Monday, February 28, 2011

Opinion Digest

Tthe opinions behind this week's headlines:

Michelle Malkin: So Much for Civility.

Oliver North: Obama Inspired Chaos.

Jeff Stier: Celebrities should stick to their song and dance.

Kelly Boggs: America's "religion" -- Pop Culture.

Two columns by Albert Mohler on President Obama's betrayal of the Defence of Marriage Act as part of his continuing push for the agenda of sexual deviants: A Milestone in the Betrayal of Marriage and How Did This Happen?

Corning Leader: Lewis Hamilton for an Exxon Mobil promotion at The Glen, where many British F1 stars of the 1960's kept winning?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Retro TV Friday - Academy Awards Edition

Back in the day when the Academy Awards show was actually worth watching, i.e. real movies and movie stars, Oscar night was something to look forward to. The show was traditionally shown on Monday night rather than the lame Sunday broadcast we have now, and it had a late start: 9:30 Central Time.*

*This had a couple of advantages: it meant the red carpet parade took place at night rather than the afternoon, which makes the spotlights and flashbulbs a lot more effective, and the late hour gave the event an atmosphere of sophistication and glamour, a kind of grown-up feel that late-night television used to have.j Besides, back then the show only ran a little over two hours, so it wound up ending about the same time as it does now.

Anyway, with the exception of a few years in the 1970s when NBC had the show, the Oscarcast has been a fixture on ABC. This commercial for the 40th anniversary show is kind of 60s blah, but you still have to be impressed by the stars and the movies, most of which will be remembered long after this year's winners are forgotten. Bonus points if you can recall the winners.

UPDATE: As someone has pointed out, the music for ABC's Movie of the Week is simply a re-working of this theme (or vice versa).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wish I'd Written That

He did every job that came his way, including going home once the job was done. The French poet Chateaubriand put it well: ‘Search the forests where Washington’s sword shone: What do you find there? Tombs? No — a world.’”

- Richard Brookhiser on George Washington

Today is Washington's Birthday, officially. Nowadays people notice, if at all, on the nondescript "Presidents Day," which, as we've pointed out in the past, is still legally referred to as "George Washington's Birthday (Observed)."

Would that we had President Washington today. Ah, but what would he think of today's America? More important, what would today's America think of him? A few possibilities:

Happy birthday, Mr. President!

Monday, February 21, 2011

"I For One Welcome Our New Female Overlords"

Obviously I am parodying the great Ken Jennings after being creamed on Jeopardy! along with Brad Rutter here with some weekend thoughts from returning home after Myrtle Beach.

South Carolina Tree House: No Boys Allowed. Here in South Carolina, it does not pay to be a man. There is a girls-only secondary school in Charleston that has been able to stay XX-only (Ashley Hall) while boys are not allowed anywhere in the state to have a regular secondary school (Camden Military is the exception, but it's a boys-only boarding school that also has some college-prep academies for kids who would be casualties under the NCAA eligibility rules first made famous in Proposition 48, now superseded by Proposition 16). There are also two women's colleges (Columbia and Converse) while the federal courts replaced The Citadel in court with the Federal Feminazi Academy of South Carolina (apologies to Tom Hazlett at the University of California at Davis for the terminology!), leaving the state without a men's college when two women's exist. Sorry men, you are the weaker sex and women deserve clubs where No Boys Allowed is the rule, but it doesn't work the other way.

Women now run two of the three branches of government in South Carolina, with poor Speaker of the House Bob Harrell Jnr being the lone male in a woman's world, and we have more women's sports than men's sports opportunities in our educational institutions in colleges, with the likelihood of more bans on boys playing sports coming with new Title IX proposals.

Submit To Women at the Marathon. And to top it all off, a Jersey Girl going for next January's Houston Olympic Trials, doing her best Rachel Alexandria impersonation, beating the men at Bi-Lo Myrtle Beach Marathon XIII presented by Chick-Fil-A Saturday. Her 2:40:11 was three minutes faster than poor Billy Shue, to be the fastest man and not win the trophy, being beaten by a girl by three minutes in the slowest Bi-Lo Marathon ever. It was the fastest Bi-Lo Marathon by a woman and the slowest men's winning time of all-time, and the overall winning time tied 2004 for the slowest (note the new torso timing rule for 2011). The Wells Fargo auditor was given a rude welcome to South Carolina, where men are the weaker sex and must submit to women at all times as the XX has power, not the XY, as we've seen in leadership and now sport.

It begs the question: Why won't our boys play sports? Have federal authorities feminised the state enough to keep boys off the fields?

(Just for reference, your humble blogger broke the six-hour barrier for the first time Saturday, 5:48:27, in his eighth career marathon.)

A College Sport For All: Hate The Soldiers, Hate War Veterans, Support Sexual Deviants. A wounded Iraq War veteran is taunted and bashed at an Ivy League school that has banned the military since 1969. With the demise of the United States Armed Forces and replacement by the new Department of Social Engineering, Special Rights Division, there is consideration to eliminate the ban on this department. The military has been excluded from many colleges in light of Stonewall and many un-American activities that resulted from the teachings in college.

Sorry, But the Daytona 500 Winner Cannot Drink. Trevor Bayne may not be old enough to drink the winner's wine, but at 20 years and one day, the Daytona 500 winner gives Jack Roush, John Henry, and Tom Werner their first win (all Ford teams in NASCAR are required to use Roush Fenway equipment, no other manufacturer has a single-source policy; while it says Wood Brothers, it's all intensive purposes Roush Fenway, which provided cars for the entire podium). It was the first time Ford's Motorcraft won a race since its rival GM Goodwrench was shuttered by Dictator Obama under his "punish the opponents for giving to Mitt rule", and winning his second Sprint Cup start puts him in a class of only one other driver, last year's Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray (whose first Sprint Cup win was in his second Sprint Cup start, 2002 at Charlotte). He was not even born when Jeff Gordon made his first Nationwide start, and does not collect the 47 points for a race winner since he is registered as a part-time driver who intends to run the full Nationwide schedule. A driver born in the 1990's has won the Daytona 500 before a driver born in the 1980's. This is a guy who had been released by two teams from development rosters before signing with Roush last fall, and the teams were DEI (let go by Ganassi after 2008 when DEI and Chip merged) and Michael Waltrip (last fall, sponsorship issues). I wonder who's sorry for letting him go now. Hmmmmm . . .

Friday, February 18, 2011

"Seven seconds away from having a great day"

That title from a chapter in The Big Picture in referring to ten years ago this very day, the loss of an American figure whose death was more of the death of an American figure, more than Elvis Presley, and more than Michael Jackson, especially to a nation of those who enjoy their heroes as action heroes as grandfathers who could snarl anyone, be unafraid for new challenges, and show how tough heroes could have class.

Dale Earnhardt Snr was the symbol of an America that may have passed us by with the current era of leadership in this country, but to his loyal fans, the employees who worked for any of his enterprises, including an auto dealership and a Perdue farm, and a man who went from a humble dirt-track driver with a widowed mother (who is still living today), to a folk hero of the people with his tenacity that influenced a President, to having investing professionals paying him for the right to trade using his seat at the two major stock exchanges at the time. He was a tough “Intimidator,” and truly showed his image as “One Tough Customer”.

He introduced alternate jersey concepts in motorsport with All-Star Race cars that celebrated special events, and drove a piece of pop art at All-Star Race XVI in the form of hippie artist Peter Max's design for the signature #3 that can be seen at Richard Childress' museum and may have been his most famous piece of art, considering it was raced. It would be akin to an artist laying his specially designed livery on a Ferrari 150th Italia, or on a McLaren MP4 for one race.

He even purchased a stake in a local minor league baseball team and renamed it in his own image (Kannapolis Intimidators), with his close friend Sam Bass, who designed many liveries (even in INDYCAR) designing the team's “Killer K” logo, with the team later retiring his #3 akin to Gene Autry's #26 at the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. (This year, the team is adding an “I” with the image of the 1998 Daytona 500 win as an alternate logo)

In his later years, he had even greater aspirations. He dreamed of competing with Katech in a friendly rivalry with Richie Gilmore building LS engines for the Corvette Racing project with a “factory” Corvette and a DEI Corvette, zipping by over 200 MPH through Ligne Droite des Hunaudières on Route Départementale D338, zipping through the hills as he raced through the 24 Heures du Mans as a retired driver in his early 50's.

It never happened. Making the black #3 mainstream and a folk hero made sure his death would be mourned by millions. Fans in Washington drove one silent loop around the Washington Beltway to mourn. NC 136, now renamed NC 3, and the Dale Trail have become celebrated places. Middle America had lost at 4:40 PM on February 18, 2001, a hero who was a cowboy of another type.

A nation who loved their heroes tough and willing to lead was Dale Earnhardt Snr, who showed to be an entrepreneur, something his son has acquired with his own enterprises (a race team, saloon, and various business enterprises). The image of The Intimidator was one where President George W. Bush sent an official condolence letter and representative to the memorial service. Seven months later, when terrorists struck in New York, Arlington, and Shanksville, Bush turned Intimidator on Usama bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban, choosing to rattle their cage, and it started with an image that only Earnhardt's sponsor VF Corporation could love.

America still needs that tough-guy image that Dale sold Madison Avenue today, and the Tea Party reminds me of the “spirit of Dale” that is still in America that liberals hate.

We might have thought the perfect words for Dale's death were said when he was watching the Grande Premio di San Marino one May morning in his motorcoach, and that afternoon after he won and the sad news of that morning was told, how he remembered Ayrton Senna first in his interview after a win.

“It was a shame to see him go the way he did.”

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Classic Sports Thursday

A perfect storm had occurred for CBS in February 1979. A massive snowstorm hit the East Coast, and CBS had outbid ABC for the rights to the Daytona 500. In prior years, ABC had entered the Daytona 500 broadcast around the 100-lap point, and aired the last hour and half of the race. CBS would gamble and try to air the entire 200-lap, 500-mile race, something that Indianapolis only had for local broadcasts in post-war Indianapolis, and something not even ABC had tried with the Indianapolis 500, which was taped and aired that evening in summary broadcasts at the time (the first national live Indianapolis 500 would not occur until 1986).

The gamble worked. Despite a small shower in the morning and CBS plans to pair it with the most popular NBA games after the race, the first live flag-to-flag national broadcast of a 500-mile automobile race ended with an incident so famous that because of the snow, the ratings soared, and the appeal was known.

The famous last-lap crash of Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough (both of whom in the past ten years as of that time had run Indy) established a passion that in a nation that needed tough men heroes, created two. But the race to the finish, not caught by the CBS directors, was as amusing. Prior to September 2003, a safety car situation meant the safety car began when the leader crossed the start-finish line, and the Foyt, Petty, and Waltrip battle some believe was determined by Foyt forgetting unlike USAC, where the safety car situation was immediate slowdown and no racing, the safety car situation would be crossing the line only meant Petty, who won five Daytona 500s and what are now known as Sprint Cup titles at the time, and Waltrip, a driver in his early 30's with an Ali-style brashness he used on Nashville television and radio to successfully sell tickets to the weekly races but no titles, battled for the win, with The King beating Jaws.

The quote of Ken Squier after the race may have set a standard upon the squabble.

"And there's a fight between Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough. Tempers overlowing, they are angry because they know they have lost, and what a bitter defeat."

Donnie's brother Bobby joined the fight, and the result was a fight that sold saloons to an American public. The newspapers the next day, and Middle America saw the passion of men who went for it, and in a nation longing for warriors, saw men who gave their heart, and refused to give up. Little did we know how from Cale vs the Allison Brothers what it meant. And imagine how it was for a racer from Rockford, IL, John Knaus, who raced in the Midwest, what his young son Chad Anthony was still a young schoolboy, years from turning his dad's wrenches (which he did at 14), and the boy's willingness to bench an entire starting five for poor performance.

We celebrate on Classic Sports Thursday the motor racing event that created a monster, and a classic for all ages.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The More Things Change...

News item: NHL concerned about out-of-control violence.

Of course, this isn't what one would call a recent development, as Dick Guindon's editorial cartoon from 1974 indicates...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Starting This Week in Love . . . Where's Miss Right?

Rock is legal, but Poulenc's Gloria isn't? After attending another South Carolina Philharmonic concert ("Heaven and Earth," with the Columbia Choral Society, Coker College Singers, and Dawn Marie Wolski, soprano), and hearing the strains of Poulenc's Gloria (the piece that I heard but knew years ago I wasn't qualified to sing choral music yet; it took me five more years of vocal training to finally go over the hump and now it's two gigs a year since then, but still no church singing because of the attitude of certain leaders in churches who prefer the dippy junk), I thought about how secularism has run rampant in the country, even in churches.

We have seen secularism run rampant when the odds of Poulenc's Gloria are more to be heard in the symphony hall than in the church, which is dead-set on rock or karaoke (gasp!) settings of (don't laugh) "The Climb," "It's My Life," or the latest hit from a Sony television series (Granger had their congregation vote on which tune from Glee to perform there) in today's Warrenist Life Enhancement Centre every church wants to become.

And oh, by the way: Dawn Marie would lap the entire Grammy field wit that ethereal voice that made me understand in both Mahler's Symphony Nr. 4 and Poulenc's Gloria why I first was hooked on this type of music! Any reason why I've gone classical?

Wait a Minute, I thought NFL Season is Over! During the broadcast of the InBev Shootout Saturday, the strains of a certain piece played -- and it didn't sound prim and proper there, did it? It was the Garrod-Hays-Scheer Fox NFL march. And that's the All Sports theme. Meanwhile, Clay Matthews III is a Grammys presenter, and much to the chagrin of CBS ("Posthumus Zone," from ES Posthumus, 2006-present, but may change with the group's breakup following the death of a member), the Fox Sports Theme Song played. Every pitch and swing and every lap on the track on Fox will hear that. Just wonder if we'll hear it on UEFA broadcasts too. Seemingly, the timeless theme song has now proven to be timeless.

The End of the Beginning. The Heritage Foundation has a report on the Egypt crisis. It's a must-read.

Watson's Time. IBM's "Watson" supercomputer obtains its Jeopardy! shot Monday-Wednesday in the classic two-game, total point format. It will have two opponents -- the great Brad Rutter and the great Ken Jennings. Game show greats versus a computer should be as much fun as Kasparov vs Deep Blue.

25 Grand Here, 25 Points There. The top of the popular music charts have become a place where John Darby would be calling artists to the Oval Office and burnishing huge 25-point penalties along with $25,000 fines for the use of "money and points words". 

Weekend Digest

The Crosby Clambake is this weekend, the Shootout is Saturday, and the weekend is approaching. It's time to get some stories of the week -- an important speech by the Prime Minister of Great Britain, the unique ownership of the Green Bay Packers established in 1923, the Kubica crash in Andorra, and a take on art worth pondering.

Ben Shapiro: The Most Important Speech since Churchill.

Adrian Rush: The Green Bay Packers and the Pride of Ownership.

James Allen: Why Racers Talk Risks and Why We Love Them for It.

Samuel Guzmán: Conservative argument is no match for liberal art. (Conservatives need to product art.) 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Retro TV Friday

John Barry, who for my money was the greatest film composer ever, died last week. I meant to write something about it at the time, but I didn't get the time. And I don't have as much time now as I'd like to have to talk about just how great a composer he was. He didn't write movie music; he wrote music that was used in movies.

But here's a clip of a TV theme that Barry wrote - to the swinging 70s show The Persuaders!, starring Tony Curtis and Roger Moore.A British import, shown on ABC (ala The Avengers), it didn't fare as well, but it's still good fun.

As for some of John Barry's other work - well, I'd wager you might recognize one or two of these.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Classic Sports Thursday

Lost amidst the hubbub of the Super Bowl was this great note about the discovery of one of classic television's holy grails: the first Super Bowl.

(And it wasn't even found in Bing Crosby's wine cellar.)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Opera Wednesday

This might well be my first post of the year, and I'm really embarrassed about that. (Not so embarrassed, you'll note, that I'm going to deliver a long essay - sorry about that, Mitchell.)

But I'm in a Wagner state of mind tonight, so here's the stirring men's chorus singing "The Pilgrim's Chorus" from Tannhauser. I don't know how Wagner felt about Mormons, so it might be ironic that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir brings you this rendition - then again, it might not. It's terrific stuff, though.

Monday, February 7, 2011

XLV Reflections

With a Cheesehead reputation dating back to Sterling Sharpe and Robert Brooks (two Gamecocks; Sharpe's #2 is a retired number at South Carolina), and to learn of Sopranos who are Cheeseheads (a past voice teacher, and a few soprano buddies), I was looking back at listening to the end of the first quarter after my Bible study Sunday night in the truck on the way home (a big reason I enjoy listening to sports with national radio voices is how they are complete opposites of the modern homers and screamers that fill radio today) and Boomer Esiason's description of Nick Collins' pick-six ("playing center field like Bernie Williams of the Yankees") makes you wonder sometimes how storytelling can be deceptive. As I drove in the truck, it was a painting that I could imagine; those moments aren't painted well by homers on today's team radios.

During halftime, while most stayed watching the Bridgestone Super Bowl XLV Halftime with the Black Eye Peas and others, Lt. Michael Haley posted a message that the Black Eyed Peas blocked a hit ditty from being used during the successful campaign of Lt. Haley's wife to become Governess of the state. But earlier in the day, from other reports (remember I was in my Bible study), one of the trio of no-talent "artists" that drew my ire from a "music awards show" that needed to be called to the Oval Office (as it's called today) pulled off a Star Mangled Banner that was worse than anything The Daly Planet reported during last year with bad anthems! From what I have been informed through a wire report, this was on par with current Idols judge Steven Tyler's mangled banner at the INDYCAR* race in 2001 that sent journalists in Charlotte and Indianapolis not too amused (the reaction by Super Tex showed)! I would rather have Dr. Jesse McGuire's rendition on the trumpet or any of my vocal Gran Amistad's performance of it any day over this rotten pop "diva" who showed no talent at Super Bowl XLV.

When I initially heard of the story at halftime, I thought when you sit through sixteen hours of practice in four weeks and bang out more notes on your own just to do a choral piece on the level of Beethoven's Mass in C Major as happened in June, we had to be professional to the nines. Behave, people. When the National Anthem is revered severely, we demand serious anthems, not these jokes that are performed by these no-talent pop hoons.

* The sanctioning body for the IZOD IndyCar Series is referred as INDYCAR in all capitals. Source: Bob Jenkins (Versus)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

February 6: Ronald Reagan Centennial

I love this cartoon, drawn by Jeff MacNelly for a National Review calendar in the early 90s.  Ronald Reagan, king of the jungle, by that time the lion at rest.

The liberals try to claim that today's Republican Party would be too conservative even for Reagan, that he was more liberal than his admirers make him out to be, that he's more myth than man.  Bunk.  The man wasn't perfect; what man is?  His presidency wasn't everything it could have or perhaps should have been.  Was anyone else's?  Yes, there were tax increases.  Yes, we still had abortion.  Yes, he fell short in terms of choosing a running mate (perhaps the only area in which George H.W. did a better job). 

But Ronald Reagan believed in something, and had the courage to allow that belief to inform the actions of his presidency.  He carried himself with grace and humor and dignity. He told people to believe in and be proud of their country, and then through his actions made it possible for them to do so.  He didn't let his skirt blow up in his face; he was a man.

And something else: Dean Martin once said that he, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. had switched their support from Democrats to Ronald Reagan because Reagan was "cool".  Who better than the Rat Pack to define that?

Ah, such a difference between leaders then and leaders now.  Reagan came to lead America during a bleak time, when many had come to despair in the future.  In that sense, it was the misguided presidency of Ford and the incompetent presidency of Carter that made Reagan possible.  There is room for hope then, even in the presidency of Obama, that from it better times can and will emerge.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Rated XLV

Gipper 100! A big cheer this weekend for the birthday of the greatest President of modern time, Ronald Wilson Reagan. Considering what we have in the White House today, we need to flash back.

“(Be)cause you fell, you fat pig! Have Another Doughnut!” In Raleigh, NC, the Krispy Kreme Challenge has runners running a four-mile race with a twist: consumption of twelve doughnuts of the North Carolina chain in the middle of the run.

It's Been There Before. Three fights in four seconds?

Child Pornography. Albert Mother's take on an MTV series that is child pornography. I've known the problems of MTV for such a long time that there's a restrictor plate on the television.

Sanger Exploitation of Children. More clinics of Planned Parenthood (a baby murder mill) are found to help with sexual exploitation of minors.

Friday, February 4, 2011

This Just In

Football Game This Sunday

(NEW YORK -- February 4) Teams from Pittsburgh, PA and Green Bay, WI will compete against each other in a football game Sunday afternoon in the Dallas suburb of Arlington, TX, it was announced recently.

Despite the fact that neither team is from Texas, a surprisingly large crowd is expected to be in attendance, perhaps drawn by promises of musical entertainment before the game and at half-time. The game will be broadcast on local television as well, and many people in the area may choose to stay home and watch rather than brave the unusually cold weather that has struck the area recently.

A network of television stations in scattered cities will also allow fans of the two teams who were unable to make the trip to see the game providing it is being shown on their local channel. However, it is not known whether or not the game will generate widespread interest outside of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. “The game is being played late Sunday afternoon,” cultural expert Dick Reeves noted. “After a long weekend, I’m not sure how many people will have the energy to watch TV at that hour, especially if they’re not a fan of either team.”

Added Reeves, “If people do have the game on, it probably means they’re too bored to change channels. They may even watch the commercials.”

It is not known whether such a “neutral-site” game will be played again next year, and if so, weather the same two teams will agree to play again. “That’s a long way to travel,” one fan commented. “I’m not sure if it would be worth the bother. What if you get there and find out nobody cares?”

Retro TV Friday

Last week Bobby posted an article on the 25th anniversary of the Challenger space shuttle disaster, and following the links from the YouTube clip included in the piece opened up a treasure-trove of network television coverage of the manned space program. Most fascinating for me was a look at the care with which the networks introduced their space coverage. It was an Event, with a capital E, and it's something that seems to me to be missing from television today.

Let's start with a little hippiness - NBC's intro to its coverage of the Apollo 16 flight in 1972. The graphics are pure 70s all the way, and yet far more elaborate than any introduction you're likely to see on one of today's newscasts.

This link leads you to CBS's opening for its coverage of the flights of Apollo 9, 10 and 11. As perhaps befitts what was once known as the "Tiffany Network," the CBS style is perhaps more ponderous, more portentious, with Cronkite in full "Voice of God" mode* But there's no denying the power in "the epic journey of Apollo 11." These men were explorers, voyagers, about to embark on a mission never before done. With the advantage of retrospect, we forget that the success of the first moon landing was by no means assured. And was this perhaps the last time one heard reference to "astronauts Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins" before they ceased being men and became icons instead?

*I defy anyone to watch Dave Thomas' impressions of Cronkite on SCTV and then listen to the real Cronkite while keeping a straight face. Think especially Bowling for Dollars.

Finally, for something really low-tech, try out NBC's coverage of the Liberty Bell 7 launch, as Gus Grissom becomes the second American in space. Actually, it's a little more like our "Breaking News" intros, don't you think?

Drama in abundance, though, and I wonder what, if anything, will make us feel this way again?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Classic Sports Thursday

Perhaps this is stretching the definition of "sports" a bit, but on the other hand the logo in the upper right clearly says "ESPN Classic,"* so I consider myself justified!

*I'm not positive, but this may well have been one of the last times ESPN had anything "classic" on.

And speaking of classic, what could be more classic than Jack LaLanne?

When Jack LaLanne died last week at the age of 96, a co-worker of mine said, in obvious reference to the "Total Gym," that she'd always thought of Jack as the "Eternal Gym." And who could argue with that? It seemed unlikely that he'd ever die; more likely, in fact, that he'd come back any day with some new exercise show. I met someone once, a person who exercised frequently, who had no idea who Jack LaLanne was. Age was no excuse; she wasn't that much younger than I was. Nor was she a stupid woman. No, the only thing that could be said was that she was ignorant, and before you jump on me for using that word I use it more in sympathy than in scorn.

Imagine not knowing who Jack LaLanne is! The man who brought exercise to the masses, five days a week in the comfort of their own living room. The man who transcended mere jumping jacks (no pun intended) to show that fitness was holistic, a matter of mind and soul as well as body. Watch that video up there again. It's not just strong muscles that Jack worked for - he was a believer in the health of the total person. Eating right, thinking right, living right - the physical exercise was only part of the whole package. Richard Simmons made a big deal out of this years ago, but Jack LaLanne was first. Shows like "The Biggest Loser" could only hope to make the impession that Jack did. Every workout show on TV since the late 50s owes something to Jack LaLanne, who crossed over to shows as diverse as the detective drama Peter Gunn (playing himself) and Groucho Marx' game show You Bet Your Life.

Not know who Jack LaLanne was? What about Happy, the big white dog that would frequently nose around the set during his show? Or his wife Elaine, who would join him in a later version of his series? (The "New" Jack LaLanne show, as I recall.) And the corny organ music that somehow seemed to fit right in to an era when the organ was the musical accompaniment for soap operas. Or his trademark closing theme, sung to the tune of "It's Now or Never"? Not know who Jack LaLanne was? Anyone who didn't know about Jack LaLanne was missing an entire chunk of the pop culture of the 50s, 60s, 70s - heck, you can walk into most stores and buy his Power Juicer, with his picture right there on the side of the box - looking as if he could probably still do 100 one-handed pushups. Or at least more than I could.

I'm old enough to remember the Jack LaLanne show when it was in first-run (on Channel 9 here in the Twin Cities), but I was fortunate enough to see the show again when it ran on ESPN Classic a few years back. Hopefully, that woman who'd never heard of him might have run across one of those shows, perhaps stopped for a few minutes to watch and listen to what he had to say. She might have thought the exercise routines were simplistic, the jokes corny, the motivational talk over the top. But, then again, she might have found herself surprised by how relevant his ideas still were, how far ahead of his time he really was in his thinking, and how much fun the show really was to watch.

In that spirit, one can only suspect that God is in much better shape today than He was a couple of weeks ago, and that St. Peter is doing two or three laps around the Pearly Gates every morning before breakfast.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Attacking Governess Palin: In Mikado, TNT, and the SAG Awards

The bashing of the former Governess of Alaska, Sarah Palin, continues with a trio of inappropriate incidents in recent weeks. In the past month, the Missoula (MT) Children's and Missoula Community Theater featured performances of Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado where a few eagle-eyed and eagle-eared people detected an attack on the Governess in the performance of the musical.

Mikado is set in Japan to attack the British government and institutions of 1885, but Ko-Ko's aria "Lord High Executioner," is where he sings about people on his "list" for elimination. Often, the lyrics are regionalised to refer to local heels, and it was clear that liberals in Montana, a state with two liberal Senators, decided to call for the beheading of Governess Palin in the song. Why is she being attacked in the theatre with the call for beheading? Is calling for the assassination of leaders a federal violation? Or are standards different when the Left goes after the Right still?

This isn't our first go-around on inappropriate themes in the theatre, as we discussed a Hans Neuenfels production of Idomeneo that featured the severed head of various religious figures (and axed only when Mohammed's head was included) years ago. Is Hans Neuenfels behind this Mikado production with the bashing of Governess Palin, who helped push through the Red and Gray of Governess Haley to the Mansion?

And Governess Palin had to do it again with an NBA on TNT incident last week too, when Mr. Tracy Morgan, an alleged “comedian” on Comcast's Saturday Night Live, went into X-rated crude remarks on her during an interview before the NBA match. Mr. Morgan had raunchy words during the TNT broadcast about Governess Palin that we cannot post here because of its X-rated nature, and also to Comcast's E! Network coverage of the Screen Actors Guild Awards, he went on another Palin-bashing soiree.

Whatever happened to civility with a former KTUU anchorwoman? It's clear we have uncivilised liberals who attack any conservative at any time, and with both Mr. Morgan's and the Missoula Children's and Community Theater's attacks of this woman.

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