Wednesday, April 29, 2009

America Held Hostage, Day 100, 1,361 Days to Go

By Bobby

I looked at Drew's link to the video in reference to Arlen Specter "jumping to the dark side," and one concern I found was the song used is the same song serenaded by liberal activists to George Walker Bush as he left Washington for the last time.

But my concern is over some policies that a newly minted supermajority, once they can sue Al Franken into the Senate despite actually losing the election (anyone who remembers what happened in Darlington will see the light), what a 60-liberal Senate will do:

1. Through the Fairness Doctrine and “Localism” where ACORN and other liberal activists can tell the FCC that they will dictate which types of media would be permitted. This would effectively ban the popular format that has not been available locally for six years that is very popular and informative. This regulation would also control the media as to effectively shut down Fox News with government controlled media.

2. HR 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, would legalise pedophilia, prostitution, fronteurism, incest, beastiality, and other deviant or criminal behaviours. Also, if you do not tow the official government line on sexual deviancy, they will be arrested, similar to what happened in Canada and Sweden.

3. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act would force schools and child-care centres to hire pedophiles, child molesters, and other forms of sexual deviants, as they would simply cry “discrimination by sexual orientation,” face a judge, and the judge would use the new law to mandate the school hire the child molester.

4. A prohibition on separating restrooms by sex, similar to Colorado, could be imposed; a female intern at Focus on the Family noted a man in a women's restroom.

5. False "marriages" of other states would have to be recognised by federal law. Michael Weiner, Ph. D., refers to San Francisco mayor and California gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsome as “Any Two-Some Newsome” for wanting marriage laws rewritten to be between any two people, and judges are now mandating it in more states to appease the activists. The President wants to ensure marriage is not of a "man and a woman" but of "any two".

6. Two dangerous treaties -- The UN Rights of the Child and the Law of the Sea Treaty -- would be passed, effectively turning over parenting to a foreign entity in the former, and letting tinpot dictators control resources of the sea instead of private entities, would be passed.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Don't Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out

By Drew

News item: RINO Senator Arlen Spector announces he's switching parties from Republican to Democrat.

In honor of the occasion, we offer the following musical tribute.

Also, quite possibly the best line of the day, from Mark Hemingway: "I read that he was switching parties, but I was disappointed to learn he's still a Democrat."

Monday, April 27, 2009

Weekend Reflections

By Bobby

Political Correctness Run Amok. General Motors' announcement of the ceasing of the Pontiac brand had me pondering the Pelosi / Obama Administration scoring another check mark on the win total for political correctness, knowing of the Indian name and logos. How much of this could be in the Administration's politically correct attitude trying to force companies out of Indian names in the same manner college sports has attempted to eliminate Indian names from sports teams? Of course, it was in 1991 when the American Indian movement went after the Atlanta Braves in the World Series, knowing its heritage of the Indian name. They did take out many teams with Redskins, Indians, or other tribal-related names.

More PC Craziness. Brown University's abolition of the Columbus Day break is another sign of political correctness going haywire in this era. The seemingly official Politically Correct Guide to Holidays mandates that Christmas, Washington's Birthday, Lincoln's Birthday, Easter, Columbus Day, and Thanksgiving not be celebrated, but we can celebrate Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, Festivus, and birthdays of Lenin, César Chávez, and other politically correct leaders of the modern left.

Hymns at the Opera, but Not at Church. It was ironic at the performance of Our Town (the opera version) that the hymns “O God Our Help in Ages Past” and “Blest Be The Tie That Binds” were sung at the church in Grovers Corner. You are not likely to find a hymn to be sung in too many churches today as the rush to advance to modern rock is prevalent in churches today. The Sacred Music America site noted church leaders have eliminated the high standards in favour of the lowest common denominator requiring no “spiritual effort, intellectual growth, or acquired understand, basic music, both sophisticated and simple.” They also criticise the pop tunes prohibiting “texts that witness to human fraility.” They referenced the sonorous tune and multivalent text of the hymn I mentioned earlier, today it has been replaced by pop/rock tunes of simple refrains. (

Keep Your Emotions In Check. Larry McReynolds wrote in The Big Picture that you have to keep your emotions in check, and at the parking lot outside Bristol Motor Speedway before an event at the Tennessee bullring. The same could be true of me having to keep my emotions in check attending Our Town. I told a few friends that of the three performances, one did not have my voice teacher – and it was the one I attended. I said I could put my focus on the whole opera, and not on one person. There have been times I attend musical events where I have to be on the lookout for those who know me for associating with the teacher. Maybe being able to watch the opera with everything focused on the story was a good thing to help. Of course, we saw each other as we exited the theatre. The most famous moment however was two years ago, when we saw each other in the seats, and she being single, she asked me out as a date. I agreed. It was a fun date night for both of us! When you're a single guy and there are single women who are singers, it seems you want to date these “sportsman” singers.

Boylemania. The discussion over the Britain's Got Talent (part of the RTL “Got Talent” franchise) contestant Susan Boyle with the performance of a selection from Les Misérables is one that has people talking about the contestant and her performance. But one thing I haven't heard much, sadly, is an issue that I have learned through vocal studies over the years – amplification is the biggest no-no in music. That's the problem in churches too as more youth and especially women sing in church to amplified karaoke. Real singing needs real instruments without amplification.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Pink Lady, No Jeff*

By Mitchell

As we're just a little more than two weeks away from Mother's Day, we find ourselves in the midst of the yearly pink flood of publicity - nay, coersion - regarding Susan G. Komen for the Cure. If you know anyone involved in this cause - and, let's be honest, how many of us don't? - then you also know that refusal to go along with this cause is something akin to drowning cats and pulling the wings off of birds. You just don't do it, or at least you do it at your own peril. It's so oppresive, you'd think it was coming from the United Way.

As this article - which I wrote one year ago today - points out, there is every reason to be concerned about Komen, particularly their relationship with Planned Parenthood. Read the whole thing for the details.

And just why should we be concerned about organizations and their tête-à-têtes with PP? For that, look no further than this article by Mona Charen, telling us more about the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger. Sanger, according to Charen, "was a most thoroughgoing racist. 'Eugenics,' [Sanger] wrote, 'is the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political, and social problems.'" The chief goal of birth control, according to Sanger, was "More children from the fit, less from the unfit.”

Granted, organizations can evolve from their origins, and not all of them take on the personal foibles of their founders. Nonetheless, one can only imagine how a conservative organization would be viewed if its founder had spouted the same kind of garbage.

Oh, and if you needed any more proof that God has a finely tuned sense of irony (and why wouldn't He?), check out this close by Charen: "Margaret Sanger hated abortion and called abortionists 'blood sucking men with M.D. after their names.'”

Planned Parenthood is an anti-life organization. The fact that a group such as Komen, supposedly dedicated to saving women's lives, would have anything to do with it, regardless of the nature of that relationship, is a scandal. Share this information with people you know. And if someone approaches you in the next two weeks with a request to donate to the Race for the Cure, tell them to stick this in their pipe and smoke it. And the same goes for their corporate lackeys.

Breast cancer is a terrible disease, and fighting to find a cure is a noble cause. It deserves a better champion than Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

*The significance of the title? Well, that would come from this, surely one of the worst television shows of the 80s. I guess you just had to be there.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wish I'd Written That

By Mitchell

Courtesy of the always-enjoyable Jay Nordlinger at NRO:

A question to William F. Buckley, Jr: “Mr. Buckley, why is it that you debate sitting down? Is it that you can’t think on your feet?”

Buckley: "My legs can’t bear the weight of what I know.”

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

By Drew

Here at Our Word, we're nothing if not topical. And so, in honor of Earth Day, we present to you as a public service the following "Green" moment:

Quick Takes

By Mitchell

In our best headline-grabbing way, a few bits and pieces that have come to our attention in the last couple of days:

Are You Listening, Perez Hilton?

From The Anchoress: "Appreciate my indifference to your sexuality. Yeah…that’s pretty much how I feel. I think the gay community does not really understand that most folks don’t care who they sleep with - they just resent having it all shoved in their faces, so they’re forced to react - it’s a set-up."

It sure is - they want to trigger a reaction, and then beat you over the head with it. Because it is, you know, all about them - and in today's culture, there's absolutely nothing worse than being ignored.

(By the way, why is it that whenever I hear a name like "Perez Hilton," I'm reminded of that scene in Dr. Strangelove where Peter Sellers confronts Keenan Wynn with the line, "Listen, Colonel Bat Guano, if that is your real name.")

That’s it!

Charles Krauthammer on Obama's performance at the Summit of the Americas: "Does the narcissism of this man know no bounds? This is not about him. It is about his country. This is something that occurred under John Kennedy — the Bay of Pigs is what [Nicaragua president Daniel Ortega] is referring to. And what he is saying is that it's OK that [Ortega verbally] attacked John Kennedy, as long as it wasn't me.

"Doesn't it occur to him that he ought to defend his country even if stuff happened before him? It doesn't all start with him."

For a long time, I’ve been trying to find exactly the right word to describe Obama, but as usual Krauthammer has beaten me to it – narcissist. And that goes double for so many of his followers who, in the glow from the halo they’ve positioned over the president’s head, really are admiring themselves.

But What Do You Really Think?

S.T. Karnick on Jon Stewart: "I have always considered Jon Stewart (The Daily Show) to be a thoroughly repugnant ass and his TV show a bunch of garbage for only the very stupidest of left-wing nobrains. As a result of my avoidance of the man and his works, I have seldom had occasion to write about him."

I agree with this assessment 100% - I just wish he’d been a little more blunt.

Speaking of Shooting Your Mouth Off...

A certain Catholic blogger who shall not be named uses the acronym "STFU" in a piece about Newt Gingrich. Regardless of your political opinions - shouldn't we expect perhaps a higher level of discourse from a Catholic blogger? I can appreciate that perhaps his crayon wasn't able to handle all those big words, but still...

(Remember the saying: "Keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool. Open your mouth and remove all doubt." I feel as if I can say this, having proven the latter far too often. But honestly, sometimes this blogger can be the worst possible advertisement for Catholic evangelization.)

Before We Leave You

This is one of the all-time great stories from The Onion. But to be perfectly honest, I think we scooped them.

Lenin's Birthday Means More Communist Restrictions

By Bobby

The celebration of Lenin's Birthday (April 22, 1870) has become increasingly used by liberal activists to push for fringe environmentalism through the "Earth Day" celebrations. It is intentional that the celebration is held on the birthday of the father of the CCCP, since the ideals of the CCCP's supreme father are those of the fringe environmentalism.

The announcement of a "climate change" bill that will be cleared by liberals through their tactics of prohibition of debate and discussion, and it features limits on carbon dioxide (what plants breathe!) and greenhouse gas emissions, including a "cap and trade" effort to charge exorbitant fees on energy produced by coal, gas, and other sources, in an attempt to push for the only two energy sources that are acceptable to liberal activists, wind and solar. The "wind and solar" mantra is pushed like a Buddhist mantra and the bill also includes mandatory energy production from sources they want (wind and solar), and tougher "energy" standards to virtually ban the internal combustion engine. These "green energy" proposals have destroyed Spain. What does this President and Congress want, us to copy failed policies of countries whose laws now override our laws?

In the end, liberals have a push to take away private property and make everything in control of the government. The increasing philosophy of Communism as endorsed by this Congress and President is continuing through this earth worship agenda, and let it be known that Lenin's Birthday is the ultimate way to celebrate this liberal philosophy. When the Resurrection of Christ is not allowed to be observed, but the Birthday of the Father of the CCCP is celebrated in our schools and media, it is a sad state of affairs to see what liberal activists have decided in secularising this country to create a New World Order of earth worship, "wind and solar", and other mantras designed to destroy this country.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Deviancy Over the Weekend

By Bobby

Homosexual activists were at it again Sunday night. During NBC's coverage of the Miss USA beauty pageant, which is part of the NBC/Trump Organisation partnership's Miss Universe, one of the judges, an avowed sexual deviant, asked if marriage should be between any two people in the same way that a certain mayor of the nation's virtual capital (considering that city is which our "prime minister" but in reality dictator, considering what the damage she has done to this country since she took over as the nation's leader, represents) has been called "any two-some" by a radio host in that region believes.

The contestant said no, it should be between one man and one woman, and the judge went on a rampage on his blog, even admitting that cost her the win.

The judge, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, suffers from a psychiatric disorder. His intentional attempt to push the homosexual agenda, which violates I Corinthians 6:9-10 in that ". . . neither . . . effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind . . . shall inherit the Kingdom of God." My Ryrie Study Bible states "People whose lifestyles exhibit wickedness, not fruit, show they are unsaved and will, therefore, not inherit the kingdom of God."

For pushing his wicked agenda that violates the Bible, I must say . . Perez . . . (points finger at him), You're Fired!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch of MTV, their popular "Spongebob Squarepants" character and Burger King were involved in a questionable advertising campaign aimed at adults with sexual overtones. It was highly inappropriate.

I was outraged at this and had to remember the time at Starpower Regionals in Spartanburg a few years ago that I discussed the issue with a teammate and her sister about how low teen dance routines could go. The judges at Starpower would whisk any of the performances of that Burger King ad with severe penalties. Rodney Wise and Rick Monroe would yank their cards and reject it to the point they would eject them -- and if they tried to enter, get a black flag.

But I reminded myself this was MTV, and MTV has no morals. Here we go again. What do you expect?

The worst part was this Burger King ad was not appropriate for families, and this aired during the family hour on network programming. What gives?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

At the Opera

By Mitchell

This week the Minnesota Opera brings its 2008-09 season to a close with its acclaimed production of Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville). From the famous overture to the justifiably happy ending, Rossini's delightful farce is one of opera's most accessible pieces, the perfect choice for first-timers who might be surprised to realize they know more opera than they thought. Just because the music's familiar, don't think that means it isn't also brilliant, particularly the patter songs that, in their orchestral complexity, nearly manage to put Gilbert & Sullivan to shame. Hopefully we'll have a report upcoming on tonight's performance, but in the meantime here's a preview for those of you who can't be there:

Bugs Bunny Rabbit of Seville Uploaded by ThrowbackForums

UPDATE: OK, here's the skinny on last night:
  1. What a delightful production. A bit over the top, which is just the way Barber ought to be. The comedy was very broadly played, without quite drifting into slapstick. The staging and direction were spot on as well. This is a much beloved production of Barber, which, of course, is why it's being retired after this year.
  2. I'm reminded once again of just how lousy a place the Ordway is for opera. Up in the balcony, the orchestra sounded terrific, their sound floating all the way to the ceiling. Too bad the place isn't constructed so the singers' voices can do the same.
  3. That being said, I thought Figaro's voice was not quite as strong as it should have been.
  4. Neither was Count Almaviva's. Fiorello's was much stronger.
  5. Rosina had real spunk. Reminded me of Roberta Peters (although not quite in the voice...)
  6. The bass playing Don Basilio once again stole the show, as was the case when we saw it here in 2001.
  7. Man, Rossini could really write music, couldn't he?
  8. Every time I hear the overture, I think of Bugs Bunny (see above) and smile.
  9. Unfortunately, the high school punks sitting behind us have no appreciation of music. Cretins. All they could do was count the minutes, and this is for an opera that runs under three hours. Oh well, if even one of them comes away with a greater appreciation of opera, it's worth it.
  10. They probably don't know who Bugs Bunny is, either.
  11. But who's complaining? What a terrific way to end the season, and proof once again that Il barbiere di Siviglia really is one of the great pieces in opera.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Send It By FedEx

By Bobby

A final word of caution for last-minute filers:

It might be best to send your tax returns by FedEx. I learned the lesson from Atlanta's Clark Howard because I owe taxes to the IRS this year, and so I chose to send my package by FedEx since they will have a tracking number, and you will be assured your tax return and your check will not be lost. That's a good idea as you prepare for the crazy final day of taxes.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Who's a Candidate?

By Mitchell

News headline from AP: "Gingrich eyes possible White House run in 2012." Of course, this comes as no surprise to some of us. . .

Harry Kalas, R.I.P.

By Mitchell

He was an institution in Philadelphia, but for millions more around America, Harry Kalas was the voice of NFL Films - or, perhaps, just the voice. Not "The Voice" - but many people who weren't familiar with his name would have recognized that voice in an instant. He did commercials for Campbell's soup (the ones with Donovan McNabb and his mother), he was the announcer for Animal Planet's "Puppy Bowl," he did college football and basketball, and a host of other events.

My clearest memory of Harry Kalas is, as might be expected in my case, an odd one. Years ago, before the advent of ESPN, Kalas was the voice of Metrosports, a syndicated network that broadcast college basketball games during the week. As I say, college hoops hadn't become the seven-nights-a-week TV marathon it is today, so the chance to see Notre Dame play Michigan on a Tuesday night was a big deal. Kalas broadcast those games, giving them the gravitas and credibility they deserved, but what I remember most is how he would announce someone's scoring average as "twenty-three and eight-tenths points per game," not the "twenty-three-point-eight" that most of us would say. Anyone who would pay that much attention to grammar was, I figured, someone who took pride in his work.

As many have noted, there is something unique in the relationship sports fans form with the unseen voices that announce their team's games. Harry Kalas' voice was warm and reassuring, the kind with which people could form a bond. Millions of people who never met Kalas thought of him as a friend, or at least someone who was welcome in their home, their car, or anywhere else they might have listened to him. I've never been anywhere near Philadelphia, and yet Harry Kalas and his dramatic voiceovers for NFL Films are as much a part of my sports scrapbook as any announcer.

As I have said many, many times, these announcers are a dwindling breed. Chris Schenkel, Jim McKay, Curt Gowdy, Harry Carey - they're all gone, and others such as Pat Summerall, Keith Jackson and Ernie Harwell are either retired or semi-retired. Vin Scully, the dean of announcers, is still behind the mic every game, and it makes you want to go out and buy one of those packages that allows you to hear every major league game on the radio, because you want to hear Scully for as long as you can.

Harry Kalas died yesterday in the broadcast booth, preparing for the Phillies game against the Washington Nationals. Many have noted this is probably the way he would have wanted to go, the warrior carried off on his shield. A part of me recoils at those sentiments - perhaps Harry would have preferred rather not to die at all, at least on that day - but the very thought that Harry Kalas died getting ready to do what he loved, what he had done for more than forty years, is a comforting one. May we all be able to do what we love, and bring happiness to so many people in doing so.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Monday

By Bobby

Last December Mitchell had a reference to the Christmas classic, "What Child Is This" that made the song appropriate for Easter. As I reflected Easter night, on the song after finishing my tax filing work. I'd love to talk with the music director at church to learn this work, but sadly, the
congregation has sold out to the GIA / OCP / EMI / UMG / WMG sap. Thanks for inspiring me!

And of course, there's nothing like "Hallelujah" from Händel, "Hallelujah from the Mount of Olives" by Beethoven, or even "Crown Him with Many Crowns". Those fit the theme of this Resurrection Sunday and send this tenor soaring!

We need to find real music for the Resurrection. Much of the party music released by the major publishers does not fit with the theme, considering the lessons I learned from a singer from Laurel, Mississippi.

It was only fitting on that Charleston Easter morn when I heard Selection #44, "Hallelujah," from Händel's Messiah, on that Easter morning. It was 267 years ago today (April 13) that the masterpiece we know debuted, and it was for Easter, not Christmas, that it was performed. And legend has it that on a performance that King George II stood for this selection, something that has been passed throughout all generations. Yet for a friend's wedding in 2007 (she is pregnant and expecting very soon; please pray for her -- she was the one who caught the singing bug to me), the congregation did not even stand for it but did for a pair of Chris Tomlin ditties that lack theology and doctrine. It was a florist who came to me at the reception and noted I was the only one who even stood for the masterpiece.

Finding other pieces like this John Stainer piece on the Web I found is highly appropriate for the season. We have to learn more of the great masterworks.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

By Mitchell

For this solumn Good Friday, here is the famed Miserere by Allegri, performed by the Choir of Kings College in Cambridge.

Attributed to Bernardo Daddi
The Crucifixion, c. 1335
Samuel H. Kress Collection

More Downfall

By Bobby

In just a few short days in April, as I just mentioned, we see Washington DC accepting other areas' false "marriage," in addition to Vermont's legislature codifying the 10-year old court mandate of passing a false marriage law, and the Iowa courts declaring marriage to be between "any two, regardless of anything."

Now I was informed a major pay-per-view in Houston, Texas, World Wrestling Entertainment Wrestlemania XXV, did the same to push for sexual deviants. Anthony John Carelli, who goes by the ring name of "Santino Marella" (a reference to the late Robert Marella, a former wrestler in WWE and later announcer), was cross-dressing and appeared in a 25-woman "battle royal" at the Reliant Stadium event. Remember that it was this stadium that gave us the infamous Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake incident at Super Bowl XXXVIII. Mr. Carelli's character "won" the "battle royal" that is a women-only match.

It begs me again to ask: would you have Mr. Marella as Miss Wrestlemania or Mrs. (Ashley) Hood as the Drag Queen at nearby Houston Raceway Park in Baytown? I'd say I'd watch the daughter of John Force driver her Mustang 1,000 feet.

The WWE's cross-dressing gimmick, like the stupidity of court mandates and court cases regarding marriage, are all inappropriate.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Just How Stupid are the Legislators in Montpelier?

By Bobby

It just befuddles me how the legislators in Montpelier are absurd by forcing down same-sex "marriage" as law in Vermont, much to the dismay of the Governor and the people who voted the Governor into office. They finished the final part of the Baker v. State decision in 1999 that was invented lawmaking that created the first step of false marriage.

It seems once again we see how idiotic people in power are in deciding to rewrite marriage themselves to appease the Tim Gill, ACORN, Human Rights Campaign, MTV, and other activists who have taken control of this government, and to violate what is in the Bible as part of it. Just how sad far have we fallen when activists are writing more laws to appease activists that dominate our legislatures today?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Holy Week Thoughts

By Bobby

What Happened in Des Moines. The philosophy of the John Dewey era of education, and further, has been one of “there is no right or wrong; it is just how you feel”. Feelings replaces facts in our education system. A popular teaching tool in the “Outcome-Based Education” is referred commonly as “invented spelling,” where they anything goes, and if it’s wrong, they tolerate it, and treat it as if it was “correct” when it is not.

Sadly, the decision of the Iowa Supreme Court voiding that state’s law declaring marriage “between one man and one woman” means the courts have used their feelings to effectively declare legislation passed by people and or legislatures in that state are null and void, and whatever is declared by people in Bruxelles through the European Union or other European laws is the law of this land – and the courts have declared foreign legislation that they feel is what they want overrides what is passed by the people.

We seriously need to consider what ensued when courts are now overruling people, and using their feelings to push an agenda that is clearly sinful. My scare is that more activists will sue everywhere in an attempt to force their agenda down our throats. The people no longer matter when foreign laws can usurp laws of this state and country. At this rate, what’s next?

I’m Tired of the Karaoke. At Cooper River Bridge Run XXXII, “live entertainment” featured bands, soloists, and other such “pop singers” that irritate this classically trained tenor. But the real issue here once again is the type of role models today’s music is teaching. We are developing in “talent shows” (especially in beauty pageants), churches, and bars a generation of teenage girls who only sing to karaoke. Ingrid Schleuter once commented in a column she did not want “screeching females performing karaoke” in the church.

Unfortunately, musical performances today are based on the idea that screeching females doing karaoke is standard. How many times in churches today have you seen “music” offerings feature a female who only screeches to karaoke, whether it is pop, rock, or country? How many strong tenors, passionate sopranos, or live organists are there today? When today’s youth prefer karaoke to having live music, something is clearly suspicious. Why do many of today’s young girls think karaoke is better than the real thing? I quit choir at church because of karaoke and also dancing teens replacing the church choir, with the attitude of entertainment is more important than teaching God’s Word.

Cooper Speed. The 32nd renewal of the Charleston classic was a nice time for me. At 1:03:25, it was the fastest 10k in my five plus years of going 10,000 – as one of which beats my old 10k record by over three minutes, and the Bridge Run record by six minutes (reflects both Pearman and Ravenel courses).

No Holy Week. Traditionally a first Saturday in April race, the Cooper River Bridge Run XXXIII is set for March 27 because the Bridge Run has a No Holy Week rule. The race is never held on Holy Week. Cooper River Bridge Run I (9,850 m by police order; Benji Durden, an elite American runner marathoner whose Olympic dreams were shattered by President Carter, won) in 1978 was run at 10 AM on a Sunday morning, and was immediately criticised by the community. The Meeting Street run to the White Point Gardens at the Battery (the USL minor league soccer team’s name relates to the region, even though the Battery soccer team plays on Daniel Island) goes through numerous classic churches that criticised the race, and since 1979 the race has been run on Saturday. The current course goes through at least two churches, but the finish area in Marion Square is next to another church.

How Old We’ve Become. The packet pickup at the Bridge Run, at the Gailliard Auditorium (home of Spoleto), showed a classic video of Cooper River Bridge Run XXVIII, my first Bridge Run. The broadcast of the event was carried by WCSC, with 30-year sports (and 11 PM news in the early 2000’s) anchorman Warren Peper (now with the local newspaper) calling. He was let go later in the year, only to reemerge a year later as newsman in a rival station (WCBD) until earlier this year.

Speaking of Peper. We think of newspapers dying, but Mr. Peper, a lifelong Charlestonian (North Charleston High School, later played for Charleston Southern's basketball team, before his first television gig out of college, where he stayed 30 years) who had been on television media for 35 years (1974-2004; 2005-2009) has left the television media in favour of being part of the Charleston Post and Courier as the newspaper's multimedia editor. The thing that's unusual is a veteran journalist in his 50's is no longer tolerated in today's media world that the newspapers are hiring them. Of course, I remember that I grew up watching him on the news each night, with that signature “Get outta here!” on every ding-dong during an MLB, NCAA, American Legion, or high school baseball game that I sometimes say it when watching a game myself. Many in Charleston still remember the furor over his departure in 2004..

Converting Sports Anchors. This reminded me of an article I read a while back regarding the dearth of anchormen on television today, especially at the local markets. Many stations have given up on the idea and have two women on news. Others are converting sports reporters to the news desk. In Charleston, two of the three newsmen who front the 6 PM news are converted sports reporters, yet the one who is not is the most popular, having been there 36 years.

Let us remember that this week is a week we remember the trial, the crucifixion, the agony, and the pain . . . only to see what came ahead the ensuing Sunday. It still has me thinking of the day my voice teacher and I walked solemnly to our cars after a somber piece that made us reflect on Holy Week.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Religion and Politics? Together?

By Mitchell

The redoubtable Father Zuhlsdorf reminded us a couple of weeks ago of the wonderful British sitcom Yes, Prime Minister, which follows the adventures of the wonderfully named Prime Minister Jim Hacker and his nemesis, Sir Humphrey Appleby. (The show itself was a continuation of an earlier series, Yes, Minister, at which point Hacker was merely a MP.)

The episode in question, "The Bishop's Gambit," features Sir Humphrey (the late Nigel Hawthorne) lecturing Hacker (Paul Eddington) regarding the merits of two candidates for the diocese of Bury St. Edmunds. (Hacker, as PM, will make the recommendation to the Queen, who is the titular head of the Church of England.) Here's Humphrey's priceless description on the role of religion in the Church:

Later, Hacker explains his hopeless situation to his wife, who offers him some helpful advice:

What you don't get from these clips is Humphrey's priceless description of the difference between God and the Queen: whereas you can't have the Church of England without the Queen, God is what is known as "an optional extra."

What you do get from these clips is a sample of what made Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister two of the funniest, most incisive looks at politics - no matter what country you're from. And it's not a bad analysis of modern religion, either...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Sometimes the Truth Hurts

By Drew

Wow, Terry's really en fuego in generating the comments from his excellent post. I wish I could get that many people to read my stuff, let alone comment on it.

(By the way, since we started highlighting the first letters of stories, have you noticed how many of them begin with "W"?)

(Perhaps digressions like that are one reason why so few people read me.)

Anyway, a great piece today from Burt Prelutsky at Big Hollywood (and if you haven't checked that site out, do so. You might think it a little uneven, but the good stuff there is really good) on being a lapsed Democrat, Obama, etc. A few excerpts:

There are only three or four of them I can even imagine being friends with or wanting to have as next-door neighbors. But there are only two of them, Carter and Obama, whom I regard as unmitigated disasters. While it took Carter four years in office and 29 years out to achieve his greatly deserved recognition as an incompetent, a phony and a sanctimonious anti-Semite, Obama has pulled it off in just a few short months.

He has managed this by displaying his general incompetence by surrounding himself with clowns like Joe Biden; the seriously corrupt, such as Bill Richardson and Tom Daschle; and too many tax cheats to list in the space available.

Obama has also proven himself to be a liar of such proportions that if he had started out life like Pinocchio, [Mitchell, I hope you ignore that] his nose by this time would stretch from sea to shining sea. He has fibbed about everything from barely knowing Bill Ayers to never listening to a Jeremiah Wright screed, from banishing pork and lobbyists to providing transparency and change we can all believe in. On top of all that, while spouting the usual political piffle about economizing and saving the environment, he hosted the largest, most expensive inauguration in history, and from the way he and his posse jet around on the fuel-guzzling Air Force One, you’d think he was a rock star.


The scariest part of all this is that so many Americans continue to root him on. Those of us who are opposed to his agenda are accused, like Rush Limbaugh, of hoping America fails. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth. What we’re hoping for is that America can somehow survive this frontal assault on our freedoms, and that our economic system can remain basically intact in spite of the combined efforts of Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Frank, Dodd and Geithner, to destroy it.


For what it’s worth, now that the president has fired CEO Rick Wagoner and taken over General Motors, do you suppose it will henceforth be called Commander in Chief Motors, and that Cadillac, Buick and Chevrolet, will be re-named Michelle, Natasha and Malia Ann? Which reminds me, it’s still nothing but a rumor that Obama fired God earlier today, claiming that the universe isn’t big enough for both of them.

My old friend, Pat Sajak, who, when not busy spinning his wheels, is politically savvier and wittier than any of the talking heads you find on TV, has revised the question that plagued Richard Nixon 60 years ago to better fit GM’s new chief honcho: Would you buy a new car from this man?

And the concluding line:

Although I am not usually given to omens, I can’t help feeling it means something that the next presidential election will take place on November 6, 2012, the day before Gen. David Petraeus turns 60. I, for one, can’t think of a more appropriate birthday present for the man and the nation than giving him a well-deserved promotion.

Hmm, that's interesting. This is at least the second time I've seen Petraeus' name come up in connection with 2012. What do you make of that?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Life Online – Or Out-of-Line?

By Terry

Lately things are getting weird online – or maybe it’s just me. I might be spending far too much time searching for subjects to blog about, grabbing photos to enhance my posts, reading too many other blogs, or simply trying too hard to come up with new ways to increase my readership. I’ve found that using recent headlines, or adapting a popular song or movie title as post-headers works well in attracting more traffic. Sometimes I find inspiration for a new post while reading another blogger, although I always acknowledge my source if I use material from another site. That said I’m afraid that after being online for so long (3+ years) I’ve pretty much written everything I know, and thereby earned myself a reputation with long-time blog readers; “friends” I’ve either kept or lost – for one reason or another. Of course, there is always a newbie or two landing on the blogosphere every day; they seem to like me at first, until they realize this dog bites.

Blogging can get old after awhile, which may be why some have dropped their blogs and either got a real life or went on life-support at Facebook. (On Facebook one does not have to write anything of substance or interest. All you have to do is start a cause or give virtual gifts, post when you are going to eat or eliminate something you just ate, write stuff you’re thinking about while not thinking, and so on.) Others who are bored with blogging, perhaps like Mitchell, get other people to write for them. (I’m so kidding Mitchell.) Seriously though, I think when it gets to be a chore, a writer ought to start asking for money, as many already do, although I have no idea why anyone would pay to read a blog.

Lately I have been encountering even greater weirdness in the blogosphere. For instance, I’ve had people contact me about other bloggers, either asking for personal information about them, or offering information they found online about this or that blogger. As if I would publish it or include the information in a dishy post. Tempting as it may be, I definitely do not like that kind of thing, although many of us would be surprised at how much information there is about all of us online; data we give away for free. There are even sites that will gather all the personal information for you into one file – stuff you wrote, he wrote, your comment, his comment, along with job history, addresses, Google shots of your house, and so on.

Nevertheless, I find it creepy that a stranger would bother to elucidate information about another web personality, emailing it around, most likely with the intent of discrediting the subject’s integrity, or as in the case of Catholic bloggers, to call into question a person’s orthodoxy or fidelity. Of course what that amounts to is cyber gossip, detraction, and calumny – happens all the time in real life – the difference online is that it stays there – somewhere - forever. (I know – I’ve tried to take down cache containing some of the regrettable things I’ve published.)

Recently I got myself in a bit of trouble over copyright and intellectual property boundaries. Nothing serious of course. I used a Portuguese artist’s work on a post, mainly because I liked his work, but also to introduce him to readers. I praised his skill, provided his name and the title of the exhibited piece, and also linked to the original site holding his complete portfolio and information on how to purchase his work. Perhaps it was the language barrier, but the guy was not at all happy that I used his work without permission. That is his right of course, but I thought he was a little over the top in his emails… Yeah. He found out this dog bites. And I learned to be more careful about copyright in the future.

On another occasion I wrote a post – one of my lame political/religious opinion-or-not pieces that leave people wondering what my point was – and I linked to another post which inspired mine. I borrowed a couple sentences from the post I believed pertinent to my own reflection on my subject. I quoted, I linked. I believed that by linking to the original source, the reader could refer to my friend’s post and read the quotes I used in context. I did not use the entire post of course, just the sentences responsible for my line of thought. My blogger-friend was quite annoyed. Yet once again, I learned another very valuable lesson; one must respect the intellectual property of another… and remember other dogs bite too.

The other lesson here? Online friendships are virtual friendships – and quite a bit different from normal friendships – normal friendships are usually real. Or how about this one: Online friendships may not be forever, but what we write is. Or: Don’t trust anyone online. Or this: Life online is not real. No, I got it, what about this one: Some people may not want to be associated with you or your blog. Ouch! That one hurt.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

This Just In

By Kristin

Traders Put "Hold" Call on Hadleyblog Stock

(Wall Street, NY April 1, 2009) - As the end of trading day approaches, traders are worried about the state of the Hadleyblog (Ticker: HBS). Financial annalist Walter Cashflow expressed his concern. “We just aren’t seeing the income revenue that we have been seeing in the past few quarters. We may have to talk about downsizing.” Cashflow said his firm was putting a "Hold" on the stock, previously rated as "Buy."

The news did not come as a shock to investors. “You could see it coming from a mile away,” said one investor who wished to remain anonymous. “I mean, like, the humor was there, the commentaries were insightful, but the profit margins were sub par.”

Although Hadleyblog Managing Editor M.D. Hadley declined to return calls from This Just In reporters requesting comment, market analysts have speculated for some time that there was, in fact, no business plan to receive any sort of income from the blog whatsoever.

To further put a twist on this financial soap opera, rumors continued to swirl that the blog was, in fact, being operated by a silent partner based at an offshore location, possibly in the Bahamas.

Until then, the fate of the Hadleyblog will remain in limbo.
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