obit on him, but he first come to my attention for his work on the great British police drama Inspector Morse in the 80s and 90s. His most famous movie, of course, was the Oscar-winning The English Patient, which I've never been able to rouse myself to watch. A couple of years ago, to great fanfare and mixed reviews, he directed a production of the opera Madama Butterfly, which caused quite the sensation when it debued at the Met last season. From what I understand, it was far from the definitive reading of the opera; still, he appreciated the visual possibilities of opera, and I suppose we should be grateful anytime you can generate a positive buzz in the opera world. I understand there was the possibility he was going to work on another production, and it's a shame we won't get to see where he might have gone in this medium. RIP.

  • Over at NRO, Kevin Williamson offers what I think is one of the finest definitions of conservatism: a consciousness of things lost. There's more to it than that, but I think that is an integral part of the philosophy - or, at least, of mine.

  • Also at NRO, John Derbyshire sums up my feelings - and, I suspect, the feelings of a growing number of people: "I'm starting to really dislike Obama." I do not, however, share the opinions of several conservative pundits, who think that Obama's chances are toast. I'm much more of a believer in the school articulated by David Hannum.

Friday, March 14, 2008

“Seeker Sensitive” Means “Believers Ignored” and “Christian Insensitive”

By Bobby

An observation of a performance by the church's puppet team recently forced me to review a song that had what I considered a "mantra-type" mention of Jesus. In the review of the song in question, “Call Him Up” by Ron Kenoly, the reading of the lyrics found Joel Osteen-style "best life now" themed lyrics, with a “call it and receive it” theme similar to the “prosperity gospel” movement. Unfortunately, Mr. Osteen's false gospel is one of the worst in the market, and yet leaders do not have an understanding that the Joel Osteen “best life now” (also called “health and wealth” or “prosperity” gospel – a prevalent “Emergent Church” agenda) songs are highly inappropriate for a church, and they also are similar to the "7-Eleven" song variety that is a problem with the modern worship.

In the review of the song, I was unable to identify any theology in the song, and in the performances of the song, the “worship leader” is shouting incessantly “Jesus!” as if it was a mantra in Buddhist circles where people scream the mantra continuously throughout the session. While the kids were able to turn blacklight signs around, the use of the song's endless screaming “Jesus” (which was followed by the blacklight signs being turned around) seemed similar to Buddhist chanting as it turned “Jesus” into a mantra.

John MacArthur warned the “gospel music” movement in churches turned church music into one based on personal experience and feelings, and the modern movement turned music into “a device for stimulating intense emotion,” forgetting the mandate of it teaching sound doctrine and theology. When the loud volume of the music, set to prerecorded accompaniment, is added, it takes away from any message, since if there is no message, they could simply turn up the volume to make you feel only the beat, and the message can be ignored. (1)

In this time and age, modern worship tunes, and many of the popular “Christian” music used by children to dance is too similar to secular sappy love songs, which are highly inappropriate for church usage. Meanwhile, a hymn of sound doctrine is greatly ignored.

Last year, the very same team performed a dance set to the 1960's psychadelic rock tune “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum. A review of the lyrics of the song, used in a popular dance routine, had me asking what "spirit in the sky" and "place that's the best" mean, as answers are not found in the song, written by a Jew who is not a Christian.

Another quattrain in the song simply called Jesus a “friend,” reminding me of many false religions, and the message was similar to the salvation by works (“deeds not creeds”) mantra that is prevalent in the Emergents, violating Ephesians 2:8-9, and even promoting other New Age mantras. There is also a section violating Revelations 21:27 by saying that Jesus only “recommends” where you go after you are dead.

In a signature section of the song, Romans 3:23 is violated ("For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.") when he claims he has never been a sinner or sinned. He also never refers to Christ as Lord and Saviour.

By being seeker-oriented, and forgetting the Biblical teachings that many adults desire in favour of emotion-based and relationship-based “sermons” that have no Biblical teaching, we have fallen into the trap of “seeker-sensitive,” which means “ignore those who are saved” and only preach a “watered-down” gospel with nary any message. The term used is “we exist for non-believers”. The seeker-sensitive movement is an utter failure, as spiritual baby food is still fed, while strong messages of faith are ignored, to believers and those who want to keep their walk with God by learning more about God's Word.

Paul Proctor of asked, “Could it be there's too much theology in them - too much humility and holiness - and not enough sensuality and groove for today's 'Christian' consumer who fancies rhythm and romance over reverence and repentance? “(2)

In an interview with a few public school teens at church, they actively defended the theology-free "modern worship" in churches today, saying that they liked the modern pop/rock beat, and said it is the "music of today" while bashing the great hymnals of the past as not current. When they were asked about the teen puppet and dance team's popular tunes from the “prosperity gospel” or “call it and get it” style, they defended the music as suitable because it drew people to church, and told me songs devoid of theology were appropriate because it is modern and has a beat, while the older hymns written by theologians and pastors (Watts, Wesley) were old and out of touch. One kid then told me the Bible can be wrong and said it was passed down by generations, so it could be wrong. Remember, this is a group of children in church in public schools, poisoned by postmodern teachings in the schools today.

They then defended the "Christian content" of the modern worship tunes when I noted the songs were blatantly secular in nature, and none of them would even want to understand they were sappy secular "love songs".

To them, dancing to "Saviour Song" or "Call Him Up," was more fit for church than singing "Crown Him with Many Crowns," singing an unadulterated Isaac Watts or Charles Wesley hymn, or reading the Bible. Imitating musicians with pop tunes, or even dancing to pop tunes devoid of theology in a manner similar to MTV is more appropriate to them instead of learning to properly sing like classically trained sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses, and playing these hymns on the church organ, piano, or orchestral instruments such as those used by the South Carolina Philharmonic.

In feeding them the poison of the seeker-sensitive, believer-insensitive movement, they are fed the poison of the postmodern philosophy that often bashes the Bible and God's Word. The idealism of Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Bill Hybels, and others in the Religious Left who believe in the "salvation by works" movement and against the inerrancy of the Bible has taken hold in today's generation because of the seeker-insensitive movement. What will they be thinking in the coming years? Will a trend of New Age in schools push them that way?

It is time we look carefully at the seeds we sow. Sowing the seeds of the seeker-sensitive movement means the church has gone believer-insensitive. It is highly inappropriate that we are believer-insensitive by being seeker-sensitive, as the way of God is removed in support of being of the world today.

(1) John MacArthur, “Style or Substance? What's the Biggest Problem with Contemporary Church Music.”

(2) Paul Procter, “Are Hymns Becoming Precious Memories?” January 16, 2008,,

Lyrics to two of the named songs:

"Call Him Up" -- Ron Kenoly.
If you confess the Lord, call Him up
If you confess the Lord, call Him up
If you confess the Lord, call Him up
If you confess the Lord, call Him up
If you believe on the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost
Call Him up, and tell Him what you want
Delight thyself in the Lord
And He will give you the desires of your heart
Even though sometimes we stumble
Even though sometimes we fall
Call Him up, and tell Him what you want
When darkness comes your way, call Him up
He'll brighten up your day, call Him up
When darkness comes your way, call Him up
He'll brighten up your day, call Him up
If you believe on the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost
Call Him up, and tell Him what you want
(Repeat verse, then bridge)
Can't stop praising His name
I just can't stop praising His name
I just can't stop praising His name
Hallelujah Jesus
Praising His name
(repeated endlessly)
(Chorus repeated again)

“Spirit in the Sky” -- Norman Greenbaum
When I die and they lay me to rest
Going to go to the place that's the best
When they lay me down to die
Going up to the spirit in the sky
Going up to the spirit in the sky - spirit in the sky
That's where I'm going to go when I die - when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
I'm going to go to the place that's the best
Prepare yourself, you know it's a must
Gotta have a friend in Jesus
So you know that when you die
He's going to recommend you to the spirit in the sky - spirit in the sky
Oh, recommend you to the spirit in the sky
That's where you're going to go when you die - when you die
When you die and they lay you to rest
You're going to go to the place that's the best

Never been a sinner, I've never sinned
I've got a friend in Jesus
So you know that when I die
He's going to set me up with the spirit in the sky
Oh, set me up with the spirit in the sky - spirit in the sky
That's where I'm going to go when I die - when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
I'm going to go to the place that's the best
Go to the place that's the best

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hogan's Heroes - the Final Episode

By Mitchell

We've got a delightful comment thread that has suddenly sprung up on this piece, which originally appeared in November 2007. I've bumped it back up to the top of the blog so you can all appreciate and join in on the wonderful scenarios that are being offered for what surely must be one of the most-loved of all 60s sitcoms, Hogan's Heroes.


I don’t know how many of you have the Isaac Asimov Super Quiz features in your newspapers. There was one this week dealing with final episodes of TV series. You’d think it might have been one in which the Cultural Archaeologist would have excelled; if you’d had that thought, you’d have been wrong. I owe it to the abundance of questions featuring series from a year starting with 2. (Frankly, it’s been about twenty years since I’ve watched any current series with any kind of regularity. I don’t say this boastfully, except to note that most of what passes for TV nowadays is crap. I still prefer the oldies but goodies, which is another reason why I get down on my knees every night and thank God for the DVD.)

None of us sitting around the table did very well with the quiz, but it did instigate an interesting question – what TV series do you think should have had final episodes? The phenomenon known as the “final episode” is a fairly new innovation, relatively speaking. Can you think of the final episode of I Love Lucy? Gunsmoke? The Beverly Hillbillies? Does Lucy leave Desi, is Matt gunned down on Main Street, does Jed hit rock bottom as oil prices collapse? These series didn’t require any kind of resolution; they left you with the impression that things would continue more or less the same forever.

The first major series to introduce a final episode was The Fugitive, in which Richard Kimball finally catches up with the One-Armed Man. (Sorry if I’ve ruined it there for you.) This made sense; the whole series was about Kimball’s dual quests to clear his own name and to find the man who actually killed his wife, all the time while escaping from the relentless Lt. Gerard. The final episode of The Fugitive was the highest rated program ever seen on television at the time, and remained so for many years. The lesson for television executives and producers alike: final episodes could be profitable as well as fun. Nowadays, any show that runs for more than a couple of years seems to merit a fare-thee-well to its loyal viewers.

One series that definitely deserved a final episode was a 1967 mid-season replacement called Coronet Blue. It starred Frank Converse as an amnesiac trying to find out who he was and why people were trying to kill him. (Think The Bourne Identity, which once again proves there’s nothing new under the sun.) Converse’s only clue was a piece of paper he was found clutching, with the words “Coronet Blue” written on it. Coronet Blue was thrown on almost as an afterthought by CBS, with little publicity or notice, and only after it had been sitting on the shelf for months. It went on the air and immediately became the smash hit of the summer. By that time, however, all those involved with the show had gone on to other projects, since there’d been no particular reason to think they’d be needed again. Despite best efforts, they were never able to pull everyone together to continue the series, or even offer a one-shot episode resolving the loose ends. Today, they’d probably get together for a big-screen movie.

The series I’d most have liked to see come up with a final episode was the long-running sitcom Hogan’s Heroes. I’ve never been ashamed to admit that Hogan was, and remains, one of my all-time favorites. I own the entire series on DVD; the acting was superb, the writing often brilliant, the plots usually literate and clever and frequently downright hilarious. The cast – Bob Crane as Hogan, Werner Klemperer as Klink, John Banner as Schultz, Klink’s nemeses General Burkhalter and Major Hochstetter (Leon Askin and Howard Caine) and the whole cast of heroes (Robert Clary, Richard Dawson, Larry Hovis, Ivan Dixon and Kenneth Washington) were uniformly great.

The last episode, airing on July 4, 1971 could have been any particular episode from that final season, and in fact there’s no reason to think it was conceived any other way. The show had been around for six years and, like most extended-run shows, was beginning to show its age, the ratings had begun to fade, and the cancellation was not particularly unexpected. In other words, a perfect candidate for a wrap-up episode.

So what would that final episode have been like? Well, many of the major events of the war had come and gone during Hogan’s run, including D-Day. The Allies might have come to liberate the camp, or they might simply have terminated Hogan’s assignment (the POWs, you recall, were stationed at Stalag 13, posing as prisoners but in reality operating a massive underground commando and espionage ring). Myself, I prefer to think of the series concluding with the end of the war; Burkhalter and Hochstetter, being true believers in the Nazi regime, probably would have been taken prisoner themselves by the Allies. (In reality, they might have committed suicide, but let’s not make this too realistic.) Hogan and his men probably would have vouched for Schultz, who really was just a working man at a job he didn’t particularly like, and possibly even Klink, who when all was said and done didn’t really bear the POWs any real malice; he was too incompetent to have done too much harm.

The men would have been lauded as true heroes for their daring behind-the-lines escapades, none more so than Colonel Robert Hogan himself. Already a full colonel, it’s reasonable to assume that Hogan would have come out of the war at least a Brigadier General, with a brilliant future should he decide to stay in the service. The Army, recognizing what it had on its hands, would have made the most of the photogenic, dynamic Hogan. (An earlier episode had actually involved the brass bringing Hogan back home, cashing in on his accomplishments by having him lead bond drives throughout the country.)

And where do things go from there? There certainly would have been a book about such an audacious assignment, just as there was with A Bridge Too Far, A Man Called Intrepid, The Great Escape and other true war stories, probably called, simply, Hogan’s Heroes, by General Robert Hogan as told to David Halberstam. In due course, a movie would have been made based on the book, and it’s fun to speculate on who would have played Hogan in the movie. (Greg Kinnear, anyone? Probably more likely Kirk Douglas.) Hogan might have served in Korea, flying the same kinds of bomber missions he flew in Europe during WWII; on the other hand, he probably would have already been back in Washington, with a high-level job in the Pentagon.

Come the early 60s, Hogan would still have been only about 50. JFK, who also recognized talent when he saw it, might have made Hogan his Air Force aide, working directly out of the White House. (I'll bet they would have had some adventures together.) Our co-blogger Steve suggests that Hogan might have been in charge of the Bay of Pigs invasion, which would have meant that the fiasco would have been averted, Castro toppled, and Cuba liberated. Without Castro and the CIA working behind the scenes, JFK doesn’t meet his death at the hands of conspirators in Dallas, and as we all know that means no expanded war in Vietnam. (Yeah, right.)

See how easy this is? The world as we know it changes completely! Kennedy goes through with his plan to dump LBJ from the ticket in 1964, choosing instead the charismatic Senator from Minnesota, Hubert Humphrey. Bobby lives, not being shot in the ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, because it is JFK’s loyal Vice President Humphrey who becomes the unanimous choice to continue the legacy of the New Frontier. (Bobby continues as Senator from New York, even providing consultation with that young Clinton fellow from Arkansas who’d had his picture taken with JFK that time. Bobby and Bill fly to Hollywood often and hang out with friends.)

The Republicans, of course, turn to Richard Nixon as the best bet to unseat Humphrey and end eight years of Democratic dominance. In a peaceful campaign prosperity becomes the number one issue, and the voters decide to give the Republicans and their tax breaks a chance, electing Nixon as president. True to form, Nixon immediately sees an opportunity to wreak havoc on his enemies, even authorizing a burglary at Democratic headquarters at the Watergate. (What was that about history changing?) The country in a shambles, being led by the president who pardoned the man responsible for it, the people turn to someone they can trust: Robert Hogan, the now-retired military hero, the man who has always stayed above politics, the most trusted man in America (next to Walter Cronkite). And with him, the charismatic former actor and governor of California, Ronald Reagan. What a match! Hogan and Reagan – or is it Reagan and Hogan? Whatever. Happy days are here again.

All that from a simple half-hour sitcom. See why it’s so important for series to have final episodes? You can never tell how history could turn out differently.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ignorance Isn't Bliss

By Bobby

The following originally appeared as a comment under Mitchell's recent piece, but due to popular demand (OK, due to Badda's request) we're reprinting it here in it's own right.


There is obviously no respect or excellence in public schools. I was forced into them in high school because of threats to my life in private school (fondling of breasts, bleach thrown into my eyes, repeated attacks) that my grades dropped.

In some cases they started using Klansman language.

What I didn't know then was moving to a worse school killed me schoolingwise, and also I had faced the generation that did not know anything right from wrong.

Now we have a generation where emotions from the major pop psychology figures (including the New Age) is replacing the fundamentals of reading, writing, and arithmetic, the idea of "global warming" replaces real science (note the new light bulb regulations, the new fuel-economy standard that will force everyone into 2-seat 45-CID minicars with no protection, and "global warming" as religion), and self-esteem means more than winning. Think of it now that instead of learning of the wars in World War II and the numerous victories of the Allies, they learn instead anti-war legislators and famous losers, and support Communists instead of patriots. The great works in literature are removed because they are "dead white males," and the same goes with music.

Modern "church" is built around the same emotions as in school thanks to the recent development of "megachurches" such as Willow Creek and Saddleback, where their learning is on the same principle as in schools today. In music, instead of learning to sing sacred choral works, is learning to dance to the latest pop tunes, some of which includes the false theology of the "prosperity gospel".

One kid told me Wednesday in an interview that the Bible was "passed down generation to generation and there are mistakes in it." That is the type of postmodern teaching they learn in the teachers union-run schools today.

They believe in mediocrity instead of excellence, losing instead of winning, that when I watched Toyota win Sunday in Hampton, Georgia, I thought of Grantland Rice when I wrote after the Toyota victory, "An atomic bomb was dropped in Hampton, Georgia Sunday. The Americans quickly surrendered, and the former State of Georgia was surrendered to the Japanese. It is now the Georgia Perfecture of Japan." I thought of the complexities of Grantland Rice, and history, when I wrote that line.

For 40 years the environmentalist movement has destroyed education and the American industry. When the Japanese and Chinese Communists take over much of our industrial production, we have suffered under them. When the Europeans are winning the contract to build US military tankers, something is deeply wrong. Have we lost our way?

Saturday's Congressional election showed the Left's increasing power that supports the immoral lifestyles and the idea that America must have gobs of self-esteem and must lose, instead of going for the win. It seems Hollywood's infiltration of their values has shown victories everywhere when real leadership is no longer permitted, but instead Hollywood puppets are in control.

When people do not know our Presidents of the United States, but know the characters from the latest MTV series, and when people know American Idol but not the history of the Quiz Show Scandals of the 1950's that affected (production company) Radio Television Luxembourg's predecessors in the United States, what is happening?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Eliot Spitzer and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

By Mitchell

Yesterday was a bad day to be Governor of New York, and by all indications today isn’t going to be any better.

It’s a challenge trying to find anything to say about this sad situation that hasn’t already been said. Of course, that doesn’t stop most pundits, and I doubt it’s going to stop us either. But there are, I think, a couple of observations that are worth making:

Let’s take a moment first of all and say a word in praise of honest language. Listening to the spin doctors working their magic was enough to make one throw up, as it usually is. Predictably, there was this missive from the Republican Governors Association, calling on Spitzer to resign to

"allow the people of New York to pursue honest leadership. . .The American people are tired of corrupt and hypocritical politicians. The governor of New York is just another in the long list of politicians that have failed their constituents," said Nick Ayers, the association's executive director.

Now I ask you: is there any real feeling, any passion, in that statement? Does it stir you to act, or just to go for the Pepto-Bismol? Not only that, it winds up sounding simply like the words of a partisan hack - which it is. Then there was this series of email blasts from the NRCC (which I believe stands for National Republican Campaign Committee) attacking candidates who have received contributions from Spitzer:

NRCC-Communications» Will Eric Massa Return Spitzer's Sleazy Money?
NRCC-Communications» Will Dan Maffei Return Spitzer's Sleazy Money?
NRCC-Communications» Will John Hall Return Spitzer's Sleazy Money?
NRCC-Communications» Will Michael Arcuri Return Spitzer's Sleazy Money?
NRCC-Communications» Will Kirsten Gillibrand Return Spitzer's Sleazy Money?

Give me a break. Again, I ask you, does this wince-inducing bromide really accomplish anything? As NRO's David Freddoso points out, "I'd actually admire any one of them who has the courage to keep the money and say: 'Well, at least this $2,300 won't be spent on a whore!'"

Now, by contrast, take the comments of New York Representative (and Republican) Peter King:

"Spitzer himself was very severe going after prostitution rings that had to do with white collar crimes. He was very hard-nosed with his tactics. To leave himself open to blackmail — putting himself and the state in a compromised position like that — it's just awful. . He's going to have to resign...At one level, it has to do with his integrity and his personal morality, but I don't even want to go into that. Without even touching on that, he has to resign...I'm one of those people who actually said Clinton should not have been impeached. I try to avoid personal moral issues in politics. But prostitution rings are invariably linked to organized crime. He, as the former attorney general and the current governor, had to know about the link between organized crime and prostitution rings."

Now, I don’t care whether you agree with King or not. My point is that here at last was a true bit of straight talk. It wasn’t crude or demeaning nor, I thought, unduly harsh; at the same time it wasn’t the bland, predictable, memorized, by-the-numbers type of statement that sounds more like a speech than an honest observation, and a very bad speech at that. King meant what he said and he said what he meant, and I respect that.

Second, it does seem that what goes around comes around. Notwithstanding the shock and surprise so many seemed to experience following the revelation, it appears that Spitzer wasn’t necessarily all that nice a guy. Again, King: "I don't know anyone who is more self-righteous or unforgiving than Eliot Spitzer. So he's going to have a hard time finding friends right now...” And you read this kind of thing in several places: talk that Spitzer had a double-standard, that he unnecessarily

Then there was this from John Podhoretz, which I think lays out the case nicely (and points out that things like this seldom come clear out of the blue):

The thing is, Eliot Spitzer is a crook. I’m not referring to the current prostitution scandal. I’m not referring to the scandal last year involving his senior aides and the leaking of confidential police information to the Albany Times Union. I’m not referring to the threatening phone call he made to the august John Whitehead, retired head of Goldman Sachs, who had the temerity to question a case Spitzer was building against an old friend of Whitehead’s. I’m referring to his conduct dating back to 1994, when he designed a complex scheme involving loans and real estate and collateralized apartments to evade campaign-finance laws so that his own father, Bernard Spitzer, could pay for his campaign as attorney general of New York state. Millions of dollars. And then, in 1998, running for the same office, he did it again. It’s hard to explain, but basically, Spitzer’s father gave him a lot of real estate. He used it to secure loans totaling more than $8 million. Then his father paid back the loans. He was supposed to pay his father back. He said he did. Then he acknowledged he hadn’t. Then somehow it all went away. I’m not a big fan of campaign-finance laws, but they are laws, and they are supposed to apply to everybody.

So what happens next? I don’t pretend to know whether or not Spitzer will resign, but I think he should. There’s the political angle, of course – what he did was (choose one or more) illegal, unethical, immoral – and that combination ought to cost you your job, when that job is built upon the public trust. Regardless of how repentant he may be, there is generally a price that has to be paid for the violation of that trust. Even the Good Thief wasn’t spared death on the cross, after all.

More significant, though, is the cost in human terms. We don’t know what caused Spitzer to do what he did. It could have been anything from poor judgment to an addiction or sickness, but I think we should be very gentle with him in this respect. We should look at him with compassion and understanding. Whether we agree with him or not we can't cease to care about him and his family as human beings. The important thing is that he gets the help he needs, whether that means professional help or merely time away from the spotlight to try and put his family back together.

Destructive behavior such as this doesn’t usually change overnight. Even for those who are absolutely dedicated to riding themselves of such urges, it can take a great deal of time and effort, perhaps over a lifetime, to overcome it. Although we may call this a weakness of character, that is only part of it - it is a weakness born of an overriding ego, a will that puts itself over that of God’s. As Paul comments, it is only when one truly becomes weak that they can obtain the strength that is found in God.

Again, we don’t know what lies behind Spitzer’s actions. Perhaps even he doesn’t know. But for his sake, and that of his wife and daughters, the proper thing to do is to take his medicine – to resign from office, to accept whatever legal consequences there are, and to address the most important issue facing him – his life.

Maybe it’s no accident that this has happened in the waning days of Lent, as we walk deeper into the shadow of the Cross, for Eliot Spitzer and his family are surely going through a Lenten trial of their own. One can only hope that this terrible moment will result in something that will strengthen their marriage, that will make him a better, more humble man. It often seems, to those in the middle of such turmoil, that this is an impossible task. But, as we all know, with God nothing is impossible.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Answers, Please

By Mitchell

Last week we offered a sixth-grade test that had appeared on a 1963 episode of I've Got a Secret, and we invited you to take a stab at the ten questions. Did you take the challenge? For those of you who did, here are the answers:

  1. JFK was the 35the President of the United States.
  2. The first permanent English settlement in this country was in Jamestown, VA.
  3. The largest city in Africa as of 1963 was Cairo, Egypt.
  4. There are 100 halves in 50. Add three and you come up with 103.
  5. The three parts of an atom, in no particular order, are Electron,
  6. Proton, and
  7. Neutron.
  8. The lowest geographical point on Eart is the Dead Sea.
  9. The Roman numeral MDCIX is 1609.
  10. That odd-shaped diagram is called a trapezoid.

So how did you do? I'll tell you, you'd have to go some to top Hadleyblogger Bobby, who scored 9 out of 10. The top scorer on the I've Got a Secret panel was Bill Cullen, who got 8 of 10.

We are, of course, forced to ask why it seems that the tests back then were tougher than they are today. There are many who link the collapse of public education to the rise in power of the teachers' unions, and, frankly, it's difficult to disagree with this. Some have suggested that the education establishment has done more damage in this country than terrorism. I will mention, on a personal note, that from my 20 years in political life I have not one good thing to say on behalf of teachers unions. Not one.

Now, this isn't meant as an indictment of individual teachers, many of whom are asked to perform above and beyond the call by a system that cares more about putting forward a liberal political agenda than teaching basics to children. However, if I had a child of school age I'd do just about anything humanly possible to keep that child out of public school - homeschooling, if I could. But one of the ultimate tragedies of American society is the total destruction of our education system by an invidious ideological monster, and if there is any justice in the hereafter, as I belive there is, there will be a special place in hell for those who have done so much to distort and misshape helpless young minds for their own craven purposes.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Wish I'd Written That

By Drew

People will laugh when I say it, but I feel there has been for some years now a ground-swell of demand for mediocrity. They don't want excellence. We don't have positive heroes anymore; they're negative heroes. What do we attack? We've attacked all the great pillars of civilization. We take great heroes of history and so far as we are capable we snoop around in the excretia of some of these heroes until we find a flaw. So because a hero is not perfection, which if he was he would be God himself, then he's nothing more than anybody on the street.

Jon Vickers, 1981 interview

Thursday, March 6, 2008

My Thoughts Exactly

By Drew

John Derbyshire, yesterday at NRO:

. . .I really believe we would be as well, or as badly, governed if the Chief Executive were chosen by lots from among a pool of willing citizens who had passed a modest general knowledge test and background check. For sure we are not going to get a philosopher king out of the current process, even assuming we wanted one — which, as a republic of free citizens, we ought not.

Bill Buckley famously asked: "Who is the President of Switzerland?" Nobody knows, of course; yet Switzerland seems to get along pretty well. Is all this hullabaloo really necessary? Can anyone give me a good reason why I should go on wading through the reams of commentary and prediction on Mrs. Clinton's this and Barack Obama's that and what McCain should or shouldn't do and what a grand fellow Huckabee is? I say it's spinach, and I say the hell with it.

The Buckley reference is, of course, entirely appropriate this week.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Are You Smarter than a Sixth Grader?

By Mitchell

You may recall that a while back, we reminised about an appearance by Sam Levinson on the 60s TV show I've Got a Secret in which he asked the panel questions that the average fifth grader in New York's public school system of the 1960s would be expected to know.

Well, last week GSN ran the IGAS episode from June 24, 1963, and Sam Levinson is back with another test for the panel. This time, the questions are from sixth graders at Brooklyn's P.S. 249 and the F.E. Bellows School in Mamaroneck, New York. If you liked the fifth grade test, you'll love the one from the sixth graders; as Levenson said, a high school test would be out of the question. Ready? No checking with Wikipedia - this is not an open Internet test.

Question 1: We all know George Washington was the first president and Abraham Lincoln the 16th. What number was John F. Kennedy? (Who was president at the time of the program.)

Question 2: What was the first permanent English settlement in what was to become the United States?

Question 3: As of 1963, what was the biggest city in Africa?

Question 4: Divide 50 by 1/2 and add 3. (Not a trick question, but a tricky one.)

Questions 5, 6 and 7: Name the three major parts of an atom.

Question 8: What is the lowest geographical point on Earth?

Question 9: Translate the Roman numeral MDCIX.

Question 10: Identify the geometric shape seen below:

A reminder: no cheating. We'll have the answers later this week.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Random Notes

By Drew

Time we caught up with a little music.

Have you been paying attention to the controversy surrounding the New York Philharmonic's recent concerts in North Korea? This is more than a music story, really; it's all about global politics and propaganda, and perhaps appeasement of a dictatorship. Or is that giving away too much of my own opinion? At any rate, Terry Teachout, who has been a harsh critic of the Philharmonic's tour, weighs in at The Wall Street Journal with this excellent piece talking about everything that was wrong with this idea. In particular, I enjoyed this quote:

We just went out and did our thing," Mr. Maazel told reporters, "and we began to feel this warmth coming back. . . . I think it's going to do a great deal." Bunk. All it proves is that apparatchiks can be sentimental, too, a fact that the Wagner-loving Adolf Hitler proved long ago.

Well put. Keep reading the piece for more. I recall during Nixon's visits to the Soviet Union and China that it was said only he, with his staunch anti-Communist credentials, could have made such a trip without having been accused of selling out. I hardly think the New York Philharmonic can make such a claim.


What did Bach look like? CNN tells you. All quite interesting, I'm sure, but does it bring Bach to life in a way that his music fails? I don't think so. "It only shows his facial appearance," said the anthropologist in charge of the project. "I wish it could give us some sense of what was going on inside of his head, but it can't." I suppose we should be grateful that science admits they can't quite accomplish everything. Yet.


The great Italian tenor Giuseppe Di Stefano died yesterday at the age of 86. I mention this not only in tribute to his great talent - if you don't own the legendary recording of Tosca in which Di Stefano plays Cavaradossi to Maria Callas' Tosca and Tito Gobbi's Scarpia, you really should - but because he's someone you should know about. Rudolf Bing, the major domo of the Met in the 50s and 60s, said that Di Stefano's was "the most beautiful sound he had heard come out of a human throat." Pavarotti modeled himself after Di Stefano. His parings with Callas were always worth looking forward to - they recorded ten operas together. A short career perhaps, only about 20 years, but a worthy one nonetheless. R.I.P.

Monday, March 3, 2008

William F. Buckley, Jr., R.I.P.

By Mitchell

What is it about death, I wonder, that holds such a fascination for us? Why do we spend so much time thinking, and writing, about the dead? It seems as if every other piece we write on this site is an obituary on someone or other, an icon of the past that oftentimes few in the present seem to remember.

It is more than just a personal reflection, although there is no denying that our mortality comes into clearer focus for us as the years pass. Likewise, it is more than simple curiosity, even though for those of us who cherish the thought of an eternity in heaven, there is endless wonderment about what it will be like.

But there is more to it than that. We look back on the deaths of people we have never met, and still there is something intensely personal about it. We write elegies, we leave flowers, we grieve as if we have lost a friend who was near and dear to us.

Undoubtedly, the Oprahfication of society has something to do with this, but I think there is more to it than that, something operating on a deeper level. It is, I think, that we become more conscious of the death – the passing, if you will – of a way of life, the only way which we have known.

In our youth, the fundamental aspects of our lives are developed. Our first contacts with life – our family members – are generally also our first contacts with death. And although we meet those passings with grief, we are also intrinsically aware of the importance these milestones play in our maturation. It is popularly said that with the death of our parents we truly become adults, and I suppose there is more than a little truth in that. We are not the same once an event like that has happened.

In a similar way, our lives evolve as we are introduced to elements outside our immediate family. Our schoolmates, our teachers, our friendships – they become an equally important part of our development and growth. We pass through these years into early adulthood, and the formation of our personality continues. Death remains, in these years, a rare intruder. In times of peace, when young men and women are spared the realties of war, we seldom experience the death of a peer, and when it does happen it burns an indelible impression in our psyches.

Eventually, there comes a point in life when we enter into a new relationship with death. This relationship ends with the deaths of those around us – our friends, our siblings, our contemporaries. As they begin to pass away, we are aware that our own time is approaching, and we begin (if we have not already done so) to take stock of our life, to add up the balance sheet, hoping and praying that we come up with a positive number.

I said that this is how our new relationship with death ends. It is, however, the beginning of that relationship that interests me now. And to understand that relationship we need to look back into those formative years I mentioned, the people that helped us create our essential selves. It is as these people die that our relationship with death changes inalterably, for as they do so, we become painfully aware that a way of life – the one we have grown up with, the one that has fundamentally formed us – dies with them, and there is nothing we can do about it. And as our culture continues to fragment, as there are fewer and fewer shared experiences that we can appreciate, we become more and more alone with our memories, and the things we can depend on in life continue to shrink.

So it has been with the many obituaries that have appeared here throughout the years, and so it is now with this one. I think it's quite possible to say that there was a little bit of William F. Buckley, Jr. in all of us, either in the reality or the desire. Perhaps it was the delight he took in life, whether in the intellectual combat of politics or the solitude of sailing on the high seas. Maybe it was his love of fine music or stimulating company. It could have been the sly grin that enveloped his face when, with just the right word and inflection, he was able to stick the knife in sideways during a debate and give it that little extra twist. Or maybe it has to do with the relationships he had formed over a lifetime, and the way in which those on both the left and the right counted themselves fortunate to number him among their closest friends. I don’t think there’s any doubt that most of us envied his quick wit, his sharp tongue, his cleverness of thought. Whether or not we agreed with him, or even understood the words he used, we knew there was a part of him that we would have liked to make our own.

And as far as the conservative movement is concerned, his influence can’t be overestimated. In that sense there is a part of Buckley in all of us, embedded in our DNA. Who can say whether or not there would have been a conservative movement in America without Buckley? One can only say that if there had been, it would not have been the same.

As I look in our library, I count 22 of Buckley’s books on the shelves. I’ve read them all, or most of them. Some, the collections of writings and transcripts from television shows, act more as reference than as something to be read from cover to cover. Others have been part of my essential political education – God and Man at Yale, for exampe, which imbued in me the cynicism toward higher education that I have carried with me ever since. The Blackford Oakes spy novels, delightful stories that combined fact and fiction and featured cameo appearances from real-life historical figures, saying the things that you'd have liked to imagine really did come from their mouths at one time or another. Books on gratitude and faith, interviews and essays offering perspectives on the events that helped shape our times, making one realize that things really have changed a great deal over the years. And this, of course, merely scratches the surface. It's not a bad legacy for a lifetime.

The overriding impact of death, as we've discussed here, is that it changes things. Buckley's death is no exception. The conservative movement, which has seemed rudderless since the end of Reagan's presidency and the fall of Communism, seems now to be in more flux than at any time pre-Buckley. Some even wonder if the conservative movement, per se, even exists. On that point I have my doubts, but wihtout the founding father of conservatism, it is clear there is that much less remaining to hold it together.

Sometimes we are driven to wonder what there is in modern life that can possibly hold our interest. Those of us that are of an age - my age, for example - feel increasingly out of place, as if there was no room for us at the inn anymore, even though there seems to be more than enough room for so much pablum and drivel. And so we find ourselves driven to the past, to a life more familiar, where we might still find a place we could call our own.

Buckley would, I think, urge us not to succumb to that temptation. He would point out that we have come far further than anyone might have thought possible, and he would remind us that life is far to precious to simply give up on it like that. He always found a challenge to be accepted, a white steed in need of a mount, a cause to be championed. He once stood athwart history yelling "stop," and he would tell us that in his absence, someone would have to perform that duty. And the marvelous obituaries which he himself wrote, some of his best writing, are a testimonial to our ability to live with one eye on the future even as we cast the other eye backwards.

Perhaps he would also have reminded us of Christ's reassuring words, that "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." We can take those words and in them find a reassurance that even though the mileposts of our lives may leave us, the impact they made on us will always remain; and in doing so we can feel that we are not fleeing into the past but honoring it, and the life (our own) that it helped to create. And for those who make up that past, those like William F. Buckely, Jr., we can be eternally grateful.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


By Bobby

"(Nicholas Smith, who is the former South Carolina Philharmonic conductor and has worked with the Palmetto Opera) was discussing the da capo style of singing), and the ornamentation (on the repeat of the same lines), and I was reminded of running (North) 29th Avenue at the (Bi-Lo Myrtle Beach) Marathon (XI February 16):"

"The first two times (going eastbound) around it seemed flat, but the final time around (westbound to the finish) it was a climb -- I was dehydrated and weak, and headed towards the finish."

-- me, to my voice teacher Sunday night. She was singing in "Opera on the Nile," a selection of opera selections based in Egypt (or so, Nicholas thought!).

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