Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Special Classical Music Wednesday

Being a South Carolina graduate in the worst possible times, I must be relaxing as I wrote on this late night after the Gamecocks' victory over California-Los Angeles in the NCAA baseball championship.

We go back to 1983, and the late gridiron manager Joe Morrison (a former NFL running back whose #40 is retired by the G-Men) had just been hired by the Gamecocks to turn around a floundering programme that has never won a postseason game (it would be six years after his death before they would win one). One interesting custom that took place in 1983 during the era (while it was considered by predecessors), was the idea of playing "Einleitung" from Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 that, because of its success in the Morrison era, has been closely associated with that time. When I graduated from South Carolina, the orchestra played "Einleitung".

In honour of the Gamecocks' NCAA baseball championship, we offer the classic of Strauss. And yes, it is one of the major classical works that I have in my library that mandates standing to it! I find myself standing to this and also "Hallelujah" from Händel's Messiah (which I've sung). I've chosen a cello version as part of the victory celebration.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Opinion Digest

James Allen: Vettel wins wild, controversial European Grand Prix.

Thomas Sowell: Why the Supreme Court got it right with yesterday's gun ruling.

Mark Steyn: Is President Obama interested in anything besides himself?

Charles Krauthammer: Does Obama really have an Afghan strategy?

Terry Teachout: Is modern music too complicated for the human brain? 

ESPN and the CWS, bad officiating, and a choral blunder!

Obviously, being in South Carolina, and a lifetime member of the Carolina Alumni Association, and having my Official University Ring, in both regular (which I've rarely worn, mostly at alumni banquets) and in Bicentennial (a variant of the ring used in 2001) forms, I have heard plenty of complaints about the ESPN broadcast of the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship Series between South Carolina and California-Los Angeles. The pro-Westwood bias is clearly evident, from all the complaints I have been reading this evening from blogs and posts. The NCAA needs to take this off ESPN.

Mike Pereira, who just joined Fox Sports as an analyst on NFL officiating, could easily show the stupidity of FIFA officials at this World Cup. The Mirror tabloid in the UK had an interview with him about video replay after a blatant illegal use of the hands no-call that led to a goal between Ireland and France in a World Cup qualifier. Now FIFA wants to crack down on replays on video boards in light of a few bad calls that have been made during the World Cup. FIFA doesn't believe in Video Goal Judges and even in the US-Slovenia controversy the British media had to remember that the US is a nation that embraces

Speaking of errors, I am hitting the CyberBass tonight to check errors after our entire Summer I Chorus at South Carolina blundered badly during "Gloria" in Beethoven's Mass in C Major, Opus 86 Sunday (Soprano Ashley Briggs, Alto Janet Hopkins, Tenor Jaeyoon Kim, Bass Jacob Will, Conductor Joseph Modica (Ben Ebner on Tuesday; the doctoral student conductor does the Tuesday show, as I have learned from both Summer Choruses), Piano Rosemarie Suniga) that Mr. Modica forced us to cut and to restart midway through that piece. I was humiliated as this was the first time I had seen this blunder. I love doing these summer choruses, but please I want a church music leader back home who will give us the real music.

And speaking of which, Ingrid Schlueter's Crosstalk show had a commentary Friday on the book Why Johnny Can't Sing Hymns: How Pop Culture Rewrote the Hymnal. This should be serious reading for those who find (for Catholics) the OCP/GIA or (for Protestants) the secular publishers taking over church music. It's not neutral. Churches that play "party" type songs (such as the "He Reigns Medley") on Good Friday should be shot once you hear this commentary and learned about the seriousness of real sacred music as I did that Good Friday with the Squirrel.

Monday, June 28, 2010

These people drive me crazy!

With all due respect to Drew's Opera Thursday (below the jump)  - and hey, Drew, I think Opera Chic is cool, too - but with all due respect, this is one of the biggest pieces of drivel I've read in some time (and that's saying something).

Go read it for yourself, but the gist of it concerns Jay Nordlinger's recent article for National Review on the world premiere by the Fort Worth Opera of Before Night Falls, Jorge Martin's adaptation of Reinaldo Arenas' memoir.  Apparently, Nordlinger's attention to the atrocities of the Castro regime and the shadow it casts over Arenas' life was a little too much for the lefties in the comments section to handle.  My God, this was a nasty little piece of tripe - the comments, I mean, not Arenas' story.  (And so many liberals really seem to have such a hard time disagreeing on things without becoming nasty, don't they?)

Now Nordlinger doesn't need any defending from me (and he's a much better writer than I am, anyway) but when you read comments as foolish as these, you kinda feel an obligation to respond, even if refuting these silly comments is as easy as catching fish in a barrel. Or, as Tom Wolfe once wrote, "It was the kind of crowd that would have made the Fool Killer lower his club and shake his head and walk away, frustrated by the magnitude of the opportunity." But to start:

Patrick as you point out the article is in National Review,not Opera News. It should go without saying that this means the article's going to be written with a political sensibility. (By the way, did you know that William F. Buckley Jr. was a good friend of former Met director Schulyer Chapin Guess that must mean Buckley was part of a communist homosexual cell as well.) Now,since NR's a conservative mag,it's probably going to have a conservative perspective, don't you think? (If you do think, that is. It's certainly not apparent from the quality of your writing.) What, does this mean you're not allowed to discuss opera in a political context? I mean, there's a whole book written about Leonard Bernstein's political life. Of course, Bernstein was a flaming liberal, which I guess makes it OK. Anyway, conservatives are too busy listening to redneck country music to appreciate the finer arts. (Just ask Paul McCartney.) And as for your swipes at Reagan - puh-leeze. You can't be more creative than that?

"Kevin," if that is your real name,I was wondering when that fascist canard would pop up. For the love of God, what is it with this liberal obsession about calling conservatives fascists? As Goldberg's Liberal Fascism points out, fascism has a very intimate relationship with the left. And WFB a segregationist? If you're talking about the 60s civil rights legislation, read what Buckley had to say about it in later years. Otherwise, it's pretty obvious that "Kevin" doesn't really understand anything about politics, as well as not understanding anything about what the word fascism actually means. I'm not necessarily saying he's illiterate, just that he's not very well read.

To Doug, first of all, congrats that you've got the guts to admit you're a liberal. I don't know where you're writing from, but if you haven't heard the liberal adoration of Castro and Che, you obviously don't get around much either. Listen to Sean Penn, for example. (Hey, I didn't say they had to be smart liberals.) Love of Che is very, shall we say, chic on college campuses (and elsewhere) in this country.

And finally, to Rachel: indeed, what should we expect from a former speechwriter to GWB? Probably something that's far better written than delivered.

I don't really know why I bother writing about this, except that I needed something to start the week off here.  Really,these kinds of rantings don't deserve much more than a collective yawn.  It's so boring having to refute this kind of ignorance on a regular basis that it almost isn't even worth the effort anymore.  But I do resent the veiled implication that opera - or fine arts in general - should be the exclusive province of the arts-and-croissants crowd. Agree with me?  If so, go over to Opera Chic and leave a comment, as I did.  (I don't know if it will get published, but it's not for lack of trying.)  Most of all, don't let this kind of arrogant ignorance go unchallenged.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Weekend Digest

This is downright wrong. The NHL became concerned when the Stanley Cup was taken to an adult venue. But where is the controversy after a sexual deviancy festival in Chicago will feature the Stanley Cup? Go figure. Or will the Human Rights Laws of Canada force the NHL to cave? This trophy has no business being in a party of an event that glorifies Sodom and Gomorrah.

The Sixties Again. An English course in eighth-grade at a New York-area school says the title of a Time cover from 1966 in that God was dead. They are trying to force atheism and or humanism as the official state religion, and teaching kids to be of this ideology is what government schools have wanted.

A Gaggle of Valencia Reports. "Throwing the book" at W. T. Harris Boulevard, new wing rules, the seven percent rule is back, and adopting NASCAR's rule on crew members by forcing all crewmen to be licenced as to suspend specific offenders (NASCAR has done that for years, suspending crewmen for fighting, illegal parts, violation of rules, and even pit fouls) are on the F1 plans for 2011.

And don't forget that if you're Stateside, the Telefónica Grand Prix of Europe will not be televised live. When the lights extinguish at 8 AM (EDT) you will have to find timing and scoring sites as Formula One is (in the US) in the three races without live coverage. And this also applies for the Santander British Grand Prix and the Großer Preis Santander von Deutschland. Practice #2 and Qualifying will remain on television, but for US viewers, the raced will only be shown on tape delay on FOX (those who are near the Canadian border can catch the BBC's coverage; Bernie, Bernie . . . ). Full Formula One race coverage with early morning wake-up calls with the five red lights will resume August 1 on SPEED with the Eni Magyar Nagydíj.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Opera Thursday

When I first started writing for this blog a few years ago, one of my first assignments was to explore the relationship between the product of the artist and the person of the artist. In other words, how much should we allow the person to influence our interpretation of the art?

I don't know that it was particularly apparent at the time, but the impetus for this was, of course, Mel Gibson's drunken tirade when he was pulled over by the police. Was Mel an anti-Semite, and if so, did this discredit his work, particularly The Passion of the Christ? My feeling was that it did not, but rather than address the question directly I chose to do so by looking at two of the most controversial artists of our time: Leni Riefenstahl and Richard Wagner.

The Riefenstahl piece was rather good, if I do say so myself, but I never really got around to addressing Wagner to the extent I wanted, save this piece which was inspired by Fr. Owen Lee's book Wagner: The Terrible Man and His Truthful Art.  And now I find that there's barely enough time for me to write anything, and still there's so much to be said.  What to do, what to do?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

This Just In

Science: TV Causes Death
Researchers Report 100% of Viewers Will Die

(Television City, Hollywood – June 23) Television – for generations a welcome guest in homes the world around, regarded by many as no less than a trusted member of the family – is now revealed to be something more: a transmitter not just of entertainment and information, but of the Grim Reaper.

In a study sure to shock the nation’s television viewers to their very souls, researchers have discovered a deadly link between television viewing and mortality. “The facts are undeniable,” according to lead researcher Theodore Varnis of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “Regardless of your age, sex, race or religion, if you are or ever have been a television viewer, you will die.”

According to the results of the study, based on viewing trends beginning with the advent of television broadcasting in the 1930s up to the present day, an astounding 100% of those who have ever reported watching television either are already dead or will eventually be dead. “The pioneers of television – Farnsworth, DuMont, Sarnoff – all died some time ago, which isn’t too surprising considering the amount of time they spent in front of the tube. “ What did stun researchers, Varnis continued, was the low amount of exposure to television required to produce the fatal results. “It doesn’t matter how much you watch,” Varnis said. “A few minutes a day, or several hours a week. Even if you do nothing but sit in front of your television set all day, the mortality rate is no different than it is for the causal viewer. Which is to say, 100%. So, I guess, watch as much as you want.”

And it doesn’t do any good to cut back on the amount of television you watch, Varnis added. “This is not like smoking, where those who quit can expect to reverse the effects. Our study shows conclusively that TV viewing is fatal – no ifs, ands or buts.”

Varnis went on to dash any hopes for those clinging to some possibility of good news from the report. “We thought there might be some link to the type of programming, so we set up a control group and subjected them to every type of programming imaginable, from Laurence Olivier to Paris Hilton, Bill O’Reilly to Johnny Carson. We gave them comedies, dramas, variety shows, sports, documentaries, movies, news - what have you.” But, Varnis said, years of research from the control group generated but one answer. “No matter what kind of shows we had them watch, the results were the same – death.”

A fellow member of the research team, Hugh Davidson, spoke of the pathetic deaths many members of the control group underwent. “With some people death was the result of illness or the body simply wearing out. Others were the victims of accidents, violent crimes or natural disasters. It just indicates how pervasive this is, that it can infiltrate every aspect of human life with its insidious toxins.”

The only people apparently exempt from this deadly link are those viewers who are currently alive, but Varnis and Davidson discouraged any thoughts of complacency on their part. “While it is true that they may think they’re in perfect health today, they should not let themselves be fooled by this,” Varnis said. Make no mistake – they will die.”

“We don’t think it stops there,” Davidson added. “We’ve also noticed that pets, houseplants, virtually every living thing found in the homes of television viewers also experiences this type of mortality. Can no one rid us of this cold-blodded, heartless killer before it is too late? O tempora! O mores!

Varnis said that a future study would be aimed at the collateral effects of television on non-watchers, referred to in the scientific community as second-hand viewing. “The question is whether the ecosystem has been contaminated to the point that that it affects even those who shun television. Our goal is to find out just how fatal this second-hand viewing has become.”

“We’re not trying to cause an all-out panic,” Davidson said in conclusion, “but people need to know what is happening to them.” He said that the research team planned to present their findings in a live televised three-hour town hall meeting next week, to be carried via satellite on all broadcast networks.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Another stupid "sermon"

The stupid sermon I found is "Riveted Church," an infamous Life Enhancement Centre in Skiatook, OK. Their campaign is based on the Life Enhancement Centre attitude of entertainment, and their web page promotes "rag-tag" dressing, considering I have returned from the Southeastern Piano Festival Winners Concert just hours ago, and there is no difference between Standard Concert Dress and Church Dress in the playbook (jacket and tie are required, suit preferred). But a recent "sermon" at the venue was not based on the Bible but instead on another pop culture relic -- this time was was based on a stupid pop tune with extreme explicitness. It had explicit sex in it, was extremely popular three decades ago, and has shown what I have said about these venues. They focus on life enhancement and choose to discuss bad music, and movies, not the Bible.

Be very careful. If your church or cathedral starts teaching pop culture, flee.

Rosebrough, Chris. "Fighting for the Faith". 14 June, 2010, Pirate Christian Radio, Web archive.  NOTE: This takes place around the 1:10 mark of the 2:35 programme. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

Retro TV Friday

Now this may not be "retro" enough for many now, but considering what has been happening on government, it seems to me that it is indeed on Retro Television Friday we remember World Championship Wrestling Monday Nitro.


Considering the name of the heel faction of WCW in the mid to late 1990's, and what has been happening to the government of the United States and the ideals of repealing the country and replacing it with foreign law, and the crazy ideas such as false marriage, new crimes on the faith, and excessive government bullying and spending, we have reached the name of the heel faction, and that this President and his Administration, along with Congressional leaders, "for life" when they are pro-death.

The idea of the World Championship Wrestling's "New World Order" was based in Japan, where WCW was being sabotaged by another organisation. In the Obama Administration, the United States has been sabotaged by this New World Order, featuring propaganda, like NWO of the 1990's WCW. Looking at it a decade and a half later, this NWO from WCW seemed to show the same gimmicks that the President has adopted.

The formation of the NWO:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

This Just In

Red Sox to Unveil New Mascot
"Red, the Bloody Sox" Gives Team "Tougher" Image.

(Boston, MA--June 16, 2010) The Boston Red Sox, in an attempt to beef up fan interest in a so far disappointing season, have announced the introduction of a new team mascot. In place of their longtime mascot, Wally the Green Monster, the Red Sox will welcome "Red, the Bloody Sox" to Fenway Park as of July 1st.

"Wally was a fine, friendly mascot for many years," said Fred Grumpstein, Director of Fan Relations for the Red Sox, "and it's true the kids loved him. We want to thank Wally for his service to the Red Sox organization. But Wally seemed a little tame, maybe a little too friendly - even wimpy. We don't need the rest of the league - especially the Yankees - to think of us as wimpy. We need to put some teeth into our image. That's where Red will come in."

"Red, the Bloody Sox" is based on the dramatic pitching performance of former Beantowner hurler Curt Schilling, who in the 2004 postseason lead the "Sawks" to a World Series title, defeating both the Yankees and Colorado Rockies despite suffering a serious ankle tendon injury (later requiring surgery) that caused his right foot to ooze blood during his starts. Schillling's "bloody red sock" has become almost mythical lore in Red Sox Nation, and leads to the new mascot.

The exact "look" of "Red the Bloody Sox" is currently a closely-guarded secret within the Red Sox organization. Internet leaks have provided several glimpses into the design, with various reports describing him as a large white sock with dark red blood stains running down the sides, while others report he will be "wearing" a large cleated baseball shoe. Those questions will be answered before the July 1st game when "Red" will make his official debut.

"We certainly don't want to scare kids," adds Grumpstein, "but he definitely ain't gonna be no kiddy mascot. Baseball isn't for sissies, and if 'Red' needs to get tough with people, especially any Yankee fans, I wouldn't put it past him."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Opera Wednesday

I'm not quite sure whether this qualifes for Opera Wednesday or Retro TV Friday, but since I have nothing else going right now, Wednesday wins out.

From January 1, 1961, this is a TV Guide Close-Up for the world premiere of Leonard Kastle's seldom-since seen opera Deseret, which tells a story from the life of Brigham Young.  (What do you bet this opera makes a comeback if Mitt Romney wins the Republican nomination next year?)  Frankly, I don't know much more about this production other than what you see here, which is unfortunate inasmuch as Kastle sounds, from this article, to be an interesting composer.  There are no recordings that I could locate, no evidence of the opera having recently been performed.  Without passing judgement, it does seem to me that this is the fate of so many new operas - to be performed once or twice or a handful of times, then to be consigned to the filing cabinet, never again to see the light of day.  With such a backlog as must exist, why do companies insist on spending their scarce funds on more commissions, instead of - oh, say, singers or production values?  

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

We remember

Robert Dean Stethem, a United States Navy diver, was assassinated by the Hezbollah terrorist network on the tarmac as TWA 847 was hijacked.

The 17 living members of a 39-man contingent from St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Algonquin and St. Peter’s Church in Geneva remember the incident.

The War on Terror may have been in America's minds since September 11, 2001, but days like this day, 25 years ago, in the hijacking of TWA 847, are days we remember that we've been fighting terror longer than in 2001.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Flag Day Digest

A former Anglican bishop in Uganda, removed from his position by the Church of Uganda (the local branch of the Anglicans), has come to the United States to ask the Obama Administration, and it's anti-family, pro-deviant leadership, to force those nations to adopt policies that favour these deviants. They blamed Americans for attemping to pass laws punishing behaviour that goes against the Bible.

A group of royalty in the Arabian Peninsula wants to build the Freedom Tower? Sorry. That is not something anyone wants since we know what Al Qaeda, Usama's Henchmen, and others wanted to demolish this nation.

The Price Is Right 1972 is once again embracing television's wonderful past. Country group “Lonestar” will be the “house band” for an episode of the game show airing this week taped last month, as they finished its 38th season last month and Brooks Parkenridge, world-renowned soccer photographer, is in South Africa currently for the World Cup. (That is host Drew Carey's pseudonym for sports photography, since he sells it to wire services.) As I've learned, live music was used in the early years of television, but has fallen by the wayside. Live music has become a Carey concept, as he has used a live Marine band for military episodes, and has often used live musicians to present musical prizes. It seems he has found a late-season episode (only two more regular episodes remaining in the season) to try an old-fashioned episode with a “house band”. Could this be the start of more “throwback” concept episodes where live music is used once again on television? I remember NBC's Twenty One 2000 had a live band in its early episodes.

You traded an entire gridiron team for this? Les Richter, a former NFL linebacker who was traded for eleven players  – that's right, an entire active squad during a play – died over the weekend.

Cheers to the United States Army. 235 Years of Army Strong, and a shout-out to Jon Chavous in Kentucky. But will we stay Army Strong if this President and his leadership has it their way by weakening the military to appease their activists who push the Gill Agenda?  

Friday, June 11, 2010

Retro TV Friday

On of the highlights of What's My Line was the weekly appearance of the Mystery Guest, a famous personality whom the blindfolded panelists would have to identify. On this telecast from October 21, 1956, we have a wonderful apperance by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen of Life Is Worth Living . Notice particularly how at the end even the female panelists stand to shake his hand, and the Catholic Dorothy Kilgallen kisses his ring.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Justice delayed, but not denied

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child.

Except for one.

I remained a Chicago Blackhawks fan.

I’m not exactly sure when this delusion began, but if I had to put a date on it, I’d say it was sometime around 1969. The Minnesota North Stars (remember them?) had entered the NHL in 1967, and as such us Minnesotans were exposed to about 25 televised games a year. I quickly became a hockey fan, watching every game I could catch on TV, listening to many on the radio, and choosing a team that I could call my own.

Not, as one might have expected, the hometowners, but instead their rivals to the East, the Chicago Blackhawks (or Black Hawks as they were known then). Why did I become a Hawks fan? To this day I wonder about that. I think it was a combination of factors that led me to Chicago. Perhaps in another time and another place, things would have turned out differently. But they didn’t, and thus my fandom was born.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cultural outrage

The Hensons Doing Raunchy Television? The Henson family (whose well-known Muppet characters are now in control by another company) has developed a new puppet-based programme, Late Night Liars, on Sony's GSN that is extremely raunchy and designed for the late-night time slots in the Eastern time zone. Is this a Henson programme or is this just another cable-specific, pile on the rauncy type?

Shut The Television Mid-Sequence? Speaking of Sony, Glee ends Series Two (officially the first season, but because of its split-season format, it is Series Two because both halves are separate series because of the long break, as many UK television shows refer to them) with the awful glee club that does not know what are legitimate songs for school choirs to sing. The song list I have received (some friends watch this show faithfully -- I had no time because of dance classes during the first part of Series Two and now this summer choral project has me tied in knots to not watch it) has me wanting to eat dinner with my dance partner, and then the lights turned off. (See "Made in America" for the reason.)

Those Who Forget History . . . In the movie To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar, a World Golf Hall of Fame member was prodded by a transvestite's character using his name for the character that led to litigation. If a certain Asian character on Glee becomes raunchy or unfaithful in certain ways, we may seen an International Tennis Hall of Fame member who is a current member of the Champions Series Tennis tour (older than 30, national Copa Davis team member, or finalist at a major) with a similar name go into the law books and request a cease and desist.

Here We Go Again. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, signed in 1995 by Madeline Albright, has lurked 15 years in the United States Senate. The outrageous treaty, not ratified yet, has been used by the Supreme Court in their moving of the nation's legislative capital to Bruxelles. With nearly a three-fifths supermajority, liberals believe the time is now to pass laws to wipe parents off the map and replace them with government.

The Ultimate Perversion. Homosexual activists received a major boost when President Obama revived the Clinton-era policy of declaring June homosexual month, celebrating Stonewall and the Constitutional Right to Sodomy. These activists are absurd, and their behaviour is even worse. In doing an investigation, I talked to a photographer who does her works at art museums and based on what she told me, I learned how perverted they were that art designed for women has been purchased by these sexual deviants.

Conquering With a Mosque. The Al Aqsa Mosque was built on the ruins of the Temple Mount. Mosques were built on Constantinople replacing cathedrals to show the victory of Islam. Now plans are to build a mosque near Ground Zero which shows the victory of Al Qaeda in destroying the central point of business in New York. Victory over infidels mean a mosque in that area.

D-Day. In Long Pond, Pennsylvania, D-Day was celebrated with the victory of the Axis Powers (Japan) over the Allied Powers (United States).

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Early June Reflections: the oil spill, IRL, Texas, Mary Lee's music

We are standing on Holy Ground? The chorus of a “gospel” song from Geron Davis is ironic considering the news that a Planned Parenthood official calls a newly built mega-abortion mill a "sacred and holy ground". So killing babies is acceptable and banning opponents from speaking is appropriate. Just for the record, the former abortion mill on Barnwell Street in my metropolitan area, after the death of the murderer in an automobile collision, is now the headquarters of the South Carolina affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee.

A Texas Two-Step? The past two Indianapolis 500 winners (Dixon, Castroneves) have won the Fort Worth IndyCar race, traditionally 13 days after the 500, but now six days after the 500 with the loss of Milwaukee because of political issues (which I believe could be used as a front by green activists on the Left to eliminate automobile racing in favour of green space or gambling casinos at the Wisconsin State Fair Park). So this time, it's Fort Worth – Denton County that will have the event after, with the race being held, as is tradition for Eddie Gossage's circuit, on a Saturday night. In its 14th running (one of the races was a day race because of rain), this race has gained a reputation of being the second-biggest IRL event after Indianapolis, partially because of its speed and its nighttime race, which gave the race its reputation as a Saturday Night Showdown that in the early years let the midget and sprint car drivers return to their roots as weekly racers, and revolutionised open-wheel racing with its aura of the night.

Eleven different tracks have raced a National Championship race at night in the modern era, and the partially temporary F1 track at Abu Dhabi and the Streets of Singapore have gone with a dark race. But all of them can thank Fort Worth for teaching the different challenges of night racing. Too bad the day race was lost because of the same lawsuit that forced NASCAR to give up the Grand Slam for taking away the IRL's day race at Texas.

Wind and Solar: The Mantra. President Obama is using the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to promote the Left's main cause of banning oil exploration and forcing the nation to wind and solar energy, banning trucks, and wishing for a Microcar Nation. I've seen the writing on the wall for years and this is the perfect storm to push for the energy policy of the Left. The Pelosi Administration (2007-09) started it and now we have the perfect storm.

Haunting Piece. Last week I attended a dance concert by Unbound (Caroline Lewis-Jones' company), “The Divine Art of Survival,” based on stories of survival by dance company friends, inspired by the loss of her mother. Live music from the Upton Trio, featuring South Carolina Philharmonic concertmaster Mary Lee Taylor-Kinosian, played during the performances. The opening dance was set to the live Upton performance of “Evocation: In Memoriam September 11, 2001,” a piece that truly set the solemnity of the day that seemingly our President, and our Left, forgets every day. When George W. Bush set the nation in an Earnhardtian mentality of “take no prisoners” and intimidating terrorists, and Barack Obama wants us to reverse the attitude of the “one tough customer” of The Intimidator in favour of cowtowing to the world, it seems he wants us to think over 3,000 died in vain on that September morning. Pieces like these remind me of the difference between the pop music of the world and serious chamber music and orchestras that has shown in the types of music we as a group prefer.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

This Just In

MLB Announces Replays, Lawyer Fix In Wake of Im-Perfect Game

(Cooperstown, NY--June 3, 2010) Major League Baseball is in for some dramatic new rule changes, as well as additional game participants, as a result of yesterday's "imperfect game" blown call by umpire Jim Joyce that resulted in Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga losing a place in baseball history.

Galarraga was just one out away from the 21st perfect game in major league history when Joyce ruled that the Cleveland Indians’ Jason Donald had beaten out an infield grounder, thus ending Galarraga’s bid for immortality. Replays later showed that Donald was clearly out, and Joyce later admitted tearfully he had gotten the call wrong.

In wake of the controversial ending, Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has announced that beginning immediately, not only will instant replays now be used for all contested plays within a game, but players will also have the right to legal representation on the field itself.

"Each player will now have a ‘Designated Lawyer,’ or DL, present in the stadium at all times,” Selig told a reporters at a hastily convened press conference at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. “The player will be able to name the DL of his choice, and the DL will have full legal authority to assist a player in any situation where that player feels a call may have wrongly gone against him and deprived him of his baseball rights. That could include calls like yesterday where the runner and ball arrive at a base at virtually the exact time. It will also include balls and strike calls, whether or not a player was hit by a switch, check swings, balks, and foul ball controversies.” DLs may also get involved in rain delay decisions, added Selig.

DLs will be stationed in a special section of seats behind each dugout - underwritten by corporate title sponsor - and must be invited onto the field by the umpiring crew once a player throws a red flag from out of his back pocket. The DL will be allowed to speak directly to the player, the manager, the umpire, and anyone else who might have information to share on the play in question, including fans, broadcast crews, vendors, and team mascots.

Major league stadiums have already begun implementing plans for such “ Barrister Benches,” which require removal of existing seating to create room for small desks, laptops, briefcase storage, fax machines, and extra seats for legal assistants.

At this point, no time limit for on-field discussion between umpires, players, managers, and DLs has been established by baseball’s Rules Committee. Initial estimates are that game times, currently in the 3-hour range, could now run 17 to 18 hours in length.

Selig acknowledged that the added length could cause problems, including the possibility of Yankees-Red Sox games lasting for several days at a time. He insisted, however, that the advantages far outweighed any potential risks. “After all, cricket matches run for days, and cricket is kind of like baseball, isn’t it?” The fact that longer games would likely result in increased commercial time might actually be a positive as well, Selig added, as long as there was agreement between players and owners on dividing the increased revenue.

“Anyway, the important thing is to get the calls right. We want to make sure that when those two teams take the field in mid January to start the World Series, they got there because of talent and perseverance, and not because of a fluke call or legal loophole."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wish I'd Written That

I was asked once in an interview: Who impersonates sex for me? I tried to explain that I prefer to handle these things myself, but I did suppose I could send my sister as an impersonator if I wasn’t up to it.

Suzanne Vega

Five-O redux

Last week Mitchell discussed "Hawaii Five-O," and as we know, CBS has authorised a new series, with the basis of McGarrett's son being a Navy SEAL and coming back to Hawaii. In the pilot, McGarrett's Mercury used in later years is actually part of the show; one of his hobbies is restoring his dad's old car.

Someone on YouTube found a way to mix the 1968-80 series and 2010 series' introductions together and when comparing the two, there are many sequences from the original show that found its way to the new series. The same Ilikai hotel suite, a modern airplane engine, the same statues, and other parts of the famous opening are used in the new series that sometimes when everything's shrunk to 480i it's hard to identify which is which. Of course, the bloke chose to use the 1968 theme because it's longer (one minute versus 30 seconds) and is better than the rock-based arrangement of the same well-known tune.

Was it easy to identify which was the original and which was the revival? Of course, the O'Loughlin, Caan, and Park is modern.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

It's not La Belle Renée . . .

A few years ago, for a Hurricane Katrina benefit, Darlington Raceway allowed fans to drive five laps on the Florentine 1.366 mile egg for the benefit, which I did by taking five laps in my SUV at safety car speeds. One of the most infamous lines that can be taken on the circuit is the “crossover” where one driver stays high in the wide end and allows his opponent to attack low, pass him, and with the momentum, force that car to slip high in the narrow turns. The driver being passed then slips low to pass the car that just lost its momentum back, with the attacking car losing more time with the blundered pass attempt.

After listening to a few preview samples of Dark Hope, I think the album sounds similar to such a blunder, since the voice we all admire and enjoy listening is literally on a milk carton, and is not in the body of the 51-year old whom I've said is the one artist I haven't seen I'd like to see – but not the voice of this album!

With the album release next week, what do you think of this album?

New York Times: Cue the Controversy!
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