Thursday, September 30, 2010

Is there any hope for real men?

In one of Ah-nold's more lucid moments as governor of California, he disparagingly referred to his political opponents as "girly-men." I thought of this when reading Jay Nordlinger's hilarious excerpt from Toby Young's scathing attack on the girlification of men.  ere's the excerpt:
I went to a wedding recently at which the groom was an ex-public schoolboy in his twenties. No more prime specimen of girlie manhood are you likely to see. . . . He’d probably spent more getting his hair done than the bride had spent on her dress. It was stomach-churning.

Yet the effect of this wet noodle on the assembled women was electrifying. As he got up on stage and started telling his bride how much he loved her, bursting into tears within 30 seconds, they literally began to drool. For them, this Barbie Man was the new masculine ideal. And let me tell you, his bride was an absolute knockout. In the good old days, men would have conquered continents for less. Yet here she was, giving herself to a man she probably could have beaten in a fight.
As Judie said when I read this to her, "I'd hate to think this is the future of manhood. Makes you want to watch a truck commercial or something."

Beyond the entertainment factor from Young's sabre-wielding, there lies a more serious point: why?  The answer, according to Young, is yet another disturbing product of the sexual revolution.  It's not just the "relentless feminist critique of masculinity that has been blaring out of our schools and universities since the 1960s."  That's a big part of it, but there's another, sobering element, that has taken its toll on traditional masculinity: that "women’s sexual liberation that has frightened the horses, not the endless theorising that’s accompanied it. Men simply can’t deal with women expressing sexual desire — it reduces them to timid little mice."

Yes, the scourging of society as a result of the lovable 60s continues: it's the gift that keeps us giving, giving, giving - until all of our humanity has gone.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Opera Wednesday

AA full-featured Internet browser, Opera includes pop-up blocking, tabbed browsing, integrated searches, and advanced functions like Opera's groundbreaking. . .

What - oh, wrong opera.

Anyway, last night was Opening Night at the Met, one of the most highly awaited in years. James Levine returned to the pit after spending most of the year on the DL, and Robert Lepage's new, high-tech production of Wagner's Das Rheingold - the opening of the Ring cycle - provoking equal amounts of anticipation and apprehension. So how did it go? Well, mostly good according to the Times.

A week from Saturday (i.e. October 9), you'll be able to catch a live HD telecast of Rheingold in your local theater. On balance, I'd say - don't miss it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Weekend reflections

MTV Star Testimony. Stephen Colbert spoke as an “expert” in Washington on migrant labour. The star of MTV Networks' The Colbert Report has no business discussing this issue. It is reminiscent of the pesticides on fruits, when the same Leftist lawmakers were using Meryl Streep to discuss this issue and successfully banned one pesticide, and celebrities who simply play characters on television but have no knowledge of the issue except of what they were pushed by movie scripts.

This is different from the Claremont Institute and Reason Foundation, both of which use game show hosts as members of think tanks and both are active with their think tanks as long as they work with real staffers together.

Tie Game, Do It Again. The Toyota Australian (Rules) Football League Grand Final will be played again Saturday (midnight ET / Friday 11 PM CT) after Collingwood (9 goals, 14 behinds)-St. Kilda (10 goals, 8 behinds) ended with a tie at 68-all Saturday afternoon. Many Australian sporting events are being postponed in order to play this Melbourne Cricket Ground affair again. The only other major sporting “grand final” that would be replayed in a case of a tie is Japanese baseball's NPB Japan Series. If any game in Japanese baseball is tied after 15 innings, the game is played again, 0-0, with a full nine-inning game. Imagine Yomiuri and Seibu, tied 3 games each, Game Seven, and it goes 15 innings. That would mean a Game Seven Replay.

No, You Didn't Do It. After trying to be part of (and finally getting on) a USMC Mud Run in Gaston Saturday, the makeshift team that I was able to be part went 25 of 32 obstacles before stewards called it off (darkness). A disgraceful DNF in my book because a DNF is always bad. It was tough but enjoyable. I think it's something I'll put in my 2011 plans.

Concussion-Hit CFL Player Hit Harder. Top-5 CFL rusher Cory Boyd (Toronto) has been hit with concussions already this season and was out last week because of it. But personal tragedy hit him last week. His college roommate's suicide makes the story even harder. As I write, he may be in Atlanta for his college roommate's funeral (he is the godfather of the roommate's son). (Boyd and BC offensive lineman Justin Sorensen were teammates of the deceased; the writer is also a graduate of the same university that the three in question played.) 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Stupid bumper sticker tricks

From time to time in this space, we’ve pointed out some of the dumber bumper stickers that we've seen in our various travels (like this, for example), pondering the thoughts, vacant though they may be, that go through the minds of those who display them. Naturally, people could say the same about the stickers that adorn our bumper. (Of course, they’d be wrong.)

One we’ve seen for some time offers this pithy observation: “God is not a Republican or a Democrat.” That last part, about Him not being a Democrat, is in lettering so small that for a moment I thought I was at the eye doctor being asked to read the last line on the chart. It’s such a desperate attempt to be even-handed, they might as well not even bothered. We know what they mean. (Of course, that’s one of the problems liberals often have: they don’t know when to leave well-enough alone, so they wind up pushing otherwise neutral people right into the opponent’s column.)

Anyway, what does this saying really prove? Of course God wasn’t a Republican or a Democrat. For that matter, neither was George Washington. (Or John Adams, come to think of it.) You know why? Because the Republican and Democratic parties didn’t exist back in those days, and they don’t exist today, at least in God’s plane.

This bumper sticker, which has a sense of humor,
is in my opinion much more effective
God, I’m afraid, doesn’t belong to man-made organizations. Rather, it’s the other way around. Which is why the Catholic Church constantly reminds us that Jesus Himself founded the Church, with Peter and his successors as her head.  It is said that God's time and ours run on two different cycles, and I think it's safe to say that the same holds for sporting events, political parties, and other kinds of social organizations.*

* That's not to say, however, that He does not care about such organizations.  I think He cares quite deeply about them, and those who belong to them.  How much He cares is something we're likely to find out at the Last Judgment.

You know what else? I don’t think any serious Republican (or conservative, if you will) would make that argument – that Jesus was (or is) a Republican. I know, there are at least a couple of you out there who will immediately come up with a statement from someone (say, Pat Robertson) purporting to say just that – but remember, I said serious.  On the contrary, I think many of them struggle with Lincoln’s famous concert: not whether God is on our side, but whether we are on His. For God, as Lincoln reminded us, “is always right.”


There’s another one out there – perhaps you’ve seen this, too. It reads “War Is Not the Answer.”

Well, if you say so. Personally, I’d rather find out what the question is first. If it’s “What is 2+2” or “Name the capital of Honduras,” then I’m pretty sure the answer is not war.* On the other hand, if you were to ask “What word do the Great War, the Civl War, the Revolutionary War, and the Thirty Years War have in common?” then you’d be wrong. Playing Alex Trebek is not as easy as it seems.

* However, if you were to ask what horse won the 1937 Triple Crown, you’d only be half right.

This probably sounds flippant, because it is. But I’m also giving these sayings all the gravitas they deserve. In trying to be cute, they’ve become too clever by half. There arguments are beyond banal, approaching specious. And while it may be difficult to reduce a complex question such as war to a five- or six-word catchphrase, perhaps what that tells us is that we shouldn’t be so glib about something that’s so serious. Maybe it even suggests that substituting clever badinage for actual thought is what’s gotten us into these messes in the first place. That’s what grownups used to do, anyway. I’ve rarely seen anything truly constructive come from snark, which is what sayings like these really amount to.

Make no mistake: I’m not against bumper stickers, and there are some truly inspired ones out there, both serious and humorous. But please, try to make it stand up to at least three seconds of examination. Logic teachers around the world will thank you.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Retro TV Friday

This story is way cool:

Film of Game 7 of 1960 World Series found in Bing Crosby's cellar

A pristine two-and-a-half hour copy of NBC's broadcast of Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, thought to be lost to the grains of time long ago, was discovered in legendary actor and singer Bing Crosby's wine cellar.


The superstitious Crosby, part owner of the Pirates at the time, had the game filmed off a television set with a kinescope while he was in Paris as to not "jinx" Pittsburgh against the legendary Yankees dynasty.

From there, he watched the tape in glory knowing his Pirates won and left the five-reel, 16mm film in his cellar, which doubles as a vault.

The NYT account of the find includes this wonderful detail on Crosby, who had fled to Paris to avoid jinxing the Pirates, listening to the seventh game on the radio:
“We were in this beautiful apartment, listening on shortwave, and when it got close Bing opened a bottle of Scotch and was tapping it against the mantel,” Kathryn Crosby said. “When Mazeroski hit the home run, he tapped it hard; the Scotch flew into the fireplace and started a conflagration. I was screaming and Nonie [de Limur] said, ‘It’s very nice to celebrate things, but couldn’t we be more restrained?’ ”
The MLB Network will be showing the game sometime in the winter, and I can almost guarantee it will be more interesting than any game in this year's Series.  And that's just as well, because if you were to see this game beforehand - with only five cameras, no instant replay, limited graphics, no gimmicks, and a running time of only a tick over two-and a half hours - I doubt you'd be able to sit through what passes for the National Pastime on television today.

What a find - as someone said, even more than 30 years after his death, Bing keeps on delivering! 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

This Just In

Germanotta to be tried for Inappropriate “Music”: Jury Named by Judge Gazaway

(NEW YORK, NY) – In light of the major wins at the MTV Video Music Awards, Stefani Germanotta, known as “Lady Gaga” on stage, was called by officials at the top of Park Avenue Tower for inappropriate behaviour by Bill Gazaway, supervisor of operations at Park Avenue Tower.

The decision to arrest Miss Germanotta came after inappropriate behaviour during the event, including being a bad role model for children, violating the dress code, and promoting X-rated material in front of youth.

Mr. Gazaway sent the following e-mail to Miss Germanotta, which has been released to the public:

From: Bill Gazaway, Supervisor of Operations at Park Avenue Tower
To: Stefani Germanotta and Attorneys
Re: Hearing on Inappropriate Behaviour.
In regards to your consistent problems with behaviour, the examples you are setting for others, and further troublesome actions as shown on Sunday night, September 12, you are to appear in front of Park Avenue Tower court at 65 East 55th Street, 36th Floor in New York City, in the case of Park Avenue Tower v. Stefani Germanotta, on the second of October, in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Ten, in a jury trial.

The jurors for this case are as follows:

Walter Cuttino
Gretchen C. Close
Darrell L. Waltrip
Kathleen C. Troccoli
Lawrence J. McReynolds III
Serena D. Hill
F. Marc Rattray
Deborah Voigt
James Morris
David Pryce-Jones
Michael K. Joy (jury foreman)
Laura C. Schlessinger

Our solicitor who will be the lead prosecutor will be Jacob Will. Assistant prosecutors will be Анна Нетребко and Nicholas Smith.

Your hearing is set for Saturday, the second of October, in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Ten, at Ten O'Clock. Failure to attend shall result in an automatic conviction.


Bill Gazaway
Supervisor of Operations
Park Avenue Tower

Musings of the week

Stuart Varney: Elizabeth Warren: Hammer of Wall Street.

Chuck Norris: Trigger the Vote!

David Asman: Starving the Spending Bear.

Wesley Pruden: A Wave of Rage with No U-Turn.

Melanie Phillips: I Think, Therefore I'm Guilty (British laws similar to Shepard-Byrd)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why "The Buckley Rule" doesn't rule the day

In the wake of Christine O'Donnell's victory in Delaware last week, there's been a lot of talk about the alleged "Buckley Rule," which in essense states that in any given contested race, the prudent thing to do is to support the "rightwardmost viable candidate" - and the key word in this discussion has been viable. Is Christine O'Donnell a viable candidate, in this case, or did the GOP blow its chance at the majority by spruning the RINO Castle?

While I understand the Buckley Rule (and even respect it; there are some conservatives out there who may be right-on regarding issues like abortion, but are utter dolts otherwise), I've always been somewhat uneasy with it. It reminds me somewhat of Ronald Reagan's so-called "11th Commandment," that being "Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican." Far be it for humble me to disagree with Ronaldus Maximus, but too often this becomes a tool to bludgeon genuine disagreement and debate. Politics, by definition, is a rough, contact sport.

Anyway, back to the Buckley Rule. I tread gingerly around it, but finally Andy McCarthy, in this excellent piece, puts into words exactly what my discomfort is. Read the whole thing; here's one of the money quotes:

The nation is in the grip of post-sovereign leftists who reject the premise that the country is essentially good — that’s why, they say, it needs “fundamental change.” They are locking in their redistributionist vision by borrowing the terrifying trillions they spend. They are not worried about governing against the opposition of a lopsided majority of Americans. Unpopular is one thing; transformational is something else.

This is where the chattering Sunday-morning know-it-alls lead the GOP establishment over the cliff. To hear the pundits tell it, the highest Republican interest is control of the government. The holy grail is winning enough seats to take over the House, the Senate, and the constituent committees of both chambers. Ideological purity is secondary to wielding the levers of power.

Indeed, for the Tea Party faithful, past history is not something to be forgotten:

Control of Congress is not what inspires them. The Republicans had control of Congress when the seeds were sown for much of what now ails us: for the prescription-drug entitlement that begat Obamacare; for the auto-company bailout that begat Obama-motors; for the stimulus that begat the deluge; for the TARP that begat the very slush-fund antics TARP opponents warned against; for the McCain Amendment that begat the Mirandizing of terrorists; etc. At every turn, the GOP-controlled Congress — at the urging of weathervane RINOs and a punditocracy consumed by tactical politics at the expense of limited-government principle — was Big Government Lite. (And “lite” is used advisedly here, for it is lite only by comparison to the monstrosity to which it gave way). That President Obama has made a canyon of the hole we were in does not mean he’s wrong when he says Republican leadership drove us “into a ditch.”


The GOP establishment will either get the message or it will go the way of the failed candidates it has backed. If it had done its job, if it had undertaken to represent rather than thwart the public will, it wouldn’t now be asking itself how you get Christine O’Donnell elected. It would have found a better Christine O’Donnell.

Which is what I've been thinking all along.  A numeric majority which is not committed to change is no majority at all.  A numeric minority, speaking with a unified (or at least more unified) voice and working with a common purpose, may well result in a numeric majority that actually does change things.  And isn't that what we're really working for?  

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ahoy! It's Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Aye, sure and it be time once again for "International Talk Like a Pirate Day."  An' seein' as how we're always part o' the cultural mainstream, it be only fittin' that we take part.

S’il est vrai que le pirate moyen n’est pas mieux engueulé qu’un autre et qu’on pense souvent à cette sorte de parlé un peu comme à celui de nos campagnes ou de nos bois, il ne faut pas tomber dans le piège trop facile d’adopter ce langage! En aucun cas un pirate ne jurerait par les mots de l’Église à la façon du colon québécois, ni ne parlerait à la marseillaise, avec des verbes en « ions » façon Acadien du bas du fleuve ou en utilisant les mots vulgaire du langage courant.

(That be pirate talk in French.  What, you don't believe in French pirates?  Well, shiver me timbers and tickle my Jean Lafittes.)

And now, w' thanks to th' mateys at the Talk Like O' Pirate website, the Dutch translation of The Drunken Sailor song, always fittin' if ye be talkin' 'bout pirates.  Arrr!

Wat zullen we doen met de dronken zeeman
Wat zullen we doen met de dronken zeeman
Wat zullen we doen met de dronken zeeman
's morgens in de vroegte.

Hela hop daar gaat ie
Hela hop daar gaat ie
Hela hop daar gaat ie
's morgens in de vroegte!
Gooi hem overboord dan kan ie zwemmen
Hang hem in de mast om uit te waaien
Stop hem in zijn bed om uit te slapen
Stop z’n kop in een emmer met water 
Roep de kapitein die zal hem leren
Dat zullen we doen met de dronken zeeman.

Arrr, shiver me timbers! 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Constitution Day, An opera in Klingon, and the end of an era

Happy Constitution Day. We celebrate on this day the United States Constitution's 223rd birthday, and before we start with this train of thought today, let's celebrate by reading an important article that I had to learn in my fourth-grade history class. I don't think today's liberals want us to learn it, considering they want us to use foreign law instead.

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

But do people actually know it?

An Opera in Klingon? We here at this blog are aficionados of opera. But this article from really is over the edge. A while back, Renée Fleming had recorded a cut in a pop culture-invented “language” (“Elvish”) for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Now in The Hague, a new opera designed for Trekkies (the fans of “Star Trek”) has been released, “u”, with it sung in the “invented” language of “Klingon,” dedicated to fans of the series and resulting movies. What is expected next? An Ebonics opera? Or afterwards, how about a Gullah opera? We've gone over the edge there.

The Bubbles Blow Out on the Last Soap. Today marks the end of the end of a true genre of television. When As The World Turns signs off its final episode after 54 years, the last “soap” goes off the air. It brings to an end of a long affiliation of daytime drama with soap companies (which is where the term comes); the only two daytime drama companies left are Disney (all three ABC dramas) and Sony (NBC and CBS all use Sony dramas).

At one time we saw shows from Lever Brothers (now Unilever), Colgate-Palmolive, and Procter and Gamble. But in the past ten years, we have seen Procter and Gamble, the last of the soap companies that did their own shows, lose all three of their daytime dramas. Truly this is the end of the soap companies' affiliation with daytime television.

Prayer request

Just received word my uncle has died of cancer. Keep the family in your prayers.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Advertising in the open?

CBS released the actual open for the upcoming revival of "Hawaii Five-O" that debuts next week and I noticed two interesting perspectives.

One is the addition of the U. S. S. Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, which is quietly a salute to our troops and a memorial to those who died in 1941. That was not in the original, but is a well-conceived tribute to those who died nearly seventy years ago in an act of war. Imagine years from now if television openings had the 9/11 memorials on the screen.

The other is confirmed, a Hawaiian Airlines advertisement being placed in the open around the time the signature airplane engine scene is shown (something that is based on the original).

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Edwin Newman, R.I.P.

When Steve emailed me earlier today with the news that Edwin Newman had died, he added the comment that "they don't make 'em like that anymore."  Yes, Steve remains the master of understatement.

Edwin Newman was a gifted writer and broadcaster: elegant and droll, pointed and opinionated, funny and witty.  Moreover, he understood not just that there is a difference between humor and wit, but that one could be both.  I didn't always agree with him, especially politically, but I always enjoyed him.  But if I was limited to one word with which I could describe him, the word would be literate.

I suppose there aren't many people out there who remember Ed Newman anymore - at least not if you're younger than me.  For those of us who do, our memories will surely differ.  Newman was with NBC television and radio for 32 years, and played himself in several movies and television shows. There was Newman as an interviewer on the Today show and Meet the Press, Newman as moderator of presidential debates, Newman covering the assassination of JFK on NBC Radio, Newman as the newsman on David Letterman's short-lived morning chatfest, Newman as the host of Saturday Night Live.  Although all of those stick in my consciousness, I think first of Newman the wordsmith.

Newman was a man who wrote the way he talked, and one of the great things about reading his words on the page was that one could easily imagine those words being spoken by him as well, which gave them an added sense of pleasure.  (Reminiscent of David Brinkley in that regard, I'd say.)  He wrote four books, all of which are on our bookshelves here at Chez Hadley:  Strictly Speaking, I Must Say and A Civil Tongue were books on language, while Sunday Punch was a comic novel about boxing (which included characters with wonderful names such as Aubrey Philpott-Grimes, Simco Savory, and Fredda Plantagenet). 

Yes, Newman did have a way with names: he once suggested, in the era of movie stars with names such as Rock and Tab and plots with psychological overtones, that the perfect name for a western star would be Id Libido.  On the subject of the British penchant for hyphenated names, he concluded that his own name, were it so rendered, would be Edwin Hyphen-Newman. 

He eschewed needless verbiage, preferring understatement to hyperbole.  Speaking of the oft-married Zsa Zsa Gabor, whom he was observing at the 1960 Democratic Convention (don't ask), he said: "She had met the governor of a southwestern state, and she was telling him that she had a soft spot for that state because she had once been married there.  That did not make the state exactly unique, bu the governor seemed grateful."

He loved puns:  his year-end poem for Today would conclude "Happy Noo Year to Yoose from Edwin Newman NBC Noose."  He enjoyed thinking about a British seafood cookbook entitled What Hath Cod Wrought, or the western movie with the Old Testament background called Armageddon for the Last Roundup, not to mention the man who refused to work for the acetates division of a chemical company because "he who acetates is lost."

He relished the doublespeak of athletes and announcers, devoting an entire chapter of Strictly Speaking to their hackneyed clichés, such as boxers who were evenly matched because "They both only got two hands," or baseball players batting .189 who "have a way of coming through with timely hits.  When you're batting .189," Newman countered, "any hit you get is likely to be timely."   (On Howard Cosell: "There is every reason to believe that when he says 'relative paucity' and 'veritable plethora' he is not kidding: he means it.")

For those of us who retched at the garbage language of corporations, human resources departments, bureaucrats, politicians, and all those who tried to sound smarter than they actually were, Edwin Newman was a hero - as Dave Rosenthal of the Baltimore Sun put it, a "friend and protector of the English language."   Rosenthal also has what is probably the best and most fitting legacy to Newman, in Newman's own words: 

"A civil tongue ... means to me a language that is not bogged down in jargon, not puffed up with false dignity, not studded with trick phrases that have lost their meaning," he wrote.

"It is direct, specific, concrete, vigorous, colorful, subtle and imaginative when it should be, and as lucid and eloquent as we are able to make it. It is something to revel in and enjoy."
That is always how I have tried to conduct myself as a writer and speaker, and to associate myself with others who feel the same way.  It is why I have always chosen to refer to this blog as a "Journal of Cultured Opinion,"  because (and here is where so many bloggers, I fear, get it wrong) many times how you say it matters just as much as what you say. (I actually rewrote that last sentence and managed to shave a half-dozen needless words from it, which suggests there may be hope for me yet.)   And although I fear I've often fallen short, it never hurts to shoot for the stars; and Newman's linguistic star is a pretty good one to shoot for.  Here's a toast to Edwin Newman, who died on August 13 but whose death was announced only today.  

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

This Just In

Oprah™ to Create New Life Form on Show Finale

(CHICAGO -- September 15)--Oprah™ Winfrey, America's talk show goddess for the last quarter century, has something very big up her sleeve for her show's finale in this her 25th, and final, season on the air.

Oprah™ began the season in September by telling 300 members of her studio audience that she would be taking them on an eight-day, all-expenses paid trip to Australia.

How she would end her daytime talkfest reign was a mystery, until now.

Oprah™'s producers have revealed that on the final show, to be aired in the spring of 2011, Oprah™ will create a new life form.

"Giving away cars was big, going to Australia was even bigger," says Jaqui Lacquey, a producer of the Oprah™ show. "But for the finale, after all this woman has done, and who she is, after all, we really needed a topper. And I think we've done it. Or, should I say, she will do it."

The exact nature of the life form that Oprah™ will create is a closely guarded secret. “Animal, vegetable, human, extra-terrestrial, we're just not going to reveal that right now," said Lacquey. "But it will definitely be new and extraordinary and mind-blowing, and we'll have all the details about it on Oprah™.com and a full color-spread in Oprah™, The Magazine, and a special will be prepared for the Oprah™ channel. This will be beyond big."

As to the identity of the final guest on the final show, that too, is a mystery, but some definite hints are being dropped. "Oprah™ certainly wants someone of enormous significance and fame as her final guest," said Lacquey. "She's already had presidents and queens and every A-List celebrity you can think of. Let's just say that we are in negotiations with the people of the only other entity known to have created life-forms. That's all we can say right now."

Monday, September 13, 2010

Opinion Digest

James Allen: Alonso wins Gran Premio Santander d'Italia as McLaren blinks first in pits.

Will Buxton: Monza Delivers Vision of Future (Three drivers from the Continent - Esteban Gutiérrez, Nuevo León, Robert Wickens, Ontario, and Alexander Rossi, California - form the basis of the future of Formula racing as the trio were winning in the just-concluded GP3 series, the Europe-only F1 support series).

Ingrid Schlueter: Remembering 9-11.

Carol Libeau:  Remembering – and doing – what is important.

Greg Hengler: How Hollywood Secularises the Sacred (using Johnny Cash as an example).

Michael Barone: Gangster Government Stifles Criticism of ObamaCare.

Henry Payne: Tennessee Volunteers Its Tax Dollars to Rich Greens. (And yes, Nissan did take our taxpayer dollars too).

Saturday, September 11, 2010

In Memoriam: September 11

The first time I remember hearing the Adagietto from Mahler's Fifth Symphony was when it was used in the opening credits to Luchino Visconti's movie Death in Venice. Those of a particular age probably remember Leonard Bernstein conducting it at Robert F. Kennedy's funeral. It was a piece of music that I really had to struggle to place; although it was slow and sad, it was difficult for me to see the link Bernstein had made between it and the death of his friend Bobby. It wasn't as immediately apparent to me as, say, Barber's Adaigio for Strings.

Finally, I concluded that the only link that made any sense was to associate it with lost youth. Close your eyes while listening to it and imagine a montage of Kennedy playing with his children, walking with his brother Jack, sitting on the sand dunes looking out over the ocean - then, and only then, could you really begin to figure out what Bernstein might have been getting at. I have no idea if he had anything remotely like this in mind, but as an explanation it worked for me.

Over the years I've gained a great appreciation for Mahler, and this piece in particular. And it is in that spirit of lost youth, of the heartbreak of pondering a future that never was and a past that never will be again, that we listen to it today, and think of those souls who never had any idea of what hit them, nine years ago, and of those who did, and were powerless to do anything about it. The question, nine years later, is this: are we?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Retro TV Friday

A few odds and ends this week, starting with another visit to Saturday morning cartoons.  Last month we mentioned Linus the Lionhearted, the cartoon based on the Post cereal characters.  Linus' great rival in the cartoon lion field, I pointed out, was King Leonardo, sponsored by General Mills.  Leonardo had his own notable opening title scene, which we see here.  Unlike Linus' sidekick, Sugar Bear, none of King Leonardo's fellow cartoon characters seem to have survived into today's culture.

Some of you may think all this proves is that I watch too much TV.  But realy - how much is too much?  According to our correspondent Sheryl Owen from the Satellite Dish blog, here are 10 ways to tell you are addicted to television.  In all seriousness, I think the ten ways to reduce the habit are particularly useful - although I've always been an unabashed fan of television (even as I curse many of the shows on it), I think it should be seen as an augmentation to one's lifestyle, as opposed to totally taking it over.  We actually gave up television for Lent two or three years in a row, and I have to admit there was something of a cleansing feeling to it.

Finally, was there ever a TV detective with a cooler name than Peter Gunn?  And did any TV series have a cooler theme than Peter Gunn? Here's the beginning of a typical Gunn episode, with Henry Mancini's dynamite music.

Of Upton Trio's Evocation and Mark Bavis: In Memoriam September 11, 2001

As I mentioned in May when attending a dance concert, the Upton Trio, featuring South Carolina Philharmonic concertmaster Mary Lee Taylor Kinosian, had a thought-provoking piece, Evocation: In Memoriam September 11, 2001. A clip of the piece is available at the group's Web site. This 15-minute piece is not available as a digital download, so to acquire it will require you to physically buy the album.

The Bavis family still wants a lawsuit and wants all information known on what happened that killed the son, sibling, twin brother (remember Mark and twin brother Mike were Stingrays teammates), and uncle.

It does not do justice when you consider when Mark and Mike Bavis were teammates on a minor league ice hockey team, I had the opportunity to see both Bavis brothers on the ice. The ECHL of the early Stingrays years was not the league of today's developmental league. The careers of both Bavis (who later became an NHL scout at the time of his death) and current team president Rob Concannon, were intertwined together. I still remember attending games where the ECHL first acknowledged Bavis' death, and the next night, when the Stingrays officially lifted the #12 to the rafters.

Let us remember that we were attacked by nineteen homicide bombers of Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terrorist network. This is not a day, as the President wants, to celebrate the virtues of Communism and "service" to the Left's causes, as he promoted last year. This is a day we mourn for those who died. This is a day that reminds me to remember that the wanted poster of Usama that George W. Bush painted days later is still up, and the prize is there for the offing.

We remember, nine years ago, September 11, 2001. It was the day America changed. And we remember the victims who died that day, and the troops who died in the battles since to stop terrorism of all types in the Middle East.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

This Just In

Ticked Tittle Threatens Tentative Titans Tryout

(San Jose, CA -- September 9, 2010) As Brett Farve takes the field for the Minnesota Vikings tonight in the NFL season opener, former Hall of Fame quarterback Y.A. Tittle remains upset that his recent attempt to return to the gridiron was thwarted by Favre's decision to play another season. Not only is Tittle angry, he's taking action. Maybe.

Tittle, now 84 and officially retired for 47 seasons, had reportedly received a call from Vikings head coach Brad Childress when it looked like Favre had permanently retired, again. Childress, citing Tittle's experience and legendary toughness, was apparently courting the former New York Giant star to come out of retirement to take over as QB of the Vikings for the 2010 season.

Inside reports suggested Childress had always been a big Tittle fan. "He had a great arm and a good head for the game," Childress was heard saying. "Not to mention a hairline that, well, let's just say, that was a plus, too."

Within days of that report, Favre made the decision to come back, and Tittle's opportunity seemed over.

"Sure I'm upset," said the man affectionately known to elderly football fans as "YAT" "I was looking forward to lacing up my cleats for one more go. I've got a few zingers left in the old flapper."

Tittle was encouraged, however, by possible new openings. "I hear that the Tennessee Titans might be open to me coming to a practice to see if I can fit in to their plans," he revealed. "If we can work out the details, maybe the fans will see me yet in 2010. You just never know."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Opera Wednesday

Well, we haven't done one of these recently (as I've frequently been reminded by our editor-in-chief), and there's no real excuse for it. However humble it may be, I hope to offer some apology with this clip (coming, as it does, from an old television show in order to curry favor with the boss).

We've talked in the past about the Bell Telephone Hour, which was a perennial in the 60s and early 70s on NBC. This clip is from, I would guess, some time in the early 60s. It features the great Joan Sutherland - not in her famed mad scene from Lucia di Lammermoor, but as Ophelia in the less well-known (if no less impressive) mad scene from Thomas' Hamlet (which many of you may have seen in the theaters last season when the Met did it). I always say there's nothing like a good mad scene.

For comparison, in case you were wondering, here is the conclusion of Natalie Dessay's version, from the Hamlet production that wound at the Met (minus Dessay, due to illness):

Cowardly Congressmen, bears, and Ronald Reagan (in that order)

You remember Clint Howard, brother of Ron. (He's the one who doesn't constantly wear a hat to cover his bald head.) Well, apparently that's not the only way in which he differs from his brother, as this neat video shows (H/T Big Hollywood):

That's right - Opie's brother is a conservative.  Whoda thunk it?  (As one of the commentators pointed out, he hoped this wouldn't lose Clint roles in any of Ron's future movies.)  Seriously, this video is a great piece - serious points illustrated with a wicked sense of humor, this is a perfect example of the way conservatives need to get their message out. 

And as for Clint, he's sure come a long way from being the boy with the bear:

Unless, that is, this was the bear he was hanging out with:

Oh, what the heck - since we're on the subject of bear videos, why not end with an all-time classic:

Monday, September 6, 2010

No, It's Not Labour Day (where it's been illegal since Ferko stripped Florence of its festivities)

Read James Allen's site ahead of the final round of the European season (and we still have Korea, Singapore, Japan, Brasil, and Abu Dhabi still on the schedule, can you believe it) in Monza for the Gran Premio Santander d'Italia next week, and along the same lines of my frustration over missing a game where the opening ceremony's national anthem and alma mater were performed by the Mississippi Squirrel, I thought of Jaws referencing you cannot beat yourself.

On the same lines, Sebastian Vettel, as Jaws would say, is beating himself. Here's James Allen on that fact.

NBC Universal has released the trailer for an upcoming F1 documentary that I hope will be released in the United States. It would be a tragic shame if it was not -- it is set for an 8 October release in Japan (coinciding with the Fuji Television Grand Prix). It's scheduled for a winter release in the UK, says Mr. Allen.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Embarrassing me!

There are some moments that happen that once they happen, you wish you were there, when it was easily available, you find yourself, in the words of Darrell Waltrip, beating yourself, wishing you had gone to the event.

Thursday night was one of them.

At the Southern Mississippi-South Carolina game, according to reports I received, the game, in South Carolina, had the opening ceremony's National Anthem and Alma Mater sung by a native of Southern Mississippi, someone who born and grew up in the Laurel-Meridian-Hattiesburg area. So the Golden Eagles fans were treated by their native doing it, and she was a Gamecock (master's in 2003, and doctorate in August).

Nothing wrong with that, is it?

Oh it was embarrassing to me, beating myself, wishing I was there. For it was none other than the leader of the circle of friends, the one and only, the Mississippi Squirrel herself, doing it all. And here I was at home, listening to the game, beating myself, wishing I had not made that mistake. Oh what being a member of her circle of friends will do when you embarrass yourself by not knowing. This was just three months after the tables turned when she had seen me sing in the chorus in Beethoven's Mass in C Major. Why didn't I return the favour?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The FCA teams with a Life Enhancement Centre

The NewSpring Life Enhancement Centre in Anderson is pairing with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) with a “Rally in the Valley” event before an NCAA gridiron match Saturday. Many kids in church are attending because they bleed those colours and the actions of both the youth and the leader in question remind me of liberalism in that they do not care about the facts of this corrupt Life Enhancement Centre, but go by the tickling of their feelings of rooting their team when they attend a major rally with the kingpin of Southern Life Enhancement Centres' “Student Ministry” rock band performing.

This Life Enhancement Centre (I can't call it a church because it is clearly a self-help venue with the material being taught there proving it) and its leader, Perry Noble, has a notorious reputation with both its false teachings and the “music” that is performed at the venue, which is notoriously secular in nature, with songs such as “Highway to Hell,” “Ordinary People,” and “Crazy in Love” (this is not a joke, friends – they have played such songs in their venues, and have placed them on the Web). Worse yet, Mr. Noble is known for his notorious false teachings and the Alinsky-style attacks on college professor James Duncan, Associate Professor of Communications , who blew the whistle on Mr. Noble's corruption. The staff there turned into the Obama Administration when they saw political enemies.

Yet too many children, this weekend, will be attending this rally, thinking they will hear God's Word, when they are to hear false teachings influenced by this Life Enhancement Centre, with their feelings tickled around numerous chants of “Tiger Rag” and loud secular rock music from the “worship band”. This is the exact tickling of feelings that infiltrate Life Enhancement Centres today. Ignore the Word, go with feelings. Your best life now is what matters. Why are we endorsing such?
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